Friday, January 18, 2008

My friend Mona Risk's first book!!

This post is taken directly from where my playmate Mona Risk posted about the release of her very first romance novel, TO LOVE A HERO. I'm so excited for her!

My Journey to Publication
Posted by: monaFiled under: The Writing Life — January 15, 2008 @ 1:08 am
TO LOVE A HERO by Mona Risk
Available January 17, 2008
I can’t believe it!!! In two days only, exactly two days, my book will be up for sale at Cerridwen Press site. My first book. The book of my heart.
It all started ten years ago. In a different life, I was Director of the Analytical Division of an environmental company. I supervised a staff of chemists performing analytical tests and I worked on various government contracts. A monotonous predictable life that suddenly changed when I won a contract to refurbish a military laboratory in Belarus.
I traveled fifteen times to Minsk, capital of Belarus, and was well received by everyone. I worked with colonels and generals, chemists and engineers, and even journalists. I was invited to theirs homes and became friend with their wives. During the inauguration of the lab we were featured on their national TV. Needless to say, I fell in love with the country.
Five years later, I took an early retirement to write my first book, TO LOVE A HERO. Through my novel, a fictional story about an American chemist and a Belarussian officer, I lived again my fantastic trips to Belarus. My story highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and gallant Belarussians officers who sing, toast with vodka and make a woman feel like a goddess.
The hero, Major General Sergei Fedorin, has pledged to cleanup his country of the nuclear pollution that killed his wife and threatens his nation with cancer. American aid allows him to start his mission by refurbishing an old military laboratory. The patriotic Sergei is a true hero in his country, an alpha man who protects millions of citizens, a controlled public figure, watched and scrutinized by everyone, admired and revered, but not allowed to breathe, or love, or live a personal life. He accepts it all because of his love for Belarus.
When the lovely American chemist stumbles on the escalator of the airport straight into his arms, Sergei has more on his mind than nuclear pollution.
Raised in boarding schools, Cecile learned to fend for herself at an early age. She buried her loneliness under long hours of study and work. Now she’s determined to excel in her first international contract. So many people are watching over her shoulders: her boss at EAL; John Gordon, the government auditor who came with her to Belarus; the chauvinistic Belarussians officers; the treacherous Colonel Roussov who would go to any length to destroy Sergei; and especially Rob, her ex-fiancĂ©, the sleaze ball who snatched her promotion at EAL. Nothing can detract her from her mission
In Belarus, a Russian country dominated by male chauvinism and intrigues, Cecile finds much more chemistry than she bargains for, and in the arms of General Sergei, she learns that chemicals are not the only things that can generate heat.
I had a lot of fun writing this book and I hope you will discover a new country and interesting culture while reading TO LOVE A HERO.
Some of my personal experiences are related in my book. I even included my fall on the broken escalator of the airport. I was rescued by my lab manager while my heroine (the smart woman) fell into the arms of a hero to die for, the handsome Major General Sergei who made her pulse race and stole her heart.
Writing a book is one thing. Have it published is another. During my journey to publication, I often pondered if it wasn’t easier to refurbish the lab in Belarus, struggle with the chauvinism of my foreign clients and pass the thin-comb inspections of government auditors.
I wrote my book in three months and spent four years editing it. I entered my manuscript in numerous contests and edited according to judges’ comments, submitted to innumerable critiques and edited according to CPs suggestions, requested help from wonderful mentors and edited according to pertinent advice, and I edited, and I edited…for months, for years, while trying to save the plot and create my voice.
I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel when TO LOVE A HERO garnered three full scores in the Wallflower contest for First Kiss, and the overall highest score. I won a critique by a famous literary agent who liked the story but said it would be tough to market because of the Russian setting. I heard similar remarks from various editors. One of them suggested I make my hero a Greek billionaire instead of a Russian General. Not the same. Not the same at all. I put my book on a shelf, saved it in a forgotten computer folder and worked on medical stories that finalled several times.
Last year at the FRW conference in Miami, Raelene Gorlinsky was sitting at a table waiting for the next writer to come and pitch her story. I stood at the door of the room admiring her adorable hat. No one showed up. A writer asked who was the lady with the hat. I said. “She’s Ellora’s Cave’s publisher.” Behind me the coordinator answered, “And Cerridwen Press’s. But her last one didn’t show up. Do you want to go?” That made me jump. I hadn’t planned to talk to Raelene and I didn’t have a pitch, but a minute later I sat in front of Ms. Gorlinsky trying to summarize the book of my heart. Raelene smiled, asked questions, and I relaxed.
A week later I sent my requested material to Cerridwen Press and a month later came the first e-mail from Helen Woodall requesting the whole manuscript. By then my mother had been rushed to the hospital with congestive heart failure. I copied my manuscript on my laptop and stayed at the hospital all day, helping my mother drink and eat, and in between, reading, editing and revising. I sent my manuscript to Helen after two weeks.
It was 7:30 am on May 15. Still half asleep from a late night, I saw Helen’s e-mail address on my e-mails and the heading, TO LOVE A HERO. I froze unable to open it and called my husband. He clicked on the e-mail and hugged me before I could even read it. Cerridwen Press would like to offer you a contract. Oh my God. I cried and I laughed. We bought a box of chocolate and took it to the hospital instead of champagne.I was a published author. Finally. I wrote an acceptance letter to Helen, a delirious letter, that was far from professional. My book is due in two days.Check to order for TO LOVE A HERO, a sizzling love story in an exotic setting.

1 comment:

Mona Risk said...


Thank you, thank you so much for posting my blog from Writers at Play. You can't believe how touched I am. Thank you.