Unelmoija: The Dreamshifter by Elle Boca (Review)

Title: Unelmoija: The Dreamshifter (Weeia)
Author: Elle Boca
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy Link: Amazon

Review

Amy is Weeia. As in belonging to a superhuman race with special abilities. Her upbringing by her single mother has been secluded and full of fear of discovery. She might not know exactly what her abilities are, but one thing she’s fully aware of is the need to remain inconspicuous and keep a low profile. But this doesn’t keep her mysterious, fear-inducing father from tracking her down, or Duncan, her supposed polar opposite, who nevertheless doesn’t repel her at all, to pop right in front of her. They both claim to put her safety before all else. But when she has to deal with an attempt against her life, Amy finds herself more alone than ever. It’s high time she explored those dreamshifting abilities and found out why that old psychic called her Unelmoija, seemingly in awe.

What I particularly appreciated in this book was the very fact I found myself having trouble dealing with in the beginning. The writing. At first, I felt the writing was procedural (or expository if you prefer those terms) but soon I realized that the more Amy grew into her own skin and saw more of the world than her own shadow, the language became richer, more layered, more descriptive; it evolved right along with its main character. I found that ingenious. The story is well-paced, the friendship between Amy and Duncan sweet, but my favorite aspect was the reluctant relationship between Amy and her father whose role in the story is still somewhat of a puzzle.

I loved hopping around Miami through the eyes of Elle Boca. What I felt more vividly than the images were the tantalizing smells. In fact this book should come with a warning: do not read if you’re to go on a diet. Boy, do those people eat…

A fumbling teen who taps into uncharted strengths for survival, her broken family tensions, a superb race’s intricate politics, escalating suspense and lots of southeast Florida. All in all, Dreamshifter is an excellent debut urban fantasy, and I will definitely read its sequel, Mindshifter, to see Amy coming to grips with her reality.

About the Author

Elle is the author of the Weeia urban fantasy series set in Miami, Florida in the United States. Growing up the only child of a monkey mother and a rabbit father she learned to keep herself entertained and spend time reading.

Elle makes her home with her king cat husband in South Florida. When not writing and creating fantastical beings she likes photographing nature and wildlife, eating baked goods, watching movies, and dreaming of going on safari.

Find her on

Blog: elleboca.poyeen.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elleboca

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26277297-elle-boca

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Calling All Critiques: Third week wrap-up

Thank you to everyone who has participated so far in Calling All Critiques, whether you were a submitting author or a critiquer or just stopped by the blogs to see what was going on.

I’d like to personally thank S.L. Saboviec for all the work she’s put in to send us post templates that saved us precious time and for her amazing coordination.

Second Week Visiting Winner

The second week’s visiting winner who either commented or followed one of the participating bloggers on Twitter is:

Alan Saxon

Alan, you should have received an email already. You have until Saturday to respond with further information for us to send you your prize. If we don’t hear from you by then, a runner-up will be chosen.

Query Letter / Book Blurb Random Winner

As a thank you to all the authors who submitted their work to be critiqued, we’ve randomly chosen one lucky winner who has a choice of the following prizes:

The query letter / book blurb week’s winner is:

Entrant #6
M.W.

M., look for an email in your inbox later today. You have until Sunday to respond as to which of the three prizes you want. If we don’t hear from you by then, a runner-up will be chosen. Once you choose your prize, we will provide you and the blogger with each other’s contact information to coordinate timing.

Final Wrap-Up Next Week

The final week’s Rafflecopter random giveaway of two eBooks and a $10 Amazon gift certificate ends on Sunday at midnight, so give some feedback on one of the earlier posts and maybe win some prizes. Check out this week’s entries here and here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One more shout out to the bloggers!

Don’t forget to give some thanks to all our participating blogs and bloggers:

See you again on Monday for the final wrap-up!

Silence (Friday Fictioneers #4)

This flash fiction Friday event is both fun and a great writing exercise. A picture prompt, a 100-word story that links dozens of awesome writer bloggers! Thank you, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields!

Here’s my fourth attempt entitled “Silence”.

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright – Ted Strutz

 

SILENCE

99 words

The whirring in my mouth was goose-flesh inducing, but I had already tucked it away in the past. I was already on the docked ferry, its yawning mouth mimicking my own. I was already alone, far from the crying, whining, screaming—all that ruckus that made the noise in my cavity a welcome respite.

By the time Gus found out I was missing, I’d be far away. Huddled in a cozy, silent room.

Let Gus handle the ruckus for the rest of the week. Four days of peace was all I wanted. I deserved as much.

Then I’d return.

__________________________

That story draws from personal need. Almost always when I ride the train to work, I think of going down to the terminal station at the port of Piraeus and board any outbound ship. Just be left to my own devices for a few days. Not talk to a living soul. Just silence.

For more stories and totally different takes on this prompt click on the linky:

Calling All Critiques: Query Letter Entry #6

Thank you, M.W., for submitting your query letter! I hope that the comments you receive will help you get tons of positive responses!

Critiques are welcome from anyone and everyone. Just remember our rules: Be nice. Be constructive. Be specific. Be polite. In this case, we would appreciate comments from writers who have gone through the process, or at least have looked into the art of writing a successful query letter. If you’re not familiar with how query letters work, you can still comment on the blurb!

For anyone just joining us, check out a previous post about the this week’s event.

If you comment with your critique, please feel free to enter this week’s Rafflecopter giveaway. One lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card, an eCopy of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Miller, and an eCopy of Guarding Angel by S. L. Saboviec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry #6

Name: M.W.
Website:http://mywritingcorner.webs.com/
Title: The Chess Club
Genre: YA

Entry

Dear…

I am currently seeking an agent for my first novel, THE CHESS CLUB. A YA mystery novel, which is about 70,000 words. The idea for this book derived from my interest in chess and a love of the Nancy Drew stories. I wanted to write a feisty, intelligent, female character for today’s young adult audience, as well as include humour, eccentricity and Skittles. The story follows the anti-social Penelope Featherstonehaugh (pronounced Fanshaw) as she starts a chess club without realising just how much that will change her life.

Penelope is forced to come up with an after-school club and she chooses the Chess Club, hoping nobody plays chess any more. Her solitary world is instantly invaded by four quirky characters who drag her out of her comfort zone, whether she likes it or not. Things are made worse when their chess pieces go missing, as well as objects from other after-school clubs. The headmaster asks Penelope for help and the Chess Club members rally around, eager to dive into an adventure. In the meantime Penelope’s attention is divided between her alcoholic mother and robberies committed in town. Though she is armed with her intelligence and sarcasm, she doesn’t realise how close to danger she truly is.

I have a BA in English Language and Culture from the University of Utrecht and recently received my MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent. I have had one of my short stories published in the University of Utrecht student magazine Phoenix.

I have added a synopsis to this email. I chose to approach you because you have a broad taste when it comes to fiction, just like me. A partial or full manuscript is available upon request. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

My Critique

I feel awkward commenting on your letter when you hold a BA in English, and I’m not even a native speaker. But one thing I have faith in is my instinct, so I’ll offer my bit, and hopefully you’ll find it constructive.

I felt that the language you used throughout the letter was more of the conversational type when you need “tight” original language that will brand you as a good writer. For example, the second sentence is not full (no main verb). My suggestion for your opening:

I am currently seeking representation for my first novel, THE CHESS CLUB, a 70,000-word YA mystery novel.

I’m not sure that the two sentences where you talk about what inspired you to write the book and your intentions regarding the heroine would be of interest to the agent. If your inspiration was highly original e.g. an Andean trek inspired you to write a wilderness thriller, I’d say include it, but an interest in chess and Nancy Drew isn’t that exceptional. Also your intention to portray a feisty heroine does not guarantee that you’ve succeeded, but what if you present her character’s attributes through a behaviour rather than tell us (show not tell)? My suggestion:

Penelope Featherstonehaugh (pronounced Fanshaw) is a ??-year-old high school student who likes people as long as they keep their distance. When she is assigned the foundation of an after-school club, she goes for a chess club, assuming she would be its sole member. But her solitary world is instantly invaded by (names) who, in no time at all, drag her out of her comfort zone.” (The phrase “whether she likes it or not” is redundant; nobody likes being dragged out of their comfort zone.)

The rest of your blurb is somewhat fragmented. You say “things are made worse” when objects go missing, but then we learn that Penelope has an alcoholic mother, which makes the missing objects sound trivial. Then there is mention of robberies and danger but how does that connect to the chess club? My suggestion (but I’m speculating here, as I don’t have all the facts):

“Having to deal with an alcoholic mother and a wave of robberies that sends ripples through the town, Penelope needs a tougher armour than intelligence and wit.”

As for attaching a synopsis, make sure you do it only when the submission requirements specify it.

I wish you the best of luck with your endeavours, and, once again, thank you for participating in our event.

 

 

Calling All Critiques: Query Letter Entry #5

Welcome to our Query Letter/Blurb critique week, and thank you, Peggy Rothschild, for submitting your query letter! I hope that the comments you receive will help you nail the task!

Critiques are welcome from anyone and everyone. Just remember our rules: Be nice. Be constructive. Be specific. Be polite. In this case, we would appreciate comments from writers who have gone through the process, or at least have looked into the art of writing a successful query letter. If you’re not familiar with how query letters work, you can still comment on the blurb!

For anyone just joining us, check out a previous post about the this week’s event.

If you comment with your critique, please feel free to enter this week’s Rafflecopter giveaway. One lucky person will win a $10 Amazon gift card, an eCopy of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzy by Quanie Miller, and an eCopy of Guarding Angel by S. L. Saboviec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry #5

Name: Peggy Rothschild
Website:www.peggyrothschild.com
Title: Erasing Ramona
Genre: Adult, Thriller

Entry

Dear Fabulous Agent:

Twenty-seven-year-old Miranda Burgess wants to stop running from her past. She hasn’t been back to Mill Valley since the day she awoke inside a strange house and discovered six dead bodies, including that of her boyfriend, Billy. With no idea who committed the murders, Miranda ran, winding up in L.A. where she changed her name and made a fresh start. Ten years later, her father’s death draws her home, even though the journey may jeopardize her freedom.

The day after the funeral, a strange man tries to force her into a van. Miranda manages to escape, but from what her would-be abductor says, she suspects the attempt is linked to the long ago murders known as the Orwell Massacre. Her new identity compromised, Miranda refuses to start over again. Going to the police isn’t an option either. She begins investigating the killings, hoping to spark some memory from that blacked-out night. But, old newspaper stories only get her so far. To dig deeper, Miranda will need to return to the risk-taking and law-breaking that once ruled her life.

During her search for answers, Miranda discovers old friends have become enemies and new enemies potential allies. Only after unmasking the killer is Miranda able to envision a future that is no longer bound by the past.

A thriller, ERASING RAMONA (70,000 words) delves into a flawed central character’s growth as she triumphs over her personal history while facing down an outside adversary.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

My Critique

First of all, the title is fantastic! Great branding and the -RA- alliteration is a plus. Also, the story is enticing. It has the makings of a great thriller. Now, as query letters go, my main concern is that this one does not contain a paragraph about yourself. What are your writing credentials? If this is your first manuscript, is it a stand-alone, will there be a sequel? Also, have you set up an author platform? Could your academic or professional background support your writing in this genre? It’s important that the agent get an idea about who you are as well. This paragraph should be added after the blurb.

I suggest you open your letter with the last paragraph which is a wonderful introduction presenting the title, the genre and the word count. Then follow with the blurb.

My suggestions about the blurb: omit the boyfriend’s name. He’s been dead for ten years, so why mention him? Also, I’d like to know why Miranda felt she had to flee the crime scene; was she afraid she would be a suspect? If this is the case, maybe you should start the second sentence with something like: “Having lived on the fringes of the law for most of her teens, Miranda panicked and ran, winding up in L.A….” Also, the second paragraph starts with very specific details that could be condensed. My suggestion:

Ten years later, her father’s funeral draws her home, but after an attempted abduction, which turns out to be linked to the long ago murders now known as the Orwell Massacre, Miranda realizes that she’s in mortal danger. Not willing to start over again and ruling out turning to the police, she begins investigating the killings, hoping to spark some memory from that blacked-out night. But, old newspaper stories only get her so far. To dig deeper, Miranda will need to return to the risk-taking and law-breaking that once ruled her life.

In fact, that would be a great way to end your blurb. I feel that your third paragraph does not offer much. The friends turned enemies twist is not highly original as is the conclusion that Miranda will have to unmask the killer to have a future—-that is stating the obvious. In my opinion this paragraph could be omitted.

A little shifting around, the addition of a short paragraph about yourself, and you’ve got a query letter with great prospects!

 

 

Be afraid…book two is underway!

An original retelling of the Greek myths in the making! Was that an oxymoron? Not if the writer believes they were anything but myths!

Ekaterina's Greek Expectations

Be afraid. Be very afraid – book two is now in production.

Yes people, after a few months of toying around with various literary ideas and being threatened with disownment if I ever wrote a book about the family again (!) my second book is finally underway.

View original post 319 more words

Isabella Norse – WIP interview

Isabella Norse writes sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal romances with a humorously-ever-after. Her newest story, VIRTUALLY YOURS (A Nerdy Short Story) was released at the end of May. It is Izzy’s homage to her favorite virtual men from the video games that she loves.

Izzy, thank you for coming. As a warm up, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?

I’m a wife, mother, animal lover, gamer and all-around nerd. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for video games, I might never have become a writer! I fell in love with creative writing in high school but always had plenty of excuses to keep from actually trying it.

In 2010, while researching one of my favorite video games, I discovered the world of fan fiction and was immediately hooked. Over the course of the next year I wrote and posted my first fan fiction. My story received a lot of positive feedback which gave me the confidence to begin writing original stories.

 

A fan fic writer turned novelist! Very E.L. James of you! Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

I’ll do better than that! I’ll give you the blurb for Dial V for Vampire, the first novel in my upcoming sweet paranormal romance series:

Maggie Robinson is a full-time server, part-time blogger, and 24×7 skeptic. Her love life? Non-existent. Why bother? Her parents’ divorce is proof that “happily ever after” is a fairy tale. To make matters worse, she has no idea that her tongue-in-cheek blog, “Life with Zombie,” has placed her at the top of the werewolves’ “Most Wanted” list.

Noah Townsend is a vampire with a broken heart. It has been two years since his wife’s death and he is still recovering. Instead of dealing with his grief, he has thrown himself into his duties as the head of a security firm that specializes in protecting paranormal beings and hiding their existence from humans.

Worlds collide when Noah saves Maggie from a werewolf attack. Can Maggie overcome her skepticism and Noah his grief in time to realize that they are made for each other? Or will the ripples started by Maggie’s blog grow into a tsunami that will tear them – and Kudzu Korners – apart?

That’s a good blurb! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I envy those authors that can turn out multiple books a year; I am a very slow writer. I don’t set a specific word count goal, but I do try to write every day. On a good day I may be able to allot an hour and a half to writing, other days not so much.

You’re my kind of people 🙂 Plotter, pantser or both?

I am a pantser. When I begin work on a story I generally know how it begins and how it ends; I also have a few random scenes and bits of dialogue that occur somewhere between the two.  Even though “pantsing” is probably one of the reasons that I’m such a slow writer, I enjoy watching the story unfold as I type. I love discovering new locations and meeting new characters along the way!

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

I have a tendency to keep going back and revising what I’ve already written. I eventually have to force myself to stop editing and just get the story out – imperfect though it may be.

Again, I can totally relate! Maybe we should start time-keeping each other! Have you experienced “writer’s block” and how do you overcome it?

So far, I haven’t experienced writer’s block. Right now I have more story ideas than I can possibly keep up with!

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring?

I don’t have a dedicated workspace, although I hope to change that within the next few months. Many authors play music when they write, not me. I’m easily distracted by noise, so my laptop and I move to the quietest part of the house. Also, I am an animal lover and my husband and I have several cats, all rescues. The cats love my laptop and it is not unusual for me to have their “assistance” when I write. Cricket, the kitty in the picture, fancies herself quite the editor.

Lovely! Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. Cricket can hang out with Wallace and Toby, the doggies dominating Marjory McGinn’s and Nat Russo’s respective workspaces. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I am learning to use Scrivener. I’m one of those people that loves to organize and I love the way Scrivener allows me to have my story, notes, character info, research, and so on all in one place.

I work on Scrivener too. What I really love is how you can separate scenes within chapters and have instant word count. How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I don’t have a specific celebration in mind, but it is a safe bet that chocolate will be involved!

I hear ya! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I outsource cover design and editing, but I am comfortable doing my own formatting and uploading of my books to the various etailers.

You’ve one-upped me there… I haven’t delved into formatting yet. Is romance the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Oh, I’m definitely a romance author through and through. I write in multiple romance sub-genres; I love sci-fi and fantasy, aliens and vampires. Even though my stories may be set anywhere from fictional Southern towns to outer space, it’s the relationship between the hero and heroine that is always most important to me.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Of course!

Website: http://isabellanorse.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaNorseAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorIzzy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/IsabellaNorse

Email: Isabella.norse@gmail.com

Thank you and best of luck with Dial V for Vampire!

Thank you so much for having me!

 

Calling All Critiques: Submit your Query Letter or Book Blurb now!

The last week of our cross-blog critique event is here! Starting now, Calling All Critiques is accepting entries for your query letter or book blurb.

How to Enter

Submit your entry to Critiques@Saboviec.com. Cut and paste the following template into your email and fill it in.

Your name/pseudonym:
Your website (optional):
Title:

Genre (include audience, such as YA/Adult, and category):
Entry:

We’ve not assigned a limit to number of words in your entry.

Acceptance of entries closes on Monday, June 9, at 8 p.m. EDT.

More Details

Questions? Check out some of the earlier blog posts or leave a comment below:

After You Submit…

After you submit, check out all the participating blogs and bloggers:

Thanks for being part of Calling All Critiques!

When beta readers come with an agenda

WHENI just read an article by Victoria Strauss for the Writer Beware blog which verified my own suspicions based on the following incident:

I recently published a favorable review of an author’s novel, and I was browsing other reviews it had received on Amazon when I saw one that really stood out: it was a mean-spirited, venom-spitting piece in total contrast with what other readers thought of the book in question. You’ll probably thing that the reviewer was a troll. No. This was an eponymous review that offered a valid link to the lady’s site. Of course, I gave her site a hit just to see what she was about. The lady, apart from reviewing also worked as a freelance editor.

Hmm.

I got in touch with the author and asked her if she had any idea why her book had been targeted by that person. She confirmed my suspicions. The lady reviewer had contacted her expressing her delight at the prospect of beta reading. The author gladly provided her with an advance copy. However, the feedback she received was dishearteningly negative: the beta reader had spotted all sorts of errors, the book was in dire need of serious editing, but, hey, the beta reader could help out for a fee! The author told her off, and next she heard of that person was through her book’s reviews page.

Apparently, that’s becoming a pattern. There’s a growing number of documented pitfalls a self-published author can fall into, but that “friendly” approach is squeezing through to stand in the front row. I find myself truly riled up at the thought that someone in the know will play up on every writer’s weak spot–the need for reviews–to get access to her work, aiming all along at either making a profit or trashing it. I had half the mind to out that person on Amazon, but I’m not confrontational by nature and wouldn’t be able to stomach the possible backlash.

How would you deal with a beta reader who suggested “improving” your book for a fee, knowing that a rejection might lead to a negative review?

To read the article on Writer Beware click here.

Breathe! (Friday Fictioneers #3)

This flash fiction Friday event is both fun and a great writing exercise. A picture prompt, a 100-word story that links dozens of awesome writer bloggers! Thank you, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields!

Here’s my third attempt entitled “Breathe!

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

BREATHE!

99 words

“No!” Mary’s cry sliced the silence of the cabin like a sharp blade.

The smeared spoon, the lighter on the table, Amy’s body slouched on the chair, the tablet idle on her lap.

Amy’s eyes cracked open. Mary braced herself for the vacant, red look of a daughter gone. It had been five years. No!

Amy stretched like a cat. “Jeez, I guess I snoozed. There was a power cut, so I heated the soup on the gas cooker.” She gave her mother a sheepish smile. “I’m a slob.”

Mary shuddered, as relief exploded in her. “Any soup left?”

__________________________

When I saw this picture, impulsively I zoomed in to discern any actual drug paraphernalia. It just took me there, hence the story.

For more stories and totally different takes on this prompt click on the linky: