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.

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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.

tvSTAY TUNED!!

Notable Quotes

Habit is the bed of creativity. Tuck yourself in. ~Stephen King

Have a goal – die trying. ~Karl Marx

Inspiration is everywhere – carry a notebook. ~Victor Hugo

Follow your zen. ~Herman Melville

The is no ideal environment to work in. ~William Faulkner

Finish. ~James Joyce

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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.

 

Dreams of Media Attention and Snake Oil

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure and honor of being a part of the first WRITERS OF THE WHEAT LITERARY FESTIVAL. What a great time! Lots of friends, families, readers and literary lovers came to visit and listen to a group of authors read and talk about their books.

In preparation for the event we were in the Wichita Eagle newspaper and that was super publicity for us and the event. KAKE and KWCH TV were also on board to talk about the event. LOVE our local news media!

By the way, there are two Bonnie Tharp’s in Wichita. We finally met after being Facebook friends for some time. The other Bonnie is always being asked to sign my books and she shared that with Carrie Rengers a couple of weeks ago. So…check out “have you heard?”

Anyway, what this is all leading up to is this. I received a call today from an online broadcast company who tells me they can make my books a bestseller. Ah, the stars come into my eyes as he tells me all the things I want to hear: my books are poignant, relevant, interesting…. At least those were the words that stuck into my mind, the rest took quite some a bit of my time and sound like “wah, wah, wah” in my memory (like the Peanuts cartoon grownups).

The promise of nation-wide exposure happened to me once before and I bit – I went on the air and got about 2,000 listeners and only a slight uptick in sales. Not enough to warrant the expense, believe me. Was it fun – LOADS! Was it expensive – LOTS! This time, the offer is a bit more money, with the promise of global media exposure, video, web updates, and one year exclusivity – for them, not me. I must admit I almost bit the poison apple again. Their sales people are amazing! You know the kind who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. I need to learn those skills, because then my book would be a best seller, for sure.

Many creative folks get caught in the dream that their work is worth much more than it’s being sold for now. The snake oil salesmen tell us that we are worth much more than we make. We dream of thousands of people enjoying our work and sharing it with their best friends or families or just shouting it from the social media rooftops how wonderful this or that creation truly is… We don’t have to be rich, but it would be nice to make a living doing what we love. We don’t have to be a celebrity, but it would be nice to be recognized as a really good author. And the snake oil salesman senses our desire, feeds it and boom – SOLD.

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Gardening and the writer’s journey

I’ve never been much of a gardener for various reasons, but every spring I’m inspired by the sun, the new plants popping through the soil, the trees and flowers in bloom and I think – I want to make pretty things grow, feel the sun on my back and the dirt between my fingers.

I’ve had some success with Hosta, Tulips (and failures), Live Forever, Pampus Grass, Purselane, Mums and weeds, of course. I have several smallish patches to work with now and cutting down the dead stems and the oak leaves that bury the baby plants takes a lot of time. So, I’ve been going out on my lunch hour and raking a little here, snipping a little there and slowly I am making progress.tulips

Some of the new plants are just that: “new” and therefore a surprise to me. A bit of Crocus just popped and I’m thrilled. It appears I’ll have Jonquils soon. Oh, and the weeds – they’ve already begun digging their ugly little tap roots down into the soil. The little buggars.

When my son was little he used to bring me the Dandelions and I’d dutifully put them into water on the windowsill. Same thing occurred with my grandson. Now I try to pluck those yellow blooms before they go to seed.

child_writer_bwI am noticing that gardening is like anything else in life and especially creative ventures. Gardening requires time, attention, nourishment and weeding; and those same rules apply to writing, painting, singing, relationships…basically EVERYTHING of worth. Is it hard? Sometimes. Is it fun? Sometimes. It is usually worth what you put into it. So, I can’t complain if my flowers die because I didn’t water them. I can, but it’s my own silly fault.

Enjoy the journey, my friends. (And don’t forget to get your copy of PATCHWORK FAMILY at any bookstore near you or online.)patchwork_family_on_table

Are you inventive?

Inventive
Being inventive, your life is an exquisite work of art. And your mindset is that of a creative genius. You thrive in creativity, love, giving back, and everything else in between. And you make it all seem so simple… and enjoyable. You’re a fiercely fascinating person and a conversation with you is easily worth a thousand movies.

(That’s what one of those funny questionnaires gave me. It does seem rather accurate, too.) collage_heart

How to be a Great Writer

I don’t profess to be a GREAT writer YET, but I’m getting better at it every day. Back in September I read an interview with Stephen King about the 22 lessons he recommends to be a great writer. THANK YOU STEPHEN KING. The article in the Business Insider stimulated my imagination to the point that I wrote the following (it was kind of like a test of what I retained from the content):

G – Grammar is only for understanding

R – Read as much as possible

E – Endeavor to write every day

A – Avoid adverbs, passive voice and run on sentences

T – Tell stories about people

W – Write for yourself and don’t worry about what others think

R – Retreat from the world when you write

I – Imagination can help you create and describe clearly and vividly

T – Temper your writing with only what is necessary, info dribbles not info dumps

E – Edit, edit, edit “Kill your darlings” is what Stephen said, be balanced not egocentric about your writing

R – Resist twenty-dollar words with a dollar-word will do, don’t be pretentious

King inspires me. He writes so well, having been successful for many years. I aspire to that as well. Wish I had a first reader like his wife, Tabitha King (also an author), but I do okay with my critique group. They are a great bunch of writers with vivid imaginations, huge hearts, and good advice.

Enjoy the journey, fellow scribes!

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Artists, Scribes and Dreamers

I can safely say that writers, painters, musicians, artists of all kinds are “dreamers”.  We see and hear beauty in the world around us and in our mind’s eye and struggle to recreate it or share what we experience with others.  It isn’t always easy.

woman_reading_riverSometimes the things our muse shows us are very difficult to express in paint or words or clay.  Everything I ever made out of clay could be used as an ashtray or a doorstop.  I enjoyed painting for many years, but struggled to create what I was seeing or feeling onto a blank canvas.

While I have written stories since I was a child I really didn’t discover how magically you can create a world through words until I began writing as an adult.  Maybe it was because I was older and had more experience.  Maybe I am more confident than I was in my teens or twenties.  Probably some of both.  But I still dream about being a successful author and I like to dream BIG.

But there is another kind of dreaming that I wonder if other artists experience as I do.  The dreams you have while you sleep.  I sometimes see scenes and hear dialog during my dreams that I later put in my books.

child_sleepingIn my college psychology class the instructor said that dreams are random and come from the subconscious.  The latter I believe, the former, not so much.  Have you ever had a question or problem that you hadn’t solved before laying down to sleep, and when you awoke the next morning you thought of a solution?  That isn’t random, but that may very well be your subconscious working it out for us.

Just think of all the wonderful things that have been created by men and women over the ages.  Someone had a dream, a vision, an idea and made it reality.

I encourage you to follow your dreams and see where they lead.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave your day job or move to some exotic locale, it just means, make time for that creative part of your self to do its thing.  You’ll enjoy the journey and who knows, the results may be life changing.woman with flowers

Learning to dance in the rain.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

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When I was still in grade school I used to love to go out in the rain barefoot and walk along the edge of the street where the water rushed down to the storm drain. It moved so fast that all manner of interesting things got caught up in the flow. It was amazing how many worms were washed up from the soil and tickled my toes as they slid by on their way to who knows where. A very watery adventure, in my youthful eyes.

As a teen I remember crying copious tears over sad songs, missed phone calls, and lost loves. Ah, the emotional upheaval of youth. raindropsThe tears fell like rain (yes, there’s a song about that).

In my thirties I worked for an advertising agency and we had an outside ground breaking ceremony to commemorate a new business being built. We had a tent, but when I asked the director if we shouldn’t procure sides in case the weather got bad he laughed and said the weather would hold. HA. Not in Kansas. My new silk blouse and flowing skirt were marred by mud, as were my nice patent pumps. We strung boards from the street across the muck so people could walk to the tent and get out of the rain. What a mess. All for the lack of contingency.

I’ve learned in my fifties that you can never be too prepared and you can never be prepared for everything. So, when it rains you may as well look at the bright side. It’s going to water the flowers and make the grass grow (husband grumbles about mowing again). It washes the air clean (Love that smell). And I love the feel of the rushing water over my toes when I walk down the edge of the street. Still. friends_n_rain

Do you dance in the rain? Do you picture Gene Kelly and the lampost? I do. How about the two buddies in the photo above. Looks like fun, doesn’t it. Hey, next time it rains, give me a call and we’ll go out and play.