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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Charming and the Captain

I’ve written on a few occasions about my grandfather, Dr. Harry L. Heckel Jr. (“Captain Heckel”), the oldest man to perform a solo circumnavigation of the globe.  I still owe him a page on this blog. He always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. He would push me to do more writing, and he reminded me more than once that life was shorter than I thought.

In fact, he told me that life was short on the day he died.

When I took the afternoon off work to go see him that day, I had something to tell him. At that point, contracts hadn’t been signed and I wasn’t supposed to talk about it, but I had received the offer on The Charming Tales. He had been having a difficult week and everyone thought the end was near.

So on his last day, I was able to tell him that I had gotten a book deal with Harper Voyager. Charming is the last thing we talked about, and I’m so thankful that I had the chance to share it with him.

 

 

 

Once Upon a Rhyme…

A long time ago (2008), my former college roommate and dear friend, John Peck, stood in a park in northern Virginia and told me about some ideas that he had for novels. One in particular struck me. He wanted to tell the story of a fairytale where Prince Charming didn’t save the princess or slay the dragon.

A few months later, after not being able to get the idea out of my head, I called him and said “let’s write a book.”

And so, Charming, our comedic fantasy fairytale epic, was born. At least, that’s how I remember it. I’m going to try and get John to guest post and give him ample time to correct any mistakes. As a friend once told me, memory is the second thing to go. He couldn’t remember the first thing. :)

A little more than five years later, Harper Voyage has announced the publication of Once Upon a Rhyme and also has a publication date for the sequel Happily Never After. They will both be published under the penname of Jack Heckel, but John Peck and I are writing the books. I was a little over-enthusiastic when word first came out and created some confusion by posting but never explaining my relationship to Jack. My apologies.

In the next several weeks before publication, I want to use this blog to explore how we got from a park and a phone call to publication. Honestly, it was a long road and I daresay that I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve edited the books. I’ve also spent plenty of hours wondering exactly what form of masochism drives people to spend their evenings writing.

I’d like to invite everyone to visit www.jackheckel.com which will feature even more about Jack Heckel and the characters and stories found in Charming. Once Upon a Rhyme is up for pre-order as a Kindle book on Amazon.com and for the Nook on Barnes and Noble. All support is greatly appreciated. It’s a fun book, and I still laugh when I read it, even after a dozen edits.

Thanks!

Voyager Impulse to Publish Digital Submission Winners

Voyager Impulse to Publish Digital Submission Winners.

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