3 Reasons I Love Research

I’m struggling with a heat wave (I’m a wimp when the temperature goes over 24 Celsius (75.2 F) and it’s been hitting 30 (86F)!!!) but today it feels cooler, so I should be more productive. I’m getting back into my writing routines after the mind bending experience of RWA12.

Currently I’m attempting to work on two new manuscripts.  I’ll see how that goes.

Anyway…at the moment that means I’m doing a lot of research, and I love research.


One – I learn things I’d never stumble upon if I didn’t go looking.

For example:

  •  by questioning local musicians about their guitars I learned that most start out on one they found in a closet, or an attic in the home they grew up in. They love their “first” to death and never part with it.  What a lovely detail to make a character come alive.
  • reading several sources I learned that art crime is the fourth largest international crime after drugs, money laundering and illegal arm shipments.
  • there are places high in the mountains on the Haida Gwaii that were left untouched by the ice ages.

Two – It grounds my story while letting my imagination fly.

Each piece of information is like a nugget of gold. When used properly in my story it creates verisimilitude. At the same time it opens up all kinds of ideas in my mind to further the story. How sweet is that!

Three – It enriches my characters, setting and plot.

Each details adds depth to the story. Doing research is like opening a treasure chest for a writer, with layer upon layer of precious gems.

My Fave RWA12 Moment

Pat and I had our picture taken with the famous Romantic Suspense writer Allison Brennan.


“Gosh, that’s a hard question,” I said to my friend who asked me what my favorite RWA ‘thing’ was, and then I just answered from my heart. It was the one to one conversations I had with authors during book signings, after workshops, in hallways….

I learned so much from the published authors. I asked all my crazy questions and they had answers for me. For example, I now have a clear understanding of the difference between Harlequin Intrigue and Harlequin Romantic Suspense books. It’s a 50/50 versus 70/30 romance to suspense kind of thing.

The national conference offers an array of learning experiences. From the moment you arrive (actually even on the bus to get there) you meet writers and authors who engage you in conversations about craft, best sellers, agents, editors…you name it. All the topics you want so much to learn about. It’s like a little piece of heaven.

And the words they use. Oh my goodness they are incredible. One established writer kept checking on me when she ran into me in the hallways. When my time to pitch neared she said to me, in a beautiful southern drawl that I will never forget, “Now they’re going to be young, but you don’t worry about that. Why I got underwear that’s older than them…” The warmth of that woman stayed with me right through my pitch. I had to work at not thinking about underwear during my sessions. Meeting her became one of my fave RWA12 moment.

Her warmth, encouragement and wisdom…epitomizes my RWA experience

You gotta love the RWA experience.

RWA12 Images #2

This is me sitting at one of the finalist tables at the Kiss of Death Event. The picture was taken by Judy Hudson.

This is a picture of the women in my category having our picture taken after the awards were announced. (by Judy Hudson)

A chocolate table (by Judy).

Romancing the cocktail event (just prior to the Death by Chocolate). Cheers.

RWA12 Images

The day of the Daphne, my ribbon arrived at the hotel, and I got to proudly wear it during the conference. It’s a little ribbon. But it means the world to me.Table centers at the Daphne du Maurier event — Death by Chocolate.

One of several tables filled with chocolate to die for:)

Too tired to say much. I hope you enjoy the pics:)

Last Day-phew

I’m beginning to understand the emotional complexities of a zombie.

Way too too tired to chat. I’ll blog when I get home.



RWA12 – Day…I`m not sure and it`s almost midnight

Sore feet, spinning head and an  exhausted body…but still having great fun.

Today, I did my first pitch (no not bitch…pitch) just for practice. The earth did not come to a standstill.

I went to some interesting workshops (e.g., Allison Brennon on Writing Thrillers) and talked and talked and talked with authors at book signings for Avon and Harlequin. Niggling questions  I`ve had about this and that got answered. There was another special luncheon. I swam and even had time for the hot tub.

Our gang (Vancouver and Vancouver Island writers) finished the day by eating at Bubba Gumps. I love shrimp. It was awesome. Then we converged in one hotel room, and with chocolate, potato chips and wine watched the opening of the Olympics …and argued over the origins of women`s fiction.

What can I say? It`s been another thoroughly great day!

Day 3 – RWA12 (Shaken and Stirred)

I’m having trouble uploading photos, so today is a text day.

Zippity do dah…Zippity day…my ribbon arrived in good time for the awards ceremony. I’ll upload a picture of it, when I get cyberspace to cooperate.


I took in a Deep POV workshop, a spotlight session  on Grand Central publishing from New York and a bit of the Pitch Witch presentation.  I spent the last half hour before lunch resting on a lounge chair in the shade by the pool. It’s rough being a writer.


Our keynote speaker was  New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens. She spoke about us being at a critical point, but the way she sees it, it’s a good place to be. Writers have more freedom and opportunity to publish than ever before. The big shift is not from paper to e-publishing, but from the consumer buying on-line as opposed to in bookstores. It’s rocking the publishing industry.

I sat at a table of eight women. Three were from Vancouver Island. The famous author, Linda Hamilton, sat opposite me, but there was too much noise in the room to hear anything she said. Beside me sat an interesting witch (yes I did say witch) who is an expert on the tarot and how it corresponds with the Briggs-Meyer personalities. It was an interesting lunch.

It was announced that the RWA raised over 50 thousand dollars for literacy in their drive the day before. We watched a video on the development of a documentary on the industry. Both led to clapping and tears in the eyes. The whole luncheon was inspiring.

Earthquakes, Riots and Mickey Mouse. Yes, we have them all here at Annaheim. But most of us are working the conference too hard to notice. What? The earth moved? Really?


I went to one session on series and then it was time for me to take another break. It was either that or go to an AGM. My roomies headed for Disneyland.

The Romance of the Cocktail

I’m not much of a drinker, but I couldn’t resist learning about the history of the cocktail, courtesy of VanGogh vodka. Three drinks later we were all smiling.My favorite was the Pomegranite. Who knew?

Death by Chocolate

I came third in my category and am thrilled. (i.e., category series) What does that mean? I won ten dollars, plus a free course, plus a certificate and bragging rights. I can’t wait to get the feedback from the judges.Darynda Jones won the published Daphne award and is up for the RITA tomorrow night.

…and now it’s time to think about my pitch tomorrow.