The Royal Magician of Oz Trilogy is a 3 volume tale of magic and wonder that recalls the cherished values of friendship, loyalty and courage. This timeless tale of Oz reminds us of the value of overcoming our deepest fears and conquering the challenges that might otherwise defeat us.

Volume One; Magician of Oz, Volume Two; Shadow Demon of Oz and Volume Three; Family of Oz are now available for your reading enjoyment.

Recently completed, The Ozian Adventure of Pickleless & Blu and The Emerald Slippers of Oz, featuring an Introduction by
Roger S. Baum; great grandson of L. Frank Baum,
are also
available for your reading enjoyment.

All are available in both paperback and Kindle.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Ionia Wizard of Oz Festival and the Tails of Oz

So, it's been 2 weeks since we attended the Wizard of Oz festival in Ionia, Michigan and time has finally permitted me the chance to blog about this wonderful festival.

As usual, we start at the beginning, though this time, the beginning is about 60 miles north of our starting point as we pass by the Pinwheel Fields, made famous in Family of Oz, the third volume of the Royal Magician of Oz trilogy, written by yours truly... me!

Once we arrived in the little Michigan town of Ionia, we settled in for the night and the following morning found us in downtown Ionia with visions of Oz dancing through our heads.

Of course, Ionia is dominated by the Red Brick Road, which can mean only one thing... this town is in the dominion of Quadling Country of Oz, and thus ruled by Glinda: Good Witch of the South.

Hmm... seems that Oz is filled with Glinda's, Dorothy's and Toto's, oh my!

And of course, what Land of Oz would be complete without a few Wicked Witches thrown in for good measure?

Once we arrived in downtown, we found our author location and was very pleased to be located in front of the local cinema, which I'm told has been around since before the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz movie was released.

During our set-up, I ran across an old projector in the back of the theater which seems to have inspired my mind to imagine the possibilities. I'm told this old projector was in use during 1939 and actually projected The Wizard of Oz onto the silver screen. Much like when I saw an old cobbler's leather cutting tool and it inspired me to create Cobbler the Dog as the "Unwilling Villain" in Family of Oz, or the trains that passed through Chesterton, Indiana every hour on the hour and inspired me to write about them in The Ozian Adventure of Pickleless & Blue, the old projector has inspired me to create a new character for our newest Oz adventure, Nomes of Oz. How it will impact the story, who can say?

Once we were set-up, it was a full day of meeting fans of Oz, selling and signing quite a few books and having ourselves an overall great time!

We had attended this festival for the first time last year and were very pleased with the reception we had received and the kindness of everyone involved with the festival. This year was even more successful, both in attendance, sales and the overall impact this festival had on us personally.

We were especially pleased to see that Mary St. Ellen Aubin  was the featured guest. She is a Munchkin-by-Marriage and one of the most gregarious ambassadors of Oz any festival could hope for.

Owing to the fact that only one Muchkin from the Wizard of Oz movie is still among us, that being Jerry Marin (the Lollipop Munchkin from the Lollipop Guild), and he no longer attends Oz festivals, Mary St. Ellen Aubin does her part on behalf of Oz admirably.

The highlight of the festival, besides the costumed characters who made their rounds throughout the festival throughout the day,

was a screening of the Wizard of Oz movie at the local cinema. Best of all, the ticket price was the same as it was in 1939... 25 cents!

Needless to say, the house was sold out!

One very unique thing the theater did in cahoots (now there's a word you don't hear much anymore) with the Oz folks was to have the costumed characters appear and wander about through the theater during their appearance in the movie. I've never seen that done before and I thought it was a brilliant idea... and most magical in its effect on the audience. The kids, and the adults, were enraptured by the whole experience and The Wizard of Oz on the big screen is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

One odd feature of the festival, which I liked, was the inclusion of a showing of travel trailers, campers and the like.

I was also pleased to see that my co-author, Ron Baxley, Jr., was attending this great festival for the first time. We co-authored a trilogy of books which blend Oz and Wonderland together in a most wonderful way and was recently picked up by Maple Creek Press and offered as a combined, single volume trilogy known as Of Cabbages, Kings, Queens, Flying Pigs, and Dismal Thing. By his own account, our book was very well received by all in attendance.

Overall, Amanda and I had a wonderful time and we look forward to attending next year's festival. We are especially grateful to Linda Curtis and all the fine volunteers who made this year's Wizard of Oz festival so much fun. Without them, no Oz festival could really get off the ground, even if a twister should come by!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Oz-Stravaganza 2015 and the Tails of Oz!

It's been several weeks since Amanda and I attended the biggest Wizard of Oz festival in the nation, which is known as Oz-Stravaganza and takes place in Chittenango, New York (birthplace of L. Frank Buam; author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900 & 13 other Oz books) and I finally have the time to blog about what a great experience it was.

As usual, we take Glinda's advice when she says that "it's always best to start at the beginning."

The journey from the Land of the Hoosiers to the Land of Oz usually takes us 2 days as we don't like doing a 12 hour drive all in one day. As such, we overnighted near Erie, Pennsylvania, which is the halfway point of our journey.

Once there, it's no secret that we've made it to Oz.

And what birthplace of L. Frank Baum wouldn't be complete without a field of poppies, as well as a tribute to the Royal Historian of Oz.

Arriving on Friday, we joined in the opening ceremonies and found our place in the Royal Tent, where all the Special Guests, Authors and Artists were situated.

 The following morning found us at the local church for the Pancake Breakfast Meet & Greet with the local parishioners. The food was wonderful and we found Ron Baxley, Jr., my co-author on our Oz/Wonderland trilogy and a good friend as well.
Before the madness of the festival began, we made a trip down to the Sullivan Free (Chittenango) Library to donate a copy of Tails of Oz, 

a habit we got into years ago when Magician of Oz first premiered at Oz-Stravaganza 2010. We also stopped by the local All Things Oz museum to see the new building.

Saturday was a great day for fans of Oz, including a great parade,

a great midway of vendors and such,

and a fine carnival with many fun rides and attractions.

Over the two days of the Ozian madness, book sales were were excellent and we got to meet some wonderful guests, including:

Ken Page; who played the Cowardly Lion in the 1976 Broadway musical play, The Wiz,

Emma Ridley; who played Princess Ozma in the 1985 Disney film, Return to Oz,

John Fricke; the world's preeminent Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland historian alongside Myrna Swensen; Munchkin-by-Marriage,

Christianna Rickar, neice of Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow in the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz,

Ryan Jay, popular TV and radio film critic,

Tom Hutchinson, noted comic book author and artist,

as well as Ron Baxley, Jr. and Vincent Myrand. For reasons I cannot understand, I have no pictures of Vincent and Ron. Bummer!

Vincent Myrand is a very talented artist whose talents I hope to utilize as an illustrator for my previous Magician of Oz book series.

Ron Baxley, Jr. is a very talented author who I have collaborated with on a fine trilogy of Oz/Wonderland books that are now published by Maple Creek Press.

And what visit to Oz would be complete without a visit to the Chittenango Falls?

And on our way out of Oz and back to home, we ran into a most unusual site.

A Yellow Brick Road Casino! Naturally... Go figure? We went in and tried a few machines, but left a couple of bucks lighter. Such is Oz~

Overall, this year's Oz-Stravaganza 2015 was fantastic on numerous levels. Marc R. Baum, Colleen Hummell Zimmer and all the great volunteers of Oz did a wonderful job. Most people would be amazed at how well things went, but having coordinated a number of large-scale festivals, I know that a large number of hours, people and devotion goes into any successful Oz festival. Knowing Marc and Colleen and many others in Chittenango, their devotion and countless hours of volunteer efforts are showcased in a wonderful festival for all in attendance.

We hope to return next year with a new book, Even More Tails of Oz, as well as Nomes of Oz. For us, this event is one of the highlights of our year.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tails of Oz Has Arrived!

     James C. Wallace II; Royal Liaison of Oz & Amanda D. Wallace; Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma are pleased to present this wonderful collection of short stories about the various animals of Oz, all of whom have a fine tail to tell.

     These stories will delight and amuse all fans of the Land of Oz, young and old alike. From the Queen of the Field Mice to Bungle the Glass Cat or the Cowardly Lion… and Toto too, rejoice in the telling of the Tails of Oz!

     Read along as Billina the Hen finds herself in a devilish situation while in search of straw for her new nest, and of course, Dorothy and Princess Ozma ponder "egg-zactly" how to deal with the newst delicacy in Oz.
     What happens when The Sawhorse finds itself in need of a musical instrument for its debut in Bug Bugaloo's Bugtime Band? Fortunately, the Wizard of Oz comes to the rescue with a most novel solution.
     Lettuce knot forget about Her Majesty, the Queen of the Field Mice, who finds Herself checking up on Dorothy and needing to build the perfect trap that only a mouse could build.
     These stories and more, all about the Glass Cat's Rainbow Kitty, or the Winged Monkey's counterpart, who saves the day from the Terrible Two's, or how the Cowardly Lion learns a very milky lesson can be found within these pages of Ozian lore. 

     Ten stories in all, you'll find out how Toto started out in the dry farmlands of Kansas, or how Quox the Dragon found out that Poppies don't always put you to sleep. Then it's on to the Hungry Tiger and his tabby cat lesson or even why a Gump would wanna grow potatoes.

     Now available at in both paperback and in Kindle and premiering at this year's Oz-Stravganaza 2015 on June 5-7 in Chittenango, New York, birthplace of the Royal Historian; L. Frank Baum, author of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and 13 other tales about the Land of Oz.

In the immortal words of Oscar Zoroaster Diggs, the Wizard of Oz: "Per ardua ad alta!"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Homicidium Est Iocundum!


          The old, grey ramshackle house sat there, as it had for over a hundred years, looking no worse for the years spent in abandonment as it had when it first landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. The paint, what little there had been when it was back in Kansas, had long since fallen off, leaving little piles of paint chips at the base of the house. Surrounding the old house was a blue picket fence, meticulously maintained by the Munchkins, who revered the house as a symbol of their liberation from Evil and tyranny. They had chosen to leave it as it sat, testament to Dorothy and her arrival in Oz… and Toto too!
            Sunrise had peeked over the far western hills, spilling shafts of golden light onto the front porch where Dorothy had come forth into the Land of Oz all those years ago.
            All around, the sounds of Munchkins beginning their daily routines came wafting across the yellow and red brick of the square. The clinking of morning dishes and gentle song was a melody of happy times in the old city.
            In the Mayor’s house, the little girl from Kansas awoke from her slumber, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and looking about for Toto, who was nowhere to be seen.
            “Toto?” she said sleepily. “Toto?”
            After a fine breakfast of pancakes and pears, Dorothy set out into the main square in search of her little black dog with long silky hair, and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose.
            “Toto!” she called out, again and again, but to no avail. Toto was nowhere to be found.
            “That’s not like him to go wandering off without me,” Dorothy told the Mayor’s wife, who had accompanied Dorothy on her search for her dog.
            Just then, Dorothy noticed something odd about the old, grey ramshackle house that no one else seemed to have noticed. The front door was slightly ajar.
            Thinking that Toto may have wandered into the old house from Kansas, Dorothy climbed up onto the front porch and slowly approached the front door, followed by the Mayor’s wife.
            As the little girl from Kansas reached out for the old glass doorknob that she had turned so many times during her time in Kansas, Dorothy noticed something that made her catch her breath.
            From beneath the old door ran a small rivulet of bright, crimson-red blood.
            The Mayor’s wife noticed it too and screamed so loud and long that in moments, every Munchkin in Munchkin City and the surrounding countryside was heading towards the town square.
            Dorothy kneeled down and reached out to touch the thin line of crimson and looked at her finger, now tinged with blood.
            She gasped in horror, then reached out and pushed the old door open. It creaked mournfully as it swung slowly open, then came to an abrupt halt.
            Dorothy stood up and was immediately struck by a sickly sweet smell. It was a smell that brought back memories of when Uncle Henry had butchered the old hog that had been a part of her life since she could remember.
            All around, the Munchkins had gathered and were murmuring among themselves.
            The memory of the butchered hog weighed heavily in Dorothy’s mind as she slowly stepped over the thin line of blood and into a scene no one in Oz could have possibly imagined in their worst nightmares.
            The air inside the old house hung heavy with the sickly sweet smell of blood and wherever the little girl from Kansas looked, there was blood. The walls were spattered with countless drops of crimson. The floorboards, usually dark brown and worn were covered with blood. Everywhere was blood. It covered the old table and the old chair Aunt Em used to sit in when she did her sewing. The smell nearly made Dorothy vomit and she had to close her eyes and hold her nose for a moment before having another look around.
            “Where did all this blood come from?” she thought to herself.
            It didn’t take long for Dorothy to find the answer to her question.
            The little girl from Kansas walked slowly towards the darkened doorway into the only bedroom in the small house. The door was ajar and the stench of blood was growing stronger as she entered the room.
            Leaning against the wall on the floor in a dark corner was a small figure, motionless and covered in blood.
            Dorothy gathered up all her courage and kneeled down beside the body.
            She reached out and pushed the body over. It fell with a sickening thud.
            Lying on the floor in a lifeless heap was the Coroner of Munchkin City. Nearby was his severed hand, clutching the Certificate of Death for the Wicked Witch of the East, which he often carried about as a reminder to all of their freedom from Evil and tyranny.
            Dorothy looked at the lifeless body and saw that his throat had been sliced so deeply that his head had been nearly detached from his body.
            She looked down and saw that he had been eviscerated so thoroughly that not a single organ remained in the lifeless body. In fact, the disemboweled organs were nowhere to be found, only puddles of blood. The ghastly scene was made even worse by the look on the face of the Coroner.
            His eyes, now dull and lifeless, still bore the look of abject horror, frozen at the very moment of his horrific death.
            Just then, the Mayor of Munchkin City appeared above Dorothy and the lifeless body of the Coroner.
            “Is he…” asked the Mayor.
            Dorothy inhaled slowly and looked up at the small, rotund Mayor of Munchkin City.
            “He’s not only merely dead,” she whispered.
            “He’s really most sincerely dead…” the Mayor finished.
            Dorothy got up and staggered over to the nearby door and made her way back into the main room. She made her way over to the sink where Aunt Em had washed so many dishes so long ago and proceeded to vomit into the white porcelain. Several times it took for Dorothy to completely empty her stomach, and even that wasn’t enough. A half a dozen dry heaves and the little girl from Kansas felt she was thoroughly spent… and then she looked down.
            There, lying in a puddle of bright red blood was what appeared to be a small patch of dark, matted fur, possibly black in color, though it was hard to tell since it was totally soaked with blood.
            Next to the blood-soaked and matted patch of dark fur was a small pile of splintered bones and what appeared to be the remains of a paw.
            “Toto!!!!” Dorothy screamed and then promptly fainted.
            It took a few moments for her to regain her composure. The Mayor reached out a hand and helped her to her feet.
            Dorothy stumbled out of the old, grey ramshackle house and was immediately surrounded by Munchkins, all of whom showered her with consolation and grief.
            The Mayor began moving about the crowd, explaining to various groups the horrific scene he had just witnessed. With each telling, the gasps grew louder and more pronounced.
            Dorothy began walking westward along the Yellow Brick Road, numb to anyone who was trying to stop her. All sense of reality had left her and she thought only of her beloved dog, Toto, now clearly dead,
            Soon, Munchkin City was behind her, yet her grief was unabated. The Munchkins gathered about, wondering what to do and looking to the Mayor for leadership and advice. Dorothy could barely hear his voice calling out as she stumbled along the road of yellow brick and over the hill.
            By midday, she had come to the small blue house where Millicent Munchkin lived.
            Millicent was a kindly old Munchkin woman who lived alone. In appearance, she looked to be about Aunt Em’s age, but in truth, she was far older, owing to the fact that people never aged in Oz.
            Dorothy walked slowly up to the doorway and was about to knock when a familiar sight caught her eye.
            From beneath the door, another thin rivulet of blood came oozing forth. Unlike the first line of blood she had seen under the old door of her old house, this blood was much fresher and was still on the move.
            The door creaked open of its own accord and Dorothy gazed warily inside.
As she looked, she heard a faint sound that seemed somewhat familiar. It seemed to her somewhat like the sound of crunching bones, much like when the old cat of her crotchety old neighbor had once caught a bird and Dorothy came across it eating the dead animal one morning.
Stepping cautiously inside, Dorothy saw more blood and the sickly sweet smell of it was now all too familiar. The crunching sound became more pronounced as she approached the open doorway into the kitchen.
Dorothy followed the line of blood that lead towards the kitchen and the crunching sound.
Peering into the kitchen, Dorothy was instantly horrified by what lay before her eyes.
There, lying on the floor of the kitchen, knawing on the partial remains of Millicent Munchkin was the Cowardly Lion.
He looked up at her and smiled. Blood dripped from his whiskers as he licked his lips.
“Hello Dorothy,” he exclaimed. “What a surprise seeing you here.”
Without so much as a pause, the big cat resumed his noontime meal as Dorothy watched in silent horror.
Minutes later, whatever few remains of Millicent there were was strewn about the floor in large puddles of blood.
Dorothy could barely speak.
“Wha, wha… why?” she stammered.
The Cowardly Lion smiled at her with a rather evil grin.
“I don’t know Dorothy…” he explained. “I only know that the other day, I came across that old house where the Wicked Witch of the East used to live. It was cold and dark but inside was a large metal cauldron that was full of water from where the roof had leaked and dripped into it.”
Dorothy edged closer to the big cat as he continued his story.
“I was thirsty, and so I drank from it,” he said. “The next thing I knew, everything went dark, and then I had the strangest craving for raw meat.”
Dorothy stood there, transfixed by the Cowardly Lion’s explanation.
“Then last night, I was walking along the Yellow Brick Road, looking for a snack, when I came to Munchkin City. I saw that Toto was out and about in the night as well,” he said as Dorothy began stroking his long mane. “So, one thing led to another and we found ourselves exploring that old house of yours. Toto said he wanted to show me where he used to sleep.”
The big cat licked his lips again and continued on.
“I couldn’t help myself. Your dog looked so tasty and I was so hungry,” he said almost apologetically.
“Oh Cowardly Lion, what have you done?” she asked sadly.
“Only what a cat is supposed to do, Dorothy. It was only after I finished off Toto when that old man showed up. He must have heard all the commotion and wandered into the house,” he replied. “He did have some very tasty gizzards.”
 “What ever will you do now, Cowardly Lion?” she asked timidly.
The Cowardly Lion smiled at the little girl from Kansas with a grin so wide and Evil that Dorothy suddenly felt a cold chill run up her spine. It was unlike any feeling she had ever had while in Oz.
“What do you think I should do, Dorothy?” he asked rhetorically.
Before Dorothy could answer, the big cat leaped forward and swung his massive paw directly across Dorothy’s exposed neck, neatly severing her head in one fell swoop.
He watched as her head went rolling across the kitchen, coming to rest in the corner and looking directly at him. Her eyes were fixed with a look of abject terror and shock.
Her body had fallen over against the nearby chair and blood spurted in rhythmic pulses as her life’s blood quickly drained from her body.
If there had been any unstained portion of the floor before Dorothy’s arrival, there was none now.
“Hmmm…” the Cowardly Lion purred as he lay down by his latest kill and began to feast. “Fresh meat.!”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Family Video ; The Last of a Dying Breed... For Good Reason!

Last night, I finally reached my breaking point as I dealt with an ongoing problem with our local Family Video rental store.

Now, I recall as a child whenever we went to the movies, we went once. Sometimes twice if it was a really good movie. After that, the movie was relegated to my memories, never to be seen again. Of course, the one movie that I was able to see on a yearly basis was The Wizard of Oz. It was a yearly Autumn tradition that I always looked forward to.

Then along came the 80's and the novel concept of the VHS tape. Now, we could see movies over and over, and whenever a great movie had finished its run at the theater, it would show up at the video store and we would run to rent it.

In fact, there was a time when video stores were in such great abundance that you couldn't swing a dead cat and not hit one. Kinda like Dollar General stores right now.

Then along came DVD's and their higher quality, added bonus features and greater interactivity found the VHS tape bidding us a fond farewell.I still have a VCR tape deck and a selection of Disney tapes for my grandkids to watch whenever they come over.

So now I come to the point of it all.

Last night, I went down to our local Family Video store to rent The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. We were looking forward to watching it and settled in for a couple of hours of fun diversion.

Alas, it was not to be. The disc turned out to be scratched in such a way (though it was really hard to tell) that it skipped and locked up. Arrrrggghhh!!!!

Now, if this had been the 1st time, or even the 2nd time, I might not have reacted the way I did... but nooooo! This was the 4th consecutive time this had happened in the last several months. Yes, I said "consecutive." I got dressed, headed back to Family Video and politely explained my displeasure.

As I put it to this poor schlub who was working that night, this would be my last time renting a dvd movie from there... or anywhere.

Lately, we have tried Netflix as an alternative to renting videos and have found that this new way of technology is very rewarding and satisfying. Movies coming out on DVD also make it to Netflix nearly at the same time and we have never had a movie skip or lock-up on us with Netflix... and Hulu seems pretty good too!

Yes, video stores were all the rage once, but like the noble Tyrannosaurus Rex, they have all but gone extinct, leaving only Family Video Rex to battle it out with early Hominid Man for dominance (I threw in that last part for you folks who genuinely think that early Man fought against dinosaurs).

Anyways, it has been a struggle, coming to grips with the 21st century, but I am now to the point where I have chosen to give up DVD's and go digital.

No more Family Video for me!