No, not just "research" (although that's my favorite kind, really), I mean more traditional research that could be expected for any book or story. What is this environment like? What kinds of plants do you find here? Is it reasonable to assume there would be an excess of coffee shops in a given setting?
To be fair, this is erotica, and you get your fair share of less conventional subjects. Let me use my most recent story as an example.
The story is about an ecologist who encounters a herd of wild horse-shifter men while she's out doing field work. She makes the decision to join the herd and become a shifter herself - and of course, in order to do this, she needs to take the herd as her mates. As one does.
I was able to pull some of the material for the story from personal experience, but other topics required further research. Some of these may or may not show up until later in the series, but I wouldn't want to give away everything at once!
Off the top of my head, I had to research:
- Horse coat colors and name
- Wild horse breeds: did you know that the breeds we think of as wild horses are actually considered feral horses? Before I wrote Taming Her Herd, I didn't! It turns out that the only surviving horse species that has never been domesticated is Przewalski's Horse, native to central Asia. All the others - mustangs and whatnot - are actually descended from domesticated horses, and are considered feral rather than wild.
- Prairie ecosystems (because accuracy matters!)
- From the above, prairie predators: while they're not likely to feature in the series, black-footed ferrets are adorable, and I had never heard of them before. On second thought, maybe I'll work them in. Ferret shifters, anyone?
- The exact mechanics behind double vaginal penetration. Because this is still erotica, after all.
This is really one of the things I love about writing. It always gets me thinking about new things, and I end up learning because of it!