Cracking the WIP

            All alone. Not me, the heroine of my current WIP (work-in-progress). She’s married, lives with her husband and his mother in a small town where everybody knows her name. But she is alone. She feels lonely and is looking for a way to escape. For now my working title is “Dreamwalker”, I have to wait and see what the final title will be.

            I’ve been blessed with my life since, even when I might have been at odds with a person or two around me, I’ve never experienced such total isolation, I have never felt the desolation that my heroine, Annie, feels. So I am trying to get into her head and understand the sadness and the frustration.

            The story is a Paranormal, a first for me, I’ve never written in this style before. I am not sure WHAT kind of paranormal will this be, will it be a Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Thriller or what. But I am starting to get into the heads of my characters little by little and I am finding they are writing their own story. And this is a good thing, it’s the way I write.

            Several times I’ve been surprised by some of the choices and actions my characters have made. In His Lucky Charm I never expected the heroine’s cousin to be such a “bad boy” who was still mourning the loss of his high school love. I definitely did not expect Paige to bolt in Bartlett’s Rule when Lon was just doing his best to protect her. And it really surprised the heck out of me when Sudah turned her back on Matt in Hyphema and blamed him for her cousin’s death.

            I allow my characters to come to life and that is what I am doing now with Annie, Dave, Scott and Dianne (be warned, the names may change before I finish if the characters decide they don’t like the names I chose for them). They tend to become real and yes, like many writers experience, they talk to me and tell me what makes them happy or sad, or why they want their life to be different. Sometimes I play the role of a stern, lecturing parent to try to get them back on the right track, or at least the concept I had of them. Sometimes I am forced to add a twist to my story simply because I didn’t want my characters angry at me.

            I once said I give birth to my characters and sometimes the labor is long and arduous, but it is always well worth it. As I put words to paper I grow more and more anxious to see the way this turns out. I think I am probably going to be a bit surprised.

Uh, what year is this?

Perhaps reading recent posts from fellow Vanilla Heart Authors Malcolm Campbell  and Joice Overton  about the research they put into their stories for authenticity influenced my subconscious… boy did I ever wake from a confusing dream this morning!

Basically the dream involved two brothers and their dad. There was mention of mom but she never appeared in the dream. The setting, clothing wise and scenery seemed to be in the middle ages (like the “Robin Hood” era), but here comes the confusion.

The younger boy was headed off to some fair or such, he was rolling a zippered suitcase. The boys wanted their dad to come with them, but dad was having trouble getting a message to his wife because she apparently “never got off of her cell phone”. At the fair the boys ordered lunch and sat in a booth in a 50’s style diner complete with car hops on skates. Confused? Definitely.

Please don’t analyze my dream, lol – I swear, it was just because I was thinking about research and period authenticity.

How many times have you succumbed to a movie or book plot just to be jolted awake by a glaring addition of something so very out of place like a wrong year car driving over a bridge that collapsed years before the manufactured year? Or maybe it’s a pineapple tree growing (naturally) on the streets of New York City? The last time I was bumped out of the fantasy, it had to do with a police uniform and the color of a shirt. Not everyone will realize or catch mistakes, but why ruin it for anyone? Just because it’s fiction doesn’t mean it shouldn’t seem real.

I write mostly contemporary fiction so, hopefully, I don’t have too much of a problem with the proper accessories of the time. But research is still crucial. Take the weather for instance, in Hostage Heart I used actual hurricane devastation to build my character’s story. Sometimes the tourist industry is important, in His Lucky Charm and Within the Law  I used well known landmarks to paint the picture. And in Hyphema  I used ethnicity and cultural insensitivity to build my plot.

Some research may come along easily especially if we write about areas, customs and time periods we are most familiar with. If I wrote about my community, my experiences, my lifestyle and my life in every book, I doubt readers would be fascinated (at least not beyond one story). I have to learn as much as possible about other occupations, religions, areas, cultures and more in order to make my stories real and believable.

How do writers do their research? Most of us delve deeply into the learning process using encyclopedias, the internet (and we know that EVERYTHING we find there is true, lol), read books, and even find tour guides for foreign locations.
When I am researching culture, religion or occupations, I stop random people in my daily activities and ask questions – I’m sure one of these days I’ll probably be arrested for harassment or such. I sometimes even go to experts for answers although I guess I wasn’t thinking too clearly the time I asked a real medical examiner if a particular poison could be detected in an autopsy…

We have muses, we have voices in our heads, and we live in fantasy worlds – but we do try to stay grounded in reality.

Please visit my website for more info about my books

the following post originally appeared on Dec 13, 2010

New Muse on Monday Welcomes Chelle Cordero!

Published by Sandy Nicks at 10:13 am under writing

Please give a warm welcome to author, Chelle Cordero! Chelle will be talking about her latest release Common Bond, Tangled Hearts.

* * *

My Way

Writers write about the “what if’s” and “if only’s” – we write of lives that could have been different if only a different set of events occurred. “Happily Ever After” means that thingsalways work out anyway.

In real life things don’t always seem to work out the way we want, but maybe they do work out for the best. For all of the wants and desires, everything that happens to us makes us who we are and leads us to do what we do. So maybe things never were supposed to be different after all.

There have been things in my life that I thought I had planned out, career choices, even romances – and things happened out of my control to change my path. I studied theatre and drama determined to be an actress and decided I didn’t have the necessary commitment . Then I tested for the NYPD and did very well, but that was the 70’s when there were huge budget cuts and layoffs. Other job experiences, some very interesting and lots of fun, and finally the desire to work from home led me back to my passion for creative writing. Not what I had planned, but oh so very happy doing it.

And while my dear hubby isn’t the first to have proposed to me – or even the first I considered – he was the only one I accepted. So at one time my dreams were different until things I saw weren’t as desired as I thought they were. I had even known hubby for a while before we became involved and hadn’t once thought of making a life with him. But “events” threw us together and boy did I ever make the right choice. Perhaps the others I considered helped me to see who I really wanted to be with.

I love the lyrics to the Sinatra song “My Way” – It’s a tune I hum frequently as part of my personal philosophy:

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

Common Bond, Tangled Hearts


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. When Layne’s abusive “ex-husband” shows up, they are torn apart by danger, kidnapping and lies.


“Hey Layne,” He caught her hand. “Talk to me. Tell me about you.” He felt a need to be close to her. Justin didn’t feel at all surprised that he wanted things to work out between them.

She smiled at him. “Like what?”

She had such a sweet smile, he thought. “I don’t know. What are your dreams?”

Layne lost her smile. Then she shrugged. “People like me don’t have dreams, Justin.”

“Come on, everybody has dreams.” Whether they get to follow them or not is a different story.

“Maybe, when I was a little girl.” She laughed. “I wanted to invent a robot to collect the eggs on the farm so I could stay in bed later.” Her voice faded. “After my grandma died, I just dreamt that I would wake up on the farm again.”

He paused for a moment. Justin knew so very well how difficult things had been for her. She had told him about being bounced around between foster homes. She had also told him how she met Charlie.

“And now, Layne, do you have dreams now?” He sounded so serious.

He saw her eyes well up with tears. “Actually yes, I do have a dream. I dream that I will always be able to protect my son. I dream that I’ll always be here for him and that he’ll never be so desperate for a hero that… he’ll do something totally stupid.” Just like his mother, she thought. “I dream that I can do something to shield him from people who will just use him.”

Justin put his arm around her shoulder and leaned down close to her ear. “Layne, I’ll do whatever I can to help you.”

She nodded. “Thank-you.”

“How about for you, Layne? Don’t you want something for yourself?” He continued to gently probe. He smiled. “Don’t you have any frivolous dreams?”

She shrugged. “There isn’t much I need. I have my son, that’s all I want.”

He wanted to ask if she wanted a family, a husband… a real one, a home. He wanted to know if she could want him. “But how about just for you, just for Layne?”

Thinking about it, Layne finally grinned. “I guess it’s dumb, I don’t know. I never got my high school diploma. I guess I don’t really need it, I mean I’ve managed okay without it. But sometimes it’s, well, when folks talk about their degrees and all, it’s embarrassing.” She looked innocently at him. “I… haven’t really admitted that to anyone before.”

* * *

Chelle Cordero is a multi-published author with Vanilla Heart Publishing and a full-time freelance writer with local and national newspapers and magazines. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, family and three spoiled pussycats. In addition to her books and articles, Chelle pens a weekly writing course available by subscription at Amazon Kindle Blogs and volunteers with her local ambulance corps as an EMT.

Chelle’s website:
Chelle’s blog:
Smashwords BuyLink:

Exposing Ourselves



It’s fiction… or is it?

Every time a reader picks up our writing we are allowing them deep, DEEP, insights into things that are personally meaningful to us. Everyone wonders how much of our story is true and how much of our main character is really the author.

How can we not influence our characters as we write? Every experience that we have colors our own view of right and wrong so it’s only natural that our heroes and heroines do the kind of things we think are good. Many of us are told to write what we know and by doing that we are literally undressing ourselves each time, no masks, no protective attire – just us. It’s those subjects we feel passionate about that give us foundation for the best stories.

In the long run we do insert ourselves into every tale. We wind up writing our biographies in bits and pieces Obviously we can’t write every story about “ourselves”, even if we do deny it. We research and listen to others, we allow our imaginations to wander, we combine people that we know into one. Our characters are pretend, fiction, not real. But in the long run our ideals, our desires and our fears infiltrate our writing.

Readers often ask authors if the people in our stories are real; they are real to us. Have we visited the sights we speak about in our books? Did we do the things our characters do? Did we overcome the same odds? Do we know people like the other characters? What they are really curious about is how much of our stories is autobiographical.

Which puts us into the uncomfortable position of feeling like we are standing naked in front of people, many of them strangers. We are forced to admit truths and tell people why things are important to us; everyone expects things to mean something. Saying “it sounded good to me” is not an acceptable reason for throwing an obstacle in our character’s path. We have to know WHY we saw that event as a conflict.

After we have poured our emotions into our writing – then comes an even harder challenge. People review our work, sometimes professionally, sometimes as an individual reader seeking enjoyment. And since so many of our “truisms” have been included we tend to view criticism quite personallly. After all if I’ve shared my ideology with my heroine and she’s not liked, then am I? Simple things like dressing my character up for a night on the town may be my idea of “lookin’ good” and if someone else doesn’t agree, it really gets personal

Once we get over the trauma of our first book, we learn to breathe once more and get ready to stand naked in front of our public all over again.

Bio – Chelle Cordero

Chelle was born in the Bronx, NYC to Marcy and Reva Cordero. The younger of two daughters, Chelle’s dad really wanted a son; he wanted to do father-son things and refused to be done out, so he taught his two daughters that they could do anything they wanted to do.

Chelle has multiple romantic suspense novels and one murder mystery published with Vanilla Heart Publishing and short stories in anthologies Forever Friend, With Arms Wide Open, Nature’s Gifts and Passionate Hearts. She also freelances for several newspapers and magazines. She’s currently working on her next novel, a murder mystery called Hyphema.

Chelle lives in the scenic Hudson Valley of NY with her family. In her spare time, Chelle volunteers as an EMT with her local ambulance corps where she is presently serving as President of the all volunteer corps.

Visit Chelle’s website at

Acckk! Check out my blog on the VHP Author’s Blog

Check out the VHP Authors’ Blog


Organization, or rather the extreme lack of it, is the bane of my existence. As a self-employed – and too broke to hire assistants – writer, I have to keep track of my different projects, deadlines, invoices, bills and other “I gotta do it(s)”. Organization has NEVER been my forte… (Read More)

Giving Birth to Your Characters Workshop

Mark it on your calendars now – October 11 through 17
the only FREE conference of its kind!

Our Online Writers Conference is aimed to offer you, the writer, whatever resource we can to give you the opportunity to enhance and improve your craft, to offer the opportunity to make contacts to reach that next level all writers seek – publication!

Our vision for organizing this online and very FREE writers conference as an annual event is to bring the writing world a bit closer for you. I understand many writers out there do not have the monetary resources to attend face-to-face conferences, or perhaps they are situated far, and even some writers may be incapacitated making it difficult for them to travel.

Within the world of the Internet, everything is possible and with this in mind we offer you this chance to come out, chat with our Presenters, ask them questions and even attend a few of our FREE workshops to be held throughout the week.

…and I am very excited to announce
that I will be teaching a week long workshop

Giving Birth to Your Characters

don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity

registrations are underway NOW