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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!

Get the book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
A Study in Scarlet (Wisehouse Classics Edition - with original illustrations by George Hutchinson)

Check out the late author's website:
http://www.arthurconandoyle.com/

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.

Get the book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):

Check out the author's website:

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. 

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
Star Wars Lost Stars


Check out the author's website:
http://www.claudiagray.com/

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

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


This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible. Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews 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.

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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!

Friday, August 11, 2017

I'm Gone on Another Hiking Trip!

I'll be gone for a week hiking with my family and our friends around the state of Oregon. I'm hoping in the quiet hours of the night as our kids sleep and we rest our weary feet I'll crank out revisions on several more chapters of my latest novel "Haunted House Flipper." I need to get moving on getting that first draft cleaned up for beta readers if I'm going to release it in October before Halloween! You can become a beta reader right now and read along as I post revised chapters at Wattpad. I'll be sure to thank you in the acknowledgements of the book when it's published in paperback and eBook! Feedback would be much appreciated. You can just leave it in the comments at Wattpad.

As far as our hike, we've had to change our plans a bit thanks to a bunch of fires and heavy smoke in the area. We were super excited to hike Crater Lake, but the smoke in that area is really bad right now so my brilliant wife found another great hike for us to do. If you want to see some gorgeous photos from our hikes of nature, rivers, and waterfalls just follow me on instagram. Check out my kids perched on a rock right above a waterfall before it drops down!


Last year my wife planned our first ever week long hiking trip and those days are some of our best family memories ever. I got some amazing photos and man did we have fun hiking to waterfalls and alongside rivers. This year will be cool because another family is coming with us. They've joined us on a lot of hikes this year and they're awesome traveling friends. So I'll see you in a week! Until then follow our journey on Instagram. I've posted a widget below to show some of the photos right here in this blog post:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 67
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White


Download the .mp3

In this 67th episode, I review Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Listen to hear why I loved reading this book to my kids. The writing was gorgeous, the story was well crafted, and the topic of death was covered in a beautiful way for all audiences. I can see why this book is a classic.

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
Charlotte's Web


Learn more about the late author:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._B._White

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

Charlotte's Web (Affiliate Link)
Written by E.B. White
Narrated by E.B. White


This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible. Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews 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.

FOLLOW ME:
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It's August! Time to Start Writing Every Day Again!

I've been really struggling to get any momentum going with my writing lately. I have a novel called "Zombie Super Powers" I'm over halfway done writing. You can see the progress bar in the upper right hand corner. As I write this post I'm on chapter 15 of 24 so I'm 62.5% through the novel. I have all the rest of the chapters outlined and ready for me to fill up with prose, I just need to do it. I haven't been doing it because I've been trying to finish revising the novel I finished called "Haunted House Flipper." The first draft of that one is done but I'm not quite halfway through revising it. Once that's done I can: get it to beta readers, make updates from their feedback, get it edited, and then finally publish it! I'd like to publish it in October because it would be a great book to release around Halloween.


The way I finished that book was by writing every day and keeping track of each day I wrote on a calender with a red X. Once you have two days in a row it starts to look like a chain and you don't break the chain. Don't miss a day of writing. So now I'm trying to do that with my novel "Zombie Super Powers." It's the book I work shopped on The Roundtable Podcast years ago and it should have been finished and put up for sale years ago. I'm hoping to finish the first draft this year by writing every day.

Then there's the children's chapter book I finished last year that I still need to do all the illustrations for. That book is just waiting on the illustrations to be done and one last revision pass and it will be ready to publish! It's called "The Case of the Missing Snowman" and I'd like to have it up for sale by December 1st in time for Christmas. For that to happen I need to get my illustrations done! Maybe I should try to start drawing every day too. That could really help my productivity.

That's my update for now. If you're looking for something to read I just released a really exciting short story adventure called "Stiff-Legged Bear!" Check it out for just $0.99 at Amazon, or almost all other online eBook retailers like Smashwords. It would really help me out if you left a review for it. You can also read it for free at Wattpad. You can see the awesome cover for it in the last blog post by scrolling down. Thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Stiff-Legged Bear | Cover Reveal



This is the cover for my new story "Stiff-Legged Bear." It's a story I wrote about a year ago for an anthology. The idea was to write a story about a mythological monster in modern times. I did a little research and found out about the elephant sized man eating bear in Native American mythology called the Stiff-legged Bear. The publisher couldn't get enough submissions so the anthology fell through, but now I'm able to make this awesome story available! I'm excited to finally bring it to readers. You can grab a Kindle copy at Amazon, or pick it up now at Smashwords in any eBook format of your choice. It's in the process of being published at Barnes & Noble, and pretty much all other eBook retailers too! Soon I'll replace this text with a link to the book for purchase there too!

You can also read it for free on Wattpad. It would be really cool if you starred and voted for it there and left a comment!

Here's a bit of the intro:

Most people think it's weird that I go camping in the woods my brother Cody died in, but it's the best way I have of remembering him. He went missing four years ago. We still don't know what happened to him. Sometimes it turns out the wildest stories are the true ones.
Every year around the weekend of his death I camp in those woods to be in the place he loved most. It's where I feel closest to him. His empty grave has never brought me any comfort or closure.
I had just finished my coffee and was going to take a leak when I saw it. The biggest footprint of any kind I had ever seen. It looked like it belonged to a bear, but I thought it was way too big for that. I called my buddy Nick right away. He hunts bears.
"Hello?" Nick said.
"Dude. I think Cody was right man. How big is a normal bear paw print?" I said.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 66
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith


Download the .mp3

In this 66th episode, I review The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. Listen to hear why I thought this book was really great for some reasons, and not that great for others. I loved the characters and the ending. I liked it enough that I will be reading the next one in the series, but the middle was just boring for me. 

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike)

Check the author's website:
https://www.jkrowling.com/

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

The Cuckoo's Calling (Affiliate Link)
Written by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Narrated Robert Glenister


This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible. Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews 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.

FOLLOW ME:
Twitter | https://twitter.com/DanDanTheArtMan
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hiking up to Colchuck Lake



I told you guys I'd let you know how it went hiking up to Colchuck Lake. Well, we made it, but it cost us. That's right, the picture you see above is one I took! As far as how I'm feeling after that hike that happened three days ago? Let's just say I'm still really sore!

It was easily the coolest hike we've ever done, but it was brutal! Usually when you do an out and back hike the way back is much easier. Most of it is downhill and it goes by so much faster than the climb up did. While we did get back down the mountain faster than we got up it, it felt a whole lot longer and more grueling. When you're walking back down from Colchuck Lake you're not just on some trail, you're climbing down creeks, over boulders, around tree roots, and pretty much making sure every single step is not one that will make you trip. I'm not kidding. Check out the photo I took of the "trail" below. It was really cool, but the terrain really took it out of us. We were all beyond done when we still had about two and a half miles to go. There were some tears and the kids weren't the only ones complaining that their feet hurt and they wished we were back to the car.

It's the first hike marked as HARD we've ever done. Before we've stuck to easy or moderate hikes. It was a little too much for us, but we did it and for that I'm really proud of us. Our kids are 6, 7, 8, & 9, so this was one hike were we didn't see many other children and when we did they were usually older. The kids have recovered a lot faster than my wife and I have though. It didn't help that my wife's knee has been bugging her and that I had a double header of two softball games on Sunday in 98 degree heat. That was the day after the hike and it just about killed me. I'm doing a bit better today, but I'd say I'm still maybe at about 60% back to feeling normal. I am exhausted. It sure was an adventure though! I love my family.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hiking the Colchuck Lake Trail


My wife got us into hiking and we love it! It started when my kids complained while walking 2 blocks to the corner store to get a treat. She was mortified that they couldn't walk two blocks so she decided we would start hiking. 

At first we just did a mile or two and they got better and better. We found that they would complain on a walk around our block but when they were out in the woods on trails they were too busy having fun and being distracted with the beauty all around us to complain much. We now try and hike at least once or twice a week. The longest trail we've ever hiked now is 8.6 miles.

This weekend we are going to do the Colchuck Lake Trail. If you follow that link you'll see it's rated as HARD. We usually stick to moderate trails. This hike is probably going to kick our butts and take us like 10 hours but we're going to do it. I'm going to try and get myself to jump in the alpine lake even though there may be snow on the mountains around me and it's going to be frigid! It's sure to be an adventure! Wish us luck and I'll let you know how it goes in a few days when we're back to civilization and I'm done with church music and softball games on Sunday. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Revising "Haunted House Flipper" Update

So I've been using my writing time to read a friend's first novel. I'm getting close to finishing it. The story keeps getting better and I'm really enjoying being a beta reader for him. He'll be a great resource beta reading for me when I finish revising my novel. A beta reader is someone who reads your book for you before it's published to give you feedback on it. They're a great resource! I'm always looking for more! About that novel of mine and it's revision...



I revised chapter 11 of 50 a few days ago and that's the last time I made progress on it. It was a really busy weekend filled with hiking, playing guitar and singing for 2nd - 6th graders at church on Sunday morning, and a fun Father's Day lunch at the lake. My wife took that sweet photo below. She helped me get the kids up some huge rocks. The view from the top was awesome! It was a fun hike. I really need to get cracking on my revision though so I can pass my book off to beta readers and get feedback on it. That will be really exciting. Handing your story off to people for the first time is always a little nerve racking, but I'm excited about it! You'll never get better if you don't let other people read your stories and learn what they liked or didn't like. Hopefully I'll be reporting back soon that I've revised a ton more chapters and I'm close to finishing the revision.

If all goes well this will be the first full length novel I've written that I will publish. It will be the first novel that I won't have to go back and hack into a whole bunch to fix. Thanks to my outlining process I think the story works well and will not need huge story edits. That's my hope anyway. If people like it and don't have feedback about the story not working I think "Haunted House Flipper" will be my first full length novel that I'll publish.


It's been a long road getting here with 3 other novels written that I'll probably never publish without a full rewrite. With that said - getting my first novel published is really the beginning of this long writing journey I'm on. Once I have 5 to 10 of them published, then I think I'll finally be on my way. I'm still driving toward the freeway hoping I didn't forget to pack anything. I did all I could to prepare though, and I'm ready to start my trip. Let's do this! Okay, I think I ran that metaphor into the ground :) Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 65
The Heart Thief by S. Lee Benedict


Download the .mp3

In this 65th episode, I review The Heart Thief by S. Lee Benedict. Listen to hear why I thought this book was a fantastic combo of supernatural thriller meets coming of age meets police procedural. It was so good for so many reasons and the second book in the series is out now to so check this one out! 

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
The Heart Thief (The Rhapp's Barren Triptych Book 1)

Check the author's website:
http://www.sleebenedict.com/

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

The Heart Thief: The Rhapp's Barren Triptych, Volume 1 (Affiliate Link)
Written by S. Lee Benedict
Narrated R.C. Quartermaine


This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible. Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews 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.

FOLLOW ME:
Twitter | https://twitter.com/DanDanTheArtMan
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/DanDanTheArtMan
Google + | https://plus.google.com/+DanAbsalonson/

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 2017 Update on Writing Projects

I've been using the bulk of my writing time to read through the manuscript of a friend's first novel. I'm happy to say that I'm really liking it so far and it's been a pleasure to read. It's a long book and I'm glad there's a lot more story to go. I'm over a third of the way through it and I've only found like four typos! He writes clean stuff and/or did a great job editing it before handing it off to me. I'm not giving you his name or the name of the book, but I'll be sure to let you know about it when he gets it published.


With that said, let me tell you about what I've been working on here and there for my own writing. Once I finish my friend's book I'll go back to writing every day on my own stuff. Okay, so I started writing new words on an old manuscript and I'm also revising my newest book "Haunted House Flipper." I'm also still working on the illustrations for a chapter book I finished called "The Case of the Missing Snowman." So here's where all my current projects stand:

Haunted House Flipper

The first draft of this novel is done and I'm about 25% of the way through revising it. Once that's done I'll give it to Beta Readers, make some more revisions with their feedback, and publish it!

Zombie Super Powers

I'm in chapter 15 of 24 so the first draft of this book is well on its way to completion. Then I'll revise that bad boy and get it in the hands of Beta Readers. Hopefully I can publish it this year as well.

The Case of the Missing Snowman

The first draft of this book is done! I'm still working on the illustrations for it though, and waiting to get feedback on it from a classroom of 4th graders who had it read to them in class by their teacher who plays on my softball team :) I'm hoping to get this book published this year as well. I need to get those illustrations finished!

That's about it, although I did write a really fun short story for an anthology about an elephant sized man eating bear. The Anthology is tentatively titled Mythos. I'll let you know more when it's available. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 64
The Giver by Lois Lowry


Download the .mp3

In this 64th episode, I review The Giver by Lois Lowry. Listen to hear why I thought this book was one of the most interesting books I've ever read. The changing story world pulls you in as you discover things are not what they seem. 

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
The Giver (Giver Quartet)

Check the author's website:
http://www.loislowry.com/

Music Attribution:
Music by Kevin MacLeod at http://www.incompetech.com
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Visit my website: www.DanDanTheArtMan.com

Support the show AND get a free audiobook!
http://www.audibletrial.com/DansBookReviews

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

The Giver (Affiliate Link)
Written by Lois Lowry
Narrated Ron Rifkin


This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible. Visit www.AudiblePodcast.com/DansBookReviews 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.

FOLLOW ME:
Twitter | https://twitter.com/DanDanTheArtMan
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/DanDanTheArtMan
Google + | https://plus.google.com/+DanAbsalonson/