In the Name of Research
by Terry Odell

Tina Whittle addressed writing what you know in her Let’s Talk post a while back, and how research is important. Google is a writer’s friend, but so are contacts with experts. My Triple-D Ranch romantic suspense series is set against the backdrop of a Colorado cattle ranch, and since I know very little about raising cattle, I found people who had the expertise and were willing to help.

In Deep Trouble by Terry OdellIn Hot Water by Terry Odell

However, after writing In Hot Water and In Deep Trouble, I needed to take things to the next level for the next books. While you can convey facts, getting the emotions, the feelings, the sights, sounds, and smells is something not easily done via computer or books.

Dillon_smallI found a guest ranch with the advertising slogan “Where the guests are the cowboys” and thought that might be a good place to start. So, I booked a week as a ‘guest’ and although I hadn’t been on a horse since some Girl Scout riding lessons when I was 12, I figured I’d give it a go.

The ranch’s slogan is accurate. We were up early every morning brushing and saddling our horses before breakfast! Once that was done, we had our breakfast and then took off doing ranch work, which included gathering cattle and moving them from one pasture to another, riding through the herds checking for specific animals (they wear numbered ear tags), seeing if any needed doctoring … all this on a huge 10,000 acre spread of land, which meant a LOT of time in the saddle. I also had a chance to shoot a pistol, a shotgun, and a rifle, all of which will come in handy when writing.

You certainly don’t have to be a writer to want to try new things. Expanding horizons is a good thing. Share something you’ve done in the name of “research” for a chance at a digital copy of In Hot Water, the first book in my Triple-D Ranch series.