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, August 22, 2015

Mapleton Wizard of Oz Festival and Tails of Oz

Last weekend, Amanda and I had the pleasure of attending the Mapleton Wizard of Oz Festival in Illinois, about 3 hours drive from our house.

Now last year, I attended what was their 2nd year doing this and about 500 people showed up. This year, about 5000 showed up and it was quite an adventure, both for us and the folks who run the event.

Like last year, it started with a song, a gathering of old familiar freinds and a balloon release.

It should be noted that the temperatures for this day were into the upper 90's with high humidity, so it was quite a challenge dealing with the heat and meeting with people, talking about our books. I give my wife much credit as she endured the heat far better than I expected her to. Fortunately, the festival volunteers furnished us with water when we asked for it.

There were, of course, many people in costume, sharing their love for the Wizard of Oz, though all were related to characters from the MGM 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz.

Loads of Dorothy's running about, nearly as many Glinda's, but very few witches. I'll wager the guy in the Winged Monkey outfit was regretting wearing a wool outfit in the heat. The replica of Dorothy's House was unique and I have never seen someone do that one before. Once again, all movie characters. I wish more people would dress up as Scraps, the Patchwork Girl, or Polychrome, Daughter of the Great Rainbow, or even Princess Ozma.

The big draw of the festival was the Oz characters (Glinda, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion) hanging out along the Yellow Brick Road and entertaining the kids. The one issue there was that not enough people could get through quickly enough, causing long lines that irritated numerous people.

I know how hard the festival people work at making this festival flow smoothly and they are already looking at ways to insure a better experience next year. After all, no one, and I mean NO ONE, expected 5000 people to attend this gathering of Oz. Such is the power of Facebook and social media in general.

It was nice to see that Steven's Puppets were part of the festivities. He was there last year and it was a huge success. I hope they bring him back again and again as the children absolutely LOVE the live performance of the puppets Wizard of Oz.

Overall, I considered the festival to be a huge success for the two of us and we certainly hope to return next year with our newest books, Even More Tails of Oz and Nomes of Oz, which we are currently working on.

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.