Let's Discuss Your Underwear

"Excuse me, Ma'am, but exactly what kind of undergarment *does* one wear with a bondage suit?"

That question and others like it are the sort of thing that I've found myself asking people at conventions lately. I first noticed this astonishing alteration to my normal conversational comfort zone at Dragon*Con in 2007. I know why it happened. The women in my novels tend to dress to impress (and not in a business sense) and because my editor always insists that Tabitha, Rachel, and the other gals can't get away with wearing the same outfit all the time like my male protagonist does, I very quickly exhausted my own mental wardrobe or rather... my fashion vocabulary.

I have to admit that after I got married, I kind of stopped paying attention to what women other than my wife were wearing and even then, beyond the simple things like: skirts, blouses, high heels, t-shirts, etc... I had no idea how to accurately describe an outfit.

This is something Mark does very well in Happy Hour of the Damned. Amanda is always very fashionably dressed. He's researched real designers... It's all absolutely dead on.

But me... well, when I notice an outfit that I think would look good on one of my literary ladies, I ask. The surprising thing? So far, once it's clear why I'm asking, ladies have been very forthcoming, not just with the names of things, but with background info about what the material feels like, how to put it on, and in several cases offering to show me how it comes off. You can tell I've been married for fifteen years, because in every case my answer the that last demonstrational offer has been to turn bright red and offer a polite, "No, thank you."

I've found myself pouring through clothes catalogues that I'd never so much as glanced at before, looking through online clothing stores, and even paying more attention to what celebrities are wearing. Clothing is just the most humorous example, but the sort of things that I research now are quite strange and varied. I had to look in chakra for the tantric magic, the reproductive systems of cats, the way a bat's wings work... And don't get me started on the level of research that I wound up doing into classic Mustangs.

I guess writing does some strange things to people.

So am I alone in this or have some of you found yourself pursuing research that you would have otherwise ignored completely just so that you can depict it better on the page?

(Edited to correct my previous underestimation of Mark's fashion research)


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