The Quiet Beauty of Library Cards

Beginning with the not-so-quiet command from the Chicago Public Library, DO NOT LOSE THIS CARD, I have to wonder . . . what’ll happen if I lose this card? And did they know way back then that typing in ALL CAPS would some day be considered shouting? I mean, my gosh. Quiet voices people.

libraryart1 libraryart14

Love the paper airplanes covered with words. Look closely. Made from paper from the card catalogue? No? An index, maybe? Far more interesting than a plain-piece-of-paper paper airplane. I have a scene in my next book about paper airplanes made from the pages of a book. 

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And then there’s this. From a time when familial status followed you everywhere. Wonder why Mrs. English needed goggles. To spy on the family living on the other side of the number 19? And, okay, fine. Maybe it’s technically not a library card. But she did check something out . . . AFTER having to disclose her marital status and the quantity and age of her three children. Although, I’m glad she didn’t give the precise dates of birth for her two dependent children. Because why is that important? They’re just goggles.


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Love that the lawless vandal seeking to destroy public property doodled a girl with the same physical aesthetics of the time. Barbie made her début at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. I’d love to see the dates further down the card because I think Barbie was on the mind of the criminal who committed this senseless act of fashion graffiti against the library filing system. I mean, my gosh. The card clearly had to be cancelled after THAT happened.



What is this world coming to . . . people doodling on an envelope.

I wonder if the woman drawn on the card enjoyed reading Gulliver’s Travels. By the expression on her face, I think not. And I wonder if Barbie was ever issued a library card. She probably was. That chick’s done it all.

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Okay, so this next one’s a bit odd. November 14, 184- something. I can’t make out what that number is. But it’s a good thing no one drew a Barbie face on this Pennsylvania Hospital Medical Library Privilege Certificate. If you read the fine print at the bottom, penalties were stiff back then.

Lessons from the Pennsylvania Hospital? Do what the librarian tells you. Librarians are badass.


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I love this next one. I’d hang it on my wall if I could. The colors, the cascading shapes the date stamps make. There’s a quiet beauty found in simple instructions.


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And what’s this? A librarian in a library made a library card about a library?

How meta.


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But seriously, really. This next one? Not lying: If I were a librarian, I’d spend like ALL DAY trying to figure this one out.

No. 306?

No . . . maybe No. 307 is better.

It’s ruled like No. 306, but with BLUE lines . . . Hm.

Maybe I should go with No. 311. No. 311 doesn’t have lines. But wait. Do I want lines?


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Not much to say about his next one except THANKS, Peabody Visual Aids. I was wondering what the


was trying to tell us.

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So enough about how the system works.

Let’s look at this next one: Camus, Albert. Born 1913.

Errrrrr, ummmm, well. Golly gee. I almost feel bad for the poor chap. Seems someone went in with a blue pen to update the card . . .

Know this: Librarians are thorough.


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This final library card is my favorite. Why? Because Jerome David S. wrote one of my all-time favorite books. Like, EVER. I even named my first son after the main character in the book referenced on this card. (First daughter? She’s named after Jane Austen’s Emma.)

The quiet beauty of this library card?

The brief, blissful moments of happiness I feel every time I look at it. The feeling of urgent importance in the words DO NOT DISCARD. Because this library card, this quiet, beautiful library card – unlike the blue ink on the ill-fated Albert Camus library card – let’s me pretend this great writer is still alive.



Find that Perfect Word


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Great news! I’m guest posting on The Eternal Scribbler: Tips, tricks, and tutorials for writers with this nifty article about writing: Find that Perfect Word: Contemplating Word Choice A Checklist by Julie Valerie Some highlights: Writing with clarity and careful attention to … Continue reading

Nancy Christie #AuthorInterview. TOPIC: Releasing stand-alone stories prior to publication of short story collection @NChristie_OH


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Author Nancy Christie joins me today with insights into two of her projects, Traveling Left of Center and Annabelle (Pixel Hall Press). When I first met Nancy online, I noticed Annabelle was being marketed as a stand-alone piece – but was … Continue reading

Published Author’s First Year @GlynisAstie


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Ever wonder what the first year as a published author feels like? In this guest blog post, author Glynis Astie tells us. Welcome, Glynis! My First Year as a Published Author by Glynis Astie On August 27 2013, I self-published … Continue reading

Guest Post: Sand Between My Toes by Eileen Goudge

What I love about today’s guest post:

It features a dear friend of mine, Eileen Goudge, and a turning point in her life when she was trying to decide whether to indie publish her next title, or stay with traditional publishers. Eileen is a New York Times bestselling writer. Not counting her YA titles, Eileen has written 15 women’s fiction titles (worldwide sales of roughly 6 million) so the decisions she was making while walking on the beach (the subject of today’s guest post) were quite profound for her.

But that wasn’t the only decision Eileen was struggling to make.

What if she crossed over to a completely new genre, too?

You may remember my talking about my friendship with Eileen and my recent trip to hunker down with her and four other writers at her beachfront writing retreat in California – during the very time she was exploring this new direction in her writing life. I allude to it briefly in this recent June 18th “Pizza, oh pizza, I love you.” blog post where I recap a pizza party we all had during BookExpo America in New York City.

Eileen is a wonderful, warm person that loves interacting with other writers and readers. After this guest post, please leave a comment for Eileen. I know she’d love to say hello.

Bones and RosesEileen’s latest novel, BONES AND ROSES (first book in her new Cypress Bay Mystery series), releases August 5th and is available for preorder HERE.

Be the first to read this new title by this accomplished author. And won’t it be fun for you, as a reader, to know a bit about the inner life of the writer just before this book was written? Order your copy today. You won’t be disappointed!

Enough from me – this is a guest post, for heaven’s sake. I’m supposed to be quiet!

Take it away, Eileen!

– guest post by Eileen Goudge

It all began with one of life’s simple pleasures: sand between my toes.

I was strolling along the shore, in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California, pondering my next career move. I needed a change. And it had to be drastic. Like many authors who cut their teeth during the golden era of traditional publishing, I was feeling the seismic shifts brought by the expansion of the digital world. Earlier in the week, I’d received a much-needed kick in the butt from an author friend who’d made the leap from to traditional to indie publishing and was reaping the rewards.

Now I had to decide if I was brave enough to take a leap of my own.

Career-wise, I was like an adult child still living at home. I had “Mom” (my publisher) to do my “laundry” and “cook my meals.” There was always someone on hand or behind the scenes to edit, design book covers, come up with and execute a marketing plan, deal with all aspects of distribution and the bulk of publicity. One day I found myself looking around at all my colleagues who’d taken control of their own fates. I felt like a spongy old cabbage. I also felt stymied. I was known primarily for women’s fiction, and that’s what editors and publishers had come to expect from me. But I wanted to step outside the box, flex my muscles a bit, see what else I could do.

In short, I was frustrated and running low on inspiration.

That day on the beach I asked myself a simple question, “What would you write if it was just you and your laptop?” Leaving aside dire predictions from traditional-publishing diehards and my own fears concerning sales and rejection. Like how it was in the beginning before I was published.

The answer left me stunned. I wanted to write a mystery. I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, dating back to when I used to read Nancy Drew under the covers at night by flashlight (the reason I needed glasses, my mom used to say), and many of my women’s fiction novels have elements of mystery and/or romantic suspense, most notably THE SECOND SILENCE and WOMAN IN RED.

“No way,” piped the VOR (voice of reason) in my head. “What about your readers? Won’t they be disappointed?” The VOR went on to point out that competition was stiff. I’d be entering a field so crowded you could fill a few football stadiums with all the mystery novelists out there.

Thankfully the voice of my Muse would not be stifled by the mutterings of my VOR. On that day, during that soul-searching walk on the beach, my Cypress Bay mystery series was born. My amateur sleuth, Leticia “Tish” Ballard, came riding in on the waves in a half shell, fully formed. I couldn’t ignore her. She wouldn’t allow it. She has a mouth on her. She’s persistent, too.

“Okay, okay, so shut up already and I’ll do it,” I told her. Then went back to my desk and got to work.

I live in New York City, but spend a month each winter at a beach house in Santa Cruz, CA, generously provided by my sister, Karen, and her husband, Miles. I hole up to write for days on end, interspersed with long walks on the beach and inspired by breathtaking ocean views. At night I’m lulled to sleep by the sound of waves. In no time my batteries were recharged and my mojo was back.

By the end of that month-long sojourn I had an outline and the beginnings of first draft for what would become Book One of my Cypress Bay mystery series, BONES AND ROSES. I was channeling Tish and loving every minute of it.

Becoming my own publisher was another story. Many sleepless nights and days of nail-biting later, I now have a handle on it, I think (judging by the fact that my stomach is no longer in knots 24/7). And for the parts I can’t handle on my own, I have professionals. I also have my wonderful, warm, generous indie author buddies who’ve guided and encouraged me every step of the way. I even have a first draft for Book Two in the Cypress Bay mystery series, SWIMSUIT BODY, which comes out in 2015.  Below is a brief description of BONES AND ROSES, which debuts August 5th (digital only) and is currently available for pre-order.

From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia “Tish” Ballard thought she’d seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambéing her real estate career in an alcohol-fueled blowout, she’s finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.          

I hope you enjoy it. I won’t be offended if you don’t, and I’ll still be glad I wrote it.

– Eileen Goudge

“Pizza, oh pizza, I love you.”

HUMPDAYLOWRES Q: What day is it?

A: It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. We’re halfway to the weekend. Woo-Hoo! Now that’s something to celebrate.

Let’s talk books. No. Let’s talk PIZZA and friends who write books.

But first! The author of the poem in the title of this blog post? My daughter, Noelle (now 14), written when she was in the third grade.

oh pizza
I love you

I know, I know. She’s amazing.

Quick note: Next Wednesday (June 25th) is the last Hump Day of the month and you know what THAT means. Time for the Hump Day Blog Hop! Link-up and stay connected with bloggers in the blogosphere. Why? Because it’s fun! (And the connections you make just might lead to a pizza party!)

So I didn’t have room in last week’s post about my trip to New York City to attend BookExpo America (BEA), BookBuzz, and uPublishU to tell you about the fabulous time I had at a Friday night pizza party with a great group of writer friends. JulieFrancine That’s me on the left with the very wise and very zany Francine LaSala, industry veteran, ghost writer of a ton of books and author of THE GIRL, THE GOLD TOOTH, & EVERYTHING and RITA HAYWORTH’S SHOES. (Wanna read my review of THE GIRL, THE GOLD TOOTH, & EVERYTHING? Okay, here you go: Click here.) Francine’s got a not-so-secret life that you can read about by visiting her not-so-secret website: Francine LaSala Productions. Together we shared a most delicious beet salad (oh my gosh, so yum) and a Popeye spinach pizza (also yummy). In our social (and professional – but mostly social) circle, Francine is the go-to person for all questions. All questions lead to Francine who ALWAYS, ALWAYS has the correct answer. She’s so wise. So unbelievably wise. And when I’m with her, I feel like I’ve known her all my life. Not because I’m wise, but because, well, I dunno. Maybe we were Samurai warriors together in a previous life and I like, KILLED someone to protect Francine and she somehow senses it and is nice to me in this life. Hey, it’s possible.EileenMeredithIn January, Francine and I joined some other women from the night’s pizza gathering to party at Eileen Goudge’s oceanfront California beach house (Eileen’s on left in the photo above). I mention it now because I never managed to get a post up last January to tell you about my trip. Eileen’s a New York Times bestselling author of a gazillion books. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating. She’s written a gazillion books. I think like . . . more than 20 or something. Some amazing number. Her talent and productivity are an inspiration. If my memory serves, it was Eileen that floated the idea of a pizza party and I’m so glad she did. She is a warm, generous spirit and is funny, funny, so-freaking-funny, and such a valued source of information about writing and publishing. Her latest novel, Bones and Roses, the first book in her new Cypress Bay mysteries series, is available now on preorder. You gotta check it out.

With Eileen in the photo above is Meredith Schorr, the sweetest writer in all of New York City. I’ve read and reviewed two of Meredith’s novels on my book blog (A State of Jane and Blogger Girl) and loved getting to know her better on that beach trip to California in January where we filmed a very silly book trailer for a boxed set she released in February. Meredith, Francine and Sam (on right in the next photo) organized the wildly successful BookBuzz event the night before so I know they were happy to unwind and relax over a glass of wine and great food.


In the above photo (on the right) is Samantha Stroh Bailey, one of the co-organizers of the Thursday night BookBuzz event and writer extraordinaire of the beloved FINDING LUCAS (4.6 out 5 stars after 91 reviews on Amazon). If you want, you can read my review of FINDING LUCAS here. Sam is an absolute stitch. That’s Southern talk for someone who’s so flippin’ funny she keeps everyone in stitches. (She lives in Canada so I have to explain that ‘stitch’ thing I just said.) Sam was on that California beach trip last January and kept us laughing the entire time. When she’s not lighting up the room with her contagious energy, she’s hunting for typos and those pesky -ly adverbs as owner of Perfect Pen Communications, a full service writing, editing and proofreading company that has recently added English to French writing translation services. She also collaborates on projects with Francine LaSala, mentioned above as the beet-salad-loving woman with the not-so-secret life. Because Sam also holds a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics, I’m going to embedd a typo in this paragraph to see if she can find it and leave a correction in my comment section. Smarty pants.

With Sam, but on the left side of the above photo, is the lovely Sheryn MacMunn, author of FINDING OUT. After a great time at the Friday night pizza party, Sheryn and I spent all day Saturday together at uPublishU where we learned a ton and traded notes in some mind-blowing publishing seminars. Some of Saturday’s seminars we attended:

  • Congratulations, Author: You’re Promoted to CEO
  • Build Your Author Platform & Publish Successfully
  • Engaging Readers: Getting Your Book Discovered by Readers
  • Marketing a Series: Tips & Tricks from Those in the Know
  • Hit the Bestseller List with E-book Preorders: Preorder Strategy A-Z
  • 5 Easy Ways to Get Discovered: Advice from Metadata Gurus
  • Social Media 201

The lunch we spent together on Saturday was absolutely amazing with Cindy Ratzlaff, president of Brand New, Brand You, Inc. Her keynote luncheon topic: Brand YOU: Creating a Rock Star Personal Brand for You and Your Books. So glad I got to hang with Sheryn at BookBuzz on Thursday night, pizza on Friday night, and uPublishU on Saturday. Sheryn rocks.

The lovely women in the above photo are Lydia Laceby and Deborah Schwartz. Lydia is co-founder of Novel Escapes, a crazy great and very influential chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction book blog and review site that I’ve been stalking for years. I recently read Lydia’s début novel, REDESIGNING ROSE and absolutely loved it. If you’ve got time, click here to read my book review and author interview. After the pizza party some of us took a walk and ended up at an Irish Pub to continue a night of lively discussion about writing, publishing, books, and family. One of the true gifts of my trip to New York was the late (late) night talk I had with Lydia and Lynn Marie Hulsman (in photo below). I wish both women didn’t live so far away… because I really, really connected with them.

With Lydia Laceby in the photo above (on the right) is the accomplished Deborah Schwartz, author of Woman on Top. After attending Tufts for undergrad and after earning her Master’s degree in History at Columbia by writing a thesis titled: “Prelude to Feminism in Eighteenth Century England” and after going to Boston University School of Law and spending 18 years as a healthcare attorney, Deborah truly became the ‘woman on top’ by reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011. Oh! And then she did that little thing called writing a novel. And guess what. She did that well, too. 4.6 stars out of 5 after 43 reviews on Amazon. Shesh! The nerve of her to be so accomplished. One more thing: She’s wonderful. Down to earth, funny, relaxed. An absolute gem. I can’t wait to eat pizza with her again and hope that day comes very soon.


Last, but certainly not least, a woman I adore, Lynn Marie Hulsman. She sat to my right and had the good sense to call the article of clothing I was wearing a ‘blouse’ and not a ‘top’ or ‘shirt’ – a choice of words that sparked a lot of controversy at the table and on Facebook and Twitter. Seriously, it generated 50+ comments on Facebook alone. (Francine, if you’re reading, IT’S A BLOUSE.) I put Lynn Marie last in this post because I didn’t have a good picture of us from the pizza party so I’m using a very crummy photo from the night before at the BookBuzz event. In just two and a half years, Lynn Marie scored an agent, co-wrote two books, ghost-wrote another, published an article, completed one novel, and started a second one. During that time, we connected over twitter and @LynnMarieSays became one of my most favorite people to tweet with, so yes, our relationship began with 140 characters but grew from a genuine sense that we had a lot in common and well, hey. We liked each other. So we tweeted a lot. I mentioned in my section about Lydia that one of the greatest gifts that came from my time in New York was the late night conversation I had with Lydia and Lynn Marie. We shared a walk back to our hotels where I actually banged my SHOULDER (of all things) on a sidewalk under construction while wearing very high wedges. (I hate those shoes. They even gave me blisters, dang them.) Lynn Marie writes lots of things like novels and cookbooks including Make Your Own Soda and a cookbook I especially have my eye on: The Kentucky Bourbon Dessert Cookbook: More than 75 Rich Recipes Featuring Kentucky’s Signature Spirit. She also wrote Christmas at Thornton Hall covered in a Christmas blog post series I ran last December called “Elf on a (Book) Shelf – Countdown to Christmas.”

From the group of pizza lovers that also happened to meet in January at Eileen’s oceanfront beach house (remember that blog post I never wrote?) Eileen, me, Francine, Sam, and Meredith – there was one person missing at pizza night – Jen Tucker who we dialed up for a little FaceTime over dinner. Jen wrote the laugh-out-loud novels: The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt as well as two beautiful children’s books, one of which (Two by Two) I read to my son’s third grade classroom and they LOVED it. Jen was my beachie-keen roommate in California and her presence was really missed during our time in New York. We carried you with us in spirit (and on FaceTime, through texting and emails), Jen. We love you and kept you here with us at all times.

Okay, well. So. That’s it for today’s Hump Day Post. One crazy great night of pizza shared with some amazing women writers who I call friends.

My cup runneth cover. I’m drinking from the saucer.

BookBuzz, BookExpo, AudioBook Month, Hoopla . . .

HUMPDAYLOWRES Okay, I seriously need a day between Saturday and Sunday that no one knows about but me.

No, really. I’d love to have 24 hours of uninterrupted blog posting because there’s just so much I want to share with you about my recent trip to BookExpo America in New York City and so many books I’ve recently read and need to review.

Welcome to today’s Hump Day Books Post. It’s Wednesday. Let’s talk books.

BookExpo America (BEA) was a blast – but hands down, the best part was connecting with friends at BookBuzz.

I especially enjoyed rooming with book blogger extraordinaire, Melissa Amster of Chick Lit Central and meeting fellow book blogger, Marlene Engel of Book Mama Blog. The three of us walked back to our hotels after the BookBuzz event, stopping long enough to snap this late night photo:

(From L to R) Melissa Amster, Julie Valerie, Marlene Engel

(From L to R) Melissa Amster, Julie Valerie, Marlene Engel

BookBuzz organizers Meredith Schorr (on left in photo below), Samantha Stroh Bailey (center) and Francine LaSala (right) did a great job of organizing the event. Here’s a late night photo (it’s dark, I know) taken after the event: MeredithSamFrancine It was so great connecting with these great writers featured at this event: Francine LaSala * Samantha Stroh Bailey *Meredith Schorr * Holly Peterson * Cat Lavoie * Lydia Laceby * Chantel Guertin * Samantha March * Glynis Astie * Sheryn MacMunn * Lynn Marie Hulsman * k.c. wilder * Marissa Stapley * Heather Wardell * Deborah Schwartz BookBuzz Okay, okay, I know. Another lousy photo. But hey! I’m sorry… It was dark and it was late. Oh, who’m I kidding? I took lousy photos the entire week. Oh, dang.

On to BookExpo America (BEA) . . . My gosh, was it crowded.     FRIDAYCHOSEN010 A few highlights from BookExpo:

Interested in distributing your book far and wide? Keep an eye on the HOOPLA platform from Midwest Tape and its new app for ebook lending in the library market. Right now, much of the lending in the library market is a one copy/one user model but HOOPLA will work more like Netflix offering library readers instant availability, 24/7, and every time a book is borrowed the publisher gets paid. While this model of book lending is offered by other vendors, Midwest Tape has captured approximately 70% of the library media materials market so their entry will make waves.

I didn’t get a chance to really dive in and learn more about rights@pubmatch powered by RightsLink – but they sure caught my eye for their complete rights system and one-stop-shopping website. Originally launched April 1, 2014 this service is on my list of things I want to know more about. Here’s a little snippet from their website:

“For large publishers, it means giving new life to your mid and backlist titles that aren’t actively being sold anymore. For independent authors, it means being able to sell rights without the need for representation.  For agents, it presents a whole new model for selling rights.”  




June is Audiobook Month and SYNC is giving away two audiobook YA downloads each week for the summer (ending August 14, 2014).

I learned about them at BookExpo and this is what I found interesting:

(1) the pairing of a Young Adult title with a related Classic or required Summer Reading title; (2) the marketing toolbox developed to promote the program; (3) the idea that this format of promotion could be duplicated for other genres, too.

Participants registering for the Summer Reading Program online will find a complete tool kit to share the program at their school, blog, youth group or local library. Readers can text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about featured titles. (Requires OverDrive Media Console as the delivery software.)

Sample pairings:

June 19 – June 25, 2014 I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter, read by Renee Raudman (Brilliance Audio) – paired with – ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery, read by Colleen Winton (Post Hypnotic Press).

July 31 – August 6, 2014 DIVIDED WE FALL by Trent Reedy, read by Andrew Eiden et al. (Scholastic Audiobooks) – paired with – RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane, read by Frank Muller (Recorded Books).

I still drive around town thinking about the pairings and imaging which women’s fiction books I’d pair with others were I to organize an event like this.

HumpDayBooksTitleImageLOWNow for some specific book news I’m sharing this week: 


JUNE 30, 2014 BOOK RELEASE: Fallen For Rock by Nicky Wells

Fans of UK author Nicky Wells and her Romance that Rocks Your World novels will be thrilled to learn her fifth book, FALLEN FOR ROCK releases this month. Love, life, loyalties. Nothing stays the same when Emily gets drawn into the world of rock. “A thrilling and delicious story of love and self-discovery woven around a broken romance that will make you turn page after page and cheer to the end.” (Warning: FALLEN FOR ROCK contains some explicit content and strong language that may not be suitable for readers under eighteen years of age.)

Connect with Nicky: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Romantic Novelists’ AssociationSapphire Star Publishing | Amazon | Goodreads |


NEW COVER REVEAL: Big news from three-time author Meredith Schorr: New cover for the fantastic BLOGGER GIRL novel. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing two of Meredith’s novels: BLOGGER GIRL (read it here) and A STATE OF JANE (read it here). What I really love about the new cover is the incorporation of Meredith’s other two books. JUST FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is on the billboard in light blue and A STATE OF JANE is in blogger girl’s red shopping bag. So super cute!

Connect with Meredith: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads |


RELEASED ON iAUTHOR: BEWARE THE SEVENTH WAVE by Maureen Gregory – ready to discover on iAuthor.

Click HERE to browse and buy.

About the book: In the novel deceit, obsessive love, betrayal and murder are threaded alongside the fabric of normal life. Emma is convinced she has found the man of her dreams, until she suspects her lover may have a darker side. Was he a cold, calculated killer or a victim in someone else’s deadly game?

Emma believes she will uncover the truth, but are some lies better left undiscovered?

Connect with Maureen: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads |

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OKAY! So that’s it for today’s Hump Day Books Post. (Whew! I’m exhausted.)

Save the Date: I run a Hump Day Blog Hop on the last Wednesday of every month. Join me. It’s super easy to link-up.