Travel with Mona to Beijing, China

We left home on Friday, at 4:00 am to reach a 6:00 am flight, the first flight of a very long trip, two hours to Philadelphia with a forty-minute transit and a flight to Chicago, two hours transit and then the thirteen hours, yes THIRTEEN hours, long flight to Beijing. I was blissfully tired and lucky enough to sleep during most of the trip. We arrived in Beijing on Saturday, at 5:00 pm. There is a twelve hours difference in time between Florida and Beijing.

Of course, we lost our luggage. While we ran down the Philadelphia airport to catch our connection to Chicago, our suitcases procrastinated and missed the connection. We met a couple from Seattle who were in the same predicament. Very nice people, so friendly, they couldn’t wait to start their vacation and enjoy it. Unfortunately, their dream cruise ended in a horrible way as the man had a heart attack at the end of the cruise on his way home.

For our first day in Beijing, my husband had booked a private tour with an adorable guide very . Our guide was a lovely young woman, fluent in English, answered my unending questions. She explained, the government was still communist but more open to the West. Years ago, she was living in a small apartment with her father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle and aunt and a cousin in a two-bedroom apartment. Notice one child per family. They all shared one kitchen and one bathroom with the rest of the building and they all had to dress the same way. Now she is engaged. Competition is encouraged. She and her fiancé worked hard and saved money to buy a one-bedroom apartment.

The 2008 Olympic Nest
One of many high rises in Beijing.
Notice the TV screen.

She showed us the Olympic Nest, downtown Beijing and the Summer Palace. We had a delicious lunch in the adjacent restaurant.

The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace
An imperial boat on the lake
In the Summer Palace gardens

I was agreeably surprised to discover that Beijing is a clean, modern metropolitan capital with more high-rises than Manhattan. I am not kidding. Not at all the idea I previously had of China.

For our second day in Beijing we joined the official cruise tour. We visited the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The square is a huge place overcrowded with a million tourists every day. To cross the large avenue and reach Tiananmen Square, we had to go through a tunnel. It was here that one of the tourists in our group panicked and said she couldn’t find her mother. The poor old woman was separated from our group. We spent half an hour looking for her, while taking pictures and then the group had to continue. Two hours later, both women finally joined us.

We spent three hours touring the courtyards, pavilions, and palaces of the forbidden city. Each of the emperor and empress had their own palaces. There were pavilions for the guests, for the officials, for the empress’s family…The yellow color was reserved to the imperial family. No one else could use it in China. The various servants serving in the Forbidden City were carefully chosen. It was an honor to serve the imperial family. But once chosen, the servants could never leave the Forbidden City and the parents could not visit.

On our third day in Beijing, we went to the Great Wall of China built in the 3rd century BC. I was surprised to find out that the Wall is formed by stone stairs framed by two walls interrupted by towers. I walked up to the first tower. It was almost like climbing three stories. The steps were at least one-foot high and irregular. My husband felt challenged and kept going to the second tower as high as eight stories. Apparently, the view is breathtaking from there.

As you can see it was cold on the Great Wall. This picture is taken from the first tower. The third tower visible from far.

People rarely walk beyond the third tower, although the Great Wall completely surrounds China and is the only man-made artifact visible from the surface of the Moon.

The statues of soldiers from the Ming Tombs.
And here, a picture at the Cloisonné factory where they manufacture gorgeous vases and plates.


Relax with a Sweet Romance

FREE on May 4,5,6,7 and 8

This book is dedicated to the mothers we celebrate with love
and those we remember with emotional tears.

“Mona Risk deftly handles the pitfalls of dating after fifty. She had me cheering for Barbara and Lou to find their happily ever after.”

Widowed for seven years, Barbara Ramsay lives and breathes for her five grownup daughters and their babies. She’s also used to chatting over the phone with her good friend, Lou, and soothing his stress. But why has he invited her to come to Paris with his TV Network crew? Powerful News Director, Lou Roland is certainly not marriage material, yet he has suddenly decided he wants Barbara in his arms. Not an easy task when his pretty confidante from Kentucky proves so difficult to date–unless he follows her rules. Can the over-fifty confirmed bachelor and the widow loyal to her husband’s memory find true love and share a future?

Holiday Babies Series:
With high moral values and a strong sense of unity, the Ramsay family counts five daughters—Madelyn, Roxanne, Heather, Claire, Tiffany, and their mother Barbara. Later, stepdaughter Monica Roland joins the clan.

Holiday Babies Series:

Holly Jolly Christmas: Prequel to the series.

Christmas Babies: A sweet and powerful Christmas Story.

Valentine Babies: Can he love a woman expecting another man’s baby?

Mother’s Day Babies: Never too late to find love and happiness.

Wedding Surprise: Is it the worst or best wedding surprise?

Christmas Papa: Who’s my Papa, Mommy?

On Christmas Eve: We want a mommy for Christmas.

Have a Little Steam With Your Hockey

Hot hockey playerSteamy hockey romance, that is. Because of course. Who ever heard of a sweet hockey romance?

That was a serious question asked of me the other day by a writer who wondered if there were any readers out there who might want to read her books. She’s writing sweet hockey romance. Frankly, my answer to her was that I have no idea.

But I DO know that readers love a little steam with their romance when it involves a hunky hockey player.

Because that’s the payoff with a hunky athlete for a hero, right?

But I felt bad about not having a better answer for this author, so I did a quick survey of the top 100 sports romances on Amazon to see if I could find a sweet hockey romance book on the list anywhere.

The answer: a big fat ZERO

Which makes sense to me. We all have our reasons for choosing what we love to read, but there are those universal fantasies that hold true for many of us and one of them is to be ravaged by a big strong man–in no uncertain terms. These romances come in many tropes and subgenres from dark mafia to motor cycle club stories. And somewhere in there fit the sports heroes.

And within the sports romances, hockey romance reigns supreme. And by that I mean, the readers are dedicated and the books sell like hotcakes–or hot hunks.

If you have that fantasy about a rich rugged hunk who could have anyone choosing you, then steamy hockey romance will check that box. Every time.

You’ll know from the opening lines from He Has Charm that it’s a steamy one:

“Being blind isn’t a problem, sugar. I can smell and feel my way around you.” She giggles as I sit up in bed and rip the blindfold off.

That’s when I realize being blind actually was a problem. A big problem. Because I’m faced with three lovely naked ladies—and one of them has a camera…

Check out the Boston Brawlers hockey romance series today.

He Has Charm Cover

He Has a Baby cover







  Pre-Order Now         FREE on KU

Check out the book trailer for He Has Game- a steamy fake fiancee hockey romance!

He Has Game – Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

A Milestone Birthday – Is That What They Call It?

Cinderella’s Glass Slipper

I bet all of you can relate to the passage of time – especially when it involves your own life. When I was a kid, I thought it would take forever to become a grown-up, and once that happened, in the blink of an eye I woke up one day and found I was a widowed gramma – one with many blessings, though, and hopefully privy to a few more blinks.

My oldest daughter Stacey treated me to a Disney World trip for this particular old-lady birthday where I was treated like a princess.

We stayed at the beautiful Coronado Springs Resort, had yummy dinners, lunched at the Grand Floridian, and then she took me to a Dessert Party at the Cinderella Castle, with a front-row view of the fireworks.

On our last day, we went to Disney Springs and had a wonderful lunch at The Landing, and shopped. We had a most spectacular time, despite the fact my walking was a bit of a struggle, but that’s another tale for another time.

Before we left for Florida, I released my fun-loving tale Ripples Under the Sea as a single and it can be read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Here’s the Blurb: “Join marine biologists Merrilee & Travis as they’re swept away by the current of love in this charming tale of aquatic antics, sorrow, and separation as they live their dreams, and then some at the most wonderful time of the year.”

This story is also included in our Christmas collection entitled Unforgettable Christmas Promises: Unforgettable Blessings (The Unforgettables Book 24) Here’s the blurb: Ten New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors bring you stories of love, wonder, and surprises. With puppies, mermaids, talking dogs, letter-writing snowmen, department store Santas, firemen, feuding families, and holiday traditions, these tales promise to make your Christmas merry and bright. So, grab your favorite yuletide beverage, curl up on the couch by the fire or in a beach chair by the ocean, and enjoy Unforgettable Christmas Promises, brought to you by THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD. http://uct/B09KZ2CC9X

As for me, my latest novella Just Horsing Around is available for pre-order:

Here’s the blurb: Bella Sinclair has loved her neighbor, farrier Joshua Gable, her entire life, but love is blind and so is he, until a scoundrel Julian Martino moves to town. As Julian’s sinful antics disrupt their peaceful co-existence, if there were any to begin with, he inadvertently releases the couple’s smoldering attraction while they combine their efforts to rid their neighborhood of his unwanted presence.

Please join these two horse ranchers turned sleuths as they endeavor to purge their neighborhood of an unsavory character who’s destroying their precious Florida wetlands – and confront falling love in the process.

Thanks for reading my blog and savor every second of your existence. It goes by so fast. My current work in progress, Capture Me, Darling, touches upon that very subject. You will find that story in this exquisite collection: Unforgettable Blessings: Unforgettable Miracles (The Unforgettables Book 26)

“The biggest blessing is knowing how blessed you are.”
An event, a person, a tangle of situations: all can lead to encountering that certain wonderful person who makes our heart wake up and zing!
Come into the worlds created by these eight NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors. Share the lives of these common yet profound men and women as they discover their Happy Ever Afters, their moments to glow with joy. Be there at their sides when their treasured romances blossom before them, as they give thanks for their perfect love."

Walking. It’s the Best Medicine

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. Now that I’ve turned the corner on seventy, I’ve become more concerned with my health. It was probably the pandemic that did it, but the last few years I’ve worried more about my overall health than ever.

Being confined to the house made me realize how much time I spend sitting each day. I sit at the computer to write and sit in my rocker-recliner to watch TV. Sit, sit, sit. I was recently made aware of how bad sitting for prolonged periods is for your overall health. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time to a number of health concerns, including obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Sitting can damage your heart, shorten your life, even increase your chances of getting dementia. You risk weight gain, osteoporosis, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can lead to blood clots. As well, no matter how ergonomic your chair is, sitting too long wrecks your back. It also causes your anxiety to spike and increases your risk for some cancers and diabetes.

So, what are you supposed to do if your job requires you to sit for prolonged periods of time?

You balance your sitting with exercise, and one of the easiest exercises, one of the cheapest, and one that can be done by anyone anywhere is walking. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. You won’t regret it.

Of course, you know that any physical activity, including walking, is good for your health. As kids, we were always outside, running, jumping, swimming, sledding, cycling, and walking. Most of us walked to school, unlike kids who get bussed. But walking comes with a host of benefits. According to Harvard Health Publishing, here’s a list of five benefits of walking that may surprise you.

1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.

2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.

3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.

4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

5. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

Since I live in an area that makes it hard to get outside to walk every day. I’ve invested in a treadmill for the days when i just can’t get out to walk. Can I match the number of hours I sit with the number I walk? Not even close, but I’m trying. Every step is a step in the right direction. So, now, I’m going to get up and move around for a bit. Have a nice day, and don’t forget to take time to walk!