AUTHOR MARK KOOPMANS ON WHY HE WRITES

Good morning everyone! Today is an exciting day in my life and the life of my blog. I am hosting my first guest. What makes it special is that my guest is author Mark Koopmans, who’s been close to my heart since lilicasplace was still a ‘baby blog’.

I didn’t know how the blogging community worked at the time, so I’d visit various blogs and leave comments on posts I liked. One of Mark’s impressed me, so I left a comment. He shocked me when he made his way back here and commented. When I told him I was ‘honored’ by his reply, it affected him in some kinda way, because he wrote a post about it! Read it here. I think I was enamored with the fact that he was a journalist and the winner of a memoir award (which I come to find, happens to be for REVIVAL!) 

I’m proudly taking part in Mark’s current book tour for the release of Revival, the book I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. You can find it here. You’ll also find author information there too!

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Just about everyone who follows me knows my background. Writing is one of my biggest outlets. It’s one of the few creative strategies I use to help myself and my brain heal. I love reading about Mark’s stories and what inspires him, so busy-body that I am,  I just ask. As long as there’s some wine layin’ around, he doesn’t mind answering. 😀

Take it away, Mark …

Aloha,

As I continue the REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story Tour, I’ve been looking forward to today. Eva and I know each other a couple of years, and as her regular readers are aware, she’s a fighter, and a true friend with the hugest heart.

Eva asked me to describe why I write.

I had to stop, take a sip of cheap boxed red wine before I answered with a deep, quiet conviction.

“Oh, anyone can write, love. I’m just in it for the money. Thanks for hosting and tomorr— ”

What? You want the real reason?

Easy. I love using the power of words in a positive way. (My superhero name would be WordWarriorManDude-Guy. A handful, perhaps, but we’d fix it in CP edits.)

I was a beat reporter my first few writing gigs, but there was (is) enough bad news reported, so I thought, why not focus on the “silent majority.”

Every day, I drove around spacious neighborhoods, (and we all have a story to tell, right?) I decided to get to know some of our readers.

Armed with my trusty photo ID, reporter’s notepad, recorder (and extra batteries after the first time the darn thing died) I soon wrote features on:

  • A Holocaust survivor
  • A 99-year-old former jazz player who worked in Chicago during the Roaring ‘20s
  • Several veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
  • A Rwandan Army officer in Cocoa Beach—who’d never touched the ocean
  • Several pastors who were planting new churches
  • A Mom who lost her son in a motorbike crash
  • A Dad who lost his son in Afghanistan

For those last two features, my goal was never, (and never will be), to “ambulance chase” the parents, instead I just let them talk about—and share—the goodness of their child—and what we, the local community had lost.

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In the past, I’ve worked as a cowboy server in France, a drunken clown in Spain, a busboy in Holland, a restaurant manager in England and a bank teller in Florida.

All those jobs had positive moments, but earning the trust of an interviewee—and honoring that trust—via the final, published piece… well, to me there was (is) no better feeling.

That’s why I write.

Why do you write?

Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting Lisa Buie-Collard who wants to know a little of my history and what life was like growing up in literary Ireland.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

WAIT EVERYBODY!! Don’t leave yet!! There’s a giveaway for some really cool prizes! Click the Rafflecopter link below the prize list to enter!

GRAND PRIZE (2 winners): Donald Braswell to sing (Happy Birthday/Anniversary) via
Skype or phone call. (A unique gift idea!)
1st PLACE PRIZE: Signed Donald Braswell CD/REVIVAL book combo
● 2nd, 3rd and 4th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of REVIVAL (by Donald and Mark)
5th, 6th and 7th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of Donald Braswell CDs
8th, 9th, and 10th PLACE PRIZES: Signed Donald Braswell 8×10 picture

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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If any of you missed it, here is the Season 3 audition video for America’s Got Talent. Talk about turning the crowd around!

DBraswellGo to donaldbraswell.com to find out more about this amazing man.

 

 

 

KoopYou can find my beloved boxed-wine drinking buddy at markkoopmans.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

If anyone has questions, leave them in my comments! I’m sure Mark will be stalking checking back periodically during the day, and will answer any questions or respond to any comments you have!

 

 

REVIVAL-HOW A TENOR LOST HIS VOICE BUT FOUND HIS CALLING

Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! Today I’ll be reviewing Revival – How a Tenor Lost His Voice But Found His Calling by Donald Braswell with Mark Koopmans.

Revival

 

TITLE: REVIVAL

AUTHORS: DONALD BRASWELL with   MARK KOOPMANS

GENRE: MEMOIR

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

5/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

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 and sing—and how to share this gift of second chances with others. When he auditions for America’s Got Talent, his family, his faith, and his entire future hangs in the balance.

MY REVIEW:

I will be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for come-back stories. Unless you’re in a position of recovery yourself, it’s difficult for a lot of people to fathom the hardships, struggles, depression, and desperation that Mr. Braswell had gone through over the years.

Donald Braswell was an up and coming shining star in the opera world. He graduated from Julliard and was a fantastic tenor until he lost his voice secondary to trauma caused by a freak car accident that occurred while he was bicycling. His doctor’s had informed that he’d probably never be able to sing again.

He went through what many of us who have suffered through life altering medical events, like I mentioned above, but with his faith in God and the love and support of his family and friends, he persevered. Though he believed his singing career was over, he knew he had to help support his family. He and his wife had three beautiful daughters after his accident.

Donald went from singing opera to working as a painter, a carpenter, and a car salesman. One car sale opened the door to his recording of a music CD. An application sent without his knowledge by his wife to America’s Got Talent would change his life and his perspective on it.

I’m so inspired by Mr. Braswell’s journey and it makes me acutely aware of just how powerful FAITH and hard work can be. It reminds me that I CAN recover, that I CAN defy the odds, and I CAN find my place in the world.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys memoirs.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

5/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

DBraswellDonald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries.

KoopMark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night. Check out his blog: Vignettes from VA (and DC, too!).

 

 

 

 

Book Review – CREATING A FIT LIFE

Welcome to Book Review Monday. Today I’ll be reviewing Creating a Fit Life by Devin Berglund.

FitLife-DB

 

TITLE:  CREATING A FIT LIFE

AUTHOR:  DEVIN BERGLUND

GENRE:  NON-FICTION/SELF-HELP

RATING:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

3.5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Do you want to create your best work? Whether that be writing a book or making some of the best art out there? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are a creative woman, you will enjoy this book filled with girl chat on becoming a fit creative who will change the world with her art. You will be a happier and healthier woman. You’ll be able to walk into a room confidently knowing you love who you are.

By following this journey you will be able to create beautiful art, while showing the best you, inspiring others to be better by being better.

Make the choice now, to become a better and healthier version of yourself so you can live a longer happier life. Time will pass no matter what you choose to do. If you wait, it will only take you longer to get to the life you’ll love living. You don’t want to deal with any of the possible risks that may enter your life if you don’t take action to live the fit life now.

You matter. Your health matters. Your mind matters. And your soul matters. Cherish yourself and show your body you want to create a healthy version of it.

In this guide, to being a fit creative in an unfit world, you will:
Find ways to use your creativity to inspire a fit life.
Get creative activities to get you thinking about your dreams and goals.
Hear an encouraging sisterly voice who has been there before and believes that you can make it too.
Get tips and the steps to live the life you want to live.
The story and life lessons you are about to read will make you laugh and at other times cry, but they will walk you through the steps you need to take to love your own fit creative journey called life. Are you in? Want to be a fit creative?

MY REVIEW:

There’s a lot of information packed into this little 88-page book. Ms. Berglund takes us on a journey towards a healthier, more productive life by showing us how the deadly sins: Anger, Greed, Sloth, Lust, Envy,  and Gluttony hamper our progress by disguising themselves as our inner critic. Each of the sins write their own journal entry on how they are going to break down their ‘host’ at various chapters. How true the statements they make reflect how so many creative women feel.

Interviews are conducted with women who have overcome eating disorders. Issues about overeating, extreme dieting, health, fitness, and self-esteem are highlighted. Tips and advice are given to help overcome the negative impact that the inner critic has on women’s lives.

Ideas for visual aids, writing, and journaling prompts are given to help get started. There are also tips for how to start an exercise program. Sadly, it even mentions how much exercise I’d have to do to burn off my latte. **Sighs** Ms. Berglund is motivated and sincere in her efforts to bring positive change to the health and well-being of the reader.

I did notice that there was some repetition as far as the advice given, but not enough that it pulled me out of the reading. Overall, it was a quick and easy read and left me with some valuable advice that I’ll be sure to use.

NOTE: I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

3.5 HEARTS

DBerglundABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am a writer, dreamer, wanderer & all-time enjoyer of life. I love crafting stories that change lives. I recently finished my first book The Mason of Hearts. It is the first in a Fantasy Adventure trilogy. I am also working toward agent representation.

Find her at:  www.devinberglund.com