My wife, Amanda (the creator of the legendary Potato Soup) and I set out on a journey to Oz-Stravaganza 2011in Chittenenago, New York last week to promote my latest Oz novel, Family of Oz and my newest co-venture, Of Cabbages, Kings and Even (Odd) Queens of Wonderland and Oz: A Gothic Young Adult Crossover Novel.
I had been approached by Ron Baxley, Jr. with the idea of co-writing a novel which blends the worlds of Oz and Wonderland in a most unique way. The results far exceeded my expectations and I was very much looking forward to meeting both Ron and Gwendolyn Tennille Adams, our illustrator for this rather odd collaboration. .
The journey to Oz started on Monday as we made our way out of Indiana and into Ohio. By Tuesday, we found ourselves conquering Chestnut Ridge in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania. The summit was quite hard on our 1992 Olds Delta 88 and, like Pickett's Charge on Gettysburg, which was our initial destination, we failed and retreated back toward Pittsburgh.
The view though was amazing and we did visit Laurel Caverns at the top and had a wonderful time.
By Wednesday, we had arrived in New York state and were aiming for Niagara Falls, which we had visited last year but Amanda had been too ill to enjoy.
The view, as always, was stunning and we had a great time. We then aimed for Chittenango and arrived on Thursday afternoon. During the journey through New York, I found myself doing a phone interview about Family of Oz and Aadon Blu, a character in the book and the circumstances surrounding how he found his way into my story. Here's a link to the story which appeared in the Friday edition of the Syracuse Post in case you are interested:
After checking into the Craftsman inn, which is a wonderful motel in the area, we turned in for the night and dreamed of Oz. The next morning, we decided to visit Chittenango Falls State Park just a few miles out of town.
The Chittenango Falls were stunning and my wife made a discovery which inspired me to begin the writing process for my next book, The Adventures of Pickelless and Blu. What it is, I won't say, but her support and insight inspires me!!!
Hours later, we found ourselves at the Sullivan Free Library doing a event I had scheduled in order to promote youth literacy.
Although attendance was lower than the folks at the library would have liked, I was very pleased as we made a connection with the youth who attended and for me, that made all the difference! I considered the event highly successful.
Afterwards, we were treated to a private tour by Marc Baum of the new All Things Oz exhibit in downtown Chittenango.
There were a variety of exhibits and displays, such as The Wicked With of the West,
A great collection of 1st editions of Baums books on loan from Robert Baum, the great grandson of L. Frank Baum,
... and of course, the best display of all were a selection of books which included my own humble editions of Magician of Oz (a true 1st edition), Shadow Demon of Oz and Family of Oz.
It was here that I was finally able to meet Ron Baxley, Jr. and Gwendolyn Tennille Adams, my co-author and illustrator for our book.
I also had the chance to finally meet Jane Albright of the International Wizard of Oz Club.
On our way back to the car, we stopped by for a quick look around the park and a stop by the local poppy field.
It's difficult to express how much my friendship with Dennis Anfuso and his wife Linda mean to me. Let's just say that they are kindred spirits and my life would be a bit less blessed had I never met them!
I was pleased to see that Ron and Gwen were there...
As well as fellow authors Paul Bienvenue and Robert Baum...
and fantastic artists Joe Shipbaugh and Rick Ewigleben.
With so much going on, it seems appropriate to stop here and take up the evening's performance and Saturday's madness and mayhemwith my next blog posting.
It was quite a weekend!!!
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma