Of Quills and Kings Excerpt

Click the file below to read an excerpt of the new upcoming novel, Of Quills and Kings.


Of Quills and Kings – upcoming release

GENRE: Fantasy

AUTHOR: Joel Reeves

RELEASE DATE: July 4, 2008


It has the power to heal, to prolong life, and to make one a god. It also has the power to bend minds and control free will…

Jonathan Quintain is a naïve young man reluctant to assume leadership after the Baron abandons the castle with his mistress and most of the staff. When a spell cast by the inept advisor and castle mage, Gamitof Pym, goes awry, the castle is turned upside down— freeing a very-underestimated hedgehog prisoner and displacing the magical Orb.

Pox, the youngest of a line of inept and arrogant deities who originally had control of and then lost the Orb, sets out on a mission to recover it. Though Pox’s seemingly easy task becomes botched when Walpole, the so-called Sacred Hedgehog of Yurle, steals the Orb and begins his mission for world domination.

Following a battle for the now-ruined castle, Jonathan learns that the demonic hedgehog has captured the realm’s child-king. With nothing left at home for a young man’s appetite for adventure, he and his friends set off into the desolate land of Yurle to save their king and hopefully recover the stolen Orb.

It is in the unfamiliar and dangerous lands of Yurle that Jonathan and Gamitof discover the challenges of life outside the confines of the castle, and more importantly, they learn the true depths of Walpole’s devious nature and his ultimate plan for humankind.


“There are some things that should not be in the hands of Evil. “Of Quills and Kings” is the story of a young man who must fight a demonic hedgehog for his homeland’s most valued treasure – the Orb of Immortality.

The problem is made more pressing in that the Orb greatly enhances the Hedgehog’s powers. Jonathan, our young hero, must brave insurmountable odds lest he surrender his homeland to the hands of a demon. “Of Quills and Kings” is an exciting fantasy novel from start to finish, and a top pick for community library fantasy collections and their customers.”

–The Midwest Book Review

Abaculus available for pre-order

targetimageashx.jpgAbaculus 2007 is available for pre-orders. You can order through Amazon.com or through Borders.com, and hopefully soon B&N.I’m having trouble with the Amazon staff (big surprise) about the book description and general info, because as of right now, a lot of it is missing. I’m hoping they’ll come to their senses and have everything right by tomorrow’s release date. If any Abaculus contributor would like to order directly through us, you can do that too. We’ll even throw in a hefty author discount. Just contact us via email as soon as possible if you’re interested. Thanks everyone for your support on our first book. It really has been a pleasure. 

Abaculus 2007 Story List

Well, the list has been made, contracts reviewed, and Abaculus 2007 is now officially in the final stages of editing, and will begin layout shortly.

As we’ve said before, it took hours – no, days – of contemplation, arguing, kicking and screaming to finalize the selected stories; the number upped to 20 instead of 19, as we just couldn’t decide between the final two, we chose to put both in.

The Leucrota Press Abaculus 2007 anthology list of stories and authors, in no particular order:

“Poison” by Joshua Waddles

“Atakapa Sunset” by Willis Couvillier

“Itch” by Trevor Hopkins

“Voyage of the Wayfarer” by W.D. Wilcox

“Trauma Train” by David Michael Peak

“Dariel” by Angela Graham

“The Witches Jar” by Beth Ann Starbuck

“The Silent Rattle” by A.S. Berman

“Instinct” by Natasha Le Petit

“Reputations” by Emma Melville

“Waiting for the Flood” by Bryce Steffen

“The Passenger” by Matt R. Konopka

“Neon” by Michael P. McNichols

“Samael Grove” by Phil Keeling

“Game of Concentration” by Sean Berleman

“Elmer’s Grue” by Brandon Ford

“Rebellion of History” by Devlin Lemoine

“Quest” by J.S. Raybould

“Try Not to Breathe” by Lynn McKenzie

“The Hanged Man” by Liz Kimberlin

Again, congratulations to all selected submitters. Your writing stood out above all other submissions sent to us from across the board and around the world – stories sent in from China, Japan, Australia, England, Iceland, Germany, Cuba, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and of course, the United States of America – and we are glad we are able to give you that opportunity.

For those of you who did not make the cut, please, don’t stop writing. Stories submitted were pitted up against both new and seasoned authors, and it was not easy an easy task for the editors to whittle the numbers down to a handful from the several hundred we received.

The entire Leucrota Press staff thanks you for your support, and we wish you the best.

Keep your chin up, and remember there’s always next year. You’ll get there.

Abaculus comic peek…

Here’s a peek sketch at a comic to be included in the Abaculus 2007 anthology. Besides the nearly 85,000 words of short stories, there will be also several illustrations and short scene-strips by comic artists Joe Navarro and Marlo Ting, creaters of the Poor Boy Comic strip.

This one is still under a critical eye…

A soundtrack for writers?

It may sound weird to some, but when I write I find it helpful, if not inspiring, to turn up the tunes I’ve set up in playlists depending on the genre I’m working on. The same goes for when I edit. I’ve found that music, specifically the right music, can really be a bit of a muse and helps get me in the mood…

For example, just a sampling of favorites from some of my stations:

Horror/fleeing scenes:
Knight Riders by Stromkern
Unleash Hell by Retrosic
Winter Current by System Syn

High Fantasy/describing worlds for the first time:
Vinot and the Sea Bird by Karen Marie Garrett
Kyrie by Chloe Goodchild
Indoctrination by Delerium

Fairy Worlds/magical moment:
Gateway by Constance Demby
Sage of Lamberene by Sam Cardon & Burt Lestor
Endless Cycle by Airto

Depressing/I’ve lost my companions/best friend mood:
May it be by Lisa Kelly
Never Saw Blue by Haley West
Scratch by Kendall Payne

Tension building:
Fault by Imperative Reaction
The Beast Within by Wumpscut
Time by Saliva (from Tomb Raider)

And just to weird you out for no apparent reason, the most off-beat, creepiest thing I’ve heard in a while:
The New Sane Scramble by Jana Hunter

Building a playlist helps you to get in the mood – and for those of you like me who don’t have a lot of personal time to actually slow down, take half an hour getting into writing mode, then rereading what you wrote yesterday, finally to get down to business…It helps to speed things up. Revs you up a bit, if you will.

Again, just a musing by an editor chained to her desk for the day. If anyone else has any playlists/suggestions they’d like to add, please do!

Plot: Questions to ask yourself before submitting

Rejection is never fun. I know, I’ve been there. With the thousands of manuscripts out in the mail and the hundreds more sitting piled on an editor’s desk, your submission must stand out immediately above the gargantuan slush-pile in order to be considered. While a fine-tuned query letter is just the first step to catching an editor’s attention, your story must be able to keep it.

Yet, how do you make your story stand out? Well, that’s not an easy question, and there’s no definite answer. Originality, voice, tone, unique characters and richly detailed cultures and settings are just a few items that top the list. These are also things that many writers focus on. Yet the other big item that surprising many people forget to sit back and analyze is the biggest element of all: Plot.

So, you’ve written your story, your characters are well-rounded, your protagonist is wounded and the climax rises higher than Mt. Everest. But does it work? Below are a few questions to ask yourself at the first stage of editing, before doing the detailed line by line critique. If at any time you get a “no” or a negative answer to any of the questions, you need to stop and really think about what’s going on, and how you can fix it:

1. Is your story good? Be honest. Are you satisfied what you wrote? Wait, cancel that, are you excited about what you wrote? Can you see others liking it?

2. Is your opening line/paragraph compelling? Does it draw you in, make you want to continue on, willing to go through the next 300 pages to find out what happens at the end? A large percentage of readers read the first few paragraphs in a book before buying, and if you don’t catch their interest immediately they’ll move on.

3. Does anything actually happen? Are there events that propel the story forward, forcing the characters to act? Rather than just decide to go down the block for a stroll, is the character forced to run to the nearest payphone in order to…you get the point.

4. Does the dialogue work, and is it believable? Do you have it evenly mixed throughout the story, so that you don’t have ten pages of conversation in the middle of a battle scene?

5. Do your subplots contribute to the overall storyline? Or do they just divert the reader away from the main plot long enough to add in a few chapters of text in order to make the book a bit thicker? If subplots are not directly influential or relevant to the main story, they need to be taken out.

6. Do the characters react appropriately/realistically to the situations presented? In other words, do they act naturally for their characteristics, and do they respond to each obstacle as readers would expect? You wouldn’t make the only guy in the group that’s afraid of the dark dash valiantly into the cave in order to save the kitten – or at least without some hesitation and the introduction of other events that leaves no other alternative…

7. Is the climax built up enough? Do you have enough events leading to the climax that the reader is aware they are actually getting somewhere, and are excited about it? Does your climatic ending create emotion?

8. Is your plot an archetype – that is, an overly done storyline that is seen in many other works of art and fiction: ie. The Cinderella story; beautiful girl is suppressed by overzealous parents/stepmother and is helped out by a friend/fair godmother who in turn transforms the princess/geek into the girl of the prince/popular kid in school’s dreams? Avoid archetypes as much as possible. Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but try.

While of course this is not a guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted, it will definitely help save your plot and yourself from the scrutinizing eye of a trained editor or reader.