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Friday, September 27, 2013 28 comments

"Have You Got a Dream?" (... Monthly Bloghop Update)


I’m again participating in the Do You Have a Goal? bloghop hosted by Misha Gericke and Beth Fred.
Their fun and nifty idea has members of the Linky updating our stated Goal on the last Friday of the month.
Just follow these guidelines, and Bob’s your uncle.
·         Beth and Misha are the official co-hosts of the Linky List.
·         When you enter your blog’s address into the Linky, write your goal as the link title. For example, Misha’s link title is “earn $7500 per month.” Not your name or your blog. (So we can keep track of who’s doing what.) Plus, it serves as an easy indication of the fact that you’re not the only crazy one!
·         If you do enter, please be supportive of us other Dreamers!
·         Update Day is, as mentioned, on the last Friday of every month. Even if you don’t think you achieved much – or anything – please write a quick post to say so. We can’t encourage if we don’t know.
·         Please, please, please spread the word! A lot of people need encouragement, and making a decision and figuring out how to get there is half the battle...  

 For me, this month has been interesting to say the least – especially the last few days – but to bring you up to date:

My current goal is to finish a 75,000 word first draft by Halloween. I started seven weeks ago, and have 18,000 words in the bank, or five thousand more than last month.

·         One night, I even impressed myself with my writing speed and prowess when I wrote TWENTY pages… only to later discover each page was filled with the letter “L.”

(I’d fallen asleep in front of the keyboard, with my finger comfortably resting, apparently, on the twelfth letter of the alphabet…)

·         In other news… wanting to change “just one thing” on my blog resulted in a recent and complete two-time overhaul of my blog. (Why, sure, I have six extra hours over two days to spare…J)

·         WIP#1 remains in the hands of the editor, and we’re expecting great things to happen there over the next few days!

“Reporting live from the kitchen table, this is Mark Madmann, and now it’s back to you, Alex, in the Clones ‘R’ Us studio.”

You can join in this monthly Blog Hop here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 34 comments

Follow Fest - Powered by the wonderful Melissa Maygrove :)


I’m so late to the party – but then I heard that Melissa Maygrove and her Follow Fest runs through Friday, so you, too, like me, still have time to sign up >> here!


Melissa’s goal is to use this cute, little Fest that could as a platform-building opportunity for writers who want to meet and possibly follow like-minded writers – or strange, genre-seeking folk like meJ

She also asked all who signed up for the daily Linky Lists to answer a few simple questions. (I’ve had fun reading all the different responses – we *are* such a varied lot!)

And so, as they say in the Eurovision Song Contest, here then are the results from the Irish judge:

Name: Mark J. Koopmans (I looked into picking “Alex J. Cavanaugh,” but some dude already has that name… can you imagine!)

Fiction or nonfiction: Non-fiction for Book #1 Revival:The Donald Braswell Story.
WIP#2 is currently a WWII historical romance, but who knows what it will be by the end of the final chapter!

What genres do you write? OK, so getting the chance to co-write a memoir and share Donald’s story was an amazing opportunity, but I am also having a lot of fun with my fiction WIP#2… just ‘cos I can warp the scene to fit my imagination.
I think I would love to write a drama next.
Or a thriller?
Maybe a combo?… (A lonely D.I.Y-type dude loses something important and only has six hours to find it… I would make up a new genre and call it a “driller.”)

Are you published? Memoir/novel(s) no, not yet. But I have one magazine credit (1993) and several years as a beat reporter for first a Florida weekly, and then a Texas daily newspaper.

Do you do anything in addition to writing? What? No, don’t be silly! I am a stay-at-home dad to three boys under the age of seven, which is really easy (oh, dear why are my pants on fire?), especially now that our 20-month-old baby just this past weekend broke his leg. The poor, poor little fellow will be in a cast for four-to-six weeks, so I may be (nah, ya) a little busier than normal…. I feel sooo bad for our little guy… especially as he was already so used to running around like a mini-Mark.

Where can people connect with you?
Apart from the local mailbox, my blog is where I normally post.
My Twitter account is @markjkoopmans
My Google+ is Mark Koopmans (but I don't use it very often.)
My LinkedIn account is linkedin.com/markkoopmans (again, not used too much - yet :)

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
I wish that I realized I wanted to be a writer twenty years ago – but at least I realized my dream job before it was too late J
(PS: If you’re so inclined, please add our son to your prayer list – all prayers gratefully received J

 Thanks for coming up with and organizing such a cool Fest, Melissa.
Remember, Follow Fest runs through Friday and you can find details and sign up here. :)
Friday, September 20, 2013 24 comments

"Murder, Madness and Love" by Yolanda Renee - Book Tour


Today, I'm excited to share the news about Yolanda Renee and her new book:


Murder, Madness and Love by Yolanda Renee, is a mystery-thriller just released last month by
Sunlight blazes on an empty canvas.

Arctic winds gather snowflakes on a frosty window ledge as a statuesqueform appears. She moves past a table littered with papers. Headlines splash news of murder, but it’s the photo of another young woman with features mirroring her own that draws her attention.

A different headline peeks from underneath the Anchorage Times.
Wealthy Businessman Dies in Car Crash … BLACK WIDOW SUSPECTED!

Graphic images swirl through her head and a tear rolls down her cheek. She drifts toward an easel and a trembling hand dips a sable brush into a palette of paint.

The Westminster doorbell chimes. The brush slips and blood-red paint stains the floor.
Detective Steven Quaid waits. His Tlingit, Indian features carved from granite, mask his Irish passion …
Will he arrest her this time?

All fingers point to her guilt.
But, is she guilty of this cunning plot? Or, just a victim of circumstantial evidence?

The door opens …His eyes lock on hers …His heart races …Hers skips a beat.

An adventurous spirit took Yolanda Renee to Alaska where she hiked the Brooks Range, traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and learned to sleep under the midnight sun.
She claims her vivid imagination as a blessing, a habit, a hobby, a calling and sometimes a curse.

She now resides in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, and Boston terrier, Patches.

Murder, Madness and Love is available here and below:

Click here also for a Rafflecopter giveaway :)

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EN77770/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=curioquill-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00EN77770

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EN77770

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-madness-love-yolanda-ren-eacute-e/1116523889?ean=2940148751342

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/murder-madness-love/page1.html


Tuesday, September 17, 2013 19 comments

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh: It's Time...


I'm super excited to be a part of "our" Alex's latest book launch, and as such, each person on his Linky List had an opportunity to ask him a question.

Here's mine:

With the success of the CASSA series, do you plan a Botox regimen to retain your youthful looks ahead of your 50th Birthday?

He said:

You ask that as if I needed it!

Fortunately I still look young and easily pass for someone in my thirties.

And I still have all my hair!*

Of course, it’s a bit grey now…

*Editor's Note: Whatever, dude. Don't make me mad, man :)


CassaStorm By Alex J Cavanaugh
OHHH! Look what's in my grubby, little hands :)

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind. Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy.

And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorm is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

"Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together." - Charity Bradford, science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera

Print ISBN 9781939844002

eBook ISBN 9781939844019 $4.99

EBook available in all formats Find CassaStorm: Barnes and Noble -

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1116848619?ean=9781939844002 Amazon -

http://www.amazon.com/CassaStorm-Alex-J-Cavanaugh/dp/1939844002/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378484337&sr=1-1&keywords=cassastorm Goodreads -

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17670532-cassastorm Book trailer -


Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years.

A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games.

Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, Alex lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website (as if you need it:) http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

Twitter – http://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh

Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4287922.Alex_J_Cavanaugh

Monday, September 16, 2013 14 comments

"Sacrifice Her" by Sheena-kay Graham *Cover Reveal* :)


Although I'm late to the party, I'm sooo happy to help join in so many others in revealing the cover of Sacrifice HER by our very own Sheena-kay Graham.

Title: Sacrifice HER by Sheena-kay Graham

Goodreads: Sacrifice HER

(Release Date: December 2013)

Summary: When a city is at stake is the life of one sixteen-year old girl worth risking thousands?

Deidra Moore goes on the run after escaping from a group of human sacrifices for Bane: God of War. She doesn't believe he exists and sees uncertainty in the scorching desert as a better alternative. But Faux City isn't finished with her and their leader Lord Brinn is ordered by Bane - through one of his maiden worshipers- to bring her back or face dire consequences.

In the desert Deidra meets a wanderer named Kane and as feelings spark can they find a safe place to lead a new life before Lord Brinn and his soldiers catch up with them? Yet the question remains. Does Bane really exist and if he does what will happen if either side succeeds or fails? Told in alternating perspectives of both the runaway servant girl and the blonde strong willed leader.

Author Bio: Sheena-kay Graham was never meant for a traditional job behind a desk.

Her childhood career plans included becoming a ballerina, actress or someone who helped people. So naturally she decided to be a writer who writes from her bed.

Yes, no desk for this Jamaican book lover. No matter if it’s reading, writing or using the computer....you get the gist. The love of the written word has always been with her leading to stories, novels, poetry and way too much fan fiction.

This Christian woman can be found trolling Amazon online, in local book bookstores, watching movies on the big screen, or in her bed, or reading/writing/on the laptop...again in her bed.

Mainly writes YA fiction and is ready to unleash her creativity to wow the masses.

Cover Design: 

Image of woman with flowing hair (purchased): © Transfuchsian | Dreamstime.com

Cover Designer:  Langao @ http://fiverr.com/langao

And for a final bit of wow factor. Look at what I got for free without asking:)

All the best, Queen Sheena, and wishing you *much* success with this - and your future works :)
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 16 comments

9/11 - Memories of a Former Foreigner

(This is an annual "reprinting" of my first ever post from Sept. 11, 2011 - lest I one day forget why I wrote it.)


The thing I remember most about 9/11 is how selfish I felt - at the very beginning.

September 11th was supposed to be the day I paid my debts and made some serious money. I clearly remember the last thing I said as my balding head hit the soft pillow on the 10th: "Tomorrow is going to be a great day, man, tomorrow is going to be a great day."

Source: Anthony Grimley
Five months prior to 9/11 and new to California, I had met several fellow Irishmen at a pub or six, which networked into an interview with a starched suit who looked me up and down to see if I could sell gold coins.

"I can sell a Yankees hat in Boston, or a Cowboys jersey in New York, surely I can sell a little coin over the phone?" I said, full of the optimism of the uninformed American sports fan.

My new boss didn't really care. I'd earn a bare stipend for a couple of months, and then work on one hundred percent commission, so no skin off his nose.

They call the big investors "whales," and it took five months of living off credit cards to reel two in. One lived in New York; the other was in Jersey. I arranged great deals with both retired men; deals that culminated on Monday the 10th, and happy as a pig in a blanket, I later went for a few drinks with the boys, having promised my whales that they'd receive the official paperwork via fax before noon EST Tuesday.

That's the only reason I was up at 5:50 a.m. PST, but as soon as I saw the plane hit the second tower just after 6 a.m. my time, I knew the deals were done - and so was I. (I had no clue how bad it would be - did anyone?)

I wallowed in pity for about thirty-five minutes until I heard another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Driving to work in my new, unpaid-for Mustang, I jumped up as far as my seatbelt would allow, and let out a scream of hurt and anger I hope my ears will never again endure.

As an immigrant with naturalization papers in process, I had no doubt that the attack was on my country (I swore in July 3, 2003,) and my people.

In October 2001, I tried joining the USAF, but the recruiter told me a 19-year-old's pay "ain't going to take care of the credit problems belonging to a 31-year-old."

On 9/11, as always, I'll wear my Liz Claiborne WTC shirt that I bought 'cos the Statue of Liberty looks cool in the forefront (it was 2002 before I "saw" the Twin Towers for the first time.) I will also reflect on how I awoke thinking only about me, but ended the day thinking only about "U.S." and the thousands whose lives had been destroyed by hate and fear.

May the good God bless the souls of all those lost on 9/11, and Lord, please continue to protect those who, with a servant's heart, always run into harms way while we scream to get the hell out of there.

Thomas J. Foley, 32, Rescue 3, FDNY, died in the collapse of Tower 2, WTC, New York, 9.59 am, 9/11/01. RIP

Monday, September 9, 2013 26 comments

Save the Date: *Dec. 9* CheersFest is back!


...On December 9th :)

Wow! It’s been a year already and here we are about to launch CheersFest 2.0.
There have been some minor changes and tweaks to our 2012 Cheers, Cavanaugh Blog Fest, so here’s some basic info:
We have five co-hosts this year, including Alex, (who was the inaugural recipient of CheersFest (aka AlexFest :)
For now, here are some Save-The-Cat Date bullet points:
What: CheersFest 2013. Someone deserving will be roasted (like a cute, little brown coffee bean.)
When: Dec. 9, 2013
Who: The winning recipient will be roasted via popular vote.
The winner will be someone who is a constant presence, is positive, possesses integrity; is involved in the online community (participating and hosting); is supportive of others and is a major force in the blogging community.
(Disclaimer: Co-hosts, their immediate family members and employees of Planters Roasted Peanuts are ineligible to vote for anyone named Gary.)
How: Once launched, each of the five co-hosts will take a week to review comments and selections made via comments on their blog.
Co-hosts will advance one name each, and will make - and announce the final vote.
The recipient (Roastee) will be revealed at least three weeks out, allowing folks the time to join a special CheersFest Linky ahead of their roasting posting.

Here’s what we need from you guys – nominations.
Who best fits the criteria above? Who is a positive force, an active participant, always positive, and makes a big difference in the blogging world? Leave your nomination in the comments and next week, the five hosts will pick one person each and then we’ll vote from that point.

That's it!

Save the date and see you then!

PS: If interested, I'm still taking suggestions and questions for my upcoming trip to Holland :)

Friday, September 6, 2013 19 comments

I'm off to Holland - You Curious about Coffee Shops, Culture or Cheese?


Photos of Amsterdam - Featured Images
This photo of Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

When "new" people hear me, they eventually always ask where I come from? (Such as the rancher from Texas, or the girl from Bahstan, who *both* said I had a "weird" accent... :)

I just smile and offer my now-traditional response: I am Irish by birth, Dutch by association - and American by choice.

While it's not true that I dropped the O' in O'Koopmans when I came through Ellis Island - especially considering the gateway to America closed in 1952:) - it is clear to the translucent amongst us that I don't have a traditional Oirish name.

Pictures of Amsterdam - Traveler Photos
This photo of Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

My Dad was born a Dutchman and I'm heading to Holland to visit him this coming week.
While I am super-stoked be be going "home" to Holland (I lived there for two years in my late teens, early twenties) I'll have a free day or two and wondered...

What if I posted from Amsterdam?

So, that's what I'm going to do, but I'm curious... is there anything you've always wanted to know about Holland in general - or Amsterdam in particular?

Share your thoughts via comments and I will use any questions as a template for my post.

PS: I have some scheduled posts in "the bank," but I won't be online too often, so ALOHA! and see you in a couple of weeks:)

Photos of Amsterdam - Featured Images
This photo of Marken (close to) Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 47 comments

IWSG meets a 12-Step Program & Hi, I'm Mark...


(Walks into a dimly lit side room of a local community center.)

There are several empty chairs in the loose circle and I smile at the few folks who know me.

(If it wasn't for my issue, I'd have more friends, but that's why I'm here.)

People nod and return to sipping the always-tepid coffee served in the always-small Styrofoam cups.

The meeting is called to order.

It's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I decide to go first.

"Hi, I'm Mark and I'm a terrible return commenter. It's been two days since my last reply."

"Hi Mark," comes the uniform response. One or two people nod with sympathy, while a few others disguise their frowns by chewing on day-old oatmeal cookies.

"Would you like to share first, Mark?"

"Sure, Stevanopulous,* I'll go first."

My white plastic chair almost falls as I scramble to stand and face my peers.

Like a shield of dreams (write it, and they will read) I hold WIP close to my chest and half-wave at the group.

"See, it all started nearly three years ago. On a daily basis, I don't have a lot of time to write, and I missed one comment - just one - on a certain post. I felt guilty for ages, but then I missed another... and soon I spiraled out of control."

I look down and caress my ms.

"Then I got hooked on this - I hold up the dog-eared folder - and now I can't stop."

Several people follow my every word - I see the same hunger in their eyes - while others nod sagely and offer smiles of support.

"Mark, let me ask you, have you ever disabled comments?"

"No, but I have deleted many spam comments and have moved emailed comments to a separate folder in my Yahoo inbox. I always mean to go back, but I never find the time. Instead, I take one more hit of ms - I only ever mean to take just one - but I'm soon lost."

Guilt racks me as I look out on the group.

"I'm so sorry. I know I need to do better. I can and I will, I promise."

"It's OK, Mark, your ManCard is safe with us, let the tears fall."

Wipes snotty nose on already damp sleeve.

"Group hug, anyone?"


I also wanted to add a huge *Congratulations* to Alex for leading us these last two years of Insecure Writers Support Group, and a very happy second anniversary to one and all :)

To join the growing ranks of the IWSG, please click here.

Monday, September 2, 2013 14 comments

Is It a Drone? A Clone? No! It's IWSG - and it's 2 Years Old


As I asked before, is it (thinks before typing) "ISWG" or "IWSG"?

Or, does it mean "I'm Writing, Seeking Gary"?

But then again, what if it is the International Wader Study Group, an organisation of enthusiastic professionals and amateurs researching waders, also called shorebirds.

And, oh no, did we miss the chance to go to Zurich to support the 5th International Workshop on Science Gateways?

What if it's perhaps a different way of seeking an International Standard Book Number?

You know, my three-year-old said I'm part of a "Itsa Weally Swell Group" of people who participate every month... and I do weally like my friends here, so that might be it.

Well, whatever it is - and if you're a blogger, you *know* what it is - but did you know IWSG is TWO years old this Wednesday!

You're invited to participate, as always, and a little clone told me there is to be a big surprise :)

Click here to find the latest Linky List, which is managed by our very own cloner of clones, creative commenter extraordinaire and friend to all who link: Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Happy Labor Day, and see y'all Wednesday :)

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