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
Spotlight on Michelle Hauck’s Grudging (and a tiny Nano update)
I’m over 10,000 words in Nanowrimo with an update to come, however, one of my fellow Harper authors, Michelle Hauck, has her book, Grudging, release today. I’m a big believer that authors should stick together, so I thought I’d share some information about her. In addition to everything said below, she’s a great human being to boot.
New York Comic Con 2014 Recap
I made it to New York Comic Con last weekend and did a panel on Not Your Mother’s Fairy Tales. It was an amazing time, and now, I’m going to try and give a good recap.
As I have a day job (and a new one at that), I wound up driving Friday evening to get close to Delaware from Virginia and then made my way into New York on Saturday. Bishop O’Connell, author of The Stolen (which I’m happy to say I’ve started and am enjoying), sent me a text before I reached the convention. It was good to have someone expecting me. I got out of my cab which was stuck in rainy New York traffic and tried to figure out where the entrance was to the Javits Center. There was a woman on the sidewalk in front of me in a Black Widow costume. An Avenger had to be going in the right direction, so I followed her and found the entrance.
Words don’t do the place justice. Just heading inside, there were SO many people, dressed in SO many costumes from anime to sci-fi to horror to superheroes. I had Jedi Knights on one side of me, the Doctor and Amy Pond on the other side and lots of Deadpools in front of me. Everywhere I looked, there was a spaceship or a dragon or a poster of something spectacular. I found the whole experience overwhelming. I texted Bishop to find out where I should go, but he replied that he was about to do a radio interview and that I should head to the Harper booth.
Life, Lunch and a Lot of Rambling
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,
Hanover Book Festival – This Weekend!
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,
Characters vs. Our Outline in The Charming Tales
When John Peck and I originally started writing the books which became The Charming Tales, we started with an outline that we both agreed upon. I remember being very excited about beanstalks, geese that could lay golden eggs, witches who lived in gingerbread houses and how our two main characters would deal with all of them.
And as we wrote, all of those exciting ideas blew away like a straw house facing off with a big bad wolf.
Our characters, particularly Liz Pickett and the rescued Princess Gwendolyn, suddenly took the plot into their own hands. We realized that we couldn’t write the book and follow the outline. The characters wouldn’t let us. We had too many questions about what they would do, and we both discovered that we were much more interested in what would happen to them than what would occur in our original plot.
Read the rest of this entry
Charming and the Captain
I’ve written on a few occasions about my grandfather, Dr. Harry L. Heckel Jr. (“Captain Heckel”), the oldest man to perform a solo circumnavigation of the globe. I still owe him a page on this blog. He always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. He would push me to do more writing, and he reminded me more than once that life was shorter than I thought.
In fact, he told me that life was short on the day he died.
When I took the afternoon off work to go see him that day, I had something to tell him. At that point, contracts hadn’t been signed and I wasn’t supposed to talk about it, but I had received the offer on The Charming Tales. He had been having a difficult week and everyone thought the end was near.
So on his last day, I was able to tell him that I had gotten a book deal with Harper Voyager. Charming is the last thing we talked about, and I’m so thankful that I had the chance to share it with him.