A Big Game of Tag

If you’ve been wading through your favorite author’s pages on Facebook, on their websites, or other social media, you’ve probably noticed new blogs about our individual writing processes.

I’ve been tagged by my friend and fellow animal-lover, AJ Adair in a blog tour where authors answer questions and then tag someone else. AJ and I started chatting one night after she’d made a comment about the photo I’d taken of a Sphinx Moth. From that point on we discovered a mutual love for cats, understanding the heartbreak of losing one, and developed a wonderful friendship.

Sphinx Moth1-4368


AJ is an amazing author with a handful of books to her name. Her latest, Anything Your Heart Desires, was released earlier this year, and is the sequel to Awaiting My Assignment, both included in her Friends series. If you haven’t started reading AJ’s work, there’s no time like the present. Check out her website for specifics: http://www.ajadaire.combook signature


Okay, so let’s get down to what this tour is all about: Getting to know your authors a bit better, and this time it’s yours truly. We’ve been given four questions to answer about our process and our work, so here goes:

What am I working on?

There are a few things bouncing around in my hopper these days. Positive Lightning was pl3breleased in April, so my fourth book is the sequel to A Kiss Before Dawn. In the Stillness of Dawn will be released early 2015. Here’s the blurb:

Fully recovered physically and emotionally from the near fatal assault, Chris Martel built a highly regarded reputation for Went Farm as a top-notch foaling farm. In fact the demand for stalls has necessitated the building of an addition onto the barn. More horses means more work. Under pressure from her partner, Mary Jo Cavanaugh and her Gram, Chris relents and eventually hires Mitch Jordan to assist with the additional load. 

When her mentor and employer, Doc Hall decides to retire, Mary Jo takes over the equine veterinary practice and inherits a huge clientele as well as all the problems associated with running it. Her days are spent in surgery and treating patients. The remaining hours of the day are spent tending to the business. The extra responsibilities and work load leaves her exhausted despite hiring an additional vet. 

Chris and Mary Jo feel the stress of their busy lives on their relationship. Mary Jo is too tired to do anything but fall into bed exhausted and Chris is missing her.

Mitch is single, cute and exceptionally good with the horses. A fast friendship forms and eases some of Chris’s loneliness. But does Mitch want more? Does Chris? 

Chris finds herself questioning herself, her relationship and her morals. Is her commitment to Mary Jo strong enough to survive Chris’s doubts?

I’m toying with the idea of writing another story at the same time, but I don’t have a concrete mental outline for it yet. … and then there’s the coffee table book of my photography. I’ll soon be in the process of choosing photos for that.

Superb Fairwren (M&F)-0831

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

I think my readers could answer this a bit better than I can. All of my main characters share one thing in common… an intense love of the outdoors. Through their senses, I want readers to mentally see and experience things they may never have before. I spend a lot of time outside, be it in the woods, fields or near the water. I hope through my writing, one or more people per day are inspired to look around and make new personal discoveries.

Why do I write what I do?

I don’t think I could express any better what Chris Paynter said: “I write what I do so readers can get lost in an enjoyable story that hopefully will stay with them after they close the book (or turn off the e-reader!). I hope even as they finish reading the last word of the book, they’ll want to revisit the story. I also write what I do because it’s my passion. I think most authors would agree.”

How does my writing process work?

I actually have two processes: one for my blogs and an entirely different one for my manuscripts.

My blogs are solely inspired when I’m outdoors. My mind, body and soul relax and I start “writing” in my head a description of what I’m experiencing or feeling. It’s all written from one point of view… mine.

When I’m working on a manuscript, it’s a lot different. I come up with a storyline first, and then figure out a rough outline of the human characters who will best fit. I get to know them at the same speed as the reader does in that I develop them as I write. There are authors out there who come up with a complete written outline of all their characters, down to the type of toothpaste they use or which way they prefer their toilet paper to hang. I guess that’s not the way my brain works. As for the non-human characters, I know their characteristics immediately. Most are written after animals I’ve known, loved, lost and/or met over the years.


When I compose a scene, I write it as I see it in my head. I try not to jump ahead as I’m afraid I may miss something the characters do or say. But if something does come to me roon1a-1right out of nowhere, maybe some dialogue or a future scene, I’ll write it down. (I don’t bother kidding myself. If I didn’t, I’d forget it and it would never, ever come back.) I try to stay very focused on what’s happening at any one place in my story. I will admit though, that I never know how my books will end. The characters dictate the story, so they pretty much figure out how to end it as well. I nearly panicked not knowing how A Kiss Before Dawn was going to end. kbd4 (1)Hell, it was my first book! Is there a right or wrong way to end a book? I had no idea. When I finally relaxed and listened to Mary Jo, there it was. I could think of no better way.

Upon finishing, I read through it to perform a self-edit, let it sit for a couple weeks before I do it again. Then off it goes to Emily, and eventually to my wonderfully talented editor, Nann.

…and there you have it. Because I came in on the game so late, most of my peers have already been tagged. BUT if you’re an author and you’d like to participate, jump right in. The playing field is wide open.


About laurie salzler

novelist, outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, dog trainer
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One Response to A Big Game of Tag

  1. kejaeck says:

    Looking forward to your coffee table book of your photography!

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