Thursday, February 27, 2014

Age of First Publication

So randomly purusing wikipedia, I found myself searching for YA authors I currently read. Throughout the whole process of doing just that, I realized I was looking for something rather specific: the age of the author when their first book was published.

This is what I found via Wikipedia:

Lauren Oliver - 27
Sarah Dessen - 26
Veronica Roth - 24
Stephenie Meyer - 32
JK Rowling - 32
John Green - 28
Cassandra Clare - 34
Jay Asher - 32
Maureen Johnson - 31
Markus Zusak - 24

Thus, the average age of publication for this list is 29. If I minus the two years it takes to get published (query, revisions, edits, production, etc.) and subtract another year for the author to write it, I come up with 26, the average age these writers started working on their debut novel.

You're probably asking, "What Michelle, does this all really mean?" Nothing really. I just find it fascinating. If this mathematical equation were a trend (which it isn't, because I suck at math) and I started my novel at my current age 22, I would like to hope that I could be published at 25 (because that would be a rad way to celebrate a quarter of a century of being alive!).

A girl can dream right?

That is all.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some writing encouragement.

My photo of the day, or I guess I should say 'yesterday.'
As I've mentioned, my writing funk was awful last week. If at this moment, you are feeling stuck in a writing funk, I hope by the end of reading this post it is somewhat alleviated. I don't normally go on a reblogging spree, but today I'll make an exception. So here's some writing encouragement because I think you are amazing and you should keep on writing, because deep down you truly love it, even though at this moment it is oh so frustrating!

I'll begin by sharing some writing quotes I came across this morning on twitter (I know I'm really late, but I just realized the amazingness of this social media tool!).

Your inner writer is tingling upon reading the quotes, I just know it. To help you along with that, I wanted to reblog Jane Friedman's post on 10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused On Your Writing. Some of the apps are really cool and intersting, most of which I hadn't even heard of until reading the post. I'm thinking of getting apps numbered 9 and 10, since I think it'll be useful for me. How about you?

Alright, so hopefully you're getting jazzed to write again. So the question is how do you fuel the motivation? That's something I always mull over too. What works for me is imagining my work where I want it to be at the end so that I can finally query agents. That is my goal for this year after all. So figure out what your goal is, envision yourself there, and then keep working towards it until you get there. The journey is long and arduous, but split it into tiny chunks and keep chipping away at it. Soon enough, you'll find yourself there. If you want more encouragment than I can offer you, read this post by Lamar Giles on Adventures in YA publishing, I did, and his main point really stuck: If you want to write, you must finish.

And if you're hoping to query one day too, check out the #NaNoNewLeaf chat yesterday here where agents of New Leaf Literary answered questions on twitter.

On a final note, make sure to step away from your writing once and awhile so that you won't be so burnt out (I know easier said then done, right?). Not to mention, sometimes you get those great insights and ideas for your project when you're not writing! One of my favorite ways to take a step back is wine. So yesterday Michael and I went to Bottlehouse, my favorite urban winery in Seattle and ended the night with vegetarian dinner, a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty.

Happy writing, and happy hump day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ellie Goulding's Divergent Track and the YA Film Trend

So yesterday I retweeted V. Roth's EW post on the Divergent Soundtrack. Check out the article and the new Ellie Goulding song here. At the first listen, I loved it. At the second listen, I loved it even more. At the third listen all I'm thinking about is how I can get my hands on that soundtrack! As you can probably tell, I'm pretty stoked about this film as well as TFIOS (The Fault in Our Stars).

YA Lit is starting to become a large influence in the film industry. Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, need I say more? And as long as it gets people reading, I'm all for it. And I'm just hoping that the film industry takes the story to heart instead of doing rush jobs to reign in some cash. Remember the Eragon movie? That just about broke my heart.

This YA book-to-film trend, however, is finally placing emphasis on the Young Adult genre. YA used to be such a guilty pleasure for me, something I kept to myself, books I would read in the comfort of my own room. But now things are starting to change. More and more people are starting to read YA, even outside its designated age range. Even at my college a course on young adult fiction was placed on the same caliber as Eighteenth Century British Literature. Though I wasn't able to fit it into my schedule, I just think that's so awesome.

So what is it about YA that makes it such a phenomena? I think it boils down to the YA writers. They're taking creative risks whether it's through the narrative voice, structure, or whatever. Angels, vampires, wizards, dystopia, reincarnation, gritty realism...anything goes. They're taking risks and it's paying off as a collective genre.

Monday, February 24, 2014

No more funk!

Okay, remember last week when I was in such a funk about my writing? It was pretty awful. I had no will or desire to write, I was disappointed in myself, and I lost sight of the story making me feel so disconnected to my characters. Well, fast forward to the end of the week. I was still feeling the same way, but then I forced myself to write about one thousand words. They weren't the greatest, but it was a way for me to just push myself.

Later that night, Michael and I went to Nishino's for dinner. It was kind of a crummy day. We both weren't feeling well, but sushi can always cheer Michael up. We ended up at the bar and randomly got into a great conversation with the guy sitting next to us. I won't go into too much detail about it as I'm hoping it'll turn out into a cool story that I can post months or years after, but I will say this stranger kicked my writing funk to the curb!

It's crazy how meeting new people can do that for you. Give you a breath of fresh air, a new perspective, and even some inspiration.

So for the rest of the weekend, I caught up in some writing and delved into some YA books. Writing and reading. Two of my favorite things in the world, how could I have neglected it for so long? Getting back into the groove, I felt so much better. YA Lit, that's where I belong. It always feels like home when I get into a good book. So somehow someway, I'm going to get there and be a part of it, because that's the only place I see myself.

Thus, look forward to more writing progress as well as book reviews :)

And for something completely random, check out this delicious eggs benedict that made it into my belly Sunday morning from Tallulah's. Yuuummmmmm.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rated: 4 stars out of 5

So a few weeks ago before my trip to Boston, I perused the book store wanting something to read on my long flight. My eyes caught the cute cover of Fangirl.

At first I didn't expect much, but then I read the synopsis on the back. In short, it's a coming-of-age novel about Cath, a young girl entering college with her twin sister, who's a really great fan fiction writer. Her sister, who has contributed to the fan fiction decides to branch out and let go of the fandom, but that's something Cath just can't seem to do. Now, Cath is on her own and completely outside of her comfort zone as she navigates life away from her fragile father as she's faced with a surly roommate, a charming guy that always seems to be hanging around, and a professor who doesn't see fan fiction the same way she does.

I decided to read it, wanting a feel good book and lately I've been hearing so many good things about Rainbow Rowell that I just decided to go for it.

One thing that makes me keep reading rather than tossing the book is the writing and its readability. I found that in this novel, the fluidity of the writing was great making it easy to imagine the scenes and characters in my mind. Another thing that keeps me interested are characters. They just can't be bland. They need to pop out and be distinguishable. I found that I really enjoyed Cath as the main character, not to mention the quirkiness of Levi who's not the typical love interest you find in YA.

But I think the great thing about this enjoyable read was the simplicity in its plot line. It just goes to show that a story doesn't need to be heavily emotional or complicated. Thus, this book is great because its relatable to those who read it. You find a part of yourself in each and every character, or you've known someone who's just like one of the characters which makes you care about them that you keep flipping the page to see what happens next.

So if your looking for a feel good read. Then pick up Fangirl. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. It was a great book, but I didn't rate it a 5 because 5's for me are books that make me want more, makes me go through an emotional roller coaster, or makes me so much in love with a character that I wish they existed in real life.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

BBC's Sherlock Holmes

You need to watch it. This is a must watch television show. It's just so damn clever and engaging, the lines are so memorable, and the character development just hooks you in completely. The plot lines always keep you guessing. And the cinematography is so well done that it's better than the movies out these days.

I have to say. This is my current fave show, and I am so sad that I'll have to wait for the next season. It was really so great to binge watch seasons 1-3 in just two weeks. Now I'm going through Sherlock withdrawals. I want more. You need to watch it. I promise you won't regret it.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was this huge tension headache squeezing my head, so hard I felt nauseous. It started at six p.m. and then lasted through the night making it uncomfortable to sleep. Now I've awoken drippy, sneezy, and full of chills.

The common cold.

It just sneaks out of nowhere and BAM. Hits you. So today is my sick day. Let the resting under covers, binge watching, tea drinking, and trying to catch up in writing with a fuzzy head, begin.

30,000 more words by my birthday is all I need. No more writing funk. Since I am such a fan of Veronica Roth, here's a link to her latest blog post: Getting a Character "In".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Writing Funk

Though I am so glad I got to travel around this month, it has taken a toll on my second draft. I've been away from it so long that my progress has taken a big hit. I know I still have time to finish before my deadline, but I feel so disconnected from the work which makes it difficult for me to keep going. Also, having a full-time job doesn't make it any easier when all I want to do when I get home is rest and zone out.

I know. I need to just suck it up, stop with the excuses and just do it, right?

But it's so hard to be in a writing funk. And then, when I'm in a writing funk, all I want to do is binge on shows (BTW, I am sooo obsessed with BBC's Sherlock! It's so good!).

I really need a slap in the face right now to get out of it. Anyone willing to oblige?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's in Vancouver

Did you guys have a good Valentine's? I hope so! For Michael and I, we kept it low key. We had one-hour massages that just felt oh so heavenly and a home cooked meal. I was in charge of cooking for the night so I made lobster and veggies and bought salumi and olives for the apps. This was the first time I had ever made lobster, and boy did it turn out yummy!

For the three day weekend, Michael took me to Vancouver, Canada (I'm a lucky gal!). I had never been to Canada and didn't know really know what to expect. He got us a room at the Opus Hotel. If you ever go to Vancouver, you should stay there. It's so trendy and cute, your greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, and the rooms are so retro and comfortable. Did I also mention they have deep bath tubs? Best baths ever!

Did I ever tell you that Michael is a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain? Well that's how he found out about the hotel and that's also how he found out about JAPADOG! So shortly after checking in Staurday afternoon, we ventured out into the drizzly rain to JAPADOG, a hot dog joint styled around japanese flavors. It was neat to try and their shaken fries were great. Then for Happy Hour we went to The Flying Pig for some drinks and fritters (As you can tell, this was a foodie weekend!).

Lately, I've been obsessed with Ramen. I mean, it's just so good! The broth, the noodles, need I say more? So we went to the best ramen house for dinner, Ramen Santouka. It was so good, Michael and I ate their everyday of our trip (yep, that's three times in three days ladies and gents) and each time we went there was always a line out the door! This is a must-go. I repeat, MUST-GO!

To end the night we had some drinks and of course some dessert!

On Sunday we went to Granville island to check out the public market. It was similiar to Pike Place in Seattle, but way cleaner and better organized. We checked out all the neat shops and strolled around then enjoyed some tea and macaroons and even fish and chips!

For dinner that night we went to Miku, a japanese restuarant that specializes in seared fish along the waterfront. The food was delicious! It differed from traditional sushi which made it a great experience to try. And again, let me just say the dessert was amazing!

On Monday our last day, we took it easy and went to the Planetarium then had ramen for lunch before heading back to Seattle.

All in all, another great trip and one for the books. This year is starting off right with so many trips and new experiences. Next stop? Palm Dessert!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know today is a Hallmark/commercialized holiday, but love is in the air, pinks and reds paint the town, a sea of flowers overflow, and an assortment of sweet treats fill my eyes! I'm not ashamed to admit it, I like this holiday. I like receiving cute little valentine's and making an ordinary day not so ordinary anymore. So to you reading this, Happy Valentine's Day!

Fun fact, did you know the oldest surviving Valentine is kept in the British Library, dating all the way to the 1400's? Well now you know!

So how will I be spending today? Well, I woke up this morning and filled the apartment with little post-it notes for Michael to find when he woke up, filled with inside jokes, memories, and cute sayings. Last night when we had dinner with his sister and her husband in Bellevue, we picked up some truffles for our dessert tonight. I can't wait to devour them!

Tonight we're also getting massages, having a home cooked meal, and then Michael's taking me to Vancouver, Canada for the weekend! I'm so excited since I've never been!

Here's wishing you all a great Valentine's and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NYC Series: Night life, Chelsea Market, and Ippudo

This will be the last post of my NYC series (for now anyway-I may make another return in April!). Continuing off my last post, this past Saturday my sister and her friends took me out for the night life on the lower east side for a few drinks and some great dancing. We went to a place called Fat Baby to start then ended at Hotel Chantelle. Both places were crazy packed, but both ended up being a blast!

My sister and I at Fat Baby
My sister's friend and I at Hotel Chantelle
The next morning my sister took me to the meat packing district so that I could walk the highline. Shortly after we went to Chelsea Market to check out all the neat shops and eateries.

Inside the Chelsea Market
But for brunch I had my heart, or perhaps I should say stomach, set on ramen! So we walked to Ippudo to satisfy my craving.

When we got there, ten minutes before the restuarant opened, there was already a line! Can you believe that? We ended up being somewhere in the middle of the line which wasn't too bad.

The wait was so worth it though. Such delicious food that completely warmed me up from the inside out. Even as I write this I'm still salivating for a taste of it! If you're ever in NY, check it out. It's worth the wait.
Pork Buns!
Ramen :)

All in all, my New York experience turned out great! I'm so glad I got to see my sister and I'm so happy I was able to experience the city even though it was a short while. The memories there will definitely be one for the books!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NYC Series: Grand Central Station, Central Park, and the Met

(Continuation of this post)

After getting done with the Library, I went to the Grand Central Station to see the comings and goings of New York City.

It was neat to finally see if after seeing it in so many films. Afterwards, I met up with my sister for brunch at Bareburger.

On my way I passed the Chrysler building so I took a quick snapshot of it:

After our brunch we took a long walk around Central Park, even though it was so cold out. Even in winter, Central Park is still gorgeous, all dolled up in its frosty glory.

Any Gossip Girl fans recognize this?

Or maybe this side of it?

See the Boathouse from 27 Dresses?
Bow Bridge
On top of Belvedere Castle
Next we went to the Metroplitan Museum of Art.

Inside the Met!
One of the cool exhibits
On the steps of the Met oustide.
All three places were exactly what I hoped it would be. By the time we finished, my sister and I were so famished that we had an early dinner at Barriere, one of her fave restaurants, then rested the rest of the evening before we went out again for the night life!