Everyone has a book in them

You’ve probably heard this before, right? Maybe from an English teacher or a counselor or a friend. They are right, you know? We all have minds and imaginations and experiences that we can use to write a story. We tell stories all the time, so why not write them down? We tell our friends about the nice (or nasty) person at the store who stole your parking place or crashed into your cart or took the last bag of chocolate chips. That’s a story.

Often I hear, “But I’m not sure where to start.” That’s the cool thing about writing, you can start anywhere. The beginning. The middle. The end. It doesn’t matter, really. Just start. You can put the pieces together later.

Everyone has a different “process” and no one way is the only way to go. Some writers are more comfortable on a computer, some with a pen and paper. There have been times I’ve even used a recorder and transcribed the content later. Whatever method you use is fine. The key is to try different ones until you find the right one for you.

We all have unique lives, but share many common types of experiences. When you write them down and then share them you find just how many people “understand” or “relate” to your story. Everyone knows someone who has fallen in love, lost a person close to them, experienced illness and despair. Writing about it is cathartic, it really can be!!

I’m not saying you have to pour your sadness on the page, but you can use those emotions to write a rich story that other people can feel in their own way. And I promise you, they will.

This year I met a lovely young woman who had been through a lot of physical trials and illness. Most days she’s a bright shining light in the room, but she has her troubled times, too. We all do. She loves to read and write, but like all of us has a bit of trouble getting started. So I bought her a brand new pink notebook and pen. When she wants it bad enough, she’ll do it and I know we will all be richer for her sharing.

You see, storytelling is not only communication but giving. We have to open up ourselves to let the words come out. We have to tell the inner critic to shut up until it’s time to edit. And don’t be fooled, we all edit, lots and lots. It’s how we mine the jewels from the garbage. That’s a quote from my first writing mentor and I’ve never forgotten them. (Thank you, Emily Hanlon.)

Share your stories, my friends. Share your ideas, your dreams, and your sadness. Share with the human community the conditions that are uniquely human and you’ll see how good it feels to give.

Holiday Gifts

Santa readingEvery year I make a list of those folks (family & friends) who I’d like to give gifts to and what that item might be. If I have no ideas, then I reach out and ask. If that doesn’t bring any helpful hints then I ask their closest family member. If that doesn’t help, then I ask them to go to lunch and look for hints or just take them shopping. This can be a whole lot of fun.

Not very scientific, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any foolproof method. If you have one, I do hope you’ll share it. The budget is generally about the same each year, depending on age and the cost of their holiday dream gifts, which most people can’t afford. No Lexus from this century is affordable, no matter how much I want one.

Getting older means I have most things I need and holiday gifts are more for things that are “wanted.” No one likes a gift with a cord unless specifically requested. No vacuums or irons, please. However, today’s tech gadgets are an exception, we just need to know there is a teen around to help us program or set up said tech gadgets. Am I right or am I right?

I love going to arts & craft fairs and book festivals this time of year. You can get the coolest stuff that someone has put their heart and soul into. And I am so unable to create many of the wonderful things that others have made. For example, I can’t for the life of me make a circular scrubby. Now you know.

There’s ALWAYS a book out there that will appeal to others, depending on their genre preferences and situation. Even the occasional reader will enjoy a book that you have picked out just for them. I like to pair up stories or characters (feisty people love the feisty family series) that I think my giftee can relate to, and it usually works. The other nice thing about books as gifts, you can pass them on to other eager readers when you’re done reading them. Share the joy!

Christmas TreeI hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Are you ready for the 3rd book in the feisty family series?

FEISTY FAMILY & FRIENDS will be available in ebook for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Apple books on July 13, 2019. Print will be available through Amazon as well.

At the age of twenty-one, Peggy Malone is the owner of a successful family business, employing her sister, Megan, her father, Tom, and her neighbor, Tillie. Peggy’s Pantry is the hot spot café in Riverside, serving the best pastries, sandwiches, soups and coffee.

Baking in the wee hours for Peggy’s Pantry are taking their toll on Tillie Linden, so her husband, Joe, decides to help. The dynamic duo makes a great pair in the kitchen, creating new and delicious treats for the café patrons, but will this partnership last?

Now a junior at North High School, Megan is drawn to a handsome boy in her history class with bright blue eyes and blond hair. Relationships are hard for the shy brunette, but she feels love stirring. Will he break her heart?  

Peggy is worried about her little sister—she seems to be thinking with her heart, and not her brain, and Peggy doesn’t want to see her sister wind up wasting her life because she chose to not go to college.

It feels like all the strings are being pulled on everyone in this little family, and when Kansas weather wreaks havoc in Riverside, their lives are changed in seconds. Will this family be ripped apart as well, or will Mother Nature’s winds only tighten the binds between this patched together family?


Why writers don’t write more

Writer’s need to write, but for some stupid reason we procrastinate and avoid the page.

What if what I write is garbage? The first draft probably will be, but that’s what editing is all about. We are mining for the jewels in the trash.

What if no one wants to read what I’ve written? We want to share what we’re writing and have it resonate with someone else out there. Preferably, LOTS of someone elses. But, it should be okay to write for one’s self. To explore and express and not have to share it with the masses – RIGHT? Theoretically, yes.

Should I keep writing if no one buys my books? I guess it depends on why you’re writing. Every author wants to make money writing, but it’s not usually the case. So, why not take up ceramics or painting instead? Writer’s want to tell stories, and most of us would make ceramics or paintings if we had the time or inclination.

I think that we all want to excel in everything we do. That is the kicker. No one wants to write a bad story. No one wants to write a book that others don’t care to read. We’re a world of dreamers that don’t always realize our dreams.

Artists of all kinds (writers, musicians, sculptors, painters, etc.) dream of creating beautiful things that others will want for themselves. We can’t help it. We get so much joy creating our art that we want to share it. We long to be loved for our work. Oh my. Where did that come from? Could that be the flaw in our creative dreams?

Whenever I sit down to a blank page, I want to create something lovely, and it doesn’t happen every time. But the act of putting words down does allow for the creative flow to happen, the muse comes to visit and the story unfolds. The key – sitting down to the blank page and not letting it scare you off. Right. Note to self. Nothing will happen unless I do it. The story will not write itself. DUH.

What if you have so many stories and characters crowding your mind you can’t settle on one and finish it? That is a problem. Bottom line – pick one. Finish the first draft. Then you can move on to flesh it out more, editing as you, or put it aside and start on the next idea that won’t leave you alone. I know. I’ve been there. Done that. And continue to…


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


Lately, my book club has been reading memoirs. “The Glass Castle” and “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.” Both stories were so vastly different but interesting. As we enter the later chapters of our lives I wonder if anyone would really care about my family story, except maybe our kids or grandkids. Now that my grandparents are gone and my parents as well, I wonder what stories I missed. Are most lives interesting enough to write about? In their entirety, probably not – but segments of all of our lives are compelling and interesting enough to share. Hence, the popularity of blogging, the proliferation of memoirs and people writing novels loosely based on their lives. All stories can be interesting – depending on how we tell them, of course. Ah, KEY: how well do we tell the story? Another key: the RELATIONSHIP with our readers. Do they care? It’s something to think about.

Where have you been?

Researching the Oklahoma land rush of 1893 has been interesting and time-consuming. I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I blogged. My apologies, dear readers.

Life tends to interfere in many writer’s plans. Illness. Death. Work. Laundry. Home Repair. Vacation. Truly, life goes on. But creativity cannot be denied. It slips into our days in small ways. The key is to be grateful for every moment.

Make a note. Make a sketch. Leave a voice mail, just don’t forget. Capture the dream. Make note of the smells, sounds, sights and feelings you experience. They are the things that make stories real.

I love to write and learn new things. Please be patient. It takes a long time to write that first draft and edit and make it come to life. Thank you so much for reading my books, sharing your precious time with them, and letting everyone know if you enjoyed them. You inspire me. You make all the hours of work worth while.

Bless you, dear readers and Enjoy the Ride.