About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Hi and welcome to the FINAL WEEK of the Summer Love Blog Tour!

My debut romantic suspense novel, THE FIRE WALKERS comes out this Tuesday!

I can’t believe it. Throughout June I’ve had the great pleasure of introducing you to my fire hero Aidan, and his outgoing girl, Kelly.

The third and final Walker in my story is a special character to me. A rescued racehorse, his name is Keegan.

While insight for the plot of THE FIRE WALKERS stemmed from many sources, Keegan is who really got the adventure started. 

Five years ago I began volunteering at a horse rescue in western Maryland, and being around the horses taught me so much. Each of them were so unique, and the stories of where they’d been gave me inspiration.

Keegan’s character is an amalgam of all the traits I adore in the horses, and I was committed to writing his story right. Like his fire counterparts Aidan and Kelly, Keegan wasn’t easy to figure out at first.

As far as the Astrology theme is concerned, Keegan is an Aries like Aidan. And they get in each other's way because they're so alike. Two equal forces going for the same target, which in this story is Kelly’s attention.  

As an English major, I was taught to begin the story with the impact of action. Page one of THE FIRE WALKERS begins with Kelly waking up in a jail cell. This is where all the paths cross – Aidan’s, Kelly’s, and the Dove Group’s. The past collides with the present (ß fire theme), and the conflict reawakens after three years of being dormant. Kelly’s destiny is chosen here. She will get charged with the community service, where she will meet Keegan. It’s the dominoes of fate falling into place.

Keegan’s part in this succession comes in Chapter 4 when Kelly steps into his stall for the first time. I knew that was going to be a powerful scene because of what Keegan had been through (starvation and abandonment). And it played out perfectly, like a surge of flame. There was no sweet, “Hi there.” It was BOOM, here I am, and that is Keegan.

Keegan stands out from the other horses in many ways. He’s ornery and headstrong and lovable for it. His moments with Moe and the humans depicts his fiery nature.

There are two chapters in particular where Keegan steals my heart.

The first is in Chapter 8; Kelly and Aidan have their first fight, which is the most intense moment between them. I drafted that chapter three times from different point of views to ensure that I wrote it right. As an author I want the conflict to be believable and not simply for the sake of having drama sprinkled in. I want the struggle to show that these two characters care for one another. The battle is not about tearing one another down, it’s about intentions being at cross purposes and causing a disadvantage to both, which gets heated when the characters are of the fire element. Aidan wants what he wants, but at the cost of something important to Kelly.

I’m pretty proud of the version you’ll read in the book. By the end of the scene you see Kelly walking away and Aidan pained by the fact that he’d held her back. Keegan is there, between them, acting as a buffer and the comic relief, illustrating the parallel between the two alpha males.

The second scene comes in Chapter 9, when Kelly and Aidan reconcile over Keegan’s history. The Keegan you meet in Chapter 4 is withered, his spirit set on ‘survive.’ In Chapter 9, Kelly lays out the documents from Keegan's file, the paper fragments of the horse’s past. So she’s not only revealing Keegan’s back story, but all three Walkers are able to bond over what they have in common.

I never get tired of reading that scene, and I sincerely hope that it translates to readers the same way.

When I sat down to write this post I thought, Keegan. What can I say about him?

He comes to me in pictures, not words. His determined chin kicking up although the rest of him looks so frail. The propeller spin of his tail. His muzzle covered in gray mash after he slurps his food. His adorable snort whenever Aidan gives him a hard time.

What can I say? Keegan's my hoofed hero. J

And you get to meet all of them in three days.

Keegan and Kelly and Aidan. Sophie, Hank, Pippa, Drea, and Jason.

Moe, Callisto, and Baker’s Dozen. Eric and Ben.

IN. THREE. DAYS.    O.o   

The time is upon us.  There's no turning back now.

          I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for following my blog and sharing this journey with me. THE FIRE WALKERS is a long time dream that releases July 1st, 2014!

Please check back for all the details and links!

This Wednesday, July 2nd:  I’ll be visiting Jean Murray's blog to talk more about Keegan. There will be tidbits including his mom’s fire name, and other fun nuances to this Walker's story.

For updates on other guest posts and TFW info please follow me via social media:

          Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyNGreeneAuthor

          Twitter –     https://twitter.com/ShelleyNGreene

          Website –    www.ShelleyNGreene.com

See you then! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Hi, everyone! Welcome to week eight of the Summer Love Blog Tour!

The countdown is on until the debut of my first novel, THE FIRE WALKERS, available where books are sold July 1st, 2014.

There’s only TWO WEEKS left, I’m in awe.

And to celebrate, I’m giving you the inside scoop on how my romantic suspense novel came to be.

Last week we got to meet my fireball hero, Aidan. Tough on the outside, and all heart within, you know it takes a special girl to win this arson detective’s love.

With my astrological theme in place, and my fire hero finally speaking to me, my next step was to work on my heroine. The first chapter of the story struck fast, a good fire omen, with chapter two keeping pace as Aidan allowed me to follow him around. 

And Aidan doesn’t dawdle. That’s one of the many things I like about him. True to fire form, he goes for what he wants and quick.

So I found myself at the beginning of chapter three with one problem.

My heroine still didn’t have a name.

Throughout chapter one (her third-person subjective perspective), I marked her name with a bold H for “heroine” while I got the creative surge down, so I could go back and fix it later.

It was an unexpected hurdle because my fire heroine had been clear to me from the beginning, I knew her. Open minded, a bit overly-optimistic, she was my happy-go-lucky, bouncy Sagittarius girl. I could see her thoughts and mannerisms in my head lucidly, right down to the red tint of her auburn hair. Heck, her point of view was what got the story going in the first place.

Typically I can iron out a name pretty fast, especially with all the data I had on her, but for some reason, my fire girl’s moniker kept eluding me. I would see her face in my mind and bounced names around, trying to find one that felt right, but none of them seem to stick. Weeks passed and I found myself stuck in the middle of chapter three with a nameless heroine. The conundrum smacked of irony because a person’s name is tied to their ego, and one’s ego is a fire concept, for sure.

Aries are ruled by Mars, the planet of action and energy. They are driven leaders, the personification of a strong sense of self.

Leos are ruled by the sun, which represents royalty, actors, and the glamorous. They almost always have a great head of hair (a Leo theme), and a bold sense of style. They are natural kings and queens, born to be in the spotlight. In THE FIRE WALKERS, Sophie is my Leo lady. 

One of my favorite lines describing her is:

“Sophie passed through the spotlight without so much as a squint, unfazed by the blast of illumination.”  -          THE FIRE WALKERS,  Shelley N. Greene ©

As a daughter and sister to women with Leo planets, I can tell you there’s a special warmth to the affection of Leo. And they can get self-righteous when angry. The Sun rules pride, and any slight on their reputation can set them off. A fuming Leo can literally turn their nose up as if you are beneath them. 

You see here that theme of ego popping up again, but I’ll tell you the secret: 

Make them laugh. Nothing smooths the ruffled feathers of a regal Leo more than a good, tasteful joke.

And there is no better jokester than a Sagittarius. Sags have a satire wit about them that stems from the honest way they view the world. It’s kind of blunt how they point out the incongruities in life, and instead of being disturbed by it, they find it all absurdly funny. 

Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarians are expansive. They see the big picture, and they draw luck to themselves by creative visualization. Blindly optimistic, they always envision a good outcome. Even if they fail and land flat on their butt, they dust off, see the good in the “lesson” they learned, and try again.

That revelation confirmed an inkling I’d been having about my fire girl.

She had to be weak in fire, like me. While Aidan had had his fire dimmed, she was trying to build hers in the first place. He'd be walking towards her from the strong side of the fire spectrum, while she'd be starting with a candle’s flame that needed, with his help, to be stoked into a blaze. Her sign, Sagittarius.

The Sag symbol is a centaur; half man, half horse. (Horse farm anyone?)

Jupiter/Sagittarius themes include: luck, gambling, horses, higher learning, publication, the law and long journeys. Sag restlessness has power enough to level buildings. They climb the walls until the resistance gives way. They’re a bit clumsy, too. It’s as if their enthusiasm trips them up. They fall going upstairs.

Astrological Sidenote: Anytime I’m rushing (fire theme) I tend to knock my head (Aries area of the body) on stationary objects. Unconscious actions will point to where you should be paying attention. It’s weird.

In my own chart I have a strong Jupiter influence, and I think that’s why I related to my heroine in several ways. Jupiter energy is limitless, open; it has no boundaries. My fire heroine believes that everything will work out if she just keeps trying, she never gives up. She doesn’t like to be fenced in and the risks she takes aren’t practical, they’re spontaneous. True to Sag nature, she fails to see the forest from the trees, even with the danger encroaching in on her.

And with all these beautiful nuances in her character, I couldn’t find a fitting name. I felt like she deserved something unique.

Aidan had been Aidan from day one, and lucky for me (ßJupiter Reference) his name means “Little Fire.” Or just “fire” because no one calls him little.

My fictional horse-hero, too. I’ll give you his deets next week, he’s something else. Another horse at the farm is even named after one of Jupiter’s moons. And yet I remained stumped with the name of the most important character in the book.

For weeks I listened to music and browsed pictures to try to find inspiration.

I wanted something simple, sanguine, and natural.

Lisa? No.  

Jennifer?  Close, but no cigar.   

Amy?  She doesn’t look an Amy…

The music helped the scenes in my head develop as the heroine’s personality haunted me. I wrote each night and went to work each day with girl names rolling around my brain. I’d meet people and analyze their name to try to get a starting point.

That week it so happened that I was needed to serve customers on a drive-thru intercom where one of the speakers kept having technical problems. When I’d greet the person I’d say, “Hi, my name is Shelley” to which I got “Hi, Kelly” in reply.

The first day it didn’t bother me that much, but by day three the phonetic misunderstanding started to bug me. As a firm believer in road signs from the Universe, I should have realized it that moment, but I was too blind to see it. As Friday rolled around I was super busy greeting and running the speakers, when three people back-to-back said “Okay, Kelly.” 

Hand on the corded neck of the microphone, eyes glaring a hole through the tempered glass, I mentally squashed the urge to get back on the horn and enunciate the fact that “My name is Shelley, not Kelly.”

But before my finger reached the green talk button the discovery two-by-four whacked me between the eyes.

Kelly. KELLY. What in the heck does the name Kelly mean?!

I rushed home that night and looked it up.  It means Witty.

I grinned. My fire girl is witty. And positive and loyal and sincere. And her laughter is like sunlight. She’s a Kelly.

The Universe had been trying to tell me that all along. Even the music I’d been listening to was by an artist of the same name.

I pulled up my manuscript and did a find and replace. Reading through it, I felt a great relief. It sounded right when Aidan said it, when I channeled her thoughts.

I continued writing, and I got chills when Kelly walked into Keegan’s stall for the first time. Like planets aligning, the energies and the names matched up:

“‘I’m Kelly. I’m here with your dinner.’ The words came out the way she intended: gentle, comforting. In response the horse went motionless as a sculpture, the flare of his nostrils the only sign of life emanating from him.”

-         THE FIRE WALKERS,  Shelley N. Greene ©

Action and impulse are fire themes, and I knew that I was on the right track. When Kelly meets her horse, her kindred spirit, the connection comes with an impact.

Fire attracts fire.  

Next Week:  Think I can’t pack any more attitude into one story?
    Hoofed, hungry, and four-legged - MEET KEEGAN

See you then! 


Saturday, June 14, 2014


Hi and welcome to week seven of the Summer Love Blog Tour!

          There’s only three weeks left before my debut novel THE FIRE WALKERS releases! I can’t believe it. And throughout June I’m giving you the bonus features on how the story came to be.

          Last week we talked about how I set my theme of astrology, leaving me with a cranky hero and nameless heroine.

          From the beginning, I knew who my couples were, their personalities developing in my head like photographs in the stop bath. The fire heroine came naturally to my mind; an optimistic, smart girl, while the hero stood as a bit of an enigma.

          I got the first chapter written in a surge of inspiration, which is always a good thing, but the point of view was my heroine’s, and every attempt to “talk” to my hero resulted in the cold shoulder.

          After I established the sun sign outline (all of them are much more than just their sun archetype, but that’s a multi-post Astrology lesson for another day), I figured out why my hero was eluding me.

          He’s cardinal fire.

          To give a brief background, astrological signs are broken down several ways; by element, as I described last post, and by function, which in Astrology is called triplicity.

Triplicity is categorized as:

·        Cardinal – Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
o   They are the starters, leaders, the initiators.

·        Fixed – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
o   They are the doers, the fixers, the finishers.

·        Mutable – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
o   They are the communicators, the speakers, the verbal grease and glue that keeps everyone connected.

I knew by first glance that my fire hero was an Aries. They are the baby of the zodiac, the first everything: first element (fire), the first sign (Aries). As I'm a cardinal air sign with a Virgo ruler and a heckofalotta cardinal water mixed in, my temperament opposes and squares his. Because of that, I admittedly jumped to conclusions about his character. Add in my fire deficiency, and I felt intimidated.

I’d found ways to relate to my Sagittarius heroine, but my hero was particularly stand-offish. Which struck me as odd.

If an Aries meets challenge head-on, why is my hero avoiding me?

Aries are tough, they have to be. As the first everything, and a cardinal-leader, they have to pioneer things. First is one of their favorite words. They like a contest, love to win, and have to be the first one to try anything new. The old adage “Act first, think later” applies to this sign, big time.

And true to all fire signs, they’re bluntly honest. Unlike water, they don’t conceal what they’re feeling, they’ll tell you to your face and wear it in their facial expressions. And Aries men exhibit the positive and negative manifestations of the sign: Brash, courageous, arrogant, bold and cocky.

Bossy, too. As cardinal leaders, they tell you what to do.  

As an independent, modern woman with a fair share of leader in my own chart, I'll admit, I was afraid he’d get too alpha with me. And fighting with your hero is not good for any book, much less your first one.

And there was that word again: first. Aidan was holding me hostage.  
So I started to think about what I knew personally about the sign.

I had a female boss years ago who embodied Aries to a tee. Confident, tall, and blonde, she wore fire engine red suits and ruby lipstick like a diva. Her face would flush deep crimson whenever happy or frustrated, and she always came at you in the most direct way. If she wanted something done, she’d tell you as well as put a timeline (typically a fast-paced one) on when she expected the task to be completed. If she promised you something, she’d deliver, on the same brisk time scale that she required of you.

Another image that represents Aries is the ram, and I’ve noticed that every Arian I’ve ever met emulates their animal in the same way:

They head-butt you.

Not in a literal way, but in an interpersonal one. They’ll be gruff or blunt on purpose to gauge your reaction. If you stand your ground, you’ve passed the test. They respect you for having the same guts they do, prove that and they’ll treat you as a worthy adversary. Once they've left the room, then you can hold your bruised forehead and shoot them the Are you crazy? look through the closed door.

And even if you piss them off, be grateful you’re not dealing with a Scorpio. Aries anger is ruled by Mars, and it’s like an open fire. It flares up, but once over, it dims, and no grudges are kept. They are the type that right after a knock-down, drag-out fight, they’ll start up a casual conversation as if they hadn’t just singed your eyebrows.

Scorpios are ruled by Pluto—and well, I’ll get to them in book four. Be afraid.

As I sat at the gate of chapter two, I recalled all this Aries knowledge and wondered why my fire hero Aidan was acting so withdrawn. As a writer, I watch, like a fly on the wall. And I stood there with him, outside of Sophie’s door, as he refused to go in. He was unwilling to let me observe their conversation. But why?

A shy Aries?  Heck, no. That isn’t it.

Hurt?  Fire signs bounce back. It takes a heavy blow to scar them. 

His flame-throwing glare said that I was getting warmer, but that he didn’t want me to come any closer. I was sure it was because he thought I was too soft. Not tough enough to hang with him. I needed an in. I’d have offered him a head-butt, but he didn’t seem to want that. He didn’t want to engage at all.

I wanted to fuss at him. I’m no mushball! But that wouldn’t help my case.

A little voice held the answer: 
What if I’m not the only one with weak fire?

But from what I could see of Aidan, he wasn’t weak. Far from. The very insinuation would probably get my butt kicked.

Not naturally weak fire, but hindered fire.

That hit on it. Aidan was born fire-strong, but had had something happen that squelched the element in his nature. Something detrimental. An event that would be discussed if I followed him into Sophie’s office.

The pain in his eyes confirmed my suspicion. And that he’d call an end to all of it if I dare come near him with a hug.

So we laid down the ground rules then and there:

-   Rule Prime: No embracing or physical gestures of the mushy variety. EVER.

-         No judging and NO GETTING IN HIS WAY

-    From there on out, I was playing with fire. If I got burned, it was my problem, not his.

We shook on it, and I’ll confess, I nearly cried leaving that office. The last line of chapter two says it all. But I sucked it up and kept my mush to myself. 

Fire walking isn’t for wimps.

        I got reminded of that a year later when Aidan sat down next to me to go over some copy edits. He wanted to change a part in a scene and I told him no because, while it made him look good, it wasn’t true to the story.

          With a heavy ogle, much lighter than the glowers I got in the beginning, he said, “Where’s the mushball? Bring her back, I miss her.”

          To that, I stuck out my tongue and retorted, “She’s long gone, Pal. You scared her off months ago.”

          And that’s when he did the unimaginable. He smiled.

Next Week:  My heroine gets a name. MEET KELLY

See you then!        ;0)

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Hey everyone!  Welcome to week six of the Summer Love Blog Tour!

Thank you for joining me last week as we celebrated the big cover reveal for my romantic suspense, THE FIRE WALKERS, available July 1st, 2014!

While I’ve written for years, TFW is my first published work, and throughout June, I’ll be sharing some of the behind the scenes of how the story came to be.

When an author is first starting out, their premier novel acts as a cornerstone to everything. The writer’s voice, brand, identity is presented with that first book. So when I decided to dive into the ocean-o-publishing, I sat down and listed what I needed to have and compared it to what my writing brought to the table.

A debut novel doesn’t have to out-of-the-box perfect, but it does need to be a starting point from where an author gets better. That first book sets the stage for what the readers expect, and I wanted to give my readership something different and fun.

THE FIRE WALKERS is book one in the Walker series, which may have you asking:

What’s a Walker?

Rewinding backkk to three years ago, there were two areas where I needed to improve:

·                      Memorable Characters
·                      Theme

If you cite any example from great, popular fiction, all of them have a distinct main character, one with whom the reader can empathize and relate. That is what makes a story great.

I wanted my characters to stand out, so I borrowed every “How to Create a Character” book in existence to get help. While I found all of them informative, the laundry list of rebel, outcast, debutante, came across as stereotypical. After weeks of researching, I dropped the how-to volumes back into my return to library bag, and thought about what I could do to take the training wheels off and steer clear of the pre-fabricated fictional personalities.

I asked the question: What skills do I have to solve this problem?

Looking at my bookshelf, more than twenty volumes on Astrology blinked back at me as if saying, “Hello, remember us?”

The hobby started when I was fifteen. I'd plucked an astro-relationship book from my mother’s bookcase, and when I’d finished with it, I was compelled to keep going. Two decades and fifty books later, I’d advanced to full chart interpretations, houses, transits, stelliums, and synastry. After performing a few couples-chart comparisons for friends, the word started to get around and I got some real life practice.

It’s not a religion to me, its recreation. A pastime.

And as I stared at the shelves of book spines, the percolation began. The water hero who'd been haunting me shucked the ill-fitting label of “rebel” as the character building blocks of “Water sun conjunct rising…Scorpio. Definitely Scorpio…” fell into place.

One problem down, one to go:

As a reader when you go to your bookstore of choice (Amazon, B&N, BAM etc.), you notice that the stories where the plot and characters all reside in the same world are in a themed series: 

Heroes with dogs. Military men. The residents of small ocean-side towns. Family sagas....

Chugging along the astrology track, I figured that my character solution could parlay into my theme. Real astro charts are complex, much more than the one-dimensional, sun sign interpretation that the daily columns quote to you, but I could go with the astro-groups based on their element:

Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius    

Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Running with that idea, I started a rough draft, first chapter for the water hero who was talking to me. Five pages in, the plot was sad, slow, and not engaging, so I scrapped it and started over. Six pages later, I'd backspaced so much it sounded like I was trying to play a piano concerto on my keyboard. 

On to the third attempt—more crap.

Crap, I say.

I’m not being bombastic, authors just know when to call it. Off the bat, there’s an instinct when the pages are going nowhere but to figuratively line the litter box.

That night, while lying in bed, I stewed in the writer’s block.

Why? Why isn’t it working? I pondered. 

The answer struck right as the ether of sleep had me submerged.

Water is not the first element.

True to writer form, I sat bolt upright in bed at the epiphany. Scampering to my computer, I stared at the blinking cursor for five minutes, my mind playing the naysayer.

I have two fire planets in my personal astrology chart, both of which are weak by sign and placement. I’d wanted to write water first because it’s an element I know well.

This is my first book, I should stick to what I know, but water isn’t the first element, fire is.  

A chapter from an astrology book I’d read back in the 90’s popped into my head. Written by a British author and spiritual speaker, there was a part that addressed weak/missing signs, a concept I’d never seen mentioned before then or since. Her answer to activating diminished energy was to exercise it. No water in your chart? Practice compassion, meditation; all the traits that water signs exhibit naturally. No earth planets? Experiment with taking your time, practicality, patience, gardening (put your hands in the dirt). 

She called it: How to Walk Your Planets

Sitting in front of the blank computer screen I pushed my fingers to move. I wrote the first two paragraphs at three a.m. that morning, the narrative flowing for the first time in weeks.

A fire girl, a heroine whose name I didn’t know yet, waking up in a jail cell.

I pulled myself away and made myself go to bed although the siren song of the plot continued to channel through my head.

The next evening I rushed home from work to get back to the manuscript, following the nameless grad student as she encountered a terse arson cop. The hours passed as in a whirlwind as I finished the first chapter. The hero had a name, Aidan. And the no-nonsense Aries was defensive about sharing his past, the guy guarding his back-story like a flippin' watchdog.

Dumbfounded, I crossed my arms in disbelief.

I’m natal-chart weak in fire, and here I am trying to write it first? I must be crazy.

The refrain came just as suddenly: Fire is the first element.

With a sigh, I tried to reason it out.

The story would have to have all the components inherent in fire:

Action. Recklessness. Courage. Optimism. Impulsiveness.

As I thought the words, faces appeared in my head; an abandoned racehorse, a regal farm matron with warm brown eyes, a drug group out to retrieve what was theirs…

I dropped my arms and my apprehension just in time for my fire hero to shoot me a scowl.

My hero glares at me when I try to approach him and my heroine has no name.

And that was the moment it’d been decided.

It looks like I’m walking fire....  

Next week:  MEET AIDAN

He’s not so intimidating under all that gruff attitude, but don’t tell him I told you that. :D

P.S. I visited my sister about four hours ago and told my Little Niece that I was off to write my weekly blog post. She asked if I’d deliver a message from her.

As Aunt Shell is a woman of her word, here you go:

Little Niece says, “Hi everyone! How’s it going?”