CWO – Weather Observing – When in Rome

…see the local countryside.  We however had no means of transportation.  So one day we rented a car and did a little sight-seeing.  We drove down the Number 2 highway which runs alongside of the St. Lawrence River and headed west.  There are a number of quaint old towns with houses open to the public.  Here in the west there isn’t much in the way of old estate houses.  The famous Thousand Islands start at Kingston so we drove to Kingston.  The sights were amazing. Some of the Islands have castles.

We stopped at a prison from the old days and were astounded by the differences between then and now. The cells were little boxes with room only for a bed.

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The outside of the prison.

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Jamie behind bars.

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The cells.

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The hanging gallows.

Being a Saskatchewan girl I found the locks (where ships climb stairs) the most fascinating place. We stopped at one and I could have stayed there all day watching. There is absolutely nothing like this on the Saskatchewan Prairies. The ships maneuver through gates with barely an inch to spare on each side. 2008-06-22 13.00.50

CWO – Weather Observing – New Places, New Faces

Our instructor was originally from Saskatchewan.  As he was around my age we got along quite well.  I met the others in class and some stick out in my mind.  James and Preston were from the James Bay area (a very isolated community) of Hudson’s Bay.  Not used to the modern conveniences, and barely out of their teens, they couldn’t get enough food it seemed. Besides piling their plates in the buffet cafeteria they would go out to McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s every night for that fast food fix.  It was hilarious and their enjoyment was fun to watch.  Preston reminded me of my son as he was obsessed with sports and especially hockey. 2008-06-10 15.24.25James, who is the only one who got a consistent 100%, told me a story, native legend that they used to believe.  He said that Natives didn’t like their pictures being taken because they believed the camera stole their souls.  But they both agreed to let me take their picture.

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We learned how to ‘clean-up’ after a thermometer broke and my instructor said ‘Hey Mary, remember when we rolled the mercury around in our hands in Science class’.  I did remember, although the young ones looked at us in disbelief.  When it was my turn to decide the Sea Level for a plane landing my instructor said ‘And Mary just crashed a plane’ when I got it wrong.  It was funny at the time but upon thinking I can safely say I don’t think Weather Observers are given enough money for that.  The pay in Princeton was minimum wage.

Another two people were going to work up in Eureka, one going in as the other came out. There is an army base there.  When I found out Sarah’s turn would be over Christmas I asked if she minded.  She was a young, sweet girl, also from the west.  She said ‘No, Eureka is only about 30 miles from the North Pole.  Santa will find me first.’2006-02-18 Arctic sun and moon

CWO – Weather Observing – Think Outside the Box

It was many years since I had attended a school.  Although I had taken many on-line or correspondence courses in the old days, I rarely had time to go to school during the day.  Now in my 50’s I was about to embark on a new adventure.

I was picked up in Ottawa along with two other classmates.  Isadore and Jamie (who turned out to be the youngest in our class) were two natives from Saskatchewan.  I was going right back to my child schooldays.  I too was from Saskatchewan and had attended schools with many natives as well.  Even after all these years I felt comfortable going back in time. Isadore is one of the funniest, most fun people I met in years.  Jamie was a sweet, girl with the most beautiful complexion I’d ever seen in person.  We chatted and immediately formed a bond.2008-06-10 15.24.35

There was a mall we would go to, sharing a cab on our week-ends off.  In the mall was a nice wine shop.  In Ontario there is an area near Niagara Falls where they grow grapes and make wine.  I was however from the Okanagan Valley where the wineries are now known around the world.  There is the largest winery in Osoyoos  owned by Native Americans.  So I chose to question the salesgirl in the store while Jamie and Isadore stood giggling by the door.

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“Do you have any wines from Np’ Mip?”  – “Pardon?  What is that?”  – “You haven’t heard of it?” Finally I explained it was the largest Native owned winery in North America.  She did not have any wine from Np’Mip, but carried a few Okanagan wines.  I didn’t buy any wine that day.
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I was pleased to see the NAV Center had a huge courtyard for smokers.  It was packed with people but had beautiful gardens and fountains, all surrounded by a huge, square building.  We soon discovered where our classes were held as well as learned of the different courses being taught. There were groups from all over the world.  I met a group from Israel there for the simulated pilot training and learned from there they would move on to Oklahoma to fly real planes.  The conversations were enlightening and stimulated the mind as they explained what it is like to live in daily, continuous danger.  Yet all said they would not move to safety regardless of the opportunity.  Hats off to these brave, courageous men and women.


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CWO – Weather Observing Course – For All The Wrong Reasons

Some people idealize living in a remote small town.  The pace is slow.  Everyone knows your name.  Away from the hectic, bustling city with its’ heavy traffic and long, nightmare days of working and running around, living in a small town is a dream every city dweller will have.

When I moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere in the vast mountain ranges of British Columbia, it was for a wrong reason.  At that point in my life I wanted to drop out of society.  I wanted to be alone.  I would have been better off moving to the North West Territories or Yukon and lived my life without contact from other human beings.

2008-01-31 10.40.14Very soon in a small town, everyone knows you, even if you don’t know anyone.  If you are inclined to be a loner, people start discussing why you are there.  What isn’t known, is soon decided anyway and becomes a fact.  It’s not that anyone is deliberately mean, it’s more that they have to do something.  There was little else by way of entertainment in most small towns.  What neighbors are doing becomes very important to some. After a period of ignoring life and grieving, I again discovered I wanted to be part of living and life. I decided to look for a job.

2008-07-20 05.30.01Realizing my choices were limited, I discovered small towns are notorious for ‘knowing’ people and giving people they know jobs. I applied for an opening at their small airport as a Weather Observer.  I didn’t get it.  Someone they knew was sent to Cornwall, Ontario to take the six week course.

Nav Canada

Fortunately for me (unfortunately for her) she failed the course.  So I received a telephone call with the offer. I accepted.  Arrangements were made to fly out and for accommodations in Cornwall, Ontario at NAV Canada, (now called NAV Centre) for  Weather Observer training (basic Meteorology Training).  I flew to Ottawa, Ontario and was bused to the small city of Cornwall in the humid, hot night.  The room was nice and had air conditioning.  The cafeteria was big and served good food.

I had the distinction of being the oldest person to ever take the course.  I met many wonderful, young people (from all over the world)  and had some fun, enjoyable times.

Finding Friday – Legends by paranormal author Carmen Stefanescu

Welcome Carmen –  a paranormal romance writer.  Carmen lives in mysterious Romania, or as most know it – Dracula country. I want to thank Carmen for participating in my Finding Friday blog as my guest blogger.shadowsofthepastbk

Romanian Ghost-lore by Carmen Stefanescu

Let me ask you something. Do you believe in ghosts, phantoms? Is science able to explain them? Ghosts belong to the most mysterious phenomena studied by parapsychology. Objects that are moved from their places by unseen forces, knocks in walls, sounds of footsteps coming from invisible beings, misty human figures. All these are usually explained by scientists as a form of psychokinesis. There’s also mention of a “memory of objects”. The most interesting explanations come from the field of  quantum physics. Modern physics has dematerialized matter. What we call the “other world” is nothing but a world beyond our perceptions, but not beyond our reality. Well, as a rule, they say that a ghost comes with a message for the relatives left behind on earth, a piece of info to help the dear ones who are alive, or to appease their suffering. Those involved in studying the phenomenon speak about two types of apparitions: ghosts linked to people and ghosts linked to places. The former last only for a few weeks. With the latter type of ghosts, things are more complicated. Haunted locations are usually old castles or houses. Frequently, the apparition of a ghost is preceded or announced by a feeling of cold, by a freezing draft. This confirms the theory that ghosts use energy to take shape and so they absorb the ambient energy and the temperature drops down. My country, Romania, better known as Dracula’s country, has its haunted places too. It has, in fact, a long tradition of haunted places, of houses regularly visited by ghosts, and tragic events that led to dark legends. Paranormal is at home in Romania. Chiajna Monastery in Bucharest, the Parliament House in Bucharest, Hotel Cismigiu in Bucharest, Hoia Baciu Forest near Cluj, Poenari Castle and many others; the places have included reports of ghostly apparitions, poltergeist activity, shadowy figures, orbs, spirit possessions, EVP’s, and other unusual phenomena.

Even Braila, my town, has its haunted places. Bellow is the image of the famous “house with ghosts” in Braila, situated on Aslan street. They say the house belonged to an old wealthy Greek trademan, Nicolachi Mavrocordulas, who married a young  beautiful woman, Voica, the daughter of a peasant from Insuratei village. The sixty year old Greek bought Voica  from her family, and had a large mansion built for her. The Greek had no idea or ignored the fact he’d bought Voica, but not her heart that was given to a young man from her village.  She didn’t love Nicolachi and, one day, when he returned home, found her in the arms of her young lover. Nicolachi shot Voica, buried her in the wall of the house and left Romania, after selling the house. None of the people who bought the house could stay there for long. Soon the rumor that the house was haunted  by Voica’s  ghost spread in the town.braila haunted houseThe house was turned into an old people’s home as no willing customer appeared any more. Even nowadays old people living there or the nursing staff speak of a nightly apparition. A woman, heavily veiled, passes from room to room crying and calling what they take to be her lover’s name. Witnesses say it happens at the time of the year when Nicolachi killed Voica. The  ghost harms nobody, yet people are distressed by her wails and sobs. I do believe that ghosts exist. They are souls that haven’t fulfilled their mission on earth and are still haunting the places they lived in.

                      Shadows of the Past

Publish date: 4th December 2012                                                                                         Publisher:    Wild Child Publishing                                                                                       Genre:        paranormal/light romance/light horror.

Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.                                                                                                                                                      The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?

A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.

The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

If you read my paranormal romance Shadows of the Past, you’ll find out why Genevieve’s ghost haunts the forest where Anne and Neil get lost. Tell me what you think, then!

Excerpt of Shadows of the Past

   “Come, we should leave at once,” she said and glanced nervously over her shoulder. “Something terrible happened after you left for town. I think the Abbess found out about us. Our meeting in Uncle Ryan’s cabin is no longer a secret. We have been overheard. For all I know someone spies on us even as we speak. I think the Abbess, or one of her ‘friends,’ is hovering somewhere nearby and listening to every word.”                                                  Andrew pulled Genevieve to his chest. “Do you regret you’ve come with me?”                      Passion smothered Genevieve’s doubt and guilt. “Never,” she answered, aware of her body’s response to his touch, and she succumbed to his embrace.                              Calming the gnawing unease in her mind and the thought of Sister Dominica guessing she was the dough of a sinner, Genevieve repeated, “Never.”                                             With her eyes closed and their bodies touching she became, for the very first time, simply a woman. She melted in his embrace in spite of the invisible vicious threat breathing around them. Aware they might never be alone again, she fought hard to silence the voice of conscience berating her.                                                                                   “Oh, God. Please forgive me,” Andrew muttered under his breath when he bowed his head to kiss her. Their lips met in a passionate first kiss.                                      Genevieve’s spirits fell and her heart skipped a beat when, a couple of seconds later, she opened her eyes and her gaze fell on a knot strangers.

Tears welled in Anne’s eyes, blurring her vision. She couldn’t explain them, or the sudden sadness seeping into her heart. This should’ve been a moment of happiness or, at least, contentment. She was with Neil again, and the outcome of their trip together should, very likely, bring their reconciliation. Why then did she seem detached from where she stood?     Anne shivered. Why the deep feeling of having seen this place, this forest before? And why the eerie sensation of being present here only in the body, while her mind was far away?                                                                                                                                 Away from the forest.                                                                                                               Away from Neil, the man who’d betrayed her trust and her love.                                       An onrush of sensations unfamiliar to her followed. Dizziness and a malevolent feeling of unreality suffocated her.                                                                                                     Anne edged cautiously closer to the rim of the bare cliff. Her foot tapped the edge. It seemed solid. She stared into the darkness of the abyss at her feet. It echoed the shadows in her heart.  An unusual curiosity took hold of her. Should she step ahead? What was down there? Other human bones? Another mystery? The presence of evil, creeping up and enveloping her, became almost palpable. The vines of fog folded around her, dragging her to the depth. Her throat turned dry, and she gasped for air.                           Megan’s face contorted, the voice no longer pleasant. A hoarse gurgle, spluttering distorted words, “Yes, come… I’m waiting… I’ve been waiting for you for such a long time…”


Author Links

 Find Carmen Stefanescu at: –  Website; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest;                          Trailer –  U-Tube;

Buy Link: Wild Child Publishing;     Amazon;    Barnes & Noble;    All Romance Ebooks;   





Three simple tips on Free Internet Marketing Advice

As I maneuver through marketing advice, I am trying desperately to make sense of the knowledge I am gaining.  I need a simple, organized method.
As of now I have come up what I consider three of the most important points that help me achieve my goals without confusion and panic.  There is loads of advice, but most fledgling authors can’t afford to pay for everything and there are as many scams as there is legitimate advice.


  1. Target your market.  This can be something like googling  your genre  – and joining sites where readers join it.  For my genre (romance) I have checked out cooking/craft sites – as well as single sites.  If the Single sites produces a newsletter – it is very possible to get an interview to promote your book. So also check those sites that might pertain to your readers interests as well. Check out sites for cities or events in the places you write about.
  2. Do not spread yourself thin.  Pick a few marketing sites and become familiar with them until you reach the point you can move around with comfort and speed. Do the marketing for the day required until it isn’t time-consuming.  (examples for writers: – facebook, twitter, pinterest, YouTube, goodreads, shelfari,). Only move on to others after you’ve mastered this concept.  You can set-up a profile page for the sites, make a list of the sites, then check them off when you’ve learned how to apply marketing concepts as an author.
  3. Do three marketing projects a day – which means 15 a week.  Take a few consecutive days in a row off each week to unwind.  Don’t get caught in a trap where you suffer burn-out and quit.

Calgary Sunset - May 2014


Never Pick a Pretty Woman – When Words Collide Festival

I am pleased to say Never Pick a Pretty Woman will be part of the Alberta Romance Writer’s Association ‘searching for…’ series display.  The When Words Collide Festival takes place at the Carriage House Inn, Calgary, Alberta, August 8-10th, 2014.  Come and visit Calgary, voted the cleanest city in the world and stay to enjoy meeting a variety of local authors.

Create Space - Never Pick a Pretty Woman - coveramazon-buy

Never Pick a Pretty Woman – Calgary Skies

Calgary Sunset - May 2014 #4

…   ‘By the time they got back to Crystal Ridge it was getting dark. The sun, setting below the mountains created that charcoal and pink sky.

     “There, the exact colors I want in my bedroom,” Sophie gasped with delight. She never tired watching these amazing sunsets.’…

Like Sophie, I often go out in the evening to marvel at the colors revealed in the sunsets over Calgary.


Create Space - Never Pick a Pretty Woman - cover

Sassafras and Spurs Blog Hop – July 3rd – July 8th, 2014

I am excited to be part of this blog hop.  Cowboys, horses and romance being my favorite topic.  Come and join the fun.  Meet new authors and discover new authors and books. Cowboys and Romance – mmm, the perfect way to lighten your day.

Sassafras and Spurs Blog HopNever Pick a Pretty Woman

What does a rancher need?  To Jake it’s obvious he needs a cook so he and his hands can get decent meals.  Sophie is only a pretty face. She doesn’t know how to cook so he has to eliminate her, regardless of how much his heart protests.  Logic and reasoning will make for his success.  Dreams don’t mix with reality.

But Sophie has hidden talents Jake stubbornly disregards.  There’s much more to be a rancher’s wife than knowing how to cook.  How can she convince him?

Available on Amazon    Make a comment and contact me at (subject:  Never Pick a Pretty Woman) for a chance to win a free Kindle copy of my newest novel.

Create Space - Never Pick a Pretty Woman - cover

Never Pick a Pretty Woman – The Cover

I want to extend a special thanks to both April Martinez – through Suzanne Stengl and Mahrie G. Reid for listening and answering many questions. Both are wonderful authors with Alberta Romance Writer’s Association.

Thanks for your help in creating a perfect cover for Never Pick a Pretty Woman


Create Space - Never Pick a Pretty Woman - cover