Ah, the things we do in the name of research! Sometimes it's boring (whoops, just wrote that as 'borking' ... hm), like when I interrupt the writing to make sure that a certain song that'd be just perfect for a scene had been released by the time of the flashback, or when I invariably have to remind myself whether the sun sets in the west or the east in the US of A (I've had more than one cowboy riding into an impossible sunset). Other times, though, it's way cool.
Take this past weekend, for example, when I attended ladies' gun day at our shooting range. Because when you're gearing up to start writing some new running-and-screaming Jessica Andersen books for next year (yay!), you gotta get in the mood. And, well, where else am I going to get to shoot everything from arrows, to black powder muzzle loaders, to tricked-out rifles and pistols with laser sights?
Arizona had volunteered to help for the day, so we got there early, registered, and got our T-shirts and hats. He got a pretty blue shirt and a red hat that said STAFF. I got screaming yellow. Really? Yellow for ladies' day? Clearly a man had ordered the shirts. At least I could snag a pink hat off the Smith and Wesson swag table.
We smooched and headed in our separate directions, and I quickly made some new friends. I'm not sure how I got good at that, seeing as how I was the total loner as a kid. Romance conventions, probably. Anyway, friends! We sat together, swapped life stories, and complained about the screaming yellow until it was time for the safety briefing. Where we learned that the shirts were so the staffers could see if one of us wandered down-range.
Oh-kay, then! Yellow is my new best friend! Safety first! Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear!
After the briefing, we headed out with our guides (Arizona was in charge of my group of six) to rotate through eleven stations, where range officers instructed us on the different weapons. And where I learned that I am a speshul snowflake ... apparently, it's not only unusual to be left handed but right-eye dominant, it really screws you up for target shooting. Whoops! But that was the cool thing about having a whole day to play--I experimented with shooting lefty, righty and using different stances, until I figured out what worked for me.
And ... pictures!
This is me killing balloons. Okay, maybe I was pretending they were zombies.
And bowling pins. Which were really Mayan demons.
Death to clay pigeons ... Or Mayan bat demons. Those suckers can fly!
A crossbow. For when gunpowder just won't cut it. And, well, when you suck at using a compound bow because of that whole left-hand-right-eye thing. I'm digging the point-and-shoot here!
And, finally, the hand cannon:
I nailed the bullseye with this one, but my hands tingled for a good five minutes after, and I ate some serious gunpowder. At least there was a cute-ish guy standing there with his hand on my back, ready to catch if I went flying backward!
All in all, a totally fun day, and something out of our usual routine. Except that I still have a Mustang Ridge book to finish before I can get to the running-and-screaming books. I'm off now to make sure my subconscious doesn't try to sneak something scary into Gran's kitchen.
Though, come to think, I bet she could handle it ;)