Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Low Down

I’m not sure how to tell you to avoid these things, but I walked right into it. Sometimes I think it’s better to be reactive—you may get discouraged otherwise if you think about it too much. My book was released, but only in the UK. The domestic distributor has not done their part. It seems I will have to have a separate launch date for my US readers. My book, The Summer Palace is available in paperback and e-book at the UK website under New Releases or under authors under Nomakeo. The price is $13.95 US dollars and $4.95 respectively. It costs almost as much as the book to ship to the US. I am asked to check and for the availability of my book. To date only the Kindle version is available on I have ordered books through my publisher and the website and hope I receive copies of my book to honor the commitments I have made and keep my sales going in a forward direction. I will have to guard them with my life until it becomes easier to get them. Currently, I’m in possession of five books which is no way to start marketing a new release. Not sure how to avoid such a thing in the future. I was told the launch of my book on November 30, 2017 would include all outlets but that didn’t happen. My fault for being too trusting? However, it’s times like this that test your mettle. My publisher is trying their best to get the domestic distributor going and I have ordered books through the UK for limited local distribution.

I usually barge my way through life and figure it out later. That has been my method. When I was a typesetter and they brought in desktop publishing I didn’t have enough sense to balk. Some did. I dove into it and figured it out as I went along. Same with writing. I tell stories and then I figure out how to make it readable. Same with desktop, if I only knew what I was getting myself into I might not have started, some never do.

I was a listener long before I was a writer perhaps that is where all my stories come from. I have passion for history and passion is key to writing… I’m convinced of that. I didn’t target an audience or plan a strategy, but I can certainly see a point for that. You must respect your audience and mustn’t trip them up with more information than they need or sentences they can’t read. Certain genres require shorter books… fantasy books are usually 80,000+ words. You need to know where your book will fit in a book store. I hadn’t figured that out either. Today, I know my book is a Literary Historical Fiction but I kind of squeezed it in there because it made sense—hindsight.

As I mentioned before The Summer Palace is my fourth book. Book One Woven sits in a box collecting dust all 180,000 words. Book Two The Tea Room has recently had another rejection and it too sits at 77,000 words until I can find a Critique Partner or beta readers. Book Three Places a Science Fiction historical fantasy at 67,000 words has been out on query for about one month and one half with only the sound of crickets in my inbox. Needless to say, it was a thrill when The Summer Palace was picked up two weeks after submission along with nine others (After four months of intensive reconstruction). Never heard from the other nine.

For the Spring of 2018 I have a US Launch planned and an Author Fair at a local library. There are many tools for new authors in your local communities and I was happy to realize this. Book Club readers have been so receptive and they read for the joy of it. It’s great to see how a book impacts the lives of others and I hope my book will be well received.

One More Day Until Publication


I recently read a book in which the subject is about a club you never want to belong to. The authors who get a book published on the other hand is a club I have been actively trying to get into for almost three years. On November 30, 2017 I will officially be a member of that club. I feel so joyful today. I recently joined a local writers group and book club two separate groups both with talented and articulate people. I recently read that marketing your book is very important but WORD OF MOUTH is a much stronger vehicle. It has been a most pleasant experience friendly, encouraging people in both groups. People that love to read and those who love to write. My kind of people. I’m also reading books I would never have chosen for myself and broadening my world. Today’s group considered and chose my book The Summer Palace to read for the next book of the month I am honored and crave the feedback. Tommorrow I will deliver twelve books to another book club. It’s wonderful how receptive these avid readers welcomed my book sight unseen and I hope they aren’t disappointed. So far this new phase of the process has been a positive experience.

Thursday, my book will be available to purchase. There are three ways to purchase my book The Summer Palace by S. Forrest Nomakeo,, and Barnes and Noble in Western Mass. and online. Amazon and B&N may state that the book is out of stock because they need to get orders in order to place an order so don’t be discouraged so by ordering from (UK) may be the most direct way if you absouletley mus t have the book right away… and I can understand your reasoning for that. The Summer Palace by S. Forrest Nomakeo because there are other books by the same title but this book is yellow and the only one that bears my name.


It was one month ago today that I sent my third book The Places You Will Be From out to query. Since my initial blog I have received no word from any of them. That is why you must never wait; keep on writing, reading, and dreaming. I’m still looking for a Critique Partner of Tea Room my second book and it sits in the crock pot on low.

Now I have several clubs I’m proud to be part of. Check out the local library website and join a writers or readers book club. That’s what I did.

Did you get the e-mail?

So far I haven’t been able to write while listening to my playlist. I’m trying it now. I’ll see how it goes.

Well, it happened I received my 20 complimentary advance copies from my publisher. A banner day. Seeing the book and holding it in my hand was a great feeling. I shut the musci off can’t seem to concentrate with it on. Anyway, I’m relying on the fact that my book will be available as promised on November 30, 2017. Although, my book isn’t in the system yet. Not sure how this will all work out but I will keep you informed.

I sent out my first e-mail to this list. I hope if you are a registered user you received a notice about the upcoming release of my book The Summer Palace and I’m entering into the marketing phase. I’m trying to line up book club events, and handing my copies out to people that have been encouraging me throughout the process. The event I’ve been planning, the big event, is temporarily scheduled for February 2018. A little later than we expected but to do it right I need a few months to plan. In my networking plans I reconnected with one of the editors of one of my books. The author of The Novel Makers Handbook, Diane O’Connell replied to me right away. I have mentioned her book in this blog  before but I must say again how much the book and its author helped me in my quest to get my book to the level it needed to be to be published. If you are in any stage of completion of your MS I highly recommend this helpful tool. In fact I went on Amazon and gave her a review. Speaking of reviews on Amazon, I have developed a policy for myself. If I can’t rate a book at five stars or even four—I won’t leave a review. A three star review leaves a negative connotation and I made that mistake once and won’t do it again. So, as important as these reviews can be I believe it’s better to leave no review than a mediocre or poor one.

Still, things are not happening fast enough. It’s a true exercise in humility. I sit to write and order my characters across the continent, I decide what they’re wearing, what color their eyes are, and even whom they might fall in love with, yet I’m totally at the mercy of someone else who doesn’t think my book should rise to the top of the pile, answer my e-mails immediately, and produce a timeline. However, I do believe there is a lot of grey area between what I expect and what is professional and courteous.

A Really Big Shoe

Remember my recent post about waiting for the other shoe to drop? If not, you can find it in the archives not so long ago. Shortly after my last blog, I received the proof certificate to sign off on the cover and text of my novel The Summer Palace. I have since been assigned a Marketing Coordinator and the plans for the publication of my book are in motion. I’m still not sure about when I’ll receive the advance copies or exactly where my book will be available for purchase on November 30, 2017, but I will keep you posted. I have compiled an e-list from this blog and you should be receiving a notice when it becomes available to purchase.


Between the date of October 26 – 28 2017 I sent out eight queries on my book The Places You Will Be From the same book that was turned down by another agency. I reported that I heard back from two agencies so far, one was an auto-reply and the other was a rejection. I have heard nothing from the other six since. That was roughly two weeks ago.

When I signed off on the final copy of my book I received a questionnaire from the Marketing Department. Because I had done my homework, I was able to fill it out and send it back the next day. I had mostly everything in place; a professional photo, a media kit downloadable on my website, a synopsis and jacket description, a good basis for an e-mail list from this 2-1/2 year old blog, and a podcast and ten questions from an interview. I also had to come up with a list of booksellers, media, and organizations that could be contacted about my book.

In the long stretch of time between signing a contract and signing off on my book (14 months and counting) I kept writing and looked into what would be expected of an author in this final phase of production. I’m in a much different place than I was six months ago when I thought my book would be published. The delays and waiting were draining (I don’t recommend doing that). This next phase, going out into public and talking about my book will be me out of my box. Looking at the top of this blog, you’ll see I was a listener before I was a writer none of that says media personality. In the last month of filtering through The Summer Palace I have become re-acquainted with the story—word by word. It still thrills me to see how all the words combine to express what was in my mind. I do hope when a reader sits down with my book that the hours they spend with the words will be meaningful and memorable. A book is a real commitment by the reader and an honor for the author.

Speaking of which, I have been immersed in the Drenai Series by David Gemmell. I am currently reading The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend book 6 out of 11. I have enjoyed each and every book so far and I highly recommend them. He’s a one of a kind storyteller.

So, the other shoe has dropped and it’s a really big one. It will take me on an adventure that I will be happy to share with you.

A Lot Has Happened Nothing Has Changed

A lot has happened.

• Expecting a  final PDF of my novel The Summer Palace  to approve

• Waiting to receive the cover and jacket copy to approve

• News about my recent submissions

• My latest endeavors

Nothing has changed.

I still wait to sign-off on my novel and get it into publication. I found more errors in the final PDF copy I was expected to sign-off on two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I found several glaring errors and inconsistencies that I choose to fix. When a publisher takes on a first time author, there should be some understanding of typical errors we make. Like, expecting someone else to painfully go through the MS and miraculously find the errors hidden in-between miles of text. When I received that final PDF copy I decided to do what I should have done during the first edit. I read the book backwards. I’m sure there are more errors, they seem to be eternal, but I found some that would have made me cry if the book was printed that way. Not sure what to do at this late stage I went back to the Word Doc and effected the changes and sent it back to my publisher. Four days later I found out that I had to make the changes to their file which they sent and I made the changes and sent it back the next day. That was a week ago and I still wait. So in that regard nothing has changed.

I was supposed to hear from the Marketing and Promotion departments but haven’t. Today I sent out an appeal to someone who could take up my cause. I did receive a publication date and a promise for advance copies by November 22, 2017 but since I haven’t signed off on the project I’m getting concerned about that date being feasible. A lot has happened but still, nothing has changed.

My back-up plans: The Tea Room was rejected and the query and sample pages that was picked up on The Places You Will Be From was rejected after sending in fifty pages. Nothing has changed there either. Rejection is  tough. It makes you wonder. What was so enticing to the agent about the three sample pages and the query to inspire the agent to ask for a partial MS, and what was so uninspiring about the rest to reject it? Am I getting better writing queries and opening pages, while the rest of the story remains a bore? Something about the storyline and characters that didn’t go in the right direction and was distasteful to the agent? Bad hair day? Not likely.

What was my reaction? I’m actively looking for a Critique Partner for the Tea Room. I still love the story and see merit in its telling. I have joined one writers’ group and I’m planning to drop in on a local chapter of the Fiction Writers Club and see what they’re all about in my quest for a CP.

After my disappointing rejection of Places You Will Be From. I sent out eight queries, after two days of self-pity, and received two auto replies and a rejection in my inbox one day later. That was ten days ago and I can expect to wait another three months (hearing nothing) to expect that—it was a no. Strange to say, but the almost automatic rejection from one agency was almost welcomed so I can move on—a rejection in hand is better than two in the bush (it goes something like that).

A lot has happened, yet nothing has changed. I still haven’t given up.

What I Learned So Far

My word! Has it really been that long? It finally happened. The second round of proofs came in… after six months of waiting. Not sure what the delay was, most likely too many other books in front of mine. Still, I wasn’t in the proper frame of mind. The long delay took the wind out of my sails and I lost confidence in myself in the process. My words were raw in front of my face like prickly bushes that needed pruning–badly. No rascally wizards flew in to make the corrections and gloss the whole thing over. After spending an entire weekend tearing the book apart (putting in commas and taking them out again), I put on the brakes and tossed the entire first pass out the proverbial window. The good news is—I had taken the time to look up the grammar rules that I wasn’t sure of and went line by line scouring each. The bad news was—I had spent seven days and twelve plus hours each day going over it. The moral of the story: Believe in yourself, for after a calmer reflection on the work–I found– it wasn’t that bad. I expected someone else to do the technical part of my writing while I handled the creative. It almost seems… actually is— more of a self-publish than a partnership. My contract promises book in hand after 290 business days. That ends on Nov. 2, 2017. Since I sent in my corrected files today, I’m not sure if the book can be printed in two weeks–give or take. (I received them on Sept. 29, 2017) In March, it took me five days to turn it around. However, I didn’t scrutinize the work the way I should have, I expected someone else would do that. Instead, of utilizing the twenty-one day restriction, this time, I finished it in eleven trying not to risk more delays. So, I’m not sure how the contract can be honored. I’m asking for some concrete dates and plans for the release of my book. This is not how I imagined the publishing of my first book to unfold.

As I waited for the proofs to come in, I worked to do three things; 1) Send The Tea Room to another publisher. 2) Work on the fourth book Vernal House in The Summer Palace Series. 3) Ready my third book PLACES You Will Be From for query. I did all three.

Now, I have free hands. I think I’ll do a little house work, shave the dog, and go shopping. After an eleven day marathon of mulling over the MS and not much else; I need a break. I learned several things: words/phrases essential to a sentence don’t need commas. Introductory clauses need commas, conjunctive adverbs can link two independent clauses together with a semi-colon before and a comma after, parenthetical  phrases can be offset in a sentence by commas, and never begin a sentence with a coordinating adverb (one of the fanboys). Also, double-check your work before sending it out for query or review. Make sure someone who has some understanding of grammar edits your MS first  (it might just have to be you). It’s almost like the mechanism underneath the hood of your car. Everyone knows its there but no one wants to know how it works. There are those that do and they make the big bucks. Take the time to re-learn those basic rules. There are some great resources online– I used some interactive worksheets (starting with the grade 4 level). I plan to work my way up, but for now I might only be as smart as a 4th grader. Then, know the difference between an independent clause and a dependent one. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. A dependent clause can have a subject and a verb, yet it may rely on the previous clause to make complete sense.

In the acknowledgement section of my to-be-published book I mention my father, who was an English Teacher. When I contemplated my MS as it sat before me upon arrival I was embarrassed to have his name associated with a couple hundred pages of comma splices and fragmented sentences. After my hissy fit and bare bones attack on my ignoble script, I feel a little better about my contribution to the literary world. I think I can hold my head up high and be proud of the work I’ve done.

By the way, I did get a hit on the query I sent out recently—a request for fifty sample pages; because, they liked what I wrote in the three page sample (this same MS has been queried out many times before and after a complete take down and overhaul–under the hood check my Q and requested pages were accepted). That’s a good feeling.

More of the Same

More of the same from me. I believe things are about to happen. I received an e-mail from my production coordinator and it seems my book is back in proofreading and I received a final version of my cover design that I signed off on.

I’m about .25% through my fourth and final book of The Summer Palace series and I’m working hard to get it a little more complete before the final edit of the first book begins and I don’t have time for much else. After five months, since I last saw my novel I fear I’ll be apt to change some things, but I have to force myself to leave it alone and trust that it is in perfect condition to print. The first round of proofs was not that bad, but I did find myself wanting to make changes again after five months of not seeing it it’s almost like seeing it for the first time. Still, I don’t know if the same proofreader will be going over my book and if the corrections and AA’s I made will appear in a brand new corrected document or the same doc with additional marks. Will another proofreader agree with the first?

This series is in many states of repair. Book one is being proofed, book two is on hold until the release of book one, book three is a WIP and the hard copy is in a box waiting to be reviewed. Book four, as I mentioned, is in the early stages.

At this point I can tell you how I prefer to write my stories having written a few and trying different methods on each. The first step (my favorite) is writing the rough draft. Basically, sequential scenes unencumbered by details and dialogue. When several ideas start to accumulate in my head I put caps (bare bones – ex: PAUL IS MUSTERED) in the scene and get back to it later. For The Summer Palace I used colored index cards representing the different characters and their scenes. Since then, I’ve created a separate digital file called SCENES and answer the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, HOW, WHY, WANT, and OBSTACLE* questions for each scene. It really  helps the process by making sure each scene is interesting enough to hold the readers attention and it helps with the embellishing stage of writing. I like to keep track of the number of scenes and assign chapters at this point. After reaching about 100 scenes and watching the word count I read through and look for timeline errors and omissions. I am comfortable if the word count is in the 40,000 range because the first run through usually adds about 20,000 words. That’s a comfortable place to be because it still needs all the details and fact checks. My goal is about 75,000 words so I’m usually a little off the mark after the second go around. 15,000 words in a 60,000 something word document is not hard to reach. At this point I print out the doc and read carefully with a red pen in my hand. It’s a good idea at this stage to effect the changes and put it away. I have document boxes where I keep old MS’s and MS’s on hold or WIP.

I’m passionate about history and that’s where I find my inspiration. I don’t seek out historical events and work around them. I put my characters in a time and place and research what is going on around them at the time. There is an awful lot of history to be picked through you’d be surprised what comes up at the point of your particular interest. Certain issues pique my curiosity (ex. the terem, the hussars, 17th C Europe). Often times an event may be covered over and over again and one aspect has been overlooked and that’s where Historical Fiction comes in piecing together the puzzles left by documents lost or destroyed. It has to make sense. Sometimes there is more than one version of a story or someone’s name is unknown and a careful analysis can help to bridge the gaps.

I’m learning as I write and finding places I would never have known about. I have taken on subjects I knew nothing about and broadened my knowledge. Instead of reading about them (and I do read a lot) I write about the things I am most interested in and I hope those who choose to read my books agree.

*Novel-Makers Handbook by Diane O’Connell

The Other Shoe Is About To Drop

My other shoe is quite heavy. Shoes are made for feet but I think this one is aiming for my head. I have fulfilled all my commitments to my publisher to date, and yet I wait. One year ago I was so excited to get an offer in the mail to produce my novel The Summer Palace. That is the shoe of my own making the one that involves everything authors are responsible for to boost sales of their book. Of course, our books don’t mean as much to others because, we lived and breathed it for as long as it took to write. Four months of writing, and another four months of editing. It’ll take as long to produce… if not longer. I haven’t heard from my  shoe in quite awhile, but I know it’s dangling over my head and I had better be ready to catch it and I am the one that put it there and paid for its upkeep—just so you know.

I have to be ready when it does drop sometime in the next 90 days. If it does; in fact, take the maximum amount of days to produce as stated in the contract. I thought a relatively painless first round of proofs would mean a quicker turn around than expected. That was five months ago and I haven’t heard from my other shoe not even a sole. Auto-replies and generic e-mails but nothing substantial. Unless, you consider the two MS’s I submitted in June. You see, as I have been saying all along… DON’T STOP WRITING. Write a sequel or create a whole new series. I wrote a sequel to the Summer Palace called White Towers (for now) and received a partnership contract. Being a first time novelist they cannot promise a traditional contract because I am an unknown quantity. I need The Summer Palace to sell. If it does well then the second book will be reconsidered. I’m looking for a traditional contract. Waiting for that proverbial shoe without an eta is frustrating. I’m wasting valuable time in alerting family and friends, blog registrants (thank you by the way), and the press. I have a website:, a media kit, and professional photo collecting dust. I have big feet so that shoe that is about to drop is rather large (thank goodness it’s not my husband’s shoe we’re waiting for).

I have to mention my other MS. It was approved but no contract was offered at this time for they want to publish the sequel first and then two years down the road (really five because I have a four book series behind The Summer Palace) they will contract for once that shoe drops and it does the walking. The other MS is The Tea Room. There’s that waiting thing again. So, I have queried out The Tea Room again (it’s an old shoe) and another 17th Century woman’s fiction a bit longer  at77,015 words. As long as it’s waiting it might as well be waiting on someone’s desktop.

Currently, I’m 20,000 words into the fourth and final book in The Summer Palace series. Right now I’m calling it The Vernal House it’s an exercise in bringing everyone home—wherever that might be.

I’ve received some good comments that don’t appear to be robots (I get a lot of those). If you’re curious about the process of writing a book and getting it published peruse this blog. I started shortly after I wrote my first novel and stumbled into the world of publishing I think that is when I first lost my other shoe.

Almost Author

These days I’m calling myself an author, because, I have to believe at the end of this tunnel is a book with my name on it. Fourteen months I’m told is the time frame from the signing of the contract to the book in hand moment. I jumped the gun thinking Spring was the release date but after talking with my publisher I was set straight. So word to the wise; expect to wait at least one year for the final product. I’ve mentioned before that while I am waiting for the end of that process I kept on writing and I’m starting to write the fourth book in the series of the book that is being published, The Summer Palace. Initially, it was a short story before it was a standalone novel size. As easy as it was for me to extend it to a full-sized book the story kept unfolding in my mind and the second book was written. The third book was to be the final book in the series, but the loose ends were too much and the characters too important to end in a crush of chapters. The forth book will be a good culmination of the story as the characters search for their happily ever after.

This series is in several stages of completion. Book One is being published. Book Two is being reviewed by the publisher. Book Three is in MS form and waiting to be edited and finally Book Four is at about 5,000 words and counting.

I’m not sold on the titles I have chosen for my subsequent books and I’m planning to run a contest for suggestions for the titles of  the lat three books in the series. Originally I had only three books; therefore, the Summer in Summer Palace wasn’t the common thread for a name for the series so, Summer Palace, Autumn Place, Winter Castle, and Spring Terrace weren’t viable until I decided it would be a four book series. But, then again focusing on the residence’s in all four books it also a thought. However, The Summer Palace is etched in stone and cannot be changed.  I plan to offer a signed copy of The Summer Palace to the winning entry. Please send suggestions to SEE BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS BELOW:

Summer Palace by S. Forrest Nomakeo

Katia Ulenka has a simple request, to feel the freedom only a horse could bring. Wiley Breuder must find a way to prove himself or lose the blossoming love he denied could ever exist.

Set in a tumultuous time in Russia before the reign of Peter the Great, a young man rages against the new man in his mother’s life. Wiley Breuder is sent to work the farm of Herr Boer.

He finds a servant girl in his stable and is moved by her simple request to ride a horse for the first and last time.

He discovers her true identity after befriending the heir to the Summer Palace. He must elevate his station in life or lose Katia.


by S. Forrest Nomakeo

A boy and girl on opposite ends of the social spectrum find love and experience the volatile world of the happily ever after.

In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Katia and Wiley find themselves in another place, White Towers, in another time, 1683, fighting the same obstacles; war, separation, and loss. Spanning sixteen years their lives come full circle and their children have forged a story of their own.

A nation wedged between imperialistic nations that dominate Europe maintains a will to survive despite the odds stacked against them and battle to save Christendom.

by S. Forrest Nomakeo

Katia makes a fateful decision to follow her uncle to her newly discovered homeland while Wiley and Pavel search for his son. They must travel the distance from Kefe to Buda to rescue Katia.

It’s 1698 and Paul has gone after a boy taken by slave traders and is befriended by a young Janissary who teaches him valuable lessons with and without a saber.
Wiley finds Paul but learns, from his daughter who escaped the treachery at Kende Castle, the fate of his beloved wife who was taken to Hungary under false pretenses.

by S. Forrest Nomakeo

In the final Book in the series Wiley uses his influence to relocate his family to their original destination and find themselves at Cavalier House in Saxony.

This WIP takes place during the Great Northern War. Entire peoples are erased, countries shift allegiances, and borders change at the whim of invading forces.

A Strange Place

I’m in a strange place. Ever since I signed the contract and went into a partnership with my publisher I thought the process would go by relatively quickly. The wait is 290 days which turned out to be 290 working days which is the different of about four months. Initially, I was so excited, told everyone, and prepared for a Spring release and now it’ll be out in October. At first everything happened so fast; the initial query, the request for a full MS, and the signing of the contract all happened within one month. Then molasses. It has been three months since I reviewed and sent in the first set of proofs. If you’ve read my blog when I say I’ve been waiting… I never actually waited, for I kept writing and I’m so glad I did. So, in early June I submitted two more books for review and I’m finalizing book 3 in the series and have started book 4. Starting the new book reminded me of the joy of writing. Book 3 reminds me of the work involved in writing a novel. Book 2 took me five days to go through before submitting it, it was essentially done and still I found errors and correx I needed to make.

For those of you who write, one of the biggest problems I find is getting people to read my MS and give constructive criticism. It is a lot to ask of someone. Everyone’s time is so valuable and a good sized novel can occupy an entire weekend. Because of my first novel The Summer Palace I was able to submit the Sequel-White Towers and another MS The Tea Room. I had previously submitted The Tea Room elsewhere with no success. At least now, they will be read and if I did my homework, honed my skills, and am able to ride the coattails of the first one I will get a positive review and hopefully another contract.

I have also been reading books by fellow authors and leaving reviews on Amazon. Currently, I’m reading a Science Fiction Manumission by E.R. Harding on kindle. I prefer audiobooks since I am sight impaired but I’m plodding through in my spare time. I have another book on kindle waiting for my perusal when I finish the current one. Killer Of Kings The Bernecia Chronicles Book Four by Matthew Harffy. I’m familiar with the series and went through the first three rather quickly on audio, but the fourth one is not available yet, and I’m anxious to catch up on Beobrand and his 636 AD blood feud.

Everyone’s story is different and I hope by sharing mine some lessons can be learned by my little foibles and the tips I’ve learned along the way.