In a different life, or more precisely ten years ago, I was Director of an environmental laboratory. I spent a boring predictable life supervising a staff of chemists who performed analytical tests. And suddenly everything changed when my boss asked me to write a proposal for the refurbishment of a laboratory in Belarus. For the sake of meeting a new challenge, I wrote my proposal, a winning one at that. But I thought I would collapse when the boss said, “Now that you won your contract, you need to go to Belarus and work on this refurbishment.”

Apparently a boss never joked. I opened the Internet to find out as much as I could about Belarus, capital Minsk, located South of Russia, East of Poland and North of Ukraine.

After learning a little bit about the food, I decided to play it safe and took with me green apples previously washed and individually wrapped in plastic bags, a box of crackers and a bag of mini BabyBel (the gouda cheese wrapped in red wax) and of course a dozen bottles of water.

We left for our first trip to Belarus at the end of October. We included: a government person and his interpreter, me, my lab manager and computer specialist. The first chapter of my book relates my first impressions: cold weather, gray skies and cigarette smell everywhere. The curious looks of the local people made me feel as if I was wearing the wrong clothes. Of course I didn’t have chapka (that fur round hat). I remedied the problem on my first visit to the bazaar where I bought myself the cutesy real mink chapka. I still have it. Between May and October there is no heat in Belarus and I literally froze my drafty hotel room and continuously requested and begged for a hot cup of tea. Of course I was often offered vodka instead.

Many of my special stories are related in my book, TO LOVE A HERO, that will be released on January 17, 2008.

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 in the arm of a hero to die for, the handsome Major General Sergei who made her pulse race and stole her heart.

My story, TO LOVE A HERO, highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and gallant Belarussians officers who sing and toast and make a woman feel like a goddess. I had a lot of fun writing this book and I hope you will discover a new country and interesting civilization while reading TO LOVE A HERO.

7 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // September 11, 2007 at 1:25 PM  

    I enjoyed your post, Mona. I could picture it all so clearly and look forward to the release of your book!

  2. anny cook // September 11, 2007 at 1:38 PM  

    I envy you the opportunity to go someplace like that. It's wonderful that you're sharing it with your readers.

  3. Amarinda Jones // September 11, 2007 at 2:20 PM  

    I love it that your book is set in such an exotic place. I can hardly wait to read it

  4. Sandra Cox // September 11, 2007 at 7:54 PM  

    Can't wait to read it, Mona, especially since it comes out on my birthday!
    Sandra

  5. Helen Scott Taylor // September 15, 2007 at 7:20 AM  

    I'm lucky enough to have already read To Love a Hero. It gives a facinating glimpse into a different world from the one I'm used to with a wonderful hero and heroine.

    Helen

  6. Mary Marvella // September 15, 2007 at 7:37 PM  

    It sounds like an amazing trip with priceless memories. Bet you're more careful when you propose stuff at work.

    Mary

  7. Joanne // September 18, 2007 at 9:59 AM  

    I, too, have had the privilege of reading sections of To Love a Hero. Absolutely beautiful story and wonderful hero and heroine.