Today, I’d love to introduce another wonderful person I met at the Coastal Magic Convention back in February (that's her on the left and me on the right in the photo). Not only is she a great writer, but she's also a fellow Floridian! Anyways, I had the pleasure of getting to know Aria that weekend, and when I was planning this bash, I knew that my birthday celebration wouldn’t be complete without her. So, without further ado, here’s Aria Kane!
I can’t talk about my most memorable birthday experiences without mentioning my 15th birthday party – that NO ONE came to. My parents had bought all these sodas and food and I’d passed out hand-written invitations. I lied a little: two people did show up, but they were the children of my drama and pep squad coach and I’m 100% sure she made them go. I cried.
This, my friends, is what being a nerd in high school looks like. But don’t worry, it gets so much better.
My 16th birthday, I had moved to a military base, where no one was the “new kid.” I suppose because we all were. I – and about 15 of my new friends – had a picnic on the beach, played volleyball, and splashed in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. It was perfect.
My 18th birthday had all the makings of being even worse than my 15th and it also ended with me crying. I had been at the University of Florida for only a few weeks and was intimidated by its size – I hadn’t made many friends yet. My (Senior) roommate called. “Where are you?” she asked. I was with a student organization. They were headed to someone else’s birthday party and didn’t even know it was my birthday. “Come home now,” she said. She’d invited her friends that I’d met and the neighbors over for a surprise birthday party. There was Cuban food and cake and decorations. My tears were not from sadness or loneliness that time, though.
The next few years of college, I had a group of awesome friends. We all
made planning “surprise parties” into an Olympic-level sport. Everyone got a surprise party – but how would it happen this time? Those were incredible times.
From there, each year was better than the last (except that one I spent alone in a hotel room eating Chinese takeout with my dog – but that was also the beginning of my writing career, so I can’t complain too much). In my late twenties, people traveled from other states to take part in multi-day festivities. When I lost my job and had to move home, my friends drove 300 miles to spend my birthday with me.
Then came my 30th birthday. It started with a massive online Twitter #darksideresearch party of people posting pictures of hot guys all day. Then came the IRL party: 50 people. A live band. 10 hours of partying by and in the lake. An orange and blue cake made out of my favorite beer. Jumping off docks. A bingo game made entirely of all of my favorite things instead of numbers. Mass skinny dipping. A tent city. Waking up to breakfast cooking on the grill.
It was so incredible, sometimes I wonder if it was all just an amazing dream I had. My birthdays have come a long way from Chuck E. Cheese and no one showing up. I owe every single joyful moment to the friends I’ve found along the way. Friends like Emily, who I’ve only just begun to know.
Happy birthday, lady!
About Aria Kane:
Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. As a military brat, she grew up all over the country, but now lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he's a chihuahua. She’s the author of A Titan for Christmas, Once Upon a Darkness, Love and Other Games, and One Lucky Night.
About Once Upon a Darkness, a zombie retelling of Hansel & Gretel:
Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were sacrificed by their zealot parents to a zombie horde when they were five years old. They were rescued by The Company and raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies.
Clint's only skill is war, but he's weary of killing other men and hopes life on Gretchen's four-man team will suit him better. On his second day on the job, they are attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison where the
prisoners are used as experimental subjects in search of a zombie cure.
When Hank is culled, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.
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