Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Book Excerpt: DORM RATS, A Neighborlee, Ohio book

Our first two weeks in England, we pretty much stayed in London and the suburbs. We hit a bookstore every day, sometimes two in a day. Two kinds of bookstores. In the first, Mum and Pop dug through musty, dusty, shadowy old bookstores for research books, sending twenty-pound crates home, in care of Angela and Divine's Emporium every other day. The second type was newer, sometimes glitzy shops, where our folks did booksignings or talked to reader groups. Depending on the store, and if they were searching or talking, Harry and I had assigned tasks, to help search or to help set up for the talk and signing, or to run errands. Honestly we preferred the last option, because it left us free to explore the village and find something fun to do in the afternoon or evening when our folks were free.

Harry caught on to the whole weird money system on the first day, so he was in charge of making purchases and deciding if something was worth the price being asked, or if we should move on to another shop. I learned the bus routes and how to read village maps and route markers, and had a good knack for deciding if we should rent bikes or hike or take a cab or bus to our destination. I was good with maps. Maybe it had something to do with my ability to kinda-sorta fly, like built-in radar or something. Admittedly, it helped to be able to raise myself up fifty or a hundred feet in the air and get a bird's-eye view of the terrain, orient myself on the roads and fields and spy out landmarks to compare to the map.

Our sixth day in England, Mum and Pop had a booksigning followed by a hike to the other end of the village for a private luncheon with an investigative society. The village and historical society must be left nameless because of security reasons. Not because that particular village was a trouble spot, but because of the people who might want to cause trouble years later. To prevent them following Mum and Pop's route and kind of triangulating to identify other places where we stopped, people they talked to and things-that-shall-be-left-unspoken that they did. Don't like that restriction? Take it up with Col. Hayward.

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Book: DORM RATS, A Neighborlee, Ohio novel

DORM RATSThe next Neighborlee, Ohio novel, starring Lanie Zephyr.
From Uncial Press

Lanie is off to college. While it's good she stays in Neighborlee -- she is one of the guardians, after all --there are some down-sides. 

Such as what happens when someone manipulates the dormitory situation at Willis-Brooks College to tap into the power of belief and imagination, lumping all the geeks and fans and creative types in one place. 

Or when some self-styled Time Lords realize that despite their best efforts, they can't control time. 

And then there are all the trials and tribulations of student teaching and settling into her career as a teacher, all while Lanie and her semi-pseudo-superhero friends keep their fingers on the pulse of the strangest little town in the state, maybe the country -- maybe the world.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 13 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            "So, you're a friend of Duncan MacLeod's. How convenient," Immerman purred.

            "Who?" Joe blinked blood and sweat out of his eyes and tried to focus on the chiseled face leaning over him.  He sat on a pile of rubble, wondering what new brutality the Immortal would use next.  "You know, your idea of hospitality really stinks." His whole body felt bruised by the trip from the car into the black pit of a building.  Immerman had pushed him along with the sword point to his back.  When Joe didn't move quickly enough, he clubbed him with a convenient scrap of lumber and kicked him when he fell. Once he had even grabbed Joe's cane and cracked it against the back of his head.

            "Isn't that just too bad?" the Immortal said in that same mildly pleased tone.  The flashlight he used to illuminate the corner of the moldering room cast his face into a spectral mask.  "According to these papers, printed out by our dear, late Andrew Blaine, you are the head of the Watchers in this section of the country, and you are assigned to Duncan MacLeod."  He tugged a much-folded sheaf of papers from his jeans pocket and waved them in front of Joe's face.

            "Andrew Blaine?  Mister, the kid must be a mystery writer. I don't know what you're -- " Joe bent double, Immerman's elbow in his gut.

            "I need you alive, Mr. Dawson, but I don't particularly need you in good shape. Duncan MacLeod seems to find some value in you, since he hasn't killed you for discovering his secret or intruding into his life.  I will use that for my own benefit.  Do try to prolong your life as long as possible."

Friday, January 12, 2018


The last and most recent Neighborlee, Ohio book, leading up to the release this week of DORM RATS, the newest Neighborlee book -- which also happens to be the sequel to this week's Book of the Week.


 "What's a facet?"

"It's like the flat part of a diamond." Yes, I must confess, there was some scorn in my voice. I had a habit of devouring every book I could get my hands on. After I had learned where the tiny library was at NCH, I had read through the entire encyclopedia. Between the start of school and Thanksgiving. That put me in possession of a great deal of scattered, unrelated bits of knowledge, and I felt rather superior every time one of those fractured pieces became useful.

"Hmm, accurate, if not totally… Well, maybe it is applicable. There are many faces or sides or dimensions to what you can do, or possibly could do someday," Miss Angela said. "There are many futures, full of possibilities, and no true means exist to see clearly which one is for sure." She guided us upstairs, to her living quarters on the second floor. Both of us were astonished and enchanted, because it had never occurred to either of us that someone could actually live in the same building as their business.

While we put together a lunch of sandwiches and soup and hot chocolate, Miss Angela made phone calls. First, she called Mrs. Silvestri and told her not to worry, that we had made a slight detour and come to see her about advice for Christmas shopping. She promised Kurt would get back to school before the lunch hour was over. Then she called Mr. Longfellow and asked him to come to the shop. Then she called the school and left a message for Mrs. Longfellow, who was Kurt's teacher, and told her that Kurt was helping her and Mr. Longfellow, and might be late getting back to class. That was when we learned Mr. Longfellow's first name was Ford. Then she told us to set the table for four.

We were sitting down to the most incredible chicken soup we had ever had in our lives when Mr. Longfellow came into the shop. He ran right upstairs, knocked once on the door of Miss Angela's apartment and walked in before she answered. Then he flung his long rusty black pea coat onto the ottoman, and slid into the fourth chair at the table.

"Hey, kids. How come I'm not surprised it's you?" He winked, and then nodded to Miss Angela.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


The last and most recent Neighborlee, Ohio book, leading up to the release this week of DORM RATS, the newest Neighborlee book -- which also happens to be the sequel to this week's Book of the Week.


 Miss Angela was spreading cinders on the flagstone path in front of Divine's Emporium, outside of the wrought iron fence, when we ran up the long street. She must have heard us from the moment we turned onto the street, because she stopped and put the bucket down inside the fence and then turned and watched us coming, her arms wrapped tight around herself. The image is still strong in my mind this many years later. The closer we came, the sadder her expression grew, so that by the time we were about ten yards away, we had slowed down. The last thing I wanted in the world was to disappoint Miss Angela, and I was sure Kurt felt the same. By the time we got to within maybe ten feet of her, I was wishing I could turn around and run back to NCH and make Miss Angela forget we had come there. She had to know we were supposed to be heading home for lunch, or at least I was. Kurt packed his lunch like all the other NCH kids did in cold or rainy weather, so he could eat at school.

"I'm so sorry," Miss Angela said, and went down on one knee, holding her arms open wide for us. We ran to her and I nearly cried from relief when she hugged us.

"So we're not dead meat?" Kurt said, when she released us and gestured for us to go ahead of her through the gate.

"Not on my watch. No, you two are in very good odor. Although… Well, we'll just have to think of a totally reasonable cover story and make it true. That's one of the laws of the guardians of Neighborlee. While we have many secrets, there are many truths that the ordinary people of this town don't need to know, for their own good and their own mental wellbeing. Can we truly call anyone ordinary who lives in Neighborlee?" She frowned slightly as we trooped up the cinder- strewn path to the front porch of Divine's. Then her frown turned to a smile, she winked, and chuckled as the door swung open while we were three steps away.

"Did you do that?" Kurt said in a loud whisper. "I didn't feel it."

"Ah ha!" Miss Angela nudged our shoulders, to propel us forward through the door. "Did you discover another facet of your gifts, Lanie?"

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Trailer: Come explore Neighborlee, Ohio!

As a tie-in with the Neighborlee books that have been excerpted and featured the last few weeks, and especially the new Neighborlee, Ohio book coming out in a few days from Uncial Press (DORM RATS), here are a couple book trailers to whet your appetite.

And maybe make you grin a little.

First, the book trailer for the Divine's Emporium series: Divine's Emporium, Have Yourself a Faerie Little Christmas, and Divine Knight.

Followed by Hero Blues:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


The last and most recent Neighborlee, Ohio book, leading up to the release this week of DORM RATS, the newest Neighborlee book -- which also happens to be the sequel to this week's Book of the Week.


 We talked about everything we could remember of our dreams, which wasn't much, just the impression of someone trying to get into wherever we were. Kurt was frustrated with me that I didn't get an itching feeling. Then he forgot about that in the surprising discovery revealed by further talking. The itching was always on the same side of the room, when he woke up from his dreams of the intruder. Meaning if he lay on his back, the itching was on his right side, but if he lay on his stomach, the itching was on his left side, and if he was curled up on his side facing the wall, his face itched. The itching was always closest to the outer wall of his room.

Talking didn't solve anything, and didn't do us much good in dispelling the nightmares, either. We both had nightmares that night, and on the way to school the next day, we walked at the back of the line so we could talk. There was only one thing we could think of. Fortunately, it was the smart tactic.

At lunchtime, instead of going back to NCH, Kurt and I ran all the way to Divine's Emporium. Our logic was sound, at least, as sound as two elementary-age children could come up with. Miss Angela was the source of all the comic books that Kurt and I used to formulate our superhero rules, and to learn what we could possibly do someday. She was the source of all the wonderful, magical things in our lives. Besides, she had the Wishing Ball, and the clearest thought in my sleep-deprived mind was that I could make a wish and make the nightmares go away.