Friday, December 3, 2021


 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.

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