Thursday, 24 August 2017

Beautiful Mess by John Herrick

Title: Beautiful Mess
Author: John Herrick
Genre: Mainstream fiction (romantic comedy) -- multigenerational ensemble cast

A fallen star. Four Los Angeles misfits.
And the Marilyn Monroe you only thought you knew.

Del Corwyn is an aging relic. An actor who advanced from errand boy to Academy Award nominee, Del kept company with the elite of Hollywood’s golden era and shared a close friendship with Marilyn Monroe. Today, however, he faces bankruptcy.

Humiliated, Del is forced to downgrade his lifestyle, sell the home he's long cherished, and fade into a history of forgotten legends—unless he can revive his career. All he needs is one last chance. While searching through memorabilia from his beloved past, Del rediscovers a mysterious envelope, dated 1962, containing an original screenplay by Marilyn Monroe—and proof that she named him its legal guardian.

Del surges to the top of Hollywood’s A-list overnight. But the opportunity to reclaim his fame and fortune brings a choice: Is Del willing to sacrifice newfound love, self-respect and his most cherished friendship to achieve his greatest dream?

A story of warmth, humor and honesty, Beautiful Mess follows one man's journey toward love and relevance where he least expects it—and proves coming-of-age isn't just for the young.


“I have an intriguing prospect for a new film,” Del replied as he took a seat. He tapped the manila envelope tucked under his arm, which contained Marilyn’s script.

He could’ve sworn he caught Arnie in the onset of an eye roll brought to a sudden halt.

“What kind of project?”

“A pop-culture type of thing. You could say it has a retro feel to it.”

Arnie sighed. “Del, I realize you like to relive the past—”

“This is a winner, Arnie. I guarantee it.”

“And what does this winning project involve?”

“Marilyn Monroe. It’s a screenplay.”

“With all due respect, isn’t that a bit clich├ęd? This would need to be an angle no one else has covered. Many people have done films about Marilyn Monroe, not to mention books and memorabilia and everything else under the sun.”

“You don’t understand. This isn’t about Marilyn Monroe.” Del felt a surge of adrenaline and couldn’t contain himself. He leaned forward and, with great pomp, planted the thick package on Arnie’s desk. It landed with a thump. “It’s by Marilyn Monroe.”

Arnie sat open-mouthed as he tried to follow along. His eyes widened in perplexity. “By Marilyn Monroe,” he repeated.

“That’s right.”

“Del, what the hell are you talking about?”

With a lighthearted laugh, Del eased back into the chair. “Last night, I rummaged through some boxes I’d stored away long ago. Hadn’t looked through them in years. Relics from my heyday. Things I’d forgotten I’d saved. And at the bottom of one of those boxes, I found this.”

He patted the envelope, which crinkled at his touch.

“It’s a script, given to me in 1962.” Del caught Arnie’s eye to make sure the man paid full attention. “Written by Marilyn Monroe.”

Author Bio:

A self-described “broken Christian,” John Herrick battled depression since childhood. In that context, however, he developed intuition for themes of spiritual journey and the human heart.
Herrick graduated from the University of Missouri—Columbia. Rejected for every writing position he sought, he turned to information technology and fund development, where he cultivated analytical and project management skills that helped shape his novel-writing process. He seized unpaid opportunities writing radio commercial copy and ghostwriting for two nationally syndicated radio preachers.

The Akron Beacon Journal hailed Herrick's From the Dead as “a solid debut novel.” Published in 2010, it became an Amazon bestseller. The Landing, a semifinalist in the inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, followed. Publishers Weekly predicted “Herrick will make waves” with his novel Between These Walls.

Herrick's nonfiction book 8 Reasons Your Life Matters introduced him to new readers worldwide. The free e-book surpassed 150,000 downloads and hit #1 on Amazon's Motivational Self-Help and Christian Inspiration bestseller lists. Reader response prompted a trade paperback.
His latest novel, Beautiful Mess, folds the legend of Marilyn Monroe into an ensemble romantic-comedy.

Herrick admits his journey felt disconnected. “It was a challenge but also a growth process,” he acknowledges. “But in retrospect, I can see God's fingerprints all over it.”

John Herrick will be awarding a Kindle version of Beautiful Mess, plus free Kindle versions of entire John Herrick backlist to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Guest Post by John Herrick:

3 Surprising Ways Songwriting Can Strengthen You as a Novelist

When I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to write novels. Completing a long-term project like a novel requires patience and maturity, so I abandoned that goal until I was almost 30. But I never stopped writing. When it came to telling stories, I had fallen in love.

In my teens and early twenties, I dabbled in songwriting. Nothing more than a hobby. Years later, however, it became the basis for The Landing, the first novel I completed.

At the time, songwriting looked like an alternate—or, as I viewed it, a lazy—way to feed my passion. It required no long-term commitment. I could follow every creative impulse as it struck.

You see, pop songs are stories, too. But I’d argue the plot and resolution are present in the music rather than the lyrics. And instead of following a three-act storytelling structure, songs are more like a frozen moment in time. Interludes. Like when Danny and Sandy break out in song in Grease. Songs are a snapshot of emotion. They capture a picture of someone’s heart.

Here are 3 surprising ways I discovered songwriting can strengthen you as a novelist:

1. Dialogue

Most pop songs are told in first-person: “Here’s what happened to me. And because of that, here’s how I feel.” When you write a song, you adopt a character’s voice. You know some of their background and psychological aspects. So you write your song from their point of view. As a novelist, it can help you craft voices for your characters, switch easily between them in dialogue, and ensure that each character’s voice is distinct from the others.

2. Emotion

As a reader, you can tell when an author writes from the heart. Writing pop songs can help you take an honest look at your emotional core and dig down into the nitty-gritty. As a novelist, if you’re in touch with your emotions and express them well, you possess a foundation to build engaging, heart-tugging experiences for your readers.

3. Word Selection

Pop songs consist of a couple of verses, a chorus, and perhaps a bridge. That’s it. So you’re talking 100 words or so. You need to share an entire story—a past experience and how the character feels about it—in only 100 words. They’re the shortest of short stories! That makes word selection critical. Each one counts. So you look for power words and adjectives full of emotional color, yet which are simple enough to fit a listener’s workaday vocabulary. Each word must move your “short story” forward and, above all, match your character’s voice. As an author, songwriting helps you develop the habit of picking words with precision, allowing no sentence to go to waste.

As with my past work, I’ve incorporated these lessons into my latest, Beautiful Mess. With each successive novel, however, my goal as a writer is to refine these skills further—and provide genuine, heartfelt experiences for you, the reader.

Thanks for letting me stop by. Never give up!


  1. Thanks for the post!

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    1. You're welcome... and thanks for the extra information :)