Stormy skies and a writing contest

I love thunderstorms.


We really don’t get many in my neck of the woods, so they are extra special when they happen.


A new writing contest has been launched on Poetry Sans Frontieres with some great prizes. The contest is free to enter and only requires a max of 500 words for poetry and 1,000 for flash fiction.

You have to write something that responds to this prompt, which I think is a really fun one, so I’m posting it here:


There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that led swiftly before him through the moonlight. He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move.

~The Call of the Wild, Jack London~

Cover art, artists, and design

Happy Saturday! I hope you are having a nice weekend. I am resting my shoulder today from too much mousing yesterday. But I did spend a bit of time on the ol’ computer anyway. Even if I’m not doing that much work on the computer, when I have some leisure time, I like to read. Blogs and articles, mostly. Here is an interesting article about art and artists. It is a review about an Ethan Hawke documentary:

What I love about the article is the part that talks about continuing to “do” art privately. And that how one’s art is going is how one feels as a person.

I’m excited about something new I learned. A friend talked to me about viewing book covers as blocks, top, middle, and bottom, and to see what is going on with each block. What is there to look at in the block. The middle block should tell the reader what genre the book is. Based on this feedback, John Holland and I are changing the cover for Left of the Rising Sun from this:

Left Cover 2

to this:

Left Cover 4 C new final

I needed to do a poster board to display at a table where I’ll be selling these books and I had the idea to summarize the book in very few words and some images. This is the result.

Left poster

I also made this poster, but I found it much more difficult to boil the books down to just a few words.


That’s what I’ve been up to. I hope you have a nice remainder of the weekend!


#Giveaway Monday

Good morning, and happy Monday! I have some free things for you. First off, a copy of my book or one of John Holland’s if you sign up for my newsletter. (Just leave a comment today.) I’ll give away 5 e-books today!  My newsletter will be once a month and will give updates on my writing, an original recipe, and announcements of appearances. There will also be giveaways in the newsletter. If you don’t like romance, no worries, I always offer a copy of one of the books I edited for John Holland as an alternative.

Here is some more stuff that came across my screen last week:

1. A great article on how to use Twitter well: How to be a peep not a pain on Twitter by the brilliant marketing expert Kristen Lamb

2. Leanne Cole shared how to replace a sky in a photograph. Here is a link to her video:

And here is a sky of mine that you can use, if you want to try out the technique. (Yes, I’m using it as a background on my blog now.)

Sunset lit clouds
Sunset lit clouds

Happy Giveaway Monday!

A prediction for publishing, and The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

I don’t make many predictions, I really don’t have any idea, I just kind of go along, but I have this one thought to share. And that is that once print on demand (POD) books come down in price to match mass market, things will change. I don’t know how exactly, but mass market prices for POD books would seem to have many repercussions. Independently published authors like myself for now (meaning independent of the big publishing houses) get their books into print by using POD.

My 2015 prediction is that prices of POD will start to come down in 2015.

What do you think? How do you think it would impact traditional publishing if you could make any book equivalent in price to a paperback on a rack in the grocery-store line?

The panorama picture below shows people enjoying the very long covered walkway in The Temple of Heaven park in Beijing. People were out in droves playing games with their friends. I loved the idea of getting together with friends and playing games like this. What a wonderful lifestyle. Very healthy for the mind, body and spirit. And such a peaceful scene.

Temple of Heaven park
Temple of Heaven park

Have a peaceful weekend with your friends and family.

5 reasons I’m going back to blogging every day

5. It’s harder to remember every other day. Every other day is too complicated!

4. An obsession is required to actually blog every day. As an aside, it’s a challenge that fosters keeping up with the tools as you go looking for any and all that can help make it easier.

3. Once you skip a day, it’s way too easy to keep skipping. Thoughts like: “it doesn’t really matter anyway,” “nobody’s reading it anyway”get fed during that lag time. This is bad for blogger motivation.

2. It’s a challenge that forces me out of my shell.

1. It gets more readers! The blogosphere is a hungry place.

Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada

Thanks for being a reader!

~N~ ;–)

Day 3, 2015, writing musings

2015 so far is very good! We’re just three days in, but each day is a mini lifetime.

How are you faring in 2015 so far? Well, I hope.

I am busy working with John Holland to finish the middle-grade fantasy we are co-authoring. Here’s my Aussie friend and co-author:

John Holland
John Holland

Here I am right now (you can see the WordPress editor on my monitor). That is my new plant, a lucky bamboo supposed to bring prosperity, fortune and happiness.

Author at work 2
Nicci Carrera

Our middle-grade book is coming along well.

When I edited the last of John’s four novellas, Left of the Rising Sun, I realized he has a great voice for kids. One of the things I like the most is how much humor comes out in all of John’s books.

He allowed his mind to drift off into daydreams, a distraction from the danger.

When I’m grown right up into a big tall man, I’ll come back here and bring a girl. That girl will probably be Sally. I’ll show her how tough I am. She’ll be amazed by the way I catch food, and I’ll be really handsome, too!

Buck wasn’t sure he was going to be that tall or big, though. His mother was short and a little plump. Dad was average height and slim.

But maybe I’ll take after my great grandad! He was a big tall man and he was a great man, too. He used to captain a pearl lugger at Broome. Probably was a pirate as well. He certainly looked a bit like a pirate in the old photos his grandmother had shown him. A big man in a captain’s cap smoking a pipe. He looked fierce and very tough in the photos. I think I will look a bit like him when I’m big.

Or I might become a boxer or buckjump rider. Dad buys The Ring Magazine and Hoofs and Horns. The life of those people in the magazines would be great. Both are dangerous sports, but I’ll be big and tough enough not to feel danger. I’ll just laugh quietly, and everyone will cheer at how good I am. Sally will be in the crowd. She’ll be so proud of me! She’ll want me to marry her, and later on, I will. But first I’ll tell her to go away, because she used to like Reggie more than me.

She’ll cry and go on a bit about how sorry she is, and she’ll say that Reggie isn’t as big and handsome as I am. So I’ll relent and say, okay we can get married.

I didn’t have a lot of experience with kids, but when my husband and I met John Holland and his family, we were introduced to some of his grandchildren. Spending time with them made me want to write for them, and edit for them, when the material is appropriate, like Left of the Rising Sun. John’s grandchildren were thrilled to receive their granddad’s signed book as a Christmas present.

All of this led to our decision to write a middle-grade book together, using the world-building manual my husband helped us create for the book we wrote together last year. (My husband is an avid science fiction reader, and…well…just really smart. He’s a big part of our team.)


I’m really gratified and thrilled by the Amazon reviews for Left of the Rising Sun. One of the reviewers called it a “deceptively simple book.” That’s how I felt about the book, because the writing is straight-forward in style. That style allowed me to enjoy seeing Buck’s character and his growth as he was set against trials and when he found himself responsible for another person.

As a writer and as an editor, I have to tell you, that’s the real joy, when a reader says she or he saw and felt what you thought and felt about the story.

If you want to check out John’s books, please see the right frame. Click on any of the book covers that look interesting, and you will be delivered to the book’s Amazon page.

I’ll close with a mountain shot I took over the holiday.


I hope you enjoy the third day of the shiny new year.


Happy new year! And…I changed my blog name

I hope you had a happy new year’s eve celebration. We had champagne and went to bed early so I could get up and watch the sunrise for the first day of 2015.

First sunrise

Sometimes you have to make a decision, and that can be hard to do.

Clipart - Photo clipart/child scratching head - Free Clipart Free


But if you just remember this motto, it helps: Make a decision and then make it right. 

I made a decision to create a new pen name for my romance. Then it became really hard trying to get a new blog up and running. And it was really hard to sell any books when I kept my new pen name a secret! After all, I really need the support of friends and family. So little by little I have been making changes to make that initial decision right. Yesterday, a friend told me I could just rename this blog. Who knew? So now this is, but will still get you here. And you can call me Nicci, Nia, or Antonia.

Anyway, you are all my friends, and I really needed you to be part of my Nicci life. Thank you for following and for sharing your photos and lives and insights in the blogosphere.

I started with a sunrise, so I thought it would be nice to close with a sunset. This was a sunset that set the clouds on fire on December 29th, near Reno, Nevada.


Nicci, AKA Nia

Who is Nicci Carrera?


Long story, but I created a new pen name for Nicci Carrera, and my book came out last Monday! It’s a  spicy romantic comedy.



When hard-driving CEO Rick Nordan arrives in Lobster Cove under strict orders from the family doctor to take a break, he discovers the rental house comes with a family attached, including one sexy dynamo of a caterer. She’s nothing like his ex-fiancée who wouldn’t sign a pre-nup, but maybe that means she’s the real deal and not a gold digger.

Maya Cruz wants life for her widowed mother to get easier by renting out her house during the summer. But teaching Mama business means explaining Rick isn’t a “guest,” he’s a “customer.” And the first thing Mama does is invite Rick to join their family activities. Having Rick around wouldn’t be so bad if Maya didn’t find him so attractive. The last time she fell for a vacationing millionaire, she had her heart broken.

She swore off his type, and he’s not looking, but this might be a recipe for love.

Short Excerpt:

Get a grip. She was just proving Rick right about her footwear with her clumsy performance.

“Those shoes aren’t made for lifting,” Rick said.

“These shoes make me your height. Perhaps you don’t like that.”

He chuckled. “Still got a few inches on you, Maya.”

“Still got a few hands on me too.”

He grinned, leaving his hands where they were. “Sorry.”

“Somehow your smile belies your apology.”

“Are you sorry?” His brows rose in inquiry, but his tight half-smile showed confidence that her answer would be no.

About Lobster Cove

Love Caters All is part of The Wild Rose Press Lobster Cove series. This is a multi-author, multi-sub genre series. Lobster Cove is a fictional small town on the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor. It is quaint and quirky with a colorful history, a friendly population of charming residents, and a vibrant tourist business. It is home to research scientists and small shop owners, grumpy cops and sassy chefs. Back in the day, it was a bustling fishing town and home to many immigrants, from both the state cabins and the lowest decks.

Available at:

The Wild Rose Press ebook:


Amazon Kindle:

Amazon Print: