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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Life Is Over!

Piece of advice #1- Always back up your computer.

The worst thing that could happen, happened to me today. Literally, my nightmares have come true. Like any average computer owner, I back up my computer semi-frequently. I basically do it whenever I remember to.

Well... My computer crashed, burned, died- freaking BLANKED OUT ON ME! I got the blue screen of death on my mac and couldn't even log into my computer to copy my files. I literally spent three hours on the phone with Apple Support trying to figure out a way but nope- nothing they could do.

So here I am- bookless, photo less, music less... Let's just say- I've got nothing! Nothing at all. My one saving grace was I have my files on a USB stick.

Bad news? I haven't backed up to it since the beginning of May- May 2nd. All of my edits- which I've been doing like crazy to get my book ready for the editor by June 4th is gone. My new book- completely gone. My old/new book- half there.

I just got home from work and am sitting her sobbing as I write this. It sucks because I put so much work into The Thousand Year Curse the past two weeks. Editing, cutting, formatting. All of it's gone and it's heart breaking. I don't even have it in me right now to fix it all up.

My new book was so good and I was so excited for it and now that's gone. I don't have that at all on my computer, USB, email- nothing. I HATE MY LIFE.

*Sorry if I'm an annoying b-i-t-c-h right now but let me vent- please!*

Where do I go from here? How can I move on? Right now all I want to do is sit here and wallow in my sorrows. I want to chuck this computer out the window and never write again. I'm feeling very much like sitting in a rut for a while.

Don't feel bad for me, though. Feel bad for Chris, my boyfriend. I hate to say it but I'm definitely taking it out on him right now. He probably hates me but still. I hate this computer. Macs are supposed to be the best, right? No. I hate apple now. Apple ruined my writing spree. BoOoOoOoO.

Anyways- I'll end this now before you all block me for whining. We all hate whining characters so real people whining- not a fun thing. I'll be retreating to my bed and not coming out for days. If you don't hear from me, don't fret. I'm alive but not well. Still sulking.

Later guys. BACK YOUR SHIT UP!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorable Characters

There are some characters in literature that you just don't forget. They leave a lasting impression on your life. You never forget what happened to them, who they were and what they taught you. Sometimes when I read, I think the character is my friend. I know so much about them I feel like I know them, fully. It's crazy.

As authors, how do we create these memorable characters?

I'm struggling with this myself. I want my characters to be the best and make you remember them. I can't tell you how many times I've read and then after I'm asking myself, what the characters name was. I write reviews, so if I can't remember a character's name, that's a problem.

From this page, I've found some useful tips that I've used in my writing...

Vulnerability- Who likes a perfect character with a perfect life? Nobody and frankly, nobody can relate to that. Everyone has issues and problems so a character with problems is more relatable and memorable.

Conflict- The character has to have some issue. If they don't, what's the point of the book. They need to overcome their obstacles to get past the conflict. There needs to be some sort of conflict and resolution- or many.

Down Time- The pace of your characters and the story is important. Fast-paced 24/7 action is great and it gets the reader into it but the story won't last. You need to have some down time to establish character traits and reflect.

Memorable Traits- Duh. But we don't always think of it. We tend to create characters that work or have been done before. Make them stand out and have different traits than a normal character. Make them unique!

Internal Conflicts- Your character should grow and change throughout the book. You don't want to read about a character who doesn't learn from their mistakes or who stays one dimensional. Your character should have some struggle internally and then overcome it through the book.

Tips I've come up with....

Name- Names are huge for characters. I just started reading a book, it's sci-fi so the names tend to be a tad weirder and the name was, Tro^ak. I mean really? How do I even pronounce that? It's cool and it sets the scene but at least make something with just letters.

Avoid Using Cliches- I hate reading a book where the main character is predictable thanks to cliches. You know what genre the character fits in and you can guess what they're going to do. It's so annoying. I want to read about new characters with new problems and new traits.

Use Real Life Knowledge- It's hard to write about something you know nothing about. Use traits from people you know in real life and use them in your character. Also use faces you see and make the character. It's much more realistic if you know what you're talking about.

Know Your Characters- I think it's crucial to really know your characters. Know how they react to situations, know how they talk, their habits, their flaws. Understanding what they know and they don't. Their insecurities. If you really know your character you can make them memorable.

How do you guys create memorable characters? What are the best traits for characters? Post below with your advice!

Friday, May 24, 2013

More Teasers!!

Hey guys! For those of you who follow my blog, this teaser will look kind of familiar. Yesterday I posted a writing exercise that had to do with character development. I thought that since I'm running out of actual book snippets- without giving the whole story away, I'd do the exercise with my main character! Here we go!!

Ryder Mason
  1. Anxious in social situations
  2. Wants to be accepted by peers
  3. Trust problems rooting from a missing mother
  4. Homebody
  5. Nurturing Qualities
  6. Follows her heart
  7. Logical
  8. Book-smart
  9. Dreams to get away from her small town
  10. Loyal to a fault
  1. Ugly
  2. Weak-minded
  3. Lesbian
  4. Likes therapy
  5. Enjoys partying
  6. Talented
  7. Hates her dad
  8. Hates music
  9. Looking for love
  10. Stupid
Random Facts!
  1. Enjoys extra hot showers
  2. Bookworm
  3. Wishes on stars
  4. Virgin
  5. Blushes at everything
  6. Misses out on high school experiences
  7. Old soul
  8. Wants a dog
  9. Dreams of snuggling with a guy at the movies
  10. Likes routine in her life
  • Female, white, no siblings, dad only- good relationship, smart, affluent town.
  • 17, senior in high school, brown hair, blue/green eyes-always changing, 5'2'', small frame, hates to be singled out, bullied, fear of being alone, trust and loyalty are best traits.
  1. Wants to be accepted yet she doesn't try to fit in.
  2. Isn't talented or have skills but she feels special or different than others.
  3. Doesn't trust people yet follows her heart and wants to be in love someday.
What animal is she and why?
  • Golden retriever- She is loyal, loving, craves attention, aims to please, wants love, playful, homebody, likes to walk/run. 

How can I stop the hurt inside me?
The constant torment,
the verbal lashings.
What have I done to deserve this?
Do I leave?
Do I run?
Do I fight back?
I'm tired of this weighing on me
every second of every day.
I need to be me.
Please, accept me for me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Transformation of Editing

The Thousand Year Curse will be off to a professional editor in June. I'm really excited since this will be the last step of my book process. After it's edited, I will fix whatever critiques she has and then it gets published! I'm really excited for this first book to get out there. 

In preparation for the editor- I'm editing. Have I mentioned how much I hate editing?! 

It's funny, I use scrivener to write my books and they have a really organized and easy way to edit. Basically you can make notes or highlight and everything you change, is a different color. My book started out looking like this...
Simple, black ink. I'm sure you can find some grammatical and possibly word errors. This was my first draft, before I edited it at all. I don't even think this scene is in the book anymore to be completely honest. 

Next came the green ink. I switched it up and made edit number one with green writing. Here's what it looked like at that stage...
Yes, I know. That first edit was rough and basically the majority of my manuscript was written in this neon green writing that my eyes had to strain to read. Poor decision on my part, I'll admit. But you can see how much changed in that first edit. It was a bit crazy and my novel grew about 20,000 words magically.

Next came the blue. I was a bit smarter with this part because I chose a royal blue, easy to read and not going to kill my eyes. Here's what the blue parts look like...

I don't even see black ink anymore at this point. My old writing has been transformed! This particular part was added in so that's mostly why it's all blue and green but still. Bye bye old novel and hello new and improved. I believed this blue stuff was edited after getting some beta readings done and suggestions.

Now this is the part I'm doing right now. I'm going through it with a fine toothed comb, cutting and fixing sentences before it goes to the editor. I want her to read the best book possible. Here's what I'm doing now and how it looks so far...
It's a freaking rainbow!

My suggestions for getting your book professional editor ready....
  • Clean up the format.
    • Make sure you have correct paragraphs, page breaks and chapter set up
  • Go through your time line  
  •  Make character sketches- if you haven't already
  •  Run your transcript through an online editor
    • I have Autocrit and it finds repeated words, pace problems and cliches. 
    • You would never believe what you pick up when reading it out loud. Trust me on this one. It is like night and day.
I know it's an odd concept... Getting your book edited fully before having it professionally edited. Growing up, my mom had cleaning ladies come to our house every couple weeks. The day before they came, we would have to clean and make sure it was ready for them. It's the same concept. For the professional editor you want to present your best work so that they can make it that much better.

Anybody else have some good editing tips? What works for you? Have you guys hired professional editors? Have they worked for you?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Tease-Time!

Seriously, you guys. I'm running out of teasers to give you all. I do have a quick update. I've hired a professional editor and I'm booked for the first week in June. Once I get that back and fix any corrections and editing errors, I'm releasing it. I've realized I don't have the patience and want my work out there.

This scene I've decided to share introduces you all to a new character. If any of you are good with mythology you'll recognize the name and location. I love adding smaller characters in that bring history with them.

       “Charon, old friend.” Ari says in a friendly tone. The large guy looks at Ari as if he has two heads and worry spreads through me. This guy looks evil with his large stature and penetrating eyes. His body is ripped from head to toe. His arms are bulky with muscle on top of muscle. I thought Ari had big muscles but this guy is insane. He’s at least double the size of Ari. It's funny because he has dark skin but very light hair- almost making me think he dyes it. His eyes are what makes me question his appearance. They're brown but filled with yellow flecks. Staring at him, I have an overwhelming feeling that he's not a threat. 
“Aristeus, to what do I owe this pleasure?” Charon asks amused.
“I need a ride to the main gates.” Ari cuts right to the chase. I hold my breath for the guys answer. Please say yes, please say yes. I can’t swim in there. Please don’t make me. 
“You know I cant do that.” Charon answers stoically
“I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t urgent.” Ari pulls out his sincere voice and tries persuading him.
“You put me in a tough place.” Charon answers back, seemingly regretful. 
“I brought you something.” Ari reaches into his backpack and takes out two golden discs. They don’t look like much to me but from the expression on Charon's face they mean something to him. His eyes practically pop out of his head. He reaches for the discs but Ari pulls them back, just out of reach.
“They’re yours for the trip.” Charon shuts his eyes for a moment clearly weighing his options but his greed wins over. 
“Fine. You win. Get on.” Ari hands him one disc but withdraws the other. “When we get there, this is yours.” He states and the engine to the boat rumbles to life. Ari climbs onto the boat first and then reaches for me. 

How'd you all like it? Leave any comments if you get a chance. Keep in mind, this hasn't gone through editing yet! Lots of fun stuff for you guys next week, so be sure to follow so you're in the loop. Also my website has a new domain... Check it out when you get a chance. Thanks again for all the support!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First Date Ideas

I know, I know. I've been asking a lot of all of you lately. I'm wondering what everyone thinks is a great first date. I want it to be epic. Obviously it's the start of what could be an amazing relationship. The guy wants to make a great first impression, the girl wants to be swept off her feet.

What's a perfect first date in your mind?

Here are some ideas that I've come up with...

  • Bowling. This is a classic first date. You can talk, flirt and get to know each other while casually drinking a beer and having pizza. It's low key and casual but fun. Personally I love bowling. Is this enough to make a lasting impression? Would this sweep you off your feet?
  • Hiking and a picnic. This is a really cute one if you're with the right girl. Hiking to the top of a mountain and seeing a beautiful view while eating a packed meal is a really cute date. You can talk and accomplish something together. What do you think? Yay or nay?
  • Amusement Park. Personally I hate roller-coasters BUT I admit that this would be a carefree and fun date. You have to trust your date and be scared together. You can really bond at the amusement park. Also it's a lot of fun and childlike. Is this the best first date? You tell me!
  • Dinner and a movie. Another classic first date. I like this because at dinner, you get intimacy and can talk and get to know each other. During the movie you can get even closer and possibly steal that first kiss. I like this one but it is cliche. Too unoriginal?
Those are my favorite ones that I've read or been on or seen... Here are some others that are cool,
  • Ice skating
  • Museum
  • Concert
  • Aquarium/zoo
  • Sporting event
  • Wine tasting
  • Club

Have any of you had a really good first date? Tell me about it so I can use it, possibly in my new book. I want the date to be perfect, romantic and to set the stage for a passion filled romance. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sex Scene Excerpt

Hello everyone. I'm working on my latest book and it has some sex in it. If you've read my other blog posts recently, I've been trying to master the sex scene. I'm not sure if I have or not but I figured I'd post it on here and see what people say.

Bear in mind that this hasn't been edited at all and I haven't had anyone look at it. Any grammatical errors don't have to be pointed out since through editing, they'll disappear.

I really want anyone who reads this to comment with their thoughts and whether it worked at all. Honest critiques are good and exactly what I'm looking for. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment your thoughts after reading.

I guess now would be the time to warn whoever is reading that there is sex coming up. This is the first time Maggie and Luke are having sex. Up until this point they've had one steamy make out session and tons of tension.

Before I can break the silence he grabs me by the waist and pulls me into him. Our bodies are touching on every bare spot sending heat through my veins. I cling to him with my arms and tilt my face up to look into his mysterious eyes. He looks down at me with hooded eyes and I can tell what he wants. 
He bends down to my height and takes my mouth in his. I’m pretty sure I gasp from the passion but my brain is focused on one thing only, Luke. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I entwine my fingers through his hair trying to get as close as possible to this man. 
He starts moaning into my mouth and I need more. I jump into his arms and wrap both legs around his hard torso. Immediately I feel his hard erection against my most sensitive spot and melt into him. He feels so good and I need him, more and more by each passing second. 
“More.” I moan into his mouth as his tongue continues it’s assault. God, he knows exactly what he’s doing. I’ve never been more turned on in my life. He feels so good and we fit perfectly together. “More.” I pull back as whisper. I open my heavy eyes and stare right into his. They flash with uneasiness before he drags us back up the stairs. 
As he walks I bury myself in his neck. He smells so damn good and I’ll never forget this smell. He’s pure man with sweat, soap and old spice, maybe? I just know that I fucking love it. We get to my door and I push it open with my ass. He walks us to my bed and he drops me before covering me with his body again. 
“Should I slow down?” Luke asks while lifting my hoodie up and over my head. He grunts seeing that I have another layer of clothes on underneath and I giggle at his reaction. This time I lift it over my head myself revealing my bra and my body to him. I think that answered his question. 
He grabs the back of my neck and pulls me up so I’m sitting right in front of him. I’m a little shy but I know I have a good body. It’s all genes, trust me. Reaching lower, he unclasps my bra and my breasts spring free, tightening from Luke’s strong gaze. 
I swear he growls in the back of his throat before taking my right nipple in his mouth. I moan from the heat and wetness in his mouth. God, he feels so good. My other nipple feels neglected so I reach my hand up and start twisting it so they both feel good. 
My head falls back in ecstasy but I need more. My panties are definitely drenched and the tension down there is burning. I need to be touched now or else I’m going to loose it. I grab his full head of hair and pull it back. I grab the hem of his shirt and lift it over his head. Fuck.
As if my need could grow stronger. He’s so fucking hot. Immediately I bend down and lick his navel all the way up his neck. He tastes salty and so fucking good. I can’t stop there, though. I need to taste more. I reach for his pants and undo the top bottom. I don’t even bother with the stupid zipper. I pull his pants down and his underwear to reveal his hard dick. 
Before I can even admire it, I take it all in my mouth. It tastes so much better than his abs. I reach my hand up and start stroking his shaft while teasing the tip with my tongue. Luke’s hands dive into my hair and start guiding my head up and down. I normally hate it when guys do this but with him, I don’t care. Anyway I can have him, I want him.
“You better stop before this ends too fast.” Luke grunts out. Instead I go harder and faster with my mouth. He starts moaning and in an instant he pulls out of my mouth and throws me down on the bed. I’m panting now and my pants are drenching with my need. 
“Please god. Touch me, Luke.” I say pulling my own pants down in utter need. It hurts just sitting here, him naked staring at me. I need him so bad. The tension inside me is surely going to kill me if I don’t have him inside me, like five minutes ago. 
He gently pushes me down onto the bed so I’m laying flat with my legs over the edge. I close my eyes bucking in anticipation for his touch. His pointer finger trails from my nipple down to my navel. I swear to god, he kisses and touches every spot on my fucking body except for the one that I need him to. 
I can’t take it anymore, so I reach my own hand down to take care of myself. Luke grabs it before I even get close and I groan. “Fuck, Luke. I need you to touch me. Please.” I basically cry out to him. I know he’s teasing me on purpose but I can’t take it anymore. My need is consuming me. 
“Shh. It’s coming, baby.” He bends back down and starts flicking his tongue around my clit. Finally, he hits me in the exact spot I need and I come undone. One fucking touch and I’m trembling, shaking and calling out his name. I come hard and long until I can’t even breathe. My body feels like it’s been rocked and it definitely has. I thought an orgasm would cure me but I still crave him. 
“You’re so beautiful when you come for me.” He says and I’m needing him more and more. He continues to stroke me with his fingers working me up for another one. I want it from his dick his time. I reach up and grab him by the shoulders pulling him onto the bed. 
“Let me do something for you.” I say, smiling at him and straddling him. Before I can put him inside me, he hands me a condom. Fucking stupid thing. Honestly, these babies always ruin the mood. I need to get on birth control ASAP if this is going to be a normal thing- which I really hope it is. 
Sliding the condom over his hard erection, he moans making me stroke him a little before moving further. I sit up in my hips and slowly put him inside me. I don’t go all the way down. He was teasing me before, now he can get a taste of his own medicine. I go all the way down and then up slowly. I twirl my hips so that his tip is only inside me and he starts panting with me. 
“God, you’re killing me.” Luke says through clenched teeth. He grabs onto my hips and starts pulling me up and down on his dick. It feels so good but I want to be in control. I grab both of his hands and put them above his head. I push them down so that he can’t use them and guide myself over his dick. 
Slowly, I start rocking back and forth and can feel my build towards an orgasm. His hands are freed and they go straight to my breasts in his face. He starts kneading them, tugging them and licking them which only makes my build so faster.
“I’m going to come.” I say as I rock harder on him.
“Wait for me.” He says and I nod, letting him take my hips and do what he wants with me. He starts putting himself all the way in me and then rocking me hard. I can’t take it and I start getting loud. I can’t contain the moans coming from me. It feels so good and I can’t hold back my orgasm anymore.
“I’m coming, Luke!” I yell out as my body betrays me by crumbling on top of his dick. God, it feels so fucking good. He continues to pump into me which only prolongs my orgasm. I literally collapse onto his shoulder when he stops moving. 
“Did you go?” I ask him into his neck breathlessly since I have none lieft. 
“I went with you baby.” Luke pants out wrapping his arms around me. We’re both sweaty and spent but this was the moment I was scared of. It’s always awkward after sex. No matter how old you are, this is the scary part. I don’t know if I should get up or wait for him to be the one to break the silence. 

That's it! Leave me a comment with any suggestions, comments or critiques. Thanks for taking the time to read this for me. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

What Publishers Won't Tell You

What Publishers Won’t Tell You

Eager looking forward to get a publishing contract or happy your received one?  Finding a publisher who will consider your book idea and getting your manuscript published is time-consuming and can often be a frustrating experience. Going with a big publisher is not easier than author-publishing. You will be surprised to learn about the following facts, sometimes the hard way:
Your book has three months to fly off the shelves.
If your book does not sell in the first three months of its bookstore life, it will be remaindered and disappears from bookstores and could end up at “A Buck a Book”.  90 to 95% of books don’t pay back their advance. Royalty will only be paid if the advance is paid back. What you get upfront as an advance is usually all you will ever get.
If you screw up on your first book, you’re out.
If you do well with it, publishers will be eager to see your next title. But if you don’t sell a lot of books, your agent or publisher will not want to read your manuscript when it comes time to offer your second book.
Traditional publishing is very slow.
Unless you wrote a political tell-all, your book is going to ”be in the making” for two years or longer until it goes into the bookstores. You need to be sure your topic is timeless and that you will be interested in publicizing it years from now.
Most likely your book will not be published in foreign countries.
Unless you have a savvy agent (preferably speaking several languages) who is trying to sell your book abroad, there is little chance that your publisher actively tries to find buyers in foreign markets.
Your advance will be the only money you will see.
You can get as little as $5,000 or as much as $500,000, but either way, you’ll pay 15% of that to your agent, and the remainder will be paid in thirds or quarters over the next couple years.  So you first need to “earn out” the advance, before any royalties will be paid.
Publishing is the slowest possible get-rich-quick scheme.
Breaking into big money publishing is like becoming a movie star - being talented definitely helps, but luck plays a big role and the odds might not be in your favor.
Sorry, no publicity.Until a decade or two ago, publishers did some marketing for books. Now they might send out some galleys and wait to see if anyone is interested. Then they focus all their publicity on the books they expect to be a bestseller. If you want your book to be a success, YOU will have to do all the publicity yourself!
Books don’t sell themselves, as most writers sooner or later find out – often too late.  If you are interested in making money or selling your book for a long time, better consider e-books and self-publishing.  But in any way, marketing skills or at least the willingness to learn about marketing and PR to promote your book, are essential for an author. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ryder's Teaser!

Hey guys! Sorry I've been so lacking on the teasers lately. Honestly, I haven't touched the book in a while. I've been so busy with publishers, editors, unpacking and god knows what else that it's pushed in the back of my brain.

I have some good news though. I've gotten a contract offer from a publishing house. I'm not sure I am going to take it yet. I have someone looking it over for me since I suck at law, contract, money- all that crap. To be honest, I might just self-publish and get the book out there. BUT if the deals good enough and they don't want to change the book, I'll do it.

For this week's teaser I put together a play list. These songs are all mentioned in my book- well not all of them. Some of them show the story line and enhance what happens in the book. Music is a great way to express feeling.

I really love using music to portray feelings. Personally, I am a music junkie. I listen to everything on the map from rap to pop, classical to country. I honestly love it all! I know on my iPhone I have sad lists, fun lists and romantic lists. Songs set the mood. The best songs are those we can relate to our own life. During a breakup, I swear music is what kept me going.

Here is Ryder's playlist!

Monday, May 6, 2013


A really cool give away! There's a bunch on here that they are offering. You can win a kindle fire, $199 amazon card or paypal. I follow this blog and they always are giving great stuff. Follow them and me for updates!

Are you guys interested in giveaways like this one? Let me know things that you would want and I can try to make it happen! New post already cued for tomorrow so don't forget to check back!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Write a Good Sex Scene

I've been talking back and forth with a publishing company I am thinking of publishing with. One of her critiques is that my sex scene is funny when it should be more intense and deep. I guess because I'm not all that confident in the scene, it comes off all wrong. So I've been trying to get it right. Here are some tips I've picked up for writing a sex scene.

The Joy of Writing Sex by Elizabeth Benedict is a great guide that helps with writing the scenes. I bought it on amazon and found it to be the best! Pick it up if you need some advice. I completely recommend it!

  • Reveal something during sex. Unless you are writing an erotic novel where sex is there well.. just for sex, something has to be revealed. Whether it's an 'I love you' in the heat of the moment, or a shyness or a new character trait, something should happen. 
  • Don't make it cliche or generic. Using the same old actions and verbs makes the scene boring. You want the sex scene to be completely unique to your characters. I am constantly finding myself skip over sex scenes and read just the dialog. They are boring and once you've read one, you've read them all. Make yours special so the reader doesn't dismiss it.
  • Something has to change. Whether the sex has a consequence or the relationship changes or emotions do, it has to have some impact on the characters life. Like I said before, unless it's just sex to have sex, it should change up the plot. 

I found this honest yet hilarious website, that reveals do's and don'ts about sex scenes. They're pretty funny and I find that I completely agree with most of them. I'll post some of my favorites from the article. 

  • Watch what you call nipples during a sex scene. No cherries, pencil erasers, starbursts, nubs- whatever the hell else writers make up. 
  • Don't say penis or vagina. Even writing them here kills the mood. The article brought up a great point in saying, you don't ever have to use a word for genitals. Just say, 'he reached for me' or 'he touched me.' It sounds much better to my ears.
  • Make sure the dialog is believable. This isn't a fake porno, people don't actually say 'give it to me, big boy.' In fact, that's laughable. Make sure that what your characters say is something a real person would say during sex.
  • Sex scenes should be based off real sex. You can't forget the foreplay, fluids and awkward moments. It all happens. Excluding these parts will only make it seem fake and you don't want that. You want the reader to feel and be aroused and making it as believable as possible is the key to that!

Do I have any followers who are experts in writing sex scenes? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks and any advice anyone has... Please do let me know! Until next time...