Monday, February 26, 2024

A Reflection of Evil

Book 4 in the The Naughty List Series

Now on Amazon

Engaged to be married, Rosalie and David are happily preparing for their wedding. Nothing distracts them from the excitement of organizing a gala reception, complete with ritual and raiment. Then the curious behavior of The Book sends them on a hunt for information about a recently deceased archeologist and a seemingly worthless urn. How are they related to a murder and an eerie pile of sand, and where does the appearance of a mysterious Mr. Mott fit into this?

As Rosalie and David’s big day approaches old enemies unite and plot revenge, and danger materializes in another form—an ancient evil lurking in reflections. Here and then gone, watching and waiting, ready to emerge and wreak havoc on the world of humans and Integrals when the time is right. Only Rosalie, David, their friends, and unexpected allies stand in the way. Can chaos can be averted before the wedding guests arrive?


Friday, January 26, 2024

Weird Stuff Sent into Space

Weird Stuff Sent into Space

January is traditionally a month for out with the old and in with the new. Clean the closets, toss that old Tupperware container in the back of the refrigerator that appears to have a science experiment growing inside. You’re not alone. Even government agencies have to deal with an overload of junk, some harder to get rid of than that Tupperware container. One agency with a big problem is NASA.

Space is vast and at the same time crowded with garbage. Humans have been sending items into orbit for half a century and some of it stays there. Currently there are nearly 7,700 satellites within a few hundred miles of the Earth. That number could grow to several hundred thousand by 2027. A lot of trash is already on the Moon right, including nearly 100 bags of human waste. Junk in orbit includes spent spacecraft, rocket boosters, and stuff lost by astronauts including a glove, a wrench, and a toothbrush.

But that’s not the weirdest stuff shot into space.

Light saber

The force was with them. In 2007, the lightsaber prop belonging to Luke Skywalker was taken on a mission to the International Space Station. Star Wars fans gave it a solemn escort to an airport in California, and from there, it went to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The lightsaber spent two weeks in orbit, and was later returned to Industrial Light and Magic.

Moon tree seeds

What’s that growing in my backyard? During the Apollo 14 NASA mission to the moon in 1971, astronauts packed hundreds of tree seeds in their personal kits. Upon returning to Earth, the seeds were germinated by the Forest Service and planted throughout the U.S. in 1976 to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. Unfortunately, the location of the trees was lost and, except for a few, no one knows for sure where they were planted.

Man hole cover

Duck. Between May 28 and Oct. 7, 1957, the U.S. military carried out Operation Plumbbob, a series of nuclear tests in the Nevada desert. Two of the nuclear detonations, were carried out underground, to test if nuclear fallout could be contained. The first was on July 26, 1957. An atomic bomb detonated at the bottom of a 500-foot-deep hole, covered by a 4-inch-thick iron cover, launching it into space. Scientist expected that the cover would land back on Earth, but it didn’t.

 Andy Warhol’s penis

I'll bet that got your attention. The artist Andy Warhol doodled a sketch of a penis that may or may not have ended up on the moon. It was one of six on a tiny ceramic tile dubbed the Moon Museum. Sculptor Forrest Myers petitioned NASA to place the tile on the Moon. His request was denied, but he supposedly contacted scientists from Bell Laboratories, who secretly attached the tile to the Apollo 12 lunar lander. Since the lander sits on the Moon, this story can’t be confirmed, but the first astronauts who return may be getting an unexpected eyeful.


Speaking of penises…One NASA mission included a sample of bull sperm. The result was the tiny cells moved faster than usual. Phosphorylation, the process of regulating cellular cycles and growth stopped in sea urchin sperm. Rat’s testes shrank along with their sperm count. Cockroaches, on the other hand, were unaffected by spaceflight or exposure to radiation.

Klingon Night at the Opera

Revenge is a dish best served along a side of aria. In 2010 the producers of “u” (the opera's title) sent a message by radio telescope to the Klingon home star, Arcturus, to invite them to attend the opening night performance in the Netherlands. In the Klingon tongue, “u” means universe and it was the first opera performed entirely in Klingon. The 90-minute production tells the story of Kahless the Unforgettable. After betrayal by his brother and witnessing his father’s murder, Kahless fights to regain his honor by traveling into the underworld. He wages epic battles, reunites with his true love, Lukar, and eventually faces his bitter enemy, the tyrant Molor.

P. S. The Klingons did not RSVP.

An Ad for Doritos

Would aliens like junk food? The makers of Doritos thought so. In 2008, for six hours the EISCAT European space station on the Norwegian island of Svalbard sent an advertisement for Doritos with a radar array, normally used to study the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The ad went to Ursa Major which contains a possible habitable zone. EISCAT received an undisclosed donation for the use of their facilities. There’s no report on whether aliens preferred Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, or Flaming Hot.


Tuesday, December 26, 2023

New Years: The Stupidest Holiday


New Years is a stupid celebration 

Even as a child I never saw the point of staying up to midnight to see some dumb disco ball drop and then watch drunken revelers shouting “Happy New Year!” I’m mean, seriously. What’s the big deal? It isn’t even a candy holiday like Halloween, Christmas or Easter. Those were, at least, associated with special once-a-year treats. New Years had bupkis except if you lived in the South and were supposed to eat Hopping John which has absolutely no candy in it. Or drugs, which the name implies.

If you insist on being a reveler on New Years Eve, here are several oddball hangover cures to try on New Years Day. I’m not a drinker, so can’t confirm they work, but they’ll give the sober ones among us a belly laugh at your misery.

Drink pickle juice

It’s supposed to have lots of electrolytes or some junk like that to make the pounding headache go away. Yeah, right.

Rub slices of lemon under your armpits

A Puerto Rican cure, it’s touted to relieve dehydration, but honestly when was the last time you drank anything through your armpits?

Chug a Bull’s-eye

A Bull’s-eye is a concoction made from a raw egg broken into a glass of orange juice. Yum. After a night of heavy drinking I can imagine what your stomach will say to that one. It isn’t pretty. Speaking of not pretty, try a Prairie Oyster.

Prairie Oyster

If you’ve ever lived out West you’ll know a Prairie Oyster isn’t an oyster. Let’s just say, it’s the part of the bull that, well, makes it clear you ain’t gonna be milking this one. This Prairie Oyster is a cocktail and contains one raw egg (What is it with raw eggs?), Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. You probably won’t be sober after drinking this. You’ll probably just wish you were dead.

Activated Charcoal

It’s recommended you take it in pill form or you could stick your head in the fireplace and lick up the ashes. After the night you had, no one will try to stop you.


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

The Naughty List Free on Amazon November 15, 16, 17, 18, 19


The Naughty List

Free on Amazon: November 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

This isn't a typical Yuletide tale.

Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid—not what Rosalie Thatcher wished for on her Christmas list.

The holidays had always been a magical time for Rosalie, but not this year. Her new manager at Penrose’s is determined to make this season the most profitable in the department store’s history, even if it sucks the life from every employee. Enforcing arbitrary rules and forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List.  Now Rosalie and David must dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down. The couple race against time for without the guidance of the Naughty and Nice List the world will tumble into chaos.


A knock sounded at the door. Rosalie groaned. She was not in the mood for company. Maybe if she stayed quiet, the person would go away. Someone knocked again.

“Rosalie?” A man cleared his throat. “May I have a word, please?”

She wrinkled her brow, not recognizing the voice. Sliding the chain across, she cracked open the door.

“Hi. I’m David. I’m not a stalker—”

She slammed the door in his face. How dare he show up at her home! Rosalie’s fingers clenched.

“Please,” he begged. “I really need to talk to you.” She glanced around for her purse.

David rapped again. “Rosalie, give me five minutes…one minute?”

She reached inside and pulled out an aerosol can and her phone. He would so regret this.

“You don’t understand.” David pounded on the door. “You’re in danger.”

The door whipped open. Rosalie stood tight-jawed with a small aerosol can in one hand and her cell phone in the other. “Either cops or pepper spray. You have five seconds.”

“Rosalie, please—”


 “If you just—”


“Please, listen—”


 “Um…I know Santa.”


David vanished. An instant later two hands behind her yanked both the can and cell phone away. She spun around and stared dumfounded as he threw the pepper spray on the floor and put the cell phone in his pocket. How did he move so fast?

“Rosalie, if you only—ow!”

 She kicked him in the shin.

“Quit it! I won’t hurt you. I only want to talk.” He motioned to the bag on the floor. “I brought dinner.”

“I don’t care if you brought your own personal chef!” she yelled. “Get the hell out of my apartment. You…you…snitch.”

 He looked completely perplexed. “I think we have a misunderstanding—”

 “That’s it—I’m making some noise.” Rosalie took a deep breath as if to scream. David’s hand shot out and grabbed her. The apartment dissolved into nothingness.


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Fortunetelling with Food

Fortune Telling with Food

I hate surprises. I want to know exactly what’s going to happen, with whom, and how can I keep the cops from finding out? While I don’t have a crystal ball, my kitchen happens to have a few food items traditionally used to predict the future.


Halloween is associated with pumpkins but it used to be the perfect time to kick off a grand old cabbage theft to see if love was in your future. A blindfolded participant enters the cabbage patch at midnight when the barrier between the world of the living and dead thins, yanks up a cabbage, and then analyze the roots for clues. Are the roots thick? A big beefy person was in your future. Weedy or withered? Look out for a pasty-faced wimp. Why anyone would settle for a love interest that resembles cabbage roots is beyond me.


Forget scrambled, boiled, fired or an ultrasound. If pregnant, grab an egg like the ancient Roman Empress Livia Drusilla and incubate it between your breasts. The chick’s sex predict the baby’s. In the Ozarks, girls hollowed out a hard-boiled egg, filled it with salt, and ate it. That night, she’d either die of high blood pressure or dream of her true love bringing her a pail of water to drink. People in Colonial times used a Venus glass, egg whites suspended in warm water. The shape of the egg white predicted the occupation of the future spouse. For instance, if the whites kind of looked like a cow, you’re true love would be a farmer (or a cow.) No telling what would show up at the door if the squiggly egg whites only looked like squiggle egg whites.


This pretty much describes those who rely on fortune telling. One popular method was to take two chestnuts and roast them side-by-side in the fire; if they stayed in place without rolling away, it was a good omen for a happy marriage. Alternatively, you could take a hazelnut, representing your lover, and throw it into the fire. If it burst into flame, it was a sign of trouble to come.


Peel in one single peel. Throw over the shoulder and the initial it formed was future husband/wife. Sometimes the apples would be labeled or marked by young men and women before they were put in a tub of water: the person who caught your apple could be your mate. In another version of snap apple, a hoop is suspended from the ceiling, and different treats and tricks, including cake, candies, bread, apples, and peppers, are stationed along its rim. The one a player caught with their teeth would foretell the nature of their love—would it be sweet, spicy, too hot? Would it nourish or burn them?


Not all food items reflect affairs of the heart. Germans had an onion calendar called a zwiebelkalender. Set out twelve pieces of onion, one for each month. Sprinkle them with salt and the amount of moisture that appears indicates the amount of rainfall in its corresponding month. Unless you selected particularly sweaty onions.


Young women in the European countryside would predict future husbands by writing the names of suitors on pieces of cheese. The first to mold was believed to be the ideal mate. Frankly, I think the last man to get moldy is the best of the bunch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Rules for Lying is Free on Amazon

The Rules for Lying

Free on Amazon September 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

Magic isn't for sissies.

WARNING: No good comes from a book with magic, mayhem, theft, murder, sass talk, demons, animals committing felonies, gleeful revenge, and bad things happening to good people for no particular reason. This story won’t encourage good habits and probably fine tune bad ones. The only lesson learned is don’t lie until you know the rules.

Life in New Jersey is tough in the Great Depression, but teenager Peter Whistler has an exceptional ability to lie. He hones his talent, convinced it’s the ticket to easy fortune. He certainly doesn’t foresee the arrival of a murderous conjuror with mysterious designs on a little blind girl named Esther. Drawn into a nefarious plot to unleash a demon, Peter leads Esther and an enchanted terrier on a desperate escape to New Orleans and meets Amelie Marchand. Like all well-bred Louisiana gals she’s trained in deadly martial arts, but with a murderous stepmother, Amelie has troubles of her own. Peter and Amelie’s one chance for survival is to head deep into the bayou and seek help from a mad shaman known as the Frog King.

Welcome to an alternate 1930s where both jazz and magic fill New Orleans’ air. Can a little luck, mystical lies, and a dash of Cajun crazy help Peter harness the power to kill an immortal demon? If not, the Depression will be a picnic by comparison when Hell arrives on Earth.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

99 Cent Sale: Shadow of the Eclipse


Shadow of the Eclipse

99 Cents until October 4

The past is written, but the future is an open door.

Excitement brews in Crossroads for everyone but lawyer, Callum MacGregor. This year, the town harvest festival coincides with a total eclipse. With a recent breakup, Cal has no desire to attend until a visit from his old law partner, Isaac Bingham, drops a bombshell. Twenty years before Cal’s birth, his grandfather, Phillip Bingham, extracted a promise. Isaac must get Cal to the harvest festival or the world would face unparalleled disaster.

            Cal is stunned. How could a long dead man know Cal would be born and live in Crossroads? Why this nonsensical warning? The mystery deepens when Isaac tells him he’s not the only one to receive a mysterious summons.

Accountant Meg Adler’s day started badly when her boss fired her for refusing to cook the books, but then a letter arrives from a man named Bingham with a lucrative job offer—details to follow. All she has to do is attend the Crossroads Harvest Festival on opening day and meet his representative to discuss details. Meg is leery, but it’s not the end of the world if this doesn’t pan out. Right?

Ancient evil prowls the shadow of the eclipse, but the key to saving the present can only be found in the past. In a time-traveling adventure, Cal and Meg enter a mystic maze and journey to Babylon, the Dark Ages, and 1906 San Francisco hot on the trail of two magic artifacts lost in the recesses of time. Can they dodge demonic forces, fulfill a dead man’s mission, and discover a new future with each other?


  “So, Cal,” Meg said. “Why meet here? What does this festival have to do with a job?” She flashed a cheeky grin. “I should warn you I don’t work the carny circuit.”

A job? An uneasy sensation settled in his gut. “I’ve no idea. I thought you knew why we were here.”

“Me?” Meg pulled back her hand and color rose to her cheeks. “What is this? Some kind of sick joke? Who does this Phillip Bingham think he is, anyway?”

Cal gaped at her. “Phillip Bingham contacted you? Not Isaac?”

“I got a letter from him with a vague employment offer from the Lux Foundation along with an invitation to attend the Crossroads Harvest Festival.” She wrinkled her brow. “It was a funny kind of letter on really old paper. The room at the inn was paid for by a man named Isaac Bingham, and I needed a job, so I figured what the hell. The instructions said a person would find me here to discuss the details. I assume that is you.” Her voice tightened in anger. “Is Phillip Bingham the town lunatic?”

“No, but I’m sorry to tell you he’s very much dead.” Cal gave her a recap of his meeting with Isaac.

As Meg listened, her eyes widened in astonishment. “Phillip Bingham died decades ago? How could he know I’d lose my job this week and be desperate enough to jump at this crazy offer?”

Cal ran a hand through his hair. “How did he know either of us would even be born?”

Meg took a wary step back. “I’m not sure I believe you.”

“I’m not sure I believe it myself. Listen, do you want to go somewhere and talk? Try to figure this out? I’ll call Isaac, tell him we found each other, and demand an explanation.”

Meg cocked her head toward the entrance of the corn maze. “Do you hear that? Someone called for help.”

“Probably lost in the maze. George made it extra challenging this year.”

“No, it’s different.” She sucked in a breath. “M-my name—I swear I heard my name.”

A gust of wind rippled the stalks. They bent toward the entrance, fluttery hands beckoning them inside. Cal strained to hear past the whispery rustle of the leaves.

Almost as if they were voices…

“I’ll check it out,” he said. “Maybe someone fell and got hurt. Wait here—”

“Not a chance.” Meg bolted into the maze, and Cal ran after her. They came to the first intersection, and she skidded to a halt. “Which way?”

“Left,” Cal said without hesitation.

They dashed deeper into the field, now left, now right, now straight ahead. With each step, Cal’s path became surer as if something pulled him with an invisible cord.

Meg puffed beside him. “How do you know which way to go?”

“I-I can’t explain it.” With every breath, the air around Cal became hotter and more oppressive, pressing on his shoulders like a stifling blanket. Humidity dropped to nothing. Beads of sweat on his brow evaporated. Cal licked his dry, cracked lips and grimaced at the gritty feel of sand on his tongue.

Sand in a corn maze?

They turned a corner and stumbled into a clearing. In the center was an arbor that arched over a circle of flagstones on the ground. A glowing flame hovered above the stones, suspended in midair. Meg and Cal exchanged dumbfounded looks and stepped forward. The clarion note of a distant horn sounded a soldier’s call to action. A surge of adrenaline flooded Cal’s veins. He hadn’t felt like this since his days on patrol with the Army. Unconsciously, Cal’s hand went to his hip, reaching for the sword. He stared at his empty hand. Sword?

The flame grew larger and brighter, shooting through the arbor into the heavens.

“Cal!” Meg’s voice sounded very far away.

“I’m here!” Cal reached for her, but the flame blinded him, blotting out the maze, blotting out the sun, blotting out the world.

Nothing remained but the roar of the cheering crowd.