Topics I researched on the Net
[for my novels and stories, of course]
By Jeff Salter
This week’s topic concerns what conclusions people might draw about me by looking at my internet search history. The general conclusion (someone might draw) is that I’m insatiably curious about anything that’s either un-explained or so incompletely explained that there remains considerably mystery. These broad areas will give you an idea of what I mean:
What actually happened to Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan, and their Lockheed Electra?
Who was really involved in the JFK assassination… and why?
Any given month that my search history would be checked, links to the following topics might be found: Stonehenge, Bigfoot sightings, video or photos of UFOs, reports of extra-terrestrials, and sightings of the Loch Ness monster. Plus you’d be likely to see links to interesting archaeological finds, certain scientific developments, and new information (especially photos) of planets, galaxies and space exploration in general.
See? I’m an intensely curious guy… and love to read about areas that interest me.
And those are the general answers to the question posed by this week’s topic. But as an author, I find myself also doing extensive research in order to properly and accurately utilize settings, individuals, and events in my stories. What follows are some of the areas I had to research for various of my recently published titles.
Cowboy Out of Time
1885 cowboy clothing (especially britches), meals, dialog, and weaponry (especially the Single Action Army Colt .45).
Maps and history of early Alabama (before it was a state)
Native American tribes (of territories that later became Alabama and Texas)
Maps of Bay Minette, AL
Timeline of the American Civil War
Confederate units raised in a particular area of Texas
Maps and dates of the Battle of Shiloh
Minting, rarity, and value of silver dollars
The true relationship between a rattlesnake’s rattles and its age
Cowboy Ambushed in Time
Maps of war-time France
Clarification of British Double Summer Time
D-Day events and timetable (especially Utah Beach)
82nd Airborne Division
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (especially 3rd Battalion)
Battles of La Fiere Causeway
Siege of Graignes
French resistance movement
City of Meautis
Details and involvement of the USS Texas and USS Nevada (especially technical aspects of their 14-inch guns)
Topography of the Cotentin Peninsula
How much money was issued to the Airborne troops before their drop (and the conversion rate of Francs to Dollars in 1944)
Interior features of Catholic churches
Mid-century treatment of a stab wound
Random Sacks of Kindness
Homelessness (especially statistics on crime, disease, and mental illness)
Deinstitutionalism movement of the 1960s
Stock Market crash of 2008
Interiors of hotel lobbies of early 1900s
Features of modern disaster relief trucks
1973 GMC pickup truck (especially the ignition system)
My Newly-Contracted Title [due out by Christmas]
1994 life in general
Stage of development and use of cell phones in that year
How widespread was the use of Internet in 1994
Cost of nursing homes in that year
Whether rattlesnakes lay eggs or bear their young “live”
1983 GMC Sierra (primarily details of its front end and grill)
Buddies Forever [one of my five stories in the anthology, Death Do Us Part]
Vietnam (history, maps, campaigns, operations, dates)
The De-Militarized Zone (DMZ)
Forward fire bases (especially Fire Base Mary Ann)
Units assigned to Fire Base Mary Ann
Medical aid stations, field hospitals, and base hospital facilities
Morgue operations and features
The 16-ounce M-26 Lemon grenade
Werewolves and poisoning tea
I know y’all have been wondering about my early mention of werewolves and poisoning tea.
Suffice it to say that the Loup Garou plays a vital part in an unpublished story I’ve set in the bayous of Louisiana. For those of you who do not realize it, the Loup Garou is the particular “breed” of werewolf that prowls in the bayous.
I did a lot of research on exotic tea blends and poisons for my story “Murder on Her Mind” which appeared in the same anthology as “Buddies Forever.”
I think you can see that my search history would be all over the place. And, most likely, you would NOT find all the searches about morgue operation (as one example) in one sequence… because it’s far more likely that I’d find a detail I needed, then return to my drafting, then realize in a later draft that I needed further clarification, etc.
Is there anything “unusual” in YOUR internet search history?
[JLS # 505]