Raeann Blake (Author)

Ramblings from Raeann

Archive for the ‘The Seven Brothers of Elko’ Category

How it is…

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on July 2, 2013

sick2So…I’m pretty sure you probably all thought I died or something. I apologize for not being around. I am still breathing…most of the time. I’m not sure I’ve ever specifically spelled it out before, but I have severe COPD with very little lung function left. This whole process of learning to cope with the disease, the side effects of the medication, the treatments, tests, depression, and an overwhelming anxiety has been just more than I could bear and truly interact with all of you. I cannot promise you that it is going to get any better although the doctors seem to at least for now have a handle on the anxiety to the point that it’s not just completely debilitating anymore. But I face many struggles coming soon and as I reach each one, I can’t tell you what will happen then. There are many tests yet to be done and we have already taken the first step of many towards the recommended lung transplant. And if that happens, that’s a whole different road to go down once the surgery is done.

I am not a fan of sharing too much personal information either on the web or even in person. Some things just seem to be better kept private. The state of my health has always been one of those things, but I think my readers should know what is happening. I’m hoping that posting a few updates here will not only update you but could be therapeutic for me. I can’t promise you that I’ll update it every day. In fact I can almost guarantee you that I won’t. And I can’t promise you that I’ll update it every time something happens. Each setback tends to push me farther inside myself and it is usually days or even weeks before I can discuss it with anyone. I still want to respond to each of you individually when you post here or on FB, but it just might not be possible or may be a while coming.

I’m not doing this for everyone to try to cheer me up or send me ‘be strong’ quotes for the day or anything like that. I’m doing this for me. Although there is no cure for COPD, I want to get better. And if writing things out helps me mentally or emotionally then that is a positive step. And if it keeps you updated on the progress of the books then that’s another benefit.

I’ve tried so hard to get back into my writing. I only have a little bit left to do on the final pass-through of Davis before it will be ready to go, but I have had so little interest in anything at all that it is very difficult to get myself to sit down and get started. I’ve been trying to write this post for over a month now and finally managed it. Maybe that’s a good sign that I’m ready to start back.

If I can just get a little healthier I just know that all the things that used to interest me will start to come back. I have to get my weight back up again. I weighed 97 pounds when they first put me in the hospital and I had gained up to 107 at one point. But I’m back to 97 now. It’s so difficult to force food down your throat that just tastes burned. Some of the medications have killed my taste buds and there are only a few things that I can taste at all. So I have no appetite but have to eat and drink nutritional supplements to try to get my weight back up. And then my physical ability has waned again since I’ve missed so much of my pulmonary rehab while we were struggling to control the anxiety. Bottom line is that I don’t weigh enough and I’m not strong enough for a lung transplant now, so that is the number one priority at this point.

On the up side, I am breathing better right now than I have in months as long as I’m not engaging in any physical activity. (Update…I was until another exacerbation sent me back to the ER on Saturday…doing fair now.) I know that sounds sort of stupid, but when you can’t even breathe freely while sitting in a chair for several months and now you can, it’s a big deal even if a weather front comes through or some other trigger crops up and messes it up again tomorrow. I’m lying down to sleep again and I’m turning the TV and lights off at night again. That was mostly a side effect of the anxiety.  I still haven’t been back on the bike but once since the last setback, but to ride again anytime, anywhere is one of my goals.

If you are inclined to follow these sparse update posts, I can promise you a lot of bitching, whining, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Hopefully those days will be balanced with ones where I can express that I really do know how lucky I am to still be here and remember to see the good things along with the bad.

While you are so patiently waiting on the rest of The Seven Brothers of Elko, remember there are so many gifted authors out there. Some are established and some are brand new. Yes, there are some that are not so great, but keep searching. There are diamonds in the rough. Happy Reading!.

Posted in Books, Just Stuff, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Are we there yet?

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on February 18, 2013

Out of the hospital and down the block and back on the Harley as a Valentine's present!

Out of the hospital and down the block and back on the Harley as a Valentine’s present!

Okay, so we all know I haven’t had the best few weeks and I honestly don’t remember a lot of the early part. But according to reports from family and a somewhat astonished doctor today at the difference between the patient she saw pre-hospital and the one in her office today, I must be something of a walking, talking, bona fide medical miracle. I’m certainly grateful to be alive. I’m grateful to even be breathing. The actions of my family keeping me alive until they could get me to agree to even go to the hospital was nothing short of miraculous in itself. And the prayers of family, friends, fans (who are also friends), and people I don’t even know helped us all make it through.

Regardless, I will be glad when the effects of all the steroids they pumped into me have completely dissipated from the body so my brain, my mood, and my emotions can all get back to normal and I can get back to work on both the day-job and the books.

Just so you’ll know where we stand, the 2nd half of Davis has been edited and sent back to me…waiting for me to make updates and send to the proofreader. The 1st half has been finished by the proofreader and sent back to me…waiting for me to make updates. I will try to get the 2nd half updates finished and shipped off within the next two weeks and I will work on the 1st half changes while I’m waiting on that to come back. I think it’s safe to say we’re not going to hit even February 28th. Davis will be out in March barring any additional major medical meltdowns.

Thanks to everybody for hanging in with me and thanks so much for all the new friends on the FB page, all the messages of encouragement, and the prayers. I promise I will get back into the FB swing and connect with each of you within the next few weeks.

Happy Reading!!!


Posted in Books, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

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!


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 »

Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One) – FREE Dec. 22-23, 2012

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on December 21, 2012

Free Dec. 22-23, 2012

Free Dec. 22-23, 2012

As a final gift for Christmas, on December 22nd & 23rd, Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One) will be FREE for Kindle! Do you have a reader on your list who likes to get caught up in a family saga? Do they love sexy, strong guys with tender hearts that run the gamut from cowboy to country superstar to business owner and more? Then don’t let them miss getting an early gift of a copy of Jake for their Kindle this year.

The Blurb:

Christopher Davis Reardon’s wife died young, leaving him with two small boys to raise on his own. Jake and Davis were typical boys, but good kids. Mr. Reardon lived to see them both grow into the kind of men any father would be proud to call his sons. Respect for others, right from wrong, honesty, and the value of family were among the many things he taught his boys. And teaching them about women was right at the top of the list, especially the right woman. He had a mantra that was repeated to both boys from the age of thirteen until they were grown men themselves. They still know it by heart.”Son, you always treat a woman with respect, no matter who they are, what they do, or what they say. All men have lust in their hearts, so bed ’em if you have to, but treat ’em with respect. And when you think you’re in love, you’re not. Because when you are in love, you’ll know it. When you really love a woman, she’ll be the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night. When you really love a woman, she is your breath, your heartbeat, and your very soul. And when you really love a woman, you won’t be lusting after any others because no other women exist.”

Jake Reardon always understood what his father was saying. But he never felt the true meaning of those words…until he met Brinley Phillips.

Never mind that Tommy Joe Branden had “hands-off” signs posted all the way around her in big bright red letters. Never mind that she so completely believed in ’til death do us part that she was still hoping for a reconciliation with a man who would just as soon see her dead as not. And never mind that she lived and worked in Texas and had no plans on making Nevada her home. He practically felt his daddy nudge him in the back. Maybe that’s why he stumbled off the edge of that cliff.

But when ghosts better left at rest raise their ugly heads, the path to that ‘happily ever after’ gets steadily more difficult and more dangerous. And just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse…it did.

Meet the men who become The Seven Brothers of Elko:

No one could have foreseen the chain of events that would be set in motion when Tommy Joe Branden insisted that his ‘little sister,’ Brinley Phillips, accompany him to Vegas for a few days for some much needed time off.

These seven men would each be drawn into all that would follow:

Christopher Jacob (Jake) Reardon is an ex-Texas Ranger. Jake splits his time between Las Vegas where he is a partner in a security/bodyguard company, and his ranch outside of Elko, Nevada where he is just beginning to realize the dreams of his childhood.

Samuel Davis Reardon is Jake’s younger brother by two years and the two men so closely resemble each other that they are often mistaken for twins. Davis is currently employed with the Texas Rangers but visits Jake in Nevada when he can.

Michael James Cavanaugh is the Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada. Michael met Brinley in Texas under less than fortunate circumstances during the time he held the position of Sheriff in the county where she lived. Little did he know that their paths would cross again in Nevada.

Tommy Joe Branden is a popular country music star who grew up with Brinley and was best friends with her late brother. After his death Tommy took it as his responsibility to fulfill the role of ‘big brother’ for her and her younger brother.

Ronald Casey Williams is Brinley’s younger brother, the baby of the family. With the rest of their family gone, Brinley and Casey only had each other and Tommy. Casey is a college student working towards his dream of becoming a veterinarian, but sometimes dreams change.

Jace Garrett (Bo) Canton is Jake’s ranch foreman. Bo was the first man Jake hired and he’s been with him ever since. Polite and sort of shy, he’d been a loner most of his life, never staying in one place too long…but no more.

Lonnie Case Howard is another ex-Texas Ranger and Jake’s partner in their security/bodyguard company based in Las Vegas. Lonnie left the Rangers before Jake and bounced around the country for a while until he eventually landed in Las Vegas.

You will meet each of these men in Jake’s story. You will learn more about each one through their own stories. Only they can tell you how one chance meeting ultimately leads them all through an intricately interwoven web of hope, love, heartache, lies, deceit, and murder. Only they can tell you how they become The Seven Brothers of Elko.

Current Amazon U.S. Rating:

  • 5.0 out of 5 Stars
  • Out of 15 reviews, All are 5★’s
  • Read the reviews!

Just a few of of my favorite quotes from reviewers:

  • It is a roller coaster of emotional upheavals and heart-pounding drama, mingled with romance and light-hearted humor, amid surprising plot twists. I read a large portion of this book while trying to see through the tears. Raeann Blake has a way of drawing you into the story, making you feel like you’re right there in the midst of it all, experiencing every emotional upheaval right along with them.
  • At times I laughed out loud and other times I cried like a baby! I loved how she told the entire story instead of shortening it!
  • Ms. Blake takes the reader through all the emotional ladder. All the time you are cheering for the characters to have succes, you are crying through their troubles.
  • This book made me cry like no other no other book has.
  • This book has everything, emotional upheavals, drama, romance, humor, along with surprising plot twists and as always a little of that heart rending element. I can always depend on her books to make me laugh, cry and wish I had one of these special cowboys she writes about for my own.

Thanks to all of my readers and a special thanks to all of those who took a few minutes out of their busy day to share your thoughts about Jake with all of us!

If you don’t have Jake in your library yet, pick up your copy this weekend. And give your friends an early Christmas gift by telling them that Jake is FREE to download to their own Kindles, Dec. 22-23, 2012.

The eReader Cafe

Happy Reading!


Posted in Books, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Seven Brothers of Elko – Davis

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

Davis Reardon was a persistent man. Lonely, but persistent. For two years he happily watched love grow and deepen between his brother and the woman who completed his life. Jake and Brinley were two halves of a whole. And Davis was patiently waiting for his turn. Waiting for the one woman who was meant to be the other part of him.

He thought the wait was over when Dusty Lawton drove into his life. That connection, that instant recognition of matching pieces came immediately. Still, he tried hard not to slide down that slippery slope too quickly. But sliding he was. Right up until he discovered the one thing he didn’t want to know.

Gold ring. Third finger. Left hand. Married! Now what?

He was raised to never touch another man’s wife. He could practically hear his daddy rolling over in his grave at just the thought. He pretty much figured the man would rise right up out of it if he couldn’t stop that downhill slide and actually touched her. But if she wasn’t meant to be with him, how could he explain all the things that said she was?

The man who raised Dusty always told her the right man for her was out there somewhere. How cruel that she should find him when it was too late, after she was trapped in a marriage she never wanted. A marriage her husband would kill to keep her in.

In a dangerous game of cat and mouse, the crosshairs land first on Owen Lawton, while Davis, Jake and the rest try to unravel the mystery of why Dusty insists she must remain in a marriage that’s in name only, before it was too late. Just when they think the game is won, things take a deadly twist.

Sneak peek – read the free excerpt here!

Posted in Books, The Seven Brothers of Elko | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

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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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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The Next Big Thing: Authors Tagging Authors

Posted by Raeann Blake (Author) on October 31, 2012

I’ve been invited by Nikki Mahood to join in on The Next Big Thing: Authors Tagging Authors by tagging me in her own post. Thanks, Nikki, for inviting me to “tag” along. The premise it to answer ten questions about my current work in progress and then tag five more authors who can move the chain along another link should they choose to do so.

Before I get started I want to invite you to connect with me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to see you there!

With that said, I’ll be talking specifically about Davis (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book Two) which is in the rewrite/edit stage at this point and The Seven Brothers of Elko series in general.

  • What is the Working Title of your Book?

The original working title was “Until the Day After Forever”, but is now “Davis (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book Two)”.

  • Where did the idea come from for the book?

Davis is the second 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). Davis is Jake’s younger brother. 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.

  • What genre does your book fall under?

It will be listed under Romance >> Contemporary and Romance >> Series. But it doesn’t fall into just one or two categories. Davis, and 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?

There are so many characters in the series and, like I said before, all of the men are in each book, so I’m going to have to stick with just the hero/heroine of this single book here. This won’t be easy because I honestly don’t watch much in the way of recent movies.

Davis is a tough decision because Davis and Jake are nearly identical and the fact that they are becomes a major part of the story in one of the later books in the series. So I see this as having to be a dual role for a single actor. And the picture I’ve always had of these two isn’t really an actor at all but a photographer who was involved in a Marlboro cigarette promotion a few years back. I don’t know his name but here is his picture, right down to those Reardon gray eyes. (Hopefully Phillip Morris/Marlboro or the hunky photographer won’t sue me for this, especially since this is an edited image of one I got from them. What can I say? He needed a cowboy hat to go with that spiffy leather jacket.)

The closest I can picture to “my” Jake/Davis I guess would be Mark Wahlberg but I’m just not sure his voice would match the way I hear them in my head. And I believe he’s only about 5’ 7” so we’re going to have to have some creative camera angles to make him appear around 6’. Or maybe Timothy Olyphant, but he might be better for Michael. Seriously? They would do in a pinch, but I’m going to have to stay with the photographer. Maybe Hollywood could track him down.

The heroine in Davis is Dusty. I could see Olivia Wilde in this role. And I’m going strictly by a picture I saw of her from Cowboys & Aliens. I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of her many films or television appearances.

  • What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

When the other part of Davis Reardon walks into his life, he and those he loves are forced to make life-threatening choices and risk everything to hold on to that matching piece of his heart.

  • Will your book be Self Published or represented by an agency?

It will be self-published. I struggled early on with that decision before I released any of my books. Standards are standards for a reason. But I seldom play by somebody else’s rules, professionally or personally. My books are considered too long for the industry standard. They are my books and regardless of what the mainstream publishing industry believes is the maximum length to fit in their neat little boxes for any particular genre, they will stay as I wrote them. The stories were told to me by the characters and I refuse to let them be chopped up to fit into any specific limitations dictated by some predetermined set of rules rather than allowing the story to be told the way it should be told.

  • 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 Davis.

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

I don’t like making comparisons to other authors’ works. Every author has their own style and their own way of telling the story. But I will admit when I first read the question two other series immediately popped into my mind–Janet Dailey’s Calder series and any of Linda Lael Miller’s McKettrick series.

  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Davis did that himself. 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 readers’ interest?

As I said, this is the second book in a seven-book series. It’s very difficult to tell what will appeal to readers on any given day. And what will appeal to one won’t appeal to another. I can probably best answer that by telling you what pulls me in about this whole series every time I go back and read them again.

The strong family bond that is built between the men and the women who come into their lives defies the conventional definition of what makes a family. But conventional wisdom aside, the bond is there and builds throughout the series. They have a strong sense of honor. They fight for what they believe in. They fight for their family. And they fight for the women they love.

Not one of these men gets to skip lightly down a flowery path to the land of “happily ever after” with bluebirds singing and heavenly harps playing in the background. You feel what they feel. You know what they’re thinking. Individually and as a group they find hope and despair, love and heartache. Lies, deceit, kidnappings and murder are only a few of the things thrown into their paths. And it all started with one chance meeting.

And there you have it. I hope you have enjoyed this quick peek behind the scenes of Davis and The Seven Brothers of Elko. Davis is expected to be released somewhere in the range of December 2012-February 2013. If you haven’t read Jake yet, you can pick that up today on Amazon at Jake (The Seven Brothers of Elko: Book One).

For my tags I chose some great author friends from the Chick Lit Goddesses Facebook group and some of my many Twitter buddies who have provided me with an immeasurable amount of support and advice on this winding trail. Be sure to check each of them out next week for their Next Big Thing.

Sarah Louise Smith – http://www.sarahlouisesmith.com/

Janet Eve Josselyn – http://open.salon.com/blog/janet_eve_josselyn

Elizabeth Marx – http://elizabethmarxbooks.blogspot.com

Constance Masters – http://creativelyconstance.blogspot.com/

Keith Rommel – http://keithrommel.weebly.com/blog.html

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