writing

Alpha Readers Needed

I have the first draft of “Mandy & Mia” almost complete, so I am looking for a small team of critique-giving Alpha readers!

Mandy & Mia” is a Women’s fiction novel that deals with some mature topics including: teen pregnancy, alcohol, and sex.

A single mother, Mandy, and teenage daughter, Mia, are separately fighting for attention from the men in their lives. They have a traumatic past, and Mandy’s alcoholism brings them to a place of ultimatums as a broken family.

If you are interested in reading my first draft and providing critical feedback at this important time of my writing process, please fill out the Jenni’s Alpha Reading Team form before it’s too late!


writing

I am Accepting Defeat

November 28, 2021

Dear NanowriMotown,

I was afraid the holiday would steal my word-stride, it would kick me off the wagon and make it much more daunting to meet the 50K winning word count by end of month. I now have two days left with 12,313 words to go. That means I need to get around 6,157 words each day. Already a feat I have not achieved. Period. I don’t know if it’s possible, for me, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Lets go back to 4 days ago, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Every year, my family and I travel to visit our family in Midland. I had Nano-intentions to get words in, but the visiting with family always took priority. Being my first year attempting Nanowrimo, I went into the holiday with the no-plan plan, just wishing on a star that I would not go a single day with zero words.

I went three days with zero words, like an unlucky turkey: three days in a row with zer0 zer0 zer0 words. I can complain with other silly comparisons, but I have no reason to complain. I had a fun Thanksgiving weekend with family.

That is something that cannot be replaced with words. So, I’m trying not to beat myself up. I am still aiming for more words until the end of November, and whatever my end word count may be—I will be extremely proud of myself for GETTING THE FIRST DRAFT OF ‘MANDY & MIA’ WRITTEN! I would not be at 55,589 total WIP words without NanowriMotown.

I hope I am still considered a winner (possibly MVP) within the MotownNano community for actively participating and making so many great writing connections. I have been looking for a regional #writingcommunity like this—I feel like we get each other, and we’re owl crazy.

Sincerely,
Jenni

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/jennilaplow


writing

NaNoWriMo 2021

November is National Novel Writing Month, and I will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2021!

My goal is to write 50K words to complete the first draft of Mandy & Mia. From November 1st to November 30th I will need to write an average 1,667 words a day. It’s not going to be easy, but I will be joined by many other writers aiming for the same goal at the same time. The support is exponential.

I will be entering my NaNoWriMo progress below, for anyone who would like to follow along. Please feel free to check on me and see how it’s going…my progress is also HERE.

DATEWORDS
November 1, 20212,881
November 2, 20211,671
November 3, 20213,674
November 4, 20211,327
November 5, 20211,951
November 6, 2021830
November 7, 20212,688
November 8, 20212,208
November 9, 20211,743
November 10, 20211,380
November 11, 2021972
November 12, 20211,302
November 13, 20211,523
November 14, 20211,320
November 15, 20211,541
November 16, 20211,505
November 17, 2021784
November 18, 20211,466
November 19, 20211,680
November 20, 20211,202
November 21, 20211,572
November 22, 20211,748
November 23, 2021575
November 24, 2021144
November 25, 20210
November 26, 20210
November 27, 20210
November 28, 2021304
November 29, 20213
November 30, 2021450

TOTAL WORDS 38,441

I am Accepting Defeat for NanoWriMo 2021


reading, writing

Dear Whitney Cummings,

Dear Whitney Cummings,

I’m reaching out to you because you’re a great writer and I look up to you as a published author. After I finished reading your book, I’m Fine…and other lies, there was a weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that you’re fine, and I had a self-realization that I’m fine too. I literally-laughed-out-loud (LLOL) while reading what you wrote. I couldn’t put it down. I even shipped a copy to my mom so she could read it–I never do that.

When I devoured your words earlier in 2021, I was in a tough spot with my fiction writing, so reading your wild horses* of stories helped me find part of a main character’s voice in my story.

I have since realized that when it comes to writing a book, I am always in a tough spot because I have no friggin’ idea what I’m doing. I feel like I’m making it up as I go along and doing a lot of self-help attempts, but I always come back to you: Whitney Cummings. Like, I can’t get away from you.

  1. You’re the only celebrity I follow on Instagram
  2. You’re hilarious, so I’m officially attending a Touch Me Tour when you’re in MI
  3. One of my main characters has part of your voice, so I hear you talk a lot
  4. Your book is on my TBR list even though I already read it…

Call this an unconventional way to send you a letter (?) but it’s an idea that has grown in my head and I need to explore how I can reach you. As a writer, this is my platform and I will hashtag it, pin it, promote it like crazy on social media. I’ll even text it to you. Call me out of my seat, I will read it on stage.

I also feel the impending doom of rejection, so I’ve talked myself out of penning you this letter a few hundred times. My deterring thoughts include: Whitney’s robot has more followers that I do on Instagram, I have zero credibility next to that.

I’m following my gut, so please gut-check me back. If you are open to it, as a fellow-writer, I’d love to ask you questions about writing, publishing a book, etc. and it would be an honor to interview you in-person as someone I seemingly cannot get away from. I’m in MI, let’s make plans mid-November.

Sincerely,

Jenni Laplow

P.S. *“wild horses!” was a phrase said to me on my wedding day back in 2013, haha, I’ve never heard that one before, Grandma Carlisle….


writing

Top Ranked Book Idea for 13 Weeks

Voters loved my book idea for 13 consecutive weeks on SOOP!

Something or Other Publishing is a publishing company that I accidentally looked into further and further down the rabbit hole one day. That is the same day I submitted my book idea “Mandy & Mia” to their website. I am so excited because their publishing model is author-driven, and I have the desire to publish my debut novel before I’m 40. I’ve done some campaigning to get votes, but the #WritingCommunity on Twitter and #bookstagrammers on Instagram is where majority of my votes have been coming from. The writing support system on social media is real and I try to reciprocate the support to everyone who shows it to me. #communityovercompetition

I submitted my book idea to SOOP on March 25, 2021

I have received 383 total votes as of July 15, 2021

I have 617 VOTES to go!



Ranked no. 2 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for April 12 2021
Ranked no. 6 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for April 19 2021
Ranked no. 19 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for April 26, 2021


Ranked no. 4 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 30 Book Ideas for May 3, 2021
Ranked no. 9 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for May 10, 2021
Ranked no. 17 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for May 17, 2021
Ranked no. 16 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for May 24, 2021
Ranked no. 13 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for May 31, 2021


Ranked no. 15 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 30 Book Ideas for June 7, 2021
Ranked no. 18 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for June 14, 2021
Ranked no. 8 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for June 21, 2021
Ranked no. 20 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 20 Book Ideas for June 28, 2021


Ranked no. 10 on #SOOP on Monday: Top 30 Book Ideas for June 5, 2021

I never ranked the same number twice in 13 weeks
My author intuition calls this lucky.


writing

A Road to Finding Mom Friends

There are many different friendships out there. Some people have a lot of friends, some people have few friends, and some people have zero friends. I fall in the category of “few friends” so in my adult life I have thought that’s why I am close with the friends that I do have. But, the friends that I have today, as a working mom in metro-Detroit, are not friends that I have had my whole life…the road to finding mom friends started a very long time ago.

My first best friend was because our houses were kitty-corner from each other. Our parents both moved into their homes on Wyllys Street at the same time in the Summer of 1985. Kathy and I were both born that summer, we went through school together, and we were in the same social group through most of K-12.

After graduation, we parted ways and went to different colleges. Making friends in college was my next milestone to encounter. That takes me back to Central Michigan University in 2006, when I listened to Nelly Furtado and The Ying Yang Twins. I was single and the college mingle, so I never intended to make new friends…but the friends I did make had a lot to do with my overall college experience. I don’t remember the guy I danced with at the club, I remember the girl who drove me home from the club and we stopped to get fast food on the way.

To be honest about my college education, I didn’t meet these friends at the club, we met in class. The few friends I did meet were very close and stayed as close as we could years after graduation, but distance still parted us. Patty is now living her dream in Cali and Shannon is living her dream in Northern MI.

After college I met my husband, Randy. Fast-forward thirteen years to today: Randy and I are married with two beautiful daughters. Before the girls, it was just the two of us, so he was really in the place of a best friend for me.

It’s cliché to say I married my best friend because that isn’t true. It was my mistake ever thinking someone “From Mars” could be my best friend, haha! But really, married with young children I feel like a momma wolf tending to her cubs while daddy wolf is out hunting all day.

As momma wolf, it is part of survival to have a close friend. I need someone to talk to, I need someone to watch my cubs, I need someone to have playdates with regularly, so it makes sense to have a bff who lives close to home.

It’s not easy to make mom friends. Where do you meet other moms? How do you connect with them? I was introduced to other moms through my daughter’s school, it was on the first day of three year preschool when the teacher said, “look next to you because the people beside you will be like family.” I laughed this off at first, but she was right. It wasn’t until four year preschool ended that my relationship with another preschool mom really took off.

Coincidentally, our kids sat next to each other on the first day, and as moms we were standing there next to each other. We did not know that our friendship would grow one day, just like the teacher predicted. We should’ve followed our kid’s examples and became best friends that very first day.

But, I will reiterate, it’s not easy to make mom friends. Most families have boundaries, and all families are different. When you make friends with another mom, you also befriend and gain trust from their family. Making a mom friend doesn’t happen quickly.

Sam and I didn’t know how much we’d vibe as friends until our mommy paths crossed over and over again. We weren’t in each other’s college classes and we definitely didn’t grow up living across the street from each other, but the friends we have both endured up to this point have made us who we are today. The different lives we have both lived up to today have helped us find common ground as mothers.

I encourage you not to look too far for a friend, because you are already close to them.



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writing

Davey’s Birth Story

This is my second child’s birth story.

Ever since the beginning she has been compared to her older sister. Before she was born, we already knew it was not going to be a natural birth, like her older sister, but a c-section. Davey was very comfortable in a (breached) seated position, so we scheduled a c-section five days before her due date.

It started happening the weekend before her scheduled delivery, but I lost the ability to lift my left leg. It seemed like she was sitting just right, on my nerves. Randy would help me walk around the house, up and down the stairs when needed, and when he wheeled me into the hospital in a wheelchair, the doctor said, “last time I saw you, you were walking.” 

Which was true. So as the nurses were hooking me up to IV’s and taking my vitals, the doctor explained how my nerves are a risk and we should not take the chance with an epidural c-section, where I would stay awake and Randy would be present. Instead, they will put me under general anesthesia and deliver the baby in a surgical room, where Randy will not be present.

Our so-called birth plan was turned upside down. I had no vision of what a delivery like that would be. I never thought that I would be “put under anesthesia” for a delivery. And, Randy cannot be there? He was so excited to be present, and see my intestines, but also be there for the birth of the baby, just like he was for her older sister.

I went through a wave of emotions and tears, all while they continued to prep me for surgery. I had to be alright with this new birth plan. I had to be ok that I was not getting an epidural, and I had to be understanding that Randy would not be there.

I remember saying goodbye to Randy in the hallway, and wheeling through surgery doors to a very cold, clean room. A nurse was hovering above my head and talking to me as she counted down to the time for anesthesia. Then…

Davey Juliette was born on January 16, 2019 at 11:49am, weighing 7lbs 12 oz and measuring 21 inches.

When I woke up, I heard crying and slowly thought, “that must be my baby.” I was handed Davey, and I held onto her tightly. The tense feeling of pain in my abdomen was constant. Every muscle connected to my core was tight. As they wheeled me out, Randy was in the hallway, and we returned back to our hospital room. The nurses were getting me set up and I kept trying to tell Randy, “I feel tense” but I couldn’t get words out. “This is intense?” he asked me.

Frustration and pain were starting to set in, until they got the pain medication started. Our parents and oldest daughter were all patiently in the waiting room, but we weren’t allowed to have visitors come in yet because they wouldn’t be able to hold the baby.  I was instructed to keep holding her.

I knew that my Dad was in the waiting room, and he had to get on the road for work. I felt very strongly about wanting to see him, so they allowed him in. Having his calming presence and beaming love right there with baby Davey and I was the reassurance I needed. Holding my Dad’s hand that day is one of my stronger memories, and even though he wasn’t able to hold his granddaughter, he truly held his daughter in that moment.

The pain medication carried me through the hospital stay, so I remember who visited me but I don’t remember much about the conversation. Pretty quickly after Davey was born, the nerve issues with my leg went away, so everything happened as it was meant to.

Davey’s birth story seemed to happen not according to plan, but it was all Davey’s plan. Today I can say it’s truly Davey’s way or no-way as she is about to turn two years old in a few days. 

I’ve put off writing her birth story because compared to her older sister, I didn’t think there was much to actually write about. But bringing the memories to life that I do have, is still just as important because this is only the beginning of baby Davey’s story.

Read her older sister’s birth story HERE.


writing

The Sunflower Journals

As I grew sunflowers…
I learned lessons,
I grew in patience and gratitude.
These are my 2020 Sunflower Journal entries.

The broken sunflower.

Snapped, or something.
In an instant—gone.
Nowhere to be seen.
And it won’t grow back,
so I’m forced to say goodbye.

The sunflower sisters.

Growing together,
in the same soil.
Under the same sun,
they look over each other
always and forever.
This love story is true—
sisters won’t stray
from their roots.

The Older One

She grew taller, faster.
She always loomed over you,
and then she bloomed first.

Continue reading “The Sunflower Journals”
writing

Poetry Submissions

I was inspired when I saw a writing contest on Instagram hosted by @thewritingkingdom

The criteria for the poetry category was: write a poem about grief, loss, or/and sadness. I definitely have a few of those in my writing collection, so it was a blast to pull them out and bring them to life again for the contest! I submitted multiple pieces, and one of them WON!

Endless Hole

Down the hole
is where I lost my soul.

I was looking for my life,
when I lost my soul.

Enchanted by my hate,
he watched me lose my soul.

Friendsunk

Those girls
are two peas in a pod,
smiling and hugging like
they will be sisters forever.
Unaware their friendship
is the Titanic
minutes before it hits
an iceberg.

Their conversation turns gruesome
becoming snarls of a wild lion
protecting its dinner. Like the
countdown to a new year,
their friendship is over and
viewed by onlookers who stare
like kids watching fireworks.

Their friendship becomes
a sunken ship,
only creating ripples of water
when they pass in the halls.
Their companionship forgotten,
just like the one-hit wonder
who sang Achy Breaky Heart.


Drum roll, please…I’m excited about THIS ONE winning, because it’s a poem I’m using in my novel! [One of my MC‘s is a teenage girl who loves to write, and to help me find her voice I pulled out some of my own teenage poetry from 2001-2003.] Sometimes the words you wrote long ago will still be the words you use today.

Thrown into the hole
with no bottom,
I grasp for leverage between my sobs of failure.
There is no way for me to survive,
but only fall with the tears forever.
The hole continues to pull me faster,
I see my future never changing,
never being successful.
I only continue to cry because there is nothing I can do.

Until, I met you.
Until, you changed the hole into a sea of comfort.
I no longer fall down this dark, damp hole
because your strong hands pulled me up.
I can see bright rays of sunshine,
your eyes staring at me with assurance
that my future is no longer non-existent.
You saved me.

Thank you for reading! Please follow me on Instagram.