When’s a Manuscript Really Ready?

The thrill of the story. First draft.

Agonize over the revisions. 2nd, 3rd, 4th draft.

Send to beta readers. Gather info. Revise again.

Read and revise one more time then send to editor.

Editor returns a manuscript rife with red. Gulp hard and go after it. Major revisions, additions, subtractions.

Read through once more. Solid manuscript. Advanced reader copy (ARC) ready.

Send out ARC (both proof paperback copes and ebooks) to reviewers.

Acknowledge that release date is coming closer. Now 60 days away. Read proof once more.

Find annoying little mistakes like the time the team Lawmen was spelled Lawmem. Index finger slid a little bit too far to the right on the keypad. Brain, when reading that sentence for the 12th time, finally realizes that the ‘m’ is not an ‘n.’ How did it get by me twelve times, an editor once, and a bunch of my beta readers? That’s what mistakes do. They are stealth.

I think the mistakes have been found, but still the wording worries me. There are still unnecessary words. Keep cutting. Keep shortening.

There are still words that sound awkward. Smooth out. I can do better than that.

That sentence sounds lazy. Ahhhh, word repetition. I just used that word. Please, no. I have to change it.

Wait, tomorrow the publication date? Ahhhhh! It’s not ready.

Back to the original question. When’s a manuscript really ready? Never. In reality, it’s never ready. But like a boisterous little boy playing hide-and-seek at night, “Ready or not, here I come.”

The only question you have to answer is this: Did you do the very best you could with the resources available and the time given to you to accomplish it? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then release it into the wild and rest in the knowledge that you gave it your best. Is your best perfection? No. Will you be completely satisfied with it? No.

Do you move on to the next story anyways? Yes.

A DIAMOND FOR HER coming March 23. Ready or not.

A DIAMOND FOR HER: Pre-order Now for a Special Price

My new novel, set to release in 60 days on March 23, 2021, is now available for pre-order for a special price only from the Kindle store.

This is the baseball novel I’ve always wanted to write, and when hunkered down in March and April of 2020 with no baseball to enjoy, I wrote it.

Don’t like baseball? No worries. My editor assures me you won’t need to be a baseball fan to enjoy this unique story. If you like historical fiction, sports fiction, historical romance, magical realism, or the film “Field of Dreams,” this novel is for you!

I had so much fun writing it. Order it now for a special pre-order price of only $2.99. It will go up in price upon release. Available in Kindle & Paperback on March 23, 2021.

Thanks for your support. Here’s the short blurb:


In 1920, railroad man Raymond Blythe had a series of disturbing dreams—giant creatures with Greek names playing baseball. Determined to discover their meaning, he sets off on a bizarre quest to find a connection between Iowa, Theodore Roosevelt, baseball, and his deceased father. While searching for answers at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, he meets a young librarian named Rochelle Christy. This meeting sets him on another quest—to win her hand in marriage even if it means he has to establish his own baseball league in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains.

March 23: The Gods of Baseball Arise

My New Play “Covid Chips” Featured in Upcoming Festival

I’m thrilled to have my new play “Covid Chips” being featured in week 2 of The Gallery Players 24th Annual Black Box New Play Festival.

I was approached by one of the co-producers of the event about writing a play specifically for the Zoom format. I am not exactly thrilled about live theatre going online, so I wasn’t sure if I would feel the inspiration to write something or not. But shortly after that, it hit me. Just from reading the news, and I wrote the play “Covid Chips” to honor the many small businesses hit especially hard during this pandemic. I had a lot of fun writing it, and just last week I was able to sit in on a rehearsal and am really excited to see the final product.

Tickets are free! But you need to register in order to watch. Here’s the ticket link:

There are three plays being featured that week. Here are their descriptions. I hope you can take part in the event and support the hurting theater industry.

Second Week: January 28 – 31

  • Covid Chips by Mark W. Sasse
    Directed by Mike MrochAs restaurants in New York State begin to re-open during the COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Jawarski, from Peppy’s Pub in Jamestown, receives a Zoom call from an Albany health official making sure that Peppy’s is compliant. As Mr. Jawarski continues complying with new regulations, the health official keeps making additional Zoom calls to bring attention to another matter of omission.
  • Women Underground by Kay Ellen Bullard
    Directed by Justin BraunThree women living lives of quiet desperation find themselves buried in the rubble of a bank explosion. Each has her own past experiences that could impact their survival strategy. Is any rescue even possible if you’ve already been
    living the equivalent of a buried life?
  • Every Single Sunday by Chris Karmiol
    Directed by Whitney StoneDifferent generations attempt to make a virtual connection and it doesn’t go too smoothly. But that’s okay… it wasn’t meant to.

How to be Creative in 2021!

We are creative beings. I’m convinced of it. I’ve been watching my grandson play over the past couple of weeks and he just naturally creatives narratives about firemen, emergencies, ice cream stands, railroads, excavators, dump trucks and just about everything. He oozes creativity and it’s marvelous. By the way, he’s two years old.

What will we do (I do) in 2021 to allow the muses to penetrate and invite the dark hushes of night to open avenues previously unseen? Here’s a couple ideas:

Play. I recommend blocks. Yes, I’m back to my grandson for a moment. There’s something magnificently simple about playing with blocks, but it’s also freeing and … yes … creative. I’ve been taken away in my mind more than once when constructing a block zoo or a block gas station or whatever. Seeing the patterns, the possibilities, the endless little tweaks which can shape and reshape what is being formed. Playing with blocks allows one to be creative, but there are many varieties to play. Find one that suits you.

Passion. I have two passions which fuel my creativity: writing and cooking. They are a great counterbalance to each other because they are not related in any way, but they each, in their own way, allow me to experiment and control the ideas of my mind. They also both need source material whether a recipe for cooking or a news article for creative writing, they allow me to use what I have and what I am currently processing in order to form something new. Guitar is another creative avenue for me. It’s not one of my passions, per se, and I’m not a great guitarist, but it’s another method of getting me to think creative about my writing since I like to compose lyrics and songs and musical theatre related stuff. We all have a creative passion. I’m sure of it.

Get Away from Clutter. I think this is also an important way to allow yourself to be creative. We are bombarded with media and technology every moment of every day, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at putting my phone down. What do you do to cleanse yourself from the daily clutter of your life and allow yourself to think, listen, see, feel, and just breathe? When I’m in my typical routine, that time for me is when I’m walking. I might be listening to music at the same time, but it allows me to think and ponder. Is it any wonder that a lot of my writing ideas come to me when I’m walking?

So if you want to be a more creative person this year; play, follow your passions, and secure time away from your cluttered life. We are meant to be creative. What’s holding you back?

Those are my suggestions. What are yours?

Let your light shine through in 2021. (Photo by mws, Rome 2018)

What a year … for writing!

I’m sure I don’t need to rehash the monstrous year 2020 has proved to be. And I won’t. Who would want to re-live that?

And yet, I’m fairly sure there were positives along the way. A focus on family. Time to delve into areas which had been neglected. And writing. Yes. For me, this year has helped me focus in on several areas which I haven’t been able to focus on in years. So, thank you, 2020! Here’s how it helped this writer.

Compilations. I’ve been meaning to compile a bunch of my short plays forever, but time, you know. Well, 2020 provided time. In abundance. So I went at it and in the course of the year, I was able to release volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 of my short play collection. Here they are:

I’m so happy to get these out to the public, or at least the (shuttered) theatre industry. These are plays I’ve written over the past ten years. All have been stage produced and just need a gentle nudge to get onto the stage again. So once Covid is done … well, I’m proud of these works. I hope people enjoy them.

On the story front, I published my first Malaysian novel in July: Moses the Singer!

I had wanted to write a novel about my beloved Penang for many years, and I was thrilled to get this YA release out and about in the middle of the year.

Lastly, during the darkest lockdown days of spring 2020, I found myself with a lot of extra time to write, and I finally wrote the baseball novel that I always wanted to write: A DIAMOND FOR HER: MYTHS AND TALES OF THE WINASOOK IRON HORSES. I can’t tell you how much fun I had writing this. It was, for me, my most enjoyable novel to date. I had always wanted to write a baseball novel, but I just wasn’t inspired until the quietness of COVID lockdown allowed me to explore areas I never would have anticipated. The novel is now three months out from release and available for pre-order. What a great year … for writing. Here’s to hoping 2021 is a great year for everything else.

Christmas Deals Galore! Grab them while they last.

Need some new reads for Kindle? Over the next few days, I have one novel completely free and three other novels at only $0.99! They won’t last long. Here they are:

FREE: THE AFRICAN CONNECTION (Book 2 of the Forgotten Child Trilogy) – starting Dec 24:

NOW AVAILABLE FOR ONLY 99 cents for the next few days:

Moses the Singer:

NOW AVAILABLE FOR ONLY 99 cents for the next few days:

A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far (Book 1 of the Forgotten Child Trilogy)

A Parting in the Sky (Book 3 of the Forgotten Child Trilogy)

Thanks for reading, and if you like, please don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!

Now Available: Theatrical Monologues

I just published the fifth volume in the Short Play Collection: Theatrical Monologues for Audition, Classroom, or Stage.

It includes more than 50 original short monologues. Most of them were chosen from my myriad plays, but I did end up writing some special ones just specifically for this edition. They are divided by comedic and dramatic, and they can be used in a variety of settings. Great for both teens or adults!

And that’s my former student on the cover. Yeah, she’s awesome. Please pass along the link to those theatre enthusiasts among you. The other volumes in the collection include duets, Christmas, Christian-themed drama, and high school-themed drama.

Christmas Reads!

How about some heart-warming, funny, or intriguing Christmas short stories to get you in the holiday spirit! Here’s three of them.

All available on KINDLE for only $0.99 each. Check them out on my author page. Enjoy.

“If Love is a Crime”: On Christmas Eve 1852, a runaway slave slips unnoticed through a meadow and happens upon a small, rustic cabin in the woods, occupied by a boisterous old woman named Beatrice. As a winter storm blows in and the sheriff comes inquiring, all that stands between the frightened girl and the arm of the law is a stack of biscuits and a whole lot of love.

“Christmas in the Trenches, 1914”: Christmas Eve, 1914. Young Private O’Malley and his comrades on the war front stare-down a group of approaching German soldiers singing Silent Night. Is there enough Christmas magic in the air which would allow the weary soldiers a brief respite from the ravages of war on the holiest of nights?

“Jolly Old St. Hick”: On Christmas Eve, in the midst of the worst winter storm of the century, two lost travelers are found by a jolly old country bumpkin, who shows them that Christmas miracles do come true.

A Week of Musicals

Boy, I miss live theatre! It must really be coming to a head within me because this has been a week of musicals for me.

Yes, I’m one of those rare men who LOVE musicals. The music, the singing, the storyline, the choreography, the dazzling sets, the mood-shifting lights. THE SPECTACLE! and how it affects you. Love everything about musicals.

In the past week, I’ve watched OKLAHOMA (the 1999 Hugh Jackman live London version), Carousel (the Live from Lincoln Center version), and the West End version of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. I loved them all for different reasons, But let me just say that An American in Paris was absolutely stunning. The choreography and set pieces, let alone the flawless performances, made it one of the best produced musicals I’ve ever seen. Truly spectacular. And Gershwin’s music is great. I would love to see it live!

But this wasn’t the end of my musicals for the week. I even watched that Netflix Dolly Parton musical that I can’t remember the name of. Yeah, I know, it’s not going to knock any of those blockbusters listed above off their pedestals, but hey. It was Christmas. There was singing. There was a storyline. There was choreography. So ’tis the season!

Now in my earbuds, I’m listening through the 1992 recording of The King & I featuring Julie Andrews, Ben Kingsley, and Lea Salonga. There’s a reason. I’m already plotting my first post-Covid musical, and I want to go back to one of the classics . I’m pondering how The King & I might play out in my particular setting. It’ s an interesting option, which I’m seriously considering.

What’s next for my viewing pleasure? I think I’ll keep working through the Rodgers and Hammerstein collection. Sounds like a plan.

How about you? What’s your favorite classic musical from Broadway’s golden era?

And what musical would you like to see first when the craziness of 2020 is finally finished?