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Friday, May 30, 2014 13 comments

Top Ten-ish #HashtagFails


Courtesy of: MediaFunnel.com

Okay, I love Twitter so much this intro will be 465 extra characters than the 140 allowed.

Currently, I also swoon for the once maligned “number sign” aka the now cool hashtag (#)

If you don’t know, Twitter uses #hashtagged words like a key word search in #Google.

Now, some people love using hashtagged words. A. Lot.
(Under the Twitter “Trends” section, you will generally find some whacky backy #word combos :)

To honor the hashtag #InACreativeWay, here are my totally made-up ideas for a top ten bullet point countdown of #hashtagFails.

(Feel free to add your own via comments... let's see how weird it can get (keep it PG-13, people!!)

·         #JustinWho

·         #WannaPlayTicTacToeWithMyHashtag

·         #DoYouMissMeMySpace

·         #ITweetInMySuite

·         #inevercapitalizemytweets

·         #CoconutBrasAndGrassSkirtsAreHip

·         #AmntWriting

·         #ImMissinMyPunctuationYall

·         #HowDoesThisTweakerThingWork

·         #HoeDownThursday

PS… here’s a Twitter challenge: Can you please tweet this post.

Help spread the word by spreading the words.
(If you want to find me, I'm @markjkoopmans.)

Cheers and have a wonderful, relaxing weekend.

PPS: It’s the end of the school year… let’s all show our educators some love.


They keep our kids from failing, right :)
Monday, May 26, 2014 20 comments

A Flag and a Flower for the Fallen...


On Sunday, our eldest son (6) was one of hundreds of Tiger Cubs and Scouts who met at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for an annual Memorial Day weekend ceremony.

Like many others, we made this visit to the "Punchbowl" a family event and once in our staging area, I decided to walk a random row of flat granite markers.

Each person had died during World War II and I soon noticed a similarity.




It was the age of the service member when he died that struck me the most.

They were so young.

Gosh, they were so young...

Thankfully, these fallen, these heroes of the Greatest Generation, are among the thousands who will never be forgotten - especially at this time of the year.

It was truly an amazing experience to see the kids, who handled flash flood conditions with aplomb and style as they quickly transformed what is already a place of peace and tranquility into a field of patriotism and pride.

These pictures speak for themselves (click to enlarge)

A section dedicated to World War II fallen (pre-event)

Col. H. W. Weir served in two World Wars. Can you imagine?

The Cubs and Scouts get to work between rainstorms

Son No. 1 stops to read a grave marker...

About 15 mins after the Scouts began...

The rain was no match for the Scouts' determination

The Scouts made sure to salute every grave marker - even the last one

No one was forgotten...

Done, Son No. 1 asked if he could write a personal note...

...and said he would like to leave the note there...

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."                                        - President John F. Kennedy

Friday, May 23, 2014 15 comments

How I Found The Write Path - the Butler/Hrezo way :)


The amazing Carrie Butler and her lovely co-host, PK Hrezo (sir, I know you have pronunciation problems, but please... step away from the "H") want to compile a free e-book for writers who are just starting on their road to publication, using advice from the most brilliant, up-and-coming voices in the industry.

Now that all those people have sent their entry in, here's mine :)

Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication and include the answers to the bold elements listed below (I told them to be good… but nooooobody listens to me):

(PS: My letter is meant for the me that sat on the patio of his 27th floor Chicago apartment… on the evening of Y2K:)

- A lesson you learned the hard way:
Dude, don’t be a chicken. Writing is your passion – you’re just afraid to admit it. Get over yourself.
Grow a pair. You will?
Now, sit down, be quiet – and write the damn story.

- Something you didn’t expect about the industry.

Writers care about each other’s success. You’ve always wanted to be a part of a group. Well, here you go. Take the plunge. You’ll absolutely tread water for a while, but they won’t let you down - or drown. Trust a little – and learn a lot.

- A writing-related resource you could never do without now
(No, you don’t have to learn the Chicken Dance.)

It’s something on the Internet (yes, I know it sucks paying AOL a monthly fee, but that will change, too.)
Anyway, Twitter is a way to quickly share information in 140 characters or less.
(No... it’s not at all like hanging with the little animatronic people at Disney’s “It’s A Small World.)

- One thing you’d change about your journey
You need to get out of restaurant management ten years earlier, work as a server in a swanky place and then spend the extra hours writing at the library or at Starbucks (yes, the coffee place.)

- One thing you’re glad you did.
In five years, you’ll apply and get that Staff Writer position with that Florida newspaper (even though you had neither the required two-year experience nor the degree in journalism.)
Nice one, and that’s what I’m talkin’ about, dude.

- Your number one tip for pursuing publication.
You haven’t got the looks or the education, but you are such a pain in the arse when you get your teeth in something that’s important, so don’t be a big gurl’s blouse.
Don’t quit on your dream.

- Anything else you feel is worth passing on
Dude, raid the accounts and buy about $10,000 in Apple stock – more if you can afford it.
(No, it’s not a fruit producer or a new martini drink.)

Oh, and patent the word “Google.”
(No, not gaggle, Google… seriously, why do I bother. Yes, I know I’m stuck with you. Now, go. Write.)

And, if you’re stuck, go to Harvard. (Yes, the Uni. Yeah, the one in Bahston…)
Try getting some face time with some dude called Zuckerberg.
(He’s a student, and he has a neat idea that people will give thumbs up to... some may even like it…)


My bonded name is Koopmans… Mark Koopmans...

You can find me on Twitter – simply click here.

If needed, the fabulous Carrie Butler has permission to use my entry in the e-book compilation.

Friday, May 16, 2014 24 comments

You Know You're A Parent When... #18 (The Pictures...)


It's been a while since my ongoing "You Know You're A Parent" series last cleared waivers, but our three little minions have been hard at work.

Thus, here we go again!


You know you're a parent when....

...You notice a water fountain in the park isn't working quite the way it was designed...

So, instead of warning your darling, wee innocent children, you let this happen...

Papa: "Wow, I didn't know *that* was going to happen, son"... CLICK!! :)

...however, as you giggle, laugh and say, "Do it again! Do it again" while thinking you are the funniest parent evah... you suddenly remember...

There are no spare clothes in the Papamobile.



...You ask No.3 Son if he wants his passie, not knowing he already had one in his hands.

The results leave you a little in awe of his early signs of over-achieving...

I wonder... did Walter White use these as a toddler?


...You are visiting the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

While in the midst of all this beautifully preserved history that represents, in part, the people and places of Hawaii, you ask the three sons to please just stand still.

For. Just. One. Stinking. Photo.


Please? One picture? C'mon. Just one? Ah, forgetaboutit... CLICK!! :)


... You are walking the neighborhood with several sons.

No. 2 Son is on your shoulders and asks, "What's that?"

When you peek nonchalantly in the back of the truck, you are instantly grateful that no non-family members are around (you don't ever want to squeal in that high-pitched tone again - not even for a book launch :)

 For a moment, I thought it was my old friend, Manny Quinn... (what?)

... and finally, you know you're a parent when the pants are alllllll the way over in the other side of the room and you decide it's ok for a pirate to keep his sword in his Pull-Ups :)

Pants? Cap'n NoBeard don't need no pants!!
Have a great weekend, and remember... be careful out there... they may find their way back home!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014 26 comments

"Come Back" - New Release by Melissa Maygrove


I can't think of many more fun writerly things to do than help a blogger buddy with their official book launch.

When I heard Melissa Maygrove planned to release her new Western Historical Romance, Come Back,  *today* I so wanted to help spread the great news (after I let out a gentle, but manly squee!)

*Super* congrats, Melissa. You've worked hard for this, and I wish you nothing but the very best today, tomorrow and off into the future.... just make sure you Come Back see us y'all.


Left behind by everyone she loves...
Rebecca Garvey had the promise of a California future dreams are made of, until the wagon train her family was traveling with left her behind. Now she’s slowly dying in the wilderness, abandoned and stripped of her self-worth. Once the shock of her desertion turns to embittered despair, she doesn’t want to be found. Then a handsome stranger challenges her convictions and changes her mind.

Headed for Texas, chased by the demons of his past...
Seth Emerson knows exactly what he wants. Working to save for a cattle ranch of his own keeps him busy and keeps his pain buried. Rescuing a stubborn woman from the hills of New Mexico Territory isn’t part of his plan—but she’s exactly what he needs.

Making greater sacrifices than either of them could foresee...
Seth and Rebecca set off on a risky journey and a quest for truth, each healing the other’s love-starved soul along the way. Will they give in to their growing attraction?  Or will they honor their commitments when Seth returns Rebecca to civilization... and her betrothed?

Buy Links:

Book Trailer


The Rafflecopter Giveaway:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:

Native Texan Melissa Maygrove is a wife, mother, nurse, freelance editor, and romance writer.

When she's not busy caring for her tiny nursery patients or shuttling teenagers back and forth to after-school activities, she's hunched over her laptop, complicating the lives of her imaginary friends and playing matchmaker.

Melissa loves books with unpretentious characters and unforgettable romance, and she strives to create those same kinds of stories for her readers.

General book information:

Title: Come Back
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Category: Adult / New Adult
Available TODAY :) from Truelove Press
Cover design by Carrie Butler,
Forward Authority Design Services

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 66 comments

I'm Co-Hosting IWSG & You Watched "Look Up" yet?


Many people may think the rest of this sentence is an oxymoron, but I'm co-hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group today.

 (I am, of course, the current holder and multi-year winner of the CROW award, [Comments Rarely-Obtuse Writer] but I'm delighted to assist Alex, the founder of IWSG, and his ongoing mission to give back and pay it forward.

My co-hosts today are Joylene Nowell Butler, Elsie and Lisa Buie-Collard, and together we are your honorary Cavanaugh Clones-for-a-day.

Getting the chance to wear a prototype IWSG uniform was a surprise, too!

Opening the box, the garb was instantly dubbed "The Cloniform."

(I was nearly rendered unconscious as I battled against the glare of the 100% polyester, '80s era McDonalds-style shirt and pants.)

However, wearing the Cloniform (complete with its big Rush*Really*Rocks logo above the heart) got me to the [twilight] zone as I prepared to zap around the blogisfear and interact with long-timers and newbies alike.

By the way, Alex, my uniform was a bit tight around the waist and the "HELLO, My Name is ________ badge fell off, but I stapled it back on.

(The blood above my formerly coconut-bra-ensconced chest slowed - eventually - to a slow dripping, but I don't know what to do with the Cloniform... I may have destroyed its aesthetic appeal...)

Anyway, before I zip to my zooming, guess what? I don't have any new insecurities.

Cue 19-second video:

PS: If you want some bonus positive thoughts flowing your way, check out this video below.

Since its release, two weeks ago, about 20 million people have watched this five-minute clip. If you haven't seen it yet, I hope you can take a moment to hear a special poem - and catch a unique message.

I am 100 percent secure in saying this - if you do watch, it will make you at least think about powering down on social media...

Happy IWSG Day to everyone... and don't forget to look up :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014 17 comments

Well played, A-Zers, well played...& Father Dragon, too!


Just wanted to give a HUGE Congrats to everyone who completed the A-Z Challenge yesterday.

[coughs and puts on the oul' Dublin accent]

"C'mere to me now. All I can say is that I tink youse are all a few pennies short of a shilling and a bunch of lunatics, but fair play to youse all the same.

There is no way - you couldn't PAY me - to do what you mad ones have all gone and just done.

So, like I said, fair balls to youse and go on, relax now for a few days.

Youse have earned it - and the coveted A-Z Survivor badge.

Wear it high and hang it proud :)"

[Ends Dublin accent.]

PS: if anyone hasn't seen Alex starring in Part One of the "Lord of the Clones: The Showdown," you can see Father Dragon's very creative storyboard - AND Video !!! - here.

"Dirty Dancing" at its finest!!!

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