Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Beautiful Mess by John Herrick - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Beautiful Mess
by John Herrick

John is here today with a guest post located after the excerpt.  

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.



Arnie’s cheeks turned rosy as he grinned at Del. A wide, toothy grin. The discoloration of enamel betrayed a long-entrenched penchant for red wine. He rolled the script and slapped it against his palm.

“Do you realize how many people would dry-hump a flagpole to get their hands on this?” exclaimed the agent. “We’re talking history here! Hollywood’s best-kept secret!”

Del felt a bittersweet quiver in his gut but suppressed it. His life was about to become interesting again.

Arnie paged through the screenplay further, scanning the dialogue. Several minutes ticked past. Del savored the silence which, in this case, was the sound of power.

“Have you read this, Del?”

“I have.”

“Pretty deep shit in here. Dark shit, the kind that scares the hell out of you.” Arnie skipped to the screenplay’s midpoint and read some more. “And talk about explicit. The profanity, the sexual content, everything.”

“She made herself vulnerable, no doubt.”

“Damn, Del. This woman must’ve been more fucked up than we thought.”

Del winced. “Arnie, cut it out.”

“Sorry, I forgot you two were pals.” The agent shook his head in an absentminded manner, his mouth hanging open as he read further. “No wonder she didn’t show this to anybody else. Can you imagine how people would have reacted to this in 1962? The film would’ve been X-rated—if ratings had existed back then—and gotten banned from theaters. People would’ve protested outside. This script would’ve ruined Marilyn Monroe’s career.”

“But today—”

“—it’ll resurrect it.”

Finding Inspiration in the Details

“Where do you get your book ideas?” Readers ask me that question often. For me, the art of crafting a story rests in noticing details other people take for granted. Then, by amplifying them, a writer can illustrate what makes human beings different—or, perhaps, the same.

Here is a list of five places I visit to find inspiration:

1. News Stories

Have you ever been in a traffic accident? If so, you probably thought something like, “If I had left one minute later or earlier, this mess never would have happened.” It would have altered your entire day, right? And think about the chain of events you could have avoided afterward: dealing with insurance companies on both sides. Getting a car repaired. Driving a borrowed or rented car while you waited. The agitation that remained until you could finally say the whole thing was over!

That’s how I find many story ideas. However, instead of using personal experiences, I’ll keep an eye on news stories. I’ll read what happened, then pick one detail and ask, “What would have happened if that detail were different? How would it have changed the entire chain of events?”

If a pilot flies one degree off course, you won’t notice it at takeoff. But circle the globe a few times, and you’ll end up in Antarctica instead of Anaheim!

2. History

People don’t change. People respond; they adapt their external behavior. We share the same emotions with people thousands of years ago. So I’ll look to history. For example, page through the Bible. You’ll find people dealt with fear, insecurity, joy, passion, rejection and everything else under the sun that we do today.

History repeats itself. I never took that adage to heart until I read an American history book, cover to cover, for pleasure, without the pressure of memorizing facts for a test. Almost a thousand pages covering about 400 years, all the way back to the Pilgrims. As a casual observer, I noticed two things:

1) One decision by presidents a century or two ago have ramifications—positive or negative—for us today. How did the federal government became a massive employer? Look to Andrew Jackson, the7th president, hiring a few friends. Give it 200 years and the growth is exponential.

2) Cycles occur. Circumstances may look a lot different today. But oftentimes, the root issues are the same and the results are comparable. They simply manifest differently. Look at today’s disruption in cities, the protests, and you can see the Counterculture movement of the late 1960s repeating itself. And the talk about Russians trying to interfere in our political culture today? In the 1960s, Russian sympathizers infiltrated protest movements to sow discord in American culture. They made floated among unsuspecting college students, befriended them, to incite riots and disrupt the rule of law. So you can ask yourself how an event from 50 years ago might unfold today. Or, for science fiction, how might that cycle occur 100 years into the future?

3. Personal Quirks

Who we are is a blend of our personality and background. None of us spends our life in a symbiotic relationship with another person every second of every day, from childhood into adulthood. Not even identical twins. And what happens in those hours and days apart—the experiences we undergo—blend together unlike anyone else’s experiences. That makes people unpredictable. We base lifestyle and spontaneous decisions on our own quirks.

So in fiction, what happens when a character stumbles across the path of their polar opposite? Or what happens when two similar people lock horns, because they share the same goal but disagree on how to get there? Apply that question to four characters, and the consequences multiply.

A conflict occurs. Does my character fight, which unleashes a chain of events? Or does he flee, which unleashes a different chain of events? That response and the events that follow can hold a reader in suspense—or prove comical!

4. Passion

What ticks you off? That provides a clue about where your passions reside. Unresolved passion can produce anger.

For me, it’s so critical that I invest my heart in what I write. Tapping into a passion facilitates that. It might involve a cultural, spiritual or political issue. Or the issue might hit closer to home, an interpersonal issue, as I notice how one person treats another. When I picture a hurting character and realize how plausible their scenario is in real life, it angers me. If I tell that character’s story, maybe it will soothe somebody’s personal pain.

5. Fear and Insecurity

Fears and insecurities are such rich sources of inspiration. How can I take something we all have, expose it for how common it is (which makes characters relatable), and yet position it in a compelling, unique way (which makes the story intriguing)? Can I use a scenario, character or object to symbolize it? Telling some of my characters’ stories—whether a lead or supporting character—has proven therapeutic for me.

What danger does a character fear most? That can inspire a suspense story along the lines of Michael Crichton or even George Orwell’s 1984. But what if a character fears growing intimate to somebody else? That can inspire a heart-wrenching tale that would make Nicholas Sparks proud—or John Herrick! ;-)

With my novel Beautiful Mess, I combined all five of these inspirational sources. I started with a historical figure, Marilyn Monroe, and the news of her death, then asked questions. I considered her fears and insecurities. I grew passionate about how others mistreated her. Finally, to craft the modern component of the novel, I created an ensemble of characters, each with their own personalities and quirks, set their paths on a collision course…and laughed every day as I watched the chain reaction.

Thanks for letting me stop by! I hope you’ll give Beautiful Mess a read. And feel free to get in touch with me at my website, www.johnherrick.net, or on my socials!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

John Herrick said...

Hi readers! Thanks for letting me stop by. :-)

JC Jones said...

Great to have you here today. I like how you find inspiration.