Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! MST3K on RiffTrax, Apple TV Review, Revival–The Donald Braswell Story, and Ninja News!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

My awesome co-hosts for today are Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson!

I’m in a good place right now because last month I polished and sent off two short stories.

One was for an anthology based on ‘turning points,’ and I opted to go with an early Cassa story, one featuring Byron before CassaStar begins. I like how it turned out.

The second was for Geekdom House, whose mission is to provide a refuge, workshop, a culturally relevant welcome center and place for discussing nerd and geek topics. (While also bridging the gap between geeks and Christians.) It was a Christmas story and I opted for something contemporary and very geeky.

And I have to admit – I enjoyed writing both stories. It takes me forever to plan, plot, write, and edit a novel. But I can knock out a short story in a month. Still slow compared to some, but maybe that’s a more viable path for me right now.


Today I welcome fellow author and brother in Christ, Mark Koopmans! Not only is the release of his first book a huge milestone for Mark, but for the subject of this biography, singer Donald Braswell II. I had the honor of reading Revival before its release and I promise – it is moving and inspirational! Mark and Donald, congratulations and God Bless!

When Alex invited me (Cheers!) to talk about my new book, REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story, he asked for snark.
I’m known for following all the rules of etiquette, so what better than the topic of rejection.
I’m un-agented, so when I started REVIVAL, I went a wee bit nuts and submitted requests to agents and publishers galore. (I mean, I was writing a memoir. I didn’t even need a finished manuscript.)
Emails shot off like beams of literary brilliance, and I thought, “this writing stuff is easy.” (Cue canned laughter.)
However, when batches of brilliance bounced back, I looked to see if:
• Consecutive rejections were similar?
• Rejections were due to grammar or style?
• Agents dismissed my use of the third person in the first place? Or the first person pretentious tense?
When I saw a pattern, I called Art Bell. After that, I looked for constructive criticism, made changes and shot off another quiver of queries.
Three years, and many rejections later, I still enjoy recycling the old letters (especially when the kids need coloring paper.) And finally, through hard work and a Churchillian belief, REVIVAL officially published yesterday.
So, the next time you get a rejection, tape it to a wall. Use it as a positive resource. Never take it personally. Cleave the good, and don’t you ever dare quit. If you believe in your ms, then make it happen.
Thanks to Alex for letting me share, and thanks to all of you, my fellow believers in the positive power of prose.
“We shall write on the beaches, and we will never surrender.” – (Nearly said by) Winston Churchill.

Tomorrow, I’ll be at Jo’s blog, where I’m sure there will be a word of wisdom and a recipe to boot.

From Juilliard to jumper cables; from wasting all the talent in the world to America's Got Talent, REVIVAL—The Donald Braswell Story is a memoir about the "Texas Tenor" who lost his voice in a random accident, but finds his calling through faith—and a musical miracle.

Buy Links: Pen-L Publishing and Amazon
Visit the authors: Mark Koopmans and Donald Braswell II


Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes are now available at RiffTrax!

New classic episode released each #MST3KMonday. Available to own and download/stream from your RiffTrax library.

First two episodes with Bonus Intros from Mike Nelson: The Pumaman and The Final Sacrifice.

Here's a message from Mike Nelson:

Apple TV Review

Last week, I received my Apple TV device. And wow!

This is a very cool app for those of us already in the Apple ecosystem. It hooks up to your television set and is a thousand times faster than accessing things through a smart TV. What does it do?

It plays movies from iTunes, NetFlix, Hulu, major cable networks, and media in your own library.

It will display your photos, music, and videos from the cloud and your other Apple devices.

Like the iPad, it features apps you can add and remove.

You can also mirror your iPad to your television for a giant iPad experience. (This feature tickled my wife to no end.)

Amazon is not releasing an app for this device, however – you can bypass it with airplay on your iPad. Sneaky!

The box serves as a one stop shop for movies, television, music, photos, apps, and home videos. Uber cool!

Ninja News

My apologies for not including The Peanuts Movie in my November movie preview on Monday! I ran out of room. I’m sure Snoopy is still doing the happy dance though.

Help Glorie Townson a.k.a. Toi Thomas, choose a cover for her upcoming contemporary romance.
Vote for the It’s Like the Full Moon book cover HERE.
Learn more HERE.

New release!
Firestarter by Patsy Collins
Find it on Amazon

Ready to read Donald Braswell’s amazing story? Thinking of picking up the Apple TV device? (It’s really cool!) Ready to watch some MST3K on RiffTrax? And what are your writer insecurities today?


Angela Wooldridge said...

Hey Alex, Welcome to the world of Apple TV! We've had it for years now, (the old box we first had was way bigger than the sleek little black one you get now ;)) I'm of the persuasion that once you make the move to Apple products you tend to stay there.
Well done on the short story subs too. I have too many lying around that need a redraft and a decision about what to do with them, something else to add to the 'to do' list.
All the best,

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your stories, Alex. No Apple TV here. Mandy and Tony got me a Chromecast for Christmas last year. Is it similar? I can stream movies & music from that too.

Love Mark's guest post. You wanted snark? Noo... :)

I'm saving my insecurities for next month! Hugs.

nashvillecats2 said...

Good day Alex, Apple TV sounds great , don't think it is here though/
Enjoyed all the features of your page except one word in the beginning......"NEUROTIC".
Have a good day.

dolorah said...

Snoopy is Charlie Brown's dog, so. . . he always survives. I haven't seen the trailer or adverts. This is a must see for me.

Yay Mark; recycle those rejections. Looking forward to hosting you on the 10th. I did not let the grandkids near the post with their crayons.

Just Keepin It Real, Folks! said...

Congrats to Donald for soldiering on through rejection. I admire folks who don't take it personally and just truly believe in themselves and their story. Way to go! We have Apple TV, but only use it for Netflix, 'cause we are tech dinosaurs. One step at a time for us old farts.

Cindy said...

Donald's book sound great. Will check it out.

I've never heard of Apple TV until now and could think that Amazon TV will be next.

Jan Morrison said...

Good for getting those stories done and out.
Won't comment on apple tv. I really don't no nothing bout no teevees. We have one but only for netflix. We're cave dwellers.

TBM said...

Glad you had fun writing your stories. Sometimes it can be painful to crank stories out on a deadline. And congrats to Donald.

I don't have Apple TV, but recently got Amazon's Firestick since I'm plugged into the Amazon system, prime, and I love it. So much at my fingertips--it can be dangerous.

Shah Wharton said...

We have leads which have enabled us to Mirror our laptops for a while now - it's awesome. And we have a Smart TV which does all the things you've mentioned. But of course, we can't take it with us on holiday etc, so you have mobility. :) It's the one thing which nearly made us get an Apple TV plugin bt we didn't in the end. They're not cheap (especially in UK)!!

Congrats to Mark, and to all the other's who are celebrating a book launch/offer!

Shah X

Liza said...

That Apple devise looks cool...I didn't even know it existed, although I've wished for it out loud when scrolling through menus on our TV.

H. R. Sinclair said...

Congrats on your stories, Alex. And congrats to Mark!

Rachel Pattinson said...

Congrats on your short stories! I've never managed to finish a short story, but I often think of ideas for them. I love Donald's inspirational message - we should never give up on our dreams :). Apple TV sounds awesome, I'm totally showing my partner this blog post tonight and see if I can persuade him to buy one for Christmas ;)

Jennifer Hawes said...

Congrats on finishing your short stories. I love it when I meet my goals/deadlines:) The Revival sounds like an amazing book! Yes, we have an Apple tv thingy. Love it.

Jo said...

Good luck with the book Mark. It was a wonderful read.

Don't watch much TV Alex, and wouldn't have a clue how to use this anyway.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - great for your short stories and am so pleased to see Mark here with his Donald Braswell memoir: he looks to have done wonders for Donald and brought his story to life. Congrats too to Patsy .. for her Firestarter .. the cover stands out. I really need to get my techie life organised ... everything's a mishmash - and I'd love an Appletv - so pleased it works so well .. cheers Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats on your story submissions! There's a lot of pleasure in producing a complete piece of work in a much shorter time than it takes to write a novel. Fantastic advice from Mark, both he and Donald are a great example of persistence!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you're enjoying writing short stories, Alex. And congrats to Mark on his book.

I don't have an I-Pad or a smart TV so it was interesting to see what you're able to do with yours.

Mary Aalgaard said...

You have so much good stuff going on! Congrats on pumping out two short stories. I managed one, and it was out of my normal writing style! Mark's book sounds great. I'm sure I'll be ordering it. The Apple TV device sounds like something my kids would like Santa to bring for Christmas.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Good to hear you're working on short stories! I have a couple that I need to finish--if I can find time with all of my other projects.

mshatch said...

Apple = $$$$ so not for me.

Congrats on your two short stories! I have such a hard time confining myself to a short story. I've written a few but boy, it's hard to get a beginning middle and end into under say 7,000 words!

S. L. Hennessy said...

I love my AppleTV! It makes my life so much easier. And I'm super excited about your Geekdom short story. When is it available for us to read?

Unknown said...

Congratulations Mark! I've been waiting to read this book since April when he gave us all those tantalizing tid-bits during A to Z.

Yolanda Renée said...

I could use a devise like that, but I'm so far in the stone age, I'd never figure it out, but maybe I can bribe a son too? Hmmm...
Congrats on the short stories, I too am finding them quite interesting. Although one that I'd hoped to publish as a short, may become a novel. Somehow that's disappointing. LOL
Happy IWSG day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Angela, once you enter the Apple world, you might as well stay. And really enjoying Apple TV!

Eva, it is similar.

Deb, you'll figure it out eventually.

Cindy, I wouldn't be surprised.

TBM, it is dangerous!

Shah, sorry they're expensive.

Liza, now you know!

Rachel, I hope he does buy one.

Nick, yes there is!

Natalie, I can do so many things, it's mind blowing.

Marcy, I'm a man of few words, so it works for me.

Lauren, sometime in December.

kaykuala said...

Great, on your 2 short stories Alex! It is a logical progression a step a time after poetry perhaps. Been toying with it. Hope to do something about it myself. How Mark went about getting his book through is so inspiring. Yes, rejection should not be taken personally!


Sean McLachlan said...

Glad you're doing some short stories. A few months ago I joined Write1Sub1, where the members write and submit a short story every week or every month. (they don't have to be the same story). I foolishly chose the weekly option. I held on for a couple of months before the workload just got too much in the way of my other writing. I've switched to the monthly option now!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yeh for the short stories! You know how much I like short fiction. :)

We've had the Apple TV for awhile now, and only watch stuff On Demand, and we have the Hulu set-up with no commercials - ah, bliss! :)

Pat Hatt said...

Congrats on finishing the stories. Having a one stop shop to watch everything would be nice, instead of having to jump here there and everywhere.

L.G. Keltner said...

Congratulations on your short story submissions! Short stories are challenging for me because they force me to bypass my tendency to construct elaborate plots and focus on something small or specific in the midst of grand goings on. I always enjoy the challenge though.

Congratulations Mark! Rejection can be tough, but you made it through! Well done!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Donald's story sounds moving. Congrats to Mark.

MST - love it!

If short stories are working for you now, focus on them for a bit.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Just reading your notes on the Apple whatever confused me. Clearly I'm not qualified for Geekdom anytime soon. I look forward to the Snoopy movie though. I need to bow out of the Insecure Writer group posting due to time constraints but I look forward as always to reading my blogger friends posts on the topic each month.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm so glad you wrote "NEUROTIC". That's me.

Thanks for sharing, Mark. Faith is everything.

Tamara Narayan said...

I remember reading excerpts of the Donald Braswell story during last spring's A to Z Challenge and they were page-turners or page-scrollers or . . . whatever, the writing was solid and the story compelling.

My insecurities are, as always, around the need for a marketing plan vs. the desire to stick my head in the sand and just start a new project.

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations to Mark!

Hmm, I kinda like the idea of mirroring my iPad on the big screen too...

Christine Rains said...

Short stories are wonderful for feeling accomplished faster. Love the idea for Geekdom House! And yay for Mark. Never surrender! Now I'm off to do some more early Christmas shopping with my mom.

Cathrina Constantine said...

CONGRATS to Mark!!! And he gave us good advice about rejection letters! I always say to persevere!!!

Alex, I agree about writing short stories. They can be quick and so much easier than a long novel and you feel the fulfillment quicker.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Awesome news on your submissions, Alex!
Best of luck with them!

Congratulations, Mark! Enjoy every moment!

Happy November!


stephen Hayes said...

Congratulations on finishing those two short stories. They sound compelling.

Crystal Collier said...

Yay for Mark!

I'm with you on writing. It just takes some of us longer. I've convinced myself that if I wasn't home schooling 3 kids and raising a baby that it would go faster, but it probably wouldn't. Variety in our daily routines leads to a better rounded mind and the mental space for the subconscious to take over.

Melissa said...

I'm thinking of doing some shorts, too. They are much quicker to write.

I LOVED Revival. Good stuff. :)

Joanne said...

congrats to Mark. Sounds like quite a story. As for your Snoopy happy dance, you've been on a roll and that's awesome. I personally feel some stories brewing after my time with Dad - there's a lot of crazy in senior world - hope I can bring it to the page. And I'll just say keep writing to all of your insecure fan base - worst that can happen is rejection, but sooner or later you find your niche. Take care

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congrats Mark. I agree about the belief in our manuscripts part, but sometimes its so easy to lose faith in our stories, especially when rejections pile up.

Congrats Alex on submitting the two short stories.

PK HREZO said...

So happy for Mark! Such a triumph!

Alex, your blog header is getting more and more fill with books! Good for you!
I think I'm putting that Apple device on my Christmas list. ;)

Diane Burton said...

Congrats on getting those short stories out. Isn't it a great feeling?

Chemist Ken said...

Writing a short stroy in a month doesn't seem slow to me, but amybe that's just me.

Apple TV sounds a lot like the Amazon Firestick.

Debra Renée Byrd said...

The Apple TV sounds like Fahrenheit 451 to me...but enjoy!

Hurray for Mark and Donald! It was a very cool A to Z read, so to see it finally out there, hurray again!

Stephen Tremp said...

MST Mondays? I'm all in!

Congrats to Mark and best wishes for a smashing success!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the two short stories. =D

Jennifer Lane said...

I've been curious about Apple TV--thanks for the heads up. It's less than $100, right? And it allows you to watch movies etc from your computer? Are there streaming speed issues?

Thanks for another month of IWSG! Sounds like you've been productive with your writing.

Shell Flower said...

That's awesome that you are enjoying writing short stories. As the reluctant writer you are, it's nice for your fans to know you are still producing stories. Congrats to Mark. That was a hilarious and inspiring intro to his new book. Sounds like a great story, too. Yay for making it through the rejection seas. A great topic for IWSG.

J.Q. Rose said...

Apple TV sounds similar to Roku. We love our Roku player and have had it for years, well maybe 6? We ditched cable after getting this and only use antenna to get local news.
I discovered writing short stories is so much easier than a 50000 word novel..less time editing!!!
The memoir sounds like an inspiring read. Best wishes for success, Mark!

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats to Mark on pressing through despite the rejections and congrats to those with new releases!

Dean K Miller said...

Hey Alex and thanks again for your support with IWSG and writerly friend. Getting ready to release an anthology this month as editor and yes, insecure about that! But some good writing news yesterday helped ease those fears a bit. Cool with the Apple TV. What will they think of next?

Loni Townsend said...

Congrats, Mark! It sounds like quite the journey (with a lot of coloring paper). :)

We don't have many Apple devices in our house. I have an old iPod touch, but that's about it. We have a Samsung smart TV though, and it seems to work pretty similar. Glad to hear it's working well for you!

Awesome news with the polishing!

Charles Gramlich said...

I was never able to watch MST3K. it always just irritated me.

Birgit said...

First congrats to Mark who shows what perseverance accomplishes and I love it that the old critique letters can be used for colouring papers for your kids. My will see I didn't write anything for Insecure Writer's Support Group because I don't offer up advice or show my angst which goes against what this is supposed to be. I haven't written a book or anything so I just don't think I belong to this at this time. I am really showing my insecurity big time. Please don't be upset but my insecurity slip is showing.

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey Alex,

Thanks so very much for allowing me to share Donald's story here. His *is* and inspirational story, I'm just the humble writer who took on a project that turned into a labor of love, and oh yes, God does work in mysterious ways!

I've heard of Apple TV, so might have to look into it, but I'm still PC Guy, Vista Version:)

Ok, fine.... not that MST3K is available for streaming, I'll have to check them out, and see what all the Rush is, er, I mean fuss is.

(Sorry.. I'm getting all my Alex-isms mixed up:)

And good for you for doing two short stories... I'm sad I missed the anthology, but perhaps it will turn into a longer story... who knows!

PS: Congrats to Patsy on the release of her new book, too!!

Arlee Bird said...

Congratulations to Mark Koopmans! Hope the journey continues well now that you're out of the starting gate.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Alex... I had so forgotten to participate in our IWSG today! I'll hurry over and whip one up. x(

Donald, I love your example. Thank you for sharing your testimony! Your book sounds fabulous! :)


Kai Strand, Author said...

That Apple TV device sounds great!

Thanks for continuing to create such a great place for insecure writers to gather! You're amazing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hank, you should try some short stories.

Sean, that's a great group.

Madeline, let's hear it for no commercials!

Karen, we'll miss you!

Tamara, the book is just as riveting.

Cathrina, as slow as I write, I need that.

Crystal, what you said!

Joanne, you should write some.

PK, it's the perfect Christmas gift.

Diane, yes!

Stephen, knew you'd be excited.

Jennifer, it streams so fast it will scare you...

JQ, it's similar.

Dean - brain implants. I'll pass on those.

Loni, we have a Samsung smart television and the Apple box is SO much faster!

Mark, you're welcome. And bummer you missed the anthology, but this was bigger.

Elizabeth, no worries!

Kai, thanks! I couldn't do it without all of you. said...

The Mark-Donald team is over-the-top inspiring as much as they are likable. And Koopmans sports a coconut bra, though he'd prefer I quite bringing that up. Smiles.

Andrew Leon said...

A story a month...? I think you might write faster than me.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Lifepostbrainhemmorhage: Thanks! So glad you liked my guest post!

@dolorah: Oh, let the grandkids write on the post, I don't mind. When I was a reporter, I always remembered that today's news reports would become tomorrow's cat litter. (Great for keeping me humble!!)

@Just Keeping It Real: Thanks for the words of support! Donald's perseverance is one thing that attracted me to his story in the first place:)

@Cindy: Thanks Cindy, and if you do get the book, Donald's journey will, I hope inspire you as much as it did me!

@TBM: Thanks!

@Shah: Hey Shah, and thanks :)

@Southpaw: Thanks!

@Rachel: Donald's "go-to" slogan is "Follow That Dream!" Thanks for the kind comments:)

@Jennifer: REVIVAL is more amazing because Donald made it through to the other end. Truly inspiring. Thanks:)

@Jo (with no e): *Thanks* So happy you enjoyed it!!

@Hillary: You're (always) so kind, but truly this was a God thing. I "should" have given up years ago, but I *couldn't*. I just knew Donald's inspirational story had to be told. And, now it's been published. [Fist pump]

Chrys Fey said...

Good luck with your short stories! :)

A big congratulations to Mark!

That Apple TV looks awesome alas I'll probably never own one. lol

EEGiorgi said...

Congratulations Alex, it's fun to write shorts, isn't it? Good luck with them!

Patsy said...

Thanks very much for the mention, Alex.

Robin said...

Congrats on finishing TWO short stories. I started writing one and it turned into a novel idea. Ah well.

Congrats also to Mark on his book. Excellent!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Hey Alex, nice seeing me again on IWSG huh? Anyway congrats on your short stories and writing comes in many forms. My first writing love was poetry and it still holds a special place in my heart. Even some of my earliest fan fiction were poems. Yes there a poetry Teen Titans and Powerpuff Girls on fan thanks to moi.

Mark you are here! So delightful to see your words and share in your accomplishments my friends. Rejection is just a stepping stone to success and a special hi to Don too.

Oh so the Peanuts absence was noticed huh? Thanks for apologizing Alex and we understand the crunch for time and space with the litany of people you help and feature. Also just to thank for the reminder of Rachel Morgan's series. I am huge fan but forgot to buy the latest two books. I got book four after reading your blog on smashwords and bought the untethered 2 book because those ladies run a cool blog and ladies. So know that your features help keep us in the know and sometimes get us to plunk down some change. God bless and much love.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Nick: You're going to make me blush:) THANKS!

@Natalie: Thank you!

@Mary: Cheers, and I promise... Donald's journey is well-worth reading:)

@Melanie: You remembered my A-Z "entries." Ok, now I am blushing! Thanks so much and I know you enjoy REVIVAL :)

@Kaykuala: Thank you so much for the kind words. (And I still say "ppfff" to rejection! What's the old saying: "If it doesn't kill us, it makes us stronger." :)

@L.G.: Thanks!! And yeah, there was apparently no stopping this book from seeing the light of day:)

@L. Diane: Thanks, and Donald's story has moved so many:)

@Joylene: Amen! to your comment :)

@Tamara: More blushing. Cheers for the awesome comment... and the glory to God!

@Deniz: Thanks Deniz. "See" you later in the month:)

@Christine: Absolutely! Never, ever surrender. Happy Christmas shopping!!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the stories, Alex! Good luck with them!

Jeffrey Scott said...

Mark, congratulations on the book release.

Apple TV - The only apple device I have is my iphone. This sounds like it would be a lot of fun though.

Alex - I always visit those who stop by my IWSG postings, every co-host and as many new links I can manage. Visiting six addition ones, usually brings me to about a dozen different sites I visit.
Are you still interested in doing the R.a.n.t.? Novembers posting is this coming Monday, 9 November. Looking forward to seeing you then.

Sarah Foster said...

Congrats on your short story submissions! I've never been very good at coming up with short story ideas. My ideas always end up being novel sized, and usually take forever to write!
Congrats to Mark on the release!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats on the two short stories. I have a Kindle Fire Stick. I'm not even sure of what all it can do since I mostly use it to watch Netflix and videos in my Amazon library. My next TV will be a smart TV so I won't even need it for that.
I have Mark's book on my TBR list.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congrats, Mark! I love that near quote by Churchill and your awesome persistence and humor. :)
Way to go with your stories, Alex! I didn't get mine in soon enough for IWSG or for Geekdom House . . . I could have definitely added that to my insecurities today except I decided near the end of the month when life felt crazy that it was okay not to get in every story to every place. Sometimes, we have to make decisions like that.

Jen said...

Congrats on the two shorts! That's something I'm slowly eeking my way into. Shorts and essays. I feel that's where my mind is at right now. Have a great rest of the week!

Mark Koopmans said...

@Cathrina: Thanks for the nice comments! Sharing is caring, right:)

Heather: Thanks. I'm enjoying every moment, and plan to sleep in December :)

@Crystal: Thanks, and I sooo hear you about writing with young children at home. I thought it would be soooo easy:)

@Joanne: Cheers for the comments and I'm glad you're intrigued by Donald's story!

@Rachna: Oh, I know it's so easy to lose faith. Trust me... been there, done that and I have the T-shirt (probably from Jeremy's store!) to prove it. But, they are *our* words, our works, our visions.... if not us, then whom? Stay strong (and I'll follow my own advice:)

@PK: Thanks. Phew... we made it:)

@Deb: Thanks for *all* your support these last months!!

@Stephen: And you, too, good sir. I appreciate all the Tweets and shout outs:)

@Shell: Ha! Thanks. Glad you liked the post, and yeah, Donald's inspiring story is one for the ages:)

@J Q: Thank you so much!

@J.L.: Thanks, and I couldn't stop. Honestly. Donald's story had to be told. Now, the rest is up to the readers:)

@Loni: Ha-ha.. you have noooo idea how many pages I've gone through in the last few years... I think my boys will be able to use them for their kids, God willing:)

@Birgit: Thanks for the kind words, and the whole rejection letters turning into coloring paper for the kids started by accident! (One day, the oldest wanted some scratch paper... I didn't have any, but I had the opened mail in my hands... "Here, use this," I said with a smile on my face:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, he's actually proud of that outfit!

Patsy, you're welcome!

Sheena-kay, that made me chuckle.

Jeffrey, I try to do the same, although that means visiting almost two hundred blogs today. And yes, would like to do a rant! Monday - check.

Susan, the Smart TV isn't as fast though. Not by a long shot.

Tyrean, bummer!

F. Stone said...

Rejection letters are disappointing. No, not because the agent/publisher rejected Forbidden. My disappointment is the bloody form letter. After taking several days to compose the query and comply with their submission 'formula' I expect their reply to be more than a one-liner. I would like to know more precisely why. I'm not looking for a one pager. However, it would be nice to get a feel that someone actually read my query and sample chapters. Most of the rejection letters state that my manuscript is not what they are looking for or something along those lines. In truth, I sent them a query because their website indicated they are accepting queries for ms which describes Forbidden's genre. So, if they are turning down my ms, I would prefer to hear the truth. Perhaps they don't like the characters, the setting, or my writing skill is lacking, or whatever. Yes, they say they are too busy to even reply. Perhaps they should not be open to receiving submissions. Just plain rude.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Alex, on your short story submissions, and congrats to Mark Koopmans on his new book! It sounds like a wonderfully uplifting story. Happy IWSG Day!

Carrie-Anne said...

My parents have had Apple TV for a long time. I house-sat for them a few times recently, and it was awesome to have it all to myself and watch whatever I wanted. They had some really interesting classics I never would've thought to seek out on my own, or even known had been released.

Rejections are so frustrating, particularly when they don't even say anything specific. The worst I got said simply "No, thank you." That seems so rude and dismissive, after going to the trouble of writing a professional, personalized query letter. You'd think the agent could at least go to the trouble of writing a professional form letter in return.

Elephant's Child said...

Like you, I was lucky enough to pre-read Revival. Inspirational, and v moving.
I am super glad to hear that you are continuing to write. And wondering when you will give in and admit it is part of you. Quite a big part. You might not have wanted to be a writer, but it won't be denied.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Arlee: Cheers Arlee! Yup, we're out the starting gates and Lord knows where'll we'll end up next :)

@Elizabeth: Thanks for commenting, and I will pass on your kind words to Donald :)

@Rawknrobyn: Oh no, you soooo didn't go there, Engel!! (Thanks for the sweet words, too :)

@Chrys: Thanks!!

@Robin: Thanks to you, too!

@Sheena-kay: Yes, Alex was kind enough to invite me for IWSG Day! PS: I love your analogy...Rejection IS just a stepping stone to success. I'll pass your greetings on to Donald:)

@Jeffrey: Thanks!

@Sarah: Cheers:)

@Susan: Awesome. You Rock :) Thanks for all the support!!

@Tyrean: Ha-ha, thanks for the kind words, and I found that near-Churchillian quote in an old bunker.. maybe:)

Lisa said...

I have had apple tv for a year now and I love it, but still don't know how to do everything you said it could do! Loved Mark's book and am proud to be hosting him and Donald on my blog on the 9th! I'm gonna go vote on a book cover...

Fundy Blue said...

Congrats on sending off two short stories last month, Alex! Way to go! I love how one was an early Cassa story! I think it's great that you are doing what works best for you at this time! Good luck!

Congrats on your first published book, Mark, and for sharing your lessons learned from rejection!

Apple TV device will have to wait. I just got my first iPhone and am learning how to use. I love it already!

Unknown said...

So excited for Mark's touching debut of music & miracles! Donald's journey is beyond inspiring, and his voice is stunning. Best of luck to them both!

ELAdams said...

Congratulations to Mark! Rejection can be discouraging, but all we can do is keep trying.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

The Apple TV device is intriguing, though I'm not sure I need another time killer. ;) Okay, I'm sure I don't.

As you know, my insecurities are with my publishing house, but as always, the support and encouragement of the IWSG has helped a lot. I can't thank you enough for starting this group!

Good luck with your stories! I had a lot of fun writing one for the IWSG anthology.

Suzanne Furness said...

Glad to hear you are feeling good about your writing, Alex. Writing short stories is a nice change from longer pieces I find too.
Enjoyed Marks interview. Believe and keep going is what I say about rejection!

Annalisa Crawford said...

My short stories tend to take a while to write too - congrats on yours!

Ah, rejection letters - I've kept all the useful/good ones. It's interesting to go back over them several (or many) years later.

Karen Peterson said...

I'm glad you're liking your Apple TV. Chris has a Roku and we love it!

Mark Koopmans said...

@Lorimaclaughlin: Glad you liked my guest post and thanks for the uplifting comments:)

@EC: You will always have a special place in my REVIVAL heart:)

@Lisa: So looking forward to seeing you on the 9th, too :)

@Fundy Blue: Thank you. It's been a long road. Might as well share some of the positives (life is too short to dwell on the negatives:)

@Samantha: Hey, *thank you* for sharing the REVIVAL life event on FB. That was awesome.. cheers:)

@Emma: Thanks and amen! Keep going. Don't quit. That's what I say :)

@Suzanne: Glad you liked the post! Appreciate your comments:)

@Annalisa: I'm sure rejection letters could be used for origami, too :)

Olga Godim said...

Nice feeling to finish two short stories, Alex. Great guest post too - congrats to Mark.

Bish Denham said...

Congratulations to both you, Alex and Mark!

Lan said...

I didn't even realise there was a peanuts Movie coming out?!? How have I not heard of this?

Congrats to Mark. What a great achievement and awesome sounding book!

J E Oneil said...

Streaming devices such an amazing invention. And nice job with the short stories.

M Pax said...

Congrats on getting two stories done! With writing, I think we all have to do what makes us happy.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for sharing about the voting of my book cover. I'm currently insecure about the outcome of my book tour, but I'm also blessed my all those who have shown me support and are helping me spread the word.
If I watched more TV, the Apple device would be right up my alley. Maybe one day I'll look into it.
The Donald Braswell story sound really interesting and I'm so happy for Mark.

Murees Dupè said...

Congratulations on your two short stories, Alex. Very cool:) See, the writing bug isn't that bad:P Also, congratulations to all the authors with new releases. Have a great weekend.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Feather, it would be good manners to give you some real reason.

Carrie-Anne, just what Feather Stone said.

Elephant's Child, maybe I need to switch to writing songs?

Fundy, Apple TV will soon be calling. Yeah, I'm sticking to what I know and do best.JH, thanks for being a part of this group!

Toi, I hope you get a lot of votes!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

My hubby has his eye on AppleTV. I expect it to magically appear one day soon.

Loved reading Donald's writing journey with REVIVAL. Very encouraging words.

SK Anthony said...

It sure takes perseverance, Mark! Congratulations on REVIVAL!!!

Glad you're happy with your short stories, Alex! I don't have an iPad . . . but that Apple TV sounds very cool!!!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Hi, Alex! I like that you're enjoying writing the smaller stories. Yay! You know how i feel about the shorts. I would be thrilled too with my iPad on my TV Screen.

Hi, Mark, Great post!

David Emanuel said...

Good job getting those stories out.

I should do that more. Earlier this month, I sent out a piece of flash fiction. Have you tried that. My last piece was 294 words, complete with a character and a plot. Very satisfying compared to the slow pace and constant involved in a novel.

And thanks for all you are doing for us!

alexia said...

Congrats on getting the short stories done! Yes, sometimes it's nice to take a break from the longer works and do shorts. No Apple TV for me! I'm not that big on getting the latest tech - I'd rather travel somewhere :)

Unknown said...

Congrats on finishing your two short stories last month. I wish I could have finished mine for the anthology contest...oh well, maybe next time. The Apple TV sounds really cool. I don't have much in the way of Apple devices right now, but I would like to upgrade one day. Congrats top Mark on his new release!

N. R. Williams said...

Congratulations to Mark Being accepted by a publisher and/or agent is something I gave up on, thus I self-published. Good luck with your endeavor.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations to Mark and Donald. The book sounds like a must read.
Congratulations on your short stories, Alex. Best of luck with them.

Donna McDine said...

Congratulations on your submission of two short stories! Woo Hoo. I'm sure the Peanuts gang isn't too annoyed with you and gotta love the Snoopy Dance!

Kristin Smith said...

Congratulations to Mark and Donald! I loved reading Mark's guest post—so inspiring!

That is so awesome that you knocked out two short stories in such a quick amount of time! Congrats!

I'm ready to get that Apple TV device, but when I mentioned it to my husband just a second ago, he said, "Why do we need that? We already have Roku." Lol. I thought for sure he'd be all excited about another Apple device! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynda, you need to get Apple TV!

David, thank you!

Michael, there's always next year.

Kristin, get it anyway.

Trisha said...

Great job on the short stories, Alex - I have never really tried to get any shorts published, but I do have a lot of them I could attempt to revise & get out there. I have just never given it the time and dedication it requires. Sort of like most of my novels and their required editing ;)

Congrats Mark!! Very excited for you and your book :D

Liz A. said...

Eventually I'll get some device for my TV to sync it to the internet, but I think I'm waiting to get a flat screen first (I still have a tube TV). And as for writer insecurities, I wonder if I'll ever finish this book.

Denise Covey said...

I love the way Mark used rejection to work for him and it ultimately led to his publishing his memoir! That's great news!

Denise Covey November co-host IWSG

Angela Brown said...

One word to describe things now and that is busy.

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats on getting those short stories out the door.

stephen Hayes said...

Hard to believe they're making a new Peanuts movie. I guess there aren't any new ideas out there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I want to read Donald's story--sounds amazing! And the Apple TV device sounds really cool, but I don't think I'd figure out how to work the thing in a million years!

Helena said...

I just realized today what one of my (many) writer insecurities is: I always assume I need a very long time to write any book. Then today I read that John le Carre wrote The Spy Who Came in from the Cold in five weeks. And it's been called the greatest spy novel ever. So from now on I'm speeding up my writing!

Sher A. Hart said...

Congrats on the short stories! We ditched cable and use a Chrome Stick the same way, mirroring laptop or phone screen. One TV has a Fire Stick, another a Roku. Only watch when doing some chore though. Keeps me from boredom.

Anonymous said...

I've been writing more short stories lately. I like that medium. I want an Apple TV. Congrats to Donald and Mark.

Nicola said...

Patsy is an incredible story teller. I'm sure Firestarter will be well received! Congrats to Donald and Mark.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex, impressed you've completed two stories this month. I'm considering dusting off my WIP and giving it another go.

Truedessa said...

Hi Alex,

Wow two short stories but, why am I not surprised (smiling). I am reviewing some unfinished projects I have and deciding which ones are still relevant to me and which ones I will ditch. It is a time of change for me and unfortunately, I resist change a bit. You are an inspiration to so many...a light that shines much like a star in a distant land. It is in this light that one can find calm and peace.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Liz, you need that flat screen first.

Helena, once I have an outline, I can write and edit a book in three to four months. And I'm a slow writer!

Truedessa, I'm also a creature of habit, but some things do need to change.

mail4rosey said...

I really, really want to see the Peanuts movie. :) Now if I can convince the kids to go...

Michelle Wallace said...

Apple TV? My brains are already boggled by technology... what next?
Congrats on polishing and submitting two short stories!
That 'nearly-said-by-Churchill-quote' is too funny. Typical Mark Koop. Congrats to Mark!

Brandon Ax said...

That is awesome you are enjoying your Short stories. I still envy you guys.

I used to watch MST all the time. That brought back some memories.

Stephanie Faris said...

My fingers are crossed for you on your short stories. Can't wait to hear the good news about where we can find your work!

randi lee said...

Alex!! Hooray for being in a good place! I just sent you an email--got your attachment, thank you so much! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! I've been in techno-hell! Anyway, glad things are going well in Alex-land and I'd love to co-host IWSG again sometime soon if you're looking for hosts again :)

Intangible Hearts said...

Congrats on writing a story and getting into that cool sounding anthology. I like the sound of getting to know your characters before a full length novel. Awesome idea and no, I don't want the Apple TV device. Just letting you know in case you're taking a survey. LOL

Guenther said...

Nice post, as always.

H.R. Bennett said...

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas. MST3K is aaaaaaaaaaamaaaaaazing!

liton said...

I have seen your blog here, It is nice to meet you! I will keep watching it in future. on more thing.

Cherie Reich said...

Short stories do tend to be quicker to write than novels and often don't take as much outlining/thinking. Congrats, Alex!

Congrats to Mark! It sounds like an amazing memoir. I can't imagine how hard it would be to lose your voice when you're known for your singing like Donald Braswell did. And rejection letters do make good scratch paper. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Brandon, why? And now you can watch MST3K again.

Stephanie, one will be out next month and I will let you know!

Randi lee, thanks for the offer!

Robert, you're a fan? Awesome!

Sandra Cox said...

I am so technologically challenged. I need very simple for TV.

Gwen Gardner said...

Congratulations to Mark and the other authors releasing new books! I've been seeing Mark all over the place.

The Apple TV sounds really cool. I barely figured out how to hook up Netflix, though.

Thanks for all the news, Alex!

The Happy Whisk said...

Very cool on the Apple TV and that there's a way to bypass, if I'm understanding correctly, and watch Amazon Prime.

PS: Very funny about the Green Lantern Hideout. I laughed.

Jemi Fraser said...

We don't even have Netflix or those other options! One of these days! :) (we watch a lot of sports, so I'm not sure it'd be worth it for us right now :))
Congrats to Mark!!!

ViolaFury said...


I always knew you were cool, but when I saw you were part of the MST3K/RiffTrax fandom, I knew you were cool X infinity. The Master will be pleased! While "Mitchell" seems to be the #1 favorite, I really cannot get enough of "Future Wars" (with the cunningly devised cardboard and duct tape video cam) or "Manos, Hands of Fate" or my very favorite "Samson vs. The Vampire Women". I could go on and on, but I'll stop now! Thank you so very much for sharing this particularly "guilty pleasure" with me. My father and I - from when I was a little kid would make fun of stupidly bad movies, and then there was "Fractured Flickers" but MST3K/RiffTrax have really set the bar! Great post! I can now laugh at my insecurities!

klahanie said...

Hi Alex,

Awesome news about Mark Koopmans and I notice he's on quite the tour. Nice to see him here.

No need for the Apple TV device. Already have a huge choice in the UK.

Thanks for all the links.

When it comes to writing, as I stated many a time, I have no insecurities. It's just a bit of therapy and that's fine with me.

Thank you, Alex.


Empty Nest Insider said...

Congrats on your short stories Alex! Our son bought us Apple TV a while ago, and I look forward to utilizing your tips! Sorry
I couldn't participate in the IWSG this month. Best of luck to Mark on his new release!


Shannon Lawrence said...

I love writing short stories, so I don't blame you. Happy book release to Mark!

Unknown said...

Congrats on getting two short stories done! (Sorry I missed IWSG this month - I'm barricaded in the revision cave after getting nothing accomplished last month due to too many hops.)

Congrats to Steve and Patsy on their releases!

Leovi said...

I love, yes, every time I see more movies on TV online.

Blogoratti said...

Good stuff indeed. Looks like you accomplished a lot last month. Greetings to you and best wishes always!

Mark Koopmans said...

@Olga: Thanks!

@Bish: Cheers:)

@Lan: Thank you so much, appreciate that!

@Toi: Thanks and best wishes to you - and the cover!

@Murees: Thanks!

@Lynda: It was an inspirational project, that's for sure:) Thanks!

@S.K.: Honestly, I don't know how I made it, but I couldn't stop! (Like I said before, God works in mysterious ways!)

@T. Powell: Thanks!! Glad you liked it:)

@Michael: Thanks. Appreciate the support!

Mark Koopmans said...

@N.R.: Thanks very much. It was a long struggle, but for this book I really wanted to find someone to believe in the project as much as I did!

@Beverly: Thanks. I'm looking forward to hearing/reading the feedback as time goes by!

@Kristin: Thanks. Donald's journey is just amazing. Story had to be told:)

@Trisha: Thanks! It's been an exciting week :)

@Denise: I said it somewhere this week, but I firmly believe that if it doesn't kill us, it makes us stronger!

@Jamieayres: Thanks, hope you enjoy it!

@Medeia: Thank you!

@Nicola: Cheers:)

@Michelle: Haha! Thanks and glad you liked my non-quote :) (When I went to check the exact wording, I saw that I had completely messed up the quote!!)

Cherie: Delighted to hear I'm not the only one who uses rejection letters for scratch paper. Thanks for the support:)

Catherine Stine said...

Congrats on placing your short stories! My insecurities? Um, I signed up for Nano and I'm trying to write every day. Stressful but good for me.

Mark Koopmans said...

@Gwen: Thanks for sharing that you're seeing REVIVAL all around. Blogger friends are awesome :)

@Jemi Fraser: Thanks!

@Gary: Thanks for all you've done to help and support me :)

@Empty Nest: Thanks!!

@Shannon: Cheers:)

T.F. Walsh said...

Congrats Mark:)

Haven't ventured into Apple TV yet, but I'm liking your tips. And well done on moving so quickly with your short stories:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ivy, there is a way to bypass it. And glad I could make you laugh.

Viola! Been a die-hard fan since season two. We'd tape the shows every Saturday night. (And recently transferred them to DVD, the ones we didn't own anyway.) My favorites include the classics Time of the Apes, Cave Dwellers, and Prince of Space.

Julie, no worries! You're still on the list.

Lexa, no worries.

Nicki Elson said...

I want my, I want my, I want my Apple TV. I'm not even sure how the device appeared in my howse, but it's there and I use it. All of the time.

Congrats to Mark! With an inspiring guest post to boot. When you believe in something, you just can't quit.

Sherry Ellis said...

Great job writing your short stories. You'll have to let us know when the anthologies come out. I'd love to read them.

Beate said...

Congratulations on the short stories! :) I just got my first MacBook and I LOVE it! Everything about it is so much easier. I've heard so much good stuff about Apple TV now that I'm very interested. Maybe it's worth thinking about it considering how many shows and movies Keith and I love watching now ;)
A big thank you to Mark for his inspiring story! Never stop believing in yourself - that is a wonderful message and so important (yet not easy at times).
Oh, and Alex, thank you so much for your amazing comment about my last blog post on Hilary's blog. The incredible support is much appreciated!
Have an amazing weekend!

Al Penwasser said...

I LOVED MST3K! Their sense of humor is pretty much a mirror of my own.
This may not be a big surprise to you. said...

Congrats on finishing your shorts, Alex! Also congrats to Mark. Great guest post!

Sandra Cox said...

Happy Sunday, Alex.

Mason T. Matchak said...

Hope the short stories work out for you - I have no idea if a month is a good time for a short story, as I haven't written one in years. >_< I rarely have story ideas that I can fit into anything less than a novel. Let us know how it goes!

Belle Wong said...

I like the idea of a huge iPad experience. Congrats on the short stories, Alex!

Elizabeth said...

Congrats on finishing your short stories! I must admit that after the IWSG contest, I also enjoy writing them and I hope to write more short stories in the near future. Your Geekdom House entry sounds intriguing, I like Christmas and being geeky :) Congrats to Mark on his book! It sounds like something I would like to read.

DMS said...

This is the first review I have read about Apple TV- sounds like it is pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing. :)

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

great stories indeed and congrats for the publications. I am using Apple TV since last year and loving it. As we put it in our bed room, there times when we were practically glued in our bed :)

Nigel G Mitchell said...

I used to tape my rejection letters on my wall until I ran out of space on my wall.

mail4rosey said...

My tablet bends three ways and is like a big tablet if I want it to be (touchscreen).I think it's fun, but it's harder to tote than the regular-sized iPad.

Blue Grumpster said...

@Rosey... It bends three ways?