Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Ron Glick with his novel, The Marvelous Neverland of Oz, book 4 in his Oz-Wonderland Series.
Ron Glick (born January 20, 1969) is a community activist, and is presently active in several charitable enterprises. He was born in Plainville, KS. After living in various states, he currently lives in Kalispell, MT. He 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.
“Ron Glick is an incredibly imaginative author…” – Sabrina Ricci
“[T]he author is a true storyteller.” – Crystal of Orchard Book Club
“As a writer, I can tell you how hard it is to maintain a single voice, but to do two different styles is way beyond cool.” – CP Bialois on The Wizard In Wonderland
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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:
A Shadow Breaks Through
Every shadow has a beginning and an end. It is just the way of such things. Marvelous things, they live and die with the coming of light, then fade away when another larger shadow comes along. But they always come back. Not always the same size or shade of dark, but they always do.
Well, not all shadows die away. Some live on in the darker areas of the world, hidden from sight. These are the scary shadows, the ones that little boys and girls know instinctively to be afraid of, the ones that live under beds and in closets or in basements, hidden behind something dreadfully large. Such children call these shadows monsters, for they truly, truly are. But being shadows, they are easily frightened – for these shadows have become so used to the dark that they run from the light altogether. And this, of course, is where good boys and girls are kept by their loving parents – in the light.
All shadows follow these rules. They either live and die in the light, or they hide in deeper darkness afraid of it. Well, not all shadows. There is at least one that is known to follow neither rule. It is a special shadow, an impossible one. For it is a shadow that belongs to an impossible boy, the one boy that never, ever has to grow up.
It might be believed that such a shadow – having already broken all rules that govern other shadows – would not have to follow the normal rules that other shadows are expected to. Such a shadow, for instance, would have no true need to actually follow the special boy to whom it belonged. As the boy could run off in one direction after adventure, the shadow could venture off in another for its own. Yet still, the shadow would always feel a need to follow the boy, even if it did not have to. It would convince itself that it did so just because it was something to do, but deep down we all know the real reason – it is just the way a shadow is made.
And besides, the boy had such better adventures than the shadow ever managed on its own.
Of course, being a shadow with a mind of its own meant it also could not be taken for granted. Such a shadow would need to be seen as its own self, with its own rights and its own place in the world. Such a shadow might even feel it deserved to be counted by itself rather than be just a boy’s shadow, no matter how special that boy might be. And if you can imagine such a shadow, you can also likely see where this shadow’s path might one day lead – to a challenge of the boy for just such a thing as being counted as its own self.
And there was such a time, as it is likely it happened many times before and many times after. Though in truth, since the boy himself had trouble always remembering one day to the next, it was an affliction also shared by his shadow. So if there had ever been times before or times after, neither would likely recall it. But for our purposes as observers, we must assume that the two having partings of the way was not as uncommon a thing as it might appear to be. After all, if a boy named Peter was special and did not have to follow rules, how could his shadow be expected to do so?
On one such occasion, as it must have been like before had either the boy or shadow been able to recall such things, the shadow took it upon itself to lead the boy and his companions into a fight with the faeries that lived on their island.
Oh, they were frightful little things, these faeries – not as recent an invader as the dark tribesmen who had come by canoe not so long ago following a monstrous crocodile, but as the faeries all lived for such short times, none could ever say how long they had been in Neverland. Could they have been there before the Lost Boys or even Peter himself? Perhaps, but as none seemed to know, the faeries tended to see the Boys as invaders, and the Boys saw the faeries as intruders, and so they did battle at every opportunity without any real reason other than this.
At some point yet to come, perhaps one would come to live with the Lost Boys and be the companion of their leader, the special boy that all knew as Peter, but at this time in the history of Neverland, there was no such love for faeries. Faeries were pranksters who had no love for the Lost Boys, who themselves were always making traps for the faeries in order to steal a little dust for their flying adventures against the great birds in the skies. But the Boys seemed to quickly forget how important it was to keep faeries around for this whenever the subject came up of who had a right to Neverland more.
On any normal day, the groups in Neverland would begin a routine quest, each hunting for the other. If one were to sit quietly at any point around the edge of the island, they could even witness the procession.
First, one might see the faeries, flying carefully along as they hunted the tribesmen, so recently come to their shores. Each of them could be seen fluttering to and fro, searching high and low for any stragglers that might have fallen behind. But of course, the tribesmen were of the Bush in Africa, and were especially good hunters, and so they always managed to stay out of reach of the faeries, their charcoal brown skin blending in masterfully with the dark patches of the forest.
Next in line would come the Lost Boys, ever in pursuit of the faeries and their elusive faerie dust. Faerie dust, after all, only worked for a short time after being taken from a faerie, and so it would need to be gathered fresh each day. But to do so meant catching a faerie, and so they would need to follow the elusive sprites in hopes of cornering at least one.
There were five Lost Boys, not counting Peter himself, who never truly did count himself as one of their number. There was Earl, who was a slight thing, and plainly the youngest, who somehow always ended up at the head of the procession. Then would come James, looking over the head of the young man, as if he were letting young Earl test the ground before walking upon it. After would come any of the other three – Tom, Will or Franklin, all depending upon who was faster on that given day.
And always above them would fly Peter himself – who for some reason never seemed to lack for faerie dust, yet would always have only enough for his own flight. The young Peter would fly to and fro, calling out directions for his faithful crew, watching for the ever elusive prey they followed and sending the Boys in the right direction each time. The Boys were not always fast enough to catch one, of course, but Peter’s directions were never wrong. This was, of course, assuming Peter had not flown off on his own to chase after a solitary adventure, one he would eventually return from with tales grander than could be imagined. But let us suppose on this instance when you are watching Peter is there, and he is flying about calling out faerie sightings for the Lost Boys to chase after.
Next in line would come the fearsome beasts of the forest. These creatures – consisting of lions, tigers, bears, great apes and boars – had all surely been on the island long before any of the others, except of course for the crocodile, who had only recently found refuge in Neverland. It was that particular beast who had led the tribesmen here, but now she – like the beasts who had lived here long before it – craved for the tender flesh that the boys represented. They might never catch one, but it was always a dream to be fulfilled. At the moment, there was not even a leader of this pack of wild beasts, yet all knew by instinct that any who managed to feast upon even a morsel of child flesh would be the greatest beast of them all. Still, the Lost Boys were always moving too fast, for they were, after all, chasing faeries, and so it was at best a dream destined to be unfulfilled.
Then came the tribesmen, their dark skin moving in and out of the darker areas of forest. They followed after the beasts only because their true prey – the monstrous crocodile for whom they had sailed bravely across many oceans in simple canoes chasing – hid in their ranks. If the crocodile had left the herd, the procession would have broken apart, for the tribesmen only cared for their own beast, and their own beast stayed with the others. And so they followed relentlessly, looking to skin the massive beast to please the tribesmen’s own gods back on the African continent.
Leading the way for these brave men and women was their own chief, the great and powerful Thulani. He wore a great lion’s mane across his shoulders, and an unknown beast’s skull hung across his chest. As the bleached bone swayed across his massive chest as he crept ever-silently through the forest, great and deep scars, darker even than his own skin, could be seen carved into his flesh. And yet for all of this, he was mightily handsome and noble, even in his most primitive way. It was this charisma though that compelled his people to follow him without a word as they silently crept through this forest after the crocodile.
And of course, following the tribesmen would come again the faeries, seeking to taunt and torment their island invaders until they abandoned their quest and left again for their own homes.
This was how it would be on most days, in fact. Yet, nothing ever stays always the same in Neverland and so it was upon occasion that on this particular day, Peter had planned to raid the home of the faeries directly rather than chase around the island after them. The faeries lived in a great tree that grew just beyond the northern shore of the island. The tree was far enough removed from shore to not be easily seen by the mermaids who lived in the lagoon should one decide to swim north, but still not so far as to intrude upon the island’s ominous heart. For no creature – not the faeries, nor the Lost Boys, nor the tribesmen, nor even the dreaded creatures of the forest wandered there. That place was too forbidding even for the bravest of boys, and Peter was most certainly the bravest that had ever been.
Peter had told the Lost Boys that he had indeed dared the heart of Neverland on more than one occasion, but his tales were always so fanciful and the facts of such tales ever changing that the Lost Boys knew not whether to believe Peter or not. But it was Peter, and so the Lost Boys believed regardless of whether they knew it to be true or not. For no one ever doubted Peter – he was the one true thing in all of Neverland, and to not believe him would be like not believing in the sky overhead. It was there and not believing in it did not make it untrue, and so it was with Peter.
One either believed Peter or did not, but if one dared to attempt the latter, he would be put out of Neverland posthaste. It was bad enough that once the Lost Boys came of age they were put out anyway, but to be put out early for something so silly as not believing in Peter? Why, that was just foolishness was all that was.
The faeries’ tree was about as close to the heart of Neverland that any of the Lost Boys dared to go, however, and they only did so now because Peter led the way. After all, if one believed that Peter had been to the heart of Neverland and returned, then surely he could lead them safely back from the faeries’ tree.
And yet this day, in spite of the great adventure that Peter had planned for the Lost Boys, it was not Peter that led the way – it was his shadow. As has already been said, this shadow was as special as the boy to whom it belonged, and it did not have to do what normal shadows did. And on this day, this shadow decided it did not have to do as other shadows and follow the boy. This day, the shadow decided to lead the Lost Boys and Peter.
The quest to the tree began simple enough, with Peter leading the Lost Boys through the air towards the site of their raid. But it was at the halfway point that Peter noticed that there was another in front of him – his own shadow. Peter, as would be expected, came to a halt and called his shadow back to him, scolding it for trying to lead. Yet when Peter told his shadow to follow him as it should, the shadow only shook its head and folded its arms defiantly. The shadow had had quite enough of following, and it wished to be in the lead for a change.
Now one must remember one thing of Peter – he was a boy. And as a boy, he lacked the patience one might have gained as one grew older. Therefore, having little patience with his own shadow standing there, refusing to follow him as it always had, Peter did the only thing a boy could do.
He told the shadow to go away, that he never wanted to see it ever again.
And as the shadow was little more than a part of the boy itself, it did precisely that – it flew away. It flew away and left Neverland behind, certain never to return.
Had that truly been all that had happened, why this story teller would have nothing left to tell. For that would be the end of the story, and we could all put the story away, knowing we had heard the tale all the way to the end.