Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest Blog: Judging A Book By Its Cover

Thanks to the lovely Amanda, we have a guest blog this week titled, "Judging A Book By Its Cover." Thanks, Amanda! <3

Judging A Book By Its Cover

I confess. I go to the bookstore and the first book I pick up will be one with a cool cover. Then I flip it over to read the teaser, and then I open it up to read the first page. If it still has my interest, it goes in my basket. As a new mom, my “me time” is very limited- I just don’t have the time to waste on a crap book.

I must admit I’m a sucker for reader’s reviews. Most of my book shopping lately has been online.  I appreciate when someone takes the time to give their opinion on a book I’m contemplating purchasing:

  • “Great book overall. Started slow but I fell in love with the characters.”
    Sold. They even gave me a great pointer- get over the dry bits in the beginning and come out smiling!
  • “Don’t waste your time.”
    Perfect! Thank you, anonymous reader!!!
These quick little reviews are so helpful when I’m picking out books from my library or purchasing books for my ereader. It saves me a ton of time and money!!

More often than not, I will enjoy a certain book and upon opening up my goodreads account and seeing what other’s had to say about it, I will notice someone saying it was similar to “_____” book. I’ll scratch my head and realize I never read “________” so then I have to go find that book and so on and so forth. This is how I recently came to read “The Giver” (which is a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE book and I will never recommend it to ANYONE. EVER. I had nightmares for DAYS. Have I made my point? Good. We can move on.). I think this is a great way to discover more books in a similar genre that you may have really enjoyed, but don’t know how to go about finding others like it.

I can be swayed into almost any genre, but I tend to shy away from anything claiming to be “the next great American novel”. Spare me. Good for you, author who thinks the world needs to be taken more seriously. I’m going to sit in the corner and have a romance with a studly 19 year old guy who thinks it’s “so complicated” to juggle school, soccer practice AND his first girlfriend, thank you very much.  I typically don’t fall for the vampire shtick- but I had a friend totally GUSH over a series and insist I read at least the first book. Nine books later, and I’m biting my nails in anticipation of a new Sookie Stackhouse novel.

To ask me what my favorite books are would be just mean. On any given day it could be a thriller/mystery (I am sooooooo good at catching the bad guy!), a period book (especially about the Tudors- fascinating!), Young Adult (because there is a teenager stuck inside me who still views the world as limitless) and even the occasional Sci-Fi ditty (vampires, angels, you know- the cool stuff. But none of the “In a galaxy far, far away” business.)

Overall, I love to read. If a book comes highly recommended, I will devour it. I love getting to know a person through the type of books they enjoy.  It is such an intimate thing- to share a great book with someone else. It touches you in such a personal way. My best advice would be to join a book club. It has been one of the more enlightening experiences for me. It has opened me up to a new world of genres and characters that I may have never gotten to know if it weren’t for the group of women who make up the club

One of my closest girlfriends came up with the idea to start a book club two and a half years ago. She wanted it to be fun and relaxed. We each invited a few fellow book-lovers and agreed on a meeting for the first Monday of each month. We take turns hosting. The hostess will have chosen her selection prior to last month’s meeting so that she could announce a month in advance what that month’s pick will be. This keeps it both fair and interesting- because if you don’t like “her” selection, you know you’ll get something else completely different next month! (And one HUGE perk is that we have added meals to our meetings- everyone brings a dish and we get to try new foods all the time… for example, Italian food for the book “Angels and Demons”… yummmm)

If you don’t know enough people (I’d say 4-5 would be sufficient) that would be interested in starting one up with you, check out craigslist or even to find an existing group that you can become a member of!

All in all, keep it simple. Don’t stress yourself out trying to read every Jane Austen, John Grisham or “Bestseller” before you die. Stick with what you know and like, but keep an open mind to what else is out there! If someone is passionate about a book, don’t disregard it just because it’s out of your normal comfort zone- you might surprise yourself with how much you could truly fall in love with a book if you just open it up and take a look.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Manga Monday!

[Shamelessly stolen from Books By Their Cover. Ironically, my first go at this is a manhwa, which is a Korean manga.]

Title: Peppermint
Author: Seo Eun Jin
Available: Amazon and other retailers carrying Tokyopop
Price: EXPENSIVE! Mangas are usually $9.99 each book. But worth it? Yes.

Description: What do you do when true love is just beyond your reach? Hey is a normal teenage girl who has a crush on the hot teen singer EZ. But whenever she tries to work up the nerve to confess her feeling toward him, EO always gets in the middle of things! Pop star EZ may never think of Hey as anything more than a fan...This is a charming romantic fantasy that shows you true love is where you least expect it!

My thoughts: I LOVE this manga! Normally I don't love manhwa's, but I chose this one to start with for a reason. It's full of great romance between likable characters, and a love triangle that just keeps tugging at your heart strings. And for those of you who like a little bit of a twist in your romance, the second part of the triangle is younger than the main girl--by several years! He has an extreme phobia of girls, which Hey slowly seems to cure him of without even trying. She's a strong girl (except around her crush, when she blushes and stammers adorably!) and you keep rooting for her until the end.

Recommended: Definitely. Read this manga! In fact, I think I might go read it again right now...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Idea Journal

I think I've written about this before, but it's so important I feel the need to write about it again.

The idea journal.

Every writer, or aspiring writer, should have an idea journal. (Yes, even you.) The idea journal is a little notebook, or twelve little notebooks, as long as you remember where they are, that you keep with you at all times so whenever you're struck with an idea for a story you can write it down.

Picture this: You're reading a book or watching a TV show, and a character says or does something and your imagination starts running. "That's not a bad idea," you say to yourself. "I'll have to remember that." But the next day, you don't, and you kick yourself for forgetting what could have been an awesome story.

That's where the idea journal comes in.

Yes, I'm not going to lie, the idea journal is a pain in the butt. A serious pain in the butt. To stop whatever you're doing so you can write something down is annoying. But you'll thank yourself later, sometimes years later, when you go back and you have that little gem of an idea that you can suddenly expound upon. Trust me on this one. The Wrong Path is a combination of me playing with character types and an idea I wrote down in my idea journal 10+ years ago. (Seriously!)

If you don't have an idea journal, get one. Get a notebook you love, because you're going to be carrying it with you everywhere. And, if you're super into technology, get an app on your phone that's like a diary app. Serves the same purpose! (Just make sure you print/save somewhere the ideas--never know when you're going to upgrade the phone and you don't want to lose your ideas, do you?)

Earlier today I got an idea and quickly jotted down in my journal this:

Kids share connected dreams--what does it mean, and why does no one look like they do in real life?

What's it mean? Who knows? Where will it go? Who knows? The beauty of the idea journal! But maybe in a few years, you'll be seeing that book from me. And you can say you remember when I got the idea...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Comics Are Fun! And Wanna Guest Blog?

I love gaming--did you know that? I do. Absolutely love it. In fact, in my upcoming book, one of my dedications is to an in-game friend of mine who made me something in-game. Am I a geek? Yes. Yes I am. But I still love gaming! <3

So to that end, I present you a comic I adore, called Ctrl+Alt+Del. Don't worry, you don't have to be a gamer to think it's funny!

Next: Anyone want to do a guest post? I've never done a guest post on my blog before, but I think it would be fun. I'm pretty much open to anything--writers-in-the-making who want to talk about what they're going through, readers who want to chat about what they like to read *coughMandacough*, writers who are already published *coughKatiecough*, writers who write articles for a side business *coughJanecough*, you name it! I don't know why I suddenly decided to do this--I just thought it would be fun. So if you're interested, leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail at vivianmarieaubinduparis at gmail dot com.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The TBR List

Ah, the lovely TBR list! I've got some awesome books in store, and I cannot WAIT to read them!

First up: the LOVELY Miss Katie Klein, author of The Guardian (which if you follow my blog you will know I absolutely loved) has a new book out! YAY! Omg, too excited for words. I was nearly giddy when I discovered the happy news.

Title: Cross My Heart
Author: Katie Klein
Price: $3.99
Get it on Amazon Kindle
Get it on Barnes & Noble Nook

True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past—a reputation—and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there’s no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love.

As they bond over Edith Wharton’s tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the “bad boy” vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own “good girl” image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.

Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she's grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom—everything Jaden knows—is one, massive lie.

CROSS MY HEART, told from Jaden's point of view, is a 76k-word/300-page contemporary romance for young adults. Bonus features include the official playlist and an interview with the author.

Why I want to read this:
1. I love Katie.
2. I also named a character Jaden. (Katie--we HAVE to stop doing this.) But my Jaden was a boy, oddly enough.
3. Hello, did you read the description?! It sounds EPIC. Bad-boy/good-girl? I'm a sucker for that! (Obviously... The Wrong Path was previously titled "The Waif and the Bad Boy.")

Title: Miya Black, Pirate Princess
Author: Ben White
Price: $0.99
Get it on Amazon Kindle

There's no place like home.

For Princess Miya Black, 'home' is Clover Island, a tiny dot of a place not even named on most maps. Founded fifteen years ago by her parents, ex-pirate Tomas "Boots" Black and ex-princess Lilith "Lily" Brightburn, it's a place for second chances and new beginnings. It's there that Miya was born, there she grew up, and there she now lives, spending her days riding with her best friend, practising swordsmanship with her fake uncle, sailing with her father, and avoiding book lessons with her mother. To Miya it's the best place in the entire world, and she knows how lucky she is to have it.

So when her home is threatened Miya doesn't just sit around around sulking. She's the princess of Clover Island, with the blood of pirate legends running through her veins, and she'll do whatever it takes to protect her kingdom.

Why I want to read this:
1. PIRATES. I. Love. Pirates. Obsessively.
2. I love the name Miya. It sounds so pretty. And yet she's a PIRATE. Win.
3. It sounds like an exciting and thrilling adventure story. (I hope there's a love story in there, though... Can I say that?)
4. Miya sounds like a kick-ass heroine. Perhaps already covered by 2 and 3, but I don't care. <3


Title: October Breezes
Author: Marie Rachel Hooley
Price: $2.99
Get it on Amazon Kindle
Get it on Barnes & Noble Nook

Skye Williams knows everything there is to know about mistrust: Dad skipped out when she was five, leaving Mom with an angry daughter and an upside-down mortgage. Then there were the boyfriends—at least a dozen—hot on his heels and hot for her mom, none of whom stuck around long enough to figure out Skye hated them—hated the underage toys they brought as bribes and the way they looked at her, speeding past with the same distaste they would have for a yellow traffic light. And now this Warren Jacobs has shown up to sweep Mom off her feet—and all he’s brought with him is a crummy, dog-eared book. She doesn’t even read! How can Mom even like this guy, much less trust him? He’s just another loser with a capital L.

But Warren’s not the only concern rocking Skye’s world. Devin Abbott, a guy she’s known since kindergarten, has changed. Almost at once, he’s become this tall, broad-shouldered guy with dark hair and easy eyes she might date—if he hadn’t always been her best friend. Skye swears there’s nothing between them, but everyone else thinks differently. Devin doesn’t act the way he used to, especially when Kellin Morgan, senior quarterback, asks Skye out. Flattered, she accepts, and, Devin sulls up—and he isn’t the only one. Kellin’s best friend, Tyler Rutherford, gets bent out of shape, too, as he’s always wanted Skye for himself. When Kellin and Skye attend one of Tyler’s famous parties, neither senses the impending disaster. Afterwards Skye is left with consequences that will change not only her life but also that of everyone who loves her.

Why I want to read this:
1. It was recommended to be by a dear friend whose opinion I trust, and she swore she couldn't get it out of her head.
2. It's all about the romance. You can tell that right away. And I love a good romance.
3. Because of insider info, I happen to know it's not a light-hearted romance, but rather one that may be disturbing and graphic at times. And who doesn't like a good twisted story now-and-then?
4. I like the name Devin. (What is it with me and names?)


Alright--your turn! What's on your TBR list?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Do You Write/Read YA and Not Adult Fiction?

I'm posing this question to the general population of YA writers and readers. Why write/read YA when you're (very likely) an adult? Was high school so awesome you want to relive it in your stories? Was high school so terrible you hope to fix it or see it fixed through fiction? Being a teenager sucked, in a lot of ways--stuck in school, abiding by other people's rules... So why?

I'm a YA writer. I choose to write fics based on teens. A couple of times I dabbled with writing something a little older--someone in their early twenties. But I always find myself unable to finish or just coming back to YA. Why?

Well, first of all, writing YA is just plain easier. I don't know a lot about a lot, so writing adult fiction is nearly impossible for me. For example, I wanted to write a fic once that took place in a hospital--but I don't know anything about hospitals or being a doctor/nurse/etc. I wouldn't even know where to start. That fic died before it even started. (I know "Get a crash cart! Code blue!" - but that's about it.) I know a bit about marketing, but don't ask me anything about figures or marketing surveys and analytics, because I couldn't tell you much. I know my hairstylist cuts my hair, but I don't know anything about how mixing chemicals for cutting works, or how to determine what style will look good on someone. And as an adult, that's a very important thing, don't you think? You spend so much time at your job it's next to impossible to write an adult fic where you don't touch on that at least a little.

There are endless resources out there for learning about other jobs, but unless you've lived through it, it's unlikely you can write about it without it sounding weak. You could job shadow someone (ala Castle!) but if you work, that's also going to be impossible. Plus, if you call up, say, a police department and ask to shadow someone, I doubt they're going to say yes.

So--YA is simpler. But other than that, why write about what is, for a lot of people, the worst time of your life?

Here are my reasons--I'd love to know some of yours.

Why I Write Young Adult Fiction:

  • High school sucked for me until I left and went to a junior college for Running Start. Then it got insanely better. I like the idea of being able to "fix" high school.
  • There aren't any responsibilities as a teenager, at least there weren't for me. I didn't have to work ("Studying is your job. Get good grades!" -- my dad) and I had everything provided for me: a modest allowance, a car, a cell phone. Being a teen is "easy."
  • When you're a teen, you love wholeheartedly. There's a quote from Family Guy while they were spoofing Dawson's Creek, and the comment was, "There is nothing in our lives that will ever be as important as what's happening right here, right now, in front of these lockers." It's a total joke, but to a teen, it's more than true. EVERYTHING is important when you're a teen, even a note a friend passes you between classes.
  • Freedom. Parents work. It's a fact of life. Unless you've got a stay-at-home parent, you're going to be on your own for many hours of the day. Plenty of time to have tons of angst.
  • Teens have their whole lives ahead of them. They are not set in their ways. They're constantly changing and evolving. They think they know who they're going to be in ten years, but they're wrong. Absolutely wrong. And that's exciting.
  • Character analysis. Who didn't stare at the "popular" kids and think to themselves, "Wow, you're seriously not as cool as you think you are..."? Who didn't listen to inane chatter and think, "Is it really possible to be such an idiot? Or is this just a show?" These are all things you get to explore in YA fiction.
  • Camaraderie. Maybe you were miserable in school. Maybe the person reading your book/story is, too. Suddenly, they're not so alone anymore.
  • Fantasy. Your characters are alive and breathing and full of their own expectations and hopes and dreams. Now you can live through that, too. (And who doesn't love a good fantasy?!)
  • Innocence. Kids and teens are innocent creatures. They don't know what the world has in store. And, frankly, there's no smutty sex scenes (which is not my cup of tea myself. I know some people dig a good trashy romance novel, but I think I'd get uncomfortable writing or reading one).
  • Lessons. "Here's what you can learn from this." I love when you get a subtle lesson from a book. Something that says, "Oh, I bet I could do that, too." Or, "This is a new way of looking at it..." I used to love books where I would learn something, even if I didn't know I was learning it at the time. I'd read a book, and then later find myself in a similar situation and go, "I wonder if this person is thinking what the character was thinking..." And a lot of times, it worked in my favor to wonder that.

There are more reasons, but I can't think of them all. Maybe in my mind I'm still a teen--even though now I have a steady job, bills to pay, and a husband. But I love YA fiction, both reading and writing it, and I'm so curious why adult writers want to write YA, too.

So, let me know: Why do you write/read YA fiction?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It Must Be a Sign...

So, you'll see below I mentioned the Writer's Digest Self-Published Award that I entered The Eroe for--and didn't win even by a little bit.

Well imagine my surprise and astonishment when I found in the mail today a form from Writer's Digest advertising the 19th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Competition--ending April 11. (Find out more info at Writer's Digest - Self-Published Competition.)

Is it a sign? Should I enter The Wrong Path to this year's competition? Or maybe The Eroe again? Now that it's in better shape?

I'm not sure, but I certainly had a giant grin on my face when I saw the announcement for the competition. Exciting stuff, huh??

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Editors and My Submission to Writer's Digest Self-Published Awards

I don't let people read my writing.

I made the very rare exception for my husband after we'd been married for about a year. It was surprising, indeed, when I sent him the stories I was working on--chapter-by-chapter. But he was so encouraging and so helpful in helping me craft plots and scenes I felt the writing was really half his anyway. So it didn't feel so scary after a while, and I began looking forward to writing, partially so I could see his reaction as he read.

When I prepared to publish The Wrong Path, I was also planning to go it alone. Like I always do. But as the deadline I'd set for myself loomed closer, I went back and read The Quest of Dai: The Eroe and found myself growing sick. I'd actually published that? I'll tell you now: Dai in The Malo is nothing like Dai in The Eroe. I grew nervous. Agitated. Flushed at the idea of making the same mistake again.

So I put out the SOS for someone to review the The Wrong Path. I was scared. Petrified. What if no one wanted to read it? What if someone (besides me) read it and thought it sucked? What if there was nothing entertaining about the book? What if I failed (again)?

When not just one, but TWO wonderful people offered to be my editors for the book, I thought, "It has to be a sign. It's going to suck. They're going to hate it and rip it to shreds." And one of the girls who offered, I will tell you, (and I'm telling you now, Manda!) changed my life in more ways than I can actually write. I'm not just saying that because she's probably going to read this. I'm telling you because it's totally and completely true. She was my best friend at a crucial, life-changing time in everyone's life--their early teens--and she really did change me in so many ways. I was devastated when we lost touch, and astonished when we reconnected over a decade later. (The power of the internet? I think so!) And the other woman--well, you've probably all seen Jane's comments on my blog, and if you're smart, you'll have checked out her website and you know what an incredible and impressive person she is.

Probably needless to say, I was intimidated. But I sucked up all of my courage (and I'm not kidding, it really took all of my courage) and sent the manuscript on its way, begging for brutal honesty and terrified I was going to get it.

And I am so, so glad I did.

One paid very careful attention to my grammar and spelling (though I still don't understand why "pursed" isn't a word. I really don't.) and used track changes to point out parts of the story she liked. She fixed a sentence that has been plaguing me since I wrote the book but was so much in love with I couldn't bring myself to change. (She did.) I was giddy with delight and happiness when I read every comment and relieved when I read her edits. "Better," I thought to myself, "this is making the book so much better!"

The other edited mainly in content. I'll be honest--it stung every time I read what she didn't like about the book. The writer in me was indignant, but the reader in me was like, "Yes, of course that makes sense. She's absolutely right--this and this need fixing desperately." I had to step outside of the writer and say, "Will following the advice make things better?" And I had to agree, it would. Being inside the characters as you're writing does nothing for a reader. They're not in your head, are they? How are they going to know what was (or wasn't) motivating your character(s)? It was so wonderful to read the feedback, showing me how I could improve. How I could make it better. Things I never, ever would have thought of. I'm so lucky my begging for brutal honesty paid off!

I am so grateful, to both of you, for being so open and honest with me about your feedback. For telling me exactly what I needed to hear. It's actually a relief, oddly enough, to know how I can make the book stronger. What I need to do to make it more enjoyable. I cannot thank either of you enough!

My advice to writers? Get an editor. Seriously. Find someone willing to read your book(s) and read every word they come back with. If you're lucky, like me, someone will tell you what you really need to hear.

Now--on to other news... A long time ago, nearly a year, actually, I submitted The Eroe for the Writer's Digest Self-Published awards. (This was before I read it again and cringed with dread.) We were supposed to receive feedback in October, but it was around that time that mail was being stolen from the address I have all of my mail sent to, so I was sure it was one of the unfortunate pieces lost. "Maybe it's a sign," I consoled myself. "You probably wouldn't have wanted to read the review anyway..."

But I was cleaning out some old boxes from our move to our new apartment, and found a large envelope with my name on it. You can only imagine my astonishment when I opened it and found the rejection letter (oh yes, it was rejected) for the award. I shifted through the papers to see the "Participation Certificate" consolation prize, and under it, there it was. My review from a professional editor.

My heart sank into my chest. I sat down at the dining room table and slowly began to read.

"How would you rate this story on a scale from 1-5? (1 being poor, 5 being excellent)

Plot: 4
Grammar: 5
Character development: 5
Production quality and cover design: 4

Judge's commentary:
What did you like best about this book?
Congratulations on writing and publishing your novel! You have a very intriguing story here. Lots of great action and dialogue with a minimum of narration. Excellent character development. Lots of great details that make the scenes come alive for the readers. Good job with grammar, proofreading, and formatting of the book.

How can the author improve this book?
This is pretty long for a YA novel. You could split this into two novels with all this material. I'd like to see the cover image in this document."

18/20 points.

18. Out of 20. Points.

"This judge," I said to myself, gaping in disbelief, "is incredibly nice and generous." I re-read the comments from the judge. "Incredibly nice," I said to myself, still stunned. "Wow. Too nice. Is this a real review?"

I think I read it three times before I believed I was really staring at a review. Then I slowly set the paper down and finished cleaning the kitchen.

I showed the review to my husband, who cheered at what a positive review it was. I thought about the criticism. "Enough for two books," I mused. I grinned to myself. "Wonder what they would think about the latest revision?" (Wherein I've cut the book down by approximately 40,000 words.)

So. Do I feel motivated to write? Motivated to revise The Wrong Path per my wonderful editors? You bet. And who knows? There's always next year for the competition...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday's Bad News--Good News Time

Bad news:
We still don't have a couch.

Good news:
I got the ring (finally!) my husband bought me for my birthday. It is positively stunning! Bigger (wider) than expected, but ohmygosh, SO PRETTY. It is the whitest white gold you've ever seen.


Bad news:
I refuse to relinquish The Quest of Dai: The Eroe.

Good news:
I got two (two!) volunteers to read The Wrong Path! YAY!!

Bad news:
I laid my sweaters out to dry on the floor in a circle and the cat threw up right in the middle (IN THE MIDDLE!) of them and then used three of the four sweaters to cover it up. Little brat.

Good news:
A friend of mine who I've lost touch with for six-plus months messaged me! YAYNESS! Talk about motivation to buy a couch, huh?

Bad news:
We still haven't had my car towed, and it's been broken for about a month. (We're so lazy!!!)

Good news:
Work today FLEW by because I was ridiculously busy, and it just keeps getting busier.

Bad news:
I'm still in a writing slump.

Good news:
I'm desperately trying to claw my way out of it!

So--what's YOUR good and bad Monday news?!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Still Not Out Yet?!

What the hell, right?!?

Well as I mentioned previously, my writing battery not only died, it like, DIED. Hardcore. So much so that I couldn't even bring myself to read/edit The Wrong Path or The Quest of Dai: The Eroe one more time.

But after a rather long week at work, I've decided to give myself some good news and say, "I'm doing it! Now!" And I'm doing my final read-through of The Wrong Path, followed shortly by The Quest of Dai: The Eroe.

If you're interested in reading through either one for me post my final read-through, before I publish it for the world to criticize, I'm willing to take readers! I don't pay, but I promise to put your name in my dedications. :) I'm kind of just hoping for someone to read one (or both) through and say, "Yes, this works!" or, "Wow, are you really thinking about publishing this?"

If you're interested, you can comment or e-mail me before Sunday night! <3

And if you've been waiting for one of the books, then rest assured--they're on their way!