‘Raiding Prehistoric’ is now… finished.

Gonna let it marinate for a week, then re-read it and see if any changes are needed…. but yep. Done. Just emailed it out to a few readers for some feedback.

340 days to complete this one.

Not bad, I suppose. But certainly not the 2 books in one year I was hoping to crank out.

Alas, as long as they are good – I’ll survive at one book a year. I’d hate to write fast garbage.

West of Prehistoric Review!

Thanks to Mike Finn’s Fiction for this review. It’s awesome.


‘West Of Prehistoric’ is an entertaining, action-packed ride that manages to twist the Weird West tropes into some new and intriguing shapes.

Even though this is a book where we have dinosaurs and vicious Neanderthal warriors roaming around in Wyoming in 1888, Erik Testerman manages to make the book feel like an authentic alternative history. He achieves this partly through the character of Jedidiah Smith who is very much a man of his times and proud of it and partly by making the book a portal fantasy. The first half of the book sets up the conflict that’s to come and establishes Jedidiah’s personality and motivations. Jed is a man with a violent past. His childhood came to a traumatic end when he was tortured by a rogue carpetbagging Union officer at the end of the war between the States and who ended up fighting in western wars and running with an outlaw gang. He’s a solitary sort of man, who follows his own code, lust after fine guns and thinks that nothing is more attractive than a fine woman with a rifle in her hands. Jed is starting to succeed in his plan to put his past behind him and make an honest living as a rancher when a dinosaur turns up on his land and tries to eat his horses.

Yeah, I know. I was thinking ‘How likely is that?‘ but every time I responded to what I learned about the dinosaurs by saying, ‘Nah, that couldn’t happen because…’ Erik Testerman provided a plausible explanation that let me move on happily. The big thing here is that ‘West Of Prehistoric’ is a Portal Fantasy, not a ‘Lost World’ scenario. The dinosaurs and Neanderthals aren’t our dinosaurs and Neanderthals, they’re from the other side a portal to a different world. This gives the story a different scope. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed about it is that, unlike our Neandertals who are often characterised as going extinct because homo sapiens were more aggressive and made better tools, these Neanderthals are very aggressive and scarily efficient. 

This is an action-packed book, where the danger and the violence start with Jed having to find a way to kill a huge dinosaur that’s trying to kill him and escalates from to skirmishes with armed groups and then a full set-piece battle with the townsfolk, some celebrity visitors and a small group of soldiers making a stand against a Neanderthal army, some of whom are mounted on dinosaurs. The battle scenes are vivid and the Neanderthals are truly scary, even when faced with the highest tech weaponry that the late Nineteenth Century could provide.

Jed loves guns and the book has plenty of them. I liked that when Jed describes a repeater rifle or a colt handgun or a Gatling gun, they come across as powerful, modern weapons rather than as antiques with less firepower than the average twenty-first-century active shooter.

The humour in the book improved my enjoyment of it. It stopped it from being too earnest or too depressing. It also prevented situations from being clichéd. Jed’s views are conservative (for an ex-criminal and revenge killer) and he is the man telling the tale, but the people around, who are often larger-than-life examples of Wild West characters, tend to smile at his determined politeness, his formality around women and his instincts towards valour in the face of danger.

At its heart, this book is an adventure, filled with danger and courage and conflict. It’s always clear who the bad guys are and how they should be dealt with . The good guys aren’t saints but they’re trying to do the right thing and they’re brave enough to fight to keep as many people alive as possible. The fights and battles feel real. There’s lots of blood and lots of death but none of it is gratuitous.

I had a good time with ‘West Of Prehistoric’. If you want to escape to an alternative West and see what happens when cowboys (and Indians) have to fight dinosaur-riding, blood-thirsty Neanderthals, try ‘West Of Prehistoric’. If you like it, there are two more books in the series.

This is a good song…

And part of it was filmed at the lowest point on Earth.


Oh yes, writing…

It continues at a rabid pace to get ‘er done by the end of the year.

And after some reflection, Book Four’s name will be ‘Raiding Prehistoric’. As soon as I get a chance to work out the back cover blurb, I’ll get it posted on here. But it’s going to be something short and poignant like,

Coexistence was never an option.

For Jedidiah Huckleberry Smith, it’s time to kill them all.


Stolen Post – “What lever gun for T-Rex?”

You’re hiking up a trail on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. Rounding a bend in the trail you hear some loud squeaking/squawking sounds coming from what appears to be a very large nest of white leathery eggs.

Curiosity draws you in when suddenly, the egg lay-er comes running into view.

Over your shoulder is a Lever gun on a simple handy sling.

Which Lever gun is it and what caliber/cartridge and ammo is it loaded with?

There seems to be a growing interest in ”What if I encounter a T-Rex”??

For me, I’ll be packing a Remington made 16” TRAPPER with the factory installed Skinner Sights or…. Mayyyyybe the New Marlin (made by Ruger) TRAPPER which is also wearing the “machined from solid stainless steel barstock, rugged as the rifle itself, sleek and aesthetically pleasing” Skinner TRAPPER and cut from billet BEAR BUSTER front sight. These new Marlins run amazingly smooth and are perhaps more consistently accurate than their predecessors. Mine is a MOA or sub MOA gun with almost all types of ammunition.

Why the Remington as a first choice?? Why not one of my several JM 45-70’s and why a hesitancy on the new Ruger built gun???

We all know the limitations of JM Marlins…. JM stands for ”Just Mammals” which clearly, by definition” puts the New Haven guns out of play.

Rugers proof mark is supposed to be a RP but the P looks backwards so I’m not exactly sure of the intended use.

The Remingtons were marked REP which we all know did stand for “REPtiles” making it the obvious choice.

Three questions now for you….

A. Which rifle and why?

B. Kill zones…. Where are the vitals on a Tyrannosaurus???

C. Taxidermist? Life size? Shoulder Mount? Rug? Or European???

#skinnersights #skinneroptics #skinnersewing #Ruger #Marlin #4570 #dinosaur #trex #phoenixzoo #buffaloboreammo #buffalobore

(This was forwarded to me by a friend, so I’m not sure of who created it – but I approve of the notion of being prepared against all enemies… foreign, domestic, and dinosaur.)

For me, I think the answer is clear.

A. Pedersoli Model 1886 in .45-70. (Because it’s the largest caliber lever gun I own!)

B. When in doubt, shoot for the face – repeatedly.

C. European skull mount, in my living room, with a nice leather chair set between the open jaws.

Today – I turn 40.

I suppose this is something of a self-reflecting post.

I remember listening to Tim Mcgraw’s ‘My Next 30 Years’ when I was in my early 20’s and thinking that 30 was so far away. But here I am at 40.

And I guess there’s a few things I’d like to say. In no particular order except as it flows from my brain to yours…

First, I’m thankful for my parents. They worked hard, suffered greatly because of me, and spent more than a bunch of nights worrying and praying over me. I am where I am now because I had their support always, from the police station, to bad relationships, to my post-concussive syndrome that nearly destroyed my career, marriage, family, and almost led to me taking my own life. They set the bar for me as a parent now, to always be there for the kids, with guidance and help and the occasional sigh and shake of the head. They never stopped loving me.

Second, my friends over the years. From the best friend I had growing up, who is now in prison for horrific crimes and needs to be hanged, to the core group through my early college years that I still keep in touch with, to those who’ve come and gone over the years. You’ve all influenced me in some way. Some of you were certainly better than others, and thankfully some of you are still around. I ran into one of you a couple weeks ago, who I hadn’t seen in 13 years, and it was amazing to see how much our friendship still meant to both of us, and how far I’d come since those early arrogant days of mine. (I thought it was confidence…)

Third, my old flames. Sup, ex-ladies? Most of you were terrible. All of you were forgettable or regrettable in some way or fashion. But one of you led me to Christ through your constant positive influence through all of my toxicity. For that I will always and eternally be grateful. You, and you alone, are cool. And I know we’ll always be in each others corners rooting for each other as we make our way through this fallen world with our own separate families.

Fourth, my wife. You are the light of my life. You are my best friend, my confidant, my better half, and often my own personal Jimminy Cricket telling me to delete stuff I post on social media. I wish we’d met each other many, many, many years prior. But to be honest, neither of us was ready for each other then. We had to grow, change, develop, and learn to be better and healthy people first. But ever since my Sophomore year of High School, when I spotted this hot Senior chick in a yearbook photo eating caviar in French Class- I never would have suspected I’d marry her a decade later and we’d have a family together. SCORE!

Fifth, my kids. Geez, you guys drive me bonkers sometimes. A lot of times. Parenting is not for the weak of heart. But it’s absolutely worth it. Watching you grow is the greatest pleasure of my life. I know I don’t always get it right, and I know I’ve had to apologize more than once to you for getting it wrong, but I’m going to keep trying. You’re worth every bit of the struggle to maintain my sanity and finances.

Sixth, my siblings. My sister used to beat me up and cheat at board games. My little brother used to mock me for living at home and struggling to graduate college. You guys are ok, I guess.

Seventh, the glorious Marine Corps. Holy smokes. Did I ever need you in my life. You gave me the missing pieces of myself. Honor. Discipline. Courage. And the desire to improve myself through hard work and misery. You gave me everything I wanted and needed except multiple deployments to put my killer instincts to the test on the battlefield. But because of those six miserable yet wonderful years, I developed into a man and took command of my life and the direction it went. I went from an arrogant man-child to a confident man-man. Thank you.

Eight, my Lord and Savior. I don’t have the words. But I am yours and you are mine, eternally. I humbly crave the day where I step into your presence, to stay forever.

Anyways, I’m certain I’m forgetting so so so much to be thankful for and reflect on. But I’ve today off and need to get an oil change and write about 10,000 words while the kids are in school.

But I’m very thankful for you, my readers. I never thought in a million years that my books would do as well as they are. And it’s always humbling to see someone be entertained by something that came from my twisted brain to paper. You are, however, the reason for many long and stressful nights as I try to get words out. But you’re totally worth it! As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. And maybe one day, I’ll get to do this for a living. Then I could REALLY churn out the books!

Thanks everyone.

Here’s to going over the hill!

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