Paranormal Mystery Double Sale

Fans of Paranormal Mysteries, Curiosity Quills has a treat for you this weekend, as The Deathsniffer’s Assistant by Kate McIntyre is 99 Cents, and How To Date Dead Guys, by Ann Noser is free; July 17-18, 2016!

deathsniffer's assistantThe Deathsniffer’s Assistant by Kate McIntyre

After losing his parents in the Floating Castle Incident, the sensitive and mannered Chris Buckley has spent six years raising his magically talented little sister, Rosemary, on the savings that his once-wealthy family left behind. But that money is drying up, and Chris finds himself with no choice but to seek out work in Darrington City as it spirals into a depression. The only employer willing to consider his empty résumé is Olivia Faraday, the manic Deathsniffer. Olivia’s special magical gift gives her a heightened intuition which makes her invaluable in hunting down murderers.

When a Duchess of the mysterious Old Blooded Nobility calls on Olivia to solve the mystery of her dead husband, Chris finds himself tangled in Olivia Faraday’s daily life and unable to extract himself from the macabre questions of the investigation. His involvement grows more complicated as political forces in Darrington close around Rosemary, seeing her as a tool that can be used to end the depression at the cost of her freedom—or even her life. Chris must juggle the question of who killed Viktor val Daren with the responsibility of keeping Rosemary and her magic safe from those who would use her up and toss her aside. Worst of all, he begins to learn that the national disaster that took his parents’ lives may not have been the accident it seemed.

Set in a world very similar to 1900s London, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant combines the investigative murder mystery with a tale of personal and societal redemption. It is about the relationships between broken people who clash more often than not, but manage to shape and learn from one another in spite of this. The story is told from the perspective of Christopher Buckley, young and impressionable and influenced by the prejudices of his time, as he finds himself surrounded by a cast of exceptional women whose differing characters will slowly reconstruct his understanding of strength in others—and in himself.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

cover1-1000How To Date Dead Guys, by Ann Noser

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when cute Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one…

Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a young man determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.

Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

COVER REVEAL AND PRE-ORDER: The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles, by Andrea Berthot

Those who love historical-fantasy and re-tellings, especially Andrea Berthot’s The Heartless City, are in for a treat today, as we unveil the brand new covers for books one and two, open pre-orders for book two, and announce a special contest!!

cover1000The Heartless City – Out Now | New Cover | Paperback Currently Only $2.37!

Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters.

Once shared secretly among the good doctor’s inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production – but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers – ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.

It’s 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.

Son of the city’s most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes – and finding instead he’s become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.

He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city’s rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.

Together, they aim to discover who’s really pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

cover1000The Hypnotic City – Out August 1, 2016 | Pre-Order Now!

Philomena Blackwell survived a city plagued with monsters, the gilded cage of high society, and the rule of a heartless man… and she aims to leave it all behind.

It’s 1905, and London has finally been freed from Henry Jekyll’s terrible legacy – its people cured, its thirteen-year quarantine lifted. The world is waiting, and for a girl who dreams of being its most dazzling star, what could be more enticing than the bright lights of New York City?

She is drawn across the ocean like a moth to a flame, her heart set on proving that while she may be small on the outside, her soaring talent eclipses even Manhattan’s towering skyline. When she lands a big break, it seems as if the city is ready to fall under her spell – just as she seems to be falling for a handsome young stage manager. But is it her stage presence mesmerizing the audience, or something more sinister behind the scenes?

Philomena has always relied on her fierce will and fiery heart, but a new and more terrible danger lurks in the shadows of Broadway’s bright lights, and even a mind as determined as hers may not be immune to its seductive, insidious pull…

Both fans of The Heartless City and new readers alike will enjoy this stand-alone / spin-off tale of Philomena’s adventures on stage – and in love – in NYC.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Contest

The original paperback version of The Heartless City is currently on sale for $2.37 (US ONLY), which means this is your chance to get the ‘limited edition collectors cover’ at a bargain price! And if you do so, and take a picture of it, you’re in with a chance of winning a prize!

Here’s what to do:

1) Buy the discounted print version – be aware it’s the original cover, which was released August 17, 2015.
2) Snap a picture of the book and send to us
3) We will send you a free copy of the eBook with the NEW cover
4) If you already own the old edition of the paperback, snap a picture of your print copy with the old cover next to their e-reader with the new cover and post to social media pointing people to the eBook sale page
All pictures can be sent to marketing@curiosityquills, or post them to us on twitter @CuriosityQuills, Instagram @CQReads or to our Facebook, all with the hashtag #CQReads

Double Countdown Sale

Fans of fantasy, vampires, dragons and fairytale re-tellings, we have a treat for you today, as two great fantasy/ paranormal titles are on countdown sale, starting at 99 Cents.

cover1000The Vampires’ Last Lover

Txema Ybarra is the most unenviable nineteen-year-old girl alive.

Smart, pretty, and athletically gifted, this University of Tennessee freshman should be enjoying college life and her entrance into adulthood. And for a moment she does… until the vampires show up.

Born with an unusual ‘twin teardrop’ birthmark on her neck, Txema (pronounced Chema) is one of only a handful of females in the world who bear this trait. It marks her as a vessel of eternal youth and beauty for an elite vampire society determined to protect her precious blood… But it also is the only thing standing in the way of a rogue ‘undead’ nation determined to destroy mankind and usurp the power their sexier brethren have held uncontested for centuries.

Caught in the middle of this war after all the other bearers of the birthmark are murdered, Txema must flee America and heads to France under the protection of five beautiful vampires who all have a vested interest in her survival. The race is on to save her blood, as well as her very life, to ensure the survival of Les Amantes de Vampire. Otherwise, Txema will be the last one… the vampires’ last lover.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

cover1000The Tower Must Fall

The last fairy-tale ended a hundred years ago, and one thing is certain: the monsters lost. In the world beyond the Bay of Glass, humanity has an overwhelming majority, and the creatures that go bump in the night – the Cryptids – live in hiding. In some lands, discovery by the government spells death, while in others whole tribes are exterminated by knights in shining armor: the Animus.

Marek Tobar, a handsome, clumsy traveller, dreams of independence and uprising. It isn’t long before his beliefs drop him in extremely hot water, and he somehow finds himself at the tender mercy of Enyo Namenlos.

A reformed knight of the Animus with many faces and no allegiance but to herself, Enyo has spent years hiding from the life she left behind. Determined to somehow salvage the best parts of herself, she needs to repay a blood-debt: she pledges to deliver Marek to Sanctuary, the hidden city of Cryptids.

With war brewing in smoky cities and wicked woods, Enyo and Marek find themselves woven into a story that began centuries earlier. But when happy endings are myth and goodness is relative, what does it mean to find your heart’s desire?

survival. The race is on to save her blood, as well as her very life, to ensure the survival of Les Amantes de Vampire. Otherwise, Txema will be the last one… the vampires’ last lover.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Middle-Grade SciFi and Fantasy Sale

Middle-Grade SciFi and Fantasy fans, we have two great books on sale for you today!!

Broken Branch Falls, by Tara Tyler - CoverBroken Branch Falls |Countdown starting at 99 cents from June 24-26

Gabe is tired of his goblin life. Doing homework for bully ogres and laughed at as the butt of pixie pranks, Gabe wants a change. When he and his friends step out of their nerdy stereotype and pull a prank on the dragons at the first football game, it literally backfires, bringing in the High Council who vote to dismantle not only Gingko High, but the whole town of Broken Branch Falls.

Gabe is now an outcast. But hope of fixing the fate of his town reaches his enormous ears. The Book of Ages, hidden handbook of the High Council, holds secrets and power. With the help of friends, old and new, Gabe has less than two weeks to complete his quest, solving riddles and facing challenges all over the sector, to find the Book and get it back in time to save Broken Branch Falls. After all that trouble, it better work.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Supervillain, by Richard Roberts - CoverPlease Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain | FREE June 24-25

Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She’s got superhero parents. She’s got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets even she doesn’t understand. She has two super powered best friends. In middle school, the line between good and evil looks clear.

In real life, nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero’s sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled supervillains. In the process, Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She’s good at it.

Criminal masterminds, heroes in power armor, bottles of dragon blood, alien war drones, shape shifters and ghosts, no matter what the super powered world throws at her, Penny and her friends come out on top. They have to. If she can keep winning, maybe she can clear her name before her mom and dad find out.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

BROKEN DOLLS SERIES: Book One – Free; Book Two – Out now!

Fans of Tyrolin Puxty’s middle-grade, dystopian horror series, we have a treat for you. The second book in the series, SHATTERED GIRLS is OUT NOW and to celebrate for today only, book one, BROKEN DOLLS is FREE!

cover1000About Broken Dolls

Ella doesn’t remember what it’s like to be human – after all, she’s lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it’s like to taste, to breathe…to love.

She helps the professor create other dolls, but they don’t seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn’t like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?

Ella likes the professor’s granddaughter though, even if she is dying. Gabby is like Ella’s personal bodyguard. It’s too bad the professor wants to turn Gabby into a doll too, depriving her of an education…depriving her of life.

With time running out and mad dolls on the rampage, Ella questions her very existence as she unearths the secrets buried in her past; secrets that will decide whether Gabby will befall the same fate…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

coverAbout Shattered Girls

Ella’s decision to return to her doll form has caused more trouble than she ever thought possible.

Gabby’s a moody teen. The professor is gone. And people are going missing at alarming rates; including Gabby’s parents.

Robotic dolls – eerily similar to Ella – are popping up across the globe and nobody seems too concerned about it. Nobody except for Ella and Gabby.

With only the crazed Sianne left to help them, the girls must fight to find the truth behind the epidemic and the robotic dolls.

Only Ella doesn’t think they’re robotic at all…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The December People Series: Book One Free; Book Three OUT NOW!

Fans of Sharon Bayliss’ urban-fantasy series The December People, about dark wizards living in modern day Texas, we have a treat for you. The third book in the series, A Taste of Death and Honey is out now and to celebrate for today only, book one, Destruction is FREE!

Destruction, by Sharon Bayliss - CoverAbout Destruction

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Watch Me Burn, by Sharon Bayliss - CoverAbout Watch Me Burn

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl—who happens to be a summer witch—begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

ATasteofDeathandHoney800CoverRevealPromotionalAbout A Taste of Death and Honey

When Samantha’s parents died, she lost everything. Her home. Her friends. Her hope. Then a life-loving spring witch at the children’s shelter fills her life with light and joy once again.

But like the springtime, Samantha’s happiness doesn’t last forever. Her friend dies violently in front of her, the victim of a mysterious killing spell. Furious and grief-stricken, Samantha resents her own weak spring magic. She doesn’t need life and renewal. She wants revenge…and death.

Homeless and alone, Samantha seeks shelter with her old friends, the Vandergraff family, and finds an unexpected ally in the powerful winter solstice witch, Evangeline. The girls’ anger and eagerness lead them to cast a killing spell before knowing the truth behind Samantha’s friend’s death or the identity of her killer.

Once the spell is cast, they can’t take it back, and they must fight to stop their own curse before it takes away everyone they love.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Matchmaking May

This May Curiosity Quills have a match made in heaven for you!

To celebrate the first book birthday of Game of Love, and the French Open, Ara Grigorian’s award-winning, new-adult, contemporary-romance will be just 99 cents from May 4 – 23, 2016!

Game of Love

Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.

Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love…at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily.

As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within…even lovers and even friends.

In the Game of Love, winner takes all.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Z is for Zombies

ZWalkers, Biters, The Living Dead, The Undead. No matter what you call them zombies are HUGE in popular culture. From George A. Romero’s movies to TV Show The Walking Dead, zombies as the antagonist are everywhere. But in recent years we’ve seen a rise in zombies as the protagonist, in films such as Warm Bodies and comic book to TV show adaptation iZombie.

 

What is it about zombies that make such great protagonist, and how are they different from their ‘evil’ counterparts?

 

The key is their humanity. Audiences are drawn to whatever they can make a connection with. In George A. Romero’s movies and The Walking Dead we empathize with the human survivors of the zombie apocalypse, as we can image how we’d feel fighting for our lives, worrying about our loved ones and trying to survive in a zombie ravaged world.

 

We don’t connect with the zombies, because we can’t imagine what it would be like wondering aimlessly, hungering for brains.

 

In Warm Bodies, iZombie and other similar medias, we’re not relating to the supernatural, undead aspect, we’re relating to the everyday struggles of the characters –holding down a job, maintaining personal relationships, keeping secrets from those we love in order to protect them.

 

Again, it’s the humanity we connect with, not the zombie, but in some ways the stakes are higher because we know what these characters could become. We’re all familiar with the decaying, chomping undead, and we don’t want our beloved characters to succumb to their new natures and become monsters.

 

I think it’s that mix of humanity and real life aspects, combined with the lingering threat that the characters could lose all that in an instant, and become mindless fiends that makes movies and TV shows like Warm Bodies and iZombie so compelling.

 

What are some of your favourite ‘human’ zombie forms of entertainment?

Let us know in the comments below, or at our Facebook and Twitter.

W is for Wrestling: What I’ve learned about writing from watching WWE

WSince my teens, I’ve been a big fan of WWE Wrestling, and no not just because of the hot guys in spandex (though it helps)!

While I appreciate the athletic abilities of both the men and women that step into the ring, what I really love about wrestling – and what keeps me coming back for more each week – is the story telling.

I fully understand where the E in World Wrestling Entertainment comes from. When someone says “Don’t you know it’s fake?” I reply with “Does that stop you watching TV shows and movies?”

Most savvy wrestling fans know the matches’ outcomes are pre-determined and a result of something called ‘booking’, but as with any other TV show or movie, unless you go hunting spoilers online, the outcome isn’t as predictable as one might think. If the writing is good.

If the writing is good.

For me, the writing is the key to WWE being enjoyable or not, and thanks to watching wrestling for the past fifteen years, I’ve picked up a thing or two about writing from the world of sports entertainment.

Here’s just a few of the things watching wrestling has taught me about writing:

Clear Character Motivation

One of the things I hate most in wrestling is when two characters are paired together or start feuding for absolutely no reason.

It’s not so bad if there’s a tournament to determine a number one contender to a championship, but what really gets me invested in a storyline is when the characters have clear motivation for challenging or teaming with someone.

It can be as simple as wanting to prove they’re the best, or an already established history between the two.

This translates perfectly into writing. To make a reader care about a character and what they’re doing they need clear motivation for why they’re carrying out their actions.

For example, would The Harry Potter Series have been nearly as engaging if Harry weren’t fighting to avenge all those he loved who’d been killed by Voldermort, and to provide a better future for the wizarding world, including himself and those he cared about.

Harry was even willing to sacrifice his life, and when he did, it meant something, because his motivation had been well illustrated throughout the series.

The Good, The Bad and The In-between

Stories are often much more compelling when there’s a clear good guy and a clear bad guy. Then you know who to root for and who to cheer against. Good versus evil is a classic storytelling trope.

Having a clear protagonist and antagonist also makes it easier to work out the character’s motivation.

However, in some cases a little ambiguity can also add to the depth of the story.

This is perfectly exemplified in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, where sometimes the ‘good’ characters have to do something questionable, and sometimes the ‘bad’ characters show a softer, more relatable side.

Having these shades of grey is great, as it adds believability, because in the real world no one is wholly good or evil, but if you look deeper, even the grey characters clearly fall on one side of the morality line.

Your Audience Aren’t Idiots

My other biggest hate in wrestling is when something is mentioned with importance, only to be forgotten a few weeks later.

Nothing makes me eye roll and skip through a segment quicker than two people who were enemies the previous week suddenly team together for no apparent reason, or when a character is introduced/ foreshadowed only to be forgotten about the following week.

Instead of being entertained, I’m left asking “Do the writers think I’m stupid?” and that’s true of novel writing, too.

Readers aren’t stupid, and treating them as such by bypassing something you wrote about five chapters previously, just because it’s convenient for the story, will have them putting down your book.

As will introducing something/ someone at the last minute to swoop in and save the day, without any reasoning or build up.

Treat your readers with intelligence, without making things either too easy or too hard for them.

Don’t Be Afraid To Throw A Curve Ball Sometimes – But Also Know When To Throw That Curve Ball

Often times a resolution to a good story can be guessed at as the reader nears the end. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Certain things are expected in stories, and need to happen for a reader to leave with satisfaction.

For example, how angry would fans have been if Harry had died without defeating Voldemort (or at least done enough in terms of destroying Horcruxes etc., so that someone else could defeat Voldemort)?

But while every big moment shouldn’t be a twist, turn or surprise, sometimes throwing a curve ball at the reader makes them come back for more.

Like in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, when beloved Ned Stark was beheaded at the end of the book. Who saw that coming?

And for most readers, that’s one of the moments that hooked them to the series, as they weren’t expecting a beloved point of view character to be killed off so suddenly.

Although, it’s doubtful fans would have been so forgiving if Ned’s death had come at the end of the series, when there’s no more chances for justice or revenge!

Knowing when to throw a good twist into the story is an integral way to keep the readers hooked, and coming back for more!

Video Games: The Perfect Family Bonding Activity

VSome families go bike riding together, others play spots. My family is a family of gamers.

Hubby has always been into video games and is now a video games journalist for a living. I was an infrequent casual gamer when we first met, but over the thirteen years we’ve been together, my gaming tastes have expanded. It follows reason that our two sons, thirteen and six, would be into video games too.

Every time there’s a new Pokémon game released, we now have to buy four copies. For the few weeks after release the house is filled with chatter about who is at which gym, what Pokémon we want to trade with each other, and bragging about who has beaten who in online battles.

During other times in the year you can find Hubby and Oldest teaming up on DC Universe Online, or me and Hubby playing Elder Scrolls Online together (we even got married in game), or our two boys taking it in turns to complete levels on various platformers such as Super Mario Bros or Super Meat Boy.

When a new ‘toys-to-life’ game (such as Skylanders or Disney Infinity) is release, it’s a household event, with each of us staking a claim on certain characters, and then various family members playing co-op together.

Other times, a weekend afternoon is spent with us all making competitive mini-games on Minecraft –  such as a game in which the other player has to find a hidden wool block in the other players’ a sand castle, and can select items at random to help them with their search.

For us, video games offer many ways for us to bond. Sometimes I’m not as cool as I wish I was in my thirteen year-old’s eyes, but we can talk for hours about which Pokémon should get mega evolutions in the next game, and then I don’t seem so dorky to him. While playing LEGO is a bit beyond me, me and Youngest enjoy making a house and family together on The Sims 3. After a hard day working, there’s nothing me and Hubby enjoy more than teaming up to run a delve or defeat a world boss in ESO. Plus, games like Minecraft have learning/ educational aspects to them, and they help the kids with creativity, Maths and even reading and writing.

To a lot of other people, we might seem lame, but I wouldn’t swap my monthly trips to GAME to download the latest Legendary Pokémon, or the Mario Kart contests we have at home for anything!