The Urban Fantasy Reference Shelf

Before I began writing fiction, my reference shelf looked pretty ordinary. I had the AP Stylebook, of course. A couple of dictionaries. Lots of online references bookmarked: the online massive OED (big benefit of working at a university); dictionary.com, thesaurus.com. The usual.

Now, as I type this, I glance to my right at my reference shelf. I still use a lot of online references, but I have collected some not-so-standard things.

For the ROYAL STREET/RIVER ROAD urban fantasy series, I’ve amassed a biography of Louis Armstrong; five (count ’em) biographies of pirate Jean Lafitte, two books on voodoo, a book on the ghosts of New Orleans, a volume on underworld crime in the French Quarter, and about two dozen books on Hurricane Katrina–although, in fairness, I had already collected those before ROYAL STREET was a gleam in my eye.

Then there are the general references on ghosts, vampires, werewolves, spellcasting, potions, herbs, crystals and gems, metals, alchemy, elves, fairies, and–two of my favorites–the Complete Guide to the Undead and The Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and other Subversive Spirits.

Now, isn’t that more interesting than the AP Stylebook? If you’re a writer, what’s on your reference shelves? Have a favorite reference?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

2 thoughts on “The Urban Fantasy Reference Shelf

  1. Since money is tight, I just use online references. Because if I went shopping for them, I would buy a boatload! I write both medieval works and fantasies, so there are way too many books to choose from, in both fields.

  2. I was lucky last year and won $100 worth of Writer’s Digest books so I loaded up on offbeat references. I use a lot online, too–and I’m old enough to remember the pre-Internet days when you had to actually go to a LIBRARY to do research! The bad old days!