Tag Archives: research


These days, my life cycles between various modes: plotting, research, writing, and editing. And oh, the plotting I’ve been doing! Evacuation Route is looking to be a lot of fun, still dark and twisted, but in a more upbeat, caper-style way. Last Exit set the strange tone, and No Wake Zone, which picks up only weeks later in the time-line, is somewhat more introspective. The humor and violence are still present, (would you expect anything less?) but this is a point where my key characters regroup as they sort out recent events and they find themselves faced with new (old?) threats, and readers will see more of what makes Hazel, Hammon, Annabel and even Stevenson tick – and just how screwed up they might truly be.

Jump forward to the following summer. Things have been almost quiet, at least for a little while — but then the shit hits the fan fun begins. Murder charges, police investigations, a con, and a heist the likes of which I’ve never seen done before… a heist, Jersey-style. Yep. I’ve been plotting and scheming, and I’m quite pleased with the results. In fact, the last few days I’ve been walking around grinning and giggling manically. Which brings me to my current position: knee-deep in the research on a grocery list of top-secret topics (I could tell you, but then… well, they could be spoilers,) that will involve a truck-load of books and many upcoming road and water trips. Research is fun. Lots of fun. Especially with the things I’m researching – which is why I’ll stick to my variety of madness and mayhem over other genres.

Today’s research…

I consider research a vital part of the writing process. While much of my work ties into my own knowledge, I will happily admit, I don’t have firsthand experience with the effects of depressants and ‘club drugs’, and put my time into researching what doses of which combinations guarantee lethal side-effects. So I do my research, reading and talking with people who have the answers. Accuracy is vital. True, this may be fiction, and at times I may drop a building location into what in reality is a vacant lot, but other than that, I check and double-check every detail. If my characters stop at White Castle at 3am, I can assure you, I’ve already checked it is, indeed, open 24hrs. If I state a specific diesel can be disconnected from all electrical power and still run, I already know this engine doesn’t have an electronically regulated fuel pump. You won’t see my characters putting friends in the back seat of their Viper, checking the spark plugs on a diesel, or driving a 78 Fairlane around NJ. I’ve read every one of these and more, some written by big name best-selling authors, and each time I cringe. True, many readers may not notice or realize. When I read a medical or legal thriller, all the inner workings stuff goes right over my head. But I read on, figuring the writer must know what they’re talking about. But when I stumble over some glaring error, it’s distracting and lowers the credibility of everything else on the page.

So, friends, what novel mistakes have made you laugh (or cry)?