Special delivery: Playing the Game in print

I love getting real mail delivered. Not junk mail; that’s boring. But a letter or a package with my name on it? Thrill.

Today I got a huge (and heavy!) thrill — my author copies of Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) in print arrived. Completely unexpected!

Opening up a print copy for the first time. You can't tell how my hand's shaking, right?

Opening up a print copy for the first time. You can’t tell how my hand’s shaking, right?

You know new-book smell, right? For me, it’s an addiction that demands I curl up in the recliner and disappear into fiction-world for hours on end. It feels incredibly odd to have the urge when I’m holding a book I wrote.

Here’s a peek at the box Kensington Books / Lyrical Press sent me. Playing the Game will be in Books-A-Million stores across the country soon, with the launch event from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at the store in York, Pennsylvania. I hope to meet some of you there!

Opening the box of Playing the Game print editions and diving in!

Opening the box of Playing the Game print editions and diving in!

Tuesdays with Jay No. 5: Promise Kept

Jay’s back with the fifth in his series of monthly meditations on the developing relationship he shares with Henry and Alice. This month’s tale for newsletter subscribers is Tuesdays with Jay No. 5: Promise Kept.

For anyone just jumping on board, the Tuesdays with Jay stories start at the beginning of the trio’s arrangement in Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) and progress week by week through every lunch date Jay and Alice share.

In a lucky bit of overlap, the September newsletter story is set in mid-September. Jay even got into the spirit of the season with a back-to-school theme. Yup, that’s right — we’re getting a peek at the boyish wonder when he was a pint-sized heartbreaker.

Young beautiful man with naked torso isolated over white backgro

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.

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.