Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Guest Post: Jean Murray

It’s a colorful world.

Color is such a substantial part of our lives.  It covers our walls, floors, cars, clothing, even our hair (especially the gray ones).  We even have designated colors for the holiday seasons.  It allows us to express our moods and preferences.  Everyone has a favorite color.  Mine is any variation of blue.  Right now, dark teal is my fav.  Throw it with brown, gray, or lime green for pizzazz.  I’m in heaven.  Which brings me to my next point –

Colors can affect our mood and emotion.  Ever wonder why a doctor’s waiting room is usually blue?  If you haven’t noticed, check the next time you go. Blues keep us calm. Bright yellows keep us awake.  Greens sooth and relax. Reds elicit excitement and aggression.

Color can even be found in your favorite book.  Color imagery has an amazing way of conveying meaning in words you are reading whether a scene, character, object etc...  Why are all those alpha males dressed in black leather?  Black triggers an immediate picture in our mind of the hero whether the author wrote the words or not.  It symbolizes power, danger, evil, sexuality.  Now, put that same alpha hero in an orange shirt and green leather pants.  What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?  For me, I think of a clown.  The change in color alters the image you have of this character.  In your head or through the author’s words, you have to make that character work for his bad ass image.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it takes skill to get there.  A sword slinging, buff alpha in green leather pants and an orange shirt. Oh, my—so not working for me.

We often glaze over the use of color in novels.  Our subconscious does the work for us.  I love to use color imagery in my writing.  In Soul Awakened Kendra has this overwhelming fear of the dark.  She carries this little green flashlight.  Yes, I put conscious effort into the picking the color of this flashlight.  Obsessive, I know, but yet how it is used in the novel lends very well to its color choice.  Green not only sooths and relaxes, it is the color of renewal and health.  As readers, we may not consciously catalog the fact that it is green, but our minds use that information to process the circumstances.  It wasn’t until I watched the bonus material for the movie, The Sixth Sense, did I find out that the director used red objects in scene shots where Bruce Willis was with the boy.  It was his way of delineating the two planes of existence.  I know, now everyone is going to run back and check that movie out. LOL :-)   

My novels are based on Ancient Egyptian mythology.  This culture used colored turquoise gems to protect them from evil spirits. Properly placed charms on the mummy protected all the vital organs of the body for their journey to the afterlife. You will find in Soul Awakened, a turquoise veil of magic covering the entrance to the demotic vault that houses all the black magic texts.  Only those without sin can pass through the veil and Kendra is just that kind of girl.

So, to make this fun I’m going to make you think back to a novel you read.  Did the author use color to convey a meaning or mood?  Can you give an example of how it was used in the book?  Or just share your favorite color.

Giveaway:  Commenters will be entered to win the following: Of course, a little green Maglite, plus signed cover flats. (US only) Plus, don’t forget to join the book tour giveaway, Kindle Fire HD plus e-copies of Soul Reborn and Soul Awakened.

The Author:
Bio: In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.

Author Jean Murray brings a wonderful new spin to the paranormal world with her Egyptian Underworld gods.  She broke ground in the paranormal romance genre with Soul Reborn (ARe Best Seller/NOR Reviewer’s Top Pick) and now continues the Key to the Cursed journey with Soul Awakened (NOR Reviewer’s Top Pick).  See what readers and reviewers are saying about her new book ~ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16484518-soul-awakened?auto_login_attempted=true

BOOK I:  Soul Reborn

Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.
Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess' undead army unleashing hell on earth.  But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.
Amazon Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble Purchase Links:
Purchase Print&Nook:
Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (Sept2011) -  4/4.5 stars/Scorcher, http://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-review/soul-reborn
Night Owl Reviews:  Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013)  “The first book in the “Key to the Cursed” series was absolutely phenomenal. Anything that deals with old world deities and is written well always hooks me from the get go. This was definitely an excellent book to begin a new series.”  http://paranormal.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Reviews/Angibabi4-reviews-Soul-Reborn-by-Jean-Murray

BOOK II:  Soul Awakened
Book Blurb:
Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.

Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most-- his Parvana. His butterfly.
Purchase Links: 


VampedChik said...

I cant honestly think of any book covers at the moment. Love the post though. My favorite color changes daily depending on my mood. I am a big fan of blues and purples. Thank you so much!

bn100 said...

Like the color blue. Read a couple authors' books where they used color to convey meaning.


Jean Murray said...

HI Pamela.

Thank you for hosting me today. Looking forward to a great discussion.


Jean Murray said...

Red is used quite a bit in novels, especially for the villains. Red eyes, nails, even skin.

In my series, the warrior village is pretty much sand and stone (monetone/earthy colors). There is one lone red door to the warrior tavern. As a tradition the warriors rub the blood from their hands before entering. War and fighting is to be left in the streets.

Off to think of some more.


Jean Murray said...

Hi Amber.

Deep plum is another one of my favorites. It's supposed to signify royalty.

Thanks for joining us.

Jean :-)

Jean Murray said...


I love looking out for this stuff. Otherwise, I miss it completely. I think it is easier to catch color imagery in movies because we are staring right at it.

Two thumbs up on blue :-)


PamelaTurner said...

Jean, thanks so much for stopping by. I haven't really paid much attention to colors, but sometimes I wonder if it's a subconscious choice.

Pat Lee said...

Interesting post Jean. Color is such a powerful tool in writing.

Dorothy Reading said...

Fantastic post, Jean! You know, I always knew color played a part in how things come across, but I never really thought about how much. One of my favorite books is Outlander (about time-travel), by Diana Gabaldon, and she mentions once or twice how the food in the 18th century is either so much more richer and luxuriant or absolutely vile. At one point, Claire is put in a yellow dress and is done up real fine, which contrasts against the harsh situation she finds herself in. If the dress had been green, blue, or red, it wouldn't have had the same effect of inviting me into that world. I honestly didn't get until right this moment that DG's statements about the food were mirrored in that dress. Crazy!

It was fairly obvious in The Sixth Sense, though, haha. The first time I watched the movie, I noticed it, but every time I've watched it since I feel like red is slapping me the face. Not very subtle against the mostly neutral palette of everything else. And the orange. Hahahahaha. All I can think of is Jayne in his orange hat. If you haven't seen Firefly, he's the big, bad, guns man. One time, he finds this terrible orange hat, but he makes it look so cool! But yes, for the most part, orange on "bad" would not fly so well ^_^

Lindsey R. Loucks said...

I use blue a lot, but it's usually not a tranquil color in my stories. It's usually associated with very bad things. I don't know why - it just appeared in my subconscience!

Jean Murray said...


I didn't know Bruce Willis was dead until the very end. LOL. I'm usually pretty good on catching on to the ending before midway through the movies, but that one broke my streak. :-)

Your example is fabulous. I can just picture the harsh yellow. That is a perfect way to play off the scene and give a totally different feeling. Making the character feel out of balance with their surroundings, an outsider, or conflicted in their feelings.

Thanks for such a wonderful example.


Jean Murray said...

Hi Lindsey.

Oh, you bring up a point that I didn't touch upon in the post. Colors can have extremes. I mentioned that blue has calming affects, but it is also the expression of sadness or depression, if used in the right context. That's why we say, "I'm feeling blue today."

Red can symbolize romance and love, but also have the other extreme of aggression and anger.

It's all in how you paint it.

Thanks for your great examples.


Dorothy Reading said...

I didn't get he was dead until the end either. It was just that I KNEW there was something going on with the red. The doorknob, the balloon, the mother. I just didn't know exactly what it was referring to. I thought it was a little distracting.

Unknown said...

So that is why I love green! It is relaxing. :)

anne.j2 (at) gmail.com

Jean Murray said...

Hi Anne.

I'm in love with green too. Off to paint a wall or two :-)


Unknown said...

I have never really thought about this concept. It's one of those details that I recognize is there but didn't realize the impact that the authors use of color actually has on the scene and the characters. I guess I can't really think of an example, but thinking back to some of the vampire books I have read lately they do use shades of red and black and other deep, dark colors. My fave color is pink but I'm a bit of a girlie-girl. Now I'm going to take so much more notice of this as I am reading. Especially as I'm finishing up Soul Reborn and starting Soul Awakened. Thanks for the insight. sbereza22(at)gmail(dot)com

BookLady said...

Very interesting post about color. Thanks for sharing. My favorite color is purple.