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National Novel Writing Month 2014

nanowrimoThis year I plan on taking part in National Novel Writing Month.  National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short),  takes place during the month of November and is a challenge to writers to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo two years ago, but this will be my first year participating. With my full-time job, part-time job and my volunteer work, November is one of my busiest month. However, I am determined to find the time complete the NaNoWriMo challenge.

While, deciding to participate was easy, deciding what to write is more difficult. There are so many stories swimming around the grey matter of my brain. I have two projects in particular that I want to work on. One is a Middle Grade fantasy about a group of eleven and twelve year-olds with special abilities that work in inconvenient ways. The other is an Adult horror that puts a new spin on the Greek myth “Pandora’s Box.” Though the middle grade story will probably only take 50,000 words to tell, I have decided to work on the adult horror story instead.  I have been reading a lot of dark fantasy lately and really want to try my hand at writing something creepy and macabre.

I hope to report my progress once a week on the blog, so be sure to check back for updates.

Bio of a #PitchWars Mentee Hopeful

Pitch-Wars-2014-logoIf I am lucky enough to be chosen by a #PitchWars Mentor, my Mentee bio would look something like this. (I apologize in advance for the lack of GIFs. I didn’t even know what they were until a few days ago. I have, however, added several links to other areas of my blog.)

About Nicole M. Carrara the person

I was born, raised and still live in central New Jersey (yes, there is a central New Jersey). I live as far away from the shore as one can live and still be considered to be from the shore. And in case you were wondering, I do not have a “Jersey” accent (people born and raised in central or south New Jersey generally do not have what out-of-staters consider to be a “Jersey” accent).  I’m an attorney (currently non-practicing), operations manager/contract analyst for a commercial janitorial service consulting company, and a cheerleading coach. I coach both recreation cheerleading and high school cheerleading, which means that from August to March, I have no free weekends, and hardly any free weeknights.

About N. M. Carrara the author

I began writing ten years ago. I have one novel completed, an adult epic fantasy title BLOOD OF ESTA. I also have an MG fantasy and adult paranormal/horror in the works, along with the sequel to BOE.  I’ve written a couple of short stories. THE GILDED MIRROR is about a woman’s irrational fear of mirrors. PANDORA’S BOX is about a guy looking for meaning in his humdrum life.

Hopping around my blog for more information about me.

One of my first blog posts, Getting to Know N. M. Carrara Part I,  is an interview I did of myself. It contains tons of info about me, my law career, cheerleading, my writing, and other fun stuff.

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post, My Writing Journey So Far, summing up my writing journey so far. It talks about the query process, writing workshops and my plans for the future.

I also have a page on my blog called Fun Facts and Stuff. I updated with funny, but pointless information about myself.

Closing words

I am excited about #PitchWars. No matter what happens, I’ve already learned a great deal. Be sure to check out the other potential Mentee Bios on Dannie Morin’s Mentee Bio Hop.

Book Review: King of Thorns

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Today on the blog I’m reviewing King of Thorns, book two of the Broken Empire Trilogy, by Mark Lawrence. Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars. [Side note: my rating system is out of 5 stars, but I will rarely give a book 5 stars.]

Prince Jorg of Ancrath is now King Jorg of Renar, having stolen the small kingdom from his uncle at the end of the first book. Like the first book, this one follows two time lines: the present day, which consists solely of the happenings of Jorg’s Wedding Day; and four years ago, which spans a year or more, showcasing events that happened after Jorg took over Renar. The present day has the now eighteen-year-old Jorg getting married to the twelve-year-old spitfire, Miana (my favorite character in the trilogy). It would be a joyous day, except for the fact that tens of thousands of the Prince of Arrow’s soldiers are hold-up outside Renar Castle ready to burn the place down. The Wedding Day timeline follows Jorg as he tries to defeat Arrow’s army. The four years ago timeline picks up shortly after Prince of Thorns left off. Jorg is King of Renar, but finds being King to be a bit dull. He and his road brothers venture out into the broken empire with their new titles and what unfolds are the events that lead up to the Wedding Day.  Continue reading Book Review: King of Thorns

Mock Cover Designs

A few days ago I was introduced (via a Twitter friend’s blog post) to Pixlr. It is a free photo editing website that authors can use to design posters, banners and such when funds are low. Needless to say, I’ve been glued to the site the last few days doing mock-ups of cover designs for Blood of Esta.

Below is a gallery of some of the designs I’ve come up with. The first two were done in MS Paint (before I learned about Pixlr), and the rest were done in Pixlr. I really wanted to go with a background of black and red hair, because my main character, Pastella, has iridescent black and red hair. The first set of covers also feature a Uruguayan-flag-style sun. I like the idea of the sun on the cover because it is the symbol of the Tribe of Sansolo (Pastella’s race). I nixed the sun for the final mock-up, and instead, went with a picture of a woman holding a sword. Pastella is a sword fighter, so that image seemed like a good fit.

Of course, all of these covers are just for me to see what type of cover I would like the book to have. I’m still a ways away from publishing. And when I do publish, be it with a publisher or on my own, I won’t be designing the cover myself. Either the publisher will design the cover, or I will hire a professional to do it. But in the meantime, I’ll keep messing around on Pixlr and sharing my designs with you.

Book Review: Prince of Thorns – Book 1 of the Broken Empire Trilogy

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While on my weekly stroll through Barnes and Noble last month, I picked up a trade paperback copy of Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence simply because I liked the cover art (it was simplistic and straight forward–a cloaked boy standing on a pile of bones). I read the blurb on the back, and since Game of Thrones was about to have its season finale, I purchased Prince of Thorns to help quench my thirst for medieval violence.

After glancing through some of the Goodreads reviews I noticed that people either loved or hated this book. I read the book in two days (the entire trilogy in three weeks), and give it 4 stars. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to read a Game of Thrones type story narrated exclusively by the one main character (no head-hopping in this book).  Continue reading Book Review: Prince of Thorns – Book 1 of the Broken Empire Trilogy