Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In the Name of Research!

Research. Do images of dusty tomes in an antiquity-filled library come to mind? Not for romantic suspense writers...research has a whole new dimension and often includes live ammo, daring exploits, and an adrenaline rush. The only dust involved isn’t from books—rather, it’s usually from sniper-crawling through a jungle!

I recently traveled to the wilds of British Columbia, two hours north of Victoria, to the stunning vistas of Lake Cowichan. Why? Because talented SRS author Loreth Anne White extended an irresistible invitation. When she first mentioned the BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) weekend and listed the different workshops available, I said yes, absolutely (did I mention that I’m impulsive?), and signed up right away.

Sleeping bag in tow, I headed west, bracing myself for anything. The first workshop taught me how to throw a knife and tomahawk where the instructors discussed the need for a one rotation throw. The satisfaction of landing my first hit into the targeted stump was amazing.

Next up, Loreth and I tackled the rifle marksmanship course. Our instructor was a fascinating guy named Darren who gave us the ins and outs of handling rifles. Breathing, trigger control, and positioning—all important factors of getting the best shot. We graduated from a .22 to the booming (and I mean booming!) .303 rifles with hands-on instruction (ooh, the suffering) from our esteemed instructor. The most important lesson in that course was that I should never anger Loreth—the girl is a serious sharpshooter!

The afternoon lesson focused on trap shooting. Nothing beats the exhilaration of hitting your first clay pigeon! Woohoo! And it’s harder than it looks to track the neon target as it flies out of the bunker and heads off on its trajectory.

For the grande finale, we studied human tracking (you can run, but you cannot hide). Two search and rescue workers taught us the intricate details of how to look for signs of human tracks. We even did a mock rescue. It took incredible patience and determination to find evidence of our lost “Nellie”. Ironically, most of the class was interested in search and rescue, but Loreth and I were more focused on how our villains could track our heroine and how she could defend herself with a tomahawk thrown from several feet away. Ah, the fun of being a writer!

Speaking of which, did I mention that Loreth and I were the only two writers at the event? While we were there for research purposes, the other women who were there (a very eclectic group) were mostly interested in gaining skills for their outdoorsy lifestyle. Observing all the women there gave us plenty of fodder for interesting characters, that’s for sure!

The instructors are all volunteers, people who want to share their love of the outdoors. Other courses included ATV, chain saw and ax, falconry, canoeing, and map and compass skills. All in all, it was a memorable weekend and I thank Loreth for inviting me. I’m hoping to invite her back for a bodyguard course hosted by a former SAS soldier. Sound like fun? It’s all in the name of research!

What kind of research would like to do whether it’s for a book or just for fun?

Visit Loreth at http://www.lorethannewhite.com/ and you can see that my intrepid research pal is a lot of fun!


Terry Odell said...

Cool! I love research.
And when I told DH I needed to know what it would feel like if my hero handed the heroine his gun, his eyes lit up and he signed us up at the shooting range.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, shoot! I missed the Golden Rooster once again! Terry, congrats!

Kim, having just finished Jeanne Adams's brilliant DARK AND DANGEROUS I'm amazed at the technical detail you romantic suspense gals need at your fingertips! Your research trip sounds like great fun and a lot of hard work.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Terry - Congrats on the GR! - SO how did you do on the shooting range? I'm not fond of guns, just not comfortable with the deadly force of them, but I've shot on a police range for the sake of research. I think I still have my target - a man's silhouette with three holes in him - that the kids drag out occasionally.

Kim, you're amazing. From elephants to sharpshooter, you've experienced so very much. If I were one of the other Golden Heart finalists in romantic suspense, given your new skills, I'm be afraid...very afraid. *g*

Terry Odell said...

Hey, the only reason I got the GR was because the post was 'late' -- which I think is only fair, because living on the east coast, and not being a 'late night' person (my rule--shut down at 10 PM, and READ), I'd pretty much written myself out of that.

Hmmm...what shall we do today? DH is out of town. Might be fun.

And if anyone wants to help, check out my author page at The Red Room. I get credit for hits per day.

Terry Odell said...

Donna, I outshot my husband. I thought I did a bad job, since I'd been aiming at the 'X' in the middle, and only hit it 4 times but I showed the target to someone in law enforcement and he said it was great because I got all my shots inside the 8 ring. Who knew?

I did go back to try the sorts of weapons that would have been more likely for my hero to carry, and I did the RWA Kiss of Death tour to the gun range in Atlanta, but I'm not looking into taking shooting up as a hobby.

Unlike DH, now, who seems to be visiting the range regularly.

Kim Howe said...

Hi Terry,

I figure it's good to shake up the timing on the GR sometimes to keep those Aussie gals on their toes. LOL

Christine, I'm halfway through DARK and DANGEROUS and I can see the work Jeanne put into research...maybe I'll invite her up to the bodyguard course???

Donna, what a great idea. I mean, if I was the only finalist left standing, they'd have to award me the GH, right? LOL

Anna Sugden said...

Wow KJ - your weekend sounds like fun - even for a non-outdoorsy type like me. Then again, I used to shoot 0.22 rifles in University ... and I'm sure knife and tomahawk throwing could be a really handy skill. If only I'd learned that years ago (in my previous marriage ;) )

Christine - I don't think the GH RS writers would have the kind of smackdown the RITA ST finalists have made ... they'd all be way too scared of KJ !

Yay Terry on the GR.

CJ Lyons said...

Hey Kim! Sounds like a fun trip--as does the SAS one! Hmmm....hunky former SAS hands-on training, I am soooo there!!!!

I've been to the FBI academy at Quantico for research, got on a Pittsburgh River Rescue boat, shot 9mm, a 45, and a shot-gun, but the worst (for me who is a wee-bit claustrophobic) was climbing into a single-person hyperbaric chamber.

Yikes! Once you're sealed in there's no way out and the thing is the size of a small torpedo!

But like you said, all for the sake of our books...

terrio said...

This sounds exciting even to me and I'm deathly afraid of guns. Really, I hyperventilate when I'm near them. Maybe it's about time to face that fear and find someone to teach me to shoot. I'll have to look into that. Once my knees stop knocking.

Congrats on the GR (and all your other swag!) Terry. You're having a killer day. No pun intended...;)

Nancy said...

Terry, congratulations! You get the bird. Don't let him give you any trouble.

Sorry, Christine. Better luck next time.

Kim, what a fabulous weekend! Was there anything that surprised you about it?

Kate Carlisle said...

Kim, you really know how to have a good time. :-) This trip looks and sounds like it was fantastic! I've always loved skeet shooting but this experience you had takes the sport to a whole new level.

Ooh, and I just finished Jeanne's book, too, Christine. Brilliant and fast and scary! I loved it!

Congrats on snagging the GR, Terry!

Louisa Cornell said...

Terry, the winning just never stops does it. Kudos on the GR!

Isn't Jeanne's Dark and Dangerous great, Christine? I cannot believe all of the things a romantic suspense writer has to know. But I'm really glad they do.

Kim, your research trip sounds like so much fun! Which part was your very favorite and which part did you like least?

I would have loved the falconry part. I worked with Raptor Rehab in grad school and later at the local zoo. I did demos with owls, hawks, falcons and even a bald eagle. I've always wanted to get my falconry license, but I understand it is a really arduous course.

Now the body guard course sounds like a lot of fun. Up close and personal guarding of a hot guy's body? What's not to like. Maybe Joan should send Demetrius, although I think he does a good job of guarding her body as it is!

Wow, CJ, the FBI Academy? How cool is that! I'm jealous!

Good job, Terry. Sounds like you really got a handle on police sharpshooting.

My father - an Army veteran of Korea and an Air Force veteran of Vietnam - taught all three of his children to shoot and care for guns correctly and safely. Most bases had ranges and we really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. It was one of those bonding things with my Dad that is still a sweet memory now that he is gone.

My brothers, nephews and even my niece are hunters. Because I live so far out in the country and have a bit of land the nephews and niece usually bring their guns so we can all test our skills. My 17 year old nephew and I are very competitive!

Kim, I had to laugh at your honing in on what the villain would do with your newly found skills. Being a writer is not something you can shut off, is it?

Donna MacMeans said...

Hmmm... all these authors with deadly skill with guns & knives...
if I was a reviewer, I'd be quaking in my booties. *g*

Cassondra said...

Cool trip Kim!

I would've loved the falconry. I've had the itch to take that up for a while now, but don't have the time to do it properly.

I'm good with most of the other skills, EXCEPT for the throwing axe. I've found I can do really well with high quality throwing axes (we're talking the celtic kind here, not the tomahawk), but faced with what's lying around the barn or shed, which is what my hero or heroine would most likely end up with, I can't hit squat, which really aggravates me. That instruction would be WAY cool.

Terrio, come on up to the house. My husband is a fabulous firearms instructor. He's particularly good with females, and women are almost ALWAYS better shots. (It's true.) We'll have lemonade and you can learn to shoot.

terrio said...

Cassondra - that sounds like fun. Sort of. We might want to hold the lemonade until after I fire something as I'll be shaking too much ahead of time to hold the glass. LOL!

Cassondra said...

cjlyons said:

but the worst (for me who is a wee-bit claustrophobic) was climbing into a single-person hyperbaric chamber.

Yikes! Once you're sealed in there's no way out and the thing is the size of a small torpedo!

OMG no kidding. Those things are scary. Our SAR dog team was called to a search at a mudslide in the Andes once--they were gonna drop us in at a really high altitude and besides the disease, the biggest concern we had was altitude sickness. We had a portable one of those hyperbaric chambers we were taking with us, and I about freaked out that I might have to be in there.

Even though I've been trained as a diver, I never was faced with the real possibility of ending up in one of those little tubes.

They ended up calling off the mudslide search because of the disease risk, and I admit I was glad. That's awful isn't it? But I was really scared of that chamber. I guess if you need it you'd be glad, but still. I never realized I had ANY level of claustrophobia until I saw that thing. I think I'm getting worse as I get older.

I'm so impressed that you got into that thing and let them seal you up in there!

Cassondra said...

terrio said:

We might want to hold the lemonade until after I fire something as I'll be shaking too much ahead of time to hold the glass. LOL!

Well, I'm serious. The invitation stands. Maybe we could get a group of first-timers together and make it more fun. I bet you'll do fine. We can even start with a BB gun if you want. No noise, no recoil--just fun!

limecello said...

Ooo - that sounds like fun research. Currently, I'm food obsessed. I'd love to "research" a lot of 5 star restaurants - maybe to get into a role as a food critic? ;) Or get to do behind the scenes at a restaurant, or bakery. Or a Ben & Jerry's or Haagan Daz factory? Definitely research I get on. :D

terrio said...

Cassondra - you just reminded me, I have fired a BB gun. And that didn't scare me at all. Then again, it's not quite the same as those bullets.

I'm all for it. I'd do Camp Cassondra in a heartbeat. Goodness knows I could use the kick in the butt to kick some of these fears.

terrio said...

limecello - the hero in my WIP is a chef and I don't know what I was thinking since I know nada about cooking. But I'm a huge fan of Top Chef and the Food Network shows.

I'm hoping to find a chef that will let me hang out in a corner of his kitchen and take notes while they all work. I'm willing to help clean up afterward if that will persuade them to let me in.

Kim Howe said...

Nancy, was there anything that surprised me? Yes, how much those Outdoors women could drink! LOL Seriously, I had no idea that there were hawk and knife throwing competitions. Obstacles are set up inside a forested area and points are calculated (like in a golf game) for every hit. One station even had a spear you had to throw at the target. This is a popular sport in some parts!

Louisa, I would say that my favorite part was the rifle markmanship. There is something satisfying about slowing down the world, breathing deep and hitting a target. The least favorite was the busride to the firing range...we were in one of those old yellow schoolbuses that barely had enough umph to get up a hill and it bounced with every bump. Hard to keep your pulse down for shooting after that ride! LOL And, yes, it's impossible to turn off that internal writer. I'm always thinking, "what if..."

Limecello, I'll be pleased to be your assistant in your research. I LOVE fine dining...for that matter, I like food!

Off to an appt. I'll check in later. Thanks to everyone who visited and shared their thoughts on exciting research!

Loreth Anne White said...

I'm with CJ, Kim!! Get that up-close-and-personal thing going with the SAS man, and I am *so* there :)

LOL, yes; the booze-knives-shotgun -chainsaw combo was an interesting one.

Thanks for moral support! It was a blast. Who else but a fellow RS writer would jump at something like this, eh?

PS -- I know of this little spy conference coming up in Canada ....


Claudia Dain said...

Oh, man, my DH would LOVE to teach a class like that! Just to give you an idea...he got a throwing knife as a birthday gift recently. And he would tell our kids all the stuff to eat in the woods to keep themselves alive if they got lost...grubs included. He actually had them eat all that icky stuff!

jo robertson said...

Great post, Kim. I love research, especially if it involves traveling to another country or even to another part of the United States.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Terry.

Learning to shoot at the range and going for ride alongs would be fun and educational. If I was researching for an Indiana Jones type character I would love to head to Egypt and Italy to visit the archaeological sites. Count me in for food critic research.

Terry Odell said...

Buying beer for homicide detectives provides a wealth of information as well.

p226 said...

Ok, *I* would've had a blast at that group of workshops. I would've asked for them to change the name. I don't wanna be an "Outdoor Woman." An the scenery must've been amazing.

But everything you guys did sounds COOL!

And, you gotta love the benevolent old Enfield. What a great rifle with a such a long history!

p226 said...

Donna, I outshot my husband. I thought I did a bad job, since I'd been aiming at the 'X' in the middle, and only hit it 4 times but I showed the target to someone in law enforcement and he said it was great because I got all my shots inside the 8 ring. Who knew?

I am not at all surprised. Here's why.

Men think they know everything. And they try shooting without first getting proper instruction. When they do this, they develop bad habits. Then one day, they're on the line, and the guy beside them is drilling 10x shot after shot, and they're wondering why they can't hit the broad side of a barn from inside. So they go seek out instruction. Then for the rest of their lives, they're battling with the old habits versus the "correct" way to do things.

Women? Women generally don't suffer this affliction. Their informal exposure to firearms tends to be minimal. They don't assume they're John Wayne and that they know everything there is to know. They actually bother to listen to instruction. And then you get exactly what happened to Terry.

This is not unusual. For firearms instructors, this is par for the course. Watching instruction is sometimes funny. Because it seems some guys have their entire ego wrapped up in their ability to outshoot their wife or girlfriend. Who, remember, actually bothered to listen to instruction and isn't battling bad habits. These men's frustration makes me laugh. EVERY TIME.

If any of you can, I would DEFINITELY take Cassondra up on her offer. I can guarantee you that'd be a lot of fun, and you'd get the best quality instruction.

Keira Soleore said...

Hands-on research that involves travel is by far my favorite, though hunting through my books for that one telling detail can be satisfying, too.

Elephants, Kim?! WOW!! What a weekend.

Terry, congrats on the GR.

Pam, is there anything you cannot do? (deeply impressed)

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations to all the winners!

Congrats, Terry, on the GR!

Hello to Kim & everyone! I lost my
computer power at 3:31 pm yesterday
and it didn't return until 12:30 am! I totally went bananas when it
happened! When it became apparent
that I wasn't going to be able to
visit my favorite blogsites, I went to my reading corner. I finished
two Nora Roberts books that I just
obtained at the Brenda Novak JDRF Auction. I enjoyed the books, but
I did miss you all!!

I would focus on handgun and rifle
marksmanship as my research.

Pat Cochran

Terry Odell said...

P226, I've heard that as well. I don't know how much experience, if any, my husband had with handguns, but he grew up in the boonies, hunting critters.

And, yes, I'd gone in fully admitting I was a romance writer and wanted to get the overall sensory experience. I asked as many questions of the instructor about what kind of weapons my characters would use, what kind of emotional reaction he had from shooting (former Marine sharpshooter) as I did getting him to show me how to hold and aim the gun.

One thing I did discover as I moved through larger caliber weapons on another visit; my tiny hands have very little strength and trying to fill a magazine was a major effort. I think I managed about 5 cartridges with the 9 mm before I couldn't press down hard enough without the round-on-round shape slipping. I know I could practice and maybe get the hang of it (but it was easier to smile and hand the magazine back to Ray and he'd fill it for me), but it was good research, because a nervous heroine would probably have the same problem.

I'm watching Wimbledon with GR. He said it was too hot outside, although he chased down a couple of lizards before we hit 90+.

p226 said...

If you were shooting a Glock 9mm, they're notoriously hard to load. Don't feel like a wimp. I use a cheater tool to load Glock mags. Hate those things.

p226 said...

Hey, care to tell me more about this axe throwing stuff? Describe the technique for me, maybe?

I've tried throwing axes and knives a couple of times, and decided "I can't figure this out." The only ranged weapons I'm any good with are firearms, so so with a bow, and I'm pretty good with the AT4 and SMAW rocket systems.

Axes? Um... not so much. I'd just have to hope the handle knocked 'em out.

Terry Odell said...

If you were shooting a Glock 9mm, they're notoriously hard to load. Don't feel like a wimp. I use a cheater tool to load Glock mags. Hate those things.

I'm sure one of the guns I tried was a Glock 9 mm, so I feel much better. I tried a 45 caliber something or other, too. (Somewhere, I made notes as to what all these things were). I know the first one I tried was a Ruger .22, but since it wasn't likely my hero would be using that kind of weapon, I had to try some other ones.

I think at the RWA conference, I tried an AR 13.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Terry, you really MUST buy a lottery ticket. Everything you touch turns to gold at the moment, including the mitts you got on the rooster today! Congratulations!

Kim, fantastic post. I have one thing to say - you're a better woman than I am, Gunga Din! Just the words 'sleeping bag' had me coming out in hives. I wish I was more physically adept but sadly it is never to be.

Research is wonderful, though, isn't it? I breached a huge block in my mind last week - I actually emailed a specialist library in Jersey (in the Channel Islands) and asked them some really specific questions for my current mip. I've always felt such an imposter at the idea of doing that but I was having such trouble getting the information I wanted. I expected to be treated with scorn and derision because they are academics and I am a mere romance writer. Guess what? They were absolutely wonderful and really thrilled to make the contact and they're going to include the book in the collection when it comes out! Just goes to show you should face your fears.

Hmm, have just re-read this. Can you tell who's a wimp? I get nervous about an email. Kim's been off shooting things!

Helen said...

Congrats Terry have fun with him

Great post Kim sounds like lots of fun. I am not very fond of guns so research with them is not something I would like to do reading about them I could handle and I like to learn about regency England and the Scottish Highlands.My favourite research is reading I enjoy that past time the best.
Have Fun

Terry Odell said...

Well, I may have the GR, but my agent forwarded a rejection letter yesterday. Very nice, personalize, but it made me wonder if the editor actually read the book or just looked at the blurb.

And, on another note, two separate editors have used the word "Alas" in their rejections. Is this an editor thing?

Trish Milburn said...

Sounds like a very interesting weekend, and I'm sure you'll be able to use the info in your books.

Once upon a time (as in when I was a preteen), I used to shoot skeet with my dad and some guys he knew.

Anna Campbell said...

Terry, hugs on the Rs. I don't think it's accidental that you pronounce that ARsssss! By the way, I checked out your blog on the Red Room. Great stuff.

Pat Cochran said...


Your question about axe-throwing
brings to mind an incident that
occurred on The Tonight Show waaaaay back in the day. One of
the singing Ames Bros.(who had
just portrayed a Native American
in a film) gave a demonstration of axe-throwing, using a wooden,
outline of a man. Facing away from the figure, he tossed the axe over his shoulder.Everyone in the studio gasped, then roared with laughter.
Johnny Carson just about fell out
of his chair at seeing where the
axe had landed. Needless to say,
all the men gulped, saying, OUCH!

Louisa Cornell said...

Pat, I remember seeing that demonstration on television! It was a hoot! It couldn't have gone any more perfectly!

I have been so lucky in my life, Keira. Between my fantastic military Dad, my Native American Mom, my voice and a really understanding DH I have managed to do so many things that other people only dream of! And there were moments in the middle of each and every one where I paused, grinned and thought "I am really doing this!" I have a sneaky suspicion my trip to Nationals in San Francisco is going to be one of those moments.

And to answer your question - I can't swim! Not even dog paddle! I can't even float! I sink like a rock!

And La Campbell, I would feel exactly the same way about e-mailing an academic organization for information. I think their reaction is a really great thing. They were obviously thrilled that you take your writing seriously enough to get the right information instead of winging it!

I'm curious, p226, do we have enough shooters in this bunch for a firing squad? I think Donna said something about editors needing to be afraid of this group? LOL

Louisa Cornell said...

Terry, a word of warning. Don't let a smart aleck male member of your family talk you into firing a 357 magnum! The first time my brothers and nephews did the gun almost pulled my arms out of my sockets and I landed on my butt! The really hilarious thing? I hit the target!

Terry Odell said...

I've tried a .22, a .45, a .38 revolver, a 9 mm and the AR 13.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Terry! Congrats on snagging the GR!

KJ...neat post and I love the pics of you experiencing the great out doors! Of course you're always traveling somewher for hands on experience.

I keep wanting to take the citizen's police academy here in my town, but it's only offered at night...and I'm a little busy then. :(

One of the most fun things I've done was hang out with the firefighters with my friend Jo Davis to do research for her firefighter series. (I blogged about it back in the fall). They guys LOVED telling two writers their fun and scary stories and watching us play with their equipment....fire equipment...geesh!

p226 said...

I think Donna said something about editors needing to be afraid of this group? LOL

Hahah, I almost spit out my drink. I would venture a guess that the choice of the name "Banditas" was not accidental.

Allow me to describe the scene.

Early morning light sneaks through the plastic vertical blinds of Dewey Cheatham and Howell Publishing, Inc as Bill Killjoy enters his thirteenth floor office. Bill keeps his blinds drawn. It keeps his office dark. It suits his purpose in life. Bill Killjoy is the Dark Lord of the Rejection Letter. He revels the gleeful crushing of aspiring writer's dreams. Bill's mood is as light as his office is dark. For he has a stack of a dozen submissions to read. And a dozen form-letters to fill out.

Bill walks around his fine mahogany desk and seats himself in front of his computer. He wiggles the mouse, and his old CRT monitor emits a subtle but satisfying "pop" as it springs to life, slowly spreading more sinister blue light over his desk calendar and keyboard.

A puff of air crosses his scalp, dead in the middle, followed by the a dead wooden "thunk" behind him. Baffled, Bill swivels his chair to look at the oak paneling behind him. At first, he swears his eyes must be deceiving him. He sees a light-colored wooden handle sticking out at a slight angle from the wall. It has what appears to be black steel on top, deeply embedded into the wall. "Thunk." Another identical object appears beside it. Bill felt the puff of air pass his right ear. "Are... are those axes?"

Behind him, a female voice answers him from the shadows behind the chairs where he occasionally tortures those few writers he takes pity on and actually allows them to meet with him. "Tomahawks."

Startled, Bill snaps his chair around towards the voice and sees nothing. With a tremor in his voice, he calls out to his darkened fortress of crushed dreams. "Who's there? Who are you?"

Kim Howe steps into the eery glow from the monitor, one tomahawk in her right hand, and three more in the left.

Astonished, Bill shouts, "Kim? You've gone crazy! I'm calling security," as he reaches for his ten line office phone.

The unmistakable sound of a handgun's hammer being thumbed back clicks in his left ear. "I wouldn't do that, Bill." Now fully terrified, Bill slowly turns his head to his left towards the source of that awful clicking sound. His eyes immediately focus on the barrel of a Sig Sauer P229. The bore looks the size of a fifty five gallon oil drum. Blurry, out of focus behind the muzzle of the weapon, a grin beams at him. Focus and blur quickly change places as Bill forces his eyes from the gigantic bore to the face behind it. "Cassondra!?"


A third presence in the room makes itself known. The rack and clack of an AR-15 (sometimes mistakenly referred to as an AR-13) coming into battery jolts Bill's senses. "Hi, Bill." Bill turns to his right. "Terry? Terry Odell? My god, is that a machine gun?"

Other faces and names begin to appear from the shadows, armed with everything from handguns to hammers.

Kim snaps her fingers to focus Bill's attention from the fearsome display of weaponry and skill known collectively as the Banditas. "Bill... we're tired of all the R's. We need to talk."

A trickle of warm urine wound it's way down Bill Killjoy's leg.

Terry Odell said...

Very nice, p226. Hey, 13, 15 -- I remember it was some sort of a 'teen' and I figure if someone's pointing one at you, it's unlucky, right?

I don't do numbers well at all.

Anna Campbell said...

P226, I'm laughing too hard to shoot Bill Killjoy. Some other Bandita or Buddy will have to do it! Too funny!

Kim Howe said...


Oh, my, that story/fantasy was hilarious as well as VERY satisfying. LOL Thanks for making my day.

As for throwing knifes or tomahawks, here is what I learned. You hold the hawk's handle with your thumb on the upper edge of the weapon (this way, you keep the hawk flying straight...if you put your thumb on the side, it can cause spinning). You bring your arm back and let the tomahawk soar towards the target (think of throwing a baseball). KEY ISSUE is to make sure you have one full rotation before the hawk hits the wood. If you don't have enough rotation, the wrong side of the hawk will hit and bang off the target. If you have more than one rotation, the same will happen. In other words, you need to adjust the distance to the target to ensure that it is one rotation away...and people of different heights will have different ideal distances. I hope this helps. The gentleman went into more detail about other possible throws, but that's the basics on success with hawks and knives.

Joan said...

Kim, you astound me!

One of
the singing Ames Bros.(who had
just portrayed a Native American
in a film) gave a demonstration of axe-throwing, using a wooden,
outline of a man.

That was Ed Ames, Pat. He played Mingo on the series "Daniel Boone"

I LOVED Daniel Boone and can sing the song. Want to hear it?

"Daniel Boone was a man, spiderpig, spiderpig, yes a REAL man..."

I'd probably get into the knife/tomahawk thing and the falconry but guns...not so much.

Joan said...

p226, you ARE good at what you do...that you can't talk about....

Those secret battle plans had been buried in the deepest recesses of the lair!

"I don't think so Bill"


Louisa Cornell said...

Now I'm spitting out my drink! Too funny, p226! Now that he knows the plans do we have to kill him, Joan, or just ply him with Bountiful Bandita Booty beer until he forgets?

Kim, I am printing those instructions out for further reference. I happen to own a tomahawk AND a medieval battle ax.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Kim--Sorry to chime in so late, but I loved this post. I just love the idea of not only having a tomahawk handy when I really need one, but being able to throw it with passably accuracy. I doubt I could even hope to knock anybody out with the handle, as P226 mentioned. :-)

As for research I'd like to do, I'm with limoncello: I want a job tasting ice cream or something. Maybe my next heroine should be a food critic. But not awesome 5 star food--junky food. Hot dogs. Ice cream. Cheetos. Stuff real people eat. Yeah, there's an idea. Mmmmmm. Popcorn....

Pat Cochran said...

Thanks for the clarification, Joan.
I knew I was somewhere in the right
area, somewhere in the ballpark!

Pat Cochran

Keira Soleore said...

OK. I've been fighting and fighting with Blogger to post a follow-up remark. So I'll keep this one short and keep trying till I succeed.

I'm chicken. I've never shot at anything, not even with a sling-shot. In fact, in a bad situation, I can't even be relied upon to screech out my high C. If this gives any of you banditas ideas to do mayhem to me during the conference, just remember, I'm rooming with Cassondra. That's right. Put that down and back away slowly (and pass that packet of Tim Tams on your way out).

Keira Soleore said...

Hooray! The comment finally posted.

Leah Braemel said...

Kim - isn't Cowichan a gorgeous area? And your weekend sounds like a 'blast' (pun intended). When I was down in Dallas last year, a friend who lives in the area took me to her shooting range where I shot a Colt .45, a 9 mm, a .38 police revolver, a .22 revolver, and a P38 Luger (that the Nazis used). It made me change my writing - no more having the heroine fire inside a car and still be able to hear afterwards. Haven't tried the knife throwing or the tracking but I'd love to learn both of those.

Great post!

Caren Crane said...

KJ, you get to do the coolest stuff! All the romantic suspense skills sound fun - but then there's the paranoia. I just finished Jeanne's Dark and Dangerous and all I could think was, "I would already have offed somebody at this point." Too much looking over your shoulder! *g* (By the way, Jeanne's book is awesome and the body count is only moderate, though wounds are plentiful. *g*)

KJ, all the workshops sound fun, but I think I would like the shooting and throwing ones best. I've done orienteering and all that business. Very good to know, but I haven't gotten to learn to throw knives or axes. Fun!

Claudia, every time I think I know you, you come out with one of these tidbits. The kids had to eat survival grubs and squirrel and stuff? I need the details on this!

Caren Crane said...

For those who are confounded by my outdoorsy side, we went kayaking in Broad Creek yesterday (saltwater, tidal creek that bisects Hilton Head Island, SC). LOTS of dolphins yesterday morning! Of course, lots of ibis, pelicans, egrets and blue herons. Also, the mullet were jumping. They are funny!

Tomorrow is parasailing. My husband and I have been before, but my daughters haven't. They are very excited!

But I haven't gotten to shoot anything except pictures down here. I feel like I'm missing out!

Anna Lucia said...

Oh MAN, I am jealous! Not only of the weekend, but spending time with the fabulous Loreth!!

M. said...

Kim, I can't believe how cool this was. What an unforgettable (not to mention unboring!) and visceral way to put yourself in your characters' heads. My wip is set in DIY home improvement reality TV, so I research by wandering the aisle of HomeDepot with my husband, breathing in sawdust...