EXCERPT – A Thrilling Adventure -Trilogy book 1 FREE limited time only!

FREE on KINDLE – November 15-19 – FREE on AMAZON

Midwest Book Review calls it “A unique, entertaining, and deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine gift for imaginative and engaging storytelling.”

BOOK 1 – A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT – in this excerpt the Manhattan businessman Francis Frick finds himself in a jeep with some Khmer Rouge revolutionaries in 1976 Cambodia. The only problem is, it’s 2018! But when they stop to deal with some deserters, Frick can’t stand idly by anymore.

Three soldiers and the driver jumped in the jeep, and it pulled out of the small encampment without anyone saying a word to anyone or without anyone wearing a black hood. The flat Cambodian countryside lay still in the early morning hours. The jeep buzzed through the rural setting without passing any other vehicles. Even the endless, newly-harvested rice fields looked eerily dormant and different from the day before. The first hour of the drive proved uneventful. The soldiers ignored Frick, the hero negotiator, as their heads pounded from vicious hangovers. As the jeep bounced around a sharp bend, Frick could see five or six people walking on the road about one hundred yards ahead of them. They looked back and hunched their bodies forward, sliding quickly out of sight over the embankment.
“Hey, did you see that?” asked the driver.
“The people?” asked Frick.
“Yes.” The driver tilted his head towards the back seat and yelled instructions for the three soldiers in the back seat to catch them.
The jeep skidded to an abrupt stop, and everyone piled out, Frick included. As he reached the edge of the embankment, he could see six people huddled against the mud rim, looking up at them. One of them stood and started running across the barren rice field. A soldier raised his rifle and shot the deserter in the back, dropping him to the ground with a hollow thud. Frick shook and looked around, frantic to understand.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
Two of the other soldiers slid down the bank and started yelling at the people, but for the first time, Frick couldn’t understand—not a word. He watched as the two soldiers pinned the remaining five individuals against the bank with the point of their rifles. The huddled group cried in anguish as the soldiers scolded them. As Frick moved closer, he could see who they were: an old man, two women, and a small girl. One of the women held a baby in her arms. They cried and pleaded. The elderly man dropped to his knees and put out his hands in a gesture of submission and mercy. A Khmer soldier whacked him in the head with the butt of his rifle, and the old man fell limp to the ground. The women screamed, and the small girl hid behind the leg of her mother.
“Stop it!” said Frick. “What are you doing?”
The driver stood beside Frick and looked at him strangely. The driver said something, but Frick couldn’t understand. The second soldier walked up to the woman and slapped her across the face, yelling at her in harsh tones.
“Stop it!” yelled Frick.
The soldier grabbed the arm of the little girl and dragged her up the embankment. The girl collapsed in fear, as she screamed and reached out for her mother, but the soldier paid no attention and continued pulling her over the crest of the bank.

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Jolly Old Saint Hick: New Christmas Story Coming Dec 1 (and how to get a free copy!)

My brand new, kid-friendly, humorous Christmas story “Jolly Old St. Hick” is releasing on Kindle December 1.

But, through November 21, you can get an exclusive pre-release copy for FREE only through my Facebook author page. Private message me on my author FACEBOOK PAGE  and I’ll send you a version for your Kindle or Kindle App absolutely free! A holiday gift from me to you!

Thanks for the support!

jollyoldsthickSMALL

 

EXCERPT – A Time-Travel Adventure -Trilogy book 1 FREE limited time only!

FREE on KINDLE – November 15-19 – FREE on AMAZON

Midwest Book Review calls it “A unique, entertaining, and deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine gift for imaginative and engaging storytelling.”

BOOK 1 – A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT – in this excerpt the Manhattan businessman finds himself on a train in Romania in 1989 – nearly thirty years in the past – and he’s being delightfully tormented by Bee, the strange flying figure in a white dress.

Frick lunged forward and tried to swat Bee with his hand, but with a simple tilt of the head, she whisked inches away from her attacker. It delighted her so. Frick sat down in his surliness and puffed a few vacant words Bee’s way like a petulant child might mock his mother. The other two men sitting in the front of the car turned in a queer manner and glanced with disapproval at Frick’s unruly behavior. Frick didn’t like being stared at, much less being scorned, so he cast his eyes upon them with his typical tempestuousness.
“What are you looking at?”
The two turned immediately. Frick smirked, but the goofy grin soon faded as a strange realization came upon him. “Bee, did I say that in English?”
“Did it sound like English to you?”
“No.”
“Well, words that don’t sound like English rarely are English.”
“You mean they could understand me?”
“Everyone understands that uniform. What’s not to understand?”
“What do you mean, this uniform?”
“Well, it’s time for me to go. Goodbye, Francis.”
“No, wait,” said Frick, leaning forward and motioning for her to stay.
“Do you think I’m your friend?” she asked. “I just hit you in the face with a pomegranate. Two in fact. I hope you learned your lesson.”
“It wasn’t the first time you hit me in the face with a pomegranate.”
Bee laughed. “Oh, you are right, aren’t you? When you were lying in bed.”
“Don’t forget about the coconut.”
Bee let out an especially high-squealed snicker. “Tropical delight.”
“Bee, sit still for a second. I have a question for you. I’m in Romania.”
“So am I,” said Bee. “And that’s not a question.”
“Why?”
“I came to see you.”
“No, why am I here? And is this real?” Frick pulled out the train ticket and held it up to her. “Look. It says December 1989. Is it 1989? But it’s certainly not December. It’s summer. I was in the hay field. I saw Ash, and he tells me to put this on.” He pointed down at his uniform. “And then I meet Ulrich. And …”
The train pulled into a small station. Out the window, a pole with a lone bulb dangled from a metal arch, illuminating a small round area at its base. Snow flurries whisked in all directions above the white, barren ground. He stood and bent over to get a closer look, pressing his forehead against the glass. Several people, bundled in winter coats, scurried along towards the small platform near the front of the train.
“I have never known it to snow in the summer,” said Bee.
“Maybe I’m insane.”
“Indubitably.”

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The Relativistic Chuckle of the Week

Did you see this one? A 69-year-old Dutch man is suing to legally change his age to 49.  This is not on the Babylon Bee or The Onion where it seems more fitting. Some of the gems which come out of the article include how he feels discriminated against when trying to find work or trying to hook-up with someone on the dating app Tinder.

Quote: “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?”

Just let that one stew for a while.

I don’t fault this man at all. I applaud his creativity, actually. What, I believe, gets the biggest chuckle is the fact that the court will rule on this within the next four weeks.

Let me say that again: the courts will rule on this.

What’s puzzling is that the court didn’t immediately toss it out as frivolous. Do they not have more pressing legal issues than ruling whether by legal decree that a court has the authority to countermand 20 revolutions of the sun? Talk about pretentiousness! What kind of a court do they think they have?

Here’s one maybe I’ll see in my realm one day. Let’s say a student comes to me and says that he or she will not accept the 69% they earned on their test. That number is discriminatory, they might say. That number doesn’t reflect their actual ability. They could have done better if they studied more, so therefore I am judging their knowledge and habits, not their potential knowledge or their actual intelligence. That number is discriminatory because some universities will think that they don’t belong at their school. A poor grade might prevent them from getting a job. They might be looked down as being unintelligent and another might not want to date them because of it. “Shouldn’t I be able to choose my own grade? Who are you, Mr. Teacher, to judge me?” they might ask.

How might a teacher respond? “I’ll have a ruling within four weeks.”

Yeah, for some reason, I don’t think that would fly.

I wish the man all the best in trying to get the most out of life. Your age is how you feel. Who cares what your birth certificate says.

Ahhh – more fodder for writing. There is never a lack of clever twists.

A Review of THE AFRICAN CONNECTION from Michelle Clement James

Book reviewer Michelle Clement James posted a review of book two of The Forgotten Child Trilogy: The African Connection. 

It’s a terrific review, excerpted below. Please hit the link to read the full review and check out her book website. And if you haven’t started reading The Forgotten Child Trilogy yet, what are you waiting for?

“I have read and reviewed several of Mark Sasse’s books and I have to say The Forgotten Child Trilogy is fabulous and are my favorites!  Book Two, The African Connection, is every bit as intriguing as the first book, A Man Too Old, for a Place Too Far. I recommend you read Book One first so that you have a good understanding of who the characters are and how they fit into the story.

One of the most endearing traits of The African Connection is the way the author takes you into another realm with characters like Bee, who is flighty and childlike, and Ash, who is more than patient with Bee, but who can be stern with her at the same time.  These two and Zette, who has more power than Bee or Ash, appear out of “thin air” first to Francis Frick and then to others. But don’t think they are ghosts, they are far more than that.”

READ FULL REVIEW HERE!

The African Connection HERE!

Book One HERE! Only $1.89

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Making Peace with Increments

Successful discipline in any field is the art of making peace with increments.  Whether writing a novel, losing weight, learning guitar, studying for a master’s, or driving in a traffic jam heading home on a Friday afternoon, if you can come to terms with where you are at, you’re on the right track to success.

Humans are famously impatient. We like results. Like yesterday. How many diets go awry because tangible progress has slowed or because discouragement sets in thinking how much further the journey is?

How many stalled novels have bit the dustpan of obscurity over the years because 4000 words seems much too far away from 50,000 words?

But if we can make peace with increments, rejoice in the small, be happy in the seemingly insignificant, EVENTUALLY, your goal will be reached.

Guitar. I’m not a musician, but I love music and I have always loved writing lyrics and thinking up melodies to match.  About fifteen years ago, I watched a friend learn guitar. I was intrigued. I asked him what he did. He said he practiced for thirty minutes everyday for six months. At the end of those six months, while he wasn’t Eddie Van Halen, he was capable of playing chords fluently and even joined the worship band at his church. I was impressed, so I said to myself that I would try it. I got a basic guitar book, a guitar, and  cleared aside 30 minutes a day, and I started playing. It was painful, figuratively on my ears and literally on my fingertips. But as the daily thirty minutes went by, my fingers started to develop callouses and my chords started to develop some attributes of musicology. Six months later, he was right. I could play the guitar. I plateaued at that point because I achieved what I wanted. I wanted to play enough guitar to help me write songs. Success. And I owe it all to increments.

Novels. I’ve said this before. I was a failed novelist who never wrote a novel. I always wanted to write one, and about seventeen years ago I finally started. I wrote three pages, destroyed it all, cried inside, and abandoned all hope of ever writing a novel. About ten years later, through my renewed interest in writing prompted by a new pursuit in drama, I tried again. I wrote little by little. I tried to enjoy the process. I tried to understand the long-haul mentality. I enjoyed where I was in the process.  I counted every word every day. Literally. And before I knew it, I had written a 61,000 word novel.  Then I tried to write another. Now I’ve written eight, and I’m still at the early point in my journey.

Whatever you are trying to accomplish, don’t get stuck lamenting how far away the finish line is.  But DO focus on two things:

  1. The daily increments. Have you done what you can today in your journey? If you can say ‘yes’ to that, then be proud of yourself.
  2. Look back at progress. Look where the increments of the last two weeks have taken you. The last month. The last two months. Remind yourself of where you came from and let it reaffirm that you are on the right track.

I write this for myself, because I’m on other journeys as I write. Perhaps I’ll share another time. But I hope this can be a small reminder to those on a journey of accomplishment that if you make peace in the increments, you will find your way.

“Miss, it’s raining. Now what?”

“Miss, it’s raining. Now what?”

This is a curious phrase I heard yesterday. What do you suppose the context was? Is rain going to ruin an outdoor event? A picnic, perhaps. Or a sporting event.

No. It couldn’t be.

How do I know that this question could not refer to that type of situation?

Because it was asked in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia while a noticeably light rain came gently from the sky. A question like that points to one issue and one issue alone: when one lives in the dessert, RAIN is a big, concerning deal!

Let me describe a comparable situation so you’ll begin to understand what rain means in Jeddah. I grew up in PA and lived in upstate New York for many years. I know what snow is. Then I moved to Virginia, I learned that they don’t know what snow is.  The lightest of dustings would cancel all events for the day. Schools would close. Churches would close. Panic would ensue. It was a cultural experience to say the least.

Here’s two snow examples that this northern person couldn’t rap my head around. One early morning in Virginia, we get a call from the school administration to inform us that there will be no school that day because of the snow. Okay. Fine. Morning arrives, there’s no snow. The roads are bare. I mean, dry. Pavement. That is all. And there’s no school because apparently dry pavement is dangerous to drive on. So we, on our day off, drove through the treacherous roads (dry, mind you) to the cinema forty-five minutes away and had a nice family day.

The second anecdote is similar. One early Sunday morning in Virginia, we head off to church – another 45 minute drive (we lived in the boondocks). The roads on the way to church were dry. As in no snow.  (see example above) We arrive at church to find that church was cancelled on the account of snow which didn’t exist. So we went out for breakfast. The restaurant was empty. The non-snow kept everyone away.

Now back to Jeddah. It was the middle of the school day yesterday, and we hear a strange noise in the sky – thunder! Everyone is excited. We peek outside and there is some wetness from the sky. A light sprinkle. I hear a student walk up to a teacher  and with a very concerned voice asks: “Miss, it’s raining. Now what?”

Within an hour of the sprinkles, one hundred kids were picked up by their parents and brought home early. By noon, it was sunny. As in no rain. It was a beautiful day. As the beauty of the day ensued, reports pulled in from many other local schools which indicated that they closed early for the day. Because, I suppose, it was sunny after it sprinkled.

(Now, if I can put aside my snarkiness for a moment, to be fair, Jeddah has no drainage. So if it does rain hard, it can flood quickly. And in Virginia, they don’t understand how to remove snow from the roads. So if it does snow hard, people can be stranded quickly.)

So I’ve learned over the years that weather and culture and location can have a great bearing on a great many things. It can drive a student to the point of questioning how school could possibly continue if a drop of rain is falling from the sky.

NOTE: I’ll leave you with a photo. This is a real photograph – not edited – that shows the downpour of Jeddah. Notice the glistening on the walk. That’s called wetness.)P_20181030_091124