Monthly Archives: May 2014

HeroNet Files released

I’ve had my first superhero story published. I’m really excited, but before I get started, I want to thank Sam R. Kennedy for the tremendous cover that he created. If you’d like to see more of his work, you can click here to go to his website. He is a true professional and an absolute pleasure to work with. Additionally, I’ve invited my fellow contributors, Wayland Smith and Dara Hannon, to do guest posts about their novellas in the next few days.

So, this is your official warning that I’m potentially about to go into a fanboy crazed comic book rant.

My First Comic Book

My First Comic Book

The first comic book that I ever remember getting was Justice League of America #129 (that’s the first series). I’m not sure that I understood everything that happened, but I was shocked when (spoiler alert!) Red Tornado was willing to sacrifice himself to save a city. There were so many superheroes (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Hawkman, Flash, of course, Red Tornado) with so many powers that I was completely hooked. I followed that up with The Incredible Hulk #200 (seriously awesome!) and Captain America and the Falcon #199. I was hooked. Spider-Man would soon enter my life. To this day, I love superheroes and comics.

During National Novel Writing Month, I wrote a sequel to my novella/novel in progress, Freedom Squad: Daughter of Orion. I’m hoping in the next year to have a couple of books come out for Freedom Squad, written at a Y7 level or so. Rigel is officially my daughter’s favorite superhero (though she’s second to Hermione Granger as far as idols). While this book is set in the same shared universe, it’s written for a more adult audience. For example,  there’s a sex scene in one of the stories as well as a human trafficking issue in mine.

When I wrote Hidden Strengths, I wanted to write an origin story about people who were discovering their powers and trying to benefit from them without being a hero or a villain. I was inspired by Spider-Man and his attempts at pro wrestling before he learned that with great power comes great responsibility. Scott, one of the protagonists, decides to get involved with a superhuman fighting league so he can earn money to pay for college. He’s a nice guy with something to prove who gets in over his head rather rapidly. Fortunately for him, he has the ability to absorb kinetic energy making him stronger and more invulnerable in the short term. Part of that energy stays with him, permanently changing him over the long term.

My other protagonist, Marisa, is probably closer to being a villain at the beginning rather than a hero. She has control over her own superhuman powers and has trained to use them for most of her life. Unfortunately, outside of combat, she’s a pawn of the people around her.

Both characters discover something they need in the other. For Marisa, Scott is one of the first decent people she’s met, and she desperately needs someone like that in her life. For Scott, Marisa bolsters his self-confidence and helps him find the strength to try and escape the world of superpowered combat. Unfortunately for both of them, the true villains of the piece aren’t going to let them walk or even run away.

There’s a lot of action in the story and hopefully, a solid superheroic origin.

HeroNet Files Book 1, is available on Amazon in print and Kindle versions, as well as Smashwords in about every other electronic format. It’s also available at Barnes and Noble in print and Nook formats.

HeroNet Cover

Cursed Necropolis D.C.

Twenty years ago, Andrew Greenberg did me the honor of entrusting me with writing D.C. by Night for Vampire: The Masquerade. I’ve written many things since them, but most of the people who remember my roleplaying books start with that one. Today, I was able to revisit the World of Darkness from a new perspective in Washington, DC – the perspective of the Arisen from the innovative roleplaying game, Mummy: The Curse.

My thanks go out to CA Suleiman, my developer, and Neall Raemonn Price, my co-author, who made this happen. Both of them are absolutely incredible. If you see either of their names on a roleplaying game, buy it.

The book answers a number of questions, like why there are all those circles in the city and why do we have an obelisk in the capital of the United States? The answer of course, is to return the glory of the City of Pillars from over four thousand years ago. The book has a number of fun NPCs who could be moved to other cities and chronicles as well as being left in their setting.

Mummy: The Curse and Cursed Necropolis DC can be purchased in print or pdf at

DC Mummy




The Captain’s Final Voyage

Hi everyone,

My apologies for being away so long.  I’ve been working on a number of really amazing projects which are being published this year. I’m going to have some guest bloggers come on in the next few days or so and talk about HeroNet Files, an anthology I contributed to. However, I’m going to write about that more tomorrow.

On February 7th this year, shortly after I finished a visit with him, my grandfather, Dr. Harry Heckel Jr., passed away. He was 97 years old. Part of the reason that I haven’t written is that I wanted to say well, a lot of things about him. I kept remembering the stories that one of my dear cousins told at his memorial service and how great a job she did. I’m his grandson, the writer, and I have trouble finding the words. Of course, I know what he would tell me. He’d say that I should just write, pick a direction and go.

He was the oldest man to circumnavigate the globe on a sailboat (with stops), and he did it twice. With my aunt (and including a chapter by the aforementioned cousin), he published a book about his journeys last year. One of my favorite recent memories was getting to sit next to him at the local Hanover Book Festival, signing books together.

As far as my writing goes, he always encouraged me. He gave me a copy of Beowulf when I was young and followed it up with Horace when I took Latin in school. He told me to follow my dreams and to stop talking about being an author and just write. When I was younger, I’d write, but I always found excuses… work, friends, important things to do, tv shows, etc. He never relented in telling me to keep writing. He believed in me, and he always inspired me. He inspires me still.

I was out searching for a specific present that my daughter wanted to give one of her friends for her birthday when I received the news. After I found the gift, I went to the closest local game store to buy myself a miniature. I wanted something and didn’t want to turn to ice cream. The young man who rang me up said to me, “I really liked your Crimson Hawks novel. I can’t wait for the next one. When is it coming out?”

I like to think that somehow my grandfather was sending me a message.

In the next week, I’m going to dedicate a page on this site to him. Many people come to this blog searching for Captain Heckel, Harry Heckel Jr., the Idle Queen, and so on, looking for my grandfather. I’ll include a link to his book permanently on that page, but for now, here’s one. It’s the story of a man who never let obstacles get in his way, although malfunctioning boat engines sometimes slowed him down.

My good friend, Brad White, sent me an email with Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar when he learned. My grandfather was always fond of poetry and it was read at his service. (Thank you, Brad.)

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

One final story from me. This weekend I went to Norfolk with my father and my family. The Captain was mentioned quite a bit. After we dropped my father back home, I said that sometimes it seems like my grandfather isn’t gone, that he’s just off sailing somewhere.

My daughter spoke up from the backseat. “That’s exactly where he is, Daddy.”


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