Tuesday, January 30, 2018


February 1, my new contemporary romance releases from Desert Breeze Publishing:


A rising star, Kyle's fame went to his head. Raine beat the odds to sell a TV script in high school. His immaturity ruined her moment of triumph, and when he couldn't make things right, he gave up too soon.
His career fading, Kyle gladly left Hollywood behind. Years later, common interests brought them together again. Using his own name, rather than his stage name, and wearing a beard, Kyle convinced Raine he wasn't the jerk who made her cry on her sixteenth birthday. He would have to confess if they would ever have more than friendship.
Then fandom pressured the network to revive the futuristic TV show where they met -- requiring a reunion of Raine and Kyle, as well as the characters they once played. The last thing he wanted was to return to the insanity of Hollywood, but Kyle saw a chance to make restitution, especially when Raine desperately needed the writing credits to save her floundering career and the money to save her family's wildlife rescue clinic.
Finally confessing, Kyle began the long journey to convince Raine to see him, not the hero he played, and not the jerk he had once been. The threats from fandom wackos just made the job a little harder.
Inside information: This story is based heavily on fandom experiences and time spent in theater and film school.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: CALLED TO CREATE, by Jordan Raynor

When I first heard about this book, pre-release, what drew me was mention of familiar names, who approached their talents from an entrepreneurial angle, using their gifts to give God glory. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and Caspar Ten Boom. (Y'know, Corrie's father?)

It's an interesting concept, applying business principles to being creative. But it makes sense. It's our "job," as Christians, to use our gifts, our talents, our passions, to their fullest. To God's glory.

Raynor gives all sorts of examples from real life of people who took risks, who did what didn't make sense from a money-focused approach. They walked away from business success, they stayed true to their values and beliefs, and they lived out what they believed. Being Christians for them meant more than slapping Bible verses on their bags or big motivational posters in the break room.

Far different from the controversial teachings of the so-called prosperity gospel, and the completely false implications that God wants us to be rich (riches are useless unless they are put to WORK), this book redefines success. It teaches that success isn't just "okay" with God, it's something we most definitely should reach for. Our success glorifies and honors Him. To succeed means we serve Him with everything we have, and pleasing Him is the ultimate meaning of success.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 15 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            Duncan flinched as he felt an Immortal's presence come into his range.  It would be irony, he knew, if Immerman came after him instead of trying to confront Darcy first. He found himself hoping the other Immortal had finally lost his chill sense of control and come to finish their battle now.

            "In here," Darcy said.  She stepped through the door with Detective McGee in tow.  She put herself between him and Duncan for a moment, widened her eyes a little, and pressed her hand against her throat briefly.

            What was she trying to tell him?

            "Have to talk with you, MacLeod," McGee grated.  He hunched his shoulders, jamming his fists into his pockets.  The corners were already tearing -- a bad sign of the detective's emotional state.

            Duncan shrugged and put down the hammer.  The other workers watched him leave, then looked around at each other.  The room under renovation was quiet, not even hammers banging or saws rasping, as Duncan followed Darcy and McGee down the hallways to the center's office.

            "We got an anonymous call last night," McGee said, the moment the door's latch clicked shut.  "Somebody really has it in for you, MacLeod.  This guy claimed you cut off Doc Porter's head and dumped the body out at the old glass works along the river."

            "From the tone of your voice, you don't believe him?" Duncan asked after a moment.  He tried to keep his own voice neutral.

            Darcy flinched as he spoke.  He stepped over and slid an arm around her shoulders.  She wasn't half as tense as he expected, but her lower lip trembled a little.

            "They found Dad's body this morning," Darcy said.  She looked down at her hands.

            "Somebody's out to get you, MacLeod.  I don't like it that they're killing people just to get at you," McGee said.

Friday, January 26, 2018

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

Emma gaped for about two seconds, while Jake tipped his head back and laughed. They both grinned at us and held out their hands and introduced themselves.

"Right, we aren't supposed to meet up with your folks for two weeks," Jake hurried to say, just as I made the connection with their names. It must have showed in my face. "Our plans got changed on us and we thought we'd pop in and say hi before we shuffle off across the channel."

"What's there?" Harry said.

"Besides France?" I said.

He scowled at me for about two seconds, then all four of us were laughing. Then our folks got close enough to see us and for Pop to recognize the Crowders. They picked up the pace to catch up with us. The handful of people from the bookstore who were hosting the luncheon welcomed the Crowders, even though it was obvious they didn't recognize their names, even after Mum gave the titles of their published investigative books. Maybe because they only had two books out, on subjects so esoteric I can't even remember years later what they were. Which is kind of sad, when I think about it, because Pete at least has a right to know what his parents did. Well, thanks to the Internet, he can look it up if he ever needs to find out.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

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

Back to the story: The fourth member of the party was Mrs. Grendel. I am not lying. Honestly, who would keep the last name of Grendel in the land where Beowulf made his stand? She said the building needed to have more security measures installed, to keep children from sneaking in and playing where they were likely to get hurt. The fifth member of the group was more interested in what Pop was working on at the plastic-sheeted table, wearing white gloves and goggles and a surgical mask. He never did give his name, but hurried over to the table and muttered about the ceiling being ready to fall down on them. They might as well give in to the inevitable and tear the place down and build a parking lot, and who gave a royal fig about historical preservation anyway?

So that proved what Pop said, that everyone interprets and explains unexplainable things based on their own beliefs and experiences.

Where was I with this story? Oh, right. The day before the incident of almost falling through the ceiling. Meeting Emma and Jake Crowder, future parents of Pete.

Emma stood up when we approached. "You have got to be Lanie and Harry."

"Why do we have to be?" Harry said.

Yeah, that was my brother, the literalist. Between learning a second language in less than a year, and being so proud of his parents who were writers, and his big sister who was on the school newspaper staff, Harry liked playing with words. He also got a kick out of the reactions of everybody when he played word games, especially when he went very strict with the literal meaning of the words. Kind of funny that he didn't go into writing, but chose a profession where he works with his hands, and I might add, is very good at it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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

Mum said everyone just stood there, looking up at the ceiling, waiting for something to come through. She waited a few seconds, then asked them what was wrong. Mrs. Guttersnatch declared that was proof the building was haunted by the spirits of children who had died there when it was a pauper's prison. Mr. Wimbly said it was the spirit of a schoolteacher who had been driven insane by the imbeciles he had to pound learning into, and who had committed suicide by hanging himself. Let it be noted that she was an advocate of prison reform as well as a believer in life communicating from the Great Beyond, while he was a former schoolteacher who had suffered a nervous breakdown and had been retired for his own good. Miss Wilson-Smythe countered them with her firm belief that the rats had come back and she was going to recommend the village demand its money back from the rat catcher who had assured them the rat problem had been eliminated.

Mum nearly laughed aloud at that, because she knew if I had heard I would have screamed. I'm all right with rats if I have warning they're there, so I can look for and avoid them. Let me know when I'm already in a dark, dusty, spooky place that there are rats around, and that's a recipe for trouble. Even my ability to hover doesn't protect me from the oogies and shivers, because my imagination shows me rats taking running leaps and dropping on me from holes in the ceiling. Think of that scene in The Last Crusade where the rats are fleeing the fire in the catacombs, get into the holes in the stone coffin, and climb all over Elsa. Not that she didn't deserve it, the twitchy witch, but…ugh!

Honestly, if I had heard what Miss Wilson-Smythe said, I would have screamed, and probably lost my mental grip on Harry, sending him through the fragile pseudo-ceiling, and probably right on top of the visitors. I wonder how they would have explained his sudden appearance from a part of the building they didn't even know existed.

Monday, January 22, 2018

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

He didn't really land solid and square on the next beam, and started to fall backwards. Not a problem if this was an ordinary attic, built by sensible people, with plywood sheets stretching from one rafter to another, to provide a solid platform for storage or at least walking around. Keep in mind, Harry and I had to jump from one rafter to another because there was nothing solid between the rafters. A little bit of insulation sheeting that had needed replacing for years, maybe decades, was all that stood—or rather, lay—between Harry's backside and the thin sheet of plaster and paint that made up the ceiling of the room below us. Quite honestly, the thick layers of curdles of dust were probably sturdier than the thin junk he was about to land on.

Fortunately for Harry, his big sister had telekinetic power. Unfortunately for said big sister—moi—it isn't that easy to catch a husky nine-year-old going through a growth spurt, either with hands or with mental powers. Something gets strained either way, muscles or brain. Harry yelped. I snagged him so he metaphorically skidded to a halt in mid-air, with his bottom about three inches from the insulation. I let out a muffled yelp-argh. Sorry, but that's the only way to describe the involuntary sound that came from the sensation of a spike going through my left temple and out my right eye. Fortunately, only a temporary sensation. We froze in that position for a couple seconds until I could regain my breath while my stomach settled back into place after trying to come out my nose.

Down below, the five people with Mum and Pop all froze and looked upward at the ceiling. Mum knew exactly what had happened, because she had caught us jumping from rafter to rafter about twenty minutes before, when she came upstairs for the last crate of historical records. Don't even get me started on her fury over the deplorable state of those records, and the inability of people to understand that if they wanted documents to last for a hundred years and be usable, they needed to protect those records. As in sealing them where dust and temperature changes and insects that liked to eat paper couldn't get at them. Mum said she froze, and Pop took his cue from her, even though he didn't know what was going on. He didn't even know the delegation was there at first. He was so immersed in deciphering a document that later turned out to be over three hundred years old, he didn't hear them talking when they came in the door.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

5-Star Review for DORM RATS

Snoopy dance time!
I got a 5-star review from Long and Short reviews for DORM RATS.
Thanks so much for the great review!!!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 14 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            "Get in!" Duncan snapped at Joe as he gunned the engine.

            Joe threw himself into the front seat, snagging the door with one hand.  The T-bird roared across the parking lot.  Streaks of lightning streaked out of the building, as if reaching for the two Immortals in the car.  The wheels screeched, bumping on the curb as Duncan missed the driveway entrance by ten feet and shot across the street, up over the corner of the abandoned gas station and out into the next street.  He spun the wheel, judging they were far enough away now, turning the car to face the sagging hulk of the building.

            Blue and white lightning snapped along all the exposed metal beams.  The few bits of whole glass shattered in a white rain, arching out like the spray of a fountain.  Hissing turned into roars.  The whole building buzzed and snapped like a mad scientist's laboratory.

            Darcy pulled herself forward, clutching the backs of the seats and peered out between Joe and Duncan.  Her mouth fell open and her eyes widened and what little color she had regained fled.

            Then with one final boom that shook the ground and threatened to reach out to crack the cement under the car, it was over.

            "Daddy?" Darcy whimpered in the sudden silence.

            "How soon do we know -- "  Joe glanced over the back of the seat at Darcy and swallowed hard, visibly unwilling to go on.

            "Until we know who won?"  Duncan nodded toward the gaping mouth of the door.  "Josh'll know we'd wait, and he'll come out.  Immerman will run and hide."

            They waited.  Twenty minutes.  Martha drove over and joined them and stared when she saw Darcy's bloody shirt and realized what it meant.  She climbed into the back seat of the car and wrapped her arms around the girl and cried.  Darcy didn't cry, but stared with dry eyes at the door of the Allied Glass Works.

            When twenty minutes passed, Duncan said nothing.  He put the car into gear, let Martha get out to drive Frank's car and drove back to his loft.

Friday, January 19, 2018

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

"You have got to be Lanie and Harry." Emma stood up to greet us when Harry and I approached the building at that end of the street.

I honestly to this day have no idea what to call it—house, shop, office? Hut, headquarters for interdimensional visitation? Intergalactic bus stop, tea shop? After all, it was reputed to be haunted, and people from all different disciplines or theories of haunting and visits from the "other side" (whatever that means) had investigated it. My folks had access to all the historical documents and records of the weird goings-on through the years. How many times the building had burned and even been bombed out during various invasions and revolutions in England's history, how many times it had been added onto and then renovated down to the foundation, and the multiple uses it had been put to. House, store, jail, apothecary, hospital, morgue, schoolhouse, barn, and multiple combinations and variations of the previous uses.

Pop remarked, our second night in the village, that the building wasn't haunted so much as it had grown a personality from all the uses and turmoil it had endured through the centuries, and all the Human energy that soaked into it. It just wanted a vacation. Proof that his theory was probably closest to the truth? People's reactions to the building varied depending on their personalities and beliefs. Five people could go into it at the same time and hear a noise, and everyone would hear a different noise, interpreting it as a different cause. I know this is true because Harry and I went exploring the first time we got inside. We found out later that nobody knew the attic was there until we found it. How could people not see the door and the steep, really skinny stairs all these years? We found them because maybe the building liked us? Who knows?

More proof: We were climbing around in the attic and our folks were downstairs, going through boxes of crumbly historical documents, when a delegation from the village came in to speak with them. They wanted a progress report on what we had found, only our first full day there, after the welcoming party/luncheon. I heard the door creak-bang open and signaled Harry to be quiet. He was in the middle of leaping from one rafter support beam to the next. Kind of hard to land on the next beam without making noise, but he managed.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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

The building where the investigative society met was reputed to be haunted. Harry and I speculated for a short time that our folks were going to be asked to determine if it really was haunted, or if something else explained the odd noises and lights and visions that people experienced. I was of the opinion that it might just turn out to be another "weak place" in the fabric of space and time, something like what the whole town of Neighborlee protected. I wanted to wander the village and determine if this village had their local equivalent of Divine's Emporium and Angela. It made sense to me that other places in the world needed something and someone to reinforce the weak spots and channel all the magic and weirdness for profitable use. The person and the shop would protect the village from the rest of the world, and the rest of the world from the village.

Harry liked my theory, and we had an enjoyable two hours going about on scooters provided by our host at the little guest house/hotel where we were staying. Then we had to get down to the haunted building to meet up with everyone for lunch. We got there about five minutes early. We could look down the street that ran straight through the village to the other end, where the bookstore was, and see the people coming out the front door.

A couple was sitting on a bench in front of the building. This was our introduction to Jake and Emma Crowder. They were researchers like Mum and Pop. And Harry's parents. I never made the connection until years later. Emma and Jake were midway between Mum and Pop and Harry's parents, meaning they did a lot more "unofficial" government-type investigations than our folks did, but they didn't get into trouble and danger to the point of threatening their lives, like Harry's birth parents did. At least, not at the time we met them.

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.

Monday, January 8, 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.


Then the nightmares started, and that took away most of the fun.

I never woke up screaming, never talked in my sleep, but after the third time I jumped out of bed and ran around the room I shared with three other girls, checking to make sure the door and windows were securely shut and locked, people noticed. Fortunately, I never flew around the room, although after the sixth nightmare, when I didn't wake up until I had reached the door, that worried me. All I could tell anybody when they complained about me waking them up was that I heard someone trying to get into our cottage.

The girls in my room were nice and didn't tell anybody but Miss Abby. The other girls in our house weren't so nice when I got out of our bedroom and checked the rest of the house. They complained, and word got around. About a week before Christmas, Kurt overheard the complaints and the teasing, and he confronted me.

"Do you feel like a kind of itching in your feet?" he said, when we were tucked up safe in our "talking place" behind the stage in the social hall. He sighed, more like a groan, and slumped back against the wall. "You know, like when I can feel our superpowers working."

"You can feel them. I can't," I reminded him.

"Yeah, but I'm getting weird dreams too. Is someone trying to get through the walls, scratching at them all the time?"

"It's not people," I told him, my voice dropping to a whisper.

Kurt looked at me very solemnly, looking much older than his nearly-nine years. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

 Excerpt from Chapter 12 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            "Uncle Karl -- "

            "You know," he continued with a smile and a little shrug, "you're a grown woman, Darcy.  Don't you think you could leave off the 'Uncle' from now on?  You make me feel rather ancient."  He chuckled.

            "I'll try."  Silently, she promised herself she would never address him by name again.  Darcy realized that calling him 'uncle' somehow put a nice safe barrier between them.  She didn't want to lose that protection.

            "Now, I want you to know that I will always be here to look after you, Darcy.  I promised your father when he first adopted you that I would watch over your welfare."

            "You don't have to."

            "But it's my duty.  I promised Josh."

            "Daddy asked Duncan to look out for Mom and me.  I heard him," she couldn't resist saying.

            Darcy felt a chill when she saw a flicker of anger in Immerman's eyes.

            "Be that as it may, my dear, you are, as they say, stuck with me."  He chuckled and patted her hand.  His felt cold and heavy.  "Now, to cheer you up, I have decided to give you one of  your birthday presents early.  Are you ready?"

            "No, please -- "  She stopped short, knowing herself defeated when Immerman set a tiny, antique, brown velvet-covered jewelry box on the table in front of her bowl.

            The velvet was worn off at the corners.  The trim was gold and it had a tiny, sparkling clasp.  Darcy hoped it wasn't a diamond.

            At his urging, she picked up the box and opened it.  Inside, nestled in white satin slightly yellowed at the edges, was a ring of yellow gold studded with sapphire chips.  Despite the cold, heavy feeling settling into her stomach, Darcy couldn't repress an indrawn breath. It was beautiful in simplicity. Nothing could negate that.

            "I knew you'd like it." Immerman chuckled and took hold of her hand to slip the ring onto her finger.  "I have been waiting nineteen years to give you that ring, my dear Darcy.  It belonged to someone very precious to me."

            Everyone precious to him, Immerman had killed.

            Darcy managed to stumble through her thanks. Immerman seemed to think she was stunned, and chuckled as he walked away.  She waited, wishing she could sense an Immortal's presence like her father so she could be sure he was gone.  She forced herself to finish her breakfast.  It had no taste.

Friday, January 5, 2018


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


Angela was, is, and likely always will be, one of those ageless women, with long, oval face and sculpted cheekbones. She has an incredible, thick, long fall of hair in a dozen shades of gold, with hints of strawberry in it, and big eyes that are usually blue—different shades, depending on her mood—but can sometimes seem gray and sometimes hint at green. The day I met her, she wore her usual handkerchief print blue dress with draping sleeves and no waist, what some might call a granny dress or hippie dress. Since it was August, she wore sandals.

"Do you know what a wish is, Lanie?" Angela asked me, once I was settled on the counter, with my legs hanging off the edge, braced on one arm and gazing into the Wishing Ball.

"It's something you want really bad lots, only it's kind of hard to get." I saw her reflection next to mine in the dark rainbow swirling surface of the ball, and tore my gaze away from it long enough to meet her incredible blue eyes. "And sometimes it's something you want really bad lots for other people, because they need it a whole lots more than you."

"Really? Like what?" Her smile softened and turned thoughtful, and she glanced at Mrs. Silvestri, who was standing behind me with one hand resting on my back. Like she thought I might fall off the counter?

"Like…" I turned to look at Mrs. Silvestri. Thinking back, I can't really say what concerned me more. Revealing orphanage secrets? Or revealing that I was very good at standing by the fence and listening to the children talking and playing on the other side of the tall wooden slats, to learn about the world outside the baby cottage? "Ginny Olsen wants her aunt to come back from Indiana and adopt her."

"How in the world…" Mrs. Silvestri patted my back and let out a little sighing chuckle. "Ginny's only worthwhile relative is a missionary in India. She wants the girl, but the other relatives won't let her take custody and take her out of the country. At the same time, none of them will bestir themselves to take custody themselves. They'd rather let the government be responsible for her." She stepped around the side of the counter to look me in the eye. "Where did you hear that, Lanie?"

"At the playground."

For some reason, after staring at me for a moment with her mouth dropping open, Mrs. S laughed. Then she kissed me on my forehead. Angela smiled and nodded, and for the first time I got that full-chest feeling that was partly relief, partly amazement, and the knowledge that I had pleased her.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


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


The thing is, for a nearly-five-year-old, I had no idea that I couldn't or shouldn't kinda-sorta fly or hover or whatever the formal label was for what I could do. I just figured it was another ability that was part of growing up, like tying my shoes, counting past one hundred, telling time, and reading. By this time, I had already figured out that learning a new trick before one of the adults showed me how to do it earned some uncomfortable attention. I didn't get in trouble for learning to read and tie my shoes faster than normal, but the fuss and extra attention made me uncomfortable.

Explain to me why it's so unusual to learn how to read by leaning over the shoulder of the person reading to us before bed, and picking out the words on the page and following along? Just pay attention, and it's easy to learn dozens of necessary tricks to get along in the world. Of course, being less than five years old, I didn't have that reasoning worked out in my head, I just did what worked. Explaining what I hadn't verbalized was next to impossible.

By the time I walked into Divine's, I had figured out that it was smart to keep new tricks hidden until I saw other kids near my age doing the same thing. So, I kept my hovering to myself, and practiced at night, when everybody was asleep, or when I was alone on the playground behind the cottage.

That day in Divine's, though, I cast my five-year-old caution aside and was ready to raise myself up for a closer look at the Wishing Ball. I was still attached to Mrs. Silvestri, like a kite on a string.

Angela walked in just as my feet got about three inches off the floor. She smiled at me, winked, and gestured down at the floor with a flick of her fingers. I settled back down and she came around the counter, pulled out a four-step ladder, and put it next to the counter on the end, giving me a more ordinary path up to the Wishing Ball. Right that moment, I knew this pretty blond lady who smiled at me like we had an enormous secret—and who didn't shout in astonishment at what she saw—was going to be a very good friend. Mrs. Silvestri introduced me to Angela while I climbed up, my gaze on her the whole time, and that was when Angela told me it was called the Wishing Ball.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Coming: New Book in the Neighborlee, Ohio series

January 11, Uncial Press will release the next book in the humorous fantasy series, NEIGHBORLEE, OHIO.


This is the sequel to GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE, where Lanie Zephyr, wheelchair-bound comedian and semi-pseudo-superhero guardian of Neighborlee tells the story of her life, from growing up in the Neighborlee Children's Home, meeting the other Lost Kids and developing "rules" for their Gifts, to learning their destiny and duty as guardians for the weird little town of Neighborlee.

DORM RATS continues the story. Lanie is in high school and visiting England with her investigative writer parents, Charlie and Rainbow Zephyr. Of course, odd things always happen to the Zephyrs. Lanie finishes high school, survives Senior Prank Night, and goes on to college.

That's when things get interesting. It appears that someone has maneuvered the housing situation at Willis-Brooks College to experiment on the freshman class. Instead of lab rats, are they dorm rats? Magic, the power of belief, Time Lords who have no control over time travel, the perils of student teaching, and other adventures fill Lanie's life, up until a pivotal Senior Prank Night when everything changes for her.

You can pre-order DORM RATS now, through Kindle and Kobo.

Want more information on Neighborlee and the other stories set in the weird little town that's a combination of Roswell, Eureka, and Buffy's Sunnyvale -- just minus the vampires and weird science? CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


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

From Uncial Press


Anyway, Divine's definitely welcomed me. I stood there for a few seconds, staring at the Wishing Ball, with my hand firmly tucked in Mrs. Silvestri's, just amazed. I wanted to get up there, and I was playing with the idea of using my trick to get up to the counter for a closer look, when Angela walked into the room.

My trick was something I had discovered quite by accident, just a few months before. I was momentarily unsupervised at the cottage while the houseparents were busy with the babies. I wanted a cookie and I didn't want to wait for someone to open the cupboard and get it for me, so I climbed up onto the table in the kitchen and walked across it to the counter. A logical progression for a nearly-five-year-old, right? The problem was the four-foot gap between the kitchen table and the counter. I didn't stop to think, I just took a couple steps back and made a running leap, like I had seen someone do on TV the night before.

My jump took me up to the top of the cupboards, and I hung there in the air, for a good ten seconds before drifting down to the shelf where the cookies sat out in plain view.

I could fly. Kinda-sorta fly. Not zipping through the air like a jet like a certain alien superhero. More like controlled gliding, or going straight up, hovering, and coming straight down. When I got older, that talent made it possible to get incredible photos. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Monday, January 1, 2018


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

From Uncial Press

Lanie was a Lost Kid -- a toddler found by the side of the road, with no one to claim her. She ended up in the Neighborlee Children's Home, where her long journey to become a semi-pseudo-superhero began. She and her friend Kurt, and later Felicity, made up the "rules" for what they were and what they could do as they went along. Most of the time, they borrowed them from comic books.

Lanie could kinda-sorta fly and move things with telekinesis. Kurt could invent and make broken machines work when all mechanical laws said they shouldn't. Felicity gave off uncontrollable EM bursts and controlled dogs. Where the trio came from and how they got to Neighborlee faded into the background when faced with the really big questions: Why were they the way they were and how could they do the things they did? Were they aliens? Genetic experiments? Mutations? Should they look for a spaceship? Should they fear the Men in Black or the CIA?
Adventures and misadventures tested their imagination, their loyalty, and their courage as they explored their abilities and their world. And one thing became perfectly clear: the Lost Kids were as necessary to guard Neighborlee from the rest of the world, as they were vital to protect the rest of the world from the everyday weirdness and magic of Neighborlee.