New Christmas Story Coming Soon!

I’m happy to announce I’ll be publishing a new Christmas short story this year. Unsure of release date, but it will be well early for the season. It even has a cover!

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Can you pick up the tone of it? Yes, light-hearted, silly, funny (hopefully) with a warm fire-place-like touch of sentiment – all those things you need to settle into the holiday season. You know, like a cinnamon stick in your hot chocolate or spiced cider simmering on the stove.

“Jolly Old St. Hick” was actually a short play that my drama group The RLT Players performed in their Christmas show “Tales of Wonder II” in 2015. It was a funny and well-received vignette, and last year I got the idea of re-writing it as a short story. I didn’t get very far.

Until now! I turned the 2000 word play into a 6000+ word short story coming your way to a Kindle near you!

I’ve actually not written many short stories in my life. I’ve written more novels than short stories, actually. I’m not sure if that is bizarre or not, but I’m becoming more familiar with the genre. Most of my short stories are Christmas-themed. Why is that? I’m not sure, exactly, but perhaps there’s something comforting about a warm cup of tea, a fireplace, and a 30 or 40-minute sentimental read.

In 2014, I published “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” about a runaway slave in 1852.  Available Here.

In 2016, I published “Christmas in the Trenches 1914” a fictitious account of the real-life truce between the Brits and the Germans in WWI on Christmas Eve 1914. Available Here!

In 2018, I will publish “Jolly Old St. Nick.”

I hope you enjoy, and look out for the release of my new one soon!

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THE BIRTH OF TECHNICOLOR in Brooklyn

I had the privilege of watching the world premiere of my play THE BIRTH OF TECHNICOLOR at the Gallery Players’ Theatre Black Box New Play Festival 2018.

Here I am, excited standing outside the theater.

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The play was adeptly directed by David Thomas Cronin and beautifully acted by two talented actors: Elizabeth Pickering Hopland (who played the character Black & White) and Danielle Ferretti (who played Technicolor). Here we are basking in the aftermath of opening night.

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You’ll notice Elizabeth was too quick with taking off her make-up since she didn’t know the nosy writer would be there requesting a photo after curtain call.  So I grabbed a promotional photo from dress rehearsal so you can see what she looked like.

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Yes, fabulous. Both of them. And they shined on-stage with terrific chemistry and point-on timing. It is always such a treat for a playwright to see a new work come to life. This is a quirky and funny play which honors the throwback golden era of cinema with loads of references to many of the great black and white films of all time.

This was the very first time I have ever gotten to see one of my plays in America. I’ve spent so much time overseas and produced many different shows in some unique venues, but it was special to finally be able to be there in the Big Apple at Brooklyn’s “premiere off-Broadway theater” to see a great show.

I tip my hat to all involved including Sue and Dominic who produced the show.

Hopefully, there will be many shows to come.

In Brooklyn This Week: “The Birth of Technicolor” @ Gallery Players’ Theater

If you are in the NYC area this weekend, don’t miss the world premiere of my play “The Birth of Technicolor” at the Gallery Players’ Black Box New Play Festival. It is one of four plays which will be performed Thursday June 14 through Sunday June 17. (Thurs-Sat @ 7:30 & Sunday @ 3:00)  I will be on hand Thursday and Friday evenings. Hope to see you there!

The play itself is a cute little thing. Black & White Film and Technicolor Film show up to give an audition to famed movie director DW Griffith. Each of them want the starring role in his next film. It doesn’t take long for Black & White to feel threatened by Technicolor’s brash and colorful personality. Eventually they each perform a death scene for the director, but the outcome is not what either of them expects.

Play: The Birth of Technicolor   Written by Mark W Sasse

Directed by David  Thomas Cronin

The Gallery Players
199 14th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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Checking in from Ireland

I’ve been in Killeagh, Ireland at Greywood Arts for a little more than two days now so I wanted to check in with everyone concerning how’s everything going. Well, in a word, great!

Greywood is a terrific venue for the arts. A renovated (and still being renovated) 18th century Georgian house specifically for promoting the arts. Here’s my amazing writing room.

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It overlooks the Dissour River, more of a stream in my mind, but has a beautiful view of  a small cascade right from the desk. I even saw a river otter! It is bright, cheery, and quiet. A perfect combination for creativity. How’s it been working? Amazingly well. On day one, I completed a play called “Embrace” which I started nearly five years ago and wondered if I would ever finish it. Well, I did. Seven hours of hard labor on that script completely revitalized it and I’m very happy with it. Unlike anything I have ever written.

Today, day two,  was spent working on a play called “For the Glory of Nat Turner.” I had started it last year with a mere 2000+ words and I hammered out the entire first act, clocking the whole thing in at around 7000 words now. Tomorrow, I’d love to finish this one too! Amazing productivity.

The village of Killeagh is small and quaint. No more than 500 souls live here. Here are a few shots.

The weather today turned toward the nasty. Really cold and rainy. No walks and very little out and about. The forecast isn’t great, but I hope it clears a little tomorrow cause I was going to take the bus over to the seaside town of Youghal only 10 minutes away. We shall see how it looks in the morning.

I’m also hoping to take a trip into Cork for a day and check out the city. That will likely be the extent of my touring since my main focus is on writing, writing, and writing.

This is such a terrific opportunity. So relaxing and rewarding and I can’t think Greywood enough for their hospitality.

Let’s get back at it!

Getting Ready for Short & Sweet Penang

This is the third year that I’ve been involved with the Short & Sweet Theatre Penang festival which is kicking off next week. In 2011 I submitted my short play “Drive All Night” which came home with the Audience Choice Award. That was a lot of fun. Last year my script “No in Spite of Itself” won for Best Script, which was an honor for me. Even my daughter won the award for Best Supporting Actor – Female. All the awards and honors are great, but they are certainly secondary in my book. Here’s a few things I especially like about this festival:

  • It’s a great intro to live theatre for a lot of performers. This festival attracts a lot of young people who may haven’t had the opportunity to perform. It’s a stretching and fun experience, and, hopefully, it will connect them to the magical world of live theatre for the rest of their lives.
  • Second, it’s a fun mix of professional and amateur performers. It’s great to see those who work in the performing arts take part in the festival right alongside the newbies. What a great way to learn! The mixture and interaction is fun for all involved.
  • For me it’s a great bridge into the community. I can become somewhat isolated with work and home and work and home, but this is a tangible opportunity for me to do what I love in a community setting. I meet new people, network, learn, interact, and, generally, just have a good time!
  • Lastly it’s about watching the varied performances. Some great. Some, frankly, not so great. But that is what’s engaging about this show. It’s 10, 10-minute plays. If one’s not good, it won’t be long until the next one comes. It’s also a great way to judge performances and to see what is and is not an effective way to act in or direct a piece.

The festival kicks off this week with the dance portion.

Next week starts the theatre portion. My script “A Pinch of Fate, a Shot of Destiny” will be one of the scripts being produced. I’m also directing another one called “The Surgeon’s Creed.” Two other scripts being produced were submitted by my students, so I’m proud of my drama group making some great in-roads into the local theatre scene. If you are in Penang next week, stop by PenangPAC and check it out – September 3-6.

Short and Sweet Penang 2014

Writing Agenda: What’s on Tap

Every few months I like to highlight and update my writing to see what I’ve accomplished and what I’m currently working on. Here’s the latest:

Recently Finished:

 

  • Full-length Musical – Boardwalk Melody: A Musical. Currently in production.
  • Novel The Reach of the Banyan Tree – set for a July 1 release
  • Short Musical A Woman at War (now my co-composer is working on it) Will be entered in Short & Sweet Musical Malaysia later this year.
  • Apathy – A short play about Michelangelo’s creation of mankind paintings on the roof of the Sistine Chapel
  • The Heavyweight Fight of the Ages: Almighty God vs. Nothingness – A short play about Michelangelo’s creation of the universe paintings.

Currently Working on:

  • Novel 4 – Jonny, Who Stood on the World – about 2/3 finished with the first draft. Projected release date of early 2015.
  • Play – A full-length play for adult audiences on a rather controversial topic. I’ll keep it vague for now.

In the Works:

  • Two more short plays about the Sistine Chapel paintings. All four of these dramatic sketches will be produced as part of our Fine Arts Festival in May.
  • Eight more dramatic sketches for RLT Players 2014 season. Already have lots of interesting ideas. And new material to submit to Short & Sweet Malaysia. I want to do a reworking of a short play I co-wrote last year called “I Once Was Blind.” It’s a powerful piece.
  • Novel 5 – First chapter already finished. I also already have a title. But this one’s a long way off.

I love writing and creativity!