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…

 

This is where I ask for your help. If you’ve enjoyed reading these 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 taking one on.  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.

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 spam.

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. 🙂

“You can’t make money writing!” Oh pffftttt….

This is a garbage myth and I’m sick of hearing it.

I visited Scribophile (A writers website) today for the first time in months and skimmed the forums. Everyone kept repeating it as thought it were truth, and it ain’t.

Look. If you want to write stuff no one will ever read, be my guest. Have fun with that. Enjoy the ‘art’. But don’t go spreading the lie of unsuccessfulness to people with hopes and dreams of being a full time writer. Because who are you to tell them they can’t succeed? And how do you know that they can’t?

Is there a limit to entertainment?

Can there only be X number of successful actors? Writers? Bears riding tricycles?

No.

Are there only X number of successful books allowed to be published? Is there a limit? Is it ten thousand? What about readers? Is there a limit to your readers? Are they all taken by other authors?

No.

(And if you said yes, you’re a self-defeating fool.)

Math time – Rowling’s sold over 500 million books. There are over 7.3 BILLION people on the planet, so only 6.6% of them have read one of hers and she lives in a castle made of gold bricks.

And those readers – Are they never going to buy anyone else’s book? Did they just read hers and say, “No thanks. I’ll never do that again!” Or are they waiting on something else that piques their interest? They can be YOUR readers also.

More math – There are 250 people born every minute. Which means every minute, regardless of the age group that you write for, there are 250 people aging into it. 250 new potential readers. 250 potential buyers who will give you money in return for being entertained for a few hours.

“But they speak foreign languages!” So? Harry Potter has been changed into dozens of languages. “But they are scattered over the world!” So? Harry Potter has been read around the globe.

“But…but….but…” But nothing. 1 in 15 people have read her books.

So what’s your excuse?

“It’s not lucrative enough!” “You can’t make money!” “You’ll starve!” “She basically hit the writing lottery!”

Oh stahhhpppp.

There are enough successful people making a living at writing that you’re just being a whiner.

People who say things like that should be honest.

THEY can’t make money writing because THEY are holding themselves back. THEY are choosing to not work harder, not study the craft, not learn grammar, not practice writing descriptions and dialogue or whatever their weak areas may be. (Or, judging by most people who use Scribophile, THEY waste vast amounts of time dinkin’ around internet forums discussing writing instead of actually writing.)

Personally, I’m not shattering folks dreams.

You want to be a writer? Go be one. Send me a copy if it’s good.

But to be a writer, you’ve got to WRITE. Not bitch about it. Not whine about the ‘art’ of it and how people ‘just don’t get it’. And your constant complaints about how difficult it is to break in to publishing won’t make you more successful.

You’ve got to beat that keyboard like it owes you money.

You’ve got to put the effort in. The more you put in, the more you will get out. I like the gym. I go a lot. I can bench 315 pounds. I didn’t get there by going to the gym occasionally. I didn’t get there by not learning about weight lifting. I didn’t get there by not suffering through the tedious reps over and over and over and over. I wanted muscles so I had to lift constantly to get them.

As for you, you’ve got to WRITE. You’ve got to hound publishers. You’ve got to hone your craft. You’ve got to eek out bits of time in your busy day to do it. Doing it ‘when you feel like it’ ain’t gonna cut the cake. You’ve got to force it into existence, you’ve got to find the time, you’ve got to sacrifice sleep or going out or watching cats chase laser pointers on YouTube for hours.

Sure.

Some people write crap and make it big right off the bat.  Others write beautifully and never do. Why? I dunno. Too many reasons. Sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes it’s not.

But you can choose to either resign yourself to being one of the failures, or you can work harder at it and make some money. People who repeat stupid mantra’s like ‘you’re gonna fail because everyone fails’ are worthless and you should avoid them before you catch their sad little ‘woe is us’ cooties.

People need to stop telling others they can’t do it just because they think that THEY CAN’T.

It can be done. It may take you longer than others, or you might shoot to success on your first try. (That’s what I’m aiming for…) But regardless, it can be done if you keep trying. And telling people that they’re doomed to fail is one of the surest ways of impeding their success.

Stop being a pessimistic blight on the writing world.

Tell someone they can make it for a change.

***

As for me? I’ve an excel spreadsheet with the agents I’ve contacted, the publishers, dates, comments, responses, etc. I’m keeping tabs on everything.

I’ve studied the daylights out of publishing. I’ve read about the financing, the royalties, the advances, the chances, the difficulties, the expected rejections, etc.

I KNOW that I’m going to be rejected constantly, every great book has. It ain’t nothing new. I’ve already been passed on by two agents but also passed the first hurdle for two publishers. Personally, I was thrilled to be passed by agents, because it meant I was finally reaching into the ‘lead time’ of people getting to my unsolicited work. And I track that as well. If I email a query to an agent, I write down their stated ‘lead time’ to hear back from them. So it’s just now reaching the four-six week mark since I started seeking publishing. Now I’m going to start getting responses. (Still looking for you BAEN… even though you’ve a 9-12 month lead time! Eeek!)

How are things looking? I dunno. Okay, I reckon. I’m plugging along and making it a point to spend a couple days a week sending in submissions and queries and researching new potential agents/publishers.

I’ve firm faith that I’ll be published. Because my writing doesn’t suck, and I’m going to be relentless about it because I want it that bad.

Take note of that last line.

Instead of telling each other ‘You can’t make it! No one can!’, it should be, “Want it bad enough and you will!”

Remember 250 potential readers are born every minute.

Praise Jesus and write-write-write.