The other day, I was looking over a book that had belonged to my paternal grandfather (now owned by my brother). Granddad is #133. Cocky booger, isn’t he? Look at that tilted hat. Love it.
Earlier, I had been looking at the records of my maternal great uncles who had also fought in WWI. Turned out most Alabama boys were in the same 167th U.S. Infantry (previously Fourth Infantry National Guard of Alabama). The three uncles were in Company C while the one in the picture was part of Company A. They were on the same ship (picture) to England and later made their way to France.
The things you learn when you double check something you’ve never really thought about such as the difference between button-down and button-up shirts. I’ve always called a dress shirt (besides dress shirt) a button-up shirt. Well, it turns out that’s wrong. A button-down shirt includes the button on each collar to hold it in place (that’s the button-down part). The button-up does not. AND a dress shirt will always have the buttons on the collar. Thus always a button-down shirt. The things authors have to know.
By the way, my mom would always correct me as a kid when I referred to my top as a shirt. She said boys wore shirts, girls wore blouses. I can see that except when it’s a t-shirt. (Of course, the spelling of t-shirt is another argument. ) HA!
A couple times recently, I’ve been asked about my research on my latest series, Brothers of Mayhem. First, let me say that most writers love to do research. We love to read about other people’s lives and the way they handle certain situations. Hey, we love to sit in a mall or in front of stores and watch people walk by. We will assess their way of life by the clothes they wear, how they hold themselves (their stance), the way they walk, and often they will show up in our books.
So when writers research a book or new series, it’s a win-win. Books and reading about other people lives, we’re in hog heaven.
For my next series, I did research about outlaw motorcycle clubs. Youtube was helpful. There are lots of documentaries, specially for each outlaw MC known to man. Well, it feels that way. I probably watched ten of the videos, including just general ones on riding motorcycles. And of course, I watch shows on TV. Previously, Sons of Anarchy along with whatever shows that have popped up on TV (e.g. Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels).
Then I bought two romances with the central characters being in outlaw MCs. I quickly realized that was a mistake. They are NOT the kind of heroes I want to write. I love alpha heroes, but I don’t want them crude or just downright mean. That was all confirmed when my beta reader mentioned she started reading MC stories after my first three chapters hooked her, and some of the stories she read were waaaay over the edge. She liked the milder but still sexy ones.
I also bought two autobiographies about undercover agents in MCs and one about a confidential informant. Here are the books.
No Angel by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton – “My harrowing under cover journey to the inner circle of the Hells Angels.”
Under and Alone by William Queen – “The True story of the undercover agent who infiltrated America’s most violent outlaw motorcycle gang.”
Gods of Mischief by George Rowe – “My undercover vendetta to take down the Vagos outlaw motorcycle gang.”
And I drew from my misspent youth for a few other aspects of the book. I’ve talked a little about that before. Click here. When I was younger, I had ridden on a few motorcycles (passenger only – chopper, touring bike, and dirt bike – yep, it was rough bitch-riding on the last one), but never felt the need to buy one or keep riding.
Research can become addictive. So you have to learn to limit it. I felt I have it covered now.