My name is Justin Mermelstein.
I write. And paint. And draw. I’ve even owned a clothing line with my amazing wife, which we designed and printed ourselves.
As with every other creative person in the history of the world, I started writing and drawing as a young child. You know the story.
From the start, I was intent on self-publishing. There’s a vicious negative stigma that follows the words “self-published” in the writing industry, but I wanted to do it myself. I believed I could go out and get a publisher if I worked hard enough (naïvety was also a close pal of mine), but I didn’t have any interest in jumping through hoops for someone who saw me as potential dollar signs, or worse than that, as the opposite.
It was a grueling process. Formatting my writing. Editing my writing (if you would like to call it that. Seriously. Can we pay editrs more? Talk about a job that makes me want to hang myself with barbed wire). Designing the cover. Printing. Marketing. The list goes on and on.
Everything in the writing world can be so molded and cut and dry. A novel has a genre. It’s classified by word count. I didn’t want that. I wanted to tell a story without a finite piece of wrapping paper waiting for me to tie a nifty bow on it and move on to the next. Then Glimpse hit me like a ton of bricks while I was driving home from work one day. I fell in love with the idea but couldn’t come to terms with where it would conclude. How I’d tie that bow.
I’ve always been a fan of mixing mediums. Paint and marker. Pencil and ink. Words and pictures. I love to create, but a lot of my art work just sits in my home, waiting for an opportunity. With Glimpse, I wanted to share my work. I started out by releasing one episode per month (a chapter, essentially, and an illustration to go with it) on the Glimpse website. After the first 10 episodes, I compiled them all into a volume and printed a few copies. It was fairly well-received, but I wanted to reach even more people. That’s when I decided to publish Glimpse for the Amazon Kindle and, in time, in all other formats.
Lucid and Awake is a novella series. Each is a standalone story. I'm in love with writing them. They are in the realm of 20,000 words each and can be crammed in a matter of hours.
I also wrote two non-fiction books – one about my experience with starting a t-shirt company, and the other about my experience planning a wedding on a tight budget. They are informative, if you're into either.
In June 2014, I wrote and illustrated a children's book for my daughter. I wrote it under the pen name J. Red, and it is also available on the Apple iBooks store. It is called "Hello. My Name Is Isabella."
In between writing projects, visual arts take command. I always have something going on and new material to put out.
As it goes with any other artist with severe mental issues, there are plenty of other projects in the brain bank. Check back regularly!