His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


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“We Called Him Yeshua” — Sales Ends This Weekend

Hello,

I hope all’s well with you.

Regarding my recently published book, We Called Him Yeshua, I wanted to mention a few things.

  • If you know anyone who may be interested in buying it, this weekend would be a good time as it’s still priced as low as Amazon will allow. But the price will be going up Monday morning.
  • Based on some feedback I’ve gotten, this book might be a good and easy way to introduce Jesus to someone who currently doesn’t know Him, but may be interested. So if you have a friend you’d like to introduce Jesus to, maybe you could give them this book as a gift.
  • Finally, if you’ve read the book and haven’t left a review on Amazon, but if you’d like to leave a review, please give it a go. And thank you so much to those of you who have left a review. Every review, no matter how many stars, helps makes the book more visible to browsers on Amazon.

Amazon book page: https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/

I hope you have a great weekend. I’d love to sign off with some encouraging words that could help us all cope with the new world situation, but nothing is coming to me, other than worn out and non-helpful clichés. Oh well.

All the best to you,

CJ Penn


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” paperback now available at 50% off

Get to know Jesus in a new way, in a more intimate way. Read his story as told by those who felt his compassion and his humanity.

Since the paperback and ebook are not yet linked on Amazon:

Go here for the paperback page

Go here for the ebook page

 


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Last Day of FREE ebook Promotion

Today, Tuesday March 24th, is the last day to get the ebook version of We Called Him Yeshua for FREE.

The free promotion expires at midnight, Pacific Standard Time (USA), according to Amazon. So please take advantage of this and get your copy now. Clicking on the image below will take you to the Amazon book page. And for those of you who will look inside this book, thank you very much. My sincere hope is that in addition to entertaining you, that it helps you in some way.


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Get the book now, while it’s FREE

My new novel, We Called Him Yeshua, went live on Amazon earlier today. The ebook is currently FREE, yet only until midnight, March 24th. So please grab a copy while it’s free. I’ll be publishing the paperback within the upcoming week, and that will initially be priced at cost.

Click on the image below to go to the Amazon page. And I hope you really enjoy the book. 


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Stuck at Home?

Are you stuck at home, like me? Are you bored and looking for something to distract you from what’s going on outside your door? Here’s a book that just might help combat that shelter-in-place, walled-in feeling.

We Called Him Yeshua has just gone live on Amazon, and the ebook is currently FREE, but only until midnight, Tuesday March 24th. In addition to being a good distraction from the world, this novel just might give you some “tools” to help you cope with the tough times.

Go here to check out the book description on the Amazon page.

The paperback is scheduled to be available later this week, initially priced at cost. I’ll post something when that happens.

If by chance you’ve been reading some of the sample chapters I’ve posted leading up to publication, please consider going onto Amazon and leaving a review. I will greatly appreciate your opinion.

And if you’d like to help get the word out about the free ebook, please share this post.

Finally, I sincerely hope you’re healthy and have enough toilet paper.

All the best,

CJ Penn

Author and book web page: www.cjpenn.com


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Almost There

The book cover for my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, is finished! And I’m very excited. If all goes as scheduled, the ebook will go live on Amazon starting tomorrow. As soon as Amazon will allow, I’m going to change the ebook price to FREE. The paperback will go live sometime within the next week, I hope. I’m currently waiting for Amazon to ship a proof copy to me.

If you’d like to have a peek before tomorrow, please go to my author website, and check it out. While there, you can also read some sample chapters I’ve posted.

And if you sign up, I’ll send you an email when I’ve confirmed the ebook is FREE on Amazon. I’ll do the same once the paperback is live.

Thanks,

CJ Penn


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 8

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ve been posting the first several chapters. Today I give you chapter 8, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like. Chapter 8 will get you about a third of the way through the book, and it’s the final chapter I’ll be posting on my website, as the book will soon be released on Amazon.

Amos

– Neri –

“Down, down,” Ben said, tugging on my hair.

“Okay you little dust dervish, here you go.”

As I dropped Ben onto the sandy road, he scurried back to Ruth and Anna, a tiny dust cloud in his wake. He collided into Anna’s legs, wrapped his pudgy arms around them, and squeezed. Anna, nearly falling, grabbed Ruth’s arm and steadied herself. Ben let go and headed for Ruth. But she was too quick for him. She bent down, shot her hands under his arms, and began tickling. Ben fell squirming to the ground, giggling wildly and kicking up even more dust. Ruth dropped to her knees and kept tickling.

I lost my thoughts on the silver star necklace resting within the soft recess at the base of Ruth’s neck. Her neck looked soft as camel cheese and white as goats milk.

A light blue sky hung high above the valley. Trees, bushes, and flowers thrived along the river’s edge. As far downriver as I could see there were red poppies, little yellow flower I didn’t know, date palm trees, and tall grasses—all in radiant color. The lush banks gave way to low grass bordering the road that followed the river. And on the other side of the road, soft meadows gently sloped toward the hills to the west.

The road felt good—it felt like freedom and adventure. I’d missed the feel of the road under my bare feet. Since sandals were for impressing people, and my tough feet didn’t need protecting, I’d tucked my sandals in my tool sack. I took in a slow, deep breath as I scanned the valley around me, and smiled.

Farther down river, as it bent west, buildings slid into view. Clusters of houses huddled between the river and the hills, with a few on the eastern shore. This side of the wall-less village, vegetables and grains sprouted in the fields on both sides of the road. A vineyard nestled on the slopes of the hills, with buds freshly breaking.

I glanced again at Ruth and Anna. Behind them marched a growing band of followers. Some I recognized as those I’d helped in the meadow. I walked faster to catch up to Yeshua.

“You know, Yeshua,” I said as fell into pace beside him, “seeing you heal people is like eating a whole camel—milk, cheese, and all. It’s so filling, so overwhelming, so irresistible. But then I’m empty again, and hungry for more, like I can’t ever get enough.” I looked over my shoulder at the trailing newcomers, “I think they might feel the same way.” Yeshua just smiled, and gazed up into the sky. “How does it feel to have so many people following you?”

“Neri, I welcome everyone, no matter why they come to me. I will never turn them away. But I wish they would follow because of who I am, not because of what I can do for them.” He took in a slow breath. “You know. True friends are those that don’t expect anything from you, those that stay your friend no matter what. But for now, their love for me is conditional—they will love and they will follow as long as I have something to give them.”

Was that why I followed him? For the promise of something more? I felt shame seep into my gut. But I had always strived to be different. And I was determined not to be just another follower.

“Neri, for those following me—if they follow far enough—they will see with their eyes what true love really is.”

“True love?”

Yeshua put his hand on my shoulder and firmly squeezed. “No conditions.”

Looking up, the jackals were at the gate. Where the road entered the village, a pack of brightly colored Pharisees prowled, all staring our way, arms crossed as if trying to bar entry. Like jackals, I felt they were hungry for fresh meat. But there would be no meat for them, not while I was around.

(read the rest of Chapter 8 on my cjpenn.com website)


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 7

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ve been posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 6. Today I give you the seventh chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

Nathan

– Nathan –

Samuel burst through the door, “Nathan, get up!”

“What?” I rubbed my eyes and stretched as the other three shouldered their way in, tripping over each other and crashing in a jumbled heap onto the floor of my bedroom. “Ssshhh. You’ll wake em up,” I whispered, motioning toward my parents’ room. Outside, sunrise was still about an hour away. The rest of the town was sure to be sleeping. Perfect.

Throwing off my blanket, I looked to Jacob, “Got the ropes?”

“Don’t be foolish,” he shot back. “Let’s get going. We don’t have much time.”

Soon we were running up the road toward the center of town. Well, I wasn’t running. My twisted, crippled legs saw to that. I clung to my woven mat, with each of my friends holding a corner as they ran. Zachery and Josiah led the way. Samuel and Jacob, being taller, held the back corners high, allowing me to sit up.

Soft grey light began seeping into the sky. Two tall stone houses flanked the south road where it entered the square—we headed there. Off narrow alleys intersecting the road, outside stairs led to the upper floors and the rooftop terraces.

Samuel quietly climbed the stairs up one house, Jacob the other. Tying the rope to a pillar on the terrace, Samuel then threw it to Jacob, impatiently waiting on top of the other house. With both ends secure, the middle of the rope sagged down between the two houses.

The sky was growing a light blue as Samuel and Jacob came bounding down the stairs, no longer trying to be quiet. Zachery and Josiah sat me on the rope and made sure I held tight. Soon I was swinging as high as the middle of the second floor, my stomach lurching back and forth. As the sun flashed over the horizon, the townspeople woke to crowing. It wasn’t a rooster.

(read the rest of Chapter 7 on my cjpenn.com website)

Copyright CJ Penn, 2020


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 6

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ve been posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 5. Today I give you the sixth chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

Chapter 6: Ruth

-Ruth-

The morning fog had crept from the lake, slithered through the streets, poured into my hut, and seeped into my bones like poison. Dampness always made the pain worse. I groaned through clenched teeth as I pushed myself out of bed and stood shivering on frozen feet.

“Come on Ruth, unlock the door!” my sister called again, fear rising in her voice. By now, her imagination was probably painting her a picture of my withered corpse. A bittersweet smile crossed my lips. Me dead—if only.

“What?” I yelled, yanking the door open. The effort left me wheezing. I swayed on wobbly legs, nausea creeping up my chest, sweat chilling the back of my neck.

“Finally! Listen Ruth, you remember the man I told you about? The healer? Well he’s on his way to our town and I heard he healed a man of leprosy in the village up north and now he’s on his way here and I’m sure he can heal you so you can finally be healthy again and you won’t feel any more pain and you can leave your house when you want, isn’t that great!”

“Yes. Great.” I marveled less about her words, and more about how my squirrel of a sister could say so much in one breath. “Now. Let me go back to bed.” I tried to close the door.

“No!” She wedged her leg against the door jam, knowing I didn’t have the strength to resist. “You need to go to him, so he can heal you.”

“Okay, I will. After he gets here. Now leave me alone.”

 

(read the rest of Chapter 6 on my cjpenn.com website)

Copyright CJ Penn, 2020


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 5

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ve been posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 4. Today I give you the fifth chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

Jairus

-Anna-

“Neri, over here, I’m thirsty,” I tugged on his sleeve and pulled him toward an inn on the edge of the square. Several hours after leaving the village where I found Neri, we arrived at another town … a larger town.

“Good, I’m hungry,” Neri replied.

“Hungry? Again?”

We climbed a few steps to a collection of low tables scattered over a raised terrace. A canopy of different colored fabric provided shade, casting a faded rainbow shadow all around us. We selected a table near the edge of the terrace.

“Hungry Scamper?” Neri said, lifting Ben off his shoulders and dropping him on a cushion.

As I sat down, Ben crawled into my lap and fell asleep. I smiled as I caressed Ben’s soft brown hair, comforted by the idea I’d made the right decision bringing him with me. The town, on the south shore of the lake, was the farthest from home I’d ever been. The distance helped me feel safer.

The innkeeper walked over, knelt on a cushion, rested both hands on our table, and said, “Well?”

“Tea please,” I replied, as Neri gazed at the menu painted on the wall. He had the look of love in his eyes.

“Let’s see … I’ll have a large plate of fried locusts, the fish stew, goat milk cheese, some of the lentil with curry, barley bread, charoset, and Egyptian beer.”

“No charoset,” the innkeeper said, as he stood and left.

“A bit hungry Neri?”

“A little. But, no charoset!”

The crowd below us grew, all straining to see Yeshua as he worked his way toward the center of the square. There must have been hundreds of them. Yeshua was more popular than I’d thought. A strange feeling stirred my stomach and rose in my chest—I think I knew, but refused to admit what it was.

 

(read the rest of Chapter 5 on my cjpenn.com website–here)

Copyright CJ Penn, 2020


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 4

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ve been posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 3. Today I give you the fourth chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

Neri

Neri

“Neri, you stink.”

“Oh, you like my perfume? I call it Essence of Pus. A subtle fragrance, yet I see you have a perceptive nose.”

Caleb and I sat at the mouth of the canyon, the walls behind us lined with caves, dug long ago in the limestone. The broad valley spread out below us. There, at the border of the leper colony, we stared at the outside world, off limits to us. Shepherds tended their sheep across the valley, on the other side of the stream weaving down its center.

“Hey Neri, where’s that sister of yours? Anna, right? I bet she smells good.”

I glared at Caleb, uglier than most with that hole in the middle of his face where his nose had once been. Well, at least leprosy had cured him of his nose-picking habit.

“Stay away from her Noseless,” I growled. “Hey, have you thought of an easy way for me to kill myself?”

(read the rest of Chapter 4 on my cjpenn.com website)


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 3

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ll be posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 2. Today I give you the third chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

 

Jared

 

Jared

“Jared, something must be done about her,” Simon whispered to me as he glared down the table at Anna collapsed at the prophet’s feet.

“What? Who?” Oh, yes … Anna. Something should have been done, though not what Simon had in mind. Poor Anna—I wanted to help her, always had, partly because I knew more about Anna and her past than even her brother knew. But it wouldn’t do for a royal official to show sympathy for a prostitute—yes, I admit, a weak and cruel excuse.

Then there was the prophet, Yeshua. He intrigued me and confused me. As Anna wept at his feet, Yeshua didn’t treat her with lofty disdain, as most religious men would have. Instead, he showed nothing but gentle kindness, and a compassion that seemed to strengthen and empower her. The compassion Yeshua gave Anna made her look nobler to me than any priest.

Leaving Simon’s house before anyone else, I rushed home and to my son’s bed. His breathing had eased a bit, but he still looked as pale as bleached parchment, and the fever remained. My poor Jonathan, my little boy … was dying. I’d seen the symptoms before, in my wife, and I feared there was no way to stop it. Before going to Simon’s dinner, I’d sent my servant Jacob to summon the doctor. But he still hadn’t arrived. My chest tightened, my stomach quaked, and I almost forgot to breathe as I stared helplessly down at my son.

 

(read the rest of Chapter 3 on my cjpenn.com website)


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 2

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ll be posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 1. Today I give you the second chapter…

Before the Beginning

 

Anna—two months earlier

I imagined myself resting in the shade of my sandalwood tree, surrounded by soft waves of crocus flowers blanketing the rolling hills. Those flowers, gentle and free, distracted me from my ugly reality, distancing my thoughts when I didn’t want to be with my body. It was only temporary. Reality soon struck back.

The straw of my bed poked out from under the rumpled blanket, scratching my breasts. The stench of sweat, rotting teeth, and dead fish choked the air in my small hut. At least the man was quick about it, soon collapsing on top of me, gasping for breath. A moment later, he pushed himself off, grunted, and pulled down his tunic as he rose to his feet. I buried my face in the blanket, trying to fight off the tears.

I opened watery eyes as two small coins landed on the dirt floor—standard payment. Quietly, the fisherman peered around the blanket hanging in the doorway, again grunted, and crept away down the dark alley. He took less time than it takes me to shit, a typical visit for that customer. Easy money? Never.

 

(read the rest of Chapter 2 on my cjpenn.com website, and it gets more cheery from here)


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We Called Him Yeshua – Final Lap

Last Sunday my editor gave me the first 80 edited pages of my novel We Called Him Yeshua, cheerily marked up with red and blue ink, with a few post-it notes where more explanation was needed. Well, it was a bit of a strange feeling realizing I was about to delve into the world of my novel for maybe the last time.

My hope has been that We Called Him Yeshua will not only prove to be a gripping story, but also show people a side of Jesus they may not have fully understood before—his human side. And in coming to know his humanity, I believe people will naturally feel closer to him. For it’s easier to feel close to the human, than to the divine.

Anyway, Monday morning, 5:00-ish am, work began on the FINAL draft. Wow, hard to believe I’m using that word “final” after working on this book for over four years. How’s it feel? Well, my innards are filled with a mixture of excitement, fear, and a bit of sadness.

To me, writing sometimes feels the way carving marble felt to Michelangelo—he said carving was just a process of removing the extraneous marble until the image that slept inside the block was revealed. And believe me, I’ve piled on lots of extra words and garbage that has been gradually chipped away. And now I’m down to the final polishing.

I can’t express how exciting it is to have the final draft of this book slowly reveal itself as I go through my editor’s mark-ups and do the polishing. And the more revising I do, the more excited I get, for my editor is a gem and she’s come up with improvements that, I think, are taking this book to a whole new level.

But yes, there’s fear. Maybe fear of all the work still to do, in finishing the book as well as all the marketing and self-publishing and navigating Amazon, and on and on and on. Lots of unknowns along the path ahead, this being my first novel. But I think there’s also fear of the day when I set the book free, and let it go out alone into the world. Almost feels like those painful days each time my wife and I drove off and left one of our sons to go forth alone into their first days of college. A weird feeling when applied to something like a book.

And I think that’s where the sadness comes in. I will soon say goodbye to the characters I’ve lived with these past four years. At least in my head, they’ve taken on their own unique personalities, and I’ve grown to really care about some of them, and also despise a few of them. Have you ever felt this way about characters you’ve written?

Anyway, my journalist niece continues to spin out gold as she edits her way through the rest of the book. And my artistic niece will soon produce some sketches of her cover design ideas. I love the family project feel of this. My hope is to have a final draft ready to launch a paperback and Kindle version on Amazon around the middle of March, 2020. In some ways, I’m not looking forward to that.

If you want to know more about the book, or sign up to be notified when I post sample chapters on my cjpenn.com site, please go here. And by signing up, you’ll receive a link to any chapters that have already been posted.


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New Novel, New Website

In support of publishing my first novel in a couple of months, I’m now launching my new author website, at cjpenn.com. The site went live late yesterday. This is a big step on my writing path, and I’m a bit nervous about it.

Working cover – final cover in design

Regarding my novel, I had previously posted a little something (link), and now I’d like to tell you a bit more.

We Called Him Yeshua

You know him by his Greek name, Jesus Christ. We see a lot in the Bible about Jesus’ story and his messages, as written by some of His closest disciples. But we rarely see the point of view of those outside the inner circle, whose lives Jesus changed with his acts of love and compassion. This soon-to-be-published novel tries to see Jesus and those times through the eyes of such people.

They knew Jesus by his Hebrew name, Yeshua. (read more on my new website)

In the weeks leading up to the book launch, I’ll be posting sample chapters on my cjpenn.com site. Once the book is live on Amazon, I’ll post a notice for a promo week, where the Kindle version will be free, and the paperback will be priced as low as Amazon will allow. If you’d like me to notify you about these upcoming events, please follow the link (cjpenn.com) and sign up to receive book launch email notices.


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The journey of my first novel, step # … um, I lost count

[Look, something brought you to this blog post. If it was a mistake—sorry. But if you’d like to see something that is probably more worth your time, please check out the blurb about my soon-to-be-published novel on my new website. It’s basically about seeing a different perspective of Jesus, through the eyes of some background characters in the Bible. New website: cjpenn.com]

After four years and a visit to the local copy store, my first novel is now printed and ready to send to my editor. How does it feel? Well, I’m excited, terrified, wondering if I have any idea how to write fiction, filled with doubts and thinking maybe I should shelve rev 10 and give it one more good going-over before letting anyone else see it, and on and on. But in the midst of all these confused emotions and thoughts, I’ve decided to grab some courage and just let it go. I think maybe this experience is a small foretaste of what it will be like when I actually publish this thing–now that will be terrifying.


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Not for the Money $$$

dollar

I’ve shaken up my purpose for writing… or one of my purposes anyway. My dream for a long time has been to make enough money with my books to quit my day job and be a fulltime author. Common dream. But I’m giving it away.

While in the midst of my current book project, I discovered a better purpose, a better dream. I no longer want to sell books. Instead, I want to give my books away for free, to as many people as possible. Why? Well, the detailed answer is within the pages of the book I’m about to start giving away. You can check that out if you like when the book is released in a few weeks – more about that on my Home page.

But the effects of this decision are unexpected, and really cool.

Oh, I had studied up on all the popular book marketing techniques intended to maximize sales. Growing my email list; building up my “tribe” of followers; asking followers for help in selecting book titles and cover designs (I like this idea); leveraging all forms of social media to draw people to my website and build my “platform” (I’m tired of that word). Anyway, it all made sense, but it was getting complicated and stressful.

But that stress is now gone – I gave it away. Yet if I really want to give my books away to as many people as possible, the techniques are similar to selling books. But by removing money from my purpose, it’s all a lot more fun.

I’m still asking people to give me their email address, but not so I can send them some funky newsletter and periodic sales pitches to buy a book. I never liked that newsletter idea – I don’t want to contribute to email inbox clutter. But I will send an email when I have a new book ready to give away. And I may send an email when I need help on a book project, like selecting a title or cover design.

Anyway, I’ve discovered that by removing one of the foundational purposes for my writing – selling books – there’s much more room for the real purpose: to help people discover a better experience of life in their growing intimate relationship with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And, to help people see and accept that the solution to all of life’s problems is found in a personal relationship with the Spirit living within them.

Look, Jesus turned my life around. Without Him, I’d be miserable. Okay, not totally miserable. My wife is very special to me; I love her intensely, and her love gives me purpose. But Jesus’ love gives me a higher purpose, and a fuller life. I want to share that with other people – that’s why I write. NOT for money. This feels great!


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The book is ready… finally… almost… and for free

It’s finally almost ready to release… the book I’ve been promising (see Home page). It’s currently with my editor for final edits. And based on the questions she has so far, I’m getting excited about the improvements she’s going to make. By the way, my editor is my niece Johanna, helping me out while in the midst of her own publishing career.

I’m also excited about giving this book away for free to as many people as possible. Seeing that I’ve spent about six dedicated and sometimes difficult months working on this book, you may wonder why I would just give it away. Well, if you read it, you’ll then understand.

And I’m excited about the possibilities within the pages of this book. I hope and feel that it will help other people deal with the stress in their life. You see, this book is a record of my journey to escape stress and find a deep peace that I believed was out there, but I had a hard time seeing it.

Anyway, stay tuned. I hope to have this book available for download within the next two or three weeks. I have a feeling these weeks will be filled with a mixture of anxiety, more excitement, and lots of fun.


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Maybe a Small Step, But it Feels BIG to Me

Yesterday I registered a domain name for my author web page – which doesn’t exist yet. Eventually you will be able to find my author page at www.cjpenn.com. But clicking on this link won’t get you anywhere today.

Though it was easy to get this domain name registered, I was surprised at how difficult it was. Confused? Me too. Technically it was easy. Emotionally it was hard. This feels like a huge step for me.

Though I’ve been writing for this blog for almost 10 years, and working on writing some books for almost 9 years (nothing yet published), I feel like I just took my first step into a whole new phase of my writing – the marketing phase. And it feels awkward and uncomfortable. I feel like I just climbed into a rocket about to blast off to Mars.

My author web page will be all about marketing me and my books. From the research I’ve been doing, an author page that’s separate from my blog is essential. But this whole marketing bit just doesn’t stir the passion and excitement in me that writing does. I’ll just have to force-feed the passion, I guess.

Anyway, I think I’ll start blogging about my experiences with this new phase of my writing life. So if you’re interested in such things, please check back in. AND, please give me some advice. I could use it. Thanks