At Home by Mona Risk

Is it four weeks or six weeks that we have been locked at home? I can’t remember, but it seems like two years. Getting dressed, wearing a few pieces of jewelry, and fixing my hair are now nice memories. I stopped opening my closets. What for? My getting-dressed routine of the morning consists of choosing between two pajamas pants and a few black t-shirts–easier to wash it all together.

We live in a high-rise and we used to have a gorgeous view. Not anymore. In September, our building association had contracted a company for concrete restoration. So all balconies were blocked in September, the rails removed and the balconies’ floors repaired. And then the Pandemic started and the workers stopped coming. No rails, no balconies. No beach and no pool.

Who cares? For every problem, there’s a solution. Right?

Two weeks ago, I discovered that the catwalk, a walkway around the building used as an emergency exit, was still accessible, yet not used by anyone. A bit too high for my taste considering I suffer from ‘Acrophobia’ or irrational fear of heights. But in time of need, one would adjust to anything. At first I held my husband’s hand, and just looked at the floor, and then it got better…

The walkway became my walking track, with fresh outdoor air to breathe, no need to wear a mask, and a view to lift any mood. So now I walk four to five miles a day. Soon I’ll stop worrying about the extra weight I added at the beginning of our confinement. And I published a book, and started a new one.

Here is my new book, just released last week:

A Dance for Prince Eric: A ballerina with a promising career on the run for her brother’s sake. A charismatic prince who saved them both. Do fairytales exist?

I am also happy to share two new boxes, one with hilarious books and another with tender, emotional stories.

Sweet & Sassy Daddies

US: https://amzn.to/3bBBMGg #ad

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084FJFCFB

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B084FJFCFB

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B084FJFCFB

IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B084FJFCFB

NL: https://www.amazon.nl/dp/B084FJFCFB

DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B084FJFCFB

Cute but Crazy

US: http://bit.ly/RomComCBC1
Universal: https://books2read.com/CBC1

In the soup at River’s Sigh B & B

I’m a bit of a soup addict. Whenever I’m stressed or feeling blue about something, I make soup. Whenever I’m happy, expecting a crowd for dinner, or am feeling especially homemakery (That’s a newly invented word! Like it? 😁), I make soup. Chopping and grating, bringing to a boil, simmering . . . tasting. The steamy aromas of mingled garlic, onion, ginger . . . Mmmm!

There’s something Zen about cooking in general, and about making soup from scratch, especially. And like my aunt says, even if you can’t cook, it’s hard not to make great soup, so long as you use quality ingredients. It will sound corny, but I think she’s right only to a point. Something of yourself has to go into the pot too—your love, your affection, your hope, your well wishes . . .

My newest obsession is homemade wonton. (And yes, I make a whole ton of the little wrapped delights, freeze them on cookie trays, then dump them into freezer bags, so I can pull them out by the handful whenever I want that particular delight—ready in just ten minutes!) This is a wonderful site I’ve been using for inspiration: https://omnivorescookbook.com/recipes/wonton-soup (But I fold my wontons like Nagi describes on her fabulous website: https://www.recipetineats.com/wonton-soup/)

Another favorite is salmon chowder. Whenever I make it, I impress even myself, LOL. I use this recipe from Allrecipes.com, then modify it (as is my style) ‘til the concoction in my pot could never be recreated using the recipe card sitting on my counter.

As I cook (and taste!), my mind wanders all over the place, but generally settles on whatever novel I’m currently working on. Most of my main characters, in pretty much every one of my stories, at some point or another, make soup—yet my books aren’t the type that get marketed to foodies, with recipes in the back (though I do love those). In fact, the scenes are very brief. I don’t know if readers would even consciously remember them, but they are, I think, symbolic.

Soup is the epitome of comfort food, belonging and home. Every culture has its own variations of the dish, and while soup can be whimsical, there’s nothing trendy or passé about throwing things in a pot to simmer and blend all together into something, always a bit different, always good. Soup, regardless of its name, is as old as the human race.

And what do each of my main characters, despite how different from one another they initially appear, all have in common when you first meet them? In some way or another, they all yearn for and crave—but somehow lack: Family. A sense of belonging. A home.

Food of all kinds (not just soup!) has weighty (pun intended!) positive and negative connotations for us as individuals and within our relationships—and it does for my characters, too. What they eat or don’t eat, and the way they eat—standing over the kitchen sink, or with wine and candles even when alone—says a lot about their personality, their desires, their family background, their financial situation, and so much more.

Even if you’re not a fellow soup addict, LOL, I hope you’ll enjoy the sensory details in my stories, but even more so, I hope you’ll find my books food for your soul. A celebration of the simple good things in life and the power of finding, at last, that place you fit, with people who love you for you.  

Wishing you a lovely June, full of good eats and wonderful reads! 

😊 Ev

 

Spring is sprung!

Happy May!

Can I get a big, “Ahhhhhh, spring! It’s a lovely thing?!” 😍

It’s super gorgeous in my little green niche of the world right now, and I’m busy planting flower boxes, cleaning perennial beds, and getting my garden ready to plant. The weeding is unending, but I’m not complaining because A) I love it, and B) all the hard work is the perfect precursor to (justification of, LOL?!) evening treats of wine and reading.  

Also, I have no doubt much-needed rains will come soon (though it’s strange to say “much-needed” living where I live, where normally so much wet stuff falls), so I need to make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes.

I hope this note finds you well and that you, like me, are enjoying maximum outdoor time. 

If, however (also like me!), you need a break from time to time (I mean that’s why you’re reading this right now, right?), I’d be honoured if you relax with one of my River’s Sigh B & B novels.

Until next time, wishing you much sunshine, peaceful shade, and great reads,

😊 Ev

P.S. Make sure you enter this month’s fabulous contest! Good luck!

AMAZON ~ KOBO ~ iBOOKS ~ NOOK ~ GOOGLE


If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

Happy People

If you’re over 50—or if you’re currently enrolled in kindergarten—you’ll  know the title is from a song. Although whether we’re really happy or not may not be a simple thing to know, we all clap our hands anyway.

But how do we know if we’re happy, technically speaking? Well that’s a matter for experts to examine, including Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and bestselling author on the subject of living long, healthy & happy. I’ve read Buettner’s articles and many others about happiness—took a whole college course in psychology focusing on what makes happiness tick—and I’ve come up with my personal best list.

Top 7 ways you know if you’re happy:

  1. You laugh a lot. Like every day. Multiple times a day. Sounds simple, right? But really think about this one before you answer it for yourself. How often do you laugh? (Also, how often do you cry?)
  2. You like going to work every day. Especially if you’re like me and you don’t have to go anywhere! It’s no surprise that a long commute can be a big negative in people’s lives according to Buettner. It’s also no surprise that liking your job can make you happy.

    But did you know that you don’t even have to like your job to be happy  if you like the people you work with? 

    In fact, according to Buetner and others, liking your fellow employees and having friends at work is more important than making more money. I can personally attest to the truth of this!

  3. You have a great social network and get together with friends/family often. Everyone agrees about how important the people in your life are to your happiness, right? Maybe it’s hard to put this into practice in  every day life, but those who do are happiest.
  4. You are healthy. While it’s not something we think about, according to statistics, it is harder to be happy when you’re unhealthy. So don’t take this one for granted.
  5. You make a decent living. No need for riches. But just in case, I did buy a Powerball ticket when the jackpot went to $625 million yesterday. It would be a kick to play Santa Claus with all that money. Which brings me to the next tell for happiness.
  6. You focus on others with acts of kindness, helpfulness, care, donating and/or volunteering. Or maybe you’re there for someone with a shoulder to cry on in a tragedy. Of course, you probably already know how these things can make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
  7. Life Balance. You have the right amount of work, socializing and sleep—and all those other personal care things to keep you healthy, like staying active. This is no news for anyone who spends too much time at work, or too much time sitting around. Or not enough time sleeping!

Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?

I’m going to work on getting more sleep!

Tell me what you’re going to do to improve your happiness.