Creating Business Fiction w/ Rich Marcello

Commercial Photography

By Randall Barnes

As a young entrepreneur, I love media about business. Shows such as “Survivor’s Remorse”, “Shark Tank”, “Black-ish” and “Being Mary Jane” entertain and motivate me to reach for the stars because success is possible no matter where you come from. But, where are the “Business Fiction” novels? Where are the books that takes the elements of the corporate world and make it entertaining? Where are the books about the business of the publishing and entertainment industry that are filled with eye-catching drama but still has enlightening content that makes you think? Rich Marcello has the answer to my questions with his new novel “Beauty In The Fall”.

“Beauty In The Fall” covers the unfortunate life of main character Dan Underlight, tech entrepreneur and create of the “RadioRadio” company. Dan is a realistic character, as he is flawed and the hardships of life have overtaken him. His ten-year old son tragically passed away and his long-time friend and business partner forces him out of RadioRadio. He feels alone, isolating himself from the world. His mind became a prison full of anxiety, doubt and worry.

Dan eventually garners help from Willow, a domestic violence survivor, and he moves ahead in his life, determined to make change. This novel is a direct reflection of life. Sure, sometimes life takes us on twists and turns that are unexpected  but we have to power through. That’s what being a man is. Quite frankly, that’s what being an adult is. I love this novel and it definitely should spark a trend in the industry where authors start to write novels with an overall purpose that focuses on business. Recently, I had a chance to talk with author Rich Marcello about the novel.



RB: Tell us about your new novel Beauty of the Fall.

Rich: The Beauty of the Fall follows Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, who suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires him from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, things don’t go well for Dan. He crashes and isolates himself, and for a time believes his life is over.

Then Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, to figure out how he wants to move forward with his life. When he returns, he recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change, a company that is the world’s first Problem Solving Network.

Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts which I won’t give away now.  Suffice it to say that not everyone is excited about Dan’s company the way he is.  As a result, there are a lot of twists and turns as Dan tries to build his company.

RB: Did the novel come from any real life experiences?

Rich: In a way, all of my novels come from real life experience but almost never directly. I’m a believer in the idea that the best fiction comes from dreams, and so, to the extent that my real experiences inform my dreams, they inform TBOTF.  Or stated differently, there isn’t a scene in the TBOTF that happened in my life or anyone else’s life that I know, but there are fragments of real life throughout the book.

RB: In the novel, Dan Underlight has to deal with the death of his eight-year-old son. Even worse, he gets fired from the company he helped to create! What would you tell readers who are going through the same situation and are feeling hopeless?

Rich: One of the main themes of the book is dealing with grief. As you point out, Dan goes through three losses early in the story, and, in a way, the whole story is about overcoming the loss of his son. By serving a broader goal––the formation and growth of his company, Conversationworks––he takes a few difficult steps toward healing. But he also takes a few steps backward. I guess it’s fair to say Dan learns how to generate love in a broad community even though he’s not sure he deserves love himself. So I would say to your reader, the best way to manage grief is to go through it, and the best way to go through it is to serve a higher goal, and, in the end, to accept that everyone deserves to love again after a great loss.

RB: Writing a book with corporate business at the front of the plot is a trend I would love to see other authors hop on! What made you put that business element into the novel?

Rich: I worked in hi-tech for many years, so I’m quite familiar with what happens in a technology company. In literature, technology is often viewed as a negative and sometimes as downright evil.  I wanted to write a story that uses technology as a way to pull people together instead of dividing them.  That was especially important for me given the world we live in today. Conversationworks uses technology to reduce polarization between factions and helps create workable solutions to big problems.  Imagine what the world would be like if this technology actually existed.

RB: What is the main message you want readers to take from the novel?

Rich: To love, in whatever sphere of influence a reader has, and to act with kindness and compassion each day, even when it seems most difficult.

RB: Do your novels The Big Wide Calm and Beauty Of the Fall connect? If so, how?

Rich: Some years ago I got the idea to write three novels about different kinds of love.  

The first one, The Color of Home, published in 2013, is about romantic love. It follows the lives of a man and woman over six years as they figure out what it means to be in a generative, loving relationship.  The second one, The Big Wide Calm, published in 2014, is about a young woman, Paige Plant, who is mentored on her way to making her first album.  That one’s about platonic love.  The third one, The Beauty of the Fall, is about love in a wider sense, about love in community. But it’s also about fathers and sons, loss, technology, and about equality for women.

RB: Is there a consistent theme in the novels you produce?

Rich: As I mentioned above, all three of novels deal with love in one form or the other.  They also deal with overcoming grief, and with how folks might connect with each other with kindness and compassion in a difficult world. My characters don’t always reach a place where they consistently act from love, but they aspire to act that way.

Learn more about Rich Marcello and his novels at:

Available Now on Amazon!

Follow Rich on Instagram

Twitter: @marcellor


randallheadshotRandall Barnes is an nineteen-year old author, social media influencer, HBCU Advocate and mentor who currently resides in Macon, GA. Randall is already renowned for his positive, realistic, moral driven writings. His first novel The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson has garnered over 59,000 reads on and universal acclaim. He writes for the popular news website Urban Intellectuals, the relationship blog Courting Her and literary blog Urban Literary Review. Randall is also the author of the eShort Riverview High: Circumstances, which hit number #2 on the Amazon charts in the week of its debut, sitting right under bestselling author Zane’s I’ll Be Home For Christmas the weekend of the debut of her movie Addicted.



Literary Spotlight: Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War

Available now in Paperbackfighterpilots

Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War details author and Professor Mary Lawlor’s unconventional upbringing in Cold War America. Memories of her early life—as the daughter of a Marine Corps and then Army father—reveal the personal costs of tensions that once gripped the entire world, and illustrate the ways in which bold foreign policy decisions shaped an entire generation of Americans, defining not just the ways they were raised, but who they would ultimately become. As a kid on the move she was constantly in search of something to hold on to, a longing that led her toward rebellion, to college in Paris, and to the kind of self-discovery only possible in the late 1960s.

A personal narrative braided with scholarly, retrospective reflections as to what that narrative means, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter zooms in on a little girl with a childhood full of instability, frustration and unanswered questions such that her struggles in growth, her struggles, her yearnings and eventual successes exemplify those of her entire generation.

From California to Georgia to Germany, Lawlor’s family was stationed in parts of the world that few are able to experience at so young an age, but being a child of military parents has never been easy. She neatly outlines the unique challenges an upbringing without roots presents someone struggling to come to terms with a world at war, and a home in constant turnover and turmoil. This book is for anyone seeking a finer awareness of the tolls that war takes not just on a nation, but on that nation’s sons and daughters, in whose hearts and minds deeper battles continue to rage long after the soldiers have come home.

Click Here to read on Kindle


Mary Lawlor’s memoir, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War, is terrifically written. The experience of living in a military family is beautifully brought to life. This memoir shows the pressures on families in the sixties, the fears of the Cold War, and also the love that families had that helped them get through those times, with many ups and downs. It’s a story that all of us who are old enough can relate to, whether we were involved or not. The book is so well written. Mary Lawlor shares a story that needs to be written, and she tells it very well. (The Jordan Rich Show)

Mary Lawlor, in her brilliantly realized memoir, articulates what accountants would call a soft cost, the cost that dependents of career military personnel pay, which is the feeling of never belonging to the specific piece of real estate called home. . . . [T]he real story is Lawlor and her father, who is ensconced despite their ongoing conflict in Lawlor’s pantheon of Catholic saints and Irish presidents, a perfect metaphor for coming of age at a time when rebelling was all about rebelling against the paternalistic society of Cold War America. (Stars and Stripes)

Fighter Pilot’s Daughter. . . is a candid and splendidly-written account of a young woman caught in the political turmoil of the ’60s and the domestic turmoil that percolated around a John Wayne figure who won the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals and the Cross of Gallantry across three generations of star spangled blood and guts. … Among the triumphs of the book is Lawlor’s ability to transition from academic – she is the author of two scholarly books and numerous articles about American literature and culture – to popular writing. ‘I tried very hard to keep my academic voice out of the book,’ said Lawlor, who will be retiring as a professor and director of American Studies after the spring semester. ‘In academic writing, you explain and explain and footnote and footnote, and some of the life inevitably comes out of it. I wanted this to have life.’ In so many ways it does….[particularizing] her family, including her mother, Frannie, her older twin sisters (Nancy and Lizzie) and a younger sister (Sarah). . . . In many ways the Lawlor women drive her narrative. … Her principal focus, inevitably, is her Fighter Pilot Father, who, in her words, ‘seemed too large and wild for the house.’ Jack Lawlor was so true to fighter-pilot form as to be an archetype, hard-drinking, hard-to-please, sometimes (though not always) hard-of-heart. Mary does not spare those details.’ (Muhlenberg: The Magazine)

This engrossing memoir adeptly weaves the author’s account of growing up in a military family in the United States and Europe with domestic American and international Cold War events. Mary Lawlor’s descriptions of her parents’ origins and aging, and her perceptive, honest reflections on childhood and young adulthood between the 1950s and 1970s, are illuminated by the knowledge and wisdom that develop over decades of adulthood. In re-visiting her earlier life, the author reveals a process of arriving at a compassionate understanding of the significant people in it—relatives, friends, nuns, boyfriends, and draft resisters, among others—and through this, a clearer understanding of one’s self. She demonstrates that comprehension of the broad historical context in which one lives—in her case, the pervasive global rivalry between communism and anticommunism, and its influences on American ideals about family roles, political values, and aspirations, which she questioned and challenged as a young woman drawn into the counterculture—is crucial for attaining such self-knowledge. (Donna Alvah, Associate Professor and Margaret Vilas Chair of US History, St. Lawrence University)

Also in Paperback

About the Author


Mary Lawlor is professor of English and the Director of American Studies at Muhlenberg College. She is the author of Recalling the Wild: Naturalism and the Closing of the American West, and Public Native America: Tribal Self Representation in Casinos, Museums and Powwows.


A Long Ways to Home





I’ve always been the type to test the dangers of life and see what the solution is towards the end.  Rebellious you may say, but I didn’t want to listen to anyone by myself.  I always got myself in trouble, whether it’s with my mouth or making the wrong decisions that could lead to bad solutions.  

I’m realizing that I have to love myself more and care less about the world and that no one can’t take my happiness away.  I’ve tested the waters long enough and using my tongue as a weapon and now it’s time to put my big girl panties on and move forward with life and start loving me for ME! No man  isn’t going to love me for what I love to do or love me for me, so as the new year approaches, I have some serious decisions to make and write down goals that I am planning to work at to achieve.

When you have a dream and a vision, don’t allow outside distractions or get emotionally involved with a situation that is too deep and unnecessary for you to handle.  FOCUS is the keyword in this lifetime.  Validation and kudoos points aren’t needed for a job well done.  Celebrate yourself every chance you get whether others aren’t that supportive or you or aren’t happy for you.  I am still learning and I know that I am not perfect but my inspirational thought for you is to keep pressing on and keep moving forward in life towards your dreams and goals!  Don’t let the world or negative situations keep you from being happy.


Patrice Riverspatricerivers

Inspirational Blogger

Instagram: @patricerivers86

Meet the Insider: Co Kane



Tell us about your bookstore.  Your name and position.  Where you are located and what genres you carry?

My bookstore is called Book Teas, Indie Author Book Source. I am Author Co Kane, owner, publisher, and author. I am located at 907A Gamble St Tallahassee, FL 32310 and we specialize in all genres including poetry, cookbooks, inspirational reads as well as full children, tweens and teens area.

What inspired you to launch your bookstore?

My inspiration came from the fact that there weren’t many black owned bookstores, blacks don’t read enough and I found it hard getting my books in bigger bookstore chains. Book Teas was created with the indie/self-published author in mind, catering to their readers by delivering quality paperback books to their communities. Book Teas will also be home to Books and Boys Initiative, which will strive to bring African-American boys back to creative writing and reading comprehension.

Can readers purchase books from you online?

Yes, readers can purchase books online and pickup in store.

What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?

There are quite a few authors that I work with consistently, and I enjoy them all for different reasons but Author Chunichi was the most pleasant experience. I reached out to an Essence Bestselling Author and she received me like an equal as opposed to an author beneath her. That really stood out.

What type of books do your customers enjoy most?

I like all books but I enjoy fiction but true to life books. The stories with a message as opposed to sensationalized lies that only entertain.

How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?

All authors can visit our website and find out how to submit their books for sale in the store. Book signings can also be scheduled on the website and the day and time purchased. The website is fully equipped with everything that authors and readers need.

What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?

Advertising dollars and support from my alma mater, Florida A&M University. I presumed that the university that I graduated from would be more involved with my store but I have pitched it to the newspaper staff and no one has contacted me for an interview or to drop in and view the store. I am literally in walking distance of the very place I obtained my undergrad degrees and receive no support or mention whatsoever. In terms of advertising, the store would need to increase sales to purchase ad space, and without ad space, I can’t increase the traffic into the store.

If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?

To support all independent black owned bookstores, bookstores period. A small donation and mention would increase sales on all fronts: for authors, publishers and the store itself.

If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?

To research the market that you’re thinking of opening a store in thoroughly, and make sure that the community wants to read. People will always say they don’t have time to read so make them make time to read.

Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media?

Please visit my websites and join the mailing lists: and

IG: @Cokane_addiction, @Bookteas


Twitter: @blakcokane


tiahnewTiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at

Inspired to be Inspired

What if we woke up everyday not knowing what our purpose is in life or waking up without a game plan? Inspiration comes from the heart and mind.  What inspires you?  motivational-wallpaper-13.jpg

Let me tell you a little story.  Years ago I wasn’t where I wanted to be as an author.  I wrote my first book entitled “A Collection of God’s Word and Motivation” back in 2012.  I was working at a temp agency with little work to do, so I just started writing down my thoughts which were poems of encouragement.  No one knew that they were poems about my past.  I was trying to encourage myself through it all by writing it out on paper.  I wanted to give up everyday because of what I was going through.  I couldn’t function, I was depressed, I was angry, frustrated, emotionally lost; I was in a very dark place for a long time.

But as years went past, I turned over a new life with a purpose in mind.  Being an author was cool, but I wasn’t in the game to compete with other others or trying to make people buy my books.  I was inspired by giving back by offering services for authors and small business owners.  I realized the hard way that you can’t make people support your hustle and dreams.

So I’m telling you to get inspired by being inspired.  Wake up with a plan and a purpose!  The past is the past and your present is what  you can live for to prepare yourself for the future.


Patrice Rivers

patriceriversAs an author, poet, blogger and writer, I’m always busy writing new material for my blogs and websites. Having a lot of potential, I focus on the importance of things and try to stay focus. My new goal in writing books are books for children and young adults. I also want to have my own business in writing poetry for special occasions.

Find my books on

Meet the Insider: Jaclyn Gary

Meet the Insider Series

By Tiah Short


Tell us about your bookstore.  Your name and position.  Where you are located and what genres do you carry?

I’m Jaclyn Gary, the owner of Mahogany Reads Café, which is an Indie Bookstore located in Holly Hill, Florida (just outside of Daytona Beach, Florida). We carry all genres of books, such as, both fiction & non-fiction, urban street lit, romance, erotica, and poetry, to name a few.

What inspired you to launch your bookstore?

My husband Hood Ink wrote a book called Bad Karma, that we self-published. Through that journey I realized that there aren’t many platforms available for self-published authors to get their books out to the masses. Bookstores such Barnes & Noble and BAM have strict guidelines as to books they accept into their store. This gave me the idea of starting a bookstore that is geared towards independent authors/publishers.  With all that’s going on in the world today, I just want our people who are doing right to feel accomplished by having their books in print and in a bookstore.

Can readers purchase books from you online?

Readers can purchase books online at

What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?

I’ve worked with Author Bernie Richmond and of course my husband Hood Ink the author. I’ve enjoyed working with them both. Bernie has a bookstore in Miami so she has been kind of a mentor to me throughout this whole process.

What type of books do your customers enjoy most?

Because I just opened my physical store (Saturday 11/5), I’ve only been selling Bad Karma by Hood Ink. The readers seem to like that genre, so I will have plenty of urban street lit in stock.

How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?

I can be contacted via email at

What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?

The challenge that I’ve faced has been trying to get the store open. Due to Hurricane Matthew that affected Florida’s east coast a few weeks ago, it pushed our renovations back a few weeks. But with God and determination we are now open.

If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?

I would tell them to remain professional and consistent. This is a great platform for all parties involved (the bookstore owner, the author, and the publisher). If you say you’re going to do something be sure that you do it. If something comes up and what you said you would do changes please keep the line of communication open.

If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?

My advice would be to go for it. You only fail if you don’t try. We need more bookstores. We need more places that cater to us. We need a place to go to make ourselves feel proud to be who we are. So, just go for it!!

Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media?

I can be contacted via email,


Facebook at, Instagram at and Twitter at



Tiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at



Meet the Insider: Valinda Miller

By Tiah ShortValindapromo.png

VaLinda Miller has been with the federal government for 30 years and has worked both domestically and overseas in financial and administrative capacities.

Originally from Washington D.C., VaLinda has resided in Charleston, SC for 15 years, since the financial area of her agency relocated to Charleston. In addition to her volunteering to work with libraries in DC, Virginia, Maryland and other states, she is currently on the Board of the Friends of the Charleston County Library and Friends of the state of South Carolina Library.

In May of 2014, she purchased The Booksmith in Seneca, SC. She plans to retire in the next two years from the Federal Government. She is a regular blogger that heavily promotes Library and related causes, she has one beautiful daughter Kendra and loves her mixed-breed dog Tommy.


Meet the Insider.

Tell us about your bookstore. Your name and position. Where you are located and what genres do you carry?

The Booksmith is located in Seneca, South Carolina and has been around for 25 years.
We sell all genres – Fiction, non-fiction, Christian, African American, South Carolina history, USC and Clemson books/items, cookbooks, teen, kids, etc. We also sell jewelry, holiday decorations, scarfs, puzzles, board games, coffee, tea and biscotti.

VaLinda Miller and I am the owner. I purchased the store in May 2014.

It is 3 and half hours from Charleston, SC, 2 hours from Atlanta, 8 miles from Clemson University, and 45 minutes from Greenville, South Carolina.

What inspired you to launch your bookstore?

I attended a class in Florida called “Owning a Bookstore Workshop Retreat” by Paz and Associates. I attended it on a whim not knowing if I could afford a store or run an online store. The company suggested I look into The Booksmith since it was close to where I live.

Can readers purchase books from you online?

Not yet. Our website should be up in one week. We are blessed that we have a USPS Post Office inside the store where we can mail books directly to the customers.
What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?

We have worked with a few local authors:
Billy William “What the Girl At The Picnic Said”
African American Author – Joyce Galloway Mece – The Sad Apple Tree
Dottie Frank
John Stamp – Shattered Circle

We enjoyed John Stamp’s mystery books.

What type of books do your customers enjoy most?

Best seller listings, SC History, mysteries and fiction.

How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?

Facebook, twitter, Instagram, email or visit the store

What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?

One of the biggest challenges is not enough money. I had planned to retire when I purchase the store, a year later, I realized that I could not afford to. Over the past year I have made many changes from the previous owner and cut back many unnecessary expenses in order to keep the store running. It is also hard to work a full time and part time job while being updated by my manager (who is doing a fantastic job) on a daily basis and I trust her.

If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?

Don’t submit or publish a story without someone other than friends/co-workers reviewing your work. Another review always adds value to the story. Do not invest a lot of money using other services without doing your own research into them. Don’t write with the ideal that you are going to become rich. Write because you love to write. Write your own story from your heart. Writing is a skilled enhanced over time and not the first book will be knocked out of the park.

If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?

Do not borrow money. Yes, it may seem unrealistic and crazy, just don’t borrow. I have been in this business for two years and in the first year I listen to publishers, the previous owners and others on how I need a credit line to order books.

It does not work. Here is an example. You place an order for $500.00 worth of books or sideline items on January 1. The bill is due January 30. Will you have the money on January 30 to pay it in full? What about rent, utilities, payroll (the biggest expense), water, advertisement, etc. Will you make enough money in 30 days to pay those expenses as well as the $500.00 worth of items purchased?

Buy with cash. If it does not sell by the allotted time you want, return the items back to the vendor (and watch that deadline too. Many vendors have a deadline on when an item can be returned and the discount may be lower and you have to pay for shipping).

Watch you MONEY very carefully – every single day and please avoid borrowing.

Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media.

Email – or

Facebook – thebooksmithsc

Twitter – @TheBooksmithSC

Instagram – thebooksmithsc


tiahnewTiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at