Free-for-All Friday: What are you researching?

Thriller writer Chelsea Cain recently tweeted:

ChelseaCain Tweet


I see I’m not the only writer who has these concerns, especially given recent revelations about government data collection. Um…NSA? FBI? DoJ? LMNOP? You know that very specific research I did recently, with the body decomposition rates in a very specific geographic area under very specific weather conditions?

It was research. Really. Kthxbai.

Every story, regardless of its historical era and no matter how reality-based or speculative the world, requires research to maximize the story’s authenticity. My recent research forays have included hematology, twerking, theoretical physics, burner phones, the House of Draculesti, Tasers, and Justin Bieber’s latest unfortunate tattoo.

Any government agency trying to build a digital profile of any author is going to have a mighty hard time. 😉

What are you researching right now? Please share some of the weird, unexpected, notable, or interesting areas you’ve researched for a recent writing project. Did you learn anything that surprised you?


GIVEAWAYS! Today, Ruby Sister Hope Ramsay and I are two of the featured authors at Dear Author‘s August Giveaway Extravaganza, celebrating romance readers for the entire month! Pop on over to have a chance to win our books.

Psssst! You don’t have to go to Dear Author to learn that my self-published Underbelly Chronicles e-novella, TOUCH ME, is free at Amazon Aug. 9-11! Grab one, fast! 😉 And if you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate your honest review!



30 responses to “Free-for-All Friday: What are you researching?”

  1. Jenn! says:

    Cat burglars, heists, how to blow up a yacht, Mediterranean islands, Interpol. Do you think in light of the recent diamond heists in France that I’m being watched? LOL!

    Great blog, Tammy. And I got my copy of Touch Me. 🙂



  2. Condoms, diseases, the year drip coffee makers came into use, prisoner of war camps, infertility, cars . . . the list goes on. It seems like every time I turn around, I’m looking something up.


  3. Rita Henuber says:

    I research almost every day, little stuff to be sure it will work, cost etc. I say forget NSA, FBI, DoJ and IRS. It’s Amazon you have to worry about. Why? Because a few days after you research something you get an email from them saying you looked at so-and-so, you might like such-and-such. Last thing I researched was a nail gun. Was thinking of using it as a murder weapon. Long story but, it didn’t work out. Then I get an email from Amazon, You looked at nail guns you might like these power tools. Okay enough. That is way too big brotherish for me. I was feeling pissy so I researched granny panties, thongs, condoms, fix a dent, vibrators, sex toys, plastic wrap and male enhancement drugs. (BTW the first choice that came up for ME Drugs was – “Set of 6 Colored Silicone Ice Pop Maker Molds, BPA Free Popsicle Molds – The Best Way to Make Healthy Freeze Pops and Smoothie Pops for the Whole Family – No Mess, Flexible, Durable, Easy to Clean and FDA Approved.” I peed my pants laughing)
    Any who I can’t wait to see what they suggest I look at next.


  4. Rita Henuber says:

    On a more serious side I research Navy SEALS. I have a SEAL who appears in each story. In order to portray him correctly I read articles that give insight to their mental abilities, what drives them, etc. Any man I’ve spoken with who has served in this elite unit says what they do comes from within. They say ‘make it happen’ and it does. I found this article in Forbes and for me it is so profound and empowering I want to share. Every writer, every person can see themselves here


    • Fabulous article, Rita. The core principles can be applied on so many levels: Faith. Writing. Families. Marriages. Few people realize the power of the words they speak. Think what you will, but speak only those things that motivate and uplift; it’s like magic. I have a blog half-written on this topic. Perhaps it’s time to consider posting it.


  5. Scorpion venom, and whether it can be created in a lab, alligator noises, whether homes in Florida have basements, the moon cycle (for those scenes where I have specific dates and my characters are prowling around at night), what it takes to be a Navy lawyer, Edgar Allen Poe (but then the Following came out, so I had to scrap that story idea – still have all of his works on my Kindle)…

    So much more, I’m sure! I don’t know how writers accomplished anything before the internet. It would have taken me added weeks of tracking down books, library searches, phone interviews, etc., to get that information! We’re so lucky.


  6. June Love says:

    Funny you should ask, as yesterday I was researching kitchen floors. Yes. Kitchen floors. What can I say? I writer contemporary romance and well, let’s just say the kitchen floor comes into play.

    I love your post, Tammy. Amazon, as Rita said, is one of the worst for sending you suggestions based on your searches, but it’s not the only one doing the tracking. Because so many of them do keep you signed in, I make sure I’m signed out of the site when leaving it. After all, kitchen floors aren’t my only research. 🙂


  7. I’m researching everything about Vermont during January and February from weather to local activities. I hope to get back to the follow-up to PERFECT soon.


  8. Terri Osburn says:

    Another reason I’m glad I don’t kill anyone or blow anything up in my books. My current research is on boutique hotels, and it’s quite fun. It only seems fair that to create a fictional one, I’ll have to actually stay in a real one. And then write it off. Sounds legit, right?

    Because my books are set on a tiny island (based on a real one) I most often google things like sunset and sunrise, as well as average temp and average water temp during certain times of the year.

    So I guess NSA will just assume I’m dull and into weather and leave me alone.


  9. Hope Ramsay says:

    The time the sunrises on February 16, 2014 in South Carolina, when early services start at Christ Church in Denmark, SC, industrial chicken processing, VooDoo, HooDoo, the symbolism of the Fisher King, Antebellum antiques, blue willow china, mastiffs, and ghost exterminators and exorcists (yes, there is a difference).

    Fun post!


  10. Gwyn says:

    Arthurian Legends, Celtic Mythology, how blind people perceive colors, string theory, aliens on earth, warp propulsion to name a few. Some poor dude is certainly scratching his balding pate trying to figure out how that gels. 😉


  11. Last week, I researched edible bugs (for my WIP, which has couples on a “Temptation-Island” type of reality show). I’ve also googled small towns in Wyoming and Texas, and virginity pledges (not for the same story).

    Guess I’m kind of tame compared to the rest of y’all …

    I snagged a copy of your novella, Tamara. Sounds like another good one.


  12. Flesh eating plants, the dragon’s blood trees of Socotra Island, the Tortola apple tree and its poisonous fruit. What year komodo dragons were first seen by non-native sources.

    And all of this for my latest Regency historical.

    There is a tree in Australia with needles so deadly it has been known to kill horses, kangaroos and even full-grown men. The pain is apparently excruciating and men who accidentally fell on it in the early nineteenth century begged to be killed because the pain was so bad before they died.

    Wonder what Big Brother makes of that? 🙂


    • Tamara Hogan says:

      Such exotic topics, Louisa! What’s the name of that tree with the toxic needles?

      I swear, there are so many things in Australia that could do a clueless person in…;-)


  13. Kate Parker says:

    Scottish castles, the German ambassador to Britain before von Ribbentrop, Hyde Park, Russian titles pre Revolution. I hope the internet decides I need to travel to find the answers, because my hubby says with the internet, I no longer need to travel. He thinks I can do all my research on line.

    Next topic to research, why Rita decided nail guns don’t make good murder weapons because I feel a need for an inventive murder weapon in my future.


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