Once Upon a Rhyme: Volume I of the Charming Tales by Jack Heckel was released last week. It is the first in an ebook series from Harper Voyager Impulse, part of the new trend of publishing some titles digitally only, at least at first, depending on how well they sell. The next book in the series, Happily Never After: Volume II of the Charming Tales, will be released on November 11, just a few months from now. These are shorter books, about 100 pages each, but they are also priced accordingly at $1.99 each. All part of that digital marketing trend which I won't delve into here as much as it fascinates me.
The premise sounds fun but I am now seeing that the newest fairy tale trend is to focus on Prince Charming. We've had Christopher Healy's hit trilogy, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, followed by Elliott James' new series, starting with Charming (Pax Arcana Book 1). This has never been all that common--the only other example I can think of is from decades ago, Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming by Roger Zelazny and Robert Sheckley. I'm sure there's been others, but that I am not aware of them means that they have been rare. My knowledge is extensive but far from complete. After researching these things rather heavily for the last 16+ years, I do tend to know fairy tale related titles.
The dragon is dead. The princess has been saved. There is but one problem: Prince Charming had nothing to do with it.
In order to save his royal reputation, Prince Charming must begrudgingly enlist the help of accidental hero William Pickett. The two set out on an adventure that has them fighting trolls, outwitting a scoundrel, and drinking the foulest ale ever, collecting bruises to both body and pride along the way. Meanwhile, the rescued princess, Gwendolyn, turns out to be one dangerously distressed damsel, and an evil presence takes over Castle White in Charming's absence …
Enter this rollicking world and discover just what happens when a fairytale leaves the well-trodden path of "once upon a time."
Jack Heckel's life is an open book, actually, the book you are in all hope holding right now (and if you are not holding it, he would like to tell you it can be purchased from any of your finest purveyors of the written word). Beyond that, Jack aspires to be either a witty, urbane, world-traveller who lives on his vintage yacht, The Clever Double Entendre, or a geographically illiterate professor of literature who spends his non-writing time restoring an 18th century lighthouse off a remote part of the Vermont coastline. Whatever you want to believe of him, he is without doubt the author of the premier volume of the Charming novels, Once Upon a Rhyme. So, no matter what rumors you might hear about Jack, particularly those spread by either litigious dwarves or litigious dwarfs, ignore them, because he is currently working on a sequel. Because more than anything, Jack lives for his readers.
Despite whatever Jack may claim, in reality, Jack Heckel is the pen name for John Peck and Harry Heckel.