The SAS survival handbook - for a character that's going to get stranded in the middle of nowhere.
The Oxford History of the Classical World - for a pseudo-classical fantasy series.
The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency - for a character who wants to start up a small holding.
Daily life in Medieval times - for a character who likes to talk about various periods in history.
http://www.extremerestraints.com/ - to see if there are any new toys for my characters to play with.
Wipi at the London Fetish Scene - for a character who wants to do things a little differently.
Adonis Art Gallery - because I have three different character who want to be artists.
These are all on my desk or my internet history at the moment.
Will the research make it into my books?
Some of it will. Most won't. I've found that a lot of research is just putting the right background noises in your head, so that when you write, you can feel confident that it will be there if you need it. Like any writer, I like my writing to be accurate. If I state a fact, I like to know it's right.
But while I like that side of research - there's another side of "research" that I really love.
Researching the characters. I don't mean looking up personality traits in a book or finding out about their career. I like inviting a character into my mind and just listening to them as they start to tell me about themselves.
To me, listening while a character tells me why he is going to act like a jerk in chapter two, making sure I have all the information so I can state his case to the reader when I come to write that bit - that's as much research as encyclopedias or anything else.
I like to get to know my characters that way. And since I write BDSM, I like to know what dominance and submission means to this character rather than any other character. I like every character to have their own little twist on the main themes - something that makes it personal to them - that makes the story their story, the ending their happy ending.
While I'd love to provide a link for that, I've never done that side of my research by looking things up on websites. I've never gone out and asked someone else to explain it to me - I've never felt it necessary. The dominance and submission of relationships has always been part of the way I've thought about the world, so maybe, in some way, that information came built in, lol.
Anyway, I suppose what I'm saying is - sometimes you need to read books, but sometimes you also need to listen to your characters and trust your instincts. At least that's the way I do it :)