Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Post and Blog Swap with Author Lynn Mann

Mr. Smith's Errand
by Lynn Mann
And now for something completely different ...

I've long been wanting to have more guest posts and interviews here on the blog. So I'm happy I have the honor today of presenting a "Guest Post" of Maryland author Lynn Mann. She and I agreed to answer the same six questions about ourselves, and then post the responses on each others' blogs. You can find the pair to this post with my responses on her blog at

To try to present something other than the same old interview, we agreed to each provide three fun-and-different questions for the other writer (for a total of six). Here are Lynn Mann's responses to the questions. Her bio follows, with more details on her publishing and awards.

1. Which of the seven wonders of the ancient world would you have wanted to see at its most glorious?

"I want to see the pyramids, clad in their coats of shining white limestone, topped by pure gold at their apex. I want to see the sun rising over the desert, its rays striking the gold, turning it into a blinding beacon daily demonstrating the king’s power and wealth. I want to see the grand processions, taking a recently deceased courtier or noble to his final rest in a mastaba near his king’s pyramid, with all the chanting and wailing (professional mourners were de rigueur). I want to see the grave goods piled high, the ceremonious sealing of the tomb and, as soon as night fell, the tomb robbers (usually the same people who built and decorated the tombs) coming out to pillage them."

2. You can have any superpower / magical ability / force - what is it and why?

"I want to power of silence. I want to be able to flip an internal switch and make all the chattering idiots be quiet. I want to make all the negative voices in my head to shut up long enough for me to do whatever it was they said I couldn’t. I’d also like to make that annoying woodpecker in the woods behind my house stop tapping."

3. Do you have houseplants? Are they in good condition?

"When people hear that I grow orchids they think it’s something special, a talent that only extremely green-thumbed people have. I’m living proof that this theory doesn’t hold up. I grow phalaenopsis - those orchids with the long arching stem full of gloriously colored flowers you often see at various big box hardware stores and grocery stores. If you truly want to learn to grow orchids, please find a professional grower to buy from. The ones in grocery stores, or any other place that doesn’t specialize in orchids, are typically culls that the pros refused to buy. The plants will bloom for a few weeks and then, because you don’t really know how to take care of them, they will die, convincing you that orchids are hard to grow. They really aren’t but just as you wouldn’t go to a plumber to set a broken bone, you shouldn’t buy orchids from people whose expertise is selling hinges and lawn mowers. Phals make excellent houseplants and start blooming right around Thanksgiving, when my outside garden is dying. Phals will bloom for 6 months or more, and they each have their own cycle. At any given moment 4 or 5 will be looming at once, which fills my bedroom with glorious, jewel-like colors and gets me through the winter doldrums. A few years ago I installed a rain barrel on my back deck. The orchids have thrived since I started using rain water and not the chlorinated stuff out of the tap. I have found that a regimen of benign neglect seems to work best with them."

4. Which performer would you like to meet backstage and what would you say to sound cool even though you're totally star-struck?

"I would love to meet Paul Simon, although I can’t think of a single non-geeky thing to say to him. What question hasn’t he already been asked? I always wonder whether performers stop enjoying hearing how much you love their music, that their music has meant so much to you, etc., etc. I think just seeing the show from backstage, to see the inner-workings, would be magic. I guess the short answer is there isn’t anything I could say to Paul Simon that wouldn’t make me sound like star-struck to my bones."

5. Three world heritage sites you want to visit before you die.

"I’m having too much trouble with this question. The Great Barrier Reef, Petra and Angor Wat are the 3 that leap to mind. I visited the World Heritage website and was overwhelmed with the number of sites listed and how endangered most of them are. I’m going to cheat and add one more: Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord in Norway. Guess it’s time to get out the calendar and start planning 2013’s trips..."

6. If you see a clothing tag sticking out of a friend's shirt, what do you do? What if it's someone you only know casually, not a real friend?

"I hate having the tags sticking out of my shirts and always appreciate being told when they are. I assume most women (and some men) are like me and will always tell a friend (of either gender) or even reach over and fix it for them. Someone I know but am not friends with I’ll still tell and a total stranger depends... I guess it mainly depends on the vibe I get from them. I love that so many manufacturers are now printing the tag rather than sewing it on."

Bio: Lynn Mann resides in Columbia, MD with two rescue cats and a supportive husband. Her writing reflects her eclectic reading, unusual education and far-flung travels. Several of Lynn’s stories have been published on-line and in small magazines, and her short story collection, Mr. Smith’s Errand on is available on Amazon (Mr. Smiths Errand). Her awards include 1st Prize in the 2011 Maryland Writers Assoc. New Novel Contest (Do You Do Murders) and 3rd Prize in the Windmill Women’s Writers annual Short Story Contest. Lynn’s story “Taking Care of Business” will be published by Rhino Press in Uncommon Assassins, due out in Sept. 2012. Along with her full time job she writes, raises orchids and sails on the Chesapeake Bay whenever possible. For further information or to contact her please visit

Hope you enjoyed the blog swap! We'd love it if you visited both blogs and left us some comments to ponder - say, how would you answer these questions, anyway?

Pax, all

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