|KAK's Frequently Used References|
In short: I can't recommend books on the topic of writing. My apologies, dear reader.
Lest you turn away in frustration, I do have a few recommendations for offline resources writers might find useful.
Re: Submissions: Once upon a time, when I was so new to the publishing game I had no idea what a "submission packet" was, I took a Writer's Digest workshop on said topic. The textbook was "Give 'Em What They Want" (buy it here for under $5!). Yea though I have since written many, many queries and synopses, I've kept the book because it also covers pitching in-person (at which I epically suck), resubmissions, and best of all ... samples of everything. Advice on how to write queries and synopses are everywhere on the web, but for a couple of bucks you're getting vetted guidance from actual industry professionals -- agents, editors, best-selling authors, etc. Best of all, the info is in one place and not subject to broken links and dead URLs.
Re: Grammar: I've kept a few textbooks from my MFA days -- my Editing textbooks. Why? English is fucking complicated. Vocabulary is fluid. Grammar isn't. Do you know why a period always, always goes inside quotation marks? Blame printing presses. Too often the plates failed to press the tiny punctuation mark. The high placement of quotation marks followed by the low period then a blank space skewed the surface area of the pressing plate. Stuffing the period (and comma for the same reason) between a letter and the quotation mark provided enough surface area to ensure the plates properly squished the period. Not every rule of grammar has a wonderfully logical reason behind it, so I keep Harbrace and Hacker on hand -- specifically Harbrace College Handbook and Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference.
Re: Deadly References: There are many things I do not want to experience first-hand. These are things to which I most often subject my characters. To ensure my characters properly suffer/inflict suffering, I turn to The Book of Poisons, Wicked Plants, or Body Trauma.
I'm always on the look out for other great "deadly references." Would you, dear reader, share your recommendations?