I made it to New York Comic Con last weekend and did a panel on Not Your Mother’s Fairy Tales. It was an amazing time, and now, I’m going to try and give a good recap.
As I have a day job (and a new one at that), I wound up driving Friday evening to get close to Delaware from Virginia and then made my way into New York on Saturday. Bishop O’Connell, author of The Stolen (which I’m happy to say I’ve started and am enjoying), sent me a text before I reached the convention. It was good to have someone expecting me. I got out of my cab which was stuck in rainy New York traffic and tried to figure out where the entrance was to the Javits Center. There was a woman on the sidewalk in front of me in a Black Widow costume. An Avenger had to be going in the right direction, so I followed her and found the entrance.
Words don’t do the place justice. Just heading inside, there were SO many people, dressed in SO many costumes from anime to sci-fi to horror to superheroes. I had Jedi Knights on one side of me, the Doctor and Amy Pond on the other side and lots of Deadpools in front of me. Everywhere I looked, there was a spaceship or a dragon or a poster of something spectacular. I found the whole experience overwhelming. I texted Bishop to find out where I should go, but he replied that he was about to do a radio interview and that I should head to the Harper booth.
It’s early October and I’m suddenly struck with that feeling. It’s coming. November, aka…
50,000 words of total writing madness in 30 days, all the while dealing with everything that life throws at you. Plus, this year, I have an extra challenge or two – new book proposals and writing on Book 3 of the Charming Tales.
Part of me, the sane part of me, says “Don’t do it this year. You don’t have time. You can’t. Would you risk Charming for National Novel Writing Month?”
The crazy part of me, says “AHA! What a great story it would make if you succeeded!”
I’ve done it every year successfully since 2009. I certainly don’t want to stop now. I always tell people who want to try that whether you succeed in writing 50,000 words in a month or not, you will certainly have more words than you started. I believe that. When I first tried Nanowrimo, I failed utterly and ended with only 8,000 words or so. That failure eventually turned into Souls of the Everwood, my first Krueger novel.
As a writer, I’ve gone by three different names, Harry Heckel (my real name), Lee Lightner (when I collaborate with Jeff Smith) and most recently, Jack Heckel (when collaborating with John Peck). I’ve also considered writing in other genres and I have a few novels that if I ever sell, I may publish under yet more names. At the Baltimore Book Festival, I was asked how I keep track of my different selves, and I gave a short answer about being organized and branding, but I’m going to elaborate more here.
Today, writers have to do a lot of marketing. From writing blog posts like this one to keeping Twitter feeds going, to doing appearances and writing articles, it’s a lot of work. I keep recalling that fellow Harper Voyager author Bishop O’Connell told me (and I’m paraphrasing), “You’ve been published. Now the real work begins.” Read the rest of this entry
I can’t believe it’s October. September has flown by. I’ve changed companies in my day job, had lots of excitement with the release of Once Upon a Rhyme, and had to finish copyedits for Happily Never After. I also appeared at the SFWA tent at the Baltimore Book Festival. It was a great time and I really enjoyed talking to a number of great people, readers and writers alike. If anyone has found this blog as a result of reading Once Upon a Rhyme, thanks for checking it out.
October always makes me think of Halloween, so I thought I’d start the month by sharing some old writing. This was a short story that I wrote in my teenage years. For all the teenagers out there, keep writing, because you never know what might happen.
Come see me at the Baltimore Book Festival today. I’ll be at the SFWA tent for a short story panel from 3:00-3:45 and for a reception from 5:30-7:00.
A Blog Hop on Jack Heckel’s site with information on the main character of Once Upon a Rhyme.
Originally posted on Jack Heckel:
Welcome to the Meet My Main Character blog hop!
Thank you to Katherine Harbour for inviting me. She’s one of my fellow Harper Voyager authors and shares my love of fairy tales, inviting her readers into the world of Night and Nothing with Thorn Jack, a dark fantasy retelling of the ancient Scottish ballard, Tam Lin, set in upstate New York. You can find her book here: Amazon in harcover, paperback, Kindle and audiobook. You can learn more about her heroine, Finn Sullivan, and how she has to overcome tragic loss and find a way to outwit the supernatural at Katherine’s blog: Katherineharbour.blogspot.com.
The main character of Once Upon a Rhyme is probably Will Pickett, a peasant who discovers the Great Wyrm of the South has died on his farm. For his entire life, he’s dreamed of being in a fairytale and he decides to take advantage of his opportunity to rescue…
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My life’s been very exciting lately. I’m changing jobs in my not-so secret real world identity. Happily Never After just made it through an editing deadline. I’ve written a few interviews and scheduled a couple of events to promote Once Upon a Rhyme. That’s not to mention that my daughter started school, and I’m dealing with car issues. Oh, and I’m spending way too much time trying to watch Amazon.com sales numbers (that way leads to madness) and trying to find reviews of Once Upon a Rhyme. Also, I need to keep working on the as-yet mostly untitled book 3. Exciting times.
Despite all the excitement, I managed to find a Saturday afternoon where I was able to have lunch with Bishop O’Connell, the author of The Stolen. I’m still working on reading his book (sorry, Bishop), but if it’s half as cool as he is, I have no doubt it will be great. I’ve put the link above, but included his awesome cover below.
We had a fun conversation for three hours where we talked about influences and how we got started. I’m going to invite him to an interview in the near future, either here or at http://www.jackheckel.com, but one thing that he said which stuck with me was (and I’m paraphrasing), “Once you’ve been published, your work really increases.” I admit that when Once Upon a Rhyme came out, I felt like I was done, but Bishop’s right, everything’s just beginning.
I’m scheduling events – so far I’m going to be at the Baltimore Book Festival on September 27th and I’m planning to be at RavenCon in Richmond, VA in April. I’m trying to get a number of other events scheduled, but I’m waiting for confirmation. Hopefully, I’ll have more announcements soon. If anyone out there would like a fantasy/sci-fi/RPG author to be a guest, please let me know.
The reviews have been the scariest and best part of everything. Of course, I’ve noticed lots of misplaced commas or awkwardly-worded sentences in my perfectionist mode. However, it seems everyone’s enjoying Once Upon a Rhyme. Here are some quotes from the Amazon reviews:
Thank you to everyone who has given it a review and here’s hoping that there are a lot more to come. If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please tell someone else about it. The more people who read it, the better the chances that Will, Liz and Charming will have more adventures.
Oh, the other thing I need to do – write more blog posts! Thanks for understanding and I’ll keep striving to do more.
All the best,
First off, thank you all for purchasing Once Upon a Rhyme and for all the reviews and feedback and shares on the internet. Since it was published last Tuesday. I’ve written answers to interview questions, worked on marketing and social media (though neglected my own blog), and I’ve been involved in edits on Happily Never After. Both John and I are doing our best to make sure that the sequel is out early November.
Today, I’ll be at American Family Fitness in Mechanicsville with a table at their block party, talking about the Charming Tales and selling my small press books. It should be a fun way to spend Labor Day. If you live in the area and are looking for something to do before 2pm today, come out and visit. My daughter tells me that they have a bouncy house. :)
A special shout out to Kyran and Cathy for their Amazon reviews! Thank you both!!
By the time I wake up tomorrow, Once Upon a Rhyme will be e-published. It seems like such a huge turning point in my life. All the characters that John Peck and I created become real somehow tomorrow. People that I’ve never met will talk about them. Someone who I don’t know will laugh at my words.
I want to thank everyone. My co-workers at every job I’ve ever had, my relatives, more friends that I can count, classmates, all my fellow Harper Voyager writers who feel like siblings to me, and the writers and editors who’ve made me better over the years. I’ve called and spoken to a few people, but there are so many more.
Thank you all.
For everyone out there who is writing or has written a book, please don’t give up. It’s taken me over 20 years to get here. I know that there are talented, brilliant people out there with incredible stories who feel like they can’t get a break. To all of you, keep writing. It can happen.
Tonight, I was cleaning my shed, which wasn’t something that I intended in any way, shape or form. I found an old folder in a storage box, and inside was a spiral notebook filled with short stories that I had written when I was 13. It seemed so very appropriate that on this of all nights, I’d happen to find that beat-up notebook, cover long gone, containing some of my first attempts at writing stories.
I’m not going to sleep much tonight, but I’m wishing everyone the best of dreams. And please, whatever dreams you have, don’t give up on them. And if you have given up, don’t be afraid to chase new ones.
All the best,