Today I am so pleased to welcome R.L. Merrill to Joyfully Jay. Ro has come to talk to us about her latest release, Summer of Hush. She has also brought along a great tourwide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

The Influences: Part One

Music always inspires my writing, and often times the music I’m listening to at the time shapes characters, scenes, and moods in my stories. For Summer of Hush I wanted to find the perfect sound for the band that not only represented the Warped Tour sound of 2018, but also the fictional bands on the road with Hush. Here are some of the musicians/bands you will see mentioned in the book and here is the link to my playlist for the book so you can check it out! I’d love for these artists to inspire you as well.

Escape the Fate – Craig Mabbit’s vocals inspired Silas’s sound. Silas tends to be a bit more raucous and Hush’s music is heavier than Escape the Fate’s, but the lyrics to songs like “Remember Every Scar,” “Picture Perfect,” and “Do You Love Me?” All resonated with me as I was writing this story.

Motionless in White/Chris Motionless – Motionless in White has an intense vibe that feels like a psychotic break at times. Chris Motionless looks the part and orchestrates the madness perfectly, but I had the chance to meet him at his backstage workshop during Warped Tour 2016 and if you weren’t looking at his exterior, you’d never guess he was that screaming demon. He is an advocate for mental health awareness and for people finding their individual place in society. His workshop was all about letting kids speak their truth and it was a huge inspiration to me as a parent and a teacher. Their music wasn’t my favorite at first, but I was quickly won over with their Reincarnate album. Now they’re on my “heavy rotation” on Spotify!

Asking Alexandria – This band toured with Warped Tour in 2018, which I did not get to attend, but I got to see them play at Shoreline on another occasion and I was very impressed. Danny Worsnop has one of those voices that effortlessly moves from screaming to singing and takes you on a roller coaster ride. His side project We Are Harlot was great as well. Their sound has a definite place in the metalcore genre.

Black Veil Brides – I’ve seen Andy Biersack and company a few times and I’m always impressed with their technical ability and their stage presence. Their look is a cross between early Motley Crue and KISS and their sound definitely pays tribute to those who have come before. Andy Biersack has also been a fierce advocate for youth issues and the band itself has dealt with a lot of negativity from metal fans who feel they’re too pretty or don’t have enough substance. But you know what? I think they’re pretty damn great and I’ve been a metal fan for a long time. There’s room at the table to be inclusive. Andy Biersack has also performed at Warped as his alter ego Andy Black playing a little more dance-friendly alternative music and his image can be seen emblazoned upon t-shirts worn by all genders. He walks that line of genderfluid that has wide appeal. (And if you’ve read my novellas featuring singer Orrie Jones, well, Andy was a definite inspiration).

The Misfits – Hardcore punk with a horror-ific image, The Misfits have influenced everyone from Metallica to the newer metal and metalcore bands. You see their logo and merch worn by “scene” kids everywhere as well as the oldest metal fans. Their music appeals to those who dig the dark and gothic vibe as well as skaters and punk fans.

The Amity Affliction – This Australian band blew me away with songs like “Open Letter” and “Pittsburgh,” but the heavy subject matter of their albums I Bring The Weather With Me and Misery are characteristic of what makes today’s metalcore bands different from metal bands of my youth. Singers (screamers) like Joel Birch sing of suicidal ideation and issue cries for help that really appeal to a generation that embraces the somber tones and can relate to the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. And yet their choruses and the clean singing by Ahren Stringer (bass player and inspiration for Silas’s look) are upbeat and catchy, even while singing lyrics like “Don’t count on me, cause I am drowning please don’t drown with me. Just hold me in your heart and let the ocean take me.” Stringer’s voice is angelic at the same time the band’s driving sound sends mosh pits into a frenzy. That manic feeling is what I picture being descriptive of Hush.

Neil Peart (Rush), Ginger Baker (Cream), Joey Jordison (Slipknot, Scar the Martyr, Vimic), Dave Grohl (Scream, Nirvana, Foo Fighters) – These artists are all influences on Brains’s drumming and he talks about them in his workshop. The discussion over where today’s metal drummers get their influence becomes his verbal foreplay with the man who will eventually rescue him during a terrible tragedy.



Hush is back… and it’s about to get loud.

After two years grieving the death of his best friend, Silas Franklin is back on the road with his metalcore band, Hush. With a new member, a brilliant new album, and a headlining spot on the last cross-country Warped Tour, life couldn’t be better—unless Silas could meet the intriguing music blogger known only as the Guru. Silas has followed his blog for years and feels the Guru might be the only person who “gets” him.

For years Krishnan Guruvayoor has reported on the metal scene as an anonymous blogger, and he’s just landed an internship on the Warped Tour as well as a potential position with a well-respected music magazine. His best friend arranges for him to meet singer Silas Franklin—but only as Krish the Intern. Their chemistry is instant, and Krish is thrilled to get to know the man behind the music.

The rock star and blogger quickly go from meet-cute to cuddle session, but secrets, overprotective bandmates, meddling media, and a terrible accident all conspire against them. Can their romance survive the summer of Hush?

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Once upon a time… a teacher, tattoo collector, mom, and rock ’n’ roll kinda gal opened up a doc and started purging her demons. R.L. Merrill is still striving to find that perfect balance between real life and happily ever after, and she’ll keep writing love stories until she does. Both self-published and traditionally published with Dreamspinner Press, Ro writes romance in contemporary, paranormal, and horror settings inspired by love, hope, and rock ’n’ roll. Ro also loves connecting with other authors online, at conventions, and chapter meetings for the Romance Writers of America, of which she’s been a member since 2014.

A sucker for underdogs, Ro has adopted a wide variety of pets including cats, dogs, rats, snakes, a chameleon, and some fish. Her love of horror is evident the moment you walk in her door and find yourself surrounded by decorative skulls and quirky artwork from around the world. You can find her lurking on social media where she loves connecting with readers, or else find her educating America’s youth, being a mom taxi to two busy kids, in the tattoo chair trying desperately to get that back piece finished, or head-banging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.


R.L. is giving away a $50 Dreamspinner gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter

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