Friday, December 3, 2021

OZ, BOOK 2 IN THE WONDERLAND TRILOGY – HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

 Exactly one year ago, I published Wonderland. I had planned for Wonderland to be a standalone novel but the following November it seemed logical, even preordained, that I should write a sequel sourced from the L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. (And if I were doing that, then it would have to be a trilogy with the third book sourced from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan the following November).

 Since it is a trilogy, Oz will make more sense if you read the first book, so go out and purchase Wonderland; I’ll wait.

 You’re back? Good, now where were we? Oh, yes — Oz. Each book in the trilogy is written in the mood or tone of its source material. While Wonderland is more whimsical, Oz is the hero’s journey The characters may bear the names and some of the attributes of their literary namesakes but they, and the world they inhabit, are much darker. Alice is a police detective; so is Capt. Jim Hooker, who goes by the nickname Hook since he has a prosthetic metal hook for his left hand. Hook has established Neverland Ranch in the valley north of Wonderland as a refuge for abused boys he calls the Lost Boys. Edmund Tusk (nicknamed the Walrus because of his physical similarity to the sea creature) is a criminal kingpin ruling over the futuristic city of tomorrow, Wonderland. Dorothy Gale is a reporter from Kansas. Peter Pan is a middle-aged pedophile who’s not only attracted to boys but considers himself one as well. Wendy’s the abducted child turned nurturing young woman who finds in the older yet childlike Peter someone to mother. Tinka Belle is a badass drug dealer peddling her recreational drug Fairy Dust in Tenement Row and the rest of Wonderland’s slum, where we find Glinda Goodwitch and her house of prostitution (“Just follow the yellow brick road”); Old Mombi, who specializes in abducting children and young women; Jack Pumpkinhead, ex-prizefighter turned owner of the seedy Quadling bar; Gen. Jinjur and her army of punk rock lesbians: Buzz, Skinz, Rainbow, Mo Hawk, and Spike; and a host of other unsavory characters.

 In addition to the Art Deco skyscrapers illuminated by spotlights and the squalid underbelly of the city of tomorrow, Wonderland has a scenic wharf in its harbor separating the river from the inlet to the sea. There you’ll find the avuncular Cap’n Bill — whose left leg is a wooden stick of hickory from the knee down — smoking his briar pipe, and Trot, the young woman who’s both his first mate and ward. Most likely, they’ll be at The Mock Turtle bar drinking with Capt. Griffin, a lobster fishermen and rummy, along with his parrot Munchkin.

 Wonderland wouldn’t be Wonderland without the wealthy and powerful players that comprise its high society. Mademoiselle Milliner — a delusional schizophrenic who made her fortune designing outlandish hats — hosts a daily tea party at her mansion, aided by her manservant Haigha and her ever-present guest the somnolent Mr. Dormaus. A more distinctive antebellum mansion belongs to the Duchess, the ugliest woman in Wonderland, who lives with her daughter Cheshire (the city’s enigmatic information broker), her son Pepper, her butler Mr. Frogge, her footman Mr. Fish, and the eponymous Cook. In addition to meals, Cook also prepares the drug they manufacture named Pepper, which the Duchess’ young son Pepper and his constant companion Mouse distribute through the city. Cat Pillar, the second ugliest woman in Wonderland, is frequently a guest at the Duchess’ mansion where she can be found seated on an ottoman smoking her hookah.

 The Duchess’ ex-husband Nome King now lives on his own island, the Isle of Ev, which is inhabited only by a tribe of native Quadlings. Prof. H.M. Wogglebug — the creator of both Pepper and Fairy Dust — also resides on the island and his latest creation is an hallucinogenic gas he calls Scarlet.

   Oz available December 1, 2021 in paperback, Kindle, or ebook.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

OZ, BOOK 2 IN THE WONDERLAND TRILOGY – JUST PUBLISHED!

 Last year I gave you Wonderland; today, welcome to Oz!

 My novel Wonderland relied heavily on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, with some characters borrowed from The Oz books by L. Frank Baum, and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Okay, I took a few creative liberties. Wonderland is the ultimate stream of consciousness novel, much like its namesake. In Carroll’s original stories, there’s no plot or conflict: Alice goes to a strange place, encounters weird people, and returns home – or, as we called it in the 60s, a wild LSD trip. When I embarked on adapting the Oz books, I hit a snag: they were not stream of consciousness novels. They each had a plot, albeit the same one – the Hero’s Journey: a protagonist who goes on an adventure, overcomes a conflict, and returns changed by the experience. Following this formula results in a book with a completely different “feel.” Since Oz is a sequel to Wonderland, I worried the difference would be too jarring for the readers.

 Nevertheless, some beloved, perhaps lesser known, characters from Oz made their way to Wonderland, the “city of tomorrow” whose art deco skyline is filled with skylights and skyscrapers. But where the previous novel focused on the gleaming city, Oz reveals what lies in the shadows of the glitz and glamor of the art deco architectural marvel of Wonderland, deep within the dark underbelly of the city of tomorrow. It follows the Yellow Brick Road through the dangerous Tenement Row, home of Old Mombi who sells abducted children and young women to the highest bidder; the local brothel, Glinda Goodwitch’s Palace of Pleasure; The Quadling, the seedy bar belonging to ex-prizefighter Jack Pumpkinhead, whose face resembles a smashed gourd; and the territory claimed by Gen. Jinjur and her army of punk rock lesbians. In short, another acid trip. Enjoy.

   Oz available December 1, 2021 in paperback, Kindle, or ebook.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

More Fang-tastic News!

 The ebook version of Book Four in the Vampires Vs. Aliens series was published this summer; now you can purchase the paperback edition from Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

 The most action-packed installment yet! Kevian's past from the Water Wars returns to haunt him and threaten the safety of Earth. Anti-alien prejudice breaks out on the planet. The vampires must deal with a werewolf in their midst. Courtney Cartwright confronts Sebastian after discovering his secrets but has his inadvertent action already sealed their fates? The Jabari have learned their former foes the Hyperions have been decimated and are helplessly in orbit around Earth's moon. Now the Jabari fleet is headed into our solar system on a mission of vengeance and obliteration!

 This volume is yet another turning point in the series as readers get to see a side of Kevian that up until now has only been alluded to. The alien prince has been Courtney Cartwright’s white knight whom she views as kind, generous, and at least with her, tender. Yet Courtney and the readers have been warned there’s another side to the warrior prince and that he’s not as he appears. As a writer, I worked carefully to craft this duality in Kevian’s character and with the fourth installment of Vampires Vs. Aliens it comes to the fore. The book begins with a flashback to Kevian’s time as a warrior during the Water Wars on the ice planet Jabari. We see what Kevian, Saskia, and Quill were truly like in wartime, and we learn the painful secret of what occurred on Jabari that Kevian has refused to speak of for two centuries, even to his sister Kira. We also get to see Kevian’s first encounter with the symbiont and learn the reason for their mutual hatred. Then, it’s flash forward to the present day where, thanks to Victorian dandy and Elder vampire Sebastian, the Jabari have located Kevian and the remaining Hyperions now in lunar orbit and have launched an invasion fleet toward Earth and its moon. For only the second time, the Hyperion command ship Calpernia leaves lunar orbit, headed to the edge of the solar system to engage the Jabari in battle. Kevian’s mother, Queen Dowager Nula, bids him “Go do what YOU do best.” Will readers still feel the same after seeing this side of Kevian?

 Now that humans are aware they have aliens among them their reactions are split between groups like the Earth for Humans League, who feel threatened by their presence, and Alien Lives Matter, who welcome them. Are arrivals from another planet the ultimate illegal aliens and will they be treated any differently from immigrants from another country?

 

   Miss the first three books in the series? Buy them individually online or order the Vampires Vs. Aliens Omnibus collecting all three books, just published this summer.