A Shoebox House, author, books, Dating, Ghosting, indie author, memoir, online dating, reading, Writing

What to Write Dilemma – Should I Write a Memoir?

I’ve read hundreds of blogs and posts and I recently decided that each one was a mini-memoir (of sorts). People write about what they know. We can’t write about what we don’t know.

I wrote my first book when I was ten, on a key-pounding typewriter (with white-out). My Mom saved it for me for decades, and I retrieved it from my treasures to read it a few years ago. As a child, I developed a protagonist, antagonist, a plot and characters. Encouraged by my ten-year old self, it became my dream and goal to write another book. My passion was renewed by my childhood story about Arabian horses, friendship, family, the good-guy and the bad-guy. If I could do it then, why not now?

I had spent years thinking about plot ideas that never came close to being written. Then, an unexpected opportunity plopped into my lap.

In August 2017, I decided to write a story about love, relationships, despair and hope. Sounds common, right? A romance book that can be bought anywhere with hundreds of thousands to choose from. I don’t like calling my book a ‘Memoir’ because it often carries a stigma of, “Oh, another one of those books.” A romance novel seemed far-fetched for my book’s theme, but it is the other genre closest in which I could compare it.

A Shoebox House is about my honest reflections, and twisted reality, as I struggle through the consequences and emotional mind games as a victim of catfishing and ghosting. I encounter the risks and pleasures of online dating, the boundaries of friendship and the strength of family. I wrote it knowing my Mom would be reading it, so there are only moderate sexual references.

The catch to A Shoebox House… it is written from both the man and woman’s point of view. There are Book One (published) and Book Two (release June 2019), and the time span covers 14 months. Each book is slightly different in content; Book One will hopefully leave you hanging – and ready to read the next one.

The point is… we often don’t have to look for a subject to write about… it’s right in front of us.

My name is Rhonda Phelps and I invite you check out A Shoebox House. If you are a single woman, dating either online or organic, and over 45-years of age – this book is for you. (Although it is a book anyone could enjoy reading, I wanted to disclose my target audience.)

Order A Shoebox House here: http://amazon.com/dp/Bo7n67LR555

What are you going to write about?


Rhonda Phelps


Online Dating – Finding a Spark When the Stakes are High

When I was reading my memoir after the final edit, I was shocked that I was sharing my deepest thoughts and experiences about myself and my online dating experiences with the world. It didn’t occur to me how much I was “putting out there” about 14 months of my online dating experiences and my personal life. During the process of writing, learning about the market, and setting up an author platform, I discovered a whole new me.

Should we be calling Online Dating, “Online Introductions”? I have read over 100 articles and blogs about internet dating, but there is nothing like my book on the market. It has some spice and romance, but I wrote it knowing my Mom would be reading it. I describe a few of my online encounters which include a hook-up, establishing the foundations of friendships, exposing scammers, embracing companionship, and I added some of my quirkiness and perspectives on life.

I separated my story into two books for two reasons; the content is very different in each book, and I added the twist of my co-star writing his side of the story (in both books).

I am plowing through the how-to-do-it on my websites and social media on my own, so bear with me if things don’t look quite right.

A Shoebox House is available today and on Valentine’s Day as a freebie on Amazon.

A Shoebox House: Memoir by Rhonda Phelps


My book description:


This is not a how-to book, nor does it provide online dating advice. A Shoebox House is a memoir of actual events, infused with the author’s thoughts and emotions. Her heart-felt account of her experiences is poignant, touching and sprinkled with spice and humor. Included in the book is Lyle’s story from his perspective. This new author chose to release Book One alone to gain critical feedback. Book Two will be available later in 2019.


Rhonda Phelps delved into the world of online dating seeking companionship and romance. At 52-years old, she explored a dating world in which many of her friends were entangled. When sparks of passion started to ignite, her world was poised for pleasure. She and her internet boyfriend, Lyle, weren’t living in the past nor planning for the future; they were living for the moment. Energized by the summer sun, they were combatting loneliness and embracing life.

Rhonda’s innate ability to sense the emotions of other people, however, told her something was not quite right. One weekend in July after seeing Lyle, she became flustered and disoriented. Suspicion battled against reason and she was beginning to doubt her rational existence. Two days later – she was nudged near madness.


Rhonda Phelps’s online dating odyssey continued as she recessed into the hollows of despair and mental anguish. Her friendships were jeopardized, and she felt like a fool. She desperately craved answers. Obsessed with redemption, she discovered the truth about Lyle as revealed through a series of emails, message logs, hand-written letters and internet research.

Now armed with the facts about her online boyfriend, where does she go from here? Will she find redemption? Will she discover what lies within the shoebox house?

It happens all the time!

A Shoebox House, author, books, Dating, Ghosting, indie author, inspirational, love, memoir, online dating, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

A Shoebox House, Written by Rhonda Phelps

Coming in January 2019:

Finding a Spark when the Stakes are High

 It’s rare to find a date the organic way. Cyber-dating is the fad of the century, but it wasn’t what I expected when I signed up on Match.com. I had heard raving reviews about people on dating sites nurturing relationships, meeting their match, and pledging marriage. Many of my friends were tangled in the web of dating, and in spite of the online trolls that tried to sabotage the fun, unexpected friendships and romances manifested within a few months.

When sparks started to flow, the world was poised for pleasure and I was entwined in adventure with my internet boyfriend. Summer glistened on waterfalls, and the night life hosted fun and friends. Cultural intake from museums and live music linked our interests and we formed an indescribable bond. We were embracing life and sharing our stories.

One weekend in July when he came to town, I became flustered and disoriented and nothing was going right. I was beginning to doubt my rational existence, and two days after he departed – I was nudged near madness. My friendships were jeopardized, and I felt like a fool. My spirit was hollow, and I craved answers. Obsessed with redemption, I discovered the truth as it was revealed through a series of real-life emails, social media posts, message logs, hand-written letters and internet research.

It happens all the time…

Rhonda Phelps

All Rights Reserved

article, author, Celebrate, Dating, love, online dating, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

# 10 Ways to Win a Woman on a First Dinner Date

What is a first date? Not only do men and women appear to be different species, we all think differently, look different, react differently, everything is different. Dating is not a reason to go have sex with someone, because it is the means of spending enjoyable time with someone, with the possibilities of having a longer-term relationship.

There are some acceptable dating etiquette guidelines when taking a woman on a first date. A date does not include a hook-up, but meeting at an agreed destination is acceptable. These steps are appear to be “old-school”, so I would enjoy hearing a variety of successful first date techniques.  

#1 – Communicate: You’ll need to CALL her and ask her on a date. Hopefully, before this point you will have talked on the phone already. Texting, messaging, dating sites and social media are adequate for introducing yourself, but not for deciding if you want a date or relationship. Call for a date.


#2 – Plan: Pick a comfortable place. You should already know where you are going for this spectacular event. Make sure it is a place she will enjoy, and tell her you are paying for everything. Yes, everything. Suck it up. If she wants to pay, refuse, and make sure it is clear before the date. If the woman insists on paying, cancel the date. Sorry, but that woman has power struggle issues. Unless that’s what you want.  (Note: Women with power struggle issues will be the women posting in my comments that they do not have power struggle issues, get it?)

#3 – First Impression: Only open the car door if it feels right and isn’t awkward. You should be able to pick up on that, if not, go home. If you meet at the place, remember the doors into buildings/rooms, always open the door for her.

open doors.jpg

#4 – Safe: Guide her through the door and into the building/room by placing the palm of your hand gently on the” small of her back”, or the place on her spine between her hips and rib cage. Lightly, with only slight pressure, so she knows it is there. It is not meant to push her, or be sexual, but indicate she is safe with you. If she punches you in the face, maybe you did it wrong.


#5 – Table etiquette: When you go into a restaurant, observe the chairs, because you’ll be sliding her chair out from the table for her to be seated. It attracts unnecessary attention if the chair scrapes across the floor. Most women will scoot the chair forward themselves. The hostess may pull the chair out for her, go with the flow. (Did you notice the chairs and setting in the picture above?)


#6 – Food: Order a finger-food appetizer; merely food you eat with your fingers. Not messy barbecued ribs, but glamorous bites. Finger-foods create a primitive connection between a couple, and I can’t explain it. Tell your date that she may order anything she wants. Don’t worry, you’ll find out some information on this exercise and it’ll be worth it. I’m assuming you already did your research on what kind of food she likes.

#7 – Intimacy: Listen to her. Seriously. Remember what she says and ask her a question later in the date about a subject she was talking about. You may even try a couple of subjects. Find out what she is passionate about by using  your sparkling personality, and creatively approach the conversation. You are developing intimacy; an emotional bond that most women crave.

#8 – Sharing: Talk about yourself, but put a limit on it. On a first date, you should already know enough about each other via texting, a phone call, mutual friends, or a dating site. This is the time for both of you to have fun and talk about mutual interests. (If there are none, well, you know to ask more questions before a first date.)

hands and heart.jpg

#9 – Affection: Do not let the affection and romance exceed past hugging and a occassional kiss. Kissing is bouncing on the boundary during the first date, but you don’t want to offend your date by acting like you don’t want to kiss her. Make sure you are a good kisser. A sloppy or wormy kiss is a deal-breaker. I’ve talked to a lot of women about this, so take it to heart.


#10 – Sex: This is a tough one. Never have sex on the first date. There is a good chance you will lose respect for her. It may not feel like it at the time, but it will happen. If you want to have sex, arrange a hook-up with someone, because you’re not ready to date.

If you’ve gotten to the end of the date, and you want to go on another date, ask if you can CALL her. Texting is tempting because you can sneak in conversations anywhere, so text to keep in touch, but CALL when you are setting up the next date. Don’t make plans for the next date, just get a commitment. Kiss her good-bye.

Dates don’t come with guarantees, but if you really like someone, and you’re willing to share your time and energy with them, you’ll be anticipating the next date with undue excitement. Anything I’ve left out… that’s up to you.

Have a great next date!


my love.png



A Shoebox House, article, author, books, Celebrate, Cystic Fibrosis, inspirational, kindness, love, memoir, peace, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

You can change the world… one week at a time

(Photo by William Earl Thornton)

This morning I was reflecting on the past week and decided to share  my thoughts.

I have a friend who is a veteran, a Desert Storm survivor. We talk on the phone about once a week and I am always amazed at what he has to say. I usually listen to him, intently, about his experiences and his life today. He talks for a few hours… trying to sort it all out. I fully understand why we should pay more attention to the services provided by our veterans; we should take care of them.

A co-worker was expecting divorce papers after being separated for 6 months, and to his surprize, she told him she wants to work on their marriage instead. He is nervous, and excited about it. It’s a difficult journey, but worth it.

I notice people at the grocery store. Are they happy, sad, angry or numb? Do they smile? Are they unaware of others around them? I wonder what is going on in their lives. The people with frowny faces that smile when they see you in the next isle. The tourists loading up their carts and double-checking to make sure they have everything for their vacation in Big Sky. The people you make a point of avoiding, fearing their negativity will jump into your cart. The focused merchandisers that are frantically restocking the shelves. And I try to pick a lane where the checker seems pleasant, regardless of the length of the line. It’s a joy-killer to get a nasty checker. (Although, I am sure they have a reason for being grouchy.)

My daughter has cystic fibrosis and tried the new miracle drug, Orkambi, a few years ago but the side-effects were too drastic. Last week at her clinic appointment, the doctor prescribed another new drug, similar to the one she tried before, anticipating better results and fewer side-effects. CF is a terminal illness, so you can imagine the joy we experience with the advancing medical technology.

I talk to my my Mom on the phone about once per week, and we text almost every day. My parents are both still alive, and reside in Arizona. They are genuine and I am blessed with their guidance every day.

My son finally dealt with a haunting court situation that has been dragging on for 5 years and has caused him thousands of dollars in bail money, and several months in jail. He is getting a new start, I hope he embraces it.

I talked to a couple of friends who seemed stuck in certain areas of their life; relationships, financial, careers and personal acceptance. I mostly listen and ask questions. I take a turn sharing my quandries, and we usually we both walk away with a new perspective on life, and a rejuvenated sense of acceptance and love.

I dated a man for 4 months last summer, and he disappeared on July 27th. I tracked him down to a jail in Colorado. I wrote him a letter when I found him three weeks later… our letters crossed in the mail. His letter started “I’ve written this letter a thousand times…” Over the  past 7 months we have been corresponding via letters and a few phone calls. My friends ask me how I can be so compassionate towards him. It may be hard to understand, but there is a connection that I can not explain. During these 7 months, I experienced every range of emotion possible from manic highs to clinical depression. With my realistic approach and encouragement, he is on the road to recovery and rehabilitation as he opens up and is able to write about and accept his past. He is up for parole in May.

I am writing a memoir about my experience with this mysterious man, online dating, relationships, acceptance and self-realization. (Blah, blah, blah… I am trying to come up with a unique book description.) My goal is to publish it in June 2018 – “A Shoebox House”.

I attended a workshop sponsored by “9energies” that is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and others. Amazing organization. Bozeman is growing at a rapid rate and since I am a native, I am not always fond of the increase in population. A lady at the workshop shared her feelings about about how wonderful Bozeman was and how much she loves it here. She said she found peace here. It changed my viewpoint and I am thriving in a new perspective.

My 3 dogs are my buddies and my daily saviors. They love me unconditionally and greet me with enthusiasm.

These events are all miracles to me. Many other miracles happened… I am keeping those treasures also.

What happened in your week? Were you paying attention? What were your miracles?

Thank you for reading my post,





author, inspirational, kindness, love, nature, peace, Writing

It’s the little things…

I texted some of my friends a photo of a page stamped with my new “Copy” stamp for work this morning.

It said, “I am so excited about my new ‘copy’ stamp! It’s the little things…”

One of my friends commented “Cool! It is the little things. That’s why I love you.”

Awwww… my heart warmed.


I know, it’s silly. Put some fun in your day! Use your imagination and create your “it’s the little things” kind of life.

Short & sweet,


(The featured image is from a hiking adventure last summer in Sourdough Canyon, Bozeman, MT.)


What is a A Shoebox House? It’s a true story of Ghosting…

It’s not the kind of ghosting that happens in haunted houses and cemetaries. It’s the kind of ghosting described as “disappearing” on someone, usually another person-of-interest. That’s right, they just disappear. Whether it’s after a few friendly text’s or after a 20-year relationship, it still hurts.

I know… I know… another online dating story. Not really, though.

I met a guy last spring on Plenti-of-Fish and we got along quite well, so I decided to go meet him for lunch. I live in Bozeman, and he lived in Great Falls – about a 3 hour drive. As I was leaving to head back to Bozeman, I invited him to come stay with me and check out the recreation in Bozeman.

Over the summer, we loved the outdoors in the Gallatin Valley, and I had private time away when I went to Great Falls to visit.

He disappeared on July 27, 2017.

Everyone has a footprint somewhere, especially with the internet, but Lyle Waynes did not exist. He ceased all means of communication… his phone and his computer, he was just gone.

In the book, “The Shoebox House”, you’ll learn what I went through trying to find out what happened to him. I share actual poems, emails, instant messages and written letters. The few people who have read my rough draft tell me it’s so compelling they can’t stop until the end.

I am searching for references for people to review my book before I launch it. Any suggesions?

Thank you,



art, article, inspirational, love, nature, peace, Photography, Writing

The Bird Nest – Waiting for Spring


This family of birds picked special twigs and streams of bark to construct this nest in the tree behind my house, and its only about 4 feet from the ground. I’ve peeked at new cats walking on the fence-tops in the neighborhood this winter, so I’m hoping that this treasured home will survive.

Enjoy your day…