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Change is a-coming’!

 

Change is a common fact of life.

 

Change is a common fact of life.

Sometimes it is easier to take than others.

I’ve been doing some courses online from fellow authors about expanding mailing lists, how best to give back to fans, and how to deepen author/reader relationships. I’m hoping the changes I’m going to implement from all that new knowledge will be the good kind. 

2020 has been chock full of change, some good, some bad. So to roll with the punches, I thought I would make some changes of my own.

Most of what I hope to do, you may not even notice – a logo update, website theme change, different EMS, splitting the timing between newsletter and blog posts. But it is my hope we all come out of it better and happier than before. 

Possible updated Logo for Gloria Oliver
WIP Logo change – I must make it better!

 

Above is a slightly altered logo for my stuff. I added a space station now that I have a science fiction novel. 😛  What do you think of this version of the logo? Let me know! I would very much appreciate your input. (I might need to shrink the space station a little? Need to try doing an arch with the name again, I think.) 

Anyway, I wanted to give everyone a heads up! Hopefully, nothing will crash or go weird as I muck about with all the different services and software. But please let me know if you see anything that’s not working. 🙂 

What to expect.

Once everything is in place, I’m going to get back into posting stuff more frequently. I should be able to get on a schedule again once we hit 2021, as change has hit my workplace, and soon we’ll all be out of jobs.

After a lot of info searching and deep conversations with hubby, I will take the plunge to write full time. Being told that the company got sold because we were too good at our jobs after all the OT, hard work, and dealing with huge changes over the last few years has left a bitter taste in my mouth. My ongoing health issues post gallbladder surgery haven’t helped either.

But it might all be for the best in the long run. More time to write, more time to give you content, more time to get to know you better.  Huzzah! 

Wish me luck!

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed Origins 9/27/20

Morning!

I hope everyone is doing well. Still shopping around for an agent for Black Jade and got some work done on Breaking Dawn Cleaners. For my WIP projects, I’ve been setting up Pinterest Boards so you can follow part of the creative process as I find things to add to the story or research on bits.  Just click on the following links if you’re interested – Black Jade Pinterest Board and Breaking Dawn Cleaners Pinterest Board.  

I’ve been trying some experiments to try to get Alien Redemption some traction out in the world – small nibbles, but nothing big. Since this one has been getting great reviews, I was hoping it would do more. Ugh. If you have the time and inclination, would you help me get the word out? I would so appreciate it!

Anyway, now it’s time for…

Assassin’s Creed Origins 9/27/20

Assassin's Creed Origins - HippodromeThis is a hippodrome! Chariot races for the masses! I did the learning run and did abysmally, so I did not try to compete. I may be back later though, on my own time, as hubby didn’t find it interesting.  Crazy stuff!

Assassin's Creed Origins - hippodrome interiorHere’s a view of the interior of the hippodrome. Impressive, no? 

Assassin's Creed Origins - shipyardThe same town has a shipyard. Something I came to realize as I toured the country is that some tasks people did every day are emulated in the game. Like, people actually going through the motions of making pottery, dragging a rock for construction, etc. Such awesome detail!!!!! I think it is the coolest thing EVER!

Assassin's Creed Origins - tiled floorAs you venture to different places in the game, the interiors and exteriors change showing more Roman or Greek influence depending on the place. Love the tile work!

Assassin's Creed Origins - Royal PalaceA view of the throne room at the Royal Palace. The melding of the different cultures is clear. 😛

Assassin's Creed Origins - BathhouseA bathhouse – different soaking pools, oils, and ways to get clean. (I forgot to lighten some of the pics for easier viewing. DOH!)

Assassin's Creed Origins - Lighthouse of AlexandriaFar off view of the lighthouse at Alexandria – one of the seven wonders of the world!

Assassin's Creed Origins - building facadeIs that impressive or what? Definitely full of Roman influence.

 

Assassin's Creed Origins - CleopatraWe finally meet Cleopatra. Interestingly enough, though she loved all things Egyptian, she was Greek! She was the descendant of Ptolemy I Soter, a Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great.

Assassin's Creed Origins - mummified headMummified head. The guys in the back are working behind the scenes to usurp power and destabilize Egypt even further for their own ends. 

Stay safe and have a great week!

Also, if you need books to read, consider checking out the fabulous works of Rachel Caine! She is one of my all-time favorite authors, and she has terminal cancer. I want to share her awesomeness with you and also help her out, as the medical bills are stacking up. She does thrillers, science fiction, vampires, supernatural, and so much more! I totally recommend her books! You won’t regret it! (And she needs the help!)

Thank you!!!!

Virtual Tourist – Destroy All Humans 9/13/20

Good morning!

Looks like we’re heading towards cooler weather. Or it could just be a feint. Here in Texas, you never know for sure. 😛 

Destroy All Humans

Destroy All Humans - leaving the ship disguisedCrypto is about to board his ship. The Holobob energy is almost depleted. You steal the image from a human who then freezes and turns invisible, and you read thoughts to grab energy to maintain the disguise. The cow you see here is a giant cow statue. 

Destroy All Humans - forest

They have really nice detail for the graphics. 

Destroy All Humans - Alien Pool Party

Each major mission gets a cool postcard intro. These crack me up! This is where you get a new weapon that can do what you see behind him. Crazy stuff.

Destroy All Humans - beach shotIs that not a beautiful scene? Look at the gorgeous sky colors! 

Destroy All Humans - Motel Party MadnessEach mission end, or if you die, gives you these super whacky newspapers. Majestic is working hard to keep everything under wraps. Some of the articles are hilarious.

Destroy All Humans - Television of DOOMTelevision of DOOM! They are not exaggerating. While Crypto is running around doing missions and stealing brain stems, he also finds out Majestic is doing things to the general population as well at Santa Modesta. DOH!

Destroy All Humans - Aliens Stole My Brain StemAh, the evil gleam in his red eyes. Glorious! 😛

Destroy All Humans - Stunted Sniper Strikes Again!Honestly, these headlines crack me up! Deformed lurker – hah!

Destroy All Humans - This Island SuburbiaWhy yes, that is brains in his ice cream cone. Eek! 

Destroy All Humans - Santa Modesta beachCrypto is reading the mind of the gentleman before the palm tree. These can be quite funny. But the important takeaway here is that gorgeous view of the water!

Buttons for psychic powers from left to right that I have so far. R – mind-read/energy, E – brain stem extraction, F – Holobob image, X – Forget (very handy), C – takes over the human and makes them act like a chicken – used for distraction purposes. LOL. 

In case you missed it, here’s the new book trailer video for Vassal of El! 😛 

 

Book Trailer – Vassal of El 2020

Greetings!

Video editing software has changed a lot over the years. They have more bells and whistles than the old windows movie maker. I took the plunge two years ago and got Filmora’s video editing software. I’d wanted to do one for Inner Demons (the only book trailer I outsourced) and it would be handy for Alien Redemption. Then I decided I should start working on redoing some of my old book trailers.

 Well….after months of searching for pics and editing the thing off and on, I finally finished one! Lol.

So I reveal to you, the 2020 Vassal of El Book Trailer! Huzzah!

In case you want to do a comparison (bwahahahaha), here’s the original trailer from way back in 2009. *GASP*

Coming Soon
Which Book Trailer did you like best?
Which Book Trailer did you like best?
Which Book Trailer did you like best?

 

Virtual Tourist – Destroy All Humans 8/30/20

Morning, everyone!

I got woken up in the middle of the night by a giant lightning strike. It looks like some heavy storms rushed through the area last night. It made for a rude awakening. 😛

 

Destroy All Humans

This game grabbed my attention hard. It’s an amalgamation of all the B movies from my youth with snarky splashes of humor. This time, we are the aliens!

They have a ton of gadgets and powers, and you get to upgrade your small ship! The first mission was full of videos, which got bothersome, but once they are out of the way, the craziness goes on full tilt. 😛

The fundamental premise is that the genetic material from which your race creates clones are degrading. You need new genetic material, and since they made humans from your race, they are an excellent source for what you need! 

Destroy All Humans load screenThis is you! This is the image on the loading screen but is a great closeup of who you get to be. His predecessor got his ship damaged and became the Roswell incident. 😛

Destroy All HUmans - One Giant Step on MankindYou can immediately see the snark before you even start! Heh heh. One giant step ON mankind. Hahahahahaha!

Destroy All Humans - crashed shipMy predecessor after getting too close to a missile test. Proof of why we need new genetic material. 😛

Destroy All Humans - the bossMy boss, Pox. He stays safely tucked away in the mother ship. He nags you with orders and general commentary when you are on the ground doing missions. 

Destroy All Humans - mothership and single UFOThis gives a good view of the mother ship and my craft. Upgrades as you gain experience. 🙂

Destroy All Monsters - mission cardAll main missions get a postcard like this one. Lol. You have a lot of skills to use based on the power you draw from the humans nearby. The main one is the ability to appear like a human while the actual human goes into limbo. (And yes, we will capture cows to send to the mother ship!)

Destroy All Humans - dumb blondeThis is the winner of the local county fair beauty contest. I lured her away to be taken to the mother ship. The humans around here are dumb as a box of rocks. But they also have itchy trigger fingers. Lol. 

Destroy All Humans - view of the small shipFull view of my ship. It has cloaking capabilities, so the natives can’t see it while I am away.

Destroy All Humans - beam me up!I am taking the prize aboard my ship. Mission complete! Bwahahahaha! Further tasks get weirder. 

Once you have done the primary missions on a town/area, it opens it up for side visitations. There are hidden robots to find, and some timed items you can struggle through. The more you play, the more of them open up. Some challenges are anything but easy! Taking over the world is hard work. 😛

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

Virtual Tourist – The Council 8/16/20

Good morning!

This past week had some bad news – the company I work for has been sold. Closing is expected in three to four months. No one had a clue. The worst part is that in a roundabout way, we were told it’s our own fault. We worked too hard and made the company too attractive, so this other company had to buy us. Go figure…. 😛

I finally got the Landing Pages for the Grand Experiment active. The first is with a specific domain for Alien Redemption here. I created this one with the free MailChimp landing page creator. Some good things about it and some bad, but it’s free, so one can’t really complain. The second is using a WordPress plugin to recreate the page in my primary site. It fought me tooth and nail but finally got it done last night. I never did figure out how to add the MailChimp integration, so had to get creative. (Might only be available on Pro, but the plugin site did not make it clear (or I am blind and I just could not find it! :P) That one you can see here

I’m doing a week of $5 a day with Facebook to see if it will drive traffic to the first one and see if any traction occurs. I will need to get with the publisher to make sure if it converted any sales or not. Then I will try a different venue for the second one. The budget is super low, so I can’t get carried away. But, hopefully, something will work! It would be sad to sell out and cave to some of these more aggressive techniques and still get nowhere. 😛

The Council

The Council - CorridorThe posh corridor on the second floor where all the guest rooms are located.

The Council - Mother's RoomThe room assigned to my mother. Our host likes to theme each guest room with specific art to send a message. Most are not all that nice. 😛

The Council - balconyOpen balcony area outside my room. Several of the rooms share the balcony area, though some are cut off by obstacles you can’t get around. Still, a lovely view, is it not?

The Council - Front DoorThe imposing front door – hell made tangible.

The Council - view from dining areaThis is the view from the dining area. Unlike most dining rooms, this one is open at the end. No rails to impede the view – assuming you dare get that close to the edge. Eek!

The Council - The Edge!All that awaits below should you step too far. 😛

The Council - view of the dining area from outside On the edge of this area, like several other spots, you can allow the game to show you a moving vista of the area or object. This is during that tour and you can now see what the dining area and the house look like from the outside. 

The Council - The LibraryThe rounded tower you can see in the picture before this one is where the library you see here is located. In the game, you can only go around one passage, but seeing the whole thing is just amazing. Books! So many books!

The Council - The library - down viewDownview of the library. The place is huge! Not the awesome work on the iron rod walkway. Who wouldn’t want this library! Drool.

The Council - art galleryThe art gallery hallway linked to the library. Note the giant gyroscope – did our host steal that from Alexandria? (See the Virtual Tourist post from 8/2/20. :P) A lot of stuff in this room, in the entire house, appears to be the original works or some darn excellent forgeries.   

Thanks for your time! Until next time! 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed Origins 8/2/20

Morning!

Life continues in its usual chaotic cycles. I used a few days of vacation this week, and instead of vegging I spent them working on writer stuff. 😛  I never learn. 

I have been learning a lot about landing pages and opt-in pages and figuring out how to get more traction for my novels in general. Writing a good book is but one of the many things you have to do. The writer’s life is not for the faint of heart. Heh heh. 

Assassin’s Creed Origins

City of AlexandriaOur first view of the city of Alexandria! A sprawling metropolis and cultural melting pot.

Temple in AlexandriaA temple in Alexandria. Depending on where you are will depend on whether they are Egyptian, Greek, or even Roman. Some are hybrids.

Ptolemy statueA Ptolemy statue. He was Cleopatra’s younger brother and has usurped her rule. Destroying them is one of Bayek’s little pleasures. 😛

Side view of Alexandria Side view of part of Alexandria. The game has a photo shooting utility and the photos will show on the main map. So you can like other peeps pics. A neat idea! They even do a picture of the day. Encouraging us all to be Virtual Tourists. 😛

Tiled FloorsHere is some gorgeous tile work. Definitively showing Greek influence. 

Home in AlexandriaInside one of the homes in Alexandria. I so love all the detail!

A main street in AlexandriaOne of the major streets in Alexandria. 

Building in AlexandriaThe Library of Alexandria. Imposing, is it not? Yet a perfect example of the mishmash of cultures in the magnificent city. (Ah, makes me think of Rachel Caine’s awesome series The Great Library set in an alternate history where this bastion of learning was not destroyed.)

Pharos LighthousePharos the Lighthouse in Alexandria – one of the seven wonders of the world. 

Inside the Great Library Inside the Great Library. There are scholars everywhere you look. 

Giant gyroscopeA giant gyroscope inside the library. 

BuildingIt’s awe-inspiring to see what people managed to build in ancient times. 

 

The top of the Pharos LighthouseView of the top area of the Pharos Lighthouse. 

Statues in the waters of AlexandriaStatues in the waters of Alexandria. Just how did they get these out here? 

The Tomb of Alexander the Great

The Tomb of Alexander the Great

If you are not currently subscribed to my newsletter/blog – now might be the time!

I am giving away a FREE short story entitled “Elixir of Life” to any who sign up. (For those of you already on the mailing list, don’t worry! I’ll be sending info on how you can get it soon! 

 

Virtual Tourist – The Council 7/12/20

Greetings!

Last time I had shared with you my Pinterest Board for “Black Jade“. I realized later I should have also included the Dallas in 1930s Board. DOH! Research pics on distinct places and things from the 1930s.  

History can be very fascinating! Especially as not all the books out there read like the dry, boring dribble of high school history books! 😛 

The Council

 Steam had a sale over the 4th of July weekend, so we bought two games. My original purchase had included A Plague Tale: Innocence which I’d had on my wish list for a while. Sadly, I had to return it as it gave me terrible motion sickness. I checked to see if there was a way to fix it, but alas, there was not. So I returned it. (The premise was original, and the skill set you have to develop is unique (slingshot), but though it was 3rd person, the moving/bouncing perspective just made me ill.)

So after looking at some others and getting rather down as the ones I got excited about had comments about motion sickness there too, I got lucky and ran across The Council from Big Bad Wolf Studios. The first “episode” was on Steam for free, so I could make sure it would work for me before committing. Yay!

It has an interesting premise, and your choices can change the direction or information during play. It’s set in the late 18th century. Louis is searching for his mother (after the intro play) who’s disappeared after having spent several weeks on a remote island owned by Lord Mortimer. Sarah, Louis’ mother, is the head of the Golden Order in Europe.

You have to choose for Louis to be a diplomat, an occultist, or a detective, which will start the character with different skill sets. They also incorporate action points which you use when trying to use your skills. There are potions you can find to help with action points and with discovering character immunities and vulnerabilities as you go through dialogue choices. It’s been fascinating, so far!

The Council Opening ScreenYep, the characters are not pretty! Though still better looking than the ones in Skyrim! 😛 

The Council - FranceThe story begins, and in many ways revolves, around France. 

The Council - Lord Mortimer's IslandLouis first look at Lord Mortimer’s island. He sent Louis a letter inviting him to come as his mother has disappeared.

The Council - route to reach the houseIt is a long way from the docks to the house! Sheesh! 

The Council - Lord Mortimer's Mansion The front of Lord Mortimer’s Mansion. Quite impressive!

The Council - giant statueGiant statue coming out of the wall over the fireplace on the main floor. Everything in the mansion is rather impressive. Psychology at play on those who come to visit. (This definitely becomes clear as you explore some of the bedrooms. Lol.)

The Council - Paintings on the main floorTwo of the paintings in the main hall. You may not be able to tell from this picture, but the work on the paintings for the game is impressive. They did specific textures to show they are oil paintings. Oil paintings have a certain look because of the paints, how they dry, and the canvas they are painted on. It is much more noticeable in the better lit areas.  Kudos!

The Council - tiled floor of the main hallThe tile work in the main hall. Implying his guests are but mice in a maze, perhaps?

The Council - Lord HolmLord Holm – he plays host for Lord Mortimer in his absence. Quite disturbing in his powder and wig. 😛 

The Council - George WashingtonThe invited guests are movers and shakers in the world. Here’s Louis standing next to President George Washington. Duchess Emily Hillsboro is in the background. Napoleon Bonaparte is also one of the many guests, a force being groomed for the future.

Overall, they’ve done a great job with all the intrigue. Some hard puzzles here and there, timed responses, murder, the occult, politics, and a bizarre mystery. Booyah!

Have a great week!

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed Origins 6/28/20

Good morning!

News!

Last year I finished my first ever cozy mystery – Black Jade. (Set in Dallas in 1930 with a funky cast of characters.) This week I finished the second round of edits. So now begins the shopping phase! Hopefully, I can find an agent and once more try to shop something to the large publishing houses.

They say it is never too early to start getting the word out. 

Might this be the one that makes it? Only time will tell. Already gathering info for a second book in the Daiyu Wu Mysteries. Bwahahahahaha!

You can see pics and bits of the research over in the Black Jade Pinterest board.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins - Desert and pyramidsOut in the desert after leaving Siwa on the way to Alexandria. Behind Bayek, you can see pyramids! 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Desert and rockThe unforgiving desert sun. You stay out here long enough, and Bayek will start seeing minor hallucinations. (The weirdest one so far was of a fish flopping in the sand, then diving out of sight.)

Assassin's Creed OriginsOne of the small farming villages near a lake. I love the attention to detail. I would guess these are drying circles for making bundles of fodder to feed the farm animals.

Assassin's Creed OriginsThe lush plants along the lake, and some dangerous elements. Crocodiles are rampant in different areas. They are not shy about attacking anyone. Some of these guys are HUGE!

Assassin's Creed Origins - Lost CryptA lost crypt by the water. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - sweeping view of ruinsSweeping view of the lake, the pyramids, and some ancient ruins. (Forgot to lighten the pics – sorry!) You can even see one of the unique ships of the time.

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of SekhmetThe Temple of Sekhmet in Yami. Impressive, no? The view is from the roof of a house across the street. Note the carpets and resting places. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Hypostyle HallIs this place grand or what? Hypostyle Hall. The years and manpower it must have taken to build it is mind-boggling. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Greek VillaA lakeside villa – notice the Greek and Roman influences. At this period, the Ptolemy line had been rulers of Egypt for close to 300 years. The Ptolemys were not Egyptian but Greek (Egypt was given to General Ptolemy by Alexander the Great – he was not Egyptian.) 

Assassin's Creed Origins - View of AlexandriaView of Alexandria! A center of learning and trade. At that time, the largest city in the world or second only to Rome.

Have a great week! Stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed – Origins 6/14/20

Morning!

I hope you are all doing well. Life is getting more back to normal, yet it’s too early to drop all precautions. The numbers are still climbing for COVID-19. Stay safe!

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins - Mountain of the DeadOne of the rooms in the Mountain of the Dead near Siwa. Canopic jars and all sorts of treasures for the afterlife. 

Assassin's Creed OriginsCat mummies! The Mountain of the Dead has a room just for cat mummies! Cats figure heavily into the game. They love Bayek. I think I’ve had five gather around and follow him. No pet command in this game, but if you get the angle right when you crouch, he will pet them. Still, a room of cat mummies! I was so surprised. Lol. 

Assassin's Creed OriginsTwo essential things in this picture. First is the tablet. It will show up over and over in different tombs you explore. Each will give you an ability point. So it’s well worth searching for them. (The exploration itself is fun, too. Though not always easy! They get tricky!) The second thing is the boy next to Bayek. He’s got the old-style bare head with a ponytail! Heh heh.

Assassin's Creed Origins - starsThere’s a quest for Bayek that he is doing for his son. There are 12 constellations that have been recreated on the ground. It was his son’s wish to visit all of them with his father. Here is the first. 

Assassin's Creed OriginsOnce you find one, you will see the corresponding stars and then the image of what/who they represent. On the first one, you have a flashback of Bayek and his son talking about the constellations. It’s a very touching sequence. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of Amun EntranceWhile there are a lot of ruins and crumbling statuary, others are still in perfect condition. Say hello to Wanderer (aka Roach) Bayek’s camel. Camels, horses, chariots, boats, there is a myriad of items you can use for transportation. Using them in town can be a little hazardous. You will destroy property like fences, jars, etc. (DOH!) Much to my surprise; you can get an achievement for it. (Double DOH!)

Assassin's Creed OriginsOutside view of the temple we started from at the beginning of the game. It lies some miles outside of Siwa. Since we had to follow Bayek’s old friend out from there, I didn’t get a look at the front! 😛

Assassin's Creed Origins - first temple interiorSuch lovely detail! I didn’t recognize I’d been here until I got this far in. 😛 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of AmunThis is the object that has brought such misery to Siwa. It is what lies beyond this door that has brought the calamity upon Bayek’s life. Yet, though it has been a year, his enemies still have not figured out the secret to getting it to open. I’m sure I will have to return here for that very thing later on.

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of Amun - upper areaTemple of Amun – upper temple area. Gorgeous! But also a place of tragedy and pain for Bayek. You can see the masked evil-doer right at the bottom. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Bayek's TombModern Time – this is Bayek’s mummy, and that is Layla, the one using his DNA to look into the past. She’s built a portable Animus. Looking at all her files, they do some nice tie ins to the movie and some of the other Assassin’s Creed games. She’s fearless and a little crazy. Lol.

Assassin's Creed Origins - Bayek and Senu

Senu and Bayek. Aren’t they cute? 🙂

Stay calm, stay safe, stay optimistic!  Until next time!