IWSG POST 20: Weird Writing Research and Book Launch #IWSG #MysteriesOfDeathAndLife


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are Michelle Wallace, Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan , Liesbet @ Roaming About and Feather Stone

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!


Research has always been my foundation for writing. I’ve loved history. As a kid, my mom gave us the best gift, a real set of hardcover Encyclopedias. I loved staring at those glossy pages. At the time, the dog section was my favorite. I pulled the “D” Encyclopedia out every night and dreamed about my own perfect dog. At the time it was a Pomeranian. Now, I’m more of a short-haired dog fan.


This month’s IWSG post asks me to think of the weirdest/coolest thing I’ve ever written for a story. In honor of the new release, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, I’ll pick old farm equipment. And here’s what I incorporated into my own story “The Wheat Witch,” set in the middle of Kansas in the year 1989.

After interviewing my father about farm life in Kansas, I came up with this list of equipment my main character Ethan had to clean up and use:

  • International 560 Diesel Tractor. 1963. Pull Combine.

    photo credit: Pixabay

  • Disc Plow (4) and Harrow
  • Tiller for weeds
  • Planter
  • Sprayers
  • Old Farm Truck with bed (Ford)
  • A broken down shed.

A scene in my story involves the repair of an old tractor. I relied heavily on YouTube to get the visuals going in my mind.

photo: pixabay

Here’s the Youtube video I watched to get the background on troubleshooting a tractor that isn’t starting up right.

The picture to the right is just for fun. It’s Ethan’s man car, his only prized possession, a 69′ Mustang. My dad told me he and his family were only allowed to buy ford vehicles since the ford dealer went to his family’s church. The church was the pillar of the community and tying into the community was pivotal.

Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life

Today is the day! Thank you to everyone who made this book such an incredible success, from the talented authors, the judges, those folks taking part in the blog tour this month, the IWSG, and Dancing Lemur Press, LLC. Friday I’ll post the list of blog tour stops. 🙂


Question? What’s your strangest item you had to research in school, life or writing?

Thank you and have a lovely day 🙂

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on May 2, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Only allowed to buy Fords – funny!
    Congratulations to you and all of the IWSG anthology authors.

  2. spunkonastick

    I wouldn’t know anything about farm equipment either. Lucky your father and YouTube were there to help.

    Enjoy your release day!

  3. It is funny what we end up researching. And it’s so easy now with the internet. Can you imagine having to use an old encyclopedia at the library for every detail? Congrats on the book, Erika, to you and all the participating authors 😀

    • Thank you Diana. I remember studying Faulkner back in college and I think there was some questioning about one of his books taking place in Missouri and it didn’t feel real because he hadn’t actually been there. I can’t remember
      The book, but most definitely I am happy the internet is so helpful today with videos 🙂

  4. My dad buys and sells used farm machinery. He could have been a source! Ha ha 🙂 For oddball research, I’m surprised my browser history hasn’t imploded. Some scary stuff, I’ve researched. So, are you in the anthology? Congrats!!!

    • I will keep him in mind then down the road! I hope to switch it up and turn my story the Wheat Witch into YA after current project. Thank you Raimey 🙂

  5. Interesting to learn about your research!

  6. Interesting research 🙂 Now I’m thinking about that possessed car in RL Stine’s novel for some weird reason…

  7. Thank God for YouTube videos, right? One of the best parts of research is the how-to videos. It makes your story more vivid and accurate.

    • Yes! I don’t know what I would do without them. I am two little kiddos and there would be no way I could take them with me everywhere I would need to go lol

  8. I loved looking up horses in our encyclopedias. I so wanted a pony when I was younger!

    And growing up, we were a Ford and Chevy family. No real reason that I remember. We just were. Probably why I’ve always wanted a mustang convertible.

    YouTube is great for research. Of course it usually leads me to procrastination, but the research is good while while it lasts.

    • I am so happy to know I am not the only one M.J. Yes, I spent hours many evenings watching videos and mostly the information just helped paint the image and backgrounds in my mind. I didn’t use a great deal of the info, but I do think it helped me write with more description. Thank you for stopping in today 🙂

  9. Loni Townsend

    Congrats on the release! It’s fun to hear about your research. My grandfather’s farm wasn’t in Kansas, but I do recall a lot of the farm life. Funny. He had a Ford pickup too.

  10. I’m so excited to read the anthology. So excited. And your title is really attention grabbing.

  11. tyreanmartinson

    I think it’s cool that you researched farm equipment. The story brought me back to my grandfather’s farm and all the old farm equipment there – nothing ever thrown out, but kept for possibly future use or for parts.

    • That’s so true! I used to crawl around in my grandpas scrap metal pile and and pretend it was my secret fort of course. He was the same with old cars. He he a giant shed of old model As and Ts.

  12. Your list of equipment makes me quake. I’m so bad with mechanical things.

  13. I like how you tied in the IWSG question with your anthology story. Smart. Congrats on the anthology!

  14. so excited for the anthology. Congrats. I grew up on a farm and my dad would only buy John Deere equipment. Farmers are stubborn folks.

    • Yes they are and they are really
      Weird about social rules sometimes too. My grandpa only bought John deer too until something happened with a new combine purchase. I will have to ask my dad why grandpa finally finished his career with a red international 🙂

  15. Oh, how you brought me right back to my childhood when you mentioned encyclopedias. We used to have a set and I would flip a volume open to a random page from time to time and learn and weird and wonderful things.

  16. My mom also gave us a real set of hardcover Encyclopedias, with glossy pages. They were the New Junior encyclopedias with purple covers. I LOVED paging through them. *sigh* That was decades ago…
    Thanks for the memories! 🙂

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