Friday Five: Three Memorable TV Moments, a Great Book, and WIP Progress

Without further ado—or really, without any ado at all—here are this week's five good things: 

1) As if I didn't love Agent Carter enough, Tuesday's episode had a song-and-dance dream sequence! Bonus fun fact for the dance crowd: the number was choreographed and performed by the cast of Dancing With the Stars

2) On another superhero TV show note, I was very gratified to have predicted a major twist on The Flash—Zoom's identity—a week before it was revealed. My husband sometimes gets irritated watching TV and movies with me because I'll guess what's coming next or how something will end, and (not to pat myself on the back too hard) I'm quite often right. But I write stories for a living! It's difficult not to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of the stories we're watching. (FYI, I also figured out the identity of the Winter Soldier in the second Captain America film very early on... *shrugs*) 

3) I've added almost 10,000 words to my manuscript-in-progress since the start of the year, and I am still having so much fun with this project. It also now has a working title: THE ITALIAN WORD FOR GOODBYE. Intrigued? Maybe I'll have more details to share soon...

4) I only read one new book this week: Mikaela Everett's THE UNQUIET. It's a literary science fiction YA that has been compared to Kazuo Ishiguro's NEVER LET ME GO. There are two Earths, and children from the dying planet are being trained to infiltrate their doubles' lives on the planet that's healthy and strong. The main character, Lira, ends up living her double's life—with two loving grandparents and a little sister—on an orchard in the French countryside. It's not long before she and the other "sleepers" are feeling conflicted about their role in the invasion. As much as she wants to stay strong for her cause, Lira is haunted by the innocent lives being taken. This book was eerie and unsettling and unfolded at a careful pace. The writing style definitely won't be for everyone—but I'm glad I read it. 

5) The X-Files' six-episode season ended on Monday night...on a cliffhanger. On the one hand, it wouldn't be my favorite TV show without those memorable nail-biting season finale moments. On the other, with no word about future episodes or a third movie, my immediate response was "Ahhhhh!" But I'm choosing to believe (I WANT TO BELIEVE...ha!) that this isn't the end for Mulder and Scully. If anyone deserves a happy ending, it's those two... 

That's all for this week. Anything exciting to share on your ends? 


Friday Five: Agent Carter and The X-Files and Speakeasies and Writing Goals

Short-n-sweet, here's what's got me excited this week! 

1) We're a few episodes into the new season of Marvel's Agent Carter, and I am just so in love with it. Peggy Carter is everything: smart and stylish and sassy and able to kick so much bad-guy butt. Plus, I'm loving the second season's 1940s Los Angeles setting. 

2) The third episode of The X-Files's revival series was, indeed, amazing. It aired on Monday, and I'm still smiling about it. 

3) On Wednesday, I sent my agent sample chapters from my new work-in-progress! No matter how good you feel about a manuscript as you're working on it, it's nerve-wracking to actually put it in your agent or editor's hands, so I am patting myself on the back for taking this book's first big leap. 

4) Are you following #AuthorLifeMonth on Instagram? If you enjoy going behind the scenes with your favorite authors, definitely check out this hashtag. Hat tip to Dahlia Adler for getting the ball rolling! (Also, I posted a teaser from my new manuscript on Instagram and Twitter yesterday and got a very positive response, which felt great.) 

Me (right) with author-buddies Kim Liggett and Marcy Beller Paul

Me (right) with author-buddies Kim Liggett and Marcy Beller Paul

5) Last night was the launch party for Lee Kelly's new book, A CRIMINAL MAGIC, set in an alternate 1920s where magic is prohibited, rather than alcohol. As if I weren't excited enough about this book, the party was held in an actual speakeasy. The doorman even made us say the password before he'd let us in. Plus, I got to hang out with a batch of author friends I haven't seen in quite a while. Shout out to Marcy Beller Paul, Kim Liggett, Lori Goldstein, Alison Cherry, Michelle Schusterman, Rebecca Behrens, and of course Lee herself for such a fun night! 

What's making you happy this week? 


Friday Five: Theater and Music and Books and More

It's been quite a week for refilling the creative well. Sometimes, being a writer means hiding out at home (aside from the occasional dance or yoga class), laser-focused on the project at hand. Other weeks involve going out and experiencing the world. This week was the latter, and it was great! Here's my Friday Five: 

1) Being a dancer in NYC means having a network of friends who are constantly doing cool shows, and on Wednesday night, I got to go to a particularly interesting production. I fell in love with Third Rail Projects' immersive theatrical take on Alice in Wonderland, Then She Fell, last year, and so when I got an invite from a friend to be a "test audience member" for TRP's new show, The Grand Paradise, as they prepared to open to the public, I jumped at the chance. The Grand Paradise is set at a tropical resort in the 1970s. You wander the space, sometimes on your own and sometimes led by performers playing the staff and guests of this magical hotel. There are crowd scenes—like a disco party where audience members join in the conga line—as well as intimate one-on-one moments and conversations with performers in secluded corners and rooms. The performances I saw (and each audience member has a different overall experience) were spectacular. If you're into immersive theater and don't mind being pushed a bit out of your comfort zone, definitely check this out. 

2) It's not just my dance network that puts on cool shows! Last night, I went with a musician friend to a concert at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. We were there to see Lindsey Luff, and I loved her music so much I've been replaying the songs and videos on her site for the past hour. There's one soulful song in particular (from last night, but sadly not up on her website at this point) that I can't wait to add to my writing playlist...

3) This is a little more than a week old, but since last week was All About The X-Files, I didn't get a chance to mention a wonderful book I read: Erin L. Schneider's SUMMER OF SLOANE, which comes out in May. Erin's a fellow YA Buccaneer, which made me even more eager to read her debut than I would have been otherwise. This emotional book is about a girl who escapes to paradise after her boyfriend cheats on her with her best friend. In Hawaii, Sloane tries to forget about the problems she left behind in Seattle and rebuild her broken heart. She gets a little help on that front from a hot new guy, Finn. But sooner or later, she has to deal with the ways in which two of the most important people in her life have hurt her—and moving forward is never as easy as it seems. SUMMER OF SLOANE comes out on May 3, and you can learn more about it HERE

4) Oh, um, that whole X-Files revival thing I've been going on and on about on social media, and on here, and to anyone who will listen to me in person? Even with a shaky first episode, I am so in. (The second one was better, and the one that airs on Monday is supposed to be a true return to form, so...wheee!) 

5) Thanks to a fairly mild weather week, much of Saturday's blizzard snow has already melted, which makes getting around the city a heck of a lot easier. NYC's street-corner slush puddles are no joke, so not having to deal with them is truly a blessing. 

What's got you pumped this week? 


Friday Five: It's All About The X-Files

There's really only one thing I want to talk about this week, because I am so hyped up about it. (And because, at the time of writing this post, I am just a bit stressed about a trip that was/is supposed to happen this weekend and that is getting majorly messed up by this Snowpocalypse business...) But by Sunday, it won't matter whether I've been to Cincinnati or not, because... 


Here's me, as a college freshman, when I met my X-Files friends in Washington, DC, to do nerdy X-Files things. #nerd

Here's me, as a college freshman, when I met my X-Files friends in Washington, DC, to do nerdy X-Files things. #nerd

Let's repeat that in Friday Five fashion: 

1) The X-Files revival starts airing on Sunday night! 

2) The X-Files revival starts airing on Sunday night!

3) The X-Files revival starts airing on Sunday night!

4) The X-Files revival starts airing on Sunday night!

5) The X-Files revival starts airing on Sunday night!

So here's the thing: The X-Files meant *a lot* to me in high school and college. A LOT. I was obsessed. It was my first fandom. I belonged to the official Fox message boards and logged on every single day to catch up on posts. I wrote and read tons of fanfiction. I made fellow X-Phile (i.e., someone who loves The X-Files...) Internet friends—and this was before it was cool or common to have real, honest-to-God friends who you'd never met face-to-face. I even had an entire bedroom wall dedicated to X-Files posters and photos of David Duchovny—my first celebrity crush. 

When I found out there was going to be a new short X-Files season, I decided that before it aired, I was going to rewatch every single episode of the show. It took me more than six months, but I did it! 203 episodes, plus two feature films. (And yes, there are some clunkers in there amongst the brilliance...) On Tuesday, a friend and I met to watch the series finale, so I am all caught up for Sunday—and I am PUMPED. (Not to mention that my shipper flag is flying high!) 

Hopefully, next week's Friday Five will include effusive posting about how awesome the first two revival episodes are, and how wonderful it was to spend time with Mulder and Scully again, and how excited I am for the rest of the new series. In the meantime... 

What's new with you this week? 


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?