Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fictional Reviews from Fictional Characters


In 2015, Adam J Williams spent a month in Eden interviewing people as research for his upcoming book. His intent was to interview enough people to establish a six degrees of separation within the group. Mr. Williams interviewed hundreds of individuals and collected their stories. As it turned out, everybody had a story, and in some way, they were each connected.

The book released to critical praise from reviewers, yet mixed reviews from citizens of Eden.

The following are reviews from the subjects of Tangents in Eden Volume 1.

"This book kept me on edge. It was high-flying and emotional. I jumped for joy when I got to see my name in print. A great read that I would recommend to anybody."
-Candice Kauffman

"Tangents in Eden is a knockout! People don't really think about the number of lives that they touch on a daily basis. After reading the book, it makes me wonder what other people's stories. A quick read and highly entertaining."
-Leo DiNardo

"Mother says that there's too much cursing and violence for me to read this book. But my best friend, Fred has been reading it to me when she's not around. I think the book is neat."
-Virgil Devereux

Adam J. Williams should start Tangents in Eden with a disclaimer that each of these stories is based on a true story but are still works of fiction. I feel like he took one of the most embarrassing moments in my life, surrounded it with fiction and embellishments, and made up other parts entirely. My chapter aside, I found the rest of the book entertaining, yet skeptical to the amount of truth.
-Anders Kauffman

While the writing in this book is technically sound and somewhat entertaining, I could have offered Adam J. Williams a few tips on how to make Tangents in Eden more engaging and substantial. If one is merely looking to be entertained by the misfortunes of others, then this is the perfect book for you.
-Tyson Corbin

Tangents in Eden is genius because Adam J. Williams has somehow turned one of the country's largest cities into a small town where everyone's life bumps against each other. I was skeptical that Mr. Williams would be able to connect the stories and it took a second reading before I made some of the connections. I would love to hear the audiobook version.
-Nick Gregory

My only complaint with Tangents in Eden is how mopey he portrayed my character. When you spend as much time being friends with a-holes as me, eventually somebody's going to get punched in the face. When that happens, you have to man up and get over it. I think that Adam J. Williams did a good job capturing some of the weird, unexplainable things that happen in Eden.
-Bug Fett



Tangents in Eden Volume 1 was released nearly one year ago. To celebrate the first anniversary of my first book, I decided to have a bit of fun with the book. Below are reviews that each of the title characters would leave for the book. If You haven't gotten Tangents in Eden yet, it is free on Kindle Unlimited or available for $3.99 here. Or, if you are looking for a great deal, the book will be on sale for $.99 from March 27-31st.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My 20-Year High School Reunion

A week ago, I got a notification that I am a year away from my 20-year high school reunion. I noticed that many of the people wrote how they were getting old. And to be honest, there were some that did look like they got old. Mostly, the reunion got me thinking about the kid I was twenty years ago versus the man that I am today. The following is what I posted to the Facebook group.


I quietly made my way through high school. I didn't make the most of my time at Roosevelt. I wasn't overly social and didn't date until after I graduated. My sophomore year, I began playing sports, but I rarely played. The few clubs that I joined, I wasn't overly active in. I never went to a party and the few friends that I've kept in contact with, I rarely speak with once I moved away from Iowa. I wasn't anti-social, I've always like people. The problem was that I wasn't an overly active participant in my own life. I didn't really do much, good or bad. While I grew up in the Roosevelt neighborhood, I moved before I started attending the school, so I didn't live near any of my classmates. 

It wasn't until college that I blossomed, socially. At the University of Iowa, I tried to talk to everybody. I organized a birthday bar crawl with 75 people wearing a tee shirt with my face on it. 

Four years ago, I moved to Texas because I didn't want to spend my life wondering 'what if'? I've been happily married for nearly 12 years and have a 10-year old son and a 9-year old daughter. I quit my job to stay home and write books and encourage my kids to join every club and to play any sport. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn't do anything when I was younger. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Youth is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!”
While I don't think that this quote applies universally, it certainly did for me. I never got senior pictures taken because I didn't see the point. (Plus my parents would have made me pay for them.) So, 19 years later I've decided to rectify that by reenacting other people's senior pictures and posting them on here. Because, why not? As there are roughly 300 senior photos listed in the 1998 yearbook, and a year before the reunion, I have a lot to choose from with a lot of time to take them.
I hope that, whether you enjoyed your time in high school more or less than me, you are enjoying your current life even more and doing the things that you've always aspired to do.
Adam J. Williams
Also, if you want me to reenact your picture, let me know.

I will post my reenactment pictures here, so stay tuned.

Do you have a reunion coming up? Have you been to one already? Please share memorable events from yours.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


The Literary e-clectic is a quarterly magazine that every issue is the same, only different. Each quarter has a different theme that the stories adhere to. 

In Adam J. Williams’ The Field, a former professional athlete gets lost in a corn maze that he designed. 

Patricia Correll’s The Woodcutter tells a familiar tale from an unfamiliar perspective. 

Evelyn Deshane’s Magda Mayfly follows X as he strives for gender neutrality for himself while drawing from an unsolved transgender murder case. 

Brittany Rohm’s Hitchhiking in Middle Earth, a woman, traveling New Zealand solo, trying to disconnect from the world, finds herself alone in a car with a convict. 

In Daniel Miller’s Hindsight, a couple finds themselves at an exclusive and mysterious club with a life-changing opportunity. 

At the Literary e-clectic, we don’t care if the stories are fiction or non-fiction or what type of genre that they may fall into. What we care about is having good stories.

Free with Kindle Unlimited.

Revenants Season I, Episode II


The followup to the top free dystopian/post-apocalyptic book.

When the zombies arrived twenty-five years ago, the world did not end. People adapted and learned to live with them. There are two varieties of zombies. Gerries wander around slowly and aimlessly. Renals are always at an eleven. The only thing that they want is to eat, and they always sprint towards that goal.

However, now a new variety has surfaced: Revenants. These are zombies that retain their memories and personalities from when they were living. 

Elliot is a Revenant ---a zombie that kept his humanity--- and a vegetarian that's not interested in eating people. On the same day that he made his first public appearance, a switch was flipped, and the world changed.

Bonnie and Tyler are teenagers in love. They have lost everything and are running for safety when they encounter a stranger.

Ray is now the protector of a boy, Little Mike. As they make their way to Ray's house, neither are sure if they are ready for what's inside.

Patrick awoke with no signs of the Survivors of Rathe. He leaves the safety of his home to search for them only to end up someplace unexpected.

Julie was at work in the tv studio when she realizes that it has been overrun by zombies.

Combining the episodic nature of TV with the in-depth character found in novels, If you like The Walking Dead and LOST, you will love this series that combines suspense, action, and fear of the unknown.


$2.99  on KoboBarnes & Noble &  Smashwords

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Revenants


Zombies are coming!

When the zombies arrived twenty five years ago, the world didn't end. People adapted and learned to live with them. There are two varieties of zombies. Gerries wander around slowly and aimlessly. Renals are always at an eleven. The only thing that they want is to eat and they always sprint towards that goal.

But now a new variety has surfaced: Revenants. These are zombies that retain their memories and personalities from when they were living. 

Elliot is a Revenant and isn't interested in killing. But he has to fight for everything. His job, his house, his life. He has publicly come out in hopes of having others do the same.

Bonnie is a teenager with a lost past that wants nothing more than the complete eradication of every zombie.

Ray was a teacher than ended up in jail working as a zombie killer for a work release program.

Patrick is a self-made man that's been searching for his missing sister for twenty-five years.

None of them are prepared for what is about to happen.

Combining the episodic nature of TV with the in-depth character found in novels, If you like The Walking Dead and LOST, you’ll love this book series that combines suspense, action, and fear of the unknown.

Revenants is being released on December 16. Get your copy 
FREE  on  KoboBarnes & Noble &  Smashwords

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The story that started a series



One day when I was running, there was a song that came on called RE: Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton. I thought that it was great. As I continued to run, I thought about writing a story told from a zombie's point of view.

That story gestated for a long while. Then when I was attempting to write a story a day in September 2015, I finally wrote this story.

As soon as I finished it, I knew that it was something that I would return to at some point. Well, I've decided to expand this story into a book series.

Not just a book, but a series.

These books will come out serialized much like television show. There will be six episodes per each season. They will be sold individually and also as a complete season.

While you wait for the books to be released, here is the original story:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Queen of Oz Chapters 1-3


The Cyclone
Jacob lived in an efficiency apartment in Toledo, Ohio with Henry, his friend, and Emily, who was Henry's girlfriend. The apartment was small, but it was also in a great location. There was one large room with a stove, a cupboard for dishes, a card table, three or four folding chairs, and the beds. Henry and Emily had a big bed in one corner, and Jacob a little bed in another corner. There were three doors in the apartment. One to the bathroom, one to come in and out and one for the back stairwell. The back stairwell was rarely used, as it only led to the building's basement. The landlord used the basement for storage, but called it a cyclone cellar. He claimed that occupants could go here in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path.
When Jacob looked out the window, he could see nothing but great gray buildings on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad city that reached to the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun baked the sidewalks into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once, the apartment building was painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the building was as dull and gray as everything else.
When Emily came there to live, she was a young, pretty girl. Living in the city had changed her, too. The apathetic and uncaring people took the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray. After years of hard work, the day to day drone wore her down. She was so far in debt that she needed to share an efficiency apartment and that broke her spirits. The even city took the red from her cheeks and lips. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled. When Jacob first moved in, Emily was so startled whenever he broke into show tunes, that she screamed and pressed her hand to her heart. She wondered if the city would ever take his innocence, like it had hers.
Henry never laughed. The city had also caused him to age beyond his years. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern, solemn, and rarely spoke.
Jacob and Henry were friends for so long, that they couldn't remember how they had met. It was as if they were always friends. Despite being an odd couple, they balanced each other out. Henry was quiet and walked with his eyes to the ground. Jacob, on the other hand, loved attention. When he wasn't working with the local theater troupe, Jacob hosted drag shows at The Oz Club.
Jacob was jealous that it was Toto that made Henry and Emily laugh. Like Jacob, Toto had not been grayed by the city either. He was a little black dog, with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled. Toto played all day long, and Jacob hated him for it.
Henry sat upon the front stoop and looked anxiously at the sky, which was even grayer than usual. Jacob stood in front of the mirror, adjusting his makeup, and looked at the sky in the mirror's reflection. Emily was washing the dishes, Toto at her feet.
From the far north, they heard a low wail of the wind. Jacob joined Henry at the stoop. They could see a flag flapping before the coming storm. Then came a sharp whistling in the air from the opposite direction, and as they turned their eyes to the south, they saw a different flag flapping in the wind.
Suddenly, Henry stood up.
"There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his girlfriend. "I'll go move the car into the garage." Then he ran towards the parking lot. Emily dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand.
"Quick, Jacob!" she screamed. "Run for the cellar!"
"Are you kidding me? I can't run in these pumps," Jacob yelled louder than he needed.
"I don't think you're going to make your show tonight," Emily said.
"Listen," Jacob replied, "I understand the irony of the situation. What are the chances of me being dressed as Dorothy in the middle of a twister?"
"Pretty good," Emily said as she walked to the back stairwell. "You dress as Dorothy every Halloween and at least once a month for your big gay drag shows."
"Please don't minimalize it like that," he said, but she had already ran away. 
Toto jumped out of the carrying case in Emily's arms and hid under the bed, and Jacob lunged after him. 
"Oh no you don't," Jacob said as he grabbed at the dog. "When the show goes on, you're my perfect little prop."
Emily, badly frightened, threw the door to the back stairwell open and ran down the stairs. Jacob caught Toto at last and started to follow his friend. When he was halfway across the room, there came a great shriek from the wind, and the building shook so hard that he lost his footing and sat down suddenly upon the floor.
Then a strange thing happened.
The building whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Jacob felt as if he were going up in a balloon.
The north and south winds met where the building stood, and made it the exact center of the cyclone. The great pressure of the wind on every side of the building raised it higher and higher, until it was at the top of the cyclone. There it remained and was carried miles and miles away as easily as one could carry a feather.
It was dark, and the wind howled horribly around him, but Jacob found he was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls, and one other time when the building tipped badly, he felt as if he were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.
Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, barking loudly. Jacob sat quite still on the floor and waited to see what would happen.
Hour after hour passed, and slowly Jacob got over his fright. The wind shrieked so loudly that he became to worry that he may become deaf. At first, he wondered if he would be dashed to pieces when the building fell again, but as the hours passed and nothing terrible happened, he stopped worrying and resolved to wait calmly and see what the future would bring. At last, he crawled over the swaying floor to his bed, and lay down upon it. Toto followed and lay down beside him. Jacob was too tired to push the dog away. In spite of the swaying of the building and the wailing of the wind, Jacob soon closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.

The Council with the Munchkins


He was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Jacob had not been lying on the soft bed, he might have been hurt. As it was, the jarring movement made him catch his breath and wonder what happened. Toto put his cold little nose into Jacob's face and whined dismally. Jacob sat up and noticed that the building was not moving nor was it dark, for the bright sunshine came in at the window, flooding the little room. Jacob pushed the dog away from him and sprang from his bed. With Toto at his heels, he ran and opened the door.
 The young man gave a cry of amazement and looked about him, his eyes growing bigger and bigger at the wonderful sights he saw. Toto leaned against Jacob's leg. The young man looked down at the dog. 
 "Get off of my shoes," Jacob said. "You mangy little fleabag."
 The cyclone had set the building down --as gently as a cyclone can--in the midst of a landscape of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of greensward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice grateful to a young man who had lived so long in the dry, gray city.
 Jacob looked at the grass and thought that it seemed too bright and vivid to be real. He reached down and rubbed a blade of grass between his fingers. He had heard about companies that painted grass during the dry season to make it more presentable. While he stood looking eagerly at the strange and beautiful sights, he noticed coming toward him, a group of the most unique people that he had ever seen. They were not as big as the average person, but small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as a middle-aged child, although they looked many years older.
 
Three were men and one a woman, and all were oddly dressed. They wore round hats that rose to a small point a foot above their heads, with little bells around the brims that tinkled sweetly as they moved. The hats of the men were blue. The little woman's hat was white, and she wore a white gown that hung in pleats from her shoulders. Over it, sprinkled little stars that glistened in the sun like diamonds. The men were dressed in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well-polished boots with a deep roll of blue at the tops. The men were older than Jacob had initially thought, for two of them had beards. But the little woman was doubtless much older. Her face was covered with wrinkles, her hair was nearly white, and she walked rather stiffly.
 When they drew near the building where Jacob was standing in the doorway, they paused and whispered among themselves, as if afraid to come further. But the little old woman walked up to Jacob, made a low bow and said, in a sweet voice:
 "You are welcome, most noble Sorceress, to the land of the Munchkins. We are so grateful to you for having killed the Wicked Witch of the East, and for setting our people free from bondage."
 Jacob listened to this speech with wonder. When in costume, he was used to being referred to in the feminine, however he forgot that he was dressed as such. He looked down at his outfit and felt ashamed to present himself in such a manner. While his pumps were dazzling and free of scuffs, his dress was wrinkled, his pig-tailed wig crooked, and his makeup worn. The young man started to laugh.
 He didn't know who would go to such great lengths to try and trick him. He looked around, trying to identify hidden cameras or friends that would jump out to surprise him. He looked at the little old woman and was relieved. At least his outfit was better than this poor excuse for a Glinda, he thought to himself.
 But the little woman evidently expected him to answer so Jacob decided to play along. He said, with hesitation, "You are very kind, but there must be some mistake. I have not killed anything."
 "Your house did, anyway," replied the little old woman, with a laugh, "and that is the same thing. See!" she pointed to the corner of the building. "There are her two feet, still sticking out from under a block of wood."
 Jacob looked, and gave a little cry of fright. There, just under the corner of the great beam the building rested on, two feet were sticking out, shod in silver shoes with pointed toes. There were few things that he held sacred, but making the world's most famous pair of slippers silver was near sacrilegious. Despite somebody's best efforts, there were obvious mistakes that were being made in the Oz cannon.
 But Jacob was a professional and he decided that he would act as such. Dorothy was the role of a lifetime, and if they needed somebody to play her, he was going to give it his all.
 "Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" cried Jacob, clasping his hands together in dismay. "The house must have fallen on her. Whatever shall we do?" he said as he pressed his open hand against his forehead and brought the melodrama.
 "There is nothing to be done," said the little woman, calmly.
 Jacob took a few steps toward the small woman. Then he turned around and looked at the building. Over the years, he had seen the movie and played the role of Dorothy more times than he could count.
 "But who was she?" asked Jacob, not even facing the woman. He was distracted by the magnificent set.
 "She was the Wicked Witch of the East, as I said," answered the little woman. "She has held all the Munchkins in bondage for many years, making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and are grateful to you for the favor."
"Who are the Munchkins?" inquired Jacob. He squinted up at the windows above his apartment. The building was an exact replica of his.
"They are the people who live in the East where the Wicked Witch ruled." 
"Are you a Munchkin?" asked Jacob. He walked up to the woman and inspected her dress. The stars weren't cheap plastic as he had expected. He ran his finger across one of the points. They were made from cut glass that was polished and buffed. 
"No, but I am their friend, although I live in the land of the North. When they saw the Witch of the East was dead, the Munchkins sent a swift messenger to me, and I came at once. I am the Witch of the North." 
"Oh, gracious!" cried Jacob. "Are you a real witch?" 
"Yes, indeed," answered the little woman. "But I am a good witch, and the people love me. I am not as powerful as the Wicked Witch that ruled here was, or I should have set the people free myself." 
"But I thought all witches were wicked," said Jacob. He pretended that he was half-frightened of facing a real witch.  
"Oh, no, that is a great mistake. There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches. But now that you have killed one of them, there is but one Wicked Witch in all the Land of Oz--the one who lives in the West." 
"Does that make you Glinda?" Jacob asked the small woman. 
"Oh, no," the witch said, "I am Tattypoo. Glinda lives in the South." 
"But," said Jacob. This group was taking liberties with the story that he wasn't expecting. Four witches, he thought to himself. After a moment, he decided not to acknowledge this fact, but rather to stay in character. "Aunt Em has told me that the witches were all dead--years and years ago." 
"Who is Aunt Em?" inquired the little old woman. 
"She is my aunt who lives in Ohio," a surprised look flashed across Jacob's face. He was upset with himself for missing his line. "I mean Kansas. Yeah, Kansas, where I came from." 
The Witch of the North seemed to think for a time, with her head bowed and her eyes upon the ground. Then she looked up and said, "I do not know where Kansas is, for I have never heard that country mentioned before. But tell me, is it a civilized country?" 
"For the most part," replied Jacob. "Except maybe on game days, but I don't care about that." 
"Then that accounts for it. In the civilized countries I believe there are no witches left, nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians. But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off from all the rest of the world. Therefore we still have witches and wizards amongst us." 
"Who are the wizards?" asked Jacob. He looked around, waiting for the rest of the Munchkins to appear, when he realized that the building wasn't tucked into the corner of Munchkin Land, like in the movie. 
"Oz himself is the Great Wizard," answered the Witch, sinking her voice to a whisper. "He is more powerful than all the rest of us together. He lives in the City of Emeralds."
 "Oz? That guy's not even a..."Jacob started to say, but just then the Munchkins, who had been standing silently by, gave a loud shout and pointed to the corner of the building where the Wicked Witch had been lying.
"What is it?" asked the little old woman. She looked at the house and began to laugh. The feet of the dead Witch had disappeared entirely, and nothing was left but the silver shoes.
"She was so old," explained the Witch of the North, "that she dried up quickly in the sun. That is the end of her. But the silver shoes are yours, and you shall have them to wear." She reached down and picked up the shoes, and after shaking the dust out of them, handed them to Jacob.
 "The Witch of the East was proud of those silver shoes," said one of the Munchkins, "and there is some charm connected with them, but what it is, we never knew."
 Jacob looked at the shoes as he carried them into his apartment and placed them on the table, grossed out by the dusty remains of the witch.
 "Getting lazy," he said to himself. "They're not even ruby red. And where is the Wicked Witch of the West? I can't believe what they're doing to this production." Then he returned to the Munchkins and said:
 "I am anxious to get back to my aunt and uncle, for I am sure they will worry about me. Can you help me find my way?" The young man was tiring of the charade. The Munchkins and the Witch first looked at one another, and then at Jacob, and then shook their heads.
 "At the East, not far from here," said one, "there is a great desert, and none could live to cross it."
 "It is the same at the South," said another, "for I have been there and seen it. The South is the country of the Quadlings."
 "I am told," said the third man, "that it is the same at the West. And that country, where the Winkies live, is ruled by the Wicked Witch of the West, who would make you her slave if you passed her way."
 Jacob walked around the building, still admiring the set design. When he got to the backside, he saw that the building was complete. He moved from tree to bush, examining them. They weren't props, they were real. He started to think that this wasn't an elaborate scene that he had been brought in for. He was beginning to feel like he had been kidnapped.
"The North is my home," said the old lady, "and at its edge is the same great desert that surrounds this Land of Oz. I'm afraid, my dear, you will have to live with us."
Jacob was confused at how his building could possibly have been transported to this strange place. He felt a cloud of doubt enter his mind and began to sob out of frustration, knowing that he could not really be in Oz. He felt lonely and confused among these strange people. His tears seemed to grieve the kind-hearted Munchkins, for they immediately took out their handkerchiefs and began to weep also. 
As for the little old woman, she took off her cap and balanced the point on the end of her nose, while she counted "One, two, three" in a solemn voice. At once the cap changed to a slate, on which was written in big, white chalk marks:
"LET DOROTHY GO TO THE CITY OF EMERALDS"
The little old woman took the slate from her nose, and having read the words on it, asked, "Is your name Dorothy, my dear?"
"Yes," the young man answered, falling back into the role of Dorothy. Internally, he felt a pull to continue playing the character, despite not wanting to. He was both surprised and confused at the woman's magic trick. "I guess you can call me that."
"Then you must go to the City of Emeralds. Perhaps Oz will help you."
"Where is this city?" asked Jacob. He looked at the building and saw markings next to the steps. This is where he kept track of the days, when he quit smoking. There is no way that somebody could go back and replicate that, he thought to himself. He didn't know how, but somebody moved his entire building to this spot.
"It is exactly in the center of the country, and is ruled by Oz, the Great Wizard I told you of."
"Is he a good man?" inquired Jacob, anxiously. Then he was struck by the realization that none of his neighbors were in the building and wondered what had happened to them.
"He is a good Wizard. Whether he is a man or not I cannot tell, for I have never seen him."
"How can I get there?" asked Jacob.
"You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic arts I know to keep you from harm."
"Won't you go with me?" pleaded the man, "Is it far? Can you give me a ride? I can't walk in these shoes," he said, pointing down to his high heels.
"No, I cannot do that," she replied, "but I will give you my kiss, and no one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North."
She came close to Jacob and kissed him gently on the forehead.
"Listen here, sister," Jacob said, slipping out his role. "I think it's pretty obvious that's not going to work for me."
Where her lips touched him, they left a round, shining mark.
"The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick," said the Witch, "so you cannot miss it. When you get to Oz, do not be afraid of him, but tell your story and ask him to help you. Goodbye, my dear."
The three Munchkins bowed low to Jacob and wished him a pleasant journey, after which they walked away through the trees. The Witch gave Jacob a friendly little nod, whirled around on her left heel three times, and straightway disappeared. This came much to the surprise of little Toto, who barked after her loudly enough when she had gone, because he had been afraid even to growl while she stood by.
The cloud of uncertainty left him as soon as the witch disappeared.  For an instant he wondered if his confusion had to do with her magic, but quickly discarded the thought as he remembered there is no such thing as magic.  Despite knowing she was not a real witch, Jacob expected her to disappear in a bubble, and was confused as to where she went. He walked to the spot that she had been standing and looked for the trap door, but all that he could find was lush ground. He grabbed his phone from his pocket and looked at the screen. No signal.
"Where are the Lollipop Kids?" Jacob whispered to himself.

How Jacob Saved the Scarecrow
When Jacob was left alone, he began to feel hungry. So he went to the cupboard and grabbed a loaf of 12-grain bread, which he spread with butter. While munching on the snack, he looked at his feet and saw Toto staring up at him. The little dog was waiting to be fed or for the inevitable crumb to drop to the ground. Jacob ripped a corner of the bread and tossed it to Toto.
 "I guess it's just us," Jacob said. "Are you going to follow me around and whine all the time?" The dog sat still, patiently waiting for more food.
 Jacob grab a glass to get a drink of water but nothing came out as he turned on the faucet. He then took a stockpot from the shelf and carried it down to the little brook and filled it with clear, sparkling water. Toto ran to the trees and began to bark at the birds sitting there. Jacob went to get him, and saw some fruit hanging from a tree. He gathered some with the intention of making a smoothie for breakfast.
 When he went back to the house, he put all of the fruit into the blender and pushed a button to make the drink. The machine had no power, so he simply ate the fruit.
 Jacob had only one other Dorothy dress, but that happened to be clean and was hanging in a garment bag beside his bed. It was gingham, with checks of white and blue and although the blue was somewhat faded with many washings, it was still a pretty frock. The young man washed himself carefully, put on the clean dress and reapplied his makeup. He took a little basket and filled it with bread from the cupboard, laying a white cloth over the top. He opened the refrigerator and noticed that the light didn't come on when he opened the door. Jacob walked back to the front door and looked around outside. There was no sign of cars nor electricity.
 Then Jacob looked down at his feet and noticed how his shoes had already began to scuff and grow dusty. These shoes weren't made for walking.
 "They will never do for a long journey, Toto," he said. And Toto looked up into his face with the dog's little black eyes and wagged his tail to show he knew what Jacob meant.
 At that moment, Jacob saw lying on the table, the silver shoes that had belonged to the Witch of the East.
 "I wonder if they fit," he said to Toto. "They'd be just the thing to take a long walk in. I doubt that they'd wear out."
 He took off his cleaner, more resplendent shoes and tried on the silver ones, which fit him as well as if they had been made just for him.
 Jacob walked back to the open fridge and grabbed a wedge of brie cheese and put it in the basket. From the back of the fridge, he took a bottle of Champagne that he'd been saving for a special day.
 "No doubt we'll need this," he said to the dog. Finally, he picked up his basket.
 "Let's go, Toto," he said. "I guess we need to go talk to this Oz guy, and see if he can get us back to Ohio again."
 Without a better option, Jacob decided to go along with the absurd situation. He paused and looked down at his feet. He clicked the heels of the silver shoes together three times.
 "There's no place like home," he repeated three times. Nothing happened. He shrugged to himself. "It was worth a try."
 He closed the door, locked it, and put the key carefully in the pocket of his dress. And so, with Toto trotting along soberly behind him, Jacob started on his journey. He pulled his phone out of his pocket again and saw that the battery died.
 There were several roads nearby, but it did not take him long to find the one paved with yellow bricks. Within a short time, he was walking briskly toward the Emerald City, his silver shoes tinkling on the hard, yellow road. The sun shined bright and the birds sang sweetly. Jacob didn't feel nearly so bad as one might think a young man would who had been suddenly whisked away from his own country and set down in the midst of a strange, fictional land.
 He was surprised, as he walked along, to see how pretty the country was about him. There were neat fences at the sides of the road, painted a dainty blue color, and beyond them were fields of grain and vegetables in abundance. Evidently the Munchkins were good farmers and able to raise large crops. Once in a while, he would pass a house, and the people came out to look at him and bow low as he went by. For everyone knew he had been the means of destroying the Wicked Witch and setting them free from bondage. The houses of the Munchkins were odd-looking dwellings, for each was round, with a big dome for a roof. All were painted blue, for in this country of the East, blue was the favorite color.
 Toward evening, when Jacob was tired with his long walk and began to wonder where he should pass the night, he came to a house rather larger than the rest. On the green lawn before it, many men and women were dancing. Five little fiddlers played as loudly as possible, and the people were laughing and singing, while a big table nearby was loaded with delicious fruits, nuts, pies, cakes, and many other good things to eat.
The people greeted Jacob kindly, and invited him to supper and to pass the night with them. This was the home of one of the richest Munchkins in the land, and the Munchkin's friends were gathered with him to celebrate their freedom from the bondage of the Wicked Witch.
 Jacob ate a hearty supper and was waited upon by the rich Munchkin himself, whose name was Boq. Then he sat upon a settee and watched the people dance.
 When Boq saw Jacob's silver shoes he said, "You must be a great sorceress."
 "Why?" asked the young man.
 "Because you wear silver shoes and have killed the Wicked Witch. Besides, you have white in your frock, and only witches and sorceresses wear white."
 "My dress is blue and white checked," said Jacob, smoothing out the wrinkles in it.
 "It is kind of you to wear that," said Boq. "Blue is the color of the Munchkins, and white is the color of magic. So we know you are a friendly sorceress."
 Jacob didn't know what to say to this, for all the people seemed to think him a sorceress, and he knew very well he was only an ordinary man who had come by the chance of a cyclone into a strange land.
When Jacob had tired of watching the dancing, Boq led him into the house, where he gave Jacob a room with a pretty bed in it. The sheets were made of blue cloth, and despite his feet hanging over the edge of the munchkin-sized bed, Jacob slept soundly till morning, with Toto curled up on the blue rug beside him.
 In the morning, he ate a robust breakfast, and watched a Munchkin baby, who played with Toto and pulled his tail and crowed and laughed in a way that greatly amused Jacob. Toto was a fine curiosity to all the people, for they had never seen a dog before.
 "How far is it to the Emerald City?" Jacob asked.
 "I do not know," answered Boq gravely, "for I have never been there. It is better for people to keep away from Oz, unless they have business with him. But it is a long way to the Emerald City, and it will take you many days. The country here is rich and pleasant, but you must pass through rough and dangerous places before you reach the end of your journey." 
This worried Jacob a little, but he hoped that Oz could help him get to Ohio again, so he resolved not to turn back. It didn't seem as if he had an alternative, anyhow.
 He bade his host goodbye, and again started along the road of yellow brick. When Jacob went several miles, he stopped to rest. He climbed to the top of the fence beside the road, and sat down. There was a great cornfield beyond the fence, and not far away, he saw a Scarecrow, placed high on a pole to keep the birds from the ripe corn.
 Jacob leaned his chin upon his hand and gazed thoughtfully at the Scarecrow. Its head was a garden glove stuffed with straw, with eyes, nose, and a mouth painted on it, to represent a face. An old, pointed blue hat that belonged to some Munchkin was perched on his head, and the rest of the figure was a blue suit of clothes, worn and faded, which had also been stuffed with straw. On the feet were old boots with blue tops, such as every man wore in this country, and the figure was raised above the stalks of corn by means of the pole stuck up its back.
 While Jacob was looking earnestly into the strange, painted face of the Scarecrow, he was surprised to see one of the eyes slowly wink at him. He thought he must have been mistaken at first, but then the figure nodded its head to him in a friendly way. 
Under the open sky, Jacob was clear of mind, but couldn't help but notice how different the scarecrow appeared from the story that he knew so well. 
While Jacob climbed down from the fence and walked towards the stuffed man, he assumed that this was to be one of his three companions. But there were enough differences that he didn't want to make any assumptions. When they approached the scarecrow, Toto ran around the pole and barked.
"Good day," said the Scarecrow, in a rather husky voice.
"Did you speak?" asked the young man.
"Certainly," answered the Scarecrow. "How do you do?"
"I'm pretty well, thank you," replied Jacob politely. "How do you do?"
"I'm not feeling well," said the Scarecrow, with a smile, "for it is tedious being perched up here night and day to scare away crows."
"Can't you get down?" asked Jacob. He looked and saw that the pole had no perch for the man to stand on.
"No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please take it away, I shall be greatly obliged to you."
Jacob reached both arms up and lifted the figure off the pole, for, being stuffed with straw, he was quite light.
"Thank you very much," said the Scarecrow, when he had been set down on the ground. "I feel like a new man."
"Believe it or not," Jacob said. "I've had practice with this sort of thing." Even though Jacob expected the scarecrow to be able to walk and talk, it was still odd to see him do it.
"Who are you?" asked the Scarecrow when he had stretched himself and yawned. "And where are you going?"
"My name is Dorothy," said Jacob, falling back into character "and I am going to the Emerald City, to ask the Great Oz to send me back to Ohio."
"Ohio? Where is that?" the Scarecrow asked.
"Somewhere over the rainbow," Jacob said, not bothering to change his story back to Kansas.
Like everyone else that Jacob had encountered in Oz, the Scarecrow seemed to take everything at face value. Despite Jacob's makeup coming off, the Scarecrow didn't question the fact that he was a little girl named Dorothy.
"Where is the Emerald City?" the Scarecrow inquired. "And who is Oz?"
"What, you don't know?" Jacob returned, in surprise.
"No, indeed. I do not know anything. You see, I am stuffed, so I have no brain at all," he answered sadly.
"Oh," said Jacob, "I'm sorry."
"Do you think," the stuffed man asked, "That if I go to the Emerald City with you, Oz would give me a brain?"
"I don't know," Jacob returned, "but you can come with me, if you want. If Oz will not give you a brain, you'll be no worse off than you are now." Jacob answered earnest and true. 
"That is true," said the Scarecrow. "You see," he continued confidentially, "I don't mind my legs and arms and body being stuffed, because I cannot get hurt. If anyone treads on my toes or sticks a pin into me, it doesn't matter, for I cannot feel it. But I do not want people to call me a fool, and if my head stays stuffed with straw instead of with a brain, as yours is, how am I ever to know anything?"
"I understand how you feel," said the young man, who was truly sorry for him. "If you come with me, I'll ask Oz to do all he can for you."
"Thank you," the stuffed man answered, gratefully.
They walked back to the road. Jacob helped the Scarecrow over the fence, and they started along the path of yellow brick for the Emerald City.
Toto did not like this addition to the party at first. He smelled around the stuffed man as if he suspected there might be a nest of rats in the straw, and he often growled in an unfriendly way at the Scarecrow.
"Don't mind Toto," said Jacob to his new friend. "Just ignore him, that's what I do."
"Oh, I'm not afraid," replied the Scarecrow. "He cannot hurt the straw. Do let me carry that basket for you. I shall not mind it, for I cannot get tired. I will tell you a secret," he continued, as he walked along. "There is only one thing in the world that I am afraid of."
"What's that?" asked Jacob. "The Munchkin farmer who made you?"
"No," answered the Scarecrow, "it's a lighted match."

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