About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch. An avid reader from way back when, Chelle first found her writing voice when her favorite aunt showed her a historical romance book that mentioned a Native American ancestor that she had been researching. She realized she could weave her own stories that could have the same impact on readers that she felt when reading. Most of her stories are contemporary western romances, but she also has a Western/Native American historical and paranormal romance waiting in line for attention. While Chelle hasn't published yet, she has met some success as a finalist in the Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter Contest, OKRWA's Finally A Bride, and two eHarlequin Editor Pitch contests.

The Gypsy in Me

I don’t know if I have a restless soul or if I was a gypsy in a previous life, but I love to travel.  Although the lack of a fat bank account does dampens my spirit a bit. We’ve moved quite a few times over the years and it’s the packing and unpacking that kills me…the new location, not so much.  My husband had a job welding in the construction of water towers and at first he traveled alone for months at a time.  But I was homeschooling my youngest at the time and we had the opportunity to go with my husband to a job in Louisiana.  I was in heaven.  The heat and humidity everyone griped about?  I loved it.  It was all part of the scenery.  Maybe one of the reasons I love to write is setting the scenery, immersing myself in the atmosphere and the story itself.  I was hooked and the kiddo and I went with him on several more job sites including Memphis, Tennessee, and Savannah, Georgia.  We also went to Arkansas and got caught in a massive ice storm and had to live without power, or heat, for a week.  Not something I would recommend as a vacation…but you learn to improvise and treasure the local lineman working with the power company to restore service.

Just one of the things I love about traveling is searching out the local history.  In Louisiana we made day trips to the “cities of the dead”, the famous New Orleans cemeteries.  We even followed a tour around to eavesdrop on the history of some of the tombs.  My sweet guys humored me because I could’ve spent hours walking around and my writer’s mind was definitely in high gear.  And of course we had to walk down Bourbon Street and around the French Quarter.  I still remember the melt-in-your-mouth beignets, covered in sweet powdered sugar, and the bitter, bold chicory coffee at the Café Du Monde.  I loved to strike up conversations with any local that had a Cajun accent.  They were good about sharing how to choose the freshest seafood vendors selling from ice chests along the side of the road and hole-in-the-wall restaurants with authentic Cajun food.  We also took a day to visit a couple of restored plantations and another for an alligator swamp tour for the little man.  The memories are still so vivid in our minds that we often talk about going back for a family vacation.

But I think my favorite job site of all was Savannah, Georgia.  The moss hanging from the trees, plantations from days of old, and the history surrounding us.  And we were there to participate in the famous St. Patrick’s day celebration.  We often walked through the historic district along the riverfront to watch the merchant ships and eat warm pecan pralines straight out of the copper kettles.  Well…almost straight out of the pots…they had to cool a bit first.  😉

I’d do it all over again.  The traveling, the history, the interesting people.  I’d do it for the experience, especially being able to share my love of history and culture with my guys.  My writer’s mind craves it.  One of these days…maybe I’ll take to the road again.

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch. An avid reader from way back when, Chelle first found her writing voice when her favorite aunt showed her a historical romance book that mentioned a Native American ancestor that she had been researching. She realized she could weave her own stories that could have the same impact on readers that she felt when reading. Most of her stories are contemporary western romances, but she also has a Western/Native American historical and paranormal romance waiting in line for attention. While Chelle hasn't published yet, she has met some success as a finalist in the Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter Contest, OKRWA's Finally A Bride, and two eHarlequin Editor Pitch contests.

Summer?! Really?

summer2For the first time in many, many years I am working a full-time job during the summer months.  I have been fortunate up until now to have been able to spend the time at home with my kiddos while enjoying the activities that go along with the heat and lack of a schedule.  Luckily, not sure if it can be considered luck or not, I am off work for the rest of this week so I can deal with storm damage issues.  And yes, the little man and I are trying to squeeze in a summer activity or two while I’m home.  Thankfully my new job has a great benefit package but with being a new employee…I will have to wait quite awhile before I can actually take time off for pleasure.  No vacation for us this year.

So what am I missing?  To be honest…nothing I can’t actually do after work or on the weekends.  I do miss being able to shop for groceries without dealing with being run over by wild weekend crowds.  And yes, I do miss being able to sleep in and wear my jammies all day.  I miss not being able to get lost in my current work-in-progress and write when inspiration strikes.  By the time I get home from work I’m scrambling to make dinner and/or do any cleaning or activities we have scheduled.  I am lucky though to have a cowboy who isn’t scared to wash a dish, or two, and help with whatever it is I’m trying to cram in before bedtime.

Long story made short?  Summer?!  The only difference for me now is that it’s hot.  Really, REALLY hot.  And we grill outside more to keep from heating up the house with the use of the stove or oven.  Oh…and swim.  *deep sigh*  Which means more work with cleaning the pool.  Is there anyone else out there sharing my misery?! I won’t try to show my jealousy (too much) if you tell me about the wonderful family vacation you have planned.  😉  Enjoy your summer!  I’m ready for fall and FOOTBALL!!

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch. An avid reader from way back when, Chelle first found her writing voice when her favorite aunt showed her a historical romance book that mentioned a Native American ancestor that she had been researching. She realized she could weave her own stories that could have the same impact on readers that she felt when reading. Most of her stories are contemporary western romances, but she also has a Western/Native American historical and paranormal romance waiting in line for attention. While Chelle hasn't published yet, she has met some success as a finalist in the Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter Contest, OKRWA's Finally A Bride, and two eHarlequin Editor Pitch contests.

Ever After

One of my favorite rainy day movies is Drew Barrymore’s play on Cinderella, Ever After.  An unexpected love weaves a tale of star-crossed lovers that struggle through to that almighty HEA.  The much sought Happily-Ever-After.  But I’d never looked at the movie from the wedding/marriage perspective.  Ok, I admit it.  I’m weird.  I wasn’t a dreamy little girl that played wedding with my Barbie’s.  My own environment didn’t encourage the dreams that many may have of planning the perfect wedding.  I’ve never been one to want the spotlight.  I’ll often avoid situations to keep that from happening.  I didn’t cut out pictures, or wish for the princess style flowing white gown.  I’m not, and never have been, a girly-girl.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I love me some bling but I don’t wear it often.  I’m a flip-flops and t-shirt kinda gal.  Ya know…jeans and boots during the winter.  So I’d never put much into the thought of what my dream wedding might be.  My wedding turned out to be more about sharing that special moment with friends and family than the little details so many stress over.  I didn’t even try on my wedding dress until the day I walked down the aisle.  Or grassy hill I should say.  My idea of the perfect wedding?  It’s not about the fashion, the flowers, the filet mignon…it’s the meaning behind the vows.  The wedding was all about sharing our commitment with friends and family.

I met my husband through friends when he first moved to town almost thirteen years ago.  I was a single mom that worked full-time and had returned to college.  I had my hands full and a handsome cowboy, that was younger than me, didn’t fit in that schedule except when my son wasn’t home.  But the cowboy was persistent and refused to give up.  When it came time for us to talk about a ceremony…it was all about a simple, close friends and family get together only.  That was the plan until my mother got ahold of the planning.  Her and her posse.  They may have taken over but they were also good about looking at who we were as a couple.  A western style wedding was the only true way to go.

And everything that could go wrong almost did.  I couldn’t find a western style wedding gown but did at the last second.  It was a little loose so I ordered a size smaller thinking I’d diet.  Ha.  If you know how much I like to cook and feed my cowboys…you’d be laughing too.  So as I was getting dressed…I wondered if I’d even be able to zip it up considering I’d never tried it on.  It fit perfectly.  My husband went to pick up his black, western cut tux jacket he was going to wear with jeans, boots, and his black cowboy hat, and it was the wrong size.  He and his friends went on a wild goose chase trying to find the shop that had his size in stock.  They ended up going the wrong direction and barely made it back…we’re talking 30 minutes to spare.  I dropped one of the decorations on the groom’s cake and we had to make repairs as guests were walking in.  The DJ responsible for the music showed up and had forgotten to bring the cd’s we requested.  So we were digging cd’s out of our vehicles 30 minutes before the ceremony began.  We chose to get married at a cabin on the lake with the ceremony in late June…in the typical Oklahoma heat.  The boats and jet ski noise in the background were an added plus.

And then there was the fact that I hate being in the spotlight.  I stepped out of the building to walk down the lawn to my groom…and realized a hundred plus people were standing up and staring at me.  I was walking in heels…in the grass…in a long, full dress.  I can barely remember the ceremony itself but I survived, after I took off my crinoline slip and heels, and we have a wonderful, funny story about our wedding that people still talk about.  We had barbeque and a full bar.  We had our friends and family.  We had great music and people stripping on the dance floor.  And I tear up thinking about how much it all meant to me…then and now.  It was all I could dream of and more.

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch. An avid reader from way back when, Chelle first found her writing voice when her favorite aunt showed her a historical romance book that mentioned a Native American ancestor that she had been researching. She realized she could weave her own stories that could have the same impact on readers that she felt when reading. Most of her stories are contemporary western romances, but she also has a Western/Native American historical and paranormal romance waiting in line for attention. While Chelle hasn't published yet, she has met some success as a finalist in the Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter Contest, OKRWA's Finally A Bride, and two eHarlequin Editor Pitch contests.

First Rejection

No, no, no…I’m not talking about my first crush in elementary school that crossed his eyes and ran the other direction when I professed my true love. Although I have to say that it could’ve been worse if I hadn’t watched, with my tender heart in pieces, as he slid to a stop and ran into the monkey bars. My best friend’s giggles quickly helped to start the healing process as the teacher picked gravel out of his elbows. My true love today, besides family and friends, would be my stories. Every hurt, joy, stress I feel is woven into my writing. It can get pretty emotional and I sometimes feel the torture I put my characters through. My contemporary stories focus on real life drama and intense relationships in small town America. Rugged cowboys, oh my, and the strong women that fight back when life tries to buck and bully them. And with as much emotion as I put into my stories, can you imagine the anxiety I felt when I first submitted my work to a critique group, and then the pain when the first response was a woman blasting me with tons of red ink? I actually considered quitting as I’m sure many others have done after rejection knocked them for a loop. But I have been truly blessed with my current critique partners, and even a few from the past. They steer me in the right direction with constructive criticism and have taught me so much along the way. They cheer me on and supply chocolate and hugs when I get shot down.

The reason rejections are felt more strongly than normal is because writing is  personal. My stories are something I put my heart into and when they’re rejected, I tend to take it personally. It’s hard not to. I’ve been writing for publication for almost seven years now and received my first rejection letter within three months of submitting. That is a quick response considering I know several writers that have been waiting a year, or two, for an editor to respond. They say that no news is good news. Really? Hand me a silver bucket I can throw up in from the overwhelming anxiety every time the phone rings or bings with notification that I have an email.

I have to admit though, my first editor rejection was a good one as far as rejections go. It was a revise and resubmit. The story was ultimately rejected but the process wasn’t as heartbreaking as I’ve been through since. I think the worst I’ve received was a form letter that they just plugged my name into the greeting. A critique partner received one with her name but the wrong manuscript title. The hard part about those types of rejections is not knowing if you even had a chance. Is there something you need to change or did you just get the wrong editor/agent on the wrong day? When you are receiving multiple rejections, examine the rejection letters (or critiques) and see if you can find common suggestions, mistakes. Do you feel as though you can make the changes without losing your voice?

There are plenty of authors with success stories out there with bestselling books on the market that are proud of the hundreds of rejection letters before they found the one editor, or agent, that led them to success. My first rejection was hard to swallow though I’m sure it could’ve been much worse. I find encouragement when I’m down by reading about how other authors have struggled but they kept plugging away and persevered. My post today sounds like it’s geared more toward the writer, but anyone can apply this post to something they really want to accomplish. Make positive changes if needed, but don’t give up if you really want something. Success is always the best revenge.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

Chelle Sandell

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch. An avid reader from way back when, Chelle first found her writing voice when her favorite aunt showed her a historical romance book that mentioned a Native American ancestor that she had been researching. She realized she could weave her own stories that could have the same impact on readers that she felt when reading. Most of her stories are contemporary western romances, but she also has a Western/Native American historical and paranormal romance waiting in line for attention. While Chelle hasn't published yet, she has met some success as a finalist in the Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter Contest, OKRWA's Finally A Bride, and two eHarlequin Editor Pitch contests.

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