Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Virtual Book Tour: Grannie Panties are Under Rated by Gayle Erickson

Chick Lit/ Women’s Fiction 
*(contains language)*
Date Published: June 6, 2017

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Elle Martin has it all.

Handsome and successful husband. Check.
Daughter and son attending exclusive private high school. Check.
Privilege, status, and wealth. Check, check, check.

But there is more to Elle’s story.

Already struggling to keep up appearances in a social set full of pretension and ultra-competitiveness, Elle’s fa├žade of perfection is threatened when her husband makes an announcement that will force her to confront a dark past she has successfully hidden for years.

What will happen when long-buried secrets are unearthed and haunting new revelations are discovered? Will Elle find the happy ending she so desperately seeks?

Toggling between the early nineties and the present day, Grannie Panties Are UnderRated captures the Gen X experience from latchkey kid to helicopter parent with keen insight and precision. A page turner full of surprising twists, it is a must read for anyone who has struggled to reconcile the chasm between the person they once were, the person they have become, and the person they long to be.


Chapter 13
The Waitresses: “I Know What Boys Like”
October 24, 1993
10:52 p.m.

Elle stood at the bar smoking a cigarette, pleased with herself. With her encouragement, in addition to the Dom, Mitsuya had ordered a bottle of The Macallan 40-Year-Old Scotch—she was in for a hefty commission. Even better, as she had helped him into a taxi, he had handed her a thick wad of yen in thanks. All told, she had made almost a grand. She couldn’t wait to tell Mitch.

Elle looked at the clock—10:52. Mitch would be there soon, and then there would be only one more hour to kill before they could go out. Elle had the perfect buzz going and predicted they would have a very good night.

There was a flurry of activity at the front door. Elle turned to see what was going on. A group of five or six Japanese twenty-somethings had walked in. Although smartly dressed, they were too young for the Big New York Apple Club. Elle saw Mae-san approach them and assumed she would ask them to leave, to come back after they’d made their first million and grown tired of their young wives.

So Elle was surprised when Mae-san led the men toward a table and waved at her to join them. Although in her early sixties, the madam was still stunning and Elle noticed the young men admiring her as they sat down. Mae-san was also very good at her job—the ideal combination of savvy and sweet.

Elle guessed she had been a very famous geisha back in her day, well-known for her grace and beauty. She had fallen in love with one of her wealthy clients and was set to marry him, but then he had been in a horrible accident, one too cruel to make sense of. Distraught and convinced she would never again find true love, she had settled on opening a club of her own.

At least this is what Elle liked to think. The truth was, she had no idea what Mae-san’s background was. Like most Japanese, she gave little away and was hard to read. Regardless of her story, Elle held Mae-san in high regard. She answered to no one.
Elle put her cigarette out in the red glass ashtray on the bar and approached the group.
Mae-san held her hand out to the man closest to her. “Tak-chan, this Erre-san.”
The young man stood and bowed politely to Elle. He was tall and his black hair was slicked back in a neat, short pony-tail, which highlighted a strong jaw and rugged, angular features.
Holy shit! He was hot.
Tak wore a diamond earring in his right ear and was dressed in a rather showy black striped suit with an eggplant-colored shirt and matching skinny tie. He was far from the preppy, conservative guys Elle had liked in college, yet she was inexplicably drawn to him.
Elle held out her hand, full of anticipation. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Nice meet you. Please. Sit.”

By his heavily accented and halting English, Elle knew that Tak’s grasp of the language wasn’t very strong, but she didn’t care. She was attracted to him in a way she hadn’t ever experienced before and was flustered by it.

As Elle sat down next to him, she was overcome with the smell of Polo cologne. This would normally be a deal breaker—it was too reminiscent of all the guys she went to high school with—but on Tak, it didn’t bother her. Elle’s leg brushed against his and she felt a powerful magnetic energy, like an electric shock. It made her dizzy with excitement.
 “I know Tak-chan father, Akimoto-san,” Mae-san explained.

So that’s why they were allowed in. His dad was someone important.

 Elle turned toward Tak and noted with approval that he had perfectly straight teeth and a well-defined, muscular body, with incredibly broad shoulders. He had a confident swagger Elle found particularly appealing. Finally, someone she actually wanted to flirt with!

Tak looked at Elle with a directness and confidence unusual for a Japanese man. Especially a young one. “You call me Tim.”

Tim? Really? That wouldn’t do. “I like the name Tak much better. Is it okay if I call you Tak?” As she spoke, Elle rested her hand against Tak’s arm and felt another titillating burst of energy. She couldn’t deny the chemistry. Did he feel it, too?

Tak took Elle’s hand in his and kissed it. It was a bold move—the Japanese were typically not physically demonstrative. “Yes, okay. Sure.” He moved her hand away from his face, but didn’t let go of his grip.

It was a little presumptuous, yet Elle’s cheeks flushed and a tingling sensation raced down the back of her spine. She liked the contact. She liked him.

“Tak it is.” Elle gently extracted her hand from his. She didn’t necessarily want to remove herself from his touch, but it was imperative to give the impression that she was in control. She put Tak’s hand next to the top of her thigh and noticed that he was wearing a large diamond-encrusted gold ring on his pinkie finger. Again, this was something that would normally be a turn-off—the ring was rather garish—but on Tak, it seemed masculine and necessary.
Tak looked intently at Elle. She became light-headed. It felt deliriously intimate, like the room had shrunk, and they were the only two people who existed. He placed his hand on Elle’s thigh and they spent the next hour intently trying to communicate with one another.

Elle had been right about Tak’s English—it wasn’t very good. He could understand everything she said if she spoke slowly and deliberately, but it was hard for him to find the English words to respond with. Elle could have made it easier for him by speaking in Japanese, but there seemed to be something incredibly romantic about the way he was trying so hard in English. She decided to keep her knowledge of Japanese a secret.

Elle was so engrossed in conversation with Tak, she completely missed it when Mitch came in. She only noticed him later, happily sitting at his regular spot playing Ms. Pac-Man. When they made eye contact, Mitch gave her an approving thumbs-up.

Elle was confident Tak was the leader of the group—he paid the others little to no attention, yet one of them was always ready to pour him more beer and to light his cigarettes. At closing time it was one of Tak’s companions—Elle thought he had said his name was Johnny—who discreetly paid Mae-san.

Tak’s focus never left Elle. When it was time to leave, he cupped his hands under her chin and said, “You are coming with me.” It wasn’t a question as much as a forgone conclusion.
Tak was so sure of himself, cocky even, that Elle should have been put off—but she wasn’t.

  Quite the opposite. Elle wanted nothing more than to go with him. Still, she wondered whether it was a good idea. Technically he was a client. She hadn’t planned to go there. Elle excused herself for a minute. She would go see what Mitch thought.

Elle sat down at the Ms. Pac-Man table across from Mitch. “He wants me to go with him. What do you think?”

“Cheeuh! Are you kidding me? Go!”

“I don’t know—I mean, I said I wouldn’t go out with customers.”

“Elle, come on. It’s not like he’s some sketchy old man. He’s hot. Go for it.”

“Yeah, but . . .” Elle was still not convinced. She had been out of the dating game for too long. Maybe she should listen for a sign. Over the course of the past year, Elle had stopped taking direction from music. It hadn’t been a conscious decision; it just didn’t seem necessary anymore. Elle was having too much fun. But this was a big deal. She should listen for a sign.
Elle concentrated on the music in the background of the Big YAC, expecting to hear something by Elvis Presley. He was Mae-san’s favorite pop star and “Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” seemed to be on an endless loop in the club. To her surprise, instead of Elvis Presley, something from a Japanese band was playing. Elle didn’t recognize the song and couldn’t decipher the lyrics. She decided this was a sign that a sign wasn’t necessary. Elle knew what she was doing.

“Okay. It’s just like meeting a guy at a bar, right?” Remembering they had plans to go dancing, Elle felt guilty bailing on Mitch. “Do you want to come with us?”

“As intriguing as a threesome sounds, I’ll pass. Besides, I know what kind of underwear you’re wearing.”

Elle thought about her underwear: plain, white, boring grannie panties. She lifted both hands over her mouth in horror. “Oh no! Shit!”

Mitch shook his head in mock dismay. “How many times have I told you? A girl should always be prepared. Wearing sexy underwear—hello!—underrated.”

“You’re right. What should I do?”

Mitch took a drag of his cigarette and smiled. “You gotta ditch the grannie panties.”

“Really? You think they’re that bad?”

“Honey, I love you, but you don’t have to be straight to see they’re a total boner-kill. Ditch ’em, or forget about playing hide the salami with your new friend.”

Elle was shocked by Mitch’s suggestion. “I’m not planning on sleeping with him!”

“Why the hell not?”

Because I’m not that kind of girl. A full-on make-out session and some dry-humping was one thing, but sex with a guy on the same night you met him at a bar? No way. That was a total slut move. “I don’t know, don’t you think that’s a little rushed?”

“Elle, please don’t tell me you’re going to go all Puritanical on me now. You’ve only had sex with one person and that was way back in college. You’ve finally met a guy you’re into. For God’s sake, do him!”

Mitch was right. Elle hadn’t met a man she was interested in in a very long time and she might not have this chance again. Besides, she was in Tokyo. No one knew her here. Who cared what she did? And Tak was hot. Really hot.

Elle would go with him. It would be fun.

Now, if she could just figure out where to ditch her grannie panties . . .

Praise for Grannie Panties Are Under Rated

"...a highly entertaining and thought provoking book!"
"Gayle Erickson is brilliantly gifted in telling this engaging, sometimes disturbing, yet compulsively addicting story of a woman in crisis due to the bonds of the guilt-filled lens of her past"
"It is visually rich and culturally expansive,"
"You will fall in love with each of these honest, imperfect characters and identify with their struggles, demons, and challenges. Exposing the raw truths we often try to mask..."
"Loved this book, could not put it down"
"A great retrospective of how we come to be who we are and where we are, often without intention or a road map. Like "Grannie's" characters, we all find moments of clarity or awareness, which give rise to change. All this and an accompanying playlist! A song for every chapter...what brilliant context!

Spotify Playlist by Author to compliment the Novel:

About the Author

Gayle Erickson is a Colorado native and graduate of The Colorado College. She lived in Tokyo, Japan and taught English for several years after graduation. Upon her return to the United States she worked in the non-profit sector. Gayle currently lives in suburban Denver with her husband, twin teen-age children, and two dogs. Grannie Panties Are Underrated is her debut novel.

Contact Links

Purchase Link

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Virtual Tour w/Giveaway: Beautiful Mess by John Herrick

Beautiful Mess
by John Herrick
GENRE: Mainstream fiction (romantic comedy)
-- multigenerational ensemble cast


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. Please visit to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.



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.

Buy Link:



In that case, the first thing we need to do is establish its authenticity. I’ll get the proof lined up and we’ll keep it in our back pockets. Next, we’ll hold a press conference to announce the existence of the screenplay—but let the press speculate about whether it’s authentic. We’ll hem and haw for a while, tease them a bit, make them think they have us cornered.”
Del didn’t want to look like a fool in public, regardless of how temporary or intentional, but he was willing to hear the rest of the idea. He stroked his chin and clasped his hands upon his chest. “And what happens next?”

Then, when attention is at its peak, we release the evidence. It’ll be good for another round of marketing. So instead of releasing the evidence at the first news conference, we’ll get twice the bang for our buck.”

Makes sense to me.” Del felt much more at ease. He exhaled and took a swig of water. The bottle’s thin plastic crackled in his grip.

We’ll need some time to strategize this while the thumbprints are verified. I know a guy who can get it done under the radar. Meanwhile—and I’m sure you know this, but I’ll stress it anyway—don’t breathe a word of this until the day of our big announcement. Not to the media, the studio people, producers—not even to the chef at your sushi restaurant. The element of surprise will strengthen our bargaining position. Agreed?”


Arnie exhaled, as though in relief, and scratched his bald head. His fingers left behind red streaks. “This is big, Del.”

Del’s pulse increased with anticipation, yet he maintained his composure. He finished his water and crumpled the bottle.

Big’ didn’t do it justice.

This wasn’t just Marilyn’s final chance.

It was Del Corwyn’s, too.


Interview with John Herrick:

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
First of all, thanks so much for letting me stop by! If anyone wants to learn more about Beautiful Mess or send me a message, you can reach me at My social links are there, too.

To answer your question: Because Marilyn Monroe makes several appearances in Beautiful Mess, I had to re-create her mannerisms and invent believable dialogue. When writing a novel, my biggest goal is to make my stories realistic. Readers are willing to suspend their ideas of reality, but only to an extent. That presents a challenge to begin with, but since readers will be familiar with Marilyn and her films, it presented an additional hurdle. To prepare for it, I read some of her interview material to get a sense of how she spoke behind the scenes. I didn’t want to rely on her films because they were scripted—they were Marilyn’s interpretation of someone else’s words.

But the things we say are driven by what’s in our minds and hearts, so I also combed through a lot of her biographical material to try to understand her psyche. I needed to visualize not just her public persona, but more importantly, her hopes, her insecurities, her fears. That psyche would drive her actions in the book. In Beautiful Mess, she has written a screenplay but has kept it hidden. So to make the premise believable, I needed to understand her psyche, which might explain why she would write a screenplay in the first place, and why she wouldn’t want anyone to read it.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved the opportunity to laugh every day! Prior to Beautiful Mess, my books have dealt with dark corners of the human heart. Beautiful Mess delves into those dark corners, too, but I’ve relegated them to the background. They appear in interludes, so to speak. The book is a celebration of life, our personal quirks, and what happens when those quirks collide with each other during the randomness of life. It was such fun to write!

What inspires you?

My book concepts tend to begin as “What if?” questions. I love what-if scenarios because they force characters to react in ways contrary to their comfort zones.

Have you ever watched a story on the local news—a crime that police solved, a mother who followed her instinct and rescued a child from danger—and thought, “What if someone had made a different choice along the way?” Even our smallest choices set off chain reactions. In the end, we see how everything works out, and it becomes part of our life stories. But what if you changed one small detail? What if you ate lunch at Restaurant B instead of Restaurant A—different wait times, different staff interactions, different patrons, different driving route? What if that altered the rest of your day and impacted your life? What if you met someone at Restaurant B who ended up becoming your spouse? Or what if that would-be spouse was waiting for you at Restaurant A, and now you’ll never meet, or it will two more years before your paths can cross again?

Last year, I traveled to Dallas for work. A major glitch occurred, which caused the airline’s computer system to completely shut down—across the whole nation! It caused delays and cancelations. People were stuck at airports, and some got delayed until the next day. But it didn’t affect me. Why? Because my plane departed 30 minutes before the system crashed. So I made it to my destination on time and without issue—but many of the people who were in the airport the same time I was experienced a big mess. That offers a classic what-if scenario: What if my flight were scheduled for just one hour later? It would have drawn me into the chaos and altered the next 48 hours of my life. Different flights, meetings disrupted, hotel accommodations altered. Now add a fictional life-or-death situation to the mix, and you can build a medical thriller upon it.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?

I’d have to say the Bible was influential because it’s been a part of my whole life. But when you dig into its passages, you find that, after thousands of years, people haven’t changed. They struggled with the same core issues as we do today. So I find story ideas in its pages. My first novel to hit shelves, From the Dead, began with the question, “If the Bible’s prodigal son story occurred today, what would the son’s life look like in our modern world? What mistakes would he make? Who would his father be? How would he try to escape his father’s shadow and live his own life? How would his return home take place, and how would he learn to forgive himself for hurting people along the way?”

Another inspiration for my work is John Grisham. I stopped reading for pleasure in high school because, after doing the mandatory reading they require of you, I had no desire to open a book for fun. The summer before I started college, I brought Grisham’s The Firm with me to read at the beach. That novel was still fairly new at the time. I fell in love with that book. And while I never did much reading for pleasure until years later, every year I picked up his latest book and read part or all of each one. John Grisham is the reason I fell back in love with reading.

And while they aren’t authors, per se, several film writers-directors inspire me. Watching a film by Cameron Crowe, Nancy Meyers, or Garry Marshall makes me want to write. I think it’s because their films are so character-driven.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Ugh! I’ve found the best solution is to keep showing up. The form of writer’s block I face is landing on a concept for a novel, the concept that grabs my heart, the one to which I can dedicate myself for the next year or two. I’ve had many false starts on great book ideas, which feels disheartening. But I realized that the time didn’t go to waste. Even though they didn’t end up being the projects I’d pursue, I still exercised that creative muscle, and exercise is what keeps a muscle in shape. (That revelation hit me this week, and I’ve been writing books for 13 years! Goes to show you never stop learning.) Exercising the muscle also primes the pump for your concept on which you will land. And in the future, I have several books partially planned out. Those former non-starters might enable me to hit the ground running. It’s happened before!

Once I land on the right concept, my greatest enemy isn’t writer’s block, but fear that nothing will come forth. For a writer, that’s just fear of failure in disguise. When you begin a project, emotions run high. But those emotions evaporate a few weeks into the process—in fact, I’ve found they evaporate quicker and quicker with each book. So for me, the key is to plan everything before I begin writing: Create the character bios. Do all the research. Sketch the story in advance, which ends up being a miniature version of the novel, 50 to 100 pages long. It’s so detailed, I can lift dialogue blocks from it verbatim and plant them into the first draft! By doing as much thinking and strategizing as possible in advance, I’ve found I can plow through the first draft. That means as long as I show up to work each day, I’ll make progress whether the emotions are present or not.

So my tip for writers would be to eliminate as many barriers as you can. Find a way to maximize your strengths and neutralize your weaknesses. Just reach your end point—get there however you can. The first draft is never perfect. You can always fix it later, but you don’t have anything to work with until you get it down on paper, so press through whether you feel like it or not.


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.”
Social Links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway