Happy Holidays & Goodbye to 2017

First of all, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season. I hope that it will be a joyous and healthy time. Pay special attention to the stories being told over the dinner table; stories are our lifeblood. Listen with your feelings as well as your ears.  And be present, get out of your head and be present! Santa reading

Thinking back on 2017 it was quite eventful, although I didn’t always realize it. I started the year editing like a fiend on my first romantic suspense novel, “Your Every Move.” It was fun writing about college days in the 80’s, but having a stalker causes serious trust issues. “Your Every Move” was published in e-book in June and in print in July. It’s available in e-book everywhere and print via Amazon, Watermark Books & Cafe, and my closet. 

In case you were wondering why I didn’t blog much this year, well, there were lots of reasons. Life, mostly. You can always find me on the Author Expressions Blog the third Friday each month, however, so I hope you’ll pop over and see what this great group of authors have to say.

Sometimes we creative types have to expand our arena and dabble elsewhere. I like painting and had a blast visiting the Carriage Gallery in Newton with my friend Karen to paint Sunflowers in January. What a wonderful place to express yourselves and enjoy the artworks on display. They have classes for all ages and all levels of skill.

Because I’m not getting any younger (are any of us) my husband and I attended a retirement workshop this year at WSU. That was eye-opening, too bad we didn’t start saving sooner. We learned new ways to save and make money stretch, that’s always a good thing. 

My brother-in-law had a heart attack in February, but he is doing fine, enjoying retirement and learning to cook and count sodium. He is finding that everything has salt and it’s almost as prevalent as sugar. UGH.  We are truly blessed that he is going strong.

In March I had the pleasure of speaking to the First Thursday Bookclub about my novel, “Patchwork Family.” What a great bunch and lunch was very healthy as well as tasty. That same month I visited the Kansas Writers Association meeting, and we discussed query, synopsis and agents. That was a lively talk, I must say.

In April the Wichita Public Library at Westlink invited me to read and discuss, “The Log of the Cowboy.” OMG, what a blast. And I learned so much from the discussion. My current work-in-progress, tentative title “Finding Grace” is set in the 1890’s during the Oklahoma land rush, so the story of a trail drive across the Midwest helped to put me in the period.

I was also a part of the Watermark Literary Festival with three other authors during April. One of the folks from the cowboy discussion at the library came, brought a friend, and bought a book. What fun!

May brought another opportunity to talk about cowboys at Covenant Presbyterian Church. And yes, they were kind enough to feed me. I’m having lots of fun learning about the building of the plains area of our country, and it is fascinating.

Did you see the total eclipse in August? We did, and I must say it was an experience I will NEVER forget. In fact, I will probably become an eclipse groupie, there’s supposed to be one in Texas next year so count me in.

This fall one of my favorite aunts passed away. She had the most infectious laugh, and I loved her dearly. She was the sweetest person I know and we will all miss her.

In December a dear friend of mine, Lois Ruby and her son Jeff spoke at Watermark Books. They both have new books out, and it was so much fun to see them and hear about their writing journies. This is Jeff’s first novel “Penelope March is Melting,” and it’s been on the best seller list at Watermark for two weeks now. Go, Jeff! Lois wrote another spooky novel “The Secret Grave,” and I can’t wait to read it.

I hope you all don’t mind the chatty holiday letter and wish you all well. Let’s all read more books next year!

Bonnie (BD) Tharp

Your humble author and friend.

reading books

Nathan Hill, Author of THE NIX

By now you’ve heard about THE NIX, Nathan Hill’s debut literary novel that has set the world on fire. Not only did I enjoy his book, but I love the man, who just happens to be my son’s best friend and I consider my second son. I’m very proud of him and his work.

Let me see if I can think of some other words with which to express my awe and joy in this work. The novel is epic, folks. The prose is amazing. I highly recommend it and although it is long, take your time and don’t miss a single word.

Nate will be at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, October 25th, 6PM,  and my husband and I will be there. Come and join us, won’t you?

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Editing my fingers to the bone.

Sorry, I’ve not been posting regularly lately, but I’ve been editing, editing and editing some more. The 1970’s YA novel is now a 1980’s YA novel because the youth today know the 80’s references and so do their parents. So, the story can promote discussion….YES!

The new title is “Every Move You Make: I’ll Be Watching” and yes it has suspense, romance, betrayal, friendship, obsession and abandonment, not necessarily in that order.

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Interview with Vicki Hinze

I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to introduce fellow Belle Books author: Vicki Hinze. She’s an interesting person and great author. So read on, my friends…

What parts of you and your background feed your imagination?

I’ve always been a “what if” and “why” kind of person, with one foot planted in the clouds and the other firmly on the ground. My imagination is active. It seems natural to spin out scenarios—my mother and I played games like that when I was a child. My favorite part was to take the illogical and impossible and make it not only possible but believable and almost inevitable.

I guess those things, going back so far into my past, are so deeply ingrained, I’d feel naked without them.

Tell us a little about the very first story you remember writing?

It was a story about a bird who couldn’t fly because she was a tiny girl bird deemed too fragile to fly. She discovered she wasn’t fragile but strong, and that she could fly (or do anything she wanted) if she worked at learning how. At the end, she learned and soared!

Creative people are often creative in other ways, besides writing what else does the muse encourage you to do?

I used to do oil paintings. Flowers and landscapes mostly. I have a serious fondness for irises. And—don’t laugh—I love remodeling. There’s something powerful about knocking down walls. I have admittedly gotten carried away with one project after another until Hubby pled with me for a six-month moratorium. I agreed, but boy was it hard.

What genre(s) do you like to write?

I like them all, except horror, and have written in them all, except horror. My favorite is a hybrid novel with elements of suspense, mystery and romance. If a book has all three, I’m in heaven writing it—or reading it.

Tell us a little about your novel, its plot and the main character(s).

Beyond the Misty Shore is a light paranormal romance. (Romance, suspense and mystery, of course, with a light paranormal element for extra fun.) It’s about TJ MacGregor and Maggie Wright, who discover at Seascape Inn in Maine that they’re linked by an accident that caused the death of Maggie’s cousin and TJ’s fiancé. TJ doesn’t want a relationship with Maggie, and feels himself falling for her, but he’s unable to leave the inn. He’s held their by supernatural forces, though he doesn’t know why. Neither does Maggie, who doubts his being held there isn’t a trick of the mind until she witnesses TJ’s challenge firsthand. Both are wounded, broken, and struggling to find their feet. And forces conspire at the inn to offer them the chance to heal and find not just their feet but their hearts.

Many have said they found the story uplifting and inspiring. That’s how it struck me, too. I love the Seascape books.

Are any of the characters like you and if so in what way?

I’m chuckling here, wondering at the wisdom of admitting it. In their own way, they’re skeptics and stubborn, slow to be convinced and to change their minds. I think we’re alike in those things, but I honestly don’t think those things are bad. Actually, they can be amusing. I found myself amused often writing these two and then again later when reading them.

What genre(s) or author(s) do you like to read?

Suspense, romance and mystery genres. And thrillers. Love thrillers, provided they’re not gory. I don’t like gore. But the books that worm into my heart are healing books with elements of suspense, mystery and romance. Love those immensely.

Where and when do you find the best ideas or inspiration for your stories?

Ideas are everywhere! Boardrooms, bathrooms, overheard snippets of conversations overheard anywhere. My best ideas seem to come when I’m a) in the shower. Naturally, you don’t have a pen there, right? And b) grocery stores. Which proves God has a sense of humor because I don’t cook. If I’m stuck, I go to the grocery store. Ideas are all over there. And if none are the right ideas for what I’m after, I go to my kitchen table.

Growing up, my dad told me that 99% of genius was created at the kitchen table. So if I can’t see my way ahead (in writing or life), I go to the kitchen table to seek answers. They come. I’m not sure if it’s because I believe they will or because I’m so focused on finding answers when I’m there, but they always come.

If there was a message you could share with other writers what would it be?

If you can quit writing, do it. If you love it, you won’t be able to quit, and that’s the fastest way to find out if you’re a writer. Writing demands sacrifices—a lot of them—so you need to know quickly whether or not in it you’ll find and follow your bliss. This is the shortest route to doing so I’ve found.

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

To my website. http://www.vickihinze.com. There you’ll find all kinds of information, chapter previews, blogs, newsletters, videos, and podcasts. More than even my mother would want to know. J

Thanks so much for your interest in me and my books. I hope you’ll enjoy all three of the Seascape novels.

After I’d written the first one, I received a number of letters from readers wanting to book a trip to Seascape Inn. I have to tell you, I’ve felt that way myself many times.

(It’s my pleasure, Vicki!)

Vicki_HinzeRaised in New Orleans, Vicki Hinze began writing before Kindergarten but her journey to writing books included a lot of corporate pitstops. Eventually, she settled in and her first novel landed an array of awards and on the bestseller list. With nearly 40 books published, she’s been back many times with awards in multiple genres and appearances on multiple bestseller lists, including USA TODAY. Vicki is recognized by Who’s Who in the World as an author and an educator and is best known for chilling suspense, trailblazing, and creating series that genre-blend. Her works include suspense, mystery and romance. Since 1994, this former VP of International Thriller Writers has written heavily about military and military families and in nearly all genres except horror. Hinze is a Floridian married to a former Hurricane Hunter/Special Operations Officer. She constantly pushes the boundaries on existing genres, opening the door for new novel blends.

HE KNOWS HOW IT FEELS TO WRITE

“You first dreamed of becoming a writer to create a deep connection. You wanted another person to know how you felt. You wanted to change someone’s life.” excerpt from Joe Bunting article on Writing Practice, Medium Daily

He writing wineis so RIGHT. Good books move me on so many levels. I want to write those kinds of books. It is my wish for readers and a dream for me. Thank you, Joe, for putting it so succinctly.

 

BOOK REVIEWS ROCK

The best gift for an Author is a Book Review. Did you just finish a good book? Then do not pass go, do not collect $200, get on Goodreads or Amazon and write a review!

Don’t forget that Readers also benefit from book reviews. That’s why I have shelves full of books to read – someone wrote a great review. bookshelves

It doesn’t have to be detailed or long. “I love this book.” or “I liked this book a lot.” or “These characters are so real!” give just enough information to others to tantalize them into checking out the book.

I’m writing my first mystery. I’ve never written mystery, but I’ve read hundreds of them. I’ve written two full length novels. And I had this cool idea for a story. Reader reviews are so important, to new writers and experienced writers alike, so I’m anxious to read the reviews once my mystery is published. (Date is yet to be determined.)

Authors learn from reviews. Personally, I get a kick out of the reviews that are very detailed and tell me just what the reader liked and didn’t like. Everyone is different and certain things appeal to some and not others, but I understand that not every reader is comfortable expounding on their impressions of a book. Sometimes we just don’t know why we liked a story, it just worked, that’s all. That’s part of the reason why I read lots of different genre’s. I never know what will strike a cord and pull me in.

I love to read new authors, as well as authors that I’ve read for years. Bottom line – we all enjoy a good story. So share the experience and write a review. We authors will appreciate you even more than we already do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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Novel By Wichita Author Takes State Organization’s Top Book Prize

WICHITA, KANSAS, May 2015 – PATCHWORK FAMILY, a novel by Wichita native Bonnie Tharp, has won first place in the Kansas Professional Communicators annual competition. The book won in the Novels for Adult Readers category.

Patchwork Family_cover1PATCHWORK FAMILY, published by Bell Bridge Books, is the follow-up to Tharp’s award-winning debut, FEISTY FAMILY VALUES, published in 2010 (under the name B.D. Tharp). The book, set in Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood, is a compelling story about ordinary people handling life challenges. For cousins Annabelle and Regina, growing older is easy; handling it with grace is the hard part. And chaos ensues when Peggy, Annabelle’s eldest granddaughter, seeks answers from her absentee father and struggles with adolescence. Will the pain and love stitch them together or tear them apart?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in Kansas, Bonnie Tharp spent much of her formative years in her grandmother’s kitchen as official taste tester. Although not much of a chef herself, she enjoys good food and believes all the best discussions happen at the kitchen table.

Bonnie Tharp graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications, Women & Minority Studies and Fine Arts. Tharp has written for several publications, including: Active Aging, Generation Boom, Women’s Focus, the Wichita Register and East Wichita News.

A self-proclaimed book-a-holic, Tharp admits that when she’s not writing, she’s reading or watching old movies. Tharp’s books are available through bookstores and online. Check out her blog, book reviews, and novel excerpts at bdtharp.com.

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