Friday, October 23, 2015

Ethan News!

Hi guys!  I'm back after a looooong break - from blogging, social media, reading, exercise, sleeping and just all round life.  And why?

'Cause I've been so engrossed in three handsome brothers!

I've had so many readers contacting me this year asking about Ethan's release - messages that are appreciated more than you know.  They inspire me and encourage me to write. (And these messages often come at times when I'm feeling frustrated or confused about a plot point.  It's amazing how a reader message often helps me forward.)

So before I give you Ethan's news, a huge THANK YOU to everyone for your ongoing support and patience.  I know Ethan's story has taken a long time but boy was this book a challenge! A tough one but exciting and incredible too.  I've learnt so much from writing this book and I think this final Keeper book will stay with me forever simply because of my journey with it.  (I'll post another blog post soon on why it was such a challenge but in the mean time, check out my thoughts on writing a series.)

Okay, so where's Ethan?

The great news is that his book is written.  (Send high fives and hugs 'cause did I tell you how much of a challenge this one was? :) Yip, lovely readers, his story, and the conclusion to my Keepers series is finished.  Right now, it's in the hands of my dynamic editors at HarperImpulse who are going to help me add the final sparkles.  (I'll be chatting more about this process soon.)

I should have a release date shortly and I promise to share it as soon as I do.

So for now, whilst I await feedback from my editors, I have that post-exam feeling again - relief that it's done but wondering if I passed!!  (You know that one?)

I'll be back next week with more news.  And remember, I can be found on Facebook or Twitter and I love to hear from you guys so please come say hi!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Thursday, May 7, 2015

My Top 5 Tips for Writing a Series

I’ve frequently been asked what it’s like to write a series and if I have any tips on how to approach one. Writing The Keepers series was my first attempt but two years later, I’ve written three books and I’m finalising the fourth book, The Keepers: Ethan.

The lovely Jo Huges from  Comet Babe's Books recently hosted me on her blog for #HIFortnight, a two week celebration of romance books and the fab authors at HarperImpulse who write them.  I wrote a post for Jo's blog to share what I’ve discovered whilst writing a series and I'm reblogging it here in case you missed it.  So here it goes, my top tips for writing a series:

1. Keep a series notebook

Keep a notebook specifically dedicated to the series that lists all the characters, their personalities, traits, clothing choices and marks. When writing about my three gorgeous Keepers, I often had to check whose tattoo was placed where, which cheek had the dimple, which arm had the scar etc. It’s also important to keep track of all the mythology, rules, spells, general plot outline - this will differ between each series. And keep it updated! This helped tremendously. Many of my readers read my books in a few days but for me, the series was written over a few months - years! It’s easy to forget the smaller details!

2. Be prepared for a lot of characters

The Keepers are three warrior brothers (plus their sister Sarah) who protect a powerful modern day witch. Starting the series, I had five characters with varied personalities, speech patterns, habits etc. Even though each book focuses on one hero (a brother) and heroine at a time, there is still a lot of interaction between all the characters. At times, when everyone’s in one room together, it’s crazy fun – and challenging to keep up with everyone. I had to spend a lot of time thinking about my characters, getting to know each one and making them all unique in their own way.

3. Introduce different settings

My Keepers live in a small fictional town called Rapid Falls. They own a wine estate farming in Ice Wine. In the first book, The Keepers: Archer, most of the story took place in Rapid Falls. Many of my scenes occurred in their mansion, often the kitchen which is the local gathering place for the family. (Don’t you just love the warmth of a kitchen?) When writing The Keepers: Declan, I wanted fresh settings but also still wanted to revisit the familiar ones from the previous book (like the kitchen back home.) So I brought in New Orleans and a Canadian mountain range which offered lots of exciting opportunities for magic and mayhem. When writing the scenes in Rapid Falls, I did revisit the kitchen but also introduced a few new rooms at the Bennett mansion that I hadn’t mentioned before to give the reader a fresh glimpse of the estate. Playing with new settings was fun, fresh and helped me to avoid repetition. (And my Keepers got themselves a gorgeous indoor pool area too! :)

4. Remember where you’ve been, know where you’re headed

This statement sounds so obvious but in truth, it took me a long time to write the four books so it’s so easy to forget things that needed to be addressed/avoided/considered in later books. Initially I planned a plot outline for the entire series and knew how the final book would end but there were often times I had to sit back, breathe and remind myself what’s been done and where I’m going with the series. To keep my focus, I use Pinterest, pin boards, photographs, notebooks, white boards, post it notes – basically anything visual that will keep me on track. I also tend to have a quick read through the previous books to make sure I’ve covered everything.

5. Keep calm and write

Writing a series is HARD WORK. My Keepers are all full length novels (besides The Keepers: Sienna which is shorter) so each book is fairly long. The first book was easy. The second book a little harder as I had to incorporate the back story of the first book. The third book – even harder as I had to keep moving forward with a fresh story but still incorporate the back story of two books without bogging down the plot. The fourth book, The Keepers: Ethan, was even more challenging. I had to consider the back story of THREE books (think plot points, magic, spells, folklore, mythology, characters, and villains!) and tie up all the loose ends introduced in the first books. I had several villains, six main characters, and a few secondary characters – and they all needed their own space in the book. (A book can only be so long, you know?) So yes, there were times when writing my series became a tad overwhelming and my brain felt a little short of fried but that was usually a sign that I needed to step away and play with my kids, have a glass of wine, and hug my husband. A short break often put things back into perspective and revved me up for the next round. Keep calm and keep writing!

So, having said all that, will I write another series? YES! (A little differently, but definitely.) I’ve discovered that I am a series writer and despite the challenges, I love everything about it. I can’t wait to start my next one!

Thanks for reading,
Rae Rivers

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fairlady Spotlight

Ooh, look who made the March issue of the Fairlady magazine!
Me, me, me! (Jumps up & down :)

I LOVE chatting about my writing and my Keepers so I was over the moon to chat to the lovely Sandra Parmee from Fairlady.

I am so honoured and delighted to appear in this mag as it's one of my favourites.  I've been a Fairlady reader since a young girl - my mother bought it every month and then I began buying it myself when I moved out of home.

It's one of SA's most popular women's magazines with beautiful glossy covers and jam packed with the most awesome info, recipes and stories. Just love it.

A big thank you to my publicist, Helen, and the awesome team at Fairlady, Sandra, Suzy and Anna.  I so appreciate your support!

And gosh, isn't that cover just gorgeous?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Grazia Shout Out!

I'm so thrilled to spot The Keepers: Archer in a recent copy of the Grazia magazine!

Listed as No. 5 in their "Ten Hot Things To Do Week In/Week Out " feature, Archer is beside great company with Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper's American Sniper, as well as Cape Town's popular annual event, The J&B Met.  

This awesome mag is full of the latest news, gossip, trends, fashion and so much more and to have my book receive a mention is a gigantic honour!

And best of all is their fabulous comment:

"Vampires and werewolves are so 2000.  As in: over.  Thanks to this first instalment from Cape Town-based author Rae Rivers, we're now totally hooked on witches.  Well, one in particular - Sienna."  

Thank you Guinevere Davies and Grazia!

So ... if you're keen to get hooked on witches (and three handsome warrior brothers) too, The Keepers: Archer and The Keepers: Declan are available in local SA book stores - Exclusive Books, Bargain Books, Wordsworth and more!  (Also available as eBooks at all online retailers too.)

So exciting!

Rae Rivers

Friday, January 2, 2015

12 Reminders for My Happy New Year!

It's the second day of a shiny new year!  I hope that wherever you are in the world, you've had a fun, festive and happy celebration.  Wishing all my lovely readers, friends, family and bloggers a magical and fantastic 2015. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who bought one of my books, for all your love, enthusiasm, messages, reviews, shares, laughter and support during the last year.  I appreciate every single one of you.  Thank you!

I've had an incredible 2014, smiled through the highs and cried through the lows.  All in all it was a great year and I embrace the new year with a bright smile and open arms.

My goal this year (besides finishing my next book, The Keepers: Ethan!) is to take better care of myself - emotionally, mentally and physically.  Because if I'm not in top form, nothing else in my life is.  And I kinda like top form, you know?

So here's a few reminders I've printed out and pinned on my office wall - just in case I get sidetracked during the year!

1.  Get enough sleep - the world is always a better place after a snooze

2.  Eat well - your body is your magical carpet ride.  Treat it with care.

3.  Exercise - because you can't afford not to.  (Time for me to take this one seriously.  Really!!!)

4.  Keep a positive mind - it resonates in everything you do. One negative thought often gives rise to another - and another and all too soon you're on a rollercoaster of misery.

5. Laugh - because it IS the best medicine.  And it's fun.

6.  Worry less - and only worry about things you have to.  Most of the things we worry about don't materialise anyway.
7.  Be thoughtful - to those close to you, to strangers, colleagues ... nothing feels nicer than doing something nice for someone else.  (And there's that crazy little thing called Karma!)

8.  Keep a closed door - to drama, violence, negative thoughts, and anything that makes you feel icky or brings you down. 

9.  Keep an open door - to love, opportunities, friendship, help, happiness, special moments.

10.  Embrace happiness - make it a habit, welcome happy moments and relish in them.

11.  Be yourself - be the person you want to be, not the person you (or others) think you should be.

12.  Define your own worth - and don't let anyone undermine it.  Know it, guard it, treasure it, hold your head high. Your quantity of friends, popularity or followers on social media does NOT define who you are, how popular you are or how much you're loved.  Ever.  It's all about quality.  (And I'm a quality type of girl!)

Happiest New Year!

With love,
Rae Rivers


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Keeper Talk on Live TV!

It was with great excitement and a bundle of nerves (which I hope I hid well!) that I recently appeared on Morning Live, South Africa's TV breakfast show.

I was booked on the show four days prior to the interview without any indication of the questions that would be asked. This was rather daunting as it's kinda LIVE, you know?  And I'd need to sound professional and calm and many, many people would be watching .., some who know me and many others who don't.  (To be honest, I'm not sure which made me more nervous!)

One thing you should all know is that I'm extremely camera shy.  I avoid a camera like I avoid Brussels Sprouts so the idea of me behind one, on real time, answering questions I couldn't prepare before the time had my stomach in a tiny twist.

Fortunately, the day before, after processing the idea for a while, I found my happy, peaceful space.  First, I absolutely 100% blocked out the live TV part.  I'd be talking to one person - a simple conversation - and best of all, we'd be talking about my book, The Keepers: Archer.

I can do that.  Easily.  Ask me any time, any day, about my Keepers or my writing and I'll talk your ear off!  They're my stories, my characters, my passion, so talking about it would come naturally.

It's with those thoughts that my husband and I got to the studio and I went straight into hair and make up.  I'd expected a bustling news studio with people running around like crazy.  Instead, it was the opposite.  It was so peaceful and quiet. From the security, to the make up artist to the sound and camera guys, everyone was so chilled that I couldn't help but feel calm too.  They were so friendly and they all welcomed my hubby into the process too so it was lovely having him with me and sharing the experience with him.

From make up, I was taken into the studio, hooked up with ear and voice pieces, and went through a few sound checks, voice checks, camera positioning and then I had to wait for the show's host, Samm Marshall.  The team spoke me through the whole process which was great as I knew what was happening every step of the way.

When we finally went live, I was blown away by how relaxed and calm Samm was and it was all too easy to take my cue from him. He'd prepared well, had great background knowledge of my Keepers, the plot and Sienna.  Chatting to him was wonderful and talking about my Keepers came so naturally, especially when I focused on him and only him - which was odd considering I couldn't actually see him!  We were filming in Cape Town and Samm was in the Johannesburg studio.  (Isn't technology awesome?)

And then it was over and I could breathe again and there were hugs and high fives all around. I did it!  Phew!

Hubby and I ended off with breakfast at the beach whilst I got that post exam feeling. Huge relief that it was over but wondering how I'd done!

I'm so thankful to my publicist and the Morning Live team for the opportunity. What a fun experience!  I'm also incredibly grateful for all the support and messages I received from friends, family and readers cheering me on from the sidelines.  You know who you are - thank you!

And best part of all was that when I got home, I was greeted with big hugs and excited squeals from my kids.  According to them, I'm a rock star! :)

Happy holidays,

Rae Rivers

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Keepers arrive in South Africa!

My three handsome warrior brothers have finally arrived in South Africa!

I was over the moon with excitement recently to receive this pic from a fabulous local reader - paperback copies bought from Exclusive Books, one of our local book stores in SA!

YES!  The Keepers: Archer and The Keepers: Declan are now available as paperbacks in selected book stores throughout South Africa!

Anyone want to guess my level of excitement right now?  :)

My love of storytelling started at the age of 12 years old and later blossomed into a dream of becoming a published author - one that became an amazing reality a little more than a year ago when HarperCollins offered me a four book deal for my Keepers series.  To date, the books have been available as eBooks and now, finally, as paperbacks too.

I've had so many lovely readers asking for paperbacks since the first book was published and I've been itching to share an actual book with them and see the books on the shelves.  It's with huge thanks and appreciation to a whole team of people who made this happen - the awesome book stores who've agreed to stock my books, my publicist, Helen Holyoake, my editors at HarperImpulse, and the sales team at Jonathan Ball who brought the books in from the UK.  Thank you so much!

AND readers will be thrilled to hear that The Keepers: Sienna has been included in The Keepers: Archer as one paperback as a bonus read - just 'cause you're all so awesome!

Seeing these books in store at the fabulous Exclusive Books has been a dream come true and I'm so excited to be able to share my stories with more readers.

Please help me to spread the news by sharing with your friends and on social media.  I'd really appreciate it!  Oh, and if you spot my books on your local shelves or purchase your very own copy, please send me a pic or tag me on Facebook.

Thank you dear readers, bloggers, friends and family for all your support and enthusiasm for my Keepers.  If you do snag yourself a copy of a Keeper, I hope that you enjoy their story!

Bouncing with joy,
Rae Rivers