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.

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.
 
VULNERABILITY

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. 

GROWTH TAKES TIME

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.

TARGET YOUR NETWORKING EFFORTS

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.   ~

Sunday, October 18, 2015

WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT - Sending Dick Pics Makes You a Dick

WARNING:  This blog contains graphic pictures of male genitalia.  It is not for the faint at heart so now is your opportunity to stop reading and close your browser window.  I am posting this blog to make a point.

EXPLICIT CONTENT AHEAD.



It's a sad state of affairs that I am blogging about penis pics once again.  Alas, this is the third time this year that a man on FB has sent me nude pictures of himself.  Not the same man.  Each time it has been a different man.  You know what they say, "third time's the charm."  So, this time, I'm going public with his pictures and his information.  Hopefully, a lesson will be learned and I will not receive any further penis pictures.  Hopefully, men everywhere will stop and think before pressing the SEND button on their next penis pics.

Last night as I opened my FB email I was shocked to find that I had received not one but two penis pictures from a male whom I do not know in real life.  We were virtual friends existing only in the FB world.  In fact, I have never had any form of contact with him.  So, what makes a man decide to send a complete stranger a picture of his genitalia?

If only I knew the answer.

Keep in mind that my FB profile is public because public status is necessary due to the line of work I am in.  But, it only takes a moment of perusing my profile to realize that I am married and not seeking any form of male companionship outside of my marriage.  It is also evident that I'm a Christian woman and a mother who is very involved in her kid's lives; and that I do not have pornographic images in my photos folder.  How, then, do I fit the demographic showing a desire to receive pornographic emails?  Do these men even read my profile or do they simply see that I am female and, thusly, assume that I am going to love their dick pics?

Do they actually believe that I will open my email, fall to my knees in adoration of their manhood and write to them urgently, promising to leave my husband and begging for them to take me as their own?  Is that the fantasy... because I just can't seem to get there? 

Do they think that I will reciprocate the action and send them pictures?  Is that the hope?  If so, here's a pussy for you: 



How do you like my breasts?  Don't they look yummy?



You see, that's as explicit as I get and the inuendo alone is quite enough. 

I think it's time for a giant dose of reality.... Men, you might want to sit down before you read this because it may come as a shock to you.  Here we go:

Women think penises are weird looking, odd and rather gross.  When they are flacid they serve us no purpose whatsoever.  When they are strongly erect, we like them to pleasure us but we don't want to stare at them.  They are not a part of the human body that we want to gawk at or gaze at longingly.  We do not want to receive a picture of your genitalia...ever.  This applies to the men we love and certainly applies to the men we don't.  So, go ahead and do whatever it is that you do with it on your own time, but when the cameras are out keep it in your pants...literally.

I'm sorry, but it's true.  The male genitalia is not considered a work of art.  It's useful and practical but not beautiful.

That being said, if you want to entice a woman, send her pics of the parts of you that are beautiful and at which she longs to gaze.  For example:  your eyes, your smile, if you have nice abs or nice arms or a nice ass (not naked but in some fine-ass looking Levi's).  Those are the parts that she likes to look at.  Your dick, as fine a tool as it may be, is not something she wants to stare at in her email.

Even better, send her something that expresses your humor or quirky personality, your integrity or your spontaneity.  Show her the beauty that matters most and that will leave an impression to last a lifetime.  Your inner beauty is a more powerful tool than the one dangling between your legs.

WARNING:  GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW



I opened my email last night to find this:  (Pictures have been removed because I don't want them forever on my blog.  They are too graphic and gross.)



I never replied to Sandy, as anything I would have to say to him would not be nice.  But, if you would like to reply to him, please feel free.  He's obviously seeking attention, so what do you say we spread this post as far and wide as possible?  I say we give him the notority he deserves.  Maybe he could land a porn gig out of it.  Or maybe some woman will see his penis, fall instantly in love with him and they'll live happily ever after.  The possibilites are endless... NOT.

The truth is I'm not only offended by the pictures and by the simple fact that he thought they would be well received, I feel violated by the images and more so by his intent.  I should be able to open my email without worrying about being repulsed.  It stirs in me an anger, an anger that many women have felt and yet been unable to extinquish.  Are we to just take it?  Are we to merely accept the fact that men have the right to violate us in this manner?

If this man came up to me on the street and whipped out his penis and began masturbating in front of me, it would be illegal.  How then is sending these images via email any different?  

The violation is the same.  I have been forced to see something that I did not ask to see nor want to see.  Ladies, do we simply delete the email, block the person and go about our business, trying to erase the discusting pictures from our minds?  Or, do we take back the control and let every perverted man out there know that if they send a picture, that picture will be posted everywhere along with their contact information and profile links.  Do we turn the tables and make them think twice before depressing the SEND button on their next email to another woman...one that could be going to our sisters, friends, mothers or daughters.

The fact that Sandy actually believes a woman would respond positively to this action tells me he is a real whack-job (pun intended this time), though I aleady gathered that from the pictures.   

Men, the reality is that sending dick pics to women makes you nothing more than a dick...a flacid, useless dick.

Women, let's take a stand and tell the world that we will no longer tolerate this type of behavior. Send this to your female friends and let's take a stand against the men who treat women with a level of gross disrespect.  If they want to send us pictures of their dicks, I say we plaster those pictures all over the world, one email, tweet, DM, IM, post and blog at a time.

Sandy's FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/san.dychirs?fref=ts    Go get him, girls!

This ri-DIC-ulous crap stops here!                      






Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Change Begins When Our Silence Ends

At what point is enough, enough?!

We…and by “we” I mean parents…we bite our tongues, grit our teeth and sit on our hands because we fear the consequences of making waves.  We watch mean kids do mean things over and over and over again and get away with it because we are afraid that if we say something to another parent, a teacher, a principal, a director or a coach that negative repercussions will befall our child.

Then…and here’s the topper… THEN we tell our children that they should not be afraid to stand up for themselves.  We have the nerve to quote inspirational things like “be the change you want to see in the world” and yet we are scared into stone cold silence ourselves.  Hypocrites.  That’s what we’ve become.  Hypocrites.

How do we teach our kids to defend themselves when we can’t even defend them because of the fear of ridicule and backlash?

“If I say something they might not cast my kid in a role again?”
“If I speak up my kid might lose playing time on the field.”
“If I say something they might make my kid’s life a living hell in class.”
“If I speak up they might get mad at me and a friendship will be ruined.”

At what point do we stop kissing ass and start covering it?

Oh, I long for the days of past when a simple punch to the nose would end it and the bully would realize there were consequences for being mean.  But now, oh no, we have to be so goddamned politically correct that we’ve designed a society wherein the bully suffers no consequences.  The bully wins.

The reality in our world today is that the bullies aren’t the ones committing suicide…the victims are.  The mean kids aren’t the ones being degraded…the nice kids are.  We sit back, as if puzzled, scratching our heads and wondering why the teenage suicide rate is skyrocketing in our nation but we refuse to step out of our political correctness to do anything to change it.  Hypocrites.

It’s time we call a spade, a spade.  It’s time we stand up, for God’s sake, open our mouths, call the mean kid a mean kid so that he can be stopped!  Us shutting up isn’t helping anyone.

Bullies are assholes.  Period. 

“Gasp!  You can’t call a child an asshole!” Society gawks.

Yes, I can and I just did.  Bullies are assholes no matter what age, size or package they come in.  They can be five or ninety-five.  And here’s the reality:  The fact that they exist and continue to exist is our fault.  Yours and mine.  Why?  Because we have the power to change them.  We have the power to stop them.  All we have to do is open our mouths and shut them down.  If we had the courage to openly identify and label a kid a bully, that kid would then be given the opportunity to change his or her behavior.  They would be presented with the ability to choose NOT to be the asshole.

Our silence helps no one.

Our silence ultimately hurts everyone.

Our silence sets a bad precedence for our kids, who then think they have to shut up and take it just as they see us doing.  And, thus, the bully wins again and again and again.

We force a smile, tell our kids that kindness will prevail, all the while knowing it’s a lie.  Yes, killing with kindness is a wonderful tactic… but it won’t stop a bully.  They will march right over it, smash it, annihilate it, mock it and spit on it (literally).

We tell our kids that violence is never the answer, and yet, we know firsthand that a punch to the bully’s nose will render him afraid to ever pick on our kid again.  But that isn’t politically correct…so we hush…we stifle the truth…we fight to quiet ourselves when every parental instinct is to defend our young.

Reality:  If a child punches a bully, despite the fact that the bully has belittled, spit on, mocked, antagonized and berated the other child for months, the victim is suspended or kicked out of our schools and the bully suffers no consequences whatsoever.

Then we tell our kids that there is justice in this world.  Hypocrisy.  What’s wrong with this system?
We have become so politically correct that we have lost all defining qualities of what is right and wrong.

Silence isn’t golden, it is painful.  And shame on us for allowing the pain to linger because we are afraid to take action.  Shame on us for hushing our voices when our very voice is the best advocate and sometimes the only advocate our child has.  Shame on us for creating the hypocrisy.

“Kids will be kids,” we say and try desperately to shrug it off, as we stick our heads deeper into the sand and wonder why the suicide rate climbs.

We try to institute politically correct programs to stop bullying…and though the idea is wonderful, the execution falls short because being nice to a bully won’t change him.  A swift kick to the balls or forearm shiver, will. 

Our grandparents and parent’s generation knew how to handle bullies and it worked.  Why are we not following their lead?

When will it be enough?  When will we stop this cycle?  How many times does your kid need to be spit on, made fun of, belittled and berated by another kid before you find your voice?  How many times does your kid need to come home from school or from a gathering of peers sobbing, before you find the courage to speak up?  How high does the teenage suicide rate need to climb before we realize that our politically correct programs aren’t working?

This must stop.  Punishing the victims must stop.  Silence must stop.

Mean kids aren’t going to be mean in front of adults.  They aren’t going to mistreat another child in front of their parents, teachers or coaches.  They’re smart enough to do it when adults aren’t around.  Knowing this is the case, why then do we tell the victim to go to a teacher, parent or coach for assistance.  Then, when they do, the adult shrugs and acknowledges that unless the action is witnessed, it is as if it never occurred.  Our very system sets the victim up to be repeatedly victimized.  It strips the child of all power and all recourse.  This hypocrisy must stop!

How many tears will it take?  How many lives will it take?  How many cuts on flesh will there be?  How much suffering will it take before WE stand up and say enough is enough?!

WE have to open our eyes.  Our child comes to us because they are being mistreated and we, feeling the politically correct reins around us tighten, do nothing to help them.  Eventually, they stop coming to us.  They internalize their fears, their pain and they slip further and further away as depression beckons them.  What's next?  Cutting.  Drugs. Suicide attempts.  And then we have the gall to shake our heads and wonder what happened?



Bullying happened.  An asshole we didn't stop happened.

I’m stopping it now!  If you spit on my kid, he has my express permission to spit back.  If you hit him, run because he has my permission to punch you back.  If that means we have to home school because we’ve been kicked out of our district, so be it.  We will lie down quietly no more.

My children are taught not to pick on anyone.  My children are taught to be kind to everyone.  My children are taught not to make fun of others, but to find one thing about each person that is good, likable, amazing or interesting.  My children are taught to compliment others and to uplift them and be helpful in any way that they can.  Why then, should my child suffer at the hands of a bully with no recourse or defense whatsoever?  They shouldn't.  They won't!

Political correctness is not justice.  What a hypocritical joke we have become.

No more.  Enough is enough.  A spade is a spade.  A bully is a bully.  This needs to stop right now, right here.  No more lives.  No more tears.  No more suffering.  No more politically correct crap. 

Change begins when our silence ends and I'm done being silent.


  




Saturday, August 29, 2015

Let's Talk About Nudity

Let's talk about nudity.

If that first line didn't get your attention, I don't know what will.  It is the perfect example of "hooking" the reader right out of the gate.

But in all seriousness, let's talk about nudity.

When I mention nudity I am not referring to pornography or anything grossly inappropriate.  I'm simply referring to a man and a woman's body without the mask of clothing.

Men and women view nudity differently.  Men are much more open about being naked.  They strip down in locker rooms, urinate next to one another and seemingly have no discomfort strutting around in the buff.  Most women, on the other hand, find being naked a challenge.  We are so self-focused that we can't just relax and enjoy the freeing feeling of being nude.  We're too busy judging our body and pointing out all of its flaws to be able to see the beauty in it.

Here's an idea ladies, let's stop it!

Your self-absorption with your body is painting a poor picture in your husband's psyche.  The fact is that you might notice every tiny bit of cellulite or a stretch mark or a scar, but he's not only not focusing on it, he probably doesn't see it at all.  You might think your thighs are too big but as long as those legs are going to be wrapped around him, he doesn't care. All he wants is your skin on his skin. He wants to feel you and touch you and, yes, see you.  Men are visual creatures, so don't rob them of the joy it brings to behold their lover naked just because you have an insecurity about your body. And don't taint the picture for him before he even has the chance to drink it in.  What I mean is, don't walk into the bedroom moaning about how bloated you feel or how saggy you think your breasts have become. Enter the room with the confidence of Beyonce.  Flaunt whatever it is that God gave you and make him think that you think you're the best damn woman to ever grace the earth.

Confidence is sexy and men like sexy.

It is statistically proven that couples who get naked together have a better chance of staying together. Couples who kiss and hug more often have longer lasting marriages.  Why?  Because human touch is important.  We all crave it because we all need it.

If insecurity has kept you hiding your body, it's time to say ENOUGH and get in the buff!









Monday, August 17, 2015

Setting The Record Straight

In a previous blog I shared the email correspondence from an incident that occurred on Facebook.The email thread that I posted has become the cause of confusion and I want to set the record straight.

A friend's name (Mark F) was mentioned in the email. Mark in no way had anything to do with what transpired, nor was there anything inappropriate on his Facebook page.  The man who contacted me simply saw my name and picture on Mark's friend list and contacted me without Mark's knowledge.

If you have any questions, please email me at AuthorSRClaridge@gmail.com

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Time to Stop Shrugging it Off and Start Calling it Out



This blog content has been removed.

If you would like to discuss the content please feel free to contact me via email.

AuthorSRClaridge@gmail.com