You heard about it here eighteen months ago when the project first started, now it’s done. I am pleased at long last to announce the release of Throwing Lead: A Writer’s Guide to Firearms (and the People Who Use Them).

Here’s the back-of-book copy:
While they may be an indispensable tool of drama, firearms aren’t something you see everyday in real life. If you write fiction, you have to know about them–but what if you don’t have any formal training, or a job that brings you into regular contact with firearms?

Sure, you could watch a lot of CSI, but as you’ll quickly discover upon cracking open this volume, you can’t trust everything you see on TV.

Entertaining and humorous in style, Throwing Lead shows you the gestalt of guns, showing you the history of small arms in one readable, accessible, graphics-rich and easy-to-reference volume. Packed full of revealing research shortcuts to help you find accurate information on your book’s period and culture, and cut through the jargon to get you the information you need with a minimum of fuss, it’ll leave you chuckling and get your creative juices flowing with tips on underexploited plot devices and hidden opportunities for comedy and drama that firearms present, but that authors often miss.

This unique tour of the history, technology, and cultural development of firearms, examines how they’ve shaped our language and idiom, influenced manufacturing technology, and created warrior cultures in different professions. More than just a “how to write about it” manual or a technical glossary, this rigorously non-political guide reveals the common myths about firearms foisted upon us by filmmakers while using those mistakes as springboards for deeper discussion.

Topics covered include:
Safety practices
Long guns
Concealed carry
Ballistics and Forensics
The visceral experience of shooting a gun
Home defense
Police tactics and psychology
Criminal cultures
Snipers and spies
Gunfighters and PTSD
Ammunition construction and the handloading culture
Situational awareness and threat assessment
Science Fiction weaponry
Space combat
Historical weaponry
Urban warfare
Weapons maintenance
Gun handling training drills
Gunshot wounds and medical science
Stupid criminal tricks
Crazy movie gun tricks that sometimes work in real life
Selecting the gun that best fits your character
And much, much more…

Buy it now for your Kindle, Nook, or grab it in all formats from Smashwords.


  1. Pingback: Writing Tips: Guns, Bullets And Shooting With J. Daniel Sawyer | The Creative Penn

  2. Oh I got quite excited when I saw the post at Creative Penn today and hurried to download both the Science Fiction Weaponry and the Writer’s guide to Firearms (yes, I know it says that the chapter from SF weaponry appears in the other, but I’m not taking any chances).
    I have spent a lot of time away from writing researching and deciding between sonic weaponry and lasers etc, and have skillfully avoided any close details in my stories so far, in case someone pulls me up on the details!
    And now to top it off my son who studies physics just told my the orbits of my solar system doesn’t quite work as I wanted, but thats another book, hey?
    Keep up the good work, cheers

  3. Susy–

    Thank you very much! I hope they serve you well. I’m all there with you on the solar system issue–I think if it wasn’t for the online simulators the orbits in my Antithesis Progression would be even wonkier than they already are! And yeah, if I ever discover some good cheats for working those out in alien solar systems, I will definitely write them up 🙂

    Thanks for coming around, feel free to stop in anytime.

  4. I grew up around guns. My Dad was an avid hunter and skilled gunsmith. I lived in a rural area of Middle Georgia where guns were just another part of life. I scored one of the best scores seen in my county on my gun safety test as a youth. And I spent 4 years in the USAF.

    It is hard to describe how very “spot on” this book is. And how entertaining it is without sacrificing the factual information it promised to convey (and delivers).

    I’ve interviewed Dan Sawyer (twice), listened to his podcast fiction, and read some of his other stuff. I’d call him a “genius” but it doesn’t quite relay the picture properly. “A true renaissance man for the new millennium” might do … but I’m still working on it.

    Kudos to you and Mary for this and I look forward to the next book. A favorable Amazon review is forthcoming. 🙂

    (If I pay double the cover price and sign an air tight non-disclosure agreement, can I be a beta reader?) 😉

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