Raeann Blake (Author)

Ramblings from Raeann

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!


77 Responses to “Girly Book Blog Hop – Location, Location, Location”

  1. Lolita said

    Beautifull pictures! It looks like an awesome place. Is the giveaway international?

    I am also participatinf in this blog hop, you can find my post and giveaway here: http://www.lolabookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/01/blog-hop-girly-book-blog-hop-locations.html

  2. Sheri Mason said

    Pictures are beautiful. I can’t wait for Davis!!

  3. Gail D said

    My hubby has always wanted to move there. it is a beautiful state. Thanks for the giveaway. if I win I will share with hubby!!!


  4. A.M.B. said

    Lovely pictures! I’ve been to Montana once (we stayed in Bozeman), and it was beautiful. It’s quite different from the east coast, where I’m from!

    • A.M.B. said

      If you need an email address, it’s misfortuneofknowing at gmail.com, but WP should have included it with the comment.

      • It is an amazing place. You are right about the emails for the most part. I have had some in the past where they posted anonymously and I had no way of contacting them. So far everything is working fine this time around. 🙂

  5. I had no idea Montana was so beautiful – thank you for the lesson! I’m not entering giveaway because I am also a participant in the blog hop but I wanted to stop by and say “hi”!

  6. Rebecca said

    Love the pictures and love the books! can’t wait til Davis come out!!!

  7. GORGEOUS pics!!! I’ll get there someday! Prizes sound really fun too!! 🙂

    haefner919 at yahoo dot com

  8. OMGosh, I love your post! I simply MUST connect you to one of my very best friends in the world (she’s like family). She lives in Bozeman, loves it for the same reason you do and blogs at: theveggiehouse.blogspot.com Her name is Adrienne. Awesome gal.

    On another note, I’m leaving this quote about location I found on Goodreads…

    “It was [Robert Louis] Stevenson, I think, who most notably that there are some places that simply demand a story should be told of them. …After all, perhaps Stevenson had only half of the matter. It is true there are places which stir the mind to think that a story must be told about them. But there are also, I believe, places which have their story stored already, and want to tell this to us, through whatever powers they can; through our legends and lore, through our rumors, and our rites. By its whispering fields and its murmuring waters, by the wailing of its winds and the groaning of its stones, by what it chants in darkness and the songs it sings in light, each place must reach out to us, to tell us, tell us what it holds. (“The Axholme Toll”)”
    ― Mark Valentine, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21

    Me: Julie Valerie @JBValerie julievalerie1@gmail.com or at my new “Chick Lit Chit Chat” blog at julievalerie.com

  9. Jennie McDuffie said

    You know where I am from and living, but I’ve always wanted to go to Montana. Like you, I feel a pull. I love the pictures and I look forward to all your books!!!

  10. parisfanca said

    love the photos! the one place i always want to visit is Yosemite park


  11. Tara DiBerardino said

    I love the pics and LOVED “Jake”. I cant wait for #2 to come out!!!!!!!!


  12. Loved your blog post and the beautiful pictures. Think I have told you before, I too feel Montana is really where I should be. But being a simple country girl I guess that is why I long for those wide open spaces but with the beautiful mountains. I feel sometimes I was born in the wrong century. We are planning to save enough to go to South Dakota this summer where hubby wants to go back to so I am adding in a tour of Montana for me. I have read your books probably 3 times each and will read them all again. I love all of them and are looking forward to the rest of the brothers to come out. At present am reading another author’s book also located in Montana. lol Just can’t seem to get away from Montana. I wish you the greatest luck with all of your books.

  13. Trix said

    You would love Yosemite, trust me! And Montana looks gorgeous…


  14. Such a beautiful state! As someone who’s actually the opposite of “cowgirl” (whatever that would be…city girl?) I never considered going to Montana in my life. But you make it look kind of irresistible, so never say never! Great post. Really amazing photos!

  15. Libby said

    What gorgeous pictures! And what a fabulous wealth about a state I don’t know much about! I love learning about new places, past and present, and I definitely want to check out Montana now! Thanks so much for your post, Raeann, and thanks for participating in the hop!!

  16. Lisamarie said

    I visited Montana as a teen..didn’t have much of an appreciation for its beauty. After seeing your pictures and some of my friends that have traveled the off the beaten path I’d love to get back there someday.

  17. Jan Fortuno said

    Beautiful pictures. I live in Arizona, have always wanted to visit Montana. Can hardly wait for “Davis” to come out. My Kindle is turned on and ready for the download.

  18. Tobi H said

    Love Montana men! Whoo! Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    tobihelton at gmail dot com

  19. I’m a city girl through and through, but I must say that when I went to South Dakota I got a taste of great wide open and I was inspired by the pure majesty of it. Must be my Cherokee blood lighting up or something. Thanks for sharing why you love it so much! E

  20. Laura Kilmartin said

    What stunning pictures! I want to take a roadtrip to Montana now – even though it’s a little far. Great post – thanks – lkilmartin@msn.com

  21. nashnordin said

    Love the pictures and post! Nothing beats natural beauty.

  22. Celina K said

    I’ve always thought Montana looked like a beautiful place to visit. Maybe I’ll convince my husband to take a trip sometime 😉 Thanks!

    dreammie_angel at yahoo dot com

    • I hope you can convince him. Here’s a quote from ‘Taming Clay’ where Laine is talking to Hailey about Montana. ““It’s God’s country. I figure when He made this part, He decided if He ever came down here to live, this was where He’d stay.”

  23. Wow, those are some gorgeous photos, and now I have another place to visit. Thank you for taking me to Montana, Raeann!

    Samantha Stroh Bailey

  24. kimberly holgate said

    i love the open wilderness it looks nice and peaceful
    kaholgate at ymail dot com

  25. Nancy S said

    Many many years ago I lived in Cut Bank, MT (google it). The state is gorgeous but oh my are the winters harsh!

    • Oh yes they are. It’s so odd though that in Texas I freeze all the time, year round. I’m always wearing long-sleeves and sometimes jackets when everybody else is in tank tops and shorts. If it gets below 50 the big coat comes out. But in Montana I’m comfortable in a sweatshirt at 32. Very odd. 🙂

  26. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures and impressions of Montana, Raeann! I’ll never forget when I was a kid visiting there, and my mom explained what Grand Tetons meant in French! ;:-) I’m loving this blog hop. So many places to discover.

  27. Kirsten said

    Montana was so pretty! I went to the mountains a few years back, and there was still snow on the ground in some places- a big surprise for a Florida girl like me 🙂


    • I know what you mean. Being a Texas girl myself, I think I spent the whole time on our first trip there walking around with my mouth hanging open. I actually cried when I got my first good look at those beautiful mountains on our way into Bozeman. All of the pictures I’d seen didn’t compare.

  28. Shannon R said

    Breathtaking pictures!! Thanks so much for sharing. I have never had a chance to visit Montana but I hope to sometime in the future.

  29. Wow, the pictures are amazing and yes, Jake can take me on a trail ride any day! I have not personally been to Montana but have a strange sense of humor. My friend did visit and of course had to send me a postcard from Butte, Montana. I know I know, grow up! She also showed me a picture of the toilets at the rest stops and they are HUGE. Anyhow, I can only imagine the local artistry is wonderful and the peaceful environment would be the perfect place to not only write, but to set a story in. I am very envious of your trip! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    Best wishes,

  30. Amy said

    Hey Raeann!
    Great blog and great pictures….I think I may have to go find Jake! I assume you told him about the book you wrote about him? 🙂
    Montana is GORGEOUS! Love that state and would love to live there. Good thing I live close enough to visit if I want/can!
    Amy 🙂

  31. Tina said

    I have read all your books and am now planning a trip to Montana this summer, I can not wait to go. I am also looking forward to your book Davis.
    The town in the pictures you posted are amazing.

    • Oh I know you are going to enjoy it. Look for maps/guides in the hotel lobby. They will show you how to get to Virginia City and plenty of other great destinations in and around the area. There are several ghost towns that you can visit. And I recommend the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center down in West Yellowstone. If you’ve never seen a live grizzly bear, you will be AMAZED at just how huge they really are.

    • And if you happen to swing through Bozeman, drop by the Montana Gift Corral downtown and tell them Raeann said ‘Hey!” 🙂

  32. Margaret Morones said

    Raeann,love the pictures of Montana,it is so breathtaking and beautiful.Would love to take a trip one day. Montana must be a popular place for Authors,I have read so many books with Montana as its town.Look forward to reading more of your books and following your posts. My email is: margaretmorones@yahoo.com.

    Thanks my friend,

  33. Laura Horton said

    Love the pictures, and I completely understand what you are saying – I think maybe I lived there in a past life. I have only been there a couple of times, but absolutely felt at peace when I was there. Of course, it was not winter either time!!

  34. I’m behind on my reading with the holidays, winter illnesses, trips out of town, etc. I’m hoping in a couple of months, things will slow down so I can get caught up with Jake and Davis! I’m super excited to read them! Jdarden1963@yahoo.com

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