Thank you for having me back, Grace!

It might be my birthday, but it’s also Throwback Thursday! And since we’re having a birthday bash, let’s talk about birthdays past.

Me, at my 1st birthday, developing my carefully trained palate.

Birthdays are everything when you’re a kid. The whole day is all about you. You get presents, you have a party, you run around screaming your head off, and at the end you get to make a wish and stuff yourself with cake. What could be better?

My birthday’s in the summer, which for a few years meant we would have it at the water park. It never quite worked out as planned—at the end of summer, people were often away on their final vacation days, leaving a lot of empty spots on the party list. I think eventually we moved on to movies instead, since at least those didn’t have a guest minimum.

Petting zoos were a good option too.

That’s from my 4th birthday, which was of course My Little Pony themed. My mom likes to tell the story of how at this event, an old, bizarre uncle of mine began to use the frosting on one side of my cake as chip dip. Obviously I was too distracted by goats to notice, though my mom did nearly drag him away by his hair for that since it was the first time I’d been able to help make my own birthday cake.

My 5th birthday cake, and the one I remember most! Hey, it’s a tabby just like my real cat.

I got to enter a contest for my seventh or eighth birthday. Somehow I knew I would win, and sure enough, I did. (This is a weird thing with me. It still happens.) It was at a local go-kart and arcade place, and the grand prize was a free party with cake, food, free rides, and best of all, arrival in your very own stretch limo! I’m not sure why, but I was obsessed with limos when I was a kid. Well, the big day came, and the limo driver never turned up. Apparently it was quite a big deal to my parents, and involved my dad writing a letter to the newspaper about it. I know I must have been crushed at the time, I just don’t remember it. Funny thing is, years later when my dad won some cruise tickets at a work Christmas party raffle, he arranged for a limo to take us to the airport, and—it was a non-stretch version. I didn’t even know they made those. I remember my parents excitedly telling me to go see what was waiting outside when the driver called to say he’d arrived, and upon finding a very normal looking car out front I wondered what the big deal was. I guess stretch limos and I just aren’t meant to be, but thanks for trying so hard to make that dream come true, mom and dad!

Army of birthday cupcakes I made for someone else.

These days, as I and all my friends and family get older, I think we find it easier to condense celebrations when they fall close together. My favorite in recent years was for my good friend’s then-boyfriend (now husband as of August 3rd) and one of our mutual friends. It was a birthday/anniversary/welcome home dinner held at the best yakitori restaurant in the area, and let’s just say it was a good thing we had ten people to split the bill amongst, and two designated drivers. There might be another birthday trip down that way in my near future…

Well, that wraps up this trip down memory lane! What are some of your best birthday memories? Who had the best party in your entire life? Stop by my Birthday Bash, going now till the 31st! Join the scavenger hunt and enter to win a free copy of my next release, Puncture Wounds, available this October!

James is at the end of a long crusade for vengeance against the vampire clan that destroyed everything he held dear. He has Ren, the final and most dangerous of them all, cornered at last in London. But victory remains just out of reach when Ren sets a feral vampire on James and makes his escape. With no other leads, James is forced to take in the feral until he can use its connection to its sire to track down Ren. But in caring for the vampire, James sees they might not all be the monsters he thought them to be. Faced with an ugly truth, his quest for revenge becomes a war for retribution, and the discovery of what it truly means to be human.

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