30 May 2007

Research Resources, Ebooks, and Other Stuff

Hi everyone,

I missed my day last month since blogger wouldn't recognize any of my accounts, what fun. But I'm back and everything is fixed now.

First I'd like to let everyone know about a great resource I've discovered for researching, Questia. It's a subscription site but well worth it. I got the subscription for one year myself. So far I've searched everything from aliens to templars and Venice and found several hundred books on each. And it's not just excerpts, it's the whole book or article or even the actual transcripts of medieval court cases. Definitely saves money since a lot of these books would be in the $100 range if you could even find them. (BTW, if you sign up tell them shell91 sent you, she gets credit for it.) It's kind of like having your own library.

Another great resource I've found are news groups for your topic or topics of interest. I belong to several on templars, archaeology, and alternate history, even some on strange phenomena. Talking to people who are doing research, belong to organisations, or are experiencing events you might be wanting to write about can give your work just that little bit of extra color for the readers. A lot of these groups have link lists, files, and other resources available to their members as well.

In my other life I also do reviews for two book review sites, mainly e-books but some print as well, and you would not believe the books I see that are poorly researched or not researched at all. Another trend I've noticed is political correctness in historicals, characters behaving in ways that people of the era the book is set in just would not have acted like, all in the interest of showing how PC the author is. So how do you feel about political correctness in your historical romances? And how do you feel about ebooks?

And in some late breaking stuff, what does everyone think of the new contract clause from Simon & Schuster where they consider a book in print as long as it remains in their database and therefor theirs to do with what they please? Meaning that once they contract your book you can never get your publishing rights back so long as they have it stored on a disc somewhere whether they've been printing and selling it or not. Doesn't sound good to me at all. What do you all think?