Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Faith, Fiction, Friends: John Herrick's "From the Dead"

Faith, Fiction, Friends: John Herrick's "From the Dead": "My wife and I were wandering around the shops of Main Street in Old Town St. Charles. It’s part of the metro St. Louis area and on the Misso..."

Monday, December 27, 2010

NEWS | Blog Tour Stop - December 27

I'll make a blog tour stop today for an interview at Colloquium. Hope to see you there!

I'm thrilled to say the buzz continues to build around From The Dead. Thank you to my readers and blogger friends who have helped spread the word--I appreciate you all.

Happy holidays to you and yours.


Friday, December 17, 2010

My Review of Haydon Spenceley's Heart Strings

Some of the most intriguing modern worship music has come from Great Britain. You can add Heart Strings, the new album from Haydon Spenceley, to that list.

Heart Strings’s title reflects the album’s focus: man to God, God to man. In each track, Spenceley’s lyrics delve past man’s artificial layers and offer a glimpse into the love and longing of a relationship with the Lord.

Spenceley takes an experimental approach, infusing chilling vocals with rich layers of electronic instrumentation. Picture the intersection of Coldplay and Owl City. From the subdued passion of “Crying” to the fiery, guitar-driven chorus of “Save My Day,” Heart Strings is the sort of album that reveals fresh nuances with repeated listens.

Spenceley takes his time. He releases short lyrical bursts from the depths of his soul, then allows those words to soak into his listeners as the instrumentation washes over them. For me, it struck images of a man floating in the middle of the Atlantic at midnight, with nowhere to focus but heavenward. It contains the intimacy and desperation of a heart that craves God.

Among the album’s highlights:

“Life in Me” contrasts man’s limitations with God’s infinite grace. The song’s honesty puts a bittersweet ache in your heart.

Spenceley takes an intriguing turn with “Crying,” a thought-provoking commentary on discord that can occur between branches of Christianity—as seen through the eyes of God Himself.

But I must say, Heart Strings’s gem is found in its title track, where an upbeat bounce climaxes with an irresistible chorus.

Heartfelt. Genuine. Stirring. Without apology, Haydon Spenceley’s Heart Strings cuts to the core of human existence and exposes the beauty of man’s desperation for the Savior.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chrissie's Corner Review

Chrissie's Corner Review - From the Dead by John Herrick

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From The Dead - Special e-Book Offer!

Have you tried From The Dead, the latest novel by John Herrick? If you’re an e-book addict like I am, now is your chance!

From today until December 22, you can download the e-book version of From The Dead for only $1.99! Please note, this offer is only valid online at Smashwords. To obtain the special price, you MUST enter the following coupon code at checkout: ZG57G

Here is a link to the book at Smashwords:

The e-book can be downloaded in various formats, including ePub, which is compatible with Nook, Sony, Kobo and other readers. (Sorry, Kindle version is not available at Smashwords.)

Thanks for reading!

John Herrick

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

INSPIRATION | All About the People

About a week ago, I had a book signing in Columbia, Missouri, about two hours from my St. Louis hometown. As a new author, you’re not well known and don’t know what to expect. You do what you can to get the word out, but I’ve seen several signings for unknown authors and, well, enough said!

I’m thankful to say we went through almost the entire supply the bookstore had ordered. We left only four copies behind, which went beyond my dreams. When new readers come on board, it’s a thrill.

But I have to say, the best part of a book signing has nothing to do with selling books. The day boils down to the people.

Columbia’s Barnes and Noble is located in a shopping mall, so a lot of traffic came into the store in four hours’ time. Most customers hadn’t heard of From The Dead yet. Many decided to stop by to chat and/or buy the book. Most people asked what the book is about. But I loved turning the table by asking what type of books they like to read. Eventually some opened up about other aspects of their lives—what they do for a living or a dream they carry.

That was fascinating. The visitors came from all walks of life.

Moms with kids. A musician. Two ministers. A book reviewer. Students with dreams of their own. And the list goes on.

Each person had a unique story.

And a unique (written) story can serve as a common thread among people of diverse backgrounds.

While talking with visitors, once again it hit me that we’re not members of a glob. We’re individuals. And as an author, I have the privilege of connecting with individuals through the written word. Each individual faces an array of circumstances as he or she reads a novel. Some of those circumstances aren’t too encouraging, so an author has the opportunity to speak from the heart and remind them not to give up.

This latest experience provided fresh insight and vision in preparation for my next novel.

It’s all about the heart. And it’s all about the people who cross our paths.

Thanks for the reminder, those of you who stopped by to say hello!

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog Tour and Book Signing Update

Latest From The Dead blog tour interview at Debbie's Book Bag!

On Monday, 11/29, I'll stop by BLKosiner's Book Blog.

The book signing in Columbia, MO, this past Saturday went so well. Thanks to all who showed up. I'm blessed with terrific readers, and it was nice to meet you in person!

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

NEWS | November 20 Book Signing - Columbia MO

For those in the Columbia-Jefferson City, Missouri area, I would love to meet you! I will visit the Barnes and Noble - Columbia Mall location for a From The Dead book signing on Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. The book makes a great gift!

Details at the Barnes and Noble site:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NEWS | Student Shout-out

I would like to give a national shout-out to an up-and-coming writer, Lauren Edmonds, who recently wrote an article about From The Dead. The article appeared in The Explorer, the student newspaper at her high school (and my alma mater), Hudson. Great job, Lauren!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Noise: Interview & Giveaway "From the Dead" by John Herri...

Book Noise: Interview & Giveaway "From the Dead" by John Herri...: "Give a warm Welcome to author John Herrick. About the Author A native of St. Louis, Herrick fell in love with writing fiction at eight ye..."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Few More Pages: Review: From the Dead by John Herrick

A Few More Pages: Review: From the Dead by John Herrick: "I think it would be an interesting book club choice--there are a lot of great discussion points to be found in this book..."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Elliott Review: Guest Post: John Herrick on Keeping It Real

The Elliott Review: Guest Post: John Herrick on Keeping It Real: "When I decided to write about a preacher’s son in From The Dead, the character’s religion was the last thing I planned to examine. Upon hea..."

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Elliott Review: Review: From the Dead by John Herrick

The Elliott Review: Review: From the Dead by John Herrick: "This book wowed me for several reasons. The main reason is that I love John Herrick's treatment of the subject matter. With this book, he breaks the mold..."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Noise: From the Dead by John Herrick

Book Noise: From the Dead by John Herrick:There is an uplifting quality in Herrick's storytelling that shouldn't be passed up. Once in a while a book grabs you and will not let you go; for me it is "From the Dead..."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blkosiner's Book Blog: Review: From the Dead by John Herrick

Blkosiner's Book Blog: Review: From the Dead by John Herrick: " From the Dead by John Herrick A preacher's son, a father in hiding, a guilty heart filled with secret..."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Book Whisperer Review: From the Dead by John Herrick

From the Dead is a story filled with heart and soul. As an author Herrick has laid his soul bare in...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Radio Interview Now Online

Hear John's From The Dead interview on The Burke Allen Show radio on-demand!

Monday, October 18, 2010

NEWS | John Herrick Radio Interview

Listen to "WAMS talks with Author John Herrick" hosted by Allen Media Radio on Wednesday, 10/20/2010 1:00 PM ET.

Hear John discuss his latest novel From The Dead with host Burke Allen.

To listen:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I just watched the ultrasound video (and heard the heartbeat) of my new little nephew-or-niece. In 25 seconds, God turned a crappy day into a miracle. New life is amazing.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NEWS | Good Choice Reading Review

Good Choice Reading review of From The Dead novel posted earlier today! Read it here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

INSPIRATION | Simplicity of the Heart

My brother got married a few weeks ago. As his best man, I had the best seat (or standing-room) in the house.

It turned out beautiful. I’m so proud of them. I relate to people who dive into something over their heads and overcome anyway.

I watched the couple plan this wedding from start to finish. Brides dream of their wedding day from childhood, it seems. My sister-in-law has a type-A personality like I do, so I like to tease her about her three-inch-thick binder, which contained every piece of information that made the wedding a seamless one.

The tables. The chairs. The music. The symbolic unity sand the bride and groom chose to pour together—and the vase they would pour it into. Then we had the colors—of flowers, of ribbons, of tablecloths, and the list goes on.

But the detail I remember most can’t be found in my sister-in-law’s binder. (And I reiterate, three inches thick!) It wasn’t their spontaneous re-enactment of the climactic Dirty Dancing scene as “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” played during the reception.

You see, something happened during the ceremony … during the vows.

My brother choked up with emotion.

I’ll apologize to him right now for embarrassing him here. But you should know this: He never shows emotion in public. But as he spoke his vows, he fought tears. And it proved contagious, because as his bride peered deeply into his eyes, something unspoken existed between them—and she fought back tears in response.

In that moment, the preliminaries didn’t matter. Instead, it boiled down to the bare essentials: He loves his lady. He chose to commit to her for life. He wants to awaken to her eyes each morning.

In each other’s eyes, they found the simplicity of each other’s heart. And emotion welled up in response.

Simplicity of the heart. It’s part of the essence that makes us human.

And it’s this simplicity that causes us—or me, at least—to choke up with emotion as we read a novel. It’s not so much the action, but the heart expression that reverberates underneath.

The simplicity of a father’s love drives him to risk his life for his son. The simplicity of one’s love for another can manifest in a touch that speaks volumes.

Recently I finished reading The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood. In a pivotal scene (no spoilers here!), Charlie must make a choice: Hold on to the memory of his brother or move forward in life by trying to rescue Tess. The angst of a man torn between past and future—between two kinds of love—tugged at my heart and almost brought tears to my eyes.

We haven’t always experienced the characters’ circumstances, but we’ve experienced those core emotions. It’s the simplicity of those emotions that enables us to relate to the characters—and to each other.

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thanks Bloggers and Readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to give a big THANK YOU to all the readers who have spent time reading From The Dead so far. Thank you also to all the bloggers who have taken time to review the novel or welcome me to their blogs as part of the tour.

All of you are the primary reason authors have the privilege of seeing their books in print. It's a blast hearing from you. I appreciate you all.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NEWS | KFRU Interview Now Online

For those who had asked to hear it, my KFRU-AM From The Dead pre-publication radio interview is now available on my website. Click here to head over to my media page. The mic audio is a little low, so you may need to turn up the volume.

Thanks for everyone's support as the novel makes its way through people's hands.

Never give up!

John Herrick

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tiffany's Bookshelf: From the Dead, by John Herrick

Tiffany's Bookshelf: From the Dead, by John Herrick: "Jesse grew up the son of a preacher, whose mother died in childbirth with his little sister, Eden. At the age of 18, Jesse longed to escape..."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NEWS | September 15 Tour Stop

As the From The Dead blog tour continues, today I'll stop by Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers for an interview opportunity. They gave the novel a great review yesterday. (And I appreciate the time they invested doing that!)

See you there!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Blog Tour Stop

I'm excited to stop at Book Reader's Heaven for today's From The Dead blog tour stop!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

From The Dead - The Phantom Tollbooth's Review

New book review for From The Dead found on The Phantom Tollbooth. They looked at the book as fiction from a Christian perspective.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 8 Tour Stop

From The Dead blog tour stop continues! On Wednesday, September 8, I'll stop by The Bookish Type. See you there!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NEWS | From The Dead Hits Shelves Today!

From The Dead has finally hit shelves! The novel is available online everywhere and in-store at Barnes & Noble locations nationwide. (And at The Learned Owl in Hudson! :-) Thanks for everyone's encouragement along the way. Here's a link to many online pages:

Meanwhile, the blog tour continues to roll, with a stop at Fresh Fiction on September 2.

Monday, August 30, 2010

This Week's Blog Tour Stops

From The Dead blog tour stops this week include:

August 30 - K Dawn Byrd author blog
September 2 - Fresh Fiction

Thanks for your participation, bloggers and readers! See you there.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

NEWS | Akron Beacon Journal Book Review

Akron Beacon Journal book review calls From The Dead "a solid debut novel"!
Read the review

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

NEWS | John's KFRU Interview

Catch John on KFRU radio this Friday, August 27, 8:45am CST! Listen live online -

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NEWS | Fall 2010 Blog Tour Itinerary

Itinerary now available for John's fall 2010 blog tour.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

NEWS | Amazon Sale Price

Amazon has just issued a sale price on From The Dead! Links to Amazon and other booksellers can be found at

Thank you for reading!

Monday, August 2, 2010

NEWS | Another Review

Located another nice review for From The Dead at

Monday, July 19, 2010

WRITING TIP | Chalk It Up to Experience

Saturday morning. The clock read 4:50 a.m. And I couldn’t move.

I manage to pull the same muscle in my back a couple of times a year. Sometimes I’ll just stand there getting ready in the morning and I’ll feel something slip out of place. Usually it just ends up stiff for a week or two. On rare occasion, though, the pain is severe: I’m hunched over like a grandpa and sucking air with each painful step.

So late last week, I turn in my chair to look at a clock—I think that’s how it happened—and I pulled the muscle. For a couple of days, it felt stiff. No big deal.

Then I woke up Saturday morning, no alarm clock necessary. As soon as I budged, severe pain shot through my back. When that happens, you can’t get up like usual. So I figured I’d take my alternate approach: make a slow roll out of bed, ease onto my knees, then rise slowly. But on this particular morning, the slightest movement shot fresh bolts of pain through me. I’m a fairly young guy, so this was scary. I didn’t know if I’d get to my feet at all and, for the first time in my life, wondered if this should qualify as a 911 episode. But of course, I couldn’t reach the phone ten feet away. At least with each doubling over in pain, I fell a few inches forward!

Somehow I ended up on my feet. By that time, I wondered if I was about to pass out. Sweating profusely, my body felt like it was burning up inside. Perhaps the initial fright had caused my blood pressure to soar. I grabbed the phone in case I wouldn’t get another chance. Then, still feeling like I had a body temperature of 107, I stumbled to the refrigerator and stuck my head in the freezer—literally—for a couple of minutes until I cooled down. The last thing I wanted to do was asleep again!

Experiences like these remind us of our mortality. It sounds ridiculous in hindsight, but at the time, you truly wonder if you’re on the verge of death. Those are the times Bible verses take on a special meaning. Believe me, the words out of my mouth that morning were: “I’ll live and not die and declare the works of the Lord.”

Needless to say, I made it through. Looking back, I’m shocked at the details I could remember from the experience. Oftentimes, when I go through an unusual experience, whether severe or not, I write down the details of how I felt or the nuances of what happened.

Experiences like these provide us with reference points for future stories. Then enable us to step into a character’s shoes in a way few others can. In one experience, we’ve captured an array of emotions and physical reactions. Write them down! We might as well make them useful for something!

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NEWS | Pre-order From The Dead Now!

From The Dead is now available for pre-order! It will hit stores on August 31.

For those who would like to pre-order, you can do so at your local bookseller, or find links to Amazon and other booksellers at

Thanks for reading the book! You're the reason authors have the privilege to write.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

NEWS | Another Tour Welcome

Welcome to the From The Dead blog tour, Novel Journey!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WRITING TIP | Same Story, Different Eyes

How many times have we gotten into a disagreement with others, only to find our differences rested not in the circumstances, but in how each of us perceived those circumstances? We each have a distinct personality, a unique background, a separate string of life events that brought us to today. These factors affect how we view events and respond to them.

And our characters are no different.

In high school, I got to read Beowulf. Over the years, several authors have offered their own takes on the Beowulf story. One day, my teacher handed us a photocopy of a short story that retold a portion of Beowulf—through the eyes of Grendel, the villain. Immediately the concept fascinated me.

Because many years have passed, I don’t remember the title, author or details of Grendel’s story. Needless to say, though, Grendel’s perception of the events stood in stark contrast to how Beowulf perceived them.

Which brings us to the pieces we write—novels, songs, commercials, whatever. Our main character is Matthew, a 20-year-old college student. He grew up listening to Snoop Dogg. His parents divorced when he was eight; his mother remarried when he was twelve, and the second husband has two kids of his own. A few months ago, Matthew received news that sent his stomach into somersaults: A classmate died in a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Matthew is stunned. He’s never even experienced the loss of a grandparent, much less someone his own age. For the first time in his life, Matthew senses his own mortality. When he gets behind the wheel of his car, the notion that one accident can end someone’s life haunts him. As he proceeds through an intersection, he notices the car on his left approaches too fast. Matthew sucks a deep breath—but grows relieved when the driver comes to a full stop. Matthew searches for hope.

But suppose the main character is Matthew’s mom, Gayle. How would her perception of the same incident differ from Matthew’s? A former hippie, she grew up listening to Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix. Two of Gayle’s friends overdosed on LSD in the late 1960s. She lost all her grandparents, as well as her dad, to death by natural causes. She struggled through a divorce. When she hears of a young person’s death, it hits her like a punch to the gut. "Don’t kids today realize how fragile life is?" she wonders. Although tragic, however, she has experienced her own share of tragedy and has learned to press—or limp—through it. Once a week, Matthew calls to say hello. Often, their conversations turn to Matthew’s friend; Gayle helps Matthew sort through his emotions. She explains that his friend would want Matthew to keep the memory alive, yet move forward with his own life.

Same story, different perspectives.

As Marcel Proust, a French novelist, once said, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

NEWS | Latest Blog Tour Participants

Welcome to the latest stops on the From The Dead blog tour this September!

Fresh Fiction

Crazy Book Tours (and the bloggers who sign up through them)

Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog

My Overstuffed Bookshelf

I look forward to talking to you!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recent Good Reads

For those looking for a good book, here are some recent reads that kept me glued to the pages:

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
The Graduate by Charles Webb (Yes, the book the film was based on!)
Flippin' the Script by Aisha Ford

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NEWS | Blog Tour Participants (So Far)

The From The Dead blog tour schedule has gotten off to a great start! For those who wish to participate, feel free to contact me at or by posting a comment here. For readers, I'll post a final road map as we head toward August.

In the meantime, thanks and welcome aboard to these tour stops so far, in order of their response:
Kent Holloway Online
By the Book Reviews
The Bookish Type
Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-A-Holic
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Welcome! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NEWS | Join John’s Blog Tour!

As many of you are aware, my novel From The Dead hits shelves on August 31. I’m also excited to announce that during the month of September, I’ll hit the road on an author blog tour. Currently I have a handful of bloggers signed up for the tour and will post an itinerary by August.

This tour is not limited to book-themed blogs or websites! Are you a blogger or site owner? Would From The Dead or its subject matter interest your audience? I’d love to include you!

How to contact me: You can post a comment here and include a link to your blog/site. Or you can send me a message at and I’ll be in touch.

What will happen: If you and I decide we’d make a good match for the tour, we’ll schedule a date and assemble 3-5 interview questions.

Thanks all! Looking forward to it!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

INSPIRATION | Fighting Irrational Fear

As a writer, one of the recurring fears I face is: What if I sit down to write and nothing comes forth?

Sounds ridiculous, right? A small thing. But if you’re a writer, you live and breathe words. I don’t know if it’s mental, chemical or what, but you need to birth the written word. If you don’t write, you shrivel up inside, much like a slow death. The writer within is part of your identity—not just how others see you, but how you see yourself.

Because I had a childhood habit of quitting long-term writing projects—as I called it, “putting them on the shelf” for later—today my fear has morphed into: “Will I be able to complete another novel?” And as I sit down to write each day, another fear nags: “What if I sit down to write and I can’t gain traction for the first 30 minutes?”

As I wrote From The Dead (and also a prior, unpublished novel), I dealt with the what-if-nothing-comes fear almost every night. The last thing I wanted to do was invest two hours, complete two weak paragraphs, and feel like a failure in my area of calling. But each night, I decided to turn on the laptop, open the outline, and take another step forward with the story.

In time I realized, despite the continual struggle, the first-draft pages continued to pile up. And as I read through them, I found myself satisfied with their quality.

As long as I showed up and put my fingers to the keyboard, the words seemed to flow.

The fear, although real, turned out to be irrational. An empty threat.

I’ve heard it said that showing up is half the battle. I believe that.

I’ve also heard it said, “If you’re afraid, then just do it afraid.”

Are you a writer? Are you something else? Fight the fear. Keep showing up. You’re halfway there.

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WRITING TIP | What’s in a Name?

How important is a name? If it’s any indication, expectant parents pore over possibilities to find the perfect name for their kid. Often the name alludes to something: a family member, a biblical character, or a characteristic. Parents want their kids to remember a specific something or someone when they think of their own name.

If you’re a writer, you might consider your projects as your babies. You birth them. And for some reason, it seems to take me nine months to complete a novel from first draft to final revision.

If you write fiction, how much thought do you give to your character names? It’s not a requirement. But many writers treat it as a tool in their arsenals.

A character’s name can provide a reader with hidden treasure, a revelation about the character. The name can point to a character’s past, its nature, or its self-image.

I found a great example in the novel Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. (Go ahead, yuk it up. I read it to see what the fuss is about. I also discovered, by George, I'm NOT the target audience!) The book follows the journey of Bella Swann, a teenage klutz who prefers her own company and sees herself as rather plain. My best guess: her name reveals who she truly is, the way her love interest sees her. The Italian word bella means beautiful, the opposite of how Bella perceives herself. Unlike Bella—the klutzy loner—a swan (or Swann, in her case) seems both graceful and beautiful. How often do you see a swan swim alone? Perhaps Bella’s last name foreshadows the relationship to come. (Tangent: As I write this, I’m engrossed in a more suitable James Patterson novel!)

I decided to try it out in my novel From The Dead and grew to love the process. For example, the characters Jesse and Eden are preacher’s kids, so it seemed natural for a preacher to give his kids biblical names. Taken one step further, knowing how I wanted to present Eden—the sibling who’s walked the straight and narrow—I named her after the Garden of Eden, a place of perfection.

Also in From The Dead, we discover that Drew’s mother became pregnant at eighteen years old. In the midst of her pressures, a teen mother might think in simple terms and choose a name she always liked: Drew. It allows her to find a glimmer of relief in a tough situation. And Jada—well, it seemed like a solid name for a girl who grew up in front of a TV camera.

Once you find deeper meaning in a character’s name, it tends to stick with you through the course of the story, much like people carry their names through the stories of their lives.

Worth a try?

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Monday, May 10, 2010

NEWS | From The Dead Named National Award Finalist

CHELSEA, Mich. – Judges named From The Dead, a novel by John Herrick, a finalist in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Next Generation Indie Book Awards, an annual contest headquartered in Chelsea, Michigan, is open to independent publishers worldwide. To be eligible for an award, a book must have been released or scheduled for release in 2009 or 2010. Finalists were notified in mid May 2010.

From The Dead, published by Segue Blue, competed in the First Novel category. It is scheduled for publication on August 31, 2010.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NEWS | Expanded Site Now Live

The full, expanded John Herrick website is now live, with a fresh design at (Thanks, Pamsuella!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

INSPIRATION | The Day of Small Things

Do you harbor a dream inside? Have you grown frustrated because you’ve invested your days, weeks and months in something that seems unrelated?

Don’t despise the day of small things. Oftentimes, they lead somewhere. We just can’t see it yet!

Our lives have a purpose. We’re not victims of happenstance. We’re participants by design. And if we’ll keep our eyes open during the day of small things, we’ll learn small lessons with major ramifications down the road.

I worked in information technology for eight years. For six months—the months I had the opportunity to write training manuals and lead training classes—I loved my work. The other seven and a half years, I hated walking through the doors in the morning. An aspiring writer, I needed a paycheck and had taken the first job I could get out of college. Responsibility first, right?

I have a creative personality but felt smothered inside a technical box. You can’t reason with a computer and must play by its rules. I had no qualifications or training to write computer programs. After meetings, I’d return to my desk and flip through my little dictionary of technical buzzwords so I could figure out what the hell they’d just talked about. (And yes, I probably looked up the word “blog!”)

Year after year, I progressed along an uninspired path: database reporting … software programming … process analysis … project management. Some people thrived on it; I prayed to God I wouldn’t be doing it in 10 years.

A frustrated writer who had never written a novel. A writer who couldn’t complete a long-term project.

Until it hit me: Revisions, long-term focus, commitment even when the excitement wears off—the disciplines I needed as a writer, I’d developed as a tech guy. I’d learned how to manage projects that lasted months.

Could I use the same project-management technique to write a novel?

By applying the skills I’d developed as a project leader, I built a project timeline, identified milestones, estimated my completion times. Sure enough, nine months later, I was shocked to find I’d completed my first novel. For the first time in my life, I written something longer than 99 pages.

Without the day of small things, that first novel wouldn’t exist. Neither would the second. But at the time I developed those tech skills, I didn’t have a clue they could help bring a creative dream to fruition.

Are you walking through a day—or perhaps a long, dry season—of small things? Perhaps it’s not as small as you think.

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

INSPIRATION | The Power of Thanks

“Thanks.” The word packs a punch. Yet we overlook its value.

Hopefully when we do someone a favor, our motive is a desire to help improve that individual’s life. We don’t seek the thanks itself. But its absence is like the screech of a bullhorn.

Have you had the pleasure of someone not saying thanks? It’s common courtesy. It takes less than one second to say.

I remember the awkwardness of putting together materials to solicit literary agents. When you’re a newbie, you have no idea where to start. And when you do begin, you wonder if you’ve constructed everything correctly. So I like to visit a discussion board to answer questions from people who want to know how to do it.

That’s when I noticed the percentage of those who replied to say thanks—probably half! Quite a shocker. I mean, Mom and Dad raised us to say thanks, right? Honestly, my motive was to help, not to be thanked or try to look good. But when it hits you that gratitude isn’t as common as you might expect, it leaves you dumbfounded!

Not long ago, a guy posted to that board. He’d finished his first novel and asked for guidelines on how to look for an agent. I provided a rundown. His immediate reaction: a word of thanks. I remember the excitement you feel when you have the answers you need, so I felt thrilled for the guy.

Fast forward a couple of months. The guy returned to the board and asked if anyone was willing to read his query letter, which is a cover letter you send to literary agents to ask if they’d consider your manuscript. Immediately I recognized him as the person who said thanks the last time around. And because of the courtesy he’d shown, I invested two hours the next night fine-tuning his query, embedding input, and explaining the whys behind the whats.

If you want to see the power of thanks at your workplace, think of all the little parties and events designed to motivate you. Think of the laudatory speeches from an executive who tells you what a wonderful job your team has done. But if you can count on one hand the number of times that executive has ever said thanks to you when an audience wasn’t watching, how much credibility would you give his speeches?

Our peers are more willing to help today if we’ve taken the time to thank them for what they’ve done for us in the past. Criticism fosters a halfhearted attempt, a plodding through the motions. But our peers tend to invest their hearts in the task if we’ve earned a reputation for gratitude.

“Thanks” is emotional fuel. And unlike the price of gas, its cost doesn’t skyrocket during summer. It’s a long-term investment. One of those rare things you can give away in abundance without jeopardizing your bottom line.

Never give up!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

INSPIRATION | The Value of a Minute

Do you have a dream? Do you have time to pursue it?

Bill Gates has 24 hours a day just like we do. So how does he accomplish so much more in his 24 hours than many of us do? My best guess: He’s discovered the value of a minute.

For years I tucked long-term dreams in my heart—only to find, year after year, despite all the time I spent dreaming, it didn’t result in a tangible end product. My biggest dream was to write novels, a significant time commitment. My biggest excuse for why I couldn’t accomplish it: “I don’t have time!”

Most who read this post probably have a job or go to school. In my case, I worked a full-time job, which consumed 1/3 of each day. At the end of each day, I had to sleep. And in between came the daily routine: exercise, dinner, laundry, Bible time, and the list went on. Where’s a guy supposed to find the hours to write a book?

Somehow it hit me: I didn’t need hours. I needed minutes.

And minutes add up to hours.

So I looked for areas in my day where I could cut the fat—sections of wasted time and minutes I could reinvest. For example, I’m a walker, and I walked an hour a day. By cutting that in half—a sacrifice, but still—I gained 30 minutes to write. Rather than cooking a meal each night, I cooked one meal that would last three days—that provided an extra 10 minutes a day. (Hey, trust me, when you’re a bachelor, it only takes 10 minutes to cook—or more precisely, to “cook.”)

For a few months, I spent my lunch writing on the laptop. I also had to say “no” to TV and other options. Actually, it meant saying “no” to TV permanently. But by the time I’d cut the fat, I’d discovered two or three hours a day to invest in writing. Five months later, I completed the first draft of a book.

So what’s your dream? If you can find the minutes, you can place yourself on the road to achieve them. Are you a working mom or a high-level manager with only 30 minutes a day to spare for your dream? After four days, you’d have two hours. That’s eight hours a month—an entire workday. And once you get into a routine, you’ll probably make more progress in less time.

Are you ready to discover the value of a minute? If so, then once again …

Do you have a dream? Do you have time to pursue it?

Never give up!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NEWS | New Novel Captures Spiritual Honesty

ST. LOUIS – Segue Blue will release From The Dead, the latest novel by John Herrick, on August 31.

In From The Dead, Herrick traces the spiritual journey of Jesse Barlow, a wayward preacher’s son. As the scenes unfold, Jesse wades through a past filled with secrets, hypocrisy and broken dreams. Tackling social issues such as suicide and single parenthood, Herrick captures Jesse’s struggle with cutting honesty and a straightforward, contemporary tone.

When asked what he believes makes From The Dead unique, Herrick says, “The characters address pointed questions about the church—questions people are afraid to ask or for which they don’t know where to find answers.”