Hi Marge!! For chilis or any peppers, you need to plant your seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before the average last frost for your area. Everyone has a different frost date, so you will need to find out, maybe from a local nursery, what yours is.
All seeds need two things to germinate. Warmth and moisture. The seed's internal pressure rises as it absorbs water, and ruptures the seed coat. Most seeds need to be at a temperature of 75-90 degrees farenheit. They also need air. Start them in a porous soil, that is kept evenly moist, but not soaking wet. Seeds will rot if they sit in water for days, and the seedlings will suffer from damping off if they are kept too damp.
Pepper roots do not like to be disturbed, so when you start them, put them in peat pots, so that you don't need to remove them from pots or flats. You may want to plant 2 or 3 in each pot to ensure germination in each pot.
Peppers take about 3-4 weeks to sprout, so you need to be patient. Once they do, they need at least 5 hours of sun or light a day.
Once the peppers are about 2-3 inches tall, thin them, leaving one plant per pot. Once they are 4-6 inches tall, they are ready for the garden or greenhous, but only if it termperate outside. Do not plant them out if the soil temperature is less than 60 degrees farenheit. Provide a bit of covering for shade for the first few days to prevent any shock from transplanting, and they are set to go!!
Best of luck, and if you have any other questions, feel free to stop in again!