Category Archives: Writing

On some upcoming NOLA events

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For all you NOLA Beastie fans out there, there are a few upcoming events (in April and May) that might tickle your fancy. It’s going to be an eventful spring! I hope to get to meet some of you there!

IMG_2441April 9, 2017 (Book Discussion & Author Q&A) – The Kwaidan Book Club (the Read Japan aspect of the Japan Society of New Orleans) has chosen The Butterfly Crest as their April read and will be discussing the book, and hosting an Author Q&A with yours truly, on April 9th!  If you’d like to know more about this Event, please visit the Facebook Event Page here.

May 14, 2017 – Kimono Pop-Up Shop & Book Release Party.  The Second Edition of The Butterfly Crest hit the local shelves recently and what better way to celebrate than with friends, readers and kimono?! So I’ve teamed up with Kawaii NOLA and JA&T Kimono on May 14th for a Kimono Pop-Up Shop and Book Release Party!! Come join us to celebrate! If you’d like to know more about this Event, please visit the Facebook Event Page here.

  • Date & Time: Sunday, May 14th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM
  • Location: Kawaii NOLA, 4826 Magazine St, NOLA

May 22, 2017 – Kimono and Kitsuke Workshop. For those of you who’ve read my book, you know I’m a little (a lot) obsessed with kimono. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about kimono and kitsuke (the art of wearing kimono), come join me and the Japan Society of New Orleans on May 22nd for a Kimono and Kitsuke Worksop and Demonstration!

On becoming involved and writing uncompromisingly for yourself

Yoshida
‘Sarusawa Pond’ by Yoshida Hiroshi.

Hi all! Once again, a million things have been going on; so much so that I can barely keep up. To tell y’all the truth, I don’t even know where to begin! I guess the beginning is always best, but who’s to say exactly where the beginning is? (I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, can you tell?)

In the past eight months, I’ve gone out of my way to participate in as many local events as I can.  I was already struggling to juggle my writing and my day job, so the masochist in me decided I needed to add another level of intensity! It’s been tough, to say the least, but it’s brought a whole new dynamic to my author life and I can’t stress enough how game changing it’s been for me as a whole. Not only has it brought me into contact with fellow authors and people in the local community who have offered their friendship and support, but it’s brought me closer to the readers I’d hoped to connect with and reach.

If you’re wondering what I mean by becoming locally involved, here are a few examples. This weekend, I ran a Fantasy Writing Workshop at Tubby and Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop in New Orleans, with author Kimberly Richardson. Before that there was Geek Fest at the New Orleans Public Library in July, NOLA Time Fest in June, the Independent Bookstore Day events at Tubby & Coo’s in May, and contributing to New Orleans’s first Cherry Blossom Festival hosted by Kawaii NOLA in April.

The next few weeks will be even more intense. I’ll be releasing the Second Edition of The Butterfly Crest, just in time for a three week extravaganza of local (New Orleans) events! (Scroll down to the end of the post for event dates and times). For a while now, I’ve been considering making several aesthetic changes to the cover and book design of the paperback, and I figured there’s no better time than now! So, I shelved Book Two for several weeks to make the necessary updates. Fear not, there have been no substantive changes to the contents of the story (not even to those parts where I might have been somewhat overzealous with my descriptions)!

So, what’s going on with Book Two? Glad you asked! I’ve started over. I’ve ‘destroyed’ my work. What do I mean by that? Exactly as scary as it sounds! Back in April I mentioned going ‘back to basics’. Things had been paralyzed for quite some time and I kept hitting a wall. What I had no idea then was how far I would have to go to change things!

After a year of trying to force things (and denying there was a problem to begin with), I ended up having to pitch it all and start over. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but I’m glad I did it. I honestly didn’t have any other choice. I wasn’t happy with what I had of Book Two.  I knew exactly what was wrong with it, but I was too scared to do anything about it; the problem was systematic and if I addressed it, I’d have to destroy everything I’d taken so long to create. That’s why I’d been paralyzed for so long. Destroying everything after so much blood, sweat and tears—the idea of it was terrifying. I didn’t want to accept it.

So what was the problem? It was something simple (basic) in hindsight. I wasn’t writing for me. Not a single word of it sounded like me. My voice, as an author, was nowhere to be found. Once I realized that, destroying it was my only option. The second I pitched it all, the writing started to flow. In a single month I wrote what had taken me a year to write before. I’m happy to report that we’re back on track and stronger than ever! Yes, the release of Book Two will now be delayed, but I’d rather have a product that is my own and that I’m proud of. I want to write uncompromisingly for myself, fearlessly and without apologies.

UPCOMING LOCAL (NEW ORLEANS) EVENTS:
  • September 24Paranormal Con at the Jefferson Parish Library. I will be participating in two of their panels. Specific times to follow.
  • September 30 to October  2CONtraflow VI at the New Orleans Airport Hilton. CONtraflow is a Science Fiction & Fantasy literary convention with a New Orleans flair. I will be participating in several of their panels. Times and dates to follow.
  • October 8 – Japan Fest at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I will be signing and selling books from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Kawaii NOLA, who I work with often, will also be in attendance! Come by and say hello!

 

This post’s image is  “Sarusawa Pond” by Yoshida Hiroshi, a Japanese painter and woodblock printmaker who is known for his beautiful landscape prints. I chose this image because of how serene it is and how calm it makes me feel; the perfect sentiment as I move ahead. Calm and steady.

On Going Back to Basics

Zeshin Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons
“Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons” by Shibata Zeshin, Meiji Period, 19th century; Google Art Project.

I don’t know where to begin.

When that happens, it’s usually best to go back to basics. But what happens when you forget the basics?

What happens when you strip it all down to it’s natural state, and you still get nothing? Something is supposed to bleed through, right? At least that’s what I thought.

When it didn’t, it was paralyzing.

I’ve been in a semi state of paralysis for the past year. There. I said it. It’s out in the open. It can’t have any power over me anymore.

So here I am, back to basics.

It isn’t where I wanted to be, granted, but it’s something. An admission. An affirmation. It fits. In my own round about way, I arrived at something.

It’s been a theme for the past year, these false starts, and every time I found myself face-to-face with them, I ran in the opposite direction. It was easy to find excuses—my health, my business and career, my personal life—anything not to look in the creative mirror.

We try our best during this journey to stay true to who we are, sometimes forgetting that we can’t be the same person at the end of the journey that we were at the beginning. I think that’s even more so when it comes to art. It’s an intimate thing to share your art with the world, and the act alone will forever change you. The tricky part is learning what’s actually a part of the new you and what’s just noise.

 

This post’s image is  “Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons” by Shibata Zeshin, a revolutionary Japanese painter of the late Edo Period and early Meiji Period. Zeshin invented the form of “urushi-e”, painting with lacquer, and is the only artist to be successful in the medium.  I chose Zeshin for this post because one of his paintings, “The Gods of Good Fortune at Mount Horai”, is currently on display in the Japanese Gallery at the New Orleans Museum of Art, as part of their exhibit on auspicious imagery in Edo Period art. NOMA has been a huge source of inspiration for me and turning to it now is definitely going back to one of my “basics”.

On a recent Review by Nia W.

Hi all! I know it’s been a while. I have a lot of good news to share and I promise to update y’all soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to share a recent review by the lovely Nia W. on her blog, The Most Sublime Things.

Please take a look at her site, and I hope you enjoy her review!

Review: The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell

I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. I’ve read a lot of different writing styles lately and this has to be one of my favourites. The tone is very reserved but includes rich detail and a wonderfully unhurried pace so that you feel you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

The book starts with highly exaggerated descriptions of characters, which made me wonder if this story was going to be overdone in the descriptive area, but it all makes sense when you realise the nature of the characters themselves. This is all put into perspective when the story starts following our main protagonist, Elena.

Her story starts with a description of the underdog in a work environment (which we all relate to on some level, some of us more than others I realise after accidentally tripping down the stairs to my office last week), putting on shoes she likes (described as red, so those of us who are terrified of fashion aren’t immediately put off) and still turning up late. She also loves tea religiously, so she’s already got me on side.

I love the female characters in this book. They have strong personalities and are very self aware, I especially appreciated Elena’s reserved personality. She knows her feelings about things but doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she is respectful, intelligent and curious about the things going on around her but above all, she works hard not to make a fool of herself or appear rude to others. She gets abused a lot in this book by various Greek gods but she never falls apart or lets them see how hurt she is emotionally or physically, which is the paramount of bravery you can expect from any ordinary human without prior godly training!…

Click here to read the rest of Nia’s review: Review: The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell

The Gods Come To Life, And Death Falls In Love

Stop Four in The Butterfly Crest Virtual Book Tour has gone live at Sarah Wathen’s blog! A thousand thanks, Sarah, for such a beautiful review.

Also check out Stop Three at 2 Book Lovers Reviews. An enormous thanks to Greg not only for the review, but for also setting up this entire tour!

Happy Reading!

Sarah Wathen

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A Book Review of The Butterfly Crest, by Eva Vanrell

(Buy it here on Amazon. Visit the author’s website. Find it on Goodreads.)

A synopsis, excerpts from the book, and detailed author info follow my review.

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What are the things that stick with you most, after finishing a great book? For me, it’s always those splendid moments when I feel like I’ve fallen through the pages and into the story itself. If an author is skilled at setting a scene and engaging my senses, I can almost look around and feel myself sitting within that space. And if the story has become a part of me—harder to do, engaging that sixth sense— a deeper reaction occurs, unforgettable and complete. Eva Vanrell might call that experience an impression, and that’s exactly what she strives to create in her work. “They have a lot to do with rhythm…

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Fringe Fiction GR Group: Where Indie Spirits Find Good Reads and Good Neighbours

Hi all! This is an interview given by Courtney Wells, founder of Fringe Fiction, my favorite group on Goodreads. If you’re a Goodreads member, come on by and say hello, or check out Courtney’s blog, Libra Obscura, for her indie book recommendations!

PS – Sorry for the radio silence of late. A lot going on. I’ll be posting an update soon. Cheers!

Artsy Fartsy Copyediting

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It’s never been easier to be a self-published author.

At the same time, indie authors have to tread an extremely tough road to hawk their wares in an overstuffed market.

It’s a bit like looking down the rabbit hole.

Sad fact? Blatant reality you have no hope of overcoming?

Perhaps, but wherever there is despair, people will always find a way to fill the vacuum.

Goodreads (GR), for example, is a great place for authors to hang out with readers, promote their books and develop a community.

Of course, it’s also a place where you can quickly become lost in all the choice and discussion.

How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? And how do you get people to notice your novel amidst all the convos and topic threads?

For starters, you need to find a group you honestly like and make relationships with real people. One such GR group I’m a…

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