Win a signed paperback of Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection #2)

Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection #2) in Lyrical High Notes trade paperback

Henry, Alice, and Jay’s second outing arrived just as unexpectedly as the first.

Because the universe never rains but it pours, naturally Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection #2) arrived at my door in the midst of all the book signing excitement. One of these days, I’m going to bust my own eardrums with all the squealing.

I want to share that excitement with everyone who loves Henry, Alice, and Jay. The trade paperbacks of Crossing the Lines will be in Books-A-Million stores in January, but this is the season for giving, so I’m going to get started a little early.

My pledge: I’ll give away at least three autographed trade paperback copies of Crossing the Lines and some book swag in December. The more people who enter, the more copies I’ll give away.

Your part:

1) Find Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) in paperback at your local Books-A-Million (store locator here) or order one online.

2) Snap a picture of the book. Be as creative as you like (or not).

3) Email your picture of the book to with the subject line “I Found Neighborly Affection.” Include where you found the book (city, state) and how you’d like to be identified (your real name, your online handle, anonymously, etc.). By entering, you confirm you’re at least 18 years old and have a U.S. mailing address where you can receive a prize if you win.

Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) Lyrical High Notes trade paperback edition

Here’s the book you’re looking for in the wild. Snap a photo of it on the shelf, having a tea party on your nightstand, peeking out of your tote — whatever strikes your fancy.

My part:

1) I’ll share the photo entries I receive by Dec. 15 on my website. If at least three people enter, then step 2 applies.

2) On Dec. 15, I’ll choose at least three (possibly more) winners and send them each an autographed copy of Crossing the Lines. Winners will have the opportunity to specify a recipient, so if you want it personalized as a gift, we can do that.

Crossing the Lines (Neighborly Affection #2) Lyrical High Notes edition

This is the book you might win. If only three people send me a photo of Book One, all three will win an autographed copy of Book Two before it’s available in stores.

Tuesdays with Jay No. 6: Kept Man

As excited as Jay was to show off Becoming His Master with Henry in last month’s newsletter, he was naturally a little bummed to miss out on sharing his own voice.

To make up for it, I let him run wild with Tuesdays with Jay this month, and boy did he have a lot to say! Newsletter subscribers, brace yourself for a double-length story from Jay on Saturday, Nov. 15.

Young beautiful man with naked torso isolated over white backgro

If you haven’t subscribed yet, it’s as easy as entering your email address below and confirming by clicking a link in the automated email the software sends out. Do that, and you’ll get your own visit from Jay every month.


Need to catch up? Once you’ve subscribed, email me at mqb@mqbarber with Tuesdays with Jay in the subject line and let me know you need the first five stories (or whichever ones you’re missing). I’ll email you copies within 24 hours.

From trepidation to elation to exhaustion: The life cycle of a book signing

My husband snapped this photo when I wasn't looking. It's a safe bet I'm agonizing over how best to express my gratitude for having such supportive fans of Henry, Jay, and Alice.

My husband snapped this photo when I wasn’t looking. It’s a safe bet I’m agonizing over how best to express my gratitude for having such supportive fans of Henry, Jay, and Alice.

Having no idea what to expect from my first book signing, I kick-started my day with two hours of sleep, a boatload of nausea-inducing nerves, and the absolute certainty that I would manage to misspell my own name before the day was done.

A writer’s imagination is a wonderful thing, except when it’s a terrible thing. ;-)

As it turned out, my lone mishap at Books-A-Million was managing to miss my mouth and dribble water down my face while trying to take a sip. I’m just super-classy like that.

Check out all those abs on display! It's a tower of manly goodness in the romance section at BAM in York, Pennsylvania.

Check out all those abs on display! It’s a tower of manly goodness in the romance section at BAM in York, Pennsylvania.

But as my nerves settled — a few solid “hello”s and non-misspellings go a long way — I got embroiled in fantastic discussions about the craft of writing and about Henry, Alice, and Jay and their friends Will and Emma. I met wonderful people who brought their insightful questions and genuine kindness.

Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) did a good job looking sexy on a romance shelf with fellow Lyrical/Kensington author Rebecca Zanetti’s Shadowed and Consumed. Rebecca, by the way, is one of those wonderful, kind people, and I’m grateful to her for showing me how to navigate the book signing experience. Every first-timer should be lucky enough to have such a delightful table buddy.

Not so scary after all, says hindsight, in its infinite wisdom.

The euphoria draining away and exhaustion creeping up are putting me into a couch coma tonight. I’ll be lucky if I don’t fall asleep in the middle of this sentence. … Okay, I might have, a little bit.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the signing and talked books. You turned an imagined disaster into an amazing afternoon I won’t forget. :-)

For those who couldn’t be there, Playing the Game trade paperbacks are available through the Lyrical High Notes line in Books-A-Million (BAM) stores (find the store nearest you) or from the retailer’s website. You might even find an autographed copy popping up at your local store.

It’s here! Playing the Game at Books-A-Million stores

Henry, Alice, and Jay make their bookstore debut with Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) at Books-A-Million. Is it creepy if I stand in the aisle and pet them? Yeah, that's probably creepy. We're good with hugs, though, right?

Henry, Alice, and Jay make their bookstore debut with Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) at Books-A-Million. Is it creepy if I stand in the aisle and pet them? Yeah, that’s probably creepy. We’re good with hugs, though, right?

I’ve been flailing like a madwoman all week with nervous energy for the trade paperback print release of Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection #1) in Books-A-Million stores.

My mother-in-law (unlike the stereotype, we get along fantastically) sent me the first proof of the book on the shelves, a quick snap of Playing the Game in the romance section at her local Books-A-Million.

I promptly ran to my husband and shook him back and forth while shouting, “Come look, it’s my book! It’s at the store!” (This is more comical when you realize my husband is a foot taller than I am, and I have about as much hope of budging him as a lone ant does an oak tree.)

Henry, Alice, and Jay have made a lot of electronic friends, but I want them to be successful in paper, too, and go home with nice readers who’ll carry them into the bathtub and dog-ear favorite pages. I want them to get battered corners from being tossed in a bag and carted around town and to have sleepovers on unfamiliar nightstands when they get passed to a friend with a smile and a whispered, You have to meet these characters!

Pristine books lined up on the shelf just aren’t going to cut it — I want Henry, Alice, and Jay to be loved. Eyes-rubbed-off, stuffing-falling-out loved.

I know, I don’t ask for much.

Contribute to my insanity by coming out to the Books-A-Million store in York, Pennsylvania, from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. I’ll sign your copy, you’ll get a free cookie, it’ll be a whole thing.

Or pop over to your local Books-A-Million and snap a picture of Henry, Alice, and Jay in the wild (keep your eyes open for a contest; more on that later). Or get your print copy at Books-A-Million online.

Mostly, though, if you love Henry, Alice, and Jay, please tell a friend or two. :-)