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. These timeless tales 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, as well as The Ozian Adventure of Pickleless & Blu.

The Emerald Slippers of Oz
, featuring an Introduction by Roger S. Baum; great grandson of L. Frank Baum, as well as Tails of Oz and Even More Tails of Oz are also
available for your reading enjoyment.

Nomes of Oz is a wonderful adventure for anyone who loves the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz.

The newest adventure in Oz, entitled: The First Witches of Oz is now available and fast becoming a best-seller in the Land of Oz.

All are available in both paperback and Kindle.

Friday, August 16, 2019

2019 Mapleton Wizard of Oz Festival

Last Saturday saw Amanda and I attending the Mapleton, Illinois Wizard of Oz Festival, now rebranded as the Oz Festival Illinois. We've been attending as Guest Authors since the festival began 6 years ago and are always treated like royalty.



What sets this wonderful Oz festival apart from all other Wizard of Oz Festivals is a dedicated Yellow Brick Road, which pays tribute to the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz.

It all starts at Uncle Henry and Aunt Em's old farm.


Watch out though for Elmira Gulch, who's on the lookout for a mangy little dog that loves chasing her dumb 'ol cat!


A new addition is Professor Marvel's stage, which hosted Magic Matt, a fellow magician performing for festival attendees. 


Soon, a Rainbow appears and beckons visitors into the Land of Oz.


Looks like Munchkin City is a happy place.





In time, Glinda drops by to wish us well on our journey to see the Wizard.


 Soon, the Scarecrow shows up in his cornfield, ready for an adventure.

 

Now it's time to venture into the dark forest. Who knows what we'll find along the Yellow Brick Road.





 Be careful not to stray from the path of yellow brick or you might wind up in a scary place.


If you listen closely, you'll even hear the screeching of Winged Monkeys. How about a little picture, Scarecrow!?


What's this? Could it be a witch's castle perhaps? Be careful crossing that bridge!





I wonder what we'll find inside?



At last, as we leave the forest, a field of poppies greets us as the Emerald City beckons us home.


And of course, what do find in the Emerald City? A broken bell, a wizard and a humbug! But all is well as our adventure along the Yellow Brick Road comes to an end.




The rest of the festival had some wonderful experiences, including a petting farm;


Great performances by the Spirit of Oz characters,


And Stephen's Puppets, performed by Bob Walls (aka: Puppet Dude). He does a Wonderful Wizard of Oz show that is a must see.


  

One of the best parts of the Illinois Oz Festival are the folks who dress up like their favorite characters from the Land of Oz. 

There's the Scarecrow as a Winkie Guard.


Polychrome; Daughter of the Great Rainbow


A family done up in their favorite Oz characters.


And of course, Dorothy. This is Teresa Phillips, who we see every year. She is a wonderful person who truly embodies the spirit of Oz.



 Near the end of the day, Puppet Dude came by with a friend who seemed quite enamored with our Ruby Slippers.



Overall, it was a wonderful time for Amanda and I as we introduce people to our unique vision of Oz.


We would like to thank Jim Robertson and all of his volunteer staff for putting on a great festival and treating us so kindly. 

We look forward to next year, when our next 2 books, Aquareine in Oz and The Twin Witches of Oz make their debut.

Per ardua ad alta!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ron Sweed As The Ghoul; May He Rest In Peace

Every now and then, someone passes away who had a major impact in my life. Last year, it was my mother and my mother-in-law. This year, I found out that Ron Sweed, who played a character on 1970's television called "The Ghoul" had passed away.


I recall many a Saturday night watching late night TV. Back then, televisions had two tuner knobs. One was VHF and had all the channels from 1-10. The other knob was UHF and his show was on channel 38 as I recall. He would show some awful grade-B movie and fill the intermissions/commercials with some bizarre hi-jinx, including blowing up model cars and ships, as well as his sidekick, Froggy.


I loved watching when Froggy would show up with his trademark saying, "Hiya gang, hiya hiya hiya!" and then The Ghoul would abuse him and make Froggy's life miserable.


 

I never grew tired of poor Froggy being mutilated, beat up, destroyed and otherwise abused. Every week, Froggy would show up once more and we would all shout his intro theme, "Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy!" I always wondered how many Froggy's the show had in stock.

Another great feature was The Ghoul blowing up stuff, either model cars or model ships, with an occasional odd object thrown in for fun. 




The Ghoul was my inspiration for blowing up stuff. I lost count of how many models and such I blew up during those days. I eventually took it to another level when I combined explosions with model rockets. It was a wonderful time that could never happen today. Nowadays, you blow up one thing and everyone labels you a terrorist.

I even remember this episode when a poor fake turkey got The Ghoul treatment. I had almost forgot about his fascination with Cheese Whiz.


Looking back on it now, I'm fairly certain he was either totally baked/high or drunk, or more likely a combination of the two.

There will never be another character like The Ghoul ever again. He was a one-of-a-kind and someone who inspired me to be loony every now and then... just for the sake of looniness!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Return to Oz

As you can see, it's been quite a while since my last posting. Life has a way of doing that. Nonetheless, we have returned to our passion of writing and find ourselves on the cusp of beginning our latest book: Aquareine of Oz, which is a mermaid's tale of adventure and fun while visiting the waterways of Oz.


It looks like it's going to be a grand adventure as we have begun the outlining process before we gets down to chapters and such. Wish us luck!!! 

James & Amanda Wallace

Friday, August 11, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Live Webcast



In celebration of the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, which will cross the entire United States of America on August 21, 2017, The Vigo County Conservation Club and their Astronomer-in-Residence; James C. Wallace II, in conjunction with WTHI-TV10 and Chief Meteorologist Kevin Orpurt, will be on site in Carbondale, Illinois, site of maximum totality and duration, to webcast the event live for the enjoyment of those who are unable to travel to the path of totality.

In order to view this webcast, click on the following link on the morning of August 21, then sit back, relax and enjoy the show of a lifetime.

http://www.wthitv.com/solar-eclipse

First contact (when the partial phase of the eclipse begins) is expected to occur at 11:52AM CDT (12:52PM EDT). Totality (when the Moon completely covers the Sun) occurs at 1:21Pm CDT (2:21PM EDT) and will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Last contact (when the partial phase ends) will occur at 2:50PM CDT (3:50PM EDT).

The webcast will include a 3-camera set-up, including live video from an 8" Celestron Telescope at prime focus to capture first contact and everything leading up to and away from totality, a broadcast camera for the totality (or beauty) shot and a 3rd camera for live interviews, information and live commentary from both Kevin Orpurt and the Vigo County Conservation Club's Astronomer-in-Residence; James C. Wallace II (that's me) during the entire event.

If you just can't get away for this once-in-a-lifetime event, then please join us from the comfort of your computer screen for all the excitement and fun as the Moon's shadow cover us all.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spectrum Cable and Very POOR Customer Service!

UPDATE: I finally spoke with Customer Service today and they made it very clear that they were not in the least bit interested in retaining my business. I guess 14 years as a loyal customer means nothing to Time Warner / Spectrum. Oh well, I'll be moving on to another provider.

As the title implies, Spectrum Cable, formerly Time-Warner/Charter Communications, has demonstrated some extremely poor customer service to me today.

Please allow me to elaborate...

Last week, as has happened a couple of times over the last few years, we found that our pay cycle was not in sync with Time-Warner/Charter Communications' billing cycle, requiring us to request an extension so we could pay our bill. Time-Warner/Charter Communications was fine with this as we only ever asked for 1-2 days extension and we would always pay both the past due and current bill. We've been customers with Time-Warner/Charter Communications for 14 years and while we've had to endure increases in service cost and such, we've had little to complain about... until last week.

Now, Time-Warner/Charter Communications is called Spectrum and when we found it necessary to request an extension of 2 days in order to pay both our past due and current bill, Spectrum's customer service rep flat out refused and was quite snippy in demanding payment or face disconnect and reconnect fees if our service was restored.

We found it necessary to borrow money from one of those loan shark places to pay just the past due amount and repaid the loan shark place 2 days later, with a substantial fee attached. I don't blame the loan shark place as that's their business, though we haven't had to use their services since 1999. Needless to say, I was quite upset about this and resolved to find a better service provider.

Since Monday, I've looked around, talked to a number of providers, including Joink, Frontier, Direct TV, Midwest and Xfinity and found several really good deals that serve our needs and cut our overall costs by nearly 1/2 of what we spend now. So, today, I received a flyer in the mail from Spectrum that had a seemingly great deal for a bundled set of services, including Internet, cable and phone for $90.00 per month for a year. Now, the catch is that it's for new customers only, but since Spectrum is new to us as we are to them, I consider this a valid offer that should be available to us.

I went down to the former Time-Warner/Charter Communications office (now Spectrum) and met with a customer service rep named Carly. I explained our predicament, including the refused extension, diminished Internet speed and rising costs and my desire to discontinue our service unless they offered us the deal I showed her that we had received in the mail. During my discourse, she interrupted me on numerous occasions in an effort to distract me and disable my train of thought. Well, I don't play those games, so I had to restate my case numerous times until she realized that I was aware of her tactics. Once finished, she excused herself and returned a few minutes later with a rather large fellow that I'm sure she thought would intimidate me. Good luck with that as even cops don't intimidate me. He said he was a Tech Op Supervisor, but when I requested that he identify himself, he refused.

I find that very disturbing as it implies that Spectrum has something to hide. I wonder what it is???

When I tried to present the relevant facts regarding our concerns, this large fellow, who I'll refer to here as Beavis since he wishes to remain nameless, told me that I was being disrespectful. I pointed out that I was not raising my voice, I was not using foul language and was only presenting facts. He once more declared that I was being disrespectful.

I suppose in today's political climate, facts are considered disrespectful. Go figure?

I left Spectrum without any resolution to my concerns and so I am considering terminating our service after 14 loyal years and seeking services from another company that is more concerned with their customers than the corporate bottom line.

I am willing however, to afford Spectrum one opportunity to address our concerns and retain our business. Otherwise, we will switch over to Joink and Direct TV and still pay half of what Spectrum is demanding.

The ball is in their court, but only for a week or so, then it's time to move on.

James C. Wallace II