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Friday, September 8, 2017

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle | Book Review

This first Sherlock Holmes book is really fun because you get to see Dr. Watson meeting him for the first time. You get to see them discovering each other's peculiarities and watch as they become the famous roommates at 221b Baker Street. I also love when they use the phrase, "What the deuce?" There are many fantastic phrases in the writing and besides that Doyle's descriptive diction is top notch. So you get a cool fun mysterious plot with fantastic prose. The best of both worlds I dare say. 

I love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing. He captures the voice of Watson so well. The cunning mind of Sherlock Holmes makes the story intriguing and he is a great character I love. One shouldn't ignore, however, that the beautiful writing with which the stories of Sherlock's adventures unfold make them sharper, more richly rendered, and more inspiring. The hunt for the criminal is awesome to read, but the gorgeous prose that delivers the mood, sights, sounds, and smells make the Sherlock stories instant classics to be held up as great works of literature. I particularly like the way Doyle describes characters in his stories. I get a keen vision of them in my mind. Another favorite line of Doyle's, though not from this book, is when Watson describes a visitor to their flat as "decidedly nautical." The flavor of these stories is one I keep coming back to because they're so great.

The last story in this book was a bit odd, but if you stick with it there are exciting scenes to be had. It has to do with other characters in the American west. I just wish it would have been another story that started at 221b Baker Street. It all kind of ties in, though, if you pay attention to the character's names and Sherlock and Watson do find their way back into the story in the end. All in all this is a special Sherlock Holmes book because you get to see the genesis of the fantastic duo of Watson and Holmes form. I can't wait to read the next one!

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A Study in Scarlet (Wisehouse Classics Edition - with original illustrations by George Hutchinson)

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson | Book Review

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters. It was really cool to see references to the previous trilogy as history, myth, and legend in this book. The way the allomancy and feruchemy magic systems worked with guns in this book were really cool. It was a much different world than the epic fantasy story world of the first book and it was cool to see how time had changed things. 

The main character Wax was someone I grew to love and found myself rooting for. His buddy Wayne was an awesome sidekick character. Perfect for comic relief and as a person Wax could rely on in times of grave peril. I found this book fun, exciting, and rich with awesome world building. Epic fantasy meets a kind of steam punk old west. Add great characters to that and you're in for a fun novel.

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More Hiking and Revising My Novel Through the Smoke

Smoke has covered our town like a blanket. This weekend we went to the Wenatchee area to do a couple hikes over the Labor Day Weekend and get some delicious food in Leavenworth. We had to turn around halfway up toward one of the hikes because the smoke was so bad. We re-routed and found a different hike in the opposite direction away from the smoke and had fun swimming in a lake there. Now back at home our kids can't go outside for recess and I can smell smoke in my cube at work. It's really bad. Man I hope some rain comes soon...

On a lighter note the revising of my novel is coming along. In my last blog post about it I was in chapter 31 and now I'm revising chapter 38! Oops I just realized I haven't been updating the progress meter. Okay, fixed! Only 11 chapters to go and then I can write the last chapter. I didn't write the last chapter yet because when I got to the end of my first draft I changed the mentor character into also being the love interest. So as I've gone through my first revision pass I've been changing the gender of that character and when I get to the last chapter I'm hoping to have a better idea of where their relationship stands. I have everything resolved in the second to last chapter except that. So when I get through chapter 49 I'll be all caught up and I'll be able to write the last chapter. Then the story will be done!

At that point I'll listen through the story one more time on my phone and hopefully catch any last little typos. Then when I hit the last chapter I'll revise that - then it's off to beta readers! I'm so excited about this because this will be the first time I write a novel without having to do rewrites. If it's good enough after I get feedback, it will also be the first full length novel I publish. That is very exciting and I think it will be good enough!

So this is what the process will be for this novel:
  1. Write the rough draft
  2. Go through the finished manuscript and revise it
  3. Do one last pass listening to the book
  4. Hand it off to Beta Readers
  5. Make edits based on their feedback
  6. Hand the polished manuscript off to an editor or two
  7. Make one final polish from their notes
  8. Publication!

All three novels I've written before this needed huge rewrites after I finished them. One of those I have rewritten several times and I still don't think it's good enough to publish. The other two I never touched and they remain trunked in their first draft form. I'm really excited that my planning and outlining has spared me from that on this story. I hope to replicate this with every novel I write moving forward. So, that's what I'm up to. My goal is to get this bad boy published by October so I can sell it around Halloween. It is called "Haunted House Flipper" after all :) Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 68
Star Wars Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Download the .mp3

In this 68th episode, I review Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. Listen to hear why I loved the deep emotions and amazing world building in this book. It's one to read if you're a STARS WARS fan, young adult literature fan, both, or neither and you're just looking for a good book. I know you'll love this one. 

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Star Wars Lost Stars

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Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

Star Wars: Lost Stars (Affiliate Link)
Written by Claudia Gray
Narrated by Pierce Cravens

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We're Back From the Hiking Trip!

We're back from vacation! It was really fun. We hiked over 30 miles last week. My wife is an amazing planner and we saw some beautiful places. So many waterfalls! If you would like to see all of the waterfalls we did, just pop on over to my Instagram and see the beauty for yourself. I put one of my favorite pics below, but you should really check out my Instagram because it was hard to choose. There is so much natural beauty out there, like that opening picture of the lake I took last night. We had a fun last lake day with family and friends yesterday. The kids start school next week! Where has summer gone?!

As for my revising, that's going pretty well. I'm currently revising chapter 31 of 50 and I think when we left on our trip I was revising somewhere in the low twenties. Once I finish my revision pass this book is off to beta readers. I'll get their feedback, make some more changes and then pass the manuscript off to an editor or two, make one last editing pass from their notes and then publish the thing! It will be my first published full length novel. I'm really excited about it. I need to get it for sale by October so it will be ready to go around Halloween. It's called "Haunted House Flipper," so that would be the perfect time to release it! After that I'm hoping to release my fist ever chapter book called "The Case of the Missing Snowman" around Christmas. That's what I've been up to. Thanks for stopping by!