Superman and Oz

When is the Oz Chronicles not the Oz Chronicles?  When you compare my Oz Chronicles to the legendary L. Frank Baum’s Oz Chronicles.  I’ve been asked on a number of occasions if I was influenced by Baum’s work.  My answer is not intentionally.  I’m not blind to the similarities.  In some cases, they are starkly similar, but my experience with Baum’s series begins and ends the Wizard of Oz film.  As a kid growing up in the 70’s, I saw the movie every holiday season for years, but I was not aware that there were other stories featuring Oz.  When I settled on the name “The Oz Chronicles” after deciding The Takers would be the first in a series, I had no idea that Baum had already created an Oz Chronicles series of books.  I was just naming the series after the main character in my story.

Believe it or not, Superman is probably more of an influence behind my Oz Chronicles than L. Frank Baum’s books.  I devoured comic books as a kid and Superman was my go to superhero.  I loved the Fantastic Four (particularly Thing) and the Hulk, but Superman was always the first new comic book I would look for at the newsstand.  I’ve always said that to me the story of Oz Griffin is at its core a superhero’s origin story.  Thanks to the Délons, he even has the ability to call up superhuman strength, although he has to become something he hates in order to do so.

If I had a pot of gold, after I publish the seventh and final book, I would hire an illustrator and editor to release the series in comic book form.  I would even consider putting together a team to release comic books that extend beyond the seven books.  I don’t have the resources or expertise to do it on my own, so don’t look for it anytime soon.

However you can look forward to the new Superman movie this month.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes extended featurette about the summer blockbuster film.  I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Oz Chronicles T-Shirt?

The following comment was posted by Laura on the blog last week.

This just came to me as I was reading this entry. I would SO purchase an Oz t-shirt or sweatshirt if it looked really cool. Have you thought of creating them? At the very least, what about CafePress…put your web site on it…OH! Make it like a concert t-shirt, with the names of the books on the back!! And a cool picture of the Oz gang on the front…or the monsters…

I attempted to do t-shirts years ago, but I wasn’t happy with the way they turned out, so I never really promoted them.  But, Laura has planted the seed in my head that I might need to give it another try.  Here’s my first design attempt for the front pocket area.  What do you think?

Possible t-shirt design

Also, Laura suggested putting the titles of the books on the back.  That’s an idea, but if you have any thoughts, let me know.

Lou’s Diary – Entry 3 (text version)

This morning I woke up and there was another pack of crackers lying on the ground next to me.   I would have thought it nothing more than an incredible stroke of luck or some intervention by the Storytellers if it hadn’t been resting on top of a note that read, “You are being watched.  F.T.”

I ate my crackers with a knot in my stomach.  I’m guessing this F.T. person… I hope it’s a person… thought they were doing me a favor by giving me a heads up on being watched, but frankly, I’d rather not know. What good does it do me?  I don’t have any weapons.  I’m weak from hunger.  I’m pretty sure my insides are frozen solid.  Worrying about being watched is just one more layer of crap I’ve got to deal with.

And what’s with this F.T.?  Why don’t they just show themselves?  It’s creepy and rude to sneak up on me at night, even if you’re leaving me food.  So, help me God… if I catch up to this F.T. and they’ve got something better to eat than stale, frozen crackers, I’m going to punch them in the face.  I guess I should be thankful, but screw that.

I’m laughing at my lack of gratitude.  It’s really all I have the strength to do right now.  This F.T. probably expects a big hug and kiss from me if we were ever to meet, but instead he’ll get a good dressing down from a bratty little made-up girl for failing to recognize that I needed a good sight more than crackers and a warning.

I need someone to end my misery.

Is it bad for me to talk like that?  I don’t think so because no one is around to care… except for F.T., and they only care enough to spare some barely edible crackers.

I hear something.  And this time I know it’s not the wind.  It’s a grunt… almost a growl.  I want to shut my eyes and pretend none of this real.  I just want it all to go away… The growl again.  It sounds big.

It’s a funny thing about being scared.  I’ve completely forgotten about being cold and hungry.  I don’t know who F.T. is, but they were right.  I am being watched.

Lou’s Diary – Entry 2 (text version)

I don’t know where I am.  I’m still in the mountains.  I’ve been following a path, and I’m pretty sure I’m heading north… pretty sure.  I may not be real, but I’m hungry.  That doesn’t seem fair. There should be some advantages to being a fictional character.  I shouldn’t have to eat or sleep or… other stuff.

I slept under something that looked like a park bench made out of sticks and logs off the side of the trail last night.  I must be in some kind of national forest or something.  There are mile markers all up and down the trail.  This morning when I woke up there was a pack of crackers under the bench.  I couldn’t believe it.  I don’t know how old they were or how they got there, but I have never tasted something so delicious in my life.  They were stale, frozen, and insanely good.

The only problem is they just made me hungrier.  I haven’t seen a store or house or…. Anything at all in days. If I had my crossbow, I could hunt, but I don’t even know if there’s anything to hunt.   I hear noises, especially at night, but I’m pretty sure it’s the wind.  That’s that I tell myself, anyway.

Why didn’t I keep the crossbow?

I know why.  I thought I’d be dead by now… no, not dead.  That’s the wrong word.  I thought I’d stop existing.  What’s the point without the others… without him?  I miss oz…

No.  I can’t go there.  I won’t be able to breathe if I do.  If I have to live for another second without him, I have to forget about him.  That’s the way it has to be.   I am not real.  I can’t be a part of his world.  It will cost him his life.  It will cost the others their lives. I know it.  From this moment on, I have not past.

Banshee Worm King – Early Feedback

"Screw you for killing ______ I get it, but still, screw you…" – Brian

Okay, I wanted to wait until I heard from all the readers who received the first shipment of ARCs of the Banshee Worm King: Book Five of the Oz Chronicles before I posted any comments they sent my way because I didn’t want them to influence each other’s opinions of the book.   I thought it would be weeks before I heard back from all of them.  I’m happy to report that in just a little over a week, I’ve heard from all of them.  Here is what they had to say (minus any spoilers):

Got it yesterday. Finished it this morning. YOU’RE HEARTLESS. But this is the best one yet.  – Kinser 

…. I instantly started reading it. Several hours later I had finished the book. I enjoyed every page and every sentence of it. The book was by far the best you have written in my opinion. It was amusing, suspenseful, and exciting all at once. – Jacob 

Great job on book 5… I’m always a fan of your action scenes and this one didn’t disappoint… Screw you for killing ______ I get it, but still, screw you… – Brian 

Logan Has Finished ‘Banshee Worm King, Book 5 Of The Oz Chronicles’ And Has Now Allowed Me To Read It. He Won’t Say A Word, Per Your Inscription, Other Than “That Was The BEST One Yet!” I Am Only Halfway Through It And So Far I Completely Agree! KUDOS! – Christina 

I swore them all to secrecy in regards to who dies in the book, but as you can see, a couple of them were a little upset with me.  I learned from Charlotte’s Web as a kid that no one is safe in the world of fiction.   I’ve got more feedback from other readers, but I’m waiting on their permission to post their comments.  I am, to say the least, pleased with the feedback so far.

Two Notch news and the Banshee Worm King

BOTYA Finalist in the Thriller Category

I’ve been so bad about posting on the blog lately. The sad thing is I have no excuse. I have been working to get the ARCs of Banshee Worm King ready for distribution, but I’d be lying if I said that’s the reason I haven’t been posting. I guess I just needed a break from the interwebs, outside of the time I burn on Facebook, that is.
I didn’t even post some fairly exciting news I got last week. The Man Who Saved Two Notch is a finalist in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award competition in the Thriller category. That does not suck at all. To be frank, I love Two Notch, but I’ve been a little disappointed with its sales numbers. It’s really tough to market because it’s not young adult, and I wouldn’t recommend it to young readers of the Oz Chronicles. So, I was hoping it would find an audience on its own. I lowered the Kindle price to .99 and sales have picked up slightly. A couple of reviews have come in on Amazon that made me smile and happy for the characters in the book. And yes, I do get happy for the characters. They are very much fictional characters, but when you spend as much time with them as I do, you grow attached to them.
Here’s my favorite review for Two Notch:

5.0 out of 5 stars By Dave H (Oregon, USA)
This review is from: The Man Who Saved Two Notch (Kindle Edition)
“The Man Who Saves Two Notch” by R.W. Riddle is a remarkable coming-of-age adventure/horror novel filled with ingratiating, quirky, peculiar, riveting, and sometimes poignant, backwoods characters that will make you smile, laugh, lament, gasp, forgive, and overtly cheer for again and again. To say I was amazed with the storyline would be a gross understatement, “I absolutely loved this story!” The first 80 pages are a bit slow but after that the story accelerates at breakneck speed. Be forewarned there are copious amounts of profanity throughout the story! The best hillbilly backwoods adventure story I’ve had the pleasure to read in my lifetime…5+ stars!!!

Thank you, Dave H. of Oregon!

The Banshee Worm King ARCs are coming in three shipments. The first shipment has arrived, and I turned around and shipped them out to people who requested a copy. I’ll keep you posted as more come in.