Archive | January, 2017

Looking for Opportunities

31 Jan


I recently posted on Facebook that this was the first time in five years that I wasn’t working on a novel.  People immediately took that to mean I wasn’t writing at all, or I somehow came down with “writer’s block.”

Sorry about the confusion…I’m simply working on a different writing project that I need to get completed before March.  As soon as I finish that I’ll return to “Shadows Fall On Rosarito,” the novel I’m two-thirds done with, and then I have four other novels I want to write…so you see, there is no writer’s block at all.

Now that we have that all cleared up, let’s move to today’s blog posting.

But first…


“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” Lao Tzu

I met a character from my next novel yesterday.

Read that sentence again and let it sink in.

I met an imaginary character from a novel I haven’t written yet.

Cue the caretakers…get that straightjacket ready for me, please!

But as strange as that sentence seems to be, most writers will understand completely.

I’m always on the lookout for my next character.  I’m always observing.  I’m always jotting down mental notes for future stories and books.

I just assume all writers are like that.

Are you?  Please say you are or I’ll feel like the weirdest human being on the planet, and writers will be using me for their next homicidal/suicidal/mentally-unstable character.street fair Aug 2012 013


Short but sweet . . . observe!  Be aware!  You’ve got five senses.  Use them!


You all know what guerrilla marketing is, right?  It’s using unconventional methods to market your goods or services when you have a very small budget to work with.  Most writers can relate to that, I think.  I love finding new ways to market my writing, and I’m currently taking a break from novel-writing to try one of those new ways.

I’m making coloring books!

I love that coloring books are making a comeback in today’s society.  It seems like every single time I go into a retail shop, I see a display of coloring books, and since I love coloring books and I love trying new things, it is the perfect avenue for my guerrilla marketing.

I’m just finishing up my first coloring book, “The History of Olympia, Washington Coloring Book.”  It combines my love of history with my love of writing with my love of coloring, and I plan on selling them at the farmers market here in Olympia.  My next will be an urban farming coloring book, which I’ll start next week.

Will I sell a ton of them? I doubt it, but I’ll sell some, and those sales will combine with the sales of my novels and the money I make freelancing, and it all adds up.

I use a free computer program called GIMP, which takes photographs and changes them into sketch drawings….there are quite a few programs out there that do the same thing…Photoshop…Pixlr….and they are all user-friendly.   Then I format it all for CreateSpace and presto, I have a coloring book. The cost to me, including shipping, is less than three dollars per book.

Anyway, I just thought I’d mention it in case you are looking for something new to try.


I hope you have a superb week of writing and marketing. Thanks a ton for spending part of your Tuesday with me.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


An Interview With Poet Sarah Potter

24 Jan


Well, I always feel bad for the poets out there, because I feel like you get the short end of the stick on my blog.  Truth is I know next to nothing about poetry, so I figure it’s better that I just stay quiet about it rather than embarrass myself.

But today you poets are in for a surprise.  I have an expert in the figurative house, and her name is Sarah Potter, and she has agreed to discuss Japanese Poetic Forms with you today.

Let it never be said that I don’t care about all of you.

And now, here’s Sarah!

Sarah Potter “Waning” Lyrical About Japanese Poetic Forms

Thank you so much, Bill, for inviting me as a guest on your wonderful blog. I’m both excited and a bit daunted, as this is the first time a fellow blogger has asked me to write about poetry.

My love affair with Japanese poetic forms began in December 2010, when I signed up for a Twitter account. Here, I stumbled upon haiku, which fitted the 140-character limit for tweets while also having something meaningful to say. To my delight, my first attempts at haiku were retweeted numerous times and gained me a band of followers, including some from Japan! I saw this as a great compliment, as haiku is a traditional Japanese poetic form. [Note: The spelling for haiku is the same in singular and plural].

A year later, I started blogging as Sarah Potter Writes, with my main focus on haiku. Again I collected some Japanese followers, despite my unavoidable Anglicisation of their traditional poetic form. Most Japanese words are polysyllabic, meaning each one consists of multiple syllables. This makes it extra hard to pen a haiku in English and stick rigidly to the 17-syllable limit, without producing something unwieldly that defeats the object of the poem. Nevertheless, I do stick rigidly to the 17-syllable rule as I like challenges.

So here are the rules of traditional Japanese haiku that it’s my quest to adhere to as much as possible, without destroying the meditative spirit of the exercise…

  • 17 syllables
  • 3 lines (5/7/5 syllable count)
  • Unrhymed
  • No adverbs
  • Sparing with adjectives
  • Use present tense
  • Focus on images from nature
  • Focus on brief moment in time
  • Contains a season word to indicate the time of year
  • Can be read in one breath
  • Pauses at end of 1st or 2nd line (*see below for further explanation)
  • Brings enlightenment and illumination

(*In haiku, ideally there’s a juxtaposition of two images or ideas, with the cutting word between them that signals a break in the line of thought. This can be an actual word, or expressed in punctuation, most commonly an ellipsis).

On the subject of punctuation, you will notice that most haiku poems have no punctuation of any kind, or capital letters at the beginning of lines. The reason I don’t adhere to this rule on my blog, is that the three-line formatting disappears during automatic post shares with Facebook. This produces an unpunctuated lowercase string of words that, at times, can read as random nonsense.sarah-potter-ian-1

Here are two of my bird haiku:

early evening…
plump wood pigeon contemplates
the meaning of spring

horizon smudged grey…
invisible seagulls squawk
beyond summer rain


Further to one-verse haiku, is Haikai no renga (also known as renku), which is a linked verse game. I wrote the following verses, one for each phase of the moon. The name used at the end of the second line of the opening verse is the Shinto moon god, and the last line of the final verse is the Shinto sun goddess.

under cutglass stars
she dreams of Tsukuyomi
new moon love potion

nocturnal circus
legged draped over crescent moon
girl hangs upside down

gibbous halfway house
shadow night crickets gossip
she needs sedating

full moon tree-trunk spin
naked dancing on silver
she coruscates dew

blackbird sings her home
waning moon ambushed by dawn


You will notice on my blog that I usually post a photograph with my haiku. Some haiku purists might object to this, but I love photography, although I do try to compose haiku that will also stand on their own without a photo.

In 2012, I had the delight of collaborating with artist, Julian Sutherland-Beatson, to produce some haiga (haiku art). This involved me providing him with some haiku poems that he interpreted and integrated into paintings. Here’s one of them. To see the full set of paintings, click here.



Senryū shares the 17-syllable, 3-line poetic form of haiku, but is more often about human foibles than nature, tends towards the humorous or cynical, and doesn’t contain a cutting or a season word. You will notice that a number of senryū are about old age, often written by poets who are of mature years themselves, so either they’re laughing at themselves or a loved one in a playful way. Here’s one of my senryū and you can draw what conclusions you like from it!

old tartan blanket
once used for picnics and lust
keeps his stiff knees warm


Now for the classical poetic form of Tanka. Historically, it predates haiku and is one of the major genres of Japanese literature, often sung in its early days. Here are the rules of the Tanka:

  • 31 syllables
  • 5 lines (5/7/5/7/7 syllable count)
  • Lines 1 & 2 are the upper phrase (Kaminoku), containing the primary image
  • Line 3 contains the pivotal image (as in a sonnet)
  • Lines 4 & 5 are the lower phrase (shimonoku), switching from the image to a contrasting image or a study of the emotional response
  • Unlike haiku, it can contain simile, metaphor, and personification

Here are two of my tanka:

metallic winter
enhanced by rhododendrons
— rejuvenation —
an old woman with grey hair
wearing neon pink lipstick

rain tumbles, birds swoop,
music floats from the red house
–melody recalled–
an old man, his piano,
a candelabra, her face

Finally, I’ll touch briefly on dodoitsu, which I’d never heard of until Bill mentioned it in one of his posts.

Its rules…

  • 26 syllables
  • Four lines (7/7/7/5)
  • Focuses on work or love
  • Usually has a humorous twist

Here’s my first dodoitsu (more to follow on my blog soon):

Through the window a rainbow
she is desperate to share.
Moulded in cushion comfort
he prefers his tea.

Why do I love Japanese poetic forms? It’s to do with their simplicity: their ability to bring tiny details into sharp focus. It’s the challenge of saying a great deal in as few words as possible. They’re meditative, calming, uplifting, and encourage one to see the world through a new and better lens. It has also helped improve my fiction writing and made it more succinct and attuned to the senses.


Connect with Sarah: 

Independent Author Network 

Sarah’s Books on Amazon:
Noah Padgett & the Dog-People




Thank you so much, Sarah.  I learned tons today and now I can rest, for awhile, on my laurels, feeling good about myself for posting something to do with poetry.  You have done me a great service.


Seriously, folks, go check Sarah out.  She is seriously talented.




“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



The Unique You

17 Jan

003Football season is finally over for this boy.

I’m not a football fanatic.  I really just follow the Washington Huskies in college and the Seattle Seahawks in the pros. I don’t randomly watch two teams play just because they are playing football…I have far too much to do to waste my entire Saturday, or Sunday, just channel surfing in search of another game.

Anyway, both Washington and Seattle are done with their seasons, both having suffered rather embarrassing losses, so now I can turn my attention, in another month, to baseball and the Seattle Mariners.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After the Seahawks lost their playoff game to Atlanta, I decided to read a couple sports articles about the game, looking for little tidbits or quotes that might be interesting.  I read four different articles by four different sports writers, and three were bland and one was outstanding.

This one guy, a writer for the Seattle Times, wrote about the game in such a way as to bring it to life, a game I had watched, mind you, but he managed to make it sound brand new, like I was watching it for the first time.

So, what was different in the one article that wasn’t in the other three?


“Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” Orson Welles

And that quote really is the answer to my earlier question.

The one sports writer, the really good one, had a unique style.  His voice was unique, a wonderful blend of vocabulary and rhythm, and it made his article shine, while the others fell upon the junk heap of mediocrity.  All four wrote about the exact same game, but only one managed to make that game interesting.

Get the point?

You are the only you.  Take advantage of that fact.  Make it work for you!


I’m busy with a new project.  Oh sure, I’m still writing my novels, and I still do content for a select group of customers, but I decided to try something new, and that decision has me short on time this week . . . and so I’ll say goodbye for today.

Have a spectacularly unique day!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

On This Day in History

10 Jan

003January 10, 2017!

On this day in history, in 1964, the first Beatles album, “Introducing the Beatles,” was introduced in the United States.

On this day in history, the first vinyl record was released, in 1949.

On this day in history, in 1917, Buffalo Bill died.

On this day in history, in 1944, the G.I. Bill of Rights was signed into law.

On this day in history, in 2017, William D. Holland wrote ten more pages on his novel “Shadows Fall On Rosarito.”


That’s my alter-ego speaking. He speaks to me often.  Sometimes I listen and sometimes I tell him to shut the hell up.

Like today!

So, some pretty cool things happened on this day in history, and then I toss in the latest addition to my latest novel, and where in the world is my head in doing such a thing?

My head is exactly where it should be, thank you very much.

But first…..


“My mother always told me that as you go through life, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that’s your legacy.” Jan Brewer

One of the very cool things about being a writer, and I mean super ultra-cool, is that our words will be preserved for eternity.  Long after we are gone, let’s say one-hundred years from now, some little girl or boy will stumble across an article or a book we wrote, and they will read it, and in so doing they will be given a gift we sent to them across the expanse of time.

How cool is that?

Now I don’t know about you, but when I give a gift, I want that gift to be perfect . . . and so I write, and I try to improve my craft, so that the next gift I give will be the very best gift I could give at that moment.

My writing is part of my legacy and as such is a very important thing for sure.  It is important to me and your writings should be equally as important to you.

Forget about the naysayers. Forget about the lagging sales of your books.  Forget about the lack of support.

What you are doing is important!


End of discussion!


Improve your craft!  Never stop trying to be better, because when you finish your next piece, and you wrap it up in pretty paper and a bright bow, you want it to be the very best gift possible.


I highly recommend signing up for Janet Reid’s blog.  You can find it here.  You may not get Janet to sign you up as one of her writers, but her blog is filled with great information.  She shoots from the hip, tells it like it is, and hey, it never hurts to have another contact in this business.


Remember what I said earlier.  What you are doing is important.  These are troubling times, and more than ever the world needs writers.


Writing Casserole

3 Jan


So let me wish you aHappy New Year, and then let’s get to it.


“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs

And of course many out there will be making New Year’s resolutions.

I don’t do that.

I’m anal.

I have a plan and I stick with the plan.  Write, publish, repeat. That’s my plan.  I toss in some marketing, try some new things as I go, see what works, make revisions, but the basics always stay the same…write, publish, repeat.

I don’t like deadlines.  I don’t like goals.  I don’t like false expectations or unrealistic visions.  I make a plan and then, with laser-focus, I work on that plan.

Write, publish, repeat!

Five novels, one non-fiction, five novellas, over three-thousand articles . . . write, publish, repeat!

How about you?


Stay focused!

I don’t think that needs explanation.


Maybe you do some of these things. Maybe you don’t.  Maybe you will after reading this. Maybe you won’t.  I’m not here to give you the Bible of Writing.   I simply make suggestions.

Consider these “do’s” when using social media to promote yourself:

  • Take the time to reply to comments and questions
  • Post links to articles that will interest your followers.
  • Update regularly
  • Tell people, in moderation, about your offers and products.
  • Share good, quality images.
  • Promote businesses complimentary to your own.
  • Always offer a quality product.
  • Allow your personality to show with each post
  • Think before you post. Once you post there is no stuffing the genie back in the bottle.


“The Writer” magazine starts a new contest called “Your Turn” on January 1st.  It calls for a 2,000 word essay about the craft of writing.  More information will be posted on January 1st and you can find that information by following this link.  I believe 1st prize is $1,000 and publication in the mag.


So, you’re an independent author and so, you’ve written an eBook.

Well how good is that eBook?  Would you like to find out how it stacks up against competition?untitled-8

The Independent Author’s Network is holding their annual Book of the Year Awards, and you can enter your eBook into the competition from now until August. There is a fee, of course, but hey, maybe you’re the next Steinbeck.


Have you gone lately?  If you have a book, have you approached the library staff with it?  Libraries are wonderful for supporting local writers.  Even if you are a poet, approach the library and ask about doing a public reading.  Seriously…what do you have to lose?


I’ll see you down the road of life.

Thanks for a great 2016.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”