y648This 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.


It’s been a long time (last November) since we’ve been able to say a new Jack Heckel book is coming out. However, a new Jack Heckel book is being released this August, only it’s actually two old Jack Heckel books, old meaning 2014. (more…)

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.

Happily Never Afteronceuponarhymecover

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.)

Dancing Baby Groot

Dancing Baby Groot

Aaaaaahhhhh! Panic!

*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…


The question that comes up when people learn that Jack Heckel is the pen name of two different people is: how do you collaborate?

It does seem right for a comedic fairytale to have some collaboration. After all, the Brothers Grimm were collaborators.

Best photo we could find

Best photo we could find

For us, everything starts with communication. Before we do anything, we make sure that we have a shared vision. We bounce ideas off of one another and then when they coalesce, one of us writes an outline and we review it together. This part is essential. By agreeing on the direction of the book, we have a baseline to discuss changes. If Will Pickett needs to change from a dreaming peasant, does our plan allow his character to develop? Without a written outline, we’d be lost.

After we review the outline, we decide which chapters we’d like to write and present them to one another. If there’s a conflict, John always wins… I mean, Harry always wins… okay, we actually discuss our ideas for the chapter and so far, we’ve come to a consensus. We try to divide the work so one person isn’t writing while the other person is waiting.

Once the writing begins, we write the chapters in order. After one of us finishes a chapter, it is sent to the other writer for a rewrite. Every chapter in the first draft is rewritten. This allows us to keep the same voice throughout the book. Additionally, whoever rewrites the chapter embellishes and even changes parts of the text. It then goes back to the original author for edits. And all this is before any beta readers or editors have had a chance to look at it.

All of that sounds nice, but of course, nothing works perfectly. We’ve had plenty of situations where one or the other of us has gotten stuck. Day jobs and personal crises can also interfere with our well thought out schedule. When either of us runs into trouble, we text, get on the phone or even Skype or Facetime each other. Rarely, we might even meet in person, but we are several time zones apart. After talking through things, we may make some trades or one person takes on some extra work. We’ve both finished chapters that the other has started and stepped in to help tear down the other’s writing block.

We agreed when we started that our partnership isn’t 50-50, but 100-100. Our goal is to have 100% written by both of us. We don’t keep score of how many words one person has written or even how many chapters. Honestly, how do you place the value on a single great line or idea which changes the course of a novel? Is that worth five words or fifty thousand? In our case, neither of us care, because the whole thing belongs to both of us.

Our conversations are hilarious. We spend the entire time finishing each other’s sentences when the ideas fly fast, as we both try to come up with the same concepts. Fortunately, we have a fantastic friendship and usually such things only result in laughter.

So, ultimately, Once Upon a Rhyme, really wasn’t written by Harry or John, but by Jack Heckel, who has his own unique voice, and one we both hope you enjoy. At this stage, we’ve lost track of who wrote the last version of this scene or that. We both remember who wrote the initial scene or chapter most of the time, but once the rewrites and revisions started, it all goes to happy madness.

If anyone out there is trying to collaborate on a fiction piece and would like more details, please feel free to comment and we’ll be glad to help (or well, try to help at any rate.)

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.

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