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.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Email From Hell

Getting an email address correct can be life altering...if not for you, for someone you may not even know...
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.

Because of their hectic lifestyle, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, while his wife planned to fly down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a Baptist minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.

The widow decided to check her e-mail expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed  and fainted.

The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: March 2, 2013

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in.

I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P. S. Sure is hot down  here!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dishin' Tetterbaum's Truth, Stokes Style

I have had the privilege of working with a very talented actress on the making of the audiobook version of my first book in the Just Call Me Angel suspense series, Tetterbaum's TruthKelsey Lynn Stokes is a working actress, poet, published author, and audiobook narrator; and she is currently working towards the inception of her production company, 'House of Dolls' with partner in crime, Teo Cristea.

I am excited to have had the opportunity to meet her, interview her and to share a tidbit of her life's story with you.  One might say I am "Stoked" to be working with her on my books.  (ba-dum-bum)  Okay, enough with the punny humor.  With no further rambling, it is my pleasure to introduce Kelsey Lynn Stokes:

            In looking at your resume’, you are an established actress, a member of SAG, staring in many films.  Thus far, what has been your favorite role and why?

            My first starring role in the feature length film, “April Grace” continues to be one of the most life-changing and wonderful experiences of my life.  Members of the cast and crew remain some of my closest friends to this day, and inspire me to do great things with the gifts and privileges that I’ve been given.   I got the chance to be the goofy sixteen year old that I never let anyone see when I was actually that age, because I was too busy trying to grow up and have everyone take me seriously.  It was the most creatively stimulated I have felt.  Everything, trials and successes on set and off set made me a better person, and I will never ever forget the trust and love exchanged.  I often speculate that had I not been involved in this project, I would not still be pursuing acting.  It left me with a taste of artistry that I constantly search for in everything that I do.


If you could pick any role (television, film or stage) to play, what would be your first choice?

            Film is by far my favorite medium I have worked in, though I would love to
get more television work under my belt.  In that department, I’ve only done an episode of Discovery I.D. which seemed more like an Indie film set that say, an L.A. based television studio.  The taped shows I’ve been grateful to see appealed to me because you not only get to see playback, but you get the instant feedback of a live audience, which is usually exclusive to theater.  Part of me wishes that studio audience sitcoms like Frasier and Friends remained prevalent rather than being replaced with reality shows.  

            I would probably spontaneous combust if I were to be cast in any ‘Superman’ movie – I would love to play Lana Lang or Lois Lane in a future reboot of the legend.   Mostly, I want to keep my eyes open to new works; if I care a great deal about the script and the story, I’ll play the character.  Limiting myself to one idea of what a good role would be feels disillusioned.  When Hedda Gabler is revived on Broadway twenty years from now, I can see myself in her shoes.  I would be ecstatic.

Side note:  I TOTALLY agree with you on the whole reality tv show thing.  Blah.  I'd like to see more comedic sitcoms return as well.  Now, back to the interview:
Did you always want to be an actress…ever since you were a little girl?

I was Claire in the Nutcracker in 2nd grade and always a pro storyteller.  I would write all day long and spend the majority of my play dates in dress up boxes, so even if the conscious goal was not present until somewhere around 6th grade, I have always been infatuated with a good story.


How did you parlay film and stage work into Audiobook Narration?  Or did the narrating come first?

            I had knowledge of acx.com’s existence, but it did not fully enter my life until I returned to university in the Fall of 2012 and felt hopelessly under stimulated.  My creative juices had evaporated and when offers for audiobooks began flying about, my confidence and creativity washed back over me like tsunami.  It was rejuvenating and snapped me out of the dry spell I was experiencing.  Narrating comes incredibly naturally to me.

            In high school, we often read textbook passages aloud and my English teacher, Doug Waldoch, recruited me for the Debate & Forensics team.  His guidance, and that of Michael McAdam’s led me to win 2nd place in Serious Oral Interpretation in Cairo, Egypt as a lowly sophomore, and then swept gold the following year as a junior.

            The tiles had all been placed, and I simply had to take the first step forward to solidify the foundation laid out before me by people who saw that there was something I had to give. 


What person or people have most inspired you?

I know it may be cliché, but the true answer is my family.  My Dad, Mom & brother. My uncle Bob. My high school theater teacher, Mr. Ridley. My acting mentor, Pete Mattaliano.  My best friends Grace, and Teo.  The director of April Grace, Andrew Hutcheson. I feel like there have been so many incredible people in my life…

My Oscar speech will be unbearably long.


Where would you like to see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

In ten years, I would like to have been a series regular on a tv program, and have worked on film projects, both independent and studio features that I feel like I poured my soul into.  Those instances where everything falls into place and a collaborative effort results in true film artistry.  Among a multitude of other mind-blowing talents, I hope to have worked with directors Tarsem, and Jordan Vogt-Roberts, as well as actors Lee Pace, and Jennifer Lawrence. I want  to have birthed at least one script of my own, preferable a film adaptation of my novel, produced by House of Dolls, the company incepted last year with my close friend and creative partner, Teo Cristea.

…And of course, making a pretty penny doing voiceover work. Can’t beat that.


            You lived in Dubai for a while… can you share your experiences there?  What prompted you to move there?  How long were you there?  What was it like?  How was it different from where you now live in New York?

            I can 100% say that living in Dubai shaped who I am as a person.  I was eleven, it was midway through sixth grade, and my core was rocked with culture shock. 

            My father, who lived in Germany in his youth, had always wanted to move the family somewhere overseas, familiar with the mind-expanding experiences that accompany being a third-culture kid.  The opportunity arose in 2002, and we were on a plane to Dubai in March of 2003. I lived there six years, until I graduated the American School of Dubai in 2009, and moved to New York.  Living in Dubai is entirely surreal.  Like Vegas on crack.  You feel very removed from the rest of the world, in positive and negative ways.  They are always trying to do everything bigger and better, yet some aspects of everyday life feels primitive.  Getting errands done can take weeks.  The architecture is beautiful, the weather is unbeatable from October to April, and the vast diversity of people, cultures, backgrounds and industry is unfathomable.  The school was the center of my life, and my high school teachers remain close friends, stilling inspiring me and influencing me because they went the extra mile.  I am still trying to discover how to thank them.

 I’ve never been anywhere else like it, and though my heart and home are in New York, a part of me misses eating cheese manikish while lounging on the beach, catching snippets of Arabic on the wind and watching camels pad along the surf.

Where are you originally from?
My whole family is Canadian.  I was born in Belleville, Ontario (same as Avril Lavigne) and live in Barrie until I was eleven.  Then we moved to Dubai, U.A.E. where my parents still currently live.  I moved to NYC when I was seventeen and truly feel at home here.

If you could have any super-human powers, what would they be and why?
Flying. Duh. And Healing Powers. Can I pick two? We’re talking a Superman/Wolverine hybrid here. SuperWomaRine. Why not?

What did you think of Tetterbaum’s Truth when you first read it? 
I was surprised at how many twists and turns there were! Mystery isn’t my usual genre, but I often found myself with no idea as to what would happen next.  I had some long recording days because I could not stop myself from reading on!

Where do you record your Audiobook narrations?  Do you own your own studio?  Work from a home studio?  Work in conjunction with a production company?
My very first audiobook was recorded while sitting on the floor in my closet.  Tetterabaum’s Truth was recorded while I was trying to juggle a production assignment running the lightboard for a show at my university, so I recorded it in the recital hall.  It had a magnificent absence of sound, so there is absolutely no background noise. It’s wonderful silent. 

I decided to invest in a fantastic microphone and cleared out a different closet in my apartment in order to convert it into a home studio, acoustic padding, pop filter; the works!  I’ve got all the bells and whistles in my own place, so it is much easier to wake up and record than crouching on the ground.  My job right now is spend time talking to myself in a closet… J

You are a published author… what have you written?  Where can people find your work?
I published my first novel, ‘Clouded Visions’ when I was seventeen.  It’s available from any online supplier i.e. Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. You can order it locally from any bookstore.

At the moment, I’m working on a collaboration of poems juxtaposed with photography that I feel captures the essence of the poetry.  It has been a blast throwing ideas around with so many talented photographers. 

What other books have your narrated?
The Russian van Gogh by Robert Child.

Currently in the works are…
“Becoming Jolie” by Monique O’Connor James

“Finding Love’s Wings” by Zoey Derrick
“Reconnected” by Bethany Daniel

And of course…. The sequel to Tetterbaum’s Truth, ‘Traitors Among Us”!

If you could tell the world only three things about yourself, what would they be?

I will stop at nothing to accomplish what I set out to do.

If you enter my living space, it means you want to be assaulted with the color purple and inspirational quotes.

I do not tolerate unnecessary negativity or complacency.

Do you have siblings, children and/or pets?
My cat, Artemis, lives with my parents in Dubai.  I have an older brother, Matthew, who is 25 and currently training as a fighter pilot in the Canadian Air Force. He’s the coolest person I know.

What is your favorite way to spend an evening?
Yoga in the afternoon, a Broadway show, followed by dinner at the Cafeteria, and a stroll around the city. Perfection.  

What does a typical work day look like for an Audiobook narrator/Actress ?

It certainly depends on what else this particular actress may be dealing with in her life, and how many books she had to record…  I would like to say that one wakes up at 5 A.M. meditates for half an hour, rollerblades off to yoga and then returns to spend the day in her closet, reading and drinking tea, followed by the editing of said reading.  That only happens every so often, however.  Usually, I try and record everyday for at least forty-five minutes, and edit that material, or alternate days of recording and editing.  I’m involved with a whole world of activities, so I keep it consistent, not burdensome.

And last question...If you could have one last meal, what would it be?

Viewer discretion is advised…

I would walk to the Cafeteria, munching on Lays Ketchup chips (only from Canada) – I have no idea why they taste different here, but they do…

We would start with the black kale salad, angel hair pasta Carbonara with some pesto on the side, followed by Lemon/blueberry/ricotta pancakes. I would perhaps have room for pumpkin pie with butter pecan ice cream, and the white chocolate raspberry bread pudding.  Walking home, I’d definitely stop and get a cupcake from Crumbs.  Don’t judge me, it’s my last meal.

~ ~ ~
If you would like to learn more about Kelsey Lynn Stokes, please visit her website at:
www.KelseyLynnStokes.com  or you can find her on Twitter @KLynnStokes 

Give all of her audiobooks a listen... you might find yourself "Stoked" too.  :)

~ ~ ~
For a chance to win a FREE audiobook of Tetterbaum's Truth, leave a comment in the comment section below.  OR, you may send me your comment at:  AuthorSRClaridge@gmail.com     A winner will be drawn and announced on Monday, July 29th.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crazy Construction

We are having some construction done on our home and it has been nothing but one nightmare after another.  I’ve always heard the phrase, when referring to construction, “twice as long, twice as much,” but I never realized the truth in that statement until now.  In fact, I would venture to say truer words have never been spoken.

We are building a wet bar and our job was supposed to start on June 10, 2013.  It did not begin until July 11, 2013, one month and one day later than promised.  This was evidentially due to the fact that the cabinets were backordered.  Why, while waiting for the cabinets to arrive, they couldn’t have gone ahead and completed the electrical, flooring and plumbing part of the project is beyond me; but then again, the work ethic (or lack thereof) that I have witnessed in the construction world is simply something to which I cannot relate.

This delay made me have to cancel birthday plans for my birthday, my mom’s birthday, Fourth of July festivities with neighbors, and left our home in complete disarray during the visit of friends and family from Kansas City.  To say it left me frustrated is putting it lightly. 

Once the project finally began, it was one disaster after another, but that wasn’t the part that un-nerved me; it was the slowness, laziness and procrastinating-prone behavior that drove me to the edge.  “We’ll do that tomorrow,” became a common phrase.  “We’ll get that done for you next week,” was said countless times.  All the while I was thinking, You’re already here so why not just get it done now!

“Why do today what we can put off until tomorrow,” seemed to be each construction worker’s motto. 

Not only did the project start late…but the flooring came in slightly a different shade and thicker than the existing flooring to which it was supposed to be attached.  When the carpet was torn up and then replaced, they cut the padding too short, leaving staples sticking up through the carpet.  With several bloody toes, my daughter can personally attest to THAT disastrous mishap.  Once the cabinets arrived, one unit had shorter doors than what was required to allow room for the ice maker door to open.  This little error wasn’t caught until the cabinets were fully installed, thus making it necessary to return the ice maker and look for a smaller option.  Smaller ones undeniably produce less ice at a time, which is not what we had wanted; but, alas, it’s what we’re stuck with now.  The company who was coming to install the rock was scheduled on the wrong day, pushing project completion back yet another week. 

“I’ll come back and do that later,” became a daily remark.  All the while I wanted to pull out my hair.  How can people stay in business with such a terrible work ethic?  I struggled to remain polite and calm and smile in the face of delay after delay after delay.

The rock installer never showed up and never called to explain.  Perhaps he’s dead or incarcerated… who knows?  Certainly not me because I never got a text, an email or a phone call to tell me that he would not be coming to finish the job. 

During this process, I puzzled as to how these people stay in business.  Why do residents continue to hire them when they either don’t show up, don’t show up on time, delay, procrastinate, make excuses, etc.  Why do we let them get away with it?  I think it’s because most of them are nice, friendly, smiley, talkative, and make it seem as if they really do want to do a good job.  After all, all of the delays are outside of their control…right?  (Insert eye roll here.) Simply put, they are sales people…selling their trade.  In the real world, the corporate world, the retail world, no matter how friendly a person is, if they don’t show up and get their work done in a timely manner they’re fired.  Why, then, does this rule not apply in the construction realm?  ~





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flowers...It's An F-Word

I want to talk about the “F” word… that’s right… Flowers.  In my world, flowers fall under the “f-word” category.  Being that I am a human female and the majority of the human female population loves flowers, this makes me a bit of an enigma. The fact is I’m not completely flower adverse, I’m just more unaffected by them. 

 That being said, there are some flowers I do not like at all.  One such beast is a rose.  I can’t stand red roses and I can tolerate white ones but only if they are dispersed throughout a bouquet of other white flowers. 

I am adverse to all yellow flowers, with the exception of those giant sunflowers that can grow to tower six feet tall.  I like to stand next to them and pretend I’ve been shrunken down to a teeny-tiny size.

The only flowers I truly love are white daisies, but not in a vase in my home.  I like them growing wild.

Wild flowers that grow freely in the mountains, adding splashes of color across the hillside are pretty, but I have no desire to pluck them and shove them into a vase in my home.  In fact, I despise flowers in my home.  I don’t like the smell of any flowers and all they do is sit there in a vase filled with water that is slowly stagnating, eventually to spew their petals and leaves all over my countertop or table.  That equals more clean-up work for me, and I’m not seeking out more things to clean.  What’s more is that they remind me of illness and death.  Maybe that’s because the only time I ever give or receive flowers is usually when someone is hurting or mourning.

My mother and my aunt both have lovely flower gardens and they work their butts off to make them beautiful.  They’re always outside digging, weed pulling, potting, watering, testing chemical levels, etc.  It’s exhausting.  I acknowledge the serene beauty of all of the colorful flowers, but is it worth the blood, sweat and tears that goes into it? It is worth the back pain and stiff knees the next day from so much bending?   To them, it is most certainly worth it; and as I see them labor with love for their flowers, I think to myself, there must be a gardening gene of which I lack.  For I cannot see the benefit of doting over a plant I can’t even eat!

Flowers… for some, they are fabulous…for me, they’re just another “f-word.” ~


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Title-Bearing Ass

Have you ever or do you currently work for someone that clearly does not belong in a leadership position?  Perhaps they think they are God’s gift to the company, but in reality they don’t have a clue what they’re doing.  They blame others for every mishap, fire people on a whim, and leave every employee mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted with their constant nagging. They might actually be a good person at heart, but when placed in the wrong industry, they can’t handle the pressure and it manifests itself in a demanding demeanor, unrealistic expectations and bullying the personnel.  Know anyone like that?   Well, in this struggling economy where jobs are hard to come by and harder still to keep, Yahoo has come up with five ways to survive a terrible boss.

You can read the report HERE.

Through the years I’ve been blessed to have worked for some wonderful people, and I’ve also had my share of terrible bosses.  One boss in particular enjoyed pushing my buttons and after a year of tolerating her demeaning remarks, she had finally pushed too far and I had had enough.  After she made a snide remark at my expense, I picked up a four inch three-ring binder and chucked it across the office at her.  As it crashed by her feet and she looked up in awe, I said some choice words, told her exactly what I thought of her and then summed it all up with “I quit.”  That was a good day.   Another boss pissed me off and I picked up a white, resin chair and threw it across the room, again announcing “I quit.”  But the cream de la cream was the time that I worked for a boss who spread lies about me, hit on me and made things very uncomfortable for me.  One day, I had had enough, so right before lunch time I calmly began packing up my desk.  When he asked what I was doing, I said, “Quitting.”  He said, “Well, you’re going to give me two weeks’ notice.”  I said, “No.  I’m giving you two minutes.”  It was a liberating feeling carrying my stuff to my car and never looking back.  That was a great day.

I’m not recommending anyone do what I did.  These jobs were back in the early nineties, when the economy was in a much better state and jobs were easy to come by.  That being said, there comes a point when you have to stand up for yourself, for your rights and for personal respect.  There is no justifiable reason for a boss to be a consistent asshole to any employee.  It isn’t right and it shouldn’t be acceptable.

If you’re dreading going to work every day because that one person in a leadership position is beating you up mentally, physically and emotionally, maybe it’s time to start looking for something else.  Try Yahoo’s five ways to survive a terrible boss and if that doesn’t work, take matters into your own hands.  Update your resume.  Start networking.  Let the people you know and trust help you find something better.  No one deserves to walk into the office every day and be beaten down.  A successful business is run by people, not statistics, not numbers, not graphs or charts.  If someone with a high-fluting title sucks the life and the heart out of the company, the business as a whole will eventually die off.  

A job title doesn’t give anyone the right to be mean… and just because they bear the title doesn’t mean they are right.  In fact, a terrible boss is nothing more than a title-bearing ass. ~


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dream Big, Work Hard, Play Hard

I want everything…don’t you?  Don’t we all?  If we are honest with ourselves, don’t we want everything the world has to offer?  I'm not talking about just physical items or amassing wealth.  I'm talking about the totality of everything.  Don’t we want every chance at happiness, every opportunity for success, every extravagance, every freedom, every dream fulfilled?  Don’t we want health, wealth, peace, joy, and love?  Of course we do, it is human nature, and there’s nothing wrong with it.  The human spirit drives us to try harder, dig deeper and dream bigger.  It gives us the courage to let our dreams sprout wings and soar, and it keeps us coming back for more.  It beckons us to get back up when we fall, to tackle every obstacle, to fight the good fight and to climb higher.  It begs us to believe that we can achieve whatever we set our mind on.  Filled with determination, the human spirit withstands the storm, with the hope of a brighter tomorrow. 

We live one life and shouldn’t that life be worth living?

There are two types of people in the world:  Those that use their desire for more to motivate them to strive harder toward excellence and those that do nothing and think the world owes them something.   Maybe it is that the latter has had their spirit broken.  Maybe they have been mistreated, victimized or abused and have simply given up.  I don’t know; but what I do know is that the world doesn’t owe anyone anything.   If you have birthed a dream into existence, it is up to you to help it flourish.  It is up to you to face the mountains in your life, to grab the reigns and hold on tight and to never let go.  It is up to you to stay tough through every storm and believe you’re good enough to live that dream. 

Life doesn’t owe you anything.  It is a gift.  Don’t you owe it to yourself to unwrap the present and start living? 

Sure, it’s hard, but everything in life that is worth having takes a lot of work to get.   Beautiful marriages don’t just happen; it takes two people working really hard at it.  Great friendships don’t just appear; it takes two people working really hard at it.  A buff physique doesn’t happen overnight; it takes hours upon hours every week of training.  Money doesn’t grow on trees; people have to work hard to climb the corporate ladder to be able to land in a nest of financial security. 

We get one chance at life… I want to make the most of it.  Dream big and work hard, so you can play hard. ~


Friday, July 12, 2013

The Password is "Me-ness"

Do you remember the television show, Square Pegs?  I find myself, at times, relating to the conceptual idealization of that show.  Though I’m far from the definition of “square,” the conceptual implication is the same.  I often feel like I am a square peg who is trying to cram itself into a round hole.  It goes without saying that the only way to squish a square peg into a round hole is to sand off the edges, grind down the sides, and buff out the pointy parts until little square-ness remains. 

I’ll be more likeable if ….    I’ll be more endearing if….   I’ll be better received if….  If all of the “me-ness” is ground away.

The big IF.  I think it stands for Image Fantasy.   The notion that IF a person conforms to the image of what others believe they should be, life will be better.  If you behave a certain way, dress a certain way, say the right things, meet the right people, do what you’re told, blend in and be good…well, life will be easier.  Maybe.  But will it be fun?

If you grind away all of the “me-ness” doesn’t that result in yet another human being conforming to normalcy?  Is it just me, or is “normal” simply another word for booooooring?

I know my edges can be sharp and pointy at times, but if you sand them off and shove me into a round hole of conformity, I lose something valuable.  With those sharp edges comes a different way of looking at the world, a creative energy, a part of me that is unique and unlike anyone else. 

Dr. Seuss once said, “Why blend in when you were designed to stand out.”  I love this phrase because I think, in its simplicity, that it houses the core of all wisdom.  God created every person as a unique individual and He took the time to give each one special attributes so that each of us could connect, share and leave the world somehow changed for the better.  He designed every one of us to stand out in some way, be it big or small.  He uses us all.  If that’s the case, then why are we trying to shove square pegs into round holes or vice versa?  Why is our society driven toward conformity?  Why do we try so hard to convince other people that our way is best or our belief is right?  Can’t we just be who we are… uniquely designed to stand out for whatever talent has been bestowed upon us?  Shouldn’t we simply appreciate who we are and who we are not?

In almost every area of my life I have felt like a square peg being crammed into a round hole.  There have been few places and fewer faces where or with whom I could honestly say I felt accepted as the real me and felt I truly belonged.   I’m not pointing fingers or placing blame, as most of the time it has been me trying to shove myself into the wrong hole.  Most of the time it has been me battling my own me-ness. 

If I was thinner…  If I was smarter…  If I was richer…  If I was funnier…  If I was prettier…  my life would be better. 

Image Fantasy.  The most powerful two letter word in the English language is IF and it can destroy a person from the inside out… IF you let it.

The harsh reality of our universe is that IF is not controllable, and if we live according to the laws of the unknown ifs in our lives, we will crumble.  True fulfillment comes from accepting who you are, not who you think you will become IF everything goes right and you can cram your square self into a round hole.  True fulfillment is in looking in the mirror and smiling back at yourself because you see the inner uniqueness that God gave you…and you like how it makes you stand out. 

Not everyone is going to like you… and you know what…that’s okay.  It has taken me forty-three years to realize that it is alright if everyone doesn’t like me.  Everyone isn’t supposed to like me.  It isn’t my job to make people like me.  It’s simply my job to be me.

I’ve learned that you cannot please everyone and no matter how hard you try, you will never please everyone.  I liken it to an umpire at a baseball game.  With every call the ump makes, half of the people in the stands love him and half of the people in the stands hate him.  His job isn’t to worry about what those people think.  His job is to make the best call he can at every play.  My blog is a perfect example of this.  If I share only information about my books and my writing habits, people stop visiting my blog.  They get bored and I don’t blame them.  I get bored reading about people’s writing habits too.  If I write about sex, religion or philosophical ideals, my readership goes up but I end up receiving angry emails from people who disagree with the position or stance I have taken on these topics.  Or, I have people that think I share too much personal information.  So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing I can do for myself and for my readers is to keep it real.  I’m not going to sand down my rough edges or grind off my pointy corners and try to shove myself into a hole of conformity on the off chance that I might be accepted and liked by everyone.  I’m going to share my “me-ness” because that’s all God gave me and if He thought it was good enough, then I believe it’s good enough.  ~




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Remembering the Past

Those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it.”

I’m uncertain who first said this, but he or she spoke with wisdom.  The past, whether speaking historically or personally, is a foundational element that has shaped the present and will continue to mold the future.   Learning from the past helps ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated; both those made by us and by others.  It is only when we pretend the past doesn’t exist that we find ourselves on a similar path toward destruction.

No one knows this better than Angel from the Just Call Me Angel series.  The problem she encounters is that she doesn’t know about her family’s past, so learning from it isn’t an option.  In fact, she doesn’t usually find out about the past until it has already come back to bite her in the ass.   Be that as it may, Angel is determined not to allow history to repeat itself.  From the moment she learns the truth about her identity and her Mafia roots, she sets out on a course to change the face of the mob.

Meet Angel and join her as she uncovers Tetterbaum’s Truth…now in Audiobook.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


So many times we define ourselves by what we are against, when the real challenge is in finding out what we are for…. because when you are truly for something, everyone will know what you are against without you having to say it, force it or beat them over the head with it.  The best form of protest is not in standing against something, but in standing for something better.    

In standing for something, we are highlighting a positive.  In standing against something, we are illuminating a negative.  Which position will be better received by others?  The negative or the positive?  Which stance will promote growth and healing and birth new perspective?  The negative or the positive? 

When you live for something, you promote a positive energy, whereas, when you stand against something, you generate a negative energy.  Actively standing against something makes others feel condemned, while simply living for something promotes a certain sense of peace and respect in the foundational faith in which you have chosen to live your life.   Some people call this “tolerance” and frown upon it.  Some even say it is a “sin” to not take an active stance against certain things.  I smile and nod and walk away from those people.  For, to me, intolerance and judgment are far more damaging and, dare I say, “sinful.”  

Who am I to judge sin?  Who are you to label what is sin and what is not sin?  We are all mere humans, interpreting the Bible in many different ways; and in the process, sadly missing the truth.  The truth is simple:  No one is without sin.  That means you nor I have the right to stand against anyone else and the choices they have made for their life.  Before you raise that hate sign in the name of God or plaster duct tape across your lips in the name of God, go look in the mirror.  
Let the man or woman without sin cast the first stone.

Religion makes rules.  God wants relationship.  There is no human being on the planet worthy of labeling any action “sinful.”  Only God has the right, the power, the authority and the ability to label sin.  Not even the Pope, viewed as the godliest man in the world, possesses that right.

We need to stop the negativity. We need to stop the Anti-Anti-  Anti-  and start promoting the Pro- Pro- Pro-.   Isn’t it ironic that the Anti-, as in Anti-Christ, can so violently squelch the Pro-, as in Pro-mise of Christ?   Isn't it amazing how negative energy seems to spread so much faster than positive energy?  What would happen if we all stopped standing against something and started, instead, to stand for something better in our lives?  What would happen if we stopped judging one another and started loving each other?  What would happen if we stopped focusing on the bad stuff and started promoting the good stuff?  Could it be that positive energy would spread faster than the negative if we only gave it a chance?  What would happen if we stopped pointing fingers and started shaking hands?
Live in relationship with God and one another.  Love God.  Love others.  Be thankful for the gift of life and the blessings that befall you.  If we all stand for love, goodness, kindness, mercy and truth, there will not be a need to stand against anything.
Start living for something today. ~

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Knocked Upside the Head

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my forty-three years on this planet, it’s that you cannot judge a book by its cover…especially when the proverbial book is a human being.  The biggest, burliest, scariest dudes often have the softest hearts and most tender souls.  The roughest, rugged, tattooed-from-head-to-toe women often have the sweetest, gentlest spirits.  The person that you sit next to in a classroom or on the bus, the one you secretly judge based solely on their appearance, could become your best friend…if only you could lay the pre-judgments aside and look beyond the exterior.

It isn’t easy to do.  Our culture is so exterior driven that judging people on first appearance has become an acceptable reflex; but just because something is acceptable doesn’t make it wise or right.

I was sitting in a Starbucks the other day with my laptop and coffee, and I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between two ladies at a table adjacent to mine.  A man and a woman had entered the coffee shop at the same time and these ladies were trying to figure out if they were a couple or entered simultaneously as a mere coincidence.  The man was tall, handsome, dressed in a business suit and had gray hair.  I would guess him to be in his mid-fifties.  The woman had brown hair that was dyed blonde, was thin and attractive and wore a flowered skirt, light blue spaghetti strap top and white sandals.  I would guess her to be in her late twenties.  In a matter of moments it was obvious that the two had arrived together, as the woman looped her arm in his while standing at the counter.

This is the conversation I overheard:

“Look at them,” Lady one scoffed.  “That’s disgusting.  She’s too young for him.”

Lady two casually glanced over her shoulder and gave an eye roll.  “How do you know they’re together?”

“He’s holding her hand!”  Lady one appeared very upset, to the point that I began to wonder if perhaps she knew this man and knew the story behind he and the younger woman.  “It makes me sick!”  She barked.  She went on to tell Lady two that the man was wearing a wedding ring and the younger woman was not.

“What can you do?” Lady two shrugged.  “She’s obviously with him for his money and you can see why he’s with her.”  She cupped her hands near her own breasts to indicate the young woman was well endowed, which instinctively made me dart my eyes to the young woman’s chest and analyze the size of her boobs.  They were nice, as far as breasts go, not overly large, not overly small. They were perky but didn’t look fake and she certainly wasn’t flaunting them.   I found it intriguing that sexual motive was being assigned simply based on the woman’s breasts.

The older man and younger woman carried their coffee and sat in the table directly in front of mine.  This would make it difficult for the other women to gossip about them, as they were clearly within earshot.

“Let’s go,” Lady one sighed and stood up.  Lady two followed suit.  “I’ve seen enough.”

The two women paraded out of the front door and I watched as they walked toward a black Mercedes Benz, got in and drove away.  I wondered where they might be headed and rolled my eyes, thinking that Lady one, in particular, was rich, snobby and clearly judged people from only a high-horse view.  I didn’t realize in that moment that I was just as guilty of judging her as she was of judging the man and younger woman. I had deemed her rich and snobby simply based on the type of car she was driving.

As I sat there, now eavesdropping on the man and younger woman’s conversation, I learned that he was recently widowed and she was his step-daughter from his wife’s previous marriage. She wasn’t a gold digger, he wasn't sneaking around, involved in some illicit affair and their relationship had absolutely nothing to do with the size or perkiness of her breasts.  They were sharing stories about her mother, his wife, who had lost a long battle to cancer.  Talk about life perspective knocking you upside the head.  It hit me so hard I'm surprised I didn't fall right out of my seat. 

Leaving the coffee shop and climbing into my car, I wondered what people thought about me.  Was I judged on my appearance?  On the car I drove?  On the perkiness of my breasts or the size of my ass?  I pondered how many times I had made pre-judgments based on similar things…exterior things.  How many times had I applied my own life experiences, fears, doubts, etc. to others, assigning them motive that probably had never even entered their mind?  How many times had I judged a book by its cover and was dead wrong?

I didn’t get a lot of writing done while in the coffee shop, but I walked out a better person.  I walked out with an awareness I didn’t possess when I entered.  I walked out with my eyes opened just a little bit more and a personal challenge to not pre-judge other people. 

Because…everybody has a story and it should never be judged without ever being heard. ~