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How-To Tuesday: Make Your Own Quill For Under $30

Quills have been used to author some of the most important documents of our time—The Magna Carta, Shakespeare's works, lots and lots of Bibles. And perhaps most timely, the Founding Fathers of the United States wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence using this esteemed and elegant writing instrument.

So next time you have an important document to sign, why do it with a boring old Ballpoint, when you can pen your name like a major historical figure? Better yet, how about signing with a quill you constructed yourself and for under $30? Here's our How-To Tuesday on making your own quill pen on the cheap!

Posted by E.H. Kern

7 Famous Movies Adapted From Short Stories

The month of May is National Short Story Month! To celebrate this form of fiction we here at Quirk Books present to you seven movies you might not know were adapted from short stories—perfect for short and sweet additions to your TBR!

Posted by E.H. Kern

Seven Reasons the Mechanical Pencil is a Writer’s Best Friend

The year 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Charles R. Keeran's U.S. patent for the Ever-Sharp pencil, also known as the modern mechanical pencil. Combined with Tokuji Hayakawa’s Japanese patent from 1920 for the pencil’s metal core, Keeran’s invention paved the way for the mechanical pencils we use today.

I have been using mechanical pencils my entire writing life. If you ask me, the mechanical pencil is a writing tool superior to any other. Therefore, in celebration of the anniversary of Keeran’s patent, here are seven reasons why I believe the mechanical pencil is a writer’s best friend.

Posted by E.H. Kern

Women’s History Month: Six Movies About Real Women Writers

Here at Quirk Books we continue to celebrate National Women’s History Month. This time we bring you six movies based on the lives of real women writers.

Posted by E.H. Kern

What to Read During the Year of the Goat

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2015 is the Year of the Goat. The Chinese Zodiac has a twelve-year cycle where an animal has been designated to each year. The Year of the Goat is the eighth year of this cycle.

Fun fact: Authors Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch, and Alice Munro were born in the year of the Goat. So were Toni Morrison and John le Carré.

It is said that the year of one’s birth sign can be unlucky. So, for those born in the Year of the Goat, 2015 might turn out to be a tough year. But don’t worry. Each Chinese Zodiac animal comes with its own set of lucky numbers, colors, directions, and months. Based on what is lucky for Goats, we have selected some books to read until the Year of the Monkey takes over in 2016.

Posted by E.H. Kern

How-To Tuesday: How to Make Medieval Ink

In this week’s How-To Tuesday we are going medieval. We are making our own black ink using a recipe from thirteenth-century France.

Looking at the golden inlays and the red and blue ink of a medieval manuscript, it is easy to understand why these books were so expensive to make. But most of the text was written using black ink, which at first glance doesn’t seem to be very expensive. However, the black ink was exclusive as well. It took time to make and the ingredients had to be imported from far away.

The black ink that was used in medieval Europe is called iron-gall ink. There are hundreds of recipes for making iron-gall ink, but they have a few things in common. These things are gallnuts, iron vitriol (a. k. a. copperas), and gum arabic. Many recipes also use rainwater and wine.

Posted by E.H. Kern