Monday, June 25, 2007


Today, Vicki M. Taylor, author of Trust in the Wind, visits us. One of the amazing things I learned from Vicki during this interview....remember your dreams!

MEA: Since so many people ask me, "How did you get the idea for this story?" I'll ask you the same. It seems to be information readers like to know.

VICKI: Yeah, I get that question a lot. Basically, Trust in the Wind was a dream I had. A very vivid dream of the entire story. Even the ending. Best of all, I remembered it when I woke up and was able to write it all down.

MEA: That’s so interesting, Vicki. Also, great that you could remember it so vividly. So often dreams are vague and only half recalled.

Now for another question readers often wonder about... What's your favorite character and how did he/she enter yourlife/book?

VICKI: I think my favorite character changes depending on what story I'm writing. I really liked writing Joanne and Roy in Trust in the Wind. I loved creating Joey, the little boy. He took over the story in some spots. I also wrote a romantic suspense and had a great time creating the villain. I'd never written a really bad, evil person before so that was different. That story came to me in a dream as well. I have some pretty cool dreams.

MEA: Do you plan your books with an outline or do your characters sort of take over?

VICKI: I have a general idea about where the book is going, but my characters know how to get there better than I do, so I let them lead the way. If I try to force them to do something that isn't natural for them, the story gets all stilted and contrived.

MEA: What would you like your readers to take away from this book?

VICKI: That there are second chances. Everyone is deserving of one when when it comes to love. And, that love shouldn't be dictated by a number. It doesn't matter how old you are. Finally, that sometimes you have to put your trust in something that you may not know the outcome or be able to control, but that's okay.

MEA: Do you have anything else you'd like to share with your readers or to introduce them to you ?

VICKI: I just wrote "the end" on a book I'd been working on this year about a 39-year old mother of five who decides to adopt a pregnant 14-year old runaway teenager and the tragic results. Like Not Without Anna, it deals with some serious real life issues.

Thanks for the opportunity to answer your questions.

MEA: Thank you, Vicki, for taking time to stop by Potpourri of Writing.

If you’d like more information about Vicki, her books and her writing world, visit the following:

Vicki’s author site

Her blog

Her writers' resource forum

Her Myspace page

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Paranormal romance author Karen Magill's latest book, Let Us Play , takes us into the world of Rock and Roll. Only hers is a world where Rock and Roll music has been banned. To learn more about Karen, visit . Also, check out Pump Up Your Book Promotion site for information about her blog tour, with synopsis and sample chapter.

MEA: Thank you, Karen, for stopping by my Potpourri of Writing blog and visiting with me. I've read that your love of music and dislike of censorship inspired this book. Since readers frequently ask, "Where did you get the idea of your story?" could you give more details about what inspired this book or how you came to write it?

KAREN: First of all, thank you for having me here. As to answer your question. The PMRC in the nineties inspired Let Us Play in a way. The movie Footloose played a part as well as the album Kilroy was here by Styx. All these things in addition to the idea of too much government control over our lives. It isn't only music that is censored, that is just what I chose to write on.

MEA: With your writing, do you plan your books, such as outlining, or do the characters sort of take over and write your book for you?

KAREN: I don't tend to outline, I write more by the seat of my pants as they say and with Let Us Play the characters really took over. In fact they became so alive for me that when I wasn't writing I had to remind myself that they weren't real.

MEA: Do you work on one book at a time or have a number of projects going so you can turn to one if you reach a block with a current one?

KAREN: I try to stick to one project but that doesn't always work. Many times I have more than one thing going. I am still trying to get the sequel going to Let Us Play, I have bits and pieces written here and there .

MEA: Since series are so popular now, I wondered if you saw this book as part of a series. You partly answered it above, but I wondered if you could give us more detail. For instance, some writers say that one of the minor characters becomes so important to them they decide they must do a book about him or her.

KAREN: The second is going to be entitled Truth, Justice and Rock and Roll or TJR and it will center on one of the other characters. Because there are so many characters in Let Us Play, I could keep writing for a while just drawing from it.

MEA: What would you like your readers to learn or take away from Let Us Play?

KAREN: The authority figures are not always right and sometimes those rebels are. Fight for what you believe in but remember that there are always consequences to your actions. Most of all, long live rock 'n roll.

MEA: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

KAREN: Just give me and the book a chance. You can learn more at or www.lulu. com/karenmagill and at both places you can download a free ebook entitled Rock Raff Remembered. This contains articles, interviews, etc. from which I used to run a weekly newsletter on music entitled Rock Raff. And thank you for having me.

MEA: Thank you, Karen, for visiting with me. I've enjoyed having you stop by Mary Emma's Potpourri of Writing. May you have much success with Let Us Play and your future books.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Lynn Voedisch visits my Potpourri of Writing blog today to discuss her book, Excited Light. She has made the transition from journalist to novelist in this book that has been described as "a tale of magic and second chance."

In Excited Light, 10-year old Alex Griffin has plenty on his mind as he takes care of his alcoholic mom. He confides in his toy duck, Dudley, and mystical entities who visit him to solve the challenges in his mom's and his life. Let’s discuss with Lynn some aspects of her writing.

MEA: I'm frequently asked, "How did you come up with the idea for this story?" So I'll ask you the same since it seems to be one that interests readers.

LYNN: I had an angel experience, but it was so intensely personal that I couldn't imagine writing about it. Then I read Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and I loved the magical-realism style, which is a lot like my own. I transferred the angel experience to my fictional character, Alex, who was based on my son and the conversations we had when he was 10. The rest just bloomed from there. I picked a single mom for Alex's mother, because I was a single mother for 11 years--ever since my son was a newborn. But I am nothing like the mother character in the book.

MEA: Each author develops their own way of writing. Some plan a book in detail with an outline. Others find their characters "take charge" and dictate how the story will progress. How would you describe your writing style?

LYNN: Very loose and free-form. I could never write from an outline. I worked for more than 20 years as a journalist, and we don't have time for outlines, so it seemed crazy to start doing it for a novel. I happen to have a steel-trap mind when it comes to mentally visualizing the chapters and flow of the book though. I think things out for a long time (and it doesn't look like I'm doing anything), then suddenly I jump up and hammer out a 2,000-word chapter. I blithely ignore the "write x-number of words a day" advice that most people give.

I wrote every day for 20 years. I know how to be disciplined. I have no problem in that regard. And I've never had writer's block. I also ignore the "write first thing in the morning" dictum. I can't do ANYthing first thing in the morning. My prime writing hours start in the afternoon and can go on to quite late at night.

I do have characters announce themselves out of the blue and declare that they want to get into the story. The first time this happened (in another novel) I thought I was going a little nuts. I let the character in, and I couldn't believe that he turned out to be the best character in the whole thing.

I'd describe my writing style as very clear and expository. I don't do stream-of-consciousness or anything super artsy, yet I'm not afraid to break a boundary or two. I do use sentence fragments, for instance. I would call my style magical realism (even though I'm not Hispanic) or maybe New Age. It's all in a modern setting but suffused with magic.

MEA: Do you work on one book at a time or turn from one writing project to another when you're at a loss for ideas?

LYNN: I can work on a non-fiction assignment while working on fiction, but I never could do two fiction projects at the same time. I tried, but it doesn't work. Once I create a fictional world it's hard to get my head out of it.

MEA: What would you like your readers to take away from this book...either to remember about your characters, your theme, or you?

LYNN: Oh, I definitely think there is a message in there to listen to your inner voice. If you don't believe in angels, it doesn't matter, because this is a story of hope. We all have the ability to heal if we heed what that little voice inside of us is saying. In a way, I felt directed to write this book to spread the message.

People say they like the characters so much they want a sequel, but I just can't see a sequel to this book.

About me? I want readers to like my writing enough that they will buy the next book, which I hope will come out via traditional press.

MEA: Is there anything else you'd like to share with visitors to Potpourri of Writing about the writing of this book? A unique story? Reader response?

LYNN: Only that the people who read it loved it and didn't want to say good-bye to the characters. If only I could get them to write testimonials to the editors at publishing houses!

Another note that I haven't told anyone else: this book was actually written 10 years ago. My first agent couldn't sell it because "the angel fad was over," according to publishers. So I just sort of forgot about it. Because I belong to the American Society of Journalists and Authors, which has a business partnership with iUniverse, I was eligible for a huge discount if I self published a book. I thought, "why not dust Excited Light off and release that?" So, I revised it and revised it again until I got to the point where I thought I couldn't do any more and sent it off it the publisher. I'm very glad I did, because the book seems to have lit up quite a few people's lives.

MEA: Thank you, Lynn, for taking time to visit my blog and answer my questions. It's always so interesting to discover the "story behind the story," or why and how an author wrote a specific book. Since I've been a journalist, I also can relate to much of what you say about your writing style and experiences. May you have much success with Excited Light.

(If you's like to see the trailer for Lynn's book, click here... You'll find Lynn's web site at: )

7 Random Facts About Mary Emma

This meme, 7 Random Facts About....., has been going around and I was asked, on one of my other blogs, to participate. Although I won't tie this into the meme, I thought it a fun way for my readers to get to know me.

You can do something similar on your blog...let me know and I'll mention it here. Or add something in the comments about you and your writing.

1. I've always wanted to be a writer, but my mom advised me to get a teaching degree. "So you can make a living," she said. So I received a degree in elementary education and have combined writing with substitute teaching, as well as presenting author programs in schools to encourage young writers and readers.

2. I grew up on a farm in the Hudson River Valley of New York State (USA). We worked hard on the farm, but had many fun times, too. I'm starting to write my memories so my daughter and grandchildren will know of their heritage.

3. My maternal grandfather was a writer as well as a farmer. He wrote a column for two local newspapers, his autobiography, a great deal of poetry, and many sermons. I'm pleased that I have much of his writing...original drafts and copies of newspaper articles.

4. I enjoy my husband and I have lived and traveled throughout much of the United States and some of Canada. Some of these trips have been in a bi-plane which we owned at one time, a Model A Ford across the Rockies (with a 10 month old daugher), by foot into the wilderness, on a bicycle, and by modern auto. My writing and Jim's consulting business enable us to continue our traveling.

5. We live in a multi-generational home in the woods with kids, grandkids, and assorted pets. It's "the house that Jim built" which is still under construction.

6. I've written a cooking column, "Country Kitchen," for newspapers and occasionally magazines, since 1962. Now I need to collect some of those columns into a book!

7. I cared for my mother and aunt who had Alzheimer's disease. This was an experience, though frustrating and discouraging at times, that brought great rewards as my family and I were able to comfort them and hopefully bring them joy in their journey. I wrote a book , When We Become the Parent to Our Parents, about this and now a blog, Alzheimer's Notes.

What are your 7 Random Facts?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Three Blog Tours at Potpourri of Writing in June

I shall be hosting three authors on their blog tours this month. They all write very different types of work. You'll find it interesting to learn about them.

Blog tours are increasingly popular as a way for authors to become better known to their reading public. Some writers organize their own tours while others engage someone like Dorothy Thompson to arrange the details.

As Dorothy explains, they're easy enough to arrange. However, authors come to her because they don't have the time.

Also, if you'd like to host authors, let your author friends know. This doesn't have to be a complete tour, just a visit and interview at your blog.