A Few Random and Unpopular Opinions.

First – “Your allegiance should be to the Constitution, not to a person, President, or political party.”

I love Trump, he tickles me. He’s one of the greatest Presidents we’ve ever had. He deserves his place on Mount Rushmore.

But he sucks sometimes too. Especially when it comes to his waffling back and forth on firearms. If he wants to see his almost guaranteed 2020 win evaporate, he needs to allow an Assault Weapons Ban to go through. He’s already ticked us all off over the Bump-Stock ban.

I’m also a Republican, well, really a Libertarian, but I know a losing side when I see one and prefer to work within the system rather than sit outside the gate kicking my boots against it hopelessly. But the Republicans really suck sometimes.

(Also – That is not my quote. I can’t recall where I read it, if you know who said it, please let me know so I can give credit.)

Second – I think Greenland would be a pretty sweet buy. Vast, open spaces, low population density, huge and untapped resources, and access to the arctic that would make Russia jealous. It may take some time to sway the Greenlandies to our side, but once they reach our obesity levels… we can trust them.

Besides, why would the Danes still want it?

According to Climate Change specialists it’s going to melt into the sea in the next dozen years. So we’re looking at diminishing returns here on our investment. The Art of the Deal man should be able to use this to his advantage.

Speaking of climate change activists, why did the Obamas just buy a mansion at Martha’s Vineyard that is dang near sea level?

Won’t it be under water shortly?

Rhetorical question, because they don’t believe in it anymore than I do, they just see the POWER that comes from using FEAR to gain political advantages and force economic changes that benefit them and their goals for America.

Third – I’m not that big a fan of Chic-Fil-A. I like that they’re a Christian company who non-apologetically sticks to their guns, and I’ll support that by eating their food… but really… other than the lemonade and chicken nuggets.. not a big fan. And for the love of all that’s good, please stop putting pickles on my chicken sandwiches and put some mayo on it instead.

(I do hear their frosted lemonade is the bomb-diggity though.)

 

Book Update.

Let’s see. When it comes to Publishing Houses, I’m doing well. Several have shown  strong interest so far, plus the one offered contract. When it comes to Publishing Agents, I’m at 22 rejections. So, all in all, pretty good. 22 is still a pretty low number of rejections, and considering how genre-blending this book is, it’s going to be a hard sell. Folks keep telling me how it’s unlike anything they’ve ever read, which is awesome, but that also makes it more difficult to interest agents and publishers. But the interest is good enough that I’m confident it’ll sell.

For the sequel, I passed the 60k word mark over the weekend. That’s half-way to my goal. For my first sequel and second book ever, it’s considerably easier than the first now that I’ve climbed the learning curve and most of the world building/characters/villains etc have been built and established.

If you’re curious as to what I’m talking about. Here’s the first 15% of the book, if you like it, I’ll send you a copy for the sake of feedback.

West of Prehistoric

First Publishing Contract Offered!

I was offered my first contract last week. YAYYY! Then I turned it down because I didn’t feel like it’d be a good fit… NOOOO!

So, that kind of sucks.

But my ego is happily boosted.

It was a hard choice, after all I’ve been querying publishers and agents for a couple months now and finally got a hit. But I’m also confident that it was the correct choice.

As for an update on the sequel…. Things are going well. Extremely well. Except I accidentally erased about a weeks worth of writing last weekend. That was a terrible moment of realization… Luckily, I periodically email myself a back up copy and had done that recently. Once I dusted that file off, I realized I only lost a couple days worth of writing. (So always make sure to backup your writing folks.)

I’d guess I’m about half way finished. There’s a lot more to flesh out, then the 60-70 or whatever complete edits to make my sentences not suck. I’m telling ya, I can write the daylights out of action scenes, but dialogue and description? Ugh. That’s like doing chores, necessary but not fun.

I know all those edits sounds like a lot. And I know that Heinlein’s Rules for Writers says that you must refrain from editing, except to editorial order… but he hasn’t read my rough drafts. And really, I consider it more of a refiners pass to make it better. Why should I stop at mediocre writing? I’d rather do the hard time and make it my best possible work.

As an aside, I did kill my little brother off in one of the more pivotal chapters of the books… because red shirting people you know is fun. (That’s a Star Trek reference, all the main crew wear different colors, but all the extras who get killed off are wearing red shirts.)

Amateur Hour: Or why I know my writing won’t suck.

(Other than the fact that Beta Reader feedback has been fantastic!)

I  use Scribophile, which is a great resource for writers. It’s a place where you can upload your work in process, and read/critique others writing. It also has a pretty active web forum.

And while I don’t post a lot on the forum, I’ve posted enough opinionated stuff to realize that I seem to grasp the concept of writing and success better than most. My egotistical view point has been enforced by other’s reactions and compliments.

So, for the sake of future posterity, I decided to compile my amateur hour writer insights that I’ve posted to the corresponding Thread Topics. (I edited my original responses slightly for a little more clarification.)

***

“How do You Approach Diversity in Writing?” –

My Response:

‘Diversity’?

Snort.

How many LGBTQ Orc’s were included in Lord of the Rings? How many disabled elves? How many different colors of humans were there? How many feminist Hobbits? How many low-income Dwarves?  How many pansexual Great Eagles? How many Islamic/Hindu/Buddhist Wizards were running around casting Magic Missile?

(Okay, there was that one orc bad guy in the Hobbit trilogy with the stick hand.)

But I write to entertain.

If I want a black quasi-villain, I’ll include one. (I did.) If I want a transgendered school teacher, I’ll include one. (I didn’t.) If  I want my Main Character to be a toxic-masculinity filled, cis-gendered badass, I’ll make him so. (I did.)

Personally, I will not step out of bounds to grab some sort of shoe-box cookie-cutter ‘diversity’ character to appease some whiny group of potential readers.

If you want too, by all means – go for it. But you gotta make it work. Readers will realize if you are throwing pointless characteristics into your writing to put a check in a stupid box on a stupid list.

 

***

“When People Find Out You Are a Writer.” – (This was irritating. The starter of the thread was whining about peoples reactions to finding out they were a writer.)

Original Post:

I’d like to think that I’m not the only one who deal with this:

You’re just having a regular chat (whether it be on social media or even in the break room at work), and the conversation moves towards something like “What are you up to?” or “What’s that you’re writing?” (if you carry a notebook), and you explain to the person that you’re working on a story/novel.

*GASP* “”You’re a writer? I’d love to read your book!”

“Well, it’s not finished. It’s not like I’m published or anything. Like, I’ve only got a few chapters, right now, and–”

“You’ve gotta finish it so I can read it!”

These are real conversations that I have with people, fairly often, and personally, as much as it is flattering that someone wants to appreciate my work, I also don’t like these conversations. I didn’t offer to let you read my work, I told you that it’s not done, and trying to push me to finish it actually makes me not want to do it. Pushing turns something enjoyable into a chore.

Here’s a conversation that I had last night with someone that I’ve literally never even met, after mentioning that I was working on my Mech story, Code Name: GLITCH

“Ohhhh damn I wanna read it”

“I only have three chapters of the first book done so far.”

“well is there any close to being done”

“Lifeblood I technically finished, but I decided to revise it. So, not really. The closest to being actually done is Occultus Draconem which only has about 14 chapters right now. The original draft of Lifeblood is about 36 chapters, I think.”

“Damn finish it woman”

“I’ll finish it when I finish it. I’m not even working on those stories right now.”

“Damn I want a complete book. I want some new reading material.”

Am I in the wrong for being annoyed by this? I’m not annoyed that someone wants to read my writing, I’m annoyed by the pushing (also, by calling me “woman,” but that’s another story).

Also, in response to his desire for “a complete book” and “new reading material,” I sent him a photo of the storefront of Barnes and Noble.

He called me a jerk.

 

My response: (Keep in mind that this was after multiple pages of people whining about the same thing.)

 

I’m seeing a re-occurring theme through this thread.

Being an ungrateful dick to someone genuinely interested in your work-in-process is about as stupid as sticking your actual genitals in an electrical outlet.

That’s called being an ass. And it won’t help you become a published/paid/successful/REAL author.

I recommend showing some humility and gratefulness.

For the record, I don’t have much humility. But that’s because I have charm, wit, and sheer-willpower.

 

(Of course, after stating something so obvious, I got pulled further into the conversation. As an aside, at one point, the Original Poster mentioned that they had one ‘finished’ book they would offer people for $21. And of course, folks would pass… as they should. Because CAPITALISM!)

My second response:

 

Sigh..

I really DON’T want to get sucked into this – but here I go again..

Look. If someone wants to read your finished and unpublished work, you should let them. And you sure as hell shouldn’t charge them. $21 for an unpublished story? Really?!?

Forget that.

Send them a word file or print it out on your home computer to pass around.

Since you are unpublished, and thus un-established, its ridiculous to turn away potential readers. You are destroying word-of-mouth possibilities while you screw around with another story and waiting/hoping for your big break from some publishing house who will do all the advertising and promotional work for you to make you a success.

Screw that.

Promote yourself. Be honest with them. Tell people you are trying to get published and in the meantime you’d love for them to read your work, AND ASK FOR FEEDBACK. Make them feel like part of the process. That invests them in your work and you.

Someone on here said everyone wants to know a famous author. The next best thing is to be INVOLVED with a story(in case you become famous). People involved are more likely to tell their friends about you which will lead to more sales when it IS published.

Interaction with your fan base is priceless.

(Certainly worth way more than the occasional $21 you McScrooge off of them.)

So stop screwing it up by treating them as though they are an obnoxious burden upon your intellect and ‘art’.

You have to remember, to the average person out there, unpublished means ‘incomplete/unproven/unedited/unfinished/whatever’. Of course no one wants to pay money for a ‘rough cut’.

And all of this only applies if your writing is good and in a genre they like.

If your writing is garbage – Then it will be a good thing you are passing it around for free to get feedback. Hopefully someone will be brutally honest with you and tell you what sucks.

Also, in response to his desire for “a complete book” and “new reading material,” I sent him a photo of the storefront of Barnes and Noble.

He called me a jerk.

That’s because you’re being one.

Seriously. If you don’t have anything finished, then suggest something you like or something that is similar to your writing style. Stay engaged. Keep them up to date. Whatever.

But judging by your posts, you are on your way to having more people out there who WON’T read your work than WILL. All because of the way you miserably interact with them.

Anyways. You should all stop being asses. Or you’ll find the road to success much more difficult than need be.

 

And then the Original Poster replied with how she doesn’t want to be published, how she doesn’t want to sell books, how she doesn’t want to write for others, just for herself. And I was being rude… -eye roll-

So, contradictions aside, they are wasting thousands of hours writing, then whining when people want to read it, then whining they won’t pay an exorbitant price for their unfinished work. At one point I tried telling them the basics of business, because the $21 he wanted for his work was for a printed hardback. HARDBACK! The most expensive sort of printed books out there. Print bulk, print cheap, print quality. Balance those for success. That means mass published paperbacks, or e-books, which cost pretty much nothing. But printing the occasional single hardback book… is ridiculous and expensive.

***

“How Do Authors Hook Readers?”

My Response:

My ultimate goal is for the My Name to be the reader hook.

Kind of like how people buy Stephen King’s stuff because of his name. Personally I think he sucks. Yup, I said it. A common theme of his is writing 4/5ths of a book, gets bored/lazy/whatever, and oh-look! IT WAS ALIENS THE ENTIRE TIME! Maybe it was the mountains of cocaine he snorted that destroyed his ability to finish a book, I dunno. But stay away from drugs kiddos, or you’ll turn out super weird like this guy.

 

***

“Overcoming The Resistance To Writing” –

My Response:

A really good book I recommend is called ‘Do The Work’ by Stephen Pressfield.

It’s all about overcoming resistance to achieve your goals. The biggest force of resistance being yourself and your insecurities. And he wrote the ‘Gates of Fire’ about the Spartans and the Battle of Thermopylae, which is one of the finest books I’ve ever read. I’ve read it at least six times now. I have to keep buying new copies because everyone borrows mine and doesn’t give them back.

But ultimately:

If you want writing to become your job, you’ve got to treat it like a job. Butt in seat, fingers on keyboard, brain as engaged as possible. If you can’t force yourself to do that, even when you don’t want to, you’ll never make it.

Be disciplined.

I work out. Every morning I am at the gym by 5:30am to pick heavy things up and put them back down over and over and over. That’s discipline. I don’t know how many people I’ve seen come in once in a while, or in spurts of a week, month, year, then fade away and lose their gains because they can’t keep it up. The typical “Join In January, Quit in February’ people.

There’s a reason I can bench 325 and they are struggling to get a baby bump for a bicep.

It’s also why I’ve had friends run a cycle of steroids, fluff up with quick-gained muscle, then go back to being a scrawny wimp two months later when their testosterone burns out and they lose motivation.

Because there are no short cuts to success. You have to keep pounding away at it. Relentlessly. You have to make hard choices now so you can enjoy the results later.

Same thing as writing. It takes relentless focus and determination and discipline.

Life is full of resistance. You have to fight against it, or it will drown you.

If you don’t have the time to write, do something. Anything. But WORK. Research, develop your characters, build your world, skip a boring chapter and go to something that excites you. I recommend action-shooting-pew-pew scenes, because those are fun for me.

But accomplish something.

If you can’t inch towards the finish line every chance you get, you will never cross it.

Beat that keyboard like it owes you money.

 

***

“Is it Sexist to Only Have One Female Character?”

My Response:

Nope.

But someone will take offense. Someone ALWAYS takes offense.

If you  published a blank book, someone would be offended that you used white paper.

 

***

Action Scenes. – “How do you handle action scenes? How do you keep things moving while keeping it from being too confusing?”

My Response:

Remember that reading action is not the same as watching action in a movie.

When you read something implausible, your brain stops and thinks about it. You pause the ride. This is the WORST thing that can happen for both writers and readers.

“Wait a minute, that guy couldn’t do that because he’s laying on his back and it’s an impossible angle and he’s wounded and the bad guy has a Hello Kitty baseball bat with nails sticking out of it and…”

When you are watching a movie and something ridiculous or impossible happens, you don’t think about it because the ride continues and you are immediately distracted by the next shiny thing.

“Wait a minute, that guy just – HOLY CRAP! BIG EXPLOSION! NOOO!!! AHHHH! YEH BOY! GET SOME!”

 

***

Wrapping this up – This is just some ramblings of an amateur wanna-be author, whose writing doesn’t suck and intends to be successful.

 

EDIT – I found this in the unpublished draft bin of my blog. I wrote it a year ago. Not sure why it I never published. But meh, here ya go.

Help-help!

This is where I ask for your help.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the first five excerpts, and would like to be contacted when West of Prehistoric becomes published, please use the Contact Me page(click here) and send me your name and email to be added to my email list.

Here’s why – The goal of publishers is to sell books and they are leery of first time authors because we don’t have a reader base yet. It’s a financial risk.  But, when I can brag about having x,xxx number of people on an email list, who can be contacted once the book is published – it helps ease their fears that taking me on will be a losing proposition. Because I’m bringing more than a manuscript to the table, I’m bringing readers.

And readers equal dollars.

Now – I do promise to only contact you in regards to this book or follow up books. I won’t sell or give your email to anyone, because that’s a dick move and I hate spammers with a passion. (There’s a special place reserved in hell for them and people who talk on cell phones in movie theaters.)

So if you liked what I’ve written, want to read the rest, and want to support me as a first time author – get on my email list. 🙂

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Part FIVE!

FalPicWOP

The previous story portions:

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew!

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew-Part Tew!

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew-Part Three!

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew-Part FOUR!

The saga of blazing guns, ferocious dinosaurs, and hairy barbaric savagery continues with Part FIVE.

(Honestly, at this rate, I’m going to post the entire book online before I get published. But that’s what happens when you write something, you want to share it.)

Here. We. Go.

***

A pair of apes on trikes caught the corner of my eye as they splashed through the river into the canyon.

I turned the telescope on them. Large birds, identical to the ones chased earlier by the big-headed dinosaur, were draped across the backs of the mounts. Brown feathered bodies bounced with the heavy steps of the trike until they stopped before the caves. Leaping down, apes untied the birds and effortlessly hoisted them across their shoulders. Carrying the corpses, they moved along the base of the cliff towards a small stand of trees.

A distant chirping drifted to me, intensifying as the apes entered the trees with their load. Peering through the gaps of leaves and branches, I could make out an outcropping of rock jutting from the canyon wall, creating a natural overhang. Beneath it was a large cage woven from thick branches that reached from the ground to the bottom of the bulge, with a gate near the center. Small black claws reached through the woven gaps, grabbing and shaking the cage as the things inside tried to get out.

One of the apes leaned a makeshift ladder against the fence and climbed to the top of the overhang, carefully avoiding the grasping claws. He opened a portion of the fence as the other passed the dead birds up. The chirps hit a feverish pitch as the bird’s bodies were shoved through.

Apparently, trikes weren’t the only tamed creatures in the canyon.

I watched the apes feeding the unknown animals for a few moments longer before deciding I’d seen enough. I needed to get back to town and let the Sheriff know, and figure out just what in the hell we were going to do about the tunnel.

I began to push back away from the edge, then stopped as an odd thumping noise reached my ears. Unnoticed, a pair of apes had moved beside the large slab of obsidian rock and were beating their chests with a fist. Others noticed and stood, copying the motion while facing the rock formation, adding to the dull thudding. Within moments the entire canyon was reverberating with the rhythmic pounding as it spread through all the apes.

The two that started the beating, stopped abruptly followed by the rest.

All the apes began moving to the strange rock formation. The ones wrestling threw tanned skins over their nakedness, while others stacked spears and lay down bows, and the apes cooking pulled meat away from the fire.

More of the apes poured from the caves in a steady stream. There was well over two hundred of them now standing around the circle of stone. But none of them stood inside the towering slabs of granite, leaving the area around the raised rock platform clear. I watched them through the telescope, in awe at the sheer number of them. Far more than I would have expected, and more were coming from the cave still.

A giant black-haired ape stepped from one of the cave entrances. Sensing something different about this one, I turned my glass on him.

He stood a head taller than the scattering of apes that hurried around him. The right side of his face was hideously scarred. The wound ran from chin to temple and twisted the side of his face into a grimace that exposed a large canine in a half snarl. He wore a simple waist belt and loincloth with a black handled knife tucked into a sheath. As he stepped forward, apes quickly parted before him.

Reaching the stone platform below the altar, he motioned towards the caves.

I swore viciously as a pair of apes stepped out with an Indian held tightly between them. The apes began hooting and calling in deep, rough voices. No doubt calling out insults to the captive.

The man’s chest was bloodied. His long black hair stringy and hanging over his face. He was naked, but he still had fight in him. Kicking and struggling he tried to pull away, and one of his guards slugged him in the stomach with a large fist. He convulsed and legs pulled up as he tried to double over against their grips. Vomit dribbled from his mouth. The apes dragged him through the crowd. Surrounding apes slapped and punched him about the head and body as he passed by.

The sound of their jeering joy and laughter at the man’s torment drifted to me. His feet dragged as he was hauled limply up the stone platform. I felt my face flush hot in anger.

Then I watched, horrified, as the guards dumped him on top of the obsidian slab. The crowd’s hooting grew louder as he thrashed weakly against the two stronger apes. With an almost dispassionate interest, they stretched his arms apart and lashed him down horizontally to the rock with leather cords. Their task finished, the guards stepped off the stone platform and disappeared into the crowd.

The black scarred ape stepped before the Indian captive.

A guttural chant began, followed by single clenched fists once again beating in unison. I felt it within my chest, as my heart seemed to pound in rhythm.

Sweat dripped from my brow, and the glass fogged. Quickly, I wiped the eye piece clear and looked back through the telescope.

Someone in the teeming mass of hairy apes was passing up a misshapen bowl. Green smoke wafted from whatever crazy stuff burned inside. The black ape accepted the bowl and laid it carefully beside the squirming man on the slab.

The scar-faced ape drew the blade from the sheath at his waist. It was obsidian, with a dark handle. The Indian hocked a wad of spit at him in defiance. In return, the ape casually palmed the man’s face and slammed his head backward against the stone. His body went limp.

My jaw clenched, and I ground my teeth so hard I thought they might crack.

I didn’t know what to do.

I didn’t know what I could do.

***

Laying the knife gently on the black altar, the scarred ape cupped his hands around the smoldering bowl and raised it into the air as the chanting and pounding ceased.

The canyon was eerily quiet as he lowered the bowl and breathed in the green smoke.

For a long moment, nothing happened.

Then the bowl dropped from the ape’s hands, shattering on rock. The black ape shuddered and braced himself against the altar. He twitched, violently, jerking his head from side to side. Knees bent and wobbled, threatening to collapse underneath him.

Whatever was in that bowl wasn’t your ordinary peyote.

Suddenly the giant ape threw himself upright, thrusting out his chest and raising clenched fists at the sky. He roared, an ugly, harsh, inhuman sound as the other apes joined in. The thumping noise of hammering fists against chests began again with a fevered violence. The pounding was louder and harsher this time. There was no rhythm. Just a mass of noise that echoed and assaulted my senses.

The Indian awoke. Bewildered and groggy, he twisted and turned on the black rock.

The scar faced ape scooped up the knife and plunged it into the man’s belly.

I wasn’t prepared for the sudden violence and almost dropped the telescope as a high-pitched scream of agony pierced the air. The chipped obsidian knife slid upwards easily and stopped once it reached his rib cage. The man kept screaming in horror, staring wide eyed at his gaping wound along his stomach. The savage ape set the knife down and reached into the cut, amongst the vitals, and under the rib cage. The shrieking ended with a twist and rip, as the ape pulled out the man’s heart.

Raising the organ in his fist for all the apes to see, blood ran down the ape’s black fur arm and splattered onto the altar.

Hundreds of throats roared in satisfaction.

The scarred black ape savagely took a bite out of the heart. Blood oozed from his mouth. Swallowing, he hurled the remains into the crowd.

Apes pushed and shoved each other for it. One hairy monkey began pummeling another to the ground with both fists as others kicked and fought to get the chunk of human flesh.

A hand suddenly held it aloft victoriously above the thrashing apes, a bloody chunk of raw meat coated with dirt. Roaring, he bit off a chunk and hurled it across the crowd where the scene was repeated, again and again, until there was nothing left but apes fighting each other around the circle of stones while the scarred ape leader watched on in satisfaction.

Saying I was in shock was an understatement. Horrified was more like it. But furious…. absolutely.

Slamming the telescope shut, I slid my rifle before me and braced it into my shoulder. I found the black scarred ape at the altar and guessed the distance.

Common sense told me that my position would be given away once I fired, but I didn’t care. Every single one of these hairy men-monkeys needed to die. But I’d satisfy myself with just taking their leader’s life.

Carbine stamped softly from the tree line, but I tuned him out and slowed my breathing. Concentrating on the gentle rise and fall of the sights, I began taking up the slack in the trigger.

I was about to smite a giant, evil monkey with 350 grains of cast lead and vengeance.

Hell yeah.

Carbine snorted loudly, interrupting my concentration.

Annoyed, I rolled to the side to see what he was upset about.

A spear point shattered on the sweat soaked rock where I’d lain a moment before.

The ape stood towering over me. His large brow furrowed in frustration at his missed stab. Another monkey grabbed Carbine’s reins and was rewarded a vicious bite to his shoulder by my horse. He screamed, and Carbine twisted, kicking the ape in the chest and sending him sprawling.

I bet that hurt, but not as much as this.

With my freehand, I drew the Colt and shot the ape standing over me. He didn’t give in to the wound as the bullet punched through his belly, instead jerking the spear back and preparing to thrust with its shattered tip.

This time, I shot him through the center of the chest where his heart should have been, and he collapsed in a twitching heap.

As the other ape painfully crawled onto all fours, I carefully put a bullet through his skull and dropped him.

So much for the element of surprise.

Flipping back over, I realized the canyon had gone quiet. The multitude of apes had stopped beating their chests, and were staring at my position. I felt hundreds of eyes upon me.

Surprise monkeys, I have weapons of fire, thunder and lead. Fear me.

Scar-face pointed a thick, blood coated finger in my direction and bellowed a command.

The crowd went wild as apes began pushing, shoving, and running in different directions. Some ran back into the caves, others towards stacks of weapons, and most rushed towards the cliff below me.

Swearing, I yanked the rifle up and quickly shot at the ape leader as he turned away. The bullet missed and hit the Indian’s corpse instead. The evil black ape disappeared among the frantic swarming mass of his followers.

There went my chance at killing their leader. But at least the Indian was already dead. He probably would have forgiven me anyways, all things considered.

If there was any doubt as to where my position was before, the gun powder smoke from the Sharps that drifted over the canyon made it abundantly clear. But I figured I could slay a few more of them before I needed to get out of dodge.

Working the action on the rifle, I randomly selected an ape splashing through the stream in my direction and pulled the trigger. The rifle boomed again satisfyingly, and the ape pitched forward and thrashed in the water as another puff of gun smoke blew out to join the other.

I grinned evilly.

This was like shooting monkeys in a barrel.

Rising to a knee for a better field of fire, I fired into a small band of apes headed for the trikes. Another boom, and this time an ape dropped while the one beside it screamed and fell, clutching her side.

One bullet, two wounds. My sort of math.

The herd of trikes, stirred up by the gunfire and excitement, were proving hard for the apes to throw harnesses and saddles on. Dust stirred as the dinosaurs shuffled in confusion, making it harder for me to pick out targets. But the two trikes that rode in earlier were still harnessed and ready to go. As an ape tried mounting one of them, I fired. The shot was low, and hit the trike. It bellowed in pain and side stepped, shaking its horns and knocking the would-be rider off.

Apes were running for the canyon entrance now, trying to circle around and catch me from the rear. I ignored them. I’d be long gone by the time they reached my location.

An arrow zipped by, fired from an ape standing in the stream, and landing somewhere in the forest behind me. My aim was off, and I put a bullet through his leg as a large, hairy hand slapped the top of the edge.

Shocked that one of the apes reached me so quickly, I frantically worked the outdated reloading mechanism of the Sharps.

The big female monkey pulled herself over the edge. I cocked the hammer back and fired from the hip, the muzzle mere inches away from her face. Unsupported, the recoil of the rifle almost knocked it out of my hands. I managed to hang on to the gun as the bullet punched through the ape’s throat with a spray of blood.

At such a short distance, her flat face was filled with sparks of burning powder. Blinded and wounded, the ape clawed at her face and throat before toppling backwards and falling, yellowed canines bared in a silent scream.

Peeking over the edge, I saw her body twisted and broken amongst the rocks and a multitude of others clinging to the rocks below. Some stopped and stared at the corpse, others climbed faster. None of them looked happy.

From the canyon floor, more apes picked up bows and arrows whistled by me, thudding into the trees and ground nearby. One hit beside me, shattering the shaft on the rock and pelting me with splinters. It was time to go.

I ducked and scrambled away from the cliff edge. Reaching Carbine, I slammed the telescope shut and into the saddle bags before leaping into the saddle. From behind came grunts and hoots as apes began reaching the top of the cliff. Smacking his flanks with the barrel of my rifle, I let him lead as I twisted in the saddle and fired at the apes behind me. I managed to make one duck before losing sight of them as Carbine charged amongst the thick trees.

Within seconds, we were lost in the forest.

***

To be continued…

 

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