I finally… finally… finally… got my next novella… Wanted: Sharpshooter… (originally Night of the Puma but that didn’t work out) uploaded to Amazon where it’s for sale. I’m still in a state of shock at how different on-line publishing is from writing for paper books and magazines. Which is only relevant because it took me way longer to get this done than I expected. I guess it’s a case of this being my first made-for-e-publishing story and, as such, it was an educational experience with a steep learning curve which I hope is now finished.
But I digress. This post is about a specific element in Wanted: Sharpshooter. And about my dad.
My dad made his own knives, bows and arrows, and slings (yes, that’s slings, the kind David slew Goliath with) and he re-worked guns until their configurations satisfied him. At any given time, our home was filled to the brim with weapons of various types that he could… and did… use with unerring accuracy. Like hitting a small bird on the fly with an arrow. Or killing an Alaskan bear with a sling because a bunch of guys wondered whether a sling really could kill a giant and a bear was about the same size.
Yes, he truly did all those things, and he also taught his children about weapons. I think he did a passable job of teaching my brother and sister. With me, all I can say is that he tried.
He made me a re-curved bow when I was a teenager. It was a thing of beauty made of Osage Orange with black rawhide on the front. I loved it. But I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it. Neither could I hit the bulls-eye with any of the many guns he chose for me when he patiently tried to teach me to shoot. To be honest, I was lucky to hit the target, let alone the bulls-eye.
Years later, when my husband had to travel for his job and I was concerned about being alone in the wilderness, my dad provided me with the most awful-looking pistol (a Dirty Harry look-alike) and loaded it specifically for me, a lousy shot. It was a six-shooter. The first two were salt that would spread widely and act as a deterrent without actually killing anyone. The third and fourth were buckshot that also spread widely but were more serious. If I needed the last two, he informed me that I’d want all the power possible, so they were for killing. I never needed that gun, thank goodness.
The hero of Wanted: Sharpshooter is a former Army Ranger sharpshooter and the heroine is a woman who can’t hit the broad side of a barn but whose father provided her with a shotgun for protection because buckshot will scatter and hit almost anything, anywhere.
Thanks, Dad, for all those lessons and for teaching me that even people who can’t hit the broad side of a barn can protect themselves. That information proved invaluable when writing Wanted: Sharpshooter.