My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor | Book Review

This charming children's novel was such a good read. It's in first person, and the main character, Marty Preston, is an eleven year old boy you can't help but sympathize with. He gets into quite a predicament. I loved the way the story just effortlessly unfolded. It was a delightful read and the voice of the eleven year old protagonist the author was able to pull off came across as beautifully authentic. It's a simple story with rich complicated emotions. 

I read this book because after reading the third one in the series my 10 year old son said he liked these books as much as Harry Potter. I didn't think I'd ever hear those words come from his mouth. It's pretty cool that a simple little story that pulls on your heart strings can affect a young reader, and an old one in me, to the same degree as a well crafted mystery fantasy novel like Harry Potter with a huge story world to build and all kinds of layers going on. I look forward to reading the next one in the series and talking about these books with my boy. They raise a lot of great ethics questions on what's right and wrong.

Check out the author's website:

Get the book at Amazon:
Shiloh (The Shiloh Quartet)

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

Download the .mp3

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. 

Buy the Book on Amazon:
A Study in Scarlet

Check out the late author's website:

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

Visit my website:

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week:

A Study in Scarlet audible simon vance
Written by Arthur Conan Doyle
Narrated by Simon Vance

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: