First official newsletter!
book stuff, my fave things of the year, and a Now That I've Found You deleted scene :)
Hello! Thank you so much for subscribing to my newsletter!
If you’re here, I’m guessing it’s because you’ve read one or both of my books, or maybe you’ve heard about one of my forthcoming books, or maybe neither of those things are true and you’re just curious to know what I’ve got going on here. Either way, please allow me to briefly introduce myself.
I’m Kristina and I write both YA Romance and Adult Romance. My first two YA novels, I Wanna Be Where You Are and Now That I’ve Found You are on sale now. My next YA romance, Zyla & Kai, about two teens who fall in love and run away together (maybe), is on sale June 7, 2022, and my adult romance debut, The Neighbor Favor, will be available in Spring 2023.
A few more things about me: I’m Capricorn (Capricorn rising and Pisces moon). I’m a plant mom who owns one snake plant, one orchid, one aloe vera plant and three cacti. I love cats, but I don’t own one. I like to bake; pound cakes and chocolate chip cookies are my specialties. By day, I work in children’s book publishing, and I have a soft spot for picture books (some of my favorites in no particular order: The Hug Machine, Bad Dog, Strictly No Elephants, and Bedtime Bonnet). If anyone ever challenged me to a game of Beyoncé trivia, I’d win. Historical romance is my go-to genre and always gets me out of a reading slump. One of my goals this year was to cook more. I succeeded slightly.
I decided to start a newsletter because I realized I’m going to be quite busy over the new few years — by 2024, if all goes according to plan, I’ll have published four more books. And honestly, I’ve always wanted to have a newsletter, so why not start one now? I’m not sure how frequent my newsletters will be. For complete transparency, a monthly newsletter is pretty unrealistic for me, given my schedule. I’m aiming for quarterly newsletters with some updates in between. Maybe it will be bi-monthly. Who knows! But my hope is that whenever my newsletter hits your inbox, you’ll be happy to hear from me. :)
I will continue to post news and updates on my social media too, of course. I am most active on Instagram. I lurk on Twitter, but don’t tweet nearly as much as I used to. I have a Tiktok but I haven’t posted anything yet (one day maybe!).
Okay, now onto the fun stuff. Like many people, I watched a ton of TV this year. There are four shows that I loved, loved, loved. They were:
The Babysitters Club (season 2, this show is simply a shot of serotonin and boosts my whole mood)
Mare of Easttown (Mare (and Kate Winslet) is THAT girl)
Harlem (on Amazon Prime; my mom and I sat down to watch one episode together and ended up staying up all night to watch the entire show)
Starstruck (on HBO Max, about an every day woman trying to have a relationship with a famous actor. Whoever wrote this show was thinking of me)
I did not read nearly as many books as I’d hoped to this year (I can feel my TBR glaring at me as I write this), but here are some of the books I read and really enjoyed:
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (contemporary romance)
The Perfect Find by Tia Williams (contemporary romance)
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (contemporary fantasy)
A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews (historical romance)
Oculta by Maya Motayne (YA Fantasy)
The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis (YA Fantasy)
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney (YA Contemporary)
The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon (contemporary romance)
This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith (contemporary fiction)
The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton (historical fiction)
And ‘tis the season! So here are my favorite holiday movies that I try to watch every year: The Preacher’s Wife, The Family Man, The Family Stone, Bridget Jones’s Diary, This Christmas, While You Were Sleeping, Last Holiday, The Holiday, Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Elf, A Christmas Story
Finally, as promised, here is a deleted scene from Now That I’ve Found You! If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t worry, it’s not much of a spoiler. (A quick plot explanation is that this is novel about a young actress named Evie who finds herself blacklisted in Hollywood and thinks the only way she can make a comeback is by making an appearance with her extremely famous grandmother. But then her grandmother disappears and the last person to have seen her is a musician and grocery delivery boy named Milo. Evie and Milo then spend a wild week in NYC trying to find Evie’s grandmother and they fall in love along the way). In this scene, Evie joins Milo and his bandmates for a movie night and she busts out one of her secret recipes for tasty popcorn. I ended up switching out this scene for a party at the boys’ apartment instead, but I still think it’s sweet. Here it is for your enjoyment!
The bowl of popcorn suddenly finds its way into my lap.
“Have some,” Ben says, nodding.
The popcorn is burnt and there isn’t enough butter. It doesn’t look appetizing at all.
“Um, do you have another pack?” I ask.
Ben frowns. He looks down at Milo. “Do we have another pack?” To me, he explains, “Milo gets all the groceries from his job with his discount.”
Milo twists around and looks at us. “Yeah, why?”
“Is it okay if I microwave a new one?” I ask.
The boys exchange a look. They probably don’t like the idea of letting food go to waste.
“It will be better, I promise.” I hold up my hand like a cub scout.
“Sure,” Milo finally says, shrugging. “Go ahead.”
I quickly make my way into the kitchen and open the cabinets. I discover that Milo must use most of his discount for snacks only. In addition to the popcorn, there are cookies, chips, pretzels and candy stocked in the cabinets. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised to find that this is how 19 and 20 year old boys shop.
I stick another pack of popcorn in the microwave, and I grab chocolate candy bars, along with pretzels out of the cabinet. I crush the pretzels into little bits and place them in a bowl. Once the popcorn is done, I add it to the bowl as well. I heat up the chocolate in the microwave until it’s melted and drizzle it over the popcorn and pretzel mix.
It’s a quick recipe that I learned this summer during the weeks I didn’t leave the house and watched television alone. I never thought this recipe would come in handy one day for something else.
I bring the bowl into the living room and place it on the little coffee table in front of Milo. This popcorn says thank you, and I’m grateful for you. All the things I can’t bring myself to say aloud.
Milo smiles up at me. “This looks good.”
“Hand it over,” Raf urges. He stands up and gathers a handful of popcorn and shoves it in his mouth. Chewing loudly, he says, “Mmmmm. It is good.”
Vinny and Ben quickly follow suit, and soon they’re all eating out of the bowl, offering their thanks. I wish they knew how much I want to thank them for letting me hang out here, crashing their important good luck night.
As the movie continues to play, they all laugh and joke with each other. Most of the conversation isn’t directed at me, but it’s nice to be in their orbit. There is such an ease to their bond. It’s full of trust. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like that. Not even with Simone. This is what real friendship looks like.