On My Shelves: The Road to Oz

The Road to Oz begins, as did the others except The Marvelous Land of Oz, in the "outside world", this time back in Kansas on Dorothy's farm. A strange, shaggy man comes wandering through, picking apples and putting them in his pocket – and when a certain black dog challenges him, he picks up the dog and puts him in the shaggy pockets, too. The Shaggy Man encounters Dorothy and asks if she would show him the road to Butterfield; she agrees and takes him to the intersection, and is then surprised when he begins to move off down a different [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

By this point in the series, the Oz books had developed into the Harry Potter of their day. Writing an Oz novel was an assured way to mint money for L. Frank Baum, and for many years he availed himself of that mint whenever he found himself short of funds, as he invariably did since he was a terrible businessman with a fondness for putting on expensive theatrical productions. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is the fourth entry in the series, and the title alone shows how Baum was making sure to pay attention to his fans. Dorothy was popular, [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Ozma of Oz

  The third book of the Oz series by L. Frank Baum sees the return of arguably the most popular character in the land – Dorothy Gale. In Ozma of Oz, her Uncle Henry has become ill and is advised by his doctor to take a trip to Australia for a sea and country cure. This was not uncommon in the era in which Baum was writing – various forms of "sea air", "desert air", etc., cures were recommended for exhaustion and for  illnesses, especially tuberculosis or "consumption" as they called it. While onboard, a powerful storm strikes the [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Marvelous Land of Oz

The success of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz naturally brought a demand for new Oz material; Baum obliged by producing this, the second in the series. Unlike The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz takes place entirely in fairyland, and all of its characters are natives of Oz itself. The main character is a boy named Tip (short for "Tippetarius") who was left with the witch Mombi as an infant, and has lived there as her ward-cum-servant for all his life. There is no love lost between the boy and the clearly wicked witch, and so [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  I discussed Baum and his Oz books in a prior Under the Influence, but in honor of the release of Polychrome, I thought it might be appropriate to perform a review of each of the first fourteen Oz novels, including particular reference to events, characters, and my own thoughts on each book that found their way into Polychrome. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, often just called The Wizard of Oz, is the first of the Oz books, published in 1900, 115 years ago. The basic outline of the story is well-known, thought today mostly through the [ Continue reading... ]

Writing: Musings on Publishing

Having now made it through my own self-publishing saga as well as having multiple books published the traditional way, I figured I would gather my thoughts on the two approaches. I'm probably not going to say anything that others haven't said, but maybe it'll be said differently enough to make it interesting! The TL;DR version: Trad publishing is a great gig, IF (big if) you can get it, as long as you're cool with someone else running the show. Self-publishing, YOU run the show – but that word "RUN" is what you'll be doing, as in "run [ Continue reading... ]

Under the Influence: Usenet

  I have previously discussed, in more broad terms, my entry into and participation in the world of online communication, starting when I was only 14, discovering the existence of email and bulletin boards through the local high-school computer network. There were, and are, many different ways of participating in social interaction online – email in its many guises, bulletin boards, IRC, LiveJournal, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook – but the one that has been the longest-enduring for me, and certainly the most influential on me over the [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 28

Miri had just seen something startling...   ------     Chapter 28.      Miri stepped into her guestroom at the Reflect's mansion and closed the door, leaning against it heavily. I'm shaking! Shaking like a terrified human! Her current body was human, in a way… but in all the centuries she'd been in such bodies, she'd never had such a reaction. Miri held her arm up in front of her, watched the trembling of the delicate hand, the imprecision of its movements, with stunned fascination; it took twice as long as normal [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 27

Kyri had just had a "... he's right behind me, isn't he?" moment...   ------     Chapter 27.      Tobimar tensed, and began to bring up the High Center. If things go bad, we will need all my skill. I don't know exactly what Kyri was doing there, but I could tell she just pushed herself a long ways. Poplock scuttled up his leg, even as Reflect Jenten spoke. "You imply that I –" Kyri stepped between the house and the Reflect. "Both of you, pause a moment, before accusations and fear drive you to actions that will [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 26

Our Heroes were heading north to deliver justice, which might be difficult...   ------     Chapter 26.      The echoing, many-layered murmur ahead of them was unmistakable; they had heard something similar on the day they had – with Xavier – confronted Bolthawk and Skyharrier. It was a crowd, perhaps a mob. Hiriista broke into a trotting run, his tail held high, head maintaining a steady level to guide him. Kyri sprinted alongside of him. Please, Myrionar, let us be in time! The forest opened up ahead, and a [ Continue reading... ]