Dragon tales: Reserve spouse's fantasy novel published

  • Published
  • By Capt. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The mythological, reptilian-winged beast found in the heroic tales such as "Saint George and the Dragon" has fascinated Bonnie Then since childhood. The allure of these magical, serpentine creatures combined with a love of writing prompted the novice author to write a book of her own, "Familiar Origins."

Released in April, it's the first published novel for Mrs. Then who goes by the pen name of B. Pine, a derivative of her first initial and maiden name Pinero. She is married to Master Sgt. Ommar Then who's assigned to the 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here.

The fantasy-fiction novel is about five children growing up in a magical world where dragons are supreme beings. The tale focuses on the children and their ability to confront difficult life experiences and to challenge the dragons whose goal is to take over the world.

The characters in her book encounter and overcome trials in their quest to fulfill their destinies. Life can imitate art and Mrs. Then tackled her own course of obstacles to achieve her dream. Her quest to become a published author was years in the making and didn't come without rejection and hard work.

Writing has been a hobby of the New York native since she took a creative writing course while living in England with her spouse who was assigned at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, from 1993 to 1997. England, part of the United Kingdom and one of Europe's oldest and most influential nations, has a storied past full of kings, heroes and conquests. Mrs. Then is a fan of the country's medieval history, castles and folklore, which includes dragons.

"I've always liked fantasy, especially dragons," said the author who has known her husband since high school, been married since 1990 and have three children who are 17, 5 and 2. "It's fascinating, the myth of the dragon in Chinese and European cultures, especially in medieval history. Some cultures depict the dragon as a monster; others see the creature as a spiritual guide."

Her experiences in England sparked her creativity, and she began writing short fantasy-fiction stories, which included her favorite mythical beast that flies, breathes fire and uses magic.

"When you read about vampires and werewolves, they have certain characteristics whereas a dragon can be anything," said Mrs. Then who is also an avid reader of science fiction and vampire novels.

When the Then's were stationed at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Sergeant Then separated from active duty in 2001. He became a reservist with the 512th Airlift Wing here and began working at Playtex Manufacturing Inc. At Dover, Mrs. Then earned her degree in business management from the University of Maryland and a degree in accounting from Wilmington University. She worked as an accountant at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino until 2009 when she resigned to take care of her young children and ailing father.

Throughout the past decade, and despite the challenges of being military spouse, mother, student, accountant and caretaker, Mrs. Then made time for her hobby.

"Writing is therapeutic; it's a type of stress relief," she said. "I put my ideas and imagination down on paper, and it comes to life."

Since being stationed at RAF Mildenhall, the military spouse has written about 30 short stories.

"One day, I took pieces of each story, laid them out before me and had the plot to the book," she said.

Once completed, she sent her book to five publishers who all rejected it.

They gave her critiques and suggestions, she said. She took the advice, made revisions, and sent it to another publisher and waited, but she didn't hear anything for a year.

Mrs. Then suffered great loss in 2009. When she found out her book was to be published, via e-mail, it was a ray of light during a dark time.

"My father passed away; and, then four days later, I had to put my 8-year-old boxer Sai to sleep," she said. "I was grieving, so finding out my book was getting published was great news at a time when I needed something positive in my life."

Her biggest fan, her husband, said he's ecstatic for her and is very proud to have a published novelist in the family.

"She has worked toward this goal for a long time, and it's great to see her accomplish it," said Sergeant Then, an avionics technician. "We have a lot of avid readers in the family, so we have all read her book and know how talented she is. We're glad the rest of the world now gets a chance to read her work."

Many good stories have a hero like Saint George who slays the dragon and saves the princess. For Bonnie Then, her hero doesn't wear the armor of a knight, but wears the digitized tiger-striped Airman Battle Uniform of this century. She attributes her success to her husband who has been by her side during her quest to become an author.

"He's been very supportive," she said. "I couldn't have done it without him."

To read about the Draca Wards Saga and characters such as Rohen and Galen, her book "Familiar Origins" is the first of five novels and is available online and in book stores.