The Uncial Letter ~ October 2018

Michelle L. Levigne talks about semi-pseudo superheroes…

If you’ve read the Neighborlee books, you know I use that phrase a lot. Lanie Zephyr and her gang are special, talented, but as she sometimes complains, she didn’t get the “complete” hero package. Shouldn’t invulnerability, or at least speedy healing, come along with the ability to kinda-sorta fly?

You might have noticed Lanie has a snarky sense of humor. Even before she was sentenced to a permanent doorknob-level view of life. She came by that…hmm, not really honestly, because to be honest, I stole that part of Lanie’s personality.

From my real-life superhero, my brother, Dean.

He’s been in a wheelchair since he graduated from a stroller and we determined it was too tricky getting around on crutches. Ever try to navigate a high school hallway on crutches, during class change? Don’t! At church, he was constantly catching his crutch on something—or someone—or hitting a wet patch on the tile and doing a face-plant. I wonder what he’d look like today if he wasn’t constantly using his face as a landing pad…?

Anyway!

Dean is my inspiration, my live-in comedian—and yeah, my handicapped parking pass. Sometimes he comes in handy at amusement parks, to get to the head of the line, or good parking spots, or trading in concert tickets for better seats. When we were kids, we were at a county fair and went through the games area. Guys in the booths kept calling us over and handing Dean prizes. I’m talking the big stuffed dogs and bears and monkeys at least two feet tall.

It’s not all freebies and priority parking and seating for the wheelchair-bound. Weird things happen. One time, Mom left Dean in his wheelchair by the mall door, while she went to get the car. By the time she returned, a little old lady had stopped and given him a quarter for ice cream. As Dean puts it, “I didn’t have the heart to tell her ice cream cones cost a dollar!” He was maybe in junior high, and starting to work out. How could anyone mistake Mr. Bumpy-arms for Tiny Tim? (Nowadays, he could pass for Lt. Dan, maybe …) I’m still scratching my head on that one.

Then there was the time he fell and slammed his foot against the corner of the wall. He didn’t find out until a week later that he broke his foot. The doctor put a walking cast on it and of course Dean asked, “Will I be able to walk when you take it off?”

(Ba-da-boom)

He learned to survive by finding the humor in the stupid, crazy, inexplicable, sometimes unfair things that happened to him. Humor can be a defensive weapon better than heat-ray vision or a sonic scream or talons. Yeah, he has some kryptonite issues, but his friends help him deal with them.  When that fails, he messes with people’s brains until they bounce around the room. Brains and people.

He’s my hero, he’s my inspiration, and as long as he keeps dissecting the weirdness of the world around us, Lanie Zephyr will continue to have new material and new observations about just how much stranger fact is than fiction.

~*~

Yes, we’re returning to Neighborlee, Ohio, this month. That’s always a treat, particularly when it’s to share another chapter in Lanie Zephyr’s unusual life. This one comes a while after the accident that put her into the wheelchair, a situation that hasn’t slowed her down. In fact, with wheels she may be even harder to stop.

Lanie’s brothers are staying with her while their parents are off on a research journey, but they haven’t call in too long, so their kids are beginning to worry. And then life gets complicated when Lanie is told she’s going to lose her job as sports reporter for the local paper and become advisor to the lovelorn. Sheesh! About then a series of nasty incidents convince her that someone wishes her ill, a situation that intensifies until she realizes she’s in real danger. It’s time she takes some steps, and woe betide anyone who makes a semi-pseudo-superhero like Lanie angry.

Living Proof was a nominee for eBook of the Month for October at Long and Short Reviews: ” Magic, fantasy and the mystery of who is trying to kill her all weave together to make this another fabulous Neighborlee book.” $6.99, ISBN 978-1-60174-244-5.

If you haven’t been to that delightful, peculiar town yet, you don’t know what you are missing. You’ll find all the Neighborlee, Ohio, stories at our website.

Another Psy Squad adventure awaits you in November. When Dani Donovan got a new heart, she got more than that. She became psychic. When she decides to learn more about her sudden gift, she is catapulted into adventure, danger, and—just perhaps—love. Number 5 in the series, Beating Heart by Linda Palmer is not to be missed.

Way back in October, 2006, we released our first eight ebooks, all of them reprints because, well, we wanted more than one or two lonely books for our website to start with. Seven of them were from Judith B. Glad’s “Behind the Ranges” historical romance  series, which begins with The Queen of Cherry Vale,  and the other was a delightful British mystery, Tainted Tea for Two, by Susanne Marie Knight. So whenever you are in the mood to spend some exciting hours in the Old West of the mid-nineteenth century, or some suspenseful ones in modern England, now you know where to go.

Of course, you can also take a look at what we’ve offered recently, because we’re still promising you extraordinary e-reads at Uncial Press.

Star & Jude

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