Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Ron Glick has a new book in his Oz-Wonderland series, so he’s returning to share the first book in the series, Marvelous Neverland of Oz. He’s sharing an excerpt from the book with us today, but first let’s learn more about Ron.
Ron Glick is the author of The Godslayer Cycle, Chaos Rising, the Oz-Wonderland series, and Ron El’s Comic Book Trivia, as well as having written a screenplay adaptation of The Wizard In Wonderland. Additionally, he created the Golden Age Preservation Project as a means of making Golden Age comics more accessible to modern audiences. His expose, U.S. Political Prisoner Since 2004, broke him away from his fictional works to shed light upon political corruption in Montana.
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About the Book
Wonderland and the Looking Glass World have been joined to Oz, saving three faery lands from destruction – but nothing is as simple as this when the Cheshire Cat is involved. Meanwhile, the March Hare leads a renegade army from Wonderland and Mombi plots to bring even more chaos in an effort to escape Oz. Glinda must delve into her own past – but will what she discovers require the greatest sacrifice of all? And as three magical realms seek to find balance, an eternally young boy makes his way to Oz with secrets of yet another faery world – Neverland. With a faithful eye to the original Baum, Carroll and Barrie classics, The Marvelous Neverland of Oz launches the next exciting chapter in the modern classic Oz-Wonderland series.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
Alice had not led by too great a distance though. For when Ozma arrived in the throne room, it was clear that introductions had only recently begun.
“But we had tea! And you asked me your riddle.”
The little man who stood opposite the Oxford girl was possibly one of the oddest sorts Ozma had ever seen. He wore a large over-sized coat with pin-tails, while sporting a checkered pair of pants. Upon his head was a large chimney-styled hat with a bright green band around its base. From this band protruded a card which read, “In this style 10/6”. He had an oddly childish face, even though it was clear that he was older. At the moment though, the man’s face was rather blank as he looked intently at Alice.
“Who did you say you were again?”
“Alice,” said the girl. “We met in Wonderland. You and the Hare and the Dormouse were all having tea.”
“Do you have some?” asked the man, perking up.
“Tea, of course,” said the Hatter. “I’ve been ever so long without a decent cup. That Hare never could make one. And the Dormouse – why, who ever heard of a Dormouse making tea? You must surely be mad for suggesting such a thing!”
“But I did not say anything like that,” insisted Alice. The girl pulled herself up and began again. “Hatter, do you truly not remember me? We were in the Queen’s court together. You were a witness against the Knave of Hearts.”
“I was?” The Hatter blinked. “How’d I do? I’ve always wondered how I would do like that. Witnesses are expected to remember, and I have never thought much about remembering. But if I had to, why, I think I might do just fine.”
“You tried to eat your teacup,” Alice laughed.
“Alice, Dear,” interrupted Ozma. “Is this indeed the Hatter you knew before?”
Alice’s face turned a slight pink. “Oh yes, this is him. He has a confusing way about him I had quite forgotten, I am afraid.”
Ozma had moved across the room as the pair had bantered and now took a seat upon her throne. Jellia Jamb stood stoically behind her chair, and the Princess leaned back ever so slightly and whispered, “Are you alright? Wantowin tells me there was something amiss with your bonnet?”
The Princess could almost feel the warmth from her attendant’s blush. “He overthinks things, as he always does. The Hatter only wanted to know who made my bonnet, and he would not leave me be until I had taken it off her him to examine.”
Ozma glanced back at Jellia a moment, then looked forward again. “I see you have recovered it.”
“Oh, he was quite the gentleman once he had his way,” said the green girl.
“Sir Hatter,” called Ozma, leaning forward in her throne. “We had understood you were with the March Hare’s army. What brings you to the Emerald City?”
The Hatter started, looking up as if caught in the act of doing something wrong. His hands froze in position where they had been patting the outside of his jacket, apparently searching for something. “Did you say you had tea?” he asked after a couple of confused blinks.
“I do not believe anyone had offered you any,” said Ozma, inclining her head backwards towards Jellia. “Would you be a dear and please see about having some tea brought? I imagine we are not going to get much accomplished unless we do.”
Ozma did not have to watch to know that Jellia had likely begun to go in search of the request before the Princess had even stopped asking. The green girl was like that, always prepared before she should have been to answer anything that Ozma could wish for.
“While Jellia goes to have some tea brought, perhaps you can answer the question?”
“Question?” asked the Hatter. Then his eyes went wild and he clapped his hands merrily. “You want to riddle?”
“There was one I used to wonder about,” interrupted the Hatter, “but I have long since forgotten it.”
“The one about the raven?” offered Alice.
The Hatter blinked. “What about a raven?”
“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” prompted the girl. “That was the one you asked of me.”
“Did I?” asked the Hatter. “Then what was the answer?”
“You said you had no idea,” said Alice.
“No, couldn’t have been me then,” scoffed the Hatter. “I would have given an answer if I had asked the riddle. And since I didn’t, I couldn’t have, now could I?”
“But you did–”
“Alice,” prompted Ozma again, to which Alice took a step back and folded her hands behind her.
“Now Hatter,” started the Princess again. “My question was, what brings you to the Emerald City?”
The Hatter squinted one eye and cocked his head to the side. “Not much of a riddle, but I can certainly give it a try.” The Hatter plopped down on the floor, and propped his head into his hands. “What would bring me to an emerald city. An emerald city. Bring me. Which would mean I was brought…”
Ozma was beginning to feel tense. “Hatter, this is not a riddle. It is a question.”
The Hatter looked up from his musings. “But are not all riddles questions?”
“They can be–”
“It only stands to reason that questions are riddles, then. You really should think these things through better before you speak. And now if you don’t mind…” Once more, the Hatter plopped his head into his hands. “Me. What me is in a city? They certainly do rhyme–”
At this moment, Jellia arrived with a small tin cart. Upon the cart, a delicate tea pot rested, surrounded on all sides by cups, six in total. “This was the set gifted to us by the China people of China Country,” offered the green girl by way of explanation. “We do not normally serve tea away from a table, so I fear it was all we had to place it in.”
The Hatter hopped up ecstatically. “I say, most excellently done!”
Without any presentation of care or concern for the delicate nature of the tea set, the oddly dressed man grabbed up a cup and fairly threw it onto a saucer, which somehow managed to balance itself in spite of the Hatter’s jostling about. No sooner had the cup come to rest upon the saucer than the Hatter’s hand had already thrust the teapot into the air and held it high as he poured a stream of scalding liquid out, again somehow miraculously balancing the cup and saucer in the perfect position to catch the tea. Ozma had barely a moment to raise her hand in protest before the Hatter had completed his task and was stirring avidly at the cup with a spoon he had procured from somewhere, all the while sipping at the liquid noisily.
“Hatter!” cried Ozma, feeling her own face flush. The Hatter stopped instantly, frozen in place with his lips plastered around the lip of his cup.
“Yersh?” the man gurgled through his tea.
“Will you answer my question?”
“Wha wersh yer querstshern?”
Alice reached over and lightly lowered the cup from the Hatter’s lips. “Why did you leave the March Hare to come here?”
The Hatter blinked. “Why, to be safe. That mad rabbit tied me up and left me for the corn to eat! I come here as I lum.”
Alice’s brow creased. “As you what?”
“As I lum,” repeated the Hatter. “I want to be safe, so I have come here as I lum.”
Alice looked to the Princess blankly, and Ozma could only return an equally confused look. “What do you mean by, ‘lum’? I fear I do not know that word.”
The Hatter looked rather sheepish, lowering his head, which somehow brought the forward brim of his hat down as well. “To be honest, I haven’t a clue. But if it’s what I need to do to be safe, then I can lum with the best!”
“Princess,” whispered Jellia over Ozma’s shoulder. “I think he means ‘asylum’.”
“Asylum?” asked the Princess aloud.
The Hatter’s head bobbed up and down, his hat lifting and falling repeatedly back upon his head. “Yes, as I lum!”
“Asylum is asking for safety,” tried to explain Ozma. “What you are saying makes little sense.”
The Hatter considered this for a moment. “Mmmm, no,” he said at last. “I don’t think you’ve got it right. In fact, I’m quite sure. And since I’m the one who’s asking, I must be right.”
“How do you presume that?” demanded Ozma.
“Because I’m the one who asked,” said the Hatter simply. Turning to Alice, he gave a conspiratorial wink. “Would you believe some say I am mad? Listen to this girl.”
“That girl,” said Alice, “is Princess Ozma. And if you want asylum, you should really be nicer.”
“Should I?” asked the Hatter.
Alice nodded. “You really should.”
“How would I do that? I am but a poor man, and all I have to offer is this hat.” At this, the Hatter placed his fingers delicately on the item’s brim.
“What does that have to do with anything?” asked Alice, giving a small shrug in Ozma’s direction.
“Why, you can’t be nice without buying someone’s favor, now can you?” Now the Hatter winked at Ozma. “Would you believe some say I am mad? But this girl–”
“Hatter,” interjected Ozma. “You say you are looking for asylum.” Not since the Queen of Hearts had Ozma felt her patience stretched so thin. “Why should we grant it to you? Why not go ask for this of your own Queen?”
“Well,” said the Hatter, beginning a count upon his fingers, “My own Queen took my crown and started calling himself my King and Queen, then tried to tie me up with corn.”
“I meant the Queen of Hearts,” offered Ozma.
The Hatter ticked off on his second finger. “My old Queen wants my head, I hear. Something to do with the March Hare taking the King’s crown.”
“You took the crown first,” said Alice.
The Oxford girl was about to protest, but the Princess cut her short.
“Alice!” Ozma had to calm herself, offering an apologetic look to her Oxford guest. “Please, we will never finish if you let him goad you on.”
The Princess turned back to the Hatter, but her guest had once again acquired the teapot and was now dancing about as he streamed more liquid into his cup, sipping up its contents as fast as the tea could be poured. “Would you please stop that?” demanded the girl on the throne.
The Hatter’s head darted from one side to the other, yet never seemed to miss his rhythm of dancing with the tea. “I would certainly try, if only I knew what a ‘that’ was. Is it this girl over here? I know, she is just so tall and annoying. Why, she won’t even drink tea!” At this, the Hatter once more brought the teacup up to his mouth and began slurping loudly.
Ozma lowered her head and shook it from side to side. “Hatter, you may have asylum until such time as we decide what to do with you.” Looking up once more, she turned to her assistant. “Jellia, will you be so kind as to find quarters for the Hatter? It seems he will be staying awhile.”