Monday, April 11, 2011

Mona Takes Us To Russia

Today, I'm so happy to welcome to my blog Mona Risk. I follow Mona often. She always leads me to the most interesting and beautiful places. It's no wonder her stories are wonderful. Please join me in welcoming her and help us celebrate her new release RX In Russian.

During the mid-nineties, I often traveled to Russia and Belarus for business and was quite impressed by the Russian culture and hospitality. As a frequent visitor to these exotic places, I collected pictures and notes and decided to set my new book in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. With my heroine, Dr. Jillian Burton, you will discover a different civilization, visit interesting cities and towns, marvel at the Russian architecture, taste the exotic food, toast with vodka, wear the warm chapka, experience many of the local customs, and fall in love with a gallant Belarusian doctor.

At the time, the dollar had a strong purchasing power against the Belarusian ruble, and was worth BR 6000 in 1994 and BR 200,000 in 1997. A treat for a tourist. Their most expensive items were relatively inexpensive for us Americans. On my first trip to Minsk , I discovered the hard way that there was no heating from May 1st to October 31st. After freezing for two days in my raincoat and trying to warm up with hot shaye (tea), I bought myself a mink chapka and a mohair shawl to ward off the brisk cold that seeped through my bones.

Comfortable in my new Russian clothes I toured the bazaars, malls and boutiques. The first souvenirs I bought in Minsk were the lacquer boxes and the Matryoshka dolls.

Russian lacquer boxes can exist in any kind of space without destroying the environment around them.

Deeply rooted in history, this art form is among the most splendid and distinctive of Russia ’s artistic achievements. The art of Russian lacquer miniatures became famous all over the world in the 1920’s and during communism when highly qualified icon-painters were compelled to seek some other non-religious field in which to apply their talents. All boxes are 100% hand painted and hand made. Russian lacquer boxes make great gifts for any occasion and are wonderful collector’s items.

I use my lacquer boxes as jewelry boxes, or business cards and pens boxes.

The Russian Matryoshka is a set of painted wooden dolls nestled into one another. In provincial Russia before 1917 the names Matryona or Matryosha were the most common female names derived from the Latin root "mater" (meaning "mother") portraying the image of a solid, sturdy family matron. Today, Matryoshka remains a symbol of motherhood and fertility.

Until the late 1890's, the first Matryoshka dolls were manufactured in the Children's education workshop in Moscow . The hand-turned dolls are made of linden. The making of each doll requires intensive labor provided by trained artists uniquely skilled at this particular art form.

The unique dolls are painted by famous and exclusive artists, where as the traditional dolls are painted in very traditional Russian designs. The nesting dolls are great for collectors, art enthusiasts of the art, and for fun. Babushka dolls are great as children's toys, presents for people of all ages, and are excellent collector’s items.

At the time I bought two Matryoshka dolls for my daughter. Now her daughters love to take the babushka dolls apart and put them back together.

PRESCRIPTION IN RUSSIAN available at The Wild Rose Press.

Short Synopsis: Dr. Fyodor Vassilov is a thirty-eight year old widower and devoted family man with four little boys who need a caring mother. Still emotionally crippled by the loss of his wife, Fyodor can’t allow himself to get close to a woman again. Having a fling is okay but love? Forget about it! He has to protect his kids, and his heart, from any further harm.

Jillian Burton is an American pediatrician on an official mission to improve health care conditions in Belarus . A few years ago, she lost her son and her illusions about men, marriage and family, and she won’t risk being hurt again. Feeling guilty about her son’s death, she travels to third-world countries to cure and save children but she never allows herself to get emotionally attached to a child.

Fyodor’s mother presses him to marry a healthy woman who wants a big family and loves children. The last woman who fits the bill is Jillian, a woman who considers herself incapable of mothering a child, a doctor who can’t stop roaming the world.

When Fyodor and Jillian work together in Belarus, their cultures clash and their painful memories haunt them, but their attraction defies all odds. Can love overcome duty and guilt?

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with passion.

Thank you Autumn for having me on your beautiful blog.

Best Regards,

Mona Risk

Rx IN RUSSIAN available at TWRP

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, 2009 BEST ROMANCE NOVEL at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll


  1. Great post, Mona! Seeing those nesting dolls brings back so many memories for me. I used to own a set when I was a kid, and now that you reminded me, I must buy one for my daughter! I'm so thrilled about your release. Here's to many more stories and successful sales! Cheers to a fellow Rose on a job well done!

  2. Mona, Thank you for being here. I love those dolls. I was telling my grandson about them this morning as he was putting plastic easter eggs into others. So as soon as he is home from school we will be poppig in to peek and say hi.

  3. Hi, Mona,when I was in Russia a few years back I bought a doll for each family member back home, and one for me of course, and several for more gifts. When I was going through customs in Frankfurt (I was carrying them all in one of my hand carry-ons) I was asked to open my bag and had to explain what they were. Thankfully, the inspector was American and he simply laughted at me and shook his head. Of course it didn't help that my husband was shaking his head at me as well. I was just glad I didn't have to open every one of them to prove I wasn't hiding anything... Great memories. Good luck with the sale of your book

  4. Thank you AJ. My granddaughters have a swell time with these dolls when they come to visit and insist:"don't forget to put the baby one in." They love the smallest ones and call the biggest one, the mama.

  5. Autumn, my dear friend, thank you for your help and your support. I am a good follower of your blog and it's a pleasure to be here today.

  6. Carol, you made me laugh with your custom story. Imagine if you fell on a jerk who asked you to open every single doll completely. LOL. I can imagine the scene. As a matter of fact it would be hilarious in a book. :)

  7. Such beautiful artwork on those pieces! We have a set of nesting dolls we picked up in Germany when my daughter was little. She loved it.

  8. Mona, the boxes look gorgeous! We have some stacking dolls from our time in Berlin back in the early 1990's. They are really enchanting. Thanks so much for sharing about these two Russian/Belaruisian art forms.

    I've got my prescription. :)


  9. Nice post! Loved seeing the lacquer boxes. And the dolls are such fun! It's nice to add flavor like this to your stories. Good luck with your new book. Sounds like the perfect medicine for a lazy afternoon...

  10. I enjoyed playing with nesting dolls at my mother-in-law's house - as a grown up! An my dentist did a mission to Russian and brought back the loveliest lacquer pens (the jewelery kind). I bought two of them because they are so striking. Your books sounds great, Mona!


  11. Hi Loraine, I have seen very beautiful matroychka dolls and others that were quite funny. Some are even representing political people.

  12. Hi Steph, I love the boxes. Their painting is so intricate and delicate it's a pleasure to look at them. I was told there were various schools using different techniques and colors. Enjoy your prescription.:)

  13. Hi Maggie, I too have fun playing with the dolls when my granddaughters are here. At other times, I use them as bibelots to decorate my bookcase.

  14. Don't you just love those nesting dolls? I had some as a child, and so did my kids.

  15. Mona - thank you so much for sharing! The dolls and the inlay are without compare. I always wanted a set of the dolls - this year I am going to buy one.

  16. Barbara, I love the dolls too, and the lacquer boxes. I have so many interesting things Russian made.

  17. PL, I bet you'll have fun playing with this dolls. I even find it relaxing, almost like putting a puzzle together.

  18. Autumn, thank you so much for having me at your blog.