Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Do You Believe in Karma?

That is a fundamental question in my next novel, KARMA VISITED, a paranormal suspense which is currently in production at VHP (...and I am so excited!)

What does Karma mean to you?

Undersheriff Dave Turner tells Annie how he feels in this mini-excerpt:

“There’s no such thing as karma or justice.”
“Wow, I didn’t realize you were such a cynic.” He said his word gently.
“I’m just realistic. I’ve seen too much Dave. Tornadoes are random, there’s nothing about karma to those.”
“Maybe karma in those cases just means it’s not as bad as it could be.”
“What’s not bad about dying in a fire because the firefighters can’t get through a locked gate?”
Dave exhaled slowly. “Suffering. Dying alone without a… traveling angel to hold your hand? No matter how bad things may seem, if you aren’t alone in the world it’s just a little easier. Bad things do happen, you can’t deny that, but when you have people to hold you and stand by you, it’s got to help.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sigh, does it ever get any easier?

I'd have to say NO...

Every time I submit a new piece of work, whether it is a non-fiction article, a short story or a full out-and-out fiction manuscript, I feel my stomach doing literal flip-flops until I get a nod of acceptance from the respective editor or publisher.

I've had literally hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles published, nine novels, several short stories in anthology collections and a few writing how-to books - And I STILL Get Nervous!

Honestly, I don't think I am much different from most writers. Our creations are very personal and each time we write, we hope for that wonderful nod of acceptance. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I think it is the thrill of accomplishment when even one person says "Hey, that's good."

A few times in my writing career I have not only had editors who come back to me because they like my work, but I've also found the occasional time my work gets quoted (with proper attribution of course) and wow, that is truly an ego boost.

As a writer I keep trying to push further and further and try to learn from other writers AND readers because if someone THINKS I was good last time, I want them to think I was great this time.

So what has brought on this nail-biting and nervous rambling episode? I just submitted a novel manuscript to my publisher and IT'S BEEN TEN WHOLE MINUTES AND I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYTHING YET! (just kidding). And my next two deadlines for articles are both next week so I really am going to be a bag of nerves...

About this manuscript, it's a first for me - it is a paranormal suspense and I hope people (starting with my publisher) will like it. I hope to have reason to tell you more about it real soon.
from January Magazine

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stories That Reflect the Real World

*this post was previously published on Chris Redding's blog on Aug. 2, 2011:

(Hyphema is my second EMS based novel)

Chelle Cordero:
Stories That Reflect the Real World

I like to read and write contemporary stories,
stories that reflect the real world around us.
The real world is fraught with plenty of controversial,
sometimes frightening, and sometimes angry
topics. People show they can be ugly sometimes;
others show genuine heroics in the face of
catastrophes  I try not to shy away
from this realism.

Although I am admittedly opinionated
 and passionate-in-my-beliefs, I try
not to infuse my characters with my
attitudes. I want each character I
create to be an individual with their
own views and their own motivations.
Some of the topics I’ve included in
my stories include rape (female AND
male), homosexuality, promiscuity,
politics, prejudice, obsession, greed,
and betrayal.

None of my characters are all good or all bad (even
if a few villains came close) just like in real life where
no one is all one way or the other – somehow even
the most detested still have someone willing to love
them. That’s life.

I’ve heard comments about a few of my stories and
the themes I’ve written about; thankfully I’ve gotten
more kudos than protests.

The most controversial topic I’ve included in my
stories (so far) was in Hyphema. Hyphema features
an interracial and intercultural marriage between a
red-blooded Caucasian American Christian male and
a Pakistani Muslim immigrant – the story takes place
in a post-9/11 world. The cover shows a beautiful
young woman wearing a Berka (scarf and face
covering). I’ve certainly heard strong reactions and
I am sure there are a few who would never read the
book simply because of widespread prejudices and
fears since 2001.

A quote from a review of Hyphema says, “Cordero meets
headlong a number of real problems facing her characters. She doesn't
sugar-coat cultural differences and prejudice…

Subject matter should matter
and  when it evokes strong
feelings and discussion, I
believe that I have done
my job as a writer. I tackle
contemporary subjects and
real life situations because
I want folks to THINK long
after they put my book down.

Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to
North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani
born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive
comments from their new neighbors. Before long, Matt wonders if he
is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from
which they may never wake.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

...and the winners are

Thank you to EVERY ONE who entered – I hope you had
as much fun as I did reading all of the entries.
1st place ~ Jayne R
2nd place ~ Roberta S
3rd place ~ Jean K
4th place ~ Jayne P
btw, the best score was 11 out of 13
to the winners, I have your email addresses and 
will be sending you your prizes shortly

Yay! A Contest

Saturday, July 20, 2013


44 years ago on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.
I remember how excited we all were that day - my parents, sister and I had just returned home, not sure I remember where we had been. The living room TV wasn't working and we all piled into my parent's bedroom to watch the events unfold on a 12-inch black & white television screen. I can remember how we cheered at Armstrong's immortal words "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

It was then that I looked at my parents' faces and saw the wonder and awe, the world that they had been born into was forever changed once again. A human being had actually set foot on an icon that, until then, was only the source of romantic songs and sci-fi stories.

As a writer I am constantly aware that the world is changing daily. Everyday household chores, travel, communications, politics, fashions, medicine... just a few of the things that have changed since I was a kid. My grown children look at me with amused expressions when I talk of a time when no one traveled in space, we didn't use computers to do our homework, when the phone rang and you either answered it or didn't, we didn't have cell phones, caller ID, or Skype, a time when the only way to be immune to Chicken Pox was to suffer through a bout.

In Final Sin, Jake proposes to Julie despite qualms about the age difference and not having known each other that long - he explains his feelings to her friend Matt, "You know, after nine-eleven, everybody seemed to know somebody who lost someone, and I just didn't want to wait forever to ask. I never expected to need someone so much ever again".

(When I wrote that I thought about when my own husband proposed to me in 1974, a time when the Twin Towers being attacked was unfathomable, most of us were still adjusting to the iconic structures as part of the NYC skyline.)

But I digress...

We now live in a world where reaching for the stars isn't just an expression - it's reality. Today this blog post is a salute to the brave dreamers who truly went where no man has gone before, thank you Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins and all the men and women who made that great journey into space.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

realism in a fictional story

When I wrote my romantic suspense Hostage Heart about a Louisiana gal who came to New York City to try to earn money to help her parents get their lives and business back on track after devastating hurricanes, I was living vicariously through stories my husband told me - Hubby was part of a federal medical team that provided assistance to the people of New Orleans and surrounding areas after Katrina and Rita.
Last fall though, I lived it. Superstorm Sandy hit the Hudson Valley with devastating winds, rain and water surges. The waterfront town I live in literally saw homes floating away. And while I know from personal experience (Florida in 1969, the year of Hurricane Camille) that the storm could have been far worse, the folks who lost homes, our community that lived without power, and first responders who sacrificed their comfort and safety to help will never forget Sandy's impact.

I was also a part of our town's emergency shelter which provided a temporary home to dozens of town residents at our local ambulance corps building. Some inhabitants left their homes before the brunt of the storm on the advice of our local town government, some were brought to the shelter after being rescued by volunteer ambulance corps and fire department members. We were lucky to have a new, large building with a running generator. As a shelter volunteer I lived in that building for a week alongside people who came in shell-shocked and scared; I watched as family members were part of rescue crews who were out during the height of the storm. We all ate meals together, talked together and sometimes cried together. This experience will live in my memories and heart forever.

Another shelter volunteer wrote about our efforts as part of an effort to keep the public informed and help to raise funds to help people get their lives back together...

What We’ve Been Doing the Past Week: 
Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts for

Stony Point & North Rockland

I added a few thank-you's to others who helped as well here

I recently re-read my novel Hostage Heart in anticipation of the soon-to-be released audio-book version and even this author has to admit the emotional impact of personal experience resonates even more.

When I listened to my husband's stories of the people he met in the month and a half he was stationed down in Louisiana, I noticed the glimmer in his eyes as he remembered and admired the survivors and their strength. Personally seeing the faces of people who came into our ambulance building, some clutching few possessions, some clutching loved pets, and all determined to survive and rebuild now puts a glimmer in my eyes as I remember.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yay! A Contest!

What’s the prize? What can you win? 

I’m giving away up to FOUR prizes, two audio books and two e-books.

The GRAND PRIZE will be an audio-book download  from of either Final Sin or Courage of the Heart (winner’s choice); 2nd prize will be the other audio-book; 3rd prize will be an e-book of either Final Sin or Courage of the Heart (winner’s choice); 4th prize will be the other e-book.

 What do you have to do to be eligible to win these prizes? It’s easy! There are thirteen questions below – answer as many as you can and email your responses to me via email to by midnight (EST) Monday July 22. The MOST correct answers wins the top prize and so on – all ties will be broken by random selection. DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWERS ON THIS BLOG.

Now just in case you’re worried about answering these questions correctly, here’s a HUGE hint – ALL the answers can be found on one (or more) of these pages:  or  or

Good Luck!

 1)    Final Sin won Honorable Mention in WHICH category of the 2010 NY Book Festival?  [____________________]

 2)    When did Chelle Cordero join Vanilla Heart Publishing? [____________________]

 3)    In Final Sin, what is Jake Carlson’s job title? [____________________]

 4)    His Lucky Charm was previously released under a different title, what was it? [____________________]

 5)    What is the name of Chelle’s weekly workshop from Amazon for Kindle subscribers? [____________________]

 6)    Name any story in the Single Author Short Story Collection The Many Faces of Chelle Cordero. [____________________]

 7)    Who has a love affair in Bartlett’s Rule? [____________________]

 8)    Which Chelle Cordero novel’s book cover features a staircase? [____________________]

 9)    What does “Hyphema” mean? [____________________] 

10) Name one of Chelle Cordero’s novels that features a heart on the front cover. [____________________]

 11)  What is the name of the publisher who published 9 Chelle Cordero novels? [____________________]

 12)   Which book is a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee? [____________________]
13)  What does Chelle combine in her writing? [____________________]  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stories Set in the Hudson Valley

Every time I write a story, I have the location clearly in my mind even if it is not specified in the manuscript. Two of my novels, Courage of the Heart and Final Sin were both set in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York State. Both novels have vague references to the area.
COURAGE OF THE HEART shows us that sometimes love is the only cure for the very deepest of emotional wounds. The story of the two lovers takes a series of unexpected and fast paced turns where lives, sanity and love are put in jeopardy. Their commitment to one another results in a spirit that binds them together and helps them to overcome physical and emotional dangers
When I wrote Courage of the Heart I imagined areas in Rockland County as the living and work areas for Adam Sherman and Davie Prescott. I even had a strong mental picture of Rockland Community College as the place Davie went to for her college classes.
In Final Sin, Deputy Sherriff Commander Jake Carson has his hands full... investigation of a brutal multiple homicide, a troubled son and a vindictive ex-wife. He meets young, free-spirited paramedic Julie Jennings. When Julie becomes the subject of an obsession, it puts both of them in danger...
And when I penned Final Sin, I pictured the beautiful backdrop of Dutchess County for the area that Julie and Matt responded to emergencies and that Jake’s department helped to protect. In reality it was a genuine (although unrelated) crime scene that occurred in Rockland County that inspired the gruesome and frightening opening scene.
New York’s Hudson Valley is the area surrounding the majestic Hudson River and is generally considered the area just north of New York City up to the area of Albany. The area is not only a scenic wonderland, it is also extremely rich in both history and folklore.
Significant events took place in the Hudson Valley during the American Revolution.
The British used the river in order to split the opposition, the military fortress known as West Point was utilized by General George Washington to repel the British stronghold. A 150-ton iron chain was strung across the Hudson at the West Point outcrop to control river traffic. President Thomas Jefferson later signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1802.
A tale of treason that could easily have changed the history of the United States before they even began took place in the Hudson Valley. Revolutionary General Benedict Arnold was so disenfranchised with his treatment by the Continental Army that he made plans to surrender West Point to British forces. The plot failed and Arnold switched sides after that.
The British army was in control of an outpost called Stony Point on the river south of West Point. In 1779 Continental Army troops under the command of General "Mad Anthony" Wayne defeated British troops in a daring assault on their outpost. The Stony Point Battlefield is now a Historic Landmark.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is a thrilling ghost story that was set in Westchester County in the Lower Hudson Valley. Modern day ghost investigator and renowned author Linda Zimmerman has centered her eerie investigations in the Hudson Valley.
The controversial Indian Point Energy Center nuclear power plant is located in Buchanan, New York just south of Peekskill and on the east river bank of the Hudson. The Appalachian Trail, one of the three major hiking trails in the continental U.S., runs through part of the Hudson Valley. The area has also been home to famous personalities such as the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, Washington Irving, Helen Hayes, Edna St Vincent Millay, and many, many more.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday afternoon movies

Hubby and I just watched an intriguing, heartrending, edge of your seat movie called The Next Three Days starring Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, and Olivia Wilde.
The story is about a man whose wife is falsely accused and convicted of a crime and after a series of appeals fail, she faces a lifetime in prison away from her family. He is forced to take drastic measures - watch it, no spoilers here...

The movie made me think on so many levels and as a writer I looked for as many parallels to my stories as possible. I didn't look for stolen stories, I just compared events, challenges, actions and emotions.

In Courage of the Heart (NOW available in AudioBook!), Adam Sherman has to live with a past that includes a false arrest and conviction as an adult when he was little more than a boy himself. As an author, wow, I must be cruel to put my beloved characters through such an ordeal just for the sake of a plot. When I watched the despair of Russell Crowe's movie wife, I did indeed feel a twinge of guilt.
In Courage of the Heart when Adam's past catches up with him, he sacrifices his own safety and puts his life on the line to save Davie, the woman he loves.

So repeating questions I asked once before (previous post on this blog) ~ How far would you go for love? How much would you be willing to give up? At what point does another's life become more important than the self-preservation instinct we are all supposedly ingrained with?

I have an idea!
Read OR LISTEN to Courage of the Heart and then come back here and let's discuss it.
Courage of the Heart
"I was really surprised by some of the twists and turns in the plot. The characters really seem to jump right off the page at you. I really enjoyed it and am totally enthralled by the hero!" (from an Amazon Review)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hope y'all are having a happy & safe 4th!

I'm sitting here watching the Macy's Fireworks on TV (yeah, I'm just an old fuddy duddy, lol) and getting very nostalgic.
When I was a youngster growing up in 'da Bronx, NYC (the only borough to begin with a "D"), and surrounding buildings weren't too tall to see across to the Hudson River, my parents and our neighbors used to pack a picnic dinner and we would all go up to Tar Beach to watch the fireworks from the rooftop. It was spectacular! Very fond memories.

Someone (usually my dad) would run an extension cord up there so we'd have a radio broadcast in the background. The oohs and aahs would all quiet when the anthem or other patriotic songs were played over the radio. The transmission was scratchy on the tube-powered radio, but the men, almost all WW2 vets, would stand proudly watching the display and all their eyes glistened as they softly sang the patriotic words along with the radio.

To this day I still get a little bit choked up when I hear our anthem and see the fireworks...

I hope this day has been spectacular, fun and safe for all of you.

note: The Macy’s fireworks display actually debuted on the Hudson in 1958 before becoming an East River tradition in 1976.  In 2008, it moved back to the Hudson River to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s landing in Manhattan

~ Now in Audio Book ~
              Final Sin    &    Courage of the Heart

Monday, July 1, 2013

sometimes love is the only cure...

coming soon
in audio

an Amazon review
5.0 out of 5 stars
  Very Good!
kgcummings - 

Kgcummings said: "Courage of the Heart by Chelle Cordero begins as an office romance that quickly turns into an unlikely love affair. In one fell swoop, life changes when the past confronts the present with mystery, intrigue and life threatening situations. More than once I found my heart racing as I turned the page. Kudos to Ms. Cordero for penning an entertaining read."
kgcummings... author of The Wind Whispers War and it's sequels