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Fantastic Fables: Edward Lazellari on the Wizard of Oz Universe

**Visit Tynga’s Reviews today for her Princess and the Frog Fantastic Fable from Lesley Livingston & a chance to win ONCE EVERY NEVER and a special giveaway of Soul Thief from Jana Oliver**

To close out another week of Fantastic Fables, we’re going to the wonderful land of Oz with today’s Fantastic Fable from Edward Lazellari.  The first book in Edward’s dark urban fantasy series is AWAKENINGS(available on August 30th).  Thanks to the terrific team over at Macmillan/Tor Books, two of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the book!  See details below.

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Lelani: A woman from a far-off mysterious land, trying to find the remnants of a lost team of royal guardians charged with protecting a young infant prince.

No Good Deed…

©2011 Edward Lazellari

Lelani did not think the street looked right. The houses were too small and the blue sky looked like a matte painting used in stage plays; everything felt claustrophobic. She consulted her teacher’s notes and things were just off — really off. There was no mention of any yellow brick road in his texts.

“Lost?” asked a woman’s voice behind her.

Lelani spun around and laid eyes on the strangest women she’d ever seen. She looked as though she stepped out of a children’s storybook, plump with a greenish hue — too tall for any of the houses in this town — in a black and blue robe. She wore white socks with black circular stripes and ruby-colored shoes, a red cone-shaped hat with a large brim, and held a long gnarled walking stick. Her eyes were a deep black. Lelani sensed great power in this woman.

“Actually, yes,” said Lelani, cautiously. “How can you tell?”

“You are too tall and swarthy to be from this village,” said the woman. “And far too beautiful. Nineteen?” the woman guessed.

“Seventeen.” Lelani said. Her people matured faster than most, though she couldn’t fathom why age mattered. Lost was lost. The woman stared at her intensely; maybe she’d never met someone as tall as Lelani… or seen red hair. Or, maybe she saw more? “Lelani Stormbringer,” the girl said, trying to diffuse the tension. “Of the Blue Forest, in Aandor.”

“Never heard of it,” the woman snapped, and continued to eye her suspiciously.

“It’s not…” Lelani was unsure how much she should divulge. Some people were not ready to hear that they existed a multiverse, and that there were other planes of existence. “I’m from another place… not here.” That sounded incredibly dumb, she thought after it had left her mouth. Lelani tried to think of a better way to explain it.

“Transdimensional traveler?” asked the woman.

“Yes,” the girl admitted, gratefully. “But not very experienced. I’m not where I’m supposed to be.”

The woman relaxed and smiled. “I thought the wizard had sent you to throw a flying-monkey wrench in my negotiations, ” she said.

Lelani was, in fact, on a mission for a wizard, but was sure the woman referred to someone other than Magnus. “Negotiations?” Lelani asked.

“With the Lollipop guild.”

“Never heard of them.”

“A greedy, misogynistic group of little fuc…” She caught herself, and let out a deep breath. “I apologize. How rude… I rule the Eastern Province of Oz. My friends call me Ness.”

Lelani bowed before her. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, your majesty.”

“Well, I too am glad to make the acquaintance of a fellow sorceress; especially one so polite. There are others around these parts, but the one up north is an uppity snob, and my sister out west is an envious bitch.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, your highness.” Lelani couldn’t help but notice no one in the village came out to greet them. She was sure they were being watched… a drape fluttered in one window, a bush rustled elsewhere. Strange, if this was their queen.

“You don’t know the half of it child,” Ness continued. “The Lollipop guild controls sugar manufacturing in Oz. Sugar is the main staple of our diet; we make it from corn. But there’s a shortage in Quadling Country, and they’re paying top rates, so the guild has diverted a large portion our supply south for bigger profits. Munchkinlanders blame me for the shortages. The guild is trying to squeeze me out. And that ungrateful group of hussies in the Lullaby League is no help. You’d think enchanted axes grew on trees,” she grumbled under her breath.

Lelani, not sure what Ness was referring to said only, “That’s unfortunate.”

Ness put on a sinister smile. “Unfortunate for them!” she said. “They have appealed to the Wizard of Oz for aid — a pretentious charlatan with no real authority outside of his precious city. But I’ve discovered something interesting. He’s not really from these parts, nor is he all that great or powerful.” Ness sidled close to Lelani. The woman’s breath smelled of onions and liver. “I’ll deal with the guild on my terms. And if that wizard takes even a step out of that emerald turd he cowers in…” she sliced her index finger across her neck, “curtains for him.”

“Ah,” Lelani said, growing uncomfortable. In her experience, most monarchs were crazy. This one seemed extra-specially so. In Aandor, many rulers have been at odds with their wizard. But in Aandor, wizards held no political posts… none ruled kingdoms. Power did strange things to people. Mostly, it made them paranoid.

Lelani recalled Ness’ reaction upon her arrival. “If this wizard’s false, why were you concerned when you thought I was his agent?”

Ness reclaimed some of that grave seriousness she greeted Lelani with a moment ago. “Because of the prophecy,” she said. “A young girl will come to Oz and kill its… queens.” Ness gave Lelani a scrutinizing glare.

“I’m here by accident,” Lelani said, quickly. “I do not intend to kill anyone.”

Ness’ laugh was more of a cackle — a high-pitched staccato barrage that reminded Lelani of the wicked crones at the northern edge of the Blue forest that cooked stray children for dinner. This was no queen.

“Oh dearie,” Ness cackled. “The girl I need to kill is much younger. And… she’s human.”

So the witch could truly see her.

Lelani pulled out an ornate brass compact. She opened it, and a large light map of the multiverse projected in the air before them. The map was filled with measurements, meridians, and other imaginary lines than men drew to help them make sense of the world. “I’m from this dimension,” she said. “I am trying to get here,” she pointed at her destination.

Ness studied the map. “You’re here,” she said, pointing to a spot with her cane.

It was far short of Lelani’s destination. She hadn’t even crossed the Prime Meridian, which demarcated the universes of magic from science. “Can you help me?” she asked Ness.

“Why should I help you?” the witch responded.

Without missing a beat, Lelani said, “Because the witch in the north is a snob, your sister out west is a bitch, and you are at odds with the wizard living in the middle.” She threw the old woman a sardonic smile.  “You don’t get along with other magic users, Ness; especially powerful ones. But, perhaps I assume too much… how do you get along with the witch in the south, exactly?”

Ness eyed the girl and rubbed her chin with a plump finger. “I see your point,” she said.

“You don’t really want me here, and I just want to get on my way. Think of the karmic plus a good deed would bestow on you before dealing with the guild.”

Ness cackled at the girl’s moxie. “Agreed,” she said. “You focus on navigation. I shall open the portal by tapping into the lay line that runs through Oz.”

“Here? Now?” Lelani said incredulously.

“Of course. I have people to see and wizards to fry,” Ness said. “Best that you were gone as soon as possible.”

“Opening a vortex between worlds is dangerous,” Lelani argued. “It will disrupt weather patterns and create intense storms. It could endanger this village. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather try this in one of those corn fields outside of town?” Lelani asked. “There’s no telling what can happen. Out there, the worst case scenario is we kill a scarecrow.”

“Forget the village. They’re done for anyway. By the time I’m through with the guild, they’ll feel like a building landed on them. Look, do you want to go or not? I haven’t got all day.”

Lelani nodded in assent, but was sad for the Munchkinlanders. She couldn’t fight every injustice in the multiverse. She had her own destiny to fulfill.

“I shall anchor your entrance on this spot until the link between worlds is established and secured,” Ness said. The witch raised her gnarled cane over her head and stirred the air chanting in the language of Oz. “Ozma, Kozma, Wizma, Hahloo.” The wind kicked and the sky grew thick and dark. A funnel opened in the clouds.

“You have my gratitude,” Lelani said through her long whipping hair.

“Go child!”

Lelani knew Ness was not a good ruler, but secretly wished the woman luck. She hoped that the universe would see fit to grant the Munchkinlanders mercy, and Ness some wisdom. The force of the vortex in the cloud lifted Lelani toward the sky. She entered the funnel. A dark grey wind swirled around her — all color had been drained from the world. The dark matter between the universes surrounded her, the crackling energy intense. This was not a realm that liked to be breached, but the Witch of the East wrenched apart the mortar of creation for Lelani to reclaim her journey. Lelani spotted the track she must take to her destination and employed propulsion by means of her compact. She looked down to see Ness and the window to Oz getting smaller. Suddenly, a large shadow loomed above her. Lelani barely had time to move out of the way before the object whooshed past her with tremendous speed on the tip of an angry cyclone. Behind her, the object blocked the window to Oz. Lelani could no longer see Ness, but deed was done — Lelani was on her way.

The hole behind her closed and suction from the vacuum dissipated. She was between realities now and on her way to find the Prince’s guardians. Her last thought as she navigated the interdimensional ether was about the object that almost hit her.

Was that a house?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

About Edward:

Edward Lazellari was born in New York City in 1965. The child of Italian and Albanian parents, he began writing in the early 1990s while employed as an artist at Marvel Comics. After years working as an illustrator, he returned to college to earn his BA in English literature from Rutgers University, with a concentration in creative writing.

Edward won Playboy magazine’s prestigious short fiction contest in 1999, and his story, “The Date” was published in the October issue. This was his first paycheck for prose and a big boost toward finishing his first novel, “Awakenings,” which he had begun before going back to school. He graduated with highest honors in 1999 and began working as an editor in New York City.

You can visit Edward around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Edward Lazellari?

Awakenings

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

This giveaway is provided by Macmillan/Tor Books

Two winners will each receive a copy of Awakenings by Edward Lazellari

Available on August 30, 2011 from Macmillan/Tor Books

About the Book:

Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance.

Cal’s and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men’s past lives. But these creatures aren’t here to help; they’re intent on killing anyone who gets in their way. In the balance hangs the life of a child who might someday restore a broken empire to peace and prosperity. With no clue why they’re being hunted, Cal and Seth must accept the aid of a strange and beautiful woman who has promised to unlock their secrets. The two must stay alive long enough to protect their loved ones, recover their true selves—and save two worlds from tyranny and destruction.

Awakenings launches a captivating fantasy saga by an amazing and talented new storyteller.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Pre-Order from

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

1. Leave a comment for Edward, let us know what you think of this fable, book or series.

2. +1 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).

3. Giveaway is open to everyone.

4. Please include your email address in your comment.

5. All Fantastic Fables winners will be announced on September 7th.

6. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.

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44 Responses to “Fantastic Fables: Edward Lazellari on the Wizard of Oz Universe

  1. Marie-ClaudeNo Gravatar
    1

    Great Fable!!! It look like an interesting new serie.

    moc.liamtohnull@ac81traehssalG

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  2. kara-karinaNo Gravatar
    2

    Ahaha! The end was the best part! Very interesting!
    Thank you for the giveaway :)
    impy80 at hotmail dot com
    shared
    http://nocturnalbookreviews.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html

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  3. erinNo Gravatar
    3

    Loved the story! It was a great twist on a classic! I have had this book on my new releases wish list for a while now! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!

    moc.liamgnull@1rednefe

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  4. D. McGeeNo Gravatar
    4

    Ed – what a fun read – loved the story and now I want to know more about Lelani and her adventures. Also, can’t wait for ‘Awakenings.’ Continued Success!!

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  5. Audra HoltwickNo Gravatar
    5

    Loved it— must have a copy from this author
    moc.ssenrekciwnull@eidua

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  6. p7No Gravatar
    6

    Great tale… Sounds like an interesting book, I’ll add it to my wishlist! ;)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    catarina_romeira(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  7. Vivian MahNo Gravatar
    7

    looks like an interesting read would love to win this!
    tweeeted @v97_
    https://twitter.com/v97_/status/107897809776295936
    moc.liamtohnull@8hamnaiviv
    thx 4 giveaway =)

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  8. Carol ThompsonNo Gravatar
    8

    Quite an unusual take on the Wizard of Oz and I enjoyed reading it. The only thing I missed was a lack of humourous characters which I think is needed in a fairy story.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at}| gmail DOT com

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  9. Low KeyNo Gravatar
    9

    This book sounds absolutely awesome and right up my alley. :)

    Thanks for the fable (and of course for the giveaway as well)! It was a fascinating take on the Wizard of Oz.

    moc.loanull@eikrahsditziwt

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  10. BarbaraNo Gravatar
    10

    Wow, looks really interesting! Would love the opportunity to win it!…will read it anyway though:)

    moc.liamgnull@lhukjb

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  11. CourtneyNo Gravatar
    11

    I think it is amazing how you have taken the fable and made it so very modern. Would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  12. Jennelle SNo Gravatar
    12

    I loved the story. I adore the Wizard of Oz.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

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  13. SusanNo Gravatar
    13

    Great fable! Thanks for the giveaway!

    sab5723 at hotmail dot com

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  14. VivienNo Gravatar
    14

    Sounds awesome!
    +1 spread here
    http://www.goodreads.com/event/show/129293-fantastic-fables-edward-lazellari-on-the-wizard-of-oz-universe

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  15. Kelsey dNo Gravatar
    15

    Haha freakin’ awesome fable! Awakenings looks like a really good book too! Thanks!

    Posinivyred AT gmail.com

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  16. Bethany C.No Gravatar
    16

    I think this is my favorite fable so far.

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  17. Barbara ElnessNo Gravatar
    17

    I enjoyed the fable, it was a wonderful interpretation of great story. I’m looking forward to reading Awakenings, it sounds like a fantastic book.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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  18. RachaelMNo Gravatar
    18

    Enjoyed the fable of The Wizard of Oz, it was an interesting twist on a classic. The new series sounds like a must have, thanks for the giveaway.

    +1 Tweeted
    http://twitter.com/#!/ERachaelM/status/108002057730011136

    moc.oohaynull@ylluccmleahcar

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  19. Lenna HNo Gravatar
    19

    What an outside the “box” twist on Wizard of Oz. That’s why I love paranormal fiction. Edward shows great promise as an author.

    glittergirl54 at ymail dot com

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  20. Van P.No Gravatar
    20

    This book sounds different, and interesting. Would love to read this, thanks for the giveaway!

    Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  21. MellianeNo Gravatar
    21

    thanks for this great story ! This book sounds very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway !

    ellana_(at)hotmail(dot)fr

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  22. Sarie GroblerNo Gravatar
    22

    Hi Edward, I have not read any of your books yet (sorry) but I really enjoyed your telling of this fable. Thanks so much for this great giveaway.
    sarie101(at)webmail(dot)co(dot)za

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  23. Rain maiden JenNo Gravatar
    23

    Enjoyed the fable and thanks for the giveaway!

    moc.liamtohnull@3tmnj

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  24. AnneNo Gravatar
    24

    Writing a twist on The Wizard of Oz was a nice change of pace. Awakenings looks good too.

    acm05atjuno.com

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  25. EdwardNo Gravatar
    25

    I’m glad so many of you enjoyed it. I had fun writing it. The whole “modern” take on the Wizard of Oz is similar to what I’ve been doing with Awakenings, a modern take on fantasy fiction. I hope that you enjoy it just as much.
    Ed

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  26. Jen B.No Gravatar
    26

    I have seen Awakenings around the web and I added it to my wish list. Very interesting premise.
    jepebATverizonDOTnet

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  27. Melissa PNo Gravatar
    27

    Looks like a great book, I’ll definitely add this one to my TBR list!

    melissapascarelli atgmail dotcom

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  28. Jennifer KallhoffNo Gravatar
    28

    This book sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Kalliandra2007(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. DarleneNo Gravatar
    29

    A great take on the Wizard of Oz, and your books sounds great! Please enter me in the draw, and thanks for the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

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  30. DarleneNo Gravatar
    30

    +1 for tweeting:

    http://twitter.com/#!/DarleneBookNook/status/108546381274296321

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

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  31. Tom NadramiaNo Gravatar
    31

    Good read. I like the sarcastic humor of Ness and references to the tradional story. Will defintiely be reading “Awakenings”.

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  32. PeteNo Gravatar
    32

    A witty, charming, and humorous mash-up of Ed’s creation and an age-old classic. Kudos Ed. I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing.

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  33. MLNo Gravatar
    33

    Nice fresh take on Oz. I love it when world’s collide. Really enjoyed the fable.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

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  34. NaNo Gravatar
    34

    I like the premise for this book. Retrograde amnesia should make things interesting, and even dangerous from the sound of this story.

    Cambonified {at} yahoo {dot} com

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  35. MiciaNo Gravatar
    35

    This book is very interesting and engaging
    Tweet http://twitter.com/#!/micia18/status/108891172528852994

    thanks
    micia(at)email(dot)it

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  36. Brittany HardyNo Gravatar
    36

    Didn’t notice till a second glance, but the guy on the cover art staring straight ahead? Creepy! Love it!

    brittanynoelle at gmail dot com

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  37. KasumiNo Gravatar
    37

    Love your “explanation” of the beginning of “The wizard of OZ” :D
    And the book sounds great! :wink:

    Thanks for the international chance!

    kasumigogo[at]gmail[dot]com

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  38. Mickie TNo Gravatar
    38

    I liked both the Wizard of Oz pastiche and the style in which it was written. Awakenings sounds good, and I’ll certainly have to read it.

    mdturett at juno dot com

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  39. Mel SNo Gravatar
    39

    I loved the tale – Wizard of Oz is such a cool story and this is a great twist! :)

    notanotherbookblog(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

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  40. winnieNo Gravatar
    40

    Though I have not read this author before, this looks like an interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway

    chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

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  41. Little Lamb LostNo Gravatar
    41

    I loved the spin on The Wizard of Oz and am intrigued enough to want to read this author’s book. Very neat portrayal.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  42. kimyunalescaNo Gravatar
    42

    A magical journey to the land of Oz I’d like to know the twist they added to it very interesting!

    GFC: kimyunalesca
    kimyunalesca(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  43. Pam S (pams00)No Gravatar
    43

    Enjoyed your story of OZ. The Awakenings story sounds like its going to be a great read.

    pams00 @ aol.com

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  44. Pam S (pams00)No Gravatar
    44

    https://twitter.com/#!/pams00/status/111299295784869888

    pams00 @ aol.com

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