Ready. Set. Research.

Have you ever finished a book, sat back with a sigh, and thought how easy it must have been to write the story?

Want to know a secret? (Well, it’s not really a secret.)

Writing a book is work. It takes time. Effort. And an active “delete” key.

And no matter what you are writing – fiction or non-fiction, past, present, or future – a good author researches. To get the facts straight– to be consistent in the fantasy world they are building.

Twenty-seven days from the time this blog post releases — my new contemporary novel Morning Tryst will release. (Available for pre-order now.)

Considerable hours of research went into the project. Much of it was on the computer — the internet is very helpful in a great many things. Some things I picked up in conversations with friends at various times in my life. But, due to the setting of the story, this particular book required some road trips.

Some of the basic needs for my research trips to the various Missouri State Parks. A few years ago, I purchased the “coffee table” book Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites. This volume has wandered around the house, and state, as I used it as a reference before or during each visit. Park brochures were useful and the park maps. I also had a state road map, my phone, and water. Often a bottle of juice or soda shared a spot in the insulated bag with water, ice (you can freeze a bottle of water and use as an ice pack) and snacks. I never camped in the parks, but I did drive through a few of the campgrounds in the off season (when I would not disturb campers). I hiked a few portions of trails. While not in the photo, I always took my camera. Hat, coat (depending on season), and good walking shoes were required.

Want to re-create an adventure from the book?

Pick a state park near your home. Supply yourself with some of the “basics” from above. Check the weather. GO! Friend or family member want to go along? Great! No one else interested? Go anyway. Picnic is optional. Sense of humor and desire for adventure required.

Who knows — after a little time in fresh air, a visit to forest, lake, or historical site — you may have an improved outlook and attitude.

At sunrise, the world displays a moment of hope and promise.

To pre-order Morning Tryst use the links below:

Kindle readers:

Nook readers:


Bouquet of Milestones

In my current career, I’ve met a number of authors. Some successful. Others struggling with various steps on the writing path. What I have not met, or even heard referred to by these author friends and acquaintances, is an author who wrote an entire book without encountering obstacles and then continued unobstructed to be published and make thousands of sales.

A more common experience is a mixture of days of progress and hours, or days, of mired down in writing or publishing problems. If you think in graphs, do NOT draw a smooth, ascending line from start to goal. If an author is lucky, the graph would be jerky steps in a generally upward direction. Other time, the trend goes down, perhaps as far as needing to start over.

How does an author cope? Well, it varies by the person — but a common way is to set small goals and celebrate when each is achieved. Did you meet your word count for the week? Treat yourself to…a manicure? Ice cream? Visit to a museum?

One of the writing groups I belong to celebrates specific milestones once a year. Each color representing a different achievement in the writing and publishing process. When I’ve had a “down” day, perhaps where chapters had to be discarded or a publisher sent a rejection — this bouquet offers a little comfort. “You’ve done this before. You can do it again.”