Neighborlee

Welcome to Neighborlee, Ohio.

Where? Somewhere on the North Coast of Ohio, south of Cleveland, right off I-71, north of Medina, in the heart of Cuyahoga County.

What is it? That’s a little harder to explain. Neighborlee is a place you need to experience.

The most important thing you need to understand: Neighborlee is magic. Some people say the town is alive. It exists to protect the weird and wonderful (and sometimes a little bit scary) from the cold, practical, material world.

More important, Neighborlee protects the outside world from the weird and wonderful that come to visit … and sometimes come to stay.

First stop: Divine’s Emporium, a four-story Victorian house sitting on a hill overlooking the Metroparks. Whatever you really need, you can find at Divine’s. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for when you walk in the door. The shop is often bigger inside than it is outside. Angela is the proprietor. Please stay on the first floor. You don’t want to find out what is hidden and locked safely away upstairs. Like Aslan, Angela is good, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe. And neither are the secrets and wonders and doorways to other worlds that she protects … and keeps securely locked.

Come in and explore. Meet the people who help Angela guard Neighborlee. Share their adventures of magic and wonder, danger and sacrifice. You never know who or what you’ll run into as you walk the streets and listen to the stories of their lives.

Neighborlee, Ohio Book 1

Lost Kids: toddlers found on the outskirts of town. When no one claims them, they grow up at the Neighborlee Children’s Home. Some are adopted, some develop superpowers, and some vanish without explanation.

Lanie is a Lost Kid. She teams up with Kurt and Felicity, two other Lost Kids, to figure out what they are, and why they are. Mutants? Escaped genetic experiments? Alien visitors?  And if so, just how do they phone home?

As Lanie and her friends learn what they can do, and develop rules for their superpowers from reading comic books, they join the other guardians of Neighborlee. Sometimes they protect the magic, the weird and wonderful of Neighborlee from the world — and sometimes they have to protect the world from the mysteries and dangers of Neighborlee.

High school is rough enough, but the town of Neighborlee, Ohio, has traditions that make it even harder — culminating in Senior Prank Night, when some seniors try to ensure they never walk through graduation. Lanie and her friends even have to cut short their own Senior Prank Nights to protect their classmates. It’s rough being a semi-pseudo-superhero, especially when you don’t even get a costume or a cool name.

Lanie and her friends grow into their duties as guardians. The threats to Neighborlee grow darker as enemies gather from many different directions. Other worlds. Other dimensions. Possibly even the Lost Kids who were stolen years ago.  The guardians do whatever it takes to protect their home.

And sometimes the guardians pay the ultimate price.

Athena Longfellow and Doni Halliday are granddaughters of one of Neighborlee’s guardians, Ford Longfellow. When danger threatens Neighborlee, the girls awaken to their duties and their gifts, and slowly grow into their heritage.

Athena, the computer whiz, finds and experiments with an unusual video camera at Divine’s Emporium. She records Doni, and then records a room at the shop — and inadvertently opens a door to another dimension. Properly frightened, she shuts down the program behind firewalls. Enemy invasion thwarted. For now.

She doesn’t realize she also created a virtual copy of Doni, until an advanced computer class in college, when the artificial intelligence that calls herself London Holiday “moves into” her team’s class project.

Athena suddenly has a good idea how Dr. Frankenstein felt. The question is: If she has to pull the plug on London Holiday … how?

Lanie saved her student’s life on Senior Prank Night, but broke her back and blunted some of her semi-pseudo-superhero powers.

Now it’s four years later, and Lanie’s orderly life is starting to fall apart.

Her brothers are living with her while their parents are out of the country on another book research trip.

Not so bad, but their parents have missed two check-in phone calls already.

The newspaper where Lanie works has been taken over by a conglomerate she now refers to as the Evil Empire — and she loses her beloved school sports beat, to write the (gag) lovelorn column.

Then Col. Hayward shows up to say their parents have vanished … near the Bermuda Triangle.

A series of increasingly nasty pranks lead her to believe someone is out to get her.

But worst of all, Christmas is only a few weeks away and she hasn’t started her Christmas shopping or her holiday baking spree.

It’s enough to make a semi-pseudo-superhero hang up her cape!

Oh, yeah, she never had one to begin with …

The shadows from Lanie’s past continue to haunt her and her friends as Neighborlee moves from Christmas to New Year’s Eve. Something or someone is tampering with the magical defenses of the town. Things and people disappear and reappear, with no explanation, and gaps in memories and time. An age-old nemesis is gathering its strength for another attempt to shatter the door that Divine’s Emporium holds shut.

Sylvia Grandstone returns, and she’s got her sights set on Daniel, Lanie’s new boss. It’s the same old Grandstone scheme to gain power and wealth by any means possible, including marriage. It would be easy to blame Sylvia for the new problems and mysteries, applying the Jessica Fletcher theory of crime-solving: the most famous guest artist is the murderer. However, Sylvia’s years in Hollywood never got her anywhere near star status, and no one would ever believe she could be a criminal mastermind. Or so the guardians would like to believe.

As New Year’s Eve approaches at Eden, the Neighborlee community center, the disappearances and time gaps increase. Instead of trying to convince town officials to cancel the New Year’s Eve party, the guardians prepare for a showdown, and brace themselves to do what they have always done: defend the people of Neighborlee from the outside world, and defend the outside world from the magic and wonder and general weirdness that is Neighborlee, Ohio.

Jane Wilson disappeared when she was a child. When she learned to make herself invisible, her teachers made her disappear from Neighborlee Children’s Home. And just in time, too — before some nasty folks known only as the Rivals tried to take her away, to turn her into a weapon.

Years later, she used her semi-pseudo-superhero powers to become the Ghost, defender of the little town of Fendersburg. The plan was to attract the attention of the Rivals, and lure them into a trap. Unfortunately, the people of Fendersburg got lazy, and soon grew so dependent on the Ghost to fix all their problems, they stopped thinking for themselves.

So Jane quit being the Ghost. In the wake of the odd events during the holidays in Neighborlee, she returned to her roots. Her mission:

Find out what happened to all the Lost Kids who lived in Neighborlee Children’s Home.

Find out what the Rivals are looking for in Neighborlee.

Find the guardians.

Engagements have become a contagious disease in Neighborlee!

In between helping friends plan their weddings, Lanie deals with a dog (that is much more than a dog) that has moved in with her.

Then there’s an unwanted match from a dating service that might be planted by enemies of the guardians.

While the guardians slowly make contact with possible allies, they sift through warehouses full of information about their enemies, the Rivals, and discover a new problem: Daniel, Lanie’s new boss, might be an enemy spy …

Maurice used his Fae magic to help the downtrodden and abused. But when he went too far, the Powers-That-Be decided he needed to learn humility, self-restraint, and mercy. They took away most of his magic, shrunk him down to five inches, and slapped wings on his back that no self-respecting Fae would be caught dead in. Then they exiled him to the Human realms, to work out his sentence helping Humans. 

His destination: Divine’s Emporium, a curiosity shop touched with magic, on the edge of the odd town of Neighborlee, Ohio. 

His parole officer: Angela, the proprietress of Divine’s Emporium, touched with magic and a shadowy past of her own. 

His sentence: Help the Humans who come into Divine’s to find answers, freedom, their own magic, and true love. Not necessarily in that order. 

His problem: How does a five-inch-tall Fae, invisible to most Humans, win the heart of the ugly duckling who has caught his interest, his sympathy, and then his heart — when she can’t see or hear him?

What do a pregnant, shape-changing, interdimensional visitor, a questionable summer job at an even more questionable new business, a college life sciences project, and returning nemeses have to do with finally finding out what happened to Charlie and Rainbow Zephyr?

That’s what Lanie and her growing team of allies are trying to figure out.


Cerb is back, with Loralee, the “girl” of his dreams — both of them stuck in dog shape while on Earth — and looking forward to a “blessed event.” Instead of suffering cravings, Loralee digs up Lanie’s yard, in her sleep, uncovering jewels and bones and trouble.

Then there are strange visions that result from unwise exploration of Black Water Pool and Jinx’s pond. Both are off-limits spots in the quarries that have been seriously and strangely affected by past magic. And Senior Prank Night escapades.

When magically altered water seems to open a doorway to view the past, Lanie and her brothers take  advantage of a chance to figure out what happened to their parents in Bermuda, going on two years ago. The question is if they’re preparing to rescue their parents — or if they are the cause of the mystery after all.

Christmas in Neighborlee means magic. This year more than ever. The Fae have come to visit. And hide. And seek true love.

Lori is allergic to mistletoe, thanks to a traumatic encounter with Dickens. She comes to Neighborlee to hide from matchmaking relatives.

Bethany just wants a quiet Christmas with her dad, but her rising stardom is getting in the way. Her double magical heritage just complicates things.

Harry might be able to help her, thanks to a malfunctioning invisibility spell.

Wilfred and Philomena are best friends, have been for centuries, and want to be much more. Do they have the courage to admit it to each other?

Then there’s Maurice. The terms of his exile interfere with his courtship of Holly, the librarian who can only see him in her dreams.

They all need a Christmas miracle.

Just when the guardians of Neighborlee believe they can relax and enjoy the results of their labors, a new enemy makes a strike, aiming at some newcomers who have come to town seeking shelter. Is this another, roundabout attempt to break down the defensive shield around the town, or a more sinister plot?

Are the attacks aimed ultimately at Angela?

Clues indicate this isn’t a new enemy at all, but an old enemy making another attempt to get a foothold in Neighborlee and perhaps steal not just magic, but break open the gates that Divine’s Emporium and Angela keep securely closed.

What type of magic is this that seems to be active only at night, and disintegrates with the coming of dawn?

Equinox: Maurice has a day of full-size freedom to spend with his true love, Holly. Their day of fun ends in panic, when Angela is attacked and the defenses of Divine’s Emporium are breached. In the search to find out who hired thieves to steal books full of inimical magic from the shop and provided them with magic charms to do it, Angela’s memories are stirred. Strange dreams disturb her sleep and she asks questions she hasn’t thought of in decades.

Ethan Jarrod, a particularly gifted P.I. with some mysteries of his own, joins forces with local P.I. John Stanzer to identify Angela’s enemies. Is Jarrod the knight from her dreams, or the final weapon of her enemies, to destroy all the magic of Divine’s Emporium and Angela herself?

What a difference a year makes!

But obviously not enough to erase or blur memories.

When an invasion of Men in Black, or possibly Blues Brothers wannabes come to Neighborlee, the guardians are on the alert.

Dark shadows from Pastor Rocky’s past and the Grandstones seem to be the newest tools of an ancient enemy to try to tear down the gates that Divine’s Emporium and Angela hold closed against inimical forces from other dimensions.

Just when Lanie and Daniel are getting up the courage to admit their relationship has changed, a happily ever after for the friends and couples and families and allies of Neighobrlee … might just be canceled after all.

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