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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Anxiety

anxiety

Anxiety is going to be the death of us all! Today is the first day of school for many people, and all that I know are borderline psychotic about it. The stress level is off the charts, and I don’t get it. When did school become this huge pressure cooker?

I hated school a plenty, but at least the first day was filled with excitement. Granted, by high school it was probably mixed with a little anxiety, but now a days even my 28 year old niece is nervous and overly anxious about a course she is beginning. Both of my daughters, as well as my niece, are getting A’s, and have been for awhile. They are intelligent, beautiful people who should be able to breeze through this.

I sincerely wonder if a part of the problem isn’t all of the reality TV that theses guys have grown up with. After all, they have watched as lives have been recorded and dissected in a manner that simply did not exist fifteen years ago. Now, not only are they bombarded by this, but I think they feed off of the drama. A theory that makes at least one of my daughters annoyed and insulted. If that’s not it though, then what the heck is it?    

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Excerpt Sunday 15

photo my lot 2

I’m posting early again this week because I won’t have time to do it in the morning. This excerpt is from a book I began a while ago and will one day get back to, although with every passing day I question what I am doing more and more. This has been my worst month to date. Somehow I have become invisible. I’m choosing to delude myself that everyone is on vacation and will be back next month. At the moment however, I can’t sell a book to save my life, nor is anyone reading this blog. Perhaps Fall will re-inspire me, or perhaps I’ll just disappear completely. Only time will tell.

Something New

 Chris looked up from his phone conversation and stared at me in disbelief.

 “I’m sorry, you did what?”

“I know. Crazy right?” I asked shaking my head and disappearing into the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face.

 I had woken earlier than usual that morning and not wanting to disturb him, I had slipped out of bed, put on my workout clothes, (leggings, a t-shirt and running shoes) and embarked on one of my marathon walks. Climbing up into the hills above our Los Angeles neighborhood, I’d come across a vacant lot for sale, and needing to catch my breath, had sat down on the crumbling wall lining the driveway, to look up the listing. According to Zillow it was estimated to be worth five hundred and ten thousand dollars. I immediately called my realtor Natalie, and told her to put in a bid at five hundred thousand, but to be sure they understood that had to include closing costs. I said I’d pay the five hundred thousand but not a penny more.

She didn’t even question it. Natalie was becoming accustomed to the way I worked, thus the reason I had her cell number in my phone. She had told me after I had purchased the Bluebell Canyon property several weeks earlier with my partner Trevor, to call her anytime, day or night. She had made a very nice commission on that sale, since the twelve acres we had purchased had been in the multi millions. Today’s offer was coming strictly from me however, because knowing Trevor as I did and do, I knew he would still be sleeping and probably wouldn’t be up for buying another property so soon anyway. After all, we were still working out the zoning for what we planned to do with the Bluebell Canyon property. He, like Chris, would find this to be completely irrational.

 “I’m going to have to call you back,” I heard Chris say, and a moment later I caught his reflection in the mirror as he stood in the bathroom doorway waiting for me to notice him. “Why would you put in an offer on another property when you are in over your head on Bluebell Canyon?” he asked.

“Who says I’m in over my head? I know exactly what I want to do with Bluebell Canyon.”

“And you are going to pay for it how?”

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

“Sure there is. And what is this place going to cost?”

“It’s a bargain at $500.000.” I told him.

 His mouth dropped and he looked at me as if I were crazy. I don’t know what number he’d had in his mind but clearly I had exceeded it.

 “Babe it’s a lot with views of both the valley and the city. You know what real estate costs around here. What did you think I’d say?” I laughed, walking over to kiss him.

“You don’t have that kind of money, do you?” he choked.

“I’ll have to move things around, that’s all,” I told him.

 I leaned in for a kiss and we kissed for just a moment before his phone rang. Looking at the number, he groaned and answered with, “I told you I’d call you back!”

Chris manages two of L.A.’s most popular restaurants for his friend Ronnie, a chef, and the owner of both Tres Bien and Spectacle. There is always a crisis at one or the other of them, generally concerning any one of three things; paparazzi, celebrity reservations, or produce. It’s just the nature of the business, and what he’s stuck dealing with at least six days a week. This was early in the day for frantic phone calls, so I assumed it must be a produce issue.

I went downstairs to the kitchen in search of some breakfast, settling on my usual Almond Crunch cereal. I was craving something a little more delicious, such as waffles and bacon but I knew I could only afford so many indulgences per week, and therefore I generally saved the truly yummy delights for the weekend.

Once my cereal was poured, I pulled a legal pad out of our junk drawer, or to be more honest, one of our many junk drawers, and began sketching out the kind of house I imagined going up on this possible new lot of mine. I envisioned a Spanish/Mediterranean home with a turret and lots of windows to take in the incredible views. I wanted dark wood accents throughout, with tons of old world charm, combined with every modern convenience.

A few minutes later I heard Chris rushing downstairs. He hurried into the kitchen like a whirling dervish, as my grandmother would say, his head swiveling around until his eyes settled on me.

 IMG_1100“I’ve got to go but we should talk. I’m getting concerned Kelly, you are acting weird,” he said giving me a quick peck on the cheek.

“What? I am not,” I laughed. “You’re weird. I’ll see you tonight.”

“Don’t do anything on that property until we talk. Just wait and hear me out,” he said, on his way through the side door that lead out to the driveway.

“I make no promises” I called after him.

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Excerpt Sunday 14

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In looking for this week’s excerpt I unearthed a novel I’d forgotten I’d written. That’s how much I write! The working title for this one is Reflected Light, which sounds a little over done. Here is the opening though. Enjoy!

And so here I sit, all alone in an empty house. You’d think sitting here in a room stripped of everything that once made it personal and mine would finally make it seem real. It’s over. We have lost not just our home but everything in it, including ourselves. I look outside and see blue sky with a breeze gently blowing the leaves of the huge tree in the front yard. It was that tree that drew us to this house in the first place, and yet I don’t even know what kind of tree it is. Is it a maple, an oak? Who knows? I guess there is probably a lesson in that, something to do with taking the time to think before you leap.

I know I have to get up and walk away. It’s unavoidable, and yet I can’t bring myself to move. As soon as I walk out the door I won’t ever be allowed back in. This part of my life will be over, and as quick as I have been to act in the past, I am now paralyzed. Before now, I looked forward to new beginnings. I deluded myself into thinking that change was always a good thing, but it’s not. It’s scary and uncertain and I just want to go back to the way things were. I want to close my eyes and wake up wrapped in Bobby’s arms, surrounded by all of our stuff. The good, the bad and the ugly; I want it all back.

I wrote that almost six months ago. It was scribbled in a small notebook I kept in my purse, and after I wrote it I curled up on the floor and cried all of the tears I’d been refusing to shed for months. It was my friend Julie who came and found me. It was Julie who walked me out of there. She took me to the apartment she was sharing with her then fiancé Louis, gave me their bed, and told me I was welcome to stay with them for as long as I needed. I don’t think she’d ever dreamed that I would curl up into a ball and not move for the next three weeks. I was broken into a million pieces and there was no putting me back together.

Louis is a saint, but even he has his limits, and he eventually told Julie that she was doing neither me, nor herself any favors by allowing me to wallow and vegetate in their bed. She didn’t know what to do, so she called the only other person she could think of, which was of course Bobby.

What can I say about Bobby? He had been the love of my life since I had first laid eyes on him six years earlier. He’d walked into this funky little beer stained club where I served drinks, and the second I saw him I knew he was the one. I told Emily, the other girl serving drinks that night, that my husband had just walked in and she said she hadn’t known I was married. She was kind of dense like that, but I just laughed and told her he probably didn’t know either. Obviously not really paying attention, she congratulated me and continued on to one of the tables she was serving.

I walked right up to Bobby and asked what I could get him. He didn’t miss a beat. He smiled and said; “I suspect you could get me all kinds of things.”

Now honestly, if anyone else had said that I’d have probably “accidentally” spit in their drink and then made a point of stepping on them when I delivered it, but Bobby said it with a combination of charm and sincerity. I told him I’d get him a beer and began to walk away to the objections of his friends who also wanted drinks.

About halfway through the set of this rather awful band that he’d come to see, I took a break and made a point of walking past him and out a side door to the alley. He followed me and asked if it was safe for me to hang out in an alley like that.

“I don’t know, I’ve never come out here before,” I admitted.

“And tonight you are feeling reckless?” he asked.

“Unbelievably,” I said, taking a step closer.

“This is where I get to kiss you, right?” he smiled.

“That all depends on your next move,” I told him, as I put my arms around his neck.

Just to be clear, this was like an out of body experience. I had never come on to anyone like this, ever. But there was something both thrilling and terrifying in what I was doing, and I don’t think I could have stopped if I’d tried.

He put his hands on my hips and gently pulled me even closer.

“Good move,” I mumbled, as our lips met.

We were married two weeks later and I was happier than I had ever beenIMG_0717

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Excerpt Sunday 13

F. 639 050

This excerpt comes from the blog of a character I often write. She is a multi-talented entrepreneur who had five children, who then unexpectedly over just a few years wound up adopting 5 more. Her husband, Kelsey, is a studio mogul and extremely driven, which is why this exchange delighted her. She has been with Kelsey since she was thirteen. Michael and Julia, the two kids in this were both adopted from India a year apart. Julia was often referred to as the tank when she was little because she was a force to be reckoned with. 

I’m probably giving more info than needed, so just enjoy.

September 19, 2011

 “Mama,” the four year old boy said as I was tucking him in tonight, “what I am going to be when I grow up?’

“What do you want to be?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he yawned, “maybe some train driver guy like that man at the farmer’s market, or I could make the snow cones or something.”

I couldn’t help but laugh, nor could I wait to run out and tell Kelsey of his son’s aspirations.

“You can be whatever makes you happy when you grow up,” I said, kissing him goodnight.

“I am going to be beautiful when I grow up,” the 4 year old girl in the bed across from his announced.

“That is not be your job,” the boy told her.

“Can it?” she asked me.

“Well, if you become a model, I guess it could be in a sense.”

“What is that?” she asked.

“That is someone who puts on lots of makeup and beautiful clothes and then poses for pictures that they put in magazines.”

“You are a model?” the boy asked me.

“Not even close, but your aunt Sirri is.”

“I don’t like makeup,” the little tank frowned.

I promised them they have plenty of time to work this out, said goodnight and went to find Kelsey.

“Guess what your son wants to be when he grows up,” I said.

He looked at me and considered.

“A fireman?” he asked hopefully.

“That would be a nightmare.” I shuddered. “Guess again.”

“Fine, so it’s obviously something that you think I won’t like, but which doesn’t bother you, so I don’t know, he wants to work at McDonalds.”

“You wish,” I laughed.

“A dog walker?” he asked.

“Closer.”

“So just tell me.”

“He wants to be the train driver at the farmers market.”

“Okay,” he smiled, “and you think I would tell him he can’t do that?”

“I do indeed.”

“This is his only aspiration?”

“He might make a snow cone or two.”

“Oh hell no,” he laughed. “He can entertain this notion until he’s five but then we’re going to have to have a serious heart to heart.”

I knew that wasn’t going to fly with Mr. Harvard. I love how predictable he is. I also love that were that 4 year old to grow up and truly want to work as that train conductor, there is no one who would support him more than his father. It might kill him, but he’d do it.

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Scattered Thinking

Vacation 406

I am kind of at a loss right now. I can’t seem to settle into what I want to write next. I’m not ready to go back to my work in progress and in a week or so we will be leaving, so…

Vacation 447

I didn’t mean to click on this photo, but there you go. Hope you are having a good summer and looking forward Excerpt Sunday. Whatever will I post from this week?

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Excerpt Sunday 12

Vacation 093

This is an excerpt from my latest work in progress. The idea came from a novel I have just completed, but have yet to publish, about one of five sisters. I was thinking about doing a series, each book focusing on one sister. Lisa is the youngest of the five, happily married with two children, but feeling some major discontentment.

  • LISA

 Two days later I am back in Mill Valley, riding a horse, trying to clear my mind but I’m mad because I have snuck out to do this. Horses, even when they are not your own, are expensive, and I knew Eldon would roll his eyes if I was honest about where I was going, not to mention, tell me we can’t afford this latest addiction of mine.

I am thinking of going back to work, and yet I feel no excitement about it. I want to love law, but I don’t. I consider working for a nonprofit organization that Christopher, a former colleague and his wife, Maya have started. Their goal is to help low income women who need legal advice on any number of issues. I ran into them a few months ago and they offered me a position, although they said the pay wouldn’t be great. Still it might pay for me to go horseback riding once or twice a week.

I shake away the thought. It wouldn’t add up when you consider that we would need to have childcare. Not only that, but I’m sure the position has been filled. After all, things don’t stand still with the passing of time. With that thought eliminated I consider asking for a part time job at my favorite coffee shop just down the street from where we live. Sunny is about to start preschool, another expense Eldon has been stressing over, and I figure I could at least work a couple of hours in the morning. Again it wouldn’t be a lot of money, but it could support my addiction, and save me a fortune in coffee, my other addiction. I decide I’m going to inquire about it the next morning.

That night I tell Eldon of my plan and he tells me not to be too disappointed when they say they aren’t hiring.

 

“Why do you have to be so negative?” I object.

“I’m not. I’m just saying, realistically, if they could afford to hire someone, they would have. It’s not as though it’s just suddenly gotten busy. It’s always been that way.”

“So maybe they weren’t in a position to hire someone before but since they have consistently been making money, now they are.”

“Sure, okay.”

“You are bugging me,” I grumble.

“I caught that.”

 

I go to bed and he joins me a few minutes later, asking if I’m still awake. I ignore him and he kisses my back.

 

“I know you are,” he sighs.

“I’m not in the mood.”

“Yes you are, but that’s beside the point,” he chuckles, “because I was just going to ask why you don’t go back to law, if you want to work.”

“I don’t want to work and I don’t like law.”

“You used to like law.”

“Yeah, because I had something to prove, but I’m over it.”

“What did you have to prove?”

“Really? You call yourself a psychologist? I had to make my parents proud and prove I was the smartest one in the family, what do you think?”

“I think I believed you when you said it was a noble profession that allowed you to help people through difficult times in their lives.”

“Yeah, well turns out I’m not that nice.”

“Are you the smartest one in your family?” he casually inquires.

“Not even close and you know it, so shut up and go to sleep.”

“Whoo, you are in one bad mood tonight, aren’t you?”

“I want a horse!” I spit out, much to my surprise.

 

I had no intention of saying that. In fact I didn’t think I was even thinking about that at the time.

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Excerpt Sunday 11

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It’s been a rough week with all kinds of turmoil and I don’t know about you, but I could use a vacation. The following is from a script (copyrighted & registered!) That I would like to see made. Of course I would have loved for Garry Marshall to have directed, sigh… but life goes on and we must cheer up. Enjoy!

                             Going On a Bear Hunt

FADE IN

 

INT.  BULK SHOPPING WAREHOUSE –  DAY

It’s every man for himself in the giant superstore where the smallest package of toilet paper is 15 mega rolls. Vendors, chefs and harried moms with crying babies speed by, filling their carts with the steely eyed focus of contestants on a food network grocery store game show. Among the hustle, moving at a much slower pace, is GINGER MURRY (60’s) beautiful, fit and casually dressed. She leisurely pushes her oversized cart while talking on her cell phone oblivious to the dirty looks from the other shoppers.

 

GINGER

(into phone)

                Amy, sweetheart, I know you and Matt are busy, but then that’s

                the point of this trip, isn’t it? Once a year we all set aside a few

                days to go camping, unplug and de-stress.

 

Enter NATE (60’s) not quite as fit as his wife, wears a matching jacket and warm-up suit which was most likely purchased at this very store, He’s eatting a sample cookie and drops a big box of the same brand into Ginger’s cart, waving back at the lady manning the sample table with a wink and a smile. We can see that he’s rarely met a snack he didn’t like. Ginger shakes her head at her husband as she continues on the phone.

 

GINGER (CONT’D)

                  You and Matt have your hands so full with the kids and work

                  that you probably need this more than any of us. Besides- –

 

Ginger stops to look at some folding chairs as Nate, in the background, tosses a big bag of cheese balls and a giant bag of potato chips into the very full cart and wanders off.

 

GINGER (CONT’D)

(as she removes the cheese balls from the

cart and places them on a random shelf)

                  …it’s the only time that Daddy and I get to spend with all of the

                  grandkids together, not to mention all of you. Between all of the

                  after-school activities, sports, and recitals, it’s a wonder we ever

                  see them.

 

Ginger pulls down one of the folding chairs and takes a seat, shifting a little to see if it’s comfortable and blocking traffic. Nate returns, tossing a package of pork rinds in the cart while sampling a paper cup of them.

 

GINGER (CONT’D)

                                                  (to Nate)

                  Stop that.

                                                 (into the phone)

                  Your father is going to kill us all with the junk food he’s buying.

                                                (looking into the cart she has a lightbulb

                                                moment)

                  And, I happen to know you’re as bad as he is, so you aren’t going

                  to want to miss out on all of this junk.

                                              (then)

                  I realize it’s overwhelming to get it together now, but once you

                  get up there, it’ll be fun. We always have fun, and besides, you

                  never know, what if we can’t do this next year? Life is unpredictable

                  and God knows we aren’t getting any younger. Don’t make me

                  guilt you. This is important for all of us, please.

                                         (a beat, smiles)

                  Good, then we’ll see you there. It’s going to be beautiful, just

                 like always.

Nate returns, his arms full of more crap including more cookies. He drops them into the cart and Ginger stands up.

 

GINGER

                  Those are filled with lard!

NATE

                  I know, that’s what makes them so delicious.

GINGER

                  Is it your plan to put the kids into a diabetic coma before

                  telling them what’s going on?

NATE

                  Have you got a better plan?

GINGER

                  Not really, no.

              

                                                                                                        CUT TO:

 

EXT. A BEAUTIFUL, TREELINED STREET – DAY

A slightly dated mini-van drives up to a large, well maintained Craftsman house with a detached garage. There is an old basketball hoop with a tattered net from years of use. In the driveway playing a game of one on one is BRETT (38) Nate and Ginger’s middle child, and his daughter, SIENNA (8 going on 15). Sienna steals the ball from her dad when he is distracted by the mini-van pulling into the driveway. Nate and Ginger get out of the van.

 

GINGER

                  What are you guys doing here?

SIENNA

                  Dad’s losing.

BRETT

                  Sure I am.

                              (Brett fakes to the left, goes right, gets around Sienna

                               and makes a slam dunk)

                  Ha! Take that!

                              (the ball rolls limply into some side bushes and Brett

                               goes over to hug his mother.)

                  We are here to get our tents.

NATE

                  Good luck, your mother has been reorganizing things.

 

Nate walks up to the pad-locked garage, unlocks it and opens the doors to reveal a lifetime of family memories and discarded junk. Everything from baby furniture to holiday decorations is piled precariously. Sienna runs in and grabs a 6ft. stuffed bunny that falls over her like a drunken relative at the end of a wedding.

 

SIENNA

                  I remember this guy! I love him.

BRETT

                  Don’t pull stuff down, look for camping gear.

GINGER

                  Just give me a second.

                              (she closes her eyes to imagine where she put things)

                  To the left of Easter and just right of Halloween, next to

                  the fourth of July.

                              (she smiles confidently as she opens her eyes)

BRETT

                  So in other words, somewhere in the garage.

GINGER

                  Exactly! We’ll need the big ice chest too, the metal one. If

                  you see it, grab it.

 

Ginger turns to leave while Nate and Brett move further into the garage as best they can, making their way past giant Easter eggs, plastic ghosts, a baby swing and multi-packs of paper towels. Nate points to his right.

 

NATE

                  Look, I see a folding chair. In fact, I think it’s the same

                  exact chair we just bought four more of. I knew they looked

                  familiar. We must need that area over there.

 

They move in un-piling more things as the camera pulls back to Sienna struggling to button the giant bunny into a Santa suit. Once achieved, she drags him over to the garage doorway where there is a pencil tied to the wall on a piece of string. Next to it are the markings of the kid’s measurements throughout the years. She sits the bunny against the wall.

 

 

SIENNA

                  Dad, throw me your phone.

BRETT

                  Kind of busy here.

SIENNA

                              (climbing over to him and reaching out)

                  Just toss it.

 

Brett pulls out his phone and hands it to her. She runs back to the bunny. She snaps a picture. A close up of the phone shows that she is posting the picture to Twitter with the hash tag, “he does exist!”

 

BRETT

                              (off screen)

                  Found it!

CUT TO:

 

EXT . THE DRIVEWAY – DAY

Brett and Nate walk up to Sienna who is still fussing with the bunny.

 

BRETT

                              (to Sienna)

                  That about does it. Are you ready to go?

SIENNA

                  Almost. Measure me. I think I’ve grown.

 

Nate takes the pencil and marks just above her head.

 

NATE

                  I think you are right. You are gaining on your cousin, Beau.

SIENNA

                  I should be, he’s three months younger than me. Now measure

Dad. I think he’s shrinking.

                              (Brett gently pushes her & she smiles)

                  Old age does that, right?

NATE

                  Watch it.

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