It's been a while since I talked about writing The Matchmakers (which was probably more recent than the last time I actually wrote anything for that story... until this past week). I'm proud to say that starting this past Saturday, I've been writing Rosemary's story for at least 20 minutes a day. I have to say Chris Fox's 5KWPH app is awesome (if you're a fellow writer, you should use it, but read his book 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter first).
If you read my last personal blog post, you'll know that I had some big news. I released it to my newsletter yesterday, and now I'm sharing it with everyone:
Title: The Belgrave Legacy
Author: Zara Hoffman
Genre: Upper YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: ZH Press
Publication Date: October 31, 2016
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A Reluctant Heroine. A Snarky Angel. A Big Mess.
Fawn doesn't believe in magic. But it is very real, and has made her a vulnerable target.
Caleb is sick of Hell. When the Devil offers him a way out, he immediately says yes.
Can this young witch trust the dark angel assigned to romance and seduce her? Or will his betrayal tear them apart forever?
The Belgrave Legacy is an upper-young adult paranormal romance. Filled with magic, witches, angels, and demons, this story will keep you turning the pages until the very end. Buy the book now, and discover a world hiding in our own.
Today was the day The Matchmakers was supposed to be released into the world in all its edited glory. Unfortunately, school, work, and some good old procrastination (if I'm being 100% honest) have prevented me from finishing this book on my projected schedule.
I seem to have run into a creative writing rut, and although it's highly recommended against, I have decided to go back to the start and edit what's there to reignite my fire about this project, start fixing some major issues I already know will be changed, and will then plow ahead to the end, editing, and eventually publication.
Thank you for understanding. In the meantime, you can start reading The Matchmakers on Wattpad, and add it on Goodreads.
You may remember me making a Beautiful Books 2016 post a little while ago about The Matchmakers, and today, Cait (PaperFury) has called for an update, so here it is:
1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?: Truthfully, my mental state is shot to Hell (and not because I'm trying to promote The Belgrave Legacy which has Hell in it). I'm going crazy because I unexpectedly became the head costume person on a show I volunteered as an assistant for, have an exam tomorrow (which I've barely studied for), and 2 papers due next week (which I haven't started yet). NaNoWriMo hasn't even been open on my browser since it started—if I ever get on top of this work, and have time to write, I'll have a lot of catching up to do.
2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?: My sister looks like a goddess as she waits for the tailor to appear. Her waist-length hair is braided in a Dutch crown and diamond jewelry hangs from her ears, wrists, and neck. The only thing missing is a smile. Instead, she frowns at the holographic display of her outfit. “You’d think that after seventy-five years, the Matchmakers would become more flexible with the color scheme.” She whispers the last part, but not quietly enough.
I'm 2 days late for the 6th anniversary of my reading this novel, but I've been meaning to review this book for forever, so why wait a whole 363 more days to get it right on the 7th anniversary when I can stop wasting time and review it right now?
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) is perhaps my favorite, and most-disturbing, dystopian novel I've ever read is definitely this Orwellian classic. And what makes it most terrifying is that so many of the techniques and technologies of this authoritarian government are already here: big TV screens, cameras, etc. And given "the War on Terror" since 9/11/2001 and subsequent Islamophobia in America the Hour of Hate, unfortunately, isn't that hard to imagine like it once might have. Although, given this novel was published soon after the end of WWII, I suppose that it's never been that far of a stretch of the imagination (and that's pretty scary).
Holy cow, I think I may have a heart attack. Not for ONE MOMENT did this book let up from the first page, and not even until the last because it was a killer cliff-hanger and I want the next book in the Wind Dancer series immediately. The only down side of reading so quickly in my opinion.
I really can't say much more about the plot than what's already included in the book description (above) without giving stuff away, but let me say this: not only did I read this fast, but I also am now paranoid about everyone but one character in this book. And that's the main and POV character.
With the success of The Hunger Games Trilogy (get the fancy paperback foil edition) and the upcoming movie adaptation of The Giver (Book 1 of The Giver Quartet), it's no surprise that The Divergent Trilogy is popular among both book and film audiences.
Two days ago, I read an interesting book called Divergent Thinking: YA Authors on Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy. from Smart Pop Books (their other books look awesome). It reminded me of The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason from Wiley Publishing (part of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, not to be confused with the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series).
Anyway, both books analyze why everyone seems to be obsessed with specific Dystopian YA novels (and their film adaptations). Back when I was still doing PR work for Melissa A. Petreshock, another teen was doing a Throwback Thursday series (which rocked), and talked about The Giver and Divergent. Read that post when you're done here. And here's another post about the over-saturation of said genre.
Divergent Thinking differs from The Hunger Games and Philosophy in that it is comprised of essays, ranging from the psychology to modern-day equivalents of the Faction System, by other YA authors instead of a philosopher. The first essay of Divergent Thinking, "From Factions to Fire Signs" by Rosemary Clement-Moore, states that the reason "we like books that sort people" (a common theme in dystopian fiction) "comes down ... to a paradox:"
My mom hasn't finished either dystopian trilogy, which is fine. My only stipulation is that she finish reading them before the 4th movie comes out for each series (the fact that the film industry is splitting the last book in 2 for every series since Harry Potter pisses me off, but that's another topic that I won't go into here).
I was talking to her about why Lois Lowry should be given a medal for making dystopian a popular genre of Young Adult Fiction because without The Giver, Katniss and Tris' stories probably wouldn't have been published (again, read this article).
Update 8/18/14: New York Magazine referred to Lowry as "the godmother to The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the general dystopia mania of the last decade."
The conversation then veered into my opinion of which trilogy I liked better (The Giver is my favorite of all 3 works, hand down). I said Divergent. I think the Hunger Games books were written better, but I like that the Faction System is based on values and that there is a Choosing Ceremony. There's still a bunch of corruption and rules in that government as there is in the Capitol and even the Board of Elders, but at least there is the illusion of real choice. In contrast, the Districts are arbitrary. If you're born in District 12, you're stuck as a mine-worker. The only way out is by winning the Hunger Games (by murdering 23 other people—yeah, no thanks).
The Giver had both aspects. While the Elders assigned jobs at the Ceremony of Twelve (which is now Ceremony of Sixteen, because Hollywood is obsessed with teenagers), the decisions are based off observations of the students and their extra-curricular activities. It's not as arbitrary as in Collins' world.
I'm not saying any of the 3 worlds is better than the other. One has a fight to the death, the other creates mindless drones, and the final one (or first if you go by publication date) has drugs that represses all emotion. I certainly wouldn't want to live in any of them, if given the choice.
The dystopian genre works for young adults because rebellion is inevitable, and all of the stories have a teenage protagonist fighting (and usually winning, at least in some way) against the control of their oppressive adult governments.
Do you agree or disagree with what I said? Have anything to add? Comment below!
And for those of you who are curious to read my book reviews of the 3 mentioned books:
This is what I expected of Four's perspective to be in Allegiant after Free Four! These four short stories from his POV are each solid, interesting peeks into his history and into him as a character. Some I liked more than others (e.g. I liked the first two short stories, The Transfer and The Initiate, more than the latter two, The Son and The Traitor, liking The Son least). However, those are personal preferences on which areas of Four's history I was most interested in.
First and foremost, there will be spoilers in this review. I normally try to avoid them, but the main reason I'm even writing a review for this book is completely centered on a spoiler that took the internet by storm because it pissed a lot of readers off.
You have been warned.
I will admit, I read this book because of the pretty cover, but boy am I glad for it's pretty pink cover. The story inside was as interesting as Elysia's inner struggle to remain emotionless to survive when her First's memories start surfacing.
Once I started reading, I could not put it down. You can just ask my mom. I read most of it while sitting on our kitchen floor so I could socialize and read simultaneously (a habit my mom tried and failed to put an end to). The world was interesting, the secondary characters were well-done (even if I really didn't like some of them as people).
I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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