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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Did It






Last night I was watching an old video tape of My Fair Lady to relax and put myself to sleep. Remember that scene with Professor Higgins, Captain Pickering and Eliza in the background? Mr. Higgins is singing: “I did it”, when he manages to change the scruffy flower girl into the belle of the British society.



Two days ago, we heard loud shrieks coming from various states. “I did it,” several friends and fellow writers squealed after receiving phone calls announcing that their entries were Golden Heart finalists.


“I did it,” many Roses share their good news on TWRP loop when receiving 4 or 5 stars reviews while others jump up and down and announce their first sales. I did it!! I did it!!


Allow me to share my little story as I, too, want to say, I did it. Last year, I smiled with delight when I stepped on the scale and realized I reached my ideal weight. Hmm...unfortunately I stopped smiling as I loaded back ten pounds. Maybe I can do it again.


"I did it,” I shouted a few months ago when my contemporary romance Rx FOR TRUST was a finalist in Epicon.


“I did it,” I sighed with relief when I successfully presented a talk to my former company and received a standing ovation.

“I did it,” my daughter told me on the phone when she was finally able to walk with high heels after a difficult year of ankle surgery, cast, therapy and special care.


And now, I am ready to dance again as my fifth book will be released in ten days. Yes, I am counting the days.


An American Pediatrician

A Russian Surgeon

A woman who lost a son and frantically avoids marriage and family

A man with four adorable sons who badly need a mother

Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?


“Mona Risk writes heroes with heart, heroines with spunk in stories and settings that are simply unforgettable!" -- Roxanne St. Claire, Killer Curves, National Bestseller.

I am sure you all have success stories. Would you care to share them with us?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blog tour



My new book, PRESCRIPTION IN RUSSIAN, is available in print at The Wild Rose Press and will be released on April 8, 2011.


Short Synopsis:
Dr. Jillian Burton is an American pediatrician. She blames herself and her ex-husband for their son’s death. On a mission to improve medical conditions in Belarus, she frantically avoids marriage and family.

Dr. Fyodor Vassilov is a Russian surgeon. His heart has sealed when he lost his wife. Now, his four little sons badly need a mother and his duty is to marry a woman who loves children and big family.

Neither believes in second chances, but when they work together for six months in his hospital, their fascination with one another shocks them both. Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?


As part of my April blog tour, I will be featured at the following sites:


1. Friday April 1st Pink Fuzzy Slippers
2. Monday April 4 Mona’s Blog
3. Tuesday April 5 Pink Fuzzy Slippers
4. Friday April 8 8 Lindsay’s Romantics
5. Monday April 11 Long and Short Reviews Blog
6. Tuesday April 12 Pink Fuzzy Slippers
7. Wednesday April 13 Savvy Authors Blog
8. Thursday April 14 Autumn Jordon
9. Friday April 15 Maeve Greyson
10. Monday April 18 Voices from the Heart
11. Thursday April 21 Kim Adams at SOS Aloha
12. Monday April 25 Sarah Grimm
13. Wednesday April 27 Beth Trissel
14. Friday April 29 Authors Roast & Toast
15. Wednesday May 4th Donnell Bell at Five Scribes

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.


BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite. Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON. Rx IN RUSSIAN just released at TWRP
http://www.monarisk.com/

Friday, March 25, 2011

PRESCRIPTION IN RUSSIAN, new release


My new contemporary romance, Rx IN RUSSIAN is up for pre-orders at The Wild Rose Press.

The setting is inspired by my business traveling to Belarus during the nineties. With my heroine, Dr. Jillian Burton, you will discover a different civilization, visit interesting places, marvel at the Russian architecture, taste the exotic food, toast with vodka, wear the warm chapka, experience many of the local customs, and fall in love with a gallant Belarussian doctor.

Blurb:
Fyodor Vassilov is a Russian widower, surgeon and officer— Jillian Burton is an American pediatrician on a mission to improve medical conditions in Belarus.

Jillian blames herself and her ex-husband for their son’s death, and has lost her illusions about men and marriage—Duty demands that Fyodor provide a mother to his four little boys and marry a woman who loves children and big family.

When they work together for six months in his hospital, their fascination with one another shocks them both. Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?

Excerpt:
The eighteen-hour flight to Belarus had hardly dented Jillian’s stamina, but the sight of the man standing in the cluttered office wiped every thought from her mind. His daunting height and broad shoulders overpowered the meek desk and weakened her knees.

He said something in Russian.

Hauling a deep breath, she gathered the pathetic shreds of her can-do energy and stepped closer. “Good morning.” The gray cells in her brain squeezed in a desperate attempt to recall the Russian words she’d crammed into her head a week ago. “I mean dubra outra.” An unexpected bout of amnesia sapped her wits as she skimmed his chiseled features with mouth-watering appreciation. She mentally shook herself. “English? No? Sorry, me nyet Russian.”

“Yes?” He arched his eyebrows, revealing dark lashes, too long for a man, and sky blue eyes sparkling with midnight stars.

A sigh escaped her. They might be able to communicate after all. “I’m Jillian Burton, from the American Health Delegation,” she said, praying that she sounded like her usual self—the collected rational woman she’d been ten minutes ago. A career-oriented pediatrician and neonatologist who steered clear of charming men—unless the charming male was a newborn baby.

“Dr. Burton. Welcome to Minsk.” He greeted her in accented but fluent English. “I am Fyodor Vassilov, Director of the Minsk Solidarity Hospital.” His smile brightened the dimly lit room. And her shadowed heart.

The Health and Safety nurses who’d injected her with a dozen vaccines had forgotten to immunize her against the mind-crippling power of his smile. “I... Uh...” Unable to express any coherent thought, she locked her sagging jaw. How come you’re not old and unsexy like the other hospital directors?

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON
.

http://www.monarisk.com/

Sunday, March 20, 2011

ECC 25th Anniversary Presentation

I would like to thank ECC chairman and ECC President for inviting me and welcoming me so warmly to the ECC 25th anniversary.

This post is dedicated to ECC present and past staff. If you enjoy it, please follow my blog.

Years ago, in my former life, I had the privilege of working for a great company. I should rather say a very small company with big dreams.
We were a bunch of people, eager to face challenge, undaunted by fierce competition, and determined to succeed, each in his, or her, own field.

My area was analytical chemistry and analysis of environmental samples and my initial goal was to set a laboratory and expand it. A big challenge for a chemist fresh out of graduate school who had no experience in management.

To succeed I needed tools. With a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, I was strong technically, however my managerial skills grew slowly and surely through workshops, reading, and hands-on experience. I started the ECC lab with four chemists and two analytical instruments and steadily added to both. Ten years later, the lab counted fifty chemists and every state-of the art analytical instrument necessary to run environmental analysis.

Do you have a dream?
You should. Life is dull without a dream. Life is stagnant without a dream.
A dream is, by definition, an involuntary vision occurring to a person when awake.
Can you make your dream come true?
Can your vision become a reality? Of course it can.
It will, if you take the right decisions and actions to make it happen.

How?
1-Keep your eyes on your vision.
2-Determine your goal. A tangible goal you can achieve.
3-Collect your tools. Do you need more knowledge, more experience, more equipment, more personnel?
4-Apply yourself at the task. Give it your 100%. Give it more than 100%.


• Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. You can do it if you really want to reach your goal, if you want to live your dream. • Have faith in yourself. If you don’t have faith in yourself, don’t expect others to have faith in you, or to follow your example.
• If you don’t plan to do an excellent job, then don’t do it at all. Because you are depriving others from doing it. Be sure there are others who are ready to do it and do it well.

People are different and have different ways of approaching their goals.
• Some do it in a flamboyant way that attracts all eyes.
• Others prefer a quiet steady pace.

Decide which is your style.
• Independent people like to work on their own.
• Social people like to be part of a team.
• Others have enough self-confidence to become team-leader.

In college, I was a shy student who dreamed to be a confident manager in a far-away future.

At ECC, I was challenged with more than I ever imagined I could handle. I built my experience and reached my goals. The lab grew. Analytical samples came to us from all over the nation. We did an excellent job: delivering accurate results within short deadlines.


I set high standard of performance for myself and my staff and demanded hard work from everyone. But I recognized their effort through compliments, raises, and flexible time. My chemists stayed. At ECC lab, we never encountered the notoriously short personnel turnaround faced by other labs. We collected certifications from every state and agency. We reached our goals. It was easy to plateau and get bored.


But my dreams changed, I wanted more. By then I wasn’t shy anymore, rather assertive and a bit aggressive—just a bit.
In 1994, I wrote a proposal to refurbish a military laboratory in Minsk while asking everyone where the hell was Minsk? In Belarus. And where was Belarus? Somewhere near Russia. Obviously.

We won the contract. And my heart filled with panic when Paul said: “Yeah, you are going to Belarus.”
“Me? No way. I don’t even know where it is.”
But we met the contract officer who had already been there and talked about it with warmth. Belarus became an accessible place with humans. Manjiv was with me in Washington when we signed the contract with J. B., a cheerful man who made the difficult challenge of going to Belarus an enjoyable mission.

To succeed you have to plan well. I organized the refurbishment tasks, ordered the equipment, scheduled the traveling of my chemists to Belarus,...

With every project and every task, there is always the unpredictable.
I never had a contract that came without problems. That would have been too easy. I don’t think the word easy should exist in the dictionary. But every problem, every conflict is part of the challenge and we can tackle it if we keep a cool head and think rationally.

The Belarus project was a big success and led to more contracts in the Russian countries. In addition, to performing a job, we built solid friendships with some of the officers who invited us to their homes. I met their wives and daughters. We were featured on their national TV.
Needleless to say, I enjoyed my trips to Belarus tremendously and kept pages of notes about this country and its culture.

New dreams sprouted in my mind. I wanted to share what I discovered with others. I was in a hotel room in a small town, Uman, in Ukraine, typing a report when I had an epiphany. Why not write a book about my adventures in Belarus? For two years, the idea brewed in my mind. But working 12 to 16 hours a day didn’t leave much time to write a book. After a year of deliberation with myself, I finally gathered the courage to ask my boss for an early retirement to pursue my new goal: write a successful novel.

Could I do it? Too many challenges here. English was my third language after French and Arabic. My background was scientific: a BS in Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Analytical chemistry. I wrote hundreds of Standard Operating Procedures for ECC, but writing a novel was a completely different endeavor. Good God. I would be competing with writers whose major was English, journalism, law,…people who grew up with English.

So? Since when have I ever backed up from a challenge?
I needed to collect my tools. I bought grammar books, composition books. I read, studied and attended workshops. I joined the Romance Writers of America and two local chapters in Cincinnati and Fort Lauderdale. I joined two others on line, attended their meetings and learned everything I could about the craft. And I wrote the first draft of my book, TO LOVE A HERO, a love story set in Belarus in which I poured my impressions and adventures. My mother read it and loved it.

I even gathered enough gut to enter the first three chapters in a contest. Bracing myself against the slashing I expected to come with the results, I was stunned to read that two out of three judges loved the premises. They encouraged me by pointing out what was good and what could be improved. The third judge almost made me cry by attacking my heroine with a nasty virulence. I followed the advice, learned to accept critique graciously, and toughened my skin. Soon I was a finalist and won contests. Soon I judged contests and coordinated them.

Now I have critique partners with whom I regularly exchange chapters. We help and support each other.

And all the time, I submitted my book to various publishers and accepted rejections with tears and new determination, until the blessed day I received an email offering me a contract for TO LOVE A HERO.

I was now a published author. FRENCH PERIL, a romantic suspense set in France was accepted right away by my publisher. Three more books followed. BABIES IN THE BARGAIN won Best Romance Novel of the Year 2009 and Rx FOR TRUST, Best Romance Novel for 2010. Rx In Russian will be released on April 11, 2011 by The Wild Rose Press.

I achieved my goals of becoming an author. Now I have a new dream. To become a New York Bestselling author. And new goals: to promote my books intensively.


Members of ECC, if I did it twice, you can do it:
  • Remember to dream
  • Set your goals
  • Accept the challenge
  • Collect your tools
  • Give it your 100%
  • Seek support
  • Tackle the conflicts and problems
  • Never, never give up
  • Enjoy your well deserved success
  • And now up your dreams and goals.

If you are about to retire, remember that you really never retire. You just fulfill new dreams, you set new goals and enjoy new successes.
It was wonderful seeing you all at the 25th anniversary of our company, applauding your achievements, and feeling I am still a member of ECC family.

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.
Rx IN RUSSIAN to be released on April 11, 2011
http://www.monarisk.com/

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Correct Way

TO ALL MY DEAREST FRIENDS.
I'M SO GLAD I FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS

The correct way to weigh yourself:

I can't believe I was doing it wrong all these years. WE MUST SPREAD THE WORD.

Have a good day!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

EPICON Conference in Williamsburg, VA


My book Rx For Trust was a finalist in Contemporary Romance


We arrived in Williamsburg on a gloomy, cold and rainy Thursday afternoon, but luckily Friday was partly sunny and Saturday was gorgeous and allowed us to enjoy a lovely time walking and exploring historical Williamsburg. Here is the William and Mary Law School.

Meeting friends from The Wild Rose Press and FRW was a lovely bonus.
Here with Keena Kincaid (Ties That Binds, Paranormal finalist) With Debra Webb Rogers from The Wild Rose Press
With Lyn Armstrong from FRW.
The highlights of the conference were the presentations of Angela Knights on Writing Sex Scenes and that of her husband Lt. Mike Woodcock on Hostage Negotiation. Angela added her part on how to use Hostage Negotiation in a Romantic Suspense.
Debra Dixon talked about Developing your Voice during her keynote presentation.

The winners of the EPICON were announced after dinner on Saturday night. And the winners are:
Mainstream: This Train by Rachel Smith—Whiskey Creek Press
Historical Fiction: Sunset on Ramree by Robert Appleton—Eternal Press
Short Historical Romance: Notorious Eliza by Barbara Monajem—Harlequin Enterprises Ltd
Historical Erotic Romance: The Haunting of Maggie Grey by Lynn Crain-eXtasy Western Romance: Promise Me by Deborah Schneider—Awe-Struck Publishing
Western Erotic Romance: Rocky Mountain Haven by Vivian Arend—Liquid Silver Books
Contemporary Romance: Be My Baby by Meg Benjamin—Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Contemporary Erotic Romance: Safe Harbor by Tymber Dalton –Siren Publishing, Inc.
Anthology Romance: Directions of Love by Luanna Rugh, Lorna Collins, Sherry Derr-Wille, Christie Shary—Whiskey Creek Press
Anthology Erotic Romance: Coming Together: Into the Light by Alessia Brio (editor)
Erotica: Second Chance by Selena Kitt—eXcessica
Mystery/Suspense Fiction: The Pot Thief who Studied Ptolemy by Michael Ordenduff—Oak Tree Press
Suspense Romance: Breaking Daylight by MJ Frederick—Samhain Publishing
Suspense Erotic Romance: More by Sloan Parker –Loose Id, LLC
Science Fiction: Massively Multiplayer by Aaron Potter—Double Dragon Publishing, Inc
Science Fiction Romance: Girl Gone Nova by Pauline Baird Jones-L&L Dreamspell
Science Fiction Romance: Lord of Thunder by Linda Mooney—Whiskey Creek Press
Paranormal Fiction: Frost Moon by Anthony Francis—Bell Bridge books
Fantasy Romance: The Prince of Val-Feyridge by Helen Johannes—The Wild Rose Press
Paranormal Romance: Da Vinci’s Lost Years by Sylvia Rochester—Whiskey creek Press
Fantasy Erotic Romance:
Paranormal Erotic Romance: Desire to DieFor by Jessica Lee—Loose Id, LLC
Horror Fiction: The Hollows by Ben Larken –LL-Publications
Horror Erotic Romance: The Blue Moon CafĂ© by Rick Reed—Amber Quill Press

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.
http://www.monarisk.com/

Friday, March 4, 2011

St Augustine: History in my background

I spent the past Sunday and Monday in St. Augustine. It's only six hours away from where I live and yet I never found the time to go there--more precisely never made time, which was a big mistake. What a lovely quaint town.

{if you enjoy this post, please follow my blog}

Yesterday I posted different pictures of St. Augustine at the Pink Fuzzy Slippers Blog.

I learned some history about our country as I toured St. Augustine.

Ponce de Leon, a noble Spaniard, was a member of Christopher Columbus's second expedition to the New World. In April 1513 he sailed from Puerto Rico to discover new islands. When he sighed land, he named it La Florida, in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers).

The precise location of their landing on the Florida coast has been disputed for many years. Some historians believe it occurred at St. Augustine, and some argue that Ponce came ashore even further south near the present location of Melbourne Beach. Ponce de Leon was a short man, only 4.11 ft, and his statue shows his real height.

In 1565 Don Pedro Menende founded the first permanent settlement and oldest city in what is now the United states. Built in 1672-1695, Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest fortress in US and is designated as America's first national monument.
We arrived on Sunday around five o'clock, checked at the Avilles Avenue Hilton which consists of a series of several renovated, old houses, connected together, and later had a delicious dinner of shrimp and fish at the next door Irish Pub restaurant.
In the morning we sat at the terrace of one of the Flagler hotels for coffee and cupcakes and then took a trolley to sightsee the town.
At the Fountain of Youth Park, a Spaniard soldier guards the entrance.
An old carriage in front of the St. Augustine Jail.

The oldest house in United States.

The oldest church, Our Lady de la Leche, where Father Francisco Lopez celebrated the first Mass in our nation.

The Believe it or Not Museum and a tree tunk wide enough to be used as trailer.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine founded in September 8, 1565 .


One of the Flagler hotels, now the Lightner Museum,

with Henry Flagler's statue.


Henry Flagler donnated one of the three hotels he built to the city. It is now a college.

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.
http://www.monarisk.com/