CQ Goes Candid (Camera)

Hey readers,

Today is the launch of our new brand and logo, which you already know if you’ve followed us on and of our social accounts. We’re also doing something else brand new today, booktubing! Clickity clack the play button down below to see our very first booktube, featuring Nikki talking Harry Potter Spell Tags and alternating between a fangirl and a T-rex. Special shout-out to the vlog we found the tag from, JesseTheReader!

If you have any to-read recommendations for us, we’d love them, or if you’re looking for a certain type of book, comment down below and we’ll recommend one to you! Below I’ve listed all of the books talked about in the video with Amazon links, nudge nudge…

1. The Hobbit

2. 7th Son: Descent

3. Opal

4. Saga

5. Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle

6. Ender’s Shadow

7. Divergent (because of Allegiant)

8. Catcher in the Rye

9. Life After Life

10. LOTR

 

Why were any of these faces happening during the making of this vlog?

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.15.57 PM

 

 

Meet the Team!

Happy Launch/Harry Potter’s Birthday! Since we’ll be invading your internet with our shiny new blog from here on out, we thought you might like to know who the infamous ‘we’ of Curiosity Quills is!

 

Lisa- The Visionary

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Hi, I am Lisa aka the nosy busybody with her email addy in every cc. Or, at least, I want to be.

I like to be clairvoyant, enjoy analyzing market patterns, and edit in my spare time.
I am also one of the founders of Curiosity Quills and still do my best to be useful on the marketing, author relations, and PR side of things – leaving the techy stuff to those that boast that they do not kill their almost-new monster computers. Namely…

Eugene- The Dungeon Dweller

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Brave enough to venture into the dark dungeons of the Code Monkey? If you don’t mind sudden IT-related explosions, an occasional website bug crawling up your pants, or a complete lack of sympathy for incompetent service providers whose shrunken heads line the walls – you might find me here, poring over something abstract, mysterious, and covered with programming lingo you’re not likely to understand.But I’ll make sure you do, because that’s just how I roll.
Creating deadly, yet titillating web experiments is just a part of being on the tech side of CQ. So put on your robe and wizard hat… or, preferably, something with more acid protection, and step inside. Nobody needs that many limbs anyway.

 

Clare- The Creative

 

Hey I’m Clare, Curiosity Quills’ social media manager, blog tour organizer and resident Brit! I’m the person you wantimages to speak to about a review copies of our great titles.

According to personality quizzes etc. I’m an ISFJ Myers-Briggs personality type, my Hogwarts House is Ravenclaw, and I’d belong to House Stark if I lived in Westeros.

I’m a reader, writer, and lover of fantasy and the paranormal. I like to believe one day I’ll find my Narnia, but until then, I’ll be content losing myself in worlds created by others; be they Xmen comics, books by Ann Rice, fantasy RPGs like Dragon Age or TV shows such as Arrow.

You can find me online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Andrew-The Nutball

dobby_smile4

Hi my name is Andrew and I’m the VP of Operations for CQ which means I manage the production and acquisitions departments and herd the occasional goat. I’m the person you’d want to contact about editing, cover designs, and new work that you’re ready to submit.

I’m a professional writer and published author who loves comic books, movies, and has a secret agenda to take over the world (shh, don’t tell anyone)

I tend to read a lot of fantasy these days including Robert Jordan, Anne Rice, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, and most recently, Blake Crouch. I’m also a massive geek and am currently following multiple comic book series’ with Marvel, DC, Image, and Boom and devour genre-heavy TV shows like Hannibal, Ray Donovan, Arrow, Dominion, and TBBT.

I believe humor can combat anything.  Except Liam Neeson.  Nothing can beat Liam Neeson.

 

Nikki- The Shifter
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Hi guys, I’m Nikki, your friendly neighborhood Marketing Director/PR Specialist/Blogger/Nerd. The word ‘pixie’ can be used to describe my stature, haircut, and energy levels, so it should come as no surprise that I’m an ENFP. Ravenclaw, Dauntless, and Stark are my loyalties, LOTR, craft beer, pizza and puppies are my addictions guily pleasures.

The youngest and likely the loudest on the team, I’ll be doing most of the YouTube vlogging, and answering any questions our readers might have. I’m also a blogger at Sincerely Me in my spare time (so not often) and read as much as possible whenever House of Cards or Game of Thrones isn’t on the television.

Find me on Twitter @Nikkitarex, a play on words for both my gamer handle and my strange tendency to hold my arms like a T-rex while speaking.

 

punctuation, grammar, spelling, editing, modern language advice,

WHY GRAMMAR IS IMPORTANT IN THE MODERN AGE

Correct Punctuation, Usage, and Spelling, Oh My! 

The rumors, I hate to admit, are true. I’m a grammar Nazi. Trust me, I like the sound of that even less than you do – I’m even of German descent. Yikes. Moving on. Grammar, people. It’s important. Not because forgetting the comma in “Let’s eat, Grandma!” leads to cannibalism, but because when you don’t use proper grammar and punctuation, you quickly lose all credibility with your readers and essentially forever mark yourself as an uneducated, bumbling buffoon.

“When did proper use of grammar become an attractive trait rather than an assumed skill?”

Before I continue, those of you who are also grammar enthusiasts will probably remark on my lack of adherence to certain grammar rules—but you should know that sometimes, there’s an aesthetic purpose to breaking grammatical law. I, for example, adore sentence fragments, which “fail to be sentences,” according to a popular grammar website that shall remain nameless. I use sentence fragments often, and I like to believe I use them well—but Jane Schaefer probably disapproves.  I also tend to over-punctuate, specifically with commas and em-dashes (as any reader of this blog will be able to tell you), but that’s not a crime! It’s more of…an illness.

So. I am not a perfect grammartist. Is that a word? I’m using it. Sue me. Ahem, at the same time, I do have freakishly emphatic outbursts about certain common spelling/grammar/punctuation rules and why they exist. I blame it on my memory. I’ve always had a knack for memorization- I’ve memorized passages of books, biblical scripture, celebrated authors—and less credible things, like movie lines and song lyrics. Don’t EVEN ask me about Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day—I could probably write a blog post on its superb structure and ability to motivate, in addition to repeating it verbatim, pauses for effect and all. So, as a young student eager to learn, I simply memorized words and their spelling, grammar rules and their exceptions, and sentence structure guidelines. I never have and never will understand people who cannot spell. It’s a blunt statement but there it is: bad spellers confound me. I’m also a stickler for correct pronunciation of words—words like omnipotent and irreparable have ONE TRUE PRONUNCIATION and I don’t care what Merriam-Webster says (om-NI-puh-tint and ear-REP-ra-bull respectively).

Why does any of this really matter, you ask? I realize that in a world of Facebook posts, tweets, and texts ripe with abbreviations and shorthand, grammar seems negligible, but that’s no reason to give up the pretense of being well spoken entirely. Commas, semi-colons, even APOSTROPHES for goodness’ sake, are all apparently too difficult for most people to understand. The popular Twitter account American Humor summed it up when they posted in 2011, “When did proper use of grammar become an attractive trait rather than an assumed skill?”

I get it, we are all busy, we are all on social networks, and we all are privy to years of education that was once denied all but the wealthiest—and it’s allowed us to get lazy and refuse language rules and regulations on fault of it being too much work.

People with proper grammar and writing skills are sought after in every professional industry (that’s you, English majors!), which is actually a terribly sad thing to admit. People are so used to flagrant improper usage that correct punctuation alone can get you ahead in your career. This post isn’t a matter of specifics, such as the grammatical significance of the Oxford Comma (spoiler alert: IT’S SIGNIFICANT); it’s a matter of our astounding lack of integrity when it comes to presenting yourself in the best way possible. It comes down to respecting the language that allows you to exist.

Aldous Huxley wrote a brilliant article titled ‘Word and Behavior’, on words and how they affects our actions and beliefs, with direct correlations made between war and the language used to describe it. Within this article, Huxley surmises that the language about war justified terrible acts (think World War II), by dehumanizing enemies and euphemizing actions to glorify soldiers and deflect blame. I’ll leave you with the very first sentence of the article-

“Words form the thread in which we string our experiences.”

Remember that the next time you type theyre sans apostrophe into your text bar.

 

 

POV; point of view; info; advice; reader;

Who’s Talking Now? A Brief Look at Points of View in Literature

Most people read about point of view (also known as narrative) in English class, where certain terms and definitions swirl around in their minds: first person, third person, second person, third-person limited, limited-omniscient…and the list goes on. This post is not about my knowledge of these terms and definitions and how to use them – I am not an author or English professor. I am, however, a reader, and I’ve read my fair share of POVs.

I’m going to break-down different narratives in today’s fiction: when it’s used well, which POVs are popular, which POVs are memorable, and why certain POVs tend to work better in certain genres. For authors and scholars out there: this is primarily from a reader’s perspective. I will not get technical, though I probably will get technically incorrect. I apologize to my English professors in advance for any inaccuracies in nomenclature.

So. Point of View.

 

1st person is when the author writes from a character’s perspective by actually using the terms “I” or “we.” Think John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars or Looking For Alaska. I guess just think John Green. Also, Percy Jackson, or so the internet tells me.

Pros: The reader feels a stronger bond with the narrator, because the reader is privy to the thoughts and feelings of the narrator. It’s more personal. The reader has a stronger connection to the story because the narrator pulls the reader directly into the narrative.

Cons: Leaves room for the dreaded (or purposeful) unreliable narrator. Essentially, the narrator is too close to the action, and there’s no room for another perspective to offer a little depth to the situation. Also, only perspective can get boring.

Why it’s popular: 1st person is probably the best way to portray teenage angst, especially to other teens. In YA, often the reader wants to be able to take what’s in front of them with out too much analysis.  In fiction with more adult readers and concepts, authors have room to get slightly more layered within their narrative because they know their audience can keep up

 

2nd person is when a person acts as if he is observing the MC and talking directly to him. Wiki gives a great example of this in the opening lines Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City: “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.”

Pros: This is great for ‘choose your own adventures’, self-help books, and certain fiction genres. It lends a gritty sort of appeal to it and thus was used by greats such as Camus and Faulkner.

Cons: 2nd person is much less common than 1st or 3rd, and thus takes some getting used to for an unpracticed reader. It also comes across a little more aggressively and a little less smoothly in many ways, because it is often difficult to embody the narrative in that POV.

Why it’s popular: This is a hugely popular form of POV writing for those aiming for notably modern or even post-modern storytelling.

 

3rd person is probably the most common form of narration. The story is not told by any one person, but rather uses characters names to convey a perspective and “he,” “she,” “they,” etc. Think Game of Thrones. Each chapter marks a new narrator, revolving between nine characters in the first two novels of Martin’s series, and more like 18 characters by the fifth book. (Yikes.)

Pros: The author has multiple outlets to convey the action of the story to the reader. It’s a good POV for making sure the story stays fresh, as you can focus on more things, not simply what the narrator sees and does.

Cons: 3rd is slightly less personal than 1st, though not overwhelmingly so.

Why it’s popular: 3rd offers more story movement. The reader is aware of more things than the main character’s narration, which is refreshing. Often, the reader needs to see an event through the more than one character’s perspective to really understand the action.

Note: There are a few varieties within 3rd person, the most common of which is 3rd person-limited. No first person narration, but the reader follows the thoughts and actions of only one character. Think Harry Potter and the….you get my point. We typically see only Harry’s thoughts and Harry’s feelings – yet the books aren’t actually “written” by Harry.

 

Omniscient is exactly what it sounds like: it’s as if there’s an omniscient being narrating the story: a God-like figure who knows all and sees all.

Pros: This narration is unique and rarely used explicitly – it’s more often used in conjunction with limited-3rd.

Cons: The reason it’s rarely used well is that it’s very difficult to pull off without getting too focused on one character (becoming limited) or head-hopping. Head-hopping is either a rookie author mistake, where you switch perspectives, changing from character to character and screwing with the reader’s head, or an experienced author’s trick. Think Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: the narration changes constantly from character to character, as if a fly lands on one character’s  head and spills their thoughts, then the fly flits away to someone else. It’s incredible difficult to follow and distracting.

That’s the break-down. Use it wisely.

Here’s the sum-up.

Narration is incredibly important. Unless you’re Virginia Woolf, you shouldn’t hop from head to head without due warning to your reader – it’s terribly confusing and causes whiplash. Just ask anyone who had to read Virginia Woolf and write an essay about it. The point is to make sure your reader is able to follow, and that you’re consistently choosing one narration, or that your reasons for changing narration are valid.

Keep in mind that readers like to be entertained, and that variety is the spice of life. To keep things interesting, try taking a leaf out of George R.R. Martin or Jodi Picoult (who does flawless 3rd person multiple as well) to give a voice to a character your reader doesn’t get to focus on. Once you’re comfortable with different narratives, you can start to experiment with characters and perspectives.

Final note: 1st person narrative is by no means boring. Ask Markus Zusak, the author of The Book Thief, who’s narrator is Death. Death, people. As in, carries a sickle and charters the dead into their next life. And it takes place in Nazi Germany, 1945 (give or take). It’s an incredibly memorable narration and fantastically written. Another unique perspective is The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. It’s narrated by a dog—and has almost 200,000 ratings and 24,000 reviews, so I’ll let the people speak for themselves on that one.

Okay—your turn. Thoughts? Concerns? Huge, gaping holes in my education? What’s your favorite narrative to read or write? Do you think head-hopping can be used well? Do you simply detest multiple narration?

Tell me!

Comment below or email us at editor@curiosityquills.com to continue the conversation.

 

Wendy Thompson Interview, DC Spotlight

Words of Wisdom With Wendy Thompson

Interview with CEO and Editor-in-Chief of DC Spotlight Newspaper- Wendy Thompson

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Wendy Thompson, self-made news success and CEO of DC Spotlight newspaper. unnamedWendy, currently on the 2013 Top 10 list of most interesting people in Metro DC, has spent over a decade in the industry, growing the Spotlight into the globally followed newspaper it is today. Here’s a bit of our chat-

So Wendy, can you tell us a bit about how you got your start in the industry? Wendy: “I started at the age of 20, as the producer and host of my own show, “Mississippi’s Journal”, at a FOX affiliate station.” At 23 I moved to Maryland and spent the next 15 years in the industry, before founding DC Spotlight.”

The DC Spotlight has readership across the world, why do you think people tune into your Metro DC area newspaper over say, the NY Times?

Wendy: We offer so many different sections and topics with different tones to them, which helps, but really it’s the personal stories that draw people in and make them stay. Recently, we had a story about one of the 2013 Top Ten most interesting people in Metro DC, Kayla Williams, who graduated from high school and college in the same week. Another story that really took off was told to me by an acquaintance, talking about how a young boy entered a contest to visit the White House for a dinner, but didn’t win. We decided to bring him to the event as a reporter for us. It made his night and a great story to tell. He got to meet the President—I haven’t even met the President yet!

Many of our authors are writers with full-time jobs, children, and spouses. How do you time manage an entire newspaper and balance the rest of life?

I don’t. Sometimes I will ask our lifestyle section to write an article on time management and finding balance just for my benefit! I’m still learning every day how to balance the other aspects of my life, thankfully my work is my fun, I love what I do, so the rest usually falls into place.

Have you ever doubted your career choices or the dedication they demand?

Never. I have always been determined and set on my dream, and I never really cared what anyone else said I needed to do to get ahead. I love the Diane Rehm show on NPR, and when I was listening the other day, she used the word “fortitude”. Fortitude means having a lack of doubt, and an absolute certainty about something. That’s always how I’ve been, whether it was being on TV or starting this newspaper. My career must teach me and fulfill me enough to bring me to the next point of my life, not a 401K, a 10 year plan, or any of the other things people told me I needed from my job. What’s it like running your own newspaper? Do you do anything different? Wendy: “It’s not my newspaper, it’s our newspaper. I’m not the person up early in the morning writing headlines or staying late on the weekends tracking stories, my employees are. I own the company, but it’s our newspaper, and that’s how I approach every meeting with my employees.”

“It’s the personal stories that draw people in and make them stay”

Would you say gaining experience or connections is the best way to move up in the world and get to the place you want to be?

Both are important, absolutely, but I think there is something necessary for both that makes more of a difference. Courage—Having infinite amounts of courage will get you much farther, and is what really made the difference for me. For example, I had been trying to get ahold of Ted Leonsis for an interview to no avail, until we both attended the same event. I had the courage to walk up to him and mention that the DC Spotlight had been trying to reach him for an interview. He gave me his personal contact information and an interview, which I never would have gotten without having the courage to speak to him.

To end the review, Wendy gave some great recommendations for getting your story picked up by media outlets-

Wendy’s Five Tips for Getting Picked Up By Media:

  1. When you write a letter, insert a photo of yourself, and talk about what makes you an interesting person. If you sell yourself you are more likely to get your foot in the door, because even if the book doesn’t interest the recipient, your personal story might.
  1. Know the newspaper you are requesting to be in, know the section, know the people who write it usually, and tailor your message to request those specifically.
  1. Send 5-10 good facts about the book, so they can learn about the story without having to read it. They don’t have time to read every novel before interviewing, so please understand and don’t be demanding.
  1. It’s not a reporter’s job to sell your book, you have to be interesting, you have to be the one to sell your book; after all, you know it best. To get known, you need to sell to the reporter, then sell it to the world.
  1. Reciprocate, reciprocate, reciprocate. You need to give the person helping you support and publicity in return for getting it. Add a section of thank you links on your site, promote them on your socials, or offer to interview them! Often if you support the media, they will remember that and do a follow up.

Find Wendy’s articles at the DC Spotlight here

advice, author qualities, how to be an author, writer,

6 QUALITIES EVERY AUTHOR NEEDS TO SURVIVE

1) Perseverance

If you don’t have perseverance, the chances of you making it in the publishing industry are slim to none (period). Very, very rarely (if ever) does an author write a novel, have their first submission be accepted, publish, and immediately become a best selling author. Usually, an author submits queries to dozens of publishers before acceptance, withstands several rounds of edits, finally publishes, and sells 10 copies (9 of which are your immediate family and friends). You need to have willpower to persevere, to keep writing, keep blogging, tweeting, whatever you can to make yourself and your novel known.  Then you need to KEEP writing. This will make or break your career as a writer, so buck up.

2) Tough Skin

You will be ridiculed, rejected and turned away more times than you think possible. You will get nasty reviews and snobby remarks. Your work, which you have poured you very soul into, will be returned stained with the red of flaws. If you can’t take someone telling you that you’re an awful writer, that your books are the worst someone has ever read, that you will never make it, then you may not survive this industry.

3) Charisma

Yes, writing amazing novels goes a long way towards your success. Having an interesting book gets people talking. Being an interesting person keeps them talking. Being charismatic and entertaining during interviews, events, signings, and any other networking situation will excel that WOM you need to thrive. Which brings me to….

4) Networked

This is one of the most important things an author can be- well networked. If you have a friend of a friend in the film industry, a cousin at a news station, and a sorority sister who blogs, you’ve already landed three huge publicity options before even publishing your book. Go to events, follow and reach out to people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

KEY POINT- Sharing is caring; networking goes both ways, so always offer and be willing to help others make a connection when you can.

5) Resourcefulness

Resourceful is defined as, having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties”. Marketing and promotion is anyone’s game, being effective and creative in your efforts, giveaways, and signings, and being able to adjust to changing conditions, is a huge quality to have in your personality arsenal.

6) Confidence

Consider this situation-

You submit to a dozen publishers and receive a dozen rejections. You finally get a publisher, and you get back a butchered first round of edits that must me made on your masterpiece. You finally publish, get 2 bad reviews in 10, and sell 11 copies your first month out. You sell even less the second month.

 This has happened to many authors, and it’s no wonder that so many give up writing with constant discouragement fueling their own self-doubt. Having confidence in your books and your abilities is a huge determinant in your continued writing and growth.

International Women's Day 2014, curiosity quills

Happy International Women’s Day!

Jane the Reader It’s International Women’s Day!

(How would you complete the sentence? Real Women …______)

To celebrate, rather than Rosie the Riveter, we’re sporting Jane [Austen] the Reader, and running a series of posts and interviews in the next few months about women in the fields of writing and publishing. During these interviews, we will hear about their success, their struggles, and of course, their favorite novels! Every week we will have a new woman featured on our blog, an author talking about their female main characters, or YOU the reader, as our featured guest, talking about what makes women so very…well, badass.  Not everyone rocks a bonnet like Jane did, but every women has their own special strength and shine that deserves to be celebrated (don’t worry guys, we’ll find a time to brag about the reasons you rule too!)

Who are the double-X authors you’re obsessed with and fave female fiction characters? Tell us who and why by emailing Marketing@CuriosityQuills.com with the subject line REAL WOMEN ENTRY and if we like what you’ve go to say, we’ll do a feature on it!

Follow other literary females like yourselves at #RealWomenRead