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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!

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,


Juggling Identities


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

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