I don’t know about other writers, but one of my most favorite parts of the job is getting to constantly research into new topics.
For my first novel, a work of near-future scifi starring a pair of women scientists (married), I learned a ton about childbirth, pregnancy, reproductive history, trends in reproductive practices and technology (I even got hold of a placenta cookbook!), as well as about everything from Tibetan goddesses to classic Mexican ghost stories to various ways someone might survive a lightning strike.
For my current novel-in-progress, another near-future scifi work that focuses on a pair of women scientists (this time a pair of sisters), I’m getting to delve into the wild worlds of microbiology (I always knew those years of microscopy camp would come in handy!), astrobiology, entomology, astronomy, astrology, witchcraft — needless to say, I’m just picking up breadcrumbs as I go along this trail, I’m not actually expecting to be able to bake a full scientist cake one day myself. However, I might gather enough crumbs to feed a few hungry storybook hounds. Or maybe to patch up a witch’s lakeside cabin.
Here are just a few of my favorite resources that I’ve come across already:
Your resource for any weird (or normal, if you’re into that sort of thing) questions you might have about our six-legged insect friends: Ask an Entomologist. (It’s also worth checking out simply on grounds of Sheer Awesomeness :-))
Got a random question about America’s natural wonders? Chances are, the U.S. National Park Service has a site, video, book, or expert who has the answer.
For information on grimoires and magical books, definitely check out Owen Davies’ Grimoires: A History of Magic Books.
For a solid look at the role of women in a variety of religions from around the globe, look no further than Ursula King’s Women in the World’s Religions.
A tremendous book on modern witchcraft is Alex Mar’s recent Witches of America. I’ll be honest, I’m completely obsessed with this book right now. It’s fascinating A, and B, Mar is a wonderful, wonderful writer. Definitely check this one out!
Another book that’s proved immensely useful as well as a plain terrific read is David Toomey’s Weird Life: The Search for Life that is Very, Very Different from Our Own. Grab it, (pay for it), read it, pass it on :-)
As always, Happy Writing (and Happy Researching)!