The Dragons are Keening

The science fiction and fantasy world was lost something wonderful. Anne McCaffrey, the author who brought us the Pern, Rowen, Crystal Singer, and so many other series and stories has passed away. Anne was a wonderful writer who inspired me as a teen for her wonderful worlds, character development, fight sequences (learned SO much), and plain brilliant storytelling. On top of that, she was quite gracious to other writers and her fans.

So, along with the Dragons who must surely be arching towards the sky, I keen and mourn her passing. She will be greatly missed.

Need Help Starting to Write? New Website!

Need Help Starting to Write? New Website!Nano 2011 Current Word Count: 131,412

This Nano I discovered a new writing tool to help a writer get their words when they are struggling.

You see, writing a bunch isn’t usually my problem. Obviously, from my word count listed above. The problem is sometimes taking that first step and getting the first 100 words or so to bring my head back into the story.

The website “Write or Die” is one way to overcome this. You set the time, and you start writing in the text box. If you stop, it will start making noises at you and blinking the screen (depends on the setting). I’ve used this on and off to help me get back into the writing when I’m under a deadline. After I get started, then I typically don’t need it.

But, sometimes I don’t want to be timed. I just need help with the first chunk of words.

Need Help Starting to Write? New Website!Someone out there decided they wanted an alternate. Something without a timer and helped push you forward using positive reinforcement.

Enter “Written? Kitten!”

This has several settings, but the one I like best is the 100-word setting. For every 100 words, the page offers up the picture on the right of a cute kitty. 100 more words? Yet another kitten! No countdown clocks here. Just cute kittens waiting to appear, if only you can find the next 100 words.

Soon, you will find yourself not saying “I wrote 1667 words today” but instead saying “I wrote 16 1/2 kittens today!”

Oh, and are you more of a dog person than a cat person? A group of us were talking it in Forward Motion chat, and one (Hello Fifth!) contacted the makers suggesting a puppy option. The creators answered back the very next day with not only the request, but a bunch more (tip: change the search term in the URL. Warning: some results for things such as ‘dragons’ will not be safe for viewing at work or around children):

http://writtenkitten.net/?search=puppy#
http://writtenkitten.net/?search=squirrel# (I’m loving this one!)
http://writtenkitten.net/?search=horse#

Go, have fun, you crusty ‘ole writers! Go get your kittens! (or puppies, or squirrels, or horses…)

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Need Help Starting to Write? New Website!

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.

A 97,100 word, 389 page (approximate), science fiction novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Free Writing Books in Celebration of NaNoWriMo

Nano Update:
Hit 50k on Sunday! New personal record!

Writer’s Digest has a special limited-time promotion on seven free writing how-to books in honor of Nano. They will be free for download across a number of platforms (Kingle, Nook, iTunes, and others)  from November 6-12.

The link is here: FREE NANOWRIMO EBOOKS

Get them while you can!

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Free Writing Books in Celebration of NaNoWriMo
A planet-wide conspiracy is waiting at Grandmother’s house…

“Always wear the red hood and cape while you are in the forest,” Grandma admonished.

For a teen with purple and red hair, and an attitude to match, the small claustrophobic city of Oburos grows ever smaller with Uncle Travis’s attempts to take over her and her mother’s life.

An invitation to visit Grandmother’s house, nestled among the giant trees filling the planet, gives Kate a welcome respite. But, there is no time for rest. A conspiracy among the forest inhabitants, moving trees, and other mysteries await her at Grandmother’s house.

Kate learns just how little she knew of the forests, much less its animals. To survive she must learn fast, and that includes trust and teamwork.

And just where was Grandma, anyway?

A Science Fiction 83600, 335 page (approximate) word stand-alone novel retelling of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”.

AmazonFree Writing Books in Celebration of NaNoWriMo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Using Free for Promotion – The Right Way

Current Nano Counts:
Day 1: 9629
Day 2: 5121
Total: 14750

I’ve often said that lower priced or free ebooks can be a good idea, if there is a plan behind them. Lowering a price or making an ebook for free based on emotions (“I’m a new writer”, “No one knows me.”, “I only have one book out, but I need to get my unknown name out.”) is not a good business, marketing, or promotion plan.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch takes on this very subject today on her blog in an article titled “Free” where she not only talks about a guide to using free for your true benefit, but also the results of one of her publishers putting one of her paranormal romances out for free.

I’ve been waiting for her to reveal the results of her book “Wickedly Charming,” published by Sourcebooks, going free in early October. This is the post! It’s a very interesting read, and I expect the comments to be just as informative as her blog attracts intelligent discussion.

Pop on over and give it a read. You’ll be glad you did!

As for me, I’ve been planning to do this for some time, once I have a bit more backlist up. It is high on the promotion plan, as I’ve seen it work for many authors to use the concept in the right way.

Now to get back to writing a bit more of that backlist. Yay for Nano!

Speaking of new work, we have something new this week! Kat, this one is for you!

Using Free for Promotion - The Right WayFlying Dutchman of the Spacelanes

Sora’s first surprise of the day is finding the legendary Flying Dutchman of the Spacelanes docked at Langdon space station. The second is finding herself trapped onboard the deserted ship. The surprises keep coming with the discovery of alien skeletons… and then a human skeleton…

Sora races to unlock the riddles of the cursed ghost spaceship in a bid to return home before she suffers the same fate. Only to find the true nature of the ship could give her the dream of a lifetime.

A 7880 word, 32 page (approximate), science fiction short story by J.A. Marlow.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords