Ok, so this morning I did some exercises recommended by Holly Lisle to get information out of the right side of the brain. I wanted to come up with something new - an angle I hadn't used before, but that I was familiar with, and that might work for me. Then, I took a nap.
I had a strange dream that I was reading a magazine which announced that J.R. Ward and Tess Gerritsen were the same person (they are not, in reality). I woke up wondering what THAT was all about. I've never even read one of Tess Gerritsen's books (though I hear they're good). I have read several of J.R. Ward's books, and she writes about vampires, angels, and demons - I wasn't sure what Gerritsen wrote. After a few moments, I thought I remembered reading that Gerritsen wrote medical thrillers. I looked it up on the web to be sure, and yes, she did. Then I downloaded one of her short stories to my Kindle to see if I could figure out a connection, but I still couldn't see a one--other than both write rather darkly--so I wasn't sure why I would dream they were the same person.
Until it hit me. The link was medicine, and in particular, hospitals. Gerritsen writes medical thrillers - J.R. Ward used to work in hospital administration. And where I have I worked for the past 10 years... in hospitals.
So, don't be surprised if you see a hospital pop up in my work in the near future... :)
Have you ever had your subconscious mind make a connection for you that was unexpected, and were you able to use it in a story or to solve a problem?