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General Update

Nemo / Pixabay

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted. But, that would be because I’ve been very busy.

Mother Hen is doing well. She has her ups and downs, and we have a few new problems to deal with. The good thing is that the last two checkup MRIs show *NO* new tumor growth. YAY!

One of the challenges right now is getting her used to a CPAP machine and mask. Turns out she not only has sleep apnea, and not only has severe sleep apnea, but she has BOTH types of apnea. Until then I didn’t know there were two types. But, yep, there are:

Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax. Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. – Mayo Clinic

When Mother Hen does something, she really does it!

She’s also on a new brain chemo that is put directly into the brain through her Ommaya reservoir every 2-4 weeks. This chemo is causing us a lot of issues, as she’s sick with it for 3-4 days after.

Because of everything going on, it’s been hard to write, but I am getting a little done. I participated in National Novel Writing Month and managed 60,000 words across several projects. I didn’t get the last Dreamer’s Cove novel finished, but I got close! I’m now puttering away this December of finishing the first draft.

In novel news, the next String Weaver book is nearly ready to push out the door. I’ll announce it here when the time comes.

Whew. Life can slow down a little now! 😀

July Nano Is Upon Us!


:cough cough:

Yeah, I should dust before bouncing…

Yes, it’s that time of the summer! Time for the July Nano! Gut off those story ideas. Clean up the Nano room! Gather the snacks. It’s nearly time to get busy with a whole bevy of new words!

For me, they will be first real new words I will have written since we learned of Mother Hen’s cancer. I’m really looking forward to it, and once she heard the July projects are mostly Salmon Run stories, Mother Hen is all for it, too!

So, starting July 1st, it’s off with the new words! Time to let the creative brain go and work off the tension. The revision I go back to in August will be the better for it. As Mother Hen loves this series, I view this also for her, so it’s all good.

Above is the link to the July Novel Writing Month event that is now 9 years old. No, I won’t be doing Camp Nano. I don’t like their website, setup, and lack of motivational features. I’m also a bit miffed they decided this year to squat on the month of July when this other event has been going on for years.

I love the statistics page, something that Nanowrimo lost years ago. It’s perfect for playing the Word-Jump game. A simple game, but highly motivational: Look at the wordcount of a few people above you. Write like crazy. Update. JUMP!

Oh yeah. Planning on having some fun here.

I hope to see you there!

“Thank You!” For a Fantastic Writing Community

Today, over at Forward Motion Writers, is a surprise event. A thank-you day from all the users of the site for the person who keeps it going and makes it possible.

And so, we the writers and users at Forward Motion Writers do hereby declare this Monday to be:

Zette Appreciation Day

Forward Motion Writers has a long history. Founded in 1998 by Holly Lisle, it has been the social and support home of any writer wishing to be with other writers who are working towards becoming better at their craft and business/career. It was founded with the Pay Forward principle, which is that, in exchange for the help you get there, you then go out and help others.

Today it is owned and run by Lazette Gifford and she has continued that tradition. The site is home for writers at all stages of their careers from award winning multi-published through traditional writers, to multi-published Indie writers, to beginner writers, and writers at all levels between.

It is a place where writers don’t just talk about writing, but they DO it. They go from thinking about writing a novel or a short story, to writing it, revising it, and then finding markets for them. There are workshops and classes, challenges, dares, marathons, critique boards,  and prompts to help writers get there (some of the links require sign-in, which is free). The site offers forums, live chat, web rings, and other resources to help writers accomplish great things. And it’s great fun doing it!

Zette has had a hard few years, but she’s kept Forward Motion going despite it all. Along with the site she also owns and is the primary editor of the free emagazine “Vision: A Resource for Writers” for over ten years. In the past and starting again this coming January, she will conduct the free “2 Year Novel Course” at Forward Motion. Oh, and then there is the free guide she wrote many years called, “Nano for the New and the Insane” which she continues to give out free to anyone participating in the crazy but fun event in November to write 50,000 words in 30 days called “National Novel Writing Month.”

In other words, she loves to help other writers and continues to do so all these years later despite how life crashed in on her.

So, Zette, today I want to say thank you for keeping such a wonderful free, beneficial, supportive, positive, helpful, thriving writing community open to all writers. To keep it going when it might have been easier for you to shut it all down and concentrate on your own life. Forward Motion is a special place, and THANK YOU for continuing to make it available.


J.A. Marlow

The String Weavers (The String Weavers – Book 1)

Kelsey Hale thinks she’s just a typical mixed-up teenager. Everyone feels that way, her teachers assure her. Yet, strange things happen to her, like food disappearing before she can eat it and hearing music no one else hears.

Then a giant flaming bird drops an alien at her feet. Well, good grief, how can you ignore something like that?

Abducted from Earth, the only planet she’s ever known, Kelsey finds herself thrust into the middle of a deadly conflict among alien worlds and parallel universe. She must not only survive herself, but also find a way to rescue her father from a dangerous group with unknown motives.

In the process, she’s confronted by a hidden secret about herself which will shake the very foundation of who and what she thought she was.

And connecting it all are the mysterious Weavers.

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Nano, Wordcounts, and Story Update

The August Nano is now done! Time to do an assessment:

  • Finished book 6 of The String Weavers: CHECK – This happened on August 6th.
  • Finished book 7 of The String Weavers: CHECK – This happened on midnight of August 30th with an entire day to spare! Wow!
  • Total Wordcount for August: 109,679

Yep, nailed it in August despite the allergy attacks and despite the smoke in the air from all the forest fires. It was a real struggle on a lot of days, but THEY BOOKS ARE DONE!

Sorry to yell there, but this is really exciting. With the last book of Nano, “The String Weavers” arc is done! :happysnoopydance:

Of course the down side of this is that I now have 5 first drafts to revise. Ah well, can’t have everything. Hehe.

Other good news is that the July and August Nano’s put me over my yearly goal for new words (see the graph in the right column). The goal for 2012 was 500,000 new words. At the end of August the tally was 545,369 words!

And yes, I’m still writing. I came out of August pumped and the Muse on a high no sugar-high can touch. So, I started writing short stories. One is finished and I’m working on one more. After that, it’s back to revision!

I will admit that it feels good to have the chance to do other stuff without feeling guilty about it. Two Nanos in a row was intense, especially one as successful as July (170,000 words), and they did succeed in helping me write 3 90k+ novels. But now? I’m sleeping in, going for walks, doing publishing stuff, and if I want to stop and do some research for a few hours or read a book, I can! Hah!

So, to everyone else, how did your July and August shape up?


Novelette science fictionJ.A. Marlow

Where the Purple Grass Grows

The last thing reporter Steve Gortney expects is pirates raiding the strange space-elevator on the backworld of Vorstogen. While he’s thrilled for the exclusive on a pirate raid-in-progress, he soon finds his own life in danger from a secret the pirates are willing to kill to keep hidden. Meanwhile, the space-elevator has a few secrets of its own…

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Nano 2012 Results And Things Learned

I want to smash my all-time Nano high word count of 160,605 from 2009. Can I do it?”

The verdict for 2011 “National Novel Writing Month“?

The 2009 record has been broken!

Bad news: it was broken by more of a whimper than a smash. 😛

For the first part of the month the writing was going great, despite some problems with the outlines. I hit 50,000 words in a personal best of 6 days. Yay!

Then November 17th hit. Ow, what a hard wall, and there were walls everywhere I turned. The momentum was never the same after that.

It was more than simple momentum. I also realized that the outlines had problems. Many nights I would have to stop to re-outline a problem area. This wasn’t just on one outline, it was on all of them.

This Nano became more than a simple word count challenge. It became a Nano for learning. Before I get to that, here are the final totals:

Total 2011 NaNoWriMo Word Count: 180,415

Projects completed:
A Turn of the Pipes (A Redpoint One Story)
Secret Illusions (Salmon Run)
Spectre of the White Death (Salmon Run)
Aurora Equinox (Salmon Run)
Breakup – Alaska Style (Salmon Run)
The Great Salmon Run Cake Fiasco (Salmon Run Short Story)
From Alexandria to Andromeda (Short Story)
Vaulted Career (Short Story)
The Doppleganger Accountant (Short Story)
Wolf Dance (Short Story)

(Note that Taskforce Zero is not on the above list. Why is explained below.)

A piece of good news is that all the projects started in November were finished in November. I didn’t have to carry any project into December.

The bad news is that the outlines weren’t as good as usual going into November and the writing pace really suffered for it. A series of Nano planning Workshops in late September and all through October probably didn’t help with the outline situation, as I was focused on helping other people. To top it off, I released a new short story in October (Flying Dutchman of the Spacelanes) and then finished the copyedits for “The Phoenix Eggs” so that it could be published in November.

This meant that the time spent on the outlines was not what it should have been. There were whole scenes and sections either thrown out or replotted on every single one of the five longer works written during November.


When I realized that the outlines were a mess, I made the decision to drop the Taskforce Zero books off the writing list. I want to take my time and go through those outlines again to make sure they are as strong as they need to be. The four books I have outlined will be the start of a series, and I want them to be as strong as possible.

Because Taskforce Zero was dropped off the writing schedule, I needed something else to write for the remaining days of Nano. I switched to short stories and made it a goal to write one new one every single day.

I do not view the problems as something to be depressed about (although I found it depressing when the realization first socked me in the middle of the forehead). Instead, I view this as a learning opportunity:

  1. I can hit 50k in less than a week if I’m really concentrating.
  2. I now know I can write one short story a day. I’d never done that before, so this was a great thing to find out.
  3. I need to take more time for myself pre-nano to make sure my own outlines are ready to go. I waited too far into the summer to start. Next year I start earlier!
  4. 200k is doable if I have good outlines, as I came really close this year. Now I just need to do the needed pre-prep and get to it! (watch out 2012 Nano!)
  5. I’ve come to really enjoy writing several books in one series all in one month. It helps on so many levels: keeping true to the characters, to the world, to the plot, carrying through small details and plot hooks. In fact, I get so immersed that it’s hard to bring myself out of a particular series, which is why the first short story was a Salmon Run story.
  6. Having fellow writers to commiserate with and to RAH you on is the greatest advantage any participant in a writing challenge can have. So, thank you to everyone at Forward Motion Chat for all your help, positive words, word wars, 100-word jumps, and simple support. It meant a great deal and got me through the worst of November.

In summary, November could have gone better on the writing front, but it also could have gone much worse considering the state of the outlines. I view it as successful because of the things I learned. They will help me become a stronger writer in the future.

Learning is always a good thing.


J.A. Marlow

Before I forget, here is the November release I spoke about:

The Phoenix Eggs (The String Weavers – Book 2)

Growing up has never been easy, but most girls don’t have the added complication of having thought she was human only a couple weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Kelsey Hale struggles to find a place for herself among a group of String Weavers assigned the duty of stopping a madman bent on obtaining as many Phoenix Eggs as he can. What he wants with them, no one knows, but considering the raw power contained within it can’t be good. As if that weren’t enough, there’s no time for her training, resulting in a horrific event that jeopardizes her whole team.

Oh, to be only a typical teenager dealing with high school.

So much for that!

A 96200 word, 384 page (approximate), science fiction novel by J.A. Marlow.

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Mom (A.K.A. Mother Hen) Cancer Fund

Yes, our very own beloved Mother Hen is now struggling with a GBM tumor. The family is struggling because of no insurance and we are desperate to get her the life-saving treatment she needs. If you have a little extra and would like to help out this very deserving person, please consider giving a little donation to help her along the way. Thank you!

GoFundMe Help For Mother Hen

Click Here to use Paypal

Writerly Progress

2015 Yearly New Words
47.15%  188600 of 400000
2015 Yearly Revision Words
9.53%  38100 of 400000


Free Serial: Zerralon


Available Ebook Formats

The works of J.A. Marlow are available in a wide number of formats including DRM-Free. Below is a list of a few of the retailers the various formats can be found at.

Mobi (Kindle compatible): Amazon, Drive Thru Scifi, Omnilit/All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Xinxii

Epub (Nook compatible): Barnes & Noble, Drive Thru Scifi, Google Play, Kobo, Omnilit/All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Xinxii, iBookstore

PDF: Omnilit/All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Xinxii

Palm DOC/iSolo (Palm compatible): Smashwords

RTF (Rich Text Format): Smashwords

LRF (Older Sony Reader format): Smashwords

Plain Text: Smashwords

Online Reading (HTML): Google Play, Smashwords

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J.A. Marlow and Star Catcher Publishing is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, iTunes PHG Affiliate Program, and affiliate programs with Kobo, Smashwords, DrivethruFiction, and All Romance Ebooks. These affiliate advertising programs are designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking.