Langdon Street Press
322 1st Avenue N, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781635054026, $16.95, PB, 378pp, www.amazon.com
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
The Amazon Editorial page is shaping up nicely for The Beauty of the Fall. You can check it our here:
Or you can read below.
Ten-year-old Zackery Underlight is dead. His father Dan however, is just learning to live again. There is a certain haunting lyricism to this remarkable book about a father coming to grips with the death of his only son – a death he feels he caused. There’s also a tortured search for self-renewal and forgiveness that extends far beyond the natural grieving of a parent for his child . . . These carefully paced reveals of a deeply conflicted character – coupled with a fascinating glimpse into how high-tech start-ups are born – make this one of the year’s best works of literary fiction . . . Its rich depth, satisfying substance, and willingness to examine key social issues such as global warming and battered women, force the reader to confront the truly inconvenient truths all around us while remaining invested in the story’s key players . . . This is a rare read, and one to be savored, especially now, when seeking respite from the current worries of an uncertain national – and international – future. It’s good tonic for the soul; a restorative tale of perseverance against all odds . . . Five-plus stars to Beauty of the Fall. From start to finish, it never disappoints. – Don Sloan, The Midwest Book Review
That kind of spectacular writing, interspersed with actual poetry, business vignettes drawn from life, and development of a deeply flawed, complex, and charismatic main character made this one of the best books I’ve read this year. For anyone with a technology background, The Beauty of the Fall is a must read. For everyone else, it’s a present right now, even as fall’s beauty heads to winter. – Barb Taub for Rosie’s Book Review Team
The level of detail Marcello puts into the descriptions of the business and its establishment is astounding, hinting at countless hours of research to get it right. Even better, for a topic that could very easily be dull, he manages to keep it engaging throughout.
It’s not just the technical stuff that Marcello can turn into something great, his dialogue is, for the most part, realistic and engaging, and he often treats the reader to beautiful imagery and a great turn of phrase.
The Suits are black, genderless, and fill the elevator. As they slowly unload, walk toward my office, they scan everything– the flash-frozen employees watching their entrance, the desks filled with proprietary info, the cappuccino maker that would never make its way into one of their government offices. Maggie, who is standing next to me, who I insisted attend this meeting despite her strong objections, turns ashen, and a fidget subjugates her hand.
There’s plenty more to the book than just the new business — and how it plans to change the world. The reader is thrown into Dan’s life as he struggles to find and keep a meaningful relationship, as he fails to cope with his son’s death and as he looks for answers in all the wrong places. – Striking13.com
In an Oyster Shell – This was an emotionally raw, well-poised, literary fiction that was unique with a fullness that is richly fulfilling.
”Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.” –Mark Spencer, Faulkner Award winner and author of Ghostwalking
”Rich Marcello’s The Beauty of the Fall takes the reader on two intriguing journeys: the exciting coffee-fueled rise of a high-tech start-up and the emotional near-collapse of the man behind the revolutionary company, his personal journey through grief and healing.” –Jessamyn Hope, author of Safekeeping
”Rich Marcello’s third novel, The Beauty of the Fall, intermixes poetry and prose fluidly throughout the manuscript, and in fact, incorporates poetry as one of its major themes. As a practicing poet, I was swept away by the lyrical language, the characters, and the unexpected twists and turns in the plot. Overall, a great and inspiring read!” –Rebecca Givens Rolland, author of The Wreck of Birds
The Hungry Monster Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Rich Marcello, author of “The Beauty of the Fall”, has invited you to get to know him a little bit better. Find out a bit about him as he answers just a few questions, and make sure to follow him on social media!
Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?
I love the work of Milan Kundera, Don Delillo, Alice Walker, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Adam Haslett, to name a few.
Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?
Dan Underlight, in The Beauty of the Fall, is my favorite because he’s so complex. As a writer, I’m trying to go deeper and deeper into the soul of each of my characters, and so I focus a lot of my effort on their inner lives. In TBOTF, I spent most of my time on Dan. I wrote him over and over until I understood his grief at some deep non-verbal level. That’s when he came into focus.
Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.
When I started writing, it was more difficult for me to write female characters well, especially when the scene was from their POV. But I’ve spent a lot of time working to improve my craft in that area, and now, I’m really proud of the female characters in my novels. I’m particularly fond of Willow in TBOTF and Paige Plant in The Big Wide Calm.
What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?
The most rewarding part of being an author is when a reader writes me or tells me that one of my novels or characters resonated in some way that made a positive difference in her life. My hope is that my novels, in some small way, connect folks more to themselves and the world, and so, when it happens, it truly is rewarding.
What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?
To write your first draft of each scene quickly so you fully capture the intended emotion. After that, edit over and over again until the scene is fully realized. In my fiction class, I like to tell students to rewrite a scene five times before they workshop it. That seems to work pretty well.
Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.
I write seven days a week first thing in the morning for about five hours. I’m a big believer in going from one kind of dream time ( sleeping) to another ( writing fiction). I seem to do my best work this way.
Was being an author something you always wanted to do?
I’ve been writing all of my adult life, but only full-time for the last six years. In college, I had a chance to be mentored by a novelist in residence, but I was broke and needed to make money for a time. So when I graduated, I did. Throughout those years, I kept writing––mostly songs and poetry––but I always knew I would come back to writing novels. Hopefully, I’ll get ten or so of them out into the world before I’m done.
If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I’ll pick two. I’d love to talk with John Lennon about music and the current state of the world, and I’d like to talk with Dalai Lama about love and kindness.
Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?
Read more at this link: https://sandraely770.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/445/
Ride the tiger. That’s what we used to call working for a technology startup. It was a little like a gambling addiction. Objectively we knew the odds were against us. But we weren’t objective. We gave up sleep and personal lives (and occasionally basic hygiene) to stay on that tiger’s back. Our employee number—who was hired first, who had the best stock options, the most first-name access to the c’founders—was mentally tattooed across our brain, and haunted our dreams of the holy grail, the IPO.
I know, I know… and I have the (worthless) stock options to prove it. I know other serial-startup veterans who have papered their bathrooms with their old options. But like any gambler, we also knew the next Next Thing could be the one. And now and then, it even worked. Sort of. I never became a software millionaire, not even close. But I did get the occasional nice payout that bought a car or kitchen remodel.
Read more on the website…..
Good news. Don Sloan’s review of TBOTF was published in the prestigious Midwest Book Review.
The Beauty of the Fall
Langdon Street Press
322 1st Ave N, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55401
ISBN: 9781635054026, $16.95, 378 pp.
ASIN: B01MFCTYYW, $9.99, 283 pp., http://www.amazon.com
Ten-year-old Zackery Underlight is dead. His father Dan, however, is just learning to live again.
There is a certain haunting lyricism to this remarkable book about a father coming to grips with the death of his only son — a death he feels he caused. There’s also a tortured search for self-renewal and forgiveness that extends far beyond the natural grieving of a parent for his child.
Other recent losses for Dan include a failed marriage and the sudden evaporation of his high-powered, high-tech job — the one that consumed so much of the time he now feels he should have spent with Zack.
On the one hand, he feels keenly the unfocused anger and seeming senselessness of his situation. But, on the other, he feels the need to harness and channel his rage and guilt into something constructive and therapeutic.
So, improbably, he begins an offbeat pilgrimage across America, covering twelve thousand miles, thirty-two states — and 234 Fortune 500 companies. His goal: to construct a Lilliputian pyramid of small stones on the campus of every corporate giant across the nation.
If this sounds strange, it somehow makes perfect sense in the context of this masterfully written book. Dan is searching for something intangible as he pursues his odd quest. At one point prior to beginning, he ponders to himself:
“How can I extract meaning from the universe when loss and betrayal have corroded and burnt my cherished memories? How can I reconstitute after being charred and dissolved?”
It’s a fair question about the vagaries of the cosmos, and, as he brings his odyssey to an abrupt halt just off I-5 in California — the result of being robbed by a hitchhiker — he decides to turn his energy in a new direction: the startup of his own tiny technology firm.
ConversationWorks, or “CW,” takes off like a bullet shot into cyberspace. It’s a brand-new social media app that places far-flung parties in a series of virtual conference rooms to find solutions to weighty problems facing the world.
At least that’s the idealistic objective. Here’s Dan’s overarching vision of the singular, groundbreaking concept:
“ConversationWorks is a local problem-solving network with global scale. It’s software that allows small group conversation to scale all the way from coffeehouses, to towns, to cities, to the world, with the primary goal of collectively working on problems that matter to its users.”
It is, effectively, a technology platform where “conversations are active and focused on solving problems instead of socializing.”
So, imagine Twitter without the interaction-limiting, forced brevity; Facebook without the memes and cute kittens. Instead, there is substantive dialogue and meaningful social change through consensus and aggregated resolve.
The software and revolutionary VR hardware that make it work, however, are quickly subverted by early adopters to far less noble notions — such as ordinary business teleconferencing, family-to-family interactions, virtual blind dates, and even pornography (which the team quickly bans).
And through it all — the eager market acceptance, the explosive worldwide growth — Dan is still filled with relational angst.
He parts ways with gentle Willow, his first companion since he and his wife split up. He clings desperately to his core development team at CW. And he increasingly has extended conversations with his dead son — full-blown, holographic encounters in which a now-teen-aged Zack gives his father sage advice on his day-to-day decisions.
And there are other, darker rituals into which Dan drifts, seeking solace in a self-imposed purgatory amidst universal acclaim for his world-changing creation.
These carefully paced reveals of a deeply conflicted character — coupled with a fascinating glimpse into how high-tech start-ups are born — make this one of the year’s best works of literary fiction.
Its rich depth, satisfying substance, and willingness to examine key social issues such as global warming and battered women, force the reader to confront the truly inconvenient truths all around us while remaining invested in the story’s key players.
Indeed, the book strikes a beautiful balance between detailed, fact-filled exposition and the need to drive the central storyline forward — often with compellingly evocative prose and poetry:
“Against my cheek, her shawl smells like freshly woven wool on a cold fall day and feels like a refuge after too many unkind nights.”
And, this, upon hearing of Zack’s death:
“Ghosts pass through me like dry ice, drain whatever life energy exists.”
And, finally, this, after a boardroom showdown with Dan’s former boss:
“Olivia smiles as if the blood is already on her teeth.”
So much good imagery en route to a satisfying conclusion.
This is a rare read, and one to be savored, especially now, when seeking respite from the current worries of an uncertain national — and international — future. It’s good tonic for the soul; a restorative tale of perseverance against tall odds.
Five-plus stars to Beauty of the Fall. From start to finish, it never disappoints.
Don Sloan, Reviewer
Publishers Daily Reviews
As some of you know, Langdon Street Press just released my new novel, The Beauty of the Fall. One of the subplots in the book is domestic violence. I spent the last year on the board of the Bridges Center for Sexual and Domestic Violence Support, and one of the main characters in the novel, Willow, is professionally based on Dawn Reams who runs the Bridges Center in Nashua, New Hampshire. She helped me a great deal as I was shaping the novel, and in particular, she focused on the DV passages in the book to ensure they were authentic and unflinching. That’s why I am going to give Bridges 25K in profits from the TBOTF and my other two novels, The Big Wide Calm and The Color of Home.
My three novels are about different kinds of love. Romantic. Platonic. Love in an extended community. Because of the topic matter, I believe the books make great stocking stuffers or gifts for your employees and customers. If you would like to help Bridges out this holiday season, please consider buying as many copies of my books as possible. You can purchase them from this link:
If you prefer, you can also buy books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. Both eBooks and physical copies are available through these stores. Here are those links:
One final thing. If you could forward this note to all of your friends, it would be greatly appreciated. Our fundraising is off to a good start, but we still have work to do. Thank you so much for your consideration.