Friday, August 18, 2017

"Beautiful Mess" by John Herrick

Beautiful Mess
by John Herrick

Beautiful Mess by John Herrick

Beautiful Mess by John Herrick is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well. Don't miss out on getting your copy of Beautiful Mess for only $1.99 (save $6.00) to 26 August.

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.

Book Video

“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.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"A creative and fresh romp through one of pop culture's most notorious tales. John Herrick's characters become your best friends. His world is keen, compelling and excessively alive." ~ Jeffrey James Keyes, New York Times bestselling author and James Patterson co-writer
"Beautiful Mess is an engaging work of fiction, a compelling and delicious 'what if' about one of the most celebrated and tragic figure in Hollywood history." ~ Foreword Reviews
"It's a unique story, and heartwarming in the reality of friendship. A Beautiful Mess hits you with a moral question, 'What would you do if...?' and makes you stop to think what is really important to living your own life. Highly recommended!" ~ Glenda
"If you enjoy reading about Hollywood, this is the book for you. Very good character development that will keep you reading well into the night. Very good book and I immensely enjoyed it. Read this book, you will not regret it." ~ vnunez-msluv2read
"There is nothing better than reading a book of fiction that can take you places you have never been, yet you feel like you are right there with the characters. Herrick does this masterfully." ~ Laura

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
As an eighteen-year-old, Del Corwyn had the pleasure of meeting and working with Marilyn Monroe. Now, sixty years later, Del is a seventy-eight-year-old bachelor looking for a comeback role that will earn him the Oscar he missed out on forty years earlier. Circumstances conspire to bring him together with three other "misfits": Nora Jumelle, an up-and-coming actress; Felicia, a female minister; and Tristan, who masquerades online as a wellness coach. Their tales intertwine around a script Marilyn Monroe wrote and entrusted to Del in 1962. Del must decide whether to make the script public; it's just what he needs to resurrect his career, but why does the thought of it make him feel so guilty?
This is the story of unlikely friendships and romances. The book is cleverly divided into three parts, which are named after some of Marilyn's movies and hint at what is to come. The short chapters move the pace along and encourage you to keep reading just one more chapter. Told from the points-of-view of Del, Nora, and Tristan, it feels like Felicia misses out here. The author tells us how old everyone is when they are introduced, giving a sense of how important the concept of age is in Hollywood. He also draws clever parallels between the lives of Nora Jumelle and Marilyn Monroe - their names, childhood experiences, rise to stardom, and mental states. Peppered with cameos from real Hollywood actors, this reads more like dramatized nonfiction than a novel. I felt like I was saying goodbye to old friends when I turned the last page.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, mental illness.
Also included at the end of the book: Reading Group Guide, an interview with the author, and insight into the author's writing process.

Guest Post by the Author (originally published on the author's website)
My Inspiration Behind Beautiful Mess
In 2010, I read a biography about Marilyn Monroe for pleasure. I had seen some of her films and loved them, but knew little about her. When I read that she had spent time - against her will - in a mental care facility, I was stunned. Imagine being fully functional and of sound mind, but losing your freedom through no fault of your own. I considered how frightened she must have felt, wondering if she would ever escape, pleading for someone to believe her. And all because she was misunderstood. Then I considered how such an experience might scar its victim. Would it change her perception of life? Would she grow paranoid of others, especially after those she trusted had betrayed her? As a creative individual, what might she find as a therapeutic activity to regain her confidence?
After all these years, I still couldn’t shake my horror behind her predicament. I remembered she was once married to author Arthur Miller, who, I was surprised to learn, wrote and co-wrote some of her films. I considered their familiarity with each other as spouses. Did she observe Miller as he wrote? Did she read his drafts or offer opinions? Did she learn from him as a creative force? In that light, the idea of a screenplay penned by Marilyn Monroe seemed plausible. The compelling nature of all those facts and questions led to the backstory behind Beautiful Mess.
Then came Del Corwyn, the main character. For American actors and actresses, it can become a stepping stone to better roles. For foreign actors and actresses, it can open the door to American film, which is considered the best and most successful in the world. But through the years, I’ve wondered about actors and actresses who receive Academy Award nominations - perhaps even win the statue - who immediately disappear from the box office. Think about it: Mercedes Ruehl, Juliette Binoche, and Jean Dujardin were all lauded after their wins. But when was the last time we heard from them? It was in this vein that Del Corwyn was born.

About the Author
John Herrick
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 (FREE) introduced him to new readers worldwide. The free ebook 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."

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle version of Beautiful Mess plus Kindle versions of entire John Herrick backlist.

Be sure to check out the author's website for a Reading Group Guide, Virtual Soundtrack, Trivia Nuggets, and Excerpts. Plus, sign up for the author's newsletter to receive a FREE copy of The Prince Meets the Showgirl, a prelude to Beautiful Mess.

The Prince Meets the Showgirl by John Herrick