Guest Blog by Author ANN GREGORY


Goals, Guns, and Girls

by Ann Gregory

I have a lot of hobbies, one of which is writing. I say it’s a hobby because I don’t spend all my time working at it. But I have managed to write three books, as yet unsold, a number of short stories, several of which have been sold, and a number of poems and haiku, just for fun.


I have two current works-in-progress (WIP’s) that have storylines that require *some* knowledge of handguns, of which I had none. The stories seemed kind of flat to me, lacking realism. So I decided I need to learn to shoot a gun. It’s something I always kind of wanted to do, but never really felt a moral imperative to put forth the effort.


I happened to have in my possession a .32 Smith and Wesson revolver that my father gave me before he died. To my knowledge it had never been fired outside of the factory. After rummaging around for a while I finally located it.

I Googled Target World and announced my intention of going there to learn how to fire the gun. Bill asked, “Can’t you just find the information you want on the internet?” NO!


The next Saturday I put the gun in the trunk of the car and dragged a very reluctant* husband to Target World, where I’m sure they laughed at us when we left (amateurs!).

When I say I knew NOTHING I meant it. The young man who helped us looked to be twelve, but had to be 21 to sell guns. He was patient and kind (to our faces), he answered all our questions, and then suggested either a .38 revolver or a 9mm  semi-automatic Ruger or Glock.

I didn’t know the difference between them, but the kid gave me a crash course in revolvers versus semi-automatics, and I was so ignorant I was ready to buy a semi-automatic on the spot. But Bill, ever the voice of reason, suggested I might want to consider taking a beginner’s class before laying out five or six big ones on a hand gun.  So we both signed up for the next available class, which happened to be two Saturdays later. I was enthusiastic, him not so much. I’m sure they laughed at us when we left (amateurs!).


Outside, Bill mentioned there was another gun shop just a mile or two away. Of course I insisted we check it out, and he didn’t say so but from the look on his face I’m sure he was sorry he mentioned it.


A few minutes later we pulled into the parking lot. Inside we were welcomed by one of those crusty older types. He wasn’t as polite as the kid at Target World, but he was helpful in his own way. He didn’t waste time on chitchat—he just cut straight to the heart of why we were there.


“Never shot a gun, huh? Then don’t let those Target World yo-yo’s sell you a semi-automatic. You’ll kill yourself.” I flashed back to the movie “A Christmas Story” and the Red Ryder BB gun and wondered–will I also shoot my eye out?

Anyhow, the man said, “Get a revolver. Nice, easy gun to handle, and you’ll be a lot safer. You need a .38. A .22 doesn’t have enough power to stop a man, just make him mad, but you should start with a .22 at Target World. Now, you’re a girl. Do you want a gun that’s utilitarian or stylish?”

I started to get my back up about the “girl” comment, and then remembered I almost asked the kid at Target World if he still used a sippy cup. So we all have our little biases. But I digress. Did he really ask me if I wanted a “stylish” gun? “What constitutes a stylish gun?” I queried.

This crusty older man pulled out, I’m not kidding, a PINK .38 revolver. Pink. After I got over the initial surprise, I asked, “Do you have it in purple?” He didn’t smile, he didn’t laugh; he just said, “No.”

This story will not fit in my current storylines, but I’m already formulating a story to accommodate a heroine with a pink revolver. I love it. I can already see Reese Witherspoon playing the part.

In the car on the way home, we stopped for gas. I was still talking guns, and I looked at Bill, who was shaking his head at me.


“What? I’m not boring,”


“I would never, ever call you boring.”


That’s because, after thirty-four years of marriage, he knows better. And soon, I’ll be armed.


When my friend Anya asked if I would be a guest blogger for her, I was, of course, delighted to accommodate. She and I are both members of the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America (OVRWA) Cincinnati chapter of Romance Writers of America (the national organization). Any prospective members are welcome to attend one of our monthly meetings. Details can be found at


*Bill has a very good reason for being reluctant to be around guns. His older brother Jerry was murdered back in 1970. You can read about it on my blog at, TEA WITH ME, under the title “Memories”. It is not humorous, but I hope you find it interesting.

Judy Carpenter writes under the name of Ann Gregory. Her stories range from Regency romance to steampunk, science fiction, contemporary crime, all with a portion of humor thrown in.


She lives in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband Bill and their cat Zacchaeus, where she enjoys spending time with friends and family, and writing.




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