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

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Happy April to all.

This time of year is complex for me in many ways, as a writer, an astrologer, and a photographer.

To start, the current astrological sky is full of Aries planets, the first sign of the zodiac, it shows the beginning, the herald of spring. As a Libra sun-sign, it’s a mid-point zone, kind of like the halfway marker in the sprint of a person’s astrological year. It’s a time for me to stop and evaluate how far I’ve come, and how far I have yet to travel to reach my annual goals.

Personally, it’s a bit of a low-energy time as well. Aries represents the self – the “me” – while Libra is all about relationships and the support of others. When a person is by themself, they are perfect because everything is done their way (Aries theme). Relationships are mirrors, they show parts of yourself that you can’t see when alone. And like all opposites, the parallel acts as a see-saw, where balance (ß the scales, a Libra symbol) is required.

My astro-chart shows a signature of this being a partnership lifetime, where collaboration is my soul mission.
One of my books defines it as, “In any area of their life where [Librans] are ‘winning,’ there is a strong partnership behind them. In areas where they are ‘losing’ – whether professionally or in terms of personal happiness – they have not yet learned the lessons they must pass through in order to build successful relationships.”

-         ASTROLOGY FOR THE SOUL by Jan Spiller

But true of all polarities, an insurgence of the opposite energy can be a good thing. Too much cooperation and outward concern (Libra) can cause burn out, where the Aries influence of independence, and drive, provides some much needed self-love.   

And with other planets in the sky transitioning into Taurus, the sign on the cusp of my 7th house of relationships, my April will be a teeter-totter of “me, thee, and we.”

As a writer, this preoccupation with relationships gives me a wonderful understanding of inter-personal dynamics. In romance, human connection is the center of everything, and the pull between autonomy and sharing with others is the core conflict in any relationship.
Which is an Aries/Libra thang any way you look at it.

I got to think about this a few weeks ago while preparing to visit D.C. to photograph the Cherry Blossoms. An annual, springtime celebration on the Tidal Basin, it’d been a decade since I’d last performed a formal photo shoot of the trees, and I figured the anniversary made it a perfect time to go. I was excited but a little rushed as the peak bloom fell a week early, and made for a scramble with preparation. Add in the fact that I dislike large crowds, which are a given for a national downtown event, so I was feeling less than eager to get started. And despite the aversion of being surrounded by people, I didn’t want to go alone.

One observation I have often when I’m out in public is:
There are TOO MANY people in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, when out-and-about I respect the space of others– i.e. strollers, the elderly, etc. However, I am selfish in the fact that, as a singleton, and thus unencumbered, I reserve the right to not be detained behind the clusters of those who’ve committed themselves.

In a word: Do not block the “fast lane.”

That sounds terrible, but it's an Aries–Libra principle, big time.

It brings to mind the fable of the Turtle and the Hare. The two animals end up in a race against one another. The hare is like an Aries, with his speed he believes that his victory is in the bag. The turtle, the Libra of this tale, moves slow but steady, and wins due in part to his own diligence, and to the hare’s overconfidence.

If you are the Libra-Turtle and you invest in others, expect to be bogged down. Cooperation is not swift. Time is spent checking in with the people, listening, and performing tasks for them that are a slow-down with no self-benefit. The reward comes from the sharing - you partake in the joy you give to others, and you gain from the connection of their added happiness.

Next, we can pan to a day in the life of the Aries-Hare:
They big-foot hop to the coffee shop, place a speedy, articulated-to-the-letter order, with money in hand (exact change). When their cup of joe is delivered, they sit at a table with time to spare… a lot of time. They stare out the window, seeing the groups they whizzed past upon entry finally catching up with them. The people walk, talk and laugh, in no rush to get where they are going.

The point is that there are pros and cons to each way of life.

I find that I often fall into the Hare-mentality. I run around, rushing from point A to point B, only to find myself a little bored after I arrive. Then I see others happily enjoying down time with their spouses, friends, their family… and the slow-growing grass seems greener.

My excursion to photograph the Cherry Blossoms brought these thoughts to the forefront. I anticipated a bee-line trip to my destination, a deliberate and sharp navigation around the hordes of sight-seers, and a quick snap of pictures.

I was lucky when my childhood friend from elementary school agreed to accompany me, but I was still a little uneasy.

What if I made her feel rushed? What if after the experience she thought I was restless nutcase?
I then turned to Libra lesson #537 – Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt
(A refresher of Libra lesson #1 – Include OTHERS.)  

And my friend turned out (as expected) to be a lovely city-trip companion. We talked on the train ride downtown, catching up on each other’s lives. She provided us with an expert sense of direction (she works in the area) while I took the pictures, and never once did she complain about the brisk pace as we weaved in-and-out of the mob of tourists.

By lunch time we arrived to our chosen restaurant exhausted but ready to eat. We talked some more and tried interesting varieties of Mexican food. I’d gotten great photographs, the trip much more enjoyable with the company.

The following weekend, I was a happy hare again, editing my photos in the solace of my quiet den. The peace of the indoors was nice, but for once, not as fun as the memories of my duo-adventure out into the world.

The lesson became clear: trekking through life alone has its merit, but having a partner in crime gives you the collaborative experience.  

And I came across a quote that summed it all up—Libra and Aries, Turtles and Hares:

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

                                  -         African Proverb

Take it from a Libra in training - if one is grand, two is better.  J

                                                                                                   -         SNG

Sunday, March 13, 2016


           I woke up this morning, my mind thinking it was early, while the alarm clock informed me that I was an hour late. The windows said that it was cold and rainy. Spring has sprung us forward time-wise, the accompanying weather is both a test of patience and a promise of flowers.

And as I watched the drizzle make lines down the glass, I realized that the intermediary months teach us much.  

I’ve said it before, humans are habitual creatures. We love to look forward the happy milestones in life: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and the change in seasons. We throw confetti on New Year’s, hang up paper hearts on Valentine’s, and wear green in observance of St. Patrick’s Day.

The cycle of life repeats in the same pattern each year, but the time in-between gives just enough space to garner admiration for what has passed. The same way we’re yearning for pumpkin spice everything in the fall, by the time spring rolls around, we’re eager to bust out the plastic eggs again.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or rather, more appreciative.

Even when the celebration isn’t a personal favorite. For some, the summer heat and bright sparklers at 4th of July is the best, whiles others would much rather curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snow falling outside. The chill of winter makes you long for the warmth of the mid-summer sun, and the over-bearing heat makes you miss making snow angels. It's a circle - a cycle.

Recent events got me thinking about this principle.

In life, there are both up and down times. The moments when you feel on top of the world are balanced with low periods, times where you have to scrape by financially, emotionally, and physically.

In Tarot, there’s a card called “The Wheel of Fortune” that sums up this idea.

Similar to a water wheel, the image shows a thriving couple dancing at the top of the circle, while a second, less fortunate man seems to have lost his balance, and is forcefully thrown from the bottom of the loop.

Tarot books give this card a dual description. Like the couple living the life at the apex of the wheel, this could be a high note time for you. Work you’ve done may have paid off, extra money may be rolling in, or things with family and friends may be in a good place. The other side of coin leaves you with the man at the bottom, taking a wrong step and facing a steep fall.

The overall meaning is that in life, prosperity and hardship are parallel ends of the same spectrum. Sometimes you are riding high, other times you’re keeping your head above water. But in either circumstance, the presence of the opposing force should stay with you. When you are fortunate, the memory of hard times should infuse you with a sense of gratitude and humility for what you have gained. When you are down on your luck, the longing for better circumstances should instill in you an appreciation for the value of the pleasures in life. That way you'll appreciate them more when they manifest for you again.

Like the 1960’s song, TURN TURN TURN, by the band The Byrds. There is “A time to build up, a time to break down, a time to dance, a time to mourn… a time to every purpose under heaven.” So while you may encounter a tough period in life, the challenge and loss is constructive.

Life events test and define you.

A movie I caught on cable the other day illustrated the point brilliantly. Although the two emotions appear polarized, joy benefits from sadness. One can’t exist without the other. And the big events in life contain both happiness and pain.

The lesson is: If you find yourself next to the thrown man at the bottom of the wheel, don’t despair. The circle continues to turn, so keep climbing – move with the cycle.

You’ll be back on top before you know it.

-         SNG ;)

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Years ago, while I was drafting THE FIRE WALKERS, I'd tweeted a message about love and language.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the stores fill up with red and pink greeting cards, heart-shaped candy, and novelty plush animals that, with the press of a button, croon Nat King Cole songs to you.

I confess, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. It's a great reason to celebrate your loved ones, whether that significant other be spouse, family, friend, or animal compadre.

The holiday gives me the perfect excuse to do what I always do – explore all the ways love is communicated.

And as a romance writer, V-Day illustrates my job, the art of describing love in words, which is difficult.

How do you convey an emotion so powerful?

We sing about it, write poems, draw images, capture photographs, and write stories about this one multi-faceted emotion. Love is a paradox because everyone has experienced it, but in an infinite number of individual ways.

There’s passion, affection, appreciation, friendship…. And all these nuances, these distinct little sensations, add up to make one unified whole. 
I’m amazed that so few words can express it. 

That 47 synonyms encompass all the l-o-v-e.

Anytime I see a well-written illustration of amore in any form (movie scene, music lyric, line in a book), I like to collect it. I write them down and return to them anytime I want to feel good.

I’d never really shared the quotes before last year, when I'd decided to post “A Day of Love Quotes.” One love phrase every hour in honor of Valentine’s Day.

To make it a tradition, I’ve decided to post a new list of quotes next Saturday (2/14/2016), and you're invited to read along or contribute.

Whatever declaration of love has ever stood out to you – be it poem, song, quote, phrase, story, tradition, or word of advice – please feel free to share (in the comments below or on my Twitter page, @ShelleyNGreene during the live feed) this Valentine’s Day.

Let’s celebrate with words of love. <3

-          -  SNG 

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I welcomed in the New Year, waving a bittersweet goodbye to the outgoing annum. I wish I could say that I was sad to see the old year go, but 2015 brought with it some drastic changes. It’s also left a few loose ends of the home improvement variety.

While important to some, a home-base is a vital need to me. Like a turtle, I need a cozy shell to tuck into, and hide away in. When I first moved in, my place was basic, a solid room to hold my schtuff. Over the years it’s evolved into my beautiful sanctuary, customized to my every need.

Several themes became the basis of inspiration for my home décor. The first was an article I’d come across in a magazine. An artist in New York City made an incredible discovery when she’d helped move an old photo booth in Harlem. Behind the machine were decades of lost portraits. In homage to the history, the artist framed the pictures along with her ink art in a pattern of frames.

I’d seen the concept many times before in interior design books, a wall collage of various arrangement, but the photo booth pictures spoke to me.

A few years after moving in, and inspired by the picture wall article, I began to cover my walls with my nature photography. To add in a little New Age, I applied some Feng Shui techniques, to give my place positive Chi, a good flow of energy.

In Feng Shui, the North area (center-middle wall when you enter the room) is your Fame/Reputation gua, and is stimulated by the Fire element (triangular shapes, the color red, etc.). The North-West area (Far-left square), is the Prosperity gua, which is considered the “Fortune” place. While fortune pertains to luck (if you want to win the lottery, this is the gua you want to stoke), it also applies to gratitude—blessings you have already received.

With this in mind, the wall adornment started off simple—the picture of the day I bought my car. I love my little Toyota, I’m so lucky that it’s mine. So it falls under the heading of Prosperity, big time. Later I added a picture of the Cherry Blossoms from 2006. Then the spiral staircase in the Pagoda at Patterson Park, Baltimore. The ruins at Savage Mill. Each photo I added represented a moment in time that I’d captured—an experience that taught me something new.

Images and words are my prosperity.

My cup, and my wall overflowith. But like any house, the wear of time and a loophole in structure held a surprise for me, a problem that culminated last year. While hanging my photos, I’d noticed that the wall near the windows appeared soft—a bad sign. Following one scary episode of water spouting out of a hole, an inspection identified an external leak that was funneling water behind the drywall and causing decay.

It was both a relief and a nightmare when it was decided that the walls needed to be replaced. With 24-hours’ notice, I covered the contents of my room (everything I own) in plastic and took to the couch as the work commenced, the job slated to be completed in under two weeks.

When the men ripped out my walls, rotting beams were revealed, the damage far worse than originally anticipated. I stared, dumbstruck, as they removed more and more of the walls, the construction moving into the roof and rafters.

Two weeks turned into six as disputes ensued about how much was covered by insurance. I kept my bedding in a trash bag as I ducked in and out of my room, trying to shield my furniture and clothes from the cyclone of chemicals, mold, and drywall dust. At one point a workman on the roof slipped and put a foot through the unaffected area of my ceiling, sending a chunk of plaster down onto my computer.

I strived to keep the lights off at night, the lack of curtains making the bedlam visible to neighbors passing by outside. I felt like a zoo exhibit.   

One particularly hopeless night I sat on my plastic-tarped bed in the dark, watching the rain through the windows. I was on guard, observing the new wood beams that the workmen had installed that day. I stared straight ahead at the North area thinking of how long the damage had been behind the wall, water extinguishing the "fire" of the gua.

I clung to the belief that, for as disorienting as it is, chaos precedes change, and when the storm passes, one gets to start afresh.

It rained and rained that week, but no water seeped in, and I was exhausted from all the camping out. My family’s unwavering emotional support was my lifeline, but I’d never felt more displaced in my life. I was uprooted.

After excessive feet-dragging with the insurance company, the drywall was finally installed. The pleasure of getting to pick a new paint color came as a comfort following all the personal trauma, as did the new-found appreciation of sleeping in my own bed again.

Before the renovation I would wake up in the morning, my Prosperity wall in my line of sight, the light from the adjacent window illuminating my pictures. I never tired of looking at the images, they were an encouraging start; an exhibit of where I'd been and an illustration of where the new day might take me.

After the renovation I’d noticed how sparse the new stretch of lunar blue was, but I was content to loll in the apathy of simply having walls again, relishing the new color. July turned into August, the weeks passing. It wasn’t until September that I began to miss my pictures. One Saturday in the fall, I opened my eyes, the blank space making my heart sink.

The expanse was beautiful. Pristine and new and… empty.

I sat up and measured the section. Following the construction, I’d consulted a framing specialist who’d done work for me previously. To limit holes to the new drywall he’d suggested an art hanging system that anchored in a track near the ceiling, the same setup he used in his art gallery.

Throughout the fall I’d researched the cost and application of the system. It would be an investment, and I felt hesitant to go forward with it. But decision-making is a double-edged sword for me. As a Libra (why not touch on a little Astrology), I always gather as much information as I can before making a choice, to the extent that I paralyze myself. Sometimes there isn’t more information to be found. My polar opposite sign, Aries, likes to take action first, then see what happens. Libras hem-and-haw with the thinking that a better solution will come along—

My walls were replaced last June, and by the holidays I was still stalling. The budget for the art hanging system made it on the resolutions list for early 2016, and I was generously gifted the money for Christmas where I didn't have to wait. I'd spent more than average at the grocery store for provisions and feared that I may have dipped into the hanging system money—as if subconsciously debunking the project.

But the situation became clear this morning when I woke up. I stared at my Prosperity corner and felt hollow, the nothingness of the area upsetting me. 

It hit me then. The truth isn’t about the cost or the energy to install the hanging system—it’s about facing my fears and taking action.

I’m afraid that the wall isn’t strong. I’m afraid of personalizing a space that won’t always be mine, or will be taken away. I’m afraid of making a decision and having that choice be wrong.

That’s when I realized that inside I was still sitting on my plastic-covered bed in the dark, watching to see if the new joists were reinforced and dry.

The crazy thing about fears is when you shine a light on them, they disappear. You need to live your own truth.

Or in my case:

 - Do. What. Makes. You. Happy.

 - Nothing is yours forever, but it’s yours now. Enjoy it.

 - Wrong and right are subjective. There will be decisions that result in penalties, but make the best choice with the information given at the time. Go for it.

I’d rather live with the consequences than eclipse myself in fear.

And it was scary pulling up the Art Hanging Systems website, but liberating, too. To test out what the cost would be I filled my digital cart with all the parts I needed, the bottom-line budget a fixed amount in my head.

I went to check out and had to smile. The total plus shipping came in .19 cents under budget, even after my grocery store splurge. I took that as a good sign. 

Either way, I'm living with it.  

Who knows, it could be the worst decision I’ve ever made, but I’m willing to face the outcome, so long as it puts prosperity on the wall.

-         SNG