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.
I wrote this novel in the summer of 2019, and one of my projects this past year was to revise, edit, and eventually publish it. It’s finally here.
This story spawns out of two ideas. First, the downtrodden of society. I’ve lived overseas many years and I’ve witnessed scores of hardworking people who had basically nothing. It made me realize how lucky and privileged I am in the simple things of life like having a nice bed, plenty of food, heat and running water–let alone the chance to travel and use technology. I’m blessed, and I know it. One thought I’ve always had was who are the ultra-talented people in society who have never had a chance to shine and grow in their talent. How many incredible voices will never be heard because of where they were born. As the back of my book states: TALENT IS DISTRIBUTED EQUALLY BY GOD!
With that in mind, I wanted to tell a story of a downtrodden and forgotten man of society who had a hidden talent. Thus the beginning of Moses the Singer.
The second idea comes out of my eleven years teaching at an international school in the wonderful tropical island of Penang, Malaysia. I worked with many talented teens over the years, so I decided to use that backdrop of island life and teen musicians from a local school to combine with my first idea.
These two ideas are the backbone of the story: Justice for the downtrodden, music for the masses.
This is my first Young Adult book, and I had a blast writing it — especially trying to figure out the banter between the teens. I hope I nailed it.
It’s a fun, tragic, yet uplifting story. I hope you’ll give it a try. Available from July 1st in Kindle and paperback.
EARLY PRAISE FOR Moses the Singer:
“If you’re looking for a feel-good read that will help you believe in humanity once again, make “Moses, the Singer,” that book.” – Author Colleen Chesebro
“Sasse manages to pen a masterful tale filled with many unexpected twists and turns which is sure to please a wide reading audience. He skillfully demonstrates the art of kindness and compassion combined with determination to positively affect the lives of the less fortunate people in our world. Very touching novel!” – inspirational author Dolores Ayotte
“The story takes the reader on a journey through numerous emotions. Grab a tissue to blot your tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Highly recommend.” – Reviewer L. Denn
Moses the Singer, my brand new YA novel set to release on July 1, has two beginnings. The first part of the novel is told from two different point of views. First, there’s the story of four talented teen musicians as they plan to win their school’s talent show. The second part is about Musa “Moses” Marbun, a destitute and country-less old man living a meager and marginalized existence on the island of Penang. Then the stories merge.
I’d like to share both beginnings with you. The novel will be available in Kindle and paperback starting July 1. Kindle pre-orders are being taken now!
EXCERPT 1 – CHAPTER 1 YOU SUCK – In this chapter, you get to meet the bantering Will & Sanchez who have been playing music together for years.
The patio door whipped open and startled the two teens sitting on upside-down white paint buckets—papers with lyrics and chords strewn on top of a plastic table in front of them. “Enough. Please. Will, you’re killing me.” The teen lowered the six-string into his lap. Behind him, two yellow palms towered in ceramic pots. “I’m just trying to get this song down.” Will’s father tapped his clenched fist on the glass door. “Isn’t it obvious? That song is not going down, and if it does, it’s going to be regurgitated back up.” “All right, Dad. Jeez.” “I’m sorry. I’m just trying to get some sleep.” Sanchez, at Will’s left holding his fretless bass, glanced over at Will’s father. “Will the killer. That’s what I call him.” “Shut up,” snapped Will. “You’re killing this song. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.” “Boy, you two are really supportive.” Will stood up and hit his knee on the side of the table, knocking several pages onto the patio stone. “Why don’t you guys wrap it up, okay?” shouted the perturbed father. “All right. But did you hear my singing?” “Who couldn’t hear your singing?” “Sanchez thinks we need another singer.” Sanchez waved his hands in the air and blurted the honest truth as clearly as humanly possible. “Dude, you suck.” “Why is everyone attacking me?” Will threw his left arm into the air, his right still grasping the neck of the guitar. “Because it’s 2 A.M. and your screeching is keeping all the night critters from their work. And my nighttime work is sawing logs so I can do actual work in the morning. That’s what I do. I work to support your garage band habits.” “But Dad … just listen to one thing.” Sanchez along with Will’s dad lowered their heads in synchronous agony. “Come on, just give me a second.” Will returned to the upside-down paint bucket, lowered his hands on the fretboard, and plucked out a series of notes clear and melodic—a beautiful sonic moment, until his mouth opened and inserted a strand of battle-weary notes which had been ripped to shreds by the Muse—the sage protector of all melodic harmony. Sanchez put his hands over his ears and mumbled, “It’s been like this all evening.” He put down his bass and snapped open his case. Will’s dad stepped a foot out onto the patio. “Will, listen to me.” Will stopped playing, which allowed the creatures in the neighborhood to catch their breath. “You’re a terrific guitar player. Really, I’m amazed at what you can do. But you’ve got a disease, and you need to admit it.” “A disease?” “Yes, it’s called the Kerry Livgren syndrome.” “There’s a name for this?” inquired Sanchez, clasping the buckles on his case close. “Kerry Livgren. Master composer, guitar player, musician extraordinaire of the classic rock band Kansas?” Both boys stared into the blank night with confused looks. “You know, ‘Dust in the Wind,’ ‘Carry on Wayward Son’?” “Dad, do you have a point?” “Yes, Kerry Livgren was a musical wizard, but he couldn’t sing a lick. Or as Sanchez stated so eloquently, his voice sucked!” “What are you trying to say?” Will’s dad used his left index finger to point at the place between his eyebrows several times. He seemed to be rubbing out the rough edges of his stress-induced midnight headache. “You need to find a new singer.” “That’s what I’ve been telling him for a year,” chimed Sanchez. “But—” “And go to bed. Do the latter, first.” “I’ll catch you later, Will. Good night, Mr. Jennings.” “Good night, Sanchez,” offered Will’s dad. Will, guitar in hand, walked past his dad standing in the sliding glass doorway. “Good night, Will.” “I’m still a little angry at you,” moaned the guitar player. “The sheep over my bed feel the same way. I guess we’re even.”
I’m excited to announce that the e-book, Kindle box set of The Forgotten Child Trilogy is coming soon! It’s been great to get some feedback about the series, and so now I can’t wait to get it out in one terrific file – at a great price, too!
A Parting in the Sky – Book 3 of The Forgotten Child Trilogy goes live on Wednesday, March 20 – only two days!
I’m really excited to finally get the ending to this special story released. I’ve spent two and half years writing these three stories, and I’m pleased with how they turned out. Hopefully the readers will as well.
To celebrate the release: Book 2 The African Connection is available for only 99 cents all week! It’s a steal, so please pick yourself up a copy.
And, of course, Book 3 is currently on Pre-Order and is set to send to your Kindle on Wednesday.
Plus, if you are a KINDLE UNLIMITED member, you can read the entire trilogy for free!
I’m pleased to announce the release of my first ever baseball story. I’ve been in love with baseball since I was nine years old, and I’ve been wanting to write a baseball story for a long time. I finally have, and now it’s available for only $0.99!
In fact, this is just the beginning of a complete work of fiction I plan on writing which will be a historical fiction work about a fictitious minor league independent league team. But it’s more than just about baseball. I’ll admit it. I have definitely been influenced by W.P. Kinsella in this regard and will certainly focus on the mystical elements and lore of the game as well as the human emotional part of our national pastime.
So this story is just a teaser of where I’m going with it, and I can’t wait to keep writing on this project. Soon!
In the meantime, here is the story’s blurb. I’ll post a excerpt later in the week. Please share this with all the baseball-loving folks in your family.
THE HUNDRED PITCH AT BAT – BLURB: August 1949. Rochelle Stadium. Town of Winosook. Deep in the Alleghenies.
This is the story of how I became a doctor. I give all the credit to Archie Showalter, a ballplayer on the independent league team the Winosook Iron Horses. I was there that day when he had his historic at bat—an impossible one-hundred pitches. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes … but I did. I was sitting right behind the crafty reporter Pepe Weiss from the Winosook Watcher as he came to sit next to Archie Showalter’s wife down the third baseline in order to ascertain the meaning of the improbable at bat. As her husband kept fouling off pitches, she started crying, and I eventually understood why.
It didn’t matter what was thrown: high and tight, way outside, ten feet high, or right down the middle. Showalter fouled off every one with a determination and whimsical flare that bordered on the miraculous. But when Iron Horses owner Raymond Blythe announced over the loudspeaker that each additional foul ball would earn Showalter a bonus, Archie did something that no one had ever seen, or will ever see again. Because he wasn’t hitting for his team. He wasn’t playing out his contract. He was on a deeply personal mission, and his courage changed the course of my life.
This is the story of the hundred pitch at bat, and why I went back to medical school.
Just wanted to share briefly what is making me so happy today: my first trilogy – my first series of any kind – is finished.
This afternoon I capped off the story with as neat and tidy ending that I could muster. The story of Frick, Bee, Ash, Rachany, Ruthy, Haddock, Hatty, Ulrich, and Monroe is finished, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.
In a different post, I’m going to chronicle what I learned about writing by taking on this project, but I couldn’t let my happiness remain inside.
I know. I know. I have months of revision ahead of me.
But who cares?
There were days in the past when I couldn’t see how the ending I wanted was going to connect with what I had already written.
And then, little by little, it worked.
It didn’t hurt that for the past nine days, I’ve had nothing to do but WRITE! It’s been awesome since I was able to crank out the final 25,000 words.
The result is this a 200,000 plus word trilogy.
Book 3 of THE FORGOTTEN CHILD TRILOGY – A Parting in the Sky
To celebrate: here’s the first mock-up of the cover.
Kindle pre-orders of The African Connection – part 2 of The Forgotten Child Trilogy – are now at 50% off – only $1.99 – through July 6. Don’t miss this exciting adventure of a Manhattan businessman who is visited by an enigmatic flying being, thrusting him into bizarre time-travel adventures throughout the 20th century. This is contemporary, time-travel, and magical realism at its best. Oh yes, slightly dipped in fantasy.