My FIRST BLOG

The purpose of this site is to find a larger audience for the ridiculous amount of writing I do. How ridiculous, you ask? In just one year I wrote four novels, nearly completed a sequel to the second novel and collaborated with my friend Laura Hall (best known for her piano skills on Whose Line Is It Anyway?) on a musical “Room to Grow” that is, quite frankly, brilliant.  I have since written a screenplay, a sitcom pilot and a few more novels. I am nothing if not prolific. All the while, I have been raising my two daughters and Laura and I continue work towards mounting a professional production of the aforementioned musical.I also like to draw and/or paint.

My immediate future needs to be about marketing, while continuing to do what I love, and what better way to go about it than to write? The fact that pen and paper is my favorite medium may serve as a hindrance to my computer-impaired brain, but I am determined to get past that, and lets face it, if this has been posted then I am well on my way.

All of my novels, Searching for My Wand, On a Hot August AfternoonThe Salacious Marny Ottwiler and Crashing Into Us, are all available for purchase on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Bridget-Straub/e/B006KEG0KE/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 Go check them out!

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Things Got Real Today

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Life has been way too serious of late, and this morning it included calls and emails from my daughter’s school, informing us of threats made against the school, and/or the kids. Apparently there is a new social media app called Yik Yak, that allows anonymous posts, granting individuals the ability to bully and threaten with little to no recourse. I suppose it is fortunate that the kids on Yik Yak took this seriously. They informed the school of a threat warning that this person was going to “end things” and that they should stay away from the campus today, and of course the school informed the police.

An update came a few hours after the original wakeup call and said the following; This morning at around 9:00, a student confessed to having posted the concerning message on YikYak. Another update came about an hour later that said in part; I’m writing now to let you know that the security issue related to the post on YikYak has been resolved. Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, but we cannot discuss specifics, given restrictions of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The student came forward and took responsibility for this situation. Police interviewed the student and concluded that no threat exists and that the matter is now closed.

This should not be a part of our everyday lives, and yet this is just one of the stresses we as parents now live with on a daily basis. And lets be honest, our kids are living with it every second! After all, they are the ones on a 24 hr. diet of social media.

Now I’m left wondering if the child who set this all in motion is truly disturbed, or just thought it was a joke. Is this a cry for help, or a prank that got out of hand? I can only hope that this will be a wakeup call that gets the attention of students, teachers, and parents. Clearly we need to do a better job of monitoring kids, and teaching them to think before they act.

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A Year of Lasts

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Tessa is seventeen today, and it is a bittersweet occasion. As happy as I am that she is as fabulous as she is, this may well be the last time she is home for her birthday. Next year she will be in college. This is our last Thanksgiving and our last Christmas and, and, and…

Okay, so that might be a little melodramatic, but it is still a little jolting to realize how much everything is changing. She is quickly rushing towards adulthood and although well equipped, I think it’s safe to say we would both like to slow things down. I hate having to share her with the world but the fact is she is an amazing person and the world is lucky to have her. So Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people of all time!

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The Teach Your Talent Project

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I was approached about this project and decided to give it a go…

I was never a big fan of school. I found it confusing, overwhelming, and at times, downright boring. I spent most of my time in high school thinking about where I could go to get away from school. Now, as a so-called adult, I have high-schoolers of my own, and if the truth be known, I still fight with school. I have, however, come to appreciate that every once in a while you come across a really great teacher who cares about both the students and the subject they are teaching.

I think what sets these teachers apart is their ability to share. They don’t lecture or stick rigidly to text books. Instead, they share their enthusiasm and the personal experiences that have caused them to love the subject they are teaching. When your teacher includes you in their passion, it fuels your own curiosity.

I have been a writer since before I could write. Growing up, I shared a bedroom with my sister, and from a very early age, I’d make up stories to entertain her (as well as myself) before we fell asleep. When I write, I approach it like a letter to a friend, at least to begin with. This works regardless of if you are writing a report or a novel. After all, what you are doing in both situations is conveying information. I think about what I need to say, and once I am clear, I can go back and add more detail.

Admittedly, for me the details generally come naturally. This is particularly true when writing a novel. I am fortunate enough to write on auto pilot, following whatever pops into my mind. As the story progresses I can be just as surprised as the eventual readers by the twists and turns, and yet it all makes sense in the end.

For others, I have often been told it’s a little different. Many have a tendency to get overwhelmed, but there are questions you can ask yourself. For example, what is it I am trying to tell? If my best friend were telling me this story, or giving me this information, how might she explain it? What part might I not understand? And of course, what has become invaluable, can I Google it? Google can be a Godsend when it comes to filling in some of the finer details. The hardest part is usually just getting started.

If I were to teach a class, I would urge people to write anything at all, even if they think they couldn’t possibly use it. Say, like my oldest daughter recently had to do, you had to write an essay for your college application. I think her given prompt was to tell who she was, but she had been given so many cautions about what not to do or say, that she was paralyzed. I told her to get their attention by saying she lived in a land of leprechauns. Now granted, I was joking, and she walked away shaking her head, but she wrote down, “I do not live in a land of leprechauns.” She didn’t really think she’d use that line. She was just fooling around, but then she went on to say, when asking for advice, this is what she was told. She wound up leaving that first line and proceeded to write an incredible essay about being raised in a family of dreamers. She not only let it be known who she is, but how she feels about it who she has become and who she hopes to be in the future.

The bottom line is this, writing should be fun. The more you do it, the easier it will get. The trick is to not allow yourself to get so stressed out about it. Nothing you put down on paper or screen has to be seen by anyone but you. If you hate it, you can start again. But, maybe, just maybe in the nonsense, or in what you think is awful, there will be one line that you can build on. The most important thing is to write something, anything! Like the Nike commercials say, “Just Do It!” Someone had to write that, you know? I’ll bet they feared they’d be laughed out of the room when they presented it, too.

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A Big Search

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When I released my first novel, Searching for my Wand, I set up a Facebook page because that was one of the many steps that was advised. You can access it here; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Searching-for-My-Wand/103456133105764

 I posted reviews and updates for a while, but as I continued to write and publish new novels, I frankly forgot about it. Every month, Facebook sends me an update that reads like that in the photo above.

A few weeks ago I received a notice on my homepage that 128 people had looked at my Searching page, and yet still my monthly statement read no new likes, posts, etc. I figured it was a mistake and told myself I should really come up with something new to post over there.

Today I received another notification that 16 people had looked. What the heck is going on Facebook? Why the messages all of a sudden if nothing is reflected, and why are people only looking in mass and not one at a time? It’s weird. So I’ve added something just to see if it makes a difference.

Any suggestions of what else I could try?

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Has My Ship Come In?

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Not quite. As many of you know, I began this blog hoping to build my “Brand” and to get a publishing deal. Well, good news/bad news. I finally had an offer sent my way, that’s the good news. The bad news is that it came from a publisher in Madrid, Spain who would like me to pay half of the costs for translating my work. Short of that, I was told it would take five years to publish because they are so flooded with material? Something like that. I’m guessing what that means is that they have plenty of broke authors and are looking to find some with a little money. Alas, that’s not me.

Better I should continue to plug away and publish my own books. At least that way when Hollywood comes calling, I’m sure to own all the rights to my own material. Here’s hoping this offer was just the start of something much bigger and better!

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Do You Have Klout?

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Do you care? I am constantly getting updates in my email, and frankly I find them hard to believe, most especially this last one. I mean let’s face it, I have done very little lately to boost my image. I haven’t been blogging nearly as much as I used to, and social media? Forget about it. I am burned out as far as that goes. Twitter has become so impersonal that I haven’t the discipline to engage, and Facebook is right behind it. Tumblr is the domain of my kids, and they have all but forbid me to get an account, which is fine by me.

Twitter sends me recommendations almost daily as to who I should befriend, and how I can get more followers, but why? I haven’t seen that it is working to sell books or get me some amazing publishing deal. I haven’t been wildly entertained by clever quotes or pictures of people’s cats. So I have Klout. Do I have enough Klout? Do you care that I have Klout? What is the purpose of Klout? It’s all a mystery to me but not one I’m terribly invested in.

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It Must Be In The Title!

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Last month On a Hot August Afternoon sold better than it ever has, but so far this month, sales have dropped off significantly. Now the only reason I can come up with to explain it, is because in August people were drawn to the word August in the title. So I guess I’m going to have to name all future books accordingly. For example: Simmering in September, October Optimists, November Numb Nuts, and Deceit in December. What do you think? It could work, right?

If I just come up with a title for every month, then I’ll at least be selling something on a consistent level. Perhaps this will be my niche. It makes about as much sense as anything else. I’ll even rename my previous books to include months in the title. Crashing Into Us will become Crashing Into Us in May, or Searching For My Wand will be Searching For My Wand in April and then I can try an all inclusive The Salacious Marny Ottwiler from January through December!

The originals will then become collector’s items! Quick! Run over to Amazon and pick up your copies before it’s too late! Also, Charlie is a year old today and would want you to do this. I’m just saying…

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