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, August 17, 2014


Writing teaches me new things every day.

          Hard at work on the new book, I find that sometimes I have to take time to “feel out” my characters, to get them a hundred percent in my head before I start forming them with words. The second story is about walking the earth element, and so far my earth hero is all there, but this time I need some help stepping into the fancy shoes of my earth girl.

         A Virgo lady, she and I have a lot in common, however for reasons I’ll disclose later, there’s an equal list of dissimilarities between us.

          Not that a character has to be a cardboard cut-out of the author, absolutely not. I prefer the separation, where I can explore different point of views, and learn from the people I create. The challenge is that there is a line between her disposition and her lifestyle; one being an area I understand personally, the other is a place I’ve never been before…. 

          It reminds me of when I was in the middle of drafting THE FIRE WALKERS and I’d run into an interesting issue with my fire hero, Aidan. Once I got him to open up about his back story, Aidan’s personality shone brightly; a fiery, non-nonsense type of guy. A determined arson cop, his mind is committed to his duty of catching the bad guys. 

          That was the problem. He was always on duty.

While drafting Aidan, I included all the important events he had going on at the time: the murder of his partner, a budding romance, the need to catch the Dove group— What I overlooked was the fact that he didn’t have a life outside of his work. I mean, I knew what he liked to do, but the reader hadn’t seen that.

That obstacle resonated with a writing tip that I’d learned long ago:
Give your characters hobbies.

Looking back, the addition of Aidan’s extra-curricular activities went a long way to flesh out his personality.

The result is one of my favorite exchanges in THE FIRE WALKERS:

          “What do you do for fun?”

            Hmm.  That took him a minute. Fun?

            Convicting drug-dealing murderers and cursing.
            No. Yeah.

            Well, anti-social should be in there somewhere. He pushed himself to
            think. He had hobbies. Three years ago.

            Where the hell did his life go?

            “I used to run. I might get back into it.” The wistful note in his voice

Outside interests are important. It’s the things people like to do in their spare time that define them. What makes a person happy says a lot.

A few days ago I visited a country store that I like, a fantastic local place that sells beautiful linens and decorations, my goal to create a care package for my mom. As I walked around the owner kindly checked in on me, offering to take the load of items I was carrying to the counter so I could continue to browse in comfort. I’d met her when I’d frequented the store before. Her manner friendly and attentive she embodied the quintessential small town shopkeeper, all smiles and helpfulness.

When I finished shopping and walked up to the register to check out, I found her working a stretch of ribbon into an intricate bow, one of several laying on the countertop. Her hands moved with skill, going through each step with speed as if she’d honed the talent over many years. When I approached, she attached the last cluster of looped satin to a long, cotton string, festooning the scallop of harvest colors across the tall bookcase behind her.

“Those are lovely,” I commented, imagining the pumpkin hued one she’d just finished adorned on a pretty, autumn themed wreath. “You have a gift.”

          She modestly accepted the compliment saying, “It calms me. I can just sit and make bows for hours.”

A beautiful art, I thought of my photography and scrap books. How taking the pictures, cutting them out, and assembling them on paper gives me hours of restful, creative expression. The activity preserving moments on the page, the same way words capture a story.

I returned home that evening with a new perspective. I needed to learn about my earth heroine, to get to know her.

How does she spend her days? What does she do to unwind?

It’s the little things that give life to characters.

And so now I’m curious.  Do you have a hobby?  J

Do you knit? Crochet? Sew?  Create something neat?  

Collect sea glass while walking on the beach?

          What soothes your soul?


  1. Furniture painting or refinishing. I can clear my head and concentrate just on the project I'm working on, and I get a huge sense of accomplishment when it's complete or comes out just the way I want it.

    1. I think the technique in that takes a lot of skill. The way you paint to get a distressed look is an art. That's really cool. :)