99 CENT SALE – The Reach of the Banyan Tree

99 CENT SALE – The Reach of the Banyan Tree

99 cents on AMAZON.COM

For a limited time only, The Reach of the Banyan Tree is well within reach. You might say it’s a steal at only 99 cents on Kindle from August 17-23.

Historical Fiction + Contemporary Romance + VIETNAM!!!! = A Terrific Read!

I had an amazing time piecing together this 300 page novel. I loved adding the center section which extends back to Vietnam in 1945 at the tale-end of World War II. It not only helps the reader understand the complexities 20th century Vietnam and that country’s amazing story, but it also helps to explain the modern romance which makes up the rest of the story. Don’t worry, the romance is ALSO based in Vietnam and bathed in its amazing culture.

How did I do my research? By living in Vietnam for 10 years. By learning Vietnamese fluently. By studying Vietnamese culture and history IN Vietnamese. I do hope my experiences help to bring this book to life. But don’t worry, this isn’t some high-brow treatise on geo-politics. At its heart its a story of fathers and sons and the loves of their lives.

Please do pick yourself up a copy. And now, it’s so cheap, there’s no reason to pass it up.

And don’t forget to leave a review. Your support is much appreciated.

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Happy Valentines Day from Prince Casimir

Happy Valentines Day! Here’s the ever romantic Prince Casimir from one of my favorite plays – “The Secrets of the Magic Pool” – with some prodding from Majji, telling the Princess how he feels about her. I miss this cast and crew so much. It was so much fun. Here’s hoping Casimir gets you in the mood for the day!

CASIMIR

              You really are a foolish girl.

PRINCESS

As is often said, foolish girls are chased by foolish boys.

CASIMIR

Then I am a fool. The most complete fool for love who has ever existed.

(He takes her hand. She turns away from him in embarrassment.)

PRINCESS

I heard you were leaving.

CASIMIR

Perhaps. If I do have to leave, will you miss me?

PRINCESS

                (coyly)

Oh, I suppose, a little.

CASIMIR

Literally a little? Like a grain of sand? Or a little like an understatement, like the summer would miss warm evening air or like the sea would miss the cadence of the tide? Which is it?

PRINCESS

If you must go…

CASIMIR

I must. And I know exactly how much I shall miss you. I shall miss the complexion of your skin, a gentle pale hue, the envy of every heavenly sky. I shall miss your ruby lips, as soft and moist as a droplet of morning dew on the petal of a ruby-red rose.I shall miss the sound of your voice – how it echoes my heart’s yearning. How I long to hear just one phrase roll sweetly off your tongue into my ears. It’s all my heart desires.

PRINCESS

                (getting flustered)

What phrase is that?

CASIMIR

The same phrase I’ve been trying to tell you for a long time.

PRINCESS

And what phrase is that?

CASIMIR

The same phrase that Antony said to Cleopatra.

(Majji is sneaking back in and eavesdropping.)

PRINCESS

And what phrase is that?

CASIMIR

The same phrase that—

MAJJI

                (Majji quickly stands up and yells.)

I love you!

(pauses awkwardly for a moment)

Would you two just say it?

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Limited Time Only! “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” – 99 cents!

As I await the release of my new novel, I’m happy to offer my three generational Vietnam novel – The Reach of the Banyan Tree – for only 99 cents on Kindle.

Get yours HERE!

You can browse through the 49 reviews and check out what others have had to say about it. Here are a couple of my favorite:

“An outstanding, must-read story” – B. Boze from Truth About Books

“An unforgettable love story” – C. Cheseboro

“Stunningly written and deeply moving.” – Kindle Book Review

It’s historical fiction, but part contemporary romance.

It’s cross-cultural adventure at its best.

It’s highly symbolic, yet readily accessible.

Please check it out! Thanks for your support.

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Last Two Days – “Banyan Tree” Novel @ 99 cents

Here’s your last chance to pick up “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” at the super-cheap price of only 99 cents. Lots of 5-star reviews, so if you like history, historical fiction, Vietnam, romance, adventure or just plain-old good story-telling, then you should absolutely check it out. Not much to lose in this deal.

BUY IT HERE!

Like paperback? No worries. It’s also available at the link above for only $10.68 including free second-day air shipping with Amazon Prime.

Grab the Kindle for 99 cents by March 2 or it will be going up to its regular price.

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Exclusive Excerpt: “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” – only 99 cents for a limited time!

I’m happy to offer another exclusive excerpt from my latest novel. This is an excerpt from a chapter called “Discovery.” OSS operative, Charles, has been tracking down the driver of a lost lorry deep in the countryside of Tonkin, French Indochina in the waning moments of WWII. He and his three Viet Minh companions arrive at a village and unearth a terrifying discovery.

If you enjoy the excerpt, please hit the link and download the rest. Only 99 cents on Kindle through March 2.

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Discovery

As the sun began to shake itself awake from the east, Vinh shook Charles out of a deep sleep.

“Ahhh,” he jerked himself vertically, opening his eyes to his trio of companions standing over him.

“Vinh says we must go. We have a long walk to his grandmother’s house. Perhaps we will find Dinh-Hoa there.”

“Alo Cha Le,” said Long with that familiar gusto, seemingly unaffected by last evening’s events.

Charles shook his head back and forth, trying to grasp the short night on his consciousness. He had no more than two hours of sleep.

“Alright. Let’s go.”

Vinh knew his grandparent’s house was the next logical location to go to. At least they could trek back with some oxen and possibly get the truck moving by the morrow. Vinh decided to take the valley route which was twice as long but would give them a chance of finding a vehicle to help them out of their muddy predicament. They traveled up the road for about twenty minutes until they veered off into some rice paddies and cut up over a small hill into one far-flung valley of north eastern Bac Thai. The adults remained silent. Mai had much to contemplate. Charles kept watching her petite-frame in front of him. How agile she was on her feet. How pretty she was. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Long, however, had rediscovered his verboseness and spoke to Charles in a constant drone. Mai didn’t even bother to translate, and Charles responded with a consistent ‘uh-huh’, which seemed to be enough for Long.

After three and half hours of walking, Vinh stopped the quartet on a low-lying clearing overlooking a cluster of trees surrounded by rice paddies of varying elevation.

“Vinh says this is the village.”

The mid-morning sun had begun to command their attention. They descended the hill and started onto a dirt walking path leading into the center of twelve small cement and mortar homes, a typical Vietnamese cluster with an all dirt village square, lined with tall palm trees on both sides that provided shade to the modest dwellings. Chickens scattered themselves throughout the area and several houses had water buffaloes still tied to the side of the dwellings. The village lay still, like an epidemic had erased every living soul, leaving the houses untouched to wrestle through the day by themselves. It was too early for the mid-day rest, and this lack of activity unnerved Vinh to the point of putting his hand over his pistol.

“Where is everyone?” Long asked in an unsettlingly loud tone.

“Shhhh,” Vinh quieted him.

Charles sensed the tension and slid in front of Mai and Long just in case. When they passed the eighth empty house, the walking path turned off to the left, leading to the final four houses of the village, including Vinh’s grandparents’ home. The sight startled them all. Forty or fifty people facing away from them, stood in a silent clump, a trance-like pose, looking towards the last house, which stood at the very edge of a rice paddy—a large expanse leading out to the untouched emerald hills in the distance.

Vinh picked up the pace and hurried down the path, yelling something that Charles couldn’t understand. Two men, then ten, turned around to see the Viet Minh soldier, intensity in his eyes, only able to see the top of the doorway of his family’s home.

The men greeted Vinh in piercing tones, yelling at him excitedly in a bitter way that bordered on rage—the type of rage which fuels mob violence, which takes the law into its own hands. And certainly, there was no law here—dozens of miles from the nearest magistrate who already had been stripped of his authority. This was wild country, with political enemies and ideologies at every turn, strange as it was in a community of farmers. They were no longer immune to the events of the world and stood in the midst of a tragic power-play nearly a hundred years in the making.

“What’s going on?” Charles asked Mai.

“I’m not sure.”

Long hung on Charles’ arm, and Mai tucked herself behind the American as Vinh parted the crowd to see a lone Vietnamese woman sitting on the ground, head down, weeping furiously, mumbling incomprehensible words. It was Vinh’s sister, Tuyet.

“Tuyet! What has happened here?”

She lifted her head, surprised to see her brother.

“Vinh, go away.”

“What is going on?” yelled Vinh.

“Mai?” Charles whispered in her ear.

“I don’t know. She’s telling him to leave. That it’s none of his business.”

Long came up beside his Uncle Vinh and recognized his auntie, whom he hadn’t seen in several years.

“Auntie, what’s wrong?” he wedged himself through the crowd of neighbors, and she welcomed him into her arms, rocking him back and forth, comforting him for a reason not apparent to the youngster.

Tuyet refused to speak with Vinh, holding Long tightly and crying continuously. At long last, one neighbor stepped up and pointed to the side of the house, telling Vinh to go around the corner and look.

“What is it?” Vinh asked.

The man shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, and blended back into the crowd, not wanting to be the one to reveal anything. Vinh, Charles, and Mai walked slowly around the edge of the house with all eyes following them. Urgent whispers spread throughout the horde in grand anticipation. As they rounded the corner, there sat an ox cart with small wheels and an open back. Bamboo slats formed the make-shift railings on the sides and front. On the cart lay cargo of some sort, covered with several red-dyed reed mats. Vinh approached with an empty mind but with a heart that knew better. He stood at the side of the cart, gripping the edge of the mat in trepidation, until he finally lifted it. Upon the cart lay …

To find out what was on the cart and read the rest of this explosive story, click HERE!

A Valentine’s Day Exclusive: “Banyan Tree” Romantic Excerpt

My latest novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, is loosely a historical romance. I hate to categorize it as such because I don’t believe it adequately describes it. But, it does have romance and it does tell a historical story. I thought I’d share a short romantic excerpt in honor of Valentine’s Day 2015. In the scene below, Charles Regal Carson finds a little unexpected love in the midst of chaos in the quiet, remote countryside of French Indochina – July 1945. Enjoy.

***

Charles paused for a moment, and then all was revealed to him. He understood her hesitation and her apprehension. He understood the worried look on her face and her comments about betrayal. The irony of the last two days finally came to light—that love could appear out of the muddy struggle for life in the countryside of Vietnam. He put his right hand in her hair and slightly pulled away, allowing the hair to cascade back down to her head. She closed her eyes and turned her head into his touch. Protocol and procedures were hundreds of miles away in the sleepy camp of Tan Trao. But on this night, on this patch of ground, Charles felt the urgings of his heart like never before. Death seemed a lifetime away, as did Dinh-Hoa and the rifles. He had never met anyone like Mai, and whatever tomorrow would bring, he knew they at least had this moment.

He leaned in towards her, and their lips met for the first time. Mai didn’t think of her husband or Vinh or the revolution; she thought only of the love and respect she had for Charles Regal Carson. Charles pulled her close, picking her petite frame off the ground, slowly caressing her back as they kissed.

There is comfort in shared experience, in the touch of a woman, in the arms of a respectable man. They pushed off the troubles of tomorrow, letting the dawn worry about the future.

Purchase The Reach of the Banyan Tree HERE!

New “Banyan Tree” Review: “Excellent Story, Beautifully Written”

Cathy from Cath’n’ Kindle Book Review recently posted her review of my latest novel, “The Reach of the Banyan Tree.”

She starts off by saying this:

“Mark Sasse never disappoints. He writes with heart and soul and sucks you right into his characters’ world…wherever and whenever it is.”

And ends by saying this:

“It’s an excellent story, beautifully written, quite possibly his best book yet. Highly recommended.”

She says a lot of wonderful things in the middle of those two quotes. Please head on over to her website and check out the entire review. And if it moves you to check out a good read, well I’d be honored to have you read it. Much appreciated!

Read the entire review: HERE!

Have you tried my novel yet?

If not, I’d ask you to give it a try. It doesn’t cost much. Only $2.99 on Kindle. Cheaper than a cup of coffee.

It’s a romance for those who don’t like romance.

It’s a history for those who don’t like history.

It will teach you something about Vietnam, culture, and family without bashing you over the head.

It will be fast moving – I promise. That’s the way I love to write. I’m not going to bog you down with 10 pages of description each chapter.

It will have memorable characters. I also promise.

It’s also an adventure.

It’s a war story that is only partially a war story.

It is NOT based on the Vietnam War. It’s set in 1945 and 2000.

The reviews have been excellent. Please read them HERE!

I would be forever grateful if you would give it a try: The Reach of the Banyan Tree

Thank you! (And it’s available in paperback, too! And it has a beautiful cover.)

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Three Generations – One Awesome Vietnam Story

As The Reach of the Banyan Tree gets closer to launch day, I want to highlight the one American family which always seems to be connected to Vietnam – the Carson family.

Charles Carson was a member of the OSS (pre-cursor to the CIA) and parachuted into Tonkin, French Indochina in the summer of 1945, just a month before the Japanese capitulated. His task? Train the Viet Minh resistance fighters to be more effective against the Japanese. But what he doesn’t bargain for is getting dragged into an adventure to find a truck load of missing rifles which in turn brings him face to face with a tough, but beautiful Vietnamese woman. Anything can happen from there.

Charles “C.R.” Carson II spent time in ‘Nam during the 1960s. He fell out with his father and eventually struck it rich with his grandfather in the oil business. He is brash, arrogant, slightly crooked with a good heart – maybe.

Charles “Chip” Carson III arrives in Vietnam in 1998 to do humanitarian work. He falls not only for the country but also for a beautiful young Vietnamese woman named Thuy. He just has to convince her father to let them get married.

Three generations of Carson men, whose stories in Vietnam get connected in the most unexpected and gripping ways.

It’s all about loving and leaving Vietnam.

The adventure begins July 1!

 

Who’s Romantic, and Who’s the Fool?

Let’s talk about romance.

A while back, I went to the theater to see a play called “Romantic Fools.” It was a local production of an off-Broadway hit (perhaps it was on Broadway at some point – I don’t know.)

From the promotional material, I thought it would be a nice evening out for my wife and I – I even pulled some strings and got free tickets. Should be great, right? Light-hearted romantic romp, some good jousting back and forth about the funny conflicts of the sexes, some situation comedy, ending with the guy getting the girl of his dreams, etc… you know what I mean – romance.

I should have known better. This is modern theater after all.

It had nothing to do with romance – it was all about sex to the lowest common denominator, and it really ticked me off – and it made us leave the theater even before intermission.  This had nothing to do with the acting. Some of the actors were quite talented. It had nothing to do with the sets which were done tastefully and creatively. It had everything to do with the writing. Someone who doesn’t know the first thing about romance had the audacity to call this a romantic play. No. It wasn’t.

Before I get more specific with my critique of the debasing of love and romance in our modern culture, let me make a few things clear about what I believe as a writer and, even, audience member concerning love, romance, and sex in literature or performing arts.

There are certain things in my own writing that I would never describe or never say because I believe they would be completely unnecessary and detract from the story rather than enhance the story. But I understand how a well phrased word, even a word that makes some people uncomfortable, can add the force or effect of a scene or situation. If a writer includes a scene that visually I may be uncomfortable with but is crucially necessary to get across an emotion or effect that could not be achieved any other way, then I’m personally okay with that. I don’t believe that every piece of literature, play, or movie needs to be PG. We live in a messy and even funny world where crazy things sometimes happen. I get that, and I’m okay with portraying that.

But, when we devolve romance to nothing more than a degrading spectacle of gratuitous sex that shows no consequences, no love, no romance, and no reality, then I call it lazy, modern writing.

We see it all the time. Just turn on the TV. Just watch a comedy in the cinema. Pick any one. It doesn’t matter. They are all the same.

Big laughs – at what? Hookers? Sado-masochism? Anything-goes no consequences decisions? The degradation of women? All of this was being portrayed in this play as the epitome of romance.

The comedy writers of today have bought into the lie that all the public wants – all the public needs is a few dirty jokes, a few degradating images and then they’ve done their job.

Where’s the creativity? Where’s the plot-lines that speak of true tensions between real men and real women?

Where are the writers who believe it is more effective to understate and allude – leaving the audience or reader to imagine or think through things?

You’ve probably seen this quote from Hitchcock before:

“Suspense is like a woman. The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement…”

I would say that good romance is like that too. Say a lot through what you don’t say. That, in my estimation, is one of the true marks of a good writer. One can be vulgar without swearing. One can be alluring and romantic without having to be on a nude beach.

I really felt bad for those actors who had to “act” like they were being romantic in a play that wasn’t remotely about romance.

Perhaps it’s time to for me to put up and write the kind of romance I’ve been rambling about here. Stay tuned.

What’s your take on all of this?