Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome Linda Rae Blair

Hi Linda,

Thank you for joining me on my blog so we can learn about you and how you got into writing, and everything or anything else you would like your readers to know about you.  Before we get started, would you like to give us a quick list of all your books available for purchase and where we might find them? Do you have your books in print as well as in ebook format?

Elusive (A lovely little Scottish romance)

100 Years Of Brotherly Love (A saga of true friendship in the stunning setting of New Mexico)

Intersections: Love, Betrayal, Murder
(My Chicago trilogy – a historical account of romance and mystery in early 1900s middle America) Available in a single volume or these standalone novels:
      Where is Harry?
      Claire: A Woman’s Journey – NY Heiress ~ Chicago Madam
      Richard: It’s In The Blood
The board Game Murders (This is a tiny book, a twist on a Poirot-type detective with lots of murder and 1930s style)

The Preston Andrews Mysteries
Hard Press’d
Press’d Into Action
Press’d to the Wall
Press On
Pressing Engagement
Pressing The Message Hone
Press ‘n SEAL
A Pressing Issue of Murder
Trace Evidence
Press’d To Kill
Pressing Reunion (Coming Sept. 2012) 

A new series, The Sam Hartley, P.I. Mysteries, will start this fall with the release of Christmas Jumper.

Oh, my! That’s quite a list, Linda!

And I’m very proud of each and every one of them. My books are available on Amazon and their international sites; some countries only carry digital formats and others only print versions. They are also available on Smashwords and their digital retailers (Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, iTunes, Diesel, etc.) and Google e-books, also on a digital distributor in Ireland, PublishMyBook.ie.

When did you first start writing? Or how did you get into writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?

I never dreamed of being an author! While I used composition in my work life over a 30-year career, it never occurred to me that I would ever write a book, let alone 20. When I began planning my retirement schedule for 2008, I was also researching a family mystery. My vivid imagination turned it into a romantic mystery that I shared with a friend. She encouraged me to make it a book, which I did.

When did you publish your first work?

“Where is Harry?” published in 2008—much to my amazement.

How do you feel about the formatting process with print and/or ebook?  Do you do your own and if not, how do you get help for this to be accomplished?

Ah, the writer’s hell—formatting! Yes, I do my own for both print and digital. You either have to take a calming pill, a stiff drink or brain Botox to do formatting. I’m handicapped by a laptop that is Windows and a PC with Vista. I do my writing on a pristine laptop that is not connected to the internet and therefore safe—if such a thing is possible—from viruses and worms. Then, via a flash drive, I take everything to the PC for loading to my various distributors. Before I realized that the two systems caused issues with formatting—some of which cannot be fixed without a complete format wipeout and rework—I created all sorts of problems for myself. This was a true case of being hoisted on my own petard!

I do the same thing with mine—type on a mini laptop, save everything to a flash drive and take to my desk top to upload. 

Do you have any advice for a person wanting to get their book(s) published?

Advice and opinions—something else everybody has at least one of—are too freely given sometimes. One lesson I learned the hard way was to stay away from vanity publishers. A first-time author often doesn’t even know what “vanity press” means. My definition is:

If you’re paying for it—expect to be taken, along with your money!

After my first book, I tried to make connections with hundreds of traditional publishers. I’ve never been ignored, insulted and downright abused by so many people in my life. One—and I do mean one—gave me great advice, “Don’t give up!” I didn’t. Instead, I moved to true self-publishing. Once I found Smashwords and learned how to publish on Amazon, I never looked back. There’s a tiny lady standing on my shoulder that can frequently be overheard saying, “Yeah, Linda! That’ll teach ‘em!”

That is a good thing to remember about Vanity Publishers; I’ve learned a lot about them in the last two years when my niece was signed with one and I helped her get out of her contract.

How can your readers find you?

They can find me on multiple Facebook pages (listed below) and, of course, my web site. I just love connecting with my readers. Sometimes, I even talk to them on their reviews on Amazon (the only one that allows comments).

http://www.facebook.com/lindaraeblairauthor (my general writing page for my sagas and romances)

http://www.facebook.com/theprestonandrewsmysteries (the page for my detective series, The Preston Andrews Mysteries)

http://www.facebook.com/mysteriesbyblair (a page for my non-series-related mysteries)

What do you do to get your books out to readers?  Do you spend a lot of time on promotion and social media?

Well, of course, I use Twitter—yes, I’m addicted! Also, Facebook, Indies Unlimited, Book Junkies and other writer/reader groups on Facebook; and then there is Linkedin where I belong to several groups. I spend several hours a day talking to readers and other authors via social media.

I am on a lot of those too, but they are so time consuming and I am finding I am spending way too much time on line instead of my own writing.  I need an assistant or intern, but sadly, I can’t pay anyone anything for those much needed services.

Well, it’s one of the benefits of being retired. I can spend my time as I wish. Sometimes, I have to take the laptop to Starbucks to get any writing done. Four or five hours later, I’m hyped on latte and have a book ready to flesh out, edit or release. I get a LOT done at Starbucks and the ladies are so supportive of my writing. They introduce me to everyone who comes in. I’m known as the writer.

What a great idea.  What are you working on now?  Any book(s) you are working on now you’d like to tell us about and when we can expect to see it published?

Two will be coming out soon. Press’d To Kill is #11 in The Preston Andrews Mysteries series; it introduces my readers to Samantha Hartley, the heroine of my new series starting this fall, Sam Hartley, P.I. Mysteries. The first in this new series is called Christmas Jumper.

What do you do to relax?

When I need to quiet the voices in my head (characters), I go to a movie, read a book or watch TV. I just adore visual media—always have.

How do you handle stress or writer’s block?

I refuse to admit to ever having writer’s block. If the characters are to quiet, I spend time reading what I’ve written, checking spelling, looking for punctuation flaws, rephrasing—that sort of thing. This usually wakes up the voices so they can tell me where they want to go next. My books are all character-driven.

I have come to realize that about your books after having read a couple of them.  I like that they are shorter than a lengthy novel so you have time to read one on a commuter ride to work.  Well, I don’t work anymore outside my home, but for people looking for a good mystery to read that is short enough to read on the way to work, your books fit into the niche very nicely.

Do you have a blog?

Oh, yes! I pride myself on not pestering my readers with frequent blogs. When I have something I really want to share, I blog. I just don’t like driving everybody nuts with overdoing a good thing. Stop by and visit. Read my interviews of other authors. Read an excerpt from one or more of my novels. I have purchase links for print and digital versions. Did I mention that my version of moving furniture when I’m bored is redesigning the web site? This season is hot pink geraniums from my garden.

I love that. It is definitely like rearranging furniture and fun to do, but I do not understand Wordpress. I did get a free book recently on how to make a Wordpress blog, so I am hoping it will help me to decide if I want to move my current one to a Wordpress blog or leave it where it is.  I have all these domain names I purchase, lol. I am also fighting whether or not to blog often or just blog when I have something to say. It also takes time from writing books.

Do you have a Youtube video trailer for your books? Do you make them or do you have someone else?

I’m totally right-brained. When I looked into creating a trailer, I decided to do it myself. After a little frustration, time and only a minimum of tears, my trailer for The Preston Andrews Mysteries is on YouTube: The Preston Andrews Mysteries_0003.wmv

I like your trailer very much, looks professionally done, shows all your books in that series and where to find you. I have not made one from my book yet; I have a friend working on it.

Actually, it was created a few books ago, so I do need to get in there and add the newest ones. Did I say that I also tend to procrastinate sometimes?

Do you have a favorite character from one of your books?

Oh, dear. This is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. Actually, I have several. In 100 Years of Brotherly Love, Autumn is a strong, spirited woman who leaves New York to take over ownership of a small southwestern newspaper. That had to take a lot of courage! You’ve just got to like her.

In Intersections: Love, Betrayal, Murder, Richard and Claire are both favorites. But, Richard is special. I still cannot read the last chapter of Richard: It’s In The  Blood without crying. He’s strong but vulnerable; all man but gentle, caring lover—not a guy with movie star good looks, just a damned good man. I never could get through a read-through without breaking down. My editor had to take over.

Of course, there is Preston Andrews. I’ve yet to find anything I don’t love about him!

Richard sounds just like my husband—in the end has a heart of gold for the ones he loves.

Favorite food?

Thin crust, pepperoni and anchovy pizza (Papa Murphy’s pizza, my anchovies)

Oh, I love pizza too, but not sure it is my favorite.  Seafood probably is mine, except for anchovies.

Favorite color?


Do you have a favorite life saying you live by?

Learn to be able to be alone without being lonely!

That is a good one, Linda.

Is there a funny or embarrassing moment you could or would like to share with your readers?

Okay, so you heard! I knew you did—ugh. I uploaded an unedited version of one of my books and didn’t find out until four months later. This is why I just love “talking” to my readers via their reviews on Amazon. One reviewer wrote a scathing review with absolutely NO specifics for me to work with—it was extremely frustrating.

Months later another reader/reviewer read my comments to the first reviewer, and she very carefully delineated all the issues. As I read her remarks, I realized what I had done. There had been a formatting issue reported by an Amazon customer earlier in the spring and I revised the wrong version and uploaded it. OMG—as we say! I did a thorough revision and uploaded the new version with many thanks to reader/reviewer #2. I’m human and can definitely make mistakes!

That was really great for a reviewer to respond and give you detailed information on what was wrong with your book. We hear all the time that most would not bother answering an author if they wrote to them. You have been very lucky in that aspect.

Please tell us anything else you’d like for your readers to know about you, your books, or just life in general.

Did you hear about Sue? Oh, that wasn’t what you meant? Okay. I love to include a little mystery, some romance and at least a touch of humor in my stories. My readers tell me they like that, so I intend to keep doing it. After all, without my readers, I may as well be writing a diary.

Thank you so much, Linda for stopping by today.  I wish you much continued success in your writing.


  1. Thanks, Jacqueline and Linda, for an interesting post. I can only imagine how you felt when you realized what you'd done, Linda. It is very difficult to undo damage like that.

    1. Thank you so much, Scarlett, for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love your first name, btw.