Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Deadline


Oh my, that word sounds so ominous! Dead… line, it almost sounds like “you will hang at dawn”. It is so final, just like there is nothing beyond. A deadline is a noun and according to Dictionary.com, there are three meanings to this formidable noun: “(1) the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something: a five o'clock deadline; (2) a line or limit that must not be passed; (3) (formerly) a boundary around a military prison beyond which a prisoner could not venture without risk of being shot by the guards.”

No wonder the term strikes fear in students, masses of office workers watching the clock, and writers. Missing that deadline could mean a failing grade, an angry boss, or a lost contract. Sometimes life interferes with the assigned deadlines, (a party, an emergency, an illness) but most times that won’t make a lick of difference to the person waiting for that finished product. “The dog ate my homework” just won’t work anymore. It’s truly anxiety producing.

As a creative sort, otherwise known as a freelance writer, I’ve learned the importance of deadlines. In all my years of professional writing I have truly only missed one deadline, I honestly can’t remember the reason why, but it certainly didn’t go well. Now creative people are not usually known for routine or well-controlled organization, but when it comes to a deadline, oh boy! In addition to my paid writing gigs I sometimes offer my services in a volunteer situation, and I treat these voluntary pacts the same way I do my business dealings, as professionally as I can muster.

This past week was a challenge on a voluntary gig. I had to wait for input from another individual who does not live by the golden rule of YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE DEADLINE. I am not sure what her business is but I do know that she controls her hours and her work output. So I finally got her input and set about to editing it and then placing it in the item that was due for publication just four days later. And I sent it (via email) to the next step, the person in charge of distribution — only that person, unbeknown to me, had a family event and was away for the weekend and so my finished work sat unattended. As the date of distribution came without any progress I do admit feeling some (minor) palpitations.

Now this was a challenge. I had no way of getting this item out to the people who were promised its receipt. What to do???? Well to make a probably boring long story short, I did manage to get the item posted on a substitute site and the item was emailed from another source a day late. I had posted an apology to those waiting for it and promised delivery as soon as possible. In the end it was no harm no foul, folks appreciated being kept in the loop as such. Within three days of the original deadline everything was back to normal and I got to breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course now I am sitting here wondering, just where did my once fun-loving, free-wheeling self go? And when did I become so rigid? I don’t want to have an anal personality! I am NOT reserved and meticulously neat. A long, long time ago a teenage boyfriend once dedicated the song Wild Thing to me and everyone agreed it fit. I’m fun-loving and wild and unpredictable… or so I thought.

Sigh, is this what it means to be a grownup?
..

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Seduction



Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to engage in a relationship, to lead astray,
as from duty, rectitude, or the like
;” (Wikipedia)


Although it’s often been used as a sexual-conquest tool seduction can also apply to so many aspects of our lives. Marketing gimmicks attempt to seduce the consumer, politicians seduce their followers into voting for them, realtors seduce their clients into homes beyond their budgets, and even some job hunters are seduced into taking relocating for jobs that sound a whole lot better on paper than reality. Seduction is a tease, a front of only selected facts which may be far from the whole truth. Seduction is a way to entice someone to do something they might not have if they had the full story in front of them.  



Most sexual seduction is NOT sexy — it’s one partner tempting the other to engage in sex based on promises and conditions that (intentionally) might not be accurate. Seduction is trickery. Please excuse the metaphor, but seduction is something a “snake-oil-salesman” would do. In the instances where seduction is used in a true romantic setting, it is a way of using sensuality to tempt, not lies and half-filled truths. The seduced comes out of the encounter feeling cheated. Sexual seduction has frequently been used in romance novels in very “hot” scenes in order to grab a reader’s imagination and interest. Seduction has also been used in instructional guides telling men AND women the various techniques they could use to “win” their way into bed with a partner. Face it, alluring is sexy, trickery is just a lie.

Television commercials try to seduce the viewer every 8-to-10 minutes: “Come buy this product”; your clothes will be so clean it’s almost as if you didn’t even have to wash them; how about the more blatant sexy female model who shows up to help you decide which soda machine to choose for your cola or the housewife who is bored by her husband’s sloppy loungewear while she eats yogurt and suddenly she is facing a very attractive male actor. The possibilities seem like dream come true, but they really aren’t.

Cynical or not, most politicians will tell their would-be constituents what they want to hear and not necessarily the truth (even if it is just a few unmentioned facts). Folks go off to the polls believing in what they heard only to find in later years exactly how much they were never told and may even regret being led astray from the “other guy” they had planned to vote for. And even that job offer you received that came with a salary at least 25-percent higher than what you earn now is certainly enticing, but what the offer fails to tell you is that the cost of living where you would have to relocate to is a minimum of 38-percent higher than where you are living now.

Be wary of being seduced. Don’t be coerced or shamed into doing anything you might not have considered. Truth is a heck of a lot sexier and certainly more rewarding than deception.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Appreciation




We are on this planet but once, and to spend it holding back our gushing appreciation of the things that light us up is a shameful waste.” ~ Jen Sincero


          Some people find it very easy to say the word “Thanks” whether they truly mean it or not. For many it still is a welcomed word to hear, others may hear a “Thanks, but…” when it isn’t sincere. Perhaps we should be grateful for the speaker’s civility and the attempt to acknowledge our efforts, after all there are far too many times when our extra efforts are just, expected.

Although most people do a job well out of self-pride, or hold a door because that is how we were taught to do, or give a thoughtful gift just because we want to bring a smile to someone’s face, it still is wonderful to know that our actions are appreciated. I recently read an acknowledgment page in a fellow author’s book (Brenda Hill, With Full Malice) and upon seeing my name listed it filled me with a nice feeling that I was thought of and remembered for simply answering a (medical) question.

It doesn’t take a huge life changing action to do something to help another person, and it shouldn’t take that huge life changing action to be appreciated. We remember our school teachers that always seemed to fill our learning with excitement. We remember our parents for feeding and clothing us. We might even remember a doctor who helped us through some physical pain. But how often have we really taken the time to say “Thank you” and really mean it? How often have we shared our appreciation with remembrance and even passing along a kindness?

Don’t take advantage of the folks who have made your life better, no matter how minor or major their actions might have been. Get into the habit of letting someone know that they have made even a part of your day a little more pleasant, or your life a whole lot easier. Let your children know the joy they bring to you daily, and let your parents know how much you appreciate every time that they put you first. If you are a boss your employee’s paycheck may be very welcomed, but also letting him/her know that you appreciate the good job she is doing will make her day that much more pleasant.

Showing your sincere gratitude has benefits not only for the recipient but also for you: “Tossing off the half-hearted "thanks" won't cut it; deep gratitude has to come from within and in a meaningful way. This spotlights the highly social aspect of feeling grateful. Gratitude is also getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Practicing gratitude means paying attention to what we are thankful for to the degree of feeling more kind and compassionate toward the world at large.” (Psychology Today)

And in that vein of practicing sincere gratitude, I am thankful for each and every one of my blog readers and those that follow me on social media. Your support is a great part of why I love what I do.



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Happy New Year!



Many of us are not used to hearing those words except at the beginning of January, but there are some cultures who celebrate the changing of our calendar years at different times. Some of these are the Chinese New Year which corresponds to the Lunar months; the Islamic New Year beginning on the first day of the first month in the Islamic calendar beginning in late Autumn; the Thai New Year is a springtime celebration; the Ethiopian New Year is a spring celebration which comes after the “big Rains”; and the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur in the fall. The December 31st and January 1 New Year’s celebration is based on the Gregorian 12-month calendar.

Although each of these merriments may be celebrated in unique ways, they all represent a new beginning. Before January 1st in America many of us make a list of resolutions, things we want to do in the coming year to improve ourselves. Those of us who celebrate Rosh Hashanah ask for forgiveness from those we may have unintentionally hurt, forgive those who hurt us, and we promise to do better in the future; the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the ten days of repentance or the ten days of return. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to celebrate more than one new beginning every “year”, but how many of us truly realize how special an opportunity we are given.

There are several greetings we use for Rosh Hashana, my favorite two are Shanah Tovah Umetukah (wishing you a good and sweet new year) and L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu (may you be inscribed in the book of life). Those who are lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends often share feasts of good food and sweet delicacies to hopefully signify a good and sweet year. We say blessings over wine or grape juice thanking G-d for giving us the fruit of the vine, and we dip pieces of round challah (bread) and apples in honey thanking HIM for the fruit of the earth and sweetness. We use round uncut challahs instead of the usual twisted versions to symbolize the cycle of life. We listen to the sound of the Ram’s Horn (the Shofar), light candles and read from parts of the Torah as we are commanded to do by G-d. It is often believed that the Shofar arouses us to examine our deeds and renew our relationship with G-d.


 The time between the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish holidays always begin the evening before at sunset) and the end of Yom Kippur allows us time to reflect on our deeds. No one, not even G-d, expects us to be perfect, but we are always expected to strive to do better. These ten days allows us the time to examine our deeds, to be repentant for our misdeeds, intended or not, and allows us to find the peace within us to forgive those who have dealt unfair blows in our lives. The “Book of Life” opens on Rosh Hashanah, this “book” contains pages for each of us and G-d examines what has been written by our “own hands” (our own deeds). G-d judges and decides, by the time the book is closed on Yom Kippur, “who will live and who will die”. Despite the gravity of the words in our prayers, this is really not a frightening time, rather it is a time in which we find peace and self-awareness. We promise to do better, it is not the promise that is weighed by G-d but the sincerity in which we mean it.

Whatever time you may use for self-reflection and whatever belief system you subscribe to, the time you have to truly look inside yourself, to make peace with others and to plan how you can live a happier and better life is a precious thing indeed.


May your new year be sweet with hope
and new possibilities.
Wherever you go...blessings. Wherever you look...beauty.
Wherever you are...peace. L'Shanah Tovah



Wednesday, September 25, 2019

D-I-V-O-R-C-E



Divorce isn’t a subject you would expect a romance writer to write about… but actually we do. In my novels there have been a few cases where the hero or heroine is divorced. Jake in FINAL SIN, Laynie in COMMON BOND, TANGLED HEARTS, Dave in KARMA VISITED, and Annie in ANNIE’S KARMA; I also had a divorcee in my short story THE VACATION. Basically the rate of divorced characters in my novels is close to the national (expected) rate of divorce — “The marriage breakup rate in America for first marriage is 41% to 50%”.

Although statisticians have noted that the divorce rate has gone downward in more recent years (due to couples getting married at older ages, higher education and financial independence, and more couples living together without marriage, etc.), what breaks a marriage up? Obviously some folks just aren’t “right” for each other and may have gotten hitched because “everybody else was doing it”, sometimes unexpected pressures/tragedies put serious strains on the relationship, interference from outside sources (in-laws? friends?), and sometimes people just grow-apart as they grow-up. Two people can never really be in total agreement about everything, not if they retain their individuality, and it would be kind of boring if they never had different opinions, but if you can’t move past those differences it doesn’t bode well. Unfortunately statisticians also noted that there is an even higher risk of divorce the second time around, possibly that is because “once burnt” means someone’s defensiveness is up.

So can we find love with a divorcee? I believe in the possibility of Happy-Ever-After’s, but I also believe it’s worth understanding what went wrong in their first (or subsequent) marriage. Having seen divorces happen to people I know, my personal observations tend to make me believe that outside interference is a huge risk factor. A meddlesome mother-in-law who can’t let go of her son, a father who pressures his child into a family business that makes him/her miserable, siblings or friends who insert themselves into personal matters and instigate arguments… While I am a firm believer in marital counseling, it can help couples see beyond their alleged differences, it doesn’t always save a marriage.

Aside from finding out what went wrong in the first marriage, and many times you can rely on simple verbal honesty, I would say beware someone who is hiding information or purposely keeping you away from other past friends or family (who might be able to tell you a different story). Also listen to the ex-spouse but don’t necessarily take her/his word as truth. Definite red-flags to note, if anyone suggests that your intended may have been abusive, carefully watch how he/she treats you (not all abuse is physical); if there are children involved in the past relationship, is responsibility being taken (not just financially), this is especially important if you hope to have children with this individual; and of course, if your intended cheated (with you or someone else), you might have a problem.

I think the most important red flag to watch for is did he/she actually let go of the ex-spouse? I have seen it happen where one person said they were divorced when in reality the divorce wasn’t finalized because one of them never signed or it was hung up in a lawyer’s office because there was a disagreement on the settlement of property, alimony or even child care. Make sure that your chosen one is free to begin a new relationship (even if you’re both willing to put the formal ceremony off for a while). Even if a civil divorce can be proven, be aware that there are some religious divorce requirements as well and for any number of reasons one party may be avoiding doing what is right after being married in a religious manner — and why would anyone want to marry a man (or woman) who is still hanging on to their “ex” spouse? And especially if someone is avoiding getting the religious divorce in order to make their ex miserable, would you really want to marry someone who is that spiteful?

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (for example) require certain procedures in order to release each party from the marriage commitment and enable each to marry someone else if they choose. In a Jewish divorce a husband must submit a written form, known as a “Get”, to his wife as proof of their divorce, without it neither one of them should be able to marry again, but if he is withholding the Get for spite, chances are he is also lying to his new wife (only the man can provide the Get). In an Islamic (Muslim) divorce, the civil divorce (if there was a civil marriage) holds no bearing on the ability to remarry as a Muslim; a lawyer familiar with Islamic precepts must work with the couple’s Iman to create an equitable parting of the ways and possessions. A Catholic divorce will not allow either partner to remarry in the Church, the marriage must be “annulled” which basically denies that the couple was ever married in the sacraments of the church. So make sure that your intended partner is truly free to marry you and is honest from the beginning.

Even with all of this talk about divorce, this romance writer is still a romantic-at-heart. I believe in second chances and true love. I also believe that any commitment, partnership, marriage, or whatever you are calling your relationship, needs to be founded on truth and trust. My parents were married for almost 32-years when my dad suddenly passed away and I truly believe they would still be married and very much in love if they were both still around; the day my mom died there was a cloud in the sky that looked like a staircase to heaven and I’m sure that my dad was waiting at the top as my mom went to him. No marriage is perfect, there will always be disagreements and sometimes tears, but when you put each other first, when you like yourself as well, and when you are openly honest and communicating, then each year is special and life can be pretty wonderful.


#LoveWins

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Perils of Being a Romance Author



Ever since my first book, Bartlett’sRule, was published in 2008, people have come to me to discuss “personal issues” thinking I would have the right words to help them reach their Happy-Ever-After. I only wish I had the advice to help them, but the truth is even my storybook characters have had to go through a lot of their own false starts and some mistakes before they found their true loves. The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me because of the books I write was when the husband of one of my then close friends came to me to complain about his wife’s “performance” in the bedroom and wanted me to give him some advice to get her to be “willing to experiment”! Pushed for an answer I haltingly told him to just talk to her and tell her how he feels. (It was hard to look her in the face after that.)

The truth is that while many writers are told to “write what you know” we also have to use A LOT of creative imagination. I remember at a book discussion appearance for His Lucky Charm one audience member actually asked me if I was describing my husband in the love scenes! I think I turned beet-red right then and there. (I still refuse to answer that question, it will forever be a mystery.) I remember a fellow-romance writer friend whose husband refused to read any of her books because he was afraid if the hero wasn’t him he would be jealous. By the way, I have always used at least one of my husband’s traits in every hero I create, but I will never say which one it is.

Not all of my books are sexually explicit, and never just for shock value, I basically use what I feel is appropriate for the story. In my first EMS-based novel Final Sin the villain was a sexual predator so, yes, I went there. Then in my first paranormal story Karma Visited the two would-be lovers weren’t really ever together (until the very end) so there wasn’t exactly too much they could do; while the sexual innuendos went further in the sequel Annie’s Karma, the sex was still rather downplayed even while the passion was heated.

I love the idea that people like to read about passion and hot romance, it’s certainly one of my favorite book topics as well, but read the stories and let them get you in the mood. One couple I know (because one of them told me so) likes to read a chapter together and cuddle — I don’t ask what else they may do… Some women who have attended my book discussions have said that they like to read passionate, sexy stories because it gives them a wonderful escape from the mundane; that’s why I write romance. It’s not auto-biographical, it’s just a fictional story that enthralls me and I feel needs to be shared.

I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I like writing them.

visit Chelle Cordero on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 — 18 years later





In Judaism the number 18 corresponds to Chai (Life) and for the past 18 years people have gone on living, but never forgetting the precious lives lost on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Living… but life was never the same for the widows and widowers, the children and parents, the brothers and sisters, and the friends and co-workers. Some have remarried, children have grown to have families of their own, but the mourning continues. It’s said that you never stop missing someone, instead the hole inside of you just becomes a part of your everyday, and as time goes on you can’t help but wonder how different life might have been if your loved one was still here, walking beside you, and sharing in the many joys that could have been. So many of the loved ones of those lost have lived courageous lives, they’ve raised their children, children have found their paths, siblings have created lasting tributes, and none have never forgotten.

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” George Eliot

Every year I selfishly count my blessings. My husband had been scheduled to be working that Tuesday at 3 World Trade Center (destroyed under the collapsing towers), but thanks to the grace of God (if you believe), or a stroke of luck (if you don’t), the 2-day financial show he was working on was rescheduled for the 10th and 12th instead due to a scheduling conflict of one of the keynote speakers. Instead he was at home, by my side, and we watched on TV as the towers fell. I will never forget the panicked phone call from our son, in school, asking about his father and not knowing about the changed date; then a second phone call from our daughter, away at college, checking in on our welfare and saying she was headed home. And later that evening, he was on one of a contingent of (volunteer) ambulances that went to the site to hopefully assist in the rescue of survivors — unfortunately those trucks returned without any patients, no survivors were found by then.

There were 2996 people killed on 9/11 (including people at the World Trade Center, airplane passengers and crews, and Pentagon employees) In addition to the memories and the losses suffered that day 18-years ago, by 2019 we’ve had many more tragic losses due to respiratory disease and cancer from those who were exposed to the dust from the collapse of the epic buildings. The NYPD, which lost 23 brave souls on Sept. 11, 2001, 37 from the Port Authority police also died; they have to date lost 241 more members of 9/11-related illnesses. 343 courageous firefighters, plus 1 heroic fire patrolman, died 18 years ago, since then 202 more FDNY members have died of illnesses related to their service on Sept. 11.And 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private agencies also died on 9/11. 

Thousands more (including rescue workers, employees at WTC, and area residents have been reported to be suffering from illness related to 9/11. Researchers have now linked cardiovascular disease (heart attack or stroke) to exposure at the WTC site. And there are no available numbers of the effects of PTSD on anyone who was physically present or even watched the news reports of that day. The horror continues.

Since I was a Rockland County (NY) resident at the time of the attacks, I often listed the names of Rockland residents that died; I personally only knew two individuals and a few of the families. Before I moved out of Rockland I met more families and friends and heard many more stories. Although I am no longer living there I will post and honor those individuals (links to more names are below):

       Rockland County Residents

Ø Janet M. Alonso 41 Stony Point NY
Ø Calixto Anaya Jr. 35 Suffern NY
Ø Japhet J. Aryee 49 Spring Valley NY
Ø Richard E. Bosco 34 Suffern NY
Ø Sgt. John Gerard Coughlin 43 Pomona NY
Ø Welles Remy Crowther 24 Upper Nyack NY
Ø John D' Allara 47 Pearl River NY
Ø Bernard D. Favuzza 52 Suffern NY
Ø Thomas Foley 32 West Nyack NY
Ø Andrew Fredericks 40 Suffern NY
Ø Robert Joseph Gschaar 55 Spring Valley NY
Ø Dana Hannon 29 Suffern NY
Ø Capt. Frederick Ill Jr. 49 Pearl River NY
Ø Farah Jeudy 32 Spring Valley NY
Ø Joseph Marchbanks Jr. 47 Nanuet NY
Ø John Marshall 35 Congers NY
Ø Patricia A. McAneney 50 Pomona NY
Ø Robert Garvin McCarthy 33 Stony Point NY
Ø Robert William McPadden 30 Pearl River NY
Ø Luke G. Nee 44 Stony Point NY
Ø Gerald O'Leary 34 Stony Point NY
Ø David Ortiz 37 Nanuet NY
Ø Lt. Vernon Allan Richard 53 Nanuet NY
Ø Thomas G. Schoales 27 Stony Point NY
Ø Mohammed Shajahan 41 Spring Valley NY
Ø Gregory Sikorsky 34 Spring Valley NY
Ø Catherine T. Smith 44 West Haverstraw NY
Ø Robert W. Spear Jr. 30 Valley Cottage NY
Ø Loretta A, Vero 51 Nanuet NY
Ø Benjamin Walker 41 Suffern NY
Ø Weibin Wang 41 Orangeburg NY
Ø Steven Weinberg 41 New City NY
Ø Capt. David T. Wooley 53 Nanuet NY



To view a full memorial list of 9/11 victims go here:
https://www.911memorial.org/names-memorial-0

To view a list of law enforcement officers from 10 agencies, go here
https://www.odmp.org/search/incident/september-11-terrorist-attack
(includes those who have died from 9/11 illnesses)

To view of list of FDNY officers who died on 9/11, go here:
http://www.fdnylodd.com/Memorials/343-Firefighters

To view a list of all Emergency workers killed in the September 11 attacks, go here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_workers_killed_in_the_September_11_attacks