Adventures with Henry and Jay

It’s a week for celebrating — content edits on Becoming His Master (Neighborly Affection #4) are done! Henry and Jay are off to visit the copy editor, who’ll ferret out stray errors and any inconsistencies.

In the meantime, I want to send out a huge thank-you to all of the newsletter subscribers who have voted for what they want to see in October. (As a reminder, the choices are a new Tuesdays with Jay story or the first look at a scene from Becoming His Master.)

So far, the first look at Becoming His Master is outpacing the new Tuesdays with Jay by about 2 votes to 1. The readers who miss Henry are a vocal group!

The Jay group is small but passionate — many of them explained their reasoning for picking a Tuesdays with Jay story over a peek at the new book. Lemme share a few with you (anonymously, of course):

“This is really the only time we get to see inside Jay’s head, and it brings balance to the perspectives. Knowing that Henry’s POV is coming with book 4, I’d like to get more from Jay so that we have an idea how each character in the trio’s mind works.”

“After reading Tuesdays with Jay #4, I want to vote for another Tuesday with Jay instead of a scene from Becoming His Master. This is not only because the Jay story was breathtakingly hot. It’s because I appreciate getting to know more about Jay and what he is experiencing and thinking about as he, Henry, and Alice explore their relationship.”

“I’ll take more Jay! I so enjoy getting his perspective! Even if it’s a little at a time. I can wait a little longer for the new book.”

I love the emphasis on fairness and balance! It’s good to see Jay getting the love.

The first-look advocates have a point, though:

“I’ll have to go with an excerpt from Becoming His Master. It’s hard to turn Henry down!”

You still have time to vote (and yes, you can wait to decide until after you see Tuesdays with Jay #5 later this month). I’ll count any votes from newsletter subscribers that hit my inbox (mqb@mqbarber.com) before October 1.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet, you can still sign up and cast your vote:

Neighborly Affection is coming to bookstores!

The Neighborly Affection series is going to be in bookstores!

The Neighborly Affection series is going to be in bookstores!

Yes, I’m so excited that I said it twice. It’s a sentence I never thought I’d be saying.

Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) Coming to Books-A-Million in a paperback edition in November 2014!

Coming to Books-A-Million in a paperback edition in November 2014!

You know when you walk into a bookstore and there’s some idiot sitting cross-legged on the floor pulling out every book, reading the backs, and gathering a stack 15 books high to buy? That’s been me since I was 2 years old. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like to walk into a bookstore and see a book I wrote sitting on the shelves like it belongs there.

Kensington Books, my publisher, is launching a new program called Lyrical High Notes to put some ebooks into print. I’m sharing the flagship honors with fellow author Rebecca Zanetti.

When and where?

Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) will be available in Books-A-Million stores across the United States starting in November. Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection #2) will follow in January.

Come say hi!

The other cool thing? Ms. Zanetti and I get to kick the whole thing off with an author signing event. You can come say hello and get books signed on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Books-A-Million store in York, Pennsylvania. I’ll be the shy one stumbling over greetings and trying to pretend like I’m not completely in awe.

Also cool? November will mark exactly two years since I submitted Playing the Game to Lyrical Press and got their contract offer in return. Neighborly Affection is getting its print debut in the same month it got accepted in the first place. If fall weren’t already my favorite season, it would have to be now!

If anyone wants to put together a betting pool on whether I’ll pass out from all of the excitement, please put me down for twenty bucks on hell yes.

Tuesdays with Jay No. 4: Blanket Promise

Jay’s excellent at slipping into open spaces.

Between books, that is. He nudged right into the gap between drafting on the current work in progress and editing on Becoming His Master (Neighborly Affection 4).

Tuesdays with Jay No. 4: Blanket Promise

Newsletter subscribers will get Tuesdays with Jay No. 4: Blanket Promise on Friday, Aug. 15.

A quick reminder: The newsletter goes out around the 15th of every month, and each one currently features an original Tuesdays with Jay flash fiction piece not available anywhere else as well as updates on the Neighborly Affection series.

If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your email address below. You’ll receive a confirmation email; click the link inside to confirm your subscription.

Change is terrifying until it’s not

When monsters run amok, stand your ground. They shall not pass. Plus, you get to throw them down and smote their ruin upon the mountainside. When else do you get to make with the smiting?

When monsters run amok, stand your ground. They shall not pass. Plus, afterward you get to say you threw them down and smote their ruin upon the mountainside. When else do you get to make with the smiting?

Change enters our lives like monsters running amok. It’s easy to be flummoxed. Regaining our equilibrium can take time, patience, and fancy footwork. Or sometimes, just the will to shout stop.

Adjusting to life-altering change looks different for everyone. For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking a page out of Jay’s playbook — a little panic, a little denial, and a lot of covering with humor. Mostly, though, I’ve been hoping someone more rational would come along and tell me what to do, because I didn’t have a clue.

And like Alice, I hate operating without a clue. Give me a straightforward plan any day.

So today I put on my Henry hat. The chaotic juggling and plate-spinning would have to stop, because Jay needs structure in his life and Alice needs goals in hers, and Henry won’t stand for disruption in their happiness.

This is how I ended up making a color-coded schedule at two in the morning and planning a two-week experiment. In the first week, I’ll run Schedule A. In the second week, I’ll run Schedule B. In both weeks, I’ll keep track of my writing output. At the end of the two weeks, I’ll make a decision about which schedule is more productive.

Partly, I’m doing this because I want to keep bringing you new stories about Henry, Alice, and Jay and a host of other characters crowding my head. But mostly I’m doing it because you can only submit to outside forces in your life for so long before it’s time to take the control back. ;-)