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.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Exodus from Hate

I just read an article wherein Exodus International has announced that they are shutting down in an effort to stop hurting people. 

What a remarkable statement their founder, Alan Chambers, has made.  I believe he should be commended for his change of heart and his efforts in finally taking the right steps...steps away from accidentally spreading hate...steps toward a Biblical foundation of "love thy neighbor."

My favorite quote from the announcement is: "For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."

You can read the full announcement HERE.  But, beyond that, I encourage you to read Chambers full apology stated on the Exodus website, wherein he shares his personal convictions, his experiences and what ultimately led him to this decision.  You can read that by clicking HERE.

Another favorite quote from Chambers is:  "My beliefs about these things (sex and marriage) will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself."   

Chambers has certainly gone against the grain and taken a risky stance for a man in his position, and I believe he should be commended.  Any Believer who is able to publically admit that, though their intentions were good, they ultimately went off track and ended up hurting people with God's Word instead of promoting healing, is, well, a fine, upstanding individual in my book.  It takes guts to come out and say you were wrong.  It takes strength to admit that you've gone off track and it takes courage to shut everything down so you can repair and re-focus.  Chambers is going to open another ministry and says he and his wife are dedicated to the focus of proclaiming God's grace and salvation for everyone.  He said, "Grace is the center of salvation, not sin; our focus should be on grace."

I tried to commend him in a somewhat public forum yesterday and was immediately shot down by fellow Christians, one in particular, who accused me of calling ALL Christians bigots.  As can be typical of the radical right, who ironically think they are always right but should probably be called the radical wrong, she only saw the issue of homosexuality and never even bothered to look at Chamber's heart. She jumped all over me, trying to put words in my mouth, trying to accuse me of words I hadn't said and wasn't even thinking...to the point that I finally told her to kiss my ass.  And then she played the victim (insert eye roll here).  Oh, so typical.

Christians.  It's people like this woman that make me ashamed to bear the title and people like Alan Chambers that make me proud to be a Believer. 

Alan Chambers, you ROCK!  May others follow your lead and learn to walk in love instead of hate, judgment and condemnation.  After all, we are ALL created equal and we ALL are saved by grace, God's acceptance and His love.  There is no room for discrimination and finger-pointing; and one thing we, Christians, seem to forget or overlook is the nasty little fact that casting judgment is just one more form of sin.  May we all look in the mirror as Chambers has done.  ~

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


June is a crazy month.  I haven’t blogged in over a week because there’s been a lot going on in my life.  Nothing bad…just the normal hectic stuff…schedules and commitments that keep me from having any opportunity to sit at my keyboard.  Consequently, I’ve been buried in email because I just haven’t had time to keep up with it.  As July approaches, I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  Of course, there’s always the chance it might be a freight train about to run me over.

Though I haven’t blogged much in June, I have thought deeply about some things.  These thoughts may be indicative of a mid-life crisis or they may actually be signs of some form of spiritual growth…who knows.  I’ve observed people, history, and mulled over personal experiences and have come to the conclusion that religion sucks.  I can honestly sit here and tell you that in my experience and in my observations religion has caused more problems than it has done good.  I have come to the poignant conclusion, or had an epiphany,  that religion is nothing more than the conglomeration of political games in the name of God, hinging its success on the power of guilt and fear.  How many people throughout history have died fighting over a religion? How many people have justified killing with religion?  How many relationships and friendships have been destroyed over religion?

And where is God in all of that mayhem and madness?  Probably shaking His head and wondering how humanity can so outlandishly miss the point.

Whenever I question things of a spiritual nature, I always go back to three fundamental things.  Faith, Hope and Love.  The greatest and most important being love.  If we love God and we love others, how then does religion even matter?  If we live simply by this principal, where then does religion gain its power over us? 

Love is untainted, pure and the most powerful force in existence.  If we simply spread that love with our lives, isn’t that enough?  Jesus Himself said, “the greatest of these is love.”  Therefore, I take that to mean that above all else, we are to love….God, others, ourselves, and all things living. 

Religion taints love with regulations and guilt and fear tactics.  Give this much.  Don’t do that.  Do this.  God hates this.  God loves that.  The asinine rules go on and on and on. The irony is that love isn’t about rules, it’s about relationship. The Ten Commandments are rules, yes, but if you are living a life of love, following those commandments is a given.  If you are living a life of love then you have no desire to murder or steal from someone else or deceive others. If you are living a life of love, giving to assist others is second nature, lending a helping hand is common place.  You don’t need to be told to do it… because you already desire to do it.

If life isn’t for living and living abundantly than what is the point in being here?  I ask myself this question frequently.  If our purpose for being on the planet isn’t to love others and have a damn good time while doing it, then why the hell are we here?

I have many friends from different religious backgrounds.  Most, if not all (myself included) have suffered severe guilt from their religions.  Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.   That’s the favorite religious word.  Don’t drink. Don’t smoke.  Don’t listen to secular music.  Don’t dance.  Don’t wear pants.  Don’t swear.  Don’t curse.  Don’t have premarital sex.  Don’t use birth control.  Don’t drink caffeine.  Don’t show your ankles.  Don’t go out in public without your head covered.  The list goes on and on and on; and not one of these rules has anything to do with God and love.

It’s all a sham.  It’s a money making power trip.  It’s a political game in the name of God and I am hereby standing up and publically blowing raspberries in the face of religion.

I love God and I love His son, Jesus Christ and I am thankful every second of every day for salvation and the blessings He has bestowed upon me… and I say this recognizing fully that nothing in this sentence has anything to do with religion.

Life is a gift… one religion wants to control, stifle and command.  Don’t let it.  Life is a gift that was meant to opened and enjoyed and shared.   No father gives his children the gift of rules and regulations and judgments and condemnations, fear and guilt… neither does our Heavenly Father.   He gives life and love and He gives it abundantly.

I understand fully now that Religion gives rules while God gives relationship. I choose the latter. 

My entire life has been one quilt after another quilt and one fear after another fear, all religion related; and I’m just plum tuckered out.  So, Religion, you can kiss my big, fat, white ass.  You can take all the fear and guilt, the judgment and condemnation and shove it…. because life is too damn short.  I’m going to live the way I want to live.  I’m going to love God and love others and I’m going to do it my way.  Like Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it my way.”

The irony is, I’m not writing this from a rebellious spirit, but rather from a place of understanding.  See, if I strive to follow all of the rules and yet, am so stifled by them that what I’m doing, and how I’m living isn’t real; then the love I’m trying to show isn’t real.  It’s all a façade and I don’t want to live a façade any longer.  I want to live loving people because it’s how I truly feel, not because it’s just one more thing I’m “supposed” to do.  I’m done with the religious “have-tos”…. I’m finished with the bullshit.  If I’d rather sit on my deck on Sunday morning and have Bloody Marys with friends instead of going to church, I’m going to do it and I’m no longer going to feel guilty about it.  Why?  Because let me say it straight, sometimes church is boring and friends are more fun.   That’s saying a lot because I go to a pretty exciting church…still, there are days when I feel closer to God at home than I do in the church. 

See, God is everywhere and anywhere.  I don’t have to get on my knees or pray a certain prayer or be in a particular building.  I can talk to Him in my home, on a mountain and even on the toilet.  He’s there and listening….just like a dad…because He is one.  It’s about love not church.  It’s about love not rules.  It’s about love not have-to’s and shoulds.

Love…it literally and figuratively makes the world go ‘round.  It’s all that matters.  It’s the salve that soothes.  It’s the only constant and the only fix that works.  It’s healing and intoxicating and it fulfills unlike anything else on the planet.  Love…that’s what life is all about.  ~

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I’ve been blessed with wonderful parents, both of whom I deeply admire.  I wrote about my Mom on a Mother’s Day blog and now that Father’s Day has rolled around, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my Dad.   

My dad’s name is Gary and he is a man of many talents.  He has two true loves:  my Mother and baseball.  Since he was a small child, my dad has been playing baseball and fully believes that baseball is a game that is meant to be played every day.  As a lefty, he was a star player on his little league team and went on to shine through high school ball and into college.  He played for the Missouri Tigers Baseball team in the early 1960’s when they went to the World Series every year and won several state championships.  Much to many people’s surprise, instead of accepting a recruitment offer from a minor league team, my Dad decided to finish Veterinary school; but his love of baseball remained.

Taking a sabbatical from baseball, Gary and his wife started a family, bought a home in St. Louis,
began a Veterinary Practice and opened a frozen custard restaurant; but baseball beckoned him.  He finally answered the call by becoming a batting practice pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, a position he has held for the past thirty years… a position that has enabled him to talk baseball and rub elbows with some of the most talented players to ever take the field.   He even got to meet actor Tom Selleck when he was shooting the movie, Mr. Baseball, in which a scene was shot at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  In 2008, he was inducted into the St. Louis Baseball Hall of Fame.

My Dad has many accolades; more than one blog can cover.  Hailed as one of the best veterinary
surgeons in the state, there were countless clients sad to see my Dad retire.  A model/actor, who has filmed several commercials and feature films, i.e. Up in the Air with George Clooney.  A  Business Owner.  Veterinarian.  Pitcher.  Hunter. Coach.  Wine Enthusiast.  The list goes on and on; but those aren’t his most valuable assets. 
He’s one of the most giving people you’ll ever meet.  He’ll go out of his way to help anyone. If you were to define going the extra mile, his picture would be definition enough.  He loves deeply and puts that love into constant action, especially with his wife, his kids and his grandkids.  To them, he’s Papa (pronounced Paw-Paw) and he’s the best Papa in the world.

He’s comical, creative, smart, athletic and offers great advice.  In the face of something troubling, he’ll tell you not to worry because “you’ll get your ticket when you get to the station.”  And he’s right.  In the hour of despair he’ll remind you not to “sweat the small stuff, and that it’s all small stuff.”   And when you think you won’t recover from an embarrassing moment, he’s there to put it all in perspective with the words, “millions of Chinese don’t know and don’t give a damn.”

If I’ve learned anything from my Dad, and I’ve learned a lot…it would be that family matters, blood is thicker than water, and God isn’t always found in a church building; but rather in the one-on-one walks with Him through the woods, the fields and on the mountain tops.   

The bottom line is, my Dad rocks and I'm blessed to have him in my life.  Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I love you.  ~


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Slow-Roasted Love

Coffee... some call it a drug, some call it a dependency... I call it a slow-roasted sip of Heaven. 

Yes...I need it.

Yes...I want it.

Yes...I crave it.

Yes...I'm addicted and I have no intention of being set free from my addiction.

I love coffee like bears love honey...like stoners love pizza...like the Easter Bunny loves carrots and bourbon (at least at our house)....like sharks love blood... like flies love a big, steaming cow patty.  THAT's how much I love coffee.  :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tight Spot

I wanted to share a joke I received via email:

In a crowded city at a busy bus stop, a woman who was
waiting for a bus was wearing a tight leather skirt. As the bus
stopped and it was her turn to get on, she became aware that
her skirt was too tight to allow her leg to come up to the height
of the first step of the bus.

Slightly embarrassed and with a quick smile to the bus driver,
she reached behind her to unzip her skirt a little, thinking that
this would give her enough slack to raise her leg.

Again, she tried to make the step only to
discover she still couldn't.
So, a little more embarrassed, she once again reached behind
her to unzip her skirt a little more.
For the second time,
attempted the step, and, once again,
much to her chagrin, she
could not raise her leg.
With little smile to the driver, she
again reached behind to unzip
a little more and again was unable to
make the step.
About this time, a large Texan who was
standing behind her
picked her up easily by the waist and
placed her gently on the
step of the bus.
She went ballistic and turned to the would-be
Samaritan and
screeched, "How dare you touch my body!
I don't even know
who you are!"

The Texan smiled and drawled,
"Well, ma'am, normally I would
agree with you, but after you unzipped
my fly three times, I kinda
figured we was friends."

Hope this brought a smile to your face this morning, like it did to mine.  Go out today and help others, if only by giving them the gift of a smile.  A simple smile is a universal language that has the power to brighten days, lift hearts and chase sadness away.  ~


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Playing Dead

DEATH TRAP by S.R.Claridge

Fourth book in the Just Call Me Angel series

When Giovanni’s private jet explodes with Angel presumably on board, the family is thrust into a state of crisis and mourning.  When they learn the explosion was not due to a malfunction but a well-planned attack, Angel’s men set out on a course for revenge; while Giovanni must face the hard reality of assigning a new Boss to the family.  Unknown to anyone Angel is alive, but is forced into hiding from the terrorist group enacting revenge on her grandfather, Salvatore.  She watches in horror as her men are lured one-by-one into a trap of death, with their only chance for survival falling on the shoulders of a stranger with an unstable past.  Tempers flare and bullets fly as the lines of family loyalty blur into a melting pot of Mafia destruction, thickening when Angel’s men discover that the stranger behind the attack isn’t a stranger at all.  Emotions run high as Angel must face the suffocating reality that her only hope for staying alive is to play dead.

The Just Call Me Angel series has received rave reviews...
So, don't delay...start reading the series today!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Unsuspected Uprising


Third book in the Just Call Me Angel series

 After a brutal attack on Tetterbaum’s Pub, Angel discovers the five Chicago families have been infiltrated by the Russian Bratva. When the Cappo Di Tutti Capi orders a hit on her most trusted men, she is forced to walk a fine line between compassion and rage; taking drastic measures to flush out the infiltrators before more people die.  Traitors are friends and friends become enemies in this deceptive Mafia world, where Angel’s only hope of stopping the Russian uprising is to turn against her own blood. 

You can watch the video trailer HERE.

Purchase Russian Uprising today in either Ebook or print format.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Thrill-Ride Continues

Traitors Among Us is the second book in the Just Call Me Angel series and has been hailed by reviewers as one of the most exciting books in the series, being called a "thrill-ride" and "an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller." 

Traitors Among Us by S.R.Claridge

With Tetterbaum’s Truth revealed and her identity exposed, Angel Martin tries to adjust to her radically new role as head of the Chicago Maratinzano family.  Unfortunately, Mafia life offers little down time.

The sudden kidnapping of her mother and Aunt Olga leads Angel on a path to a past she’s never known and an adversary she is unable to find.  When an FBI mob bust against her family is fueled by administration level information, Angel turns to the other Chicago Bosses for answers; but every trail dead ends and every person is not who they seem.

Racing to save the people she loves most, Angel must learn to trust her instincts, even when she comes face-to-face with the scariest truth yet… there are Traitors Among Us.

You can watch a video trailer HERE.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Start Your Summer With a BANG!

With the release of the fifth book in the Just Call Me Angel series, I wanted to take this opportunity to give a brief overview of each novel and encourage readers to start their summer off with as BaNG!  Book one:  Tetterbaum’s Truth


Tetterbaum’s Truth by S.R.Claridge

Angel Martin plans to marry Tony and live happily ever after… until Tony disappears.  Nursing a broken heart, she takes a job at Tetterbaum’s Pub, unaware it is the most prestigious Mafia hangout in Chicago. Through an unlikely turn of events, Angel finds herself in the middle of a revengeful scheme from a past she’s never known and a Mafia blackmail scandal that’s already left several dead. 

Racing to find answers, she discovers her entire life has been one carefully orchestrated lie.  No one is who they say they are and everyone has an agenda of their own. 

The closer she gets to uncovering hidden evidence the more the crime families want her out of the way. 

With her true identity now exposed, learning who she can trust becomes a matter of life and death and unraveling the past becomes her only hope for staying alive.

You can also watch the video trailer by clicking HERE

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

USA Today Recommends LOOSE ENDS

I am excited to announce that my latest release, Loose Ends, the fifth novel in the Just Call Me Angel series is NOW AVAILABLE and has been included in the USA Today HEA listing of books.  You can view the full USA Today listing HERE.
If you have yet had the opportunity to read the Just Call Me Angel series, I will be offering a small sampling of each novel this week on my blog, so please check back daily. 
Loose Ends by S.R.Claridge
Fifth book in the Just Call Me Angel series

It's been a year since Angel discovered her true identity in the Mafia world and being the first female boss has had its challenges. She's been kidnapped, shot at, Tasered, blown up and thrown out of a plane. Not many women can say that. Through it all she's learned that family loyalty means everything, traitors aren't tolerated and love can be deadly. Unraveling the truth means tying up loose ends so they cannot ensnare the family again. The only problem is some loose ends aren't fit to be tied.
Like all of the Just Call Me Angel novels, Loose Ends can be purchased in Ebook or print at any of these online retailers:
 Barnes & Noble
You can also visit my website for a free read of the first thirty pages of Loose Ends (or any of my other novels, as well):
At the top, click on the tab:  FREE READ


Monday, June 3, 2013

You're Not Alone

I didn’t write this post… in fact, I don’t even know the author, but I thought it was so good that it had to be shared.  If you’d like to visit the website from where I pulled this article, click HERE. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone-tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. I'm not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter and chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages 5 and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week, when Isaac told my sister-in-law that, "My daddy has hair all over." Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, "Daddy! I have a beard just like you!" Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, "Daddy and Ben time."

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I'm going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.

One of my children is for sure going to be the next Steve Jobs. I now have immense empathy for his parents. He has a precise vision of what he wants -- exactly that way and no other way. Sometimes, it's the way his plate needs to be centered exactly to his chair, or how his socks go on, or exactly how the picture of the pink dolphin needs to look -- with brave eyes, not sad eyes, daddy! He is a laser beam, and he is not satisfied until it's exactly right.

I have to confess that sometimes, the sound of his screaming drives me to hide in the pantry. And I will neither confirm nor deny that while in there, I compulsively eat chips and/or dark chocolate.

There are people who say this to me:

"You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!"

I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold them under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.

If you have friends with small children -- especially if your children are now teenagers or if they're grown -- please vow to me right now that you will never say this to them. Not because it's not true, but because it really, really doesn't help.

We know it's true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn't feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn't for you, and it isn't for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you.

If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can't believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:

You are not a terrible parent if you can't figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend's children do. She's obviously using a bizarre and probably illegal form of hypnotism.

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they'd be put in prison.

You are not a terrible parent if you can't figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.

You are not a terrible parent if you'd rather be at work.

You are not a terrible parent if you just can't wait for them to go to bed.

You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.

You're not a terrible parent.

You're an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we're failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So, maybe it's time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next president who knows how to read when she's 3 and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it's time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it's like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So, the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. Volunteer to take their kids for a few hours so they can be alone in their own house and have sex when they're not so tired, for heaven's sake. Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they're doing a good job. Just don't freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we're botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they're older.

You're bone-tired. I'm not sure when it's going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You're not alone.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

ALL Violence Sucks

In an email sent to me several weeks ago, a woman asked why I was what she termed “pro-guns.”  It got me thinking…

I’m not “pro-gun”….I’m pro-freedom.  The difference is that I don’t think everyone should own a gun, but that those who want to own a gun should have the right to do so.  I believe in the Right to Bear Arms.

As I’ve stated in previous blogs, with what feels like ever-growing violence in our world, perhaps certain restrictions on gun ownership makes sense.  I don’t pretend to have any answers as to what restrictions would be appropriate, other than the fact that I don’t believe anyone outside of our military personnel needs to own an automatic assault weapon.  No one needs to have the ability to rapidly gun down innocent bystanders in theatres, schools or anywhere else.

Gun violence sucks…but the truth is ALL violence sucks.

Last week in England a British soldier was hacked to death with a machete in the middle of the street.  A couple weeks ago an Oregon high school student was arrested because he constructed his own bombs and had plans to blow up his school.  Last year a little girl named Jessica was kidnapped and murdered with a knife.  Every month, women and children are removed from their homes and placed in shelters because they are abused by their boyfriends, husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, etc.  Years ago, a woman intentionally ran over her husband several times with her car.  Sadly, I could cite example after example…

The truth is violence begins in the heart.  A gun is as useless as a knife, a machete, a bomb, a car and a fist if there is no violence and hatred in the heart of the person holding it.  Guns are taking a bad rap right now, but they are merely a symptom of the real problem.  Hatred and insanity drive violent acts.

Hatred causes a person to plan to kill innocent people.  Insanity causes a person to slaughter children.  The weapon isn’t to blame, the people are to blame. 

If we remove every gun from the planet, do you believe murder will cease to exist?  Murder existed long before guns were ever invented.  Killing comes from the heart and a killer will use whatever weapon is at his or her disposal if he really wants to carry out a violent plan. 

In the olden days people were burned at the stake, stoned to death, hung and poisoned.  Should we outlaw matches, rope and rocks?

On the flip side, I state again, I don’t believe anyone outside of our military personnel should have access to automatic assault weapons.  Until we can identify and control “crazy” these weapons should not be mainstream.  Until we can rid our world of hate, everything and anything can be a weapon of violence.

I’m not “pro-gun”…I’m pro-freedom and pro-love…because only love can change the world and until it changes, no one is truly safe.  Why then should I sacrifice my right to bear arms to protect myself and my family when the violent, hate-filled hearts of the criminally insane are still rampant among us?  That’s a risk I cannot take. 
See, guns take lives but they also save lives.  ~