Monday, June 30, 2008

On Barbara Vey's Blog

I am walking on the moon.

Right now when you open , it pops up with a huge and gorgeous bookcover for To Love a Hero.

Saturday Blurb Special Beyond her Book Blog on Publishers Weekly

Barbara Vey
Saturday Blurb Special June 28, 2008
It's so exciting to be able to have another edition of Saturday blurbs. Our faithful readers have given up all other pursuits of happiness just to read and write about the exciting books waiting for you. So here they are:

To Love a Hero by Mona Risk (E-Book)

Over two decades after the Chernobyl disaster, American chemist Dr. Cecile Lornier travels to Belarus to undertake the task of renovating the sadly outdated laboratory needed to expedite cleaning the land of suspected deadly carcinogens. This task is the dream of Major General Sergei Fedorin, and working in close contact with Cecile, it seems they will make it a reality. Less likely is realizing their own passionate relationship. Between their strong personalities and the differences in cultures, they each decide that personal happiness needs to be discounted so as to not endanger the welfare of the people of Belarus.

I have no doubt that Mona Risk was there, for the descriptions of the people and places in Belarus are clear and convincing. The sense of the unfamiliar makes the story exotic, and a subtle tension was maintained with the trace of fear for an unknown culture and its politics. I found myself googling Belarus for some of its history, and that means I enjoyed the story a lot.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A lesson of love

I had the incredible luck and pleasure of visiting a penguins reservation in Chile during my South American Cruise. We walked for about an hour and braved the crisp cold and drizzling rain to reach the arid cliff where a large population of penguins gathers during the summer of the southern hemisphere. Honestly, it was worth getting chilly and wet.

The penguins are the most gentle birds (or animals) I have ever seen. They snuggle, hug and smooch like human lovers.

That same night, the ship projected the movie, The March of the Penguins. It is a wonderful love story. I am not the emotional type but I cried when I saw the love of the penguin couples for each other and for their babies.

The father walks seventy-five miles to bring food for his mate while she broods. When he comes back exhausted, he stands very close to the mother. As soon as the chick is hatched out of the egg, the father gathers him under his belly to keep him warm.

Now it’s the mother’s turn to walk seventy-five miles to bring food for the father and their offspring. Some never make it. Some come back to see the egg rolling away or the chick dead. Their desperation is as strong as the humans’.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Today I will leave you with a Short Synopsis of


Admired by men and adored by women, Major General Sergei is a true hero in his country. The widowed Sergei has pledged to clean his country of the pollution left by the Chernobyl disaster.

BUT… When a lovely American chemist stumbles straight into his arms, Sergei has more on his mind than nuclear pollution and patriotic duty.

Raised in boarding schools, Dr. Cecile Lornier buried her loneliness under long hours of study and work. On the rebound of a broken engagement, Cecile is determined to excel in her first international contract, the refurbishment of an environmental laboratory in Belarus.

BUT… In Belarus, a Russian country dominated by male chauvinism and intrigues, Cecile finds more chemistry than she bargains for. Nestled in Sergei’s arms, she soon learns that chemicals are not the only things that generate heat.

Can she betray Sergei’s trust to save his career? Would her love cost him everything he values?

FRENCH PERIL is available at Cerridwen Press. You can buy it through this link:
or just click on the book cover pictures on the left of this blog
or through my website

Friday, June 20, 2008


Thank you all for reading my blog and commenting about my pictures and excerpts. There were so many good comments I added a prize and will have four winners.

Here are the prizes. They are easy to send.
And here are the winners of my blog for last week, from June 15 to June 20.

jeanp, ----rebekah,---- anne,---- ellie

and from the week of May 24 to 29.
ib, ----wildchild,---- Molly Daniels

Winners, please contact me at and please give me an address.
Anyone who posted a comment, if you want to receive my newsletter, can you email me with your email address, thank you.

I will share with you some cute pictures taken in Buenos Ayres, Argentina.
The woman is a professional tango dancer.
But the man is...
my husband.
He had my blessing as I was the one taking the pictures.
Would you be surprised if I tell you he loves Argentina and wants to go back.
No way.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thank you:

FRENCH PERIL is a published book now. I can’t thank you enough for the support you gave me during the last week. Seeing your friendly comments on a daily basis on my blog helped me cope with the stress.

Amazingly we believe that once we write a book, edit and polish every chapter, every page, every line, the job is done. Once we finale and win contests. Once we snag a contract from the right editor after coping with many rejections, then we’re done.

Are you kidding me? We are NEVER done.

We have to present and advertize the book, submit it to reviews, and move to writing the next one. The ultimate approval is the fan letter that says, I love your book. That’s when we smile and relax and realize we wrote a good story.

FRENCH PERIL is available at Cerridwen Press through this link:
or just click on the bookcover pictures on the left of this blog
or through my website

Today I will leave you with the official blurb of FRENCH PERIL and beautiful pictures taken two years ago during our South America cruise:

A summer job in France with room and board in a chateau owned by a handsome count. Can it get any better for Cheryl Stewart? The graduate student in Architecture is now officially on a mission for her sick professor.

Count François can’t hide his disappointment when Cheryl arrives instead of the eminent professor. But the aristocratic playboy is not one to turn away a beautiful young woman. He allows her to manage the restoration of the chateau’s chapel while keeping his search for a valuable historical statue a secret from the other students working on the project.

Soon things deteriorate. The professor is poisoned, the chateau’s butler attacked and Cheryl’s
room burglarized. When Cheryl’s summer job changes into a romantic involvement and dangerous treasure hunt, Count François is faced with a difficult choice. Is the priceless statue worth jeopardizing the safety of the impetuous young woman who has stolen his heart?

Cape Horn ------------Santiago, Chile

Glacier in Antartica

CONTEST: I am running a contest. Just read my blogs, blurb, excerpts and leave a comment. Be my friend and reader. On Saturday, I will pull the names of three persons from the comments on the blogs of this week. Prizes: an onyx ring, adjustable to any finger, from Corfu, Greece. A golden bracelet coated with blue and green enamel from Corsica and a ladybug brooch with red and white rhinestones from Venice, Italy. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


In a few hours, FRENCH PERIL, will be a published book. It’s exciting and scary. I am going through a terrible case of angst as if I was passing an exam tomorrow. I spent years wishing and praying to be published. Yet I am terrified. My first book TO LOVE A HERO, a story set in a Russian country, was published on January 17, two days before my birthday. Now six months later almost to the day, FRENCH PERIL is released. Two books in six months. It took me five years to revise, edit and sell TO LOVE A HERO, but it took six months to write, edit and publish FRENCH PERIL. I guess it’s called building experience.
Here are the links to buy my books:



Let me go back to my trip to release the stress.

Malta is built on a cliff. You can see the city walls here. And the Church of St. Paul who converted the locals.

Spilt in Croatia: City walls and the statue of their patron. His toe is golden. Tourists rub it for good luck.
Here is the first scene from FRENCH PERIL:

“Chinese restaurant… Malaysian student…”

Cheryl Stewart raised the volume on her cell phone and pushed it closer to her ear to decipher the intermittent mumbling. “What’s wrong, Doc?”

“Heart…stomach…” A pause amplified the labored breathing of her mentor.

She connected the hardly audible words. “You’ve been to a Chinese restaurant with a Malaysian student when you felt sick?” Leaning forward, she tightened her grasp on the phone. “Where are you now?”

“Am… Amb… ” The strident wail of an ambulance siren interrupted his effort and Cheryl’s pulse raced at the sound.

“Which hospital are you going to?” God, she should have insisted he take better care of his health.

“ER… Cam…bridge Hos…pital…”

“I’m coming.” It made sense that the paramedics had rushed him to the medical center closest to Harvard School of Architecture.

“Don’t. I need… ” Doc’s voice, suddenly forceful, filled the line and then collapsed as if he’d lost his last shred of energy.

“Yes, what do you need?” Her throat constricted in anguish. She’d do anything to help the man she’d considered a surrogate father for the last eight years.

Her question must have triggered some awareness. “Go to France. My plane ticket in my office. Left drawer. Take my laptop… Password statue.” His voice shattered, then came back. She didn’t know if she’d missed something. “Go. Careful. Watch… ” His panting reached her across the line, louder than his words. “Tell François…tell…”

“Yes?” She probed, her heart drumming in the deafening silence.


“What about you?”

“Maybe food poisoning… Better soon.” He grunted and gasped. “Go.” The connection was cut. Cheryl checked the calling phone number. His cell phone. Had Doc closed the line because a new surge of pain assailed him?

Professor Howard sick? He hadn’t missed a day of work since she’d sat in his class for the first time eight years ago. Should she disobey his orders and rush to the hospital to reassure herself he wasn’t in danger? She bit her lip, hesitating. No, she couldn’t do that. If he’d taken the trouble to call her on his cell phone while in the ambulance writhing in pain, she’d better do exactly as he said.

Her briefcase under her arm, she left the graduate students’ studio at Harvard School of Architecture and strode down the hallway to Professor Stanley Howard’s office. He’d given her a key two months ago when she worked with him on the statue’s project as part of her Ph.D. thesis. She unlocked his office, closed the door behind her and went straight to his desk.

After collecting her laptop carrying case, she left the studio and locked the door. As she glanced down the hallway, she gasped. A man was just stepping out of Doc’s office. What the hell was he doing there? Except for Cheryl and security, no one else had a key to her mentor’s office.

One Day left:

One day left for my romantic suspense, FRENCH PERIL, to be released by Cerridwen Press. Tomorrow, tomorrow…

Until then, I will tell you more about three places I visited.

Malta: Malta, home of the Crusaders, is a little island that you can tour in one hour. The number of churches and their magnificence are impressive for such a small area. Interestingly, one the churches called the Mosta Dome harbored an unexploded bomb. During World War II, the citizens of Malta took refuge in the church during the bombardment. A bomb hit the church, went through the dome, stopped near the altar …and didn’t explode. No one was hurt. The Maltese considered it a miracle. The bomb is still there but it has been deactivated.

Kotru in Montenegro: Montenegro is one of the new countries that separated from the former Yugoslavia. Our ship reached the port through the only fjord in the Mediterranean Sea. At 7:00 a.m., we heard the horn blowing. We rushed to the deck. The ship came close to a tiny island that had only a Greek Orthodox Church on it. People waved at us with towels. The church bells rang. The ship horn blew, and so on for a few minutes while the ship toured around the little island. A priest came out of the church. Apparently, it’s a tradition for any ship passing by to alert the church. In response, the priest gives his blessing for a safe trip. This artificial island was constructed by sinking 175 boats. The sailors built a church on it to thank the Lord for their safety after a terrible storm. At the end of the day, while leaving Kotur, the horn and church bells went through the same routine as the ship toured around the island on its way out of the fjord.

Corfu in Greece: In every historical church we visited, we were surprised to see a multitude of little silver boats hanging from the candelabras. The guide explained that when the sailors and fishermen met with storms but came back home safely they offered a silver boat in gratitude.

CONTEST: I am running a contest. Just read my blogs, blurb, excerpts and leave a comment. Be my friend and reader. On Saturday, I will pull the names of three persons from the comments on the blogs of this week. Prizes: an onyx ring, adjustable to any finger, from Corfu, Greece. A golden bracelet coated with blue and green enamel from Corsica and a ladybug brooch with red and white rhinestones from Venice, Italy. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Now back to FRENCH PERIL. Instead of an excerpt I will let the characters introduce themselves:

Characters’ Introduction:
Cheryl Stewart: I’m worried about my mentor, Professor Howard. He went to lunch with a prospective graduate student, a man from Malaysia, but became sick during the lunch and was rushed to the hospital for food poisoning or heart attack.
Professor Howard asked me to go to France on his behalf and help a French count with the restoration of a chapel and the search for a valuable statue that had been missing since World War II.
What could be more exciting than spending a couple months working in the plush Loire Valley, in France? I will have to live in the count’s chateau. The same count I saw at Harvard three years ago. The handsome playboy was so busy entertaining gorgeous women he didn’t give me the time of the day back then. I bet he won’t remember me.

François de Valroux: I am searching for an invaluable statue of the Virgin Mary that used to adorn the chapel of my chateau. The statue disappeared during the war bombardment. Was it destroyed? Did my grandfather hide it?
I have been impatiently waiting for Professor Howard who did a lot of research on the subject. I can’t believe he skipped our appointment and sent his graduate student. On the other hand, Cheryl is such a lovely young woman I can’t say I am too disappointed. Between you and me, I can’t resist a pretty woman. What can I say, it’s in my genes. I come from a long line of glorious adulterers and fabulous lovers.
When the Boston Hospital calls to announce Cheryl’s mentor died, I do my best to console her with a hug and a kiss, and pledge to protect her. It’s my pleasure. Huh…I mean my duty.
For her own safety, I ask her to keep the search for my statue secret from the five other students training on the chapel reconstruction.
Edith Blaise: I consider myself François’ current girlfriend. I want him badly but I also have a weakness for his title, his fortune, his chateau and its treasures. I won’t let anyone interfere with my goal of becoming the next Countess of Valroux. Certainly not, the American student, a nerd who lives in a pair of blue jeans and finds her happiness in old stones and computers.

Adriaan Van Deem: I come from Amsterdam. I’m studying archeology and I can’t resist the appeal of old stones. Especially if they have a high monetary value. It wouldn’t hurt to befriend the American student who seems to know a lot about the missing statue.

Juan-Pablo Rodriguez: My correct title is Don Juan-Pablo. I hail from the Universidad de Madrid and I am preparing a doctorate in the history of Romanesque churches. I’m a gallant man who always compliments a beautiful woman. Of course, I also like artistic treasures.

Roberto Cantari: I live in Milan, but I was born in Sicily. Women love my dark looks and I love women. People often ask me if I have mafia blood in my veins. Who knows? My nonna raised me and prays all the time that I remain an honest man. I respect my nonno, the most powerful and richest man in Palerma. I would do anything to please my grandparents. Anything…

Chuck Minho: I was born in London. I am a quiet man who doesn’t talk much, but I don’t miss anything going on around me. I don’t like the looks the American girl gives me. Dirty looks. As if she suspects me of killing someone, just because I look Chinese.

Karl Boderman: I’m studying art, painting and sculpting at the University of Berlin. I can’t believe the show these young studs put when a pretty face shows up. I don’t trust any of them. If you want my opinion, I don’t think they are who they say they are. But then…I’m not too.

Bernard: I am the old butler. I was raised in the chateau. My father served François’ grandfather. I love François as if he was my own son and I want to see him married with a good French woman. Mademoiselle Edith seems to love him. She’s always visiting and staying in the chateau, in the room next to his. But I think François is attracted to the American student. He asked me to put her in the room next to him, on the other side. I don’t like that. François sandwiched between the women’s rooms. I don’t like it at all. Especially that the rooms in this old chateau have secret communication doors.
My fondest dream is to find the statue and put it back on the altar of the reconstructed chapel. But someone hit me in the dark and asked me questions about the statue.

Cheryl: I pledge to go after Professor Howard’s killer and find the statue to honor my mentor’s memory. Things would be easier if I wasn’t so attracted to François.

François: Cheryl is careless and exposing herself to danger all the time. I’m constantly worried about her. She has turned my life upside down with her determination and bubbly laughter. I’m ready to give up the search for the statue to ensure Cheryl’s safety, but she won’t let me.
Together we need to find out:
Who poisoned Professor Howard?
Who hit Bernard?
Who broke into Cheryl’s room?
Where is the statue?
Why am I so jealous when the students flirt with Cheryl?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Catching Up

Vacation is stressful. I mean coming back from vacation is stressful. By the time you open the suitcases, throw several wash loads in the washing machine, fold your laundry and put the clothes in place, read your mail, call friends, welcome the grandchildren…
Gosh, you need a rest. I don’t dare saying...a vacation.
My vacation was a serious one. Call it a research time: finding new settings for coming books. I took pictures and notes.

My next hero will be Sicilian. Why?

Because I loved Sicily, and the medieval town of Taormina nestled on a cliff overlooking the Med Sea. Here are two pictures showing the gate and town walls, and the main church.

The left picture is a monastery perched at the sommet of a mountain in Corfu in Greece. The bus climbed for an hour along a narrow road winding through the cliff while my heart dropped to my toes. Right picture is the town of Santa Margarita, in Italy.

I am posing in front of Napoleon's statue and the train that took us around the city of Ajaccio, Corsica.

I have been awake since four in the morning, reading and answering e-mails, checking blogs and leaving comments, writing endless to-do-lists…and drinking coffee.

I received the first edits of Babies in the Bargain and the book cover from The White Rose Press.
My romantic suspense French Peril will be released in four days by Cerridwen Press. Only four days. I love that book and I love the book cover. I think the art department at Ellora’s Cave did a great job. Now I need to advertize it full speed.

CONTEST: I am running a contest. Just read my blogs, blurb, excerpts and leave a comment.
Be my friend and reader. On Saturday, I will pull the names of three persons from the comments on the blogs of this week. Prizes: an onyx ring, adjustable to any finger, from Corfu, Greece. A golden bracelet coated with blue and green enamel from Corsica and a ladybug brooch with red and white rhinestones from Venice, Italy. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Here is an excerpt from chapter two of FRENCH PERIL. It shows the heroine’s character:

Later that evening, Cheryl stepped out on the back terrace. A long nap and invigorating shower had restored her usual optimism.

Loud laughter and the masculine voices of the dinner guests wafted toward her. She spotted François with three men, enjoying a drink. A table had been set at the end of the terrace overlooking a rose garden. Cheryl hesitated before crossing the twenty-foot wide terrace.

As if sensing her presence, her host glanced in her direction. His gaze held hers for a moment, paused on her décolletage, lingered on her waist and skated all the way to her toes bared by the sandals. The cool breeze caressed her naked arms and a strand of hair flew out of the unruly mane curling down her back. She brushed it away with a quick flip of her head, suddenly aware of her lack of sophistication. Pressing nervous fingers against the leg of her white jeans, she wished she’d taken the time to pack better for her trip. At least her flower-printed blouse with a deep V-neck enhanced the simplicity of her outfit.

Cripes, no one had told her that searching for a missing statue and digging under the ruins of a chapel necessitated an elegant wardrobe. Not that she cared about her appearance. Still. She stifled a groan as she studied her host.

François strode toward her exuding a rakish charm she couldn’t miss and a self-confidence that screamed power. Navy slacks wrapped his rugged, lean figure and contrasted with the white cotton shirt fitting over his muscled torso.

He smiled. A devastating smile that sent waves of heat to her face and down her neck. “Bonsoir. Good evening. I hope you had a chance to rest,” he said in a throaty French accent. He took her outstretched hand and kept it between his. Tingles skittered across her skin.

She stiffened, hoping her face lost its blush as fast as it gained it. Damn her inexperience. Why hadn’t she learned to flirt and have fun like her best friend Barb? Under the protective wing of her mentor, she’d been too busy studying. Granted, she’d dated a few boyfriends. Cute and clumsy. Certainly, none aristocrat or French, with an aura of power about them. François released her hand but remained next to her, so close, his breath warming her cheeks.
“I’m feeling much better, thank you,” she lied as she freed her hand and clenched the strap of her purse.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Back from vacation-Happy Father's Day

We are back from vacation, right on time for Father’s Day. Today, we celebrate and remember our Dads. My daughter and her children will come for dinner to wish my husband Happy Father's Day. My father is not around any more but I will pray for him and thank him for making me who I am, with love, example and support.

My husband and I had a wonderful vacation that took us literally out of our daily routine. We flew to Italy and spent a day in Rome, touring the city and admiring the monuments from the open-top tourist bus: the famous St. Peter's Plaza with a mile long line to enter the cathedral; the very crowded Fountain of Trevis where I didn't throw a penny but ate the best cassata siciliana, an ice cream to die for; the Plaza di Spania, with a thousand steps to go up to a church and the best view of Rome at our feet; the Bocca della Verita that reminded me of the movie Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Churches and monuments greeted us at every corner of Rome.The next day we drove to and boarded the ship we were going to call home for the next ten days.

There is a certain elation in boarding a ship. As you walk the gangway, you purposely throw away stress and trouble and get ready to discover a new world. To start, an officer gave us a plastic card, our passe-partout to open our room, buy drink, sign in and out when going ashore. For ten days we wouldn't need money on the vessel, no dollars, no euros or any other currencies. Relax, show you card, and voila. You will pay later, once the vacation is over and you are on your way out. That's when you will brace yourself, hand your credit card and remember that everything comes at a price, even good vacation.
We met our table companions in the dining room, three couples from Texas, California and England, and introduced ourselves with first names only. Who cared about last names as we daily exchanged notes and fun stories about morning ashore excursions, over delicious and complicated meals, and then rushed to reserve the best seats for the night show.First stop Portofino, a small town slopping over a green mountain down to the Mediterranean Sea, many castles, and an incredible scenery as we sailed to the neighboring Santa Margarita, another lovely medieval town.

Second stop, Monaco, home of Princess Grace. We visited her grave, always covered with flowers, in the cathedral, then toured the palace, casino, and winding narrow streets of the capital, Monte Carlo. We watched the change of the guard, a mini reproduction of the British show at Buchingham Palace and we had the unique experience to witness a fire in the plalace. Yes, a real fire with smoke, police screamimg, and fire trucks that came fifteen minutes later after the fire was doused. See pictures.

I will tell you more about my cruise tomorrow. Today, in addition to celebrating Father’s Day, I remember that my romantic suspense, FRENCH PERIL, will be released this coming Thursday. To celebrate my second book, I’m running a second contest. Just leave a comment on my blog.

Prizes: an onyx ring, adjustable to any finger, from Corfu, Greece. A golden bracelet coated with blue and green enamel from Corsica and a ladybug brooch with red and white rhinestones from Venice, Italy. I will post pictures tomoroow. I am still trying to recover from Jet lag and post- vacation blues.

Here is the blurb of FRENCH PERIL:
What could be more exciting for a young American architect than to live in a French chateau owned by a young count and to work on the restoration of a chapel in the Loire Valley?But when her professor is poisoned because he knew too much about a missing statue, Cheryl's summer job changes into a dangerous treasure hunt and Count François is faced with a difficult choice:Are the statue and his chateau worth endangering the life of the impetuous young woman who's turned his life upside down?