Category Archives: EBooks

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.


EBooks Are Powerful

Save a tree. Save yourself.

Save a tree. Save yourself.


This is a comment I wrote on author, David Dvorkin’s blog.

The subject of Mr. Dvorkin’s post was that the inherent “changeability” of eBooks “is one of their many strengths”.

The full post can be read at, under the title “the fluidity of e-books”.

I thought Mr. Dvorkin’s point was valid and important. Here is the last paragraph of his post, followed by my comment:

“Some people have said that this changeability is a drawback to e-books. To my mind, it’s one of their many strengths.”

Little doubt, those people back their criticism with the ideal that paper equates to higher editorial standards, and since eBooks avoid such a painstaking process, they must be inferior and unreliable. Of course, this is claptrap, because garbage has always found its way into print.

The ability to constantly improve a publication can only add to its dependability. No longer are the gatekeepers paragons of trustworthiness (providing they ever were). In the new world of eBooks, much of the responsibility has shifted to the reader.

The era has passed when readers are nothing more than yapping ankle biters begging for food. Readers have now been transformed from consumers into editors, with the power to demand more of the writer.

 The gatekeepers will inevitably whine and seek protection to maintain their empire, because they no longer control the flow of information and entertainment. But in the quality of “changeability” lies the future of publishing.

That which is incorrect can be corrected –– and is no longer protected by inconvenience.

Incidentally, if you wish to read wonderful books in a variety of genres, I recommend visiting David Dvorkin’s website, Mr. Dvorkin is a published author in a number of genres who now publishes via eBooks. His books are intelligent, engaging, extremely well written and entertaining.

Give him a visit. It’s well worth your time.


Time to Breakout the Chainsaw

And make sure the tank is full.

And make sure the tank is full.


As you likely know by now, I am currently editing a book I wrote in 2006 titled Heller’s Canal. Before going further, certain details are necessary to relate:

The first draft of the book came to 100,243 words.

The length of a mass market Western is generally 45,000 to 70,000 words.

Now, if the book read tight and fast, the original length would be acceptable if the plot supported it. However, the book isn’t an epic Western; it isn’t multi-generational and doesn’t cover decades or even years. It’s a snapshot of Sam Claiborne’s summer spent in the new farming town of Littleton, Colorado Territory, where he faced the challenge of discovering what caused the South Platte River to run dry.

It’s obvious then that the book is too long and needs some serious hacking. Thus, out came the chainsaw.

(Flash forward five weeks to June 18.)

Today, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve sawn off 17,298 words or 17% of the original length. Now the book races rather than plods. No longer do excesses muddy the story. The useless factor nears zero. And the story’s credibility has increased by several orders of magnitude.

Only drawback has been the amount of gas burned. Further, the job has taken many hours, the slaying of many darlings and the replacing of several chains.

Today, I’m saddened to announce that the last one-quarter of the book is running for its life, but I’m determined to catch-up and cut every excess word, restatement, overstatement, silly analogy, witless idea, et al.

My aim is to store my chainsaw by the end of the month. Then I will self-publish and hope to sell some copies to pay my Shell credit card.

More later when I’m finished with the mutilation.