Saturday, June 17, 2006


Here's the lastest "Astro Alert" from (because I _know_ you were wondering):

"Rest up while you can! On June 19, Uranus turns retrograde, bringing his flair for the unusual to a planet near you. Until the ruler of rebellion returns to direct motion on November 20, you may notice an increase in personality transformations or oddball news reports; indeed, the conventional wisdom for the next few months is 'Expect the unexpected.' Now, those of you with well-worn PDAs and perfectly up-to-date planners might find that advice less than reassuring. But the key to success these days is to go with the flow. That mind of yours is brimming with untapped talents and innovative ideas, and Uranus is bound and determined to set them free!

Uranus established his reputation as our solar system's renegade long ago. But this planet is very much a rebel with a cause, namely humanitarianism, creativity and breaking with tradition. During his retrograde journey, that energy -- which typically plays out on a more collective scale -- is focused inward. Is there a cause you want to get involved with? a pottery class you've had your eye on? a certain bohemian side of yourself that you haven't seen in a while? Seize this chance to celebrate your individuality and move beyond the status quo.

Of course, a period known for erratic, unusual behavior might not be the best time to act on every brilliant idea. But these upcoming months are your golden opportunity to think outside the box in ways that the 9-to-5 world of convention doesn't always allow. Experiment with new modes of expression to find the one that suits you best (pens, food, clothes, music ... no doubt you have ample tools all around you). By late November, you may find that you're ready to share what you've learned with the world."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Keeping up with the Hallaways

A very brief interview with me appeared on the Oshkosh Word Nerd blog:

And, if you’ve ever wanted to ask yourself deep and meaningful questions about Tall, Dark & Dead, we’re having such a conversation at Coffee Time Romance (you have to register to join, but it’s free) Sample question (just in case you think I'm kidding): "After discovering what she/Lilith did, Garnet panics and decides to hide the bodies (with the help of her vampire ex-boyfriend Parrish) and flee the scene. What do you think might have happened if she had decided to go to the police instead? What would you have done?" Questions like this one will be asked an answered for the entire month of June!

Did I mention that I'll be at Dreamhaven Books & Comics on Tuesday, June 27 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm? This reading is sponsored by SASE: The Write Place and is free and open to the public. Dreamhaven is located at 912 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN. For directions/information call (612) 823-6161 or check out their website at There is free parking available behind the building. Come see me do my thang in full regalia.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Opposite of a Ghost Vortex?

As I watched a scruffy-looking doppelganger of "New Kitty/All Ball" slip into our garage, I suddenly had a thought. In the book GRAVE'S END the author talks about a "ghost vortex" which, I gather, is a kind of dead thing magnet on the spiritual plain. Anyway, given the number of stray cats who seem to find our backyard especially comfortable, I asked myself, "Do you suppose there’s some kind of thing like a ghost vortex, only in reverse -- a hey-this-is-a-great-spot-to-hang-out-you-living-thing vibe?"

Or do I just have some funky past life cat karma to deal with?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Grave's End

Have you ever seen a ghost?

I think I have. When I was going to school at Augsburg, the college bought up a number of houses in the neighborhood and had them demolished to make way for a parking lot. However, one of them was picked up and moved to a new location by its owners. One early morning during this elaborate house-moving process, as Shawn and I were headed off to our respective classes, we both saw a figure of a woman in the upstairs window. It was just a flash, and she was gone. When we asked each other about it, we both described her looking sad, and I thought that by the way she had her hand on her belly she was pregnant. Shawn said she hadn't wanted to say anything, but she’d gotten that impression too. Was she a ghost? Someone living saying a final good-bye to the house? Who knows?

Then there was that Halloween visitor to our house who passed through the kitchen and up the stairs that are no longer there. That one was a fast-moving ball of light about the size of a quarter, but three of us saw it.

While up at the cabin this past weekend, I read a friend's copy of Elaine Mercado's GRAVE'S END, which is billed as a true life story of a haunted house. It's a very compelling story. What makes this particular account so engaging, I think, is the fact that Elaine, the author, begins very much as a skeptic and stays one quite a long way into the memoir. She and her husband are constantly trying to come up with rational reasons for the paranormal events. Also, she talks about how the family got used to a lot of the phenomenon and how, since it wasn't a constant every day occurrence (outside of the feeling of being watched), they tended to forget about it in between episodes. It took her something like fifteen years to finally admit her house was haunted and to pursue having it "cleansed."

Throughout the book, she is just a regular person who happens to have all this weird crap happening in her house.

I think GRAVE'S END would be a good book for someone who is curious and open to the idea of ghosts, but who doesn't already believe. I guess my feeling about ghosts can be summed up this way: while at Augsburg an English professor asked us if any of us believed in the possibility of witchcraft (or something like that), and I said, "Hell, yes. I believe in the POSSIBILITY of anything."

What about you? Any ghost stories out there?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Full Moon at the Lake Cabin

I have to confess something. Despite practicing Wicca for nearly a decade, I have only rarely done rituals outside. I suppose that's like saying I’m a Catholic who never goes to Mass, but there you have it.

I understand the appeal now. Despite chilly weather (it was in the Fifties, if not colder,) having a fire going in the fire pit, the moon rising through the tall pine trees was amazing. Plus, when we talked about being between the worlds, it was true – we did our ritual at twilight, a time between day and night, and while standing on land that was between land and water.

Generally, the cabin was amazingly relaxing. It's owned by a friend of ours and is located in a small lake town in northern Wisconsin about two hours from the Twin Cities. It's one of those resort type communities, where, despite the pine trees and lake view, you can see your neighbors and still hear the hiss of the highway from across the lake. Yet, it's surprisingly peaceful. I don't know what it is about having water on your property, but it does seem to change the dynamic. It's like all those other people kind of disappear and all you focus on is that View, on the sound of waves crashing on the shore, and the haunting sound of a loon's call.

Mason loved it. Every moment was, "Can we go down to the lake? Can we go kayaking?" (Yes, my three year old LOVED the kayak and he learned how to say it.) Plus, our little city kid got to see purple martins, tree frogs (we briefly caught one), and a multitude of insect life (like daddy longlegs, water striders, crickets, and, of course, the Minnesota state bird, the mosquito.) We have most of those beasties in our own backyard, but, like cooking outdoors, somehow seeing them up at the cabin made them seem more wild, more Natural.

The whole weekend was a kind of Sabbath, a time out of time, where the focus was on family, friends, and leaving work at home. Shawn, in fact, insisted that I leave my laptop at home, and though now I feel terribly behind on finishing the book, I think she was right. It was good to take a true break and stand between the worlds.