Choose Your Weapon with Crystal L. Barnes

Hey everyone! Today Crystal L. Barnes joins us at the Junction to discuss weapons of choice and to give away one of her books. Please join us in welcoming Crystal!

What would the Old West be without the Colt Peacemaker or Winchester Repeating rifle? Or maybe your character’s choice would be the Henry Repeater? Or a lady’s favorite, the derringer?

Howdy y’all! Crystal Barnes here and what better place to talk about guns than on Petticoats and Pistols. (Thanks so much for having me back.) Recently I attended my local ACFW chapter meeting where fellow writer and fight scene consultant Carla Hoch spoke on Writing Your Fight Scenes Right. To start off the discussion, we all introduced ourselves and stated our (or our character’s) weapon of choice. Let me tell you, we got some great laughs out of this. We got answers that ranged from magic swords to swinging sickles. Maybe that’s part of the reason that has stuck with me.

What was my weapon of choice, you ask?

A Cast-iron skillet.

Not what you expected, right? I also mentioned the Colt Peacemaker for my hero, but I had to mention the skillet because I’d just recently written a scene in my WIP Hook, Line, & Suitor (Marriage & Mayhem,  Book 3) where my heroine cold-conked the guy with one.

I’m sure you Disney-loving fans are thinking of Tangled and Rapunzel’s hilarious use of the skillet, and I have to admit that’s probably where part of that idea stemmed from but not entirely. We joke around in my family and call cast-iron skillets an “equalizer.” J

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In book two of my Marriage and Mayhem series, Love, Stock, & Barrel, I did a ton of research on guns because my heroine grew up helping in her father’s gunsmith shop. She played with stocks, locks, and barrels more than she did with toys and tops. J Which is why, when she’s caught in a shotgun wedding with the barrel pointed at her, she can name the type of gun without blinking.

They say when a firearm is pointed at someone their focus fixates on the barrel opening. So how could my heroine still name the gun? I’m so glad you asked. J

In my research, I stumbled upon a Confederate sharpshooter rifle that was so unique a trained marksman could hit a man-sized target at a thousand yards easy. Some could boast two thousand. The price of the rifle was so comparatively high that only the best of the best got them. What made it so unique? Well, a Whitworth sharpshooter rifle had a hexagonal-shaped barrel, instead of the normal octagon opening. Thus, my heroine could stare down the barrel and know its make and model and her odds of getting away unscathed. Very slim to say the least.

Another interesting pair of weapons worth mentioning is the 1873 Winchester Repeating Rifle and the .44-40 Colt SAA revolver (aka the Peacemaker). I used these as my sheriff’s weapons of choice. Why? Because both firearms shot the same .44-40 ammunition. Pretty convenient for a lawman, right?


How about you? What is your (or your character’s) weapon of choice?

I’ll be giving away a FREE copy (ebook or paperback) of one of my stories to one of this post’s commentors. (Winner’s choice of title. Paperback for contiguous US winners only.)

An award-winning author, bona fide country girl, and former competitive gymnast, Crystal L Barnes tells stories of fun, faith, and friction that allow her to share her love of Texas, old-fashioned things, and the Lord—not necessarily in that order. When she’s not writing, reading, singing, or acting, Crystal enjoys exploring on road-trips, spending time with family, and watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie are two of her favorites. You can find out more and connect with Crystal at

Find her also on her blog, the Stitches Thru Time group blog, her , GoodreadsPinterestGoogle+, or on her Facebook author page.

Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.

Welcome to the Junction, Crystal L. Barnes!

Catherine forced her fingers on her right hand to loosen a fraction and slid them to the rope below her left. Her WLOD meme 2boot skidded on the rock face as she inched it lower to a small ledge. Her heart left residence in her chest to pound in her throat. She could do this. Just don’t look down.

Hand over hand, inch by inch, she descended the gorge’s wall, barely daring to breathe until her feet touched level ground. When they did, she gripped her shaky knees and stared up at the distance she’d covered. Straightening, she grinned. It was oddly liberating facing a fear and overcoming it. Maybe she might yet face the fears she had about Sam and come out the victor.

Shoving the thought aside for later perusal, Catherine kept to the ravine wall and started toward the outlaw camp. First she had to get her husband out alive, then she’d figure out how to live with him.
—from Win, Love, or Draw by Crystal L Barnes

Howdy y’all! Crystal L Barnes here. I’m so happy to be a guest today on Petticoats & Pistols and share some of the tidbits behind my first full-length, inspirational, western romance Win, Love, or Draw. Namely, the tidbits behind this scene. Have I scaled a rock wall? Yes, actually. A short one—but no rope. And I was going up, not down. Talk about heart in your throat. Oh but that’s not the big story behind this scene. No, that’s tied up in that feeling of victory at overcoming a fear. When did I experience this, you may ask? Why in a shoot out of course. (This is Petticoats & Pistols after all. J)

Now I hear you doubters out there. A shoot out? No way. Well, I didn’t say my opponent had a gun. No, he had scales and a forked tongue. Yep, you guessed it—a snake. To be specific, a chicken snake. And he’d slithered his two-to-three-foot-long self into the wrong place. My hen house. And in the very last hen nest, farthest from the door, no less. Which meant I’d have to go into the small coop to get rid of it. Oh joy of joys.

chickencoop(I know many of y’all are thinking the only good snake is a dead snake, but as long as they aren’t poisonous or endangering my critters (or me), I’m fine with them.)

I couldn’t have the chicken snake stealing my eggs or snacking on my chickens so I had no choice but to do something before he got away. Now I’ve killed a number of copperheads, but there’s something about going into a confined area with one of those forked-tongue creatures. (Probably because there’s not much running room if something goes awry. J ) The copperheads I decapitated with a shovel outside. I wasn’t about to take the risk of missing or even getting that close to a chicken snake. But shooting the creature had its own drawbacks. My brain kept shouting what if the bullet ricochets? What if the bullet comes back at me? What if I miss and the snake gets mad and attacks me? Oh, and did I mention I was on the phone with my mom this whole time? What did she do? She laughed. Thanks, Mom. Then she told me to just shoot it already. Why? ’Cause she’s done this countless times.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a country girl through and through. Grew up on a ranch and have done my fair share of processing wild game and such, but it was my parents who did the dirty work of killing snakes. Now it was my turn. Yippee.

After countless false starts and many more squeals when that snake moved (and more laughter from my mom), I finally hung up the phone, prayed, gathered my courage, prayed, reminded myself of Scriptures, prayed. Did I mention I prayed? And pulled the trigger. With ears ringing, I skedaddled from that hen house, leaving the snake with a hole the size of Dallas through its middle to slither off and die on its own. It didn’t make it very far. I had to scoop it out of the doorway later.

Nevertheless, the triumph I felt at overcoming my fear was quite a heady feeling. Makes you feel like you can conquer anything. Makes you wonder why you were ever scared in the first place. I know I couldn’t have done it without God’s help. He truly can and will help you do anything through His strength.

Have you ever felt that conquering thrill? Have you had to face a fear? How did you overcome?

Today I’m offering a copy of Win, Love, or Draw (winner’s choice of paperback or kindle) to one commenter who’s brave enough to share one of their fears or their experience of overcoming.

Happy Trails!


CLBarnes_avatarAn award-winning author, Crystal L Barnes is a born-n-raised Texan and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She has a degree in Computing Science because she loves putting things into their proper place, and she enjoys writing because she gets to share her love of old-fashioned things and the Lord. You can connect with Crystal at her website, on her blog, her Amazon Author page, GoodreadsPinterestGoogle+, or on her Facebook author page. Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.






Win, Love, or Draw Blurb:

Catherine McGarrett is a strong woman. Life in Texas demands such. For five years, she has built a growing horse ranch while praying for the return of the one man who stole her heart and shattered it in a million pieces when he left.

Now he’s back.

Samuel McGarrett rides into Cater Springs, Texas toting two six-shooters and too many scars. The trouble and pain from the past erupts around the couple. And not just in their marriage.

Can Sam win Catherine’s trust? Will their love survive? Or will his final draw be his last?