I looked up places for my various books on Google earth. Am I the only one who feels like superman when the globe spins and I go from Sydney to Los Angeles in a matter of seconds.
I also planned aspects of my LA research trip for the as yet un-named sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels, that has to be research right? I mean obviously I must know what is on the menu at The Getty in LA a full month before I visit it.
I might have also done some research on Serendipity 3 in New York because that places and it's frozen hot chocolate may feature in an upcoming book.
As a writer you do need authenticity. If you describe a real place it needs to feel real and the only way to get true credibility is to visit or visit via the inter-webs. However, it is a fine line between research and procrastination.
It's very easy to get sucked into the vortex and suddenly realise you've spent two hours on your computer and not written a word. (And that's without twitter, Facebook and all their social media buddies). I think it's a fine line between research and procrastination - it's like when a teacher gives a child 'busy work' to occupy them but maybe it's not advancing their cause any. (Any Aussie's out there remember the SRA cards of the 1970's - OK I just Googled them? How can they still exist?)
Anyway, if you're a writer how do you balance research and procrastination? (I imagine for Regency writers or people writing historical novels this must be even harder to balance!)