Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday With Ali - The Dragon Slayer

I'm so pleased to have Alison Drew from Ali - The Dragon Slayer in the spotlight today.  I met Alison online earlier this year and she was kind enough to help spread the word about Ethan's release in April.  An avid reader at heart, she's so supportive of authors and I'm so pleased to have her on my blog today.

Ali, tell us a little more about yourself:

I am currently fighting cancer so relishing the opportunity to indulge in my passion for reading. I have loved books for as long as I can remember, there is never a time when I am without a book or my Kindle.

I have varied taste and particularly like to try new authors. I am based in the UK but am open to meeting people worldwide. I enjoy spending time with my family and a great animal lover. Perfection is a roaring fire, cup of tea and the cat!

Describe yourself in five words:

Loyal, Kind, Honest, Tenacious, Sarcastic

How did you come up with the name for your book blog?

I thought of all kinds of bookish names for my blog but eventually settled on the first idea. My particular cancer uses the slogan 'Slay the Dragon' so in keeping with that 'Ali -The Dragon Slayer' was born. Just seemed highly appropriate and also helps to raise awareness of Leiomyosarcoma.

What made you start your blog?

When I became ill I had the prospect of spending many long hours in hospital. I have always read but now I wanted somewhere to share my love of books and connect with other like minded people to keep my mind occupied and not dwelling on the seriousness of my illness. I wanted to be known as ME not the poor lady with cancer. The blogging/author community are fantastically supportive. I never anticipated my little blog would develop and become as popular as it has!

When you're not reading, you're ...?

I love music, movies, entering competitions and travelling .. when I'm not blogging if health allows you will either find me touring the USA in a muddy field at a festival or at a music gig. We have a huge collection of DVD's/Blu Rays so there is always a movie to watch, plus Netflix .. I'm amazed I find the time to blog.

What are your blogging pet peeves?

I'm sure a lot of other bloggers would agree, my major peeve is when an author expects me to drop everything else and review their book NOW. My schedule is booked months in advance, and if I accept a book I generally give a date when it will appear on the blog. So I'm afraid any amount of emails, DM's, tweets etc are not going to make it happen any faster. In fact having to reply eats into precious reading time. I have been known to push the book down the TBR instead if the pressure gets too heavy. Bloggers do this for fun/hobby we are not paid and do have a life & families as well as books to read, posts to prepare etc

Do you have other interests besides your blog?

I know a couple of people may know but not many, I am a HUGE NFL fan. (American Football) I watch as many games as possible during the season. I have traveled to the US whenever possible to see live games. Usually it's freezing cold, snow, wind, rain but nothing will stop me if my team are playing. And by my team I mean the fabulous New York Giants!

Do you have any advice to offer to authors?

I have a review policy on my blog which clearly states genres I read, preference of book format, whether I have any space or taking a break. If requesting a review please use my name and not just Hey Blogger or similar. I can easily be found on Twitter or Facebook, say hi, interact I'm very approachable ... it's always nice to see what makes an author tick in day to day life. I like to build up a relationship with authors so they know I will give wide coverage of their book and be available when the next book is due but also be interested in non-book aspects of life. A simple thank you also goes a very long way.

Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse of the warrior woman behind the blog, Ali!

For book reviews, book news, author spotlights and a lot more, check out Ali's fabulous blog here.

Thanks for reading!
Rae Rivers

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesday With Star Crossed Reviews

I'm so pleased to be introducing my 'Wednesday With' series of blog posts again.  Every Wednesday, for the next few weeks, I'll be hosting a book blogger for a 'behind-the-scenes' look at life as a blogger. I have some fabulous guests lined up, many whom have offered me incredible support with my Keepers trilogy, and I look forward to getting to know more about them!

Today, in the spotlight, I've snagged the lovely Emma Poulloura from Star Crossed Reviews to tell us more about herself and her blog:

Describe your household / family.

My household is quite small. There’s just me, my boyfriend and my french bulldog puppy. My pup is only 5 months old so he’s in that so cute it’s hard to be angry at him stage. I also have 5 younger brothers, 2 nephews and a niece.

Describe yourself in five words

1. Indecisive
2. Bookaholic
3. Chocoaholic
4. Inquisitive
5. Compassionate

What made you decide to start your Star Crossed Reviews?

I was actually reading I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk, in this book the main character starts a blog and I was so inspired by this character that I thought yes I can do this.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

I wanted a name that incorporated the two main book genres that I love (Romance and Fantasy). Star Crossed refers to Star Crossed Lovers which is a rare and magical thing.

What are the blogging highlights?

I LOVE it when someone tells me that my review made them decide to buy that book. There is nothing better.

What is the most challenging thing about being a blogger?

juggling….It’s difficult to fit everything in. Between, work, household chores, spending time with my boyfriend and my little pup sometimes it can be a struggle to fit everything.

What are you currently reading?

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant and Beta reading for On Thin Ice by Aven Ellis

Do you have any advice to authors about how best to approach bloggers and develop relationships with them?

I know that it saves a lot of time but one thing I hate are mass emails from an author I have never spoken to before. In fact so much that I instantly delete them. The other thing that is irritating is when someone emails you about a genre you have outlined that you do not read.

Quick word associations (Please answer all these questions with the first word (s) that comes to mind)

Vampires - Blood
Holidays - Reading time
Treat - Chocolate
Abs - Hot men
Wine - White
Chores - zzzzz
Bliss - tea, chocolate and a book
Outdoors - summer
Gym - hard work
Mondays - suck

Haha, I love these word associations!  :)  Thanks so much for the chat, Emma.  Some great answers here - and your pup is adorable!

Check out Emma's fantastic blog and her review of The Keepers: Ethan here.

Thanks for reading!
Rae Rivers

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Inspiration Behind Rapid Falls

Franschoek, South Africa
So many of you have commented how much you love Rapid Falls, the setting for my Keepers series. I love that my fictional town felt so real to you and that many of you cared enough to get in touch with me to share that.  Thank you!

I recently chatted to Emma from Star Crossed Reviews about the town that inspired Rapid Falls but as I frequently get asked about this, I'm re-posting it here.

I knew when I started plotting my Keepers series that the setting would be as important as my characters. I envisioned a small town with a small group of people set within a beautiful valley.

My character, Jenna, from The Keepers: Ethan summed it up perfectly:

“A peaceful, close-knit town where everyone was up in everyone's business and things like home-baked pie, honesty, and solid friendships still existed.”

Throughout the books, I used multiple settings in an attempt to keep it interesting and fresh. New York, New Orleans and in the final book in the trilogy, a fictional world called Ameera.

But despite these exciting settings, my characters always returned home – to Rapid Falls. A fictional small town set in a valley surrounded by mountains, vineyards and natural beauty. It’s familiar – to my characters as well as my readers – and it’s home. My Keepers own a wine estate, complete with the rows of vineyards and the beautiful, old homestead. They specialise in the production of Ice Wine and come from a solid generation steeped in history and meaning, so this setting seemed perfect for them.

Also, it provided a lot of opportunity for creepy scenes and characters – bridges, forests, tunnels etc. and of course, the isolation that comes within these settings. I live in the mountains, surrounded by forests and dams and magnificent sunsets on surrounding wine farms so this setting felt very natural to write too.

I don’t live in an isolated village like Rapid Falls, my town is much bigger but I drew a lot of inspiration from a small town in Cape Town a few hours away from me – Franschoek.

Set within a valley, the town consists of about 15 000 people and was established in the late 1600’s. It’s known for its annual festivals like the Bastille Festival, Champagne Festival and the SA Literary Festival.

Surrounding the town are many wine estates with rolling hills of vineyards that not only add to the beauty of the town but also produce magnificent wines and champagne. Many of the farms still have their original buildings or farm houses on them, many of which are the traditional Cape Dutch houses.

The town itself has a charming main road consisting of quaint gift stores, a variety of restaurants, art galleries, book stores, and coffee shops.

So although Rapid Falls is fictional, I frequently envisioned this small town as the basis for my setting. I developed this concept into an imaginary home steeped in magic and folk lore. Then I added three hot brothers, three lovely heroines, a few villains, danger, secrets, three beautiful love stories and an epic adventure!

Thanks for reading.
Rae Rivers

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Release Day for The Keepers: Ethan!

FINALLY, after months and months - years, considering when I started this series - of plotting, planning and hard work, it all comes together today as The Keepers: Ethan is released into the world!

I'm hopping with excitement to share this story with you - not only because it's well, Ethan's story, but also because it concludes my Keepers series (which I know many of you have been waiting for!).

I've been holding onto this hottie for so long as I wrote and rewrote and tweaked until I'd told the story the way it needed to be told. It's been a fun and exciting journey and I so LOVED the characters in this book (so many of them to enjoy!) but it's also been a huge challenge too!

But I did it! And I'm so immensely proud and thrilled with how it all came together.

So what can you expect?

You’ll meet old favourites again – Archer, Declan, Sienna and Kate. But more specifically, you'll also get up close and personal with the youngest Bennett brother, Ethan. Previously, he was very much in the background with his two older brothers in the spotlight, but this is his story, his book and he truly owns it! :) You'll get to know a new character, Jenna, who is different to the other heroines in the books. Where Kate and Sienna are witches, Jenna is a Keeper. She's feisty and strong and super confident - and a perfect partner for Ethan! I so loved Ethan and Jenna together and writing their journey was very different to that of the other couples in the trilogy. And of course, I had to put them both through lots of trials and hardships too!

To celebrate Ethan's release, we have several awesome book bloggers participating in a blog tour. There'll be guest posts, Q&A's, reviews, and excerpts from the book so please pop in and show your support. I'll be posting links on my Facebook and Twitter pages as we go.

If you're new to the series, The Keepers: Sienna, the prequel to the series is FREE. And if you're already a Keepers fan, then The Keepers: Ethan can be found at Amazon or any online retailer.

Thank you to every single one of you for your support, enthusiasm and cheering along the way. I really hope that the wait for this final book was worth it!

With love and thanks (and huge excitement too!),
Rae Rivers

Monday, March 28, 2016

Giveaway - The Keepers: Archer

Hey guys!

In celebration of Ethan's upcoming release next week (NEXT WEEK! :) my publishers are giving away 15 paperback copies of The Keepers: Archer.

Included within each paperback is also The Keepers: Sienna, the prequel to the trilogy.

That's a chance to win one of 15 paperback copies of the first TWO books in the series! 
So if you're keen to start the series, or you're already an existing fan of my Keepers and would like the chance to win a paperback, please head on over to the Goodreads Giveaway.  (Terms and conditions apply.)

Best of luck!

Rae Rivers

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ethan News!

There's been so much happening behind the scenes as we've been prepping The Keepers: Ethan for release day and I'm afraid the wait will be a little longer than we'd hoped.  

I'm so sorry for the delay as I know it's been a long wait (and you've all been so wonderful and patient!) but there were several factors that influenced this decision and it made sense to shift the release date slightly to accommodate everything.

Fortunately, it's only two weeks - so Ethan will be ready to hit your eReaders by the 7th April '16

The last few weeks were packed with edits, emails back and forth between my editor and myself, and a lot of reading.  But the great news is that the book is complete!  All the edits are finished and the book has been finalised.  At the moment, the book is with the production team who are preparing it for release.

As I signed it off this week, waving goodbye to months and months of hard work, I'm left with a bitter sweet feeling ... sad that my journey with my Keepers and their lovely women have come to an end but also immensely excited that Ethan's story - and the conclusion to this trilogy - is finally ready to be shared with my readers.

So what can you expect?

An awesome new heroine, Jenna, who we met at the end of The Keepers: Declan.  She's a little different to Sienna and Kate who appeared in previous books as Jenna isn't a witch, she's a Keeper.  (A perfect match for Ethan!)  I loved these two together and so enjoyed Jenna's character as a female Keeper.  And of course, we get to meet the three handsome brothers again!  Together, their journey is filled with love, loyalty, action, suspense, and many twists and turns.

Looking so forward to sharing this one with you!

Thanks for your support,

With love,
Rae Rivers

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ethan's Editing Process - Part 1

I've had a few readers asking me what's happening behind the scenes for The Keepers: Ethan at the moment so I thought I'd share a little more about this process.

And yes, it's a process.  I blogged a few weeks ago that Ethan's book is finished.  Happy high fives and champagne all around.  

But what happens after that?  Here's a glimpse of my experience with the editing part of my books:

1. The book is sent to my editor for her to read.  It's usually 2-3 weeks before I hear back from her - and all I can do is take a breather from the deadline madness and W.A.I.T.  (Whilst trying to keep my fear monster and doubt crows under control and reminding myself that the book is great and the parts that aren't so great can be fixed during the edits :)

2.  My editor loves it!  More champagne and high fives!

A glimpse of the line edit during The Keepers: Declan
3.  The book comes back to me with structural and line edits - this is usually to check that the structure of my story makes sense, that timelines add up, and that everything flows.  My editor's suggested changes are highlighted in red - and sometimes has this weird ability to make me cringe!  But there are often encouraging or excited comments in the margins too that are always fun to read.  This part of the editing process is possibly the hardest for me. Sometimes it requires a lot of changes and for other books - like with Ethan - there were only a few.  Once I've worked through this, I read the book again before returning it to my editor.

4.  My editor (or a freelance editor) will proofread the book.  This is to check for comma placements, repetition, spelling errors etc.  

5.  After 2-3 weeks, the book bounces back to me and I have about a week to accept or reject any suggested changes.  This is a much quicker and easier process.  When I'm done, I read the book again and return it to my editor.

And step 5 is where we are now!  I'm busy with the last of my edits and I'm aiming to return to my editor by the end of the week once I've had another chance to read it.

Again.  :)

Although this process is tiring and long and often challenging, it's fun and I'm slowly starting to appreciate the edits rather than dread them.  I'll explain more of this in another post.

If you have any questions or comments about this process, please leave a comment or get in touch via my contact page.

I'll be back soon to explain the rest of the process as we go along.  We're almost there!

Thanks for reading!

Rae Rivers