Today, we welcome Nancy K. Wallace, the author of Harper Voyager’s Fantasy series, Wolves of Llisé. Nancy was signed in the same open submission pool where we had our start, and it’s been a blast getting to know her.
Like any good fairy tale, let’s begin with Once Upon a Time. Nancy, what’s your “Once Upon a Time”?
I led a charmed childhood thanks to loving and creative parents. Our house came complete with bedtime stories, Summer Solstice Tea Parties for the fairies who lived in our woods, magical Christmas Eves, gumdrop trees, and ponies. I went to bed every night knowing my parents loved me and that tomorrow would bring some new wonderful, magical adventure! (more…)
Tomorrow, we will reveal the cover for The Dark Lord, Jack Heckel’s next book. It’s the start of a new series and our version of a love letter to roleplaying and epic fantasy.
The Dark Lord comes…and his name is Avery?
Stay tuned. 🙂
Most people know that Jack Heckel is not one person, but actually the name that John Peck and Harry Heckel use for their writing team. If you didn’t know that, you know now. 🙂
Jack Heckel was a name proposed to us by Harper Voyager. For whatever reason, books written by co-authors don’t sell as well as books by a single author. So at our publisher’s urging, instead of John Peck and Harry Heckel (or J.H. Heckelpeck or Peck and Heckel), we became Jack Heckel. We still aren’t sure why they didn’t like our choice of J.K. Rowling as a name…
Now, both of us agree that we are Jack Heckel. We don’t divide up our writing and between all the edits we do, we both take full blame and responsibility for anything we write together, even if John did come up with that idea or Harry switched things around. We are both the author of The Charming Tales.
Where things get tricky are places like this blog and convention appearances. If Harry Heckel attends a convention as himself, no one knows that he’s Jack Heckel. Same for John. If Harry attends as Jack Heckel, then as happened at RavenCon this year, someone may be disappointed that they aren’t getting to talk to the real author. Of course, by that logic, John isn’t the real author either. Neither of us is (or are we?). It is a little strange when you are introduced to half an author. It’s also weird if you say, “Would you like to buy my book?” and someone says “That’s half of your book.” It’s even weirder when you are with other authors and a fellow author says “Hi, I’m an author, and sitting next to me is an author, and beside him is half an author.” Once we have two books out, do we stop being half an author each or are we perpetually consigned to half authordom?
And, as a reader, you don’t know whether John or Harry is writing this blog unless we tell you (it’s currently Harry at the keyboard).
Even stranger, we originally created a tongue-in-cheek biography for Jack Heckel. We like the thought of his Vermont lighthouse, but Harry lives in Virginia and John lives in California, and it’s a bit awkward when someone asks either of us what it’s like to have Bernie Sanders as our Senator or why we don’t attend a local book event in Vermont. But, more than that, we both want to connect with our readers. We’d like you to get to know us.
To that end, we are going to share a little more on this blog and identify each other more specifically going forward. I (still Harry) may even interview John (and let him return the favor). We’d like to share a bit about our hobbies and travels, and we hope that you comment. Please let us know what you think.
Also, just to catch everyone up, we’ve both spent most of this year working on our next book, The Dark Lord, a standalone novel that we intend to be book 1 of a new series. It’s about a grad student at a magical university who is trying to save the subworld of Trelari by rallying the forces of Good. His method of doing this: Becoming the Dark Lord. After his experiment ends, things take an unexpected turn and he discovers that he must work with the heroes of Trelari and jump through the hoops of epic fantasy tropes. Whether he can survive the Master of Dungeons, the Dread Semi-Lich, the Dark Queen herself and still complete his dissertation is another matter. And will his roommate Eldrin ever speak to him again? It should be big fun for the November 1st release.
A quick note to everyone. Yesterday saw the ebook release of A Fairy-tale Ending, which collects Once Upon a Rhyme and Happily Never After in the same volume. It includes some edits and a new map. If you haven’t read the other books or you want to introduce someone else to the fun of The Charming Tales, start with this one.
We received even more good news when we received a release date for the print version of A Fairy-tale Ending. On October 13, Liz and Will Pickett, Charming, and Gwendolyn will step beyond the electronic world into paperback. It’s a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who bought our books, those who have recommended our books to others, and a special thank you to those of you who posted reviews. More details to come on this book, Pitchfork of Destiny, and possibly a new series starting in 2016.
All the best!
Aha! The release date of Volume II of the Charming Tales is here! Follow the link under our books page to get your copy today. And, if you didn’t get the reference to “Aha!” then you obviously haven’t read Charming Tales Volume I: Once Upon a Rhyme. You can pick that up at the same time and have the whole story of Charming’s ruin and rise or rise and ruin–depending on who you are rooting for.
Jack hopes everyone enjoys the book and wants you to know that he is already hard at work on Volume III.
Welcome to the Meet My Main Character blog hop!
Thank you to Katherine Harbour for inviting me. She’s one of my fellow Harper Voyager authors and shares my love of fairy tales, inviting her readers into the world of Night and Nothing with Thorn Jack, a dark fantasy retelling of the ancient Scottish ballard, Tam Lin, set in upstate New York. You can find her book here: Amazon in harcover, paperback, Kindle and audiobook. You can learn more about her heroine, Finn Sullivan, and how she has to overcome tragic loss and find a way to outwit the supernatural at Katherine’s blog: Katherineharbour.blogspot.com.
The main character of Once Upon a Rhyme is probably Will Pickett, a peasant who discovers the Great Wyrm of the South has died on his farm. For his entire life, he’s dreamed of being in a fairytale and he decides to take advantage of his opportunity to rescue Princess Gwendolyn, who has been held captive by the dragon for many years. Once he does so, he quickly finds himself lauded as the Dragonslayer by the people of the kingdom. After he becomes Lord Protector, he soon finds that he doesn’t know how to live up to expectations. Fortunately, he’s developed the instinct to bite his hand, slouch and mumble incoherently, or quote a bit of peasant wisdom when things get tough… wait. Hmmm.
Okay, well, Will’s skills probably don’t help much as he tries to live up to what the kingdom thinks a Dragonslayer should be. As his older sister, Liz, points out, the closest that Will has come to using a sword is threatening fence posts with a stick.
I’ve reconsidered. The main character of Once Upon a Rhyme is actually possibly (ahem) maybe Prince Charming. After all, the series IS called The Charming Tales. Charming is a paragon of virtue, excepting all those trysts with the ladies and well… okay, but as I said, Charming is the hero of the kingdom who will slay the dragon, but of course, he doesn’t and can’t really seem to do much right.
Charming does look incredibly dashing in teal hose, and not many men can pull that off.
That didn’t help, did it?
Okay, the main character could be Liz Pickett, Will’s older sister, who finds herself caught between her brother’s dreams, Charming’s desire to expose Will as a fraud, and comes into conflict with a slightly mad Princess who wants revenge for being left in the dragon’s clutches for decades. That might sound better.
In the end, I’d love for everyone to continue the blog hop by going to visit Lexie Dunne.
Lexie Dunne is a woman of many masks, all of them stored neatly in a box under her bed. By day a mild-mannered technical writer and by night an adventuress and novelist, she keeps life interesting by ignoring it and writing instead. She hails from St. Louis, home of the world’s largest croquet game piece, and SUPERHEROES ANONYMOUS is her professional debut into the world of caped crusaders, a journey that started when her father took her and her brother to see The Rocketeer.
A masked woman dropped by and let me know that Lexie’s ultra-top secret blog is hidden at: http://dunnewriting.com.
Once upon a time, way back in 2009, John Peck and Harry Heckel decided to write a book about a fairytale gone wrong.
In one week, that book will be published as Once Upon a Rhyme.
It feels incredible, and it feels like it’s going to take forever. There’s this overwhelming sense of “We should do something.” Have we been promoting it enough? Do we send emails to every person that we’ve ever known since elementary school to ask them if they own a Kindle or Nook and would be interested in buying a book? Should a new blog post appear on JackHeckel.com every few hours? What about Facebook? Pinterest? Twitter? What is Snapchat really and how do I use it? Does Jack have an Instagram account? How big is the Internet? What if all the people who were at GenCon don’t recover in time? Will Doctor Who fans even notice since the new season starts only three days before? What songs are on Awesome Mix #2 and will a dancing baby Groot toy come out on our release date? (Don’t know and probably not.)
*deep breath* Okay, better now. Well, we aren’t going to panic… yet. In some great news, the price has gone down to $1.99 on release, so that’s good news and if you are one of the wonderful people who have pre-ordered, our understanding is that you will have the lower price. Thank you.
So, back to the question on what to do? Well, mostly we are going to prepare. After the release, we intend to have a lot more material on the blog covering deleted material and interviews with our characters and some thoughts on the sequel.
Charming: Finally! I see that my public awaits. You know, that Voyager free sample was great, but of course, you did leave the chapters on me out of it.
JH: Wait, Charming. I’m afraid that we aren’t doing an interview today. We’ll do some after the book release.
Charming: James, I’m sure that…
JH: It’s Jack.
Charming: Please, no interruptions. Now, as I was saying Jesse, I had this entire outfit specially designed for this interview. Do you see how I’m using teal as an accent with this sash? Of course you do. It’s really quite awe-inspiring. Now, now, don’t worry too much about the praise you need to lavish on me. Words can’t possibly do me justice.
JH: Um, it’s Jack and no one on the blog can see you. But, maybe we should start by talking about the Dragon?
Charming: *pales slightly* Yes, well, I’m sorry, Jules, but I’m going to have to cut this interview short. I’m extremely busy, and furthermore, you don’t have any apricot pastries in this interview room and I told my idiot squire that I wasn’t available to do interviews unless there were apricot pastries. Farewell.
So, there you go as a sample of what’s to come. We hope that everyone enjoys the book as much as we enjoyed writing it.
One week to go…
Once upon a time…
The Charming Tales were born about five years ago in a time before the world had gone fairytale crazy with Frozen and Maleficent (two movies that I adore) or even Tangled or Once Upon A Time. Inspired by lots of stories from childhood, along with The Princess Bride, Shrek and books like Piers Anthony’s Xanth series and Robert Lynn Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye’s Myth Adventures, The Charming Tales were meant to be a fun, comedic trip through fairytales. Like most comedy, there are some serious and dark issues lurking beneath the surface, but exploring the darkness is half the fun.
The concept for the series began with the thought, “What if someone besides Prince Charming rescued the princess?” From there, it morphed through a dozen rewrites, as a few very assertive characters (I’m looking at you, Liz and Elle) took their rightful places in the tale and what began as a series of misadventures between the peasant, Will Pickett, and Prince Charming, became something far more. Despite this, it suffered even more rewrites and multiple rejections.
Today, Harper Voyager Impulse announced the publication of Once Upon a Rhyme.
Dreams do come true.
So, thank you to everyone. Books don’t write themselves, and authors don’t exist in a void. So very many people help from amazing editors to supportive families to those friends who won’t let you give up to the people that you’ve never met who read the book or are taking the time to read this blog. Thank you all.
For those of you who are aspiring authors, never give up. It can happen.