Thoughts on Waiting and Contentment

(I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Then today, my dear, wise friend Courtney posted on her blog about conditional happiness — nearly the exact topic I’ve been mulling over for weeks — and I took it as a kick in the pants to go ahead and write my post. So thanks, Court, for being my shoulder angel, yet again.)

So. I suck at waiting. But I find myself forced to do it a lot — in life in general, not just in writing — and it occurs to me, perhaps some of you are waiting too, and would like to know if your crazy is Crazy crazy or normal crazy.

Well, I can speak with zero authority on normal. But I can tell you what waiting is like for me, and what I’ve learned from it about contentment.

As I sit here smack dab in the middle of my search for an agent (no news on that front yet, so you can let out that breath you’ve been holding), I’ve read lots of “How I Got My Agent” posts from other writers. It sometimes makes the waiting easier to read stories of writers who went through this process and survived. Of course, it also sometimes makes the waiting harder, especially when I read a post about how the author got an email five minutes after querying and ten full requests and eight offers of representation, all in the course of two days.

That is not the norm. And it has most definitely not been my experience.

I’m not going to get into details of my agent search, because in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not over, but I will tell you I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had form rejections and enthusiastic requests. My work has been met with both wonderfully encouraging feedback and thunderous silence. I’ve had critique partners praise an aspect of my writing, only to then have an agent pass because of that very thing.

It’s enough to drive a person batty.

I’ve done all the things I swore, months ago when I first dipped my toe into the query waters, I would not do. I’ve compulsively refreshed my email every 30 seconds. I’ve Twitter-stalked the agents who had my query/pages/partial/full. I’ve prayed for immediate good news, and given God ridiculous deadlines, because I was tired of waiting (He said to chill). I’ve texted friends lamenting how badly I suck as a writer, asking them to please drop everything to give me a pep talk because otherwise I’m going to set fire to my computer.

(Sorry, friends. I hope to never do that to you again. Especially not in the middle of your hair appointment.)

Waiting is hard, folks. Especially when you don’t know if the light at the end of the tunnel even exists. I don’t know if I’m waiting right now on acceptance or rejection. Waiting for something good — like a birthday or Christmas — can be hard enough. Same goes for waiting for something bad, like a root canal. But when you’re not sure if the thing you’re waiting for is Christmas or a root canal — well, that’s the hardest of all. Do I wait with excitement or dread? Fear or giddiness?

I started querying five months ago, and at first, my heart would sink with every rejection and soar with every request. I would bounce with nervous anticipation for days after shooting off an email. A surge of adrenaline would course through me with every ding of my inbox. I quickly learned to hate promotional emails with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. (Darn you, Chili’s!)

In case you’re unaware, for most authors, every stage of the publishing process is long. It takes a long time to write a book. It takes a long time to revise a book. It takes a long time to query, a long time to hear back from agents, a long time to revise again, a long time to submit to editors, and a long time from sale to publication. Yes, there are those happy few who find some of their steps abbreviated, but they probably experienced other steps that seemed to stretch out interminably. Such is the nature of the beast.

Now that I’m a few months into this process (and my journey thus far has been a tad different from many other querying writers, which I may explain to you someday…or I may not. It depends on how my story plays out. Suffice it to say, right now, I’m doing a lot more waiting and a lot less active querying), I’ve learned to calm down a bit. I don’t think so much about the things I have no control over. I can’t control whether an agent likes my book, or whether they think there is a market for it. All I can do is send my best work into the world, and hope someone loves my story as much as I do.

And meanwhile — and here’s where I get philosophical — be content. Because if I let the waiting and the agent (and later, the book deal and the book release and the sequel and the movie and on and on to infinity) become The Thing That Matters, that’s going to be a problem. Not only because I don’t know if I will achieve any of those things, but because none of that gives me any enjoyment or fulfillment right now. And now is the time I have to live in. (Unless someone wants to drop by in a TARDIS.)

Here’s the thing. None of my future goals are guaranteed. Heck, the future itself is not guaranteed. I could be hit by a bus later today, or struck by lightning tomorrow, or abducted by aliens next week. That doesn’t mean I need to hunker down and await my inevitable demise. That’s the Crazy talking. I still need to live my life with a purpose and work toward my goals.

But I also need to be able to be content with where I am, now. At peace. I need to live my days as if they have value in and of themselves, and not merely as a piece of a greater, as-of-yet unrealized Future Goal.

Because I hear — tell me if I’m wrong — that the waiting never stops. Never. So we’d best learn how to deal with it.

Taking a page from Court, I’m going to list a few things I’m thankful for, right now, today, that writing has given me, even if I never get an agent or sell a book. These are the reasons I’m grateful to be doing what I’m doing. These are the reasons that, regardless of what happens with my publishing career (or lack thereof), writing has been, and will continue to be, worth it. And these are the things that I can enjoy, no matter how long the waiting takes.

  • I have sitting on my bookshelf, right now at this very moment, four ARCs of friends’ books coming out in the next few months. FOUR. And even more book launches for friends on my calendar. I can’t begin to express how happy I am for them.
  • Speaking of book launches, I live in a city that has fabulous book events all the time. Friends’ events aside, there are a bunch of book and author events coming up locally in the next few months that I am ridiculously excited to attend. In my experience, book people rock.
  • There’s a book coming out next week with my name in the acknowledgements. It’ll be the first time that’s happened for me. You have no idea how happy this makes me. A friend once told me that having your name on a spine is great, but what matters most to her is how many acknowledgements she appears in. I think she’s right. Life is more joyful when you can sincerely celebrate the achievements of others with as much enthusiasm as your own.
  • I’ve spent the majority of the past four days with various people I met through writing, but who are now some of my dearest friends. Books and words were discussed, but we also went to restaurants, drank margaritas, watched action movies, stood in line for ice cream in the rain, went shoe shopping, and talked about everything from So You Think You Can Dance to German U-boats (okay, those two conversations might have happened simultaneously). These are my people. I have no idea how I functioned before I knew them.
  • In the past couple weeks, two of my friends have signed with wonderful agents. I can’t wait to see their hard work turned into books on shelves.
  • I’ve written an entire book. A book I love. Whether or not it ever sees the light of day, I can be proud of that.
  • I’m working on two others, and have ideas for many more. In the past year, I’ve discovered a love of writing I never knew I possessed. I’m so thankful to have learned that about myself.
  • I’m running a half marathon in twelve weeks (?!?!) for the first time in my life, because a writer friend talked me into it. I’m not entirely convinced that I won’t live to regret this, but I can say that I can now run further than I ever have in my life. It’s not 13.1 miles (yet), but just training is an accomplishment.
  • I’m attending the SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference in September, and I will know tons of people. Last year I just attended the mixer, and I only knew a couple people. What a difference a year makes.
  • I’m traveling to Charleston, SC in November with four writer friends to attend YALLFest. Again, these are all people I either hadn’t met or barely knew a year ago, and now we’re going to cram five of us in a hotel room for three nights so we can attend a weekend full of YA book goodness.

So there you go. My thoughts on waiting and contentment, and how contentment makes the waiting easier.

Do I still compulsively check email or Twitter stalk? Very possibly. Would I be over the moon thrilled if my dream agent were to call me tomorrow and offer representation? You betcha. Do I still dream of one day walking into a bookstore and finding my name on a spine (or several)? Absolutely. And I will keep working toward that goal, for as long as writing brings me joy (which I imagine being the foreseeable future).

But in the meantime, I can take happiness in the journey. Not just in the writing itself — which is a gift — but also the people, the opportunities, and the experiences it’s given to me. And if you’re waiting, and struggling (as one does), I hope that you too can find contentment in the present. To be excited for what’s to come, but also to take joy in the now.

Thus endeth my philosophical musings for today.

EDIT: A few (wonderful) friends in the comments and via various other methods of communication have felt the need to encourage me after reading this post with some version of “And don’t worry, I know it feels like it’s taking a long time, but I’m sure you will get there!” To you, friends, I first say, thank you. Your confidence in me is bolstering and inspiring, and I am in constant awe of the utter fabulousness of your friendship and this community I’m so blessed to be a part of. I appreciate you.

But also, I just wanted to clear up, in case it is somehow unclear: this post is not intended as a lament that I have not yet achieved my goals. I’m not in despair, or even moderate discouragement. I’m actually really, really good with the whole waiting thing (obviously I have my days of WHY WAITING WHYYYYY, but fortunately, those are few and far between. And not today). I just  thought it may help some people — or maybe just me — to have a post about what waiting feels like, written by someone who is still in the midst of waiting and has no promise to ever emerge victorious on the other side. Most posts (that I’ve read) that talk about waiting are written from the finish line. I wanted to write one from heart of the race.

It doesn’t mean I think I won’t, someday, reach the finish line (of course, then there’s another finish line after that, and one after that, and one after that…). Just that I know it’s not guaranteed. And that I can still be okay with the waiting, no matter what happens, because there are still things to be grateful for in the now.

Review: Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

So you want to know my absolute favorite thing about this blog? Not only has blogging helped me discover oodles of fantastic books, but it’s helped me become aware of the large and thriving book community right around where I live. A community that includes published authors, soon-to-be-published writers, agented writers, non-agented writers, bloggers, and everything in between. A little over a year ago, I had never heard of Myra McEntire. Since then, I’ve discovered her fabulous books, but more importantly, I’ve gotten to know her, and she’s become a wonderful friend.

Next week, the last book in Myra’s Hourglass trilogy, Infinityglass, will hit shelves, and I’m so, so excited for you to read it.

This review is going to be a little different from my usual, because I actually had the privilege of beta reading Infinityglass. So I can’t review it with complete objectivity, since I was so involved in the writing process. (Really, I just want to write READ IT READ IT NOW IT’S SO GOOD YOU’LL LOVE IT READ IT NOWWWWWW!) But I’m going to try my best.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn’t an object. It’s a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?

My Thoughts:

From the first few moments of Infinityglass, it’s clear that this is going to be a different sort of story from the first two books in the series. For one thing, as with Timepiece, we have a new narrator — but this time, there’s two of them, and one of them is someone we’ve never met. And for another thing, it moves out of Ivy Springs, Tennessee, to the bustling streets of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The first voice we’re treated to in Infinityglass is the titular character herself, Hallie. Hallie’s different from the other female characters in the series; she’s bold, reckless, assertive, and a bit on the dangerous side. She also, like the other members of the Hourglass, has the time gene, giving her unique and uncanny abilities. However, Hallie’s grown up in a very different environment from the Hourglass folks we know and love, and her attitude about time genes, time rips, and her role in it all does not necessarily jive with what all the characters have believed and discovered in the first two books.

Enter the second narrator, Dune. Unlike Hallie, Dune is a character first introduced in Hourglass, but he’s always remained a secondary character, his powers explained, but not explored. In Infinityglass, Dune finally gets his chance to shine. He goes to New Orleans as an expert on the Infinityglass, tasked with figuring out the best way to handle “it” now that they know “it” is a “her.” Now, I liked Michael, and I loved Kaleb — and I know many of you did too — but Dune is not either of them. He’s his own person, strong and quiet, intelligent, analytical, and haunted by a few demons of his own.

One of my favorite things about this series is the diverse cast of characters (both in personality and heritage), and all the different ways a person can be strong and complex. And of course, in true Hourglass series style, there are swoons and kisses galore throughout the book, both from our favorite established couples, and from a sizzling new pairing.

Together, Dune and Hallie try to puzzle out what it means for Hallie to be the Infinityglass, both for her personally, and for the world as a whole, which is still being flooded with ever-intensifying time rips. Meanwhile, the nefarious Jack Landers is still at large, along with Teague, the head of the anti-Hourglass organization Chronos, who wishes to use the Infinityglass for her own, undoubtedly villainous, purposes. The more Dune and Hallie learn about the Infinityglass and Chronos, and Hallie discovers about her frightening abilities, the more it becomes clear that they’re going to need help from the rest of the Hourglass team.

The book builds to an action-packed conclusion, allowing the key players from the first two books to return while keeping the spotlight firmly on this book’s two protagonists, Dune and Hallie. Questions posed throughout the series are answered, action is abundant, and it ends on a satisfying note full of promise for the future. Just like the first two books, it’s chock full of action, kissing, superpowers, witty banter, and pop culture references (including several Doctor Who nods — of course). I loved it, and I hope you do too.

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Ever since The 5th Wave came out a couple months ago, I’ve heard nothing but people raving about how un-put-down-able it is. I didn’t know much about it other than it was about aliens (which, enough said, right? I mean ALIENS!) and was apparently The Awesome. It’s been way too long since I’ve read an alien book that I absolutely loved (like, decades-long. Hm. This is a problem.), so I was super excited when my library got a copy right before I was about to leave for a couple weeks of various travels. Traveling times are always great reading times, so I tucked this one into my luggage (along with several other books, obviously. My luggage was heavy.) and started reading a few days later.


The Plot (from Goodreads):

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Thoughts:

I’m going to try to give away as little as possible of the plot in this review, because I honestly feel that going into this book knowing essentially nothing about it is the way to go. It made each reveal thrilling and satisfying, and made it impossible to stop turning pages. It’s been a while since a book has led me to stay up way past my bedtime, because I simply could not put it down. But this book was one of those books that reminded me how much I love reading, and how much I love the sci-fi genre in particular. This was the alien apocalypse book I never knew I always wanted.

So let’s get into it. The 5th Wave follows two primary points of view, Cassie and another guy whom I will let you discover as you read (he is not, as the blurb suggests, Evan Walker — although Evan does get one short POV section, as does one other character). Both eighteen-year-old protagonists have survived the atrocities of the first four waves of invasion, and both have suffered heavy losses. Their stories run parallel for most of the book, with neither of them ever being aware of the other’s existence (either pre- or post-invasion), but there are common threads in each of their narratives that keep the stakes climbing for both of them. It’s brilliantly executed, and kept the tension ratcheting up throughout the story.

Each of the characters in The 5th Wave was a fully-realized person. You can see how Cassie progressed from normal high school senior to semi-automatic-toting survivalist, and the same is true for all the main characters, from children to teens to adults to aliens. I felt like I knew these people, and it made me that much more invested in their struggle for survival against staggering odds.

I loved — loved — the logic of the waves of invasion. Both the order of events and the execution were — with one minor exception — flawless. (I took issue with the birds. I have questions about the birds. But the rest of it is so well done that I don’t really care.) The aliens took a sculptor’s approach to the eradication of humanity, removing massive chunks at the start, then pulling out their fine tools to whittle down the survivors. It was terrible, but fantastic at the same time.

And as far as the story itself, it was a constant adrenaline surge from beginning to end. Rick Yancey didn’t pull any punches. Each loss hurt, and victories came at a price. There were no characters who felt safe, no challenges I was sure could be surmounted. It’s one of the reasons this book is so hard to put down — you just don’t know if they’re going to make it. In a story where 97% of the human race is dead at the beginning, survival and success are very much not guaranteed.

Overall, The 5th Wave was a thoroughly entertaining roller coaster of a book that kept me up all hours of the night. The premise is fantastic, the characters felt real, and the twists and turns of the plot kept me constantly on my toes. I loved it.

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I’ve had several conversations in the past few months about Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’ve heard friends rave about the writing, but also furrow their eyebrows and scratch their heads when it came to the plot. It was enough to pique my interest. I had friends who loved it and friends who were incredibly frustrated by it, so of course I had to see for myself. Plus I’m always up for some well-crafted fantasy.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts:

First off, Laini Taylor’s writing is gooooooorgeous. There are many authors who write beautifully, and I admire them greatly, but hers is possibly the most vivid and flowing prose I have ever read. The only problem with it is that it was so lovely and lyrical that it kept putting me to sleep. I need to emphasize, this is not because the story was dull. It’s because it was the reading equivalent of listening to soothing music, and once you throw in a bed or a recliner or a sunny day…I didn’t stand a chance. It was the strangest experience. I’ve never had that happen before with a book I actually found interesting. Normally, books that put me to sleep are boring. This one wasn’t. Just soothing. I should probably have read it in a straight-backed chair with a cup of coffee, but that’s no fun.

Her world building is also fantastic. Every setting, from the streets of Prague to the otherworldy homes of the seraphim and chimaera, is fully realized and tangible. She painted detailed word pictures that really brought the environments and characters to life. In reading this book, I felt like I was getting a master class in setting and description. It’s amazing.

The characters are varied. Karou is great, brimming with personality and quirks and feistiness. Especially in the first half of the book, before the history really comes into play, she is so much fun to read. Her conversations with her best friend, as well as the tiny wish-pranks she pulls on those who cross her, were some of the highlights of the book for me. Once her story merges with Akiva’s, she looses a bit of the vivaciousness that I enjoyed about her, but never falls flat.

As for Akiva, he left me wanting a bit. I understand why he is the way he is — a warrior who has trained himself to suppress his emotions, empathy, and gentler instincts for the sake of survival — but this granite persona didn’t seem to me to be a natural complement to Karou’s fierce vitality. Their relationship, especially at first, didn’t seem to be based on a whole lot more than his stunning attractiveness. It just left me wondering if there could be a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking*. He’s not unpleasant, he’s just a little flat. For me to buy their deep ties to each other, I wanted a bit more from him. I hope it happens in the sequel.

As for the plot, I can see where some people had difficulty. The book really changes tone about 2/3 of the way through. Not only does it change from more lighthearted and occasionally witty to dark and epic, but it shifts focus from Karou’s quest to learn what’s happened  as a result of the black handprints, to Akiva’s story of events that happened before Karou was even born. The back story becomes the plot, and the result is that essentially nothing happens in the “present” for the last third of the book. You just learn why the things that have happened, happened.

Now I really can’t tell you how to feel about this. For me, it was a little dissatisfying to realize that the present plot — Karou’s plot — was not going to move forward before the book ended. But at the same time, all the history that is revealed is imaginative and fascinating, so while I wished there was more plot progression, I enjoyed everything I learned. I absolutely plan on reading the sequel, and look forward to finding out what happens to Karou and Akiva now that all the history has been revealed. I also hope that several enjoyable characters from the beginning of the book who disappeared in the latter half are able to make a reappearance.

If you’re a person who really needs to know what is going to happen, and not only why it’s all happening, this book may not work for you. But if you think you will enjoy a book that is primarily character exploration, world building, and back story — so essentially, set-up for the sequel — then this book is beautifully executed and I highly recommend it.

* sorry, I couldn’t help it.

#SYTYCD Book Pitch: Season 10, Top 20 (@DANCEonFOX)


Last year I did a little feature on my blog where I took some of my favorite routines from the television show So You Think You Can Dance and pitched books based on them. This seems a bit random, but after I heard authors like Victoria Schwab and Myra McEntire talk about how SYTYCD affected their books, I realized how interconnected all art is, and how artists all tend to take inspiration from each other. Music, photographs, paintings, dance, poetry, film, books…they all come from the same creative spirit.

Also, I love, love, love this show, and this gave me an excuse to talk about it on my blog.

It all started with this post, which was so much fun to write and let me revisit many of my favorite routines from seasons past. It got a huge positive response, so I turned it into a weekly feature. Every week, I’d pick a dance and pitch a book inspired by it. I’d also pick an author whose voice and skills I thought suited that story, but I’m not going to do that this yearMostly because my author knowledge is finite, and I used many of my favorites last season, and besides, that’s really not the point of doing these posts.

Last year, I posted faithfully the day after the show (which airs Tuesdays at 8:00 EST). This year…I’m not going to do that. Because I’ve gotten so erratic in my posting, and because sometimes ideas need a few days to stew, I’ll just promise to put posts up sometime before the next show airs. Which, in the case of this week, is going to be mere hours before the next show airs.


Guys, I am super-psyched about this year’s Top 20. So very many good dancers! I haven’t been this excited since Season 7 (which I know many people didn’t like, but I luuuuuurved. Kent! Lauren! Billy! ROBERT!). I’ll get into my opinions on this year’s crop of dancers in a minute, for those of you who care. I’m guessing most of you just want me to get to the book pitch.

Which I will do in just a second.

First, I just need you to watch the opening number from the Top 20 performance show. It doesn’t tell a story, but it is in my top 3 SYTYCD group dances ever. The other two are Comanche (S6) and Ra (S7), if you’re interested. With an honorable mention going to Ramalama (S2).

…I’m getting sidetracked.



I’d apologize for all the caps I keep using, but you should know by now I just have lots of all-caps feelings about this show.

(For those of you who don’t watch the show and are confused by the random…more mature…participants in this dance, they’re the choreographers and judges.)

ANYWHO, BOOK PITCHES. (Disclaimer: It is highly possible in any given week that you will watch the dance, then read my pitch, and have no idea how the two are related. If so, I am sorry. I promise it works in my head, but my head is a strange, strange place.)

Here we go!

Song: Elsa by The Valerie Project

Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun

Pitch: While awaiting her execution for the murder of the royal family — her family — a princess-turned-assassin escapes from prison, with the aid of a guard who believes she is innocent. With the kingdom’s armies in pursuit, they must help each other as they brave a vicious wilderness neither of them is prepared for. Meanwhile, the guard begins to question the princess’ innocence, and his own role in her story, as she is haunted by the memories of her dead family.

What do we think, friends? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Does this dance give you something totally different? What other dances from last week inspired you?

And for those of you who care, I have many people I’m pulling for this season. For the guys, I’m a fan of Tucker*, Aaron**, and — although he was not impressive in last week’s show — Nico***.

For girls, Jasmine M, Makenzie, and Amy are my frontrunners. Amy astounds me.

I’m also watching the show with my two daughters (ages 7 and 4), and I told them they could each vote for one girl and one guy. They took this responsibility very seriously, making notes (or in my four-year-old’s case, drawings) of their favorite dances throughout the show, then making me rewind so they could watch the recaps at the end three times, before settling on their favorites.

Anyone want to guess which couple this is? Hint: Not the couple she voted for.

My seven-year-old’s favorites are Malece and Paul. The four-year-old voted for Jenna and Fik-Shun.

Between the three of us, we’re sure to pick some contenders.

If you’re watching and voting, who are your picks? Are you as excited for this season as I am? And if you’re in Nashville, WHO WANTS TO GO TO THE TOUR WITH ME? Because I’m already pretty sure this is a tour I’ll want to see.

P.S. I’m totally posting a book review tomorrow. I promise.

* Tucker is from Nashville — I think I might have driven by his house the other day. At any rate, they had a gigantic sign in their front yard cheering him on. Next time I drive by, I’ll take a picture.

** Who else is SO HAPPY that he squeaked into the show? Please, please let him get farther than the last time I liked a tapper this much and was so very disappointed by his early elimination. *Nick Young cough cough*

*** I’m hoping he redeems himself this week, because he absolutely stood out to me in the Meet the Top 20 show, especially in the Top 10 guys dance. But I’m prepared for him to be this year’s Dancing Gosling Matt Kazmierczak, who I loved and had a similar style (to my untrained eye), yet never really wowed the judges or the voters.