Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NEWS | First Draft Done

Well, after a long, unexpected halt to the writing, I can finally say I finished the first draft of the third novel about an hour ago -- finally! It needs a big revision, but it's always a relief not to have an unfinished project hanging over your head!

Never give up!

John Herrick www.johnherrick.net johnherricknet.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Closet Book Freak: The Landing By: John Herrick

Closet Book Freak: The Landing By: John Herrick: If you choose to read this book you will experience personal growth that will either inspire you or remind yourself of what it was like when you were young lost and looking for a place to land... http://t.co/cq3RwLXG

Minding Spot: The Landing by John Herrick

Minding Spot: The Landing by John Herrick: The Landing is a short read but it is a page-turner! Herrick has the knack of building complex, modern characters easily related to and that you want to know more about - you begin to care about their situation and hope they find the happiness they are seeking...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Reader's Heaven: A Simple Love Story by John Herrick Produces Power...

Book Reader's Heaven: A Simple Love Story by John Herrick Produces Power...: "For some reason, I decided to write a song that's a play on opposing ideas. Here's what I came up with." YOU'RE MY DIVISION And you ...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NEWS | The Landing Arrives August 28

Thanks for being patient with me! At long last, my new novel, The Landing, hits shelves this Tuesday, August 28, but is available for order now! For more information on the book, including links to retailers, stop by www.johnherrick.net/thelanding.

For those who would like to share my previous novel, From The Dead, with a friend or loved one for free, the perfect opportunity exists for a very limited time! Visit my website for details on The Landing pre-order offer.

Thanks to everyone who has asked about the book and stood with me. You are indeed a blessing.

Never give up!

John Herrick

Today's playlist: Overexposed by Maroon 5

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NEWS | The Landing – Special Pre-order Offer

A big thank you to all who have asked about the street date for the new novel, The Landing!

The Landing hits shelves on August 28, but is available NOW for pre-order. First-week sales are critical for new releases. For a limited time, pre-order The Landing and receive a free copy of John's novel From The Dead!

Details are available on my website: http://bit.ly/M2hxCZ

As the distribution cycle churns, sometimes new copies do get sent early. I have no control over when retailers do that, but I'll use it as a teaser to let you know you could wind up with The Landing before the official street date.Never give up!



Today’s playlist: Jason Mraz, Love is a Four-Letter Word

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

REVIEW | Heather Williams – This Time Around

I’ll admit, these days, I’ve all but left Top 40 music behind. I’ve turned to the local Gen-X station, plunged into Country music, and—in the midst of a lot of soul searching in 2012—rediscovered Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). The last time I listened this heavily to CCM was during my stint writing radio commercials at a local station 16 years ago.
The recent CCM hit “God Is Still God” struck a chord with me this winter, in particular during a one-day road trip to the Ozarks. Last week, I finally looked up the artist and, a few days ago, purchased the CD: This Time Around by Heather Williams.
And I haven’t stopped playing it since.
Williams’s major-label debut is excellent. Kudos belong as much to the production team as to the artist herself.
The primary reason I’d avoided CCM in recent years was because I’d felt it struggled to hit the mark in terms of quality. The songwriting—both melodies and lyrics—seemed to operate at lower standards of quality than its mainstream counterpart, as if some (not all) artists had written the songs on the fly and thrown them onto a CD. The only CCM artist I truly enjoyed on a consistent basis was Casting Crowns. Now Heather Williams has joined that short list.
The quality that sets Williams apart isn’t just her awareness of current trends in pop music. Rather, Williams actually knows how to make it work and make it her own.
Fans of Top 40’s Katy Perry will feel at home with Williams. And to the credit of Williams, who also co-pens many of her own songs, she didn’t require a stable of veteran industry talent to get the job done. Aside from a songwriting contribution by CCM’s Cindy Morgan on “God Is Still God,” I didn’t recognize the other names.
“Beautiful Thing,” the opening track on This Time Around, is a game of sonic and melodic hopscotch in the vein of Maroon 5. It grows infectious with repeated listens. I can relate to its “Fix me, fix me” lyrical line as a frequent prayer of my own.
Three of the tracks that shine best for me are “God Is Still God,” “You are Loved,” and “I’ll Take it from You,” all heartfelt, energy-infused songs that speak to different times of need in the journey of life. Each has ministered to me in a unique way.
But above all, my favorite track is “Hallelujah,” a gorgeous ballad. It follows a pattern we find in the biblical Psalm 119, where the psalmist comes to God, fully aware of the messes he has made in life and the struggles through which he wades. Then his heart turns in a yet-I-will-praise-Him direction. Williams captures this pattern and wraps it up in the simplicity of one word—“hallelujah”—wrapping it in a melodic sway that melts your heart with its candor. This track touches my heart in such a deep way, I keep getting reduced to tears as I listen to it in my car. God uses Williams’s “Hallelujah” track to lead me into the joy, wonder and security of knowing I’m not perfect, but I’m also not alone. How many times in my own life have I thanked God for not giving up on me!
But what captures me most about This Time Around is its flat-out honesty. My understanding is that Williams’s music is fueled in part by her backstory of childhood challenges. The lyrics have a genuine quality to them, the simplicity of a heart that knows it has tatters around the edges, one that just wants to draw near to the Lord. Yet, the album can be reduced to the cry of a heart that just wants to loved, to be held and valued. And don’t we all know how such a longing feels?
Heather Williams’s This Time Around is a triumph. Highly recommended.
Never give up!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

NEWS | The Landing New Book Cover

For those who have asked about The Landing, the upcoming novel with a late August street date, I have a glimpse of the new cover here!
Never give up! John Herrick www.johnherrick.net johnherricknet.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

REVIEW | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Absolutely addictive! When it came to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, I had to force myself to stop reading and missed reading it when I couldn’t.

Set in the future, the novel is the first in a trilogy and centers around two main characters, Katniss and Peeta, teenagers who live in the land mass that once constituted the continental United States. The new kingdom is Panem, a portrait of a society dominated by unfettered Socialism: Individuals become pawns and tools. Life is held without value, traded or ended at the will of a government authority. In Panem, we see a ruling class and an underclass, where the ruling class dominates by fear and oppression. Government controls the food supply, and thus controls the existence of its people.

The lack of hope in the citizens’ lives breaks your heart. It’s a dark existence, the type of Socialist society we knew about before the fall of Communism began in 1989, only much worse.

Once a year, to tamp down dreams of rebellion, the Panem government forces each of its districts to sacrifice two teenaged citizens to compete in The Hunger Games, where participants fight to the death, and the winner—the last man or woman standing—is rewarded with a year’s food supply for the district. And it is broadcast live on television, from participant selection to preparation to the competition itself.

Enter District 12. Enter Katniss and Peeta.

Picture Lord of the Flies meets reality TV. I’ve always loved the concept behind Lord of the Flies and have wanted to create something akin to it for today. Well, Suzanne Collins beat me to the punch and served up a TKO. The Hunger Games is one of those books I wish I’d written myself. Highly recommended. I’ve already started reading the second book.

Never give up!

John Herrick

Thursday, March 1, 2012

NEWS | From The Dead Becomes College Curriculum

Wonders never cease! From The Dead officially becomes college curriculum this semester. An instructor let me know a while back that it will be used in a modern American literature course, which is truly an honor. As a college students, I had some books I enjoyed reading and others I didn't. In this case, I must say, I hope From The Dead falls into the first category!

On the third-book front, progress continues. I'm oh-so-close to finishing the first draft.

Never give up!

John Herrick

Monday, February 20, 2012


Lately, I’ve dabbled with listening to samples of Ulrich Schnauss, a European electronic artist I stumbled upon. It was in that context I discovered a Christian somewhat-counterpart with vocals, Ghost Tree.

In tracking down details, I learned that European band Ghost Town, in actuality, recorded its self-titled album in Nashville. That piqued my interest and I found myself wanting to discover more. Ghost Town is a Christian band that combines worshipful lyrics with a modern arena tonies. The album possesses an atmospheric landscape for those interested in Coldplay or U2.

Just about every album will contain a highlight track, that particular one that makes you say, "This is my favorite." For me, Ghost Tree provided "Glorious." It contains the most natural chorus melody.

My second-favorite track was “Hope,” with lyrics such as “Day will come when hope will rise.” The song focuses on comfort for this life, then expands into a picture of the day when this life ends and eternity begins. The lyrics helps me envision that day larger than I had before.

“Save My Day” offers a heart’s cry for help: “I’m desperate for Your love / Your grace is always enough.”

Ghost Tree rounds out its album with two more tracks, "You They See" and "Hallelujah."

The lyrics are touching, the sonic landscape stirring.

Rather than a "live" worship feel, Ghost Tree provides a recording perfect for times of focus, those times when Christians want to challenge themselves to consider whether God or eternity might be bigger than they might have originally imagined. A solid effort.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

REVIEW | The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

"And it seemed to him, as he sank back into his dreams, that she had as good as spoken aloud. About your son, she seemed to be saying: Just put your hand here [cesarean scar]. I'm scarred, too. We're all scarred. You are not the only one." (Tyler, Ann. The Accidental Tourist, Chapter 11)

Anne Tyler's The Accidental Tourist is a character study on how different people sort through painful experiences in life. After having my eye on the book for years, I decided to delve into it at long last!

Macon Leary, the main character, suffered the loss of his 12-year-old son. He and his wife, Sarah, have discovered they have little in common and have pursued a legal separation. Sarah has moved out of the house.

Macon writes travel guidebooks for travelers who don't want to leave home, such as businessmen. In his guides, Macon helps such travelers make their ways through unfamiliar cities while experiencing as little of those cities' unfamiliarity as possible. In other words, he helps them maintain a cocoon-like existence.

Macon himself has managed to maintain a cocoon-based life. He thrives on the predictable and possesses an unbalanced suspicion of the unpredictable--which probably explains Tyler's choice of the character's last name, Leary (a form of "leery". After attempts to branch out in life, Macon's siblings have managed to return to a sheltered, communal existence within the family home. As the story unfolds, Tyler weaves in a fascinating look at the background of Macon and his family. In doing so, she digs into Macon's psyche to produce a believable character. As you read about Macon's psychological issues as a child caused by instability in his family, you develop and understanding of why Macon and his siblings are, to put it bluntly, screwed up as adults. They are adults who lacked a proper opportunity to experience a normal childhood.

Tyler provides a subplot surrounding Macon's dog, which has grown unruly and has developed a habit of biting people that enter its own cocoon. To help train the dog, enter Muriel, a divorced mother of a young child. Despite her eccentricities, Muriel bears scars of her own. The dog, like Macon, resists and fights change in its life. As Muriel trains the dog to accept change, she also teaches Macon how to step beyond his own limited existence and to embrace change. She helps Macon face the loss of his son and determine his next step in life. Macon has his systems to avoid change; Muriel has her technique to make change palatable and achievable, albeit for dogs.

One word of warning: The story is quite sad as it takes the reader into the characters' pain. This is not an "upper" of a story, and even the ending, although fitting for the characters, felt disturbing and sad. So before entering their world, be prepared for a heavy story with solid insight into the struggles of those who might live just next door.

The novel's strongest suit is its well-drawn characters. The story isn't as much about plot as it is about the internal growth of the characters as they sort through hurt and confusion. In this, Tyler has proven successful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy new year, readers! I hope your holidays were blessed big time.

On the home front, our Christmas was extra special because I finally got to meet my baby niece, who lives halfway across the country. She's such a treasure! Along with the visit came the playtime, diaper changing, feeding, burping and all the other good stuff that goes along with a baby, and Uncle John loved every minute of it. I'll play the proud uncle and post a couple of pictures here. My sister-in-law dubbed me the kid's nap buddy because, in the picture below, she managed to nap on my chest like that for about two hours Christmas day.

On the book front, thanks to you readers who ask about my "real" first novel, The Landing, written a few years ago but never published. I should have some news for you during 2012.

Slowly but surely, I'm making my way through the first draft of book number three. I'm about 2/3 of the way to my goal length and only about halfway through my outline, so I'll estimate its final length at 325-350 pages. Due to holidays and schedule variances in the fall, the writing process slows down temporarily, but I'll return to full mode this month.

I always enjoy hearing from readers, so feel free to contact me at my website. May 2012 prove a blessed and prosperous year for you all, and may you take a vital step forward toward your destiny.

Never give up!

John Herrick