A Cross-Atlantic Cruise

Two weeks ago we heard on TV that the Iceland volcanoes erupted for the first time in 6,000 years. I saw these volcanoes in 2013, during a Cross-Atlantic Cruise!

I live in Florida and have always been fascinated by the ocean. My bucket list included a Cross-Atlantic Cruise —Yes, crossing the Atlantic and other oceans, the way buccaneers  and pirates had braved the high winds and raging waves. Think of Christopher Columbus on his way to India, crossing the Atlantic and ending up on the Caribbean’s shores.

We started our Cross-Atlantic Cruise from Southampton, England and ended in New York. From Southampton, we sailed north to Bergen, in Norway, a thriving North Sea Port where we visited King Haakon’s Hall and the Old Bergen Museum, an open-air museum featuring a collection of 18th and 19th-century houses.

Next our ship headed to Iceland, Land of Fire and Ice. We docked in a modern, spotlessly clean small city, Akureryl. The weather was warm for early September and flowers bloomed everywhere. One-third of the world’s volcanoes are in Iceland. Bubbling geothermal springs and richly colored mineral deposits reminded us that the center of the earth was closer than we would think. Some of the craters we saw were not true volcanoes but rocky basins formed when the hot lava bubbled onto water logged ground. We spent hours admiring the Godafoss or Falls of the Gods.

We continued to the West Fjords, nature splendor. We saw glaciers and springs, and winding arms of the sea, and reach Isafjordur –don’t ask me to pronounce it– where volcanic soil is fertile and productive.

Reykjavik  is the capital of Iceland, a gorgeous city, and a unique place where you find ice fields, boiling thermal unit, geyser, waterfall.

People swim in the Blue Lagoon pool all year round.

The Icelanders use their geothermal energy to heat swimming pools and generate electricity. Geothermal water is used to heat around 90% of Iceland’s homes, and keeps pavements and car parks snow-free in the winter. Hot water from the springs is cooled and pumped from boreholes that vary between 200 and 2,000m straight into the taps of nearby homes, negating the need for hot water heating.

On our last day in Reykjavik we visited a real Viking boat.

Leaving Iceland where the weather was far from icy, we sailed to Greenland through the Arctic Ocean and crossed the Arctic Circle. We met with freezing weather and real glaciers floating in the water. In winter, you can’t navigate through this area. Greenland is part of the North Pole inhabited by Eskimos. The people were friendly and hospitable, laughing with us and entertaining us with songs as if they were trying to make amends for the glaciers with their own warmth. For transportation, they use sleds in winter, and kayaks in summer.

At the end of a two-week cruise, the captain gave us a special certificate and the Statue of Liberty welcomed us in New York. Although the Cross-Atlantic was very different from my expectations, we had a wonderful time and discovered uncharted territories.

A BODYGUARD FOR THE PRINCESS

A princess incognito at Harvard. A roommate killed in a residence of 18 students.

Can Chloe trust her neighbors? Some of them are not who they claim to be. But they all have one thing in common. They’re terrified of being the next victim and strive to discover the killer while going around their daily business—attending classes, lunching together and dating, and even lying to or cooperating with the detective in charge of the case. Danger looms in every corner. Fear sizzles in the building.

Who is the murderer? Who will be the next victim?

Balance in Life

My husband often asks me to balance my time. To prove his point he showed me an article about the value of balance. According to that article, most of our troubles are due to imbalances.

We should divide our day in such a way that we can balance work, family time, socializing, exercise, spiritual time, and fun time. If a person works eight hours a day, drives half an hour each way to work, breaks at lunch for an hour, exercises for an hour, and sleeps seven hours, this adds up to a total of eighteen hours. I assume the remaining six hours are used for family time, fun, socializing, and spiritual time.

I am not sure in which category I can fit cooking, dinner and dishwashing time. Reading should go under the hour or two of fun time. And what about writing?

I retired from my day job years ago and write full-time—or to be more accurate I sit in front of my computer full time. I can manage an hour to exercise or walk every day. I can cook twice a week and eat leftover or eat out the rest of the week, socialize two or three times a week. I consider this to be a perfectly balanced life.

Except… Around Christmas time, I deliberately put work aside. With the kids visiting it’s impossible to reach my computer, considering there are always a couple, or more teenagers sleeping in my office who can never sleep early or wake up early. So I graciously relinquish my work area and remain in the kitchen where I’ve already spent two weeks cooking, baking and preparing for the family gathering and a happy holiday. Call it family time, fun and socializing,

Yes a perfectly balanced life. Except on the two days I have to take care of the grandchildren, picking them from school, driving them to their various after-school activities and waiting for them, cooking and serving dinner—all of that goes under work and family time. Let’s not forget their adorable Cocker spaniel, Bosty, that I have to walk—call it exercise and fun.

Quite a balanced life. Except on the weeks where I have a deadline for a book and write nonstop to finish my story and edit, or format a multi-author box, or promote a new release… The eight hours of work morph into twelve or fourteen hours of non-paid overtime. Forget exercise, except running to the bathroom, forget family time, my husband swore that I become deaf during this period and never answer with cohesive sentences.

Considering there is so much I want to do, I’m still faced with the same problem of balancing my time.

I think balancing one’s time is wonderful. In theory. I always learned that to be successful you ought to give your main goal your 101%.  So how can you divide your time in multiple activities and still be successful?

Yet some people manage to multitask and be successful at everything they do. If you are one of these fortunate people, how do you do it?

Don’t forget to check our two new boxes:

Unforgettable Passion – Unforgettable Charmers (The Unforgettables Book 10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Sassy in the Snow: Find Your Winter Romance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the Modern Princes Series:

A Bride For Prince Paul: She can’t abandon her patients for his crown!
A Bodyguard For The Princess: A murder at Harvard in Princess Chloe’s student building.
Jingle With My Princess: The doc and the princess… He saves lives but Princess Charlene may save his heart.

A Cruise around the British Isles by Mona Risk

In the summer of 2016, my husband and I took a fifteen-day cruise around the British Isles. Our first stop was in St. Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey Island, the largest of the Channels islands, located west of Normandy, France.

 

 

In the south, Guernsey rises in a plateau with ragged coastal cliffs. It descends in steps and is drained mainly by streams flowing northward in deeply incised valleys. Northern Guernsey is low-lying, with the soil on lower ground made of blown sand, raised beach deposits, and the fills of old lagoons.

The guide explained that the residents of Guernsey speak English and French, don’t pay taxes (or pay very low taxes) and enjoy free medical care for children under seven and seniors over seventy. The island originally belonged to the Duke of Normandy and then alternatively to England and France. Now it is part of the British Commonwealth. The ruler is a governor and the constitution states that in case of problems the island would revert to England.

St. Andrew Chapel built with ceramic pieces donnated by Wedgewood.

I loved the setting.

My muse immediately replaced the governor with a prince, just like the rulers of Monaco or Luxemburg, both in Europe, and my imagination changed their constitution–the heir to the throne must be married.

Gernsey Island became the Rensy Island of my new story.

 

 

The ruling prince is old and dying, and he worries about the future of his country. His fondest wish is to see his grandson married. But… 

The young prince, a handsome businessman and playboy, enjoys his freedom too much to be trapped into an arranged marriage.

 

All of this played in my head while I was in the bus touring the island and visiting the landmarks.

Imagine if Kate Middleton (Dr. Amy in my story) were an American doctor, dedicated to her career and her patients.

What if Prince William (Prince Paul in my story) wanted to make sure his future wife will love him for himself and not for his crown?

What if he decided to act as her driver and guide in Paris to get to know her better?

What if their attraction turns into passionate love?

What about her medical career and her patients?

And now what if Meghan Markle decides to work after marrying her prince?

What if the paparazzi haunt them at every turn? What if the tabloid magazines spoil everything? What if…what if…what if…

I wrote the first draft of A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL during my cruise.

A Bride for Prince Paul (Modern Princes Series Book 1)

She can’t abandon her patients for his crown!   To please his dying grandfather and protect his country’s autonomy, Prince Paul of Rensy Island must marry an American doctor, descendant of a Rensian princess. Paul, a confirmed bachelor, agrees to meet Amy incognito during her vacation in Paris. Although her career and ex-boyfriend are major interferences, attraction sizzles between Amy and her ‘driver’, but the rumor of her engagement to ‘Prince’ Paul outrages her. Can he convince her that he loves her, in spite of his lies by omission?

Have you been inspired to write a book during a particular vacation?

 

Joys of Life by Mona Risk

When you have been hit by a drama, you can’t continue looking at life in the same indifferent way. The death of a person close to you, the discovery of a health problem, the loss of a job, and other things can gnaw at your heart, make you suffer and somehow restructure your way of thinking, your perspective on life.

A French author, Alfred de Musset said that to write beautiful poetry one must have tasted real sadness. To write a book that touches readers, an author must dig deep in his/her own emotions and write from the heart.

Having experience problems, pain and frustration, in the past months, I felt disconcerted for a while, unable to resume my old routine, because whether I like it or not my routine has changed. In an effort to regain my self-control, I started looking around me.

And what I saw amazed me.

So many friends smiling, extending a helping hand, offering words of comfort, encouragement and support. So many of you, here on this loop and others, without whom I would have taken a longer time to smile again. Thank you.

I also saw people suffering because of difficult economical circumstances, and needing financial help.

I saw lonely senior citizens looking at me with sad eyes and telling me ‘your mother was lucky to have you visiting, we don’t have anyone here’.

I saw children begging me to play and laugh with them. Little did they know how their company helped me.

I saw handicaps teenagers who needed a drive–or someone to need them.

Again I looked around and saw a beautiful scenery: a palette of amazing colors in the trees. When I lived in the North, I never missed walking through parks and taking pictures of the foliage. In Florida, a stroll on the sand while watching the waves restores my good mood and fills me with inspiration for my stories. Nature offers a whole array of joys to taste.

Socializing is something I avoided, as I never had enough time to just sit with friends and chat, share a meal at home or in a restaurant, play a game or watch a movie. To think of it, I stopped watching movies or TV shows eons ago. Now I make it a point to follow the news and enjoy a few shows while knitting. Yes, knitting. To be honest, I hadn’t touched knitting needles since my son was four years old. Now I am knitting a long scarf for his daughter.

Another precedent for me. I volunteered to help baking at our church. Cooking I handle well, but baking! Good Lord, baking is something I avoided like a virus. Baking contributes to add pounds to one’s hips. But I decided it was time to show some goodwill by cooperating in the church’s kitchen. I was very proud when my cookies turned out to be nice-looking and delicious.

Now, I look around for little joys.

Unexpected good news can add tremendous joy. The success of our boxes, Unforgettable Romance, Unforgettable Heroes, Unforgettable Christmas, Sweet and Sassy, Sweet and Sassy Christmas and now Sweet and Sassy Valentine, definitely put a smile on my lips and kicked my muse back into work.

As always, writing is a joy, a passion and a soothing relaxation. My new story, A Bride for Prince Paul, is set in Paris and a fiction island in the Channels, Rensy Island, a twin of Guernsey Island. The story of Prince Paul and Dr. Amy Tyrone is a precursor to the romance of British Prince Harry and Megan Markle.

Tell me, please, where do you find your joys? How do you get over sadness, frustration or anxiety?

 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk published twenty-five  books and “knows how to pull a reader into the minds of her well-crafted characters. Her work takes us on a journey be it local or overseas.”~Night Owl Reviews.

Mona Risk can be found at:
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