Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sexy Savage Beast

I hope your holidays were great. Mine was, well, different. I learned that I am, indeed, a sexy, savage beast.

Why Jenna, you say, whatever do you mean?

Christmas Day I was armed and dangerous. My cousins trembled in fear, my dad had a wicked glint in his eyes for his beloved #1 was peering through the sites of a Walter PPK/S and I felt extremely dangerous. Grrr. Now, before you ask if I shot myself: the answer would be no. And no, I didn't wound anyone else. It was a b.b. pellet gun. My paper villain though will attest to the fact that I obliterated the right side of his face, pierced his ear and made him jump when I hit the white space. Some families gather around a piano to sing carols (not us since 75% of the family is tone deaf although we performed a beautiful concert with whistles from our Christmas crackers) or indulge in eggnog or whatnot. Not us. Oh no, in the Howard household, we play with guns. But we never ever run with scissors.

I'm going to confess that I've been contemplating asking my dad to teach me to shoot a handgun for the simple fact that all my characters (heroines, heroes, villains, maybe even the housekeepers) all seem to be packing heat and I felt I should have some understanding of the weaponry besides watching Charlie's Angels and Transporter. My dad is a competitive target shooter and spends copious amounts of time searching for a competition where he can obliterate his competitors and walk away leaving everyone's jaws on the ground as they think "Santa can shoot." (Dad is shaped like Santa - 'nuf said.) And so I was going to look to my dad for lessons since, well, why not. What? I was going to pay x amount of dollars at the shooting range when I could get something for free?

As it turns out...Dad was a few steps ahead of me. I arrived at my parents' place on Christmas Eve since it's only me in my condo excluding the dust bunnies and characters crowding my kitchen. There on the coffee table was a pistol. This isn't normal despite how the teenage guys thought I grew up (they firmly believed my dad walked around with a target rifle stretched across his shoulders as he grilled them at the front door. I think my brother has something to do with this urban legend of my youth.) Usually anything that goes boom is locked up. I eyed said pistol with a little trepidition. Doesn't he realize his grandson is coming over tomorrow? Why is a gun sitting out where any paranoid neighbor could see it? Turns out this was a CO2, b.b. pellet shooting Walther PPK/S gun (a larger version of James Bond's gun in case you're wondering.)

Dad: (bunch of gobilty gook) "It's a b.b. gun." I realize this means it shoots little round balls. I felt very smart. (More tech talk) "This is a CO2 cartridge that...more techy stuff." I know what a CO2 cartridge is, thank you very much. I'm realizing the only way I could hurt myself with this gun was if I slammed it repeatedly against my forehead or dropped it on my bare toe - one way was a little ridiculous, the other highly possible. (More techy talk about how the CO2 cartridge worked. You can tell I paid attention, can't you?) "I can show you how to shoot."

Me: "Uuuuhhhh." I wondered how my father could read my mind. I spend a few moments pulling the slide back, enjoying the elegant click. I'd squeeze the trigger (not loaded at this time) and then pull the slide back again. I do this several times as we watch the William Shatner/Star Trek special on Discovery Channel (was anyone else upset at the lack of Christmas movies on or is it just me?) I'm beginning to understand why all my characters enjoy guns. There's something very grr with holding a weapon, even if it's a CO2, pellet shooting combination of metal and plastic.

Fast forward to the end of the evening. My cousin goes off downstairs with my dad. Armed with my Coke Zero, I traipse down, curious to see how his lesson is going to go. Yes, our basement is a highly involved shooting range consisting of a wooden box, cardboard, target and a floor mat to stand on. Oooh. There's the rumble of male voices, the little pop of the gun and I watch. 30 pellets later, it's my turn.

"Hold your arm straight. Finger along the trigger guard so you don't shoot your eye out. Bend your left arm. Hand folded over your other hand. No. Yep. Good. Align the two sites and have at it." Yeah - this was my lesson.

Right arm is shaking as I have no upper arm strength. The heaviest thing I lift is a can of cola. Pop! "Did I shoot the wall?" Cousin snickers. Hey - I hit the target. Kewl. Every time for record. No glass, no walls, no jars, no relatives and no me were injured in this gathering of a blog to write. Other cousin joins us as she's going to be next.

30 pellets later my back is sore from holding still, my left arm aches from being bent and I have a bruise over my thumb where the slide tried to bite me never mind that even pellet guns have a bitch of a recoil. Still, my target was looking pretty good if I do say so myself. It is currently on my fridge and dang - it looks awesome there. I am sexy, savage beast - grr.

The local police aren't going to be recruiting me any time soon but I have a new understanding of my characters. I've discovered that I love pulling back the slide to arm a gun (sorry but that little snick is just sexy as hell) and I learned my dad is a fountain of information (he explained to the three of us about "real" guns too. Real guns are damn heavy but I have to admit I prefer the Walther PPK. Smaller. Lighter. A girl gun so to speak.) There's also something very wrong about hearing your dad say "Cocked and locked" when you're an erotic romance writer.

Anyway, because there's nothing sexier or more feminine than shooting a weapon, I'm giving away this kissalicious prize at the end of the day (9 pm MST) so stick around to find out if you're going to be a sexy, savage beast too.

Oh yeah - I'm a sexy savage beast. Fear me, paper targets of the world. Fear. Me.

Jenna Howard
Website | Blog
Dare to love...passionately.


Blogger Sloane Taylor said...

"Cocked and Locked" definitely not something I'd want to hear from my dad but it sure is a good title for the new book you'll be writing in 2006.

My first husband gave me a 22 caliber Berretta for Christmas one year. That was his second mistake!

Enjoy your new weapon. Hope you can stop stroking it lovingly to get on with your new book.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Congratulations, Jenn, on becocoming a Grr Woman! I took a handgun certification class in October, which was taught by a state policeman during his off hours. We shot both a revolver and a semi automatic. Both were .22s. It was kinda scary but TOTALLY cool.

You and I sound alike in that we're probably both talented shooters and have the potential to be crack shots. I, too, hit my man with every shot I took. Ha! Maybe we can form some type of crack man-shooter group...! :)

When you've shot a gun, it's an awesome feeling, isn't it? I, too, felt really dangerous and quite sexy, but I was also awed at the lethal power I held in the palm of my hand. I could take a life with one slip of the finger. It was a rush, but also incredibly intimidating, to hold that much raw power in my hand. I realized those emotions and that knowledge would have to run through the character's mind when she/he picks up a gun, even if it only runs through on a subconscious level. And, it says loads about them how they respond to that knowledge and those emotions.

Congratulations, again. What a fun way to spend Christmas Eve!

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Do you still have the Berretta, Sloane? If so, do you ever take it out for a little spin at the shooting range? No wonder Studly is so well behaved...! Hehehe!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Meljprincess said...


My Ma's good with a shotgun and can pick off rats at 20 paces. They raid her birdfeeder. I have never fired a gun but I'd like to.
I do in dreams, sometimes.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Well, with all those characters running around cocked and locked, their author should be a sexy, savage beast.

Glad you enjoyed yourself. :)

10:06 AM  
Blogger Felicia Forella said...

Jenna, darling, you are my husband's wet dream come true! A woman with a gun not pointed at him. *g*

What an interesting way to spend Christmas Eve. :)

10:17 AM  
Blogger robynl said...

Oh, now I want to be a sexy, savage beast. Hear me roar!!!
That was a neat thing to have your Dad help you with. I think you should frame your target.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Landra Lynn said...

Whoo! She is Diva, hear her roar!

You would never want to give me a gun... my luck I'd shoot myself with it as you handed it to me. Klutz.

Missed ya! Happy New Year!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

My cousin was armed with his camera and was taking pictures. I turned to him and said "Kewl. Now I have blog material." He looked at me blankly. "Hey, don't you go to my website?" He looked at me blankly. "What is wrong with this family?"


Dad offered to give me the BB gun so I could shoot it in my condo. I find myself wondering how loud will it be and will I get a letter under my door from the Condo Board for the strange popping sounds inside.


11:11 AM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

I confess I once owned a .330 pistol. DH traveled a lot and I stayed by myself. He taught me to shoot and said if anyone ever broke into our house, I should empty the cartridge. Otherwise, the gun could be used against me. It came in handy for a mystery I wrote, years later.

When DH retired, I sold the gun (needed the money) but we keep a twelve-gauge handy for rattlesnakes (the reptile kind). I've not yet had the nerve to shoot the thing but he's shown me how. In an emergency, I could fire it. Hitting anything is another story.


11:16 AM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

So Sloane...what was his first mistake? lol.

Lauren - my skill is unsurpassable. My target now looks like Fitty Cent. Niiice.

Mel - that movie was running through my head. I was preparing a good cry if the bb ricocheted back. "Moooom. The light fell down and struck me. And my glasses!" I was all prepared for no reason. Sigh.

Ah Sherrill...now not just the characters are armed. grr. Fear my bb gun wrath boys. Grr.

Felicia - don'tcha know? I'm *all* men's wet dreams. I can't even type that with a straight face. Thank him for me.

Robyn - you make me wish my prize was a gun or something. lol. My bad guy's on the fridge, his face riddled with pock marks. I'm going to beg for the keys to the basement when my parents go away so I can stop peppering the cheek area and become truly grr.

Landra - you know it, babe. But it has a safety switch. Obviously the maker has heard of us.

Now I have to go to Zeller's (aaaack!) to get medicine as I am sick (bah).

11:17 AM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

My husband is ex-Army and said he's had enough of guns. So, we own swords. Seriously.

I'm a pretty good shot on a range, but I'm talking bow and arrows here.

I shoot bow-hunting style with an Olympic b/a set. I'll be damned if I don't hit the elk target more often than any other member of my family does. Me, great hunter.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Landra Lynn said...

Must have.

I always wanted to learn how to hunt, but the men around me felt that klutzy me with a gun was not a good idea. As one of them put it, it would be "a strange form of suicide"

11:24 AM  
Blogger Landra Lynn said...

I know what the sword thing is like... my ex-fiance (the first one) was a Marine. Hated guns. Collected swords. Some of them were purdy too :o)

11:26 AM  
Blogger Sloane Taylor said...

Jenn, his first mistake was giving me an electric floor scrubber for my twenty-first birthday. What a romantic guy.

When he proposed I found my engagement ring in the 50 gallon tub of dried dog food.

Ya think it's just me?

Lauren, Studly knows zip about my gun-packing mama days. I wouldn't want to scare the poor old thing into cardiac arrest!

Weapons have always fascinated me. My dad taught me to shoot and hunt when I was about eleven which was pretty interesting for a Chicago inner-city kid. Somehow I've never lost the attrack of arms. Hunting - nope - no stomach for killing innocent animals.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Feather Marosek said...

Ya know it's kinda funny, but I can relate to the urban legend of Daddy walking around with a rifle strapped to his back. He even went so far as to write my dates name on a shotgun shell (with white out).
People wonder sometimes why I'm weird. Other kids played with dolls and stuff, we played with guns (yes real ones learned to shoot really young), blow guns (again the real ones with sharp pointy darts) and swords (my parents used to have swordfights, again, real weapons).
Nowadays I carry a .380 (gotta love the invention of the gun purse) and a collection of knives (I have a permit!). Whenever my friends aren't sure what to get me, it's either a gift cert. for a new tattoo or they buy me time at the target range.
Tell ya one thing though, while my kids will learn to shoot as soon as they are legally able they will NOT be playing with guns. Don't even allow them to play with toy guns.
And my son already knows mommys knives/swords are look, don't touch.

11:49 AM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

We take our two-handed Barbarian sword with us to weddings. It make a great cake cutter. Looks good in photos :)

12:31 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Dee said...

Cool Christmas! You make me feel like such a girly-girl now. We got Dance Revolution and have been playing that for two days now.
My daughters are huge video game players who spend way too much time on their asses. Luckily my youngest asked for Dance Revolution. I haven't seen her so active in ages. The thing's a real workout. (This is the game where you move on arrows on a mat in increasingly difficult combinations as you move up through the levels. Can you say 'cardio'?)

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Swords are cool, too. And so are bows and arrows. We had fencing and archery in high school and I really enjoyed them. I ought to check around and see if there's some place I can re-learn those skills.

Interesting about some men's wet dreams being a woman with a gun not pointed at them. I once asked a few fellows I knew if they thought it was sexy for a woman to know how to handle a gun. I was hoping that, since some women find gun toting really sexy in a man, some men would find that sexy in a woman. But those fellows freaked out on me and thought it was the worst possible thing a woman could do. Hearing you guys talk, though, it sounds like the fellows I know have absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever. Guess that means I need to get some new men in my life. :) hehehe!

Thinking of it as a character study, what do you guys think the differences are in a man who things gun packing chicks are sexy versus fellows that are freaked out by them? To me, it seems like there would be a streak of walking on the wild side in the man, whether he was actually doing the walking or if he was just fantasizing about it.

Guns...swords...bows and arrows...all really cool stuff! Great topic, Jenna!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Dance Revolution! Yes, I know it. A kid I take care of a few mornings a week has that. He keeps asking me to play it with him but it wears me out just looking at the thing. It does look like a lot of fun, though, and a great workout to boot!

12:42 PM  
Blogger Meljprincess said...

LOL! Jenna. That movie was runnin' through my head the whole time I read your blog entry. Glad you didn't hurt yourself.

My new favorite Christmas movie is BAD SANTA. Only watched CHRISTMAS STORY once.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

Lordy did I get sick of A Christmas Story. 24 hours of it - continuously on TBS. Ugh. What were they thinking? If it had been 24 hours of Sound of Music I would have been ecstatic. I looooove that movie.

I can't believe how many of us are grr chicks. Yowzer. We have pistol shooting, sword wielding and shotgun blasting ladies. Grrr. We are savage sexy beasts. Grr.

I wasn't grr until Sunday afternoon. I'm hoping the picture my cousin turns out so I can slap it on my website. Grr. I am savage sexy beast with a gun. Grr. I'm wondering if this will help me bag a guy.

"Hey, guess what? I can shoot a bb gun! Wanna see my form? If you're really nice to me, I'll let my dad pull out his Magnum hand gun. Hey. Where you going? Hey! I. Don't. Run! Get back here." Sigh. Second thoughts happening with that plan.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Robin's kawaii said...

*giggles* i have no experience with guns(though i do with bows and arrows... is that better or worse? LoL). Sometimes i even hit the target!

No, i think that it'll be far into the future that i learn how to shoot a gun that doesn't expel bubbles or foamy things.

Hehe, i am a sexy savage beast though, and soon i'll have the collar to prove it. *winks*

Many blessings,

2:57 PM  
Anonymous shannon said...

Jenn, I took the firearms and hunters safety course this fall. What a hoot. My favorite firearm was the pump action-12 guage shotgun. Very phallic. Can't wait to buy one of my own. Huh, should have asked for one for Christmas.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

I'm going to be running away in half an hour to go see Narnia but I'll be back.

Look at all us savage ladies. And yes, bow & arrows count. I won't tell you about what happened with me in Outdoor Ed with a bow & arrow.

Ooh, okay, I will.

I sucked. Thoroughly. I think the arrow reached the target once. As a classmate said beside her "You think it's a good idea, Mr. K, do give her that bow and arrow." Mr. K thought it was a great idea. Until the string slipped and my arrow went zinging across the auxillary cafeteria, skittering over the floor like, well, an arrow shot at the floor, leaving a nice scratch on the floor. Sigh. It wasn't my fault I couldn't keep the string taut.

"Everyone," Mr. K. said, "take one step back. Not. You." I did much better at the archery range. Well...no. Tip: don't give Jenna a bow & arrow when you bring along your sidekick, Tony, Mr. K. It's just not gonna work since I was distracted by the older boy (grade 9 to my 8) holding the bow and arrow. Wow. Memories. Ahhh. Yes, memories. And those who know me know how focused I am when a cute guy is around. *snort*

I'm really surprised I survived that course and more importantly - passed it. Hiking. Canoeing. Cycling to Bragg Creek. Outdoor survival camp. West Coast trip. What the heck was I thinking?

Oh wait - cute guys would be in the class. Plus I'm not an artist so art was out and I sucked thoroughly at drama. I draw worse than I shoot the bow & arrow.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

Shannon! I'm just...speechless. I'll never think of you the same way.

Hm...wonder if one of those is in the basement. Nah. I liked the savagely sexy pistol Dad showed me. I felt very grr. Especially when I pulled the slide back. Swear to god, that's my favorite part. :::shiver::: Didn't even need my dad to tell me how to load the bb cartridge in. Slip, snap, snick. Purrrrrrfect.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Rae Morgan said...

I am sooooo jealous. I wanna shoot a gun so I can be a sexy savage grrr woman too! And I love the sound of "cocked and locked"-- the images racing through my head are well, um, XXX-rated -- somehow you knew I'd work Vin in there, now didn't ya?

I hope to take a guns for women mystery writers workshop in Vegas in the next year or so -- it is run by Women's Guns and Ammo magazine(?) -- or something along those lines. Cops teach the classes and you get to shoot all sorts of guns from simple little revolvers to hi-tech Special Forces automatic weapons. I get hot just thinking of it. Woo-hoo.

And good news is my DH is on board-- he can play golf and poker in Vegas and I can shoot guns.

Rae Morgan

6:13 PM  
Blogger Amy S. said...

My parents taught me how to shoot a gun. We used to shoot cans in the backyard.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Shara Lanel said...

Hey Jenna,

Guess it's late in the day for me to be popping in. Sorry I didn't get here sooner. Sounds like you had an awesome Christmas ;-)

Totally relate to the feelings of ugh at 24 hours of A Christmas Story--we watched it once because I gave my dad a Red Ryder BB Gun for his 60th b-day. He always wanted one.

As far as guns, I had so much fun taking our local Citizens' Police Academy. We did the range one day with live ammo. We watched the bomb squad and swat team demo, then we went in and played video games with pretend guns where I unfortunately tended to shoot cops and headlights instead of the bad guys. We also stalked through a house in suburbia with weird rubber guns at our shoulders. Someone came out of the closet and attacked me with a hanger, so I had to shoot her.

Happy New Year!


9:57 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

I back.

Narnia was awesome. Bit of a crush on James McAvoy who played Mr. Tumnus. Odd for me since he's so nice. Must be those blue eyes.

I'm highly distracted. Flames are playing. Go boys! Whooo.

Now I'm off to find some paper in anticipation of the kissalicious draw - still got an hour to go.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

You inspired me Shara to go check out the local police citizen academy. First I'd have to wait for Spring and every Canadian knows there's no such season here. Second it's like 14 weeks long (or 12) and I just want to play with the gun.

Still...it's free. Gotta be good research. And maybe there'd be a cute guy instructing. Must phone tomorrow to sign up. Thanks for the tip, bud.

Ticka-ticka on the draw. Plus the Flames rock my world. All is good.

10:44 PM  

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