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.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Return to Chesterton Oz: Wizard of Oz Days 2021 Part 2

Well, it's been just over a week since Amanda and I returned from the Land of Oz; specifically the Wizard of Oz Days in Chesterton, Indiana. The glow of Oz is just now abating as we reflect on a fabulous weekend as Oz returns to it's familiar surroundings.

For those of you who were unaware, Chesterton used to play host to the second longest running Wizard of Oz Festival. That is, until the last festival in 2012. Since then, many of us have longed for its return... and thanks to the tireless efforts of jack Bishop, Oz has returned to Chesterton and by all accounts, it was long overdue and very well recieved.

In my previous post, I spoke of the Friday night event; The Emerald City Gala and how well it went. As Guest Auctioneer, I had a particularly good time, as did my wife Amanda, who had never seen me do my stuff before.

The following morning (Saturday), we arrived early and were soon set up to "flog our wares", to borrow a Harry Potter'ism.

We had a very nice location with excellent exposure and spent a good part of the day talking to Wizard of Oz fans and sharing our family-friendly vision of Oz. 

Alongside us were numerous vendors;


And a variety of some of the most talented artists I've ever had the pleasure of knowing

This young man is Joe Shipbaugh and he does stunning artwork about the Land of Oz. He does some really impressive recreations of W.W. Denslow's illustrations from the 1900 Wizard of Oz book.

Rick Ewigleben is another stunning srtist who's artwork is highly valued for Wizard of Oz event posters. We still have a wonderful piece of artwork he did of Margarette Pelligrini, former Munchkin in the movie, that hangs in our front room. It was even signed by her and dedicated to Amanda's legendary potato soup.

Another amazing artist who was stationed right next to us was Tim Wolak, who has created hand-carved full-sized figures of numerous characters from the Wizard of Oz movie and tours with them, offering fans photo opportunities.

That is one stylin' jacket he's wearing!

Micheal Siewert was one of the featured guest, presenting a program on his friendship[ with Munchkin Margarette Pelligrini. Like most everyone I mention here, I met him at the 2010 Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival and I have found him to be a wonderful person to be around. Always full of life and happy, he never fails to induce joy in everyone he meets.

Walter Kreuger, famed Oz collector (his collection is huuuuuuuuge!) was there as well, discussing his collection as part of the main program both Saturday and Sunday.

Victoria Calamito, Oz historian and amazing singer was all over the place, bringing smiles and a song to the festivities.

As part of the main program, Tom Hutchinson of Big Dog Ink made a Zoom appearance to talk about his graphic novels about Oz. His work is really good and he does very well bringing Oz to an entirely new audience. 

Sitting alongside Victoria during this Zoom call was Ryan Jay, noted TV personality and Oz historian, who served as Master of Ceremonies and overall Host. He did a fabulous job... and Toto too!

The highlight of the entire weekend was the appearance of Emma Ridley, who played princess Ozma in the 1985 Disney film, Return to Oz. She was radiant, spell-binding and a true Disney Princess! She spoke of her experiences while filming the movie and the audiences were captivated.

Of the two days, Saturday saw slightly better attendance, despite the minor rain showers in the early afternoon. After the day's madness, Amanda and I found a bingo hall in the next town over; Hobart. I even hit $125, so it was a great day.

The next day, Sunday was a repeat of Saturday with a little less attendance, though that is very common at every Oz festival we attend. Nonetheless, sales did well and we enjoyed visiting with good friends.

We were even lucky enough to make some new friends. This young couple sat with us during the Emerald City Gala and had a booth across from us. They have developed and are marketing a new card gane called Home from Oz. I tried it and it was a fun, easy game that anyone can play. They were a very pleasant couple who gives me hope that the future may be in good hands.

Sadly, I almost never ventured outside as we were busy. Still though, I regret missing Stephen's Puppets marionette show about The Wizard of Oz. I first met Bob Wall's at Chesterton performing the show. He was the "puppet dude." He has since retired (well earned I might add) and I was hoping to see the new guy. I'm sorry I missed it. I heard good things about it from patrons. 

 Like any good Oz festival, it had to come to an end and did so with a rousing appearance by the Spirit of Oz Character Troupe. They always excel in bring the spirit of Oz to every event they perform at. This was no exception and they left the audience pleading for more. 

Overall, Amanda and I felt this was a great return to Oz of the Chesterton Oz Festival, now known as the Wizard of Oz Days. Our sincere gratitude goes out to Jack Bishop and all his volunteers (especially Karen Owen Armstrong) for allowing us to be a part of the fun. We had a great time and look forward to next year, especially for me as Guest Auctioneer.

With the pandemic now in remission, it looks like Oz is busting out all over!

James & Amanda Wallace

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Return to Chesterton Oz: Wizard of Oz Days 2021 Part 1

 Well, it's been a few months since my last posting and time has kept me very busy. Nonetheless, Amanda and I were able to attend our first Wizard of Oz Festival since last year, and as luck would have it, it's the return of the Chesterton Oz Festival. In addition, Amanda was able to premier her first solo work as an Oz author; The Twin Witches of Oz.


For those of you who were unaware, the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival had been the second longest running Oz festival, running from 1982 through 2012. When it was shut down down, the outcry from Oz fans was stupendous and though it took 9 years, the festival has returned, thanks to the tireless efforts of Jack Bishop. He was a man on a mission and we can report that his mission was a tremendous success.

As Guest Authors, Amanda and I were thrilled to be invited to attend the return of Oz to Chesterton and I was especially pleased to serve as Guest Auctioneer for the Friday evening Emerald City Gala.

After a three hour drive from home, we arrived in Chesterton and made our way to the Duneland Falls Banquet & Meeting Center. It was an impressive venue and would soon prove to be a great choice.

We walked around to scope out the venue and were very pleased with the very Oz feeling all around us.

Friday evening was the official start of the festival and began with the Emerald City Gala, which featured a catered dinner, special Ozzy guests, a live Oz music concert, Oz in Chesterton retrospective, live Oz collectible auction and more.

The evening began with a fine meal, then a special appearance by the “Spirit of Oz,” Wizard of Oz Characters, who started out the gala with a greeting and a song. 

Next was the introduction of the festival's Grand Host, TV film critic/Oz historian Ryan Jay with his puppy Toto too. Apparently, a certain wicked witch wanted a word with Ryan.

I can report that Ryan Jay was phenomenal as the host of both the Emerald City Gala and the festival overall.

What followed next was a wonderful presentation by Michael Siewert (friend of munchkin Margaret Pellegrini),

then a stunning performance of Oz music by Tori Calamito (The Oz Vlog). Wowsers, can that woman sing!

Wally Kreuger (Oz Collectors United) then gave an informal talk about his overwhelming collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia. 

Then came the biggest star of all, Emma Ridley, who portrayed "Ozma" from Disney's 1985 movie, Return to Oz.She was radiant as always and the audience just couldn't get enough of her.

Following her appearance was the live Oz collectible auction, which featured loads of unique and wonderful one-of-a-kind Oz collectables. 

Now, as Guest Auctioneer, it was my time to shine... and from all accounts, I performed my duties very well. I was also assisted by Wally Kreuger, who provided detailed information for each Oz item up for bid. I am truly grateful for his help and his friendship. he is a true joy to be around, as are every other person I encountered at the festival.

About halfway through the auction, we took a break for some Zoom presentations that folks in attendance found very entertaining. I, for one, appreciated the break as "my lungs were aching for air!" By the end of the auction, my voice was nearly done... and so was I.

Overall, the Emerald City Gala was a huge success and a fabulous way to begin the return of the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival, now known as the Wizard of Oz Day. 

My next blog posting will focus on the weekend's activities and the great time had by all.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Sad Start To A New Year

It was with great sadness that I learned today of the passing of William A. Dando, Ph.D., former Chairman of the Geography, Geology and Anthropology Department at Indiana State University and a mentor to me during my tenure at ISU’s Hook Memorial Observatory.

I have been fortunate enough to have had 4 mentors who were crucial in shaping the man I am today.

My father was my most important mentor, for among the many things he taught me was the overwhelming value of good communication skills and how to use humor effectively with those skills.

Second was David Cassady, Director of Education at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, who was instrumental in shaping my skills and talents as an educator and mentor to youth.

Third is Chris Fitzgerald, President of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., who has continuously overseen my education in business matters, both in matters of what to do and more importantly, what not to do.

Dr. Dando helped me immensely by supporting my work as both undergraduate and graduate Student Director of the Hook Memorial Observatory at ISU. Although I was a Physics student, the observatory was operated by the Geography, Geology and Anthropology Department, which I nor Dr. Dando could ever figure out.

I first met him during my second semester as a Physics student when he took over as Chairman of the Geography, Geology and Anthropology Department. As Student Director of the observatory, he requested a meeting with me and Dr. Howe, the Faculty Director to determine where things stood with the observatory and how he might facilitate our success. Dr. Howe made it clear to Dr. Dando that he supported whatever I felt would serve the observatory’s mission. I explained my vision regarding public astronomy and I was instantly impressed with Dr. Dando’s eagerness to embrace my vision. He asked what I needed and I mentioned the need for a new deck since our visitor attendance was growing. 6 weeks later, I had a new deck. The following year, I asked for a new telescope and by the end of the semester, I had a new Meade 10” computerized telescope, which made my mission so much easier and successful. Not once did he ever question my needs other than to ask if whatever request I made would further my vision.

When I graduated and was looking into graduate programs around the nation, I found that none satisfied my desires in astronomy. Everything was theoretical and I was more of an applications kind of scientist. I explained that to Dr. Dando one day and he suggested I stay at ISU and consider transferring into his department. “Try Remote Sensing, James” he said to me. “The only difference is that you’ll be looking down instead of up… and you might find something to tweak your interest.”

How right he was. Soon, I was discovering Native American burial mounds that were astronomically aligned and making a name for myself in the Archaeology world.

The only thing Dr. Dando ever requested of me, as well as all his other graduate and undergraduate students, was to present our current research projects to any relevant conferences and to represent the department in doing so. As such, I got to present research at Argonne Labs in Illinois, CalTech University in California and I even presented at a conference on Computer Applications in Archaeology in Iasi, Romania. I was the only American in attendance. Of course, Dr. Dando saw to it that all of us were financially supported in order to make these appearances possible.

When I chose to accept a position at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis rather than pursue my Ph.D., Dr. Dando not only accepted my decision, he encouraged it.

When I ran for Mayor of Terre Haute, I went by the nickname of Jimmy the Wad. Dr. Dando asked me why I was running for Mayor and I explained to him my desire to bring awareness to why Terre Haute, with 3 major colleges, wasn’t embracing the college dollar like Bloomington, or other college towns. “But why Jimmy the Wad?” he asked.  I explained to him that it was a funny nickname that he was responsible for. He didn’t understand, so I explained to him that his initials were W.A.D. and I liked the sound of it. He laughed for weeks over that one, but was glad when I dropped out of the race.

Were it not for Dr. Dando, I would be a far lesser man than I am today, and thanks to his lovely wife, Carolyn Dando, I also learned to love Borscht… Go figure!


Sunday, February 2, 2020

The End Of An Era

So yesterday, Feb. 1st, 2020 was a sad day for me as I witnessed the end of an era. It had actually began a month or so ago when I learned that John Newman, a local auctioneer at Shadow Auction Barn had passed away.

I had known him for many years and attended his auction regularly where I purchased numerous items, many of which I sold on eBay. Other items were related to my Oz writing work.

Of particular note was this cobbler's tool for cutting leather, which inspired me to develop a character called Cobbler the Dog for my 3rd book, Family of Oz.

The drawing is by Dennis Anfuso, who I had met at my first Oz festival. His ability to take my vision and images and create this unique character is amazing. 

In addition, in Family of Oz, the Diggs family visits the Umbra Auction, Umbra being Latin for Shadow, and meets numerous people there, including the auctioneer, John Newman, who reminded the young magician of Santa Claus. John had also spoke of the song of the auctioneer, which is how he treated his auctioneering style and which I wrote about as well.

Anyways, I attended the final auction at Shadow Auction yesterday where I ran into many old friends and acquaintances. We reminisced about John and the old days and the fun we had bidding on this or that or even some of the other.

So, it is with great sadness that we bid farewell to a fine man, a wonderful auctioneer and the source of many an inspriation for work in the Land of Oz.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Wizard of Oz Days in Hannibal, Missouri

Last Saturday, Amanda and I attended our last Wizard of Oz festival for the year, the Wizard of Oz Days.

Needless to say, we had a great time. Overall, the festival was very well attended and book sales were awesome. We sold out, which has never happened before.

This particular festival made its home indoors at the Hannibal Inn in Hannibal, Missouri, which is the first time we've attended an indoor festival. It even features Lake Quad, the largest lake in Oz.

The Spirit of Oz: Wizard of OZ Characters Troupe were in full Oz mode and very well received by all in attendance.

There were, of course, numerous other Oz characters wandering about and bringing great joy to the throngs of kids and their families.

In addition, there were loads of people dressed up in various Oz outfits as part of a Guinness Book of World Record's attempt for the most people dressed up in Wizard of Oz costumes.

This particular lady really nailed it with her costume, which was also an entry in the Ozziest Hat contest.

Bob Walls (aka: Puppet Dude) of Stephen's Puppets was there with a traveling Wizard of Oz  marionette show. I wasn't able to attend his performance, but I've seen it before and he is always one of the top attractions and most popular part of any Oz festival we have attended. Kids love it, especially since most of them have never seen a marionette show before. And of course, Bob has a warped sense of humor that plays very well with kids and their parents alike.

Vincent Myrand, a very talented artist was there with his very impressive body of work in oil-on-canvas Wizard of Oz material.

Mary Ellen St. Aubin, Munchkin-by-Marriage was there too, but I was unable to get over to see her. A shame too as she is such a sweet person and a wonderful Ambassador of Oz.

There were numerous performances by The Spirit of Oz: Wizard of OZ Characters Troupe, who delighted audiences with songs, dance and recreations of beloved scenes from the Wizard of Oz movie.

If you wanted any kind of Oz memorabilia, Dorothy's Marketplace was the place to be.

Overall, attendance was robust, steady and quite happy to be in the Land of Oz.

While there were a few minor glitches, which usually happens with any festival of any nature, overall, Amanda and I thought it went well.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Jack Bishop for including us in the festival, as we have for the last 5 years. We always enjoy ourselves and look forward to next year's Oz festival.

James & Amanda Wallace