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  • Author to Author: Sharing Books and Inspiration

    By J. Daniel Reed

    Congratulations to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library program team and volunteers for the Lit Stoll, Saturday June 25th held in four downtown Arlington Heights establishments. It was an extremely well-organized event, featuring four Illinois authors—all of whom were wonderful to meet and listen to. I enjoyed the event author to author, sharing books and inspiration.

    Jon Seidel, federal courts reporter for the Chicago Sun Times and true crime author of Second City Sinners

    Mia P. Manansala, award winning mystery/thriller author and her Tita Rose Kitchen Mystery series

    Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author, and her latest release Woman on Fire

    Elizabeth Berg, New York Times bestselling author, reviewing her beloved Mason series and more of her work

    On a personal note, while impressed with all of the authors, I want to express what a thrill it was to meet Elizabeth Berg and to hear her thoughts on the importance of reading, on her experience writing books, and on how she came to be an author. IMHO, she is an incredibly talented and lovely soul. While there is no doubt, she inspired many in attendance with her presentation, she especially inspired me to continue my effort to write stories that have personally and socially redeeming messages.

    She reassuringly confirmed that while writing, character’s personalities often surprise her as they are developed, and they can lead her storytelling in unexpected ways. This reality of writing is expressed by current and past authors, including two of my favorites, Ernest Hemingway and Dean Koontz. Having experienced this myself writing The First Wolf Pack and again with my pending novel (coming this fall) it was big-time supportive of my new author experience. Thank you, Elizabeth Berg!

  • There is such a depth of inspiration that comes from art—art of all types, painting, sculpture, music, writing, and more. Creativity unleashed married with God-given talent has produced centuries of inspiring art.

    When I wanted to give my husband, author J. Daniel Reed a special birthday gift to encourage him to finish writing his novel The First Wolf Pack: A Dog’s Fable, I turned to the world of art as the source.

    “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” — Edgar Degas

    I searched through hundreds of depictions of wolves, but none of them had the quality I was seeking. Then I saw it— a majestic wolf howling into the night sky with the frost of its breath collecting before it. THIS was the one that spoke to my very heart and soul! I could almost hear its mournful howl.

    And so, the search began. Despite extensive internet searching I could not find this lithograph for sale. As a last ditch effort I contacted the renowned nature artist, Beth Hoselton, directly. What did I have to lose?

    Call of the WildShe told me that the lithograph titled Call of the Wild was made by etching the image on limestone to make the plate for the print. I liked the unique sound of that. I also learned that her wolf model was a Canadian wolf named Tamarack. I loved the name! I will always be grateful to Beth for going out of her way to get the lithograph to me in time for Joe’s birthday. Ah, the kindness of a stranger is a beautiful thing.

    Now, let me tell you a little bit about this acclaimed nature artist. From her biography: “Whether painting jaguars in Mexico, bighorn sheep in the Rockies, giraffes of the Serengeti, or songbirds in the South of France, Beth Hoselton captures the fascinating symphony of nature with both passion and intricacy. Beth was elected a signature member of Artists for Conservation and the Society of Animal Artists. She works in a variety of media including oil, acrylic and watercolor. Her original paintings are in private and corporate collections around the world.”

    I could feel that passion in her lithograph, Call of the Wild. In this excerpt from The First Wolf Pack: A Dog’s Fable you can see one of many examples of how the art became an inspiration for author J. Daniel Reed:

    “Jett began calling with soulful howls into the brisk night sky, frosted breath gathering under the moonlight in small twinkling clouds. His first offerings to the night consisted of gratitude for life’s good fortune. Just as Arn and Versa each pondered the prosperity of the pack the summer after the first litter was weaned, Jett’s profound comprehension derived from both the perspective of pup and now as an alpha.

    His songs reached far across the dotted valleys and into the range of Tria’s great ears. Joyfully she realized this meant her brother had now achieved Arn’s dream for Jett. No wolf had ever before sung into the night with wolf-speak, which you humans foolishly call howling.”

    See how that one image sparked this compelling scene? Whatever version of art speaks to your heart, lifts your spirits, elevates you to inspiration, I urge you to immerse yourself in the incomparable power it holds.

    Enjoy the ride.