Listen to my Short Story "The Forest Trail"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan
Book Review

This was a magical tale full of adventure and fantastical delight. It was really enjoyable. It reads as an instant classic. It fits well with the novel Peter and Wendy that came out in 1911. It's the story told from Hook's point of view. Being a fan of anything Peter Pan I jumped at the chance to read this book.

The writing style is spot on and instantly you're pulled into the nautical world of Hook as he recalls being a boy growing up in Port Royal and encountering Peter Pan, then later Neverland. The way in which he discovers Neverland reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia and was a really cool part of the story that was super fun to read. I loved the way he describes the part of Neverland he discovers. Parts of this story also reminded me of Tarzan of the Apes, which is a fantastic book. Young James and a friend face incredible beasts  on an island and much like Tarzan their adventure facing off against these beasts makes for exciting fiction.

The author really captures the voice of Captain James Hook and you get to hear his story from his childhood on. It was fascinating and very well told. This book is a real treat for anyone who loves good storytelling but especially for fans of the Peter Pan story world.

There were some incredible sword fights at the end that were immensely satisfying. They made for huge stand up and cheer moments that made my heart swell with pride for the most unlikely of protagonists James Hook. This book was easy to rate at 5/5 stars. I loved every minute of reading it. I was highly entertaining, well written, and full of fun adventures.

Also the narrator David Stifel did an outstanding job with the audiobook. He just nailed Hook's voice and the voices of the others perfectly with all the different accents. It really added to the story to hear it told through a perfect Captain James Hook voice.

Author Websites:

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Martian by Andy Weir | Book Review

Oh man was this book good. Ok let's get into it. I've got to say this book had more stand up and cheer moments than most books I've read, and those are really satisfying moments as a reader. You go on a long tough lonely journey with NASA astronaut Mark Watney. I'm not really a hard science fiction reader and I did get bogged down a tiny bit occasionally from all of the technical stuff but at the same time it was Mark explaining what he was doing to stay alive so the tension was still there. I'm sure a lot of more scientific minded readers will love these details for the realism they add to the story. This story was 100% believable. I believed everything the whole way through. It was as if I was reading astronaut log entries from NASA's website of actual events that happened.

One of the best things about this book is the main character's sense of humor. He wrote the most hilarious stuff. I laughed out loud a ton while reading this book even though I was reading about a stranded astronaut on Mars in situations where it looks like he most likely will die. The things he writes in the log entries you read in the book are so funny. His levity really makes the prose in this book shine and the dire situation he is in more palatable. If it weren't for his jokes and laugh out loud humor I would of had a much harder time reading through the long technical bits and might not have even made it through the story. His humor makes you want to root for him even more. I mean lets face it, everyone automatically wants to root for a guy stranded alone on Mars but the fact that this guy doesn't give up, is extremely talented, capable, and hopeful and hilarious on top of all that just makes you want to root for him that much more.

This book takes you on one heck of a journey. Most of the book is the log entries of the main character Mark who is stranded on Mars. I have to stress though that the other parts of the book written in third person about the people back on Earth trying to save him were really well done too. They had many moments of tension and hilarity.

This book with all of its dire situations and need for extreme knowledge of technical scientific details would have been extremely hard to write even if it turned out dull and boring when it was done. Andy Weir managed to get all the technical stuff right in an amazingly believable way and sprinkle in fantastic humor and great characters you love on top of it makes this an instant classic of Science Fiction in my book. I don't think it has won me over to wanting to read more hard science fiction books, but I will for sure read anything Andy Weir writes. I'm a big fan of his. I can't believe this was his debut novel. It was amazing.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 30
Haywire by Justin R. Macumber

Download the .mp3

In this 30th episode I review Haywire by Justin R. Macumber. Listen to hear why I gave this Science Fiction adventure novel 5/5 stars and loved it!

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Justin R. Macumber
Narrated by Veronica Giguere

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Writing Via Recording and Speech to Text

I'm taking a second part time job again soon on top of my normal full time job. In preparation for this I've been looking at what my schedule will be and not finding much time for writing in it. That's unacceptable. So I've decided to employ my digital voice recorder and my phone's speech to text capabilities to help me out. I've done this in the past but it's been years since I've used it to generate prose for a first draft. 

While I commute I record my story into my digital voice recorder. I've tried just doing straight speech to text but then I'm looking at my phone while driving so that's out. Instead I just record with two hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road. Later instead of transcribing it like I used to by listening and typing it all out I'm using my phone. While listening to the recording I speak it back into my phone. My iPhone 5c does an amazing job at converting my speech to text with very few errors. I tried having my phone listen to the recorder to create the text from my recorded speech and it works in a quiet environment, but then cuts out any small edits I want to make as I transcribe. From my 18 small recordings I made yesterday on my way home ranging from 15 seconds to a couple minutes each I cranked out 1,285 words. It took a while to get the audio into text but with my speech to text method it went WAY faster than keying it in by hand even though I'm a pretty fast typist. So this is my new plan. Recording my story while I commute and speaking it into my phone later to quickly transcribe it.

It's weird at first but doesn't take long to get used to and I think my dialog is better for it because I'm saying everything instead of typing it out. It also gives me a chance to do a light first pass edit because I sometimes find a better way to write something as I'm transcribing. I'd rather be sipping coffee and listening to my hands tap the keys but this is a great way for me to use the time I already have as a constant in the car commuting to get some words on the page. This is the method I used to write most of my second novel the first time I did NaNoWriMo. It helped me find more time to write to try and get those 1,667 words a day and I ended up hitting 50K words by the end of November. Looks like it's a method I'll be employing again during this NaNoWriMo. I thought this might be interesting to fellow writers. I'm sure I'll still do some cherished keyboard clacking on the weekends. Happy writing!

Monday, September 14, 2015

HR by Geoffrey Neil | Book Review

The audiobook of this novel was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of

This was an interesting read with a unique plot. This author is very good at building tension. I felt nervous with the characters in many scenes. I also loved how he wrote in little details that the characters noticed. It added to the realism and made me feel like I was there in the story that much more with the character. The writer's style was great. He writes without much flourish so the story moves fast but like I said there is also little details added to really flesh out the scenes. A great combo of nice bare bones writing with dashes of detail made for a nice fast pace and vivid story.

Like I said, this was a unique book. I haven't read anything like it. I liked it and I'm glad I read it because it was an interesting tale. The author is a talented writer and he did a lot of things right in this book - there were just a few things that kept me from giving this one a 5 star review. 

It's a thriller but sort starts and stops as far as pacing goes. Once it gets that sorted out there are little moments of intensity here and there followed by a very slow boil that eventually pays off. I can't say I was ever bored, I guess I'd say the author just really took his time establishing things with the characters and the situation. That said there were a lot of really cool scenes in this book. It's worth the slower parts to get to the exciting stuff and the slow parts are doing their job of adding depth to the characters and setting up what happens in the last act of the story. So I guess I'd say some parts were a little slow but I still wasn't bored in these parts so the author was doing something right there.

The book starts off with one story and it takes a crazy turn toward horror. Then before you quite understand what's going on, though I'm sure more discerning readers guessed, you are plunged straight into another story with a whole new setting and new characters with the villain from the first story eventually coming into the story. It took a while until she was there though and until she tied the two stories together it was a jolt and I felt like I was reading a completely new book. I know these kinds of books need to start with an exciting scene to hook the reader but I'm wondering if the author could have condensed the first story and told a little of it and then sprinkle the rest of it in little parts throughout the other story as flashbacks the villain has or something. It was kind of cool knowing who the villain was before the characters and seeing them all slowly come to realize just who she really was though. The villain is someone you feel is very dangerous, capable, and smooth as you read the book. Like she's capable of anything.

The character Hugh seemed like a bit of a rip off of Lennie Small from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men but I liked him anyway. I liked the details about him liking whittling but felt his character could have been developed a little more. I'm not sure how this could have been accomplished but maybe if we could of had some scenes from his point of view it would have helped us readers feel like we knew him better.

Overall the author did a great job of taking a crazy very creepy idea and turning it into a believable full length novel. That would not have been easy to do but it all comes to live as you read the story. This story would make a great movie. Give it a try and see it as a movie in your mind as I did.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 29
Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole

Download the .mp3

In this 29th episode I review Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole. It's a book that has some really awesome things going for it and some amazing scenes but I didn't like it that much. This brings me to a conclusion. I explain that from here on out I'm only podcasting my reviews of books I loved unless I think they are books my listeners will love even if they weren't my particular cup of tea though they have a lot of merit as a good read.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Myke Cole
Narrated by the Corey Jackson

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Floating Down River by Martin Spernau | Audio Version
Narrated by Dan Absalonson and Dave Robison

Download the .mp3

In this short story Martin Spernau craft's a wonderful little fable in which a young warrior learns a life long lesson from an old man he always sees sitting by a river. Narrated by Dan Absalonson and Dave Robison this beautiful fable is a treat to listen to with sound effects adding to the ambiance bringing you right into the story.

Music used in this production by Kevin MacLeod at
Sound effects (all public domain) from
Author Martin Spernau's website:
Narrator Dave Robison's podcast website:

This has been a production of Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 28
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Download the .mp3

In this 28th episode I review a classic of fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. Listen to hear why I didn't like this novel at first but was rewarded by listening to a friend's advice and finishing it. By the end I was glad I read it.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by Ursula K. Le Guin
Narrated by the Rob Inglis

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Zombie Super Powers is Halfway Written!

Placeholder Cover Art for Wattpad
Hey guys! I'm excited! Last night I wrote in my novel for the first time in a very long time. It felt great and even though I'm an outliner I learned about one of the character's backstories as I finished the chapter up. It was a big chapter because it's the last one in the first part of Act II so now I'm right at the midpoint. Now they're making plans to fight back instead of run and react to the problem. My plan knowing how many chapters this book will have and about how many words I wanted in each chapter shows me that somehow I got to the midpoint and was only off by 12 words! I'm at 30,012 words at the end of chapter 12 and there are going to be 24 chapters total. A short sweet 60K word young adult novel called Zombie Super Powers. I know that word count of the first half of the book will change with editing but hey - I've reached the halfway mark! Now I just have to get to Act III where all the really cool stuff happens. It should be a fun ride getting there though with some big realizations for the main character. I can't wait to write it. It feels so good to be writing again in this book!

So I figured out how many words I need to write a day to finish this thing before NaNoWriMo so I can be set to start a new book on November 1st. It's 517 words a day until October 31st. That will get me finishing this book on time. That's the game plan. You can track my progress with the nifty word count meter I put on the top right hand side of my website. You can also be an Alpha reader if you want and read the new chapters as they get published to Wattpad here. I'd love any feedback or comments you have. I'm so excited to see that meter fill up and finish this novel! It's my forth novel and I'm hopeful it's the first one I'll publish. After I write my fifth novel during Nanowrimo then finish the other two novels I started I think I'll try and do a massive overhaul on my third novel and either rewrite it or rewrite lots of it. We'll see. I'm excited to be writing again! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Giver by Lois Lowry | Book Review

This was a great book. It brings you into a very different world from our own, but a world that seemed pretty similar at first. Then it strips away the thin layers one by one until you are horrified by the end of the book. It seems so innocent at first as you get to know the characters. Then you slowly discover just how weird the world they live in is. Everything is controlled and regulated. There is no pain and everything works like a well oiled machine in their society, but that's only for the ones who fit in and follow the rules. Everyone else gets released. I wont tell you what that means because wanting to find out was a huge factor pushing me through the story as I read it.

This is easily one of the most interesting books I've ever read. The world Lois Lowry creates in this novel is like nothing else I've ever read. I loved how the world just slowly creeps up on you. The more you read the creepier it is and the more you realize how messed up everything is in the place the characters live. It was a very light easy read but slowly unraveled a complex and cringe worthy story world that leaves you turning the pages faster and faster so you can dive deeper into this world and find out just what the heck is going on.

I really liked the main character Jonas and discovering the secrets of his world with him as I read through the story. I loved rooting for him and feeling for him. Seeing him react to things that in his society would be unimaginable was awesome. His journey to the truth was a great one to witness. I can't say enough about this wonderful little book and I don't want to spoil any of it so that's where I'll end my review.