Cruising the Danube with Mona: The Iron Gate and Serbia

As mentioned in my September 1st post, we spent the first days of our river cruise visiting Romania and Bulgaria, and Day 5 all on deck, cruising the Danube, admiring the scenery, and snapping pictures.

The most spectacular scenery was the dramatic gorge of the IRON GATE, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage on the Danube. The Iron Gate divides the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, forming part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania. It is about 2 miles (3 km) long and 530 feet (162 meters) wide, with towering rock cliffs that make it one of the most dramatic natural wonders of Europe. 

Our cruise ship approaching the Iron Gate dam,
and going through the Iron Gate dam.

In the 1960’s, a massive lock and dam were built to help control the speed of the river and make navigation safer. The joint development project of Romania and Yugoslavia on the Danube River (including a dam and hydroelectric power plant) was completed in 1972, providing equal amounts of energy to each country and quadrupling the annual tonnage of shipping. The name Iron Gate is commonly applied to the whole 90-mile- (145-kilometre-) long gorge system.

Our cruise ship going through the locks.
The crew member changing the flag as we entered Serbian territory.
Our cruise ship cruising in the open again.

On our way to Serbia we passed the rock sculpture of Decebalus, a colossal carving of the face of Decebalus (r. AD 87–106), the last king of Dacia, who fought against the Roman emperors Domitian and Trajan to preserve the independence of his country, which corresponds to present-day Romania.

It was commissioned by Romanian businessman Iosif Drăgan and it took 10 years for twelve sculptors to complete it. The lead artist sculptor’s name was Florin Cotarcea. According to Drăgan’s website, the businessman purchased the rock in 1992, after which the Italian sculptor Mario Galeotti assessed the location and made an initial model. The first six years involved dynamiting the rock into the basic shape, and the remaining four years were devoted to completing the details.

Under the face of Decebalus there is a Latin inscription which reads “DECEBALUS REX—DRAGAN FECIT” (“King Decebalus—Made by Drăgan”).

The carving was placed opposite an ancient memorial plaque, carved in the rock on the Serbian side of the river facing Romania. The plaque, known as the Tabula Traiana, records the completion of Trajan’s military road along the Danube and thus commemorates the final defeat of Decebalus by Trajan in 105, and the absorption of the Dacian kingdom into the Roman Empire. 

The Tabula Traiana marker laid by the Roman emperor Trajan over 2000 years ago can be seen on the left bank of the Danube.
You will also pass a beautiful Orthodox Church built on what appears to be a pier.

On Day 6 we arrived in Belgrade, capital of Serbia, and previously capital of Yugoslavia, situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers.

Overlooking the city of Novi Sad with a spectacular view of the Danube and surroundings is
Marshal Vauban’s unconquerable Petrovaradin Fortress. Dramatic events in the recent past
have shaped both the present and the future of this region, resplendent with natural beauty and
a proud history. Located high on the right bank of the Danube River in the city of Novi Sad, the Petrovaradin Fortress (Petrovaradinska Tvrdjava) has played a significant role in Serbia’s history. Over the centuries, the site of the fortress has been used by the Romans, Byzantines, Celts, Turks, Hungarians and Austrians. Starting in the 17th century, the Austrians spent nearly a century building new fortifications, including new walls, water moats and channels with movable bridges and control gates. A 16-kilometer long system of underground tunnels was completed in 1776.

 Pobednik (in Serbian Cyrillic ‘The Victor’) is a monument in the Upper Town of the Belgrade Fortress, built to commemorate Serbia’s victory over the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires during the Balkan Wars and the First World War. Cast in 1913, erected in 1928, and standing at 14 metres (46 ft) high, it is one of the most famous works of Ivan Meštrović. The park is also one of the most visited tourist attractions in Belgrade and the city’s most recognizable landmark, a good place to watch the sunset over the city.

The Temple of Saint Sava  is the largest Orthodox church in Serbia, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches and it ranks among the largest churches in the world. It is the most recognizable building in Belgrade and a landmark, as its dominating dome resembles that of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul that has been converted to a mosque, after which it had been modelled. Every day, its grandiose bell towers with almost 50 bells announce noon. The interior is famous for its exquisite mosaic work. It was under remodeling when we visited.

The city center has a lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafes. There were colorful cows statues everywhere.

Tennis champion Novak Đoković is the big hero of Belgrade–and a generous one. We heard of Restaurant Novak 1, Tennis Center Novak, Nova Vita hospital…

We were treated to a special performance of local folkloric dances before the river ship sailed away from Belgrade.

When going on any cruise you shouldn’t forget your books. Here are two newly released novels for your entertainment.

Available on Amazon
He adopted two minority children but lost his wife. Finally things settle for him, until the lovely surgeon he hires turns his life upside down.

Released September 22

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

Release Day October 5

How to keep a guy interested?

Years ago I collected articles I found interesting, amusing, or useful for my writing. Here is one of them. I don’t know who the author is, and I don’t agree with everything he/she wrote. Many points are outdated, and many are still true.

Want to know how to keep a guy interested in you no matter what? Here are some sexy ways to make yourself dreamy and desirable in your man’s eyes.

Many girls may assume that guys are fickle and have a low interest span. But in reality, guys are no different from girls when it comes to staying happy in a relationship. Guys, just like girls, love novelty. And they always want to be with a girl who’s desirable, and one that’s envied by other girls and desired by other guys. Do you want to be that girl?

To keep a guy interested in you, you just need to remember a few ways to keep his interest aroused and his desire in you peaked.

Use these tips on how to keep a guy interested in you, and you’d see how easy it can be to make him want you all the time.

#1 Be spontaneous. Shock him, awe him, make plans for the evening or plan an entire elaborate date by yourself. Surprise him and never be too predictable.

#2 Don’t change yourself. Stay true to the real person that you are. Don’t change yourself constantly assuming he doesn’t like your personality. Be creative, but stick to your comfort zone.

#3 Take initiatives in bed. Your guy may like taking control in bed, but when you dominate him and show off your confidence, he can’t help but be awed by your confidence and sexiness in bed.

#4 Smell great all the time. Always smell great around him but don’t overpower subtle fragrances with sickly sweet perfumes though. Always smell good, and pay special attention to your personal hygiene and body odor.

#5 Awe his friends. Men are competitive. As long as he thinks he has the best girl in his social circle, he’ll always cling to you and want to be with you. Awe his friends and make them think you’re a great girl, and you’ve done a great job.

#6 Learn to seduce him. Seduction doesn’t stop in bed. Be sexy around him and be creative wherever you go.

#7 Show interest in his hobbies. A guy would absolutely love a girl who shows interest in his special hobbies, be it playing on his Xbox or climbing a mountain. Men want to spend their lives with a woman who truly understands them and connects to them.

#8  Be his shoulder to lean on. Give him your strength and support when he’s low on morale. Reassure him and help him confide his problems to you. Be his confidant and his warm pillow when he’s in the dumps and he’ll treat you like a goddess.

#9 Be his arm candy. Look good in his arms when both of you are together.

#10 Be financially secure. Be in control of your finances and have a well settled job. Guys love a girl with a steady head on her shoulders. At the same time, they stay a mile away from careless spendthrifts!

#11 Have intelligent conversations. A guy may want an arm candy when he’s on the streets, but he also wants a lover who can communicate with him and have intelligent conversations at the end of the day.

#12 Help him deal with life. Men may behave like the saviors of the world. But inside, they’re still little boys who need a cuddle and a hug now and then. Help your man deal with the issues life throws at him.

#13 Public display of affection. Your man may shy away from a bit of PDA, but he still loves it when you cling to his arms like a damsel in distress. It makes him feel more powerful and sexy!

#14 Stroke his ego. If you want to keep your guy interested and happy, learn to stroke his ego. Compliment his achievements and give him a pat on his back when he’s proud of something. Make him feel like a man and he’ll stay your man.

#15 Be interesting. Be interesting and creative with your life. See the happy side in everything, even in the most mundane of days. When you’re an optimist, your infectious happiness will definitely rub on to him.

#16 Don’t make him feel insecure. Flirt with others and talk to men, but never at the cost of his insecurity. When he’s around, hug him close and he’ll swell with affection for you.

#17 Don’t be easily available. Spend time with him, but don’t be ready for him at his beck and call. Be there for him, but make him miss you when you aren’t around.

#18 Don’t be clingy and needy. Guys like a damsel who needs their help. But that stops once the infatuation period is over. Show him that you’re self-reliant and he’ll always look for ways to help you and please you.

#19 Be sexually innovative. Know your moves in bed and everywhere else. Have sex in different places, role play with him, wear an apron and nothing else while cooking something special, tie his hands to the bedpost… You get the drift, don’t you?

#20 Be a good cook. No matter what people say, the adage, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach still holds good.

#21 Don’t ever be a pushover. Don’t be the submissive wife. You don’t need to sit at his feet to earn his respect and love. Instead, be opinionated and throw him around when he throws his weight around you.

#22 Whip him when he can’t behave. Treat him like a spoilt child when he doesn’t behave. Ignore his childish behavior. Be unpredictable and rude when he misbehaves, and he’ll fear you and respect you at the same time.

#23 Make him proud of you. Guys may be shallow at first sight, but they still want a girl they can respect and admire.

#24 Respect yourself. You’re not a doormat. Let him know that you have the strength to move on if he does something stupid or treats you badly. Be an achiever and a girl he can look up to in awe. Always make it look like you’re the biggest prize he’s won.

#30 Make him dependent on you. As long as he thinks he can’t live without you or if he feels helpless without you, he’ll always stay interested in you.

Pick the traits you can use and you’ll see how easy it can be to keep a guy interested in you. But never let him use you or treat you like a pushover. And don’t think twice about punishing him or putting him in his place when he doesn’t treat you right. Earn his respect and love. And let him earn yours. Treat him with love and affection, but only if he deserves it. After all, as long as he fears losing a catch like yourself, he’ll never put a toe out of line, would he?

Here are threw new releases, a book and two new boxes with novels where the heroines know how to keep a man interested!!!

Available at Amazon

HEALING PLANS, Love Plans Series, book 8, On preorder Publication Date: September 22, 2022 He thought he couldn’t have children and adopted two minority children, but he lost his wife. Finally things settle for him, until the lovely surgeon he hires turns his life upside down and love accomplishes miracles.

Unforgettable Loyalty: Available on Amazon
Is there anything more important in a relationship than loyalty from the one you love…
knowing that person will always be there for you? And then they aren’t. What happens then?
Sweet & Sassy: Small Town Romances Available on Amazon
Trusted friends and family will be at their sides as they learn difficult and surprising news. A few might search for the truth or attempt to contain a secret they have carried for years.

Loyalty: When it’s both Unforgettable and Romantic

The Newest Unforgettable Romance Collection

Today is Release Day! The TWENTY-SEVENTH collection of Unforgettable Romances by The Authors’ Billboard is available now. Take a sneak peek at the NINE romantic suspense novels included in this dynamic set by some of your favorite USA Today, New York Times, and award-winning ladies.

Mimi Barbour:

Agent Jennie hates only one man. The same guy who comes back into her and her daughter’s life and rips it apart. How can she allow him the power… how can she not?

Left by the boy she loves, alone, pregnant, and terrified, she survives with help from her beloved Baba – grandmother – from the old county.

Her daughter, Lisa, grows up searching for the man her mother refuses to discuss. Unwilling to stop, she finally gets her wish. White Supremacists, botched undercover operations, and an out-of-control rapist overwhelm them: How the hell can things get worse?
Except… they do.


Susanne Matthews:

Jacob and Lilith join forces to end a sociopath’s killing spree and find the missing children.

Everyone has secrets. FBI cult specialist Lilith Munroe joins forces with former cult member Jacob Andrews to stop a monster on a killing-kidnapping spree. When Lilith’s greatest fears materialize, can Jacob set aside his own rage to save the woman he’s come to love?


Rebecca York

Was Sara Delaney a murder suspect or a would-be victim?

Alex Shane’s special assignment plunged him and Sara Delaney into a vortex of murder and deception. Or were they playing for opposite teams?


Mona Risk:

The spirited princess didn’t look for trouble, but it had found her. Again.

A murder at Harvard in the co-ed student building has all the students scared. Who will be the next victim? Is there anyone the incognito princess can trust?


Taylor Lee:

She’s a go-it-alone detective. He’s a psychiatrist and FBI profiler. A serial killer brings them together. In more ways than one.

Deacon Walsh has more degrees than any one man should. A former special ops physician, psychiatrist and now FBI profiler, the stunning Black agent has spent a year tracking the serial killer of four Colorado girls. Unfortunately, in addition to being brilliant, Deacon is also charming. And to Tyra Stone’s dismay, as accomplished a lover as he is an agent.


Nancy Radke:

They always kill the bodyguard first. Can he stay alive long enough to protect her?

The Golden Legacy inheritance is expected to make Keely a very rich woman. Hired by her father as a bodyguard, Tripp Richards finds himself the new target as he tries to keep her alive. To complicate matters, an old man appears who claims to be her real father. Which man is really Keely’s father and who is trying to kill her?


J. L. Campbell:

Is Corra an innocent victim or does she deserve payback?

While on vacation, Corra Bingham almost drowns during what appears to be a random attack. The policeman who saves her appoints himself as her bodyguard, but when the attempts on her life continue, Phillip Denham wonders what she’s involved in and how to prevent her from ending up on a slab in the morgue.


Dani Haviland:

Brought together by their love of vintage motorcycles, Luke and Holly have more than an out-of-tune carburetor to deal with. The town’s leggy crime boss, Tanya, wants revenge for being spurned.

The prodigal son returns to his old job at a repair shop and finds himself attracted to Holly, the new bookkeeper. She’s attractive, deaf, a whiz at anything mechanical, and also the target of Tanya, the new crook in town. Can Luke and his new friend Benji run interference between the feuding females?


Tamara Ferguson

Will a Second Chance be enough?

Growing up together in Crystal Rock, Wisconsin, Ashley Mitchum and Brian O’Neill have been at odds for years. Conniving and sometimes cruel when she doesn’t get her way, Ashley is someone Brian doesn’t want to feel attracted to. The dynamic of their relationship suddenly changes when they share a haunting kiss just before Ashley leaves for college and Brian enters the army. Ten years later, the two are fatefully reunited in Crystal Rock. Will unveiling their families’ dark secrets heal two wounded hearts?

Unforgettable Loyalty: Craving and Devotion

Only 99cents for NINE stories or FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Compassion in the 21st Century   

Compassion: a desire to help someone in need. When you show compassion to another person, it enriches your life as well as his. Yet to show compassion to someone, you must become involved in his life.

How do you become involved in another person’s life? Usually you talk to him, and learn about what is going on. Where he’s having problems and needs help. Last century, the telephone was invented, and people could now talk to each other even over large distances. People communicated, and reached out to each other.

Compassion is caring for another

Then, in this century, with the invention of the cell phone, texting became the normal way of communicating. Everyone texts, it seems, short sentences sometimes with the words shortened to U and FYI, which require an interpreter to read them. People text while they are walking in traffic, while shopping, while in a class, but worse, people text while they are at home, asking a question of someone else. How involved can you become when you can’t even hear the other person’s voice, whether he sounds tired or discouraged or happy or defiant? How do you know that this person needs the compassion or friendship you are willing to give him?

Texting, a tool of isolation

Instead of becoming an aid to communication, texting on cell phones has become a tool of isolation. Many people isolate themselves at home, reaching out only through texts. Teens shut themselves in their rooms, when they should be out developing social skills needed for life. Texting should never replace conversation, which is how we interact with other people. When you talk to someone, you find out much more about him and his life, his feelings, and thoughts; more than you will ever find out by texting. Texting is great for setting up appointments, but it should not be used to as the sole way to sustain friendships. Everyone needs friends, as man is a social being.  

Cell phones have replaced our computers, watches, alarm clocks, maps, and our way of communicating. Lets not let them replace our families and friends.

In my book, Turnagain Love, the heroine is isolated on a small island. With no cell tower close by, she can’t call for help. Since three of anything—three large rocks, three honks, three shouts—is the universal signal of distress, she places her white clothes into three groups, making three large white circles out on the beach. Her efforts are rewarded by the arrival of the hero in a large motorboat. But he hasn’t come to help her. If fact, he never even noticed her signal. So what is he doing?

In another book, Terminal Pursuit, the main characters have thrown their cell phones away to keep from being tracked. They now have no way of getting in touch with each other as they try to evade the killers.  Terminal Pursuit is in the set: Unforgettable Temptations.