Category Archives: Writing
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
I’ve been away from the blog for too long between writing and allergy season (which deserves a blog post all its own). I wanted to let everyone know that I will be a guest at RavenCon in Richmond, VA over the weekend. Check out www.ravencon.com for details of the event. I’m looking forward to getting to meet lots of people and seeing some old friends.
All the best,
Here we are in 2015! Just to show off my age, this feels like a date from the far future (Back to the Future, actually!).
2014 was a great year in writing for me. I returned to the world of roleplaying games with Cursed Necropolis: D.C. and I had two novels e-published by Harper Voyage Impulse, Once Upon a Rhyme and Happily Never After. I was on a panel at the Baltimore Book Festival, I was a guest at the Hanover Book Festival and my highlight of the year in appearances was being a guest at the New York Comic Con! I would also be remiss in not mentioning getting to meet all the Harper Voyager authors who have become an amazing support group. Read the rest of this entry
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,
It’s early October and I’m suddenly struck with that feeling. It’s coming. November, aka…
50,000 words of total writing madness in 30 days, all the while dealing with everything that life throws at you. Plus, this year, I have an extra challenge or two – new book proposals and writing on Book 3 of the Charming Tales.
Part of me, the sane part of me, says “Don’t do it this year. You don’t have time. You can’t. Would you risk Charming for National Novel Writing Month?”
The crazy part of me, says “AHA! What a great story it would make if you succeeded!”
I’ve done it every year successfully since 2009. I certainly don’t want to stop now. I always tell people who want to try that whether you succeed in writing 50,000 words in a month or not, you will certainly have more words than you started. I believe that. When I first tried Nanowrimo, I failed utterly and ended with only 8,000 words or so. That failure eventually turned into Souls of the Everwood, my first Krueger novel.
As a writer, I’ve gone by three different names, Harry Heckel (my real name), Lee Lightner (when I collaborate with Jeff Smith) and most recently, Jack Heckel (when collaborating with John Peck). I’ve also considered writing in other genres and I have a few novels that if I ever sell, I may publish under yet more names. At the Baltimore Book Festival, I was asked how I keep track of my different selves, and I gave a short answer about being organized and branding, but I’m going to elaborate more here.
Today, writers have to do a lot of marketing. From writing blog posts like this one to keeping Twitter feeds going, to doing appearances and writing articles, it’s a lot of work. I keep recalling that fellow Harper Voyager author Bishop O’Connell told me (and I’m paraphrasing), “You’ve been published. Now the real work begins.” Read the rest of this entry
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,
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.
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 course. He’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,
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,