Category Archives: Charming
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 Destiny. I’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, 2015, 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
A link to the page of Jack Heckel for an important announcement. I hope everyone enjoys!
I feel like I have a million things to do and no time to do any of them. After having Happily Never After published, I’ve spent time trying to coordinate all the social media aspects of publication. I’ve been working on interviews and trying to do tweets and checking in on Facebook. I’ve been attempting to keep up with my email, although I’m getting overwhelmed by holiday messages. It’s been a mess.
And it’s not even been two weeks.
I think it’s amazing the speed at which the world works. There are so many opportunities for writers to promote and market themselves, but no one really seems to know the magic formula to get your work in front of your audience. There are lots of theories and probably a half billion people on the internet who’d offer to help, but as far as I can tell it’s just hard work.
I spent most of this weekend working on a Christmas Pageant script, doing holiday related activities, prepping for this week at my day job, and trying to find time to get household chores done. It was largely successfully, however, I fell behind on my own Book 3 deadline schedule for Charming as well as blog posts.
Bishop O’Connell told me that the real work begins after publication. I thought I knew what he meant after Once Upon a Rhyme, but it’s a lot more with Happily Never After‘s release. That’s a good thing, by the way, but it’s still crazy. I suspect that as long as I keep taking it one piece at a time, everything should work out.
Now on to reading, writing and a million edits…
All the best,
In the midst of the excitement of Nanowrimo (and yes, I have a lot more to post on that including more Freedom Squad), I had a book release! On November 25th, the sequel to Once Upon a Rhyme, Happily Never After, was published as an ebook. It’s available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes and of course, Harper Voyager’s own website.
I’m extremely pleased to have the sequel out within a few months of the first book. In this book, the story started in Once Upon a Rhyme comes to its conclusion. We’ve been compared to The Princess Bride and Shrek by reviewers, which pleases me to no end, as that’s exactly what we were hoping for. If you enjoyed the first book, I’d love to know what you think about Book 2. I’m hopeful that in a time where Into the Woods is coming out as a movie and Once Upon a Time is on television, that these two books will be ones that people can discover and enjoy. Wishing everyone the best!
I looked up and suddenly realized that it was November 22, and despite my best intentions, I hadn’t even posted anything in two weeks, much less kept the updates flowing on my Freedom Squad book. So what happened? Well, it was a combined force of my day job, plus a nasty set of allergies and/or cold attacking me (I can’t quite decide which). Basically, I’ve felt miserable for the last two weeks and since I do QA work, I need to sleep in order to pay attention to details. Having said that, I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, particularly this week as I’ve been feeling better.
So, I have more Freedom Squad chapters, about 13 which haven’t been posted. I’ll try and put one up tomorrow. I’m near 30,000 words as of this writing which puts me about 6,000 words off the pace. That’s not good, but I refuse to give up. For me, one of the reasons that I do National Novel Writing Month is to find out just how much I can write and juggle the rest of my life. I’m not done yet. Read the rest of this entry
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,
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.