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Thursday, May 17, 2018

I'm Writing a New Book, and it's a New Kind of Book!

I have discovered a new kind of book, and it's the kind I'm going to start writing next! Scroll to the bottom to see what may be part of the first chapter someday. Here's the story of how I came to write this "new to me" type of book. My oldest son just turned 10. Last Christmas I gave him the first Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He devoured it and then the entire series before the next Christmas rolled around! It succeeded at making him a huge reader. Everything he's read since then pales in comparison. He's still enjoyed a ton of other books but none were ever as good as Harry Potter until now...

After finishing this book, which is the third of four in the series, he told me he liked it as much as Harry Potter. That got my attention. Here's a link to the first one in the series: Shiloh (The Shiloh Quartet). I checked out the series online and saw that Wikipedia called it a "children's novel" instead of a chapter book. I asked my son if it had any illustrations. It did not. You see after reading a ton of awesome chapter books I bought for my son I fell in love with them and wrote my own. Cool! Where is this chapter book you wrote? I want to buy it! Great question. I did indeed finish it. Even cleaned it up and handed it to Beta Readers and got good feedback on it. The thing is, I'm illustrating it. It's going well and I'm really pleased with the illustrations I've done so far, but they're taking me forever! So in the meantime a book I finished is sitting and waiting. Chapter books all have illustrations, which is something I love about them, but this new "children's novel" I've stumbled upon does not have illustrations. It's about 1/3 to twice as long as a chapter book too, which is an awesome length! My novella Sword and Urn is the length of a children's novel.

So, I still have yet to flesh out the outline, but I pecked out what might someday resemble part of the first chapter, and here it is. Enjoy:

"I Can Fly" (Kid Secret Agent Adventures Book 1) © Dan Absalonson 2018

My name is Bucky Travers and I live with my grandma in a house that smells like cabbage. Dang, that was a terrible start. Let me try again. My name is Bucky Travers and I am a kid secret agent. Okay, so both of those things are true, but focus on the secret agent part because that's way better. Grandma Rose is cool and all, but she thinks I just go to school all day. She's been taking care of me ever since my parents died in a car accident when I was two. I pretty much think of her as my mom.
She's a sweet old lady who always wears sweaters, dresses, pearl earrings, a pearl necklace, and huge glasses. Her skin is all wrinkly and she's a little slow at getting around but she takes great care of me. Her cooking is the best and she can still drive, not that I need her to drive me around anymore.
My grandma Rose doesn't know about the deal the government made with my principle to keep up appearances that I'm just a normal boy who goes to sixth grade and plays kickball and stuff. I still have to learn all the stuff I would at school, but now I do that in a government building with a Tudor named Agent Fredrickson. He's pretty cool. Not a lot of personality, but a nice enough guy and very good at teaching.
So what do I spend most of my days doing when I should be at school? Working for the government on secret missions to recover lost artifacts and magical items they don't wan't the world to know about. I know what you're thinking, I'm just a kid. I can't be a secret agent, right? Well I am just a kid, but a kid who can fly.
It all started when I was on my way home from getting an awesome birthday balloon for my grandma from the grocery store a few blocks from our house. I wasn't paying attention to where I was walking because I was watching the balloon float above me and I tripped. My foot slipped right off the edge of the curb and I accidentally let go of the balloon. I was so upset. I was just looking up at it, staring hard wishing so bad that I could somehow just reach up high enough and get it back. That's when I noticed that somehow the balloon was getting closer. Before I knew it I was tons of feet up in the air off the ground grabbing the string of the balloon. I didn't get back down to the ground in the most graceful way but I did it without breaking anything or popping the balloon.
The next day after school a man in a nice suit showed up at our door asking for me. His name is Agent Winters. He's actually a really cool guy he's bald but has plenty of his hair above his lip in his thick red mustache. He's my boss and he treats me with respect and never lets me get into too much danger when I'm on missions. While my grandma went into the kitchen to make coffee for our guest the man informed me that they had seen me flying on a nearby camera. He asked me if I wanted to keep going to school like a normal kid, or if I wanted to work for him and learn how to use my flying abilities better with special training so I could go on missions that only someone like me could pull off.
"It will be your job to secure special objects for us," he said.
It turns out I can get into a lot of places no one else can without using noisy equipment or vehicles.
As he passed me a piece of paper I signed it right away. He smiled and tucked it into his inside jacket pocket just as my grandma was coming out with coffee.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 71
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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In this 71st episode, I review the classic novel A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. It's easy to see why these great stories have been made into so many movies and TV shows. They're great! Listen to hear why I love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing so much and why this first book in the series is special. 

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A Study in Scarlet

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Music by Kevin MacLeod at
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A Study in Scarlet audible simon vance (Affiliate Link)
Written by Arthur Conan Doyle
Narrated by Simon Vance

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Things Dads Do | Web Comic

Hey guys! I started a silly little comic called "Things Dads Do." If you follow that link you can go to the website for it. It's made entirely on my iPhone with my fingers. So it's pretty much finger painting. Here is the first one:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Our Trip to Antigua Guatemala

Here are a few quick entries I jotted down in my notebook for some of the days my family and I were out of the states visiting friends and serving in Guatemala. It was an amazing and humbling experience. I'm really thankful it was in my wife's heart to go back there and bring us with her. She lived down there for a few months 15 years ago.


Traveling all day. Up at 2:30Am, writing this at 9:33PM. Our plane is waiting on the tarmac because of bad weather. We're on our way to Guatemala but are still in the US in Houston, TX with a 3 hour flight still ahead of us.

There's a lot more to that story, but to sum it up, we were up for like 26 hours until we finally made it to our friend's house in Antigua Guatemala.

FRIDAY 3/30/18
• Ran 5 miles. Was shooting for 8 miles, because it had been 6 days since I'd run, but when you're used to running in 40 degree dry weather, going in humid 70s is rough, so I turned around at 2.5 miles and ran a minute slower each mile for the whole run! Also, BOOK RELEASE DAY!!! "Haunted House Flipper" was published!!!!!

SATURDAY 3/31/18
• Ran 2 miles

SUNDAY 4/1/18
He is risen indeed. Went to church at IDC in Antigua Guatemala. The worship music was amazing. Phenominal musicians and singer, and they sing in Spanish, then the same verse in English. Our friend translated the sermon and her husband played keyboard. Afterwards we went to a potluck with people from the church at one of the pastor's houses. It was cool to see the close community they have. They even did an Easter egg hunt for the kids. I met a teenager from Germany and we talked a lot. His name is --- -------.

MONDAY 4/2/18
• We hiked up a volcano called Pacaya Volcano.
It was nice to have a horse for the kids to share. Pretty intense incline, down was rough too but it was awesome!
• Roasted marshmellows on the volcano from the hot rocks

TUESDAY 4/3/18
Went into town w/ our friend and walked through the market. I bouth a cool Antigua Guatemala trucker hat. We got Guatemalan dresses and purses for the girls, and bags and wallets for the boys.

We went to a feeding clinic. It was an amazing experience. Very humbling. The kids handed out tortillas and poured juice for children in ragged clothes who won't get much else to eat today. My wife passed out plates of beans and rice and helped translate for our kids. I loaded up trays for the kitchen with plates of rice and beans and delivered them. We ate the same thing before serving the kids. I got teary eyed while carrying the trays. We Americans live in such excess. These kids have next to nothing. It was a very humbling experience.

• Ran 6 miles

FRIDAY 4/6/18
We drove to a lake house. It should have taken us 3 hours or less. It took us 8 hours. We took the long way around and drove all the way down a horrible dirt road almost until it connected back to a main road only to be told it was closed and we had to turn around. It was rough, but on the way we stopped for coffee at a place where the kids played on a see-saw, some playground equipment, and saw animals at a petting zoo. We were going to see some Mayan ruins but accidentally passed them. 

We woke up in the beautiful spacious lake house and had breakfast. Then we drove into town and rented a boat. We took it to the next town which was less touristy. We had lunch and saw how the local women make things from cotton. It’s a really long process of getting threat from cotton, dying it, and then weaving it. It takes over a week just to make a scarf when they work 6 hour days. We bought a lot of stuff from them.


We were there for another week, but those are all the entries I managed to get into my notebook. It was an amazing trip and we plan on going back someday to serve more and hang with our friends again who live down there. In the meantime we need to learn way more Spanish! I'm so glad my wife planned that amazing trip.