Once Upon a Rhyme – A few days after publication

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 AfterBoth 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!!

 

The Long Night

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.

It’s amazing.

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,

Harry

 

 

Interview with both halves of Jack Heckel

Hi everyone,

A.F.E. Smith interviewed John Peck, my Once Upon a Rhyme co-author, and myself on her blog. It’s a really fun interview where we are asked what books we’d take with us to a Barren Island. Please click here and check it out.

Two days to go until the eBook release of Once Upon a Rhyme! The two links on this post are for Harper Collins and Amazon respectively.

Thanks!

The August 26 SF/F Line Up

Harry Heckel:

A great writer who I admire, John Scalzi, just mentioned Once Upon a Rhyme on his blog since it’s coming out the same day as Lock In, his next novel. AWESOME!

Originally posted on Whatever:

In case you’re wondering what other science fiction and fantasy books are coming out on the same day as Lock In, here’s a fair (but by no means complete) sampling of the day’s releases:

Again, this is not a complete listing — there’s also a bunch of paranormal romance and urban fantasy that shares the same book birthday, plus lots of smaller press and self published SF/F that will arrive in the world next week.

The point is: For every one of these authors, next Tuesday is a nerve-wracking day, not only because their book is out in the world, but because they know so many others are fresh out in the world, too, waiting for readers (and buyers). It’s a miracle we’re not all puddles of neurotic goo.

Now, certainly I want you to buy Lock In starting next Tuesday, if you’ve not already pre-ordered it. I want it…

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Some Thoughts about Robin Williams

robin-williams

There are a lot of great articles and blogs about Robin Williams all over the internet. I wondered whether I should write something, after all, I never met the man and a number of people have eloquently described his impact as an actor and a comedian. He made me laugh, he made me cry and he made me think.

I’m a miniature wargamer. I have shelves in my house filled with what my wife refers to as “little guys.” They range from Greek hoplites to Space Marines from the grim darkness of the far future. I own robots and dragons, plus a few castles and landing pads in 25-30mm scale. I even have 15mm tanks and smaller scale sailing ships, plus a few starships. As a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons, and later as a young man doing wargames, I’ve always fallen into the categories of “nerd” and “geek” and such, although I was almost “tragically hip” when I was writing about vampires.

The point is that I and most of my friends with the same interests were weird. When I felt discouraged or overly teased, I wanted someone famous or important who played these games, someone successful.

That person was Robin Williams. He collected toy soldiers and miniatures as an adult. He was the guy.

When I worked at Games Workshop, we all knew that Robin Williams had a collection of toy soldiers to rival the greatest among us. He was at the top of the list of people that you’d love a chance to play a game with. We all could imagine his eyes sparkling with that inner child and how he’d lovingly describe his collection – the same way that we described ours. We might be weird, but someone wonderful was weird too.

We felt that he was one of us. I felt that he was a little like me. I always wanted to talk with him about toys. I like to think that he taught me that it’s okay to be strange and even silly. My daughter loves the different voices I do for bedtime stories and the absolute bizarre combinations of stuff that we come up with. Robin helped me find all of that.

Depression is a terrible horrible disease. Some dear friends of mine have suffered through it, and it isn’t something that is easily overcome. The good that may come out of this is more attention to depression. I hope lives will be saved, but I’m so sorry for Robin and his family.

Thank you, Robin Williams.

 

More Hanover Book Festival Info

Here’s the official promo information from Hanover Book Festival.  Looking forward to signing books and talking with everyone.

The weather forecast calls for rain tomorrow. Are you looking for a great indoor activity for you and your family this Saturday, August 9? FREE admission to the public, the Hanover Book Festival has something for the entire family from 10 AM – 2 PM. Held at the Liberty Christian School Activity Building at 8094 Liberty Circle (across from American Family Fitness on Mechanicsville Pk.), there is a FREE workshop for ages 8-12 at 12:15, pick-up-a-duck game for the younger ones, and lots authors from all over the Commonwealth of Virginia with their newest releases. A great time to meet the authors and discuss their books and get autographed copies! And for those family members not interested in books, Cassie’s Kitchen will have lots of delicious food at extremely reasonable prices. Come join the fun. I’ll be there with dozens of other Virginia authors. There are also several workshops available for both writers and nonwriters. Come check it out! For more info, visit http://www.hanoverbookfestival.com.

Hanover Book Festival – This Weekend!

Hi everyone,

I’ll be attending the Hanover Book Festival this weekend on Saturday, August 9th. The festival is taking place in the gym at Liberty Christian School (8094 Liberty Circle, Mechanicsville, VA 23111) and there will be numerous authors there, ready to meet with the public from 10am to 2pm with plenty of books to sell and sign. I suspect there will be a number of door  prizes.

One of my fellow authors, Wayland Smith, will be coming down from DC with copies of his book, In My Brother’s Name, and he’ll be available to talk about HeroNet Files, which will also be available of courseHe’s scheduled to be on a couple of panels at DragonCon in Atlanta this year, and this should be a great opportunity to talk with him.

I’ll have a computer available if anyone wants to order eBooks, and I’ll not only be there as Harry Heckel (with all my Blue Oranda books), but representing Lee Lightner for my Space Wolf novels, and Jack Heckel (I go by J. Heckel) for Once Upon a Rhyme coming out August 26th. I really want to thank Harper Voyager for sending me items to hand out and hopefully a few fun surprises.

Anyway, I’m very excited, and I hope that if you have the chance that you’ll take a little time to come out and see us. Again, there will be lots of other authors as well, so even if fantasy/sci-fi isn’t what you enjoy, please come visit.

All the best,

Harry

San Diego Comic-Con: First Impressions from a First-Time Author

Harry Heckel:

A post from John Peck, my Once Upon a Time co-author, on his experience at San Diego Comic-Con.

Originally posted on Jack Heckel:

“My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”
-Jane Austen

This last week, on Thursday, July 23rd, a date that will live fondly in my memory, I had two firsts. I attended my first ever San Diego Comic-Con (which is amazing given the general level of geek I have always embraced), and I was simultaneously on my first ever panel as an author. I could say something very poetic now about the experience, but I will leave that to Ms. Austen and merely say that it was incredible. I am going to be putting up a number of blog entries in the coming days exploring in detail some of the specific topics we discussed, but for now I want to give you my impressions of Comic-Con broadly, the audience for our panel…

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Once Upon a Rhyme in Voyager Sampler FREE

The good folks at Harper Voyager have released an eBook sampler with excerpts from 15 science-fiction and fantasy authors, including Jack Heckel (my penname that I share with my co-author, John Peck). It’s a great way to browse a number of sci-fi and fantasy books, because after all, it’s free. Here’s the link. One little note is that the draft of Once Upon a Rhyme was in copyediting at the time of selection, so there are some grammatical errors and a word or two missing. It’s a rough draft, and I promise that final version is well-polished.

On July 24, John Peck will be at San Diego Comic-Con representing Jack Heckel in a writer’s panel on fairy tales. We are both extremely excited about SDCC (and yes, I wish I could go too!). It should be a fantastic opportunity.

As for the rest of my writing, I have a week or so to breathe before some edits to Happily Never After. I’m looking forward to spending some time with the Crimson Hawks and Freedom Squad, as well as taking a look at my epic fantasy, The Lantern.

All the best,

Harry

 

Characters vs. Our Outline in The Charming Tales

When John Peck and I originally started writing the books which became The Charming Tales, we started with an outline that we both agreed upon. I remember being very excited about beanstalks, geese that could lay golden eggs, witches who lived in gingerbread houses and how our two main characters would deal with all of them.

And as we wrote, all of those exciting ideas blew away like a straw house facing off with a big bad wolf.

Our characters, particularly Liz Pickett and the rescued Princess Gwendolyn, suddenly took the plot into their own hands. We realized that we couldn’t write the book and follow the outline. The characters wouldn’t let us. We had too many questions about what they would do, and we both discovered that we were much more interested in what would happen to them than what would occur in our original plot.
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