Wednesday, 6 April 2016

IWSG: This is the time when I go a little looney-toons

After being closed for winter, our B&B has reopened for spring and summer. This is a good thing but also a mega time-suck, of the black hole variety. I try to get some writing done, but it's really hard and I'm finding myself giving into my old demons that have me writing well into the night, which is very, very bad.

Plus, I'm backed up with the laundry, the house is a disaster (though that's not much different than normal), the kids are on vacation, and this is my living room... it's been like this for like the last 4 days. And to be honest it'll probably stay like that for another 6. weeks. *hangs head in shame.

So I'm stuck pondering the following: 

How in the figure-skating Hell am I to find time to write? 



I don't even have time to put some colors on! 

The life of a disorganized, frazzle-brained writer is so ....

Oh look. Dinner is ready.

Happy IWSG day and A-Zing to all participating, I miss you all....
gotta go for now!!!!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

IWSG: Sometimes All You Need Is BIC HOK and a Cat

Developed by author and blogger Alex Cavanaugh, IWSG is a bloghop for writers by writers. To find out more about the IWSG monthly bloghop or the IWSG website, click the links. And many thanks to Alex and the courageous, torch sword wielding ninja co-hosts this month!

Oh, I just can't stand it anymore! I've been trying nap here for almost an hour, but all I can hear is you, mumbling, growling, and barking at your computer. Apparently, you're not satisfied with whatever it is you're typing. Shall I take a look at it? I don't mind. Especially if it can help you write without interrupting my beauty cat nap

Oh. Wow. This does need a bit of work. Excuse me while I cough up a fur ball. This is positively horrendous. Go put on another pot of coffee, this may will take a while. Trust me. 

There. I fixed it. Your character now has motive, is well rounded, and doesn't sound like a drooling pooch. My fee is payable in fancy butt-flavored cat food. You can pay me immediately. All that editing has made me hungry. 

Le meow.


I had a breakthrough yesterday and all I needed was some good old fashioned BIC HOK (butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard) time. It feels like I've written over a hundred different variations of this book, but today, I finally have a reasonable outline of the story. It's the best feeling when you've been working on a problem for a while, and all of a sudden, it comes together. I know I still have a super long way to go, but the end feels much more attainable. I can't tell you how excited I am about getting the scenes written down. Hope none of you are stuck on a problem, but if you are, remember sometimes all it takes is some BIC HOK and a smart alec cat (cat optional)

Now, let fun part begin!!!!! 



Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Bad Things Come in 3s : The Daily (sorta) Journal of an Injured Knee - Day 14

Well, it's been 2 weeks and most of the swelling in the left knee has gone down. There's still a puffy area on the right side of the knee that doesn't seem to want to leave. I still can't bend my knee completely, but I went to practice last night, did a few sprints and for the most part it was ok. I just can't drive my left knee up very high when I run, which leaves me with this lopsided gate, but at least it doesn't hurt too much. Most of my bruising has now faded, and thankfully, no new ones have popped up. So I'm guessing another week before I'm 100% and that'll be just in time for the championships. Plus, we had planned a short ski trip right after the tournament during our winter break. Hopefully I'll be ok for that as well, and I also hope the ski stations will get some snow by then. I was outside in a t-shirt on Sunday it was so warm. It felt like late spring, the complete opposite to what's been blanketing the east coast in the States. It's been so warm here, daffodils and other flowers are blooming. The weather is crazy.

Anyway, thank you all for stopping by and checking up on me and my knee. I think I've taken enough pictures of my knee caps to last me and everyone else a lifetime, lol! 

Have a great week everyone and be safe!!!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Bad Things Come in 3s : The Daily (sorta) Journal of an Injured Knee - Day 3-6

I didn't get a chance to post over the weekend because I had fourteen people come over for lunch on Sunday. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Thankfully my knee held up but it reminded me all day (with a dull ache), that things are still not 100%. Walking around in heels probably didn't help either. Today, I'll be convalescing in my slippers and drinking tea. 

Anyway, here's what my knee (or should I say 'leg') has been doing these past few days...

Day 4: The big itch. 

My leg has been itching me all day and not in the 'pass the ointment I have a weird  rash' kind of way. The muscles itch/ache. It's not easy to explain, but I just have this need to stretch my leg muscles and to lock my knee out and run. But I don't of course because, duh, it hurts when I do. But still, despite the pain, I itch to stretch out the muscles. *sigh*

Oh and yes, that is my cat Oska, inspecting my toes....

"Stop that. That tickles!"

^..^   "Meow."  

"What do you mean my feet stink?!" *shoo--*

^..^  *Hisss*


Day 5: Down you go.

Well, it looks like I'm at the green / yellow stage (yeah!) around my knee. Hopefully that means things are almost fixed in there. As for the swelling, it's gone down a lot more too. However, I'm getting some funky dark colors appearing all the way down the inside of my leg. My initial injury was to the side of the knee, but the contusion extends much further. I guess when I got hit, I must have broken enough blood vessels to extravasate ;) blood all the way down my leg. The leg still itches but a little less than yesterday. On the plus side, I can go up the stairs just about normally now. 

Day 6: What the hell is this?!

I've got new bruises popping up on the top of my leg down my shins. 

What the hell? 

When did this happen? I was on my feet all day yesterday and I wonder if that has anything to do with the arrival with these new guests? *sigh*

Friday, 15 January 2016

Bad Things Come in 3s : The Daily Journal of an Injured Knee - Day 3

Day 3: The turning point...turning purple!

Three seems to be the magic number. 
The swelling has gone down some and I can finally bend my knee to about 90°, which makes getting dressed in the mornings less of a circus act. Thumbs up. It also makes getting in and out of the car a lot easier. Double thumbs up! The only thing that still makes my teeth mash however, are the stairs, especially going down.... I still have a bit more healing to do.

But the exciting thing is I'm finally getting some discoloration coming up to the surface, notably dark purples and blues. OOOooooo. Exciting stuff  I tell ya. All that got me thinking about bruises and contusions in general. Like, what's going on in there and why does it change colors? I know the gist of it, but I wanted to find out in more detail. So, I went to our good friend Wikipedia who explains bruises as:

"A bruise (layman's term), also called a contusion (medical term), is a type of hematoma of tissue in which capillaries and sometimes venules are damaged by trauma, allowing blood to seep, hemorrhage, or extravasate into the surrounding interstitial tissues. Not blanching on pressure, bruises can involve capillaries at the level of skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscle, or bone."

Well ok then.... I hope I didn't bruise the bone, that sounds really bad.....

But what about the changes in color, what's up with that? So, I dug around a bit more (on the internet, not my knee) and found this interesting (and most importantly, short) video on the IFLScience website that explains why bruises change color. And according to the video, my white blood cells are separating the heloglobin into heme and globin which gives it the purpleish-blue color. Cool stuff indeed. I'm looking forward to the biliverdin or as I like to call it, the green stage.... :D 

So if you're curious like me, have a go at the video, and Happy Friday everyone! 

 You guys ever have a really bad contusion that changed colors like this? Remember how long it took to heal? 


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Bad Things Come in 3s : The Daily Journal of an Injured Knee - Day 2

This is Day 2 of my injured knee.  

I was hoping for something more exciting to show you guys, but the only thing to report is that my knee is still swollen, still hot, and is still a blotchy redish brown color. Apparently, all the cool stuff is happening on the inside. However, there has been a noticeable decrease in pain (thankfully), especially when I walk. I've up-graded from hobbling around to walking like a pirate with a pegleg. Try getting your pants on in the morning with a pegleg. Let me tell you, it's a challenge. You know what else is a challenge? Getting in and out of the car. I manage, but it takes a Herculean effort and about as much grace as a brontosaurus. Reminds me of when I was pregnant with my son.... 

Anyway, I've also remarked a few more bruises that I hadn't noticed before. In addition to busting my knee, I apparently also bruised my right side along my rib cage, the bridge of my nose, the tip of my right ear and my left arm between my wrist and elbow.  (-_-)

On a more positive note, I now have a new found respect for my chunky thunder thighs. I've always been a bit self conscious of my legs, especially from the knees up. My thighs are, and have always been, stocky and muscly. Instead of a thigh gap, I have thigh flaps. But, I think the added muscle around my knee helped protect the joint from a lot more damage. Things could have been much worse had I had skinny little legs. So, from now on I've decided to give my chunky muscly legs a break and show them a bit more love and appreciation. :) 

That's it for today, I (and probably you) should get back to writing.... ;)  XOXO

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Bad Things Come in Threes : The Daily Journal of an Injured Knee

Monday, I talked a bit about the string of bad luck that’s been shadowing me since November when my computer died, followed by December when my dishwasher broke down just before the holidays.  And, some of you warned me that bad things come in threes so I'd best watch out. Well guess what? The very next day, I injured my knee during Ultimate practice. During a game, my teammate and I both went for the disc, didn’t see each other, and we collided in spectacular form. I took a wrist to the face and his knee slammed into the side of my knee and we both hit the ground. It hurt like a b****. He was fine, but I got the wind knocked out of me, and within minutes my left knee started to swell. !%ù*!!&###!!!

The drive back home after practice, sucked. It’s the only time I’ve ever wished my car was an automatic; I cringed every time I had to push down on the clutch…. Anyway, the next day I went to my doctor. He did a series of tests on my leg and knee and luckily, it looks worse than it actually is. There’s no damage to the knee joint and none of the major ligaments around the knee seem damaged. I’ve basically suffered a deep muscle contusion and have to rest my knee for at least 2 weeks. So if things go well, I should be back to practice in time for the Regional Championship in mid-February. Phew.   

In the mean time, I figured it’d be fun to document the changes in my knee as it goes through the healing process. I love experiments and I’m totally looking forward to seeing it change funky colors as the swelling goes down.

Here is my knee on Day 1:  It doubled in size. 

It's hard to tell from this angle, but the injured knee is the light brownish one on the right (your right). It looks like the swelling swallowed my knee cap. My good knee is the one on the left of the picture that actually looks like a knee cap with a few old scars in the center. 

Here is another shot from my perspective. You can see the swelling better on the left and the red spot where I got hit. 

Fun times y'all. Fun times.
As you can see from the pictures, my knee looks like it’s 9 months pregnant. I don’t walk, I hobble. Going up and down stairs is complicated as I can bend my knee only slightly. The skin over the injured area is shiny and smooth due to the swelling and it’s hot to the touch. It feels like my knee has a temperature. I wish I had one of those fish tank thermometer strips to see how hot it really is. There isn’t too much color around the knee, some redness a some light brown discoloration, but nothing overly interesting. 
By the end of the day, my lower back was aching because I’ve had to shift my weight to my good leg. The throbbing in my knee also made it difficult to fall asleep so I took a couple of pain killers. Thank you Advil PM.
So there you have it, my string of bad luck is officially OVER! YOU HEAR ME! I’m done, got my three bad things so now life can you please leave me the hell alone?

Thanks for stopping in everyone. I'll do my best to visit you all when I can. I'll be back tomorrow for another day in the life of an injured knee. 

In the mean time, be good and be safe! :D

Monday, 11 January 2016

Passive Aggressive Texting With Jimmy Kimmel, K?


I'm back! First off, I'd like to wish everyone a peaceful and splendid 2016 and I hope the holidays were good to all of you. I spent the holidays with family and things went generally well. Except, for the dishwasher crapping out on us a week before family arriving for the holidays. The estimates for repairs were comparable to the cost of a new machine (Insert slew of curse words HERE).  As you can imagine, buying a new dishwasher was not on my Christmas list. Nor was the computer we had to buy the month prior when the old one gave up the ghost. Apparently, was not on the 'good list' last year. So, in my attempts to start off the New Year on a positive note, I went to see Star Wars episode VII with my kids on Jan 1. I won't give away any spoilers, only that we enjoyed the hell out of the movie and look forward to seeing it again. 

Anyway, the following is a clip of Jimmy Kimmel explaining passive aggressive texting. It's pretty funny and I thought I'd pass it along for a bit of comic relief. When speaking face to face, we often use tone of voice, body language, and/or facial expressions as cues to identify passive aggressive speech or things like sarcasm. For example, the famous huff, hand on hip, followed by the eye-roll. In writing, sarcasm and passive aggressive subtext are more difficult to express simply because the visual cues we rely on have to be written in. Easier said than done.  However, if you properly flesh out your characters before hand, chances are your readers will automatically pick up on dialogue cast with sarcastic notes. And, a good sarcastic character is always a fun read. 

Enjoy the clip and have an awesome week. :) 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015


Developed by author and blogger Alex Cavanaugh, IWSG is a bloghop for writers by writers. To find out more about the IWSG monthly bloghop or the IWSG website, click the links.
Thank you Alex and the co-hosts this month you all are awesome!

Last night my mother and I went to a Jazz show. On stage was a 6 piece band and a vocalist who transported us back 80 years….. to a cocktail lounge bar with wooden bar stools and worn velvet lounge chairs. Smoke hangs low in the air and people are drinking, and smoking, and dancing. Men are dressed in suits and hats, and women in fur, it’s the 1930s and the band is playing Duke Ellington. 

Music really does move people, physically and emotionally and during the entire performance I could not help but dance a little in my seat. My feet tapped, my head bobbed, and my hands clapped. I smiled the entire time. After each song, there was a roaring applause. It was an outstanding performance. And yet, something was strange…almost everyone around me managed to sit still the entire time, as if they were watching a tragedy. I kept wondering how in the world anyone could listen to such great music and not move, even a little, to the beat. Sure Jazz isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you wouldn’t buy tickets to a Jazz performance if it wasn’t. I started thinking it must be a cultural thing. The French tend to be quiet and reserved in public, and now I’m thinking I must have been so annoying to the people seated to the back of me, lol! 

Anyway, just like with music, people will respond differently to your writing. They’re going to love it or hate it for different reasons, and that’s ok. What’s important is you keep writing, keep typing away to that tune in your head, get your words onto the stage and into the spotlight because that’s how we improve, that’s how we move forward. And, when it comes down to it, that’s what we need, to share our stories with the crowd.  

Go on, I dare you to listen and not at least, tap your feet. ;)

Thursday, 12 November 2015


Bonjour everyone and welcome!

Did you know I love pictures? Well, I do. I love taking pictures and I love sharing them. I love color pictures, and I love black and white pictures. I love pictures in frames, in blogs, and in books (the more the better). I love thought-provoking pictures, and I love pictures I can rub my crayons all over. In short, a picture really is worth a thousand words (can my next ms be just pictures?) and to prove my point, below is a picture I took a couple weeks ago......


And a few days ago, I took this beauty....

What exactly do you mean metal box when you say,
"Your computer was unable to start."

Just look at these pictures, they hold so much emotion, frustration, and betrayal. We see the battle between man woman and machine. There are lives and files at stake... These images personify the dying of the light and the motherboard. It is death and rebirth and then death again. It is a portrait as I curse, cry, yell, and curse some more. In these pictures I see a desperate soul trying to reformat (twice) a piece of crap computer. Ultimately, it was all for nothing.


The metal box died five days ago.

This is my first post from my new computer which runs on Windows 8 (which sucks, seriously what is so complicated about opening docx files? Windows 7 can do it!) . Looking back, I should have thrown the metal box of cookies and crippled rams over a bridge, at least it would have been therapeutic. But enough about me and my pictures, you should see the pictures in Mark's book REVIVAL!
(I'm a black belt in transitioning can't you tell?)

But seriously, I'm excited to be part of Mark's blog tour for REVIVAL and today he's going to talk about the many pictures that were included in the memoir and how they were chosen. So check it out, and don't forget to sign up for the rafflecopter at the end to win a bunch of prizes!

                                         Take it away, Mark! ----->>>>>



Nearing the middle of the Tour for my new book,
REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story, we find ourselves in France where Elise is so kind to let me parlais about pictures in a memoir—and how do you choose a final set?

 When I first suggested to Donald that adding pictures to the memoir would bring so much more to the story, he was immediately on board, but he soon emailed me with the same question: How do I choose?

I checked my battered copy of What To Expect When You is Memoir-ing, but when that offered little (except to get enough sleep before launch day), I asked Donald to send fifty pics that basically covered the timeframe of the memoir (early ‘20s to late ‘40s.)

I went through the multitude of emails, and because of age and technology (anyone remember how a scanned 4x6 Kodak can appear?) it wasn’t hard to whittle the first round down to a final selection.

Donald sent rough cutlines for each “finalist,” and now REVIVAL ended up with about thirty pictures sprinkled throughout its 236 pages (thanks to our publisher,
Pen-L Publishing.)

 (When I read a section, and then saw the corresponding picture, it really drove home how a picture really does tell a thousand words. Just as well… with thirty pictures, gosh, I’d still be writing :)

 Has a picture ever helped or hindered your writing?


Merci buckets, Elise. You rock, as does the Eifel Tower at night.
I’m stopping by MJ Fifield on Friday, and she’s curious about the challenges involved in memoir writing.




Title: REVIVAL - The Donald Braswell Story
Subtitle: How a Tenor Lost his Voice, but Found his Calling
Author: Mark Koopmans
Category: Non-fiction
Genres: Memoir, Biography, Inspirational
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Length: 65,000 words
Release Date: November 03, 2015

Tour: Every weekday in November

Back 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, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others.

Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?  

Purchase Links

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Nook
  • iTunes
  • Kobo


Donald 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 1995that 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.

Braswell has reentered the world of music by singing in concerts starting with the Symphony of theHills in Kerrville, Texas in June 2009. He performs a variety of musical genres ranging from pureclassical repertoire to soul to mainstream pop. He engages people of many cultures by singing invarious languages outside of English, including Spanish, Italian, Neapolitan, French and Russian. Hisconcerts are generally multilingual, and he has performed pieces that are themselves in more than onelanguage. Some of these include: Mario Frangoulis bilingual version of “Nights in White Satin” (Italiantitle “Notte di luce”), originally by The Moody Blues; “The Prayer”; and Andrea Bocelli’s “Vivere”(English title “Dare to Live”). His other non-English repertoire includes Aqustin Lara’s “Rosa” (Spanish),Mario Frangoulis’s “Vincerò, perderò” (Italian) and the Neapolitan standard “O sole mio”.Some of his many compositions can be heard on his recent album We Fall and We Rise Again.Donald is a testament to the powers of the human spirit in difficult times and he inspires all who come to know him.   Find him at


Mark 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.


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 8x10 picture

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