Violetta Rand: My best research tools…

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Like most historical romance authors, I take great pride in world crafting. In my case it’s Vikings, so although there’s a bit of wiggle room because of data gaps in actual historical information, I’m that much more careful to keep it real.

So whether you write Regency, Highlanders, cowboys, or Vikings, we all have favorite resources that help us color within the lines.

What are my top five research/writing tools?




  1. The Writer’s Digest Character Names Sourcebook (Sherrilyn Kenyon) – I can’t imagine anything worse than a Viking named George or Fernando. Only second to naming your own children, choosing a proper title/name for your characters helps set the mood for your book.
  2. The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins (Robert Hendrickson) – Pretty sure phrases like are we on the same page or get more bang for your buck weren’t used in the tenth or eleventh centuries. I suggest checking before writing.
  3. The Describer’s Dictionary (David Grambs) – Simply put, a treasury of terms and literary quotations. From shapes to light and colors, or common emblems and symbols to climate, this book offers a bit of everything. Example — stuck describing someone with a thin face and sharp features? Try hatchet-faced, sharp-faced, gaunt, or hollow-cheeked.
  4. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi) – Listed in alphabetical order—starting with agitation and ending in worry—each emotion includes a thorough breakdown which may include discussions of physical signs, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term adoration (varies by emotion), may escalate to, and cues of suppressed adoration (varies by emotion).
  5. Osprey Publishing Military Historical Books (various authors) – I can’t begin to list the range of historical times/events offered by this publisher. But everything I get here is beautifully packaged. Books include extensive historical research, art, maps, and suggestions for further reading.

Visit their website.




Romantic Pursuit Trivia Question:

Viking nick names often appear at the end of a proper first name. For example, Konal the Red or Erik the Bald. On the History Channel’s Viking series, the main character is Ragnar Lothbrok. What does “Lothbrok” mean?

Good luck with the answer.

Follow Victoria Vane:

Romance Novelist

VICTORIA VANE is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance with works ranging from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She lives the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

9 Responses

  1. hollybushbooks

    Thank you, Violetta! I’m always looking for new sources like this. Do you have them in paperback or electronically? Sometimes it’s easier to browse in a paper book.

  2. Sandra Owens

    I love the Emotion Thesaurus, Violetta. I also have The Negative Trait Thesaurus (by the same authors). I also just got the Reverse Dictionary. Haven’t used it yet, but it’s supposed to find words on the tip of your tongue.

    • Violetta Rand

      See Sandra, exactly why I posted this–hoping to pick up on some new ones, too. Thanks for sharing. 🙂