Runs from Dec 15th, 2022, through Jan 1, 2023
Paranormal Activity – An event or power that scientific laws cannot explain. Thought to involve unknown forces…
A sudden chill along your spine as you stand atop a darkened staircase. Distant footsteps in the next room when you’re sure no one else is home. The eerie feeling someone is standing just out of your line of sight. Are these sensations products of imagination? Or is something unexplained waiting in the darkness? As a psychic hounded by the Dead, I can attest many supernatural phenomena are real. Others, however, can be credited to bouts of fantasy. I have the benefit of visual proof given to me by the Ouroboros.
If your inclinations tempt you to indulge in Halloween festivities this year, my dear reader, then be wary of the shadows. Heed my advice and search for the signs.
Signs of Paranormal Activity
- Floating Ghost Lights or Orbs – Many a nighttime traveler glimpses ghost lights floating in the distance. They could be residual energy from a soul chained to our Earthly Realm. Or it may be a devilish will-o’-the-wisp trying to lead you astray. Trust your own lantern, Friend.
- Shadow People – Have you ever fancied you’ve seen a human-shaped shadow just at the edge of your vision? Experts debate whether these Shadow People act as guides or have bad intentions for those who see them. I do my level best to ignore them.
- Sudden Temperature Drops – Openings in the Veil between the afterlife and our Earthly plane cause a plummet in temperature. Life is warm. Death is eternal cold for those who don’t pass on.
- Unexplained Feelings of Dread – Some souls are sensitive to the supernatural. Trust your instincts. They may just keep you from evil.
- Disembodied Sounds – Hauntings usually occur when a ghost has a strong attachment to a place. You may hear footsteps or laughter from stranded souls trying to cling to their former lives.
- Items Moving of Their Own Accord – Poltergeists are vexing. They rarely listen to reason and insist on clinging to a place or person that no longer wants them. Do not engage, as they can be extremely dangerous.
A warning, my friends: the list of signs I’ve provided is not comprehensive. We are in the season of monsters and mayhem. The safest place is in your bed, under the covers. Then again, if you are a kindred spirit and seek out the bizarre, Halloween is the perfect time to explore the fantastical. If you dare!
Dunham Raynor’s adventures can be found in his documented exploits, THE VENGEFUL DEAD.
So, you think you’re a Halloween fan? Take the quiz to see how you rank in the Spooky Season Fandom. And don’t forget to put your results in the comments section. We’re curious to see how many hardcore Halloween fans are out there.
Halloween Fan Quiz
Question 1 – Summertime is here, and you are thinking:
- Does this beige shirt go with my beige shorts? (0 points)
- Should I have hamburgers or hot dogs for the July 4th BBQ? (1 point)
- Halloween is three months away. I better start decorating soon. (2 points)
Question 2 – I put my Halloween decorations up on this date:
- Dude. I never take them down! (2 points)
- Halloween decorations are for little kids. (Negative 20 points! Kidding. 0 points)
- I love celebrating the season by putting my Halloween decorations up on October 1st. (1 point)
Question 3 – I ___ when Trick or Treaters come to my house on Halloween:
- Shut the lights off and lock the door. (0 points, and shame on you!)
- Usher guests into the Haunted Maze I built in my garage. (2 points)
- Hand out awesome candy and make a fuss over their costumes. (1 point)
Question 4 – Halloween night is over, and you:
- Start planning your next Halloween Party on November 1st. (2 points)
- Procrastinate about putting away your Halloween decorations until the weekend. (1 point)
- Nothing. It was just another day. (0 points)
Add those points together, and see below for your results!
Halloween Fan Quiz Results
Hardcore Hellion (6 to 8 points) – You are the Halloween Star of your neighborhood and everybody’s favorite house to visit. Well done!
Moderate Monster (4 to 6 points) – Welcome to the Fun Group! You are a Halloween Fan and are a blast to be around during the Spooky Season. However, you don’t go overboard. So many holidays, so little time.
Dead On Arrival (0 to 3 points) – You need a pumpkin spice and candy corn infusion, Stat!
Please share your results in the comments. I’d love to hear from my fellow Halloween Lovers!
Nothing ushers in the Spooky Season for readers like a nail-biting, nerve-shattering whopper of a scary story. I’ve found three book series guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.
Avery and Carter Book Series by Shane Carrow (Nail-biter)
I promise you that the vampires and werewolves in this series aren’t sparkly! These classic monsters deliver terror. Both books are fast-paced and riveting. I stayed up way too late finishing the stories.
Lance Brody Series by Michael Robertson Jr (Engaging, Heartfelt Characters)
Lance Brody was conceived in a graveyard…Thus begins the interesting life of Lance Brody. He’s a unique character who has a special relationship with the Dead. Forced to leave his hometown 24 hours after a terrifying personal tragedy, Lance begins a journey driven by his unique powers. I don’t want to drop spoilers and ruin the series for you!
DARK BEGINNINGS – Prequel. *Highly recommend reading this before Book 1.
James Asher Series by Barbara Hambly (A Thinker. Requires Patience)
Former spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher, has settled into a new life as a professor and married man. He returns home one night to discover a vampire in his house. The creature demands Asher help him find out who is murdering the vampires of London. His wife’s life is at risk if he fails. Summon your patience for this engrossing read. The book can be slow in places. However, the author masterfully incorporates historical details to make this an interesting read worth finishing.
THOSE WHO HUNT THE NIGHT – Book 1
May your cider be hot and your reading spooky!
Bunnies, Bunnies everywhere! I confess I am an avid participant in the bunny decor madness this time of year. Who can blame me? Bunnies are adorable with their fluffy tails and floppy ears! Every time I see a cute image of the Easter Bunny, I can’t help but say, “Aww!” Kinda ironic since I’m seriously allergic to hare hair.
Bunnies evoke thoughts of new birth and springtime. Put a bunny, a chick, and a little lamb on a piece of paper, and you have yourself the perfect “Welcome Spring” greeting card. These images are a sure sign Easter can’t be too far away. Have you ever wondered why we celebrate the Easter Bunny? The obvious answer begins with ‘chocolate’ and ends with ‘candy egg.’
Origins of The Easter Bunny
Popular theories suggest German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania way back in the 1700s brought the Easter Bunny from the old country. Their “Osterhase” was an egg-laying hare. Little tikes used to make nests for the Osterhase to lay its eggs. However, the American Candy Industry flipped the script and promoted baskets instead for holding their Easter-themed treats.
Great. Now I’m craving a chocolate-covered marshmallow egg, but I’ll settle for some wonderful seasonal reads instead.
My Top Suggested Readings for The Season
NOTE – We’re talking bunnies here, so it may be a temptation to read to the kiddos. I’ve included a suggested rating system to help you determine if these recommendations are little bunny friendly.
My Emotions Rating
Happy Bunny – Light, Uplifting
Raw Rabbit – Dark, A Bit Disturbing
Recommended Reading About Bunnies
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (Happy Bunny)
- Watership Down by Richard Adams (Raw Rabbit)
Recommended Reading About New Beginnings
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Mostly Happy Bunny, but a few darker spots)
- Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Mostly Happy Bunny, but Adult Bunnies only in some parts)
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Happy Bunny)
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (Happy Bunny)
- Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (Happy Bunny)
On My Reading List
- White Oleander by Janet Fitch
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
- The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald
Have a Happy Easter and a wonderful Spring!
Each year as the calendar’s page flips to March, showers of green shamrocks and leaping loads of leprechauns spread across our social media feeds. And why not? Thanks to Saint Patrick, everybody is Irish in March.
This month, however, is more than green beer and chocolate coins. March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and supporting other women creatives, I’d like to encourage you to explore the works of splendid Irish Women Authors.
Three Irish Women Writers to Read This March
- Maeve Binchy – Circle of Friends
- Tana French – In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad Book 1)
- Elizabeth Bowen – Death of the Heart
May you have love that never ends,
Lots of money, and lots of friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do,
And may God send many blessings to you!
P.S. – may you have the wisdom and good fortune to read yarns by Irish Women Writers too.
Enjoying the 1987 John Hughes classic Trains, Planes and Automobiles is a tradition in my house on Thanksgiving week. Uptight Neal Page (Steve Martin) is trying to get home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. The worst happens when his flight is rerouted to Kansas and he is forced to travel with chatty shower curtain salesman, Del Griffith (John Candy). Things go from bad to worse after the duo is robbed while sharing an awkward (but funny) night in a motel.
I belly laugh during this movie every year! Having spent over fifteen years traveling for work, I recognize both characters from my own experiences. If I’m being honest, I relate with control freak Neal. I’ve learned to travel light. The more stuff you bring, the more stuff you must carry through airports. BUT – I think all of us would like to be a little more like Del. He has a jovial charm and a kind heart.
So which kind of Holiday Traveler are you?
Your suitcase and belongings are:
A – Minimal, tidy, and individually wrapped like string cheese
B – Thrown into your bag like last week’s laundry
During the flight to your holiday destination, you:
A – Put your headphones on, lean back and pretend to be asleep like an antisocial hermit
B – Wake up headphones hermit and ask him all about his life whilst you are eating the sandwich you bought at the airport
After One Night’s Stay, your Hotel/ Motel Room looks like:
A – Nobody slept in the bed or unpacked their things. Housekeeping wonders if you’re a spy
B – A crime scene! All your stuff is scattered across every square inch of flat surface
If you chose mostly “A’s” then you are a Neal Page. Welcome to the Club, friend!
If you chose mostly “B’s” then you are a Del Griffith. I may not want to travel with you, but I want to be your friend!
If you ended up with an even “A” and “B” result, then Gobble, Gobble. Take it again because something went wrong!
Most folks living in North America learned about the Santa Fe Trail as children in school. Opened as a commercial route in 1821 by William Becknell and his party, the Santa Fe Trail grew to become a critical trading lifeline between Missouri and New Mexico. Our memories conjure images of pioneers riding across open country in covered wagons. Hollywood’s version of history also influences our perception of life on the trail. But it is the real experiences of travelers who dared journey on the Santa Fe Trail that I find the most fascinating.
Living in the Rocky Mountain West most of my life, I assumed I had a good understanding of the Santa Fe Trail and its history. I’d driven the byways in Southern Colorado and New Mexico often enough. However, while researching my upcoming historical fantasy novel, THE VENGEFUL DEAD, I came to understand how little I knew of what life was really like for the pioneers and traders.
Over the next few months leading up to the release of my book in 2022, I’ll be sharing interesting facts about the Santa Fe Trail and other locations from the setting of THE VENGEFUL DEAD.
If you’d like to learn more about the Santa Fe Trail and its 200th Anniversary (1821 to 2021), please visit https:/santafetrail200.org
Each year I join a multitude of other book lovers in the Goodreads.com Reading Challenge. It’s a great way to set and track reading goals. I typically list my goals at two to three books per month for a nice round total of thirty. Sometimes I exceed my goals. Other times – like this year – it’s a challenge to squeeze in thirty books.
The benefits participating in this yearly challenge make the time investment well worth it. Here are my top three benefits for folks to try the reading challenge in 2021:
- Encourages individuals to read when they typically don’t spend a great deal of time exploring books
- Free and fun way to engage with other book lovers
- Goodreads offers Lists for readers to discover new books and authors they may not have found otherwise
Here are my top favorite new finds from the 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge:
- The Felix Castor series by Mike Carey – Listed in Amazon Genre: Ghost Thrillers. Felix Castor is an exorcist barely making ends meet in a modern, but alternate version of London, UK. In this world, ghosts are a reality and zombies walk the streets.
- The Troop by Nick Cutter – Listed in Amazon Genre: Genetic Engineering Science Fiction. A Must – Listen to the audiobook! The narrator gives a John Malkovich vibe that really sends this read over the top.
- Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo – Listed in Amazon Genre: International Mystery and Crime. I first discovered Harry Hole when he appeared in the 2017 movie “The Snowman” with Michael Fassbender. Harry, the lead detective in the Oslo crime squad, is such an intriguing personality. Nesbo has given us a clever but flawed main character. I can’t wait to read more in the series for 2021
Do you have book suggestions for the 2021 Reading Challenge? Let us know in the comments.
Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. AND sign up for the 2021 Reading Challenge!
There are two types of Pumpkin Lovers – Savory or Sweet. Savory folks love the pumpkin in its natural state: pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, and roast pumpkin. Sweet folks are obsessed with sugar and spice: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I have a foot in both camps though I don’t enjoy super sweet food.
You’ll find a can or two of “Pure Pumpkin” (just the pumpkin, ma’am. Not the pie filling) in my pantry all year round. Considering my love of this versatile and healthy food, I find it odd how much I hate pumpkin pie. Yep. My least favorite Thanksgiving fare.
A Happy Holiday Accident
I decided to forgo my usual sugar-free Pumpkin Custard dish and make pumpkin pie instead for Thanksgiving this year. Why? Maybe it was sentiment for a childhood tradition? I don’t know. Turkey Day Eve I took out the ingredients. Our family recipe and the instructions on the can of pumpkin called for evaporated milk and lots of sugar. I realized I’d purchased sweetened condensed milk instead. Opps! Not really invested in the outcome, I found a pie recipe using sweetened condensed milk. The ingredients are simple: pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt. No extra sugar.
What a difference! The pie was delicious. I believe it is my new favorite pumpkin dish. I’m delighted by this happy accident.
Are You Open to Happy Accidents?
What about you? Has a habit or belief you’ve held for years been suddenly challenged? Rather than struggling to revert back to old patterns, try embracing new things. Be open to them. Meditate on their nature and how it can impact your life for the good and bad. Make a mindful decision before acting.
Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.