Young Adult

Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday! So I posted on another blog yesterday about the Scholastic book fair we are having at our school. I love this one because its the buy one get one free sale. So far I’ve spent about thirty dollars and have picked out two more books today. See what I am doing is buying young adult books to read and then I donate them back to my school library. We have K-8 here and I feel we are lacking in popular young adult books.

Yesterday I picked up City of Bones and Cleopatras Moon. Today I am thinking of getting Once Dead Twice Shy. But the biggest thing I am seeing in young adult is post apocalyptic novels and ghosts/zombies. I have only found two vampire books but tons of apocalyptic books.

Where do you see the young adult market going next or what do you like to read in young adult novels?

Have a great Tuesday,

Phantasy Friday: December, When Ghost Hunting Gets Cold!

I can’t believe it’s the second day of December already! Things have been frosting nicely at night, leaving the grasses and leaves beautiful with their glittery white attire. Very fairy-ish in the pale morning sun. Not so much fun when it burns off wet and all those limp, damp, brown pecan leaves cling like one-dimensional leeches to the bottoms of your shoes. Between the dogs and grandchildren I’m tempted to start an indoor mulch box. I’ve certainly recovered enough material tracked across the floors for one.

It’s off topic, but I just have to share my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. Ended up with 68,449 official words. Probably need another 15k to finish the book, but I was assured it still counted as a NaNo win. We had a house full for the Thanksgiving holidays or I may have even finished it. (Hey, I’m entitled to any excuse I care to use at my age!)

But back to ghost hunting. I’m looking forward to Winter Solstice and all the metaphysical properties it entails. Most people think Halloween is the most paranormally active day of the year. Well, they’re mistaken. The most active day is Winter Solstice– which falls on December 22 this year — and is a ghost hunter’s dream. I’m hoping our crew has something challenging lined up.

Everyone out there knows how glamorous ghost hunting can be. Hauling equipment, setting it up, tearing it down. Changing batteries in everything. Then changing them again. Hours of sitting without making a sound between questions during a session (don’t want to mess up the Electronic Voice Phenomena recordings); staring at the split screen monitor until your eyes cross (making careful notes of camera number, time, and possible evidence on the event log, all to be reviewed later frame by frame); organizing groups to take rooms and outdoor locations in rotation (some people are good investigators, but just don’t play well with others. But aren’t personality clashes true everywhere?); making sure the memory cards from the digital cameras get downloaded into the laptop to examine and compare to the infrared motion cameras and event log.

But when it gets cold, there’s a whole new level of challenges to conquer.

In the cold you have to wear protective gear. Ever try taking pictures with gloves on? You don’t always hit the right button. You can’t help but fumble the camera on occasion too. We always gets a few hilarious frames with panicked expressions mid juggle, and if the camera shoots in rapid bursts, you get full effect of widening eyes and can lip read the accompanying slow motion “Oohhh, nnnoooo!” The still shots reveal faces stretched into unattractive grimaces of avoidance of the flash, eyes squinched tightly shut.

An outdoor interaction session in the cold can be downright uncomfortable. Since you freeze whether you sit or stand, I prefer to sit on the ground. The camera doesn’t have so far to fall that way. It may take a couple of the guys pulling on my arms to unstick my butt later where my jeans have frozen to the ground, but we get it done.  And when your nose gets cold, I don’t care who you are; you sniff. We’ve had to call warnings to investigators: “Recorded session coming up! Blow now, or forever hold your sn– um, silence.”

Another problem with taking pictures outdoors in the cold is breath vapor. It’s takes a conscious effort to hold your breath and extend the camera away from your face while snapping shots. And if things start happening, it’s only natural to breathe a little faster and get that viewfinder where you can see what you’re shooting. Quite a few newbies get ribbed with, “We’d have had something here if (fill in the blank) would just quit breathing so hard!” To prevent disappointment, one of the first things we do is show investigators the difference in paranormal mists and a hot breath released into cold air.

And have you ever tried to walk quietly when you can’t feel your toes? I’ve always heard your big toe is critical for balance. Well, the other four must feel left out or something, because they hang up on every twig, grass clump or slight rise in the ground to gain their share of attention.

Winter weeds out the prima donnas. Everyone has to do every rotation. So the wimps tend to fade out of the investigation area when it turns icy outside.

Oh! And Never. Never. Ever, ever, ever agree to have a magazine photographer or television film crew accompany you during the winter and expect to appear professional. Pull that cap off when you come back indoors and you have a head full of static electricity. A person tends to look a little crazy with their hair shooting in every direction. A group of them is guaranteed laughter. You always catch somebody elbowing his buddy and snickering, “Oh, look. It must be a ghost. Their hair is haunted!”

Sigh. The things we endure to advance our chosen field.

That’s not everything, but it’s enough for now. I’d hate for you to get bored. So until next week, keep up the word count! I want some good books hitting the eReaders and shelves out there!


Visit Runere at Friend her on Facebook @Runere McLain  or follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

Phantasy Friday: Season of the Witch; Healer or Halloween Horror?

“Star light, star bright,                                                  
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Get the wish I wish tonight.”

Sound familiar? It’s one of the earliest taught rhymes in childhood. And if you’ve ever said it you could be accused of practicing Witchcraft.

Yes, this innocuous little saying is one of the oldest acquiring spells known to the Craft.  I guess familiarity does breed contempt. Or at least greater acceptance. But then maybe our Foremothers had the wisdom to use simple knowledge rhymes as a way to live in society, yet remain faithful to their creed to practice in secret.

Has your Mother ever slapped your hand down for pointing, hissing under her breath it was rude? Another leftover protection against being accused of Witchcraft. Most witches ground themselves to gather power, delivering the ‘intent’ to the selected recipient via direct stare and an extended forefinger. Pointing. Rude indeed in that context. (That stare is where the term ‘evil eye’ originates.)

Witches and their abilities have carried weight down through the centuries, but it has been the simple Herbalists who’ve gotten short shrift of the situation. Our own Rita Bay offered the observation during a program on herbs and healers, that there was often no distinction made between a healer and a witch. It stuck with me. Many a wise woman and herbalist was condemned as a witch for no more than her knowledge of what nature offers man as curative . . . or poison. If a plague or contagious illness appeared in a village, the herbalist was called upon to treat it. If members of higher society died despite her best efforts, their families’ grief often led to an accusation of witchcraft. Condemned, she was usually immediately killed as there were few trials, and those there were, mockeries of the real thing. The saddest part is the rest of the village sickened and died, and the popular consensus was she’d leveled a curse on the town with her death. If anyone was wise enough to realize the only person capable of helping contain the sickness had been foolishly executed, you can be sure they kept that opinion to themselves. To do anything else might end with them accused of being the witch’s cohort!

White Witch, Dark Witch, Green Witch, Solitary Witch, Solitary Hereditary,  Gardnerian, and on and on. There are probably as many types of Witch in  the Wiccan religion as there are factions in Christianity; and by that I mean Baptist, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and others. If I left anyone out of either group it wasn’t intentional, I just wanted to convey enough for understanding.

But this is the Halloween season, the time of ghosts, black cats and witches; cemeteries, hauntings and skittering bats.  Now I’m not saying anyone is afraid or anything . . . but when dealing with the unknown can one ever be too cautious? I’ve talked to a few friends and they’ve offered a few situational spells to share. Some to beckon, some to chase away. Whether you believe or not, I hope you have fun reading them!

In Summoning a Ghost:
(For conversation with the dead, attend to ceremony;
Avoid the grave’s annoyance, by speaking always gently.

Earth, bone,
 And winding sheet,
Let this spirit
 Come to me–
Yet send it
In peace,
Or not at all.

(If it come, it should be offered white wine, not red; and knelt to, from pity.)

To be said when passing a cemetery:

Knit your fingers, hold your breath,
Say to yourself this verse for death:

Keeper of bones
I know thy face,
But I shall yet
Outstrip they pace.



To protect against ghosts, demons, goblins or plain old criminal riffraff, here’s an inscription to be written over a doorway:

Who comes to me I keep,
Who goes from me I free
Yet against all I stand
Who carry not my key.

And after long hours spent trick or treating, of being caught up in the frightening illusions of the night, here’s a soothing spell to ensure little ones sleep free of nightmares!

Against Evil Dreams

The nightmare will toss its cold black mane
And gallop on ebony hoofs from your pillow, away
As far as the moon, if you will say:

Thou evil thing
Of darkness born,
Of tail and wing,
And snout and horn,
Fly from me
From now til morn.

Then think of the fire that burns by day:
Sun in his glistening chariot, Drawn by foam-white Stallions, out of the sea.

Just ten more days til Halloween! See you next week with a post on Samhain practices and rites!


Visit Runere at or friend her on Facebook @Runere McLain. Follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

Phantasy Friday: New Orleans Voodoo; Requests and Tributes to Marie Laveau

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's Tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1

Halloween is the time when everyone’s thoughts turn to the occult. Maybe only in the form of scary costumes for children, maybe a few remembered snatches of hushed family conversation about an unusual–and unexplainable–incident, maybe throwing a worried look over your shoulder in the dark, no matter how determined you are not to do so.

It’s possible something deep in the human psyche renders Halloween a time you’re more susceptible to something oppressive in the room, or a misplaced cold draft that caresses the skin to produce a fine shiver. The sensation of being watched by the unseen. Or maybe it’s the way the hairs on the back of your neck prickle for no observable reason. Candles and cobwebs. Ghosts and goblins. Tricks and treats. Samhain (pronounced Sowen), the night the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest, and spirits are reputed to walk freely upon the earth.

Ooooo! Shivers! I love Halloween!

I promised today would be Voodoo info day for Phantasy Friday. And lucky I am to live so close to New Orleans, Louisiana. After all, who’s better known than Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau? Or the fact New Orleans herself  is touted as one of the most haunted cities in America, the City of Spirits. And yes, the ‘spirit’ part can be taken two ways, because Bourbon Street is definitely Party Central! I understand some of the girls from the writers group are planning a trip to New Orleans in the near future. So this is for them. Just in case they decide to stop for a visit with Marie Laveau. C’mon, Sayde Grace! Ask Marie for her blessings on your new book VOODOO, I DO. I dare you!

Okay, playful poking at friends is over. Down to business.

Have you ever wondered how to –properly– make a request of Marie Laveau? Well, I’ve got a couple of quick etiquette tips if you’re planning a visit to her crypt in St. Louis Cemetery #1. Especially propitious right now, since the Halloween season is considered one of her most receptive times.

One way is to knock three times on her tomb before making your request. But be warned; once that request is granted, according to folklore you must return to her crypt and mark three X’s, side by side (and totally against the law!) on its surface in chalk or with a red brick chip. Or you may also leave her a money gift (coins only!), candles in powerful Voodoo colors of white, red or black, cigars, alcoholic beverages, fruit, flowers, or hand-made items that will please her.

Gifts and tributes left to Marie Laveau and Marie Laveau II at her tomb.

Pennies stacked in payment for Marie's services, and the obligatory three X's marked side by side on her crypt (totally against the law!) in chalk or with a red brick chip during a return trip to acknowledge a request granted.

Another way, if you feel inclined to ask for her help with a problem — making money, finding love, or hurting an enemy — is to make your request to her aloud, and stack three pennies on her tomb as payment for her services.








But I’d offer a word of caution though.

Be very, very careful what you wish for  —-

—– the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is always listening.


Here’s to haunting you all month, folks!



Visit Runere at or friend her on Facebook @ Runere McLain. Follow her on Twitter@RunereMcLain

Fear Cage/Phantasy Friday

I’m back on a paranormal kick! Our paranormal investigation group has some really interesting cases coming up, so I thought I’d share another investigative technique with you.

I always try to reiterate legitimate paranormal investigators are first and foremost debunkers. It’s never a case of blind acceptance of evidence. We go at any suspected paranormal activity every way we can to disprove it. And usually we do. Disprove it, that is. For only approximately 2% of all documentable evidence can we not find a physical reason for its occurence. That means we suffer a lot of disappointment, a lot of self defeat. But when we can’t disprove something after subjecting it to every conceivable test  . . .  that’s when the hundreds upon hundreds of work hours invested become worthwhile!

Paranormal investigation is slowly being aided by the realm of science in the form of technical tools, and with these tools is gaining credibility. When people come at me with disparagement, I remind them of Ptolemy and Galileo. Ptolemy was the mathematician who first put forth the theory of the galaxy and rotation of the planets in set orbits around a single celestial body.  Brilliant fellow, Ptolemy. And he almost had it right.

But when Galileo had the nerve to suggest our galaxy revolved around the sun, rather than the planets revolving around our Earth as Ptolemy’s theory set forth (We sure are a self-important bunch, aren’t we?), poor ol’ Galileo was imprisoned by the Church for heresy.  Had to be rough on the old boy to serve prison time for being right, while publicly labeled a non-believer and heretic by the Pope. Now I would never in a million years compare myself to Galileo. I only wish I had his mental capacity. But if such a misunderstanding could happen with someone like him, it could happen in other situations. All I ask is that you keep an open mind. Knowledge increases every day; even if it makes us uncomfortable at first.

One of these tools is an EMF detector, a hand-held device that accurately measures electrical flux in the environment, called Electro Magnetic Fields. We sweep for and log static (constant) EMF’s we find. Only randomly occurring or wildly spiking EMF’s are attributed to paranormal activity. To scientifically explain the effect EMF’s can cause with the neurons of the brain would take too long here, so suffice it to say there are certain people who are extremely susceptible to electro magnetic fields. When most reported paranormal activity repeatedly occurs in a single specific spot, we have to consider the possibility we’re dealing with someone susceptible to these fields.

You see, in a minute number of individuals, even mild EMF’s can actually trigger brain activity, producing visual and audio hallucinations. (In fairness, I’d like to point out there have actually been EMF’s strong enough to produce mass hallucination, such as those on a ranch in Arizona.)

And these fields can be created by many things. Innocent seeming things. If someone experiences unsettling sights and sounds only in bed, we meticulously examine that environment before going further. It’s possible for the bedside electric alarm clock on one table, CD player on the other side of the bed, and ceiling fan overhead to produce a distinct triangular electro magnetic field. The person in the bed is in the middle. When this particular type of static field occurs, since the person is literally “caged” by the electrical influence and it produces frightening hallucinations, it’s referred to as a Fear Cage.

Most of you know my house is haunted. We’ve lived with activity for years.  And it’s random enough to exclude the “Fear Cage” theory. We’ve also caught EVP’s (ghostly voices) on tape. A few days ago one of my “guests” made herself known to my grandson in a very audible way. We were in the kitchen when a girl’s voice neither of us recognized clearly said a quick, cheery “Hello, hello!” My grandson’s eyes got huge and he asked “Mawmaw! Did you hear that?”

We checked outside immediately for a physical visitor, then searched the house. We were the only two here. He was understandably bothered by it. So I took the time to explain the Bible tells us there are worlds. Worlds, in the plural. That maybe, just maybe, like listening to a particular radio station when another station bleeds over it, there are worlds we’re unaware of that bleed over one another from time to time. He settled down after thinking about that.

Is their another ghostly world around us? I investigate because I want to find out. All I know for sure is I’ll never consciously try to drag God down to my pitiful level of understanding. Learned that lesson from Ptolemy and Galileo. I strongly believe God gives us knowledge as we’re ready for it. He says we’re to seek Him out in all things.

I’m seeking. And if I’m ready for it, I’m open to Him showing me what He wants me to know.

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