“The Craft of Creativity” / Scott Keen

(Scott Keen is the author of YA fantasy novels Scar of the Downers (WiDo Publishing, 2015) and Rise of the Branded (WiDo Publishing, 2017). He blogs at ScottKeenBooks.com. This post originally appeared on his website and appears here with his permission.)

Creativity is a craft. No matter how much we would like it to be a naturally occurring trait, it often involves hard work and dedication. And it is never easy. It is a muscle, if you will, that needs to be exercised. If it isn’t, it is in danger of atrophy.

I have had conversations with people who say that they’re not that creative. I would wholeheartedly disagree. Being creative doesn’t mean ideas pop out of you at a whim or on command. (I wish it were so).

Usually, it involves a lot of pen to paper, and many discarded ideas before you come up with something that someone might describe as creative.

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​I was rereading a book, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and I came across a letter he had written on 18 February 1938 to Stanley Unwin. In it, he commented on the difficulty he was having while writing his new novel.

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Beth Daigle’s Travel Memoir to be Released by E.L. Marker

SALT LAKE CITY, UT November 01, 2017

When your whole family says, “Let’s take a vacation to the Mediterranean!” and it nearly gives you a nervous breakdown, how do you respond? You grit your teeth and agree to it. At least, that’s what Beth Daigle did in 2012… and somehow she lived to tell the tale.

Before her Mediterranean adventures, Daigle had been writing for many years. After numerous blogs and articles, she was ready to write a book. She states, “I had toyed around with several book ideas, but none seemed quite right.” Once the impending trip approached, the author grew more focused on keeping herself together than writing a story.

Daigle has harbored travel anxiety for many years, which intensified since 9/11, reaching a point where the very act of approaching a plane brought images of terrorist attacks. But she wouldn’t let her family down.

With a party of nine and a goal of seeing three countries in two weeks, she steeled herself and set off. Daigle recalls, “For me, the struggle to reach our first destination is as much the story as the incredible experience we had once there.”

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WiDo™ to Publish Raymond Spitzer’s Third Mystery Set in Ajo, Arizona

SALT LAKE CITY, UT October 11, 2017

When Raymond Spitzer first submitted his cozy mystery set in Ajo, Arizona to WiDo Publishing, he said it was the first in a three part series. That first book became Arizona Guy (WiDo Publishing, 2012).  The second, Playing with Fire, came out two years later. The third Ted White mystery is now under contract with WiDo Publishing,™ set to be released in 2018.

Spitzer’s wife Susan was instrumental in helping him write and edit the books. She thought this one lacked the pizzazz of the first two, however, and encouraged him to do better. They discussed the problems she saw and brainstormed possible solutions. But before it was finished, Susan passed away.

For months after the funeral Spitzer could not get back into writing. “I threw myself into reorganizing the home, relocating garden boxes to a more secure area (javelinas had been regularly breaking through the fence), and in general not wanting to write,” he states.

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Local Author Natalie Johanson Finds Magic with WiDo™ Family of Publishers

SALT LAKE CITY, UT September 29, 2017

What magic power could be more appealing to a law enforcement officer than the ability to travel through shadows and bring foes to their deserved end with wolves that appear out of mists? Clearly such magic was pretty exciting to Officer Natalie Johanson, and it became the premise of the fantasy novel she penned.

From a very young age, Natalie had a passion for reading and writing. “Books have always been a thing I love. The escape into a new world. The adventure they bring. The people I can meet,” Johanson explained. “When I read, I have no self- control and tend to binge read. If I’m into a book I’ll read it straight through if time permits.”

Her writing aspirations began in the 6th grade when she finished the Green Rider series and wanted to improve the ending. She held onto her 6th grade ideals and years later, when she had a dream about wolves made of mist, she felt inspired to begin writing a novel.

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E.L. Marker™ signs Margaret Bagley’s Historical Fiction

SALT LAKE CITY, UT September 21, 2017

As a little girl, Margaret Bagley watched as her father uncovered a faded blue wooden chest from a shed he was cleaning out. Years later she would discover what treasures were hidden within.

The blue chest had belonged to her grandmother, accompanying her as she crossed the plains as a pioneer. Inside, Bagley found letters exchanged between her grandparents from 1883 to 1907. As she read and organized the letters, she found pieces of a family story that left her with unanswered questions.

“They detailed teenaged angst, early courtship, marriage in 1890 and eventually disillusionment,” Bagley said. “I questioned what motivations, events and activities led to the comments and questions they exchanged.”

The storyteller in Margaret wanted the whole picture, even if she had to make it up. She filled the gaps in with her own fictionalized account of the story to weave the letters into a logical and interesting series of events. She added plot twists and fictional characters as needed, but stayed as true to historical events as possible.

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“When will you move?” / Lisa Kusel

This post was originally published as a first-person essay on parent co., May 3, 2017. It also appeared on the author’s website On Monkey Forest Road, under the title “Mother, May I?” It is used here with the author’s permission.

When my husband, Victor, was offered a teaching job at a new school in Bali, I held off sharing the news with my mother for as long as humanly possible. I knew that when I told her we were moving her Jew-ish granddaughter to a predominately Muslim country, the arrow on her paranoia meter would swiftly catapult beyond the red zone. I expected her to fret and cry and do all she could to change my mind.

What I didn’t expect, though, was that she would be so wise.

I called her on a Tuesday morning. She listened silently as I recapped the events of the last few weeks: from reading about the school in a magazine, to convincing Victor to send a resume, to his Skype interview, to him flying to Bali to check it out, to him coming back to California with a signed contract.

When I finished speaking, I tensed, waiting for the emotional storm to blow through the phone line. “When will you move?” She asked so calmly I thought perhaps I’d called someone else by mistake.

“In six weeks. We have to find renters and pack up the house and deal with the cat and get a million shots and—” I got so anxious thinking about the list that I cut myself off. “Anyway, we’re really excited. It’s going to be amazing.”

“Loy is only six years old.”

Here it comes, I thought. She’s going to let loose her worries bit by bit, like an IV drip. “So what, she’s six? She’s going to love it. I mean, come on, Mom. It’s Bali!”

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Jo Ann Simon to Partner with E.L. Marker™ to Publish her Memoir of Hope

SALT LAKE CITY, UT September 13, 2017

Jo Ann Simon has led a full and fulfilling life. But the parts that mean the most to her are the memories shared with her husband Tom. She wanted to remember every detail: from the way they met, to the love they shared as they worked and raised a family together.

Even the heartbreaking times as Lyme Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis worked its way through Tom’s body and took his life were not to be forgotten. So she began to write.

Though her initial purpose was to record as many details as she could about their lifelong love, she discovered new truths as she did.

“As I wrote our story, I did not feel alone,” Simon revealed. “I was back in our life together and felt close to him even though he was no longer on this earth. The writing helped me to move forward in my life and to realize that I could continue to live a full life again.”

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WiDo™ to Publish Karen Peterson Mosley’s Debut Historical Fiction

SALT LAKE CITY, UT September 01, 2017

When Karen Peterson Mosley read the autobiography of Marie Madelaine Cardon Guild as a teenager, she began a love affair with historical writing that would change her life.

“It was a fascinating story of challenge and triumph by a courageous pioneer,” Mosley said. “She became my hero.”

Since that reading, Mosley has devoured many other works of historical fact and fiction. She has even done plenty of writing on her own, whether it was in her journal, speeches or magazine articles. But the teenaged-reading of Guild’s autobiography always stayed with her, and she sought a way to pay homage to her long-time hero.

One pioneer story Karen Mosley encountered in her readings was “These is my Words” by Nancy Turner. Mosley was inspired by this fictionalized diary and thrilled to find that the author was in her area. Inviting Turner to speak at her book club, Mosley listened to her publication story and writing process with excitement. This was what she needed to do.

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Engineer by Day, Writer at Night, Karl Hanson to Publish His Debut Novel with WiDo™

SALT LAKE CITY, UT August 17, 2017

Ten years ago, when Karl Hanson envisioned a story about interstellar space travel, he knew it had to be plausible. As a structural engineer, science fiction carries a lot more science than fiction for Karl.

The logistics of populating a planet light years from our own was not the challenge for Karl; the real challenge was writing the story.

“The trouble is, I’m an engineer, not a writer,” Hanson explained. “I have done a lot of technical writing in my career, but the last time I did any creative writing was back in high school.”

For years he kept his stellar idea “in my back pocket” as it grew a life of its own. One day in 2015, he shared his story with his daughter, Paige, and she encouraged him to write the book.

“Without her,” Hanson said, “I would have never had the momentum to start this project.”

Hanson never liked the science fiction where the science ventured into fantasy. He only liked the “hard” science fi novels that use as much real science as possible to make the story believable.

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Brothers Isaac and Joshua Fisher Co-Author Spiritual Fantasy Series– Starring Cain

SALT LAKE CITY, UT August 10, 2017

Isaac and Joshua Fisher have lived divided lives. They battled constantly through childhood. Their time was divided between Utah and Minnesota. In Utah their mother reared them to be ministers, in Minnesota their father taught them to be creative thinkers.

In adulthood, the brothers chose different career paths, created different family lives, and even live in different parts of the country. But these brothers, as different as Cain and Abel, have redeemed their relationship, become close confidantes, and are now writing books together.

It’s no wonder the concept of redemption is the foundation of their trilogy.

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