River Star Author Spotlight

Please give a warm welcome to author River Star

My true name is Rayner Ye, and I’ve been writing portal space fantasy and space opera for six years and publishing for four. I have been spending more on advertising than what I’ve been making, and even then, my space opera sales are dire. I think self-published space opera has to be written to market to succeed. That means spaceships, military procedures, characters from planet Earth going into space, etc.

My universe doesn’t even include planet Earth. It comprises seven solar systems. Its like magic realism, though what’s real for the citizens of the Plan8 Alliance is not real for Earthlings–because it’s futuristic with different races and religions, etc. But there are amethyst pyramids. They are time portals. Only a select few know. The rivers which well under the portals allow people to shapeshift, teleport, and body-snatch at the speed of thought. Again, only those who know the technique know this. That’s where the portal fantasy and shapeshifting come from.

Space Opera is obviously the wrong niche for this. If I had a good traditional publisher, I might get away with it. As an indie author, I don’t think so. I wrote YuFu’s Run and Cyborg Assassin to market. It’s kind of hard to sell, especially being a woman. Let’s face it. There’s a lot of sexism in science and sci-fi. I changed my face via a gender-changing app to pretend I was a man on my author profile, but it felt wrong.

Then I heard about reverse harem and how Science Fantasy authors can get away with writing a mishmash of sci-fi and fantasy sub-genres, as long as the FMC gets her harem of faithful lovers by the end of the series and there’s a happy-ever-after-ending. I thought it was worth a go, and I was curious about writing sex and romance. I decided to bring my universe over to my pen name, River Star, and then I wrote Princess Celesti.

It’s a Space Fantasy and Time Travel Reverse Harem Romance. There’s galactic empire, shifting (not in the usual paranormal sense,) futuristic sci-fi, and lots more sub-genres. Book 1 and 2 flopped when I published them, last year. I was working on advertising my space opera, at the same time, and following a silly low bid strategy, which was wasting two valuable hours a day. I have two kids so wasn’t getting much writing and dictating done compared to before.

I unpublished the two books, added more povs from villains, and decided to quick release the series in March and April 2022. That’s what I’m doing now. The entire series is on pre-order. Fingers crossed. We’ll see.

I don’t know where the whole idea of a lonely princess came from, but I liked the thought of having kinds and queens in my space fantasy for a change.

When I was four, my grandmother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said an orphan. She asked me what an orphan did, and I said, “An orphan writes books.” That was the family joke. After my first degree, I travelled to New Zealand alone and wrote a book in a notepad. It was a fairy story for kids. I never got it published. However, the tree-people appear in a couple of my sci-fi series written under Rayner Ye. They’re genetically modified by an alien scientist to de-radiate a planet which was destroyed by a nuclear war.

For the last couple of months, my strategy has been to edit Princess Celesti 1-4 at the computer while the kids are at school, and then dictate Cyborg Assassin 2 by Rayner Ye while I walk to pick them up and walk back from their school drop off. It’s surprising how many words I can get in after even a ten-minute walk, let alone a half-hour walk. Once I’ve uploaded all of Princess Celesti 1, 2, 3, and 4 manuscripts and formatted the paperbacks, I’m going to edit Cyborg Assassin 2 while dictating Cyborg Assassin 3, written under my non-romance name, Rayner Ye. I still have a YuFu’s Run 5 manuscript to edit and release.

You know what, though? If I make any money of this reverse harem series, I’m going to write another and another and another. I might even stop writing under my real name. We’ll see. These are just dreams for now. My hope for the future is contribute financially towards my family through my writing and self publishing. My biggest dream would be to retire my husband. I’m so grateful to him for supporting me financially and emotionally through this arduous journey, like I did to him when we lived in China and South Korea. My advice for new writers is to write! There’s lots of other advice, but everyone is different, and every path is different.

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