Watching your child become an adult

Like many of you, I marvel at how quickly time passes. It moves every quicker when you watch your child grow. Once sweet innocent babies, they grow into nosy toddlers almost overnight. Then on to being energetic and curious children, before moody adolescents desperately trying to find themselves and become young adults. It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye instead of years.

I have two children, and I had my first one when I was twenty-one. My second came thirteen years later. My oldest, a boy, has two children of his own. I often wonder when he became old enough to have a career, wife, children, and a home? I watch and listen from the sidelines as my son and his family go through stages of life that I can fondly remember doing myself with him.

My daughter just finished her first year of college, and as I listen to her stories, watch her movements, and her reactions, I am reminded that my little girl is no longer a baby, but a beautiful young lady, on the verge of being a full-blown woman. To some, she might already be a woman, but I still see tiny bits and pieces of her innocence of youth. I still hear the curiosity to understand simple things in life that tells me she still has much to learn. Not that we ever stop, but you get what I mean.

We just helped my daughter buy her first car, and to witness her signing the paperwork, was a sight to see. I asked her how she felt afterward, and she said that it made her feel important, and she felt the weight of it as she signed the document and then sat back, going wow, I just did that. Proud but scary at the same time. I can relate. Remember your first car? What about your mortgage? It is scary.

This summer, our family will probably enjoy one of our last family vacations. Now that my daughter is growing up, she has plans for herself. She has people to see and places to be. We are lucky that she still feels we are important enough to spend quality time with us. Or perhaps it’s just the lure of a beach. Either way, I will take it and enjoy every moment I can before she is off living her own life with a career, home, and family.

Then the nest really will be empty, and I’ll sit back and wonder where the time went. Actually, no, I won’t. I’ll be too busy writing happy stories about people growing up, finding love, and starting their lives—just like my children.

Want to read about siblings growing up and finding love? Make sure to check out my Loving a Young Series on Amazon.

What happens in life, transfers into stories

There is a saying for authors that goes, “Write what you know.” I have done that many times over the years.

It started when I was a cop. I wrote a lot of romantic suspense, and many were with lead characters that were female officers. Then I moved on to dealing with life issues. I wrote about domestic violence, something I am not a stranger to, both in personal and professional life.

I have suffered several bad concussions, and those have made their way into books, too. I’m a former military wife, and my son is currently active in the Navy, so I have close ties to the military. I fight with depression and have PTSD issues, and surprise, all of that shows up in my Rise Again Warrior Series.

When my father passed away, one of the next books I wrote had a father passing. Actually, two books since he passed, deal with losing loved ones (Unexpected Desires & Unexpected Ties). Those aren’t direct storylines, but they are subplots in the books.

I learned many years ago that the best therapy for me, is writing about the stress of my life, and by doing that, I not only feel better, but I touch readers who might be dealing with the same things, or perhaps know someone who is. I help educate them in

Right now I am dealing with a major issue with my home. Structural damage to our foundation and mold behind the finished basement walls. I have a character that I am going to write in the coming months that is an engineer (It’s Candy in the new Loving a Winston Series). I wasn’t quite sure what kind of engineer she would be, but I have a feeling, she might just be a structural one.

I don’t always write what I know. In Cara, she is a helicopter pilot and a paramedic. I didn’t have experience in either of those positions, so I reached out to someone who was a flight medic and got what I needed, and man do I love the way that book turned out!

So as long as life keeps throwing me curveballs and non-stop thrills, I’ll keep on writing what I know!

Cara releases on March 11st!

What happens when the man you fall for is all wrong for you?

Cara Winston has always been a bit of a rebel and an adrenaline junkie. As a helicopter pilot and paramedic, she relies on that to do her job. When Cara and her team respond to a multi-vehicle accident involving motorcycles, she’s expecting the worst. What she’s not expecting is to find herself intrigued by the blue eyes of a man wearing motorcycle gang colors.

Ryan Vigilante rides the road, mostly on two wheels, not four. When several of his club end up in an accident on the highway, Ryan never expects to see a future in the eyes of the intense female paramedic. The only problem is, she’s way out of his league, and he knows that getting involved with her could only put her in jeopardy.

With Cara’s family trying to keep them apart and Ryan’s club breaking the law, Cara finds herself more of a rebel than usual. Will things work out for Cara and Ryan, or will Cara’s law enforcement brother, Ethan, find a way to put a stop to it for good?

The Loving a WinstonSeries is a five-book steamy romance series that spins off of the Loving a Young Series. Characters from both series will appear from book to book. Each book is a standalone romance with suspense and spicy romance scenes.

Travel with Mona to St. Petersburg, Capital of the Tsars

For two whole centuries, St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire. Currently the second largest city in Russia, it is recognized as Russia’s intellectual and cultural hub. When I spent a few days in 2002 on a business trip, St. Petersburg looked like a neglected city compared to Moscow. In July 2017, we stopped for two days as part of a Baltic Sea cruise and were stunned by the difference, the renovated buildings, the cleanliness of the streets, the wealth of flowers everywhere.

Our guide informed us that Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975, and took pride in renovating his city. Saint Petersburg, called the Venice of the North, because of its copious bridges and natural canals, mainly the Neva River, is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Hermitage on the Neva
A view on the Neva at sunset

After walking along the Nevetsky Avenue, we stopped in a salon de thé and enjoyed a lunch of toast with orange caviar and a cappuccino, then headed to visit the famous Hermitage, Winter Palace of the Russian tsars. The Hermitage hosts an art collection to rival the Louvre in Paris.

In front of the Hermitage or Winter Place of the tsars.

Entrance of the Hermitage

This former palace is steeped in splendor and opulence at every turn.

Peter the Great devised the blue prints of Peterhof Palace, its 300-acre park, and superb fountains to rival the grandeur of Versailles.

The fountains are activated at noon for fifteen minutes with a music show.

The Church of the Resurrection, also called Church of Savior on Spilled Blood is the other major attraction in St. Petersburg. Commissioned by tsar Alexander III in 1883, the church was meant to honor the assassination of his father, Alexander II, which explains the name “spilled blood.” This church resembles Moscow’s famous St. Basil’s Cathedral. The most magnificent component is the 7,500 square meter of mosaics inside the church, illustrating scenes from the Bible.

The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a landmark of St. Petersburg, built on the site of the old fortress, which marks the birthplace of the city. The Peter and Paul Cathedral symbolizes imperial Russia, since it once served as a burial site for the imperial family.

Inside St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in the fortress.
The tomb of the last Romanof Tsar

There are so many beautiful churches in St. Petersburg, most of them with a colorful dome in gold, or other colors. We visited St. Isaac Church, Our Lady of Kazan, and so many more…

Just walking in the streets for hours and hours was so interesting. We also used the ultra modern underground metro to go from our hotel to downtown. Remember that in summer the sun sets at 11:30 pm. St. Petersburg is so far north that it experiences nearly 24 hours a day of sunlight from mid-May to mid-July. Even when the sun is down — for a couple of hours after midnight — the sky is white.

Russian metro
A bear for a pet?

You can’t visit Russia without attending a ballet performance or a traditional Russian folk dance in a real palace. During the intermission we mingled with the dancers a glass of vodka in hand.

I hope you enjoyed this quick visit to St. Petersburg.

To relax with a sweet Christmas romance, may I suggest my latest release, WEDDING PLANS, book 5 of the Love Plans Series.

New Release WEDDING PLANS A sweet Christmas story.
When dedicated Dr. Kent rescues a patient and is late for his own wedding, his fiancée greets him with tears, curses, and a slap. Fed up with her hysterics, Tyler cancels the wedding. The recovered patient intends to keep her handsome doctor. But the jilted bride goes out of her way to grab back her former fiancé.
Wedding Plans is part of the Love Plans Series.

New Release: SAILING AWAY PLANS: “A great love story and a second chance at a new life.”

New Release: DATING PLANS: Happiness finally seems within grasp for Matt and Brenda until the bullies in her daughter’s class pull her into their web again.

New Release RESCUE PLANS: Intense, emotional, sensual– Ariana fought hard to escape the slums and become a nurse. Captain Lopez taught her to conquer fear. Can he help her forget the scum from the past and win her trust?

A Visit to Vietnam

For most Americans the word Vietnam evokes painful memories, a cherished person gone too soon, and a hateful war we’d rather forget.

Our welcome committee in Nha Trang, Vietnam

I probably would have never visited Vietnam if our cruise ship hadn’t put it on its Far-East itinerary that included five days in China, Beijing and Shanghai, a stop in Okinawa (Japan), a visit to Taiwan, two days in Hong Kong, and two days in Vietnam, before we reached Singapore to fly home.

NHA TRANG is one of Vietnam’s most popular seaside destinations. It offers white-sand beaches, azure and turquoise waters, coconuts palms swaying in the breeze, and gaily painted fishing boats in the harbors of small villages. We took a guided tour to visit the Long Son pagoda, the Reclining Buddha, the Cham Tower complex and a couple of factories.

Long Son pagoda, or White Buddhist Pagoda as called by the locals, is a beautiful Buddhist temple built in the 19th century, on top of Trai Thuy hill. A pair of dragon mosaics stands firmly at the entrance, while lush topiary lines the main grounds.
On the way to the top of Trai Thuy hill, we admired the reclining Buddha statue made of marble. People say that The Reclining Buddha represents the potential that all beings have to release themselves from suffering. The serene and smiling expression of the reclining Buddha statue portrays the compassion and calmness that come with the enlightenment. 
Po Nagar Cham temple complex was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam. They are renowned for their skills in sculpture and architecture, and left behind a legacy of artifacts and temple settlements not only in Vietnam, but also Cambodia and Thailand.

 

The towers of Po Nagar Cham are square red brick structure with protruding support frames and tapering roofs. Their towers are shrines to different deities. The tallest building, the Po Nagar Kalan, is the most impressive. 
Cri Cambhu, goddess of fertility.
Vietnamese women practicing the art of picture embroidery, at a local workshop for embroidery..

 

A lacquer factory where I bought a gorgeous jewelry box

Our second day in Vietnam was spent in the capital, Ho Chi Minh–or Saigon– a bustling metropolis where bicycles, motorbikes and cars fly down at dizzying speed. We took a walking tour around the downtown.

Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Independence Palace
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Pedicab is a special type of transportation for Vietnam. 

Unfortunately I haven’t cruised for two years. Now I spend my time writing. My latest book is released today. I hope you will celebrate with me and enjoy RESCUE PLANS, book 3 of Love Plans Series.

RESCUE PLANS

To forget the drama that shook his life years ago, Captain Rafael Lopez dedicates himself to his career as a helicopter pilot, transporting patients in need of urgent care. His new flight nurse holds his attention with her gorgeous face, sassy mind, and indomitable spirit.

With determination and a lot of guts, Arianna Garcia survives life in the slums, learns to conquer her fears, and fights for herself. Rafael gives her the courage to break from her past. And Arianna is delighted to be Rafael’s flight nurse by day and passionate companion by night. After meeting a few jerks, she doesn’t believe in crazy promises and sex-driven hypocrisy.

Will Rafael discover the skeletons in her closet, gain her trust, and restore her faith in love?

Rescue Plans is book 3 of the Love Plans Series