Daily Archives: February 8, 2010

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Birth Order and Character

February 8, 2010 by in category Archives

This month, I’m blogging around the blogosphere on various aspects of the science of birth order, looking at how a person’s position in their family – oldest, middle child, youngest, or only child – affects their personality, decision-making, education, career and even their marriage.

I’ve read a few books on the subject, but my favorite is The New Birth Order Book, by Kevin Leman. I bought the book because I was interested in understanding my kids better…and along the way I gained some insights into myself and my husband. I’m an oldest child; he’s a psychological oldest (meaning, in this case, there was a big age gap between him and the next kid up the line) with a heavy dose of middle child thrown in.

How does this affect our personalities, and our relationship? We’re both fairly strong-minded…oh, okay, I’ll come right out and say it. We’re both bossy control freaks! As you can imagine, that leads to sparks. But I can console myself with the fact I’d rather have a healthy discussion with someone as opinionated as I am, rather than deal with one of those complex, brooding middle children, or an undisciplined, never-serious youngest child. Of course, I’m probably the worst nightmare of those other birth orders, too!

Now, I know this is generalizing. But there are lots of insights in Dr. Leman’s book that provide food for thought about how we recognize and deal with our own flaws, plus how we deal with conflict with others.

The book also gave me insight into the characters in my novels. When I read it a few years ago, I realized that in most of the romance novels I’d read, and all of the ones I’d written, the heroes were oldest or only children, or psychological oldest children. Not surprising – romance novel heroes are usually successful, commanding, often bossy, and those are often traits of the oldest or only child.

I found I shook up my writing when I considered other birth orders for my characters, both heroes and heroines. I’ve recently completed two trilogies – Those Merritt Girls is a Harlequin Superromance trilogy about three sisters which ended in January with Her Surprise Hero, and for Harlequin NASCAR I wrote three books about the Matheson brothers. The last in the series, The Comeback, is out this month. It was a lot of fun creating a realistic family dynamic for those series, based on the mindsets of different birth orders. The characters’ goals and conflicts rose naturally out of their birth orders, and that made it easier to develop each story.

Got any comments about birth order – yours, your siblings’ or your significant other’s?

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Blogging About What I Love by Linda O. Johnston

February 8, 2010 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , ,

Blog = web log. That’s elementary. And what’s a log? It can be a kind of journal. That’s how I look at it, anyway.

I always enjoy blogging on A Slice of Orange. As you may know, I also blog weekly at killerhobbies.blogspot.com. I was invited to join a long time ago because Killer Hobbies’ focus is on hobbies that are featured in mysteries. My Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series features pets, and I’ve always maintained that pets are family, not hobbies. Even so, I usually try to mention pet-related things on my posts there. Of course I love writing about pets, so that works out well.

Other times, I focus largely on writing, its fun and frustrations. Since writing is so important to me, that’s fun, too. It’s often when I get the most comments. Same appears to go for my blog sisters, too.

This week, I blogged about writing short stories, and I was pleased at the number of comments that came up early in the day–faster than usual. Not a huge amount, as some other blog sites get, but a bunch just the same.

So… since A Slice of Orange is the blog of OCC, it’s natural for me to focus on writing here, at least more than pets. I love writing. I do it all the time, and I’m always looking for more! I can always talk about what I’m working on, and that’s a lot of what I’ve done here so far. But I’d still love to hear more about what YOU are interested in hearing. Feel free to ask me to reveal secrets. If I know the answers, I’ll have to gauge whether I want to make them public, but you’ll never know how much I’ll give up till you ask.

By the way, I’m going to be giving a class soon at the new online school, Story Stew University. It’ll be on Blending Romance and Suspense. Check it out, along with other classes at: storystewuniversity.com

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 15 romance novels and several novellas, including a current Nocturne Bites, with 2 more Nocturnes upcoming. She also writes the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. HOWL DEADLY, the newest title in the series has just been released.

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