Friday, August 5, 2016

The Lady Justice Playlist


I am about to sit down and bust out a (hopeful) crazy edit session on Lady Justice.
But before I disappear into the final few chapters of Millie's story, I thought to pop by here and share with everyone what I am listening to.

That's right.

For those of you who have been with me since day one, you will notice repeat songs from the Prison Nation playlist.  And that's okay.  Because all those songs still apply so strong to the LJ storyline and the end of Millie's story.

I am still adding songs when one comes on that sounds just right.  But for now:  This is my editing list that keeps me in the LJ mood.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Find Me on Instagram

Have I mentioned I do the Instagram thing?
Well, I do.
And you should follow me.


I post anything and everything on there.  From writing tips, inspirational quotes, random photos of yours truly...all the way to in-the-moment updates on my writing and books.  While I do cross-post to my Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, there are many posts I keep solely on my Instagram account.

So if you do the Insta thing: Go find me! @jennimerrittwriting (or click HERE)


Monday, July 25, 2016

LADY JUSTICE: The Long-Awaited Update

What's that?  An update about LADY JUSTICE?  Can this be real?

Believe it or not, I am here today to finally post more information about the PRISON NATION sequel.  It has taken me too long to get to this point.  If you have been following me on my blog and other feeds, you know what I mean.  But here we are.  Today.  Updating.

Are you ready?

FIRST:  A few LADY JUSTICE reminders...
1.  LADY JUSTICE is the sequel to my YA Dystopian novel, PRISON NATION.

2.  There will be no more books after this one.  It is the PRISON NATION DUOLOGY.
 Meaning there are only two.  This isn't a very common occurence, especially in the YA world, but I feel it is the right move for this storyline.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  I love where the story went, and plan to leave the rest to a reader's imagination as I move on to my other waiting manuscripts.

3.  It was written during the amazing craziness that is NaNoWriMo, back in 2012.  
Yes, four years ago.  I know.  Late is better than never.

4.  LADY JUSTICE will be Published in paperback and Kindle.
 I am still deciding on whether I will keep it exclusive or also do Nook and iBooks.


Now that those items are out of the way...

I have been working on LADY JUSTICE! After this reason and that reason and who knows how many other reasons, I have finally buckled down and decided to get this done.

Here is where I am at right now:

- Finishing up the edit/rewrite round.  Rewrite you ask?  Well, after much pondering, I decided a certain section that was not in the original write of LADY JUSTICE needed to happen.  I am at that point right now.  I am about 50 pages from the end of the book, and trying to decide where to add in a few chapters worth of content.  This has slowed me down a bit, but has not stopped me.  I love the add-in I am creating and I feel it will better tie up the story with a mean old dystopian bow.

- So when do I aim to finish this round?  If all goes right (meaning I stay focused and stop with the excuses) I aim to finally finish this round in about a week, give or take.

- What next?  Beta readers!  My Betas have been waiting far too long for this MS.  So in about 1-2 weeks, they will check their emails and find a book waiting for them to tear apart.  This part always gives me a stroke.

-  What do I do while they read?  Well, for one I am directing a three week children's theatre camp, so I will be kept busy.  Aside from that, I will finally concoct the dreaded synopsis for LADY JUSTICE and start in on finalizing the cover layout.

- By the end of August all the Beta reads will flood my inbox, and I will set to work plugging in edits and polishing this book up.

- Is there a projected publication date yet?  Well...I don't want to say an exact date due to still rediscovering my groove with everything.  But I will say this:  I plan to publish NO LATER than December 1, 2016.  Why that date you ask?  It is PRISON NATION's 5th birthday, that's why.  The OFFICIAL publication date will be announced as soon as I get a better idea of how long everything will take me.

- Until then... I just need my amazing readers' support.  I cannot wait to be back in the published world and sharing my creations with all you librophiles.  Find me on FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram...and keep holding me accountable.  With our powers combined...books will happen!  (Yes, I went Captain Planet on you.)

Are you excited?
I sure am!



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Real Reason I Disappeared

Over the last year I have posted five reasons I disappeared from the writing world.  (If you haven't been following along, go learn more about my RID list here.)  I decided these were the top five reasons I had stopped writing and publishing, and explained what was going on behind each of them.

I stick by everything I said.

Yet as I have sat back and read over everything I wrote, I came to realize something.  While they are all a part of the reason, they aren't THE reason.  They are only pieces of a much larger puzzle.

The pieces together showed me the truth.
And I am here to say it.

I gave up.
I stopped trying.
I stopped believing.

It sounds so simple and too easy.  But it is so true.  Whether I felt too busy, too tired or beaten down or discouraged, the real reason I disappeared is I stopped letting myself see the magic in the craft.

I stopped.
Simple as that.

I never thought the RID series would open my eyes that much.  I thought I would just air my grievances and that would be that.  But it was so much more.  I saw myself.  I saw my excuses.  And I saw how easily I fell into them.

And I do not like what I saw.

So here I am today:  Refreshed. Awake.  Aware.

Believing.

I am a writer.  I am a creator.  I am the master of my craft.  And there is no reason I should ever believe I am anything less than magnificent.

We have hard days.  Hard times.  We have bad reviews and horrible writing sessions and writers block and pure exhaustion.  We have jobs and families and fights and love.  We have life.  But if there is a dream you have, you should stop at nothing to achieve it.  

Do not let your excuses define you.
They are a roadblock.  You are the masterpiece.

Do not quit.
You are almost there.  You are already there.

One of my earliest memories is declaring I wanted to be an author.  It has not been an easy road.  I have quit more than I like to admit.  I am not a New York Times Bestselling author.  I am not even represented.  I have compared myself more than is healthy.  I have doubted myself and been hard on myself and been just plain lazy.

But at the end of it all...I am still a writer.
I live through my words.
And I need to stop excusing myself, and start believing in myself.

Whatever stage you are at with whatever passion you possess, never give up.  Don't you ever stop believing.  Because you can do it.  Excuses come and go.  Passion lives forever.

Let's do this together.



(Oh come on...you knew this song was coming.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

The RID List: LADY JUSTICE

The final chapter of my RID list has finally arrived.  And it is taken long enough.
(Disclaimer: This is not an official update on Lady Justice.  That is coming...)


Today I am going to write about the final RID I put on the list.  Later this week I will post one more post about this topic.  And then I will move on.

In 2010 I finally finished my first novel, thanks to the insanity of NaNoWriMo.  PRISON NATION came into being.  It wasn't perfect.  It was a debut.  But man I was proud of it.  

I self-published it in 2011.  Readers started to read it.  And like it.  Dare I say even love it.

It felt amazing.

During 2011 I also managed to write the rough draft of two other books.  They have not been touched since.

Then in 2012 I decided to do something I had never planned.
You see, PRISON NATION was supposed to be a single standing book.

But readers begged for more.  So I gave in.  During NaNoWriMo 2012 I busted out the rough draft of the sequel to PRISON NATION.  And that is when everything changed.

I loved the story I created.  I wanted to share it.  But I honestly can say that my heart wasn't in it.

Normally (not all the time, but I would dare say the majority of the time) when an author writes a series, they plan on it.  They have the story arc, the drive to finish it, the desire to see the books all the way through.  They can see it.

LADY JUSTICE was created for my readers.  Not for me.
I was finished with the story on the final page of Prison Nation.
It was done.  I loved its ending.  I had no complaints.  

So was this a mistake?

I am going to go out on a limb and say yes AND no.

Why yes?
Yes, because I had written other books I was ready to move onto.  (I have written two other novels since I wrote Lady Justice, meaning I have four different WIPS waiting to be edited.)  Yes because it wasn't my initial idea.  Yes because it wasn't the story I wanted to tell.  Yes because I gave in.

Why no?
No because it managed to stretch me.  No because authors don't always get to plan what they wrote.  No because I learned so much.  No because in the end, I ended up loving Lady Justice.  No because I gave in.

Yet I kept finding reasons to NOT work on it.
And "why?" is my eternal question.

In all honesty, with all excuses aside: I held myself back.
I let my insecurities about LADY JUSTICE take over.  I let all the YES reasons take over.  I did the biggest taboo and read and reread the bad reviews.  I doubted myself.  I told myself it was crap and I shouldn't do it.

Instead of just pushing it aside and moving on to one of my other WIPS, I let it take over even more.  I felt guilty every time I even thought about working on one of my other WIPS.  Guilty because I had readers longing for THIS book.  THIS book was ready and waiting.  THIS book was expected.  And it wasn't happening.  So what right did I have to work on a different one?

My guilt of dragging my feet on LADY JUSTICE stopped me from working on anything else.  Ever.

The pub date came and went.  Readers started to ask me where it was.  I felt guilty because I knew where it was...it was nowhere.  Then I didn't work on it MORE because of THAT guilt.

What a viscious web...

To make matters worse:  PRISON NATIO touches on police power. Guns.  Prisons.  Horrible Laws.  Everything that is big in our country right now.  People started to think I was making a political point.  I was only making a creative story.  But I got worried that LADY JUSTICE would stir even more of that thinking and people would think the stories inside were my honest opinion.  

And I let it stop me.

Books are SUPPOSED to stir conversation.  That means they are a success.
But my fear and my guilt took over.

And now, here we are.  Four years ago I wrote LADY JUSTICE.  Five years ago I published my one and only book.  And here I am...with only that.  I stopped myself right when my ball was rolling.  All because of fear and guilt.

I blamed a book.  A book I created.  I put all the guilt on LADY JUSTICE.
When really: I was the one who was guilty.

But there you have it.
That is why LADY JUSTICE is on my RID list.  This is quick and raw and true.  It is just a tiny insight into the mind of an insecure author.  It is that glimpse into what makes us stop instead of go.  I can't go one any more than I have, because then I would be more explosed than I can afford to be.  Writers a delicate creatures.

I am proud of LADY JUSTICE.
It is a piece of FICTION that does not reflect how I really feel.  I made it up.  Because that's what I do.
I am not going to let myself feel guilty anymore over it.

And I am going to write on.



Come back later this week for the final thoughts on my RID list

Friday, May 6, 2016

The RID List: THEATRE



When I was a child I was loud, I was confident, and I had enough energy to power my own country.  I no doubt drove my parents insane beyond belief.  Which explains the moment when my mom took me to audition for a MCT (Missoula Children's Theatre) play at age eight.  I had to be channeled, and they had the hunch theatre could do that.

Sure enough, it did.

22 years later, theatre still remains a large part of who I am.  I grew up on the stage.  I relished the spotlight.  I learned to direct.  I attended MCT Performing Art Camp and made life-long theatre friends.  By the time I was 18 I had performed in around 35 different productions, not including the small skits and pieces I would write with friends and perform in any chance we got.  This was my life.  The life lessons, skills and passions I learned in theatre helped create exactly who I am today.  

I learned self-reliance.  I learned teamwork.  I learned perserverance and bravery and patience and hope and denial and pure exhaustion.  

Snow White in sneakers.  It must be an MCT play.

Then we moved to Oregon.  And for five years I had no theatre.

As soon as we moved back to the island I knew I had to get back into the theatre life.  The community I live in is full of arts passion, and theatre has always been a huge part of being an islander here.  I couldn't wait.

Not even one year after being back, my stepmom saw a posting for the school district.  It was for the Drama Director position.  Within an hour of her texting me that I had to apply, two of my other friends did the same thing.  I decided:  Why not?

This had to have been one of the most nerve-racking auditions of my life.  Er...I mean interview... If you haven't learned yet, I am not the strongest in the self-confidence front.  But I can act.  So I put on the brave face, interviewed, and waited.

Then I found out: I got the job.

I was given the key to the exact same drama room I rehearsed in for seven years during my school days.  I inhereted the collections and history I was already a part of.  And I took it upon myself to reform our drama program back into what it once was years go.

I just finished my second season as the drama director.

In 24 months, I have:

- Directed two high school productions (The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes and The Neverending Story)
- Directed two middle school productions (A Walk in the Woods and Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone)
- Assistant directed one children's theatre summer camp production (Disney's The Little Mermaid)
- Performed in a children's theatre show with my son (I was a zombie.  Who did the Thriller...and the Time Warp.  Be jealous.)
- Chartered our high school into the International Thespian Society
- Joined in as a tech member for the town spring musical (The Addams Family)
- Started in on prep for this summer's children's theatre camp production (Disney's Aladdin)
- Started in on prep for next year's combined 7-12th grade MUSICAL (I am being daring here...)
- etc etc etc

If you have ever done theatre, you might have an inkling how much time it takes to make one production.  For instance:  The high school play this school year auditioned in September.  We rehearsed nearly daily expect during school breaks.  Not to mention set design and building, costume creation, etc.  We performed in January.  BEFORE we even opened, I held auditions for the middle school show which then performed in April.  The hours that go into each production cannot even be numbered.  It becomes my life. 

I disappear from my family.  From my friends.  And obviously for my writing.

This is a balancing act I am still figuring out.

I am LOVING my theatre job and cannot wait to see where I go with it next.  I have great plans and dreams for my program, along with hoping I can begin to act again myself.  I have found that piece of myself that was missing, and I am loving every moment of it.

Worry not, I am balancing things.  I am discovering when to take a break from thinking about my current production to write or play with my family or maybe even sleep.  Life is a balancing act.  If there is one thing I have for sure learned in recent years, it is that.  I am in a constant state of learning.  I flounder and mess up and get lost.  But in the end I am a great actress who can improv and carry on until the play is back on track.  All the world's a stage...

And the show must go on.

Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone.  Harry Potter parody, anybody?


Almost a year later...

I just realized it has been nearly a year since I wrote a post.
Yes, I JUST noticed.

THAT is how crazy my year has been.

This is about as long as this post will be.  But I am already working on finishing my RID list posts, then will most likely write yet another post negating everything I said in my RID posts.  As is life.

For now, here is a photo of me.  Actually working.  Go me.
Cheers.


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