just bought an espresso maker
You just have to practice. Each milk is different, and sometimes the foaming capacity of the milk goes down as the milk ages.
Have a chilled bricco (mine lives in the freezer.) I wake up, pour milk into the bricco, put it back into the freezer, and by the time I'm ready to steam, there is a little ring of ice on the inside. I've found that is perfect for me and my machine.
The CG frothing guide is where I started, too. Awesome nerdiness.
Another tip is to rest the edge of your bricco on the wand, or on the side of the machine. Just something to steady it. Other than that, you just have to practice.
Do you have a local coffee house (not Starbucks) that pours what you like? I know coffee geeks love to share their knowledge (when the place isn't busy) so I'd start there. Ask what beans they use when they make you your fave and buy from them or a local supplier. Coffeegeek.com has a good guide and how-to's section: http://coffeegeek.com/guides/frothing... <---their frothing guide which has a description of Mochas etc.
Have fun! :)
Good, fresh beans are critical. If you have a roaster near you, use their beans, they will almost certainly be better than stale grocery store beans.
Grind them fine. A good grinder is critical (must be a burr grinder, not one of those ones with a spinning blade). If you don't have a grinder, buy some preground beans (Illy or Lavazza), but buy the smallest amount possible since pre-ground beans go stale very quickly.
Make sure the machine is properly pre-heated, you'll get weak, nasty espresso from it if it's not up to temp.
As for the actual instructions (load machine, pull shot of espresso, etc), I'm sure the machine has a manual, and you may want to check YouTube for some videos demonstrating the proper way to pull a shot and steam milk.
Start with beans you love. We love Illy. Here's a link with their tips for making both a cappucino and a mocha (or a moka, as they say):
LavAzza beans are terrific, too, though I have not purchased 'em for home use. I love the product when I visit some of my favorite Italian bakeries. Happy brewing. :)