Research: Love It or Hate It, You Gotta Do It, Part Two

Welcome back! Today, Crystal Caudill is sharing more ideas about research. Love it or hate it, you gotta do it. 🙂 Take it away, Crystal!

Organizing the Research

As much as I hate to admit it, taking notes which are easy to reference is critical. It is really important to keep a running bibliography so that you can back up your research when questions arise, and you can reference something if you get confused as you look over your notes.

I use a program called Scrivener, and under the research tab I create folders. My “big folders” are named by the topic: Setting, Etiquette, Fashion, Gardening, etc. My broad needs are labeled for quick reference.

Inside of each folder, I break it down to it’s smaller component topics. My current character is a master gardener, and I am a black thumb, so under my gardening folder I have topics like: Master Gardener (which will include examples, requirements, real people and their gardens which I can reference), Plants Heroine Works With, etc.

Beyond that, each book resource will get its own folder. Each website gets a single text document. I name these text documents and book folders by the name of the resource, and also by the topic if the resource is focused on a single topic. I take my notes in a table format:

Page NumberExact QuotePersonal Notes/ ObservationsPossible Plot Points
1“ABC”It’s the alphabetA letter goes missing

It is a bit tedious, but I do find that it has been invaluable in brainstorming, reviewing information, and finding a specific fact quickly.

Each person has their own method, this is just mine, so do not feel like you HAVE to do it my way. Do be sure to keep track of your resources though. You never know when you will have to justify something you wrote.

Conducting Research

When it comes to conducting research, it is easy to get lost in the mire of possibilities. You can visit museums, websites, historical societies, read history books or primary sources, travel, or even search satellite maps.

Most of my research is done from home and online. To find my resources, I usually start with a search of my local library’s catalogue or a Google search to find some reputable resources. Yes, I even go to Wikipedia—but only as a starting point to direct me somewhere else. I get what information I can, and then I look at their bibliographies. This is how I narrow down what I am going to read.

I prefer diaries, books, and newspapers written during the era I’m writing. This can be difficult and expensive if I’m not careful. I highly recommend seeing if your public library has a subscription to Historic Newspapers websites. Mine has several. From home, I can read newspapers and search for topics in those newspapers for free. It is marvelous.

For books, there has been a wonderful movement to digitalize old books and most of them are free to read. Below I’ve given you a list of my favorites. You can search by title, year, subject, or even keywords. It has been a lifesaver, especially during these strange times which make research extra difficult.

While finding books from the 1880s can be expensive and difficult, there are a lot of books that have been digitalized and can be searched for free. Below, I’ve given you some of my favorites. 

Online Resources – This is my favorite resource. It can take some weeding through, and you’d definitely want a specific title, but I have found countless resources here. – They list them all, whether you can read them or not, so just make sure they say Free E-book when you click on it. – This one has gotten in trouble lately for pirating current books, so make sure you are only looking at books printed before WWI. Generally I only go to this website once I have a specific title in mind. There are usually multiple copies of the same book and it does take some weeding through.

Search for the historical society of the area you are researching. Some of them have online resources, some will be thrilled to talk to you and help you out, and some will never answer back. Either way, they are a go-to resource for information you would never have imagined.

Stay tuned. There’s more!

Crystal Caudill is a tea-drinking, book-hoarding, history nerd. Her parents had no idea what a monster they were creating when they took her to her first history museum. From that moment on she has been researching and crafting stories filled with danger, love, and history. She enjoys her Kentucky life as a wife, mother of two crazy boys, and caretaker. You join Crystal on her writing journey or peruse her book reviews at

“When it comes to conducting research, it is easy to get lost in the mire of possibilities.” ~ @CCaudillWrites via @GailJohnson87 #writetip #amwriting

Capturing the Moment

I’ve seen media posts wishing to chunk this year into the wastebasket. I’ll admit I’ve thought about it until two weeks ago when I had the chance to be still and enjoy the moment.

That week, we spent four beautiful days with my son helping him settle into his new home. While working in the yards, we kept hearing a hawk, but couldn’t see the bird. Wanting a photograph, I was up the next morning, sipping coffee on the deck. My loss of sleep was not rewarded. Later, standing at the window, I struggled with the decision to grab my camera or just revel in the scene before me. Deep within my spirit, I heard, “Enjoy the moment.”

I relaxed and gave thanks for this undeserved gift. Then, I asked the Lord to help me live in the present, not glancing in the past or searching for the future, but the here and now, whatever my circumstance. Hard to do when things aren’t going your way. But as I remained there, memories of the last four years flooded my mind.

I wrote my memoir in 2016, so I was excited to see 2017. That January, I fell twice within a week and broke several bones. During my recuperation, I prayed for 2018! In September, I lost my irreplaceable furbaby. I didn’t pray for 2019 to come. Time was teaching me to just wait. As the years before, I faced unexpected events. In the spring and summer, I stayed in the dermatologist office for skin cancer removal. My thyroid meds also needed adjusting, and that put me in an emotional and physical tailspin. But through it all, God was faithful. But honestly, I was ecstatic to ring in the New Year.

And here we are. In another world! The present circumstances have taught me to hold tighter, laugh louder, talk longer, and love harder. I’m learning not to be so worried about capturing the memory as much as enjoying it, especially with my loved ones. When I do, I show faith in the hope I have in Christ, assured that He’ll redeem this time. And amid all the uncertainty, I wait expectantly for His appearing. Just like I did that morning on the deck.



I didn’t need a picture to remember the hawk. He’s engraved on my mind. There’ll be other days to capture a similar moment, but today I’ll enjoy the moments the Lord has granted me.

How about you? Are you enjoying the season you’ve been offered or waiting for a better time? 

The present circumstances have taught me to hold tighter, laugh louder, talk longer, and love harder. #hope @GailJohnson87

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Trisha Robertson

I love reading a book review because I enjoy hearing the reader’s ideas. Every reader will bring something different to the table. So this year for Women of Faith and Fiction, I wanted to give a shout-out to the book reviewers. They do a marvelous job! Let’s begin.


Who is Trisha Robertson?

Hi, my name is Trisha Robertson. I am a book reviewer/blogger. I have always loved stories. My love of reading began around age 8 and I’ve had my nose in a book ever since. I started writing stories of my own in elementary school. Stories that have never seen the light of day, and many that are lost to the dust of time. I especially enjoy reading and learning about History. Be sure to stop by my blog and say “Hello!” You can find me at

You can also follow me at these locations:






Your love of reading shows, Trisha. Tell me, who is your all-time favorite character?

Honestly, I enjoy all the characters I meet in books. My favorite character changes with each book I read! 😊

I hear ya! What is your latest read about?

As I write this, I’m currently reading The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietz. The story is part of the Daughters of the Mayflower collection from Barbour. Each story stands on its own and can be read in any order, but it is fun to read the stories down through history from the Mayflower! This story takes place during the Blizzard of 1888 in Nebraska. It is quite a page-turning story!

I will definitely have to check it out. Please, tell us about your reading process.

I don’t really have a reading process. I just pick up a book and read it!  I do have little sticky flags to mark favorite quotes or things I want to remember. Or in my digital books, I use the highlight feature.

Where would we be without our highlight feature? I like marking my favorite quotes. Moving on… What is your best marketing tip?

Give signed bookplates to members of your influence team. I’m always more inclined to buy a print copy over a digital copy if I have a signed bookplate to add to my book!
Share your book on various social media platforms. The more people see your book, the more likely they are to buy it.

I like both ideas, especially the signed bookplate idea. Do you choose a word or scripture for each year?

No, I don’t really choose a word or scripture for each year.  I know it’s a rather popular thing to do. For me, I feel that just one word or one verse doesn’t fit the entire year.


I believe it’s important to encourage each other in our daily walk. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?

Keep your focus on God. It is so very important to have a daily relationship with God! I have found that when I lose my focus on Him, I start to fall. But as long as I’m keeping my focus on Jesus, even when bad things happen, even when I don’t understand, that He gives me the will to keep going. On my own, I’m not enough. But He is enough! Always!

Thank you, Gail, for inviting me to participate in this interview and visit with your readers today!

I agree, Trisha! Thank you for visiting and sharing. You are a gift to your readers and to authors. Keep up the good work, dear friend.

“Give signed bookplates to members of your influence team. I’m always more inclined to buy a print copy over a digital copy if I have a signed bookplate to add to my book!” ~ @JoyOfReading7 via Women of Faith and Fiction @GailJohnson87 #interviews #reviews