Raeann Blake (Author)

Ramblings from Raeann

Archive for January, 2013

Girly Books Blog Hop Winners & More

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on January 22, 2013

giftcorralGirly Books Blog Hop Winners

I’ve had so much fun participating in my first blog hop over the last few days. I spent some time jumping around myself to the other participant sites to read about locations around the globe. And I especially enjoy interacting with my readers and new visitors, too. For my part in the hop, I offered some great items from Montana Gift Corral as prizes plus 2 mini-bookmarks for Jake and Davis for each winner. I used Random.org to generate the winners list. Please join me in congratulating the following winners:

  • Celina K – Huckleberry Votive Gift Pack
  • Julie Darden – Gift pack of a Mooseberry Tea Tin, a Wild Huckleberry Boxed Votive, and Mooseberry Jam
  • Laura Horton – Super gift pack of an Inspiration Bear Track Mug, Cowboy Cafe Ground Coffee, and Huckleberry Cocoa Mix

Thanks to everyone for ‘hopping’ by to read about Montana and leaving your comments!

And now for more

Sales are still running high on both Jake and Taming Clay. I’m very proud, very humbled, and very grateful for all of my readers and those who have taken time out of their busy day to write a review or drop me a line to let me know they enjoyed the books. Just a few statistics at the time of this post:

Taming Clay

  • Amazon Reviews: 108 Total, Overall-4.4★,  68-5★, 21-4★
  • Currently is 20th Top Rated in Western Romance

Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One)

  • Amazon Reviews: 59 Total, Overall 4.7★, 49-5★, 4-4★
  • Currently is 8th Top Rated in Romance Series

About Davis

As most of you know, we are still shooting for a February release for Davis (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book Two). That is still my hope, but I have to add a caveat. Although Davis is now sitting with the editor and proofreader, there is still work to be done on it by me and that is where the bottleneck is. I’ve had several weeks now of ill health and although I am better, I am far from well yet. I just wanted to let you know that I am working as much as I can at this point, but if we do have to slide the date over into March that it was never our intention and the fault lies with the nut behind the wheel. I just ask that you hang with us as I work through all of this.

Thank you for stopping by. Congratulations to the winners. And happy reading!

~ Raeann

Posted in Books, Taming Clay, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Girly Book Blog Hop – Location, Location, Location

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on January 16, 2013

Cowboys, Cattle, Horses, and Campfires

I admit it. I love Montana and I am convinced that I was born there in a previous life. There is a connection of spirit that I feel every time I cross that state line. My books will often take you there with some of them being either entirely or partially set there. Those settings are usually in and around Bozeman, including a side trip down to the fictitious “Crooked Creek” in Jake. I have to say that some of the books centered in Montana were written prior to my having visited the state. I did some extensive research regarding the environment, etc. Of course, the day did come when I put my foot down and insisted that I simply must visit to ensure that I had everything correct.

2331_1086872179173_1591_nOne somewhat eerie highlight of the very first trip was the discovery (quite by accident) of this establishment. The Seven Brothers of Elko series was actually in process at the time we made the first trip and I was right in the middle of the 5th book. If you have read the first book, you know it’s titled Jake and that Jake gentles and trains horses. Although ‘my’ Jake’s ranch is outside of Elko, Nevada, there is that connection to Montana that I mentioned before. How surreal it was to be driving down 191 from Bozeman to West Yellowstone and about 3 miles south of Big Sky, I swear this sign jumped right up and started waving at me. “Jake’s Horses!” Really??? To me, that coupled with the deep connection I felt to days and events long past was an affirmation that my writing was on track and I needed to keep going. (One of the “guides” wasn’t bad for inspiration, either! Why funny you should ask…yes, yes I did get a quick snapshot. You can find it below!)

Vacation 2009_3 947Few words evoke vivid images of days long gone as the name ‘Montana.’ Montana’s history is as rich and diverse as its topography which is roughly defined by the Continental Divide that runs on an approximate diagonal line through the state from northwest to south-central, splitting it into two distinct eastern and western regions. The fourth largest state and the largest landlocked U.S. state is home to the prairie lands of the Northern Great Plains on the east and the mountainous western region, most of which is geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains. The individual ranges that blend together as part of the Rockies have colorful names that add to the imagery for the perpetually imaginative among us. Names like the Absaroka and Beartooth ranges, the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Mountains, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, and Flint Creek Range bring sights and sound of mountain men and work-hardened cowboys carving out their existence in a hostile and unforgiving environment. To really find Montana, get off the Interstate. Find a quiet (not tourist-heavy) time to drive down and visit one of those ghost towns like Virginia City. Walk around and view the pieces of the past. Then close your eyes and listen. Can you hear them? There’s a big herd bedded down just outside of town in preparation for a big trail drive. The tinny sound of the old piano is playing inside the saloon over there. The laughter flows out past the swinging doors as easily as the beer flows from the taps. The hands from that herd are headed into town for their last chance to spend a little money from their pockets and a little time in the company of the women over there. They won’t have such a rich chance for a while and they don’t want to miss this opportunity. The unlucky ones who had to stay behind are either out watching the herd or gathered around a campfire, fingers wrapped around metal cups that hold hot, strong coffee to help ward off the chill in the air. The sights, sounds, and smells of Montana are all around you with the creaking of saddle leather, the clip-clop of the horse going by, the smell of… a diesel tour bus pulling up. Sigh!

Yes, it can be difficult to find a place where the tourists don’t roam more freely than the antelope. Along with the scenery, people from across the nation flock to Montana for blue-ribbon trout fishing, white powder skiing, hunting and wildlife viewing, the pristine lakes, and numerous national parks. And then you have the artists. Montana is to artists what Hollywood is to aspiring actors. If there is a medium in which any type of art can be crafted, there are artists in Montana who can make it happen. If you are there, don’t miss the “downtown” places around the state. Walk through any downtown street and you’ll find shops that carry a veritable treasure chest of the creations by those artists. You can find everything from paintings to handcrafted home décor, from exquisite jewelry pieces to sculptures fashioned from every imaginable material. Don’t miss the chainsaw sculptures, too.

Vacation 2009_3 909And once you have bought the t-shirts and all of your souvenirs, get out of town. Leave the tourist traps behind, head out on the back roads and set your imagination free if you want to see the real beauty of Montana. Travel Highway 83 up through the Flathead National Forest past Seely Lake and Swan Lake on your way up to Kalispell and Whitefish. You will find stunning and unspoiled majesty there.

If you get the opportunity to visit, don’t drive through it 70 MPH down the Interstate. Slow down. Look around. That’s thousands of years of history right out there on the other side of the window. And if you take the time and open the window to your imagination, you can hear it, you can see it, and you can feel it.

To celebrate Montana, I am giving away a few items that I would want to receive from the Montana Gift Corral, my favorite touristy souvenir shop in downtown Bozeman. Each of the three prizes will include 2 mini-“book cover” bookmarks for Jake and Davis, the first two books in The Seven Brothers of Elko series.

  • Huckleberry Votive Gift Pack
  • Gift pack of a Mooseberry Tea Tin, a Wild Huckleberry Boxed Votive, and Mooseberry Jam
  • Super gift pack of an Inspiration Bear Track Mug, Cowboy Cafe Ground Coffee, and Huckleberry Cocoa Mix

To enter for these prizes, just leave a comment on this post and don’t forget to include your email address so I can contact the winners. (Winners will be drawn at random.)

And if you get ready to take a trip to Montana, Taming Clay and Red Says I Love You are both set there, so drop by for a vist with Clay and Hailey or Josh and Cass. And, even though they’re officially in Nevada, find out how Jake and Brinley wind up in “Crooked Creek” in Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One). And here’s a little teaser. The whole gang winds up back in Bozeman in Davis: Book Two. If you haven’t read them, pick up your copies today. If you already have yours, snuggle up and visit them again.

Thanks for stopping by to check out The Girly Book Blog Hop! Click Here to enter the blog hop’s Grand Prize and continue “hopping” to other sites for their posts and individual prizes. Scroll down below the”The Ultimate Girly Books Goodie Package” entry form to find the links for all of the participating blogs. Let us take you away to new destinations where it’s all about “Location, Location, Location.”

Happy Reading!

~Raeann

Posted in Books, Just Stuff, Red Says I Love You, Taming Clay, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 77 Comments »

The Next Big Thing

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on January 4, 2013

SevenBrothersOverviewCover_smallThere’s a fun meme being spread around the blogosphere, a meme where writers can pretend they’ve made it big. The very talented writing duo of Rosalind Burgess and Patricia Obermeier Neuman, aka Roz and Patty (@RozPattyWriters) tagged me in this meme, aptly called The Next Big Thing. Hey, I can dream. In my current series, The Seven Brothers of Elko, JakeBook One really has done well and Davis – Book Two will be out soon. So even though technically Davis is my current WIP, today I’m going to talk about Michael – Book 3. Well I’ve already done one of these for Davis, so it’s Michael’s turn. And my mama taught me it was always proper to take turns and share. Now being the spoiled baby of the family, I will admit that I wasn’t always particularly fond of this concept. But everybody has to grow up and accept the rules of social engagement and conduct themselves in a decorous, graceful, and refined manner. (he-he…ha-ha…ha-ha-ha-ha… ahem…sorry)

So without further ado, here we go.

What is the working title of your book?

 It was originally named Memories Forgotten, Memories Made. However,  in keeping with the other titles in the series, the new title is Michael (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book Three)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Michael is the third book in The Seven Brothers of Elko series which follows seven men who become as close, if not closer, than any seven brothers related by blood and the family they build together. All of the brothers were introduced in Jake (Book One) and it becomes more apparent that the seven will become a “family” in Davis’ story. When I wrote Jake, I didn’t intend for it to turn into a series, but once it was complete Davis started whispering in my ear, begging me to tell his story, too. And then it became apparent that each of the seven brothers had their own story to tell and they were definitely not going to let me sleep until I told them.

What genre does your book fall under?

 Each book in the series will be listed under Contemporary Romance and Romance Series. But they don’t fall into just one or two categories. The series as whole certainly belongs to the romance genre, but they each contain elements of a western, suspense, mystery, and family saga all rolled together.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I honestly cannot answer this. I have a specific picture of both Michael and Trisha in my head so it would be hard to match those. I have watched very few movies and even less television in years so, even if I found the “right look”, I wouldn’t have a clue whether or not they could act their way out of a paper bag much less effectively portray the unique characters of Michael and Trisha.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Michael is certain he doesn’t want or need a woman in his life, but his Alpha Team does need Elko P.D. Detective Trisha Mitchell if they are going to find a brutal rapist and killer before another young girl dies…even if it means putting all of them and his heart in danger.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 This series was originally written more than 5 year ago so it’s hard to remember. My best guess if 2-3 months for each book.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I do not like to compare my books to other authors. I am definitely unique with my own voice… or rather my characters have a unique voice. I will tell you that more than one reader and/or reviewer has compared them to ones by Janet Daily and Linda Lael Miller.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

 The guys did that themselves! The first book started from a long-standing saga I built in my head around an actor who had a popular television series at the time. Over the years I added to it until I reached the point where I was afraid I would lose it so I started writing it down. The story I wrote turned out to not be the story I started with although there are bits and pieces of it in there. The original didn’t have even one brother, much less seven. But as soon as Jake was finished it felt really important to “finish” Davis’ story line. And from there it just kept going until the family was complete.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

All of the seven brothers in this series have their own appeal. They each have their own special blend of characteristics that make you want to take them home with you for your very own. But Michael is special. Michael personifies a myriad of personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses that I find endearing, sexy, comforting, and just downright lovable all at the same time. His story will take you through extreme highs and heartbreaking lows. And the strong-minded, tough on the outside, up-for-the-challenge Trisha Mitchell is exactly what he needs, at least for his investigative team. As with every book in this series, you will laugh out loud and you will run for the Kleenex (buy stock now).

I would love to read about The Next Big Thing for the authors tagged below. We are all authors, editors, readers, publishers, marketers, etc., etc., and as a group time is always limited so it is understandable if you do not join in the fun. No pressure. If you have already recently done one of these or don’t have time, just ignore it. If you would like to share with us about your Next Big Thing, simply answer the questions in your own blogs, tag me, and tag some others.

Cynthia Woolf

Milly Taiden

Karen Docter

Alex Albrinck

And here is this meme’s origin: Roz & Patty

Posted in Books, The Seven Brothers of Elko | 1 Comment »

What’s Coming In 2013?

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on January 1, 2013

New-Year-in_3_1As most of you know, I work full-time and write, rewrite, edit, publish, and promote on nights and weekends. During at least the latter part of 2012, I have spent much more of those “author-time” hours promoting than any other activity. This includes promoting not only my work, but other authors as well. As a new author, I felt this was necessary and I don’t regret that. It has been successful beyond what I ever imagined and I have a great group of loyal readers who helped to make it so.  As happy as I am with that success and as happy as it makes me to help other authors in any way I can, I am not happy with the lack of progress on the remaining books that are still sitting there waiting to be polished and published. Consequently, I’m making a shift in my priorities for 2013.

In terms of the time I have to spend on writing activities, in 2012 I have been spending approximately 70% of my time promoting and only 30% on the other things that need to be done. The 70% includes time on my Facebook page, blogging, tweeting and re-tweeting other authors, participating in Facebook author groups, parties, giveaways, free promotions (which includes submitting the books to other sites and a boat-load of other FB pages), etc., etc., etc. For 2013, I’m turning the tables. My plan is to spend no more than 20% of my free time on those activities and 80% on the books themselves. I certainly don’t want to lose the symbiotic relationships that I have developed with fellow authors, but at this point I feel my primary focus needs to be on the books rather than sales. I will have to leave the heavy work of spreading the word to my awesome readers for now.

I get so many RT’s of my work on Twitter and I usually seek out and RT other authors’ works to the tune of at least 100 RT’s a day. That’s going way down. I will work out how much time I can spend on each site, but I will probably not even visit Twitter more than a couple of times a week and only for a limited time then. For the groups, parties, etc., they will probably be much less frequent. I will try to drop by the Facebook page at least once a day. I enjoy connecting with my readers. You keep me grounded and you keep me motivated so I doubt that I will decrease my time there.

I won’t abandon the blog, but I won’t be doing as many of those things that make the author circles. I have already completed and have ready to go 2 posts for this month and that will be it for those types of blogs for a while. I have a “The Next Big Thing” post that will be up on the 4th about the 3rd book in the series, Michael. And then one more for a blog hop called “The Girly Book Blog Hop” that will go up around the middle of the month. That one will have some prizes that I’ve selected from my all-time favorite Montana souvenir store, the Montana Gift Corral so watch for that one. These posts are complete so they won’t take any time away from my new focus and I’m not scheduling any more like it for a while.

I know you are all anxious for the rest of the books in the SEVEN BROTHERS series and hopefully this shift in focus will get those out to you sooner. I’m anxious to get them out as well. I have the rest of the series (6 more books) plus two more single novels that are complete and ready for their own little touch of polish before they can reach you. I really want all of these to see the light of day sooner rather than later because my fingers are itching to get back to a couple of others that are partially completed and waiting in the wings.

While 2012 has been a super-awesome-stupendous blast and satisfying beyond all dreams, 2013 will be more what I will call reader-focused. The best way I can be reader-focused is to get the books out there to all of you. And that’s what I plan to do.

Thank you for wonderful 2012 and I hope you’ll hang with me for 2013!

Wishing you a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year!

Raeann

Posted in Just Stuff | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »