“Don’t buy this book” and other writing updates

As I start to write this, I have 17 minutes left of the one year publication anniversary of Once Upon a Rhyme. With the possible exceptions of Umbra: The Velvet Shadow (my first major roleplaying book) and Sons of Fenris (my first published novel), nothing has had a larger impact on my writing life. Since that day, I’ve been a guest at the New York Comic Con, a guest at my local game and sci-fi/fantasy convention RavenCon, had a sequel published (Happily Never After) and written a third book, Pitchfork of DestinyI’ve had other works at least be considered in the office of a major publisher, and it appears likely that I’ll have a new series start in 2016.

What a year!

And on August 25, 2015Fairytale Ending, Jack Heckel has another book – A Fairy-tale Ending! And that’s the one that I want to warn everyone about. If you own Once Upon a Rhyme and Happily Never After, please DON’T buy that book! It is a collection of those two books together in one place, and hopefully in a month or two, it will be released in paperback. I just don’t want anyone getting confused and thinking that it’s the third in the series. That will be Pitchfork of Destiny coming in December.

However, if you know someone who hasn’t read the series, please recommend A Fairy-tale Ending, because it contains both books, and a cool map along with some additional editing. If they haven’t started the series, it’s a good way to be caught up on everything. I guarantee that they will laugh.

I also want to thank everyone who has helped me over the years to keep writing. So many of you have inspired me and continue to do so. Thank you. Read the rest of this entry

Daughter of Orion Prologue


Rigel Cover by Sam R. Kennedy

I came to the realization earlier this week as I was reviewing my year’s writing goals that I needed to spend some time focusing on Rigel and Freedom Squad. Currently, there are over 200,000 words written on the character, spread across three novels and one novella. I’ve asked Harper Voyager about their interest in her and her team, but I’m still awaiting a reply.

I keep reading that this is the time of the female superhero. As Rigel was originally created nearly 27 years ago, I think she’s ready to burst onto the scene. She even has a fantastic piece of cover art ready to go.

Most importantly, she’s meant to be an inspiration to kids like my daughter. While she’s a legacy hero, she’s not a Supergirl or Batgirl, with the powers and and identity of another character. One of her story arcs is her effort to separate herself from the legacy of her father, Orion, and prove herself on her own, while continuing to uphold her father’s ideals.

I’m currently undergoing a rework of all of the Rigel novels, with some assistance from the capable Heather Curatola (the original creator of Rigel) and my Jack Heckel co-author, John Peck.

So while many of my good friends are at GenCon or the Richmond comic convention today, I thought I’d share the current rewrite of the prologue for Daughter of Orion (formerly In the Stars). Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry

More thoughts on CMON Expo 2015

It’s been over a month since I was in Atlanta for the CMON Expo 2015. I had a fantastic time indulging in my miniature gaming hobby and being a freelance writer. The event also came at a good time for me in regards to my day job, although I wish it hadn’t been going on during Father’s Day on that Sunday.

Here’s a link (CMON Expo pix) to some of the pictures from the event. I’m in a few of them, although sadly, I didn’t recognize myself at first. I’m in a bright blue/turquoise polo and my hair looks far more gray than I imagine it. I’m also a bit larger than I’d like, but I’m working on it. Eat well, exercise and take care of your health.

On to fun things… Read the rest of this entry

Writing update

So, my personal Camp Nanowrimo curse has struck again. With less than a week to go, I’m at about a thousand words. I think summer just has too much going on. However, I have been writing. I scripted several puppet shows for my church’s vacation bible school. I did some submissions for freelancing and a lot of editing. So, here’s what’s happening on the writing fronts.

  • A Fairy-tale Ending which collects Once Upon a Rhyme and Happily Never After will have an ePub release on August 25 with the print version to follow in about a month. The only differences are some edits and a map of Royaume, so if you bought the other two, thank you and we’ll show the map on Jack Heckel’s site.
  • Pitchfork of Destiny is lined up for a December 8th release from Harper Voyager. Sorry about the delays, but I promise it is worth it. The Great Dragon of the North is coming!
  • For those who follow the blog, Rigel and Freedom Squad are waiting to find out if they will join the Harper books or go the small press route. The world needs strong female heroes and my daughter really wants it published.
  • The Crimson Hawks are also waiting for word from Harper. Regardless, they have a second book waiting and are also looking for publication and a permanent home.
  • Krueger is staying with Blue Oranda. Plans for book 3 are done, but Souls of the Everwood and Balefire and Brimstone will get new editions in the next year with an expanded story and a fresh rewrite.
  • Son of Helios needs some edits and cover art, but is in a good place.
  • The Lantern is also with Harper for consideration. I hope to hear soon on what will happen there. I’m planning to dedicate a week’s vacation to completing it. There are several people waiting (especially my friend, Dorothy).
  • I’m looking at more game fiction but nothing’s signed yet.

So that’s what my world looks like. I’m also reviewing a friend’s book for edits and need to work on Heronet Files 2. It’s a good place but lots of work. :) 

Thanks for visiting the site. All my best!

Camp Nanowrimo for July

So, I took the plunge and I’m trying to write 31, 000 words during the month of July. Unlike Nanowrimo in November, I’m not starting a new novel, but rather trying to finish up an old one.

The Lantern, as I call it, was originally started way back around 1995. The original version read a bit like Harry Potter, but then Harry Potter came out, so it was rewritten. I worked on it quite a bit around 2009-2010, but I’ve done only a small amount every year since.

It’s an epic fantasy story about a young man named Polaris, a prince and the son of a hero, whose father disappeared when he was nine years old. His father placed a magical lantern next to Polaris’ bed, a light that wouldn’t go out, to keep away monsters. At the beginning of the story, Polaris is eighteen and has to present himself to the high king to be invested as ruler of his land, which also means that his father’s death will be officially recognized.

But Polaris isn’t ready to give up on his father and wizards are having visions of the end of the world.

I need to work on a better summation, but I’ve enjoyed writing the book over the years. It’s currently over 100,000 words and I hope to give it a solid jump start this July.

One of the more interesting things about Camp Nanowrimo is the cabin. I’m grouped with 11 other writers all working on their own books. Many of them are young according to their profiles. Some of them are from the other side of the world, but I’m hoping that I can help all of them be successful.

All the best,


To Camp NaNo or Not to Camp Nano in July – That is the Question

Every year since 2008, I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month and every year since 2009, I’ve completed 50,000 words in November. However, although I’ve tried to enter Camp Nano and do 50,000 words in other months, I’ve never succeeded.

I’ve been going back and forth on whether to try this year for July. I could use a good spark to my writing, and while I’ve had fun going to shows and I’ve done lots of editing, I really need to get back to writing. I can’t think of much that would help more than a forced 50,000 words in July.

I’m curious if anyone else has tried it and what they think. Am I crazy?

The one thing that I want to do differently from November is this: Instead of starting a new novel, I want to finish some of my old ones. I’m going to start with my epic fantasy, The Lantern, and see what transpires from there. The Hawks would certainly like their second book as well.

I’ll see if I can post on July 1st and let everyone know what’s going on.

I hope everyone’s had a great June!

CMON Expo 2015


After winning at Zombicide

I’ve been fortunate to be visiting the CMON Expo in Atlanta, GA. It’s been a break from real life and a chance for me to play games for a weekend. My thanks to Cool Mini or Not for the invite and my wife and daughter for being great about my attending. Read the rest of this entry


Longtime visitors may know that I’m the grandson of Captain Harry Heckel, the oldest man to circumnavigate the globe. Recently, I’ve had a number of visitors from France who are looking for information about my grandfather. I apologize as my French is rather poor, but the best place to find information on him is his book. It’s only available in English and I’m putting the link here.

There’s further information about him on the Captain Heckel page, which can be clicked above. He passed away last year, and I was fortunate to visit him that day. In our final conversation, I was able to tell him that I had received a book deal from Harper Voyager for my series, The Charming Tales.

Please feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to answer any questions. Je ne parle pas Francais, mais mon epouse peux traduire. :) Here’s a picture of Dr. Heckel himself.

Harry L. Heckel Jr.


Au revoir!

New York Comic Con Journal

Harry Heckel:

Bishop O’Connell’s trip to New York Comic Con last year, which includes video of my panel with him. I had to figure out how to be Jack Heckel. :)

Originally posted on A Quiet Pint:

I was invited to attend this year’s New York Comic Con, and be on the “Not Your Mother’s Fairytale” panel, along with Harry Heckel, another Impulse author (half of Jack Heckel) I’d met previously and gotten along famously with. Now that I’ve caught my breath, here is a journal of my adventure and experiences. Spoiler alert: it was utterly mind blowing.

Harper had events lined up for those of us attending the Con, starting with a get together on Thursday night. Readers and buyers from some bookstores would be in attendance, so I wanted to be there. Since I still have a day job, I couldn’t fly until Thursday night, but I was assured arriving a little late wouldn’t be a problem. I’d never been fashionably late to anything, so I was looking forward to it. I’d managed to get a direct flight, but of course the plane…

View original 1,287 more words

Fear and Writing

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, Dune

Recently (March and April), I had the unfortunate experience of suffering from some side effects of allergy medication. Basically, they began causing fear and anxiety as they built up in my system. It got to a point where my blood pressure spiked to a new high, and I started having panic attacks about rather mundane things. Oh, and there were lots of fun nightmares. Read the rest of this entry


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