Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Dr. Susan Gregg visits today at Potpourri of Writing to discuss her new book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations, a compilation of meditations and exercises to relieve stress and improve quality of life. She also has a newsletter with thoughtful insights that I've signed up for and receive regularly (see her web site for registering).

Susan, I'm pleased to have you visit my blog. I've browsed your web site and would recommend your readers to do that, too. I'll ask you a few questions so they'll begin getting to know you.

MEA: Readers so often ask me, "Where did you get the idea for your book/story?" Or, "How did you come up with the idea for your book?" So I'll ask you, "How did The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations come about?"

SUSAN: A year earlier my agent had asked me if I would like to write a meditation book for women. I love teaching people how to meditate so it seemed like a great idea. I wrote the proposal and she shopped it around. Then one day she called me and said the Complete Idiot's Guide series was looking for an author to write a book about short meditations. I was in Europe at the time teaching classes so I e-mailed her back and said, "Count me in."

MEA: You mention the Toltec tradition on your web site which seems very important to your philosophy of life. Would you give us a brief explanation?

SUSAN: The Toltec tradition is an ancient philosophy, a way of life. The philosophy predates the Toltec civilization by many centuries. In essence, it is an awareness that we're a divine being in a physical body, that the entire universe is made up of energy and that we have the ability to create whatever we want whenever we want. I call the people who develop this philosophy the Ancient Ones.

Right now the Law of Attraction of The Secret is all the rage. The ancient ones were living The Secret thousands of years ago.

MEA: Does the Toltec tradition play a role in the meditations in your book?

SUSAN: The philosophy of the Ancient Ones is so much a part of my life. It is also part of Omar writing. I don't think I mentioned it directly in the book but the meditations, the exercises and some of the stories help readers directly experience themselves as a spark of divinity.

MEA: You also offer spiritual retreats. Would you describe these?

SUSAN: My retreats allow people to experience the magic and wonder of the Big Island of Hawaii. They eat wonderful food grown here on the island, spend time in the presence of Pele, meditate, write and have time just to nurture themselves. They're really powerful.

This fall I am doing a series of classes and retreats in Europe. Every year I go to Lithuania and work for a month. I love the country and the people and a best-selling author there. This year I'll also be doing some work in England, and I've gotten permission to do a ceremony inside Stonehenge at sunrise. I'm very excited about doing that.

MEA: What would you like readers to take away from your book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations?

SUSAN: I would like readers to realize they have the power to be happy regardless of what's happening in their lives. And once they choose happiness on a regular basis their lives will change dramatically. That's one of the paradoxes. I found that if I do my spiritual explorations to get things it doesn't work, but if I do them just to do them, magic and miracles happen in my life in a regular basis.

MEA: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

SUSAN: From the bottom of my heart I wish you all great happiness and joy. And remember happiness and joy are always just a thought away. Thanks very much for having me and as we say here in the islands – ALOHA!

Although Susan has lived in Vermont and California, she currently makes her home in Hawaii. Visit her web site: http://www.susangregg.com/ , for more information about her books and retreats.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter & Loss Leaders

While we're in the midst of the Harry Potter flurry with new book and new movie almost simultaneously (great PR strategy), here's an interesting take on Harry Potter in the book stores found at Yvonne Russell's Grow Your Writing Business blog, Harry Potter, the Loss Leader & Your Independent Bookseller .

"Did you know that discount chain stores and buyers' clubs often can sell Harry Potter and other bestsellers for less than an independent bookseller can buy it for?" Yvonne asks. Then she goes on the explain why...and why you may want to support your independent bookstore. (CHeck out the link above.)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who also was involved in retail in an earlier career, has interesting views on this topic, too. Check out: J.K Rowling, the LA Times and the Deadly but Hallowed Profit Conundrum

Monday, July 09, 2007


Read more about Jane Green's book, Second Chance, at Dorothy Thomson's blog, The Story Behind the Books. I just discovered this interesting site where the authors on the tours coordinated by Dorothy and Jamieson, discuss the stories behind their books.

You won't want to miss learning more about Jane and the other authors I've hosted on their tours. You'll also find stories from authors I haven't hosted yet.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Today, bestselling author, Jane Green visits Potpourri of Writing during her month long tour of the blogosphere. Her latest novel, Second Chance, was released June 19 and made#15 on the New York Times bestseller list within its first week. Congratulations, Jane!

Jane, a native of Britain, now lives in a lovely old home in Westport, CT with her four children.(You can see a picture of her home on her web site and more about her nine best selling novels.)

I'm pleased to have you here, Jane, to share with Potpourri readers. (Click here for a preview of Chapter 1 of Second Chance.)

MEA: A question many people often ask me is, "Where did you get the idea for your book/story?" Since this seems to be of universal curiosity among readers/fans, Jane, I'll ask you that about Second Chance. Where did you get the idea for this book?

JANE: Initially the idea came when a friend of mine died in the Tsunami. I wanted to write a book about grief, but then my marriage started unravelling and it became a book about a group of old friends who reunite after one of them dies, and each of whom are having a mid-life crisis of some description.

MEA: Do you plan your books by using a general outline and sticking with it? Or do your characters take over and sort of "run with the story."

JANE: I always have a general message or theme, but the best advice I was ever given was to spend the time with the characters because then they will tell their own stories, and I have always found that to be true.

MEA: I like that advice, Jane. It sounds like a good technique to concentrate on. Do you have a favorite character, either in this novel or one of your previous ones, that you really enjoyed writing about and didn't want to see leave your life?

JANE: I loved Lucy in Bookends - she was the ultimate best friend/big sister, and felt so real to me I was truly saddened to finish the last page.

MEA: Finding time to write is a challenge for moms, and they have to develop strategies to meet their deadlines. (For instance, when my daughter was small, I often wrote in the bathtub after she was in bed. More recently I've worked at the computer with a grandchild on my lap.) With your busy life and four children, how/where do you find time to write?

JANE: I work in the mornings while they're in school, and these days I write at the local library. It does me good to get out of the house and to feel as if I have a routine, plus I'd be far too embarrassed to be caught spending hours surfing gossip websites at the library. I actually manage to accomplish three hours of pure writing there, something that's impossible for me at home.

MEA: That seems like great advice, Jane, especially for writers who have difficulty getting into a routine or who have many distractions. Now thinking of your readers, what would you like them to take away from Second Chance?

JANE: The idea that we only get one life, and that being stuck is a terrible thing, that even one small step in a different direction can make wonderful changes, and it's never too late to find your happiness, in whatever form it takes.

MEA: Is there anything else about your writing or your life you'd like to share with us?

JANE: Just that I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you!

MEA: Thank you, Jane, for visiting Potpourri of Writing today and sharing with us. May you have much success with Second Chance and all your books.

Jane's web site: http://www.janegreen.com/
Jane's My Space URL: www.myspace.com/janegreenbooks