Do you VELLA?

The (slightly) redacted files.

I have a story in Vella, introducing a new character.
Jane is an agent-in-training who thinks she messes up big-time during her graduation assignment.
Then she KNOWS she messed up, when she gets an assignment that is just on the edge of humiliating. She’s waiting for the day the Agency wipes her memories and sets her down in a new, boring life.
Until Dr. Noway, a minion of the evil mastermind B.L. Zebob, shows up at the school where she’s pretending to be a librarian.
I plan to write a large handful of the slightly redacted, slightly embarrassing, majorly snarky adventures of Jane Stocks — license to spill.
(And yes, if you notice a resemblance to a certain well-known British intelligence officer … it’s on purpose. With the titles, anyway.)

Check out my page on Amazon/Kindle Vella, read the first three episodes for free, and plan on getting hooked!

Christmas Book Box, Anyone?

Hey, gang — I’m thrilled to announce that everything is on track to have an AUDIOBOOK ready in time for the release of ALLERGIC TO MISTLETOE, the next Neighborlee, Ohio novel.

What could be better?

How about a Christmas-themed BOX to go with the book release?

I’m working on those details right now, but at the top of the list for this must-have, fun item for you and your favorite fantasy reader is a WISHING BALL ORNAMENT, like they give out at the annual decorating party at Divine’s Emporium.

There will be other goodies in the box, including a PRINT copy of ALLERGIC TO MISTLETOE, and ebook downloads, and of course, Christmas candy.

I’d really appreciate people speaking up now to let me know just how much of a demand there will be for the box, which will be mailed December 1, in time for Christmas gift giving. I’m looking at a price of $35, which includes shipping costs in the continental United States — and if you order more than one package at a time, a $3 discount on each package.

I’m kind of getting excited, the more I work on this special gift package for Neighborlee readers and friends.

So speak up and semi-reserve your box!

Got your WOLFMAN on?

The Wolfman.

Where does the Hollywood version end and folklore begin? What is the truth about the wolfman, the werewolf, the were, the lycan, the skinwalker and shapeshifter?

You know what? It doesn’t matter!

Because between the pages of this new book, we invite you to explore and enjoy and shiver and cry and laugh and cheer and sigh and even fall in love with the amazing imaginations of seventeen authors, who explore their own particular twists and turns and reflections on just what it means — or could mean — to be the Wolf.

Just which version do you believe in? Lost soul — cursed victim — avenger — motherless child — star-crossed lover — lonely heart — healer — music lover — loyal friend — hero?

Which version of the Wolfman most resonates with you?

Open the book, explore, and find out.

He could be someone you know. He could be the “boy next door.” He could be you …

COMING OCTOBER 15 from Ye Olde Dragon Books.

Working on that Filk?

(referring back to the previous blog post — contest to win ebooks or the newest Defender adventure or audiobooks (which are currently in process))

To help you write that filk, with the required title of, “All The Boys I’ve Loathed Before,” below is a sample of the current rough draft of the Defender novel with the same title, to be released (hopefully!) December 1:

M’kar was only eight years old, but she had learned to be definite and certain about many things in her short life. She loathed the brutal storms of late summer, when not even land-cart travel was safe. She loathed nearly all of her cousins. She loathed being the only daughter of the bloodline. And she especially loathed Ke’jor and Ke’niq, sons of the Rissor clan, who had gotten themselves stranded — so they claimed — on her clan’s lands just hours before the latest series of storms stomped across the landscape. Well, maybe she didn’t loathe Ke’niq, but he was a boy, and she rarely had a chance to talk privately with him. She enjoyed meeting and playing with him because he despised her cousins and doing so infuriated his cousin. Ke’jor was constantly demanding her attention and shoving his younger cousin aside. M’kar loathed Ke’jor more than anything or anyone in her short life, because he told her at least ten times every day that she was going to marry him when they were grown up. He laughed every time she said no. He laughed more when her father took her knife away before she could give Ke’jor a dishonorable scar. She loathed him. Simply and fiercely.

Correction. She loathed him equally with the source of the shrieking and wailing and banging that would begin soon on the gates of the main doors of the clan house. Even sitting in the high tower in the southern wing of the clan house, she could hear the growing shrieking and the wailing of doog horns approaching the gates on the northern side of the sprawling house. Fifteen stories high, and ten levels below ground, with nearly one thousand rooms. Doog horns were clear enough indication of who was stupid and stubborn enough to approach the gates while the storm still prevented land-cart travel, forget about air-car travel. Air-cars were grounded until winter had passed. Yet another self-appointed prophet or holy man had decided to earn the favor and protection of the ancestors before the winter storms settled in, and came to demand yet again that the half-blood girl be handed over to him, for the good of the planet. M’kar made a bet with herself on exactly when she would hear the thuds of fists and scrolls, and the clatter of prophecy sticks against the outer gates. She sighed and headed for her parents’ suite of rooms in the western wing, but she didn’t hurry. They weren’t home. The coming visitor probably knew that. She made another bet with herself on which of her many uncles and great-uncles and cousins had let the crazy, filthy old man know her parents were gone, and which ones would be lying in wait, hoping to catch her. “Hoping” being the operative word. She had the scars and resulting honor tattoos to prove that she wasn’t easy prey, not for kidnappers or assassins.

Contest: Can you FILK?

All right — first question: Do you know what FILKING is?

Basically, it’s a fandom thing. People take a well-known tune and then put new words to it, about their favorite fandom, either a movie series, TV show, or book series.

I need YOU to put on your creative cap and do some filking for me.

AFV Defender Book 3, ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOATHED BEFORE, is coming out in December (at least, that’s the plan, I keep getting sidetracked from revisions and editing …)

We kind of go backward in time and show you a few important episodes from M’kar’s childhood and years at the Academy on Le’anka.

If you’ve read HERE THERE WERE DRAGONS, there’s an episode that sort of gets glossed over, during which M’kar has an odd adventure on Nisandros, her homeworld, which she doesn’t want to talk about. She promises to report to her captain later on the details, and refers to it as the “All The Boys I’ve Loathed Before incident.”

10/03/21 UPDATE: Loathe will come out in mid-2022, rather than December. In its place will be the 1st book in the Young Defenders series, a Middle Grade tie-in series to the AFV Defender books — about the children growing up on the Defender.

Well, NOW’s the time.

So what does this have to do with FILKING?

Write me the lyrics for this adventure — M’kar dealing with some really arrogant, misguided, unreliable, disappointing, power-hungry, socially climbing jerks, who have tried to take advantage of either her telepathic Talent or her Nisandrian blood, her royal status, her diplomatic connections, for their own profit. 

What’s your PRIZE?

Your choice of either all three books in ebook or audio (when I get them recorded, of course — which I hope to have done in time for the release of ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOATHED BEFORE), or the new, third book in paper.

Check back herefor snippets of M’kar’s story as I get them refined and polished, for help in writing the song — and for  the rules and deadline. RULE #1: Write it to the tune of “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.”



Let the silliness begin!

Book Fair at Realm Makers Conference

Are you going to be in St. Louis this Saturday, July 17?

If so, the Olde Dragons would love it if we could meet up, face-to-face, with you.

We’re going to be at the annual Realm Makers Conference, and our BOOK FAIR is Saturday eveningOPEN TO THE PUBLIC, from 7:30 to 10pm in the Versailles Ballroom/foyer, at Sheraton Westport Chalet, 191 W Port Plaza Dr, St. Louis, MO 63146.

So … can you come? Would love to see you!

Meet An Author: Cassandra Hamm

In our When Your Beauty Is The Beast anthology:

Sisterly love, animal shapeshifters, and plant curses—what could be better?

“Shadow of the Cinchona Grove” is a Latinx-inspired Beauty and the Beast retelling that takes place in a South America garden. Here’s the description:

Rosa is a Verdora, a gardener who can speak to plants. When she finds her best friend Manuel, a jaguar shapeshifter, threatening her sister Hortensia, she realizes something is wrong with him—something connected to a strange, dying rosebush that refuses to communicate with her. Though it may cost Rosa her coveted job at the gobernador’s garden, she is determined to unravel the mystery—because if she doesn’t, she will lose Manuel forever. 

“Shadow of the Cinchona Grove” is set in a world of nature magic, where those with animales magia (animal magic) are a higher class than those with verdores magia (plant magic). It’s a world I plan to explore again in a sequel about Hortensia, Rosa’s sister. Perhaps I will eventually write an entire novel about this alluring jungle!

Now for a bit more about me:

Cassandra Hamm is a psychology nerd, jigsaw puzzler, and hopeless romantic who is usually lost in another world. She fell in love with Latin America during a college missions trip to Bolivia and can’t stop writing Latinx-inspired stories. Her work also appears in other anthologies, including Stories that Sing, Bingeworthy, and Sensational from Havok Publishing; Warriors Against the Storm; and Faces to the Sun. She is often found reading fairy tale retellings, especially if they’re middle grade, and her favorite fairy tale is either Rapunzel or the Snow Queen. She can be found on Instagram at @cassandrahammwrites, where she hosts writing prompt contests and fangirls over books, and at

I’m incredibly grateful to Ye Olde Dragon Books for giving my work a chance. It’s an honor to be a part of this incredible anthology.

New Book Release Day!

It’s release day for THE KINDNESS CURSE!

You can now order it from any online vendor, in both print and ebook.

Remember to check out the It’s A Book Launch Party tab for information on how you can participate in the book launch party for THE KINDNESS CURSE this Sunday — via ZOOM!

The Kindness Curse

Merrigan wasn’t really an evil queen. Her royal siblings referred to her as the brat, and she lived down to it.

However, she was married to an evil king. When he lost a fight with a magic apple tree and got himself killed, she did whatever she could to hold onto the kingdom. Including lying to a powerful seer.

Big mistake.

Merrigan was cursed: turned into an old woman, she was doomed to wander until she learned to care about others. With the aid of a magic book named Bib, she encountered a mermaid trying to regain her tail, a soldier with a magic tinderbox, a merchant obsessed with finding magical cloth, a warehouse full of orphans, and a princess allergic to peas.

Forbidden to retrace her steps, she moved from kingdom to kingdom, and totally by accident helped others find their happily-ever-after.

Meet an Author: Kaitlyn Emery

Kaitlyn Emery is one of the authors in Ye Olde Dragon Books’ newest anthology, When Your Beauty Is The Beast. In her story, Curse of the Roses, Beau willingly takes the place of his father as a prisoner under the Rose Curse. Confined to a castle surrounded by an enchantment of snow, Beau discovers an unusual friendship with his fellow cursed castle inhabitant, the lynx-like beast who would prefer to remain nameless. As thorns literally choke the life out of the castle, will Beau and his new-found friend be able to break the curse before their own lives are lost to the destruction of the Rose Curse?

From her earliest recollection, Kaitlyn was a storyteller, but an abusive marriage squelched her creativity and desire to live. But, like all exceptional origin stories, when things seem their lowest, a small flame flickered to life, fighting against the darkness. That flame was the child growing inside her, the greatest story she would ever bring into this world.

It took several years to remove the muzzle place on her by her abuser, but once she did, she never wanted to be silenced again. She began to view fantasy as a gift, because when fantasy and reality collide, hope is born. Darkness, pain, and trials come to everyone. The question is whether those experiences will shape you or break you. Her goal as a writer is to showcase the light of hope against harsh reality.

Kaitlyn is the author of numerous flash fiction stories (as a staff member of Havok Publishing, this seems a natural obsession), has been published in multiple anthologies and is the author of the children’s book The Dragon Ate My Nightlight. To learn more about her, you can visit her website You can also follow her on Instagram (@kaitlyn_scribbling) where she posts about life, writing, and her furry rescues.

Meet An Author: CS Wachter

Author of: “Gaston and the Beast,” in the When Your Beauty IS the Beast anthology.

The idea of writing from Gaston’s point of view after he fell from the castle came to me as an interesting way to explore a unique avenue relating to the Beauty and the Beast tale. I decided to use the Disney version since I thought it would be fun and most familiar to readers. It did prove to be fun to write as I was able to round out the rather flat character. In the films, Gaston is not a likable character and offered me the opportunity to recreate him from a new perspective three years after his (assumed) demise. Writing in first person allowed me to get deep into Gaston’s head as he works through his pain, depression, and anger. I hope the reader will gain a new respect for the once selfish and self-centered antagonist as he becomes the “hero” in his own story.

Bio: C. S. Wachter lives in rural Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, with her husband Joe, one German Shepherd, and three cats. She and Joe have been married for more than forty years and have three sons, one grandson and one granddaughter.

Ms. Wachter earned her degree in Performing Arts and English Education from Rowan University in 1975. She compares developing a character’s perspective to preparing for an acting role. As a life-long lover of books, she has read and enjoyed a variety of genres. However, after reading J. R. R. Tolkien in middle school her favorite has been, and remains to this day, Fantasy with a Christian perspective.

Published Works: 2018 — The Seven Words Epic Fantasy series; The Sorcerer’s Bane (Indies Today 2020 award winner in Religion); The Light Arises; The Deceit of Darkness; The Light Unbound

2019 — Demon’s Legacy: A Worlds of Ochen Short Story (based on The Seven Words series); A Weight of Reckoning (sequel to The Seven Words series)

2020 — Stone Sovereigns YA Fantasy duology; Lander’s Legacy; Lander’s Choice.

Various Flash Fiction pieces for Havok and in their anthology Stories That Sing