We’ve already established that I’m one of those pantsers—I start something, or something starts me, and off I go. This was especially true of Paradise, which appeared in a rather unsettling fashion just over a year ago. It took about eight months to finish, with frequent interruptions (two novellas, the last third of another book and its revision, life). And as I was nearing the end last year, I started Mistress by Midnight. I made myself stop, then revised Waking Beauty and Paradise. I’ve got all the time in the world for MBM now, but at 45,000 words in, I’ve realized, as usual, I don’t have much of a plot.

Hmm. Halfway home and what to do? Research. I’ve set some of the book in Dorset, a county in England I’ve visited at least twice that I can remember. Yeah, I know. Hardy country. Nothing like setting myself up for a great big fall. But Dorset remains very fresh in my mind. I can picture Con and Laurette skipping rocks and fishing on the River Piddle, going to All Saints Church in Piddletrenthide, a perfectly charming village I’ve stayed in. We even went to church (pictured) one Sunday, along with about six other people total, including the vicar, and we were the youngest there, hands down. That doesn’t happen all that often anymore, LOL. Right now I’m moving around some rocks in my head and creating Ryland Grove and Vincent Lodge from a couple of historic houses. I’m going to follow Con’s footsteps to Egypt thanks to the fabulous memoirs of Giovanni Finati. Yikes.

I’ve already accidentally found some pivotal stuff that’s perfect for my storyline. Crop failure? The heat wave of 1808 with fireballs in the sky and hail the size of a Robinson baby’s head (see post below). And somewhere in my milk crate are folders with even more information. Now all I have to do is write the book on my brand new computer!

Do you jump right in or think and plan before you write? Are you mindful after recent publishing scandals of translating your research into your own words? Do you just make stuff up? Where is the closest Plots R Us store?

Please don’t forget to visit Vauxhall Vixens on May 29 for our very first guest, the awe-inspiring, artful, amazing and absolutely audacious Loretta Chase, whose Your Scandalous Ways is bound to be a bestseller. One lucky commenter will win a copy!