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, December 22, 2016

Be the HO HO HO in his Merry Christmas!

I receive email, mostly from women, talking about my books, the characters in my books and often times about their own lives and the struggles or triumphs therein. Today, on the verge of Christmas, I wanted to share an excerpt from one of these letters:

“I’ve read all of your books and your blogs including the really really old stuff [Desire the Fire] about keeping a marriage alive.  No Easy Way is my favorite book because of Tom and Kate’s marriage and how I can relate to the problems they face.  I’ve been married twenty-seven years.  Our kids are grown and gone and I have two grandbabies on the way.  It’s an exciting time in our lives but I sometimes miss the passion I read about in yours and other’s books.  I think it’s that drive for passion that leads people into affairs and I [like every woman out there] am looking for a way to avoid that.  I want to give my husband something special for Christmas to show him that the bedroom doesn’t have to be boring for us just because we’ve been together so long.  What would you recommend?  If you were writing us into one of your books how would you keep our marriage alive?”

Marriage takes a lot of work, but I believe that half the battle lies in wanting to not only keep the marriage alive, but make it thrive.  How do we do that?  If I had a magic answer I’d be among the world’s wealthiest.

Years ago I was working on a project wherein I presented on this very topic.  It was based on the F-word and called the Four F’s.  For men, those four F’s were represented in:  Food, Friends, Football, Fucking.   For women, the four F’s were represented in:  Fine Dining, Friends, Footwear, Fantasy.  The gist of the presentation was that men and women’s desires are quite different and once you understand the differences you will be better able to meet your spouse’s needs.

Disclaimer:  Not ALL men are the same and not ALL women are the same. Thus, I am speaking in generalities here.

My recommendation for surprising your husband with something special on Christmas is to surprise him with you… that is to say, a version of you he hasn’t seen before.  If you don’t normally wear lingerie, wear it.  If you don’t normally light candles, light fifty of them all over the bedroom. (Just don’t burn down the house in the process.)  If your normal sexual activity is confined to the bedroom, do it elsewhere.  Try the middle of the family room floor or the counter top in the kitchen. (Knee pads advised and don’t forget to sanitize the counter top afterwards.)  If you don’t normally participate in S&M activities, go a little Fifty Shades.  If he likes porn, get some magazines or watch a movie together.  If you’ve never added food to the mix, go a little 9½ Weeks. If you don’t normally use sex toys, get some. (Buy batteries too!)  If you don't normally play erotic music in the background, turn some on and turn it up!  When is the last time you massaged his hands, feet and other areas?  
Take a hot, steamy, candle-lit shower together and do stuff to each other that you don't normally do.  (I'm reminded of the lyrics to an Olivia Newton-John song called, Soul Kiss..."I get down on my knees and..."  You get the gist.)  Get creative and think outside of the box.  Ask yourself what gets your spouse going?  What drives him crazy?  What turns him on?  And then do that. 

When I used to present on this topic, some of the most common fears were:  What if I offend him?  What if he’s not “into” it?  What if he thinks I’m crazy?  Let me belay these concerns by saying that most men are more adaptable and open than they are given credit.  Many of them don’t bring these ideas to their wives because they fear the same backlash, but when the wife presents it as her idea, there’s typically little objection.

Key to re-igniting that sexual spark in your marriage is to open your mouth and talk about the things you’ve both thought about, but have been afraid to verbalize. There is no “right” or “wrong” involved in your romantic relationship with your spouse.  You two set the boundaries.  You two decide what is acceptable.  You two create the fantasy.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, you have, at the very least, given each other a memory at which you can share a laugh for years to come.

Everything worth having in life takes work and marriage is no different.  Sex isn't the most important element of a relationship, but it is an element that cannot and should not be ignored.  Physical affection is a manifestation of emotional connection.  The truth is that real life isn’t romantic and mushy-gushy like you see in movies or read in books. But…you can create magical moments in your marriage that are… if you lay down your inhibitions and use your imagination.

I think most men would agree that sensational sex is a great stocking stuffer.  So, for one night, be the HO HO HO in his Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Social Networking Feels Like Stalking

One of my authors said to me, “I feel like I’m stalking people when I’m doing a social media marketing campaign.”   

“Yes!” I responded.  “That means you’re doing it right.”

Social networking is not stalking, though I understand how it can feel that way, (especially if you’re doing it right) because in implementing your target marketing approach, you often find yourself visiting and re-visiting the same pages.

Most people don’t understand how social networking really works and why it is so important in
building a fan base.  This is because we, as humans, are ME focused and we forget that to engage someone we must stop and think about what is important or relevant to them.  Thus, in networking we must target our efforts, partnering with those accounts that are similar in content to our own.

The benefit of social networking is that you increase the visibility of your product and yourself. 

What does it take to be a good social networker?  The willingness to put yourself out there (knowing a certain level of vulnerability comes with it), a lot of time and a commitment toward action.

The simple fact is that you cannot have privacy AND be in the public eye. 

When you place yourself in the public eye, you must expect that a certain percentage of “weirdos” will emerge and be drawn to you.  This comes with the territory and if you can’t handle it, then don’t go public. 

My Facebook page is public because I am an author and the amount of books I sell is directly related to the amount of contact I make with the virtual universe.  I also run a publishing company and use social media to assist in marketing my author’s new releases. Thus, I “friend” just about anyone who requests my friendship, viewing every individual as a potential new contact, new reader and new fan.  I believe paths cross for a reason, even in the virtual world, and I can honestly tell you that I have made some very good friends over social media.  The risk is high at times and I have had moments where I have felt threatened, but those instances are few and far between.  The truth is that I have had way more positive experiences in social media than negative ones.

If I “friend” someone who then behaves inappropriately, i.e. posting porn or solicitations on my wall, commenting rude or explicit things, sending me nude pictures, etc., I simply block them and move on.   In putting myself out there publicly I am assuming responsibility for the fact that I may encounter some strange individuals and thereby accepting the culpability that it is my job to block them when needed.

It is no one else’s fault when a “weirdo” emerges. 


Social networking takes time and effort because in order to grow your visibility, you have to help grow the visibility of others.  For me, those others exist primarily in the entertainment/literary realm.  
This is how it works:
Every time I go to an author, actor or artist’s page and “like” something, it shows up in the news feed of all of my “friends.”  This promotes that person’s page.  In addition, my name shows up in their post when I “like” it or comment on it, giving me visibility.  The hope is that those people will reciprocate the action by “liking” or commenting on one of my posts, thereby rendering that post visible to their “friends” in their news feed.  In essence, by “liking” and commenting on each other’s posts, we are connecting our “friend” base and over time, expanding it.

When people continue to see the same name popping up in their news feed, they are more likely to become curious and click on it.  In order to make the same name appear over and over, you must visit the same pages over and over and continue your efforts of "liking" and commenting.  It is a process and involves hundreds of clicks on your targeted sites every week.  

So, if you’ve ever felt like you were wasting time traversing your news feed and “liking” posts, you’re not…you’re actually helping grow your own visibility and the visibility of the people, places and projects you like.


Liking everyone’s posts would be impossible, so it is important to target your social networking to the people and projects that are related to you and your work. 

For example, my daughter is an actress.  Therefore, when she is filming a particular project, I will target my networking efforts to that project and the people involved therein.  Anything that they post that is related to that particular project, I “like” or comment on.  Sometimes I will even “share” it to my own wall.  Or, if I really want to drive viewers to it, I will download the pictures or information they have posted and then post it on my wall as if it is a new post from me.  This feeds directly to my “friends” list as a post by me, not just a post I have “shared.”  Posts by you will statistically generate more interaction from those on your “friends” list than posts you have “shared.”

Commenting, liking and re-posting literally builds a network between you and the people you support.  In growing their visibility, you are expanding  your own.   But it doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without the commitment to visit those targeted pages over and over and over again.

Doesn’t it behoove me to network with people who have more “friends” than me?  Absolutely.  Those with the most followers, fans, friends, etc. have the farthest reach in the virtual world.  If they “like” or comment on your posts, it can only help you; and you should definitely be “liking” and commenting on their posts. 

There is no marketing effort that is in vain.  Every time your name appears you are getting it out there.  The goal of social networking is to get people talking about you, your project, your product, your vision.  Thus, every action you take in this direction…every “like”…every comment…every “friend”… is a step in the right direction. 

 Remember, giant leaps begin with small steps.

Although constantly visiting the same pages over and over can feel a bit like stalking, it is important to realize that the difference lies in your reason for being there.  If you are visiting for promotional purposes and the opportunity to grow your base, you’re marketing.  If you are visiting for personal purposes to see what they did over the weekend, then you might be guilty of stalking. 

One author asked, “What if someone gets mad at me or thinks I’m strange for constantly commenting on or liking their posts?”

That’s their problem, not yours.  As long as your comments are polite and professional, there is nothing wrong with commenting or “liking.” 

There are some people who do not understand how social networking works and who will be prone to think that you are visiting their page with ulterior motives.  These people put themselves out there publicly and then pretend that they are victimized or harassed when their pages are frequently visited. They are narcissists who believe everyone wants them and everyone is stalking them.  Honestly, these people should not be in the public eye because they cannot handle it.    So, don’t worry about them.  If someone gets offended by the fact that you “like,” comment or re-post their posts, mark them off your list and move on.  Those who understand the value of social networking will not be offended by your actions.

Social networking is just that…networking.  It is building a network of people with common interests.  So, determine your target market and begin reaching out to those people today.   ~

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Life is Funny and Funny has FUN in it!

OMG!  People!  Lighten Up!

Comedy exists to bring pleasure and release, not to force deep contemplation or discussion about humanity and the society therein which we dwell.  Can’t funny just be funny?  Why is everyone so damn serious all of the time?  I don’t want to go off on a rant here…but…

I posted a video excerpt on my Facebook page from the television show, 3rd Rock from the Sun.  It’s a comedic look at voting.  After that post, I got emails asking me why I would struggle to vote this year and many telling me who was the “right” candidate for America.  Are you kidding me?  Can't you put your stupid, political opinion aside for ten seconds and just enjoy the humor of a sitcom?!

Then, I posted a clip from the game show, Family Feud, with Steve Harvey, who I think is quite amusing.  The question in the clip is:  Fill in the blank, as a married man I would _____ for sex.  The first guy hits his buzzer and blurts, “Pay!”  Steve Harvey’s expression is priceless, as it is when the other answers emerge.  Lie.  Beg.  Kill.  Die.   You can watch the clip here:  https://www.facebook.com/susan.claridge/posts/10209758709220354?pnref=story 

I posted that what I found most amusing was that two of the women answered with “cook” and “clean.”  These are obviously wrong answers for the show…but I teasingly remarked that if men would merely cook and clean more often they would never HAVE to pay, lie, beg, kill or die for sex.

Multiple emails filled my box with people who were offended by this post.   They wanted to know how I could condone a married man paying for sex.  Another person wanted to know why I thought it was okay for a man to lie in order to get laid.  One person asked why I thought it was acceptable for a woman to expect a man to have to cook and clean in order to get sex.  Unbelievable.  A fourth wanted to know why married people would want to hire prostitutes in the first place.

People… people…breathe.  I simply posted a clip I thought was amusing.  It’s spoofing the fact that sex is so important to a man that he will do just about anything to get it.  It’s supposed to be fun, lighthearted, funny.  There is no deeper, hidden meaning.  Steve Harvey isn’t saying that married men should pay, beg, lie, kill or die for sex.

Chill out already!  Don’t be so frigid in your thinking that you can no longer appreciate humor.  Comedians joke about sex all the time… because, well, the dichotomy of the male versus female sexual outlook can be funny.  And married women, maybe if you “put out” a little more, the jokes wouldn’t hit so close to home, and you wouldn’t get so upset about it.  And married men, maybe you would get more action in the bedroom if you took more action in the kitchen.  I’m jus’ sayin.’

I’m so tired of all of this ultra-diplomacy, where we can’t call a spade a spade because we fear that someone, somewhere might get their panties in a wad.  Well, wad those suckers up …or better yet, rip ‘em off and go commando.  Enjoy life.  Embrace comedy.  

If we lose our sense of humor, there is nothing left.  And dare I say it, but if you have lost your sense of humor maybe it signifies that you're not getting laid often enough!  

The reality is, none of us get out of this living thing alive and we’ve only got one shot…so enjoy it.  Love deep.  Laugh hard.  Be healthy.  Be kind to yourself and others.  Make a fool of yourself now and again. Be respectful and gracious and honest.  Have a drink on occasion.  Try new things.  Be courageous.  Be hospitable.  Pray.  Learn from your mistakes.  Forgive.  Apologize when it’s your fault.  Listen to all kinds of music.  Be kind to animals.  Dream big.  And get laid a lot.  (I didn't say pay for it or lie or beg or kill or die for it.)  The point is, the only things you'll look back and regret are those chances you didn't take...the stolen kiss you turned away from...the moment you let pass you by and the opportunity you let slip away because you feared what others might think about you. 

Don't be frigid in the way you think, live and love. Be true.  Let go of the labels and let yourself laugh at the humor in it all. 

Whatever you do…whoever you are…don’t take life so seriously that you miss out on the comedy that is all around you.  Life is funny and funny has the word FUN in it.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.   ~