Thursday, April 27, 2023

The Price of Superstition


After the recent events at Superstition Mountain, museum curator Ray Peralta thought he was done with danger. But violence starts spreading from a new group in town, and when Allie De La Cruz shows up, Ray realizes trouble has found him once more. Though he’s completely blindsided by what Allie has to say, he can’t help but listen to her farfetched story because Allie came to town to find the people who killed her family―and she believes Ray is the key to finding answers.

As much as Ray wants to stay out of Allie’s quest, when his friends are thrown into the middle of the deadly conflict, he’s left with no choice but to join. Drawn ever deeper into a mysterious world of ancient oaths and sacred relics, he gets dangerously close to uncovering the truth about the mastermind behind the violence―and the truth about the woman he’s risking his life to help.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Cost of Secrets

 The Cost of Secrets

Available June 4, 2021

Museum curator Ray Peralta knows that at the best of times, the Superstition Mountain Museum is a magnet for treasure hunters chasing the legendary Lost Dutchman's Mine. But this winter, his small desert town on the outskirts of Phoenix worries him as the visitors clear out and the vigilantes move in. Generally, the Sons of Liberty roll into the Phoenix Valley for a week each winter with their souped-up vehicles and dirt bikes to conduct desert drill and wreak havoc on the town before they leave. But this year, there is an undeniable tension in the air, and within days of the group's arrival, instead of the usual trail of destruction, they leave a wake of death.

There are secrets lurking in the Superstition Mountains not related to any treasure. Countless people have lost their lives in that sweltering desert, and it isn't the heat that has taken them. How did they die? That's the real mystery. And in the midst of the riddle stands Ray, a man who swore an oath of secrecy-and he'll die before he breaks it.

"The Cost of Secrets is full of suspense and twists that will keep you turning pages well into the night."   --Best-selling author Clair Poulson

Monday, March 23, 2020

Once Upon a Chicle in Mexico

Originally published on Funny in Five-Hundred. One of my favorite things that I have ever written.

El Gringo walked down the boardwalk. The waves roared crashing into the sands. Wind blew his dark brown hair across his face. He walked ahead of me casually, but I knew his blue eyes darted back and forth between the beach and the building along the road. His hands swayed to the front and to the back. Looking closer as I walked behind him I saw them trembling. His unbuttoned Kahuna shirt flapped in the wind. The straw fedora he usually wore was in one of his hands.

I ran next to him. “Uh,” I started. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to take back what’s rightfully yours,” he muttered.

“Come on! Let’s just leave it alone,” I protested.

He turned to me with a snarl. “I’m not letting justice go unserved.” 

When the boardwalk intersected the street that led to the small old chapel, we turned to walk side by side. El Gringo’s leather shoes scrapped on the asphalt leading to the white building with the arch that held a single bell. My running shoes just squished under my weight. Sweat was building up around the collar of my t-shirt. My camo cargo shorts were beginning to chafe my crotch.

The boys sitting on the steps of the church covered their eyes since the sun was now at our backs. A breeze kicked up dust as we walked towards them. El Gringo’s face looked harder than I had ever seen it. His upper lip quivered with rage. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead over his eyebrow down his nose and fell onto his white tank top.

Their eyes went wide when they saw us stop directly in front of them. We cast shadows down on them.

Someone began plucking at a guitar from one of the homes near us.

“Niños!” he shouted. He pointed at me with his thumb. “My amigo here…”

“Si señor?” one asked. He came up to us with big brown eyes.

“He asked for spearmint not peppermint!” El Gringo roared.

The boy’s lips quivered. He fished in his small bag and brought out a package of aqua colored gum. I handed the white package back to him.

“Lo siento señor,” he said to me.

El Gringo turned toward the setting sun. He placed his straw hat on his head and began walking back to the beach. I watched him disappear down the road. He walked with the swagger that justice had been served.

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Originally on Funny in Five-Hundred.

Lauren walked along the beach and watched the waves. Her auburn hair whipped in the breeze as she looked down at the clear water and small flecks of sand rolling in and out. The noise of the big breaks filled the air and bounced off the dunes. After one loud crashing wave the cold water pushed farther than before and enveloped her ankles. The cool foamy water that pooled around her feet stood still for just a second and then flowed back out to sea. 

The bigger wave pushed sand away and at her feet she found the top of a light brown corked bottle. She reached down and tugged it free from its grave. The bottle was empty except for a rolled up piece of paper.

She clenched her teeth as she struggled but finally managed to pull the cork from the mouth. Tipping the bottle over her hand, she patted the bottom until the paper came out. Her eyes sparkled as she uncurled the paper and found a handwritten note.

Lauren gently read aloud. “My dearest, I’m sorry. The squall was too large and I couldn’t keep her true. I was blown off course and then she floundered. I’m floating with the gulf stream but I don’t know if I’m a mile off the coast or twenty. The fins are everywhere circling me. If you find this you have to know that my love is as…”

“Blah, blah, blah.” Lauren said out loud crumpling up the note. She threw the paper to the sand. “This bottle would look so cool on Insta, I could fill it with beads or a single dry rose.” She cradled the bottle in one arm and lifted her phone for a selfie. Still cradling the bottle, she continued walking down the beach. 

A new wave rolled in and grabbed the note pulling it back out to sea.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Fattest Mormon

Phil Carrol, banished from his old life, wanders across the country in his Winnebago looking for prize money, and any competition will do. When he learns about an $8,000 prize for a weight-loss competition in the mostly Mormon small towns of Taylor and Snowflake, Arizona, he drive across the country binge-eating zingers and pizza to get ready to lose as much weight as possible.

This hustle could be it. He could finally come up with enough money to send himself to Japan to study his first love, Jiu-Jitsu, and lift his banishment from the sport. But, when he parks his Winnebago on the driveway of an old friend, his whole world is threatened by a narcissistic trainer, the best weight loss hustler in the country, and the 12th place crossfitting ex-husband of his beautiful personal trainer.