Mark Onspaugh grew up on a steady diet of horror, science fiction, and DC Comics. An HWA Memeber, he writes screenplays, short stories, and novels. He lives in Los Osos, CA with his wife, author/artist Dr Tobey Crockett. Mark’s work also appears in The Blood of the Exodi (Michael K Eidson), The World is Dead (Kim Paffenroth), Footprints (Jay Lake and Eric T Reynolds) and Thoughtcrime Experiments (http://thoughtcrime.crummy.com/2009) and he has an essay on monsters in the forthcoming Butcher Knives and Bodycounts (Dark Scribe Press)
On Dr Will Price and the Curious Case of Dorothy Gale, Mark writes:
As a child, I loved the Oz books, but found certain elements both frightening and fascinating, like Princess Langwidere who changes heads as easily as changing a hat, the two-faced Scoodlers (brr) and the Wheelers. Baum says the Wheelers are all bluster, but those screaming creatures with wheels instead of hands and feet really stuck with me. I wanted to write a story that explored those disturbing aspects of Oz but didn’t debase the colorful, beautiful side. I also had a great deal of fun trying to emulate Baum’s melding of the whimsical and the grotesque, i.e. The Patchwork Jackal. ( http://www.markonspaugh.com/ )
Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop with stories appearing or forthcoming in Shimmer and GUD. He also writes articles for Tor.com and maintains a wine and beer blog at ( www.fermentedadventures.com ). He lives in Brooklyn, NY where he is a member of the Altered Fluid writers group.
On Pumpkinhead, Rajan writes:
When I first read the guidelines for the anthology, I knew I wanted to write for it, the Oz books being a big part of my childhood. I also knew I wanted to write about Jack Pumpkinhead. Though he’s only in a few of the books, he made an impression on me and, together with Tik-Tok, was one of my favorite characters in the series. From there I started thinking about how Jack had to change his heads because they would eventually rot. That then led me to the story. ( http://www.rajankhanna.com/ )
Barry Napier’s stories and poems have appeared in print and online. His collection Debris is currently available from Library of Horror Press. He is currently working on his second novel and a collection of dark poetry. Barry lives in Lynchburg, VA where he works as a freelance writer. He enjoys ambient music, dark fiction and irony.
On Tin, Barry writes:
Oz seems like a magical and rather quaint place, despite the abundance of witches (good and bad). It always seemed odd to me that among the beauty of Oz and the supposed innocence of Dorothy, the Tin Man was basically a simple machine that got frozen in time. If that were me, I think I’d be angry about my situation…it would make me want to make use of that axe. That, coupled with a history that I can only imagine would be a horrible one, gave me the idea for this story. ( http://barrynapierwriting.wordpress.com/ )
Camille Alexa When not on ten wooded acres near Austin, Texas, Camille Alexa lives in the Pacific Northwest in an Edwardian house with very crooked windows. Her work appears in ChiZine, Fantasy Magazine, and Escape Pod. Her first book, Push of the Sky (Hadley Rille Books, 2009), received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.
On Fly, Fly Pretty Monkey, Camille writes:
For the first time since high school, I was reading this Frank L. Baum classic about addiction, sexuality, assassination, manipulation, and self-destruction, and the phrase “‘History is always written by the victors’” kept thrumming in my mind. Stories often come that way for me: a single line running just ahead of my ability to grasp, while I scramble after it with words until the tale’s done. I write by the headlights, so the story drives me rather than me driving it. It’s always a ride.( http://camillealexa.wordpress.com )
Kevin G. Summers is the author of several stories set in the Star Trek universe, including the critically acclaimed “Isolation Ward 4,” featured in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds IV. He has also published original fiction in Lords of Justice and Tales of Moreauvia. Kevin lives in historic Leesburg, Virginia with his beautiful wife Rachel and their daughters Morwen and Ingrid.
On A Heart is Judged, Kevin writes:
I’ve loved the Wizard of Oz since I first saw the movie as a young child. Over the past year, I’ve been reading the books to my daughters, attempting to bring the Land of Oz to life for a new generation. I’ve always wondered about the origin of my favorite character, the Scarecrow. This anthology provided the opportunity to explore this dark chapter in the history of Oz. In the writing, I found that Mr. Baum’s fairy country isn’t necessarily a nice place to visit. ( www.kevinsummers.com )
Michael D. Turner is a writer living in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife of twenty-five years and a house full of cats. He is a frequent contributor to Big Pulp (www.bigpulp.com) and many other publications.
On Mr Yoop’s Soup, Michael writes:
I got to thinking about the Oz I grew up in, what set it apart from the real world I was stuck in. The whole “nobody dies” stuck out as potentially a real bad idea, though it seemed so cool when I was ten.
Jack Bates is the author of the Harry Landers, PI, series through Mind Wing Audio Books ( mindwingsaudio.com ). He also has several stand alone stories, mostly in the hardboiled and noir genres. He is an award winning screenplay writer with an option on a horror film. In 2009, he was a contributing writer for one new play festival and a featured writer in another.
On Emerald City Confidential, Jack writes:
I’ve always had a penchant for crime stories. With everything that is known about Oz and all the stories that exist in the series, it seemed only natural that there would be a dark underbelly in the wonderful land of L. Frank Baum’s creation. I always felt there were struggles amongst the classes of the characters, a caste system built on differences amongst the inhabitants, and only those who lived within the shimmering green walls were safe. This story is about what happens when those walls are threatened and to the cowards who hid behind them. ( http://hardnosedsleuth.blogspot.com/ )
David F. Mason is the winner of the RCCC Creative Writing Award, and a student at UNCC. He has no dogs, cats, or pet raccoons, but is married to a wonderful woman named Chloe. The better part of his youth was spent hiding inside books like a convict inside the hollow of a tree; and in all his various escapes he discovered the power of authors to capture life, and lead the willing across vast, impossible landscapes in pursuit of it. Thus, with knowledge armed, he has commenced to build worlds of his own- ink blacks skies that glisten dark over white paper horizons- to surround himself with Words, breathed to life in the hope that one day he might aid the Lost in finding the same refuge he needed: shelter from Them That Would Devour.
On The Last Battle of Trewis, David writes:
Like any story, mine went where it wanted and did as it pleased. And like any author, I hurried behind, picking up the pieces of the brokenness it left. ( davidfmason.webs.com )
David Steffen When David isn’t writing code or spending time with his wife and two dogs, he’s usually staring out the window, imagining what the future holds: like phones that are living symbiotes, or gods made of satellites. He’s a writer, a media enthusiast, and a lover of all things Oz. His fiction is scheduled to be published in Pseudopod and his non-fiction has appeared in Fantasy Magazine.
On The Utility of Love, David writes:
I’ve never been completely satisfied with incarnations of the Tin Man. The whole basis of his character is heartlessness, but not a single version of him is heartless. The original Tin Woodsman is downright kind! So I set out to create a heartless Tin Man. He’s not cruel—he doesn’t hurt others for pleasure—he is just purely pragmatic, doing things for his own gain and not caring what happens to anyone else.
Dorothy’s quest wouldn’t have been so easy with such a companion…( www.diabolicalplots.com )
T. L. Barrett is a writer of speculative fiction. He lives with his wife, Sandra, and their five children in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The China People of Oz is his first published story.
On The China People of Oz, T.L. writes:
Intrigued by the submissions call for the anthology, I thumbed through our well-read copy of Baums’s book. When I came to chapter twenty, “The Dainty China Country”, an idea started to form. Having a chronically sick child at home, I decided to confront the most terrible fear of any parent. Writing the story put me in a dark frame of mind for some days. There’s something about watching your child waste away that it feels like they are being pulled from you into unknown territory. The story still haunts me. Maybe, it will do the same for you. ( http://tlbarrett.blogspot.com )
JW Schnarr is the Evil Mastermind behind Northern Frights Publishing. He lives with his daughter Aurora and a grumpy turtle in Calgary, Alberta Canada...a corporate city full of lions and tin men.While putting this anthology together he had originally opted out of putting his own story in; friends and family persuaded, cajoled, and finally threatened him with bodily harm if he didn’t do otherwise.
On Dorothy of Kansas, JW writes:
In Dorothy of Kansas I wanted to create kind of a reverse story to the original Oz journey. I had just spent a few days in a camper reading Cormac Mcarthy’s The Road by candlelight (occasionally using it to kill spiders) so I was thinking dark things about the end of the world. As Baum always intended Oz to be a real place somewhere, it occured to me that with Nuclear Armageddon prevailing fallout would sooner or later end up in Oz. Now...what would they find in Kansas...( http://jwschnarr.blogspot.com )
Frank Dutkiewicz is a middle-aged Michigander with a lovely wife and two equal lovely teenage daughters. He took up writing as a hobby two years ago. He has eight publishing credits to his name (most recent for the 2009 August issue of Space Squid). One Wicked Day is my first non-flash fiction sale.
On One Wicked Day, Frank writes:
An online friend made me aware of the anthology when he asked if I could look at his submission. I thought about the squished witch under Dorothy’s house and knew there had to be story there. While researching Baum’s late 19th century novel, I read of the implied political meaning behind the tale. One Wicked Day is a satirical marriage of both ideas.
Jason Rubis lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife and a Shih Tzu named Dupree who could give Toto a run for his money. His fiction has appeared in a number of venues, most recently the anthologies Like Clockwork from Circlet Press and Needles and Bones from Drollerie Press. He is a self-confessed and unrepentant humbug.
On Chopper’s Tale, Jason writes:
The tale the Tin Woodman told of his origins had always intrigued me; I wasn’t particularly disturbed by it as a child because violent as it was, it had a fairy tale’s simplicity and logic. Yet upon re-reading Baum as an adult—an adult who had watched a great many zombie movies, need I add—I experienced the inevitable shock. It seemed perfect for a horror story, but I wasn’t sure how to make it work. Then I remembered the Powder of Life from The Land of Oz and it all came together.
( http://jason-rubis.livejournal.com )
( http://jason-rubis.livejournal.com )
E.M. MacCallum Raised in Del Bonita, Alberta Canada E.M. MacCallum spent most of her days entertaining herself with her imagination on the farm and in school. At the age of seven she developed a passion for reading and writing. She wrote her first story in grade two and has been creating new worlds and stories ever since.
On The Perfect Fit, Erin writes:
After reading “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ something struck me as curious. No one seemed to know where the slippers came from or what they did exactly. So, I took it upon myself to find out precisely what they could do and found a dark little beginning to Oz in the back of my mind.
Mari Ness lives in central Florida, quite near the land of Mickey Mouse. This isn’t as scary as you might think. Her work has previously appeared in numerous print and online venues, including Fantasy Magazine, Hub Fiction, and Farrago’s Wainscot.
On The Fuddles of Oz, Mari writes:
Reading The Emerald City of Oz gave me absolute nightmares as a child. The thought of scattering myself into thousands and thousands of pieces for the entertainment of others was bad enough; the realization that I might never be put back together again was particularly horrifying. This story has been softly bubbling in the shadows of my mind ever since. ( http://mariness.livejournal.com )
H.F. Gibbard is a lawyer by day and a writer of speculative fiction by night. Several dozen of his short stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in various print and electronic venues. He is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.
On Four AM at the Emerald City Windsor, H.F. writes:
“Four AM” was originally written as a generic hotel room horror story. When I read the submission guidelines for the Oz anthology I realized it fit really well as an Oz story. In fact, details I had originally included without thinking of Oz specifically, such as the green colour of the hotel room lights, translated easily to the Oz setting. I have always found the Tin Man intimidating at a subconscious level, so he fit in nicely as well.
Gef Fox grew up in the southern hillocks of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Raised in a rural setting, his imagination became his main source of entertainment. Now, knee-deep in this information age—still calling the valley home after all these years—he’s putting that imagination to work through writing. The first steps began one weekend when he sat down to write a ghost story. It grew byond its original boundaries to become the rough draft of a horror novel. Since then, he’s been hooked on the craft of writing. Scarecrow’s Sunrise is his first published story.
On Scarecrow’s Sunrise, Gef writes:
Origin tales have always been an interest of mine, particularly when it comes to long-established characters with a clouded history. In thinking of a story to contribute to this Anthology, I imagined how the scarecrow came to be. Only two days old when Dorothy met him on the Yellow Brick Road, little is told of the Scarecrow’s brief history before their meeting, especially his creation. I imagine a living strawman was a rarity even in the land of Oz. And a great shock to the farmer who made him.( http://waggingthefox.blogspot.com/ )
Lori T. Strongin learned to hold a pencil long before she understood the magic that tool held. There has never been a time in her life when she didn’t want to be a writer—armed with the power to take words and ideas and mold them into something that can create, end, or change lives. Lori has been published in several literary journals, trade magazines, and anthologies, including Tip o’ the Tongue, Reflections of the Flatirons, Beneath the Harvest Moon, The Florida Palm, The Florida Writer, Literary Liftoffs, Tales of the Talisman, and most recently in Renard’s Menagerie.
On Not in Kansas Anymore, Lori writes:
After a school production where the high points were the Yorkie playing Toto got flattened by the cardboard Oz’s jaw falling off, a promiscuous Dorothy not being able to sing, the Tin Man not being able to act, and Oz himself delivering his lines in Spanish, in his underwear, to the low point of my hair catching on fire when my crystal ball-slash-garden lantern blew up, I’ve always had a bit of a sore spot where The Wizard of Oz was concerned. I consider Not in Kansas Anymore my revenge. ( http://www.loristrongin.com/ )
Martin Rose began life dyslexic, until he picked up a pen at the age of 12 and hasn’t put it down since. A steady diet of Alexandre Dumas, Anne Rice and Stephen King, marinated in a Donna Tartt sauce, kept him nourished during his grammar school years; he holds a degree in the visual arts and works as a graphic designer/copy editor for local publications where he currently resides, in coastal New Jersey. Look for his work in forthcoming publications such as the anthology Hideous Evermore.
On King of Oz, Martin writes:
I kicked around this story for several years when I heard about the Shadows of the Emerald City, and thought it would provide the setting I needed to get it off the ground. I pulled on my real life experiences with my father, who set a cornfield on fire with a gas can and a match, and the story came out of a need to convey my terror of becoming my father. Words like “straw” and “scarecrow” became synonyms for “crazy” and “schizophrenic” as the character of David Gale explores my own private terrors. ( www.martinrosehorror.com )