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


Final Cover ASH Book One JPG.jpg

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!


Okay, can’t figure out how to make this a top level page (security I think???) so just making this a blog post. Just a place to put videos I make. More to come as I learn more about editing and producing videos.

This bear is a piece of steel-work art residing along the Missouri river in Great Falls, Montana. I was biking along the river and decided to take a few action (haha) pictures. Later I added a little sound just for fun. Credit to for the sounds.

A Griddle

A retired man upon seeing
An inanimate object
Conjures memories of childhood

Rare and vague images
Feelings of peace during wartime
A war between parents

A family torn apart
Moving far away
Living with different people

Farm and fields
Chicken coop and pigsty
Yellow bus, new school

How can an inanimate object
Conjure images, feelings
Of childhood –
So clear and warm?

Stirrings of the past
After heartbreak
Of family in distress

A plain griddle
Sturdy and round
Silent and useful

Simple metal and plastic
Six decades of pancakes
And other comforts

I see Grandma
I touch the kitchen counter
I smell baking bread
I taste amazing pancakes
I feel comfort

Amidst the sorrow

Written by: Lyle Wagner

(All Rights Reserved)

Stop and Smell the Roses

“Stop and smell the roses”Rhondas Roses
Seemingly easy to comprehend
But is there be a deeper meaning?
What do the fates portend?

We bring calamity upon our lives
Fears, envies and stress
We oft need a release
Hearts and souls in distress

A simple act, the draw of the scent
To garden, to bush, to petal
Bent at the waist, finger’s gentle touch
Simplicity or more, pray tell

Two actions called forBlack Eagle Falls 6-24-17
Their meanings I can’t tell
What is it we are stopping
Why is it that we smell

Stop moving, halt your breath
Quit worrying the stresses of life
Stop wanting, needing, or feeling
The possibilities are rife.

And why the sense of smell
In this a beautiful phrase
Why not sight, sound or even touch
There seem better choices and ways

Is the rose really a rose?
In this brief and simple prose
Or a much deeper notion
Happiness, joy, alleviation of woes.

Such complexity in five wordsGolf Selfie 2 04-2017
To cease our action, our emotions
Preparing our heart and mind
For some better comprehension

Are more senses to be engaged
Seeing, feeling; a higher plane
Deep analysis; transcendental thoughts
A better life to be gained

A rose represents beauty, even though
Roses are fleeting, gone so soon
Are we seeking periodic relief
Like a full and brilliant moon

Perhaps, leave it to each personGibson 03-2017
To interpret with their own wit
Free to read these five words
And act as they see fit

I choose not to study and bemoan
Only to make time each day
To hug a loved one; help an innocent
To live a better way

To park, to garden, to bush
Bend at the waist just so
Touch gently with my fingers
And smell the beautiful rose…


Written by: Lyle Wagner
(All Rights Reserved)



The Old School Rap

70’s rock and ol’ blue eyes
I dig classic tunes, it ain’t no lie
I’m Old School, Old School

That’s all we needed
Cable TV’s a mess

Mom and Dad provided
Love and family
Discipline, respect
Good for you and me

That’s Old School, Old School
Old School, Old School

So get a payin’ job
But if it really bites
Improve yourself
And get one you like

Don’t be weak
Smoke, shoot and tweak
Stand proud like a man
Have a solid plan

Yeah Old School, Old School
Say it with me now
Old School, Old School

Girls are girls and boys are boys
But have compassion
So we all have joy

That’s New School, New School
For Old School, Old School

We all need to relax
Put a nice buzz on
But be responsible
Don’t infringe upon
Others, others

Readin’, writin’ and rithmetic
Know these things
Be mentally fit
Knowledge, knowledge

That’s Old School, Old School

Do unto others
The golden rule
You know that’s wise
Don’t be a fool
You know I’m no fool

I’m Old School, Old School
That’s cool
Old School, Old School
Yeah, Old School, Old School…

Written by: Lyle Wagner
(All Rights Reserved)

A Shoebox House, by Rhonda Phelps

Coming in September:

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 I had heard raving reviews about people on dating sites nurturing relationships, meeting their match, and pledging marriage. In spite of the online trolls that tried to sabotage the fun, unexpected friendships and romance 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. Picnics, splashing in the rain, and gentle massages accompanied fine wine, succulent grapes and brie cheese. Summer glistened on waterfalls while hiking in the spacious national forests, and the night life hosted fun and friends. The cultural intake from museums, car show’s and live music linked our interests and we formed an indescribable bond. We were embracing life.

One weekend when he came to town, I became flustered and disoriented and everything was going wrong. I was beginning to doubt my rational existence. Two days later I was tossed into a lifeless and foreign world, and my friendships were in jeopardy. 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, Messenger logs and hand-written letters.

Written by: Rhonda Phelps

(All Rights Reserved.)





I didn’t think it would be good for her to drive across town to pick me up. I had just arrived in Bozeman by regional bus, which was delayed a few hours by the weather. A storm system was chasing us, bringing significant snow and blizzard conditions. This early December evening was dark and bitter cold. Thankfully, if I hustled, I could catch the last local bus to make it close to her house. I had let her know I would be a little late and I’d take the local bus. The storm was close, light snow was falling and it was getting windy.

Bozeman had buttoned up pretty tight and looked dismal. There were very few cars on the streets; businesses had empty parking lots and I was the only one on foot walking rapidly to the bus stop. I only had my small roller-equipped bag. I would barely make the connection at the University that would drop me off within a mile of Ronna’s house. My cell phone was out of juice, so I would either walk the mile to her place or stop at the local bar & grille and call her to pick me up. I’d see how bad the storm was by then and decide.

I had met Ronna four weeks earlier on an online dating site. She met me in Great Falls, about 3 hours from Bozeman, for lunch and a walk in the park. She was very attractive, my height with shoulder length auburn-brown hair. We hit it off well after our initial awkwardness. She had a knack for reading people, as I quickly learned. While we sat at the park, she stared into my eyes as I talked and commented that I had a deep sadness about me. Briefly startled, I admitted I had a divorce almost 5 years ago that took part of my soul. I said, “You must be half Wiccan,” and we both chuckled. “No,” she replied, “Not half Wiccan. I just read people well.”

I went to visit her In Bozeman two weeks after that, and I agreed to come back in another two weeks. Her home was warm and inviting and I felt very comfortable there.

I thought we might sleep together soon and I tried to imagine what her body would look like and how she would feel to my touch. As I transferred to the other bus, those thoughts left me and I was stuck with a brief wait in the cold and dark. The driver of the last bus was not messing around. He clearly wanted to get home and off the roads and he rushed away. The only other passenger on my final coach was an older woman, quiet and sullen, but not appearing frightful of the weather. She sat 3 rows behind me, dressed in black with a thin, long coat that looked like a wrap or a cape. Odd, I thought, that she would be out in this weather by herself and without a good coat.

The bus barely came to a halt and I hopped off with my bag. The bus took off in a blur, the snow caving into the air as the bus broke through the dark night. I looked all around and there was no one in sight, not even a car on the main road coming out of Bozeman to the surrounding communities. The bar & grille appeared closed, no cars were in the parking lot. The lights were amber and low and not the usual white glare to attract customers. Even the streetlights were gloomy and dim. The winds swirled, and the snow beat against my face. I began the trek thinking I’d have to walk since the bar was closed. The only bright lights were the gas station ahead and across the street where the two main roads met. I proceeded to the intersection, having to cross and then backtrack North about 3/4 of a mile to get to her house. A quick and pleasant walk in the Spring and Summer, but a daunting and cold walk on this night.

It was useless to push the pedestrian button at the crosswalk and wait for the green avitar to light up. No cars were in sight, so I started to walk, dragging my luggage behind me. Halfway across I heard a whispery sound like straightening cotton sheets on a bed. I turned my head and saw something black and large fly sideways away, it was gone in a millisecond. Trash? The wind must have picked up something and tossed it about.

The wind was stronger now and threatening to push me back. My hands and feet were freezing, and I needed to keep moving. I got across the intersection and turned North, nearly running. I had no fear of not making it to her house, but at the same time there was no reason to dawdle.

Another sound startled me, and I glanced back – nothing. I had almost turned back around to proceed, and there she was. My mouth went dry and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. The apparition floated just above the ground, black layers of clothing flapping in the wind. I could not tell if it was me screaming.

I heard the scream, but it seemed to be coming from somewhere guttural, distant from my rational thought. I could see her face as the ebony satin drifted back and forth across her body. A yellow face wrinkled beyond time; eyes bluish-white with no pupils, and aged teeth that were sharp and dripping like a predator after a kill. She stared at me, marking me and ready for me. As I turned to run I lost my grip of the suitcase handle, but never looked back for it. I ran in blind panic, knowing I had to make it to Ronna’s.

I saw the terrible face in my mind as I ran stumbling, and catching my pace again. My knees ached after years of athletic abuse, but I ran as fast as I could, half full-out run and half skipping when my left knee threatened to crumble. If I fell, I would die a horrible death. I could hear the whushing sound behind me as she stalked me down the sidewalk, toying with her intended prey. I could see the lights of Ronna’s house ahead, which gave me hope, and I continued pounding on my knees, oblivious to the shooting pain.

As I neared the small ditch to cross onto Ronnas property, I felt the evil, bony, decrepit fingers on my shoulder and a wetness on my thighs. My bladder had lost control. I pushed away as hard as I could and bounced through the ditch and into Ronna’s yard. I knew it would be too late. The ghoul would catch me and begin feasting as I fell onto the porch and fumbled with the door.

I tripped on the stairs and slammed into the door. Reaching up for the handle, I pulled up my legs to avoid the pain of being bitten. The door was mercifully unlocked. I stood and pushed the door open and blasted inside, slamming the door behind me. Ronna approached the far side of the entryway, deeply concerned. I stumbled forward and hit the floor hard. She attempted to catch me, “What’s wrong,” she stammered, “Are you hurt?”

It was quiet. I listened for a few seconds and could hear nothing outside, except the wind. No whushing or scratching fingernails at the door. What did I see? This is insane. Am I insane? It must be the weather or my imagination.

“I’m all right,” I said as I stood. I began to tell her about the image I saw but thought better of giving the details. I told her the wind was fierce and tossing debris in the air – it scared the hell out of me, so I ran. I lost my bag, but I told her I’d look for it in the morning.

She noticed the wetness in my pants. Embarrassed, I explained I was so scared I didn’t even realize I’d wet myself. “C’mon,” she said, “you can take a shower and put on one of my robes. Let me start some coffee and we’ll talk about what happened.”

I spent 20 minutes in the shower and although the water was hot, I shivered. It wasn’t from the cold, it was from my vision… or what I thought I saw. Well, Ronna wasn’t too grossed out from my bladder issue, I thought. Maybe she won’t kick me to the curb after my dramatic entrance. Maybe she likes me? I was very happy to be there. I toweled off, put the robe on and walked out to her living area. It was as warm and inviting as I remembered.

Ronna was dressed in her velvety robe when she brought me the steaming coffee. She sat with me, not pushing, but encouraging me to tell her what happened. I could only stammer that it was just my imagination. The cold, the dark, the wind, and years of loneliness – followed by healing and living life again. All those emotions crashed in my mind like an atom being split. We talked for an hour and I relaxed. The images of cold and snow were gone.

“Let’s go to bed,” she said, “I’m ready if you are.” I replied with just a nod. She rose and went into her bedroom. I straightened up the couch pillows, rinsed out the coffee cups in the sink and walked into the dimly lit bedroom, ready to be with her.

As I walked through the doorway, there she was… 6 inches above the ground, a black robe floating about her body and head. Her face was sallow and wrinkled, and bluish eyes filled the empty skull. Sharp and protruding teeth snarled… bony fingers reaching out for me…

I knew it was me that was screaming.


Written by: Lyle Wagner
(All Rights Reserved)

Creative Writing, Photography and Imagination