Welcoming the Gracious & Talented Mona Risk

I’m so pleased to have my friend author Mona Risk on my blog today.  Mona always has such interesting things to share with us.

I love visiting your beautiful blog. Thank you for hosting me today, Beth, as I talk of old trees that intrigue me.

You’ve come to the right place.  I love trees and count them as old friends.  🙂

Some of the oldest trees in the world are:

Promotheus tree in the Grand Basin National Park, Nevada.

St Augustine: oldest magnolias trees, 600 years-old, its bark and hardwood filigree are used to make pendants.


Hosting unique species like the mythical Coco-de-Mer or the rare Black Parrot, Vallee de Mai is in fact an ancient palm forest, home to numerous species of birds, insects and tropical plants.

We traveled by catamaran to the island of Pralin and trudged through the Valley of May, a dense forest where hordes of mosquitoes feasted on our legs and arms. But we kept on treading uphill to photograph the huge trees, called Coco-de-Mer, or sea-Coco, and their unusual fruits. The trees are either male or female. The male blossom brings to mind a big virile male member, and the female nut looks like a female pubis.

The Virgin Tree in Mataria, Egypt: One of the oldest trees in the world is the highly regarded “Virgin’s Tree” at Mataria, in the outskirts of Cairo, that is said to have offered shelter to the Holy Family during their sojourn in Egypt. There is another tree next to it believed to be as old, but the Virgin’s Tree still carries foliage while the other has no leaves at all.

Pilgrims frequently visit the Virgin’s Tree and ask for miracles. Women hoping to conceive encircle the tree seven times. Sick people claim to have been cured of cancer and other diseases when they came to pray at the tree. There are many poignant stories associated with this tree. When a soldier was ordered to destroy it and cut a branch from the tree, blood came out.

The village of Mataria enjoyed great popularity among pilgrims from the Holy Land. It was regarded as a blessed place and leaves of the balsam were believed to have medicinal properties. Inevitably pilgrims began to deplete the foliage, even stripping the bark of the trees, which, it was rumored, provided healing balm when boiled.

In the 15th century a charge was collected to allow visit to the garden.. A Dominican monk, Felix Fabri, wrote that a fence was erected around the tree (which he referred to as a fig tree with a hollow trunk, in which there was a small chapel and two lamps) to restrict pilgrims to the sacred enclosure to four at any one time.

Today’s Christian Coptics who make pilgrimage to the Virgin’s Tree at Mataria point to a new miracle — a faint image of the Virgin and Child has appeared on the bark of the venerable tree.~

*Fascinating.  I had no idea.  And now, onto Mona’s wonderful stories.

Rx IN RUSSIAN is available at TWRP and Amazon.com in print and ebook.

 An American Pediatrician

A Russian Surgeon

A woman who lost a son and her illusions about marriage and family.

A man with four adorable sons who badly need a mother

Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?

 “Mona Risk writes heroes with heart, heroines with spunk in stories and settings that are simply unforgettable!” — Roxanne St. Claire, Killer Curves, National Bestseller.


Jillian approached the hospital bed and rotated the handle. A metallic screech filled the silence. Damn bed. Fyodor hoped she didn’t notice his blush as she played with the handle. Why did he feel as if he must pass a test? It wouldn’t have bothered him to admit weakness in front of an older colleague.

“I’ll add automated beds to the list of equipment to be shipped to your hospital,” she said, her tone calm, revealing no arrogance or criticism. “Dr. Vassilov, I’ll do my best to modernize the place while I’m here.”

Spacibo bolchoy. Thank you so much.” He wanted to hug her, kiss her, tell her he was happy she wasn’t the well-aged expert his government had promised as visiting physician. If she conducted business in this highly professional manner, it would be a daily pleasure to work with her.

He studied her oval-shaped face with its serious expression and lingered on her high cheekbones, delicate straight nose, and the chocolate brown strands that curled on her shoulders. A daily pleasure indeed.

Her eyes widened as she leveled a business look at him and dug two white teeth into her lower lip. “If there are things you specifically need from me, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I will keep your offer in mind. Spacibo bolchoy, Jillian.” His gaze swung to her delectable mouth. “I hope I may call you by your given name?”

She nodded and smiled. “Of course, Fyodor. No need to be formal when we’re going to work together for six months.”

He liked the way his name trailed on her lips. Fy-o-dor. Like honey. Her accent glided over his skin, caressed his heart, and stirred a desire he thought he had well under control.

Nyet. Stop there, Fyodor. His smile of admiration faded.

The lovely American was out of reach as far as he was concerned. He had an altogether different mission, a father’s duty to find a good mother for his children. A well-disciplined officer and doctor, he always performed his duty, no matter what it cost. His glance swayed toward Jillian. The cost of performing his duty was escalating by the minute. Regret knifed through him, and he repressed a sigh.~

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.
Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.
Rx IN RUSSIAN just released by TWRP

All books available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com


29 responses to “Welcoming the Gracious & Talented Mona Risk

  1. Thank you Beth for hosting me today.


  2. Welcome, Mona, to Beth’s beautiful blog. What an interesting subject about trees. I always learn so much from your informative posts. We live in SC and visited St. Augustine a few years back. It’s a beautiful city with so much history.


  3. Mona, I really enjoyed reading about the trees. There’s a tree near Kiaweh Island, SC, that I think is called the Angel Tree. It’s one of the oldest trees of its kind and is covered in Spanish Moss. When we took a trip to California a few years ago, my husband and I went out of our way to see the giant Sequoias at Sequoia National Park. Very impressive.

    Your books sound good too.


  4. Hi Mona,
    What an interesting blog. You have travelled so widely and visited so many exotic places, no wonder you can write such fabulous stories.

    Best wishes



  5. Hi, Mona–one of my favorite topics…old trees. We have a very old one in our back yard. We call it Big Oak. I have no idea how old it it, but really old. It’s enormous. It’s one of the main reasons we bought this property. When we built the house, we situated it so that Big Oak was to the right corner of the back screened porch. In twenty years, the branches have spread probably 20 more feet. DH keeps the low branches trimmed and keeps the ball moss out–it’s healthy and gorgeous. Visitors to my house always oooh and aaah over it. One Hispanic lady from Mexico who is in my Circle claims it is a Holy tree..whatever that is.
    There’s a tree in Oaxaca, Mexico, that is claimed to be over 1,000 years old. The trunk is bigger than my dining room. Very protected.
    Thanks for the photos–just wonderful. Celia


  6. Josie, like you I am fascinated by old trees and snap pictures of them wherever I see them. When I look at an old tree I keep imagining the things that tree witnessed over the years, the people it shaded under it branches, ..


  7. Hi Cara, the Sequoia National Park, is on my list of places to visit eventually. I am so glad you mentioned the Angel tree in SC. I discovered next to my place a huge tree, beautiful with heavy branches. When I stood under it I couldn’t believe my eyes. That tree grew up entrapping a palm tree. The poor palm tree is completely surrounded by heavy roots and stems. All you see of it is the top of its trunk and the palms. It’s a wonder it’s still alive.


  8. Celia–I am so intrigued by your Big Oak tree. When I was in Pharmacy School, I learned that we could approximate the age of a tree by examining the rings and layers in its bark. I bet your tree can tell you a lot of stories. Did you use it in one of your books?


  9. Hi Mona and Beth, I’m a tree lover, also, and take scads of photos of them through all seasons. I find it sad that people would strip an ancient tree of its foliage and bark. Not surprising, but sad.


  10. Mona, you have been to soooo many interesting places! I just love trees, too. Here’s wishing you many happy sales with your Rx books!


  11. Loraine, in Egypt they tried to cut the Tree of the Virgin several times. But it must be really blessed because every time something happened to the men who tried to hit the tree. So now they have a respectful fear of it. I had a picture with my father’s family under that tree, but I couldn’t find it.


  12. Thank you Liana for your good wishes.


  13. I’ll share my pine trees with you! Those bad boys are TALL!
    Lovely photos, as usual, Ms Mona! Your blogs are always informative and entertaining.

    Hi, Beth!


  14. What a great blog ladies! I love old trees and I find the ones you have told us about to be very interesting!!
    You are so experienced Mona! You have a wealth of information to share, thanks!


  15. I love the story of the Virgin Tree, Mona. I hadn’t heard it before.

    I love old trees, too, and was heartbroken when vandals destroyed the Holy Thorn Tree at Glastonbury. It wasn’t all that old since Cromwell cut down the original one, but still…


  16. Hi MM, we have so many beautiful things around us. and we don’t take time to look at them. It was one of my resolutions this year to enjoy nature.


  17. Hi Mary, I always loved the palm trees and I am amazed at the incredible number of different species of palm trees around Florida. maybe one day I’ll go around taking pictures and comparing them.


  18. Mona, loved learning about old trees. I did a brief post on Bailey’s Oak here in Texas because the man for whom it was named was a distant relative on my dad’s side. Can’t wait to read RX IN RUSSIAN. Best of luck with sales!


  19. Hi Keena, thank you for stopping by. The Holy Thorn Tree at Glastonbury?
    I never heard about it but will sure google it. Now we are all learning about ancient trees.


  20. Hi Caroline, Bailey Oak, another interesting tree to learn about. I am Celia and all true Texans know about it.


  21. Beth, thank you for such a nice time at your blog.


  22. writerwellness

    What a fascinating blog! Amazing subject old trees. Kudos to you both.
    Joy Held
    Writer Wellness, A writer’s path to health and creativity


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