The Blogging from A-Z Challenge is Upon Us!


atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

A is for Ad-lib

APRIL FOOL!  The Challenge hasn’t started yet.  I won’t have time to prank you then.

Ad-lib is short for ad libitum, a Latin term meaning “at liberty,” or “at one’s pleasure.”  In theater or film, the term refers to making up lines as you go with no set script (alt. extemporize, or improvise), or adding lines / business that weren’t scripted.

Just so you know why I picked this word for the game plan post, I AM AD-LIBBING THIS A-Z CHALLENGE.



I only know how to do research as if I were at university.  I did a crap-ton of it for Rose’s Hostage, but that hardly makes me an expert.  I was flying by the seat of my pants there too.

Not as well-practiced as this fellow.

Not as well-practiced as this fine fellow.


In this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge, I will give you a glimpse into one less glamorous side of writing, researching.  I’ll try to make it fun, but I can’t promise anything.  Since I’ll be in London for the latter half of the Challenge, both researching and hanging with my soundtrack nerd peeps, I might have a post or two outside the Challenge about those experiences.


This is MY process only.  I can’t speak for anybody else out there and I’m probably doing many things wrong, so please don’t use my haphazard work as a professional or academic guideline.

How does it go?  Most often, I start with reading.  I google whatever I want to research and look for authentic sources and then read until my eyeballs bleed.  Those sources may consist of books, websites, and multimedia including videos or audio recordings.  In olden times, before the Internet machine had become a thing, I went to the library a lot.  Now, especially since I have a faster connection (yay!), it’s all about Google.  Whom I’m sure has a rather extensive file on me.

“Search history…hmm.  Carry-on packing tips, death by exsanguination, spring recipes, hair braiding videos, how to make things happen with your mind, gas bombs, 1960s Britain.  WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING????” 

“Search history…hmm.  Carry-on packing tips, death by exsanguination, spring recipes, hair braiding videos, how to make things happen with your mind, gas bombs, 1960s Britain.  WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING????”

Image:  imagerymajestic/

While reading, I make copious notes.  I have about six million bookmarks and I often save particularly important pages as PDF files, just in case the website goes down (and so I can work offline if needed).

A few books for Secret Book that I’ve ordered/used/plan to read/stare at bleakly as I become overwhelmed with all I have to do include:

  • Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Britain (Helicon history) by Gale Group.  Word on the Water actually had this one when I visited their lovely book barge in October, but I knew it wouldn’t fit into my suitcase, so I had to order it from Amazon UK.  Sorry, guys!


OMG I am not going to list them all.  You will die. I do not want you to die.  I also don’t want to spoil anything.

If you’re wondering why some of the books come from Amazon UK, it’s because I couldn’t find them anywhere else.

TIPYes, you can have a UK account if you’re in the US, but you have to use a different email from the one you use for your US account.  Remember the exchange rate.  You can set your account to show your total in USD instead of GBP currency so you know how much you’re spending.

And don’t order Kindle books from there if you want to keep your device tied to your American account—if you do, they’ll wipe it.  The UK books are all hard copies.

Watch for the little orange TIP icon throughout the series–it will alert you if I have something tricksy to pass on.

I still have a loooooooooooong way to go before this book is viable.  And I still have to finish the damn thing.  Along with working, traveling, researching, and pursuing those personal goals.

Overwhelmed with Too many tasks

Image:  marcolm/

I can do it.  Along the way, maybe you and I both will learn a few things.

Stay tuned for the A-Z Challenge!