You May Be Just Two Words Away From a Happier, Stronger Relationship

I’m personally and professionally a relationship freak. Personally, I’m lucky to have many important relationships, most of which are incredibly satisfying and bring me joy. Professionally, I’m a romance writer which means that my “work life” revolves around writing about relationships. In all my books, the relationship challenges between my heroine and hero are an important part of the story. In some books the guy is the troublemaker and the woman tends to be the problem solver. In other series, the woman comes close to being a pain in the ass, while the guy is the peacemaker. Or, more often, they mix it up. Given that I’m a stickler for Happily Ever After endings, my books always end with peace, at least for the moment, between my main characters.

In addition to analyzing and creating fictional relationships, I also like to study them. I came across some interesting research that identified the factors that mark a successful relationship. The most intriguing element of the research, which was done at the University of Georgia and published in the journal Personal Relationships, concluded that two words were the determinants of happy, successful relationships.

What are the two magic words that make couples happy with their relationships?

Drum roll, please. They are: Thank You.

The University of Georgia research confirms that individuals who take the time to say thank you to their partners, their lovers, their family members, and friends tend to have the happiest, most fulfilling relationships.

Given that, I want to say thank you to all of you–my readers, my newsletter followers, my treasured team, and my fellow Author’s Billboard authors, who make my life so fulfilling.

Thank you, guys. I appreciate the heck out of you!



On her first mission, Officer Hailey Michels confronts the leader of a dangerous Cartel. Her chance to become a hero evaporates when the powerful Cartel member turns out to an undercover agent. It was bad enough to blow his cover but when she discovers who he really is, Hailey’s budding career, along with her heart, takes a decided nose dive.

The rookie cop learns the hard way that when tangling with the Justice Brothers, Justice—like Love– isn’t always fair or easy.

Jared is available from:

AmazonUS | AmazonCA | AmazonUK | AmazonAU


Making a Difference by Mona Risk

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi

Some people see themselves as ordinary people going about their daily activities without concerns about their surroundings. They are just happy to make ends meet, put enough food on the table, take care of their families with a little extra on the side for entertainment and vacation. They may complain on and off if things go wrong. When asked about what they do for a living, they shrug and mention they do what they have to do to keep the JOB that gives them a paycheck.  Exactly what I did, when I graduated from University, got married and started a family. All I wanted was a job that would help me make money and improve our difficult beginnings.

Driven by ambition, others are dedicated to their careers and devote every moment to accomplish their goals. When asked about what they do for a living, they talk about their CAREER, about their hard work and perseverance to climb the ladder of success in their field.

That’s me again. At the age of thirty-five, a slipped disc in my back forced me to avoid standing on my feet all day. I quit my job in the lab and enrolled in a Ph.D. program. Once I received my diploma, I changed my goals and worked hard to succeed in my new career as lab manager, and later director of the environmental division of my company.

A few special people want to make a difference in their world. They really believe in a cause larger than themselves and they would go out of their way to make a difference for others. When asked about what they do for a living, they enthusiastically elaborate about their calling, their mission in life, their vocation. Their happiness does not come from money, or status, but from having a positive impact on the lives of others.

I have gone through the three phases.  Burned-out by many years of heavy responsibilities, long hours in the office and continuous traveling, I took an early retirement to write novels and help others around me.

How do you analyze your accomplishments? Wealth? Status? Inner satisfaction? Positive impact on the others?

To start your holidays, I have three books in three very different genres to offer you,  a sweet romance, a sexy mythological adventure, and a sassy modern romance, all at bargain prices.

Just released: a sweet and funny Christmas Story

Dr. Sylvia Reynolds promised to be at her parents’ house in time for Christmas dinner. With a blizzard paralyzing the Midwest, passengers are trapped in airports for endless hours. While rushing toward the gate, Sylvia stumbles on a baby rattle, sprawls on the floor, and meets a gorgeous man and his baby niece.
James Alexander must deliver his five-month-old niece to her grandmother. The successful lawyer, who doesn’t know the ABCs of baby care, is at his wits’ end with the crying baby who holds on to Sylvia for sheer survival.
Sylvia helps as much as she can, but when James holds her in his arms…









An Armchair Trip to Ancient Egypt with adventure, suspense and hot passion among the gods.
Full of adventure, romance and humor this is a great holiday read.”~Love Reading
[The story] takes the reader on an entertaining and fun journey to ancient Egypt,… blend of historical and contemporary feel to it, … with realistic contemporary emotions and expectations.“~nanjar

Special Offer
A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL is free on Kindle Unlimited.
“Who wouldn’t fall for a prince? Dr. Amy Tyrone falls hard for Prince Paul of Rensy Island, though she doesn’t realize he’s royalty. Discovering the truth forces her to make a difficult choice – her patients back home or the man she loves? This charming story whisks you away to the romantic settings of Paris and the Channel Islands for a modern-day fairy tale that will warm your heart.”~ Sue


Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and because my family is divided throughout the Midwest, it’s easier for most of us to get together then as opposed to Christmas.

Fall foliage makes for a brilliant display here in Illinois, and decorating for the holidays is a pretty big thing in our area of the country. So, as both a former wholesale and retail florist, I’m sharing some methods for preserving greens.


Glycerin/Water Method keeps the leaves fairly flexible. This preserving method works because the natural moisture present in the leaves is replaced by the glycerin solution, maintaining the leaf’s texture and form.

  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Flat pan or disposable plates
  • A weight or something to keep leaves submerged
  • Leaves
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. You only need enough to submerge the leaves — about one cup.
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. (Tip: try using two Styrofoam or other disposable plates. Put leaves and enough glycerin solution to just lightly cover the leaves in the bottom of one plate. Then put the other plate on top of the leaves and solution. Now you can put a weight of your choosing on the top plate without getting the weight in the solution.)
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for 2-6 days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel. They should feel soft and pliable.

Pressing between wax paper.

  • Leaves
  • Wax paper
  • Thin towel or paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  1. Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
  2. Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
  3. Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
  4. Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
  5. Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.

Using a microwave:

  • Fresh leaves that have not dried out
  • Paper towels
  • Microwave
  • Acrylic spray from a craft store
  1. Arrange the leaves on top of two paper towels. Lay another towel over the leaves to cover them.
  2. Microwave the leaves for 30-180 seconds. Be very attentive and careful. Leaves that are cooked in the microwave too long can catch fire. The drier the leaves, the less time they will need. Leaves that curl after removal from the microwave have not been in long enough. Leaves that are scorched have been in there too long. Only dry them for a few seconds at a time.
  3. Let the leaves sit for a day or two and then finish by spraying an acrylic sealant on both sides of the leaves.

Learn more (includes some other cool projects):

And how does something like designing relate to my writing?

Sometimes the easiest way to come up with a new story is to write about what you know, and since I have a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, Tales of Dragonfly includes a heroine who’s not only a florist, but a wedding planner and designer.

In Flight: A Tales of the Dragonfly Novel

A woman who’s afraid to trust. Successful designer, Penny Wentworth has arrived from New York to take charge of the wedding flowers for the new owners of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. As a single parent of a severely autistic and mentally impaired son, she has no romantic illusions; her experience with an abusive husband has left her wary of relationships.

A man who’s afraid to love. Haunted by his past since discovering a six-year old girl brutally murdered at Dragonfly Pointe over twenty-two years ago, Sam has intentionally avoided returning home. But after resigning from his job as a homicide detective in New Orleans when his marriage fell apart, Sam is now the chief of police in Crystal Rock, Wisconsin.

An undying passion that’s endured throughout the years. Penny’s escort for the wedding, Sam had once been the object of every single one of her teenage fantasies.

When Sam’s search for a killer leads him back through his tarnished past, will a woman who’s afraid to love be able to forgive a man who feels undeserving of her love?

My newly revised story, In Flight, is also included in the Bestselling Hotshot Charmers for only 99c.

I hope everyone has a beautiful Fall-

And a fantastic Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.!!

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There’s nothing like a potluck to fill you with thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving image. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! While you’re reading this, I’m probably running around like a chicken with its head cut off (Sorry for the icky mental picture!), getting ready to host a big turkey dinner. There will be 19 people around the tables, plus 3 babies. Wheee!

For many years now, we’ve done our family get-togethers potluck style. Often, we pick a theme, but leave the choice of what people bring wide open. (Our Christmas Eve appie night is a much-loved tradition now, as is the occasional Taco Tuesday.) Other times, we decide on what type of dinner it will be, like, say, a traditional turkey dinner J, and we each pick dishes to bring, according to our mood, energy level, or whatever’s left to choose from by the time we volunteer.

Dinner parties with friends have slowly moved toward this model too—again, usually with a theme: Italian or Greek night, Stone Salad, etc.

So really . . . although I’ll still clean my house (Booo!) for the party and arranging seating will take some work, as will setting and decorating the table (but that’s a chore I always enjoy), my contribution—a turkey, a ham, the punch, and the coffee and tea—will not make me too crazy. I’ll get to relax and enjoy my company, and even clean-up won’t be too arduous. Most of the pots and pans and serving dishes just go home with their owners to get washed up by someone who isn’t me. (And if that isn’t enough to make for a happy Thanksgiving, I don’t know what is!)

For many reasons, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to do-everything-yourself-hosting. Yes, throwing a feast isn’t as daunting cost and labor wise if everyone brings a special dish, but the real benefits go deeper than that.

Many hands make like work image. Potluck style meals allow everyone the fun and honor of contributing. (When my hubby and I were first married, for example, throwing a Christmas banquet for everyone would’ve broken our budget . . . but I still wanted to do something and create dishes that would become traditions for my kids.)

They make special diets easier (a person can bring a dish they know they can safely eat, then pick and choose from others that might fit).

They’re a great conversation starter/icebreaker if you don’t know people well. Not everyone has family, big or small, but you can create your own, friend by friend, meal by meal. Inviting someone over for a formal dinner might seem intimidating. Saying, “Hey, I’m throwing an Italian themed potluck, want to come over with a pizza or buns or something?” is less pressure on you and your guest.

Sharing the work load is fun as people chat about what they’re going to bring, creates a feeling of community, and allows everyone, even the host, to actually enjoy the hours approaching and during the meal.

Most importantly, however, the act of sharing a meal (literally, in terms of work and cost, not just eating—though the eating part is delightful!) feeds and nourishes the reason people get together in groups in the first place: to nurture and build relationships, create and strengthen connections, and help us appreciate the people we’re blessed by and grateful for.

We’re going into a busy time of year, with celebrations and holiday seasons of many kinds ahead in the next few months. If you feel stressed by the very notion of having people over, consider the simple, comforting pleasure of potluck.

Let me know in the comments if you’re already a potluck fan or if you’ve found other ways to make holiday entertaining more entertaining and less draining!

And hey . . . if you save yourself a bunch of time by having your lovely family and friends help make/bring dinner . . . you’ll have more reading time. Win, win, WIN!

Fall in love at River's Sigh B & B this fall-Dawn Yacovetta quote image