Posted in Anna's books, Writing advice that may or may not be completely wrong

An Author’s Dubious Search History

Authors are a hindrance to anti-terror efforts all over the world.

Why? Because of this:


Due to our Google searches, authors must make up a good 70% of anti-terror watch lists. And while we’re being investigated for searching Does Quicklime Really Dissolve Corpses Quickly?, the real terrorists and criminals are getting away with it.

By the way, when your colleagues are discussing TV shows, don’t jump in with, “Actually, that’s not accurate. It takes several minutes of continuous inhalation for chloroform to render a victim unconscious. And also, strangling somebody is nowhere near as easy as TV makes it look.” You’ll suddenly find that nobody wants to work on 1:1 projects with you.


In my file alone, there are search records including:

1. What’s the parasite that swims into the penis?

It’s called a Candiru. It’s not actually confirmed that it does swim up the penis, but there are rumours and that was enough for the scene.

Phanatic via Flickr

It’s difficult to understand why a female living in the UK would be interested in a South American penis-burrowing fish, unless she was up to something very shady indeed. Giving the excuse, “I’m a romance author,” poses more questions than it answers.

“I’m a horrible daughter,” she said, her voice muffled in his T-shirt. “I’m worse than a Candiru.”

“A what?”

“It’s this fish that apparently burrows into the penis and—”

“—okay, enough said,” Keir broke in, and crossed his legs. “You’re not worse than one of those.”

2. What’s the best knife to gut a human with?

I settled on a Ka-bar. Mostly because it looks badass. And also, three of my eight cars (yeah, it’s eight now) were Ka cars. 

Image from Wikipedia

It’s not for me–honest–I’m a pacifist (well, a coward, but pacifist sounds better).

Adam ducked low and sliced at the man’s belly. He was fat, and the knife slid through butter, not meat.

Mm. Butter.

3. Can swans kill humans?

Fear not, MI5, I’m not breeding a gang of trained man-eating swans. I have a character with a fear of them.

It turns out swans definitely can break bones, which means they could cause fatal injuries in the right circumstances. So you know, if any terrorists are reading… make sure you don’t credit me with the idea, please, because I’m already being watched.

A swan crept menacingly across the grass, its evil black eyes fixed to Ally’s right as if it hadn’t even noticed her.

Ally knew better and backed away. She was dimly aware of Marcus falling silent, then asking her a question, but all she could think about was the advancing bird.

A high pitched ee-ee sounded behind her, like the shrill warning of a whistling kettle about to boil over.

She whipped around to find another swan on the grass, closing in. They’d ganged up on her. It was like that movie Rachel had made them watch, the one with Samuel L. Jackson where sharks learned to hunt in packs.

Samuel L. Jackson got eaten. And that was Samuel L. Jackson for goodness’ sake.

Since this blog is now on a national security watch list, anybody who reads or contributes to it will also be added so… sorry about that. But if you’re an author, you’re probably already on one.

What are your most dubious Google searches?

Featured image from Andrew Gustar of Flickr.


Romance author

29 thoughts on “An Author’s Dubious Search History

  1. My mouth is still hanging open. There really IS Peppa Pig porn. So …was this something you stumbled across in your research, perchance?


  2. “Negative side effects of cannibalism” and “Body decomposition timeline”
    I can’t remember why I needed to know about the cannibalism thing, but I can tell you Kuru does not a pretty thing to experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think my Google searches are very dull in comparison to yours. Though I do have a Ka-bar and I love it, but I almost never use it for cutting people up.

    Don’t you hate it how they always get some things wrong on TV? No, it’s not that hard to strange someone unconscious, but you can’t do that to your enemy and then just leave him, because very shortly he’ll wake up and come after you. I mean, come on, people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a perfect example of why I dislike anti-adverbism: what would that sentence be without the ‘almost’?

      I do indeed hate when they get things wrong on TV. For some reason, one that particularly irritates me is the way they show childbirth – like the waters breaking being a total surprise and THEN contractions starting. Or how the babies come out weighing about 25lbs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, that was a very important “almost”.

        Yes! Especially considering most of what I “know” about childbirth comes from TV. I’m also pretty sure they get love wrong, but that might be a longer discussion.


  4. I think you have me beat on weird search histories, although I tend to have strange tab combinations, such as: “what is the opposite of a black hole”; “medieval archery terms”; “how long do rats live”; and “best banana brownie recipes”. Ahem. Method in madness, apparently?

    I’m now really intrigued about what happened with the swans…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Apparently, a white hole…

        “A black hole is a phenomena from which nothing, not even light, can escape. However, some theories point towards the existence of an “opposite” black hole, into which nothing can enter. Their existence has never been confirmed, and indeed their very nature is a paradox. If nothing can enter a white hole, and everything leaves it, then surely it should not exist? Stephen Hawking argues that black and white holes are one and the same. For now, the possibility of whether they exist remains a mystery.”

        I would love to read it! But only if you’re happy doing that, otherwise I will keep stalking – ahem, sorry – following you until I see it published!


  5. LOL love it!!! After watching Hannibal, I was curious if one could really buy the plastic suit he wore sometimes. The answer is yes! It was good to know for my lead in my book. Also how you could dissolve a body. That got interesting. Oh, and how long it took to starve someone. For a while the hubs was scared to go to sleep at night after I’d share my new found knowledge with him. But hey, it was all research. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mwuahaha. This reminds me of an author on a forum asking about how a pet anaconda could eat a human, and because I’m a snake freak I was explaining the best way to do it. Then someone pointed out her husband and co-author hadn’t been seen in quite a while… he had to come online and prove she hadn’t got him tied up in a swamp.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is hysterical. I can’t wait to read this book!

    One of my most extensive searches has been on how to cut off someone’s ear in the sixteenth century. How much of the ear is cut off? Both, or one? What do they use – a razor, sheep shears, what? Astonishingly there is a dearth of quality academic papers on this. Plenty on why the various crimes for which ear cropping was used as a punishment, but none on the mechanism and anatomic particulars.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know how/where my character procured a bomb, but I discovered how to describe it on a DIY site, which totally exists as a legitimate, non-sketchy thing, apparently?

    (*flexes bomb-making hands* *makes eagle noise ‘cuz ‘murica*)

    Liked by 1 person

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