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  • Kristen Alicia

Falling into November

Announcement of the month: I did not make it through Casper. I did not hear Devon Sawa say 'Can I keep you?" I got through the first maybe half an hour before I had to tap out. I really did want to watch it but with limited time until Halloween, I decided to devote my time to finishing watching Octavia Spencer in Ma. I wish that I had finished watching Casper instead. Of course, nothing's stopping me from doing it now, but I'm just really not that inspired when it's not spooky season and since it's officially fall, I'm more in the mood for Great British Bake Off and Masterpiece theater.

I love fall and specifically November for various reasons, but the main two are that me and my daughter's birthdays are a day apart in early November and we get to celebrate together. She turned three and I turned...not three. If you follow me on IG you can see exactly how old I turned if you're curious. If you're not, assume it was 29. To celebrate, my husband, daughter, and both sets of grandparents went to Hawaii which was amazing and brings me to the first of my three favorite things this month.

Kauai, HI

I've been to both Maui and Oahu, and I thought Maui was my favorite until I had the pleasure of experiencing Lihue, Kauai. What a beautiful place. Stunning beaches, good food, and relative quiet. Though I didn't get to lay out on the beach or lounge by the pool as much as I wanted, I went horseback riding along the beach and drank enough rum drinks to last me until my next visit. I didn't even think I liked rum until I tried a decadent rum and banana drink at my hotel bar. Loved every single sip of the several I had. We also had the opportunity to take family photos with all of the grandparents. My husband's parents live in Michigan so it was especially important that we get it done because we only see them about twice a year and rarely are all of my kiddo's grandparents together at the same time. The photos turned out gorgeous and now, I won't be jammed up sending out holiday cards a week before Christmas.

Who am I kidding? Yes, I will.

The Silent Patient

I read this one on the recommendation of a very good friend and I was blown out of the water. I love a good thriller and this one hit all the notes for me. It was fast-paced, kept me engaged, and the ending legitimately surprised the hell out of me. I listened to the audiobook and read this one because I couldn't put it down. I listened to it in my car and then read it in bed at night toward the end when I had to know what happened next. I read the ending twice to make sure it was what I thought and damn was it enjoyable. It also inspired me/ terrified me about the idea of one day writing a thriller. I feel like I want to dip my toe in at some point with romantic suspense and then go down the thriller route, but for now, I'm loving writing exclusively romance. I heard another writer mention this on a podcast, and I tend to agree that while I'm drafting, I don't like to read as much romance because I want to make sure when I'm writing, my voice stays my own and I'm not swayed by another person's work.

My Old High School

I haven't been to my high school since the day I graduated. Many of my closest friends are from high school, and my daughter's best friend is my friend from high school's daughter. We were a small, tight-knit group but it never really occurred to me to go back. With the exception of some outliers, I keep in touch with the people I want to see and so I never considered why I would need to go back to my school until I was asked to come back to speak with the Black Student Union and a group of students who read You've Been Served for their book club. Without hesitation, I had such a fun time visiting the students, seeing how the campus has changed, and talking to the students about books. It was amazing and not just because they read and loved my book. There was a moment when we were discussing romance tropes and I mentioned the one bed trope and those teenagers lost their minds. It was hilarious and I was completely charmed by every single one of them. I also got the chance to hug one of the best English teachers the school has ever had, and I was incredibly honored she came to participate in the discussion.

It was so much fun, in fact, that I agreed to host a writing seminar for students who might be interested in fiction writing. I have no idea what I'll do for it, but I hope I can give them some pieces of information they might find useful and that they have fun in the process. Any suggestions are welcome!

On a kind of related note, I'm trying to finish my draft this month without starting a completely different story. It's hard but I'm about 2/3 of the way finished drafting, then I get to edit and that's the really fun part for me. Fingers crossed that next month I'll have some good news to share.

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