Author Archives: Shelton

Decorating the Tree: A Professional Finish for Your Self-Pub

    My dad fusses with the ornament placement on the tree for the ninth time while the twentieth rendition of O Holy Night – this time from Manheim Steamroller – shuffles through the Christmas-music mix. Waiting for my hot chocolate to cool, I admire our handiwork. All the lights twinkle merrily, the red and…

What’s in a Name?

“-that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet (II,ii,1-2) No offense Juliet, but would any other name honesty smell as sweet? Names are not as interchangeable as Juliet would have you believe. Some parents deliberate months over the name for their newborn-to-be. They want the perfect…

Are All Your Indians Extinct? Avoiding Stereotypes when Crafting Characters

“All Indians are extinct, right, Dad?” My mother and I turned our attention immediately to the little boy – maybe 8 years old? – as he explained to his even younger brother about the dismal fate of all Native Americans. Shocked, I wondered what this lad learned in school. Being of Cherokee blood, I was…

A Whole New World: Tips for Crafting Settings

What makes our world real? Is it the golden leaves of autumn trees raining on the lawn? Surely our world isn’t defined solely by what we can see. Autumn would be dreary, lifeless without the smell of baking pumpkin pies drifting through the neighbor’s open window, the sound of kids and dogs playing down the…