Saturday, December 1, 2012

Prison Nation Anniversary

Can you believe it?
One year ago today, Prison Nation was released to the world to read.  I have been a published author for one year.  And boy has it been an amazing year!

The support, fans, love and just pure awesomeness I have found surrounding me and my creation has been mind-blowing.  I do not doubt it: This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.  Create worlds, and share them with all of you to dive into.

A few Prison Nation facts from Year One:

- Prison Nation is currently holding an average rating of 3.7 stars on Goodreads, and 4.1 stars on Amazon.

- During Promo periods, I watched at Prison Nation climbed its way into the top 10 Kindle Books.

- Around 56,564 readers have a copy of Prison Nation on their digital devices, all over the world.


Where would I be without all my readers?  Without my friends and family who support me day in and day out?  Without NaNoWriMo that gave me that push I finally needed to get this book written?  Where would I be without my make-believe worlds?

I can tell you now:  I would still be a "someday" author.  And I like where I am better.

Since writing Prison Nation (my debut novel), I have written two other WIPS that are waiting their turn to be edited.  And this year I wrote the sequel to Prison Nation.  Lady Justice will be released Summer of 2013.  I was part of an amazing book signing event.  I watched my Facebook page grow in fans.  Then, when I was ready to shed the "aspiring" title, I created a new Facebook page and have watched that slowly grow.  I have received messages and emails that have plastered a permanent smile on my face.  I have grown.  And learned.  And grown some more.

So much writing.  So much adventure and discovery.  This is so me.

So, thank you.  
For all the support and love.  You have made my dream a reality.  I cannot wait to see where I go next.  And I hope you come along for the ride.

To celebrate:
Starting tomorrow (12/2), and going for three days, Prison Nation will be available for FREE on Kindle!  If you haven't snagged your copy yet, here is your chance.  And if you already have that copy, spread the word!

Then next week: 
I will open a giveaway to win a SIGNED paperback copy of Prison Nation.  (Sorry to all my great international fans.  This one will only be for US)  Make sure to check back soon and enter for a chance to win, and celebrate with me.

Happy Writing!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012: WINNER!

Last night, after hours of sitting, some minor head banging, and a few ice cold Mt. Dews, I did it again.  That's right.  I crossed the NaNoWriMo finish line.  *commence cheering*
Lady Justice is now "done," sitting at 50,149 words.
I am a NaNoWriMo champ!

This month was touch and go.  What with my photography backlog, raising my two kiddos (I am a stay-at-home-mommy), and trying here and there to maintain some semblance of a social life (most of times that ended up being an epic fail as well)... I admit: I was worried about whether I would win this year.  There were days where I would not write at all.  And I hated that.

Thanks to my friends and family who wouldn't let me live it down.  To my amazing region (Portland rocks!)  To our Skype sprinting group and my own bull-headed competitiveness... I did it.  I won.  I am done.

There is still much work to be done.  I have scenes listed out to edit in.  Other scenes to expand on.  Editing, editing, editing.  But I can happily say, all typos and plot holes aside, the first draft of Lady Justice is finished.

I have more blogposts planned for the coming days, all about the NaNoWriMo 2012 adventure.  But for now, I am going to go enjoy a good book, eat some onion rings, and let these tired fingers rest.

If you have won NaNoWriMo: GO YOU!
If you are still working your way to 50k: YOU CAN DO IT!
And if you didn't do NaNoWriMo this year:  What is stopping you?


HAPPY WRITING!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Day - NaNoWriMo Week 4

Ah! Ah!
Just stopping by, FAST, to let you know: I am writing.  And I am almost there.  At this moment, I am 2,987 words away from finishing NaNoWriMo! Ah!

I would say more, but a word sprint is about to begin.  And I need to write.  Fast.
A much better update to come soon.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WIP Day - NaNoWriMo Week 3

I know.  Today's update is a late one.  It is currently 11 pm here, and I am just finishing my writing for the night.  I wanted to update earlier, but my writing was taking up all my time.  That, and prep for Thanksgiving.
mmmm home made cranberry sauce...
Cider and LJ. It was a good night.

This will be a super quick update, being as my fingers are barely working anymore tonight.  This last week was super slow.  I will admit: I even went for a few days without writing a single word.
Gasp worthy.

I hated that I let that happen.  My writing is coming so much slower this year.  I feel so out of shape with it all, and it is showing.  I have been very distractable, and have watched too much Netflix TV series as my distractions from writing.  Oh Netflix, why?

Then I got that awesome message from one of my readers.  And it lit the fire up nice and hot.  I was reminded that I am not only doing this to drive myself insane.  I am doing it to share this world I created with others.

And I wrote.

Tonight marks the end of Week 3.  I wrote over 3k words today.  I caught up with the required word count amount and even passed it a bit.  I think I have earned myself some reading and relaxing before bed.

Current Word Count:
37,020

And just because I love to tease you all, here is a little snippet from Lady Justice:

"I didn't want to see the look in his eyes, the panic on his face. I didn't want to see the empty space where he should be standing. I didn't like this idea any more than he did. But as of yet, we had no other plans. We only had a dream that was getting us nowhere. Now, we had something. I couldn't let us lose it." - Millie, Lady Justice


Happy Writing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Reader's Thought

It is true.  An author does write for his or herself.  But do you know what really keeps them going?
Their readers.  The fans and friends and family that root that author on.

This morning I woke up to a very awesome surprise.  In my Facebook messages, I had received a note from a reader.  To anyone else it might have seemed like a simple thing.  But to me: It made my day.  Words are such a moving device.  And even more powerful when we exercise them.

"I wanted to send you a message! Your book is so inspiring. I am a disabled person, I have a rare neurological disease that confines me a great deal of the time to bed. Being so, I spend a lot of time reading ... recently a friend purchased a kindle for me after we had a house fire. I found your book on Amazon and decided to read it. It is amazing. I was so taken with the characters and the action. Even from my hospital bed it was like I was really in the story playing the role of the characters. I loved this book. Seeing as I can do so little for myself, being able to immerse myself in a book is amazing. I cannot wait until I can get more of your books to read -- you have an amazing talent! Thank you for all the work you put into these books!!!"

Can you see why I feel so smiley this morning?
Thank you, Heather, for taking the time to message me those amazing words!
And thank you to all of my readers out there.  You keep me writing, every day.

A thought sure can go a long way...

Happy Writing!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway Reminder

Just a quick reminder:
The Goodreads Giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Prison Nation is closing on December 1st!  If you are in the States and haven't entered yet, make sure to do so before time is up!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prison Nation by Jenni Merritt

Prison Nation

by Jenni Merritt

Giveaway ends December 01, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Day - NaNoWriMo Week 2

Another week is coming to a close.
How am I doing you ask?

I am chugging along!  I have to admit, I am a bit downhearted that I do not seem to be busting this out as fast as I have in previous years.  Though I am ahead of the "needed" amount to finish on time, I know I could have so much more.  Still, I am ahead.  I just need to keep reminding myself this.

Hey Kimmel!  I miss writing with you! (Had to shout that out...)

I think the research has been the most entertaining part this week.  I reached a spot in LJ where I realized I needed to actually look some things up before I moved forward with the story.  I googled for a bit, then moved over to Facebook to ask for help from my friends.  Lucky for me, tips and thoughts came pouring in.

Thank you, friends.

I giggle at the thought of what someone who didn't know me would think if they saw my internet browsing history:

Child labor laws
Korean family structure
How to print a newspaper
Explosives

Just to name a few...
Oh, the things writers look up!

My current count 
(as of about an hour ago):
27,126

I plan on writing more tonight.  Thank goodness for Twitter #writeshoves and Portland region sprints.  You all are saving my bum this year.  Hopefully I will sail into the 30k word mark in the next day or less.

My fingers are hurting.  I think I might have caused early arthritis.  My back is pain, my bum feels flat, and my brain is smoking.  Boy, does this feel amazing!  I have vowed to never let myself go this long without writing again.  And now you are my witnesses!


And to close, here is a little thought from dear Millie

"Most of life isn't a good idea. But we keep doing it." 
-Millie, (Lady Justice)

How are you doing?  Writing away?  Do share!

Happy Writing!


Donation Day

As you know, NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization.  Their sole purpose and goal is to keep our novels coming.  Which means they need our help.

While NaNoWriMo and OLL (Office of Letters and Light) do make some money off product sales, they need donations to keep them going.  Each year during November, I sign up to be a sponsor and try to raise money for this cause.  And here is where I ask: Will you help?

Just $10 can go a long, long way.

Here is why I appreciate NaNoWriMo:
It finally gave me the kick to write my novel.  For years I was a "someday" writer.  Someday I was going to write a book.  But it was never that day.  Then NaNoWriMo came along.  It is a program full of encouragement, humor, passion and amazing fellow writers.  It helped me realize that that some day was today.  And with it, I wrote.

Since I started, I haven't been able to stop.
In three years, I have written three books and am in the process of writing my fourth.  I have published one.  I have gained confidence.  Knowledge.  Friends and fans.  I can honestly say I have no idea where I would be without NaNoWriMo.  Most likely stuck somewhere back in "someday" land.  And I have to say: I like it better where I am.

Please, take a moment and think about about donating.  I am not asking for a lot.  Just $10 can do a world of difference.  Help keep NaNoWriMo around for years to come by showing your support today.  Every donation is tax-deductable, and full of pure awesome.

Today is Donation Day.  All day NaNoWriMo will be giving out prizes and special shout-outs as we race to raise the goal.  We need your help.

Not to mention:  If I reach my goal, I just might be planning a special giveaway of my own.


THANK YOU!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Just Some NaNoWriMo Pep

NaNoWriMo is officially a week in!  How is your noveling?

I thought to stop by real quick and share these quotes I have been gathering from our awesome NanoWriMo pep talks.  I love getting these!  If you are doing NaNoWriMo this year, and haven't taken a moment to read the pep talks, do it!  You will feel that fire under your bum for sure!



Happy Writing!




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WIP Day - NaNoWriMo Week 1

Today is day seven of NaNoWriMo.
Really?  Honestly?  Since when?

Things are going well, on this writing end.  It was a slow start for me.  Day 1 and 2 I was really pushing for word count as I waited for the story to come to me.  Then the weekend hit, and I finally got that spark I was needing.  Though I might not be writing as fast as I have in other years, I am still happily ahead of the game and moving along.

Then came last night.
I knew what I wanted to write.  But a certain election kept stealing my attention.  I am far from a political person.  But I was still intrigued with how this would all turn out.  Not to mention I was playing a fun little game on Facebook, where every time you saw the word "vote" you would replaced it with the word "fart" in your mind.  Oh, those status updates were just hilarious!

Regardless of it all, I still managed some awesome word count.
Pretty much thanks to the sprints with my Portland region writers.  You all rock!

And, on top of it all, I am also hacking away at my photography backlog.  I managed to finish three sessions last week and am almost done with session number four.  Edit photos during the day, write at night.  I might be tired (okay, exhausted) but I am getting things done and feeling great about it!

So how is LJ doing you ask?  
I am getting more and more excited with where this book is headed.  I go into my stories with a rough idea of what I want.  But most scenes write themselves, and surprise me most times.  I have some great new characters, new twists, new problems.  Millie is learning more about who she is, how strong she has to be, and where she really wants to be in life.  And I am growing right along side her.

I am trying to decide if I want to post any sort of character profile, snippets, or teasers.  What do you think?

As of last night:
Total Word Count: 15,190

Do ignore the fact that nothing is written today. That will change tonight!

Now, time to finish this photo session.  Then tonight... I write!

Are you writing?  How is it going?  Do share!

Happy Writing!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo: It Has Begun!


That's write right!
It is November.  Meaning one thing (aside from gorgeous rainy days, turkey dinners, and lots of cider)... It is now officially NaNoWriMo!

I know I have been absolutely horrible lately at updating my blog.  The main reason is that I have been scrambling to hack away at my photo backlog before NaNo hits.  I still have quite a backlog to go, but enough is done that I am ready to punch out some word count!

And boy am I excited!

How did I prep?
Well, for one, I went to the Portland Kick-Off Party!  As always it was a blast.  And it was packed.  I believe over 130 people showed up, filling the room we had booked.  I love the Portland NaNos!  I feel pretty special that I get to be a part of this region.  The energy and love for writing literally throbs with this group of people, and I ended up leaving the party not only pumped for NaNoWriMo, but also spinning two new book ideas my mind came up with.

I have created a sponser page again.  If you are not familiar with that:  NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization.  Meaning they need out help to stick around.  Each year I try to raise some money, that in turn will be donated to OLL and will help keep those much needed lights on!  Even $10 goes a long way.  Please think about donating!  (HERE)

As for novel prep... it has been interesting.  As in, I have ideas here and there.  Sparks.  Some pivotal moments.  Great new characters.  But no solid, outlined plan on how LJ will turn out.  I have to admit I am a little nervous.  But more excited than anything.  I am a pantser.  And this will be epic.

I have created a Pinterest board for LJ.  As I find things that spark some inspiration, I will add them there.  I have also been searching for suitable music as the soundtrack for this book.  While I have yet to find a great "theme" song for it, I did find the LJ Beatles song.  As you know from PN, there is a certain Beatles song that plays through out it.  I felt I just had to carry on the tradition.

So here you go.

Are you excited?
I am!
I am super, crazy excited!
And now, off I go to get my first 1,667.  Wish me luck!

Are you writing this month?  Keep me updated on how you do!  YOU CAN DO IT!

Happy Writing!


Monday, October 22, 2012

New Facebook Page... Go!

I am stopping by for just a split moment.
I literally can't sit at the computer long.

This last weekend I did something to back.  I was coughing (dang coughs that stick around for weeks on end!) and suddenly I was hurting.  We are thinking I either strained a rib muscle or bruised/cracked a rib.  Either way, I am in pain.  On bedrest.  And hoping this heals fast.

But that isn't what I came here to mention to you all.
This is:

I created a new Facebook page!

That's right.  While I love the one I have, with all the likes, memories, comments and more... I am no longer an "aspiring author."  And sadly, after 200 likes, Facebook does not let pages change their name.  I have tried to decide what to do about this for sometime, and finally gave in.

Time for a new page.

I am still in the process up moving photos over.  But now I need you.  Go like my new page!
Help me get my numbers back up to where they left off.  (788 likes) Who knows, I may even spark a giveaway soon for this cause.  So spread the word, leave some love, and like away!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Indies in the Sound RECAP


The Indies in the Sound book signing event was awesome!  I have been trying to think of the best way to recap for you all, and finally decided that my usual ramble would suit it best.

I arrived at Orcas island with my hubby and two little guys the morning of the event.  We headed straight to the home of the lovely Keary Taylor, where I kidnapped her family and ran off to take their family photos.  What a blast!  After the photo snapping was done, I was able to hang out with Keary for a little while as our kiddos ran around like the little maniacs they are.  Talk about energy!

Finally, the time came.  Keary and I dolled ourselves up, then headed into town.
I will admit it: I was pretty nervous.

I grew up doing theatre.  I know how to talk in front of people, perform, make things up on the fly.  But this time it was different.  I was going to be talking about my book.  My book.  Needless to say, my stomach was doing enough flips to be an Olympic gold medalist.

Nikki Jefford and Rachael Wade arrived to Darvill's Bookstore just as we did.  Having the chance to meet other authors like myself, the ones who chose to go the Indie route of life, and see they are just as crazy as I am, was just what I needed.  We gabbed.  And laughed.  And I totally felt like I was home.

Bookstores.  They truly are home for us, aren't they?

Before the event was scheduled to start, we decided to duck outside and get some photos of the four of us taken.  I pretty much chucked my camera at Nikki's husband then sat down to smile with my Indie ladies.


The time had arrived.  Being as the event was on Orcas Island, it wasn't a huge turnout.  But it was still amazing to see the faces that did show up for us.  We each took turns reading from our novels.  Telling why we chose to go Indie.  Answered some Q&A and cracked some jokes.  An hour later, and it was over.  It felt like it had just started when we found ourselves saying our goodbyes, drawing the raffle winners, and signing copies.


Like I said: It was awesome.

The moment that literally brought some tears to my eyes?
Seeing copies of my book sitting on an actual store bookshelf.
Take my breath away.


Thank you to everyone who supported this event.  I am hoping we can find a way to make this a potential yearly outing.  The support and excitement from everyone who showed meant the world to me.  Thank you Indie ladies for putting on this event.  And thank you Darvill's for hosting the signing for us.  I couldn't have chosen a better way to spend that gorgeous Fall afternoon!

To see the entire folder of photos I got from the event, GO HERE.
Here is a little recap video that Rachael's hubby put together of the event.  I love it!




Monday, October 1, 2012

Where the Book Sales Go

It seems there is a misconception about the writing world.  Okay, more than one.  But there is a certain one I decided to lightly address today: Money.

Not all authors are JK Rowlings or Stephenie Meyers.  Those ladies wrote great stories, managed to snag great agents, great publishers, go on to make great movies... And no doubt have great bank accounts.  While it is true that authors can and do strike that luck in their career, it is not something that happens over night, and not something that happens to every author out there.

I recently had a conversation with a friend.  It went something like this:

Friend: So, how are your book sales going?
Me: Pretty good, this month.
Friend: But you have a published book.  Aren't you making tons now?
Me: Uh, no.  Not really.
Friend:  I would think by now you would have enough to get a car or house or something.
Me: *thinks of my 95 Astro van...* Nope, sad to say, book sales aren't that high.
Friend:  What was the point of publishing then?

I just smiled and changed the topic.

People, at least many I have talked to, seem to think that as soon as you have a book published, that's it.  You get to sit back and watch the money roll in.  Buy houses and cars.  Quit your day job.  Sign that movie deal and cast that ideal cast.  In all honesty, the bookish life is far from that.  While I won't lie and say I make nothing, I make no where near enough for the easy life.  Here are some answers to some common misconceptions:

  • I use my book sales to buy new, pretty cars.
Sure, yeah.  I do.  In my dreams.  I drive them nightly.  Then in the morning I decide it would be a better choice to use my Astro van.  Wait, nevermind.  I can't do that.  Because we are a one car family and my husband uses the car to get to work.  Daily.

  • I use my book sales to buy a nice, huge house.
It's true.  And every night in my dreams I park my stack of pretty cars inside the house's ten car garage.  Then, when I wake up in our two bedroom, bottom floor apartment with our noisy neighbors pounding on the floor and wish I had a yard to let my kids play in, I fondly remember my million dollar dream house with heated pool.

  • Book sales fund my extravagant, monthly vacations.
Are you kidding?  I take daily vacations.  I go to the grocery store and try to balance kids with coupons with "Can I splurge and get this candy bar today?"  Who needs Hawaii or Vegas or France when you have WIC appointments, diapers to buy, doctor check ups and bills to pay.  All while begging for rides most days because hubby has the car at work?

  • Book sales are so amazing I quit my day job.
Well, to start: My day job is being mommy.  So I can't fully quit.  But yeah sure, I have my British nanny who takes care of my kids night and day for me while my husband gets to sit and game nonstop because he too quit his job in hopes that my sales will never dip and cause us to give up our mansion, ten cars, daily vacations...

Alright.  Sarcasm aside.
Book sales, as awesome as they can be.  As excited as I get every time I see a new reader has given my book a chance.  As ecstatic as I get when I get my monthly payment... They aren't that dependable.  I would never invest my faith to my sales to support my entire family.  At least not yet.  Day jobs are important.  Having a roof over your head, even if it consists of noisy neighbors, is important.  Having a running car even if it is far from your dream car, is important.

Who knows where my books will take me in the future.  But for now, I can tell you the two things my book sales ARE paying for:

See that food in my fridge?  In my cupboard?  The food my little kiddos are eating?  My book sales pay for that.  Crumbs and all.

And see this adorable face, of this adorable preschooler?  That is my son.  And each month my book sales are paying for him to attend his school.  To learn, grow, make friends.  And get more and more excited about writing.  That is what my sales pay for.

And that is why I appreciate my readers like nothing else.  You have helped my baby go to school.

One of the best supports you can give an author is the simple purchase of their book.  Being an artist is a struggle.  Money-wise.  Confidence-wise.  Sanity-wise.  We struggle daily with our passion.  And at the end of the day, one of the main things that keeps us creating is you.  Our fans.

To answer my friend's question on why I even bothered to get published:

I don't write for the fame of it.  I write for the love of it.  And how rich am I?



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP Day - Hello Muse!

Today was a busy mama day.

In the morning I got my two kiddos all put together, picked up my friend's daughter, and brought the kids to preschool.  Then I headed back home with my youngest.  While he was happily watching Cars (again... he loves that movie!) I managed to get some photo editing done and post a preview for a certain little lady's first birthday (Happy birthday Nora!)

Once that was done, I bundled my youngest kiddo and the cat up and booked it back to the preschool.  This week is Pet Week, and today we got to show off our cute little kitty.  The kids loved her!

*takes deep breath*

Bundle three kids and kitty up.  Head home.  Decide to let friend's daughter come over and play.  Walk to park.  Play play play.

Finally, it is time to bring the little girl home.  So off to my friend's we go.  Where the kids play and I end up chatting with my friend for... erm... a long time.  Hey, the kids were happy.  (And, to find out later, were throwing a tea party with milk in the other bedroom.  Milk, everywhere.  Oops.)

Well, while chit chatting with my friend, something amazing happened.
A muse struck.

I won't get into details of what we were talking about.  But let me tell you: I am a million times more excited than ever to get to work on Lady Justice!

From the sounds of it, my face lit up.  It was epic.
Remember Christmas morning when you were a kid?  When you would sneak down into the living room to see the tree full of the presents waiting to be torn open?  How you would shake inside and out, barely able to contain yourself and about to burst?  Yup.  That was me.  Today.

November can't get here fast enough.  I am itching to get going on LJ!  I still have some rough plotting to do. Not much, being as I am a pantser by all descriptions.  But just enough to keep this Christmas morning excitement going.

I had to pop by and tell you that.
You never know when the muse will strike.
And when it does: It is a beautiful thing.

Thank you Muse!

How about you?  Having any muse luck?  Do share!

Happy Writing!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Indies in the Sound | Booking Signing Event


What are you doing October 3rd?
I can tell you what I am doing:

The Indies in the Sound book signing event
If you are in the Western Washington and San Juan Islands area, you should be there too!

Come spend the evening at Darvill's Bookstore in Eastsound, WA (Orcas Island) with me and three other local Indie authors. We will be spending the evening telling you a bit about who we are. Reading snippets from our novels. Hosting a Q&A. Snacking on cookies. And of course: Signing copies of our Indie novels.

And to make the deal even sweeter, there is going to be a giveaway that night as well!
I know.  How awesome.

Who are the authors you ask?


And of course yours truly...

These are some amazing Indie ladies, and I am more than excited to spend the evening with them.  I hope I get to spend the evening with you as well!  Feel free to RSVP on our Facebook event page.  Then gather your books, hop on that ferry, and come our way!  See you then!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to the Books WINNER


The Hop is over.  The rafflecopter has chosen.  Did you win?
This year's winner of my Back to the Books Giveaway Hop stop is...
Congrats Cohlina!

I have emailed you.  You now have 72 hours to respond and claim your prize.  If I don't hear from you in that time, I will redraw the winner.  So don't wait!

And to all of you who did not win this time, hang in there.  I love seeing you all around my blog and hope you stick around for everything I have planned in the future.  (Such as the current Goodreads giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Prison Nation...)

HAPPY WRITING...and reading!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

WIP Day - Off To School

I know this post is a day late, but for good reason.
Yesterday was a big day in my home.

My son started preschool!

*commence cheering*

I still can't believe my little man is in school, even if it is just preschool.  He is growing up much too fast!

All morning yesterday it was nonstop: "Mom, can I go to school now?" And the entire drive home from school was: "Mom, I want to go back!"

I will admit.  I got a bit choked up when I saw him running up to his school, Mario backpack strapped on and metal lunch box swinging.  And I was on pins and needles to see him at the end of the preschool day.  It was nice having him out of the home for a few hours.  But nothing beats having your kiddo nearby.

Things he had said he was most excited to learn: "Writing books like Mommy! Oh, and lunch."

When I asked him what he learned today: "Well, we ate lunch!"

At least one of the things got checked off his list.

Next year is Kindergarten.  Then off he goes, growing up much too fast.  For now, I am just going to let myself enjoy the fact that this morning all he wanted to do was cuddle with me in bed.  I love my little man!

With my little man. And yes, that is a Bazinga lunch box.

As for actual writing updates:

- PN is doing great! I will talk more about the actual Promo Weekend numbers in a future post.  But it was awesome!  Thank you so much to everyone who celebrated my birthday weekend with me.  And an even bigger thanks to those of you posting the awesome reviews and ratings, and the ones still buying a copy of my book even after it is free!  See my Kindle rankings right now?


- LJ is still plotting away.  I am getting more and more excited every day to begin work on this!  I even built a Pinterest board.  Yeah... I do that.

- Giveaways.  Have you entered the Back to the Books giveaway yet? How about the chance to win a SIGNED copy of PN through Goodreads?  Get on it!

That is about it for today.  Off I go to be mommy.  And of course try to snag moments in the day to write.  As always.  How is your day going?

HAPPY WRITING!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to the Books HOP

Welcome to the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

I can hear the school bells ringing.  The pencils scratching.  And all those students groaning.
Yes, summer is over.  And we are all hitting the books again.

I know you will all be busy very soon with homework, assigned readings and essays.  If you aren't a student, maybe you are helping a kiddo out.  Or just sitting back and remembering the good old days of school time and childhood. Whoever you are, you deserve a break.

For my Hop stop, I couldn't choose a single book to give away.  It was too hard to choose!  So instead, I am going to giveaway the choice of:

$15 Amazon Giftcard

OR

$15 for The Book Despository 
(any book, as long as it isn't more than $15)

OR

A SIGNED paperback copy of my novel, Prison Nation
(This option is only for those State-side.)

To enter, just follow the prompts from the Rafflecopter below.
This Giveaway will end September 8th.

And don't forget to check out all of the other blogs part of this hop... HERE!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Birthday Promo

Today is my birthday!
And to celebrate my "big" 2-6, I want to give YOU all a present!
Starting today, and for three days only, Prison Nation will be available for FREE on Kindle.
That's right.  Free.
Happy Birthday to me from me.

This free Promo Weekend will go for three days, ending Sunday September 2nd.  On which my Goodreads giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Prison Nation will open.  I know, right?

Don't have a Kindle?  There's an app for that!  And it's free.  Along with a desktop version.  All free.

Let's see how awesome you all can make my birthday weekend, and get Prison Nation up in those free rankings!  Spread the word.  And the love.  And enjoy the read!


Happy Birthday to... Me!

With my Daddy on my Birthday 26 years ago. Plus one of my brothers.  Totally rocking the tighty whiteys.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIP Day - Another Week Gone

Well Bloggers, another week has come and gone.
Can you believe summer is just about over?

Next week my oldest officially starts preschool.  We went out last night to get him his school supplies and some new clothes.  I have to admit: I was getting teary eyed.  As excited as I am for him to start school (along with letting me have that small break three days a week from at least one kiddo) I hate the idea of him growing up.  Such a mommy moment.

What did he tell me he the most excited about?
"I get to learn to write big books!"

Yes... he is my son.

As for the other kiddo.  My little two-year-old just showed me that not only does he know all his letters... but he also knows the sounds each letter makes.  Way to make your Mommy proud little one!

Have I mentioned what we read a little of each night before we go to bed?  Harry Potter.
That's right.  And they love it.
I am raising my own home of book fanatics.

Now, as for WIP updates.  Ideas are starting to flow for LJ.  Boy am I excited!  I cannot wait to finally start plucky out the words of that novel!  I am also dying to work more on ITB.  But with this photo backlog the way it is, who knows when I will find time open that file again before NaNoWriMo hits!  Being busy is... good.  Right?

Did I mention I candid shot a wedding this last weekend?  On the rooftop... of a library?  Oh my, it was gorgeous.  Sadly I didn't get time to explore the inside of the library.  But the couple was just so dang gorgeous that I didn't mind.  What a day!

Congratulations Jake and Relissa!

How's about some Giveaway updates?

Well, for one: Friday is my birthday.  The big 2-6.  (Woohoo!) To celebrate, I am hosting a three day FREE Kindle Promo weekend!  That means that for all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you can snag a Kindle copy of Prison Nation... for free!  Happy Birthday to Me!  Make sure to spread the word!


Now, for two:  Starting September 2nd, over on Goodreads I will open a giveaway for one SIGNED copy of Prison Nation.  If you are state-side and would love the chance to get a paperback copy of my novel, all signed and pretty, make sure to enter that one!  It will be open until December 1st.  The one year anniversary of Prison Nation being published!  Aw...


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prison Nation by Jenni Merritt

Prison Nation

by Jenni Merritt

Giveaway ends December 01, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

And, for three: I know, three?  Well, I am part of the Back to the Books Blog Hop.  Make sure to check my blog on September 1st for what I chose to give away!

*Phew!*
I must really like you guys or something.
And I have yet to dive into the swag I have collected.  Oh man...


That is about it for this week's update.  How is your week going?  What did you write?  Do share!

Happy Writing!




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Day - I'm Baaaaaaack

Hello there, blogging world!
I am back.  Miss me?

Man, it feels like it has been forever since I last rambled away on here.  This summer has been a crazy one.  Even though I am pretty much at my computer every single day, I have barely even had a minute to write anything.  And boy do I miss it!

I even wrote a letter to writing on my Tumblr.
Yup.

My photography this summer is going great.  This Saturday I am attending my third wedding of the summer.  I have done family sessions.  Portrait sessions.  And have even more sessions planned for the coming future.  It has pretty much swallowed me whole and won't let me go.  Not that I mind.  I love photography.  But I sure can tell you that I am looking forward to the winter months full of writing.

Here is a little peak at a shot I got at my second wedding of the summer.  Loving that veil!


Now, as for writing updates...
Like I said, my writing has been slow going this summer.  Along with my reading.  I can feel the wheels spinning again though.  I have been devouring books this last week, and brainstorming for LJ.  Let me tell you: I sure am excited to dive back into Millie's head!

In fact, I am so excited, I made a Goodreads page for LJ.  After seeing it listed there along PN, out for the reading world to find, I found myself itching more than ever to write this novel!  (Not to mention pressure, being as I have now officially promised it for 2013!)  You know you want to add it to your to-read pile.

My birthday is next Friday.  And I plan to celebrate by giving back.  How about three days of a PN Kindle free promo?  I think that sounds like a plan.  Happy Birthday to me!

And as for upcoming giveaways: Not only will I be participating in the Back to the Books giveaway hop, but I will also be giving away one signed copy of PN through Goodreads starting September 2nd.  Keep your eyes out!

Phew!
There are more updates in the work.  But they get to wait until later.
For now: If you aren't writing, get back to it!  


Happy Writing!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Review - Insurgent

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Why I Picked This Book:  Duh.  I devoured Divergent and needed more!

My Thoughts:
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Divergent.  I was pretty much waiting on pins and needles for Insurgent to come out, and as soon as it showed up in my mail box I was tearing into it.

In Insurgent, the world is falling apart.  Factions are crumbling, secrets are being revealed, and all those friendships and loyalties we saw form in book one are being tested.  It picks up right where book one left off, then pulls you along into story twists you never saw coming.

While I did thoroughly enjoy Insurgent, there was something it was missing.  Maybe it was that Tris seemed to have lost a bit of the oomph that made her such a killer character in Divergent.  I can't blame her, really.  She is guilt ridden with what happened with Will.  Life is crazy.  But it felt like she had fallen a little too much into the "I am a horrible person" gutter.  I had a slightly harder time rooting for her because of that.  Come one Tris, you are dauntless.  Buck up!

Tris and Four's relationship hits some rocks as well.  While I love, love, love that they have a "real" relationship (as in everything isn't all peaches and cream) it got to the point a few times when I started to wonder why they were even fighting for each other.  There are a ton of secrets being kept, a ton of distrust.  You would think that after what they went through in book one, they would be chained to each other heart and soul.  Even while it did tick me off at times, I ended up loving it in the long run.  It was real.  And what is more real that utter confusion of the heart?

I think that is one thing I just love about Roth's writing.  It is real.  There is no perfect character, no perfect outcome.  You think everything is going great they suddenly it all hits the wall.  All of the characters are three dimensional, not the typical YA gray cardboard cutout we have all gotten used to.  You even end up feeling something for Peter.  Yes, Peter.  I know.

The plot is furthered with new characters, including long-lost mommy and a crazy Erudite leader.  It was great to learn more about why things happened the way they did in book one.  What happened to Four's mother.  Where that dang train is always going to.  What the Erudite are truly up to.

And let me tell you: Those smarty pants aren't always so smart.

Overall, I enjoyed Insurgent.  It lacked some of the irresistible pull Divergent had, but it was still an amazing read.  It seemed to serve as most trilogy second books do: As a stepping stone to the more-than-craved-for book three.  If you loved Divergent, make sure to pick this book up.  And keep your eyes out for book three in 2013!

My Rating:
(4 out of 5 stars)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Be Fearless

Stopping by today to remind you all: Be fearless!  If this is something you love.  Something you know you could never live without.  Something that makes you tick, makes you YOU...  Keep going.  Fight for it.

"Be fearless. Simply pursue your goals without giving consideration to the obstacles that will arise; focus only on moving over, around, or through them to get to what you want - everything else is resistance. And any consideration you give to obstacles as anything other than things to get past is setting - and accepting - limitations on yourself, and your potential, and your purpose. Don't do it. Be fearless. You are your purpose, and purpose is invincible." - James A. Owen (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)

I remember when I was in middle school.  I would go over to James' studio on the island and he would show me how to make up a simple comic strip.  I am definitely not that kind of artist (I draw... but nothing worth showing off.  Ever.)  And obviously I never went after continuing my little comic strips.  Still, James took the time to let me use an art table and some pencils and act like I knew what I was doing.  It made an impact.  

I may not draw.  But those days of doodling led me to other art forms.  It helped me stick to my writing obsession.  Gave me the nudge to explore photography.  And look at what I do now.

I go after what makes me tick.  The comics never survived, but the lesson that someone taking a moment and believing in your doodles sure did last.  Thanks James!

Are you being fearless today?


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thought For The Day: NEVER QUIT

I know I am still missing.  And I miss you all.

Good news: I am getting stuff done!
Bad news: Well... I miss this blog!

I will be back soon.  I plan on it.  Don't leave me!  AND KEEP WRITING.
Until then, here's a thought for today


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Terry Goodkind Attacks Pirates

I know pretty much all of us have at one time or another attained a pirated song/movie/book/donut.  I used to think nothing of it, declaring that it was ridiculous for us to constantly have to pay for something so simple as a two minute song.

Since self-publishing Prison Nation and diving head first into the writing (and photography) world, I find my view point has drastically changed.  I have found copies of Prison Nation on pirate sites.  And it ticks me off.  This is my baby.  Something I put my heart and soul and too much sweat into.  It is completely independent and the proceeds of it do not go to vacation homes or new cars.  They pay for groceries and my son's preschool.  How could someone ever think of pirating my book?

While I know I would never go to the lengths Mr. Goodkind did, I applaud his efforts.  This article was recently posted about how Terry Goodkind confronted a pirate about his newest (and indie) e-book, The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus.

After openly calling the pirate out on Facebook, Goodkind went on to say:


"We feel we've accomplished what we set out to do here. We exposed someone that claimed to be a fan, a reader of books, had accessibility to the books, had every incentive to purchase and support them, but instead chose not only to disregard the work, the values within it, and our own personal pleas. In being transparent with everyone here about what it has taken to get this book delivered to readers and to enable this story to be told, piracy is an inevitable chapter of that tale still being written. [Josh] Press went to great lengths to make sure we heard his voice and saw his efforts, thus he has been introduced into the story here."


Yes, some things in life are free.  Many authors out there offer free promo periods of their novels.  Others keep their novels free, solely for the intent to share their art with the world.  But I feel it is important to support the artist.  Even if it is just a $2.99 e-book, that money you offer the artist is your way of saying "I appreciate what you did.  Thank you."  

Pirating is a sensitive, much argued issue in the internet world, and while I know some things are much easier to justify than others, I  feel that pirating a book is just plain rude.

I strongly encourage all of you readers out there: Don't pirate books.  Don't buy pirated copies.  Make a small difference, and support the art of the world.  Don't rip it off.


To read the full article about Terry Goodkind's Pirate attack, GO HERE.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Don't Mind My Absence

Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  Bright, sunny (I believe it hit well into the 90's) and very very busy.

I was given the opportunity to photograph a friend's wedding.  After renting a hefty, awesome lens.  Prepping myself.  Drinking lots of water and reminding myself I can do this... It was a gorgeous wedding.

The set-up.  Had to be at least 7 lbs.  Muscle woman!

Needless to say: I have lots of work ahead of me.
This week I start in on the sifting, sorting, and narrowing down of all the photographs I snapped.  Then on to editing.  Meaning I won't be around nearly as much as I would like.  I wanted to give you all a heads up, that if you notice my blogging silence... this is why.  I am in photo world at the moment.

If I get a chance, I will for sure try to stop by and do my usual blogging.  But no guarantees.  This wedding owns my attention!  Until my photo life has calmed at least a smidge... 

Don't mind my absence.  I WILL be back!

A little peek at my day.  Have I mentioned that I love what I do?


Friday, July 6, 2012

Across the Universe NEW TRILOGY COVERS


What's this?  New covers?

That's right readers!  Just released are the NEW covers for Beth Revis' ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy.
I had no idea they were changing it up.  After logging onto the good old net to do my morning routine of catching up with the world, I found the post on GeekDad about the new covers.  Of course I had to instantly jump on board and see what was going on.

My opinion?  I love them.

Penguin decided to redo the covers in an attempt to help market to a broader audience.  While we all might have loved the original cover work, it did tend to only pull in YA readers.  And if you have read Across the Universe, you know that readers of all ages and genders should pick this book up.  The new covers are vague enough make you wonder.  Techy enough to let you know.  And just down right pretty.  I would pick up those books in a heart beat!

We are told to never judge a book by its cover.  But we all do.  Admit it.

SHADES OF EARTH, book 3 of the Across the Universe trilogy, is slated to be release January 15, 2013

So there you have it!
As bummed as I will be that book three will not be made to match the original covers, I am still all over the new look.  I guess I will just have to splurge and buy an all new trilogy set once book three is released!

The original covers.  Still oh so pretty!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Prison Nation Book Two - Title Reveal

I know.  I teased you.
Last week I shared that there will, in fact, be a sequel to Prison Nation.  Of course, I had to leave it at just that.  It is just how I am.  Teasing is fun.  But, as promised, I am back today to tell you more about what I have up my sleeve.

Ready?

Here are a few answers to some most likely to be asked questions:
  • I will be writing Book Two for NaNoWriMo 2012.  It only makes sense.  Prison Nation was written and completed as my NaNovel 2010.  It is only fitting that I carry the tradition on with Book Two.
  • I am currently in the plotting stage.  While I am finishing up my current WIP, and busy with my photography filled summer, I am also planning what will be taking place in Book Two.  Oh, I have things in store.  Many things.  Such as characters I originally planned to be in Prison Nation who ended up not fitting in.  And trials that will test the love and friendship between characters.  And fighting.  More fighting.
  • No, I do not have a synopsis written.  Yet.  Once I get more of my plotting under way, I will get that thing written up for all of you to read.  
  • At this time I am not sure if it will simply be a sequel or book two of a trilogy.  That decision will be made as I am writing Book Two.  We will see where it takes me.

Now for something fun to share.
THE TITLE!

That's right, I have the title.  And am telling you it here, today.  I have made up a simple place holder cover just for the time being.  Nothing amazing, and this is not the actual cover.  But hey, I needed something.  So, without any further delay... The title of Prison Nation Book Two is:


I am all kinds of excited!  Announcing it makes it that much more real.  And awesome.  And scary.  But I can tell you I am biting at the bit to dive back into the world of Prison Nation and see what happens next.  Millie is waiting for me.  Lady Justice is waiting.  The adventure is about to continue.  Are you ready?


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIP Day - Chugging Along

Today is a beautiful day.

So beautiful, I finally broke the norm and took my kiddos to the park.  After a few hours of running, swinging, sliding and exploring I finally convinced them we could go home.  And nap.  By the time we got back to our apartment, my youngest was already conked out.  Yay for parks and their ability to wear you out!

*Yawn!*

I have spent the rest of today enjoying the sun with my kiddos on the back deck.  No doubt getting more new freckles than I want.  And waiting for tonight.

Why tonight?
Well, because I will be writing.  And it will be awesome.

Update time.


- Have you noticed my blog look?
A bit back I asked about blog names.  And was overwhelmed with pretty much the exact same answer from every person.  Thank you so much to everyone who gave me their two cents.  I really do appreciate it. I have decided to keep my blog named after me.  Because... well... this blog is me.

I am still craving some sort of change though.  So, instead of a naming overhaul, I have decided that my blog needs a face lift.  It may take a little time to get it to a place I love, so bear with me as things (aka the banner, side bars, overall look...) change.  It will get there!


- Did you catch my Monday Post?  About Prison Nation?
I know, I love being a stinker.  It is just too fun.  But I do promise that this coming Monday I will talk more about Book 2.  Until then, here is a hint: The title has to do with a character in PN.


- I posted this fun thing on my Tumblr.
Just something random.  But I couldn't resist.  Read it, pick a word, and ask me it in my 'Ask' box.  Go on you know you want to.  It is always fun to get to know someone just a smidge more.  Here is your chance.


That seems to be about it for my update post this week.  As soon as hubby gets home, I will be writing.  I can't wait.  This schedule of mine really helps to build my anticipation!  (Yay for schedules!)

How about you?  Will you be writing tonight?  Any awesome updates?  Do share!

Happy Writing!



Monday, June 25, 2012

An Answer to a Prison Nation Question...

I have noticed a trend, dear readers.

There is a certain question I keep getting asked.  Over.  And over.  On my Facebook page.  Twitter.  In my email.  Right here on this very blog.  It tends to be the same question again and again, and it sounds something like this:

"I loved Prison Nation.  Will there be a Book 2?"

I have been trying to decide when I really want to answer that question. While I have hinted at it here and there, I haven't made any sort of "official" post about anything yet. Partly because I was battling which answer to give to begin with. Partly because I like keeping the mystery in my life. And my main reason... because I am chicken.

There. I said it.

Today, I will answer that question.  Finally.


My answer:
"YES!"

*commence jittery nerves as I finally officially answer*

Now then, just because I feel like being a stinker, that is all I am going to say.  Today.  I know I know.  How sweet of me, right?  Come back next Monday for a title reveal and more.  Until then...

Happy Writing (and reading!)



Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review - Cinder

Cinder
by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


Why I Picked This Book: I always love retellings of old stories.  When I saw this robotic, futuristic tale was based off of good old Cinderella, I had to give it a try.

My Thoughts:
Long story short: I loved this book.

Cinder is a cyborg.  She is looked down upon for not being fully human.  Her own stepmother and sisters use her pretty much as slave labor.  This is just her life.  Working at her repair booth, keeping the family afloat, and digging around for replacement feet once she outgrows her old ones.  Then one day she gets a new client.  A handsome young man who needs his android repaired, fast.  The man just so happens to be Prince Kai, and the android has important information that could potentially save his father's life.

The story takes place in China after World War 4, after a plague has started to rampage the earth.  While scientists scramble to find a cure for this seemingly incurable disease, life struggles to go on.  People who have cyborg parts are looked down on.  The upper class rules, even though the world is seemingly united in peace.

Oh, and there are aliens.  Did I mention that?

Yup.  Lunars.  People who moved to the moon long ago, and evolved.  Now separate from the human race, and barely accepted, they live on their own.  Except that isn't good enough.  They want Earth back, and Queen Levana has plans to take control.

Cinder is an awesome character.  She is tough.  Smart.  And always dreaming that she could just be a normal girl.  I instantly bonded with her and couldn't wait to see what step she took next.  Her bond to her younger stepsister and her personal android helps to pull the story along.  Including heart-breaking moments that almost make you hate Meyer for creating them.  (Which is a good thing, I promise!)

Prince Kai had me swooning at times, pining at others, and a few times had me wondering what it was that made me swoon and pine in the first place.  His love for his family, and his dedication to the throne pulls him through the story as a guy I wouldn't mind going to the Ball to meet.  Though I still am not sure I would fight for the crown.

Then there is Queen Levana.  Man, that is one creepy Queen.  Everything about her oozes "woman from the moon who I would never want to cross paths with" and I loved every moment of having her as the antagonist.

Yes, some aspects of the plot were guessed from early on.  Honestly though, I didn't mind.  It was fun watching the characters discover what I already knew.  And yes, the ending is a cliff-hanger.  There, I said it.  But we all know this is book one of a series.  (If you didn't, now you do!)  Knowing that, I accepted the complete hanger.  Even if I did grumble.  A little.

I loved the overall package.  It had science fiction.  It had sickness and death.  It had love, fighting, and true family.  In the end, it was a fairy tale, twisted for our modern day reading and filled with so much more.

Meyer does a great job of creating this new world, full of history, struggles, and life while still weaving in aspects of the classic fairy tale.  If this was just a debut novel, I cannot wait to see what Meyer has up her sleeve next.


My Rating:
(5 out of 5 stars)

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