Thursday, July 28, 2011


Signed copies available from
As of last month, my debut thriller novel, IDENTITY: LOST has been available in Hardcover and Kindle versions.  To say I'm excited is an understatement.  This journey has been one remarkable serendipitous event after another.

I've had fun quoting Oprah's "There's no such thing as a coincidence" mantra and I will tell you I have fully embraced this belief with Lady O.  She has been the world's #1 proponent (besides my own personal life coach and wife, Karen) of the belief of intention. I believed that imagination was best left to children and seldom harnessed in adulthood.

Then it all changed about five years ago.

Things started to happen that felt coincidental but had a distinctly stronger message for me than just mere happenstance occurrences.   The first was when I attended Game 5 of the 2005 ALCS Championship when the Chicago White Sox (a major theme in IDENTITY: LOST)  visited the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  If the White Sox won this game then they would be playing in their first World Series in 46 years. Chance got me and a friend not only into a game when we were told no tickets were available but had us sitting in the opposition owner's box seats with his family.
The White Sox won and that event spurred me on to write a story about it. That story turned into half-a-dozen more I wrote over the next year on a White Sox fan web site. By this time my desire to write had been rekindled and I began to think about this story I had locked away, figuratively and literally, for over twenty-five-years.  Back in the '70s when I was a young father, a boy had witnessed a murder and decided to come forward as a witness.  But, tragically, his desire to do good turned into a life-changing situation; one not so good for him and his family.

Pascal signs at The Poisoned Pen on  August 8th, at 7pm
At the time of my “light bulb moment,” I had recently sold my business, which provided me with a very modest profit, not enough to retire on but enough to possibly give me a brief amount of time to not have to work full-time, at least for a year, maybe two. I took that time to find my notes I had kept along with newspaper clippings about that story only to find that after moving a few times over those 25 years I had misplaced the documents.  The power of the Internet and the help from a friend's daughter who attended a Chicago university, allowed me access to the Chicago Tribune's historical archives.

I plunged headlong into finding the details of that crime that had been committed along the shores of Lake Michigan in Burnham Park. Along the way, I discovered this rich, long forgotten history of the area where the crime was committed. That took me down another road and re-ignited my love of history, especially local Chicago and American history.  I was completely hooked and spent every moment I could researching and writing and reading.

It was at about this same time I stumbled upon a brochure (yes, a printed brochure) inviting would-be writers to join the Scottsdale Writers Group, which held its meeting every other Tuesday. I was now back to work, keeping afloat a fledgling Internet business I had started on the side and this was taking up the majority of my time. But I was too deep into my pledge to myself to not quit on this dream of writing this story. So, with some trepidation, I walked into the group one day and announced I'd like to join.  I was welcomed with warm smiles but more so by such an unselfish group of people who were willing to help me (as well as themselves) develop their writing skills and story ideas.

After two years of bringing in a new chapter every other week, I was done, and my novel (with the working title "The Murder of Manny Fleischman--Last of the Black Sox") was complete.  How naive I was because from that point forward the real work had only just begun.

That was in March, 2008 and about two months later I had another serendipitous event occur that would change my life forever. I was summering in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and one day saw another small little poster at the local Fontana, Wisconsin Public Library announcing that New York Times best-selling author Brad Thor would be signing his latest book.  I had never heard of Brad Thor but I knew I had to go to this event. When would you ever expect to meet a NY Times best-selling author in Fontana, Wisconsin?  So with my wife and brother-in-law in tow, we went to meet Mssr. Thor. 

It was a very small book-signing for his latest book, THE FIRST COMMANDMENT, but that fact gave me an opportunity to speak with Brad.  I told him I had never heard of him but that as a budding writer I felt compelled to meet a real author, let alone a best-selling one. The words gracious and warm don't do justice to describing Brad's demeanor with me that day and when he found out I had a completed manuscript he immediately recommended I attend ThrillerFest in NYC. He promised me if I attended to "look him up" and he'd be happy to help me in any way he could.

Pascal with fellow author Douglas Preston.
"IDENTITY: LOST by Pascal Marco is a grand slam of a novel, swift and sure and true to life, with spot-on characters, an evocative setting, and a relentless plot swirling around the brutal killing of the last surviving member of the Chicago Black Sox team. Imbued with a deep love and understanding of the South Side of Chicago, homicide cops, and the history of baseball, this novel is as true as it is gripping. Don't miss it!"-- Douglas Preston, co-author of The Monster of Florence and Fever Dream
When I got to my computer and investigated this event, I was blown away at the cost. Of course, it was less than two weeks away and putting a last minute trip to NYC for an event of this magnitude added to the financial challenge. We were stretching dollars (squeezing a more appropriate word) at this point and as far as I was concerned, if there was a definition of a trip we could not afford, this one was it.  But my partner and best friend, my wife Karen, scoffed at me, dismissing the idea of not going.  "He invited you, didn't he?" she reminded me.  "If you really want to get this manuscript publish you have to go."
Well, that was just the beginning. 

I went to ThrillerFest in July 2008. I paid the last minute airfare, booked the mid-town Manhattan hotel, sent in my non-member attendee fee, landed at La Guardia, and hailed a cab. And here I am now, getting to see my novel on bookstore shelves across the country.

There are no coincidences anywhere in this tale. It is just a story of a naive guy who grew up on the southeast side of Chicago who always kept believing even someone like him could make his intentions come true.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Poisoned Pen, for this post on your blog. I eagerly look forward to being at your great book store this Monday night,August 8, 7 p.m.