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Friday, June 27, 2014 13 comments

You Know You're A Parent When...#19: World Cup Fever :)


It's been about a month since the last edition of my You Know You're A Parent When... series, so enjoy - especially if you are a soccer (it's "football," people ;) fan!


My wife came home from work Thursday and said, "Isn't soccer a funny old game?"

As a naturalized U.S. citizen (ecstatic the U.S. made the last 16 of the World Cup again) who was born in Ireland (didn't qualify - again #sigh) from a Dutch father (also in the last 16), I had to smile - again :)

Bradley, Dempsey and Howard of TeamUSA (Courtesy: ESPN)

"Especially now, because it's the World Cup," I said after watching yet four-hour-day of soccer (okay, I don't actually sit down and watch four hours of soccer, but Disney Channel and Nick jr are personas not grata in Casa Koopmans until mid-July.

What's funny is that two weeks ago I could barely name one player on the U.S. side - and still don't know anyone on the Dutch side, but I am rooting both teams on like nobody's business.

I mention this only because (most of) my writing has fallen to the wayside and my current, and much-used hashtag on Twitter is #amNOTwriting :)

See, I remember my Dad and I watching the 1974 World Cup Final between Holland and then-West Germany and now here I am, 40 years later, watching with my three boys. How awesome is that?

That was such a sweet memory and I do hope my sons will watch the 2054 World Cup with their kids (God willing.)

I say it was a sweet memory because the other day I may have traumatized my poor children after I got caught up in the action... and forgot I wasn't 21, single and drinking in a bar alongside hundreds of other lunatic soccer fans screaming at the small-screen TV (as if the referee could hear us:)

 When the U.S. scored a second goal against Portugal, I jumped out of my chair and let out a huge roar of "GO ON, MY SON, GO ON!!!"

Truly, I must have sounded like a sick and injured banshee (who discovers yet another parking ticket on her windscreen.)

Our three boys - who were all quite happy, either watching the game or playing with cars - looked up at me with big bug eyes as if I was reprising a role in The Exorcist.

"Don't worry, children, it's just Papa watching soccer," cooed my wife. "He'll be better next month."

I do hope they're not scarred for life - I'll report back after this year's final - and in World Cup '18 to let you know :)

So is the drama of the World Cup - and long may the chanting/screaming at little TVs last :)

"Hup Holland!!!"


Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and the *coolest* ball boy :) Courtesy: A Livesey/Getty Images

Monday, June 23, 2014 16 comments

Cover Reveal: "Effigy" by M.J. Fifield


Yahhy! Another blogger buddy will soon release her first book - and this time it's the often-hilarious and very cool M.J. Fifield.

(If you've read some of her job-related adventures, you may suffered sore ribs, which is a classic case of Workers Comedy.)

M.J.'s new book is called Effigy and here's the Cover Reveal:



The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.

Release date: July 22, 2014 

Cover art by Ravven


About The Author:


Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn’t writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire. Effigy is her first novel.


Ravven, the cover artist:  www.ravven.com


Tuesday, June 10, 2014 15 comments

"Our Beautiful Child" by Annalisa Crawford. Out Now!

To celebrate the release of Annalisa Crawford's newest book, Our Beautiful Child, she's guesting at mumerous blogs today:)
For no particular reason, Annalisa thought it would be fun to answer some questions that Jackie magazine used to ask the stars of the day (the example she's found is from 1984 – and the victim was Johnny Marr from The Smiths).
(She will be answering one question on each of the random blogs taking part in today's launch!)

Question: What did you dream last night?

Annalisa's answer: I dreamt that Hubby brought a Grizzly bear home. He was 6 inches from the ceiling, and I was concerned he was going to keep growing. Hubby explained the bear would get bigger, but it was okay because he'd learn to duck.

My answer: The last dream I remember was running in a marathon, but after six hours and 26 miles, the finish line kept moving as if it was being pulled back like an elastic band... I was *so* mad!!! (weird, I know :)

Our Beautiful Child is available right now!  

“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.” 

… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

Three women. Three stories. One pub.


Thanks, Annalisa and wishing you all the very best!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014 14 comments

D-Day - The 70th Anniversary & A Picture Surprise!


Seventy years ago today, the Allied invasion of mainland Europe began - and D-Day became an instant part of our global history.
From the 156,000 men who stormed the beaches or parachuted into enemy territory, I have the honor of calling one D-Day veteran a friend.
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major (Ret.) William "Bill" Ryan (2006)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) William “Bill” Ryan is a sprightly 89, but he lives in Melbourne, Fla., and I'm out here, so I hadn't heard much from Bill this past year.

I was a little worried...

...and then, yesterday, I saw this picture (#17 of 31) on a Yahoo! slideshow...

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
From Yahoo!:
Command Sgt Major Retired Bill Ryan, who landed at Omaha Beach 70 years ago tomorrow, kisses a young French boy at a ceremony honoring the First Infantry Division above Omaha Beach June 5, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. 

My first reaction?
Talk about making my day... I punched the air in absolute and pure delight.
"You bloody well did it, Bill! You made it to the 70th anniversary!!"

(Bill's traveled back in Normandy many times, but had told me on numerous occasions that the 70th would be the last big "hurrah" for many of the remaining WWII veterans.)

PS: On D-Day last year, I shared Bill's story. If interested, click HERE.

PPS: Want to hear from Bill himself? Check out this 2-min YouTube video (from 2012.)

Cheers, Bill.
A sincere and heartfelt thanks to you, and all your mates who made it home.
Like so many others, I hold dear the memories of all those who paid the ultimate price.

We will never forget. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 30 comments

IWSG: Burnt Bridges - and New Road Construction



As a serial non-commenter, I know I've burnt many bridges over the last few months - to where I am sure some bloggers consider me quite the arse(onist!)
I can’t change the past, or make someone follow me, but I can apologize to those who feels slighted at my lack of return-commentness.

I am sorry and humbly ask for your forgiveness.
Of course, anyone who doesn’t read me anymore won't see this – the irony, the irony! – but I can, at least ease my guilt with this "I am not wordy!" selfie post via the Insecure Writers Support Group.

(And, a huge thanks to Alex for founding IWSG – and for stressing me out every first Wednesday of the month :)

Truthfully, I didn’t feel I had anything to say the last few months.

I had no words of advice.

In addition, I definitely had no “rah rah” to offer.

I won’t waste time on excuses, but realized several weeks ago that I had given up on myself, which makes me a little sad.

(I am, however, a lot happy that I realized this now – and not in twenty years.)

Like many others, I have a lot of baggage inside me, but it was getting so bad that I started to charge myself $25 every time I jumped in the minivan.

But see, I want to contribute to IWSG and say, “Yes, I Write Some Great posts.”

I can’t repair the burnt bridges (that’s a two-way road), but I can repair my side.

So, today is a good day.

Today is a write day.


I am a Writer.

...stub my toe...

 Have a great week everyone and hug a writer, why don't you :)
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