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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 and 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.

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.



Title Anyone?

What's in a title other than letters?

What’s in a title other than letters?

Some people say creating a book title is hard work. I say it depends on the writer’s method.

Many writers slave over a book outline, describing every character, every chapter, and often every scene. Thus a title for them is likely tedious.

For me, the book finds its title when its concept is well grounded. Of course, a title should use certain elements, like tone, expectation and interest. But breaking the brain over what works best isn’t my idea of fun. Here’s an example: Salem Street.

But what does Salem Street say? Does it suggest a thriller, science-fiction or a romance? Maybe Salem Street is a romance, because it sounds homey and inviting.

Perhaps the writer intends a story with lots of conflict between rivaling housewives, creating the title Salem Street Witches. Here intrigue suggests witch trials, brutal judgment and burnings at the stake.

Next I offer something quirky like A Knuckle for Your Thoughts. Here we have a play on words, mimicking “A nickel for your thoughts”. In this title, the word knuckle describes the story. Maybe it refers to a man who finds boxing more appealing than running his father’s business.

What’s essential is that a title must describe the book. To me, this is important, because a misleading title is counterproductive. That’s why I create a title first, imagine the plot, outline if necessary and begin to write. Then I use it to stay focused.

Would Sweet Little Kittens describe a story about two orphaned brothers named Black who bounty hunt? Probably not. Is Clan of Black more appropriate? Probably. Point is, whether you write first and create a title, or create a title and then write, the title must serve as the backbone of the story.

With this said, a new title has suddenly popped into my head: Say No More.

Fear, The Master of Failure

The faucet best turned off.

The faucet best turned off.


I remember my first nighttime parachute jump when I trained for Special Forces in the U.S. Army.

The night was windy and overcast. No stars for orientation, no moon for light.

The Jumpmaster screamed for us to stand and turn toward the open door of the low-flying C-130 that transported us to our drop zone. We hooked our static lines to the jump cable, buddy-checked each others’ parachutes and the moment arrived. No time for fear. No use for it. Only thing useful was clear thinking.

“Go!” came the command and I shuffled forward and leapt into the night.

Prop wash and wind spun me out of control. The C-130 deployed us in a small drop zone from a paltry 800 feet — little time to think, less time to react.

I grabbed the straps to my parachute and yanked them apart with all my strength. My body cork-screwed. I tried to acquire the ground but saw nothing but darkness. I released my rucksack and started to assume the parachute landing position when the ground slammed me silly.

I lay on my back stunned — no time for fear. I took quick inventory of my body — no grueling pain, just a horrible ringing in my ears from the awful impact. I released my parachute, gathered it, elbowed into my rucksack and ran for cover. It took me over 15 minutes to find the first member of my Green Beret Team.

“My gawd, what a nightmare!” I said and told him my story.

“I know. I never saw the ground either.”

We set off to find our rally point.

When we arrived we learned from our team leader that we had been lucky.

“Jacobs broke his leg,” our captain said. “Had to be medevaced. Harding and Blaylock crashed into the trees and tore themselves up pretty bad. You okay?”

“Never knew what hit me?” my team member said.

I groaned before answering. “Never even got into position.”

“Loose as a goose when you hit?” the captain asked.

“Yes, sir,” we both said.

“Lucky. No time to panic. Probably saved you both serious injuries.”

I couldn’t blame the Special Forces Officer Course. I volunteered for the training.

Lesson learned?

Keep the faucet of fear turned off.



Deceit slays truth! Truth slays deceit! Which is enemy.

Deceit slays truth! Truth slays deceit! Which is foe?

Truth is a friend — and a friend is always welcome at my table.

I invited Truth to sit before writing a single sentence.

Truth has listened to my thoughts, read my words and digested my meaning to never pass judgment.

Truth does not insist I not lie.

Truth does not insist I not plagiarize.

Truth does not insist on my perfection.

Truth is my friend.

And only insists that the bread be leavened with integrity.

Why Do I Write?

To think is to know. To imagine is to think.

To think is to know. To imagine is to think.


I will keep this short. No use me rambling, which I could.

Besides the fun derived, I write because it is the most educational discipline I have ever undertaken. Now, that is a powerful statement, because I spent the better part of my working years as a professional musician.

As a result, I know the meaning of cultivation, investing many hours to discover that many more hours are needed.

Since I have always found learning enjoyable, and since writing requires a constant stream of it, writing improves my knowledge and my intelligence.

Now, I am not saying that I have more knowledge and more intelligence than anybody. All I am saying is that writing helps me in those respects, and to me nothing is more frustrating than stasis. Thus, I write to keep growing. And to grow is fun. And what is more fun than fun?

The answer, of course, is more fun.

Writing is brain food. Growth is fun. So writing is fun!

Of course, I could list multitudinous other benefits. Why bother? I have listed the most important ones without rambling.