Inner Demons – Chapter 1

Hi, all!

Trying to start promoting this sucker as it will be released before I know it. lol. Working on getting the three sample chapters and other info at the website. Figured I’d go ahead an give you a taste though. 🙂

Inner Demons (Urban Fantasy)

 

Chapter One
“Getting a little excited, are we?” I couldn’t keep the grin out of my voice as I kicked off my shoes and dug my toes into the carpet and stretched. Getting home in the evenings was one of the best perks of the day. Switching the phone to my other hand, I picked up the low heeled pumps and stepped into the bedroom.
“Yes. No? Mostly I’m totally stressing out! Richie is useless at this stuff. He’s got no idea that Peach, Taffeta Peach, and Candy Peach aren’t in any way the same color.” Debbie sighed from the other end of the line. “Honestly, he could try a little harder. We’ll only get married once.”
I didn’t have any idea what the differences of those colors were either, but figured it wasn’t the time to say so. I tucked the shoes away in the closet and grabbed a pair of gray sweat pants and old Beatles t-shirt, feeling the day slide off my shoulders as I changed. “You’ve known he’s been color impaired for years, love won’t change that. Or have you forgotten his color choices for the college mixer two years ago?” Drifting to the kitchen, I pulled down my favorite cup, chipped handle and all, and filled it with water and stuck it in the microwave to heat.
A stifled giggle came from the other end of the line. “What a disaster! That won’t ever be happening again on my watch.”
“I should hope not.” Grinning, I brought out my tea colander and opened the cabinet to pick the flavor of the evening. Blueberry Cheesecake Tea seemed just the thing.
“We’re still on for this weekend, right?” A slight note of insecurity bled through.
I worked hard not to smile. Though I normally wasn’t much into fashion or agonizing over what cake flavoring would please most people, I’d do almost anything for Debbie. “Of course. Looking forward to it.”
“I love you, Tam.”
“I love you, too. But don’t tell Richie, he’ll get jealous.”
Debbie laughed. “It’s a secret. Pick you up at nine.”
I hung up just as the microwave dinged. Pulling out the mug, I put it on a tray with everything else needed, and went to the living room, looking forward to stretching out on my gray couch and sipping my tea.
I’d just set the tray down when I noticed an odd smell…like rotten eggs. I half turned, then…
A pair of headlights was coming right for me.
I froze, my breath catching at my throat, my brain refusing to accept the impossible change.
The car swerved at the last moment, and time slowed around me as a flush of adrenaline hit my system. The blare of a pressed horn crashed into my ears. The dark blue Oldsmobile missed me by mere inches, the glow of streetlights reflecting from its sides. Humid wind whipped over me, trying to drag me along in the car’s wake. The stench from the exhaust coiled about me, and I spun around to watch the trailing red tail lights.
“Lunatic!” An arm shot out the window, the middle finger held up as extra commentary on the near miss.
The car never even slowed.
This was real.
Other pairs of headlights bore down my way. Fear spiked through me, yelling at me to get the hell out of there. I tripped when I took my first panicked step, the shoes on my feet feeling strange and awkward. I glanced down and saw I was wearing white boots with six inch heels. Worse, I was also wearing a dark sequined dress that only covered a small part of my upper thighs.
I wasn’t a prude, but I had taste, dammit, and this get up just wasn’t me. I stumbled toward the sidewalk to my right, only too aware of the traffic heading toward me.
I almost collapsed once I made it, the high heels messing with my center of gravity. A Shell gas station and a combination KFC/Taco Bell sat in front of me. The location didn’t look familiar, though at the moment, nothing did. How did I get here?
Panic nibbled at the back of my mind, confusion clouding everything.
I slowly turned where I stood and spotted a freeway with an overpass on my right. Across the blacktop street were a bank and several grassy lots set back from the curb. The street sign said Beechnut Street. That rang a bell – could I still be in Houston? Just thinking it gave me hope. At the moment, though, it wouldn’t have surprised me to find out I was on another planet entirely.
Chilled, I rubbed my arms, even as a bead of sweat ran down my neck. A small purse on a long chain loop smacked against my thigh. I brought it close, never having seen it before, and opened it. Wads of loose cash lay inside, as well as a tube of lipstick and a set of keys hanging off a skull keychain. There was no driver’s license or other type of ID. No cell phone, either. I couldn’t tell if the purse was even actually mine. Yet the shape of one of the keys looked familiar. I was pretty sure it belonged to my apartment. I had cash, I had what I hoped was my key, and I thought I was in my city. It meant I could get back home to things I knew.
Home—yes, getting home sounded very good right now.
Taking a deep breath, I felt slightly more in control. Yes, home, get myself home. That was a plan, something to aim for. I half walked, half waddled toward the KFC/Taco Bell, hoping to find a pay phone or beg to borrow someone’s cell. I’d never worn such tall heels and they tried to sink into the grass as I cut across the strip to the parking lot. As I neared the bank of glass windows advertising value meals and combo platters, I spotted my reflection and came to a complete stop.
The image that mirrored my movements was and wasn’t me. I had screaming platinum blonde hair. Straight and startling in its color, it dropped down to my shoulders. It couldn’t be real. No matter how many straighteners I used on my hair, it’d never been that cooperative. A shaking hand with platinum, luminescent nail polish rose up to touch the hair. After a quick inspection, I realized it was a wig. My own hair lay underneath it. I assumed the same could be said for the rest of me as well. Though I wasn’t considered that dark-skinned, especially when compared to the rest of my family, out here, my face and eyes seemed to suck out the light, especially with my face being framed by the platinum wig, my eyes shaded with glittering eye shadow and lips with matching lipstick. The black and way too short sequined dress showed stripes of startling white and matched the tall-heeled white boots that rose up to my knees. I wasn’t sure if I looked more like a hooker out of a cheap 60’s cop show, an extra out of an old Soul Train rerun, or some exotic alien in a B-movie showing on the Syfy Channel. Either way, it wasn’t me.
I swayed where I stood, the surreal feeling of it all making me dizzy. I leaned against the glass door, no longer trusting my legs. How did I come to be dressed like this or be at this place? I liked to have fun as much as anyone, but I wasn’t a raving party girl. Some might even call me boring, since my idea of a good time normally consisted of staying at home dressed in my sweats, curled up on the couch with a good book. So why?
Darkness prickled at the edges of my vision, so I scrunched down and placed my head between my knees while trying to force my breathing to slow, sure I was close to hyperventilating. The accountant in me whispered that all numbers added up, even if you didn’t have every bit of data. All you had to do was find them. What came in always had to balance what came out, even though it might not look like it. I just needed to hold it together long enough to find all the pieces – then everything would make sense. Everything.
But to do that, I needed to keep it together—I needed to stick to my plan of getting home. My breathing slowed, and that in turn brought down the hammering in my heart.
Feeling slightly calmer, I gingerly stood up.
The night air pressed in around me, hot and sticky with humidity, not the usual norm for April. But with Texas, you just never knew. The odd thought, however, helped ground me.

 

I reached out for the handle on the glass door and then went inside to try to borrow a phone and get to things I knew. 
 
COMING SOON in 2014

NEWS! “In the Service of Samurai” is now available as an IMABIK Audio Book!

 

Woot! Looks like they forgot to tell me. It’s been out since 5/22!

 

Yes! My fantasy novel “In The Service of Samurai” is now available as an audio book from IAMBIK through Audible.
Totally love the reader’s voice – her name is Availle. She has the coolest accent! But I mostly love her emotion filled reading. Yay!

 

Marketing Experiment # XXX – 140 Character Quotes

Several months ago I got an idea for an online marketing experiment from something Rachel Caine (marvy urban fantasy and YA author) was doing using Twitter.

For her bit, she was linking a partial quote from the about to be released Morganville Vampires Book 7 called Fade Out and including a link to her LJ so readers could see the rest of the selected quote. (MV7 totally rocked, by the way!)

I decided I would try something similar, but with a Twitter twist. I would actually try to make the quotes fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit as well as include a purchase url for Amazon or just the name of the book the quote came from depending on space. (Sometimes nothing as a couple of the buggers were too long!)

For each book, I went and hunted for 20 plus quotes from the beginning chapters. The plan was to Tweet quotes 3 times a day. Reason for doing it 3 times was because people aren’t always on Twitter/Facebook at the same time the quote would be posted. The two different Twitter Utilities I use seem to only buffer about 100 Tweets, so assuming most others were about the same, I wanted to send enough of them out there to hopefully get included, but not so many I would seem to be spamming the netwaves.

I use two different utilities to check Tweets. At work I use TechHit’s TwInbox. (TwInbox basically lets you create a folder for Tweets in Outlook and feeds Twitter into it. It also means I don’t have to have any suspicious software on at work or an internet page up. :P) (I love that I can forward Tweets with interesting links via email automatically too to peeps I know who don’t use Twitter. Somethings just have to be shared!) At home, I use TweetDeck. Tweetdeck lets me see feeds from Twitter, My Space, and Facebook, plus I can upload comments to all 3 at once.

So, armed with a week’s worth of quotes for each of my four books – In the Service of Samurai, Vassal of El, Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles, and Willing Sacrifice – I set off on this mad marketing experiment!

Today is the last day of the fourth week. Since I included urls leading anyone who was interested to Amazon, I figured using my ranking #’s there for each book would let me know if anything happened at all.

I’m afraid to have to report that the impact of this experiment very well seems to be Zero~! But at least now I know. Of course there’s always the possibility that the full impact, if any, is not yet visible. It’s the biggest problem with trying any type of marketing for books as there are time when the effects are felt long after you’ve stopped pursuing that particular strategy.

In some ways too, I was probably preaching to the choir – most of those following me have probably already read some of my work. To get others on Twitter to see it I needed to use hashmarks like #ya #fantasy, but I don’t think I thought of using those until well into week two at least. Doh. (hindsight is 20/20)

Now to think of something else to try!

In the Service of Samurai Book Video!

Well, after way too many months of avoidance and procrastination, I was finally able to carve out a chunk of time to get all the pieces together and finish the first of my much needed four book videos!

In the Service of Samurai by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Woot!!!! The Book Video for In the Service of Samurai is COMPLETE!

If you care to take a peek, you can find the bugger here.

It’s not going to win any Academy Awards, but hopefully it will get the point across. Heh heh.

Now to get my eyes to quit twitching from strain. Whee!

Heh heh. See ya!

Gloria

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles NOW AVAILABLE in Print!

HI, all!

 

 

 

Just wanted to annouce real quick that “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” is now available in Trade Paperback!

 

 

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel

 

Can be purchased at Amazon or for a bigger discount directly from the Publiser at Hard Shell Word Factory

 

“Harry Potter meets the Dragon Riders of Pern”

 

Talia didn’t want to be apprenticed, not even to the prestigious Dragon Knight’s Guild. She is taken to the school by a cross-eyed dragon and his partner, Kel. A dizzying, madcap ride that leaves her less than eager to be a knight, but soon she finds out the guild has need of many types of people. Running into the dragon and squire again and again, she comes to realize the unlikely pair are outsiders in their own school—participants of the dragon-human pairing ritual, which in the end didn’t work quite as intended. They are stubborn loners who are determined to overcome the obstacles in their path and make a true pair, as was intended. Or are they?

 

As Talia’s first year at the guild evolves, she must deal with the quirks of the Administrator, her lessons, the odd rules of the school, the students, the mystery of Clarence and Kel, and somewhere in there, possibly decide what it is she wants for her own future.

 

Sample Chapters

 

 

 

 

Willing Sacrifice – YA Fantasy – Now Available!

Well, after a long wait and battling the Curse of the Cover – Willing Sacrifice is finally out!!!

Willing Sacrifice by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel

Willing Sacrifice

To save the world she must die! Or does she?

For as long as she can remember, La’tiera has known her purpose, her destiny. As the Bearer of the Eye, she will wait until the appointed time then sacrifice herself to the demons so the lands will be safe.

Yet as the time approaches, she is snatched from her home by strangers and is told it is for her protection. These strangers tell her she is not to be a sacrifice, but must fight to live in order for the world to be saved.

La’tiera will not be swayed, however, her duty clear. Despite their clever lies, she will follow through on her destiny and do what is required. Her every effort will be put to freeing herself from her kidnappers and meeting her fate as planned.

 

 

Teaser

 

La’tiera was left alone with the two men who’d kidnapped her. She rose to her feet, feeling tense, and stood near the wall. So she was quite startled when Rostocha dropped to one knee before her and bowed. Dal followed suit.

“Bearer, please allow me introduce myself. I am Rostocha of the fifth tier of Watchers, son of Lalu and Nathan.” He lifted his head, his eyes seeking her surprised ones. “I earnestly apologize for our methods, but they were necessary. We needed to make sure we could take you safely from your prison and could privately explain ourselves to you.”

He appeared earnest, but La’tiera didn’t believe him. “I don’t care to hear your explanations. I only want you to take me back where I belong.” She tried to make her expression hard, though in truth she quivered inside.

Rostocha looked away. “I’m sorry, but that is not possible. Our world is in peril and you are the key to our salvation. It is our duty to educate you, to keep you safe, until the time comes. Then after the danger is past, if you still wish to return, we will do as you ask.”

“What lies!” La’tiera felt a flash of anger bring heat to her face. “If you honestly wanted the world to be saved, you wouldn’t be making these promises to me.”

“La’tiera, what are you talking about?” Dal asked her.

She pierced him with a hard stare. “I could hardly choose to go back home once I was dead, could I?”

This brought Dal to his feet. “Dead? Why would you be dead?”

“Because it is required!”

Rostocha followed suit, a look of comprehension dawning on his face. “You believe you have to be a sacrifice.”

Dal spun to stare first at him then at her. “What? That’s insane!”

His utter shock at the fact confused her.

“You were expecting to die? You were going to allow yourself to be killed?”

She possessed no idea what to make of the horrified expression on his face. “Of course. I will do what is necessary, what I was chosen to do.”

“The Eye is not a mark of Death!”

 

ISBN : 978-1-934135-27-3

Sample Chapters

Available at Amazon.com – Trade Paperback

and Fictionwise.com – e-book format

 

The Curse of the Cover

Being a writer tends to involve a lot of time spent waiting. Waiting to get distant enough from a project to edit the manuscript, waiting to hear back on submissions, waiting to get a manuscript back from a beta reader or editor, waiting to actually move up the cue to get the book published. It’s all part of the process, and you grin and bear it as much as possible. But no one ever told me I would have to deal with curses too!

My first book, In the Service of Samurai, actually went pretty smoothly from acceptance, editing, and print. No real problems. But, Vassal of El, on the other hand, was plagued after it went to print with odd category placements! On Fictionwise it got dumped into Dark Fantasy, something which it is definitely not. But on Amazon, by some fluke of nature, it got slated as a Scientific Experiment Text! Who knows what it got dumped under elsewhere. And let me tell you, after you get stuck in the wrong category, it is hard, very hard to get you put into the right spot! (The publisher and myself going at it, it still took more than a year to fix Amazon! Eek!)

I sold two other manuscripts, one to another publisher, and a new one to my main publisher. The new publisher got me edited right away, and it was awesome. But they got cursed with some truly terrible personal catastrophes (on multiple members of the staff!), which trickled down, so that book was delayed along with many others for over a year. I have my fingers crossed that Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles will see print sometime around Christmas, but who knows! (I don’t think of this one as cursed per say, but then, I’ll have to wait and see till it is released!)

I had much higher hopes for Willing Sacrifice. But little did I know! Back in 2006 the specs for the cover were sent off to an artist, and there was a proof by January 2007. I liked the proof a lot, and so did the publisher, and after compiling some minor changes to bring out a couple of aspects, the publisher contacted the artist and waited for the changes. And waited, and waited, and waited. Despite repeated attempts to get a hold of the artist, there was no response. Suddenly the release date is looming and the book has no cover! (Hadn’t had an edit yet either, so all I could think was doom and gloom!) Publisher found another artist. The edit got done. I did the final manuscript pass through. We did miss the original publishing date, but the artist did get a first cover pass out. The cover was totally different from the first one, but was pretty good. Did need some changes, (I’m sorry, Dal doesn’t have a goatee!) and the comet needed to be placed on the front rather than the spine (some weird placement issue thing), but once fixed I was sure it would kick!

I wait and wait and finally bug the publisher. Well, the proof got looked at by the partner, who is also the cover layout person, and she didn’t like it. Decided she would take the project on herself. But she is swamped. So now I wait, and wait, and wait. Maybe 2007 just isn’t my year to publish books…

Want to take bets on whether a fourth artist will have to take a crack at it?

The Curse of the Cover is here! 😛

To Outline or Not to Outline

This is a question that seems to come up all the time at panels and in general writing discussions. There are people on both sides of the camp and never a lot of agreement as to what to do.

To me though, Writing, like art, is one of those things were you can take lessons, read books, practice techniques, but in the end, you have to find the way to do it that feels the most comfortable to YOU. No one formula will work for everyone, no matter how much you try to force it. And sadly a lot of the classes out there try to fit the square peg into a round hole, even though it’s not necessary.

Asking whether you should outline or not is like asking if you should write in the mornings or in the afternoons. Do whichever one feels right for you. If you have no idea, try each of them out and see which one gives you the best results.

If you’re the type of person who likes to have a road map before beginning on a journey, outline. If you are more of a drive by the seat of your pants type of person, no outline.

Now for me, as with a lot of things having to do with writing, it all depends on the project! I’ve written stories and books with and without outlines. To me outlining is a tool. So if I need it I use it, if I don’t I don’t.

In the Service of Samurai was done without an outline. Vassal of El has certain scenes I knew I wanted, but pretty much was also done outline free. Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles, however, which came partially from the wellspring that is my hubby, was almost totally mapped out in outline form before I ever started. Willing Sacrifice, no outline – though in a way, since it was one sided when first written, then Dal’s side added in afterward, there might be some argument there. Jewel of the Gods, my current Work-in-progress, started out outline free, but I found myself getting mired in details and loosing my way, so out came the paper and so far a partial outline has been jotted down so I know what I need to do and explain where so I can keep on course.

Outlines can also be useful when you’re stuck. You can get so involved in trying to get that right feeling, or description, or turn of phrase that you can’t think clearly about what needs to come next. Best thing to do then is to take a step back and outline. Because it is brief and you don’t have to worry about grammar, syntax, etc, it’s just the bare bones after all, your brain is then free to focus and think about only the plot instead!

So if you want a map, outline right off the bat. If you feel you have it all upstairs or just want to meander through it, go for it! The important part is to be productive and write! So do whatever works for you. Just don’t forget if things go a little off kilter or slow, you can always use an outline as something to get your juices flowing in the right direction again.

Gloria Oliver
www.gloriaoliver.com
Unveiling the Fantastic

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Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles Sample Chapters

Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles now has sample chapters up at the website. Just go to http://www.gloriaoliver.com/crossedsample

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Here’s some quick info on the book. Should be released in 2006 by HardShell Word Factory.

Talia didn’t want to be apprenticed, not even to the prestigious Dragon Knight’s Guild. She is taken to the school by a cross-eyed dragon and his partner, Kel. A dizzying, madcap ride leaves her less than eager to be a knight, but soon she finds out the guild has need of many types of people. Running into the dragon and squire again and again, she comes to realize the unlikely pair are outsiders in their own school—participants of the dragon-human pairing ritual, which in the end didn’t work quite as intended. They are stubborn loners who are determined to overcome the obstacles in their path and make a true pair, as was intended. Or are they?
As Talia’s first year at the guild evolves, she must deal with the quirks of the Administrator, her lessons, the odd rules of the school, the students, the mystery of Clarence and Kel, and somewhere in there, possibly decide what it is she wants for her own future.

If you have the time, please check it out!

News – Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Howdy, all!
Just wanted to let you know that 3 sample Chapters of “Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles” are now posted at the site www.gloriaoliver.com/crossed The book should see release around June 2006 from HardShell Word Factory. It is a YA Fantasy Adventure.

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Talia didn’t want to be apprenticed, not even to the prestigious Dragon Knight’s Guild. She is taken to the school by a cross-eyed dragon and his partner, Kel. A dizzying, madcap ride leaves her less than eager to be a knight, but soon she finds out the guild has need of many types of people. Running into the dragon and squire again and again, she comes to realize the unlikely pair are outsiders in their own school—participants of the dragon-human pairing ritual, which in the end didn’t work quite as intended. They are stubborn loners who are determined to overcome the obstacles in their path and make a true pair, as was intended. Or are they?

As Talia’s first year at the guild evolves, she must deal with the quirks of the Administrator, her lessons, the odd rules of the school, the students, the mystery of Clarence and Kel, and somewhere in there, possibly decide what it is she wants for her own future.