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.
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.