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Friday, June 29, 2012 21 comments

You Know You're A Parent When... (#9)


Haven't you always wondered how the Seven Dwarfs met and why Cinderella didn't run away with the local baker?

If so, you need to check out our “What If?” Blogfest, and thanks to the many dozens who've already signed up.

This is going to be a Beauty... yikes....does than mean I'm the beast :) 

My co-hosts, Cassie Mae, Leigh and Morgan and I appreciate everyone signing up – and if you want to, add your name to the Linky List here J
The Dream Team... and me, the Nightmare :)

In other news, (I've always wanted to say that:) here's my ninth and latest installment of “You Know You’re A Parent When…” an ongoing series that makes single people cringe and roll their eyes J

If you’re new to my blog (thanks), I've included some recent YKYA posts here and here.

You Know You’re A Parent When…

·         You go for dinner at an outdoor restaurant with another couple (with multiple kids), and when they act as frazzled as you live, a bonding moment occurs.

The adults each help manage the controlled chaos to where you enjoy some downtime talking to your spouse – using “big” words – and sentences that don’t end in “STOP IT! or SIT DOWN!!

Inventory Check... How Many Kids Should We Have?

As you leave, you realize in a weird sort of way that you’ve had a (not-so-quiet) date night. Wow… imagine that...

·         No. 1 Son covers his lower face and chin with a grey, washable marker... and when you ask why, he says, ‘cos I want my face to look like Papa’s scratchy bumpy face.”

·         You treasure the small collection of “sleep-maker” DVDs and love the moments when you catch No. 1 Son losing the battle to keep his eyes open. (Thank you, Baby Einstein – Lullaby Time J)

Look Papa... it's the Six :)

·         You turn the corner and remember why you don’t want an e-reader – try recreating this memory with a Kindle.
Then, you start hoping James Patterson or John Grisham won’t be upset with this new-look “book display.”

·         Cleaning the table after dinner includes removing the following:

o   Large Salad Spoons

o   Placemats

o   Various Matchbox Cars

o   Salt and Pepper Shakers

o   Plate Warmers

o   Large Foam Letter “U”

o   A Steel Cowbell

o   Removal of 4-foot-long grey dolphin from underneath table

 ·         Trying for just one nice picture of your independent two-year-old, you find yourself sweating, leaning over, falling backward, all the while hooting and hollering a bunch of complete and utter gibberish as you strive to earn No. 2 Son’s attention.
And then, just like that, he looks up and you snap the “money shot” you never saw coming.
Of course, you scuttle back to the other parents and show off the image, all the while saying that *this* was the so easy-to-get shot you intended all along.
Look, Papa... it's the Sun :)

...It's only now that you remember that these same parents follow your blog and the secret is out....

...oops :)

Monday, June 25, 2012 31 comments

"WHAT IF?" Fairy Tale Madness Blogfest :)


Knowing that Summer is a busy time for many folks, I wanted to give everyone a thumbs up... and a heads up!

Right in the heart of August, I'll be hosting a "WHAT IF?" Blogfest with LeighMorgan and Cassie Mae, (my sistahs from uddah muddahs.)

The Sistahs of the Viking Bruddahood (PhotoShop Credit: Leigh:)

Introducing the...

WHAT IF? Fairytale Madness BlogFest!
(Runs August 13 - 17)          

Have you noticed that by changing one detail; one event, one character trait, one thought... you can completely alter the rest of the story?

For this bloghop we are exploring "What If...?"

Not only do we want it to be fun, but it will hopefully be a fun writing exercise and make for some great reading during the hop!

To enter:

Think of your favorite "well known" fairytale and ask "What If…!"

Then, pick one of these four categories (to be judged by):

· Best Plot Twist  (Cassie Mae)

· Best Love Story (Morgan)

· Best Tragedy (Leigh)

·         Best Comic Relief (Me)

Finally, write a scene(s) illustrating a new detail of the fabled fairy tale that changes our perspective.

For example...

Is it a plot twist? (Cinderella gets knocked up by the Carriage Driver…)

An unknown romance that comes to light? (Snow White dumps the Prince for Grumpy…)

A tragic loss occurs? (The Three Little Pigs are too late to save their house…)

A little comic relief? (Hansel and Gretel win a trip on Euro Rail, sponsored in part by M&M’s…)

Whatever the change…It's limited only by your imagination – but please keep it PG-13 J

Other Simple Rules:

·         Post your story anytime between August 13th to 17th.

·         Flash Fiction – 300 WORD MAX. (You don't have to tell the whole story in three hundred words. Pick what works to illustrate your point.)


(One prize will go to the winner of judge's sponsored category. For example, Leigh's prize goes to the winner of Best Tragedy, Mark's prize goes to winner of Best Comic Relief, etc.)

Leigh is offering: Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Morgan is offering: A FULL manuscript critique!

Cassie Mae is offering: $25 Amazon Gift Card

I'm offering a $25 Hawaiian care package (incl. $5 USPS Priority Shipping) Winner chooses items such as candy, trinkets, Kona Coffee, etc. (I'll get with my winner to make sure he/she gets what they want :)

Joining the fun is easy... all you need to do is add your name to the Linky List below :)

PS: Please feel free to grab a button to help promote the WHAT IF? Blogfest - we'd love and appreciate the support - and can't wait to read the entries :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 24 comments

In Search of Dreams: WIP & Irish Soccer


Writing is much like the pain, the happiness, the anguish and the love that happens when I support the Irish national soccer squad as I have since Euro 1988.

I did not know this before today (because Ireland hadn’t played in a major tournament for ten years), but read for yourself… there are too many weird coincidences for this not to be true, like.

Look, Ma, I'm on the Telly :)
I’ve worked on WIP for about two years, and during the same time, the Irish played about a dozen games in their hopes to qualify for the 2012 European Cup.

Ireland clinched a tournament spot in November 2011.
I finished my non-fiction book proposal about the same time.

As the New Year came and went, I submitted a few queries, while the Irish subbed a few players in several “friendly” games.

As the Irish prepared to play their three (guaranteed) group matches in early June, I thought back to a recent writer’s conference where three agents asked for more material.

I’d love Ireland to win one game in order to advance.
I’d love one publisher in order to get an advance.

Ireland lost its first game.
I got a reject letter.

Ireland played its second game – they got a whuppin’ via a four - zero score.

I got a second reject – and a whuppin’ via a form - Xerox letter.

With two losses, Ireland could not advance – but there’s still hope – to win for national pride.
With two rejects, I wouldn’t earn an advance – but there’s still hope – to write for personal pride.

Courtesy: Sportsfile
Ireland’s third and final chance was this past Monday.

The anticipation as I watched the game unfold was unbearable.

At half-time, I walked to the mailbox.
The anticipation, as I reached in and saw a strange, white envelope was (somewhat) unbearable.

Ireland lost its third game.

Inside the envelope was a (forwarded by the USPS) offer to extend the warranty on a car I sold two years ago.

Ireland’s latest hopes and dreams were squished – but the next round of qualifiers begins in three months. My hopes and dreams remain alive.
I plan to finish WIP soon, and expect edits and revisions to begin in three months. My hopes and dreams remain alive.

(See the video bar on the upper right hand side.) Ireland’s fans are the greatest. They will never quit in their dream of seeing the squad one day hold a Cup aloft in the air.
I’m not the greatest, but I’ll never quit on my dream to one day hold published WIP aloft in my grubby little hands. 

And, as for you, yes, you with that dream of yours.

Don’t you lose hold of that dream, neither, like.

*I’m not Dave, but I’m just sayin’.

(*Used with kind permission of DPK other world productions.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012 21 comments

Flag Day 2012 & Some Iconic Images of Old Glory


Today is June 14, which makes it Flag Day over here in the United States.

If you're interested in the history, ettiquette and other interesting facts behind Flag Day, click on this Military.com feature article here.

Here are some meaningful pictures of the Stars and Stripes.

Have a safe one - everyone.

Courtesy: photobucket.com/albums/f94/texasriggedworm

Courtesy: photobucket.com/mojo313

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 25 comments

Giving Thanks & One Lovely Blog Award

(Steps up to the podium in natty tux and shiny head…)


Before I get to the awards part of this post, here’s a big THANKS to everyone who commented on my recent Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.

It was awesome to see so many suggest I give myself the chill pill award and remind me it’s OK if I don’t stop by their blogs within 84.26 seconds of receiving a comment.

Also, if you’ve wondering what’s with all the GREEN on my blog…?

I’m in mourning.

Ireland, that land of my birth, was handed a 3 - 1 whuppin’ by Croatia Sunday, so I’m in the grieving process while waiting for Thursday… when we play Spain (the current WORLD CHAMPIONS… yikes!)

Anyhows, speaking of awards…. I am such a slacker, but look what I gots weeks ago J

The One Lovely Blog Award

Given by a certain loverofwords, who wrote in her blog:

“…Because of the title, I hesitated to give this to any men except Mark Koopmans who is a stay-at-home dad of three boys and who could use all the encouragement he can get…”

I was like all “aaaawwww, that’s so sweet and so I bow down in appreciation, and would ask that you please visit this loverofwords :)

The rules for One Lovely Blog Award are:

1.  Name and thank the blogger.

2.  List seven facts about yourself.

3. Award five other bloggers this award (it’s supposed to be fifteen, but WIP is callingJ)

 So, in 134 words (a la Twitter-ish), here are seven quick facts:

1.  I’m a husband and dad to three boys and love, love, love babies – but could never eat a whole one.

No Cooking Utensils Were Harmed in the Making of This Post

2.  I’m left-handed – and can’t figure out my new, (first-evah) baseball glove.

3. I finally understand hash tags (#) on Twitter (Tweet me: @markjkoopmans).

4.  I shared (with pride) a Retweet from the Football Association of Ireland with an Irish buddy. He said I’m now officially a Professional Twit.

5.  I’m a simple man who seriously writes for fun and laughs. If you want depth – visit a swimming pool.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.dutchamsterdam.nl/

6.  I lived in Amsterdam for nearly three years and never smoked a joint at any of the famous Coffee Shops such as this one :)

7.  I did, however, try my one and only joint while camping overnight in Sherwood Forest (the real one, not one of the many subdivisions (… and that story is a whole post of its own :)
The Great Oak, Sherwood Forest
(Courtesy: flickr.comphotos/j-fish)

Without any obligation, I award the One Lovely Blog Award to my five victims, er I mean Bluddies (blog buddies):

Elizabeth Seckman at Use Your Words...

Kyra Lennon at Write Here Write Now

Elise Fallson at Elise Fallson

Bonnee Crawford at The Blogging of an Aspiring Writer

Ara Grigorian at The Rookie Scrivener

Have a great weekend, everyone, and if you're following Euro '12, I hope your team wins - unless it's Spain or Italy :)

Friday, June 8, 2012 32 comments

I'm Over at David Powers King (& C'mon "Oirland" :)


I’m guest posting over at David Powers King today.

As many of you know, DPK is out for a wee bit on a Revision Hiatus and I hope all is going well, my friend.

My very serious post here concerns editing, and there will be no jokes or talking to myself during this guest period… I mean, it’s not my blog and I have to behave… right?


Why are you agreeing with me? What did you do?




Where’s my final draft for DPK?

I dunno…

I edited it for you… it’s goed know.

Runs to the computer, but it's too late... the post is LIVE!

(Evil cackling ensues from the back room...)



 (Speaking of evil cackling... when England loses :) if you are a soccer (football) fan, the 2012 UEFA European Cup Finals begin today!
My birth country IRELAND will play its first game Sunday, June 10.
If you are so inclined – please pray for my wife over the next few weeks… this is the first time Ireland has qualified for anything in TEN, long, agonizing years.
I am going to be a mental basket case waiting and watching to see how Ireland does…
Here’s two recent pics taken while the lads were training… as you can see, the Irish take their soccer seriously J

Our 'keeper, Shay Given. He *really* had to go :)

Have a great weekend, everyone, don't forget to check out DPK and "C'mon Oirland." :) 

Some of the Oirish Squad for Euro '12

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 32 comments

IWSG: Am I A Bad Blogger? ... I AM???

Before my monthly ode to insecurity, here’s a big
to Elizabeth Seckman, the winner (by popular vote) of my recent Photo Caption contest.

Queen Elizabeth, (whose debut novel, Past Due launched Tuesday:), please feel free to enjoy unlimited Photo Caption bragging rights through 11:59 p.m. (EST), June 30, 2012. (Please note: All brags will automatically void away to nothingness July 1, 2012.)

Please, No Autographs...

Thanks to EVERYONE who took the time to vote. It is much appreciated by me – although I must apologize as Son No. 3 has tired of *cute* and is working on *cool*.

And so, onto Insecure Writer’s Support Group…
My insecurity this month is blog-related comments.

Don’t get me wrong… I love leaving comments. My “issue” concerns replying/acknowledging comments received, and responding to replies via the comment section (once I leave a comment.)

With comments left on my blog, the problem is I’m never able to respond to all comments within (what I perceive to be the etiquette-demanded time frame of) twenty-four hours.
Sometimes, (gasps!) I don’t respond for days, and then I worry… has the person already forgotten he wrote? Will she despise me for being so late - and so lame?

As you can see, Mark is a people-pleaser, and would we, hmm, say just a little overly dramatic?

                                                                                                                                           – Mark’s Wife.
I wish I had the time to quickly answer all my comments – I appreciate each and every one – but when I spend extended time on comments, it eats into my limited writing time… and then WIP suffers because I was trying to do the right thing on the blog side.

And when WIP suffers, it sucks because I think about it every day – and feel like I've lost an opportunity when I head to bed without moving WIP along – if even a little.

But, on the other hand, I love me my blog buddies (my “Bluddies”) and the time I spend here is never wasted – my writing has vastly improved since last year, (look... no more horribly adverbs,) which means that WIP has benefited from not being worked on.

It’s all terribly confusing.
Another worry is replying to comments directly on my blog, or when I leave comments elsewhere.

I’ve made it a point (for the most part) not to respond to comments on my blog – or return and review my comments on other blogs.

My reasoning is that this takes an awful lot of time – and sometimes I’ll get distracted, read another great post, leave a comment, wash, repeat and do again, only to wonder (an hour later) who’s blog was I trying to comment on in the first place?
Oh, how I wish I could borrow Alex’s “Blog Borg” suit and spend quality hours a day browsing, reading, commenting and revisiting, but I have to choose – and my choice is WIP.

(Stands up, hands on hips, in full SIGGY costume.)

Is this bad etiquette – and if it is, and I still won’t change my ways – does this make me a bad blogger?
(Mark’s wife sighs…)

It’s OK dear… the Angels baseball will be on soon, and then you can grill some steaks for dinner…it’s going to be alright.

OK, thanks J

And so, off he moseyed into the dusk of another Hawaiian sunset…
A man.
A writer.
A mission: Finish WIP and one day be the best commenter…


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