During the mid-nineties, I often traveled to Russia and Belarus for business and I 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 a fur chapka, experience many of the local customs, and fall in love with a gallant Belarusian doctor.
In Minsk, I often toured the bazaars, malls and boutiques. The amber jewelry captured my attention and I bought a few items f0r myself. With the strong exchange rate of the dollar, Belarusian articles were not expensive at the time. Soon my whole family and several friends asked me to bring them back an amber piece: earrings, pendants, necklaces, or brooches. I even found a small amber elephant that delighted my daughter. Belarusian friends advised me to wear an amber necklace in winter to keep warm.
Amber is known to radiate heat to the skin. Most amber is golden yellow to golden orange, but green, red, violet, and black amber have also been found. Amber is the fossilized resin of trees. Transparent to translucent, amber usually occurs as nodules or small, irregularly shaped masses, often with a cracked and weathered surface.
One of my colleagues bought an amber belt-buckle containing an insect imbeded in the amber. Although I didn’t care for an amber brooch with an insect or lizard trapped in it, this type of amber is more rare and expensive. Insects or moss, lichen or pine needles could have been trapped millions of years ago while the resin was still sticky. Air bubbles may give amber a cloudy appearance, but heating the amber in oil will clear this. When rubbed, amber produces a negative electrical charge that attracts dust. This is one way of determining whether the Amber is natural or not.
Amber has been attributed a number of medicinal uses, but today it is used almost exclusively for jewelry. The most famous despots of amber are in the Baltic region, particularly along the coasts of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania.
The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo, near Saint Petersburg is a complete chamber decoration of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors.
Due to its singular beauty, it is sometimes dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World". It covers more than 55 square meters and contains over six tons of amber.
Here is a short synopsis for my new contemporary romance, set in Belarus. PRESCRIPTION IN RUSSIAN:
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 still hurt, 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.

Rx IN RUSSIAN is a new release at TWRP in print and ebook.


  1. Judy // April 12, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

    Hi, Mona! Loved seeing pictures of all the amber jewelry. I have a large piece of amber that I bought when I worked at an art and gift gallery. Interesting stuff! Russia has so many interesting things in its art and history. I've never been there so thanks for sharing!

  2. Mona Risk // April 12, 2011 at 9:57 AM  

    Hi Judy, I discovered amber in Russia and since that time I love wearing a necklace in winter. It keeps the neck warm.

  3. Autumn Jordon // April 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM  

    Beautiful jewerly, Mona. I've heard Amber has some healing qualities to it. Very interesting it keeps you warm.

    Another interesting post.

  4. StephB // April 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

    Wow, Mona, the jewelry is gorgeous. I can see where it would keep the neck warm. Thanks for sharing that little tidbit. Good luck with sales.


  5. Mary Marvella // April 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM  

    I LOVE the jewelry! I could sit in the cathedral all day and look around. Good blog, Mona!

  6. Mary Marvella // April 12, 2011 at 2:01 PM  

    OOPS, I meant the amber room! Awesome.

  7. Pamela Varnado // April 12, 2011 at 3:29 PM  

    I'm not so much into mysticism, but I've always been fascinated by amber's numerous benefits. To name a few: It's supposed to heal and calm the mind. Bring success. Help you find a life partner. And when worn or carried on the body it relieves depression. It's like a one-size-fits all kind of gift from nature.

    Wasn't it wonderful to visit a European country in the nineties? The dollar rate was unbelievable. I lived in Germany then and was able to buy so many treasures. I have this amber decanter set I bought at a small shop in Poland. I rode a tour bus from Munich to Poland for eighteen hours and the trip was worth every long mile.

  8. Anonymous // April 12, 2011 at 4:14 PM  

    Mona, what interesting information. I love the Amber jewelry in your pictures. You take us to such interesting places in your stories. Can't want to read this one.


  9. Beth Trissel // April 12, 2011 at 4:34 PM  

    Oooooh wow, how beautiful. And so interesting too. Thanks Mona. We are learning a lot about Russia. Sounds a fascinating setting for your story.

  10. Mona Risk // April 12, 2011 at 6:01 PM  

    Hi Autumn, yes I heard amber has healing properties, but I refused to try them. LOL

  11. Mona Risk // April 12, 2011 at 6:03 PM  

    Hi Steph, a necklace in amber is perfect to keep you warm. Now I know why amber is popular in Russia, especially during their terrible winter.

  12. Mona Risk // April 12, 2011 at 6:04 PM  

    Mary, the Amber Room is unique. So shiny.

  13. Mona Risk // April 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM  

    Wow, Pam, an amber decanter. I'd love to see that. Like you I did most of my traveling in the nineties. Traveling was so much easire than now. We didn't have to spend hours in front of the X-ray machine taking off shoes and clothes.

  14. Mona Risk // April 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM  

    Melba, I am glad you like the post and I hope you'll get the book soon.

  15. Mary Ricksen // April 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM  

    Beautiful pieces Mona!!!
    I have seen a couple of pieces of amber one of them almost felt like plastic and they said it wasn't old amber. Know anything about that??
    I do love amber!
    Have to go to Russia and get some, and some nice strong Russian's to go with it!

  16. Mona Risk // April 13, 2011 at 8:07 AM  

    Hi Beth, I am so glad your Internet is getting better and allowed you to pop here. My setting is almost like another character in my story.

  17. Mona Risk // April 13, 2011 at 8:08 AM  

    Hi Mary, you can armchair travel through my book Rx in Russian and meet the handsome Fyodor, until the real trip.LOL

  18. Josie // April 16, 2011 at 2:53 PM  

    OMG! I'm chiming in late to say what beautiful jewelry! Thanks for sharing such an interesting blog.