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It’s been a long time…

I can’t remember when I last did a blog here, which is a little sad, because I think the world could use a few more things to read. Okay, it looks like it was August 4, 2018. That’s a while.

I’m starting to get started once more. Hopefully, this is a good step in the right direction. I’ll start with a writing update.

First, I owe The Darkest Lord an apology. It is the final book in the Mysterium trilogy, and I did it a tremendous disservice on launch. Avery’s journey which began in The Dark Lord, and continued in The Darker Lord, finally came to its conclusion. In addition, it was the last Jack Heckel book from Harper Collins, so John Peck and I are currently looking at new publishing options.

The good news is that the reason we are looking at new publishing options has to do with the third book in the Charming series which we are working on tentatively titled, The Dragon and the Beanstalk. We’ve wanted to do a third Charming book for years, and we are both very happy to be working on it. We’ve also talked about putting out a collection of short stories based on the characters in the series.

There are a number of other half-finished and half-started projects as well, but it’s looking more and more like I’m finally turning my attention to Freedom Squad. I have four or five novels in various states for my superhero team, and I’m hopeful that the first may come out as early as Christmas 2021. More updates to come. Oh, and I’ve still been finishing nanowrimo each year, so there are three more novels that haven’t seen this blog in draft form.

As far as gaming goes, I have some possible news on the wargaming front, but I need to check on what I’m allowed to say.

I’m working on way too many miniature projects, which is why I can never get anything finished. I’ll try to highlight a few in the next couple of weeks and do some sharing. Painting has definitely helped over the last few years.

If you are still following this blog, thank you for your patience. I appreciate it immensely, and I’m going to try to write some fun and entertaining stuff in the next year. If you are new, welcome. I hope you find something that intrigues you.

A special thanks to everyone at the Virginia Writers Club. The Symposium helped get me to dust off my blogging keyboard.

Wishing everyone well in these challenging times and hoping the best is yet to come. Take care!

Event this Wednesday in RVA

I’ve spent 2017 buried in writing The Darker Lord, the sequel to Jack Heckel’s The Dark Lord. It has been a tremendous amount of fun, along with a tremendous amount of effort. Due in part to that and a number of other things, I’m a bit behind on blogging. However, if you are interested in catching up, I’ll be attending the James River Writers’ March Writing Show as one of their panelists. It should be a tremendous time and a great opportunity to meet a number of talented authors. Please click here for all the details.

Happy New Year a bit late plus lots of updates

Happy 2017!

First, I want to apologize to everyone who checks this blog. I have done a terrible job of blogging over the last two and a half months. Part of it was my day job, part of it was a nasty cold that lingered forever, and a lot of it was writing. Oh and there were some holidays…

darklord-final-coverSo, the biggest news is that The Dark Lord is out in paperback! When John Peck and I wrote The Dark Lord, it was a shift for us from the fractured fairy-tales of The Charming Tales to a parody of epic fantasy. Probably our smartest decision was to put in as many references to geek culture as we felt the story could take, from Star Wars and Star Trek to World of Warcraft, Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and a plethora of Dungeons & Dragons to boot. In addition, there’s what we believe is a pretty good fantasy story with some strong arcane mechanics behind it.

I’m hoping to do a launch party in February or March, though I need to remember to contact my favorite independent bookseller, Fountain Bookstore and coordinate efforts. We decided not to do a launch celebration in December due to the holidays.

Currently, John and I are working on the next two books in the series…The Darker Lord and The Darkest Lord, and we will let the world know release dates when we do. If they are half as much fun to read as they have been to write, we’ll be doing well.

I’ve got two big events in April. First, there’s the Hanover Book Festival on April 22, 2017 where I will join about 50 authors selling my books, doing signings, and meeting with readers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch building off 301 near Richmond, Virginia. I will also have a short story in the Hanover Writer’s Club anthology which should be on sale there. If possible, I may have the release of one of my Blue Oranda titles as well.

The following weekend, I’ll be in Williamsburg as a guest at RavenCon for the third year in a row. Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors, is the guest of honor, and we should have a fantastic time. I’ll be doing a number of panels, although I’m not sure I’ll have a table. As we get closer, I’ll come up with something fun if you find me there.

Anyway, my apologies for going dark on social media. It’s been a bit overwhelming juggling the writing and life, but I think I’m back on the right track (no pun intended). I did complete Nanowrimo again, although it was a bit of a train wreck due to a freelance commitment, which I also completed. I definitely need to edit those 50,000 words before I share too much.

Thank you for visiting my blog!

All the best,



Once Upon a Time with… Liana Brooks!

Hi everyone! Today we have a special guest, Liana Brooks, author of the Time & Shadows trilogy. She’s one of our fellow Harper Voyager Impulse authors, and her third book, DECOHERENCE, wa…

Source: Once Upon a Time with… Liana Brooks!

Writing Updates – July

Once again, it’s been a little while since my last blog post. It’s a tough juggling act between writing, real life and marketing my writing (by doing appearances and writing blog posts).

The biggest writing news for me has been the release of The Pitchfork of Destiny by Jack Heckel in paperback. I’ve been really pleased with the initial sales, and I’m happy about the appearances I’ve made with it. In particular, I had a great time at RavenCon in Richmond, VA (thank you, Fountain Bookstore!) and my co-author, John, had a fantastic experience at the Phoenix Comic-Con.

On the Jack Heckel front, John and I finished the first book in a new series, entitled The Dark Lord. The first draft came in at 107,000 words, but I’m sure we’ll cut some material and it will probably come in around 90,000 ish when all is done. It’s an interesting tale of a graduate student at a mystical university who is forced to experience the tropes of an epic fantasy story while traveling to another world. Oh, and he’s got to save his thesis as well, which involves saving that world, which would be easy, except he happens to have been “The Dark Lord.” Like The Charming Tales, it should be amusing, however, it’s more for a teenage audience than The Charming Tales. Read the rest of this entry

Pitchfork of Destiny in Print Today!

Check out @HarperVoyagerUS’s Tweet:

Updates for April

While I’m eagerly anticipating the ebook release of The Pitchfork of Destiny on Tuesday, I received some unfortunate news. The Virginia Voice fundraiser will not be taking place on April 10th. Several members of the Hanover Writers Group as well as some good people at Virginia Voice worked very hard on the event, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’d still encourage everyone to at least visit the Virginia Voice website ( and be aware of the good that the organization does.

As half of Jack Heckel, I’m working on the first book in our new series – The Dark Lord. We are hoping to do to epic fantasy what Charming and company are doing to fairytales. This doesn’t mean that The Charming Tales are coming to an end, only that we want to expand our horizons and try some other things. Read the rest of this entry

The Pitchfork of Destiny arrives April 5, 2016!

The Pitchfork of DestinyFinally, after what feels like forever, it’s only a week until the ebook release of The Pitchfork of Destiny. John and I finished the first draft of the book over a year ago, March 9, 2015 to be exact. It follows the events of A Fairy-tale Ending (Once Upon a Rhyme plus Happily Never After). Just as the first story started with the dragon, Magdela, impaling herself on a pitchfork, this sequel begins with the mighty dragon Volthraxus, finally flying south to court Magdela, only to discover her unfortunate fate. When he learns what happens, he decides to exact vengeance on Will Pickett, which leads Will to seek out the only man in the kingdom with any training in battling dragons. Of course, that’s Charming. However, Liz may be the one who has to save the kingdom.

My daughter has read the book and tells me that it’s even better than the first. We are going to be doing our best to get copies out to sites for reviews. I hope that if you like ebooks, you can pick it up from Amazon, iTunes or Barnes & Noble (clickable links included – except itunes which was being difficult). If you prefer paperbacks, I have excellent news. It is available for order through local booksellers, Barnes & Noble and Amazon on May 17th. If you haven’t read A Fairy-tale Ending, it’s a good time to get started on that one as well.

Thank you to all my readers. You keep inspiring me. Enjoy!

All the best,


Published… but now what?

My thoughts (and half of Jack Heckel’s) on reality after publication. I hope that all the aspiring and new authors will find it helpful. To quote Galaxy Quest, “Never give up! Never surrender!”

Jack Heckel

Jack Heckel’s quest for publication began sometime in 2008, when we first had the idea for our novels. Most of the writing was done in 2009, probably bleeding into the early part of 2010. There were beta readers, feedback sessions, a long weekend of edits at a hotel in Maryland, and still more edits between 2010 and 2012. 2011 and 2012 were filled with rejections. We couldn’t even get out of the slush pile with agents. 

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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!

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