Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Magical Time for Romance & Reflection - Maureen Bonatch

by Maureen L. Bonatch 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, every store and commercial is emphasizing that it’s time for romance. Time to tell and/or show your loved one how much you care.

This time of year often turns our thoughts to love stories, and we may wonder how the story began.

How Hard Can it Be?

Many years ago, in the mind of a naïve writer, I picked up a pen (rather, put fingers to the keyboard) and wrote a romance novel. 

A contest and a deadline spurred me to chase my dream of writing. This started out as straight romance- with no paranormal elements involved- and kind of fell short on several accounts. (As I have reworked this manuscript, I discovered my love of paranormal and it helped bring the story to life.) However, I didn’t know that, I thought it was fabulous! 

Like the first time I tried to sew a teddy bear in junior high. I thought that hideous monstrosity (despite copious amounts of help from the Home Economics teacher) was perfect too, and promptly sent it off as a gift to my nephew who lived out of state. (In reflection, I must ponder whether his mother thought it might be some type of voodoo threat, rather than a gift sewed with love and poor skill.)

The frightful excuse for a stuffed “bear” came home to visit with my nephew years later. I looked on it with fresh eyes—no longer blinded by the delight of completing the project—and was horrified. I attempted to bribe my nephew so I could destroy the hideous stuffed entity my nephew told everyone his aunt made.

Facing the Music

So…I digress…I took my fabulous first story and entered the first 3 chapters in a contest—and I didn’t win. Then I paid to have a critique of the entire story—and received pages of notes back. 

To summarize-—one of the biggest problems with my story was my hero. In the eyes of the ‘romance world’, he was no hero. I thought he was funny and realistic. The critique implied that he was a bit of an asshole.

She didn’t say it quite like that. Instead, she worded it nicely, emphasizing that this was romance. Nobody wanted a man who had no viable income, appeared totally self-absorbed and dripped sarcasm to the point of rudeness. Apparently, women were not looking to escape reality with a man like my hero. He was not the man of fantasies—perhaps he was too much like the man already lying on many women’s couches.

Somebody for Everybody

My bear was nowhere near perfect, and needed a lot more work. Okay. Let’s be honest, nothing would’ve saved that stuffed miscreation. Nevertheless, my nephew loved it because I made it with love—poor sewing skills—but heartfelt intentions.

Same thing for my first manuscript, and for any real-life romance. Nobody is perfect, but if you love someone, you tend to overlook, or ignore the flaws most days and find the gem buried within the stones.

I continue to carve away at the first manuscript, (sprinkling in some paranormal and a much more loveable hero) because I love the story and I can’t rest until I bring it to the world. 

I hope you find a way to show your special valentine how much you care and stir the magic in your relationship.

Need Some Ideas for Valentine’s Day? I Have Some for You Right Here

Looking for a short sweet magical read? Forget Me Not—and all the Candy Hearts Romance stories are 40% off now at The Wild Rose Press to get you in the mood for love.

Maureen Bonatch dreamt of becoming a Solid Gold Dancer. When the show ended, she followed other paths. Surviving twins gave her confidence to belly dance, declare herself a tequila connoisseur and biker babe to her alpha hubby. She lives in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—biking, sweat pants, hockey and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

Check out her Amazon Author Page right here for all her Books

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Abigail Owen said...

I love that you continue to love that manuscript, rather than walking away. That shows how much heart you put into your stories, which always comes through!

Maureen said...

Thanks Abigail! Hopefully this will be the year for that Manuscript to finally be ready! :)

Diane Burton said...

In my 1st contest with 1st ms, a judge did tell me my hero was an a-hole. That's exactly what she wrote. I was so offended! LOL Looking back without those rose-colored glasses, I realized she was right. How great that you didn't let that stop you. My ms will stay in a box somewhere. Too dated, too had to revamp. I hope you will have better luck.

Maureen said...

lol, Diane! That's some brutal honesty (or very opinionated feedback, lol) Thanks so much for visiting!

Nancy Gideon said...

When I look back at my first full length manuscript (or if I did unearth it from whatever suitable dark tomb it hides in), it's with a shudder. But it was a learning experience and actually DID get a request for a full read . . . followed by a justified form letter. Learn and go on with that knowledge!

Maureen said...

lol Nancy- "whatever suitable dark tomb it hides in" :) So glad you stopped by!

CJ Burright said...

That bear sounds awesome! :) And I love that your nephew loved it just because you made it, not caring what it looked like. Awwwww. And that's great that you love your story enough to not give up on it. Writers have to believe in their own stories!

Anonymous said...

Thanks CJ, so glad you stopped by!