Giveaway: 100 Copies of My Historical Fiction Baseball Novel

I’ve teamed up with GOODREADS to give away 100 Kindle versions of my soon to be released 10th novel: A Diamond for Her: Myths & Tales of the Winasook Iron Horses

You’ll be one of the chosen FEW to receive it before its release date. Giveaway ends March 16 – one week before it releases on March 23 – just in time for the new baseball season!

If you like history or baseball, I think you’ll enjoy it. You’ll notice I said OR. You don’t need to like both in order to like this novel. My editor confirmed this! So click on the link below and get into the running. Good luck! It’s 100 copies so the odds are in your favor!

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

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 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.

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY! Get yourself a copy of “Moses the Singer!”

I’ve teamed up with Goodreads to give away 100 copies of the Kindle version of MOSES THE SINGER – my latest novel.

It’s super easy to enter. The giveaway ends on November 30. Click the button below to enter on the Goodreads site.

I hope you take advantage of this great offer. It’s a story I really like in a setting (Penang, Malaysia) that I really love. Music. Justice. Anxious Teenagers! What could go wrong?

And remember, leaving a review on a book that you love means a lot to an independent author. Thanks for your support!

Field of Dreams, anyone?

Anyone who knows me would be able to guess my favorite movie. Yes, Field of Dreams. I was a starry-eyed twenty-one year old on my honeymoon when I saw it, so you can forgive me for my sentimentality, can’t you?

But beyond that, of the numerous times I’ve watched it over the years, it’s still impossible for me to hold back the tears at the ending. Just perfect. And despite what people might think, it’s not a baseball movie – far from it. It’s a treatise on fatherhood and America. (and baseball!)

When I started writing novels nearly ten years ago, it had always been my dream to write a baseball novel in the vein of WP Kinsella. I won’t pretend that I write with his lyrical flow and smooth insightfulness, but nevertheless, I did it. I wrote my baseball novel.

A DIAMOND FOR HER: Myths and Tales of the Winasook Iron Horses.

Tentative release date: April 1, 2021

I’ve said this a lot about my past novels as well, but this time I really mean it: I can’t wait for this to release. I never had so much fun. I felt like a kid walking out of the cornfield to see the magic and wonder before my eyes. And while my novel doesn’t include corn fields, I couldn’t help having a little fun with WP Kinsella. The protagonist, in a way, is on a quest to find him. WP Kinsella, in his novel Shoeless Joe which inspired the movie Field of Dreams used author JD Salinger as a main character of the plot. I thought it would be fun to return the favor, and while the late WP Kinsella does not make an appearance in my novel, his footprint does, and it was a blast doing it.

Here’s the blurb (still a work in progress) and a few images which will loom large over the novel. Cover reveal coming soon!

He loved her enough to build her a baseball stadium.

In 1920, railroad man Raymond Blythe had a series of disturbing dreams—giant creatures with Greek names playing baseball. He was determined to find out what they meant. The dreams set him 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 met 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.

A Diamond for Her chronicles the fictitious history of the Winasook Iron Horses, who were the founding members of the Allegheny Independent League from 1921-1955. Baseball magic was born in these mountains proving time and again that anything can happen inside the diamond.

With a tip of the cap to the works of W.P. Kinsella, A Diamond for Her is a historical and magical story of love between two people—Raymond & Rochelle—and two grand institutions—America & baseball.

My Radio Interview! Have a listen!

I had a great time with author and book reviewer Fran Lewis on her blogtalkradio show this morning. We chatted for an hour about my latest novel Moses the Singer. We delved into themes, characters, story, and how the novel came about.

Learn about the genesis of the main character Musa Marbun and how it all started when living in Asia and seeing the difficult lives of many of the poorer people. I also talked about my years teaching teenagers and how that helped me craft the young musicians in the story.

It was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy!

You can check it out here: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/fran-lewis/2020/08/03/spotlight-mark-sasse