Tag Archives: Research

Taking Stock

Taking StockHas it really been more than a month since New Year’s? I guess it has. So where am I?

I’ve started a new novel. A sequel actually. My first sequel, which is proving to be a challenge. How much backstory to include? What to leave out? How do I push the characters forward? I love a challenge, even when it makes me want to rip my hair out.

Short story #3 in my collection of short stories needs more editing. Will get on that as soon as I get a larger grip on the novel.

Research: I took a glance at what I researched last year. What was I thinking?

• Chemical analysis of H3
• Autopsies
• Art equipment
• Construction of a ferry landing
• Anatomy
• 16th Century Venice
• Spider Silk

All of these topics will be used in at least one of my novels. You get to learn what goes where as the books are published.

“But Debra,” I hear you cry. “When are you going to publish those books?” All I can say right now is nothing is going to happen until I get back from Paradise Lost Writer’s Retreat in May. After that, I’ll have more information to share.

For now it’s all about getting my butt in the chair and keeping my fingers on the keyboard.

Sun, Fun, & Research

I recently spent a lovely afternoon at the magnificent Castillo de San Marcos National Monument to do some research for Dream of My Soul. If you’ve never visited, I highly recommend it:


My first impression of the Castillo was how small it was. The Castillo isn’t tiny by any means, but it didn’t quite reach the towering heights I had imagined from looking at pictures and drawings online. I tromped around the dry moat (which, due to recent rain, wasn’t as dry as I would have liked – my poor sneakers!) taking snapshots of the coquina walls covered in moss. The shot furnace is still there, but the flood gates are covered in concrete.

After a half hour or so in the dry moat, I joined the crowd for the live-fire cannon demonstration. Ouch! Need to bring earplugs next time.

One of the volunteers gave me an up close and personal demonstration of a 1752 fusil flintlock with paper cartridges and a .65 caliber ball. He also let me handle several different types of cannonballs including a glass shot, star shot, and chain shot.

Another volunteer asked me if I was a plumber because of my intense curiosity about the floodgates and pipes the Spanish used clean the dry moat (where animals were slaughtered) and la necessaria (the latrines). When I confessed that I was writing a novel, he asked if the Castillo would be invaded? Of course, I replied. He then asked, are there zombies involved? Naturally, I said. He thought that was funniest thing and insisted on giving me his name and email in case I had more questions. National Park volunteers absolutely rock!