My first Northern Lights Gothic blog post is part of a rolling blog tour. The tour takes place two or three times a week with a variety of mystery writers hopping on and off. Today, I hopped on.

This post is the second of today’s tour and the topic is Favorite Reference Books. Nancy Lauzon started the tour with 10 Must-Have Books for Every Writer

A Random Assortment of Recommended Reference Books

I own a lot of reference books. While about half of the fiction I read is stored on my e-reader, I vastly prefer print books for reference.

Last year, I converted my dining room into a library and half of one wall is devoted to the research books I gathered for the steampunk novel I am currently writing. In a future post, I’ll share a selection of my favourites.

Earlier today, I rummaged through the precariously balanced piles of papers and books on my desk and extracted several of the reference books I use and can recommend. This is not a complete list, I expect if you drop by my place in a week to ask about my favourite reference books I will pull out a different pile. I’m fickle that way.

However, one title will be part of the collection each time. I love this book. If you don’t own The Trivium, stop reading now and go find a copy. Borrow it from the library – if someone hasn’t beaten you to it. This is the language art instruction I did not receive in public school, and wish I did. Every child in school should be taught the contents of this book…but I digress, that’s another future post…

The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph, Marguerite McGlinn (Editor)

The rest of today’s stack, in no particular order:

Words into Type by Marjorie E. Skillin

Bullies, Bastards And Bitches: How To Write The Bad Guys Of Fiction by Jessica Page Morrell

Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale, Karen Elizabeth Gordon

The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies by John Michael Greer      From the back cover: Discover 10,000 years of the shadowy side of our world in this treasure trove of alternative history. The Encyclopedia of Secret Societies features detailed information about secret societies from Freemasons to the Bavarian Illuminati, lost civilizations from the Mayan culture to Atlantis, and key figures from Da Vinci to Hitler.

Writing Steampunk by Beth Daniels

A Dictionary of Angels including the fallen angels by Gustav Davidson

The Describer’s Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms and Literary Quotations by David Grambs

The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide: How to Make Revisions, Self-Edit, and Give and Receive Feedback by Becky Levine

The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages: 1851-2008 by Bill Keller

Do you have recommendations for great reference books for Gothic, steampunk and mystery writers?


The next stop on today’s tour is Ryder Islington.  On June 24th Ryder’s debut novel was published – ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery.

If you are visiting the blog’s out of order, make sure you don’t miss the fourth author on this tour John Hines.