It's a New Year! Let's Start It Off Right

In 2015, my word for the year was GRATITUDE. I knew the debut experience would be a whirlwind, and I didn't want to lose sight of how thankful I am to get to do this thing I love. (Writing books, if that wasn't clear...) I haven't picked my word for 2016 yet—stay tuned for that—but as I was thinking about making some changes to my blog, I decided I want to keep the gratitude party going. 

Last year, I reviewed a ton of books. In particular, I committed myself to writing up a paragraph about each and every fellow 2015 debut I read, to help spread the word about my peers' books. (This actually started in late 2014, with early ARCs, but continued through this past fall.) In the beginning, I was so excited to be book-talking SO MUCH. But, as life got busy and the stack of books I had waiting to be reviewed on the blog piled up, it started to feel a little like a chore. Plus, I missed blogging about other stuff! 

So, here's my new plan for 2016. Each Friday, I'm going to share my Friday Five: five good things from the past week (or things I'm excited about that are coming up). These good things might include books I'm enthusiastic about! Or they might include writing milestones, or fun activities, or a sunshine-filled day, or...whatever. I just know I want to take a step back and think about this space beyond being book promo (mine, and others). I also want to keep this project simple and fun.  

So without further ado, here's this week's Friday Five: 

1) I finished the first draft of my newest manuscript! I read somewhere that a first-first draft should really be called a "discovery draft," and this draft is 100% that. I figured out so much about the story and the characters just by writing it. And yes, I dropped threads that I have to return to and weave in through the rest of the book. I also have huge holes to fill, where I didn't quite know what happened next, so I skipped it and wrote the next scene I *did* know. But there's a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the main characters have roughly sketched arcs, and I can't wait to start making it a draft someone could actually read. 

2) After a crazy-busy holiday season and a sick post-holiday week (darn those adorable baby nephews and their adorable runny noses!), this week was back to business as usual—in the best way. I got my work done without feeling stressed. I took three dance classes and a yoga class. I ran some errands I'd been avoiding. I got a haircut. Life is good. 

3) I read some amazing books! (See—promised there'd be books in here!) Submitting high, high recommendations for ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr and THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes. 

4) My new stocking-stuffer socks aren't just awesome because they're purple with stars and say "You're the Bestest" on them. They're also awesome because, as it turns out, they're perfect dance class socks. Just the right amount of friction. Score. 

5) There's Star Wars ice cream in my freezer. FOUR PINTS OF IT. 

What are you happy about this week?