At the moment, I'm winding up a western series for Heartsong Presents. The first book in the series, Clara and the Cowboy, comes out this spring, and the next two, Lily and the Lawman and Maggie and the Maverick will come out in late summer and fall.
This series is very different from my first series, which was set in Duluth during the Gilded Age. The cowboy series is set in 1880's Idaho Territory.
To get into the historical era of The Gilded Age, I read biographies of Vanderbuilts and perused fashion plates from 1905. I read books on shipping, and Duluth, and Great Lakes travels and tragedies. Just flipping through a history book full of pictures of Minnesota history put me in the right frame for the story.
For the cowboy books, I've been reading about ranching, westward expansion, lawmen of the west, even stories of saloon girls and outlaws. And I watch John Wayne movies and read Zane Grey books.
So, how do you get into the mood to write? Do you use music? Movies? Books? Photographs?