Research Secrets Part One

May 19, 2016


When people think of research when it comes to fiction, they usually think historical fiction. While

research is most definitely a must in historical fiction, it's also important in EVERY other genre. That's right, even the simplest children's book needs at least some measure of research to make it ring true. In this blog series, I'll show you some of the resources I used in all the varied romance genres in which I



Let's start with the latest installment in my fantasy romance series, No Place Like Home. I don't care how wildly imaginative the fantasy world is in which your story is set. Humans are still reading it, and our brains are wired to understand certain truths of physics and science. Sure, we can choose to totally turn these things upside down and have everyone walking and talking backwards, living in an anti-gravity environment and talking through their navels. We still need to know how those changes would affect character movement, speech, travel, fight scenes and so on. 



Oh how I do love fight scenes! I love writing kick-ass heroines like Caliphany from the first book in the series, A Ranger's Tale. Dead accurate with a bow and fire spell combo and even a complicated triple arrow shot. That required a great deal of research into archery and exactly how certain creatures would explode upon impact.


Yeah, that was interesting. And messy.


Disclaimer: No animals were hurt in the making of this book, at least none that I know of..


In No Place Like Home, heroine Mirabelle is quite deadly with her mind-bending talents and her specially-crafted silver daggers. Those required a bit of research into metallurgy and knife-making, which resulted in this paragraph:


Good thing we had the proper weaponry for vampire-killing. Like my daggers, his sword had been constructed of the finest silver from the dwarven mines of Minzck. Their production involved adding a super-secret acidic compound during the smelting process. Not only did it help keep the final product sharp, requiring less time at a whetstone, but it had the added effect of causing a complete breakdown of any undead tissue. That meant that if we could get in a good swipe or stab on a vampire, it should be enough to destroy them. Of course, that also meant we had to avoid their fangs and be quick enough to outmaneuver their incredible speed. As Dad once said, silver blades were only as powerful as the person who wielded them.


YouTube came in very handy, as it often does, for researching dagger fighting and throwing. This guy has some good combat videos on a number of weapons, as do several people. But this is an example of a specific technique (the reverse grip) that I wanted Mirabelle to do and do well. 

Of course, Mirabelle's counterpart, the assassin known as the Tyger, has some very interesting supernatural powers which allow him to shift into a cat-like form. Not only does he have all the heightened senses of a predator, but he can also camouflage himself to blend into virtually any environment. Being a biologist by degree, I love researching things like this. And who doesn't love animals who not only blend in to their habitat like these 23 Spectacular Examples, but who actually CHANGE their appearance? No one is quite the master of this feat like the chromatophore-loving cephalopod, the cuttlefish.  And if you haven't seen the True Facts animal series from ZeFrank, you really haven't lived.


Here's all you need to know about the cuttlefish:


Next week, we'll look into some of the research I had to do for my erotic series. Don't call the censors yet, you'll be PG 13. Or will it?? Bwahahahaha!


Yeah, it will. 

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