Raeann Blake (Author)

Ramblings from Raeann

Archive for November, 2012

Progress Is A Slow Process

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on November 19, 2012

First just a little update. A while back I posted that I had the first half of Davis ready to send to the editor. Well… I ran into a bit of a snag. As I was doing one last pass through it, I kept finding sections I decided needed to be rewritten. So that was a bit delayed. However, I am happy to report that the first half is now in the hands of the editor and I’m on to working on the second part.

Second, I am extremely happy to welcome Amy Jirsa-Smith to the team as our fabulous new proofreader. We are so happy to have her on board. Adding that additional pair of eyes will lengthen the time it will take us to get a release ready, but the end result will be worth it.

Since it is almost Thanksgiving now, I think we can honestly rule out a December release for Davis. I really wanted to have this out before Christmas, but it is just not going to happen. I will get the blurb and a sample up on the website around the first of December and we will hope for January but shoot for February on the release.

Have you ever wondered what my process is for getting these books ready or why it takes so long between each release when all of the books are already written?

It is true that they were all written years ago. So the first thing I have to do is a complete read-through to get back into the story again and correct any items that may not be relevant today that were just fine 5 years ago. At this point I will create the eBook cover and add the “Coming Soon” banner.

Next, I will go through the first half of the book at least two more times, making updates and corrections along the way. I may (which translates to ‘usually’) rewrite pieces in this step.

Once I am satisfied, I now go back through it yet again with a text-to-speech program, listening and reading at the same time. The brain may automatically fill in words that are missing when you are reading something and you never notice. But hearing it read aloud will often point out those errors.

As soon as I am satisfied with the first 2 or 3 chapters, I stop and write a blurb for the book. Then I’ll send that and the first chapters to use as a sample on the website over to my wonderful editor, Sharon Gunn-Jones, who allows me the leeway to keep my voice, my story but makes it better. Then I continue with the remainder of the first half.

When this step is complete, I send that section to Sharon and I start the process over again with the second part. Hopefully, by the time I am through with this piece, she will be finished with the part she has and we will swap. (Usually she is waiting on me here.)

Now I will make changes based on her recommendations and send that to Amy for proofreading. So at this point, Amy has the first half, Sharon has the second, and I have moved on to begin the same process with the next book.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I will have received the edited blurb and sample back from Sharon and I will create the sample file and update the website.

When Sharon finishes editing the second part, she’ll send it back to me for corrections and off it will go to Amy while I keep going on the next book. After Amy has finished, it comes back to me and I make any additional corrections needed. At this point I will also make any needed changes to the sample on the website that Amy may have found. Then the fun begins.

The eBook and print versions need to be formatted differently. So I will build those files with the appropriate formatting for each, update the eBook cover to remove the “Coming Soon” banner and the Kindle version is ready to upload… sort of.

Are you with me so far?

Next, I will email the Kindle version to my Kindle through Amazon where they will convert it to the Kindle format. I then go through the book AGAIN to make sure I don’t see something on my Kindle version that we all missed everywhere else or any issues with the formatting. (Am I beyond sick of this book by this point…you betcha!) Once I am satisfied, the Kindle version can now be uploaded and released.

Now, since I do my own covers, I need to create the cover for the print version (front, back and spine) and convert that into a high-resolution graphic that can be used for printing that glossy paperback. Once this is complete I can begin the process of sending everything to CreateSpace to publish this version. This usually consists of more than one attempt to get the cover exactly right and an error-free submission. Then just like magic…..VOILA! I can now order a proof copy of the print version and wait a week for it to come in. I receive the proof, allow myself a few minutes for a happy dance and, assuming it is okay, I can finally push the button to release it and the exhausting process of promoting it now begins.

Simple, right?

Wait…what am I forgetting? Oh yeah…both Sharon and Amy are patiently waiting on the first half of the next one. Get back to work!

There you have it. That is my process that gets squeezed in around my day-job and attempts to have at least a little cuddle time with my own Prince Charming (who is forever picking up the slack on all those things I can’t seem to squeeze into a 24-hour day) and the occasional ride on the Harley to decompress.

Disclaimer: Did this post go through Sharon and Amy? NO! So any errors you see are all mine. Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving!  🙂

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LIEBSTER AWARD

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on November 18, 2012

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the talented author Constance Masters.

The Rules

  • When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!)
  • One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog!
  • One pastes the award picture into ones blog. (You can google the image, there are plenty of them!)

11 Random facts about Raeann Blake

  1. I have not read ’50 Shades’ of anything.
  2. I grew up wanting to be a Physical Education teacher.
  3. I play the piano.
  4. I simply LOATHE shopping.
  5. While I know people who have entire closets to house their massive collection of shoes, I own exactly 6 pairs: 2 pairs of dress shoes (1 dark, 1 light), 1 pair of cowboy boots, 1 pair of motorcycle boots, 1 pair of tennis shoes, and 1 pair of house shoes.
  6. I bought my very first cell phone in 2009.
  7. I love snow ice cream.
  8. I played volleyball in high school.
  9. I am one of those people who will spend hours searching for the one penny that I’m off when balancing my bank account.
  10. I am the baby of my family with 3 older sisters.
  11. I make lists for just about everything.

Questions from Constance

  1. What was the subject of your first blog? It was entitled “Show Some Love” and was encouraging readers to like, tag, and review the works of their favorite authors.
  2. What was your favourite subject in school? Algebra
  3. Have you ever done anything in your life you’re truly ashamed of? Absolutely. (What? You thought I would tell you what it was? Ummmmm….no!)
  4. What’s your proudest moment in life so far? I don’t know how I would pick just one. The births of my kids, the realization that they have grown into the kind of people any parent would be proud of, the minute the love of my life placed a ring on my finger…there are far too many to pick one.
  5. What did you type into the search box when you surfed the internet for the first time? Are you kidding? Do you know how many years ago that was? I barely remember what I ate yesterday and you want me to remember that? I have no earthly idea.
  6. What’s the worst thing you ever got in trouble for when you were at school? I was setting up my exhibit for a Science Fair and instead of going right back to class I stayed to wander through the other exhibits to see what was there. I missed the rest of the class and that teacher was not known for her sense of humor or patience. She was not pleased. She basically considered it as skipping class and reported it as such.
  7. What’s your favourite holiday? Christmas
  8. What is your favourite genre of book to read? Westerns (both contemporary and historical)
  9. Favourite TV show? How It’s Made on the Science Channel
  10. Favourite season of the year? Fall. The beautiful palette of God’s paintbrush makes everything seem just right in my world.
  11. What was the last book you read and who wrote it? The Rancher Takes A Bride (The Burnett Brides Book 1) by Sylvia McDaniel

Questions for my nominees

  1. If money was not an issue and you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  2. Dogs or cats?
  3. Log cabin in the mountains or expansive luxury house on an ocean shore?
  4. Have you ever traveled to any destination that required the use of a passport?
  5. What is your dream vacation destination?
  6. What is your favorite type of music?
  7. What is your favorite spot and/or activity for relaxing?
  8. In school, were you a teacher’s pet, the class clown, or __________?
  9. Do you prefer clear blue skies or rolling thunderstorms?
  10. What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?
  11. What is the next book you plan to read?

My Nominees

I know everyone is extremely busy. I’m nominating 11 great folks from my Twitter buddies, but know that they will not be crucified or have their nails pulled out one by one if they do not participate. I nominated people I would like to know more about, but do not wish for them to feel obligated to respond. (Sorry if you have been previously nominated, too.) And for those nominated, whether they participate or not, go check out their blogs. You will find some real gems there!

  1. Cynthia Woolf
  2. Elizabeth Marx
  3. Isabella Louise Anderson
  4. Craig McGray
  5. Sammy Sutton
  6. A.J. Burton
  7. Thomas Wilson
  8. Patricia Obermeier Neuman and Rosalind Burgess
  9. Nikki Mahood
  10. James Paddock
  11. Gae-Lynn Woods

Posted in Just Stuff | 4 Comments »

The Booker Award

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on November 14, 2012

I received this award from a wonderful writing duo of Roz and Patty, aka Burgess and Neuman (@RozPattyWriters), at Roz and Patty Write . This award is passed among authors and bloggers to showcase their five all-time favorite books.

Now I love books. There’s no doubt that I love to write. And I love to read. My history covers everything from westerns, true crime, mystery, suspense, romance, both true and fictional air disasters, and everything in between. About the only thing I don’t read is paranormal and horror. Not that there is anything wrong with those, I just know better than to feed my overactive imagination and encourage the incubation of an always lurking anxiety attack just waiting to happen.

I’ll confess right now. I’m cheating a bit on this list. It’s not the first time I have run afoul of the rules, nor will it be the last. You will see my list includes a couple of collections in lieu of a single book. These were collections that can’t be defined by single book. While each book within the collection is outstanding alone, as a group they will stay forever in my mind and heart.

So with that said, here is my list of my Top 5 Favorite (or at least Memorable) Books of all time.

  1. Call of the Wild by Jack London. This was my first “adult” book that was shoved into my hands by my daddy in response to that ever-present lament of children everywhere. “I’m bored.” London was the first of many to spirit me away to a world I had never imagined with his vivid descriptions of the sweeping frozen landscapes and introduced me to the concept of “people you love to hate”. I honestly believe that along with my parents, this book helped to develop my deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong. It, along with London’s White Fang, also jump-started my long-standing love affair with the majestic creatures of the wild, the legendary wolf. This one book started me down the path of being forever book-poor. Thank God for libraries.
  2. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. Really I could have picked any of Zane Grey’s books. I grew up with a whole collection on our bookshelves. The first one carried me to another place and time. Once I read one, there was no stopping me. It takes a special talent to be able to transport a reader to another world. Zane Grey exploited that talent well.
  3. The Sacketts collection by Louis L’Amour. There is no possible way to single out just one of the many Louis L’Amour books. The closest I could come was to choose the group that covers the many branches of the Sackett family. Besides wanting to be there instead of merely living that day and time vicariously through the members of this family, they embodied the very definition of my own personal sense of what family means. “Mess with one…you get us all.”
  4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I don’t know if I would classify this under the category of a favorite book. But it definitely falls into the list of the most memorable. Why? Because it scared the hell out of me. I went through an extended period of reading nothing but true crime novels and this was one of them. This true story scared me silly to the point that I heard things go bump in the night for a very long time.
  5. The Calder series by Janet Dailey. I stumbled across Janet Daily after I had already moved into the recent romance/romantic suspense books by the likes of Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard. Then I found the Calders. Oh my! Without giving anything away, I will say that in the later stages of this series I encountered the first instance where an author left me heartbroken and so angry that I put the book down and swore I would never read anything by her again. Of course I did eventually finish the book and the series, but I still haven’t completely forgiven her to this day.

So there you have it. As I said, I can’t classify them all as favorites but at least memorable in that they have stayed with me long after the reading. And I have read all of them more than once…well except In Cold Blood. That one will sit on the shelf for an eon before I’m brave enough to pick it up again.

What are your favorites?

My task at the end of this post was to pass The Booker Award along to 5 more authors and bloggers. Unfortunately, despite a number of requests sent out through both Twitter and FB to fellow authors, I have been unable to gather 5 who currently have the time or inclination to accept. However, I did have one special author who accepted and I am pleased to present her with The Booker Award.

The fabulous Flick Merauld is the author of such immensely popular and highly-rated novels as “The Aunt Sally Team” and “The Sacred Marriage“. Keep watching her blog where she will share her favorite reads with all of us. And watch for her new release, “Aunt Sally and More“, coming in December. I can’t wait to read her list and appreciate her pulling out some of her proverbial time in a bottle to use for our reading pleasure.

Flick Merauld (@FlickM3) – cats dogs & eBooks: life love & having a novel published

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An Interview with Brinley

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on November 11, 2012

When I decided it was time to do a little interview with Brinley it seemed to be the perfect excuse to make a trip back to the ranch and drop by for a little one-on-one. We settled out on the back porch, each with a cup of coffee. How interesting to watch Jake and Davis working in the distance. As enjoyable as that is, that’s not why I’m here so I should get down to business.

NOTE: This interview may contain some spoilers for Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One)

Raeann: Brinley, I want to thank you for having me here and taking the time to answer a few questions. I promised the readers a little “Texas girls talking” time.

Brinley: You’re always welcome here, Raeann. If it weren’t for you, none of us would be here, now would we?

Raeann: I guess that’s true. Or maybe you would but your story just wouldn’t be out there for others to see. Let’s get something out of the way right up front. In the next book, Davis, people will hear you make a statement that many may not understand. You state that you are a bitch and proud of it. Would you explain that?

Brinley: Well, first I think it was more along the lines of “Damn right I’m a bitch. And proud of it. You got something to say about it?” For most people that word has a negative connotation. It brings to mind a mean-spirited, selfish, hateful, spiteful woman. And it can mean that. That’s one of those words where it depends on the circumstance, tone of voice, etc. But any good Texas woman worth her weight in salt has a little bitch in her. And she is proud of it. That doesn’t mean that we fit into the standard definition. I’ll use myself as an example. I consider myself a lady through and through. I was raised with all the proper manners and Mama actually did teach me how to act in public. I’m seldom inconsiderate of others’ feelings… until you cross the line. Then you will see the bitch. I’ll stand right beside you and help you fight your fights. I’ll give you the shirt off my back. But hurt me or mine and you better start backing up because I will be in your face. It’s not about being hateful or spiteful. It’s about standing up for what’s right, fighting for your family, friends and beliefs. It’s about not taking crap off of anybody and not being afraid to put them in their place.

(Brinley leaned back comfortably in the chair here with a wicked little grin and I knew what was coming.)

Brinley: And if you push me far enough… it’s about payback. So, yeah… I am a bitch, or I can be when I need to be. And I am proud of that.

Raeann: You knew that would make me laugh. So… exactly how are Linda’s jaw and your hand?

Brinley: (snorts in disgust) My hand is just fine. As for her jaw… I really don’t give a good damn how that bitch’s jaw is doing… and in this case bitch means exactly what you think it means.

Raeann: (laughing because I managed to get those little sparkles in her eyes firing up so easily) I understand. So let’s talk about Southern sayings. Just like the word ‘bitch’, it’s difficult to explain how it means one thing one time and something else another time. There are so many things that come to mind that are the same way. And there are things that mean one thing when we (Southerners) say them versus somebody from up North saying them. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about that?

Brinley: That’s easy. “Bless your heart.”

Raeann: Can you elaborate on that for our readers?

Brinley: It all depends on the circumstances, the tone of voice, what type of smile accompanies it (if any), the facial expression and who it is said to or about.

If that’s said with a sad smile or a pat on the arm then it is a term of sympathy or at least empathy.

If it’s said with a little shock in the voice and maybe some raised eyebrows then it usually means “You poor thing. What can I do to help?”

If you’re talking about someone who did something really stupid, probably not for the first time, and you hear “bless her heart” with a little shake of the head, that translates to something like “that poor child has no clue.” If that’s accompanied by rolling eyes you can add “never has and never will.”

Now if it’s said with a hint of smugness or satisfaction “bless her heart”, can be correctly translated to “got what she deserved I’d say.”

But… if you’re saying it to another woman and the eyes are sort of glittering with a steady gaze and you add a condescending smile… well, if you’re saying that to another Texas woman who would understand the meaning, then everybody else probably better clear the area. There’s fixin’ to be a fight because that translates in no uncertain terms to “Bitch, I will stomp a mud puddle right in the middle of your ass.”

Raeann: That is the absolute truth! Fixin’… have you run into a lot of flak about that word?

(That got one of those huge eye rolls from her.)

Brinley: Oh my God! I don’t understand why people who aren’t from the South get so upset over one little word. I have had people practically froth at the mouth over it. What is the big deal? I’m fixin’ to get some coffee. Or… I am preparing to rise from my chair and cross the room to the coffee pot and pour a fresh cup of that dark liquid it holds. Then I’m going to turn around and proceed back across the room, bringing that cup of coffee with me and settle back into the chair once again. Now why would I say all of that when “I’m fixin’ to get some coffee” says the same thing by stating that you are preparing to do something and covers the whole trip to the coffee pot and back again? And by the way…. if you look up prepare in a thesaurus you know what you’ll find?  Fix.

(Brinley shrugs her shoulders here in a way that reads… enough said.)

So if I say that I’m fixin’ to go get something to eat and you’re hungry, then you better plant your ass in that car seat… or you’re fixin’ to get left behind.

(Once we both stopped laughing we actually did get some more coffee then continued.)

Raeann: It’s very difficult to come up with things to ask you that won’t give away too much of what’s still to come or act as a huge spoiler for those who haven’t read the first book yet, but let me get serious for a minute. A lot of people mistakenly thought they were watching a love triangle in the making between you, Jake and Davis. Tell me about your relationship with Davis.

Brinley: Seriously? They really thought that? Oh… well, yeah I guess they could have thought that for a bit. I come from a family of huggers so we do hug a lot. And we are very close. I’m just as likely to sit down in Davis’ lap as I am Jake’s. Just as likely to lie down on a blanket and use his shoulder for a pillow as I am Jake’s. But Jake is my heart. Jake is my reason for being. Davis is my best friend. He’s not just Jake’s brother. He’s my brother, but more than a brother. It’s very difficult to explain.

Raeann: Believe me, I know firsthand how difficult it is to explain. So… Texas girl moves north and west. Do you miss Texas?

Brinley: Sometimes. I miss what was, more than what’s there. What I mean is I miss Mom and Dad. I miss Carl. I miss those times more than I miss living there. Home is where the heart is and a tiny piece of my spirit will always be in Atlanta with me and Casey riding everywhere on the back of Carl and Tommy’s motorcycles or fishing with Daddy along the bank of some little creek. But my heart is right here in Nevada. My heart is wherever Jake is. This is where I belong. It’s where I was meant to be.

Raeann: You went through a lot to get where you are right now. Would you change anything?

(That brought a deep frown and a long period of silence before she finally spoke.)

Brinley: No. No, I wouldn’t. I wish I’d had more time with Carl. I wish Mama and Daddy could have stayed with us longer. I wish Warren had not turned out to be who he was. I wish all of the things that happened after he first got out of prison hadn’t happened. I wish I could give Jake back what Warren took from him. But at the same time, I can’t say that I would change anything. If any of those things changed… if there was a single change to any one second in time during my life… I might not be here. I might not be the person I am. I might not have Jake. And that’s not a chance I would be willing to take to change anything regardless of how difficult or how painful those events were. The love we have, the family we’ve made… that’s everything.

Raeann: Complete this sentence. The thing I miss most about living in Texas is…?

Brinley: Sweet tea.

Raeann: You can’t get sweet tea in Nevada?

Brinley: There is only one place I have found around here that serves real sweet tea. I hate being served a glass of unsweetened tea and having to put sugar in it at the table. Yuck! It’s not the same and anybody from the South will agree with me on that. Or even worse, bring me something you call sweet tea but in reality it’s been polluted with some kind of artificial sweetener. Double yuck!!! Our favorite steak place in Elko is the only place I can order sweet tea and get the real thing. You can bet your boots when you come here and ask for some tea that you will get a big glass of honest to God sweetened with real sugar iced tea.

Raeann: Who would play your role if The Seven Brothers of Elko was turned into a movie?

(Wow… that got an immediate scowl and something that sounded almost like a growl.)

Brinley: Please tell me that you are not going to let them turn our lives into a cheesy movie with the story and dialogue so chopped up that it won’t even be recognizable. And then they’ll hire some actors from God knows where that couldn’t even pull off a half-decent Southern accent if you held a gun to their heads.

Raeann: Ummmm….o-kay. Moving on. Any regrets?

Brinley: About?

Raeann: Anything.

Brinley: Sure. Lots of things. Some of them we’ve already touched on. I regret that I didn’t meet Jake sooner. And all the bad things that happened after we did meet. I regret some choices that I made. Lot of things. Who doesn’t have regrets?

Oh… and I regret that I didn’t pop Shelley Jean McCallister right on that perky little nose back in the 10th grade.

(Wanting to let her change the subject and end on a lighter note, I played along.)

Raeann: And what did Shelley Jean McCallister do?

(One shoulder went up in response and what could only be described as a mischievous grin graced Brinley’s face.)

Brinley: She had just moved to Atlanta that year from New York City. And it didn’t take her long to make the rounds of pretty much every boy in class. Then one day she snootily informed me that her name was Shelley and she would prefer that I not call her Shelley Jean like she was some common member of our “backward hillbilly Southern clan”.

Raeann: Go ahead. I know there’s more.

Brinley: Well… what was I supposed to say? I told her, “Why bless your heart. Honey, don’t you worry about drowning when it rains with your nose stuck that high up in the air? And we’re really not backwards you know. At least we’re not doing the whole sacrificing a blonde virgin on the altar anymore. Of course you wouldn’t have needed to worry. I mean they were using virgins. And they did require natural blondes. By the way… your roots are showing. And I’m not talking about just your hair… Shelley Jean.”

(Brinley mumbles under her breath here, but I caught it. The words didn’t go with the super sweet, innocent smile.)

Brinley: I should have punched that little bleached blonde Wicked Witch of the North wannabe right in that stuck-up nose.

Reann: Now I thought Glinda was the Good Witch of the North in the Wizard of Oz.

(That got dismissed with a wave of the hand.)

Brinley: Whatever… Wicked Witch of the East then.

At this point we’re both practically rolling in the floor when a commotion across the yard drew our attention and we turned just in time to see a bare-chested Jake dive across the top of the fence, hit the ground and roll then glare back at the rambunctious horse that still had Jake’s ripped shirt clamped firmly in his teeth. When he started brushing off his chest and turned for the porch, I quickly gathered my supplies. The last thing I needed to do was sit there and openly drool over that sculpted chest. The next thing you know I’ll be hearing “Bless your heart”.

Raeann: I believe that’s my cue. Time for me to go.

Brinley: Chicken.

Raeann: Not chicken. Smart. See ya, Brinley. Bye, Jake.


So now I’m back in Texas. It was a nice visit and it was really great to be back at the ranch again. I certainly can’t complain about the unexpected view towards the end either. Shhhh… don’t tell Brinley.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, you can find Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One)here.

If you want to know more about Brinley and Jake plus the stories of each of the other brothers, watch for the release of Davis (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book Two) late 2012 to early 2013.

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