Hi Coffee Time Romance readers. I’m so happy to be here with you. Since my book, The Secrets on Forest Bend, was released by Soul Mate Publishing in December, I often hear one comment that concerns me.

Writers and readers alike remark how much easier it must be to write contemporary romance instead of historical.  “You don’t have to spend months researching details,” they say, with a superior attitude.

It’s true, I don’t dig into dusty old tomes to learn what an upper-class woman would wear under her gown, but I do put in the necessary time on research to ensure that my facts are correct.

Some research is easy, even fun. If there is a teenager in my story, I watch how they dress at the mall. I might stop one and ask what they’re listening to on their IPod. I double check the name of those expensive shoes with the red soles that Oprah likes to wear.

In a restaurant, I study the menu for dishes my hero or heroine would order. What is the waiter or waitress wearing? How would I describe it?

When a dog bit my hand–I’d like to claim it was for research, but I doubt you’d believe me–I asked the doctor about using Super Glue to close a cut while he was busy putting in the stitches.

I spent an hour questioning a retired Assistant DA,  not only about how his department worked, but what it looked like. How large is the department? What floor is it on? Does each attorney have a private office? These are just a few of the questions I asked.

From a former homicide detective I learned all I could about police procedures. My hero, Adam, shows Eddie a photo lineup by turning the pictures over, one at a time. This is the preferred manner of identification, and results in fewer mistakes.

Yes, you can learn on the Internet how to make a drug lab, but I didn’t totally understand the directions, so I called my rocket-scientist, Ph.D, son-in-law. I could hear my daughter over his shoulder.

“What does my mother want?”

“She wants to know how to set up a Meth Lab.”                                             


“I have no idea.”

To his credit, he explained it all to me without a pause.

I had to rewrite the following scene after taking a class on handguns. If I had left it the way I first wrote it, Adam would have been deafened when Hector fired a gun at him in the concrete stairwell.


Adam waited. It was much too dangerous to try to apprehend Hector in that small room with Yvonne, her sister, and the baby. He deliberated calling for help. A security guard could be there in seconds, but Adam was hesitant to depend on someone he had never worked with. He didn’t even want to use the backup piece strapped to his ankle. He would have to wait until he got Hector into a secure place or let him go and try again later. While he might be hesitant to use a gun around so many civilians, Hector wouldn’t be.

When Hector stepped out of the room, Adam slipped in behind him. They walked toward the stairs, Hector unaware Adam was following him. His plan was to hold back until they were in the concrete stairwell to make his move and just hope Hector’s brother wasn’t waiting. As they passed the elevator, the doors opened on an empty car, and Adam took the opportunity to shove him inside. Hector stumbled, but regained his balance and stomped on Adam’s foot.

Son of a bitch! How did he know? Just when that toe was almost well.

Hector threw himself backwards and smashed Adam into the elevator door. Air flew out of his lungs with a loud whoosh. Adam hung onto the handrail with one arm and wrapped the other around Hector’s neck. He used his leg to keep Hector from pulling away while he tried to allow small, painful sips of air back into his lungs. As Hector worked to pull Adam’s leg away, his shoe slipped off and Hector saw his toe. It was still slightly swollen and had turned a rainbow of colors.

Adam was larger than Hector, but older by almost fifteen years, while Hector was obviously in his prime and adept at street fighting. Hector grabbed the toe and started twisting. Adam let out a yelp and dropped his leg. Hector immediately drove his elbow into Adam’s mid section.

Adam didn’t have time to hop or limp, so he swung his sore foot at the back of Hector’s knees and Hector fell to the floor, already reaching for the gun hidden under his shirt. Adam kicked again, and Hector’s gun skidded across the elevator floor. A fresh jolt of pain shot up Adam’s leg, but this time he didn’t have enough air to manage a sound. Hector tried to reach for the gun, but Adam threw himself on his back and clamped a hand on his wrist. By the time the elevator reached the ground floor, Hector was in handcuffs and Adam was carrying one shoe, his toe bleeding again.

“You hurt me, man,” Hector complained.

“Stand up and stop whining or I’ll leave you alone with Yvonne’s mother for five minutes. Then you’ll have something to bitch about.” 


Have you ever noticed an inaccuracy in a book or movie? Did it spoil the story or were you able to ignore it?

The Secrets on Forest Bend is available from:  www.soulmatepublishing.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Follow Susan at www.susancmuller.com



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