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Words, woes, WIPs, and Whip-It-Out Wednesdays

*As I composed this blog post, please know that way too much Diet Coke and Reese's were consumed...

The year 2020 began with a hacked credit card, the implosion of a beloved organization, and hiccups on the homefront. I've struggled to find my words and wanted to bury myself in my new couch and never come out. But life doesn't work that way and thankfully this week I've been digging my way to the surface. I figure rather than wading in the cesspool of 2019, I'll assess the situation and grab hold of the things I love. It's time to #getshitwrit and get back to the things that make life worth living.

But obituary.

I started my morning with a goodbye. In 1993, I lived in the upstairs of a farmhouse in Lamoni, Iowa, that had been built in 1880. It was my escape apartment after a near-death breakup and I quickly made it my home...which was groovy in April, but come fall? Yeah, it gets cold in Iowa and the only heat for my attic apartment was supplied by a vent from downstairs. Now, most college kids go home for the Thanksgiving holidays, but there was no dinero in the fund for Thanksgiving and Christmas airfare, so I decided to stay. My neighbors who controlled the heat didn't. By Tuesday my walls were caked with ice. I'd shoved towels in front of the door, shut off access to the kitchen from the rest of the apartment since that's where the majority of windows were and it was the frozenest (is that a word?). I drove the thirty miles plus to the closest Walmart and picked up this Toastmaster ceramic space heater and it saved my life. I sat in front of that little box for the whole week watching VHS tapes of Headbanger's Ball my mom had recorded and sent to me and studied. On Thanksgiving, my dear friend John Patton (Juan of the Aces High mobile and killer guitar skills) brought me a plate of leftovers from his family's meal. I was safe, I was fed, I was WARM and I was ADULTING! I was happy.

Today I had to say goodbye to the Toastmaster. I've been using it in my arctic-zone classrooms and offices for the past twenty-six years, brought it home for my patio room at times, and it's been a trusty little space-heater. But last week when I plugged it in, I smelled metal burning, I got feedback on my phone, and when I pulled it out of the socket, the plug sparked. This morning I brought a new model and said a few words of appreciation for the Toastmaster and sent it on its way. I'm sad. I know that sounds silly, and yes, I'm a hoarder by nature, but this little beast kept me warm during one of my darkest periods. So I post this blog in tribute. Raise a glass to the Toastmaster if you are so inclined.

This is a picture of the dead tree outside my classroom window where a hummingbird perches throughout the day. Every time I look up, he's there. Every time I try to snap a picture, he flies away. I can't win. But he's awesome and I talk to him sometimes!

Inspiration snuck up on me yesterday as I was invited to evaluate student projects at the high school. My daughter's class was presenting their 3D models of future classrooms and presenting lessons and their methods of engagement. It made me so happy to see these high schoolers seriously studying my profession with the hopes someday they could follow in the footsteps of their incredible teacher. I got to see the children of two colleagues as well, all grown up and ready to graduate. One of my former students was there to evaluate students as well and she's working as an Early Childhood Educator herself! What a blessing. I'm so grateful for the opportunity. P.S. by the time I got to my daughter she was like "I'm done talking, here's my model." hahahah I'm incredibly proud of her and over the coming months you'll hear all about the Quest for College! (cue dramatic music in the vein of Queen's Flash Gordon and Highlander soundtracks).

Speaking of soundtracks, y'all know The Amity Affliction is one of my faves and one of my inspirations for the Summer of Hush series, which just came out in MASS MARKET PAPERBACK GUYS!!! You can get yours here... I think I'm going to see them on their Portland stop. Hoping. One of the things that keeps me going is knowing I have shows coming up. The only tickets I have are for Motley Crue in July, and that's just too far away! Keeping my eyes open! Would love to see the Volbeat/Clutch tour but it's not coming nearby. Sadly.

Also, if you missed my last newsletter, the Magic and Mayhem Universe has a selection of titles ON SALE through January! Visit the site and check it out!

Well, getting back to my hoarder admission, I've been hoarding a manuscript. The very first novel I ever wrote has been sitting in a drawer (that looks remarkably like a computer, but I digress) and I decided the time was at hand. On Friday, March 13th, you'll finally meet school counselor Delaney Frost and the rest of the staff at an exclusive, mysterious boarding school in the wilds of Arkansas where children who are victims of trauma go to heal, and master the gifts they've been given. It's X-Men meets M. Night Shyamalan's Split with a romance and magic thrown in for good measure. I'll have lots of teasers over the next month, so stay tuned!

In the spirit of good news, I've been percolating ideas for improving my reader group experience as well as freshening up my blog. The first plan of action started today with the implementation of Whip-It-Out Wednesday! My beloved radio station 92.3 KSJO used to have giveaways they called Whip It Out Wednesday and I loved it. The other day I "cracked that whip" in a gif to someone needing writing motivation and I was like "that's it!" From now on, in Ro's Roadies of Romance on Facebook, I will be inviting author friends to pop in and show off their goods. It could be a new release or a beloved classic from their backlist, it could be something they're totally excited about. There will be giveaways, exclusives, and good old exhibitionism as these talented folks Whip-It-Out for you! Not a member? Join today! More surprises coming soon, including new Friendy Friday posts...

As for my WIP? I'm working on a little ditty that will be FREE to folks who attend Book Lovers Con's Rustic Prom VIP experience. Oh yeah, it's gonna be a scream.

The woes...I don't want to go into them. This is a moving forward post, and therefore I'm gonna do that. If we're ever having a drink or like, a hot fudge sundae, feel free to ask. I'm happy to share what's been going on in my authory world. Speaking of moving forward...check out this beautiful cover!

Moving forward, you can look for...

Merrill's Musical Musings on

New Paranormal Romance release 3/13

Ro to visit Book Lovers Con 3/18

Dark Divinations Horror Anthology May

Magic and Mayhem: Gator Me Twice June

Magic and Mayhem: New Series within the series October

Summer of Hush 2 very tentatively scheduled for Fall 2020

F/F Holiday story November 2020

And...who knows what else? I'll keep you posted here, so Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance...

P.S. Here are Frankenstein and Dracula in the middle of a boxing match while Simi chills in her corner of the new couch. If you missed the post, this is my new awesome couch that you will rarely find me away from if I can help it!


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