Father Dragon is in a business trip but he instructed me, Tassin, father of Sessin, to welcome Mark Koopmans to the Cave. The dwarves are thrilled to have Lord Baldernot, the Dashing... I mean, Mr. Koopmans as guest during the blog tour of Revival AND on the Cave's 3rd Bloganniversary!!!! What better way to celebrate. Father Dragon read the book to us and all 150 dwarves loved it. It's very well written and it has everything (fun moments, sad moments, exciting moments) and it is overall inspiring. My son Sessin has joined with other dwarves to practice their singing. They plan to form the Dwarf Tenors. They dream to sing Far Over the Mountains Cold to you one day. Anyway, Dragon and Dwarves highly recommend this book! Now I leave you with Mark. The beer, roasted pork and songs will come next.
I smile when I remember wanting to be a writer as a child.
Sadly, it wasn’t encouraged (or discouraged) at home, and I didn’t drive myself to be a writer.
I did, however, drive myself to learn how to operate a truck, but then I crashed.
I didn’t smile that day.
After I was fired, the 19-year-old me left Ireland.
I got my first job outside of Amsterdam, stacking pats of butter in a Dutch grocery store.
Sadly, I have OCD.
It became very annoying to watch little old ladies squeeze a pat of butter (it’s not a tomato) and then pick one from the third row down.
(This isn’t Jenga, people.)
My smile froze in the refrigerated section.
I soon looked for another job, and worked as a non-Dutch speaking busboy—in a very busy Dutch restaurant.
I smiled a lot.
Fifteen years—and a million miles later—I was a restaurant manager, but the only thing I cared about was my paycheck.
What was a smile? I’d long forgotten.
I had to make a change.
I tried a new business—banking—and was offered a branch manager’s job about 18 months later. It was a nice job.
I smiled, and normally would have said yes, but said no.
I’d seen an ad in a newspaper.
They wanted a new staff reporter. Applicants needed a journalism degree and two years experience.
This was the second chance. This was the opportunity I’d always wanted.
I didn’t have the degree. I didn’t have the experience.
I did, however, have the balls to believe in myself—to believe I *was* the best darn applicant.
I got the job.
They gave me a reporter’s notepad, a recorder and a desk that looked like it had been hurriedly cleaned.
(Looking back, I fought like a cornered animal to get that writing position because I needed a second change. I needed to fight for the calling that was my God-given talent.)
I cleaned (out) the desk and sat down.
Just me, my perfectly OCD-arranged trusty tools of the trade (I had yet to master), plus a phone missing an outside line.
I smiled again.
It was May 8, 2005. I had a job.
This was my second chance. This was my calling.
I was a writer.
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.
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?
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● 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