Category Archives: Another finished book

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 (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.

And The Final Lap is History



Today Heller’s Canal crossed the finish line. I began the book sometime in 2006; and I finished it on 31 July 2013. Break out the champagne:  It only took me eight years to finish!

Now, to publish it.

I sure hope the book generates some interest.

Of course, I will keep everybody posted.

(Sure was a load of fun to write.)

Down goes the flag on the next project, River of Lost Souls — a coming of age novel about a young Mexican boy set in Trinidad, Colorado in the 1870s.

Indeed, the project promises loads of work. I have to compress 150,000+ words down to around 100,000. Further, the story needs more development, making the desired length all the more challenging.

More on River of Lost Souls soon.