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  • R.L. Merrill

Things I Learned on my Spring Break



1. Smoke is bad... I used to be able to go to concerts in all kinds of venues with no problems, even when folks were smoking near me. However, last Wednesday while rocking out to Sixx: A.M. and Apocalyptica at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, my lungs decided to fight back. Between the cigarettes, the vape folks, and those partaking of the weed... I woke up Thursday morning with a horrible rattle. I have asthma, brought on by allergies and exposure to second hand smoke as a kid, so I wasn't surprised, but here we are a week later and I'm still wheezing. I hope this doesn't mean my small club days are over...

2. Nikki Sixx is Brillianter than ever and the cello can be hella metal! Sixx A.M. has been a huge influence on my writing and their show was phenomenal. James Michael is so smooth and has such range. He struts around egoless with a rock star swagger he can be confident in. DJ Ashba has this look about him. He barely has to strum his guitar and you can just feel him oozing prowess over the six strings. And Nikki Sixx? It's so good to see him aging gracefully and hearing his music take on a new life completely separate from Motley Crue. Where the Crue's music is raunchy and rowdy, Sixx A.M. is raw, theatrical, gut-wrenching, powerful, and, well, fun! His glam influences really come out in the new songs! It was a really great show and I just read today that the three main members of the band are using this time on the road to start writing their fourth album. If you want to know more about this project, go to http://sixxammusic.com/news/ As for Apocalyptica? Dude... Those guys rocked out so hard with their cellos! We were highly impressed, if not a little amused. The skill they have cannot be denied and I really enjoyed their performance. I'd totally see them again.

3. Smashy-Thingie... I am a self-professed tech dummy. I get downright violent when things don't work for me. But over break I was able to tackle uploading The Rock Season, newly off of Kindle Unlimited, onto this new platform wihe the help of my writing buddies Ellay Branton and Kimberlie L. Faye. I did run into difficulties doing the same on Draft 2 Digital, but I have hopes! This is an experiment for me. I want to see if there's more interest out there for my little stories that I haven't yet explored. We'll see how it goes! Fingers crossed more folks want to check out my brand of crazy!

4. It's hard to take pics in Hollywood with FIVE KIDS in tow... But I tried. Above you see a great view of the new decor in Lucky Strike, the kick-ass bowling alley on Highland Blvd! I was able to get some crappy pics of Jesse's school and one of my inspirations for Cosmo's apartment complex!




Like I said... Not the best pics. I'm determined to take another trip down there and get some better pics of the places in Teacher and I had the idea tonight to play with some video footage of my stomping grounds that inspired The Rock Season. We'll see!

5. "Bowling is the most difficult sport there is." I'm not sure how he came to this conclusion, but my son, who went through the five stages of grief while having an unsuccessful string of games, determined this statement so it must be true.

6. I need to up my game. I have had some really good feedback lately in the form of reviews and one of the things I really take away from the constructive (mostly) criticism is that while my characters and storylines are enjoyable, my writing could use A LOT of work. I promise you all I'm going to heed your concerns and make a concerted effort to improve in my coming stories.

7. I need to write more! I've set some heavy deadlines for myself this year, which require me to finish writing at least two more books. They are both over half written, but since I don't plan out what's going to happen, I kind of have to wait for it to come to me. Nice, huh? Great strategy I know. I also used to do dance and cheer choreography while I was in the shower.

8. My tendency to overextend has been overextended... Hence this illness/infection/cough/wheeze/weight gain, etc. that's been going on since January. Somehow I am going to address it... It may mean doing fewer author takeovers and spending a little less time chillin' on Facebook, so I hope you all will stick with me!

9. I can't decide between New York or Chicago Style pizza as being my favorite. See, here in the East Bay we have Zachary's Chicago-style pizza, which is just the best pizza... But then I go down to Hollywood/Beverly Hills and have Mulberry Street New York-style pizza and I'm in such love. So I love them both. I've decided I don't have to choose.

10. I am so in love with Hollywood/Film History. We visited the Hollywood History Museum, again, on this trip. I love this place so much. I have to make my pilgrimage each time to see Pee Wee Herman's Bike and visit Hannibal Lecter's cell from Silence of the Lambs... And of course my very favorite: All of the Frankenstein memorabilia!


11. I am so behind in TV and Film. There's really no way of saving myself. I watched the finale of Justified this week and cried. I have no motivation to watch anything other than my San Francisco Giants play ball. I am dying to get back to the movie theater, however. There's nothing more relaxing for me than to sit in the dark with my husband, holding hands and drinking Diet Coke with my huge popcorn or chocolate. Let's be honest, with both of those.

12. I really get nostalgic. Universal Studios is always a blast. But I remember my first trip down there during the Actor's Strike of the 1970's. While pulling into the parking lot, Erik Estrada of C.H.i.P.s fame, stuck his head in our car window and told my parents to bring us back for autographs after we went to the park. We never made it back, but my mom has pics of them all out there with their picket signs. It was quite surreal. Once inside the park, I remember the studio tour complete with the fake boulder avalanche and collapsing bridge. NOT THERE ANYMORE... You drive right past it. Sad, really. There are other small things I miss, too, but I realized that I really get bummed out when things I love change. It's just like when we went to Disneyland for Halloween and Christmas and they change the Haunted Mansion during that time to be A Nightmare Before Christmas. I have nothing against the movie, it's fun and I dig the art work. But The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite rides and I want the ghosts to ride in the damn car with me!

13. In conclusion, I learned some things about myself, had some fun, heard some amazing music, took some shitty pictures, and got sick. A mixed bag I guess. But I got to spend time with my kids and husband, which always makes things better. What have you learned recently that you'd like to share?

#vacation #hollywood #sixxam #hollywoodhistorymuseum #luckystrike #apocalyptica

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