New Release: Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu #paranormal #historical #lighthorror

My good friend, Carmen Stefanescu, is relaunching her first release Shadows of the Past with a new publisher and a brand new cover. This is a tale that moves between past and present, meshing history, the supernatural and mystery in equal measure. It was the first book I’d read by Carmen and the one that started us on the road to friendship. Please help me in welcoming Carmen today as she celebrates a new book birthday with:

Book cover for Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu shows a young woman in a medieval looking blue gown kneeling on a stone bridge over a creek

          Publisher: Solstice Publishing |
Genre: paranormal/light romance/light historical/light horror
Release Date: 29th August 2017

Blurb
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.

Purchase Shadows of the Past from Amazon

About the Author
Author, Carmen Stefanescu smiling for camera
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire  Count Dracula  where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

High-school teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression  by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. Reading was, is and will always be her greatest hobby.

The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

She likes to blend genres and thus she writes paranormal stories with a smidgen of mystery, history and romance. The reader will find suspense, dark themes, adventure, danger as well as sweet revenge. She calls her stories  “gothic” romance. Her writing focuses on rebirth, past life regression, karmic retribution.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:

Blog | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ 

Amazon Author Page | Cold Coffee Cafe

Other books by Carmen:

Till Life Do Us Part
Dracula’s Mistress
Dracula’s Prodigy 

Guest Blogger Carmen Stefanescu: The Qualities of a Good Book

Today, I’m delighted to welcome my good friend, Carmen Stefanescu back to my blog with a post about the qualities that go into a good book. I’d love to get your opinion in the comments, and I know Carmen would too. So….

To be or not to be a good book?
By Carmen Stefanescu

The question What makes a good book? has been popping up in my head quite a bit lately while reading, and especially, writing my own books.

I stop writing only to reread what I’ve written and wonder, “Is this good?”

Now, what is a good book? I think it’s a legitimate question to ask ourselves. What defines good? Should it be my own definition, someone else’s, or based on popular opinion? The opinion of what makes a good book is almost entirely subjective.
Think of an old favorite book you’ve read again and again. Can you picture it in your head, almost as if you had a copy in your hands, ready to open and start reading right now?

A woman sitting on the beach reading a book. Her back is to the camera, with ocean in front. Done in a wash of faded colors

Think about it for a while. Pick the story apart and mull it over a bit. What makes  you love the story? What makes you keep coming back to it time and again? What makes your mind wander back to the story and muse about it? What qualities of that book do you love and cherish?

What are the elements of a good book for me? Well, here’s what I have in mind, speaking from a reader’s POV:

PLOT
The best kind of plot is one that keeps people reading because they are so engrossed and intrigued that they just can’t put the book down. Personally, I like when I don’t know what’s going to happen in a plot. Predictability is something I tend to dislike because, in my eyes, nothing kills a story faster than too much predictability. Predictability in small doses is fine – but readers don’t want to be right all the time. Unnecessary scenes that don’t add to the plot or character growth in any way, shape, or form should be edited – or cut out completely.

ELEMENTS YOU RELATE TO
It doesn’t matter whether I’m reading  mystery, paranormal or fantasy as long as there are realistic and relatable elements to the plot and characters. Realism may not apply to realms of fiction, but elements of realism always should. Nothing is perfect, not even in a utopian setting, because people are not perfect. The imperfections add a relatable element whatever story is being told.

Emotion is probably the highest relatable factor for me when I’m reading. I may never have met a vampire or kissed a shapeshifter, but I know the tugs of love and the irrational thoughts and passions that come with it. The circumstances don’t matter as long as readers feel along with the characters. It’s a challenge for writers, yes, but it leads to more of a deep and meaningful story.

CONSISTENCY
Storytelling needs to have a flow to the writing – and there’s nothing that breaks a flow in storytelling like inconsistencies in characters, backstories, or the writing style itself.

Don’t you hate it when you’re reading a book that’s keeping you guessing – only to hit a snag and get thrown out of the story completely because you read something that just didn’t make sense?  Writers need to know their worlds, the worlds’ rules, and the characters inhabiting said worlds. Readers will settle for the  easy resolution but they don’t like them because they don’t reflect real life, which almost always bears struggle and conflict. Happily ever afters are preferred by readers, but they’re much more meaningful if the characters have ‘paid their dues’ to earn the HEA.

conceptual idea with an open book standing on a hillside, with clouds above and 3D images of a chair and trees within the bookWRITING
I often know a book will be good if I am envious of the writing. While that sounds a weird thing to say, keep in mind that I am a writer myself. If I can read a first passage in a book and think, “Wow, I wish I could write like this,” then that’s saying something, isn’t it?

Though tastes vary, descriptions aren’t a bad thing since a writing style can help give a book its own specific kind of atmosphere. The point, is less is more. Not many readers like to barrel through paragraphs of description, no matter how beautifully written, because it slogs down the story.

CHARACTERS
I may be a bit critical, but I always fall hard for characters. I look at it this way: why read about characters I don’t like? I want to root for that character no matter what. I want to stand behind him/her and his/her decisions. I want to follow him/her on whatever journey is unfolding in his/her life.

Flaws  and ambiguity. They’re necessary. Why did so many of us Pride and Prejudice fans come out loving  Darcy, arrogant man that he could be? Because he was flawed and ambiguous only to show greater depth and emotion than any reader had likely imagined.

To conclude – I leave the question to all your followers: what makes a good book for you? Make it a big question of the day, because, honestly, isn’t a good book what anyone is hoping for any time they sit down and open a book to read?

Keep your reader reading.

Author, Carmen Stefanescu smiling for cameraAUTHOR BIO
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

High school teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world that of the books.

Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

Books by Carmen Stefanescu

shadowsofthepastbkBook cover for Till Life Do Us Part by Carmen Stefanescu shows a trees at night framing a full moonShadows of the Past
Paranormal/light romance/light historical/light mystery

Till Life Do Us Part
Paranormal/light romance/light historical/light mystery


You can stalk the author at the following haunts:
Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon

BONUS THOUGHT:
I don’t know about where you live, but here, in Romania we experienced a heat wave this past summer with temperature over 45 Celsius degrees. Hot! The weather brought thunderstorms and lightening strikes. Did I say I was happy for summer to end, even though I don’t really like autumn? Here are my feelings about autumn:

AUTUMN AGAIN 

Autumn has turned up

on my doorstep.

Again !

country lane on a wet rainy autumn day,Drenched, tempestuous, frowned.

Rusted leaves are coiled

in her dripping hair,

a gray, foggy cape

wrapping her to the ground.

She pierces my soul with

cold, distant eyes.

Her breath smells of

rottenness and rain.

Dejected I bend my head,

and I sigh.

My hopes she forgot

where I lived were in vain.

Cover Reveal: Till Life Do Us Part by Carmen Stefanescu #Paranormal #Mystery

I’m super-excited about my post today! Carmen Stefanescu is a dear friend and one of the most supportive authors I have encountered online. She has a wonderful blog called Shadows of the Past on which she showcases many other authors and shares folklore about her native country, Romania. Yes, Carmen is a native of “Dracula’s Country.” *cue eerie music*

I love the many legends and culture references she shares. She has opened my eyes to a whole new world, vastly different from my little corner of the United States. English is a second language for her, yet she taught it to students in school (Carmen was a teacher) and she writes her novels and blog posts in English.

Novels! In a second language!

As someone who is struggling to learn Spanish, that utterly boggles my mind.

Please check out Shadows of the Past for yourself and consider following Carmen. I am truly grateful to have made her acquaintance.

Which brings me to today’s blog post. *drum roll please*

Carmen is rolling out the cover reveal on her upcoming release Till Life Do Us Part.

Is that an awesome title, or what?

I read this novel in development stages and found it innovative and engrossing. The plot has so much going for it…paranormal elements, family drama, detective fiction, history, and a thread of romance. But don’t take my word for it.

This is what Carmen has to say…

~ooOOoo~
Mae, thank you so much for having me as your guest today.  I also would like to thank you for your constant support and being my critique partner for my novel!

We share the same interest in anything odd—myths and legends, and all that is out of the normal boundaries. Reincarnation and chatting with ghosts can be included, too.

I’m thrilled to be here, and excited to share the cover for my upcoming release Till Life Do Us Part

 Book cover for Till Life Do Us Part by Carmen Stefanescu shows a trees at night framing a full moon

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Genre:  Paranormal Romance

Magic, Reincarnation, Mystery, Suspense

Release date: 9th June 2016

Blurb:

Barbara Heyer can hear voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.

Becoming smitten with the handsome investigator, Detective Patrick Fischer, is a serious complication given his assignment to her brother’s case. Barbara senses there is something far deeper—and perhaps much older—than the surface attraction between them. Could that be why she’s visited by a mysterious woman named Emma in her dreams? Could past life regression tie all the seemingly unconnected events together?

Barbara and Patrick must overcome heartache to find the truth to save Colin, and perhaps themselves.

 AUTHOR BIO:

Author, Carmen Stefanescu holding an open bookCarmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble—the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

You can stalk the author here:
Blog
Twitter @Carmen_Books
Pinterest
Facebook
Goodreads
Google+
Amazon Author Page 

Another Day on the Road, by Mae Clair

It’s another day on the road for me, as I visit the blog of my friend Carmen Stefanescu. Carmen is a talented lady who has the distinction of living in “Dracula’s Country,” otherwise known as Romania. She shares intriguing posts about her country’s folklore and history, as well as topics on writing. She’s always happy to feature other writers and is the author of SHADOWS OF THE PAST, an intriguing novel which blends parallel stories of history, and present day. I’m so glad I’ve connected with her.

Do drop over and say hello if you can. I’m talking about family dynamics and ECLIPSE LAKE, as I continue to take Dane, Ellie, Jesse, and Jonah, out and about. And while you’re visiting, consider signing up to follow Carmen’s blog. She always has something interesting to share!

Mae Clair Presents: Carmen Stefanescu and Paranormal Romanian Folklore

In the spirit of Mythical Monday, Carmen Stefanescu, my guest today, arrives with shiver-inducing tales of Romanian Folklore. Carmen is the author of SHADOWS OF THE PAST, a paranormal romance available now. I invited her to share some legends from her native Romania, where she resides and pens her stories. Please welcome Carmen to my blog.

~ooOOoo~

Paranormal Romanian Folklore
by Carmen Stefanescu

Though Dracula, the infamous vampire, comes from my country, there are other “spooky” things around here. I thank my host for the suggestion she made to me to write a guest post on paranormal folklore in Romania. An interesting topic indeed, especially that there is an abundance of beliefs and superstitions coming along generations, from the mist of times: Ielele (a kind of nymphs), The Living Fire (leaping flames coming out of the earth), The Fate Heralds, The Forest Shrew, The Gentles’ Easter are just a few that come to my mind. I’ll enlarge only on the first two I’ve mentioned above, as I don’t want to bore you.

Romanian folklore is dominated by a main theme regarding the magic, paranormal things happening on two nights: St. Andrew’s eve and Sanziene’s night. The sky’s gates open and witches are ready to get in touch with the spirits.

Ielele are considered as wicked/bad fairies. They have no flesh body and are seen as ghostly apparitions. They are always merry, mischievous and dance draped in white silk, wearing flower wreaths on their heads. The earth beneath their feet is burned and grass will rarely grow again. If it grows, it will have a dark color and cattle will not graze it. The only plant that grows, on the place these fairies dance on, is a mushroom called  “the fairies’ spoon”. People refer to the wicked fairies as deities who, if bothered during their dance, will harm the intruders turning them deaf or dumb. Wearing cloves of garlic at the belt may prevent such misfortunes to happen.

The living fire or the fire that comes out of the earth is said to be a sign that, beneath it, there’s a treasure. People speak of the Dacians’ gold, hidden in the underground. The flames do not harm the people and this mysterious fire can be seen on special nights, like the eve of St Andrew or on Sanziene’s night. (Sanziene is the only pagan celebration included in the Christian  Orthodox calendar and is always on 24th June. People say that the name Sanziene would come from the Roman goddess Diana. Sanziene are fairies who may help people find their soul mates, or get good crops all along the year. Others say the name Sanziene comes from a kind of yellow field flowers with a sweet fragrance.)

On these two nights, young men keep vigil on certain areas, where they noticed the fire before, and if they see the flames they mark the place and then, the following day, they come and dig. If they find the treasure, they must leave some coins of gold in that place, otherwise the curse put on the treasure will follow them.  The treasure finders must bring this offering to the Earth’s Dog, the one who is said to guard the treasure. Old people speak about reckless young folks who disobeyed the warning and, mastered by unexplained greed, took the whole treasure without leaving any offering. The curse soon affected them and they lost both the treasure and their life.

Well, I haven’t seen any of the above but I won’t say all these are just figments of people’s imagination. You know the saying: “Without a fire there’s no smoke.” I do believe in ghosts, reincarnation and karmic retribution too. You’ll find these in my paranormal romance Shadows of the Past, released by Wild Child Publishing.

I really appreciate being hosted on your blog today, Mae!

Author Carmen Stefanescu holding an open bookAUTHOR BIO
Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:
Website and Blog
Facebook
Twitter @Carmen_Books
Pinterest

shadowsofthepastbkSHADOWS OF THE PAST
Publish date
: 4th December 2012
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: Paranormal/Light Romance/lLight 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.

Purchase SHADOWS OF THE PAST from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Wild Child Publishing
All Romance Books

View the Book Trailer for SHADOWS OF THE PAST