Dale A Swanson

Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Biographies & Memoirs, History

Author Profile

Dale A Swanson

SIGNED COPIES OF SWANSON'S BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ONLY AT, http://www.dale-swanson.com Swanson grew up in Mound, Minnesota. He is a published author, screenwriter, playwright, and poet. His poems have been performed in stage productions and appear in multiple anthologies. Two of his radio plays were recorded live and aired statewide in Minnesota. His historical novel, THE THIRTY-NINTH MAN, published by North Star Press, was released in June of 2013 and was listed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune reader survey for the best book read in 2013. In 2015 his middle-grade fantasy novella, The Wild Ways–Mystery of the Hanging Tower, was released. His screenplay developed for Native Strong-ARC debuted in July 2017, and his newly published, TEARS OF SORROW – A FREE NATION LOST, was released June 2018, Dale’s favorite pastimes include hunting, camping, and canoeing. He has three patents related to archery. He's bow hunted the big timber from California to New Hampshire and the croplands between; he's paddled the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area–BWCA, Michigan's Manistee River, and New Hampshire's Merrimac; snorkeled in the Sea of Marmara, tracked satellites in Madagascar, and he can start a campfire after five days of steady rain.


Tears of Sorrow

Literature & Fiction

Anton McAllister leads his Dakota family west to escape the white backlash after the US-Dakota War of 1862. Settling into the Black Hills, they merge with the Miniconjou Lakota band of Lone Horn. Anton’s adopted son, Four Wings, befriends the militant warrior Crazy Horse, and their world is turned upside down as they deal with disingenuous treaties, an illegal war brought on by the Grant Administration, and a deranged bounty hunter no larger than a child. Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and powerful men from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations make their stand when the army begins to build forts along the Bozeman Trail. Red Cloud wins his war, the great herds of buffalo are methodically destroyed, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull are murdered, and Wounded Knee Creek becomes the death wail of a free Sioux Nation. And throughout it all, Four Wings struggles to reconcile the good white men he has known, including the mixed blood who raised him, with those who seek to subdue or destroy the Sioux Nation.

Book Bubbles from Tears of Sorrow


Cutting directly through prime buffalo land, the government began building forts on land promised to the Indian in the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty.

Prologue - Tears of Sorrow

The end is the beginning of this nightmare for the Great Sioux Nation. My heart aches for their losses, but their greatness remains. Their nobility cannot be taken by others if held in their hearts. One's memories in many ways define the future for each of us. We hold in memory those things which are dear. Do not allow them to be replaced with anger and hurt. Never forget, but forgiveness opens the door for a positive future. Please visit my new web page at www.dale-swanson.com and my author facebook at https://www.facebook.com/daleswansonwriter/

The complexity of Red Cloud

Having seen what happened to the Dakota in 1862 after they brought the fight to settlers and army alike, Red Cloud decided it unwise to unleash Lakota anger at the civilians using the newly opened Bozeman Trail without fair warning. He limited his attacks to harassing the army and stopping the construction of forts being built along the trail in violation of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty. In so doing, he was placing notice on anyone wishing to gamble on using the Bozeman. His chieftain status was not recognized through heredity, rather through his actions and battlefield performance. His leadership drew support from Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho, both tribes participating in what has become known as "Red Clouds War."

Meeting Spotted Elk

This scene takes place only days after the hangings that followed the uprising in Minnesota. Anton, his wife Star Woman, her son Four Wings, and Anton's friend Tatemina have just entered the Black Hills. This is their first interaction with Lakota people, and they are about to meet Spotted Elk, son of Lone Horn. In this culture, the women controlled camp life while the men hunted for food, protected the band, and joined raiding parties. Throughout the story, Star Woman's inner strength is evident.

Prologue - Tears of Sorrow

This is the second book in the series that began with “The Thirty-Ninth Man.” The first explored the beginning of the Sioux Wars and the executions that followed. This book, “Tears Of Sorrow” reveals what happened during the next twenty-eight years of continued injustices by the U.S. Government. Legends were made, great men died, families were destroyed. Like the first, this book brings little-known facts to the fore while fictional characters weave their way through historical events.

Dale A Swanson

Working Title: The Thirty-Ninth Man - Reviews

This Book Is In Development

The Thirty-Ninth Man - Reviews


This space is for book reviews of The Thirty-Ninth Man from several sources, including Kirkus Reviews.

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from The Thirty-Ninth Man - Reviews

Backstory to Tears of Sorrow

This is the book that started the story. Fictional characters are woven through historically accurate situations faced by the Sioux Nation Oyate. All reviews are unsolicited with the exception of the Kirkus Review, for which I paid. This book issue is self-published. I purchased all rights from the original traditional publisher so I could control marketing and generate more exposure. THE THIRTY-NINTH MAN exposes truths surrounding the US–Dakota War of 1862 and the mass execution of 38-Dakota Indians. This story is filled with little known historical truths and is preliminary to the second, and final, book explaining the end of the Free Sioux Nation as told in TEARS OF SORROW, my latest release, still awaiting public reviews.

Book Reviews

All reviews are unsolicited with the exception of the Kirkus Review, for which I paid. This book issue is self published. I purchased all rights from the original traditional publisher so I could control marketing and generate more exposure.

The Thirty-Ninth Man

Literature & Fiction

The Thirty-ninth Man is a historical novel culminating with the Dakota War of 1862 and the mass execution of thirty-eight men. History tells us little of the thirty-ninth man sentenced to die with the others, and he is largely ignored in all accounts of the executions. This novel by D. A. Swanson weaves fictional events around historical facts creating a tapestry filled with accurate depictions of people from Minnesota’s past. Men like Lawrence Taliaferro, Josiah Snelling, Henry Sibley, Little Crow, Wabasha and a host of others share the stage with the protagonist, Anton McAllister, and the thirty-ninth man, Tatemina—Round Wind. On August 19, 1825, in a place called Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory, under the guise of concern but wrapped in a cloak of deceit, the federal government began a series of treaties with the Sioux Nation that would lead to the outbreak of the Sioux Wars, and the end of a way of life. In 1862 with the beginnings of the Sioux Wars in the Minnesota River Valley, a mixed-blood named Anton McAllister balances on the razor-thin line separating corrupt Indian agents, unscrupulous fur traders, the U.S. Army, and powerful chiefs from the Chippewa and Dakota nations. When his best friend is falsely accused of war crimes and sentenced to die, Anton finds himself in a race to save his friend from the gallows. The story begins in 1804 and concludes on December 26, 1862.

Book Bubbles from The Thirty-Ninth Man

A peek at two different men

Both men are real, both men were of good moral character, and the two men were as different as night and day. Snelling was a military man of action who was assigned the task of managing the licensed fur trappers in the Northwest Territory. Taliaferro was appointed by James Monroe as the first Indian Agent in the Northwest Territory. It was his responsibility to keep peace between the Indian Nations and represent them in official dealings with the government. He excelled at diplomacy and settling disputes between the Chippewa and Sioux and was highly respected by both nations.

Intro to the Sioux Nation

This piece was developed long before I began writing The Thirty-Ninth Man. It was to be the foundational piece to a totally fictional story and intended as an introduction to the Dakota Sioux. Then I read the autobiography of Lawrence Taliaferro, the first Indian agent in the Northwest Territory, and I knew my story had to get the history right. The man, Tomawka, meant to be a type representing the entire Sioux Nation, is about to enter a death struggle with an archenemy. For Minnesota readers, the lake is Minnetonka and the peninsula is Pelican Point, now an island in Spring Park Bay. Spirit Knob is between Brown’s Bay and Wayzata Bay.

Story Background

A Note To The Reader This is the story of a great injustice and a handful of men and women who played a part. At 10 a.m. on December 26, 1862, thirty-eight men were hanged in the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. It was said, “three drumbeats signaled the moment of execution; a single ax stroke plummeted all through the gallows, the crowd cheered; bodies were buried in a single grave on the edge of town.” Thirty-nine were sentenced—thirty-eight died—one was pardoned at the last minute.


I set out to write a book of fiction—until—I read Lawrence Taliaferro's autobiography. Lawrence was the first Indian agent appointed to the Northwest Frontier. I decided that the story I was to write would be based on factual information while my fictional characters were weaving their way through those historically accurate moments. The deeper I dug, the more facts I uncovered that pointed to governmental intent to defraud and tip the scale to the detriment of the Indian Nations. I made a conscious effort to remain unbiased, although it may not appear that way. The facts told the story, the individuals on both sides lived their lives, some with good and noble intent, some with lies and deceit.

Dale A Swanson

Working Title: The Village of Island Park

This Book Is In Development

The Village of Island Park

Biographies & Memoirs

Growing up in 1945 until graduation from high school in an uncluttered time when families watched out for each other and children played from dawn to dusk under the watchful eyes of the entire community.

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from The Village of Island Park

Family Found

It was the letter I thought was a ruse that opened my mind and the minds of my two sisters. Almost overnight, we went from the last of the line to just another branch of a very large family. That letter is what got me going on my search for answers and gave me the realization that if I didn't record my direct family's history, it would be lost forever. This chapter is the starting point and what follows will be highlights from my life and the joys I experienced while growing up in the 1950's. I hope you enjoy the read.

The Wild Ways

Science Fiction & Fantasy

I’ll bet you didn’t know that all animals communicate with each other. I know this because I learned it from a ten-year-old boy who was given the power to speak with them. ~Dale A. Swanson A loud-mouthed squirrel named Chatter, a fidgety Gopher, named Archie, a raccoon with special powers named Ring, and all the animals living on Enchanted Island select ten-year-old Oscar Johnson to receive the Wild Ways, the language that allows animals to communicate with each other. As development threatens their peaceful habitat, the animals need Oscar to help solve a thirty-year-old mystery to save their beloved Enchanted Island and the surrounding forest they call home. With his new power to talk to all creatures, Oscar receives a series of clues provided by the animals and helps FBI agent Jim Brandt solve a murder mystery and uncover a sinister plot to use Enchanted Island for nefarious purposes. Together, they race against the clock to discover the final piece of a puzzle that reaches into the highest seats of power within the US Government.

Book Bubbles from The Wild Ways

Learning Through Trials

I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many think. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. Conversely, the young reader can often miss more profound truths aligned within a story. Conceptually, The Wild Ways – Mystery of the Hanging Tower, is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface. I think this is one reason this simple little book is enjoyed by adults as well as by children. When we go through life, we are continually changing from the experiences we live through. In this story, Chatter, the gray squirrel learns that he is not cowardly; Oscar, the little boy, is tempted to slide to the “dark side,” but regains his equilibrium through his contact with Ring, the raccoon. Perhaps the greatest changes occur in Oscar’s friend, Larry, and the gopher named Archie. Larry’s experience in the swamp dramatically affects his future and Archie undergoes a complete transition from his introduction to stories end.

Oscar acts to involve the FBI

In this excerpt, Oscar is home for dinner after receiving the Wild Ways from Ring. He knows he must somehow get the info given to him into the hands of the FBI, but he can't tell anyone about his ability to talk with the animals. To add to his problem, he must tell them the truth about going to the Tower House, the one place his mother told him to stay away from. This sets up the introduction to Jim Brandt, FBI agent, and the start to solving the mystery of the tower house.

Larry screws up

As kids, I'll bet every one of us had a friend like Larry; at least, a little bit like Larry. A tad unsure of themselves, our Larry's are a bit to anxious to show how good they are; they seem to feel a need to be the top of the heap. The problem is, they know inside, that they can't let anyone see the doubts they feel. My Larry is a kind person, full of self doubt, yet buoyed by self confidence. He makes a GREAT partner and he represents my childhood's best friend.

Archie is Chosen

Have you ever had a friend that seems to think it is their duty to talk; I mean talk just to talk? Archie is one of those, but at the same time he loves to dig. Being a gopher, that is a good trait to have. This introduction of Archie, shows his self confidence while demonstrating his resistance to being told what to do. He is his own man and intends to remain in charge of his own actions. Archie is likely my favorite character in this story. Spunky with a giant heart for the good of all, he accepts the challenge.

The Mystery Begins

The date is 1921 and the location is Lake Minnetonka, a beautiful lake west of Minneapolis. This scene sets the stage for animal involvement in nearly every facet of human living. Very little is done without some kind of animal having an awareness of the action. Imagine being able to ask a mouse about what transpired during a secret meeting on a remote island. In this opening scene, we know the men in the cabin are up to no-good, but it will be thirty years before we learn how this meeting will affect the future.


This baby was to be the first known recipient of the Wild Ways; the ability to understand and be understood by the wild animals. This knowledge had a profound impact on the humans of that time. Having had wild animal pets when I was a kid, I knew the joy of having them come when I called. A raccoon named Snoopy was rescued when a farmer cut down a tree and killed his mother. He grew up with my dog and lived in the swamp behind our house. He was so smart he opened outside doors and came and went as he pleased.

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