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!
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,
Big news here from the land of Charming: one of my alter-egos, John Peck, has been invited to speak on a panel at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) about fairy tales. He joins some really talented authors, including Shannon Hale (creator of the Ever After High series) and another Voyager Impulse author, Katherine Harbour (author of Thorn Jack), among others, to discuss how we go about reimagining well-known fairy tales into new stories. If you are going to be at SDCC stop by, and if you let us know in advance, John will make a point of looking out for you. As always, we live for our readers.
Panel Name: Fairy Tale Remix
Date/Time: Thursday, 7/24/14, 12:00p.m. 1:00p.m., Room: 32AB
Descriptions: Toto, I’ve a feeling these aren’t our typical fairy tales… From cyborg Cinderellas to swashbuckling pirates, fairy tales are just full of possibilities for retelling and reimagining. A fantastic line up of authors will discuss how they take very well-known stories (such as Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, Tam Lin) and remix them for a new audience, and how they create their very own fairy tales! Moderated by Shannon Hale (Ever After High series), this panel featuring Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles), Katherine Harbour (Thorn Jack), John Peck (Charming Series), Cornelia Funke (Mirrorworld Series), Tony DiTerlizzi (Search for WondLa), Ben Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman), and Danielle Page (Dorothy Must Die) will give insight to the fairy tales of old, and new!
Although fairy tales are doing quite well today, when The Charming Tales were first being drafted in 2009, the explosion of shows like Grimm, Once Upon a Time, and movies like Frozen and Maleficent (both of which were amazing), hadn’t happened.
When we agreed to write the book, one of the first things we did was to make sure that we both had a copy of The Annotated Brothers Grimm (although we didn’t have the 200th anniversary edition that’s in the link). We wanted to make sure that our novel was solidly grounded in fairy tale, rather than just being a fantasy. So, we both shared homework assignments of reading fairy tales.
It’s interesting to see the world through the lens of fairy tale. Many of the tales are precautionary warnings to little children to heed their parents or obey rules, but others deal with virtues such as honesty and show that vices such as greed lead to ruin. Common sense usually wins the day. There are undertones and messages in the tales for adults, implications of dark acts or events that can be interpreted as religious or political commentary. It’s fascinating to read them again as an adult and a parent and wonder, “What were Mom and Dad thinking when they let me read this?”
Anyway, if you see an old book of fairy tales on your shelf, consider picking it and reading a few. They might inspire you; they certainly inspired us.