Friday Five: Coffee Shop Chats and Early Reviews

This wasn't the world's most upbeat week—especially with the loss of acting icon Alan Rickman, aka Severus Snape aka Colonel Brandon, yesterday—but that doesn't mean there aren't things to celebrate and be grateful for. Here are mine:  

1) HOW IT FEELS TO FLY galleys are out in the world! I spotted my ARC in various bloggers' and writers' book haul stacks from the American Library Association's midwinter conference last weekend, as well as on the shelf at the HarperCollins booth. Also, on Monday, the incredibly talented Stacey Lee said lovely things about the book on Instagram and Twitter, while yesterday book blogger Nori tweeted that she'd enjoyed it. I've been so nervous to find out what people think, and now that the ARCs are spreading, it's a relief to hear good things! 

2) On Monday evening, I got a reminder to live in the moment and enjoy the random interactions life throws at you sometimes. I stopped at a Starbucks to get some work done before meeting my husband and two friends for dinner... but their wi-fi was down. And then, this elderly man wouldn't stop talking to me. But rather than excuse myself and pack up my computer and head for another coffee shop, I decided to stay and chat with him. And I'm so glad I did! John is 78, a native of Scotland, and an almost lifelong Brooklyn resident. He's a screenwriter for the BBC and other networks; we talked a lot about the creative process. And we talked about Brooklyn in the 1950s, and his wife who was a dancer and is now a world-traveling Pilates instructor, and watching cooking shows on the Food Network... and more than an hour passed. Chatty strangers are normally not my favorite thing—not at all—but if I hadn't decided to let it happen, I would have missed out on a really fascinating conversation. 

3) I read my first 2016 ARC, Lauren Gibaldi's AUTOFOCUS! Lauren's a fellow Fearless Fifteener, and I'm so excited that our sophomore novels share a release date: June 14. Not only did I love this book—a contemporary YA about a girl who's determined to find out more information about her birth mother, who died giving birth to her—but I'm also hoping Lauren and I can do at least one joint event to celebrate and promote our books. Stay tuned! 

4) I'm almost done with my X-Files rewatch, and the new six-episode season premieres in just over a week, and if I talk about that any longer I'm going to hyperventilate, so...

5) I made the most delicious apple pecan bread this week. I really love baking, and when something turns out even better than I anticipated, it's such a treat. The apartment still smells like apple-cinnamon.  

What's got you in a good mood this week?