Monday, November 09, 2015

Mark Koopmans Revival: How a Tenor Lost his Voice, but Found his Calling

Please welcome my favorite Irishman Mark Koopmans to my blog. This "Oirish" lad knows how to tell a story and, lucky us, we get two of them today, Donald's and one of Mark's own from his childhood in Dublin. His first book 'Revival' is now available! Take a look....

Donald Braswell
Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.”
Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch. Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others.
Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?

 REVIVAL" is more than the story of one man's struggle to overcome—it's a testament to the power of God.”
                      ~ Alex J. Cavanaugh, Amazon Best Selling Author of Dragon of the Stars

Love #AmericasGotTalent? Check out this memoir from a Season 3 finalist!

REVIVAL by @DonaldBraswell w/ @markjkoopmans is now available at...
#inspirational #book #memoir #amreading #singer
#inspirational #book #memoir #amreading #singer

See Donald sing, hear that voice on...

THE VIDEO #amreading #inspiration

And now from the author himself...
Crikey. I can’t believe it’s the second week of the REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story Tour.
Lisa, one hundred thousand thanks for hosting me today, and you were wondering about my roots, and life growing up in literary Ireland.
The best thing about Ireland was (and is) the “craic.”
No, it’s not the Oirish way to spell an illegal drug. Craic is the fun one has when you’re around good friends and the conversation (among other things) is flowing.
I grew up on Dublin’s Southside, in what remains a working class neighborhood. Our little gang of “gouriers” (lads) were always causing trouble, and I probably need to apologize to many parents around our neighborhood for the general corruption of their sons!
Seriously though, there was nothing like growing up with my small band of brothers. Funnily, from the seven in our “gang,” four of us were “Mark,” which meant nicknames were soon applied, and the lads to this day still call me “Koopo.”
Though we don’t get together much, when we sit for a few hours and have a pint or two, the stories of our mis-spent youth come flying back in seconds—and the craic is always great.
I may never again live “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls were so pretty,” but it’s nice to see how metropolitan Dublin is. Construction continues to change the city I once called home, and I’m always amazed by the amount of cranes that dot the skyline. (It wasn’t like that in my day!)
They say “you can take the man out of Ireland, but you can’t take Ireland out of the man,” and it’s completely true. I still support the Irish national soccer squad as passionately as I did in 1989 when I left the “Oul’ Sod” (even if many of today’s squad were born in 1990 and later.)
Ah, the joys of growing old-er... (Is it time for a pint?)

Where did you grow up, and does it still hold a little piece of your heart?

Thanks Lisa for asking a fun question, and for hosting me today. Tomorrow, it’s Donna Hole who has to put up with me. (She wants to know the history behind the book title.) Wednesday, it’s David Powers King turn who wants to know about REVIVAL’s timeline.

REVIVAL: The Donald Braswell Story was released on Nov. 3, 2015 from Pen-L Publishing.

Mark is a husband, writer and stay-at-home dad to three boys under the age of eight :)

Mark's Blog
Normally he posts on his blog on Wednesdays, but has been known to add a bit of humor on other days to mix things up with a touch of seriousness.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

IWSG Wednesday


Please thank our awesome co-hosts for this month, Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson
Co-hosts are wonderful beings who enjoy helping make this blog "hop" a success, so make sure you visit and thank them for all that they do, as well as our Ninja Captain, Alex himself...

For this month’s IWSG post, I have some introspection I’d like share. What does it mean to win an award? How many writing awards are out there and is there a list of those who “count/matter” and those who don’t?
I don’t know. I just know what it feels like to (finally!) win one! A Royal Palm Literary Award, first place in mystery, from the Florida Writers Association's annual competition. To win a contest where no one who knows me is amazing. That my work was judged by no one who has anything to gain by liking what I wrote, that's a wow. I love this feeling about winning an award.

On the other hand, I made the mistake, perhaps, of reading the rubrics (I should have waited until I wasn’t working on the current WIP) from the judges who commented on the other novel I entered that did not win. Depressing. Not because they were mean. Contrarily, they were professional about what they said and I could see truth in some of the comments, which made me feel terrible.
However, “it’s too late to turn back now.” What I learned from this is that I may not be able to go back and change what is already out there, but I can learn from what I did and did not do and make this next novel that much better. I’ve decided to take that route and get over my pity party, as soon as I can, which probably won’t be for another few days. I know myself. I need to grieve and dwell. Then I can move on.
How do you handle criticism, no matter how “constructive?”

Monday, October 26, 2015

The LISTING Fest Blog Hop


Participating today in the "Listing Fest" Blog Hop designed by Bish Denham! Check out some of the other lists posted on this blog hop and maybe you'll get some good ideas or maybe just some good laughs! Not everyone thinks in terms of work like me, thank goodness!

Makin' a list and checking it a million times.
A list is a list, is a list, is a list, right? No! There are million ways of using a list!
For a writer, living without lists means no managing of time.
Well, then again, everyone makes lists of things not to forget.
What about making a list of things you like, or want to do, or books you've read, or, or, or, see, the list goes on!


Here is one writer's list.

Finish merging two copies of same WIP (work in progress) by end of October. Yep. My bad. Hate accidents like this.

Add new scenes discovered recently in my brain to said WIP and get working on final drafts.

Start work on cover with cover artist.

Run through "finished" mss (manuscript) before Christmas.

Talk with marketing guru (Carrie Butler) about pre-launch publicity.

Send copies out to beta readers in January.

Get copies back, make changes, send out to editor in February.

Get revised copy back. Make revisions in March.
Send final copy to publisher in April.

Shoot for May publishing date.

I think this is enough, especially because this is only my writing list. This doesn't include my "real life" list of everything to be done in between my writing listings...

Wish me luck...and endurance!

Images from:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Evangeline's Miracle Wins First Place!


Folks, I don't know how to tell you everything that went right at the Florida Writers Association 13th annual conference, ( but at least three things happened (among all the others) that stand out for me.

FIRST: Evangeline's Miracle won FIRST place in the Mystery category of the Royal Palm Literary Awards!!! Which confirmed for me that I did the right thing in revising and having EM edited professionally two years ago. EM was a finalist in 2012 but did not even place. I reworked it, re-entered it this year and it WON. I made the investment both in time and money and it paid off. Satisfying to say the least!

Marie Bostwick
SECOND: Our keynote speaker/multi-published author Marie Bostwick, made me cry with her keynote speech. When she saw I was weepy (I sat next to her at dinner) she asked me why, then told me that we needed to talk and to find her after dinner, which I did. She proceeded to listen to me, hug me, and tell me not to play it safe with my writing. That I was hurting my inner artist to not write what I needed to write. Then she told me "what you need to do as soon as you get home," hugged me, and I left. I did not want to monopolize her time when she was nice enough to give me what she did, a personal moment with her. If I ever get as published as she is, I want to be like her when in public. EVERYONE loved her. She was amazing.

Rachel, me, Nicolette, Mallory (with Vic DiGenti lurking behind!)
THIRD: Three young women, Mallory, Nicolette  and Rachel, from Eckerd College attended the conference as interns, helping us with conference work as part of their community service, which they must complete to graduate. I first met them back in April when I went down to Orlando as part of my training (as registration chair) to a FWA mini conference. We hit it off then and this time it was as if we just picked up from where we left off. One worked with me in registration for the entire conference, but I spent time with all three, especially Friday and Sat. nights. Not only did we just enjoy each other, but one has been to Tanzania and gave me "permission" to "pick her brain" if I wanted, for info on Africa while researching for my current work in progress "Rain." I felt honored and happy to meet and get to know these three young women who are all very intelligent and fun to be with. We had much to talk about, and I got the impression that they enjoyed our time together as much as I did. The one I worked with ended up calling me "Mom," which they all seemed to agree with, perhaps an honorary title! Somehow it meant a lot to me that we bonded.
With the lovely Marie Bostwick
Okay this is long enough! Just wanted to share these three events that only reinforced for me that I'm doing the "write" (heh heh) thing in being a part of this conference (4th year). When I start to think it is "costing" me too much time or effort, things like this happen and remind me that giving is so very rewarding. After all, the motto of this group is "Writers Helping Writers." That, to me, says it all.