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

BOE Chapter One, Take Fifty

I have rewritten the first chapter of Blood of Esta so many times since completing the first draft back in 2008 that I’ve lost count. It’s definitely the chapter I’ve revised the most. Probably because it is the only part of a novel that has at least a chance of being read by an agent or publisher when you query them. If they like your query letter, they’ll read the first few pages. If you can’t hook them with those pages, your’re screwed.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had won a professional critique of the synopsis and first three chapters of Blood of Esta. The critique was from the Acquiring Editor at Bell Bridge Books, Debra Dixon. She gave me highly encouraging feedback about Blood of Esta and my writing (my favorite line being “feel very confident that you’ve gotten to a point that your writing is professional and enjoyable”). She also pointed out a few things that she thinks could use some rethinking. The biggest potential “problem” was the prologue. She didn’t feel that the prologue scene, though informational, was powerful enough to open the book. She gave a suggestion for a new opening, one that I’d already been thinking about writing. I took her advice, and below is the new opening scene for Blood of Esta. Comments are always welcome.



N. M. Carrara


One thing I had learned about my connection to the Earth these past thirty years was that cold always meant danger. I’d once walked barefoot across a frozen lake in the Snow Mountains. Without any threat that the ice would crack or that I would be ambushed by predators, the frozen lake felt no different than walking on a plank of damp wood, and the snow that fell in those mountains kissed my skin with the same tepid wetness as a spring drizzle. But confronted with danger, I felt the cold. Like the time I’d trekked through the burning deserts of Gensamer. Even with the blinding sun at the noon apex, the sand below my feet had grown colder as I neared a scorpions’ nest hidden in the dunes. The change in temperature was the Earth’s warning. Cold equaled danger. And now, as I sat waiting on the wall, I didn’t know why an Adornian peace officer and a foreign ambassador were galloping towards the monastery, but the chill that laced the summer air told me that trouble chased after them.  Continue reading BOE Chapter One, Take Fifty

WIP Wednesdays: Prologue to Pandora’s Box the Novel

WIP Wednesdays

It’s Wednesday (even if it’s already 10:30pm), and that means it’s time to showcase one of my many works-in-progress.

In today’s installment of WIP Wednesdays I am presenting the opening scene of a dark urban fantasy piece I’m working on. It is a novelization of my short story “Pandora’s Box.” The piece below would be considered the prologue. Enjoy.

October 31st

Six days ago I received an unnerving phone call from my brother Adam. He had called from his mobile and the battery was about to die. He told me that his girlfriend had been murdered the night before, “by accident,” he said; and that he was mixed up in something that, “you wouldn’t believe even if I told you.”

“Slow down, Adam,” I said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Where are you?”  Continue reading WIP Wednesdays: Prologue to Pandora’s Box the Novel

Whatever I Feel Like Sharing