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Monday, June 18, 2012


Did you know archery is one of the hottest sports for both boys and girls, thanks to The Hunger Games? Today’s craft project is about making your own bow and arrows.

Award-winning mystery author Sandra Tooley is the creator of the Sam Casey Series and the Chase Dagger Series (written as Lee Driver.) Her Sam Casey Series features a Native American detective with the unique ability to hear the dead speak. Think Medium with a Native American twist. Her Chase Dagger Series includes a shapeshifting young Native American woman. Critics call it MacGuyver meets Dark Angel.

Sandra’s current release is Destiny Kills, the 6th book in the Sam Casey series. Learn more about Sandra and her books at her website. Sandra is offering either a print or e-version of Destiny Kills or any one of her other books to one of our readers who posts a comment. Descriptions and sample chapters can be found on her website. -- AP
When I started writing my cross-genre mysteries, it seemed natural for me to include Native American characters.  I’m not Native American but have always had an interest in their history and culture.

Articles in Indian Country Today newspaper were extremely helpful when writing Echoes From the Grave, the fourth in my Sam Casey series.  The killer is using a bow and arrow as the weapon of choice.  The police interview the director at a Native American cultural center in an attempt to discover suspects who might use this method.  The director explains how their ancestors used to make a bow and arrow.

The feathers at the end of the shaft are called fletchings, which are the flight feathers from a hawk.  Oftentimes these feathers are dyed.  Hoof glue and sinew are used to hold the flint in place.  (Flint is used for the arrowhead.)  What takes the most time is the whittling of the wood for the bow.  Deadwood is the best and oak, elm and hickory are just some of the wood that can be used.

The director explains that alternative methods are used today when teaching children in a craft class.  Instead of real feathers, artificial are used.  Instead of flint or stone, plastic arrowheads are incorporated.  And in place of animal tendons for reinforcement, they use nylon string.  Green wood is the easiest to work with because it is more flexible.  Notches are carved at each end of the stick which is where the nylon cord is tied to make the bow.

Three-foot long dry sticks, about one-half inch in diameter, are used as arrows.  (Dowels purchased in a local hardware or craft store work even better.) If you are using sticks, scrape off the bark until the wood is smooth.  The stick can either be whittled to a point or plastic arrowheads can be tied or taped on.  On the opposite end of the stick, a notch should be made.  This is where the arrow will rest against the nylon cord.  Decorative feathers are either glued or wrapped with nylon cord at the end to hold them in place.

These arrows can be made safe by gluing an eraser head onto the tip.

Thanks for joining us today, Sandra! Readers, if you’d like to enter the drawing for a chance to win one of Sandra’s books, leave a comment. And don’t forget to check back on Sunday to see if you’re the winner. -- AP


Misty Dietz said...

Hi Sandra! I'm also very interested in the diverse Native American culture. I went to your website and read the Destiny Kills excerpt...loved it! Very compelling! Best wishes on much success! :)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hey, Sandra, waving wildly. Been a long time since I've seen you anywhere, but have always been a fan of your books. I once took archery in school and wasn't bad at hitting a still target--I'm sure I could never have a hit moving one.

Marguerite Hall said...

I'm pretty good with a recurve bow, but never dreamed of trying to make my own. Love the post though, very thought provoking :)

petite said...

An interesting and intriguing post which captured my interest. Best wishes and your books sound unique and special.

Mary Welk said...

I love archery and spent a lot of time on target practice back in my high school days. Haven't lifted a bow in at least five years, and that was at my brother's place in S.C. He worked for a bow maker and has several lovely ones. I read Destiny Kills and loved it. I've enjoyed all your books, Sandy, so no need to put my name in the draw. Just wanted to say hello and keep writing fabulous mysteries!

traveler said...

Archery was available in summer camp so I availed myself of this sport. Great post.

Peggy Burdick (on DorothyL) said...

Your books sound like my kind of mystery. I'm interested in all things Native American and I was a pretty good archer in college. Look forward to reading your series.

SandyT said...

Hi to all. I'm glad you were able to learn something from my post. Marilyn, I don't think I have seen you since Bouchercon Chicago (or was it Madison?). I took archery in school but it took weeks for the inside of my arm to heal. Mary, I wondered why you gave me that shirt with the bullseye on the back. Good luck to all in the drawing. Be sure to read the book descriptions and reviews on my web site before deciding which book you'd like. Again, thanks to all.

Unknown said...

Very interesting, both the book concept and the arrow making. We watched the movie Hanna the other night. I haven't yet seen The Hunger Games (loved the first two books), and when Hannah came on I thought I was watching Katniss! Archery is a great sport - haven't shot in many years but I loved it as a teenager. Thanks for the reminder!

Unknown said...

Oh boy - need more coffee. See I spelled Hanna(h) two different ways. Mst profeed bettur. Sorry.

Irene said...

Made me want to go out and shoot something...now, this is good because I haven't used a bow since high school.

Very interesting post. I'm sure the book is, too!

SandyT said...

Is archery still an Olympic sport? Anyone know? (My apologies if this is a duplicate post. Google keeps claiming they don't know me)