Thursday, August 3, 2017

Beautiful Mess VBT

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.”

10 Facts You May Not Already Know About Marilyn Monroe

Thanks for letting me stop by! My new novel, Beautiful Mess, is a romantic comedy that also delves into the darker side of Marilyn Monroe’s life. The book centers around Del Corwyn, an aging actor, who stumbles across a screenplay Marilyn penned in secret—a screenplay that would have destroyed her reputation, career and freedom if discovered in 1962.

As I researched her background, I came across many surprising facts about her. I thought I’d share a handful of them with you here. So here we go … 10 facts you may not already know about Marilyn Monroe:

1.     Arthur Miller, Marilyn’s second husband, wrote the screenplay for her 1961 film, The Misfits. Yes, the playwright who wrote Death of a Salesman and The Crucible had a direct footprint in Hollywood, too—albeit a small one. The Misfits was Marilyn’s final film release.

2.    Marilyn Monroe was a film producer. That’s right, she was an entrepreneur! And it was rare for a female at the time. She formed her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, in an effort to gain independence from studio-mandated projects. She produced only one film, but it’s a classic: The Prince and the Showgirl.

3.    Marilyn was raised, for a brief time, by evangelical Christians. She spent much of her childhood in foster care, including a brief stay in an orphanage, before her mother’s friend became her legal guardian. But Marilyn held dear to her heart her first foster parents, the Bolenders, who brought her to church as a child.

4.    Marilyn was locked away—against her will—in a mental institution. Those around her questioned her sanity, betrayed her trust, and committed her to long-term institutional care. Frightened, she insisted on her sanity, begged for her release, which fell on deaf ears until…

5.    Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn’s ex-husband and baseball legend, worked behind the scenes to obtain Marilyn’s release from the mental institution. They rekindled their friendship after their marriage, and that friendship lasted until her death. If it weren’t for DiMaggio’s loyalty and faith in her, we might never have heard from Marilyn Monroe again.

6.    Marilyn’s exquisite diction resulted from a concentrated effort. Natasha Lytess, her first drama coach, drilled it into her. Despite Marilyn’s reputation as a blonde bombshell, she considered herself a serious artist and sought to perfect her craft.

7.    Arthur Miller doctored the script for Marilyn’s 1960 film Let’s Make Love, though his contributions are uncredited. He was unhappy with the original script and sought to enlarge Marilyn’s role.

8.    Marilyn’s final film was never completed. It was called Something’s Got to Give, and shooting was in progress when she died. You can find footage out there, but the project was scrapped.

9.    Rumor had it Marilyn’s second drama coach, Paula Strasberg, earned the third-highest salary for The Prince and the Showgirl. Marilyn valued her drama coaches’ input and derived confidence from having them nearby, so she kept them on the set of her films. This often caused tension on the set. Allegedly, Strasberg’s paycheck was second only to Laurence Olivier and Marilyn herself.

10.                    Marilyn received only $50 for the infamous nude photos that appeared in Playboy magazine. Originally, the photos appeared in a smutty calendar before her film career began. At the time, Marilyn was unknown, a starving artist who agreed to the photo shoot because she needed the cash. Once she became famous, the photographer sold the photos to Playboy for a huge sum—of which Marilyn never received a dime. She was humiliated.

Some of these facts are fun. Some broke my heart and changed my perspective on the legendary actress. And when I watch her films from now on, I suspect I’ll never view her in the same light. When I wrote Beautiful Mess, I aimed to present the Marilyn Monroe we all celebrate while affording her the respect she sought so desperately.

Join Del Corwyn, my protagonist, and his close friend, Marilyn Monroe, for a ride in his 1956 Chevy Bel Air in Beautiful Mess! You never know which other fun facts might hide between the pages.

I love to hear from readers and would-be readers. Feel free to contact me at my website, My social links are there too. And thanks again for letting me visit the blog. Never give up!

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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.”