Update – Heller’s Canal


Read All About It!

Read All About It!


To all current and future fans of the novels written by Gary S Sloan, Heller’s Canal, a western adventure set along the Front Range in Colorado Territory in 1872, is now officially published on Amazon and Smashwords.

Here is a short blurb of the story-line:


Sam Claiborne’s spirit roams the mountains and sleeps with the cougars and the grizzlies.

Weary of hunting the dwindling buffalo, he dreams of leaving the high plains in Colorado Territory in the summer of 1872 and returning to his beloved Rocky Mountains.

In search of water, he comes upon the new farming town of Littleton, along the South Platte River near Denver. “Just resupply and rest Cactus and Ballou,” he says as he leads his roan horse and Anatolian shepherd into town.

Young Emma Garrison feeds his belly and his imagination, passing on the news of severe drought. “The South Platte’s gone dry along with most of the range ponds. Only water left is the Latigo Bolson on the Triple–H ranch, owned by Harland Heller and his son, Hank.”

Sam senses foul play, follows his hunches and turns up dammed waters, untapped oil reserves and dangerous intrigues to own and control them.

Heller’s Canal is the beginning; Sam Claiborne’s pursuit for fair play is the end.


Further, a four-chapter excerpt is available here under menu item, BOOK EXCERPTS. And, of course, a sample of the book may be read on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com by following the links provided under MY BOOKS.

Also, a thriller series is in the works that promises hard-hitting, no-nonsense action. Guys, please take note. And as for any ladies of ample constitution, please take note, too. Expect the début title of the Trigger Thriller Series before the end of the year.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Gary S Sloan


Frustration Is Passion Disorganized

Trapped and panicked?

Trapped and panicked?

Isn’t it too early to feel frustration?

Maybe, but I’m beset by it nonetheless.

But your latest book has only been e-published for less than a week.

True, but trends are immediate, and Heller’s Canal has kicked up the dust of a gnat crashing onto hard pan.

Okay, so the book hasn’t taken off like you hoped. So what?

So there is always disappointment when one’s hopes are dashed.

Understood, but shouldn’t you remember that offering a new book authored by an unknown is akin to spitting into a hurricane and expecting the wind to shift?

Where then should I spit?

Into your palms.

You’re referring to girding my loins and heading back into the fields?

Got a better suggestion?

Yeah, feel sorry for myself.

Okay, have at it. I’ll wait five minutes and you can tell me how it went.

(Hang dog looks. Reckless mutterings. Defamatory outbursts. Useless self-pandering.)

Okay, how did it go?

I feel miserable. Woe is me!

Woe is you, indeed. Have your book sales improved?

Not one iota.

Do you feel more energized to alter the reality?

Why should I bother? Wasted effort. Fruitless pursuit.

Then quit writing.

Why should I quit?

Because you’re equating book sales to writing success.

Aren’t they the same?

Not even close. Writing a book has nothing to do with readership. It has to do with leadership.

But nobody is following me?

Some folks are. Isn’t that important?

Of course, but what about fame and fortune?

Are you not immensely richer and more recognized now than before you began writing?

To a degree, yes.

Is not a degree, however small, a sign of progress?

Yes, but oh so much work for oh so little gain.

Wah! Wah!

Yeah, wah, wah!

Does a leader cry under an attack from an adversary?

More wasted effort.

Then gather some saliva and spit in the right direction.

You mean with the hurricane’s flow and not against it?

Yes, writing is a big pursuit just like a hurricane is a big phenomenon. If you expect to write and find happiness, don’t spit against the wind.

Turn around and spit and see if my flying self can catch up with my flying saliva?

Kind of an ugly visual, but something like that.

Doesn’t that make me a follower rather than a leader?

A leader recognizes reality and takes advantage of it.

Okay, I’ll give it a try. SPIT! My goodness, my very being has taken sail and I’m churning right along with the inevitable.

Yes, adversity in any great pursuit is inevitable. If you can’t stand up to adversity, idle your time away with mindlessness.

I see your point. But still there is the frustration.

Don’t misinterpret the feeling. Frustration is passion disorganized. Organize the energy. Go with the positive flow of hard work. Muster the powers of imagination and creativity. Spin ever faster until your participation has set a new record in category hurricanes. How about a category-6, maybe even a category-7? The possibilities are endless.

Yes, a category-7 would be great. But what about that gnat crashing onto hard pan?

Was the crash energetic?


Was its energy lost in the offing?

No, it had to have added to the universal energy field.

Then why the disappointment?

(Meek smile.) Sorry for my lapse of good sense. I’m back at it now, feeling positive, selfless and energetic.

Good. Category-7, one spit at a time.

Spit. Spit. Hey, that’s pretty simple.

Heller’s Canal has done its work. Now it’s your turn.

On to River of Lost Souls we march. Tally ho, troops. Follow me!

That’s it, lead and don’t follow. Success awaits.

Haven’t I already enjoyed a good deal of success?

Touche, I stand corrected.

I can feel the humidity rising and the wind picking up. Goodbye for now.

Goodbye. And remember to drink lots of water.

Happy Trails To You…

Whether by mountain, by plain, by water, by train.

Whether by mountain, by plain, by water, by train.

Happy trails to you, Sam Claiborne. Until we meet again.

You finally made it, off on your own, investigating possibilities and potentials, out of my world and into your own.

May this post serve as official notice that Heller’s Canal is finished and published on both Smashwords.com (and all its affiliate eBook sellers) as well as on Amazon.

Thank you for everybody who took the time to investigate the book beyond its title and read a free sample. Greater thanks to all who purchased the book as of this writing. Future thanks to any who purchase a copy into the great beyond.

Thanks for a complete experience, Sam. During our time together, you made me happy, you made me sad, you made me pleased, you made me mad. Most of all you made me; and I made you.

If our trails should ever cross again, may your life be evermore intriguing and your story evermore delightful.

And please remember, don’t feed Cactus too much alfalfa. No horse likes coming down with colic. And always stir a dash of salt into Ballou’s water. No range dog likes eating without something briny to wash it down. Clean your Sharps buffalo gun regularly. Give it a light sheen of gun oil. And don’t shoot at anything that squeals when it’s hit. Emma adores righteous living things. And you adore Emma, right? (At least, you made that impression when you met her way back in chapter one.)

And most of all, thanks for the fun!

Good luck.


Biting the Bullet

The choice is easy. The path is not.

The choice is easy. The path is not.

It seems my dilemma with River of Lost Souls has come to an important crossroads. In an earlier post (To Hatch Or Not To Hatch?) I fought with the idea that the book might have resurrected too soon, thus explaining my reluctance to bite the bullet and dive into the arduous task of preparing it for publication.

Have you ever tasted brass laced with lead? It’s not a 5-star delicacy even in an army mess hall. The lead is too soft and the brass is too tough. Irreconcilable textures aside, the taste is flat, and to swallow the lot could mean real trouble.

Try as I might, I couldn’t resolve to bite hard enough and long enough to break through the casing to get to the black powder (as if that would bring just reward for my long-suffering).

So, finally, I did the only sane thing and spit the bullet to the ground and kicked it far enough away to temp me no longer.

That was over a week ago and as of yesterday my decision to bail out continued unflinchingly steadfast.

Today, however, I experienced a revelation: But a moment of heady enlightenment it certainly was not.

River of Lost Souls isn’t a book before its time. It’s a book much too disjointed and unfocused to waste precious time on!

There, now I’ve said it. Now you know. If only you could imagine the realization’s impact on my professionalism.

What? I’ve written a complete book, 150,000 words, and it’s an abysmal failure?

Yep, pretty much. The story is schizophrenic and the focus is worse than Hubble before eyeglasses.

Pardon the hand-wringing and the pathetic whimpering. How could such a thing happen? An entire book a complete waste!

Simmer down, Gary. The book is indeed a train wreck, but at least it traveled down the tracks long enough to crash.


Yes, debris covers the rail bed and the right-of-way, and the crash site stinks of spilled diesel and charred remains, but much of what’s left is salvageable.

Salvageable? At what cost? Do you have any idea how much work you’re talking about?

Hey, I’m your alter-ego, buster. Of course I know how much work we’re talking about. Believe me, I’ve no intention of leaving you in a lurch. I’ll be right there with you, through every change of plot, every rewrite of dialogue, through every painful moment of altering the outline, through every wretched throb of trying to piece the wreck back together again.

Yeah, but why bother? Why not toss it and write another book. In my experience, that would be immeasurably easier than rebuilding a disaster.

Because you said earlier that Javier DeSomo is a decent and well-deserving boy. And such a fine youngster should have his coming of age, should he not?

Uh, perhaps. But oh so much work.

But oh so much weakness. Is not a good book worthy of such effort?

Oh my, yes ,,, if the book turns out good. Maybe it derails again. How will I ever endure?

Quit your sniveling.  Had we not learned a few important lessons on the first draft, would we be capable of discrimination now?

I … I guess not.

Are you not partly responsible for the ideal that “Writing is Fun”?

Quit attacking me with simplicity. A rewrite of River of Lost Souls will take months.

Years if you don’t quit stalling. Buck up, Mr. Professional and take you medicine. Javier DeSomo needs to grow up and so do you. The book promises the stars and you quiver like a noodle in a boiling pot. Negativity be gone. Pick up the first piece of wreckage and analyze it. Is it broken or not? Can it be reused? If not, replace it and pick up the next. Just that simple. Writing a good, even a great book isn’t about shortcuts. It’s about recognizing what’s broken and fixing it. Here are your work gloves. Put them on. I’ll take this side of the track and you take the other. We’ll rebuild until we meet in the middle and then Javier DeSomo will have grown up with us along with him.

River of Lost Souls isn’t just about Javier’s coming of age. It’s about our coming of age too.

Pass me the pain ointment, partner. It’s time we turn left and not right.

To Hatch Or Not To Hatch?

Am I first or am I early?

Am I first or am I early?


Javier DeSomo, the lead character in my latest book, River of Lost Souls, is a likeable boy. He’s kind, decent, generous, helpful, respectful of his mother and hard working. So, such a fine youngster deserves a strong and meaningful story written about his summer in 1873, when help from a fantastic source attempts to relieve him of the cruel abuse at the hands of Harvey Brampton, a dim-witted bully who uses his mother for fun and beats her son out of meanness.

Could this explain why I, the author, am having difficulty editing the book I completed back in June of 2010?

Yes, a worthy lead character deserves an equally worthy story, and this is where the problem arises.

Honestly, I am having a lot of trouble immersing myself into this project. Several months ago, when my work on Heller’s Canal neared completion, River of Lost Souls found itself at the top of my to–do list. Now, given the difficulty diving into the project has presented, I’m not so sure it didn’t bully its way to the top, much like Harvey Brampton bullied young Javier.

What do I do now that I have declared the official kick-off date to the world by way of this blog?

“Suck it up, wimp,” my right shoulder says. “River of Lost Souls is a much different book than Heller’s Canal. It’s a tale about abuse, rage, small-mindedness, shortsightedness and the courage to endure and prevail with the assistance of some really special friends. Heller’s Canal is an action-packed Western adventure with the depth of whitewash. Naturally, a more complex story requires deeper commitment. ”

“Now wait a minute,” my left shoulder says. “There’s more at stake than a strong commitment. Maybe River of Lost Souls hasn’t incubated long enough to hatch into the exquisite story its premise demands. Hatch it too soon and maybe it dies. At best, it walks through life misshapen and weakened. Maybe it sustains ridicule to ultimately fail out of self-hatred.”

Yes, yes, I see both your points. Right shoulder, your concern for the story is based on my shortcomings as a writer. Gut it up and plow ahead and all will turn out well.

But, left shoulder, your point is based on something more esoteric, shortcomings of a story that is related before its time — a premature rendering from which there is no recovery.

So the question now becomes which is most important, whether I ignore my doubts and get with the labor at hand, or whether I don’t force my will on a story that hasn’t matured yet?

Oh my, what should I do?

Here’s where experience comes to the rescue.

Gary, didn’t you have similar difficulties committing to Heller’s Canal (and other books) in the beginning?

Uh, yes, I did.

Well, there you go. We’ve been down this path before, so keep walking.

Okay, I’ll keep walking already. But what happens if my foreboding worsens?

Then we readdress the question. Nothing is set in stone. Understand that it is always hard to dive into a book and begin to tear it apart thought by thought and word by word. If at some reasonable time in the future you still have misgivings, we will talk again.

All right … sometime in the future.

(Isn’t it nice when the right shoulder and left shoulder have to come together in the middle and my brain engages to provide me a solution, albeit temporary.)

Off to work on Javier’s story now.

Indeed, you are a really fine boy, Javier. But rest assured the clock is ticking and if you need more time to come of age, you darned well can have it

Next Destination — River of Lost Souls

El Rio de las Animas Perdidas -- The River of Lost Souls

El Rio de las Animas Perdidas — The River of Lost Souls


Next destination on the Full Sails Publishing website is up the Purgatorie River to Trinidad, Colorado in the year of 1873.

There we find Javier DeSomo, a young Mexican boy, who lives a life of physical and emotional abuse from his mother’s live-in lover, a ne’er-do-well ruffian named Harvey Brampton.

After another of Harvey Brampton’s brutal rampages, Javier escapes to his hidey hole down at the riverbank, where, near the breaking point, he digs in desperation to distance himself from his suffering and soon unearths an authentic Spanish Doubloon.

From that moment forward, Javier begins an intellectual and spiritual awakening, aided by an underground conclave of pixies known as Cillin, as this story of missing Conquistadors and lost gold from the period when Spain ruled the Western country unfolds.

At present, the book is over 150,000 words and is in dire need of focus. 

Thus, the Full Sails ship has departed; and when she leaves for new horizons, only time and good fortune will tell.

Please join me as the story tightens and develops, to hopefully enter the literary archive as a worthy coming-of-age tale where youth is challenged and changed for the better.


Way To Go, Pauline

You are truly amazing!

You are truly amazing!


Shingles is ugly. It strikes without warning and spreads like wildfire. It itches and it burns. It irritates and it disrupts. It fosters deep despair and implants lost hope.

It is an insult to the dignity of aging.

You are truly amazing, Mom. Eighty-eight years old and still you have the grit to face the worse.

Your strength is my guide and your tenacity is my envy. I strive to someday understand the depth of your remarkable strength.

I am proud to be your son, as I am proud you are my mother.

Way to go, Pauline. You stared the worse case imaginable in the eyes and said “Be gone!” and shingles fled. You are a real fighter!

Thank you for giving me my chance in this world and thank you for all you do.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for loving me. And thank you for teaching me how to love in return.