Free Copy of The Big Wide Calm

Hi All,

I’m in the process of doing my annual push to add users to my email list. If you’ve already signed up, thank you. I really appreciate the support.

If you’d like to receive three to four short notes per year with updates on my work, please consider clicking the link below and signing up for the list. As a special thank you for joining, I’ll send you an ebook of my second novel, The Big Wide Calm.

Free Copy of The Big Wide Calm

Here’s a short review from the US Review of Books on The Big Wide Calm to give you a feel for what the book is about.

Thanks for taking a look and feel free to send this note and the link to anyone you think might be interested.


The Big Wide Calm
by Rich Marcello
Langdon Street Press
“Some artists shrivel on stage; the light scares them, makes them all too aware of what they aren’t. But I’m not like them. I bloom here.”

Many musicians dream of making it big, of perhaps finding that next new sound that will land them a recording contract and propel them to the top of the charts. Few, though, truly have the right combination of talent and charisma to capture an audience on stage, and even some of them will never get the breaks to make it past the nightclub circuit. Marcello tells the story of a young woman who has both the ability and the right connections to possibly take her to the next level, but will being famous for music that is only popular in the short run really be enough for her?

Paige Plant is a young and ambitious singer/songwriter who dreams of one day fulfilling her father’s prophecy of seeing her front the next Led Zeppelin. After auditioning for John Bustin, a respected but enigmatic musician of a past generation, she finds herself given a chance to move to John’s estate and work on her music for a year in his private, million-dollar recording studio. But as Paige soon discovers, working with John will do much more than give her a shot at fame and fortune; it will also forever change her musically and emotionally as her mentor guides her into creating multi-generational songs and challenges her to grow as a person.

While this book can rightly be called a coming-of-age story, it is also very much a tale of a young woman who discovers how to truly love. In the beginning, Paige is hard to like. Narcissistic and hedonistic, she is the type of character that one almost wishes to see fail. For Paige, other people seem to exist either to further her career or temporarily satisfy her voracious sexual appetite. She is the stereotypical diva-in-the-making, a future superstar who refuses to allow anyone to even contemplate sharing in her glory. However, throughout the course of the book she gradually learns that the ideas and contributions of others may actually enhance her songs, and that the beauty and power of her music to impact lives may be of greater importance in the long run than her. As she interacts with the brilliant but deeply damaged John, she discovers what it means to really care for someone other than herself, a revelation that culminates in possibly the greatest moment in her story when she becomes willing to literally take a couple of bullets for those she loves.

Marcello’s novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all the basic requirements for best-of-show in the literary fiction category. The author does stumble a bit in one area, though, in his attempt to fully develop his protagonist. As Paige succumbs to her “sex tingle” time and time again irrespective of whether her partners are male, female, or one of each, the sheer number of encounters becomes tedious and actually distracts from the deeper message of the story he is telling. Aside from this, the author’s novel of a girl who discovers in a year’s time more about life, music, love, and herself than she could ever have imagined from the start of her journey is well worth reading.


My Email List

Hi All,

I’m in the process of doing my annual push to add users to my email list. If you’ve already signed up, thank you. I really appreciate the support.

If you’d like to receive three to four short notes per year with updates on my work, please consider clicking the link below and signing up for the list. As a special thank you for joining, I’ll send you an ebook of my second novel, The Big Wide Calm. Just follow the instructions in the welcome note to get your copy.

For all of my Digital, HP, Compaq, Unisys and Fujitsu friends, feel free to forward this note to folks in your network.

For all of my Morris Knolls and Notre Dame friends, feel free to forward this note to folks in your network, too.

Thank you for all of your support these last years.


Rich Marcello, Author of four books, the long body that connects us all, the beauty of the fall, the big wide calm, and the color of home.

Article from the Harvard Press


Now or never: Local author Rich Marcello is doing what he loves

Seven years ago Harvard resident Rich Marcello made a bold decision to leave high tech and become a writer. “I’d been thinking about it since I was in my early 20s, and I decided I better do what I love now or never.”

In an interview with the Press, Marcello said he had dreamed of being a writer as a kid and did, in fact, write some songs and poems—which he has continued to do. At Notre Dame, Marcello had a humanities professor, a published author himself, who told him, “You write well. I think you’re going to be an author,” and he offered to help. But at that point Marcello had no money and knew he couldn’t make a living writing. So he went into high tech, hoping to earn enough to someday support his real passion.

Rich Marcello. (Courtesy photo)

After 30 years working in large companies such as Digital and Hewlett-Packard having “5,000 people working under him,” he retired. He admits it was a huge leap and he had some fear. He said his colleagues were shocked that he would walk away from what they saw as a highly successful life. For Marcello, though, being successful meant creating something of himself and sending it out into the world. “I asked myself what I really wanted to do with my life, and I went for it.” Marcello said he has no regrets, that it’s “the best thing that has happened to me—work-wise.”

His retirement coincided with the building of a house on Cove Road, with a row of windows facing the pond. What he at first had referred to as “the space I go to write” turned out to be “a separate writing studio with a view to the water.” Every morning, after rising at 5 a.m., having breakfast, and talking with his wife, Maribeth, Marcello walks the 10 yards to work. He writes for four to six hours every day, creating “works of joy.” He is committed to writing literary fiction—books that deal with the big ideas that face us.

An upward climb

Marcello said he had greatly underestimated how long it would take to learn to be a good writer. It was an upward climb through the first two books but after his third novel and the upcoming publication of his fourth, “I’m at a place where I feel comfortable with my writing,” he said.

Describing his process, Marcello said he makes his way through an entire draft before doing any editing. It took him about a year to write his third novel, and he spent another year constantly revising it. “Ideas come to me easily,” he said, adding, “Right now I have about 10 ideas for potential books.” To get started, he has in mind a character in a particular situation, or an event in a particular place. From there he moves forward, “taking things from life and tweaking them.” He realized, by trial early on, that it would not work to write directly about something he had actually experienced. “I didn’t want it to be about me. It had to be general.” He reiterated that the way to become a better writer is to write every day and learn from your own experiments with the craft.

To see examples of Marcello’s process, we talked about his third novel, “The Beauty of the Fall,” published in 2016. The impetus for the book was Marcello’s curiosity: What would happen to a man if he lost everything he loved? How would it be for him? A starting point for the novel came when Marcello had an image of a man being fired from a tech company that he had helped to create. Another early image was a man delivering a eulogy in a church. Dan, the main character in this novel, experiences both of these. Marcello said sometimes a writer has to go to an expert. In his case, one of the major characters, Willow, was based on a woman who worked at a women’s shelter in Nashua, New Hampshire where Marcello serves on the board and to which he donated a portion of his profits from the book. She gave him factual information as well as feedback on how authentic she thought the Willow character sounded.

Minor characters have their place

I asked about one scene in the book where the character seemed to me a bit forced. Marcello said while the major characters have to be complex, sometimes you need a minor character to serve as a vehicle for a larger point the story is making. And, again, it was Marcello’s curiosity, this time about what it means to be young and jobless in this society, that inspired his character of Jack. After a lengthy monologue denouncing the greed and materialism of society and espousing the rewards of living a simple life, Jack completely turns the tables, showing violent cynicism and an instinct to survive. It is this dichotomy that Dan wrestles with, too. He wants to put family first, not be a workaholic, and build a company on ethical capitalism, but he’s part of a society that says, “Go for the money.”

At the end of the book, Dan has lost many things, some things twice—a career and a wife—and yet he is still resilient. While the ending is intentionally “gray,” Marcello said there are moments when the reader knows that Dan has grown emotionally through how he has handled the losses he has suffered and how he can finally let go of them. I didn’t ask about the title, but from our conversation, I think “The Beauty of the Fall” captures the idea that it is possible for a person to become a better human being when things in his or her world fall apart.

There are more female than male characters in the novel, and the love scenes show gentleness and vulnerability on the part of the man. I asked—kind of teasingly—how he got to be so sensitive. Marcello told me that when he was 13, he was sitting next to his dad watching a game on TV when his dad died of a massive heart attack. Lots of therapy, an extended Italian family, and being raised by women helped him to grow emotionally and to remain open and receptive.

Marcello said he is committed to writing women as well as men. He has had a woman editor and early on she would often comment, “A woman wouldn’t say that.” But there’s less of that now, he said. For “The Beauty of the Fall” he had five readers—three women and two men.

In addition to his own writing, Marcello teaches two classes in writing at Seven Bridges Collaborative in Lancaster. The title of his upcoming novel is “The Latecomers.”



Soul Star Mist in the Azorian Sky


Back in April, my dearest friend, Donna Anctil, passed away after a long struggle with an illness. Since her death, I’d been struggling with a meaningful way to say goodbye, only recently settling on this series of six poems as a tribute and a ritual. Six because the number symbolizes seeing, and over twenty years, if nothing else, Donna and I learned to see each other clearly, knowing full well the impossibility of seeing another human being completely. Each day, I published one of the poems and also stacked six stones in my garden in memory of Donna. Next year, the last of these poems will be published in my collection of poetry, The Long Body That Connects Us All. The collection is dedicated to her.




Fiction Essentials Class this Fall


Fiction Essentials

Ten-Week Course with Rich Marcello 

Wednesdays, September 13 – November 15, 2017

6:00 – 9:00 p.m., The Parlor, The First Church, Lancaster


This three-hour, introductory class will be divided into two sections. In the first half, we’ll explore different aspects of the craft of fiction, as detailed below. In the second half, we’ll focus on scenes written by the students and provide positive, constructive feedback on how each author might develop his or her work.


Week One: “The Anatomy of a Scene”

Week Two: “The Fictive Dream”

Week Three: Point of View, Voice, and Time

Week Four: Plot, Tension, and Raising the Stakes

Week Five: Characters

Week Six: The First and Last Chapter

Week Seven: Dialogue versus Narrative Summary

Week Eight: How to Build a World

Week Nine: Common Issues

Week Ten: Putting It All Together


Prerequisites: This class is designed for active, beginning writers who want to hone their craft. Each student must submit a sample of his or her writing, preferably a scene, no more than 10, double-spaced pages by September 1, 2017, and be prepared to write, share work and provide feedback for fellow participants. Ten-week course fee: $150.00. Register at or contact us with questions at 7bridgewriterscollaborative@gmailcom. Deadline to register: September 1, 2017.


Rich Marcello Rich Marcello is a poet, songwriter, musician, and writer.  He is author of three novels, The Color of HomeThe Big Wide Calm, and the recently released The Beauty of the Fall, all published by Langdon Street Press. Previously, he enjoyed a career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies. Faulkner Award winner Mark Spencer praised Rich’s latest novel, noting that “Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.”  Marcello has partnered with the Writers’ Collaborative since 2015.


The Writers’ Scrap Bin Review of TBOTF

Book Reviews: The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello

Trigger Warning: This novel deals with abusive and controlling relationships, a grieving parent, and self-harm. If you or a loved one have suffered through an abusive/controlling relationship, the loss of a child, and/or self-harm, proceed with caution.

Grab some tissues for this one. Today I’m reviewing The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello. Spiritual, inspirational, and modern, I haven’t been so emotionally affected by a book since Flowers for Algernon. In fact, Marcello’s book has affected me more, making me sad and hating certain people but also inspiring me and making me hopeful for the future.

Image retrieved from Amazon

The Beauty of the Fall follows Dan Underlight, an engineer and co-founder of RadioRadio, as he copes with being fired and the lingering guilt and sorrow from the loss of his son. As he comes to grips with losing his job, Dan undergoes multiple life-altering events: he finds new love in poet and advocate for women’s rights Willow, embarks on a pilgrimage to Fortune 500 companies across the U.S., and initiates a startup directed at changing the world, ConversationWorks. Yet every time Dan’s life appears to get better, something goes wrong. Sometimes his troubles stem from forces outside of his control, and other times they result from his own self-destructive behavior. In both cases, the universe seems bent on thwarting Dan’s efforts—or, perhaps, it’s trying to teach him a lesson about life. With the help of friends, colleagues, his therapist Nessa, and the guiding spirit of his dead son, will Dan finally get and keep his life on track? Will he ever discover what it takes to make him feel genuinely happy and fulfilled?

Read more at:

The Color of Home Review by

A really positive review of The Color of Home that captures exactly what I was trying to accomplish when I wrote the book a few years ago.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Color of Home

I have to admit, I didn’t expect a lot from this one.  Not having an especially wide readership and because it wasn’t particularly gripping from the start.  Instead of grabbing hold of and pulling you in, this one takes your hand gently, guiding you into its center, meandering through the tale at a more comfortable, steady pace.  However, I was surprised and delighted to come upon what I feel are rare treasures within the concepts of this love story.  Ones worthy of more exploration and consideration.  Certainly like none other that I have read in others.

Within the first chapter, we meet Sassa and Nick.  These two go on to have a rather serious, emotionally deep romantic relationship spanning over the next one year.  Revealing some of the innermost depths of their hearts to one another during that time.  However, Sassa isn’t sure she is ready, nor certain that she believes in the concept of being tethered to one person for the next 50+ years of ones life.  Instead, feeling as though she still has much growth and exploration ahead of her, which she needs to be able to move forward in.

Growth and explorations that may involve certain parallel paths with Nicks, but in other instances which she imagines may require a forking off from one another (if remaining totally true to themselves).  So, despite loving him deeply and believing there is something poignant between them, she leaves.  But, not before first posing an interesting question.  This is where is gets interesting.

Both Sassa and Nick feel and acknowledge a resonating connection between them.  A sense of being home with each other.  Yet, Sassa is convinced there is more that both of them still need to do first.  Some of which would, if truly following their hearts, take them in opposite directions from one another.  She believes its important for each to continue venturing forth into self growth and discovery first.  That you cannot truly be ready as your best self and partner until you have grown in immense ways.  That one should live through a certain amount of varying experiences and explorations before making a commitment of such magnitude.

So, she poses to Nick the following thoughts and ideas:  might it be possible for the two of them to venture forth through life, down their own paths of discovery and growth, while remaining in sporadic touch (they agree to talk once a year) and still connected?  And even further, can they do this in honesty, openness and bravery with one another?  Keeping the possibility in mind of their ending up together romantically if their paths end up converging once again.  But also, that if it doesn’t work out in such a way, this is ok too.  But to go forth trusting in the universe.  To let go, both with the understanding and acknowledgment that a large part of compatibility, a huge part, is timing.


5 Calls

This is a really great application I highly recommend.  If you like it, please help spread the word.





Turn your passive participation into active resistance. Facebook likes and Twitter retweets can’t create the change you want to see. Calling your Government on the phone can.

Spend 5 minutes, make 5 calls.

Calling is the most effective way to influence your representative. Read more about why calling works.

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Get the 5 Calls app:

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Made the Fiction Shelf of the Midwest Book Review this month

Pretty cool.
The Fiction Shelf
The Beauty of the Fall
Rich Marcello
Langdon Street Press
322 1st Avenue N, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781635054026, $16.95, PB, 378pp,
Dan Underlight is a divorced, workaholic technology executive who suffers a lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires Dan from RadioRadio (the company that Dan helped to create) he crashes and isolates himself. Willow is a poet and domestic violence survivor who helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. He then recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change. Guided by Dan’s leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed? A deftly crafted novel by a master of the storytelling arts, “The Beauty of the Fall” is a consistently compelling read from cover to cover and very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Beautify of the Fall” is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).