The time has come. We’ve received the copy edits for The Dark Lord back from Harper and are doing the final review of the text before everything is set in stone for the November 1st ebook release.
Here’s how the process works. First, we send in the initial draft to our editor. She does her magic to it, and sends it back with insights, feedback and suggested changes. We take some time to review and meet her requests and return it to her. She looks over everything again and decides whether or not to send it out for copy editing. The copy editor fixes our grammar and points out any issues that we and our editor missed. We have a final opportunity to look everything over, make any final minor tweaks, and then we are done.
The last edit isn’t so bad, except that we do it in about a week and our novel is over 100,000 words long. We know what we will be doing this weekend.
More details to come, but they may come after copy edits are turned in next week. Until then, all the best!
It feels like we’ve been writing and rewriting The Dark Lord forever, but finally, November 1st, ebook release day, is just around the corner. Preorders are available. This is a new series for us, but don’t worry, Charming fans, we’re still committed to you. The Dark Lord combines our love of roleplaying games and epic fantasy with grad school and a bit of humor. It’s a bit well, darker than Charming…
So here we go… (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.
This is more of an update than a true blog post, but it’s been since December, so it seemed like a good time to reconnect with the world.
We’ve been diligently working on edits and revisions to Pitchfork of Destiny which is now The Pitchfork of Destiny (and will have an updated cover). We have the green light for publication and everything is set for an April 5th ebook release. We’ll update everyone when we hear about the paperback.
The best way to ensure we’ll have a paperback early is to tell as many people as you can to pick up A Fairy-tale Ending, preferably by ordering through your local bookstore. If you are in Richmond, VA, Fountain Bookstore carries the novel and can get signed copies for you.
We’re working on a new series right now, with the first novel tentatively entitled The Dark Lord. We’re looking to do what we did with fairy tales to epic fantasy, with a few twists.
Thanks for all the support and feel free to ask any questions with a comment.
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!
Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home? – Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb
Comfortably Numb is a Pink Floyd song from the album The Wall, which somehow seems appropriate because one of the hardest things to do as a writer once you’ve written a book is get through a wall of social media noise and figure out how to get people to read it. In many ways, it’s the biggest challenge facing authors these days, especially indie ones. How can people discover you?
Part of the reason that I’m thinking about this subject is that I (the Harry Heckel half of Jack Heckel) am going to be on a panel at Awesome Con in Washington, DC this weekend. This is amazingly cool, and I owe fellow author Wayland Smith for making it happen.
I’ll be on a panel at 2:15 on Sunday with Wayland Smith and Day al-Mohamed discussing how to build a knowledge base and use it for writing. I’m sure I’ll talk quite a bit about reading fairy tales.
All of this is good, even I daresay, AWESOME, but I should have announced that I was going to be at Awesome Con a month ago on this blog. Opportunity lost. (more…)
So, I (the Harry Heckel half of Jack Heckel) spent this last weekend at a wonderful sci-fi, fantasy and horror convention. For the last several weeks, I’ve been dealing with allergies and some related medical issues – nothing too serious, but I’ve been exhausted. RavenCon was the best treatment in the world.
The staff was utterly fantastic. They were helpful and understanding and even when something didn’t go right, they fixed it immediately. I was very impressed with the professionalism and common sense.
As for the people I met, I had three panels and a seminar and the audiences were great. I didn’t have the largest turnouts, but the people who did attend asked intriguing questions and I felt a real sense of interest and excitement. I made a few new friends among the writers and other guests, notably KT Pinto, Rob Balder, Chris Jackson and Mike McPhail. I also enjoyed running into Baine Kelly and her family. There were many others and I’m sure I’m missing several people.
In contrast to the New York Comic Con, this was a tiny affair, but it was still enjoyable and had a few advantages. For one thing, I wasn’t as likely to get lost (though I still had to ask for directions once). I was also able to take my family. The fact that it’s in my home town meant that I could sleep in my own bed at night.
I hope this will be a year of many conventions, so we can get the word out about our books and meet the fans. As a bonus to the first five people who comment on this post with the name of any of my panels or my seminar, I’ll send you an ebook of your choice from the first three novels of the Charming Tales (Pitchfork of Destiny is a preorder).
Wishing everyone 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.
As we count down to our San Diego Comic-Con panel (in 2 days), we have some great news! A rough draft of the prologue and chapter 1 of Once Upon a Rhyme are available free in Voyager: A Science Fiction and Fantasy eBook Sampler from Harper Voyager US. It’s a long title, but you can reach it if you click here. And the good news is that it’s FREE!
In addition to Jack Heckel, there are pieces from a number of great authors, including Kim Harrison and Richard Kadrey, a total of 15 excerpts in all. It’s a great way to browse a number of upcoming and current releases.
However, the Once Upon a Rhyme excerpt was taken from a time when we were in between copyediting, so we want to warn everyone that there are some grammatical errors and typos. These have all been fixed in the polished final version, coming out August 26th. Anyway, it’s a free sampler and a great chance to be introduced to a number of fantastic authors.
May your dreams come true,