Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five Years Ago

Five years ago my husband traveled to Louisiana as part of a first-response medical team, he spent about six weeks down there treating injuries and doing what he could to help people recover from the devastation.

When Mark came home he spoke of people who had a resilient spirit and unwavering faith despite what they had gone through. People in New Orleans, Metaire and Grand Isle where he was stationed were, in his words, inspiring and positive.

The tales he brought home were literally mesmerizing. I shared in the love he felt for the area and the people and through his words I “knew” the people so well that I created a Louisiana born heroine (in Hostage Heart) who, I hope, personified some of the spirit of the area.

Here it is, five years later, Mark and I still feel an attachment to the New Orleans area. We watch news and other media for reports of recovery and get choked up at the homes that are still destroyed and lives that are still being put back together.

Today’s post is simply in honor and memory of the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina - a thank you to the people who gave time, service and money towards its recovery, and to continued healing.

Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Not Alone - part 2 of 4

I am posting my short story NOT ALONE from the anthology FOREVER FRIENDS in 4 installments beginning Aug 22. (by the way, if you are impatient, sign up on my ChelleWrites Yahoo Group mail list and download it in its entirety)

read part 1 - 8/22

Not Alone
- part 2 of 4

As word of Kimmie’s death spread across the campus, the ostracizing began. Her friends and classmates were too stunned to think beyond losing such a young, vibrant friend. Kimmie’s parents had suffered one of the worst things that ever could happen to a parent. They had no room for forgiveness in their hearts; grief was taking up too much space. It was easier to blame someone; it was far easier to blame Jordan than to try to make sense of it. And our friends, they turned on Jordan as well. No one had any time or any will to think of the desolation that Jordan was feeling.

I cried non-stop at Kimmie’s funeral and thought of all the long phone calls we had and the shopping trips to the mall and cramming for tests. None of my peers was dry eyed either. I couldn’t imagine a world without my best friend or a world without her laughter. We had been friends since our freshman year of high school and I felt a monumental loss. Each of us was self-absorbed in what we had lost when Kimmie’s mother let out a wail of grief that twisted our guts. Even though I knew that Jordan had been banned from attending the funeral, I was angry that he wasn’t there to witness the mourning, the loss and the questions of how we were all supposed to go on without Kimmie in our lives.

That was yesterday.

I woke up crying again. I cried not only for the loss of my closest and dearest friend, but also for the loss of the camaraderie we had with Jordan. It was obvious that Jordan had an interest in Kimmie at the beginning of previous school year and, as Kimmie admitted, he was just so damn cute. I tried to match them up; she knew how he felt. Kimmie wasn’t interested in Jordan in that way though and eventually he was able to accept that. He was always there to lend her his shoulder when she needed to talk about some guy she was seeing or to high-five her when she was happy after a date. He was there for me too; he just never seemed to think of me as anything more than a kid sister.

So the three of us became good friends and since he was a year ahead of us in school, he never minded showing us around or helping us learn a little more about campus life. Kimmie was always the first person I would call when I needed to talk and if she didn’t answer her phone, Jordan was next. I cried even harder when I realized that I had lost not one but two friends. None of our other friends wanted anything to do with Jordan; his loudest critic was Kimmie’s boyfriend. No one bothered to ask the boyfriend why he left Kimmie that night, no one assigned any of the blame to him. It was all Jordan’s fault.

I dressed but I couldn’t bring myself to go to any of my classes. Kimmie’s dad came by to pick up the rest of his daughter’s things; we shared a suite in the dorms. He hugged me and thanked me for the friendship I shared with his daughter. He told me how much it meant to him and his wife to hear me talk about Kimmie during the memorial service. Then he asked me to help keep Kimmie alive by never forgetting her. When he left, the tears began to fall again and I stared at a picture of my best friend while I cried.

Maybe I didn’t really, or maybe I did, but I heard Kimmie’s voice telling me that Jordan needed me. I thought that maybe I was losing my mind. It could have just been the desperation I felt, but I knew that I heard her voice. So I went over to Jordan’s off-campus apartment. Kim-mie and I had gone there often. I stared at his door for a few minutes before I actually knocked.

Jordan looked horrible when he answered the door. And he looked surprised.

“What are you doing here? Did you forget a few names?”

“I didn’t come to call you names. I didn’t come to be angry.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I wanted to talk.” He was quiet as he stared at me. “May I come in?”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not Alone - part 1 of 4

I am posting my short story NOT ALONE from the anthology FOREVER FRIENDS in 4 installments starting today. (by the way, if you are impatient, sign up on my ChelleWrites Yahoo Group mail list and download it in its entirety)

Not Alone - part 1 of 4

I ignored the changing numbers on the alarm clock as long as I could. I still refused to believe that anything that had happened over the past few days was real. It was all a nightmare, that’s all.

As my toes sought the warmth of my slippers, the tears began to fall again. No matter how many times I tried to deny it, my best friend was buried yesterday. They wouldn’t let Jordan come to the cemetery; every-one blamed him. Even me.

For the two days that Jordan had been hospitalized, they kept him under a suicide watch. That angered him. Not because he wanted to commit suicide, but because it meant that people thought he would want to take “the coward’s way out” as he put it and avoid facing what had happened. He said it wasn’t his fault, but he still blamed himself.

I left the party that night early, too early to know everything that had transpired. Kimmie’s boyfriend dumped her, he left her at the party while he went home with another girl. She was upset and she drank more than she should have. Actually, she shouldn’t have been drinking at all; most of the folks at the party were under the legal drinking age – but that’s another issue altogether.

Eventually Kimmie wanted to go home and, as it was explained to me, she had trouble even holding onto the keys from her handbag. So Jordan offered to drive her. He drank a beer early in the evening; he was one of the few who could legally, and then he hadn’t had anything else. That was hours earlier. The cops even said that his blood alcohol level was well below the legal limits. Jordan was just trying to be a nice guy; besides, he had once had a thing for Kimmie.

I visited Jordan in his hospital room right after I heard about the accident. I didn’t even know that Kimmie was dead yet. Jordan was devastated. He didn’t need to have his friend’s condition confirmed; he knew. He told me how he had gotten cut off on that dark and winding road. The car rolled down the embankment and came to rest against a tree. There were no witnesses; just a minor paint scrape on the front fender and the police said that could have happened at any time prior to the accident.

Kimmie kept unbuckling her seatbelt and then she would laugh; Jordan kept telling her to put the seatbelt back on. He was tired of her arguing so this time he had been slow. When he looked at her after the car stopped moving, he knew that she was broken. The bone to one upper arm protruded through the skin and fragments of the bone in the lower arm gave her a limp rag doll effect. Her beautiful face was cut up from the windshield glass. He wanted to pull her from the car, but even though he had been belted in, he hit his head on something and was bleeding from the temple. And then he passed out. But he knew, from what he had seen, Kimmie was gone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Blog Winners for the Anniversary Blog Tour

I participated in the
" one year anniversary blog tour"
on this blog and I am pleased to say that my July 18 post had 49 comments.

I promised ONE lucky commenter a .pdf copy of my book
Common Bond, Tangled Hearts

Well, the truth is I had a random number generator pull 3 numbers;
I thought in case I couldn't reach the winner, I would drop down to the next...
But then I went ahead and chose ALL THREE.
So congratulations to:
Loretta Canton, #308
Carol L, #6916
Babyblue22, #311

1RomanceEbooks is going to award ONE LUCKY COMMENTER FROM ALL OF THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS to win some super prize,
unfortunately for me, blog owners aren't eligible... (sniff)

Thanks for coming by!

Layne Gillette's world is turned upside down when a man she has never met shows up to lay claim as the father of her 6-year old son. Justin, the victim of a fraternity prank, and Layne, the subject of a forced insemination, have produced a beautiful child that they are both willing to protect at all costs. The two parents realize they can love each other, but when Layne's abusive ex-husband shows up, they are torn apart by danger, kidnapping and lies. Justin won't give up until Layne is returned to him. Layne uses her newfound strength, courage and knowledge to defy Charlie's ugliest demands.

Common Bond, Tangled Hearts by Chelle Cordero