Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Second Chances/ Revival

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.
I smiled.
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.
I smiled.
A lot.
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?

Pen-L-Publishing   Amazon    Barnes & Noble


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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  1. No, it's certainly not Jenga!
    You found what you were supposed to do and that's one of the greatest things we can ever find.

    1. It was a long, winding road, but I'm glad to have found my way:)

  2. And, as it turns out, a very good writer. Hope the promotion all going well.

    Big hugs from Grandma Dragon to both you and Father Dragon.

  3. Hey Al:) Thanks again for allowing me to guest post on your Bloganniversary:)

    Hope the Dwarves are behaving themselves and I can't wait to hear the Dwarf Tenors sing (!!!)

  4. Hi Al and Mark .. good to see the 'deserter' here .. taking up citizenship of another country ... bring him back to the Tower?! Well done Mark - great perseverance which paid off - I hope now in spadefuls: you seem to have done wonders with Donald's memoir ... capturing his voice and spirit - must be wonderful thinking back over the journey and how proud you are - that you've done it.

    Well done .. so pleased for you ... cheers to you both - and Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating ... Hilary

    1. Thank you so very much, Hilary! This past month has been a wonderful journey, made all the more special by your support :) Have a great rest of the week in England :)

  5. Hooray for second, third, fourth, fifth chances. And the courage/balls/insantiy to pursue them.

    1. Amen to that, EC :) Now, let's see if I can write a book for me ;)

  6. Inspiring story! Thanks for sharing (to both of you) :)

    1. Thanks Mark. I'm just blessed that I had the opportunity to tell Donald's story :)

  7. That is some journey! Truly inspirational! Congratulations!

  8. I loved REVIVAL. Great story.
    Congratulations Mark & Donald! :)

  9. Oh, I enjoyed reading about your second chance. I got a couple jobs that way, too. I don't have balls but hey, I grabbed two off the pool table and it worked just fine. ;-)

    Btw, Revival is well worth reading! I enjoyed!

    And Tassin? You did a great job!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  10. I'm so glad you found your calling, Mark!!! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  11. Hi Al and what's his name, oh yeah, Sir Mazza! :)

    My OCD is telling me to not type any further until my pillow is directly centre on my bed. Fascinating stuff and yes, like the wonder groupie that I am, this post will be duly shared.

    I promise that this comment will not dragon.....

    Gary :)

  12. What a bluff. You teach your kids that, lol. At least you found your nicht in life. Sometimes, the Universe speaks, and someone listens.

    Hey Al, and Tassin and dwarves; have an awesome weekend.

  13. Dragon on a Mission has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.