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 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.
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
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!!
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
A long time ago (2008), my former college roommate and dear friend, John Peck, stood in a park in northern Virginia and told me about some ideas that he had for novels. One in particular struck me. He wanted to tell the story of a fairytale where Prince Charming didn’t save the princess or slay the dragon.
A few months later, after not being able to get the idea out of my head, I called him and said “let’s write a book.”
And so, Charming, our comedic fantasy fairytale epic, was born. At least, that’s how I remember it. I’m going to try and get John to guest post and give him ample time to correct any mistakes. As a friend once told me, memory is the second thing to go. He couldn’t remember the first thing. 🙂
A little more than five years later, Harper Voyage has announced the publication of Once Upon a Rhyme and also has a publication date for the sequel Happily Never After. They will both be published under the penname of Jack Heckel, but John Peck and I are writing the books. I was a little over-enthusiastic when word first came out and created some confusion by posting but never explaining my relationship to Jack. My apologies.
In the next several weeks before publication, I want to use this blog to explore how we got from a park and a phone call to publication. Honestly, it was a long road and I daresay that I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve edited the books. I’ve also spent plenty of hours wondering exactly what form of masochism drives people to spend their evenings writing.
I’d like to invite everyone to visit www.jackheckel.com which will feature even more about Jack Heckel and the characters and stories found in Charming. Once Upon a Rhyme is up for pre-order as a Kindle book on Amazon.com and for the Nook on Barnes and Noble. All support is greatly appreciated. It’s a fun book, and I still laugh when I read it, even after a dozen edits.