101 Research Sites

Okay maybe it isn’t 101, but it’s close. I’m hoping my Sisters will come up with enough suggestions to make it to that number.  I’m beginning with blogs and the number one is the Ruby Sisters.  Any time you need us we are here. Ask a question. Don’t be shy. We all started in the same place as you. If none of my brilliant Sisters can answer, we will do everything possible to point you to someone who can.

Merry Christmas!


Ruby Slippered Sisterhood

Romance University- Dedicated to helping writers establish and advance their careers, introducing readers to a variety of authors, and delving into the ever-inscrutable male mind.

Unusual Historicals- Historicals that brave the wilds of unusual settings and times to create distinctive, exciting novels outside the mainstream

Fierce romance-Not for the faint of heart. Grin

Contest Divas- RWA contest info


First check the targeted agent or publishing house of your dreams. If they have a newsletter, subscribe; a blog, check it out and post. All the ones I list offer advice on query letters. Here are my favorites:

Jessica Faust -Bookends LLC. Check her Must Read Posts

Janet Reid -too funny

Nathan Brandsford- Good industry info

Jennifer Jackson

Kristen Nelson

Writer Beware information about scams, schemes and pitfalls

Query Shark- How NOT to write a query letter


Newsletters that provide instruction and inspiration

Bob Mayer

Mary Buckham

Margie Lawson


The Food Timeline. Right now they are offering Christmas Food History.

Ellis Island Foundation to track ancestor’s arrival in the US  This is a service you pay for. All kinds of records dating back to the early 1800’s

From here to the end of the Historical section are resources Lis’Anne Harris shared with me. Thanks Lis’Anne!

What sources and links you, as a unique author, choose to use is solely based on the era in which you write.  Those below are a few of my favorites.  Almost anything you wish to know of an historical nature can be found if you insert the most relevant words into your favorite search engine.  If the info you seek doesn’t pan out on the first try, choose different words.  Research can be long and arduous, but it’s most definitely worth it to vet your story’s historical facts.

Knowledge of London

Roman to Edwardian London–full of interesting content.

Georgian Index

This site is chock full of awesome links for everything Georgian.

Fashion Era–Loaded with pictures and descriptions.

American Revolution

American Revolution Clothing

French, English, and Colonial fashions during this historical period.

American Revolution Medicine

Colonial Occupations

These occupations were shared by peoples the world over, not just American colonists.

At table: High Style in the 18th Century

This is very useful for setting the dinner scene.

Dickens’ Map of London

Get a quick overview of the most notable sites in London.  Click on the yellow pinpoints

Greenwood’s Map of London–This map is awesome.  Click on each section to zoom in on it.  Wonderful details of the buildings and streets.

Gen Maps

Old and interesting maps of England, Wales, & Scotland

History of Furniture Timeline

Language to Language

English to a host of other languages translator.


Division and ranks of peerage.

Invaluable Books for the Historical Writer:

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition- contains dates of word first usage–a must for vetting historical accuracy.

The Grammar of Architecture by Emily Cole- Indispensable for describing details of buildings for each historical era.

Poplollies & Bellibones Tenderfeet & Ladyfingers by Susan Kelz Sperling – Funny words and phrases and their origins.  Excellent source of period “speak.”

A History of Women, Silences of the Middle Ages by Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot, General Editors- A weighty read, but a good source for understanding the mindset of women and how men viewed them.





Secret Service

US Department of State

Think the DEA is tough? Try the Postal Inspectors, these are some hard core dudes and more than willing to answer questions. Make your heroine a Postal Inspector.

Decode human behavior.- Joe Navarro

Every branch of the service. Key the name and .gov. Includes SEALS and Special Forces.

As in

Contact your Congressman or woman, and Senators directly for questions about our government.

Firearms Tutorial

This tutorial is designed to give you a working knowledge of the types of firearms, the types of ammunition used, the nature of injuries that can be produced in the body, and the investigative techniques employed by the forensic pathologist in assessing firearms injuries. Has pictures. Gross.

Forensics- D.P. Lyle

Marine Speak. Odd phrases a Marine will use.

Police Procedures- Lee Lofland

Profiling serial killers- John Douglas.

Need a pic of your hero, or villain?


Want to set a story in a certain city? Start with the Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor’s office. Get the cities newspaper on line. Check headlines and want adds. Email Real Estate Agents. Use Google earth to look the city over. City and county web pages are loaded with info. Even small towns. You can see tax records. Some places you can get marriage and death info.

Need a story idea?

Subscribe to online newspapers. Geesh! There are some crazy ones. Like, crashing a White House party. If you want techno news, the Washington post has a technology page. New stuff every day. The LA Times keeps up with Mexican and Pacific Rim drug goings on. Canadian and British newspapers provide a whole new set of stories. And don’t forget MSN Weird News of the Day. Oh my!

Discovery News



America’ Most Haunted Places

Ancient History Sourcebook


Gods and Goddesses of the World

Haunted Places Directory. State by state listings.

List of Time Travel sites

MONSTROPEDIA bills itself as the ultimate online encyclopedia of monsters in myth, magick and legend with info about Vampires, Mythological Creatures, Cryptids, Angels, and Demons, Ghosts, and Monstrous Humans.


Zombie Squad’s mission is to educate the public about the importance of personal preparedness and self reliance, to increase its readiness to respond to a number of disasters such as Earthquakes, Floods or Zombie Outbreaks.

They are always looking for blog submissions.


Sorry, here is where I don’t have a clue. Either you have teenagers, or work with ’em (bless you hearts) or you go to the mall and watch.  My shopping gene died and I have no desire to work with kids who know way more than I do. That said here are a couple of links I found

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents

Young Adult Library Services Association


The Library of congress is an incredible source.  Every major museum in the country and abroad are excellent sources.

American Disasters dating back to 1825

Brenda Hiatt’s Show Me the Money. What various romance publishers pay

Erotic Thesaurus. A guide to purple prose.

Find out what any acronym, abbreviation, or initialism stands for.

Narrative Magazine for authors

Seat Guru. Which are the best and worst seats on a plane. Find an over a wing seat so the             gremlins can look in the window at your heroine.

Small Wars Journal Links to many military organizations, NATO etc.

Source for Global Air Travel


Lisa Garner’s Tricks of the Trade

Kathy Carmichael’s Synopsis workshop

US Military bases directory

WordWeb–A dictionary that sits in your tool tray.

Write Attitude. Many resources for writers

If you have a favorite site you’d like to share, please do.

30 responses to “101 RESEARCH SITES”

  1. Diana Layne says:

    goodness gracious, Rita, this is awesome!

  2. Darynda Jones says:

    Rita, this is fantastic!!!
    Thank you!

    Oh, and here’s another one for YA writers:

    But there are a gazillion sites geared toward writing for young adults. And there is a new term going around, New Adults, which I believe is more college aged protags.

  3. Rita, Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is a must print and/or file and save for future reference.


  4. rita says:

    I forgot this. Are you writing about an Italian prince a French nobleman an English Lord, a Spanish rake, an Irishman or Scottish hunk and need to hear an accent to put you into the scene? Tune in to that countries radio on the net. You may not be able to understand it but it can set the mood.

  5. Dara says:

    I must print this off! Thanks so much–especially for the American Revolution links. I have an old WiP that I’d like to revisit (someday) and those links will really help.

  6. Hey Rita,

    I’m so glad you thought to do this. I love research almost as much as writing. Today I need to find a picture of my hero and villain. Thanks for the great link!

    BTW, my hero in my current wip is Irish and I’ve been listening to various talk radio shows from Irish locales. It definitely helps with word choice and inflection for writing his dialogue. :-)


  7. rita says:

    you’re welcome. listening to foreign radio is a hoot!
    and looking for a good looking guy is even more fun. don’t forget to look on the fierce romance site. those gals have fine looking guys.

  8. Addison Fox says:


    This is AWESOME!!!

    I would also add:

    I found it invaluable when I was looking for an agent. It’s a great database and they’re incredibly up-to-date.


  9. Elise Hayes says:

    Whoo-eee, Rita–that’s one heck of a list! I didn’t count to see if you reached 101, but you’ve gotta be close.

    Here are a couple of good books to add to the list for those doing research on medieval England (and the last source is a book for clothing research that’s applicapable to those of you writing Regency and Victorian era books, as well)

    Daily Life in Chaucer’s England (by Jeffrey Singman and Will McLean), published 1995.

    Pleasures and Pastimes in Medieval England (by Compton Reeves), published 1998.

    Costume: 1066 to the Present (by John Peacock), published 2006.
    NOTE: Peacock’s book is a picture book. Because it doesn’t have text (other than the labels on the items of clothing it shows), and because it covers so much historical ground (1066 to the present) it doesn’t go into great depth. BUT, for folks writing in the medieval period, it does help a lot more than books that just say, “12th century”: this book distinguish between the different fashions between Henry I’s reign (1100-1135), Stephen’s reign (1135-54), Henry II’s reign (1154-1189), and Richard I’s reign (1189-90). (just to illustrate how the book is organized)

    For those of you writing in the later periods (Georgian, Regency, Victorian), the same book distinguishes between fashions every 5-10 years during those periods (but you’ll only get about one page of illustrations per 5/10 year period).

    Happy researching!

  10. Barbara Leland says:

    Wonderful list Miss Rita. Certainly one to print and save for research on any subject. I do have one newsletter to add to your list, one I’ve found very informative. by Randy Ingermanson. He has a new book out as well that I’ve just added to my overflowing bookshelf of “how too’s”. Thanks for all the helpful research!

  11. Another source that I think is invaluable to contemporary writers is:

  12. rita says:

    thanks Barbara and Laurie. Have added your suggestions to my list

  13. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    Great sites, Rita. I’ll be bookmarking this blog page. For historical writers, there is an online etymology dictionary that often comes in handy:

  14. rita says:

    Thanks Gwyn and Jeannie. keep ’em coming guys

  15. Elisa Beatty says:

    Fab list, Rita!! Once I’m home this evening, I’ll try to add a few more. I’ll definitely be saving this post!!

  16. Wow, Rita! Thanks so much. This is a must print.

  17. rita says:

    Elisa and Bev so glad you like it. please share. it’s so much easier when you have a place to start. can’t imagine doing all this research with the net.

  18. Oh, my good gosh! Thanks for doing all our leg work. I haaaaate research.

  19. Eden Glenn says:

    OMGoodness. What a list. I’ve copied them all into a file to refer back to. What a gold mind.

    Thanks for sharing

  20. Wow, Rita! I’m bookmarking this one. I’ve only just discovered Romance University and so far it’s brilliant.

  21. Dianne says:

    Great resources, Rita. We’re lucky to have a resource like you.


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