A Guest Post: by Author Selah Tay-Song

Hi all! One of the many joys on the road to publishing, and beyond, is having the opportunity to meet and get to know other fellow authors. The beauty of blogging is that I get to share those connections with you!

What follows is a guest post by one such friend-author, Selah Tay-Song. Please enjoy! I can tell you, as someone currently toiling through writing their second book, it’s a huge relief to know my struggle is far from unique. 

Lessons Learned from the Dreaded Second Book
(Guest Post by Selah Tay-Song)

A couple of years back, I attended a writing conference where the keynote speaker, Author Jim Lynch, said that the second book is always the hardest book for an author to write.

He explained that whether the first book was a raving success and you are terrified that the second book won’t be up to the same standard, or the first book was a flop and you are reeling with disappointment, it’s hard.

He went on to say that while the second book is particularly challenging, it never gets easier. Even the most prolific bestselling author will still have a hard time sitting down and starting another book.

At the time I hadn’t even finished Dreams of QaiMaj Book I, so I didn’t take his words too much to heart. Now that I am launching Dream of a City of Ruin, Dreams of QaiMaj Book II, I understand exactly what he meant. The challenges to writing book two were different from the first, but no less daunting.

In addition to being both terrified that the second book wouldn’t live up to the standard I’d set with the first book, and disappointed in the performance of the first book, I faced three seemingly insurmountable writing challenges while writing Dream of a City of Ruin:

  1. DCR is a “journey” story (the main characters spend most of the book traveling from point a to point b) which is really hard for me to write (I’m an action kinda gal).
  1. The two main characters in DCR have to go from being mortal enemies (literally, they tried to kill each other at the end of the first book) to bonded allies. And the reader has to buy this development.
  1. The scope of DCR was dramatically larger than the scope of the first book. The setting widened, the number of important characters increased, and the stakes grew much higher.

So how did I rise to these challenges?

For the first one, I read a lot of journey stories, and focused on journey or transitory portions of several of my favorite series. What I found that kept me engaged in these kinds of stories, almost overwhelmingly, were two things: one, the characters underwent an emotional journey that mirrored the physical journey, and two, there were actually plenty of ways to keep the tension and action high during the journey—have the heroes being pursued, or put obstacles in their path, or put them in conflict with each other.

For the second challenge, I relied largely on my editor and beta readers. I had a vision of where I wanted the character’s relationship to be when I finished, but there were a lot of places where I moved too fast, where the characters acted too accepting or friendly before it was reasonable for them to do so. My big learning experience with this project was patience, and a big part of that was being patient with these two characters, letting them figure things out at their own pace.

For the third challenge, I had to adapt my writing process. I spent a lot more time planning Dream of a City of Ruin than I ever have before when drafting a book. Not only did I plan out the plot carefully, I also planned out each individual character’s arc. Once I sat down to write, I had a much more clear idea of how everything should play out than I did writing the first book.

Patience, planning, writing in community, and research were my big take-aways from the experience of writing Dream of a City of Ruin. I will certainly be carrying these valuable lessons with me as I continue to write the Dreams of QaiMaj series!

What was your biggest writing challenge recently, and how did you overcome it? Leave a note in the comments and let me know!

About Selah:

Profile thumbSelah J Tay-Song is living proof that if you persevere, you’ll catch your dreams. She decided to be an author at the age of six. It took her 25 years to learn how to write a book. Today she is the author of the award-winning Dreams of QaiMaj series, described as magical, poetic and engrossing. When she’s not writing epic fantasy, Selah blogs about everything she wished she knew before she wrote her first book. When she’s not writing, Selah is stalking the urban river otters that live near her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Follow Selah on the interwebs:

Website: http://www.selahjtaysong.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Selah-J-Tay-Song/e/B00J43RS68/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/selahjtaysong

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/selah.taysong

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/selahjtaysong

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Selahjtaysong

Dream of a City of Ruin:

DreamofaCityofRuin-1600x2400px-eBookCover-FlatCheck out Selah’s latest book, Dream of a City of Ruin, available March 20th, 2015! The tale of QaiMaj continues in this gripping sequel to Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern:

War simmering for three thousand years is poised to explode on the surface of QaiMaj. The outcome might free the scattered survivors of an ancient disaster from tyranny, or destroy them forever.

Torn from familiar caverns in the midst of her own war, stranded in the icy lands of Khell, Queen Stasia of Iskalon knows nothing of the conflicts shaping QaiMaj. Her only guides are legends told by a Khell Healer and her own prophetic Dreams of her people suffering in a dark, ruined city. Unwillingly allied with the man who destroyed everything she holds dear, struggling to define her identity in the face of so much loss, stalked and assailed by death-hungry Dhuciri, Stasia sets out across the vast wastelands of QaiMaj to reach the city of her Dreams.

But Svardark, the ruling dynasty on QaiMaj, already knows she has surfaced, and they will stop at nothing to find her in . . .

Dream of a City of Ruin

Dreams of QaiMaj Book II

Tucson Festival of Books

Hi all! Just wanted to post a quick news update.

I’ll be making an appearance at the Tucson Festival of Books on March 14th and 15th, from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. The festival is being held at the University of Arizona (which also happens to be my alma mater, so I’m super excited to being going back!). I’ll be in the Book Goodies booth with several other authors, so if you’re in the area please to stop by to say hello! (I’ll keep you posted on the booth number, once I find out).

I recently did an author interview for Book Goodies, in anticipation of the festival. If you’re the curious type, I invite you to click on the following link: Interview with Author – Eva Vanrell

Forbidden : Promo Spotlight

Hi all! As of a few months ago, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours hosted by 2 Book Lovers Reviews. This week is the virtual book tour for Forbidden: The Brethren of Erebus by L.M. David.  As a lover all things mythology and fiction of the supernatural variety, I’m happy to host a spotlight for this intriguing story!

Spread the Word Tour bannerBefore we begin, here are a few links on Forbidden, for your browsing pleasure:

And now, without further ado, onto the spotlight! (Friendly Hint: Keep an eye out for the giveaway link at the end of the spotlight!)


ForbiddenThe European vampire brood is in decline and the Vampiric council’s rule is shaken amid rumors of an uprising. Their only hope comes from an Oracles’ verse and a name “Julianna.” Moros, as a member of a warrior clan, the Brethren of Erebus, must obey the orders of the Heir Elder, who is convinced finding this young woman is the only hope to save them from extinction. Sent to America, a land forbidden by decree of the European rulers, he arrives only to learn he is exiled, and his family honor in ruins. Angered by this betrayal, he continues the search for Julianna. However, the more he learns, the less Moros believes the mission he is on will clear his name. Moros soon becomes entangled in lies, rivalry, deception, the threat of war, and the wrath of a Pan Celtic God — and in the midst of this treachery, he finds something unexpected … love.

Author Bio

Forbidden QuipL.M. David has been writing novels since Jr. High School after taking a Creative Writing class and becoming an acquaintance of Lazette Gifford, who is now a prolific writer. Initially drawn to the genre of Science Fiction, a fascination with paranormal/urban fantasy/romance drew her into the dark erotic world of vampires. The more she read about the subject of the ‘undead’, the deeper her fascination with folklore and legends of the vampires became. This is also L.M. David’s first attempt at writing a New Adult novel.

L.M. David, in recent months, has contributed an article to the ezine Vision: A Resource for Writers.

L.M. David, when not writing, has varied interest — building computers, making quilts, pillows and does scrapbooking. She has worked as a legal assistant and as a nurse in the medical field. Although born in New Jersey, her family relocated to Southern California and now considers themselves Californians. Her family includes Patches, a stray cat who nosed her way into the L.M. David’s life and Paws, who stubbornly sat on the front porch and patiently waited for hours to be invited inside. That was six years ago.

L.M. David has a blog at: http://www.wordpress.com/lmdavid54 and an author’s page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorLMDavid


As a part of this virtual book tour, the author is giving away 2 e-copies of the book (open internationally).  Please click on the following link to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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!

Originally posted on Sarah Wathen:


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.


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…

View original 1,379 more words

Review – The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell


Stop Two in The Butterfly Crest Virtual Book Tour has gone live at the Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction blog! A huge thanks to author Katheryn Avila for such a great write up.

If you haven’t checked out Stop One at TWE Indie Reviews, you should do so now! *no pressure or anything ;)* Thanks to author Thomas W. Everson for the wonderful review.

Originally posted on Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction:

Butterfly Crest Banner

Hi! So way back in September, I signed up over at 2 Book Lovers Reviews for a neat feature they’ve just begun – the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours! The first ever winner of the free blog tour is Eva Vanrell, author of The Butterfly Crest, and this is my leg of her tour, in which I’ll be reviewing her debut novel. This also marks the first of (hopefully) many more book reviews I’ll be putting up here, mainly of the indie variety. Now, let’s talk about The Butterfly Crest. (SPOILER FREE!)

First, a quick synopsis/excerpt:

Elena Vicens is an associate at a law firm, leading a pretty regular life. As a child, she lived in Japan until the untimely death of her parents. She was taken in by her mother’s best friend, Cataline, and raised in the states for the rest of her…

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On paperback releases and book blog tours

Hi all! Just wanted to stop by and make a few quick announcements. I had planned for this post to be a little more than just updates, but I somehow caught a stomach bug and it has officially won. Thanks to the crazy dizziness, I can’t stare at a screen for too long.

First thing’s first, just a little reminder that the First Edition Paperback of The Butterfly Crest comes out tomorrow online!! Keep an eye out for the link, which I’ll be posting tomorrow morning (or you can sneak a copy now on Amazon)!

NOLA Book FairI attended my first book fair this past weekend – The New Orleans Book Fair! Had a lot of fun meeting new readers, and sharing the experience with V (my partner in crime in all things literature related) and A (she who forces me to be social and champions my cause). For those of you who purchased the book, I sincerely hope you enjoy Elena’s story and come to love some of the characters as much as I do. It’s a privilege to be able to share them with you. Thank you as well to all the super nice people who signed up for my author newsletter – an email should be going out soon with some fun updates!

If you haven’t signed up for my author newsletter yet, there’s always room for new friends! You can sign up on Eva’s List anytime, to receive exclusive updates on my latest news, sneak peeks and special promotions. Those on the List will be first in line for cover and title reveals, and Book Two excerpts!

PrintThe Butterfly Crest Virtual Book Tour starts today! Thank you to Spread The Word Blog Tours and all of the wonderful bloggers who voted for the book. I’m really looking forward to your posts! There will be a giveaway associated with the tour (First Prize – a signed First Edition Paperback; Second Prize – a $15 Amazon gift card). Here’s the schedule, for those of you who would like to take the tour (and/or enter the giveaway!):

November 10th – TWE Indie Reviews

November 11th – Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction

November 12th – 2 Book Lovers Reviews

November 15th – Sarah Wathen

November 16th – The Spontaneous Reader

November 17th – L.M. David and Literary Homebody

The Protogenoi Series


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