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10 years after going unnoticed, daughter's TikTok turns dad's novel into number one best-seller

Lloyd Devereux Richards' crime thriller "Stone Maidens" shot to the No. 1 spot on Amazon.

stone maidens, booktok
@stonemaidens/TikTok

"Stone Maidens" is now flying off the shelves.

Never underestimate the power of the internet…or a daughter’s love.

Just ask Lloyd Devereux Richards, who’s now a bestselling author thanks to his daughter Marguerite Richards' TikTok going viral. Previously, he didn’t even know what TikTok was.

Lloyd began writing his serial killer thrillerStone Maidens” back in 1998, based on real crimes that happened during his college years in the mid-70s. He would spend a little over a decade writing the book in the few precious hours he could carve out between his law career and being a dad to three children.

The book was finally published in 2012 after years of rejections from literary agents and editors. Unfortunately, this milestone was not met with many sales.

After seeing all her father’s hard work not pay off, Marguerite didn’t want his story to end on such an anticlimactic note.


“It was such a great book, and I knew how important it was to him,” she told The Washington Post. “He never was like, ‘Ah, nobody cares.’ He just always stayed positive. I thought maybe it’s just because nobody knows about the book.”

So Marguerite made a TikTok account dedicated to promoting his book. The first video showed footage of Lloyd at his desk, unaware that he’s being filmed. In the clip, Marguerite wrote how her dad dedicated so much time to writing it even though “being a dad came first,” and how much she’d “love for him to get some sales."

@stonemaidens It’s a beautifully written thriller on Amazon 🥹❤️ #stonemaidens #booktok #authorsoftiktok #thrillerbooks #books ♬ original sound - e

The Post reported that the video reached a million views overnight. Even better, ”Stone Maidens” had suddenly become one of the top-selling books in its category on Amazon. As of now, hard copies are sold out.

Marguerite posted a follow-up video showing Lloyd finding out the good news, and it’s 100% heartwarming. Tears instantly stream down his face. He is left speechless over the wave of praise.

@stonemaidens you all are amazing! Life can be hard and then it can be wonderful suddenly (still crying) #stonemaidens ♬ original sound - lloyd

“I’m ready for a nap!” he quips while throwing on his glasses. An app he had no idea existed completely changed his life in the span of 24 hours. Life is extraordinary in that way.

Subsequent videos show the pair celebrating the unexpected win, which has left Lloyd feeling “overwhelmed” and “blessed.”

Truly, even with all its inherent flaws, the internet can be an amazing tool for connection. As one person commented, “The world has so many hidden gems. Social media allows us to find them.”

One person noted how TikTok specifically could be a really positive platform, writing that “moments like this are why I stay on the app. The love and generosity from people is astounding. There is definitely more good than evil.”

As for Lloyd’s ever-growing fanbase—he’s been working on a sequel for the past four-and-a-half years. Stay tuned. Something tells me publishing won’t be nearly as difficult this time around.

And for those who might be finding themselves up against a similar challenge with their own creative endeavors, Lloyd does have a tip. Unsurprisingly, it has to do with resilience.

“Write, rewrite and write it again. And never give up.”

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

Image from YouTube video.

What is your biggest regret?

"Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh."

—Henry David Thoreau

No one escapes this world without a regret or two.

Time and time again, when we hear the final regrets of the dying, they're not about wishing they'd made money or worked more hours.

They're almost always about wishing they had the self-confidence to pursue their dreams or the time to stay in touch with loved ones.

community, culture, honesty, collaboration, art

Here are some thoughts on the subject.

Image from YouTube video.

Recently, A Plus in partnership with Strayer University's Ideal Year Initiative, put up a chalkboard on a New York City street and asked passersby to write down their biggest regrets. The people who wrote on the blackboard were from different walks of life, but their regrets were alarmingly similar.

Watch the full video below:

This article first appeared on 9.16.17

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“Which means I've either found the golden ticket here, or I'm delusional thinking that the Mouse is going to let me use it to get inside nearly half a century later,” he continued.

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via Analysees Consulting / Twitter

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There are few more fulfilling hobbies than having a love of books.

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It's a huge benefit for a child's development as well. According to Parent.com, reading "stimulates the side of the brain that helps with mental imagery, understanding, and language processing, and that brain activity."

Sure beats wasting time playing video games.


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