Trish Perry

The author of Sunset Beach (2009) and Beach Dreams (2008), Trish Perry lives in Northern Virginia with her hilarious teenaged son. She discovered her love of writing while earning a degree in Psychology. She switched career paths in 1997 and never looked back. Her debut novel, The Guy I’m Not Dating, placed second in the 2007 FHL Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, and her second novel, Too Good to Be True, finaled in the 2008 FHL IRCC, the GRW Maggie Awards, and LCRW’s Barclay Gold Awards.


Does Your Character Have a License for That Thing?

Thinking about writing a Western? Hey, Westerns are hot these days. Fans have finished everything Louis L’Amour offered during his eighty years. Readers today gallop through R. W. Stone, Ralph Cotton, and James Best, as well as Christian Westerns by Mary Conneally, Lori Copeland, and Tracie Peterson.

Them’s big boots to fill, pardner. And you don’t want to write a plotline that’s been done to death, right? So how about a story about a rough and tumble gal making her way in a relatively rustic setting when she gets shot by her stove?

Yes. Her stove, which was unmanned at the time. Ridiculous? Maybe, but Cory Davis, of Sekiu, Washington, will tell you otherwise. Pull up a rock and sit a spell.

See, Cory was tending to matters in her home when a 22-gauge shotgun shell pierced the inside of her calf. And we’re not talking moo-cow calf; we’re talking about Cory’s gams.

Now, here’s how you know Cory’s a rough and tumble gal, rather than a whiney-faced baby, such as my own wimpy self. When she realized she’d been shot, she removed the metal fragments from the wound and mosied on down to the Forks Community Hospital for a tetanus shot. Let’s review that sentence, shall we? She removed the pellets herself. I get a paper cut and no one hears the end of it. Cory is my hero.

The way Cory figures it, the shell got into the stove by accident. She had spilled her ammo near some newspapers (I hate it when that happens), and one shell remained hidden in the newspapers when she used them to light her stove. As Cory put it, “There’s always that one problem stray.”


Could we spin Cory into the Annie Oakley of her day, you think? Wouldn’t it be a cool climax to a Western if the heroine deliberately stored a shell in that stove and used it against the unsuspecting Bad Bart, who had stolen the deed to her land? Well, not Bad Bart—he’s a Muppet. But our black-hatted villain would stomp through Cory’s home, all spurs and strut, when suddenly all blazes would let loose on him, via the stove. But our heroine would probably have to practice a few times before she got her aim just right. And you’d need a significant rifle range to accommodate the firing potential of a potbellied stove.

Certainly, you’d have limitations with a cast-iron stove as your weapon of choice. I’m struggling to picture the stereotypical showdown in the middle of the street. Imagine both characters—the hero and the villain—armed with stoves? Kind of lends new excitement to the idea of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, now don’t it?

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