Discovering Your Peaceful Place

Banff, Alberta is a busy town set in Canada’s first National Park.  With busy shops, restaurants, hotels and many tourist attractions it wouldn’t be a first pick for a ‘peaceful’ place.

town of banff

a downtown view of shops in Banff

Banff Spring Hotel

The sight of the Banff Springs, (Canadian Pacific Railroad Hotel) is impressive but not peaceful.

If you drive a little further, behind the Hotel and you will discover the beauty and stillness of the Bow River Falls.  The sound of running water and the pristine beauty of the forests surrounding the river bring peace if you listen.

bow river fallsbow river falls

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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…”

shadowsofthepastbk

Author Links

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

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

 

 

 

 

Alpha Male encounters – Travel Memories

In DallasMy husband used to work in the moving industry.  I always wanted to travel with him especially when he went to Texas.  It was amazing how often there is an exchange of people between Calgary and Texas.  I could go at least once a month if not more if I could get away.  Besides loving the Texan cowboy attitude, I also enjoyed visiting cousins.  With their precocious little girl and a delightful new baby it was fun.

Of course, just like I knew I would in Texas, I often met the Alpha male.  One incident sticks in my mind.  My husband had two helpers for the unloading.  He was in the house and being as it was so hot and sticky in Houston that day, I decided to climb the ladder to get the stuff down from the top.  Every time I lifted something my alpha male (one of the helpers) would step forward – ‘oh no, ma’am – let me get that.’  It was nice and somewhat amusing.  The other guy was just a guy and I had fun joking and talking to him.  After hearing ‘oh no ma’am’ – and being as it was starting to get to much heavier stuff, I climbed down and sat at the end of the truck.  When my nice Alpha male went into the house, the other man came up to me and said “Would you mind getting back up on the ladder.”  I kinda looked at him in a puzzled manner.  Why would he ask me that?  He immediately responded “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen that guy work.”

A hilarious moment in time.  I couldn’t stop laughing.

But I didn’t climb back up.  Instead I wandered down the street to where two little girls were selling lemonade.  Paying for a few glasses in American funds, I also gave them a Canadian Loonie each ( $1.00 coin).  They were so fascinated they had to run in the house to show their mother.  (For those interested it’s called a Loonie because there is a Loon on one side of the coin).

Is everything in Texas bigger? – Travel Memories

I often inserted remarks when talking with people in Texas that some people might not see the humor in.  But Texans did.  It was fun.

I would say something like ‘Alberta is bigger than Texas‘.  A remark that was met with ‘no it’s not‘.  Then I would say ‘Alberta beef is better than Texan beef‘.  After saying ‘No it’s not,’ I often got puzzled looks and a comment ‘You’re not anything like I imagined a Canadian would be like.’  It seemed to be a real ice-breaker.

Calgary

Welcome to Alberta – the New West.

A surprise – Travel Memories

My husband loves Italian food.  Once we moved a lady from New Jersey of Italian descent. When she invited us to have lunch, my husband was so happy.

Imagine his surprise when she served us an onion pie.  The crust was flaky and light.  It was all home-made and delicious. I loved it.  However my husband does not like onions. Fortunately she also served many of the pasta dishes he loves.  And it was all home-made and enough to feed an army.  What a delightful lady she was.

New Jersey City

New Jersey City

In least likely places – Travel Memories

It was April.  The temperatures were already high in Calgary.  The trees and flowers were blooming and the grass was green.  I felt it was safe to just wear my sandals as we were going south to a hot state – again we were on route to Texas.

Once we got into Montana, it started snowing. My sandals were useless, but I didn’t have anything else.  I started wearing my husband’s socks beneath the sandals and know I looked silly.  It snowed all the way to Amarillo.  We had to go to Dallas.  It was icy and cold.

After unloading and loading again (back for Calgary) in a tiny town of Boise City in Oklahoma the roads were shut down.  We spent the night in Boise City.  There were no places for trucks.  The one motel was booked long before we arrived.  But in true hospitality, a small convenience store stayed open overnight.  We had a washroom and we had snacks.  Fortunately most the big trucks had sleepers.  Only one trucker came on the CB and insisted ‘he was a trucker and a little snow shouldn’t stop a trucker.’  Others laughed at him and some advised ‘each time you drive in snow it’s different.’

Boise City

Boise City

 

The next morning we had a huge convoy heading towards the interstate and Denver.  It didn’t surprise us to hear that same trucker, who had spent the night in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, once again come on the CB when we got onto the interstate.

 

 

When we were back in Calgary, again the weather was nice and warm.

Council Bluff, Iowa – Travel Memories

Council Bluffs 2In a small place in Iowa on one trip, I learned something interesting.  Often Canadians claim Americans don’t know much about Canada.  I didn’t often see that.  But once in Council Bluff, with a just over 60,000 population I did.

Being as it was summer and a busy time for tourists, my husband parked on the side of the highway and had me run into a motel to see if there was a room available with truck parking.  There was, so I booked a room.

The woman looked at my registration and asked, very puzzled.  “A Calgary, what’s a Calgary?”  (Not where’s Calgary, but what’s a Calgary).  Now I was puzzled – surely it said city or town – or had I misread it.  But just laughed and said ‘A city in Canada (no sense saying Alberta I thought) only about 10 times as large as Council Bluff.’

It was funny to me.  I caught a glimpse of not knowing something about a country beside you.

A year ago

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS

In Caberette  - Dominican.

Dinner at an Italian Restaurant in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Last year at this time I was in the Dominican Republic with two of my brothers and one of my sisters.  I wish I had gone again this year.  Instead  I sit here, frozen and longing for the Pina Colada I had there, made with off the tree, fresh pineapple.  Mmmm.Pina Colada

At the Russian Resort - Dominican

Dinner at the Russian Resort, Dominican Republic

 

Another Trip through the mountains

Coming back from Princeton, we broke down about 5 km. outside Merritt, BC. After towing the truck into Merritt, we had to stay overnight in a motel until it was fixed.

In the morning we walked miles looking for somewhere to have a ‘Canadian’ breakfast, passing Chinese, East Indian and many Sushi places. My stomach demands some bacon/eggs and toast type food in the mornings. After walking what seemed forever – we saw this old dilapidated hotel.  Inside –  the restaurant was renovated and we found the most delicious food. I had eggs benedict and they were divine.

Old Hotel in Merritt, BCGood comes to all those that seek.

Calgary Tower – with Murphy

I enjoyed the company of my grandson for a week.  Oddly one of the first things he wanted to do was go up to the top of the Calgary Tower.

Going into the Calgary Tower

As it’s fairly high up, he was a little nervous standing on the glass floor part and looking down.  But as is the way with little boys his curiosity soon overcame his fear. Murphy looking down on Calgary Tower

Looking down from Glass floor - Calgary TowerHe enjoyed his visit and the views were phenomenal.

Calgary Tower - Bow Tower

View from Calgary Tower - East with Bow River