What I Learned This Week

I’m a firm believer that you can always learn something from every situation. This is what I learned this week:

- That rice will dry out electronic devices. In some cases. But not mine :-(. I accidentally washed my son’s iPod. My fault. Not his. I grabbed his clothes off his bedroom floor without warning him and didn’t check his pockets. Then the next day he dropped his cell phone in a puddle. It doesn’t work right either anymore :-(

- That I should peek outside the door before I run out to grab something from my car. In my jammies. Sporting a major case of bed head (sorry, neighbor!)

- Nine days without running water in your kitchen has surpassed “fun” and “adventurous” and has entered into “inconvenient” and “a pain in the posterior”

- I hate packing lunches. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Okay, that’s not something I learned this week. I’ve known that for years, but just felt the need to share because as soon as I write this post I have to pack lunches for tomorrow :-(

- The term “bereaved” comes from Scotland during the border wars. I learned this from Margery Scott, a fellow writer and Scotsman herself (or would that be Scotswoman), from this blog post.

- That Paris during the 18th century was a filthy place to live. That 96% of its population was pretty much destitute and that most of its population were immigrants from other French cities or Switzerland. (All this was discovered while researching my next historical).

What did you learn this week?

What a Romance Writer Really Researches

Let’s face it, when you write romance, you get a lot of questions about your research. But I think when you’re married to a romance writer you get a LOT of questions about your spouse’s research. Always accompanied by a nudge and a wink. I know my husband does. He’s constantly being harassed about having to withstand my “research”.

I always tell people that the sex in a romance book might equal ten pages. For some it will be more and some others less. Ten pages out of, say, four hundred. People rarely ask me about the research needed for the other 320 pages. I was never asked about how I knew so much about gypsies for my book A Forever Kind of Thing. Or how I researched pirates for my book Wherever You Are. Or the Knights Templar and all of my bible references for Her Dark Knight. No, they want to know how I research the sex scenes.

So, here goes my answer. I don’t research sex scenes. At all. I wing them.

I know, big secret, right?

That doesn’t mean I don’t research at all. Because I do. A LOT–just not sex scenes. In fact, I might spend more time researching than actually writing the book. And no doubt I gather way more research than I’ll ever use in the book.

For instance, the other day I was researching French swear words because my current hero is from medieval France and will sprinkle a few French swear words in. The funniest one I saw was “Vous sentez comme le boeuf et le fromage” which literally translates into “you smell like beef and cheese”. Really???? While I got a good laugh out of that, I know I won’t be using it in my current work in progress.

I spent a long, long time today researching medieval names and their meanings. More time than I would have liked. But every name in my story has a meaning specific to the story and I had to find just the right one.

A few weeks ago I researched the Triple Alliance of 1717 and The East India Company.

Except when I tell people this, I can see their eyes glazing over and their attention wander. So, I fall back on the old reliable. I laugh when they mention researching my sex scenes and give them a wink and a nudge, letting them come to their own conclusions.