Archive for July, 2007

Interview with Rowena Cherry

July 30, 2007

 

Give us the 411 on yourself. You know, the basic information minus address and phone number.

 

 

At the time of this interview, I’m just back from a long drive (from Michigan to Houston and back). When playing I Spy palled, I listened to a couple of remarkable audio books. One was Clive Cussler’s “Dragon” –which wasn’t about dragons– and the other was a novel-length essay about modern espionage.

The latter included a definition of “eavesdropping” which I’d not heard before. Very approximately it was: “people who listen under windows and behind doors, for the purpose of making mischief.”

I was interested because I’ve frequently –perhaps ignorantly– described myself as a lurker, an eavesdropper, and a fact-magpie. I don’t set out to make mischief, and I never betray my sources. I collect rare insights to make my stories more convincing and more interesting.

I’ve watched carefully as Las Vegas magicians made an elephant disappear, but had to send men with brooms and buckets to make an unplanned-for elephantine bowel movement vanish from the stage. I’ve examined Henry VIII’s armour, with particular attention to the submarine-sandwich sized capsule that protected his wedding tackle. In fact, I made a minor plot point of it in FORCED MATE.

My travels have taken me from the English Shires (Warwickshire), to the mystic and fog-wreathed Channel Islands, to Cambridge University (Cambridgeshire), to Dorset, to Andalucia in Spain for a couple of summers in a Spanish castle folly near Marbella and the Puerto Jose Banus, to Harpenden in Herfordshire (where I got married), to Koenigstein im Taunus, to Detroit… with excursions along the way to the Royal Henley Regatta in company with Olympic oarsmen, to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed and for the Revival, to the corporate pace cars at the Indy 500, to the Pebble Beach concours d’elegance, and elsewhere.

The places I’ve been, the things I’ve done, and the people I’ve met are fabulous inspiration for my alien romances about gods and royals from outer space. I get a kick out of weaving uncommon knowledge into my books … such as deviant frog mating behaviors, lion taming tips, fair-use quotes from Machiavelli, and military uses for urine on the battlefield. Not all of it survives the editing!

This may sound pretentious: I set out to write a book that is like an onion, not because it stinks or because it makes you cry (blame my stiff, Brit, upper lip — I loathe books that make me cry!), but for the layers I like to build up, so that if you were to read one of my books a second time, you might see something cool that you hadn’t noticed the first time.

As for the gross anatomy of a hero, being a minor Historian, I had qualms about endowing superhuman (or super-villain) sexual prowess and dimensions on real historical figures. I have no such reservations about Darth Vader types, whether they hide out on Earth or prowl the galaxies in very large and sinister spaceships!

My editor describes what I write as Futuristic Romance. I prefer to think of my subgenre as Science Fiction Romance (because it is not set in the “Future”).

How long have you been a word ho for publishing pimps? (Er, a writer?)

 

Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, was once pleased to call me a cow… in a kind and witty reference to where I lived at the time. I’ve been called a Hoot, a Horror, and a Joy. I dare say I have been called many things by many people, but I have never considered literary or semantic prostitution …. unless you count writing about “sexual favors” instead of “sexual favours”. I don’t “do” quickies (in the sense of writing fast-reads). I don’t write for the money.

I’m too anal…

…about finding the right simile or metaphor, the “mot juste”, about getting the research right. All that
deep thought and useful “stuff” takes time.

If I’m going to write in the point of view of an elegant, sword-fighting hero, then I want to find someone who can tell me what it feels like to stab someone (legally, of course). If I plan to throw a heroine over a saddlebow, I need to know what that feels –and smells– like. I’ll try shaving my legs with the proverbial razor shell to see if a seashell makes an acceptable accessory for the desert island beauty routine. It doesn’t, by the way. The unsightly hairs look worse when they push up under, and through, scabs.

I accepted my first publishing contract in 2003. I pleased myself (and, occasionally, contest judges) from 1992 when I started writing my first novel.

All my titles are word plays on chess terms. My first romance was FORCED MATE, but although the title was thoroughly appropriate, it was widely misunderstood. Readers who wanted a violent book were disappointed. Others were deterred by what they assumed it was about. Some call FORCED MATE an alien abduction romance with a twist. It’s a futuristic take on the myth of Persephone and the god of the underworld. A dark ruler of an interstellar superpower abducts his perfect mate, never dreaming he’ll fall in love.

Insufficient Mating Material is not about a guy with E.D. It’s a chess term for a “No-win situation.” At some point in a game, the rivals realize that no matter how many bad moves the other guy makes, it’s going to be impossible to checkmate him.

Can you give us a brief VIRGIN story? I mean, give us the nitty gritty on your first sale.

 

The “Virgin” (Cherry) gets “The Call”

Prologue.
Ms Cherry doubts that she can write a brief ANYTHING. Words run away with Ms Cherry.

Writing in the best possible taste means controlling her lamentable sense of humor, especially during love scenes. Cherry has a tendency to amuse herself (and only herself). She comes to call these unnecessary, naughty bits of prose “Gorilla Testicles.”

What, you might well ask, do Gorilla Testicles have to do with overblown writing? Wide-eyed Ms Cherry once saw a wildlife program where the scientist found it necessary to measure the size of a sleeping gorilla’s testicles using a monkey wrench. No one is sure why. He must have had an odd sense of humor! The testicles were remarkably small… not worth the time and effort involved in measuring them, or in watching them being measured.

By giving a funny name to them, Cherry minds less when the naughty bits are cut.

Chapter One.
Long, long ago (in 2003) Rowena Cherry gave up on trying to be a paperback writer, and submitted (and only The Published know the full implications of “submitting” ) the book of her heart to NovelBooksInc aka NBI.

At the time Linnea Sinclair was one of NBI’s top authors and artists, and she was asked to read FORCED MATE for a second opinion. Linnea is now a RITA winning author for Bantam Books, (for Finders Keepers, I think), but she’s also written An Accidental Goddess, also Gabriel’s Ghost, and her latest book is Games Of Command.

Apparently, Linnea sat up in bed for much of the night, snorting and howling with laughter, much to the annoyance of her husband, and the next day Linnea informed the publisher that she should buy everything Rowena Cherry wrote including her shopping list… or it might have been the Cherry laundry list.

Chapter Two.
Ms Cherry was negotiating the contract that had been offered her when another of her friends, Susan Grant (who now writes for Harlequin, and My Favorite Earthling came out recently), told her that she would be an idiot not to enter the Dorchester-Romantic Times New Voice in Romance contest. That year, it was the New Voice In Paranormal Romance. Entries of previously e-published books were permitted.

Ms Cherry asked NBI’s permission, and entered.

Chapter Three.
To cut a long story short (???) the Cherry was one of the three finalists, was offered a contract by Alicia Condon, and ended up splitting the rights.

Epilogue
Meanwhile, NBI shut down for a hiatus, and later went out of business. The Cherry got her rights back, but since she had invested so much in her own cover (Cherry had personally bought the rights to the Matt Twiggs photograph for the e-book cover), and in lawyers’ fees to split the rights, and since she liked the e-book editing just as much as the mass market editing, Cherry decided to buy some ISBNs and self publish the e- version.


Moral: Linnea Sinclair (to a greater extent) and Rowena Cherry (to a lesser extent) are proofs that your published e-book can still sell to a New York print house.


Everybody’s got a fantasy. What’s your writer’s (wet?) dream?


I’m not sure that I have wet dreams. I imagine most writers’ secret ambition is to win a major award, and to place on a major best-seller list. I’d like that, of course.

 

Actors wanna be in pictures. Where do you want to be?

 

In pictures!

Not in person. I think Insufficient Mating Material would make a splendid movie, if only Peter Jackson would do it. On the other hand, I am well aware of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it!”

This saying has been the basis for a lot of fractured fairy stories, most genie tales, and not a few Faustian takes on the devil offering a deal to a human… such as in Bedazzled.

When a novel has a hero with a bioluminescent tattoo on his penis that glows in the dark when suitably excited, you can imagine the Off-Topic fun a comedian might have. Prince Djetth’s manly decoration has the potential to be his downfall if the wrong person sees it, but not in a slapstick sense. I don’t write slapstick.
I stop short at the alien prince’s dilemma when he strikes a pose and is sitting on the edge of a filling bathtub (so many romances include a scene where the hero wants to watch the heroine take a bath) and there comes a moment when he realizes that his seated bottom is going to get wet.

Get any bad advice early in your writing career?

 

Lots. However, someone once told me that everyone in the industry lives to some extent in a fishbowl, and that one should never “break someone else’s ricebowl” (don’t deliberately ruin someone else’s livelihood). That’s good advice.

 

Word, baby. Get any good directions that you’d like to pass on?

 

Persist.

Network.

If you’re unpublished, enter contests for the advice you’ll receive. Write gracious and positive thank-you notes to your anonymous judges, even if you don’t particularly agree with what well-intentioned critics tell you.

Start your future mailing list early (always with the consent of your correspondents) so that you’ll have friends when you need them…when you’re getting the word out about your forthcoming release.

Lock in your own name for your website before you become famous. You don’t want to have to be www.theofficialyourfirstnamelastname.com. You DO want to be a dot com!

Say “thank you” often and as graciously as possible.

Keep control of your newsletter and your contests. If your name is on it, you are legally liable if someone sues you for whatever grievance.

Dream within reason, especially when it comes to money. Here are two great links which explain advances and what it costs to publish a book:

http://sfwa.org/bulletin/articles/profit-motive.html http://alg.livejournal.com/84032.html#cutid1

It’s better to have a smallish print run, and sell most of it, than to have a huge run and end up owing money to your publisher!

Carla Arpin (publicist for Linnea Sinclair) and sexy, paranormal author Sahara Kelly, and witty Dorchester author Marianne Mancusi all report that having a site on MySpace.com has been amazing—and cheap— promo for them. I haven’t seen the benefits, but that could be because I have confined my friendships to brother- and sister- authors, booksellers and librarians, and I have not been aggressive about self-promotion (mostly because I –being a techno-dinosaur– found it a pain to set up a site, and am super cautious about running the risk of having my site deleted).

I like what The Romance Studio does for me. Email: holly@theromancestudio.com. Membership for an author is around $2.50 a month. For that, you get a profile page, a link, and the opportunity to run contests and add to your mailing list.

Other sites I really like are Romance Junkies www.romancejunkies.com because they have over a million hits, and Cat Brown is so wonderful to work with. Fallen Angel Reviews is another site with great presence, and a fabulous reviewing staff in my opinion: check out http://www.fallenangelreviews.com ; And then there’s MyShelf, http://www.myshelf.com which is also highly trafficked and easy to work with.

I shouldn’t really mention so few sites. I know I have forgotten some wonderful ones. Oh, and if you have $200 to spend, everyone I know swears by a print ad in RWA’s Romance Sells.

For free, chose a good signature file, that says something about you or your book, and how to find it (your own website url). Do not quote homespun philosophy from great thinkers of the past. Most lists allow 4 lines or so of tag line and moderate promotion of other types.

For 25 tips on free ways to promote yourself or your favorite author, check out my “25 Ways” article on my website (under Research workshops). Go to www.rowenacherry.com and poke around. You’ll probably also find links to all the handouts put out by the EPIC organization for the entire RT convention.

Join chat lists—and I have to thank outgoing EPIC president and promo genius Brenna Lyons for some of these tips, because I’m not a great chatter—look into: ebookChatters ; enchantersloop; FallenAngelReviewChatters; karenfindoutaboutnewbooks (Karen Simpson runs Coffeetime, which is a great site with some very innovative promo services and ideas) ; Novelspotters ; RomanceJunkiesReaders ; paranormalromance.com.

Other great new places (suggested to me by Jacquie Rogers of Fairy Good Advice) to network are Bebo.com; theyack.com; wordpress.com; LibraryThing.com.

Wherever you go — and this is my best and most delicate marketing advice– remember that you never know who is watching you and reading your posts. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

We need the 420 on where to find you and your stuff. Cough ‘em up!

In sci-fi speak, my heavy-duty mothership in cyber space is http://www.rowenacherry.com

If you dock there, you’ll find exerpts from my books, an interactive family tree to assist readers to keep all my characters and their complicated relationships straight in their minds, my bi-monthly newsletter, jigsaw puzzles of bare-chested hunks, links and research tips, podcasts of my radio shows, my promo video for Insufficient Mating Material, and lots more.

I blog about non-human lovers and other matters of vital interest with other award winning science fiction authors (Linnea Sinclair, Colby Hodge, Susan Kearney, Margaret L Carter, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Susan Sizemore, and guests) at http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com

Animal lovers might enjoy my new cross-genre blog with authors who specialize in adding furry characters to their romances (Deborah MacGillivray, Jade Lee, and others).
http://males-and-other-animals.blogspot.com

I’ve two sites on MySpace. The Rowena Cherry space is where I befriend and am befriended by other authors, cover models, industry professionals– http://www.myspace.com/aliendjinnromance_rowena ;

The “Insufficient” site is more fun for me– http://www.myspace.com/insufficientmm ;

If a book could talk, this might be what he’d say. “He” overcompensates for his unstudly name (Insufficient) by chatting up librarians (“Will you have me between your stacks, dear Library Lady?”), booksellers (“My greatest dread, dear Book Lady, is that you will strip me in public,”), book lovers, and boldly asking all comers to take him to bed. “He” is territorial, so will not tolerate glitter, sissy images (rabbits, bling, flowers, fairies, other naked men) on his profile page, nor will he befriend anyone with children on their avatars… because he has adult interests, and he does talk dirty.

And last, but not least, there is Amazon-Connect.

Hope to see you there.

Rowena Cherry

Rowena Cherry
http:// www.rowenacherry.com

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL

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Interview with Jena Galifany

July 23, 2007

Who are you?

I write under the name of Jena‘ Galifany. My real name is a secret to protect the innocent (no, not me!). Jena’ Galifany was a D&D character that I made up back in the late 70s but I like the name and the personality of the character.

I have a wonderful husband. We have been married for nearly 17 years now and it has been great. He helps me with my writing in that when I get myself into a corner, he usually gives me an idea on how to get out again. He suggested the most romantic moment in ShadowsForge 3: Retaking America. He is an ex-roadie and has given me a lot of direction concerning backstage issues for the ShadowsForge series. How else would I have known how to properly electrocute Jon Wiles, guitarist, in ShadowsForge 2: Trial on Tour?

 

I have three children and one lovely granddaughter.

 

What do you write?

 

I write sweet romance, romantic suspense, and dark romance.

 

I believe that the bedroom scenes should be left to the reader’s imagination because what I think is the ultimate romantic encounter would not necessarily be what the reader would think. I want to let the reader see in their imagination what they would want to happen between the lovers, so I leave it to the reader.

 

I write dark romance because I know that every romance does not end happily but it is romance, regardless of the outcome. One of the greatest romances ever penned was “Romeo and Juliet”, but look where it got them!

 

Where do you live, and what does your workspace look like?

GASP! Don’t look at my workspace. It’s a total disaster that only I know where everything is. I’ve tried to keep it straight but… it’s just not meant to be. =)

I live in NELAC. (Translation: North East Los Angeles County), California. I’ve lived in a lot of small towns all over California but we landed here when I was nine and we got to stay here for (mumble-mumble) years.

 

When do you generally write? Do you have a regimen?

 

In terms of actual writing, I work a night job that is fairly mindless and monotonous. I am able to cope with it (for over 5 years now) by writing stories in my head. On the weekends, staying on the same schedule, I write after my family goes to bed, between 11pm and about 6am.

 

How do you write? Do you outline? Or fly by the seat of your pants? Do you like silence or rock out to a certain soundtrack?

 

I start out with the ending. I know what I want to happen or a line I want someone to say. I develop the character in my mind, picture how they would look and act, what kind of character would do or say the thing that I want the story to end with. Then I systematically work backward. What would have to happen to make this happen? How would he cause this? What did she do to make him feel that way? Why would two close friends decide to beat the snot out of each other on a moving bus?

 

Once I answer all those questions all the way back to a beginning, I make an outline of the facts and start in. I like to follow the characters through each step to see what side roads they take me down as well. The outline is not carved in stone by any means.

 

When I’m at work, I’ve got my headphones on and crank it up to ear bleeding levels. 80s classic rock is the best but sometimes I like to have something a bit more contemporary like Nightwish. I have different songs for each project. Some WIPs have come from a line or flavor from a song. Music is a must for my writing.

 

Got anything to brag about? (Awards? Upcoming releases?)

 

ShadowsForge 1: Three Times a Hero was a Reader’s Choice #1 Best Seller at Whiskey Creek Press in August 2006. From then until now, only one month has gone by that at least one installment of the ShadowsForge series has not been in the top 10.

 

ShadowsForge 3: Retaking America, the third installment of the ShadowsForge series, was release April 1st.

ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home will be released November 1st at www.whiskeycreekpress.com .

 

After eighteen years in the making, Her Perfect Man, a dark romantic suspense is available at Chippewa Publishing LLC

http://www.chippewapublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=144

 

I had the honor of placing Third Honorable Mention in a flash fiction competition to raise money for Flash Me Magazine. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners and three Honorable Mentions were published in a special edition titled Flash for Big Cash Anthology available at http://www.wingedhalo.com/ffbc.html only until June 15th. Some great flash fiction (besides mine) is included.

 

 

I was the April 2007 Spotlight Author at Whiskey Creek Press. I got to write about me!

http://whiskeycreekpress.com/authors/Jena_Galifany.shtml

 

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us what it is and why you think it’s gonna be a “gotta have” k?

 

At the moment, I’m in the middle of deciding who gets my full attention. I have several works to choose from.

 

Day Labor – Mark Langston wants a child. Beth Langston will do anything to make her husband happy. When their efforts fail, Beth vows to find a way to give her husband the child he so badly wants. I have a lot of plot twists in this contemporary… not sure if it qualifies as a romance. We’ll see.

 

Cole – Two hundred years in the future, when law is upheld depending if it is day or night, strange creatures with feather or leather wings do what they have to for the survival of their species. Cole fights his father, Raven, for the human woman who came in search of her kidnapped friend. If he can keep from loving her, she may survive. Erin swears to rescue Jaycee, who was captured by Raven when they ventured outside after lockdown. Futuristic Dark Romance.

 

Better Not Tell Her – Julie meets Michael aboard her wedding cruise after deciding to go ahead with the trip even though her groom bowed out at the last minute. By the end of the ten day Caribbean cruise, Julie and Michael know they can never be parted… until their plane lands in Los Angeles and the police arrest Michael to ship him back to Florida to face criminal charges.

 

ShadowsForge 5: Jon’s Way – Jon Wiles, second guitarist for the British rock band ShadowsForge has some interesting adventures, not the least of which is waking up one morning with a brand new bride.

That’s only a small glimpse of the ideas I have banging around in my head and in my computer. I want to begin a children’s series, tentatively titled Grandma’s Jewelry Box. Each piece of jewelry in the antique box will begin a new and exciting adventure for three children. I am still in the thinking process on that one.

 

Tell us how to find you and your stuff.

 

I’m all over the net.

My main site is at http://jenagalifany.bravehost.com

 

My Yahoo Group is always looking for new members. I have a contest almost every month and don’t send out tons of posts, usually the monthly newsletter and updates when I book a new chat or have an announcement that didn’t make the newsletter. Not a chat site. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JenaGalifany/ (Hot picture of Ty Synclair posted to the home page right now, too.)

 

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jenagalifany I post a blog here as well.

 

WCP Author page:

http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/authors/Jena_Galifany.shtml

 

Her Perfect Man:

http://www.chippewapublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=144

 

Video Trailers for the ShadowsForge Series and Her Perfect Man can be found at: http://video.yahoo.com/video/profile?sid=23205

 

I’d love to hear from readers at jena_galifany @ yahoo.com.

Cheers,
Jena
Believe in Dreams!

ShadowsForge 1: Three Times a Hero – Available NOW!
http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/chapters/Shadowsforge1_JenaGalifany.shtml

Watch the promo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srOdhV1TQ3wShadowsForge 2: Trials on Tour – Available Now
http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/chapters/Shadowsforge2_JenaGalifany.shtml

 

Watch the promo:

 

ShadowsForge 3: Retaking America – Available Now
http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/chapters/Shadowsforge3_JenaGalifany.shtml

Watch the promo:

From Chippewa Publishing LLC: Her Perfect Man – Available Now
http://www.chippewapublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=144

http://jenagalifany.bravehost.com

 

Read the fine print.

July 11, 2007

It’s amazing that writers are the worst ones when it comes to reading the directions or fine print. It’s a joke, but it ain’t funny, honey. Especially when you’re the one that reminds other writers to be careful on this and then get caught doing the exact same thing.

 When you submit your work to a publisher or a contest, read everything carefully. Make sure you understand the terms.

Are they asking for your First North American Rights? If so, is there an exclusivity clause for a certain time period? You can sell subsequent rights, have your work republished elsewhere, after that time frame lapses.

Do they take all rights? Do they promise to give you a byline or copyright credit, or intend to run it without your name.

I’ve sold stories to True Confessions Magazine (Dorchester, NY) and they take ALL rights. You can’t use or sell that story ever again.

In the event that you’ve “accidentally” given all rights, and want them back, you can simply send a letter requesting said rights. Most publishers will release subsequent rights. You can ask for those rights before you sign the initial agreement.

I recently submitted some stories to a contest online. The rules said they would always make sure that the author would be given a copyright line when the stories were used. Great, right?

Another line said they assumed all rights to the stories submitted. It was easy to assume that meant ONLY THE STORIES THAT WON. But the “outfit” did indeed mean they would use all stories and hold all future rights.

After submission, I re-read the rules and saw that wording and requested that I have all future rights reverted.

Also, they published my story without my name on it–which means they violated their own rules AND copyright law. That gave me leverage, I think, when I stated that, and requested my rights be reverted.

They gave me a letter that stated they released the future rights. It was easy, done by email, and nothing to stress over–but I did stress. And I reminded myself once again not to be stupid, or unprofessional in future. You GOTTA read that fine print. Pour over those rules/submission guidelines, make sure you understand what you’re giving up.

Interview with L.A. Day

July 2, 2007

Who are you? 

I’m author L.A. Day but I answer to Laura or occasionally to other unflattering names.

 What do you write? 

I write erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave, Cobblestone Press and Twilight Fantasies. My stories always have a dominant, alpha male and usually some paranormal or Sci-Fi elements.

Where do you live, and what does your work space look like?

I live in the southern part of the US. I share my space with a husband a daughter and two dogs. My office could best be described as a disaster area. To get to my desk you often have to step over piles of books and research material. But, I know where everything is and I like it that way.

When do you generally write? Do you have a regimen? 

I work full time so I write when I can which is early mornings and evenings usually. I often get up in the middle of the night to jot down a thought. My husbands swears if I start taking notes during sex, he’s divorcing me. I tell him, I wouldn’t want to bore my
readers! (Slap my hand over my mouth) I didn’t say that.

How do you write? Do you outline? Or fly by the seat of your pants? Do you like silence or rock out to a certain soundtrack? 

I am a seat of the pants kind of girl. I start and let the characters have their way. Often times I have to go back and rewrite because my characters have a change of attitude.

Got anything to brag about? (Awards? Upcoming releases?) 

Alpah male alert!

I have two releases in the month of May. Barbarian Mate releases from Ellora’s Cave on May 2nd. Undercover Pleasure Droid releases from Cobblestone Press on May 25th.

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us what it is and why you think it’s gonna be a “gotta have” k?  

I just finished a Sci-Fi novel of EC title Savage. It is part of the Hunters for Hire continuity series. This is a new EC/CP series and 6 authors myself included, spent months just setting up the Sci-Fi world before we ever began our individual stories. There will be some hot stories in this series.

Currently, I am working on another Sci-Fi tentatively named Alien Possession, Zarius. This is a long story for me 80K. If you’ve read any of my books you know I love an alpha male and Zar is that. He’s delicious and let’s just say he has some impressive attributes that human males don’t possess.

Tell us how to find you and your stuff.  

I’m not hard to find:

http://www.la-day.com
http://la-day.blogspot.com
http://myspace.com/ladaywrites
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AuthorLADay

Thanks, Jennifer.
 
Thank you!