Saturday, July 21, 2018

Broken-Hearted, RIP Mario

We had to say good-bye to one of our pussycats this morning. It was a sudden illness that took Mario from us, the vet and the vet tech did what they could but there was no saving him. And I am heartbroken over the loss of this Gentle Giant of a pussycat.

So this post is dedicated to Mario, born in July 2008
(please forgive my self-indulgence). 

He was part of a litter and surprisingly he was left behind at the shelter as the "runt" - he grew to be such a big boy weighing in at over 25-pounds. Mario pretty much dwarfed his brothers Tigger and Luigi. He loved to chase reflections on the floor, the walls, and the ceiling... for a big cat he moved really fast. One of his favorite "toys" was an electric tower fan, it had a little shiny logo and when it caught the sunlight the reflection skittered across the floor, Mario had so much fun with it.

 I nicknamed him (in addition to my Gentle Giant) my Creamsicle because he was orange and white. As a tiny little kitten (we got him when he was three months old) he looked like he had dipped his nose into a bottle of white paint, and I still can't believe that something that tiny grew so big.

Mario had a distinct personality and I admit while the "breed" wasn't 

the same I did model the cat in two of my novels after him (Mauszer)
Mario played with his brothers, often stole their food, and fought and cuddled with them non-stop. We adopted Mario along with Tigger and Luigi in early September 2008 from our local animal shelter; Tigger was the "old man" at 3 years old, Mario (3 months) and Luigi (2 months) were the "babies".
At this point I know he is romping at the Rainbow Bridge with brothers and sisters he never physically met (Mark and I have had multiple cats for most of our married life), but I am convinced that their spirits still roam through our home — as I am sure Mario's spirit will pay visits every so often as well. 

He leaves us with beautiful memories. We love you Mario, thank you for being a part of our lives.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What does it take?



What does it take to get through many of life’s adversities? Why does it seem so easy for some and hard for others? And knowing all of this why do authors (like me) like to put their favorite characters through the wringer?

The answer to the last question is clear (at least to me it is) — I like to throw all kinds of troubles at my characters simply because I can and because dealing with life’s troubles is just LIFE (did you ever notice that LIFE is a 4-letter word?).I’m not a sage, I don’t have all the answers, but I know that most of life’s challenges CAN be managed. Like many of my characters I’ve had more than one life-event figuratively slap me in the face, I am no superhuman, but SO FAR I have survived.

Here are a few of the hurdles my heroines have had to contend with: Paige was raped; Julie is stalked; Annie has an abusive husband; Deanna is kidnapped and held hostage; Caitlyn’s husband can’t remember her the day after their wedding; Sudah encounters prejudice because of her religion; Samantha has to hire a bodyguard because someone is trying to kill her; Layne goes into hiding because she fears losing her child; and Alli winds up having to defend the man she loves from a murder charge. Whew! And I am not even going to start on the mishaps my heroes face.

Indeed I am trying to find humor in this post, but sometimes life does get to some people’s ability to function, and that is not so funny. Everyone has a bit of trauma and drama in their lives and sometimes their coping mechanisms seem to break down. Folks become despondent, they give up and sometimes all they want to do is escape.

Z. Hereford wrote that “When you respond positively and constructively to your biggest challenges the qualities of strength, courage, character and perseverance emerge from deep inside of you.”

Here are some recommended strategies for dealing with life’s negative events: Accept that adversity is inevitable in life; Create and know who is in your support system; Know that there are others before you who have survived adversity; and Don’t focus on past negative events, shake off the self-pity. 

Throughout life there will be challenges, disappointments, pain, physical and mental blows — it is important to Take Care of Yourself. Simple things like sleep and diet can go a long way. Understand that each person can view his own difficulties as something magnified, whenever anyone is in crisis it may seem as if their world is ending.

Do not self-medicate (alcohol, drugs, etc) or ignore the difficulty you might be experiencing. Don’t close yourself off from others, you should never feel isolated when you are in pain and need. Believe in yourself and in your self-worth. It is okay if you take to prayer or meditation IF you have a belief in a higher power. 

Most importantly, if you feel your pain is beyond your coping ability, whether it is physical, emotional, financial, or social — IT IS ALRIGHT TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE.

You are important.




Saturday, July 7, 2018

Summertime Memories

My dad got two weeks of vacation time every year and he always arranged to take the last two weeks of August (just before the school year began for us Bronx kids). When I was young I remember our favorite spot was Atlantic City, this was loooonnng before the looming casinos. We always stayed at the same motel, The Jolly Roger [THE Jolly Roger I am speaking of allegedly burnt down several years later and was never rebuilt].

There was a regular group of families who frequented the motel during the final throes of summer play and we all arranged lots of group activities. Between the outdoor pool at the motel, the beach in Atlantic City, the boardwalk and the amusements it was always 125-percent fun filled and always the best way to rejuvenate before heading back to the realities of work, school and life.

I remember that I learned to swim in the Jolly Roger motel pool. Daddy always supervised my sister and me in the pool. Since I am the younger of two, I assume, if memory serves correctly that rules were obviously different. I was not allowed to be IN the pool unless my Dad was right there with me. This particular day he just wanted to relax and let the hot sun bake into him, I was SUPPOSED to be sitting on a neighboring lounge playing with dolls or reading a book. Alas this day I was being a brat and running around the pool deck.

My Father was unflappable, he had a way of “sleeping’ while he remained totally vigilant. There I was teasing him that I was going to jump into the water without my swimming tube. Calmly he told me that I should be seated next to him. I stood on the diving board lightly jumping up and down. I still remember thinking how does he know what I am doing, he’s got his eyes closed and I swore he was even snoring now and then, but I couldn’t get a rise out of him and I was ready to give up. As II did an about face away from the water my foot slipped and I tumbled in hitting the side of my ribs and SINKING like a sack of potatoes.

I don’t know how far I actually went down but I remember thinking I was going to get sucked down through the drain hole. I started kicking and managed to swim underwater to the nearest pool ladder. As I pulled myself up the rungs I looked over to the lounge Daddy had been napping on (I guess I was hoping he wouldn’t know what I had done?), his chair was empty! I looked over the water and was surprised to see my Dad gliding through the water at high speed; I barely had a chance to turn my head and he was already next to me and verifying that I was indeed all right. That was the day my swim tube disappeared and I discovered that Daddy really could see through his eyelids!

We had so many fun summers at the Jolly Roger, we all made friends and had terrific adventures. I remember meeting “Mr. Peanut” on the boardwalk, visiting Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, eating cotton-candy and salt water taffy, building sandcastles on the beach with my sister, having fun filled dinners out with the rest of the gang. Finally the summer came when the gang seemed to fade and even my parents decided to try different adventures and go other places. We still had so much fun.

Summer vacation has always seemed synonymous with family fun, relaxation and starting the new school year feeling refreshed… I always loved the writing assignment “What I did during my summer vacation.” When our children were young we tried to emulate the summer family vacation and we actually got to visit some very interesting places. Now that they are grown adults hubby and I find other ways to enjoy and relax although we do tend to stay closer to home these days.

Remember that books can help take you on (short) mini-vacations filled with new experiences and lots of interesting people and I hope you’ll take some of “the gang” along with you this year.

I hope that your summer holidays are both fun and memory filled adventures. Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me.

Chelle Cordero's Amazon Author Page


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Memories



As my husband and I are in the process of decluttering and downsizing I am finding so many tidbits here and there that evoke so many memories. Each time I come across a school project that one of my (now grown) offspring did in school I automatically picture them at that age – I swear it’s like a photo just flashes in front of me. I’ve come across so many other memorable treasures as well, some that make me laugh and others that set the tears in my eyes.

Memories are super strong motivators.

I try to give my characters strong memories, even when I don’t share the actual memory with my readers, I know what is in that character’s heart and I let it steer her reactions and feelings. In His LuckyCharm and Within the Law Caitlyn is very motivated by her memories (she is the heroine in His Lucky Charm, her cousin Tom is the hero of Within the Law). Her strongest memory in both stories is about the parents she lost as a little girl from a car accident. The loss doesn’t stifle her but it does make parts of the story very poignant.

In another story, Final Sin, Julie, a paramedic, is very driven in her independence and being a modern woman because of her memories of overprotective and overbearing older brothers. At the same time Jake, her love interest and a homicide-investigating sheriff, is haunted by the failure of his first marriage and his desire not to let his son suffer because of the discord with his ex-wife.

In a previous life I was a Theatre and Drama student (yes, at one time I aspired to act on stage) and it was common to be taught using the Stanislavski Method Acting System. Stanislavski (real name: Constantin Sergeyvich Alekseyev) wanted actors to have sincere motivation behind every action they took on stage. It wasn’t enough for a director to tell them to slam a door, Stanislavski wanted them to actually feel the anger behind the movement. If they needed to cry in the scene he wanted them to remember the sorrow they may have experienced in their own lives.

When I create a character I compose a basic dossier (the more major the character the more detailed the history) so I know what motivates them, what scares them, what makes them happy, and what drives them in all of their interactions. Often I think of my own memories to understand what would evoke the different emotions in my character’s life, and yes, there are many times I cry or laugh right along with them. In Within the Law Tom goes to visit the grave of his high school sweetheart and fiancĂ©, my character wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes.

Like Stanislavski’s methods, I believe that if my characters are genuine in their emotions then my readers can believe in them and can be involved in the story. Reading a book is supposed to be a little like taking a vacation from the real world, but it’s also supposed to be more than just reading words. I hope that by employing Stanislavski’s Method Acting to my writing I can (stealing a line from Calgon here) take my readers away for just a little while.

Author Chelle Cordero


Saturday, June 23, 2018

So what turns you on?



 I write Sensual Romantic Suspense. While my (adult) son labels what I write “soft porn” he admits he calls it that because he doesn’t want to think that HIS MOM knows any of that stuff! And yet, ironically even my really steamy stuff was labeled as “too sweet” by a local erotic authors’ group.

Yes, my couples in love have SEX (come on admit it, you might have done that once or twice as well) and sometimes it is “spelled” out in the pages of my story — and sometimes it is just implied — but I would like to believe that any sexual acts, depicted or implied, are appropriate and CONSENSUAL. I try to fit the heat level of my stories to the theme of the book. In my book Final Sin there is more grit to some of the scenes, after all the plot involves an obsessive, possessive and deranged murderer and the danger he poses; I felt that some of the consensual sex scenes between the couple had to be a little “over-the-top” because that is part of what sets the killer off.

While in recent years the tide has turned (hopefully) thanks to Women’s Lib, the #MeToo movement, and other enlightenment I remember almost all “romance” books during my young childhood and teen years (not that I was allowed to read them at that tender age) being labeled Bodice Rippers. It seems that old-school romance readers could not accept that a young virginal female would willingly accept a lover, she had to be seduced, coerced and sometimes even forced into the act BUT SHE WOULD ENJOY IT! After that she would become addicted to that one more experienced male and their love would blossom.

Indeed television, movies and periodicals used S E X to sell products, everything from men’s aftershave to soda pop to cars and more was promoted by scantily clad and breathy sounding sculpted females. In much later years some commercials started to feature muscled male hunks so I guess public sentiment began to turn around. I remember a now-defunct soap opera my mom watched, it featured a prominent character who was a successful romance writer of Bodice Rippers; in a later episode this author’s daughter became a rape victim — suddenly this character rebelled against the entire romance novel industry because of the Bodice Ripper connection. The character never evolved to the point that romance meant LOVE and healthy sexual relations (whether or not explicit in the books).

In today’s world the romance industry is much more accepting of women initiating a physical relationship, it definitely must be consensual. While I am not personally familiar with Porn, I do know the few erotica stories I’ve read also promote mutual agreement and not trickery or force. Women don’t have to be sweet virgins. I believe that today’s romance is more centered on two people (female/male, male/male, or female/female) who are mutually attracted to each other and willingly enter into any physical contact agreed on. I also see more authors using non-sexual acts (in addition to physical) as symbols of romance.

I was inspired to write this post after reading comments on a Facebook romance-writers’ group about book covers. Several comments were made about sexy book covers, specifically bare male chests and open pants exposing ALMOST everything; surprisingly less comments were made about scantily clad females. One poster implied that the sexier the cover (they believed) the more boring the writing! I did note that there were many remarks that linked anything with explicit sex to erotica or porn. Please understand with today’s online retailers being the best source for most books (except for The BIG 5), covers will attract new readers, and the blurbs will convince them to buy (hopefully these are true indicators of the content). Covers and blurbs are marketing tools.

These are my thoughts – Romance covers many sub-genres and heat levels. Whether the sex scenes are depicted in the pages or not, merely hinted at, or waved as a future promise, they need to be appropriate for the story. I tend to agree with most of the definitions in this Romance Rehab blog: “Porn in writing is just what you think it is: writing meant to cause sexual arousal. That’s it. It’s spank-bank material… erotica is writing that includes explicit, titillating sex scenes, but may or may not include romance. Happy endings aren’t guaranteed, and neither is OTP (One True Pairing)… it’s not the sex that sets a romance novel apart from an erotic novel—it’s the focus of the story. In a romance, the story revolves around two people falling in love, and eventually having some sort of HEA or HFN in a committed, monogamous relationship.” (HEA= happily ever after; HFN= happy for now)

As a romance author (most commonly with the sub-genre of romantic suspense) I understand that everyone’s taste varies and not everyone will want to read romance (at any heat level) just like some people don’t care for sci-fi, fantasy, historical or others. I am not insulted if someone chooses not to read my stories because of the genre, however romance is still LITERATURE which can be defined as any written work. Don’t be insulted, you may not be my target audience when I pen my novels. Still I would sincerely love for you to give my work a try and let me know what you think; read the blurbs, some stories just may interest you even though they are Romance.

So what do YOU think when you see a hot, steamy cover? What is your favorite genre? And most important, have you read books that are NOT in your favorite genre?
http://ChelleCordero.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChelleCordero/




Saturday, June 16, 2018

Heroes of Both Sexes



Several years ago I made the astonishing discovery that I liked putting my book’s heroes in the hospital… well maybe not liked, but I did it anyway. I even wrote a blog about it. Lately I have been giving my inclination to make my heroes suffer some more introspection.

While I admit I like to see all of my characters with a little touch of vulnerability (males and females) I have discovered what I enjoy more is the opportunity for one, or more, of my characters to step up, step forward, and shoulder some of the strength that is needed for everyone to pull through okay. 

Coming from a family filled with first-responders and military personnel, it is not strange at all for me to see courage, compassion and outright heroics from both the men and women that surround me. My close friends and family have displayed pure compassion, generosity, nurturing, encouragement and unbelievable skills in the face of any crisis, in response to any person (or animal’s) needs, and true caring (both emotional and physical) when someone needs the kindness.

I have tried to show both my heroes and heroines with strength and courage when their own partners need them or as an invincible team. The blurb for my book Annie’s Karma reads, “Annie Furman moves on from her past and into her future with Undersheriff Dave Turner. Her gifts – or are they her curse? – grow stronger, and she finds out that she is not alone in the realm of astral travel. Dave saved her life, now she has to fight another ‘traveler’ to save Dave… if she survives.” This is the story of a strong man AND a strong woman.

I have several stories where the WOMAN steps up to save the day and her big, strong hunk can rely on her strength. In Within the Law, when Tom is accused of murder, the important lady in his life, who just happens to be a lawyer, defends him even risking her own professional reputation. In A Chaunce of Riches Ben finds out just how far Samantha was and is willing to go to save his life and protect him. Then there is Courage of the Heart where Davie’s love, trust and commitment to Adam saves him and gives him the ability to save them both.

I could tell you more but I think you get the point — I like strong men AND strong women. I like it when the ‘hero’ in HEROine does describe her. It’s okay to throw in a touch of damsel in distress, but it is also pretty wonderful when it is her man in distress and she is there to save the day. It is really great when two people are there for each other, it’s just that simple. Be a hero with your love, your attentiveness, your commitment and your courage. Be a hero for the people who depend on you most.

Please share some of the heroes in your life.





Saturday, June 9, 2018

Listen to a Great Story —


I love to curl up with a good book, but… sometimes you don’t have the time to SIT and read. Having a great tale told to you is a fantastic option, you can drive to work and listen to one of your favorite authors’ books, play it while you’re cooking dinner, close your eyes for a bit and rest, and NEVER miss out. These are a few of MY reasons for enjoying a great audio rendition of a good story. But there’s more, the visually impaired have another option for enjoying a good book especially if large print is either not available or not enough of an aid; this was actually a very special reason to me as a very dear relative of mine was finally able to enjoy my books. And there are some people who simply don’t always feel like reading even though they don’t mind a great story.

With the cooperative effort of an author and a voice-actor, great stories can be heard.

Alright we know what an author does, she/he pens a great story. A voice-actor uses the words the author has written to mesmerize us with her/his voice. I was very fortunate that my wonderful publisher auditioned voice actors with such great diligence and turned several of my books into listening pleasures. 

In addition to print and e-books, you, my dear readers, can also listen to:

The Many Faces of Chelle Cordero narrated by: Wendy Tremont King
Within the Law narrated by: Barry Newman
A Chaunce of Riches narrated by: Barry Newman
Karma Visited narrated by: Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard
Bartlett's Rule narrated by: Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard
Hostage Heart narrated by: Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard
Hyphema narrated by: Tim Danko
Courage of the Heart narrated by: Raquel Gliss
Final Sin narrated by: Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard
(*if you click on the Audible.com links above you can listen to a sample of each book!)

Get your 1st Audible.com audio-book FREE with a 30-day no obligation trial (and a 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price)