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
A link to the page of Jack Heckel for an important announcement. I hope everyone enjoys!
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!
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,
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!!
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,
A.F.E. Smith interviewed John Peck, my Once Upon a Rhyme co-author, and myself on her blog. It’s a really fun interview where we are asked what books we’d take with us to a Barren Island. Please click here and check it out.
Two days to go until the eBook release of Once Upon a Rhyme! The two links on this post are for Harper Collins and Amazon respectively.
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,
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.
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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.