I was going through my character boards recently on Pinterest and thought it might be fun to make character collages for you guys. In writing, there are a lot of little details about characters that don’t necessarily make it onto the page, but that are pivotal to the essence of the character. They contribute to the pithof that character; to the concise expression of who they are.
It took me a couple of days to find the right combinations, but I think the end results do a pretty good job of expressing who these characters are—in my head, at least.
Please remember, the images selected were chosen for the feelings they evoke, not particular faces or people (with a few exceptions! 😉 ).
Hello there, Beastie fans! Just a quick note to keep you guys posted on some local upcoming events!
What will I be doing between May and October, you ask?! Putting my nose to the grindstone to get the manuscript for Book 2 done and the gears rolling to finally get it published. My goal is to have it done and ready for Japan Fest in October. Keep your fingers crossed for me! (The gods know it’s been a long road!)
May 12, 2018 – Worldbuilding Without Harm (Panel Discussion). I’ll be at Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop for Independent Bookstore Day on May 12th from 1 PM to 2 PM for a panel discussion on Worldbuilding Without Harm! How do authors go about building their fictional worlds without causing harm to real-life groups of people? This is a topic I had to seriously consider when I decided to write about Japan and their traditions. Come join us to discuss!
If you’d like to know more about the full day Event, which includes other panels with some amazing local NOLA authors, please visit Tubby & Coo’s Event Page here.
Date & Time: Saturday, May 12, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM
October 6, 2018 – Japan Fest 2018 (NOLA). I’ll be at Japan Fest again this year, signing and slinging books (and tea), and teaming up again with the Japan Society of New Orleans for another kitsuke (kimono dressing) demonstration. If you’ve never been to our local Japan Fest, I highly recommend it. Come join us to celebrate and learn about Japanese culture! Stay tuned on this page, and on my social media, for more specific information as the festival gets closer.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 6, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
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!
April 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.
Date & Time: Sunday, April 9th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM
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
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!
Date & Time: Monday, May 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Whenever we least expect it, the universe conspires to bring us together with kindred spirits we may not have crossed paths with otherwise. In those special moments, happenstance and fortune combine to work a little magic.
That’s exactly what happened eight months ago when I met author Kimberly Richardson at Wizard World NOLA. (You can read the rest of that story in Kimberly’s own words – here). What I couldn’t have imagined then was where that happy occurrence would lead us…
Introducing Aisa Tea by Viridian Tea Company – a blend of tea inspired by The White-Haired Fate herself! This is the first of many collaborations to come between myself and Kimberly, who also happens to be the owner (and Empress of Tea) at Viridian Tea Company.
Aisa Tea is a blend of Assam tea, sage, honey crystals, and dried lemon peel.
It’s been 16 days since The Butterfly Crest launched, and I don’t think I’ve stopped for even a second. I knew my plate would be full the second everything went live, but I couldn’t have guessed the full extent of it.
The work is never-ending. I had a game plan, but every time I finish a task three take its place. I’m learning something new with every click of the cursor, and the process seems to reinvent itself every day. That being said, I’ve enjoyed every second of it. The pace might be a little insane, but connecting directly with readers, and other writers, has been a joy. I received my first reader email halfway through the week, and it was from the mountains of Turkey!
I’ve been thinking about what to write (it’s hard to pare down the experience), and the first thing that comes to mind is the incredible support I’ve received from friends and family. I’d given the book to less than a dozen people before its launch (to assist in the revision process), and all of them went out in full force to spread the word. They’ve shared and promoted the book through social media almost as tirelessly as I have. They are fully invested in the book’s success, and I’m in complete awe of them. There’s also the ones who are doing exactly the same thing, without having been part of that peer review group, and the ones who, in spite of not owning ereaders, downloaded apps, purchased the book, and are reading it on their phones (which I can tell you from experience is NOT an easy task) and spreading the news. There aren’t sufficient words in the English language to express my gratitude for their support.
And while I’m on the topic of supportive friends and family, I can’t leave out the unexpected gift I received in the mail. On Tuesday morning, I arrived at the office to find a package waiting for me. The box had the logo of a tea retailer and weighed very little, so I imaged someone had sent me some tea (which for me is like gold). When I opened the box and removed the tissue paper, what I found wasn’t tea. Staring back at me was a white butterfly crest, in a sea of black crepe silk. It was a haori, a kimono jacket, with a singular butterfly kamon at the nape of the neck. Kamon is the Japanese word for a family crest, and the inspiration for the name of my novel. One of my dearest friends had sent me the gift to commemorate the launch of my book. And once again, there weren’t sufficient words in the English language to express my gratitude.
Which brings me to the topic of butterflies. In the email I received from Turkey, the reader described an experience she had with a swallowtail butterfly while she was reading the book. In that moment, I realized how powerful a symbol it can be, that it had resonated with her in the same way it resonated with me. I have to admit that I’ve never quite looked at a butterfly in the same way again, since finishing my book. What’s incredible about it is that I didn’t set out with the intent of the butterfly becoming the symbol for Elena’s journey, or mine for that matter. It was just one of those happy occurrences while I was writing. Now, I can’t imagine this journey without it, and every time I see one (yesterday afternoon in my backyard or the photo of one a friend posted on Facebook this morning) I can’t help but feel completely at peace. The experience of writing my first novel, of fulfilling that dream, and publishing it has been transformative, and the butterfly, for me, has become a symbol of that transformation (in the same way it was for Elena, and in the mythos of different cultures throughout history).
Speaking of Elena, it’s been a huge relief to see the warm reception she’s received as our reluctant heroine. When you’re writing a story with a large supporting cast of divine creatures, who are forces of nature in their own right, you can’t help but worry that the voice of your human protagonist might be overwhelmed. Even in my head, the cast of beasties fight for room on the page while Ele usually just sits back, but it looks like that contrast resonated with readers. Both of the editorial reviews the novel has received have commented on Elena’s strength as the protagonist, and I’m thrilled about it.
Which brings me to the second editorial review—The Butterfly Crest has received another 5 stars! I can’t think of a better way to close out this post.
Reviewed By Kathryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite:
The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell takes us between the shadows of the human world where a war that is as old as time is raging. A long-told prophecy says one human woman will change the course of the divine war and one day Elena – a seemingly regular woman living a normal life – gets a letter about a deposit box in her mother’s name. This letter and the contents of the box are a cursed inheritance and send Elena on a journey that could only be considered mythical and unbelievable. She must make choices to see where destiny takes her.
This is a great story that merges two different realms almost seamlessly into one another and makes a complex story entertaining and compelling. The action was fast and the pace of the book was perfect. Elena is a fantastic character whom I found to be intelligent and strong, but who has to find her way in an impossible situation, giving her even more depth as well. Eva Vanrell has created a strong story with a beautifully strong female main character, in a world and with a story line that is imaginative and unique. I have read many fantasy style stories that offer a similar version of wars that have been going on for all time, but this has been by far one of the most well thought out and well put together plots. If you are looking for a read for the summer that will have you hooked within the first pages and hold your interest until the very end, leaving you wanting more … then this is your book.