Finally, 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,
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.
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.