NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Hug a Tree, Come Back Alive...the Things I Do in the Name of Research

First off, happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks. It's looking good here in Calgary and I expect the fireworks to be spectacular tonight.



In mid-July, I'm going to spend a week out in the wilderness, hugging trees, singing Kumbaya, smoking a peace pipe, and running away from black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, moose, elk, and other large mammals that can eat me or squash me like a bug.

Two years ago, I wouldn't have sweat this. Not because I would've come out on top in one-on-one combat with any of the wildlife (not even in my wildest dreams), but because I practiced a lot of running at the dojo four times a week (it hurts less if opponents can't make contact) and know I wouldn't have been the slowest person in the group. These days, an octogenarian with a walker could probably outrun me. Sad, but true.

So, why is a city girl who enjoys winter sports because most wildlife are hibernating or gone south risking life and limb by going into the great outdoors during the peak of summer? Well, (1) this week communing with nature while slathered with SPF 100 sunscreen and mosquito repellant is a leadership course for my MBA. No, seriously. I will actually get credit for hiking and camping for a week. It (2) also gives me an excuse to visit MEC and buy new layers I can use for snowboarding. And (3) I may use it in a book someday. The heroine of the next book may find herself lost in the woods with a killer on her trail...or tripping someone to distract a grizzly while she runs away. I can make either scenario work.

While I'm a coward at heart, this trip is not the most questionable thing I've done in the name of research. I have white water-rafted, skydived, taken the controls of an airplane, pushed 130 mph on the Autobahn, eaten food from a street vendor in Asia, crossed a street in Paris, and a few other things that are a little fuzzy (probably for the sake of my sanity). Bungee-jumping and base-jumping are still on my list...which reminds me I still need to plan a trip to New Zealand in the next couple of years. (No, I really don't have a death wish. If I did, I'd try planking.)

What have you done for research?

7 comments:

Clare London said...

Well, good for you! That list of achievemnts maked *me* dizzy to contemplate - but I know that's because of *my* shortcoming. I always preface any discussion about holiday plans in our house with "I don't do canvas" LOL. I'm a strictly indoors, city, nothing wriggling under my feet kind of girl.

And credit on an MBA too, that's great.

I think the worst - best? - I ever did in the name of research was ask Son#1 to act out how to disable a brute bodyguard who was bearing down on my latest hero. Firstly, I was intrigued how Son#1 seemed to know immediately and effectively what to do (!) but secondly, I had the bruises for days afterwards. And he was going easy on me! :)

J Wachowski said...

I love doing crazy stuff in the name of research!

I've taken a horsecare and riding class, which concluded with me getting on top of this animal the size of a garage and temperament of a toddler and trying to make it do what I want with my knees. HA!

I've gone into a garbage sorting facility with the head of Streets and San, seen and smelled mountains of garbage as tall as buildings...

And I've gone into a sketchy LA costume shop and had a tatooed, pierced 20-something, eyeing me like a prime cut of beef, fit me into a 19th century woman's daydress--complete with corset.

Fun!
Jules

Elise Warner said...

You are a one brave lady. enjoy your research and holiday. We'll be the winners when we read your next book.

Toni Anderson said...

I love MEC too--it's a fabulous addiction.
I am a weenie. Instead of doing 'things' for research I tend to use what I do (or did) in my writing. I did go to The WRITERS' POLICE ACADEMY last year. That was awesome :)
You brave thing, you!! Happy Canada Day, BTW :)

Wynter Daniels said...

Wow - you're way more adventurous than I! I took a day trip to a psychic community to research an upcoming book. And that's how fearless I am;-)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Your MBA, eh? The things we do for education... I've been on stake-outs, visited castles and stood at the top of a very tall building looking down (will NOT be doing that again any time soon), but most of my research involves interviewing people and reading books. So much safer that way.

Good luck, Ann! You'll have a blast. Just don't carry any smelly food on you and the bears will leave you alone. Honest.

Ann Bruce said...

@Clare London: Mindless action flicks and video games can be very informative. Being that masochist that I am, however, I actually signed up for martial arts lessons.

@J Wachowski: I've done the 19th century outfits and totally understand why women were so prone to fainting back then.

@Elise Warner: Not at the pace I'm writing...

@Toni Anderson: MEC is a horrible addiction! I wandered in yesterday to pick up some bungee cord and walked out with new water shoes. Admittedly, the last pair are over 10 years old, but they were still serviceable.

@Wynter Daniels: Psychic community? They have those?

@Marcelle Dubé: And I was told no food-scented body lotions. Apparently marinating myself for the bears isn't a good thing.

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