I Love Research and Nolan Ryan!

Today Writing Wranglers and Warriors
welcomes a new blogger,
novelist K.P. Gresham

 Posted by K.P. Gresham

Writing for me is both a compulsion and an exploration.  I know, I know, they say “write what you know,” but I’d add another clause on that. Write what you know and/or what you’d like to research.

The best book prompt that I know of is “What if?” For example, what if my heroine wants to become a professional baseball player?   (By the way, that is a cheap plug for my first novel, Three Days at Wrigley Field.) Even though I am an avid baseball fan, there’s no way I had enough baseball knowledge in my head to complete a novel on the subject.  More important than knowing that Nolan Ryan pitched seven no-hitters in his career (a record known by thousands of fans), I needed to know how he pitched those no-hitters. To that end, I purchased Nolan Ryan’s video on how he pitched. That information is integral to making the book work. (Side note: I’m nuts about Nolan Ryan. When I lived in Houston, I’d drive an hour to his hometown of Alvin just to get my hair cut. I kept hoping on the off-chance I would see this super-human walking down the street.)

Research for me is one of the most fun parts of creating a fictional piece.  For example, in my Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery Series, I do indeed write what I know. I grew up a PK–preacher’s kid (I prefer the term TO for theological offspring, but alas, that never caught on). I know a whole lot about what a preacher does, about how congregations work (or don’t work), about the ever-present pitfalls for even the most devoted. But I didn’t know anything about the Federal Witness Protection Program or how to own and run a sports bar. (I hope that’s a tease–what is my series all about??)

In the coming blogs, I’m going to talk about how and/or where I do my research.  A writer may write in a bubble, but IMO they certainly can’t research in a bubble. She has to join groups, go to conferences, hit the bars J, and talk to experts in the field. (Hence why I had to hit the bar.) She has to get the facts right, or she risks losing the trust of the reader. Why is this important? A “This is bogus!” reaction from the reader means they’re slamming the book shut never to pick it up again, and, worst of all, telling others not to read it.

Research is necessary, but fun! I hope you’ll enjoy my escapades into research that I’ll share with you in coming blogs.

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Photo of Nolan Ryan:  This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Wahkeenah at EnglishWikipediaWahkeenah  grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

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About K.P. Gresham

K.P. Gresham, author of the Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery series and Three Days at Wrigley Field, moved to Texas as quick as she could. Born Chicagoan, K.P. and her husband moved to Texas, fell in love with not shoveling snow and are 30+ year Lone Star State residents. She finds that her dual country citizenship, the Midwest and Texas, provide deep fodder for her award-winning novels. Her varied careers as a media librarian and technical director, middle school literature teacher and theatre playwright and director add humor and truth to her stories. A graduate of Houston’s Rice University Novels Writing Colloquium, K.P. now resides in Austin, Texas, where life with her tolerant but supportive husband and narcissistic Chichuhua is acceptably weird.

Fun In The Big City

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This post is by Joe Stephens

 

I’ve been in Louisville, Kentucky since last Thursday doing the AP Reading. What that is, in a nutshell, is a couple thousand English teachers and professors from all over the country gather in one place to read and score 1.2 million essays that were written in May by high school students on the AP (Advanced Placement) English Literature and Composition Exam. The good news that the 1.2 million is the total, not how many we each had to read. We were divided into three rooms with each room responsible for reading one of the three essays. My room read the prose essay. I scored 1508 essays from Friday until today (yesterday when this goes live). I say I scored and not read, I mean that, well, not all the kids wrote all the essays. But that’s another story. Even the essays in general is another story. What I want to write about is all the stuff that you can do for fun in Louisville.

20160613_205656First of all, the part of Louisville I saw is mostly what’s called the Central Business District, or downtown. The city is huge, with a metro area totalling over 1 million people. So what I saw and did is miniscule compared to the entire city. But even in our little corner tucked against the Ohio River (which seems really WIDE compared to the part that flows past my town of Parkersburg, WV), there’s so much to do that you just can’t get to it all, especially when you only have a few evenings free to do stuff. So if you want to visit, plan for plenty of time. There are even theme parks here, but I won’t be talking about that.

First of all, anyone who’s been to one will tell you that AAA baseball games are the best 20160613_191845entertainment bargain around. My friends and I went to a Louisville Bats game and the tickets were $10. Yes, drinks and refreshments were as expensive as at a movie theater, but if you plan your trip right, you can get there on a promotion night. We missed dollar hot dogs and soft drink night by one day, but they have them regularly. Almost every night there’s some kind of discount or giveaway. And even if you don’t like baseball, go. The park is amazing and there’s some sort of goofy entertainment between every inning. We had a blast and we barely even paid attention to the game.

20160615_174136If you’re not into sports, there are tons of other things to do, including museums, theater productions (Louisville is the unofficial Boston of the South, with many future Broadway hits having their final tune-up productions taking place here for a fraction of the cost as on the Great White Way.), big-name concerts, and even crazy activities like the world’s largest underground zip-line. While you’re here, you really need to see the Muhammad Ali Center. It was simply fascinating. We happened to be there the week of his funeral, so it was even busier than normal, but we had no trouble seeing 20160609_142201everything.

Maybe the best part about Louisville is the food. Where we were, there seemed to be a great restaurant every fifty feet. One area, Fourth Street Live, in addition to being the location of many shows and events every week during the warm months, is completely lined with fantastic restaurants. If you can’t find something you like there, you don’t like food. And, if you’re into beverages of the adult type, Kentucky is the home of good ol’ Kentucky bourbon. But you can also find many varieties of craft-brewed beers and local wines if you’re looking for something a little milder.

So if you have some time on your hands and are looking for a fun place to go, Louisville, Kentucky should be on your short list.

 

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Joe’s newest book, Dawn of Grace, just debuted on June 9. It’s available on Amazon.

 

 

ITS Cover ArtCheck out his third book, In The Shadow on Amazon

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Take a look at his debut book, Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at his second book, Kisses and Lies on Amazon