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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.

START OF JOURNAL ENTRIES:

WEDNESDAY 3/28/18
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
• EASTER SUNDAY!!!
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.

WEDNESDAY 4/4/18
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.

THURSDAY 4/5/18
• 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. 

SATURDAY 4/7/18
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.

END JOURNAL ENTRIES

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.

Friday, March 23, 2018

My Novel "Haunted House Flipper" is out 3/30!



My debut novel "Haunted House Flipper" is out on Friday 3/30! I'm going to leave it at the special pre-order price of $2.99 for the first 2 weeks it's available.

Buy it wherever quality eBooks are sold. Coming in Paperback to Amazon and Barnes & Noble soon.

Purchase links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079K6MP28/
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/book/haunted-house-flipper/id1344955755?mt=11
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haunted-house-flipper-dan-absalonson/1127922177
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/787336

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Man From Snowy River | A Haiku

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I love writing Haikus. They're super short little poems. I love that they force you to constrain your words into so few syllables. It may seem like an oxymoron, but constraints actually make art thrive. It's true. Check out this cool article sometime called Proof That Constraints Can Actually Make You More Creative. I started writing a themed book of Haikus, but I'm also going to start writing some that I'll just share here on my blog. Here's the first of many more to come. If you want more Haikus check out my book in progress called "Explore (108 Haikus)" free to read on Wattpad. Leave me a comment on there and let me know what you think.


So here is my Haiku about a beloved movie I watched over and over again as a child:

The Man From Snowy River


Snowy River Jim
Rode a horse like no other
Down really steep hills

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle | Book Review

This book was weird and full of a ton of scientific info dumping. For me it lacked a story that pulled me in. I enjoyed it a little because I liked the first book and was excited to go on another adventure with the characters, but it was just so bizarre. 

My almost 10-year-old and I have been reading it separately and then talking about it. He told me a lot of this book was hard to understand. Even though I pretty much get what was going on in the story I agree. It was pretty abstruse. Imaginative, but one thing that bothers me is how the characters just kind of do things without the narrator explaining how they do them. The characters can transport themselves to different places and sizes and can communicate with each other telepathically but it's just sort of introduced and then all of a sudden it's a thing.

I was expecting to get to know Meg and Charles Wallace's Dad more but we didn't really get to. Charles Wallace wasn't in this story much either. There's a reason for it, but I would have liked to see more character development with him too.

Maybe I just missed the explanation of how things worked from reading through it too fast but it all seemed kind of like one strange scene to another instead of a cohesive story. I liked the first one, but this one wasn't for me. Kudos to the author for such creative ideas, I just wish the story would have been more compelling and less like a science episode of the Magic School Bus info dump.

Get the book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):

Monday, March 12, 2018

I'm Done Editing My Novel, Now it's with An Editor!

I finished another editing pass on my own using the amazing software called Pro Writing Aid. Now human eyes other than my own are going over it. The Pro Writing Aid software helped me eliminate passive voice in a lot of places and fixed a ton of my missing/extra commas. I think I'm learning how to use commas better from editing with this software. I highly recommend it. You can try it for free, but I bought a license to use it for 3 years because I got sick of only being able to paste parts of my chapters in the free version. Now I have unlimited word count usage with it. I can't wait to use it on my next book! Here's a screen shot below of me using the software on my novel Haunted House Flipper. It's available now for pre-order at all the fine eBook retailers!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I Was on A Cool & Hilarious Podcast!

The hosts of Cartridge Based Radio, Donald and Brad, break down old video games and try to tease out what was going on behind the scenes in the story world of the game to make it happen. We got to tackle the legendary game Shaq Fu. Everyone hates this game, and while I acknowledge it's terrible for many reasons, my brothers and I actually had a lot of fun playing it when we were in grade school. Listen to the episode to hear me explain how this terrible game can actually be really fun. It's really funny and you get to learn a little about the game, but also hear the two host's theories on what brought about the world that the characters in the game live in. Every episode I've listened to has made me laugh and this one where I got to be a guest was no exception. It was a blast to be on the show. Go to their website, or your favorite podcatcher, and give it a listen. I'm sure you'll be hitting the subscribe button before you can say Shaq. 

Go have a listen for yourself:
Cartridge Based Radio Episode 49


Thursday, February 15, 2018

I'm a Co-Host on The Writing Crusade w/ Indian Jim!


Remember that cryptic post I published a while back called "Exciting News?" It's here! I got to go onto Indiana Jim's writing podcast, called The Writing Crusade, as his co-host! We talked a lot about writing, how to do it better, more often, and lots of other great stuff. Go check it out.


Check out the latest episode, and my first appearance:

I had a great time coming on the show and I look forward to recording many more episodes with him. I've been a big fan of his podcasts and it's really cool to be a part of it now!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Revising my Novel from Beta Reader Feedback



I received a ton of great feedback from my beta readers. This weekend I was able to go through a lot of their notes and make tweaks, changes, and updates to my manuscript. I think my book is stronger and clearer in some places now. I really appreciate their time and effort reading my book and making notes on how it struck them while reading. I can't wait to pass off a clean manuscript to my editor! Above you can see a little snippet from my Bullet Journal showing my progress. Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Exciting News...

I have some very exciting news. I'm not going to tell you what it is yet, because I want to wait until it's available, but until then here are some hints:

You listen to it. It has to do with writing. The song below might give it away to podcast listeners who have been around the writing podcast scene for a while:

Sanctuary by D.J. Proctor | Book Review

This was a fun Sci-Fi book. There was a ton of action, and the different races in the story were interesting. I liked seeing how they interacted with each other, from fighting, to fighting along side each other, to accidentally offending each other. The organic humanoid robots were pretty interesting too, and I liked that there was conflict in the humans with how they were treated. 

This wasn't bad for a debut novel. The story did hold my hand quite a bit and there was a lot of telling instead of showing, but it was still an entertaining read. The characters weren't developed much either, which made it hard to care when some of them died brutal deaths. A few scenes were a bit too gruesome for my taste. 

That said, I would try another book by this author. He's only going to get better, and for a first novel this one was really fun. It's full of technical Sci-Fi jargon, action, grit, space battles, gun fights, and some pretty cool races and robotic characters I enjoyed reading about. Hopefully he'll flesh out the characters and make us care about them a bit more in the next book. 

Get the book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):

Monday, February 5, 2018

Did a Little Skateboarding this Weekend

My boys learned to ride their bikes without training wheels last year so I put some longboard wheels on my skateboard so I could keep up with them. We had tons of fun cruising around this weekend, and I even landed a couple ollies! I should just stick to cruising.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 70
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell


Download the .mp3


In this 70th episode, I review classic novel Black Beauty. I was surprised by just how much I loved this heartwarming story. It has some great moral lessons, touching stories, and you learn a ton about horses. It really made me feel like I knew the characters, even though most were horses!  

Buy the Book on Amazon (Affiliate Link):
Black Beauty


Learn more about the author:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Sewell

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:

Black Beauty (Affiliate Link)
Written by Anna Sewell
Narrated by Simon Vance


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.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

New Illustration for "The Case of the Missing Snowman"

This weekend I inked a new illustration for my chapter book "The Case of the Missing Snowman." I also posted a spread of some of the other illustrations I've completed for it. This one is in a chapter where the main character is watching a documentary about ancient Egypt. I have many more to go, but I'm getting there. Thanks for stopping by!



Monday, January 15, 2018

I'm 35? How did that happen?

I turned thirty five today. 35. Official mid thirties. Do I like that I'm that old? Of course not. Do I care much? Not really. If I were to describe what I'd like my life to be like at this age when I was younger I'd say I'm there. Life is good at 35! I'm married to my best friend, a beautiful woman who is way out of my league and is also an amazing mom. I have four wonderful kids that are all so awesome and different from each other. My wife and kids bring me a lot of joy and they're the best thing in my life!

I also have a really great job where I get to do what I went to school to do! Most people can't say that. I get to use the software programs I learned in school at my day job to create 3D art, videos, and textures. To the right are some chicken foot table accessories I got to make. Getting to create art for a living is a dream come true. It's awesome!

Lastly this is the year I will publish my first full length novel, and hopefully four others and two children's chapter books! It's going to be a great year. Bring it on mid thirties! I've got more than I deserve to be thankful for and big plans for a lot of book publishing! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Little Update on Q1 of my Writing Goals for 2018

Here's a little update on my post Writing Goals for 2018

Q1

January
•  "Haunted House Flipper" clean up and get to Beta Readers
•  "Zombie Super Powers" finish first draft
•  "The Case of the Missing Snowman" revise from feedback
•  "The Case of the Missing Snowman" work on illustrations


As soon as I finish my beta reading of a friend's awesome fantasy novel I'll start in on finishing the first draft of "Zombie Super Powers." Also I have penciled one illustration for "The Case of the Missing Snowman," but I have a lot more to do on that . I'd better get going on those!

ALSO, 

I've been trying to figure out my mailing list. Everyone says you need a mailing list as an author. I made one, but didn't set it up right so it never sent my welcome email out when someone subscribed. That has been fixed, but I still need to figure out how to send that to people who already subscribed. I'll get the hang of it eventually! Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

My Short Stories are No Longer Free and Here's Why

You can still read them all for free at Wattpad, but at all the retailers they're no longer free. I'm following the advice of an author who knows what he's talking about. Thanks to a fellow author and podcaster, Indiana Jim, I found an amazing veteran author with some writing and publishing advice that has been blowing my mind. That man is Dean Wesley Smith. If you're a writer, you need to go read his blog posts called "Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing." Better yet by the book (Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing: A WMG Writer's Guide) and support him for sharing his wisdom with us from decades of doing this. The things he shares will rock your world! He has a lot of advice that goes very much against what you hear from most writers and English teachers. You know what though? He's been making a living writing fiction for decades so he knows what he's talking about. One of the things he says is that offering your work for free, other than for short times during promotions, is a bad idea. He says that we should value our writing. Here are his suggestions on eBook pricing:

  • Under 3,000 words, 99 cents or $1.99. I would favor the $1.99 to stay out of the trash pile.
  • Over 3,000 words, $2.99
  • Over 10,000 words, $3.99
  • above 20,000 words price it as a novel in the genre and call it a short novel
  • Novels - Genre matters. Range from $3.99 to $6.99
Okay, all of that to say - you can still read all of my short stories for FREE at Wattpad. I even have some flash fiction there that you can't find at any of the retailers.

If I end up seeing some sales on any of my 20 short stories I will report back. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Haunted House Flipper is off to Beta Readers

My novel Haunted House Flipper is out to Beta Readers! Time to work on a different book while I wait for feedback to roll in. Then I'll make any changes or edits I agree with from their feedback and my book will be off to the editor! One step closer to publication!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year! A Little Update



"So Dan, in a recent post you were all like: 'I'm going to try and publish 6 books in 2018!' How's that going?"

I'm glad you asked. So far I've made a little bit of progress editing my manuscript "Haunted House Flipper" from feeback I recieved from my first Beta Reader. Once I've made all the small changes from his suggestions it's off to a bunch more beta readers.

Other than that I'm currently using my writing time to read and make notes on his manuscript. He's written a cool fantasy novel that I'm making my way through. I'm excited to see what comes of it. He's a smart guy and a good writer.

In other news I've started dieting and running in 2018. I ran 1 mile on the first and 2 miles today! The rest of my family is running too which is so cool and fun!


That's it for now - Well, there is also some other really exciting news about a new project I'm going to be involved in, but we'll save that announcement for when I have something about it to share. So stay tuned, and as always, thanks for stopping by!