What inspired you to do that?

In November, I had the honor of attending the Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony in Miami for awards that I had won in 2020, 2021, and 2022. My husband and I had a wonderful time, and you can read more about it on my blog.

The awards were for the first three books in the Rise Again Warrior Series in Military Fiction. Mission: Believe won a Bronze (2020), Mission: Accept won a Gold (2021), and Mission: Repair won a Gold (2022). While talking to other authors during the event, I was asked the same two questions repeatedly: You write military fiction? What inspired you to do that?

That’s what this post is about today. Yes, I write military fiction, and it is very realistic, heartwrenching, intense, and hopeful. Most of you know I retired from law enforcement a few years ago, but I was never in the military. I was, however, married to a man in the US Navy, and my son currently serves in the US Navy.

I have a lot of friends who served in the military, and I have seen them go through highs and lows after their service. I also belong to many groups that support military veterans and current service members.

I am dismayed at the statistics of suicide among our veterans. I am equally appalled at the number of men and women who live on the streets and don’t get the treatment they need—but I am beyond horrified at the number of veterans who do not get the RESPECT they deserve after serving our country.

Perhaps it is because the civilians of our country do not understand what they went through, what they deal with every single day inside their minds. Or, it’s because the wars our veterans have fought are so away that you don’t even know what or who we were fighting. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Maybe for us, but not for them. Many of them are still stuck in a place far from home and fighting to find a way to live ordinary lives again. Although to them, ordinary just doesn’t make sense.

That is why I write these books. Perhaps they are to entertain people, but I try to educate people about what our men and women have gone through, what they continue to go through, and how hard they fight every single day to service the demons that constantly live on their backs and in the shadows of their minds.

That is why I write them and will continue to write them while I work with veterans to support them any way that I can.

Slow Down and Do More

Has the Holiday Season officially started?

Yes, according to the stores that have already set Christmas trees and decorations.

And yes, according to my granddaughter who announced that school is off for the whole next week.

The Holiday Season is a fun time with family gathering and dinner together. It can be stressful when we try to accomplish too much in such a short time.

According to a friend who is a PhD in psychology and also a pastor, if you feel stressed, look for the signs in your life that are drawing your attention to areas where you need to re-balance yourself.

Most people are in a hurry and spend their time running from one place to another. When we are in a hurry, we become insensitive towards the people around us; we don’t care how people feel; we don’t think about the impact of our actions on others.

Time is like money to be spent. Love cannot develop without the investment of Time.

Before we become too stressed, we need to slow down. Work less and Do more; take time to Rest and Reflect. Allow ourselves to relax.

WISHING YOU ALL A HAPPY THANKSGIVING

NO VACATION PLANS:

Emotional, Sensual, Humorous

A biracial lawyer and jack of all trades, he fights discrimination to win the heart of the pretty blonde travel agent.

Awards and a Fun Trip Planned!

On September 1st, I was super excited to hear that the third book in the Rise Again Warrior Series, Mission: Repair had won a GOLD award with the Readers’ Favorite Awards! The first book in the series, Mission: Believe, won a bronze in 2020, and the second book, Mission: Accept won a Gold in 2021.

Because of the pandemic, Readers’ Favorite couldn’t have their standard yearly award ceremony, but this year they are. I’ll be traveling down to Miami, Florida, to receive my award, not just for Mission: Repair, but all three books! Which is super exciting!

My husband will be joining me, as, at the end of this month, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary, and we aren’t doing anything special. We will take the time to enjoy the awards ceremony and two days together in Miami to celebrate it. We are both super excited to not only get away together but to be present for this award ceremony and visit the Miami Book Fair.

The Rise Again Warrior Series is very near and dear to my heart. It’s not just military fiction or romance, but in-depth emotional stories that share the brutalities of recovery after the war is over. These characters are all trying to find new places in society, dealing with demons daily as they attempt to find their way. The series is raw, realistic, and heartfelt, dealing with trauma injuries, PTSD, suicide, addiction, depression, and many other issues our current real-life warriors are battling to overcome.

This series is available on your favorite book retailer: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple, and more!

Cruise with Mona on the Blue Danube: Romania and Bulgaria

Our itinerary from Bucharest to Vienna, sailing along the Danube River for thirteen days.

We flew from New York to Bucharest, capital of Romania for a two-week cruise along the Danube River on Avalon Waterways River Cruises, but first we spent two days in Bucharest. On our first evening, we walked through the wide avenues of the city center and discovered the new place on our own.

The massive statue, cast in bronze, represents Carol I of Romania, the first King of Romania and founder of the Romanian Dynasty. During his reign, Romania conquered its independence from the Ottoman Empire, in 1877, in the course the Russo-Turkish War, known in Romania as the War of Independence.
Posing in the downtown area for a first picture in Bucharest.
Created in bronze in honor of the former Romanian politician, Iuliu Maniu, who served three terms as prime minister of Romania. The statue is located in Revolution Square in central Bucharest.
Kretzulescu Church is an Orthodox Church built
between 1720 – 1722. It is located on Calea Victoriei, at one of the corners of Revolution Square,
next to the former Royal Palace.
We were lucky to attend a wedding while visiting the old church. I was impressed by the elegance of the guests.
The Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest and a landmark of the Romanian capital city.

On Day 2, our first morning in Bucharest, Avalon Cruises took us on a tour of the city and a visit of the impressive Parliament Building. The former Royal Palace now houses the National Art Museum.

Parliament Building is the world second-largest
government building after the Pentagon.
The Royal Palace Square was the scene of riots in 1989 which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. I took this picture from the balcony of the Parliament Building.
Inside the Parliament Building,
the grand marble staircase
Inside the Parliament Building, one of the formal rooms

 

In the afternoon a short moto coach ride took us to Oltenita where our cruise vessel was docked. Before dinner the crew welcomed us with a reception and then we sailed to Silistra, a port city in Bulgaria. By the way, the blue Danube is far from blue, more like dark greenish black. We were told you see it blue only when you’re young and in love.

On Day 3, after breakfast, we travelled by bus to Varna, a naval base and sea resort on the Black Sea.

Varna is one of Bulgaria’s most popular destinations. While just over 335,000 people call the city home, during the summertime, its pristine Black Sea beaches fill up with over 1 million people, drawn to the sunny weather and fun nightlife.

It was a gorgeous day. Many sunbathers were topless. By the way, the Black Sea was blue, not black, rough with whitecaps and strong currents.

A most enjoyable lunch on the Pirate ship.

We had lunch on a pirate ship in the Black Sea.

The Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral in Varna: we didn’t visit.
Lunch with the pirates!

On Day 4, we continued our bus trip to Veliko-Tarnovo. Often referred as the “City of the Tsars“, Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famously known as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists with its unique architecture.

The Patriarchal Cathedral on top of the Tsarevets Hill
Standing at a café on top of a hill.

The old part of the town is situated on three hills, rising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. The city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep stones. Tsarevets Hill is home of the Royal Fortress, palaces of the Bulgarian emperors and the Patriarchate, the Patriarchal Cathedral, and also a number of administrative and residential edifices surrounded by thick walls.

Entering the gate to the fortress
The Royal Fortress
A view of the city from the top of the hill.
A view of the fortress from the top of the hill.

We spent Day 5 on the ship sailing through the Iron Gates–A story for another day.

(The Danube cruise blog will be continued on October 1st)

May I offer you my newly released book FAMILY PLANS, (Love Plans Series, book 7) just released on August 25. It’s on sale at 99 cents for a few days.

The plane crash devastated two families and revealed painful secrets. Can a brighter future arise from those ashes at Christmas time?

Family Plans on Amazon

 

Left inconsolable by his wife’s death in a plane crash, Tim Kent dedicates himself to his daughter, Brianna. He allows her to get closer to her best friend Debbie whose father died in the same plane crash. When Tim meets Erin Perkins, Debbie’s mother, he’s impressed by the beautiful, young woman struggling to raise six children on her own while working at an exhausting job. He does his best to help her. Attraction develops between them. While Brianna practically lives with her friend Debbie and shares Erin’s motherly attention, Tim acts as a surrogate father for the six fatherless children. But the sorrowful plane crash that brought them together threatens to separate them when shocking secrets are revealed.