S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gender Line

I have to share a portion of a letter I received from a woman whom I have never met in person, but have been virtual friends with for the past several years.  She has given me permission to discuss this topic because we have grown to a place where we are now able to laugh about it; but I will not be using her name.

This is what she wrote:

I’d like to meet you face to face because I find myself strangely drawn to you.  I know you’re married but I can’t stop thinking about you and I’d like us to be closer.  There’s something deeper in you that draws me and attracts me and I want to know you better.

The rest of the letter is more personal and doesn’t need to be exposed.  Suffice to say, had this letter come from a man I would have disregarded it; but, since it was written by a woman, I felt compelled to respond.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been confronted by a woman, but this time was different.  This particular person wasn’t “hitting” on me in the context of some sexual innuendo, she was reaching toward me because she felt (in her words) “comfortably close” to me.

This got me thinking…

Whether male or female we don’t control to whom we find ourselves attracted.  Our only control is over actions taken on the basis of that attraction.  Sometimes even gender lines can blur.  Now, I realize in making that statement that I’ve just angered every evangelical, right-winger out there…I’m sorry.  Still, a soul attraction can occur and that isn’t based on the exterior, but forms from something that shines and connects from the inside.

There are people on the planet that simply make you feel good, that make you feel loved and appreciated and even adored.  There are human beings with whom you connect, and we don’t get to choose who they are…sometimes they just find each other, as if magnetically drawn.  Loving someone doesn’t mean the relationship has to be sexual…sometimes just being closely knit is powerful enough.  There exists a magic in being “comfortably close” to another person and I’ve come to realize that that magic cannot always be determined or defined by a concrete gender line. ~



Monday, April 29, 2013

Readers ROCK!

Whenever I complete a manuscript and head into the editing process, my blogging slows down, which is what has been happening these past two weeks.  Editing is not as much fun as the creative process of writing, at least not for me; though I will say that I don’t despise it altogether.  It is a necessary evil, but the outcome is good.

So, please bear with me these next few days as I attempt to fine tune my manuscript.  After which, I will resume blogging regularly and will share some very funny letters I’ve recently received from readers. 
As always, thank you for reading my blog and my books.  Readers ROCK!  J

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More Magic Levels the Field

School dances are both exciting and horrifying, depending upon which side of the “cool” spectrum you sit.  For some, there’s a great deal of pressure in Prom, and I’m not just talking about finding a date. 

For a secure, popular child, Prom is a dream-come-true event.  For an insecure, socially awkward child, it’s a nightmare.

As an adult I can now look back and understand why some of the kids I knew chose not to attend our school’s formal dances.  At the time I thought it was simply because they couldn’t find a date, but now I realize that many of them never attempted to find a date.   Despite the fact that they might have liked to have gone, they weren’t willing to try and overcome the socially incomparable hurdles. 

See, for a popular girl from a wealthy family, there are only two hurdles to master:  A date and a dress.  Mom and Dad pay for dinner and a limo and the night is one to remember. 
For a girl who is not popular or wealthy, it becomes overwhelming.  How will she afford a dress and particularly one that will compare to what the rich girls are wearing?  She can’t pay for a hair stylist or a manicurist and a limo is completely out of the question.  When she walks into that dance, right or wrong, she already feels inferior to the others…even if she’s the most beautiful person in the room. 

Boys go through some of the same obstacles. 

Some schools have tried to combat this by making dances informal instead of formal.  I can see from where the thought process derived, though I strongly disagree with the conceptual output.  Minimizing the magic of a dance by allowing people to wear jeans instead of suits and dresses doesn’t make the socially awkward child suddenly fit in.  My suggestion would be just the opposite…increase the magic by making it a themed event.

This is why I love costume parties!

When you make a dance a “themed” event, you open it up for the socially awkward to creatively thrive.  It tweaks the focus so the gossip from the evening isn’t a degrading gasp of, “OMG! Did you see what she was wearing?”  But rather a surprised expression of, “OMG!  That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”  The “cool” factor of the night becomes about creativity and not about who has the most expensive gown.  In essence, a costume party levels the playing field for the night and allows everyone the opportunity to shine from the inside out.  The boy who suffers from terrible acne is intriguing and alluring in his Phantom mask.  The girl whose embarrassed by her thin, limp hair suddenly comes to life adorning a long, curly princess wig.  The math geek who sits in the corner of the class and only speaks when answering a calculus question, is able to show he can humorously embrace his own intelligence by wearing an Albert Einstein costume. 

Sometimes, particularly in high school, we get trapped in stereotypes and the real person inside sort of withers.  We look at others and size ourselves up…. I’m too fat.  I’m too ugly.  I’m not smart enough.  I don’t have any money.  My clothes aren’t designer.  My feet are too big.  I have acne.  My teeth are crooked.  My hair is stringy.  And that tiny voice inside gets drowned out…you know the one…the one that says, “You’re beautiful. You’re special.  You’re talented.  You’re unique.  You’re important.”  We start believing what we hear others saying and all of a sudden we think that we’re not good enough to attend the school dance.

But…that’s a lie.

Some kids might not be the popular or the cool ones…but they just might be the most creative ones and the most fun to hang around.  A dance shouldn’t push the socially awkward away, it should be the stage upon which they shine.  ~



Friday, April 19, 2013

WBC: May You All Be Gay

Did you know that the website for Westboro Baptist Church is www.godhatesfags.com?  I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked and yet, when I saw it, I found myself utterly speechless.  How deep must hate run in order to choose this name as your “church” website?  I cannot even fathom it.
Westboro has a history of repulsive behavior, none of which is Christ-like nor glorifies God in any way, shape or form.  They should not be allowed to bear the title of “church” as they are not a House of God, but rather a house of hate. 

They picket soldier’s funerals and hold signs that not only proclaim hatred toward homosexuals, but blame the homosexual community for terrorist activity and natural disasters; claiming it is the homosexual that causes God’s wrath upon the earth. 

This is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard…but the scary thing is, there are people who actually believe it.  How shallow is their soul!  How empty must they be to scarf up this type of filth and believe it holds some form of spiritual nutrition? 

Westboro tweeted that they plan to picket the funerals of the victims lost in the Boston Marathon bombings.  They also wrote:


It got me thinking… if I could have one Superhero power for one hour, I’d make all of the terrorists in the world spontaneously combust and I’d turn all of the Westboro Baptist Church members into homosexuals.  (Though that wouldn't be a very nice turn of events for the homosexual community.)

I wonder if they would carry their “God Hates Fags” signs then?  I wonder if they would blame every hurricane, tornado, bombing and shooting on themselves?  I wonder… 
On that happy note
I will leave you with this hope
This simple prayer I pray
Let Westboro all be gay.  ~


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Everything You Could Want - Mafia Style

I’ve been working on the fifth book in the Just Call Me Angel series, which has given me the opportunity to learn more about the Mafia in the States and abroad.  The research has been fascinating.  As I’m wrapping up the story, I realize my brain is already working on the next book, causing me to go back and plant tiny seeds of relevance for future installments. 

Part of the fun in writing an Italian Mafia series is in naming my characters.  I first develop the character’s outward appearance, pointing out some basic attributes like height, weight, hair color and eye color.  Occasionally, I note whether they have a pointy chin, squinty eyes or dimpled cheeks.  Next, I’ll describe any quirks they might possess.  For example, they might pop their gum, twirl their hair, fidget in their seat, or waddle when they walk.  Next comes speech.  I’ll assign an accent or an impediment; describe the pitch of their voice and any frequent phrases, like “babe” or “sweetheart,” “Merciful Heavens” or “crazy-ass.”  At this point, I usually feel as if the character has been brought to life and is in need of a backstory, if applicable to the plot, and a name.

I find names in various places.  From television programs, to the radio to internet searches, names are literally everywhere.  Sometimes one will just stick with me and other times I combine parts of several names to make a unique one.  Here are some of my favorite names from the Just Call Me Angel series:

Giovanni Maratinzano, Salvatore Buscetta, Enzo, Stephen Manucci, Joseph Venturini, Charles Andriachini, Rinaldo Rosenalli, Grayson Gallente, Mike Maletta, Carlos Cullato, Sean Shepherd, Scotrovi, Anya Grovashik, Stefano, Dr. Manzini… just to name a few.

After the real name has been assigned, I get to give pseudo-names or mobster names and this is where it gets really fun.  In the series, I have had characters called The Shark, The Snake, Big Mike, Trig, Chito and T-Rex. 

There are good cops and bad cops, Tasers, grenades, Uzi’s, comedy, drugs, drama, a love triangle, sex and most of all revenge done mafia style.  It has everything you could want in a suspense series, so if you haven’t joined the fun yet… pick up your copy today. 



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hate: The Root of Terrorism

There are many faces of terrorism.  Terrorism by definition is the act of inflicting terror.  It is not limited to a particular race, religion, political affiliation or nationality.  It comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.  It cannot be stopped because it cannot be seen until after it has unleashed its wrath.

In the wake of what happened Monday in Boston, it is difficult for me to listen to the peaceful activists who rise up to defend the international terrorists by saying, “How do you think they feel when our troops come to their countries, destroy their homes and murder their loved ones?” 

First, we don’t know if what occurred in Boston was the work of an international terrorist or a domestic one.  All we know is that it was indeed an act of terrorism.  Regardless, a terrorist’s actions should never be defended.

Second, and some have called me naïve, I don’t believe our American troops go into other countries and intentionally blow up innocent people.  I know there have been situations where innocent lives have been lost, but I do not believe the act was with intent and malice.  I know many US soldiers from several military branches and none of them have ever spoken of killing innocent women and children merely for the sake of killing.  None of them have pretended to blend with the culture, waited for a crowded event like the Boston marathon and then planted explosive devices so that they could kill unarmed, non-violent citizens.  We can debate whether or not our troops belong in other countries…but I will not believe we go there with terrorism in our hearts.

This marks that pacifist argument void in my book.

I’ve taken some flak for my harsh anti-terrorism view, but it doesn’t change my stance.  I understand it sounds harsh, but I believe all terrorists should be killed.  Let me put it in softer terms, though the outcome is the same…I believe that what comes around should go around; what is sown should be reaped.  Or, I can put it this way:  Karma.  Whatever you want to call it, I believe it’s time to take a stand against all terrorism and against all hate, regardless of what face it bears.

There are more good people in the world than bad.  There is more kindness than hatefulness, but what happens is that every act of terrorism causes a dual reaction among people.  It can either paralyze people into a fearful existence or it can empower people into a positive position of helpfulness.  Let it do the latter.

Goodness, helpfulness, love, peace and truth will prevail in the end, but let me say this:  They will not prevail by taking a pacifist stance and excusing terrorist behavior.  They prevail by ridding our nation and our world of terrorism.  They prevail by stopping the hate, not explaining it away, justifying it or ignoring it. 

Take a stand against hate in all of its many forms, and love will conquer.  ~


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Me...In A Nutshell

“Where does a person go to fit in when those of her own faith judge her to be too pagan and worldly?”

I saw this quote on a Facebook status the other day and it stuck with me.  Maybe it’s because it is the story of my life and the constant pondering of my soul.  You see, the greatest judgments in my life have come from those that share my faith, but do not share my religion because, as it would seem, I have none.

There is a vast difference between religion and relationship and I truly believe that God doesn’t care what religion you practice as long as you have a relationship with Him.  I believe He wants you to know Him and love Him as much as He loves you.  Does it matter if you worship the Almighty on a mountaintop or in a pew?  No.  It only matters that you worship Him.

Hate and violence stir our nation, and they stem from one source…judgment.  Mother Teresa said, “If you’re judging someone you are too busy to love them.”  There are countless verses in the Bible that speak against judging others.  The reason for this emphasis is that judgment stems from a spirit of hatefulness masked in an evangelical motive of purity labeled “God’s Agenda.”

But it is wrong.

The world may end in judgment, but the agenda of the Most High is one of love first, followed by mercy and compassion. Put your hate signs down.  Stop your condemnation of others.  If you need to point a finger go look in the mirror. Fight against the enemy, not against one another.  Who IS the enemy?  Hate is the enemy and it shows itself in the form of judgment derived from pseudo-godly arrogance and elitism.

Let me pose an odd question:  How many atheists are judging others for their beliefs or lifestyle choices? 

Now, I’m not saying I think people should become atheists.  I’m merely pointing out that somewhere along the line it seems that the "religious" people have picked up the torch of hate and have begun terrorizing the villagers and burning the towns…all in the name of God, which is ironic since God is love, not hate. 

Love is the most powerful influence in the world, and its counterpart, Hate, is the most destructive weapon known to mankind.  It starts in the heart and is fed by arrogance until it finally manifests itself in an act of violence against others.  "I'm right and you're wrong," is the foundation of judgment.  "I hold the truth and you are deceived," is the foundation of judgment.  Judgment, fed by arrogance and elitsim results in hateful actions, some of which can manifest violently.

I may not have a “religion” that those who share my faith can understand; but I have a relationship with God.  You won’t see me in church every Sunday, because quite frankly, I don’t always feel close to God while I’m in church.  You won’t find me handing out tracks, putting ‘Life’ tape over my lips or holding a sign that says ‘God hates homosexuality.’  I refuse to cast judgment on anyone else.  I'm not "right" and I don't hold a "truth" that isn't available to anyone else.  Thus, it isn’t my place to spew forth judment and frankly, I don’t want to carry the hatefulness that accompanies judgment in my heart. 

Hate destroys.  Whether you use a gun, a bomb, a knife, a rope, a sign or your words…hate brings about destruction; internal and external.  And if you are invoking judgment and destruction in the name of God or under the guise of His agenda, shame on you.  Shame, shame, shame on you.

I once had a fellow Christian scoff at me and say, “Well, how many people have you led to Christ?”  I didn’t answer, for it was none of her business.  That answer is between me and God.  I should have asked her, “How many people have you chased away from Christ with your judgmental arrogance and hateful elitism?”  That is the real question.

People of my faith don’t always like me…and I’m learning that that’s okay.  God likes me and He loves me and my faith is established in HIM alone and not the man-made, religious rules that cause damage to others.  Jesus said to love others, not judge them.  "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Would you stand in your own yard with 'Life' tape on your mouth?  Would you stand in your own yard holding a "God hates ME" sign?  Would you treat yourself the way you are treating the rest of the world who doesn't agree with you?

I might be nuts, but in the words of Gladys from the Ellen Show, “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”  J  That’s me in a nutshell.  ~

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Facade of Peace

Have you ever tried to please everyone in your life and then, all of a sudden, you realize you’re the one that’s miserable?  Why do we do that?  Why is acceptance so important that we’re willing to give up our dreams or try to change who we are?  I’ve been pondering these questions as of late…

I think we all have an innate need to be loved, but we also need to feel that people like us, respect us and desire to be with us.  This urge can become so strong that we sacrifice who we are in order to please those around us.  We give up everything we believe in, in order to keep the peace.

Loving someone often means you sacrifice for them and they, for you.  This is called relational balance. It’s a mutual giving and taking.  It is based on a level of respect for one another.  Loving someone means that their concerns become your concerns, that their heart means as much to you or even more to you than your heart, that their dreams and aspirations become your goals as well.  It means you don’t idly stand by and watch them pursue something dangerous, because you love them too much to see them hurting.  Love can be wonderfully easy at times and it can be devastatingly tough.

There are some people, however, who are one-sided.  They expect you to sacrifice everything for them and give nothing in return.  They are the ones who proudly boast, “This is who I am; you can accept me or get out.”  They are unwilling to share in a balanced relationship; thus, if you desire a relationship at all you end up being the one to change in order to keep things harmonious or peaceful for them.  These relationships are hollow and empty.  They are but a shell of what once was and the dwindling hope of what could be.

If one person cares only about themselves, then how can a relationship exist?  They force the other person to change, to keep quiet, to live a shallow lie so that they can continue doing what they’re doing and pretending that it isn’t hurting anyone else.  It’s like a drug addict that refuses to get help and kicks from their life anyone who tries to intervene.  If everyone around the drug addict sits down and shuts up and merely watches them spiral deeper into the abyss, taking everyone close down too… is that love? 

Or is love standing up, even though it’s tough, and saying, “You’re hurting everyone with your selfishness.  Open your eyes.”

Sssshhh. Quiet.  We don’t want to upset the addict.  We don’t want them to become angry and distant.  We want peace.  Are they not already distant?   Is a hollow, empty lie worth the façade of peace?

Let me pose another question:  If, in order to be accepted, you must kick from your life everyone who is not exactly like you; are you really being accepted? 

I ponder these things… ~

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poisonous Prophets

In an email from a member of a cult group of which I will not name, I was accused of being a bad example of Christianity because I was “not believing” in prophetic visions or “offerings” from God.

 "The bad example you set by claiming to be a follower of Christ and then not believing in the prophetic offerings given from the Lord will bring about destruction."

I want to publically set the record straight, as this accusation has now been thrown at me numerous times. The Bible talks about the gift of prophesy, therefore I do believe in its existence.  It also speaks of false prophets and I do believe in their existence, especially within this particular evangelical group.  My only argument on the topic of prophetic offerings has been that there should be no inaccuracies in a prophetic word that has come from God.  The Almighty is perfect.  He does not error.  Therefore, if a word or a vision is truly from Him then no part of it will be false.  There is no exception to this rule. 

It is not that I don't believe in prophecy, it is that I only believe in accurate prophecy.

Excuses have been made by evangelical power-seeking leaders, stating that prophetic words are no longer expected to be 100% accurate, that human emotion, ego and misguided intentions can lead to misinterpretation and even that demonic influence can affect the given word.  To this, I say, bullshit.  Show me anywhere in the Bible where God says it’s okay to distort His word. 

Truth is truth.  Lies are lies.  God is ALL truth.  Satan is ALL lies often manifested as half-truths or twisted truths.

Here is why an inaccurate prophetic word cannot be excused with a sigh and a head tilt, and an, "oh, well, the flesh gets in the way sometimes."  If you're allowing the flesh to get in the way than you are not a prophet of the Lord, you are nothing more than a glorified psychic.

If you are a Christian then you possess within you the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit.  If God gives you a prophetic word to deliver to someone else or to a group of people, His Holy Spirit within you will confirm that word 100% and when you go to speak it, you will not be nervous, afraid or have any red flags going off in your head, heart or spirit.  If there is even one teeny-tiny sense of apprehension inside of you...if there is even one teeny-tiny element of the word that is not completely accurate, then do not speak that word because it is not from God.

Every prophetic word...and I mean EVERY prophetic word that is from the Lord will be able to be confirmed and backed-up in every aspect in the written Word of God. 

If you want to go off half-cocked, spouting half-truths and words riddled with inaccuracies then go get yourself a job as a psychic.  But don't proclaim those falsehoods to be from the Almighty.

In all of the finger pointing at me, this particular cult group seems to have missed one very important element of Christianity.  The Bible.  The Bible is the living Word of God.  It is a culmination of the beginning and the end.  It encompasses everything.  God isn’t adding to the Bible because nothing needs to be added.  As you seek wisdom and knowledge, revelations of God’s truth become alive in you and you see things as you haven’t seen them before.  This is what the term "living Word" means.   The magic is that you can have read the same verse twenty times and it meant nothing to you, and then, all of a sudden, at the right moment in your life, when it is applicable, that same verse leaps from the page and nurtures your soul.  God’s Word feeds His children the right spiritual food at the right time.  It’s a personal walk.

God isn’t adding to the Bible, there is no sequel; everything is already in there, so if YOU are adding to it then you must realize that what you are adding is NOT from Him, but more likely from your own ego or from some form of spoon-fed deception.  Open your eyes. 

God doesn’t feed the false prophets, they feast on their own arrogance.

There are cult groups who like to behave as if God has given them a key to unlock the mysteries of His Word.  Jesus is the key and Jesus was given to everyone.  God isn’t entrusting a select few with the agenda of His Son’s glorious return.  He isn’t telling anyone the hour; and everything else you need to know has already been prophesied and recorded in the Bible. He’s not going to bestow upon some evangelical leader a vision of His return.  He already gave that vision to John on the isle of Patmos and told him to write it down.  It’s called the book of Revelations. 

There is nothing “new” that needs to be said.  God already said it all.  It’s ALL in His Word just waiting for you to discover it.  Does that mean He doesn’t speak to anyone anymore?  No.  What it means is that He speaks to individuals, personally, as they journey into His Word to get to know Him better.  He uncovers the truth that’s already been written and as you seek, He reveals more of His wisdom to you.

"The flesh gets in the way."  Oh, please!  If you believed for even an instant that the Almighty God spoke to you, would you alter even one word of it?  Would you change even a punctuation mark?  Are you that arrogant that you believe you have the authority to re-write the word of the Lord? 

Repulsive excuses.  Repulsive false prophets.  Repulsive elitism.

As far as me being a "bad example"...I'm a nobody...what I believe or don't believe doesn't affect the masses.  I don't have the power to cause destruction, but what your group leaders are doing causes more destruction and deception than any other force on the planet.   They are servants of the serpent in disguise, luring the youth with poisonous fruit. 

Look at the red flags around you…they are literally waving all over your campus… and open your eyes. ~




Saturday, April 13, 2013

Discretion: Not on My Blog!

Here is an excerpt from a letter I received last night, from someone who found my “This, That and The Other” blog to be distasteful.

“I am offended that you claim to be a follower of Christ and then talk publically about sexual activity and body parts.  You should use more discretion.”

I love these people.  I love the people in this world that are so stuffy and so set in their ways that they cannot fathom the possibility that someone like me, the sexual-body-parts-writing- blogger,  might be sitting in a pew next to them on Sunday morning… and what’s worse is I might have woken up early and had sex before going to church.  Gasp! 
Somehow, no matter what I write, someone, somewhere always has to bring God into it by saying, "How can you call yourself a Christian and...blah,blah,blah."

Yes, I’m a Christian who talks openly about sex and who complains that my breasts aren’t as perky as I’d like them to be.  I’m the Believer who believes that God created us to need human touch, to have a natural sexual curiosity and to crave things that make us feel better and look good. 

If my sexual openness offends you as a human being, I apologize. If it offends you as a Christian, then that’s your problem and not mine.  I don’t write articles of porn, nor do I post pictures of pornographic images.  I may post something sultry or sensual from time to time, but sensuality is a part of who we are as humans.  The allure of romance is what draws us closer to one another.  Our innate need to feel wanted is what drives us to pursue a suitable partner.  We require connection with others in many forms, because we were not designed to be alone. 

As for the human body, I believe it is one of God’s most remarkable creations.  It’s art.  It’s life.  It is to be treasured and adored.  It is also comedy, especially as we age.  I will most assuredly discuss sagging breasts and floppy penises as my number of birthdays increase.  It’s who I am and it has nothing to do with my heart for God or the fact that I am a Believer.
The question was:  Should I use more discretion?  The answer is:  Not on my blog.  ~

Friday, April 12, 2013

"This, That & The Other"

I was reading about a study that was conducted on 300+ women between the ages of 18-35 years regarding the effects of wearing a bra versus going braless. The study concluded that wearing a bra actually weakens muscles and causes more sagging.  You can read the study here.

I’m throwing a red flag, at least until further information is gathered.

First, how much sagging does that age demographic have?  I mean, why aren’t we conducting this study on women between the ages of 40-60 years?

Second, what size breasts are we studying?  If the 300+ women all belong to the itty-bitty-titty-committee than this is a moot point; however, if we’re studying DD’s then I have a difficult time believing that braless is better.

Third, were the researchers male or female, because (call me cynical) but I think men have a sexual incentive toward a scientific declaration that women are healthier braless.

More than any of the above reasons, I have two causes to object and both of them are attached to the front of my body.  For fun, let’s call them “This and That.”  Now, “This and That” are an average C in size.  They aren’t huge, but they’re not small potatoes either.  That being said, the mere thought of them slopping around in braless bliss is, well, uncomfortable.  If I bend over to pick something up, their likely to fall around my ears, and if I jog down the stairs, I could end up in the hospital.  Seriously, they need to be contained!

Now, I see some smaller breasted women wearing cute little halter tops without bras, and their breasts sit nicely in place…all perfectly perky…and I think to myself, “They look good.”  But “This and That” don’t sit perky or properly when braless.  They go wild.  They’re completely out of control.  They dive out of the sides, squeeze out of the top and smash themselves downward.  Truly, I tell you, they must be contained!

I envy women with breast implants because they can pull off a braless look like no one’s business!  They’re breasts are perky and round and ripe and always, always look good.  “This and That”…. well, not so much.  Women with implants can lie on their back and they’re breasts stay right where they belong.  “This and That” flop to the sides and try to hide in my arm pits.  Implanted breasts are like dogs that have gone through obedience school and exceled, while “This and That” are like the mutts that got kicked out of class for pooping on the carpet and chasing the neighbor’s cat.

Sigh.  I’m thankful to have breasts…but sometimes I wish “This and That” were well behaved enough to take them out in public, braless.  Maybe in time I’ll get them lifted, sucked, tucked, or whatever it is doctor’s do these days to reign them in.  “This and That” are a hand full… and don’t even get me started on “The Other.”  <wink>

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Malicious Masquerade

With his new mystery/suspense release, Malicious Masquerade, just hitting the shelves, Author Alan Cupp met with me to talk about life and his love of writing. 

Whether it’s with a captivating mystery novel or a funny promotional video for his church, Alan is always anticipating his next creative endeavor. In addition to writing fiction, Alan enjoys acting, music, travel, and playing sports. His life’s motto is, “It’s better to wear out than rust out.” Alan places a high value on time spent with his beautiful wife and their two sons. He lives his life according to his 4F philosophy: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun.

Below are some questions I had for Alan:

Where are you from?
I’m from Cincinnati, OH.

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
It was about seventeen years ago that I began to flirt with the idea of writing. Once I started, I quickly discovered it was something I enjoyed and had the capacity to do.

In what genre do you write, and why have you chosen this particular genre?
To be honest, I focus more on writing a good story first and then determine the genre later. I like a variety. I've written mystery/suspense, children's, and humor.

Are you self-published or have you signed with a publisher?  Why did you choose this direction for your career?

I have self-published in the past.  However, for this latest novel, Malicious Masquerade, I did sign with independent publisher, Henery Press. They've been great and I've really enjoyed working with them. They've been very helpful.

Malicious Masquerade can be purchased at the following retailers:

Amazon Kindle         B&N Nook           Kobo
         Amazon Paperback      B&N Paperback


List three things on your bucket list.

1) Write a number one novel

2) Write a successful Broadway play.

3) Write a hit song.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block?  If so, how do you get around it?
Absolutely. When that happens, I walk away and come back to it later. I try not to get too worked up over it. Eventually, the block will crumble and the creative juices will start flowing again.

What is the best advice you've ever received?  Who gave you this advice?
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

How many novels have you written?
This is my forth published novel.

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on another mystery novel about a guy trying to turn his troubled life around.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?


Alan, thank you for stopping by my blog today and giving us all a chance to get to know you better.  I wish you great success in your writing career.  ~







Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lost in the "Other" File

I recently discovered that there is an “Other” tab on my Facebook message page.  It sits in the upper left hand corner right next to the bolded tab that reads:  Inbox.  Who knew, right?  Between my author account and my personal account, there were over two hundred emails in my “Other” file.  I started wading through them, one-by-one, deleting the announcements of events already gone by and the advertisements.  I get the feeling the “Other” tab is similar to a “Spam” folder on yahoo. 
After I had narrowed the list to fifty-seven emails, I began to read them.  Twenty-two of them said they “liked my smile”… that must be a common pick-up line in the Facebook world.  Seven of them wanted to know if I was single and explained how it would be beneficial for us to chat online.  Three said they wanted to have sex with me…which, I took as a compliment.  After all, it’s not every day that someone just blurts out, “I’d like to have sex with you.”   And two were from women who were hitting on me.  They obviously hadn't read my profile to see that I am a heterosexual female, but I was flattered nonetheless.  Always good to keep one's proverbial options open.  :)

The remaining twenty-three emails were very personal and I felt terrible that some of them had been sitting in this “Other” file for well over a year.  These people must have felt that they poured out their heart to a stranger who didn’t even care enough to acknowledge them.  I am so sorry for this oversight.

If any of you are reading this blog, please know that my tardy response was caused by ignorance and not an intentional disregard for your feelings. 

I want to share a small portion of one of the emails from my "Other" file because it touched me.

Dear Author S.R.Claridge, I’ve read House of Lies and I can’t stop thinking about you and the story you wrote.  I’ve come out of a cult group and am still haunted by everything I saw and experienced while there.  When I close my eyes to sleep at night, I still see the demons and hear their chanting.  I can hardly pray without unconsciously swaying back and forth and slipping into a dark place.  Sometimes the fear takes hold of me to the point that I can’t move in my bed and it feels like its pushing me down deeper into bed.  I can’t tell anyone because they’ll all say I told you so, or think I’m going crazy, but I know after reading your book that you understand.  I know you’ve seen it and that you know what’s happening.  I was at [cult group name deleted] for almost 14 months and I saw the deception you wrote about.  It’s real and I’m praying for you because I know you’ve been attacked by the demons too and I know they’re after you.

This letter sat in my “Other” file since November 2012.  I responded to it today and am hoping my response isn’t too late.  This woman was reaching for help, and I wasn’t there.  This woman was desperate to find someone who understood her, and I was absent.  Though I am a stranger to her, this woman needed me, and I wasn’t paying attention.  I’m praying for her and hoping she writes back to tell me that she has found freedom and is no longer tormented by her involvement with this cult group. 

If I have missed any other letters….if I have failed to respond to you…please write to me again.  My lack of response is not intentional.  If I have ignored you, it is because I have not seen your letter, so please re-send it.  I will never ignore a heartfelt outpouring nor a stranger’s plea for help.

I’m here.  I’m listening.  I understand and I care.  I promise I will write back. ~



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Bloomin' Arse

Every year my son’s baseball team has a pre-season, Mothers versus Sons baseball game.  The moms have won the past two years.  This year…though we won, I lost…that is, I lost a piece of my dignity.

I grew up playing fast-pitch softball so I am no stranger to swinging a bat.  In fact, batting is one of my favorite sports-type activities to do.  It feels good to nail the ball and watch it soar into the outfield.  It makes me feel powerful and it's a great stress-reliever, ridding the body of any pent-up tension.  My dad, Gary Woods, was a star baseball player at Mizzou, was recruited by the New York Yankees, and has pitched batting practice for the St. Louis Cardinals for the past thirty years.  He has taught me well.  Suffice to say, baseball is in our blood.

I may like my stilettos and make-up, but on the field I’m no girly-girl.  I can man-up at the plate.  I can run the bases and play first base or any of the outfield positions.  In other words, I’m not a wimp when it comes to playing the sport.  So, what happened on Saturday…

The problem was I was rushed and I didn’t stretch out.  Saturday morning I took my daughter to rehearsal, then ran to pick up my husband’s prescriptions, went to the grocery store, rushed home to unload the groceries, got in a twenty-five minute quick workout, showered, got dressed, did my hair and make-up, rushed out the door to pick my daughter up from rehearsal and get her to piano lessons, and then rushed from piano lessons to the Mother-Son baseball game.  As I pulled up to the field, the game was just getting ready to start.  All of the moms were warming up their arms as I leapt from my Suburban, kicking off my heels and pulling off my skirt while in motion.  I slipped on shorts over my leggings and removed my blouse so to be able to play in my tank top.  Off came the jewelry, on came the socks and tennis shoes and I pulled my hair into a pony tail.  I was ready…or so I thought.

I took to the plate without even a practice swing.  As the ball came toward me, I nailed it!  A fly ball straight over the left-fielders head, scoring two runs.  That’s the good news.  The bad news was when I took off to run, I pulled the muscle that leads from my left upper thigh into my butt.  I hobbled to first base and when the ball was over-thrown, I hobbled to second; at which time I called time out and brought in a pinch runner.  I was in excruciating pain and knew there was no way I could make it to the third if the next batter hit the ball.

How do you humiliate yourself in front of your son’s baseball team?  Hurt your butt and have to spend the rest of the game lying on the grass with an ice pack on your ass! 

So, the moms won …but I lost some dignity in the process. Aw, the thrill of victory and the agony of my bloomin’ arse!  ~