Who We Are
Here at Quill Pen, we all share three things in common: A love of the written word, a meticulous attention to detail, and a conviction that every book we work on is valuable. We specialize in taking independent and small-press manuscripts from rough, first drafts to their final form–polished, professional novels that meet or exceed the quality standards of the major publishing houses. We also work with a number of writers who are interested in pursuing traditional contracts, helping them prepare their manuscripts for submission to literary agents across the country. In every project we take on, three overriding principles govern us:
- Your book is beautiful. You as the writer have something to say. Only you can tell the story that’s on your heart, and you deserve a passionate editorial team who cares about your novel.
- We help you craft your best story. We’re honored to have the privilege and responsibility of partnering with you to communicate your vision effectively to your readers. Your manuscript merits time and careful attention as it’s refined.
- We deal ethically with every client and editor. A fifth-generation entrepreneur, our founder, Catherine, understands the importance of treating people fairly. We refuse to pay our editors like sweatshop workers. We also won’t charge wildly inflated rates. It’s the right way to do business, and we know you’ll see the difference in each interaction with our editors.
Meet Our Team
Catherine Jones Payne
Catherine Jones Payne is Quill Pen’s owner and managing editor. She has been editing professionally for four years and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wheaton College, where she graduated summa cum laude. Her editing portfolio includes over twenty published books, including Katie Cross’s award-winning fantasy novel Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, and she is particularly seeking YA fantasy and fiction that creatively explores themes of gender, beauty, social justice, and religion. In addition, she is experienced with non-fiction, blogs, and writing aimed at a professional audience. Her passions include rigorous editing, polished prose, and exceptional literature. She lives in Waco, TX with her historian husband and a kitten who begs her daily for an Instagram account. When she isn’t editing, she can be found reading, drinking Twinings tea, writing her novel, or playing racquetball.
Christabel Barry is a farmer-poet, pursuing sustainable living, gender equality, and mysticism with her hands and her pen. A woman of words, she enjoys empowering other writers to craft their best stories. From award-winning author Katie Cross’s The High Priest’s Daughter to Annie Grace’s bestselling This Naked Mind, she works on projects with artists of all genres to achieve success in their field. A chameleon editor, she adapts to the voice of her storytellers to ask the right questions that inspire them to pursue the most captivating version of their book.
With five years professional writing consulting and editorial work under her belt, a B.A. in English, Writing from Wheaton College (IL), and publication in literary journals, she is well underway in pursuing her dream to fill the world with beautiful books.
When she isn’t wrestling with words, Christabel enjoys traveling the country with her backpack, harvesting vegetables, dancing, and painting.
A Seattle dweller, Grace is an enthusiast of global wanderings, indoor skydiving, humankind’s capacity for the exploration of ideas, and the sizzle of a story cooking up. Over the last five years, she has made her itinerant home in Spain, Peru, Germany, Kenya, and Ireland, interspersed with excursions across continental Europe and the UK. She’s brewing plans to visit the Mediterranean’s Crete—the setting of one of her own historical fiction writing projects—next. Currently, she’s studying Economics at the University of Washington, emphasizing Spanish and International Political Economy and minoring in Dance. Grace considers our literature and language to be vital integrants to our daily comprehension of the threads of shadow and light woven into our lives. When consumed by the operations of either her real or fictional worlds, she is often struck with an electric awareness of being caught inside a wondrously good story.
Stephanie Guido has loved reading since she was four years old when her mother found her studiously examining Little House on the Prairie page by page and insisting she could understand every word. Literature has been her haven for relaxation and inspiration, and she is thrilled to be editing with Quill Pen. Stephanie completed an undergraduate education in classical liberal arts at Patrick Henry College in northern Virginia and graduated summa cum laude with highest honors and a degree in government. She now lives in Texas with her husband, Ben, a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Baylor University, and their two children: Rowena and Cedric. (Bonus question: Which two famous pieces of literature have characters with the names Rowena and Cedric?) Stephanie and Ben share a love of reading and used-book-sale shopping, which has resulted in a home library proudly displaying almost three thousand titles. When Stephanie does have any free time that she hasn’t already filled with reading, she enjoys baking, hiking, jigsaw puzzling, and swimming.
Haley Tomaszewski’s worst fear as a child was being grounded from reading books. Thankfully, she always managed to convince her parents that depriving education is an unjust law. A passion for editing followed her infatuation with reading when she became an editor for her high school yearbook. This enthusiasm continued until she happily found Quill Pen, where she has been able to combine both loves in edifying and enjoyable work. Haley received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois, where she studied philosophy and psychology. Now she lives in Texas with her philosopher husband, with whom she routinely argues about technicalities in the written word. Her favorite writing transports her to different worlds and keeps her daydreaming about them for weeks after. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, learning languages, and baking.
Gabrielle Rasmussen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies with concentrations in social interaction, art, and digital media from the University of Washington. She particularly enjoys bringing fantastic themes to life and creating abstract artwork with influences of Realism. An artist since childhood, Gabrielle dabbles in digital painting, ink and pen, sketching, water color, and acrylics. In the past five years she has established herself as a professional photographer and assisted companies large and small in poster, flyer, and web design. She has a passion for many things, including drawing, photography, graphic design, psychology, crocheting, tea, and her cat. She likes to spend her time drawing and listening to music with her feline friend close at hand.
We are pleased to be contracting with Michael Musser to add high-quality typesetting to our list of services. Michael holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and emphasis in Design from Biola University in Los Angeles. He currently lives and works in Pennsylvania as a full-time freelance graphic designer. He has worked on projects for businesses and individuals all over the world, including SALT Optics, In-N-Out Burger, Amway and the Tavistock Restaurant Group. While he enjoys the more apparent artistic and visual aspects of design, he finds equal enjoyment in the technical qualities behind creating a compelling design, such as typesetting and formatting. His book design experience ranges from scholarly journals and non-fiction to university course catalogs and product manuals. When he’s not designing, he’s spending time with his wife, Kimi, and two children, Quinten and Westin.