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, 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 are also
available for your reading enjoyment.

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

All are available in both paperback and Kindle.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Resolution Of A Possible Consumer Fraud Issue!

As the title implies, I've received a happy resolution to a situation that had caused me great concern.

To begin, those who know me know several things. First, I have little tolerance for perceived injustices, hence my ongoing efforts to change Indiana law in order to better protect children in car seats and hold those accountable when they fail our children in their time of need: ( Justice for Heavenlee!!!). I also abhor repression of free speech and consumer fraud, be it intentional or not. Second, while I may be quick to criticize when a situation warrants criticism, I am equally quick to offer praise when either I find I have made an error or my efforts have seen that situation resolved to my satisfaction.
Such is the case with my recent experience with our local Kroger store and a promotion they were running in conjunction with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and the upcoming Brickyard 400 NASCAR race.
If you read my last blog posting, then you know the details. If not, then check out my blog posting about my experience over the weekend.
Possible Allegation Of Consumer Fraud!

When this situation first occurred, I sent out a letter of complaint, as we are often taught to do in our youth. However, my dad always told me to "start at the top since that's where the command decisions come from." As such, I began by searching for the email addresses of the CEO (David Dillon) and other corporate suits at Kroger in order to insure that they were made aware of my issue.

I'll hand it to the powers-that-be at Kroger. They made it nearly impossible to find an email address for anything other than their consumer complaint webpage. It took me over 45 minutes of Google searching, plowing through various financial reports, disclosure reports and the like at Barrons, Forbes and many other financial websites before I finally ran across a listing for nearly all the top execs at Kroger. Persistance does have its own rewards, as my father would often remind me.

After insuring that as many email addresses as possible were included in my email, I sent it off and waited.

Being a Sunday afternoon, I fully expected a 24-48 hour delay before a response would come my way. So imagine my surprise when my phone rang nearly 90 minutes after emailing my complaint, posting it on my blog site, linking to it on Facebook and tweeting the blog site on Twitter.

On the other end was Charlene Ward, a corporate exec based out of Indianapolis who was calling to resolve my issue. She told me that she had received a note from David Dillon (Kroger CEO) asking that she resolve this issue asap, along with a copy of my email. Once again, my father's wisdom shines through as I recalled his advice to "always start at the top."

Let me remind you that it is still Sunday afternoon and I am, by now, quite stunned.

I would like to say that Ms. Ward was polite, very professional and demonstrated a level of empathy I had not expected from a suit. She assured me that my concerns were of vital concern to Kroger and that she would personally resolve my concern in as timely a manner as humanly possible.

I was assured by Ms. Ward that she had contacted IMS and was awaiting a reply as to what had went wrong which caused my issue. She promised me that she would contact me the following day (Monday) with answers and the Brickyard 400 tickets I had earned through their promotion the day before.

Following our conversation, I found myself quite impressed at both the rapidity of the response as well as with Ms.Ward herself. However, being the skeptic, I chose to wait and see....

On the following day (Monday), true to her word, Ms. Ward called and explained the situation, which had affected several other customers as well. She thanked me for bringing this to their attention, for my patience and understanding and for my willingness to afford Kroger the opportunity to demonstrate their corporate policy of "Customer First."  I had heard this phrase from several other people who had commented on my Facebook & blog posting assuring me that Kroger did indeed have a "Customer First" policy that started at the top and applied to everyone from the CEO to the common cashier. It was nice to see it in action, as demonstrated by David Dillon (he actually reads his emails from customers) and Charlene Ward. She assured me that my tickets would be overnighted to my home and to "expect them tomorrow."

Again though, being the eternal skeptic, I once more waited....

Today, when I returned from classes, I found a UPS envelope and my Brickyard 400 tickets waiting for me.

I AM IMPRESSED!!!

Whatever concerns I may have had about Kroger and their Brickyard 400 promotion, I am pleased to report that I was wrong to suggest that Kroger may have been involved in a possible case of consumer fraud. The actions of their CEO, David Dillon and his subordinate, Charlene Ward clearly demonstrate that Kroger places the concerns and issues of their customers at the top of their list. "Customer First" is a fine policy and I appreciate Kroger showing me that.

Having been a loyal customer of Kroger for over 30 years, it's nice to see my loyalty vindicated.
Now, I'll be firing up my grill with Kingsford Charcoal, grilling up some Bison (Buffalo) burgers with a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, sprinkling them with crumbled blue cheese and serving them up on freshly baked onion rolls, all of which I recently purchased at my local Kroger store!  

Per Ardua Ad Alta!!!

James C. Wallace II

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Possible Allegation of Fraud!

UPDATE: Looks like I may be wrong about Kroger. Maybe they do care about their customers! Just got off the phone with them after only a few minutes of posting my concerns about a possible scam. I'll know tomorrow if they're good on their word. I think they just might be! 

Yesterday, I fell victim to what I can only consider to be an act of consumer fraud perpetrated  by Kroger and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kroger is running a promotion where if you buy $150.00 worth of groceries, including some specific items, then you receive a voucher for 2 free tickets to the Brickyard 400. Needless to say, we went there, satisfied the requirements and received the voucher. Today, less than 24 hours later, I go to the website, enter the code and am told that no seats are available. I find that highly unlikely and consider this to be an act of consumer fraud.

The letter below is what I have sent to as many folks involved as I can find. I will keep you folks updated on Facebook and Twitter regarding the final results. I hope they come through as I bear no malice towards Kroger or IMS, I just don't like being scammed.

James

To whom it may concern:

Yesterday June 25, I went to the Terre Haute Kroger store at 25th and Wabash and spent the required $170.83 in order to qualify for the Brickyard 400 ticket promotion sponsored by both IMS and Krogers. Today, within 24 hours, I redeemed the code from the receipt at www.imstix.com/kroger and got the message that no seats were available. I consider this highly unlikely and I am considering legal actions to rectify this possible act of fraud. Please respond with an explanation and/or a set of tickets in order to satisfy your advertisement/promotion.
Be advised that I have lodged a complaint with the Ohio State Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office, as well as the Indiana Sate Attorney General Greg Zoeller's Office.
If I receive no contact from your office, I may find it necessary to contact the fine reporters and news investigators at WLWT, WKRC, WCPO, FOX19 News as well as the Cincinnati Business Courier, Cincinnati Call and Post, Cincinnati City Beat, Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Herald. I'll be sure to include the Indianapolis news organizations as well, including WISH-TV, WTHR, FOX59 and WIBC, as well as Indianapolis Star and Nuvo News Weekly. I'm sure all these organizations would find allegations of fraud very interesting and well worth looking into.
Be sure to look on FaceBook and Twitter as well, since I'll be speaking/tweeting of this consumer fraud issue there as well, unless this issue is resolved to my satisfaction.

James C. Wallace II

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice!

It pays to always carry a camera with you at all times.

Now if I can just figure out how to get this image to fly right!!!

Happy Summer Solstice!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Return From Oz and Oz-Stravaganza 2011!!! (Part 2)

When we last left off, our heroes, James and Amanda were just about to attend the opening performance of Oz-Stravaganza 2011 on Friday evening, June 3rd at Chittenango High School. As a member of Author's Alley, I was accorded special seating with my fellow authors and were introduced by John Fricke after a unique opening ceremoney by Marc Baum in which he hosted a Let's Make An Oz Deal show. Lots of prizes and a nice chance for the winners of the various youth catagories for Miss Oz-Stravaganza 2001 competition to appear and be recognized.

The show started off with Bob & Clare Baum, along with Eric Shanower discussing various Oz things with John Fricke, the evenings excellent host. Somehow, my photos of them looked really bad, so I'm not posting them here. They just weren't Fricke-riffic!

Of course, there were Munchkins and Munchkins-by-Marriage on stage, including (right to left) Karl Slover, Margarette Pelligrini and Myrna Swenson, as well as Caren Marsh-Doll, who was the stand-in for Judy Garland during filming of MGM's 1939 The Wizard of Oz. Ms. Doll also served as the Grand Marshall for the following day's parade.


As always, Margarette stole the show with her wonderful banter and exchanges with John Fricke, who seemed to really enjoy himself. Karl Slover gave us all a wonderful performance of "We're Off To See The Wizard," which always gets a huge round of applause. Both Myrna and Ms. Doll were equally entertaining with their insights and stories of Oz.

The following morning saw my wife and I strolling about the grounds and marveling at the abundance of Oz all around.


We then found ourselves at the local church next door, enjoying a wonderful pancake breakfast with Dennis and Linda Anfuso. It was nice to finally catch up and visit for a time.


Afterwards, I set up in Glinda's Royal Tent for my appearance in Author's Alley and a day full of Ozian madness!


There was, of course, the parade, which was wonderful and very interesting. Sadly though, no photos from Amanda as our camera batteries died. Afterwards, I did a quick replacement and we were back in the photo business!!!
I made a quick dash back to the All Things Oz exhibit down the street to attend some matters and met up with Michael Siewert, who was just setting up a display of Judy Garland dresses. I was very pleased to finally meet him as we only knew each other from Facebook.


I also had a chance to meet up with Bob Baum, the great grandson of L. Frank Baum. We've met several times before and, as always, he was very kind and generous with his time and praises.


I was always very pleased to spend a moment visiting with Margarette Pelligrini, who is best known as the Flower-Pot Munchkin from the movie and I took a moment to do a bit of sleight-of-hand for her, which she seemed to enjoy quite a bit.


The remainder of the day was filled with sales, autographs and lots of interactions with fans of Oz from all ages. Amanda and I were totally spent and were unable to stay for the evening's music in the park.

The next day (Sunday) was much like the day before with lots of visitors, fans of my writings and many other happenings.


My wife was particularly pleased when Margarette Pellegrini came by to say hi and reacquaint herself with Amanda. They had met last year but Amanda was not quite well and Margarette had a bum wing!


Margarette made my wife feel very much at home and was very kind to her. Words cannot express how much that means to me.


As the Grand Finale quickly approached, we looked about one last time and found a most interesting sight.


Finally, the finale... and it was quite grand to say the least. Here, the members of Author's Alley who had remained are seated and waiting the festivities. They include (from left to right), Gwendolyn Tennille Adams, Ron Baxely, Jr. and James C. Wallace II (me).


Moments later, the rest of the special guests arrived and I certainly felt like royalty among the elite of Oz.


They include (from left to right); Eric Shanower, Michael Siewert, Karl Slover, Margarette Pelligrini, Myrna Swensen, Clare Baum, Robert Baum, Caren Marsh-Doll and John Fricke. The Three Stooges of Oz, that being Gwen, Ron and myself and sitting behind them. We are, of course, in total awe of where we found ourselves.
After another lampooning of John Fricke by Margarette Pellegrini, which John always takes with great joy and affection;


there followed the usual thank-yous and such and ended with a great sing-along of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.


After a few lingering farewells to this Motley Crew of Oz, Amanda and I hit the road for a 13 hour journey back to the Land of the Hoosiers!

Reflecting on our time in Oz, I would say that Marc Baum, who was my primary contact and the facilitator for Author's Alley, did a stunning job! As good as last year was, despite the tornadic winds and such, Marc made this year even better. He listened to our suggestions from last year and implemented them with ease. The tent was great, our location within was great, our time onstage and in the parade was great... In fact, it all was great!!!! Barb and Colleen were equally great in working with us, even on a moments notice!

In all, I made some wonderful new friends, reconnected with some great old friends, sold quite a few books, met an elder magician and colleague of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and managed to spend a week alone with my wife. What more could a Royal Liaison ask for???

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Return From Oz and Oz-Stravaganza 2011!!! (Part 1)

Well, it's been a couple of days since we returned from Oz-Stravaganza 2011 in Chittenango, New York and what follows is part 1 of my report on an incredible journey through the heartland of America and Oz!

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:

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/06/little_aadon_blu_olmsted_lives.html

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.

.
We then went to the local high school for the first event of the weekend and it was there that I reconnected with friends who I absolutely worship!


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