Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World

Exploring the Hidden History of Oz

The Glinda Letters – Cover Reveal

The Glinda Letters is nearing the moment of publication. I wanted all of you to be the first to see the new cover design.

HH4-GL_KindleCover_10-14-2015

The Glinda Letters is an epistolary novel composed of letters written by Glinda and sent to the Wizard, Oscar Diggs, while he is in a self-imposed exile in Emerald City.
Glinda writes a letter to the Wizard each year on her birthday, and also when events in Oz deem it necessary. Each letter details significant information that Glinda is learning and that she believes is important for the Wizard to know.
Through these letters, Glinda reveals her true soul to Oscar, bathed in tears, scorched in anger, and tempered with the fine fury of decades of wisdom. She grows from the angry child into the fearless sorceress sworn to protect Oz from all enemies.
All the while, Glinda urges Oscar to come into the light and leave the darkness behind. The throne of Emerald City is his for the taking. With political unrest growing, the urgency in Glinda’s letters grows. Then it subsides as time moves on and the Wonderful Wizard becomes a legend, and then a fairy tale. He has become a story. Then his throne is threatened by another. The Crown Princess is born, and then she disappears mysteriously. Then a powerful young sorceress named Dorothy lands in Oz. After the Wizard escapes his exile and returns to the land of his birth, Glinda waits for his return, so that she can finally have her happy ending.

This book bridges the gap between The Witch Queens trilogy and Baum’s original Oz books, ending shortly before the events of Baum’s fourth Oz novel, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908).

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The Witch Queens Trilogy Now Has Updated Covers

I’m excited to show off the new covers designed for The Witch Queens trilogy.

These books are available in ebook or paperback. Find them where you buy your ebooks, or in paperback on Amazon.


The Perils of a Dangerbread House

An illustration from Tabby Abacus and the Dangerbread House, a chapter book for ages 8 and up, written and illustrated by Tarl Telford. Illustration by Tarl Telford.

On a path lined with cookies, beware of what lies at the end of that magical journey. – Illustration by Tarl Telford

A Dangerbread House is a strange thing of wild magic. You’ve seen it before – a house in the woods made of gingerbread, sweets, and candies. It is usually inhabited by a witch, who uses it to lure unsuspecting children into her clutches. This house is different though. In the new illustrated chapter book, Tabby Abacus and the Dangerbread House (more…)


Emerald Spectacles (Hidden History of Oz, Book Three) – Available Now

Cover image for the novel, Emerald Spectacles.

Available on Amazon, Smashwords, and wherever digital books are sold.

Emerald Spectacles is the third book in the Hidden History of Oz series. This intense, imaginative story spans the magical land of Oz and delves into the mysterious conjoined dreamlands. To save the Wizard, and to preserve the Land of Oz, Glinda must join forces with her mortal enemy, Kalinya, the Wicked Witch of the East, forge a coalition of dangerous Witches (including Mombi and Locasta), battle those that she once considered friends, and challenge the immutable forces of time and magic.

In this spellbinding conclusion to the Glinda Trilogy, time is running out for the Wizard. If he dies with his soul in the dreamlands, the Land of Oz will be host to his nightmares forever. However, success only guarantees survival, not a happy ending.

Emerald Spectacles is available on Amazon (in paperback and kindle versions) and on Smashwords, in your favorite digital format.


50% off Hidden History of Oz Books at Smashwords

Cover images for the Glinda Trilogy. Coupons available at checkout on Smashwords, now through March 7, 2015.

Coupons available at checkout on Smashwords, now through March 7, 2015.

March 1 – 7 is Read an eBook Week at Smashwords.com. To celebrate this event, you can pick up The Witch Queens (HH1:WQ) and Crown of the Dreamer (HH2:CotD) for just $2.00 each. That’s 50% off the regular price.

Plus, as part of the soft launch of Book Three: Emerald Spectacles, you can pick up the exciting conclusion to the Glinda Trilogy for 25% off.

Pick up your copy of Emerald Spectacles before anyone else. Go to Smashwords.com now.


Looking through Emerald Spectacles

Cover of Emerald Spectacles novel.

Emerald Spectacles (The Hidden History of Oz, Book Three) cover

Emerald Spectacles prevented Dorothy and her friends from seeing the Emerald City as it really was. In a sense, the Emerald Spectacles are a form of of humbug – a deception. However, this exciting novel gives the real power of the magic glasses – they prevent the wearer from seeing magic. The Emerald Spectacles that Dorothy and her friends wore were to protect them from any dark magic they might see in the Emerald City.

Why would they see dark magic? Ah, that’s an excellent question. It goes back to the foundation of the Hidden History of Oz series:

Oz is a magical land powered by human dreams. What is dreamed on Earth is filtered through the Emerald Engine to become magic in Oz. When a dreamer from Earth came to Oz, his dreams changed the land around him. One such dreamer was given the title of Wizard.  (more…)


Dorothy’s first trip to Oz

If you are interested in a day-by-day view of Dorothy’s first trip to Oz (found in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel), click over to Dorothy’s Timeline.

You can also find it in the menu above: About > Timeline > Dorothy’s Timeline.


Sneak Preview, Book Three: Emerald Spectacles

Emerald Spectacles, image courtesy oz.wikia.com.

In the recent republishing of Book Two: Crown of the Dreamer, a sneak preview was included. This is presented here on this blog for your reading pleasure. Spoilers after the jump. Don’t jump if you don’t want to be excited for the upcoming continuation of the epic prequel story, The Hidden History of Oz, Book Three: Crown of the Dreamer. Really, this is the last warning. There are a few spoilers if you haven’t read Book Two yet.

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Some Great Site Updates – September 2014

Cover for The Witch Queens

I have some great site updates to share with you. As you will notice in the sidebar, there are two new covers for the published novels. I think they look much better.

If you navigate through the buttons on the menu bar, you’ll see some new entries. There is a Media Kit for each published book, including author bio, author interview, reviews, and more.

Now, for the piece that I am most pleased with. With each book there is a Guide for Parents.

As the Hidden History novels are intended for ages 10 and up, I felt it was important to provide a guide for the parents so that they are aware of what is in the novel.


Lions, and tigers, and bears…or at least tigers and bears (Kalidah)

Illustration of Kalidahs.

Kalidahs, illustrated by W.W. Denslow, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel.

The Kalidah is the most ferocious and feared predator in the Land of Oz. We first read about Kalidahs in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel. The Kalidah has the head of a tiger, the front paws and body of a bear, and the rear legs of a tiger. But what would a Kalidah look like in real life? How would the features of these two fearsome predators look? (more…)


Six-word Oz-capades

Can you tell a story in six words? This super-short storytelling has a history dating back to Ernest Hemmingway when he shared the following with a friend:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

iO9 has a couple of super-short science fiction writing contests here, and here. This got me thinking about how to tell a story in six words. You see it many times in newspaper and magazine headlines. The story needs to pull you in so that you buy their product – their product being both a magazine and a message. If you buy their message, you will most likely come back. You become their audience.

So how do you build an audience in six words? You find common beliefs that allow you to use shorthand to tell your story. You find double-meanings in words that give you more mileage. And you find a way to look at events or attitudes that allow people to think they know what is happening, and then surprise them.

The power of each word is multiplied when you can only use six of them. Here are three of my favorites from my six-word sci-fi brainstorming session:

  • Substitute time traveler wanted. Provide references.
  • Successfully removed cancerous microchip. Now lonely.
  • Vegetable uprising. Time travel. Primordial soup.

I thought even further – could this work for Oz stories?

Given only the limit of six words to tell an Oz story, can you do it? Can you rely on your audience’s understanding of Oz to share an entire story in scarcely a handful of words? I’m going to give it a try. 

Some of these may be actual story ideas for The Hidden History of Oz series. Time will tell. Distilling the essence of a story down to six words is quite an interesting exercise.

Why don’t you give it a try? In the comments below, leave your six-word Oz story.


A Smashing Good Time – the Wicked Witch of the West

The Wicked Witch of the West Few villains are as iconic as Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939). Is it the green skin, the archetypal witch’s nose, or the wide-brimmed black hat that makes her so memorable? Maybe her screeching voice is what sticks in your memory. The Wicked Witch of the West has had multiple incarnations in the 100+ years since L. Frank Baum first published his novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Many additional authors have written about this witch. We will explore the four primary versions of the Wicked Witch of the West. These versions are:

  • The Wicked Witch of the West, from The Wizard of Oz (film, MGM, 1939).
  • Elphaba, from Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West.
    Note: This is the original version of the character made famous in the Broadway musical, Wicked.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West, from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • Ondri-baba, from Tarl Telford’s Hidden History of Oz books.

What makes each of these versions different? Who is the Wicked Witch of the West, anyway? (more…)


Image

Glinda sketches

Glinda the Good as a teen.

Glinda sketch by Tarl Telford

I have been brainstorming Oz stories for about five years now. This includes visual brainstorms and concept art for the eventual graphic novels of some Hidden History of Oz stories. To give an idea of some of the character development over the last two years, I thought I would start with the hero – Glinda.

Glinda is the teenage daughter of the most powerful sorceress in Oz. Through a series of tantrum-inspired events, Glinda becomes an orphan on the run from the Wicked Witches. (See The Witch Queens novel for full details.)

Glinda the Good in a princess dress

Glinda with princess dress, by Tarl Telford

Glinda face and hair studies

Glinda face and hair concepts, by Tarl Telford

These are the first sketches in the concept art category. There will doubtless be many more. For more of my artwork, you can visit my deviantart gallery. I am beginning to share some of my artwork again.

For reference purposes, here is a public domain illustration of Glinda from one of Baum’s books, Glinda of Oz. This is Glinda approximately 60 years after HH1: The Witch Queens. She learned the secret to aging well. You’ll just have to read the book and find out what it is.

The portrait of Glinda the Good appearing in G...

The portrait of Glinda the Good appearing in Glinda of Oz, by L. Frank Baum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to see more concept art for The Hidden History of Oz characters and places? Let me know in the comments below.


Teaser: Crown of the Dreamer back cover

Glinda stands in front of the distant Emerald City. The city is under construction. A full moon lights the Emerald City.The Hidden History of Oz, Book Two: Crown of the Dreamer is complete. It will very shortly be available for sale on Amazon. In the meantime, here is a brief teaser to get your appetite whetted for the continuing adventures of Glinda, Oscar, and the whole Hidden History of Oz cast.  (more…)


Teaser: Crown of the Dreamer

The Hidden History of Oz, Book Two: Crown of the Dreamer is nearing completion. It is in the proofreading phase right now. I am very excited to share it with you. Every day brings the manuscript closer and closer to your hands. The story is just about ready to take off and make some magic.

Here is a teaser for the cover in-progress:

Glinda stands in front of the distant Emerald City. The city is under construction. A full moon lights the Emerald City.

I anticipate that it will be available for purchase in September on Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle versions. Other digital formats will soon follow. In the meantime, if you haven’t picked up a copy of The Hidden History of Oz, Book One: The Witch Queens, now would be a great time to dive into the mysterious history of Glinda and Oscar Diggs. You can find the book on both Amazon, and Smashwords.


A Cover Story – The Witch Queens

WitchQueens_Cover_Kindle_1000x1600

On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, I received some fine compliments on the cover to The Hidden History of Oz, Book One: The Witch Queens. I was a guest on the second hour of Whispers in the Dark (download the podcast, it’s free). Right at the end, several people commented what a great cover the book has. They were talking, I wanted to say thanks, because it is my work, after all, but didn’t get a chance before the live feed ended.

So here is my chance. The cover is good because I put a lot of work into it. Here you’ll get a glimpse inside my thought process as I planned out the cover.

This is the first of many behind-the-scenes posts where I detail my thoughts and process as I built this book from the ground up. Everything, from the front cover image, to the words on the page, to the imprint logo on the spine, was designed by Tarl Telford, me. It was a lot of fun, and I’m proud of the finished product.

Let me pull back the curtain so you can see some of my process…

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Spend Christmas in Oz – for FREE

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, by WW Denslow (original illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

This Christmas, give your loved ones (including yourself) an exciting vacation in the Land of Oz.
For a limited time ONLY (Dec. 24 – 26), download my book, “The Hidden History of Oz, Book One: The Witch Queens”, for FREE. (http://www.amazon.com/Witch-Queens-Hidden-History-ebook/dp/B008JISCNC/)

This exciting prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will keep children, friends, and in-laws enthralled for hours! Join young sorceress Glinda and the ventriloquist-turned-wizard, Oscar, as they stand against the Wicked Witches and learn the true cost and responsibility of freedom.
For a limited time only, spend Christmas in the Land of Oz. Your imagination (and the beneficiaries of this wonderful gift) will thank you.

Paperback version is available also, but it’s not free. While you are clicking around this site, why not click your mouse three times and say, “There’s no place like the Hidden History of Oz facebook page!” Like us there, and you can also follow us on Google+

Have a very Merry Christmas. Give the gift of Oz to family. They will thank you, and so will we.


Rubies and Emeralds and Pearls, oh my!

When you think of precious gems in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, what immediately comes to mind? Emeralds, of course. Why is this? Because the Emerald City is the central metropolis in the Land of Oz. It is the must-see destination for all visitors to Oz.

However, there is another prominent precious stone that appears multiple times in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and is arguably of equal, if not greater, significance.

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Hidden History Map of Oz, circa 1852

Map of Oz, during the time of The Witch Queens

The mapped Land of Oz holds many mysteries. There are many places to explore. This map is just the beginning of your journeys.

See, this is the official map for The Hidden History of Oz: Book One, The Witch Queens, included in both the paperback and Kindle versions. Note that this is not all of Oz. This is the map of the places traveled to in this story.

Let’s look at the structure of the map first, then look at the deserts. (more…)


Dreamers in Oz

How did Dorothy get to Oz? How did Oscar Diggs (aka The Wizard) get to Oz?

The simple answer is that they flew. With all of the satellite technology that we have available to us now, you would think that Oz would show up on Google Maps, but it doesn’t. The reason is simple – there is only one way to get to Oz.

Or, put another way, only dreamers enter Oz. Proof after the break. (more…)


Powered by Dreams

Dream City, by Paul Klee, courtesy wikipaintings.org

The basic premise of the Hidden History of Oz is “dreams determine reality.” Compare this with the basic premise set forth by L. Frank Baum in his written introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

“… a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.” (emphasis added)

As stated on this site, “There is that history which is celebrated … and that which is hidden.” Baum told simple stories with no explanation. They have enchanted generations. The fairy tales of the past have been lost in the shadows as today’s knowledge has expanded. It is time to revisit the fairy tales and discover their meaning for our generation. (more…)


History of the Winged Monkeys

The Winged Monkeys are one of the most memorable creatures in MGM’s 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. While this has contributed nightmare fuel to more than one generation, the silent monkeys of that film bear little character resemblance to the nuanced race of creatures in the original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The Winged Monkeys play a much more important role in the history of Oz than you have been led to believe. In many respects, the Winged Monkeys brought the Hidden History of Oz to light. (more…)