Want to Experience Bad Writing? Watch Madame Secretary, Season 5, episodes 17-19

I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do, I want to enjoy myself – not be preached at. Earlier this year, I started watching Madame Secretary. Honestly, the first season had some issues, especially early on, but I thought the writing got stronger and more creative as the show progressed into the later seasons. Not long ago, I said to myself that I am really enjoying this show, season 5, for some fun story lines and intriguing drama. And then the writers dared to get on their high horse and started moralizing. It became nauseating. I almost stopped watching.

Moralizing kills creativity. And creativity, once slain, is a beast to resurrect.

Now, I’m not opposed to writing having a message or at least an opinion. I think writing is generally better when there is purpose behind it.

But, and this is a huge but, when writing becomes didactic, and doesn’t allow for open-ended inquiry and thought, it’s a HUGE bore. And that’s what happened with Madame Secretary.

The writing got bogged down in an endless and nauseating cycle of global warming, climate migration, and brow-beating moralizing that became predictable and a flat-out snooze-fest. This is not what I want for entertainment. If I want people spouting their opinions at me, I’ll watch cable news.

But if you’re writing for a network drama, GET CREATIVE!

When writing doesn’t allow people to think for themselves, it’s lazy.

When writing doesn’t facilitate dialogue from different points of views, it’s boring.

When creative writing is no different than watching cable news, please find a new job as a copy editor or web blogger. Get out of the entertainment business.

It took four episodes for Madame Secretary to begin to find its footing again. How did it do that? By getting back to issues that centered around the characters and not on a series of real-world crisis.

Hey writers, if you wanted to convince people to think certain ways about important topics, you did the exact opposite. You almost lost some viewers.

Please do better.


Someone who thinks he can.

Great Review of A PARTING IN THE SKY

Author Colleen Chesebro posted her review of book 3 of The Forgotten Child Trilogy.

She started her review by saying:

“The final book in The Forgotten Child series, “A Parting in the Sky,” wraps up this saga with everything I had hoped for and even more. This unusual series blends magical realism into a high octane adventure. I guarantee you’ve never read a similar series. I know I haven’t!”

Towards the end of the review, she had this to say:

“I’ve been a fan of Mark Sasse’s fiction for a few years now. The Forgotten Child Trilogy has captured my imagination and my heart.”

Please head on over to her website to read her thorough review of the book, which also links to her reviews for book 1 and book 2.  READ ENTIRE VIEW HERE!

So, if you sick of the same type of read. Try something different: READ THE COMPLETE SERIES HERE!



Marica from THE BOOK CHICK posted a great review of book 1 of my new trilogy A Man Too Old for a Place Too Far. 

Here’s an excerpt of what she had to say. Please check out the full review at the link below from THE BOOK CHICK.

“I was a little skeptical when I started the book but now I’m happy that I gave it a shot. I’m pleasantly surprised with the book and its story and Sasses unique way of writing. It was refreshing and new …”

“It is an intriguing story and Mr Sasse do (sic) not give the readers much to figure out how it all fits together until the end. The language is easy to read and understand and the book keeps the same flow through and through. All the characters are great and keeps evolving deeper in the story and the whole book just captivates you …”

Check out the full review at THE BOOK CHICK!

AMAZON:  Ebook & Paperback HERE!





Author Colleen Chesebro just reviewed my new novel and her ratings for the book were fantasic:


Character Believability:  5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies

Hey, you see that? 5 out of 5 on the fairy scale.  I’m honored. Colleen wrote a great, detailed review of the novel.  Here’s a brief excerpt:

“I have had the pleasure of reading most of Mark Sasse’s novels which like his characters have grown in expression, bursting with life lessons portrayed from living in an unsure world. The author’s descriptions are rich and vibrant placing the reader at the scene of the crime as it is being committed. His imagination is limitless!”

Please head over to her website and read the full review. And while you’re there, check out her writing as well. Enjoy!


Book Available HERE

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Theatre Review: Marble Hearts

I saw the new play “Marble Hearts” tonight at the Penang Performing Arts Centre. “Marble Hearts,” written and directed by U-En Ng, was really a tale of two halves for me. One I thoroughly enjoyed, the other that seemed to needlessly meander around too much for my taste. I’ll explain shortly.

“Marble Hearts” is a play based on the three daughters of King Lear – Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. It was written for the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death as a contemporary tale to delve into the daughters’ sordid deeds.

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The set was sparse, performed in the small black-box theatre, which gave the audience little to focus on except the dialogue and actors themselves.

Let me start with what I really enjoyed. Act II was a gripping ending to the piece as the desperately conflicted Cordelia is being held in an insane asylum, treated by two doctors who look remarkably like her sisters. I won’t give it away why this is the case. Marina Tan stole the show in Act II as the head-shaven, insane Cordelia, going back and forth with several delightfully disturbed personalities, as the sordid business comes to a close with the doctors wanting to … well, I won’t tell you what they want to do. Act II was good theatre with sharply defined images of place, circumstance, plot, and dialogue.

Watching Act II made me wish the narrative flow of the play had been completely inverted. The one-hour Act 1 lacked the gripping visuals and vividness of Act 2. I would have liked to have seen the play start with the insane Cordelia in the mental home. This would have been an immediate connection with the audience, something that was lacking in the first part. The transformation between the mental facility (and maybe even a warped sense of time) would have presented some fun transitions and, I believe, enlivened the crowd more by having them guess along as to why Cordelia ended up in this way.

Most of the action in Act 1 was implied, the insaneness of King Lear, the craziness of their household being taken over by “knights,” the scandalous ladies being brought in to serve the needs of the “knights.” So much was going on, and we saw none of it. All of it far away, being talked about but not experienced by the audience. Re-written sequences with appearances by the “King” himself would have added much dramatic potential to the piece. Yes, it is about the sisters, but there’s no reason the king couldn’t have made an appearance. And even though it was a modern play, I felt like the time and place of Act 1 was not well defined. I couldn’t tell who their insane father was supposed to be in this modern world, and pointed jabs about immigrants and socio-economics did little to light the way for the audience.

But despite some of the weaknesses of Act I, Act ll was a vivid and gripping piece of theatre thanks to Tan’s wonderful performance. 

This review is strictly my opinion, but you should formulate your own. The show finishes this weekend. Please go check it out.

Show Link HERE!

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New Book Review for “A Love Story for a Nation”

Danielle at Universalcreativityinc just posted her review of “A Love Story for a Nation.”

Some highlights include:

“[It] is one of those novels that readers won’t ever forget.”

“I found the mystery of the plot incredible.”

“By the the time you reach the end you will be waiitng for the next stunning well written adventure by Mark Sasse. It’s the first time that I have read any one of his novels and now, I plan to read each one of his previous novels before this one.”

Please head on over to her website and read the entire review HERE!

If you want to try the novel for yourself, you can read excerpts and reviews HERE!

Thanks again for all your support.

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“This Story Deeply Affected Me”

Charlene from Literary R & R posted her review of A Love Story for a Nation. 

Here’s a few things she said:

“There are numerous layers to unpack in this story.”

“[a story] of personal betrayal, loss, and fear, and a story of ultimate surrender.”

“This story deeply affected me.”

“Beautiful and hauntingly written.”

Please head on over to Literary R & R and read the Full Review.

ALoveStoryforaNation Cover LARGE


Another Amazing Review for “Banyan Tree”

I’m humbled to have Colleen Cheseboro from Litworldinterviews to give such a great review of The Reach of the Banyan Tree. 

Here’s her first paragraph:

“I was instantly transported back into time to August 1945, French Indochina, where Charles Regal Carson, an American soldier with the OSS Deer Team, was tasked to assist Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen to fight against the Imperialist Japanese in World War II.  What ensues is a hauntingly lovely contemporary romance filled with suspense and intrigue that brought me to tears, as I lived through the lives of Charles (Cha Le), Mai, Long, Thuy, and Charles III.”

And her overall assessment:


Realistic Characterization: 5/5

Made Me Think: 5/5

Overall enjoyment: 5/5

Readability: 5/5

Recommended: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5

 Please head on over to LitWorldInterviews and read the entire review. It gives some great insight into the story and into my writing: Read full review HERE!

And there’s a great promotion coming up this week for Banyan Tree. Watch for details soon!

Thanks, everyone.


Finding Readership One Reader at a Time

I just had a wonderful review of my book. No, it wasn’t from an prestigious publication or website. It was from an individual I don’t know. (I promise. This person is not even a distant relative.) And the individual said in the review something like this  (I paraphrase):

I got this book when it was free. I don’t usually write reviews for free books because most of them aren’t very good. But this one was different and I wanted to write a short review to support Mr. Sasse.

Wow! You can read the actual review for yourself on Amazon, if you like. But this one meant a lot. A person who had no expectations, perhaps low expectations, in the end takes a few moments of their busy life to support me as an author. You can imagine how much that means to me.

And that’s when it hit me. I’m not going to reach large groups of readers all at once. I’m not going to have full-page spreads in the New York Times or be part of Oprah’s book club. Oodles of non-descript readers aren’t going to suddenly jump on the Sasse bandwagon.

I’m going to gain readers one at a time. Individuals, who stumble upon my work and like it. The ones who have nothing to gain except enjoying a good read and tipping their cap to the author.

I am honored to find one more reader who enjoyed my work. Thank you for the encouragement. Perhaps this was the most prestigious type of review after all.