Sunday, June 30, 2019

Virtual Tourist - Yakuza 0 6/30/19

Morning! I'm running late!

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 - Title Screen

The Yakuza 0 title screen.

Yakuza 0 - mysterious man's suite

Kiryu is helped out by a mysterious man. This is his swanky pad.

Yakuza 0 - Pachinko

Outside a Pachinko arcade. No Sousa marching music though. :P

Yakuza 0 - convenience store

One of several convenience stores in the area.  One of the few places you can buy food to take with you to up your health after a fight. At restaurants, you have to eat it there, unless your health is full, in which case you can't eat at all.

Yakuza 0 - Kiryu's neighborhood

Kiryu's neighborhood. He has a one-room apartment on the second floor of the building on the right.

Yakuza 0 - food displau

A restaurant food display.

Yakuza 0 - mini car races

One of the places Kiryu can play side games. This is for mini car racing! You get a free car, and you can buy or find parts to improve it. One of the few side games I did OK at. Lol.

Yakuza 0 - 50's hoodlum

One of the substories. Rather hilarious. Love his 50's Yankee look.

Yakuza 0 - rebel singing group

These guys are part of a singing group that is very popular with delinquents. They look like delinquents but are far from it. They want me to teach them how to pass as badass, so their fans don't realize the truth. Lol. (The leader talks tough on second, apologetic the next, hilarious.)

Yakuza 0 - restaurant

One of the restaurants you can buy food. On the minimap, they show as orange. The yellow squares are for places you can buy things, like the convenience store. Purple-colored areas are places with games. The Sega Game stores have UFO Catchers! (Something else I'm doing decent on! Yay! Stuffed animals for the win! :P)


Have a great week! And a happy 4th of July!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Virtual Tourist - Yakuza 0 6/16/19

First off, Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there!

Happy Father's Day

Mini Movie Review

Men In Black International

Men In Black: International - They are back! With more attitude, bigger weapons, and the usual chaos! :P  The original theme music is back, so the film had a nostalgic vibe to it. There's even a painting in High T's office of J and K saving the world. :P  There's a recurring theme in the film they pound into you hard - the universe always puts you where you need to be when you need to be there. They stretch this out a bit much! And while some explanations on why things have happened are shown, there are others you have to infer from what's been presented. (For example: Why H changed so much in 3 years. And no, it's not the girlfriend. Though if you don't put it together yourself, it's gone :P) Cool effects, fast pace, overall a good ride! Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)

Yakuza 0

This is another Japanese console game that has been converted for PC. For the most part, they've done a good change over, though I have run into one issue on a keybinding that drove me nuts as it trapped me on a fighting style tutorial. Ugh.

It's 1988 in Kamurocho, a fictional small town/district in Japan. You're Kazuma Kiryu, one of two orphan boys who joined the local yakuza when they became of age. Kiryu is a straight shooter, who's gets set up for murder so the shame can be used against his boss in a tangled political power play.

In the middle of the serious storyline, there are substories to get involved in and mini-games (karaoke, pocket racers, baseball batting, etc.). Some of those are far from serious. Watching Kyriu pose with his pocket racer and doing his "I win!" bit are hilarious. Geek fun abounds!

Yakuza 0 - Kamurocho District

One of the streets in Kamurocho at night. Loads of clubs and adult entertainment. Following my friend Majima to do some drinking.

Yakuza 0 - club street

The opposite side of the same street. Video stores, pachinko, and more.

Yakuza 0 - Majima and Kyriu

Majima and Kiryu. Both orphans raised at the Sunflower Orphanage. It's financed by their boss, Kazama, which is why they both decided to join the yakuza. (He did try to dissuade them, but these two are stubborn.) (I love Kyriu's sideburns!!!!!!!!)

Yakuza 0 - upper floor in Dojima HQ

Look at the gorgeous woodwork! Upper floor on the Dojima HQ. (Dojima is the main Yakuza family in the zone.)

Yakuza 0 - Kuze

Kuze - one of the three top lieutenants in the Dojima family. He's willing to do anything to get a shot at being captain. A position currently held by Kazama, Kyriu's boss, who is currently in jail. (That ceiling is rad!)

Yakuza 0 - Kuze's tattoo

Kuze's Yakuza tattoo - the King of Hell (Underworld). Heh heh.

Yakuza 0 - Kyriu's Yakuza tattoo

Kyriu's yakuza tattoo - work in progress. He's currently pretty low in the ranks.

Yakuza 0 - Tachibana Realty head

I really liked this image — the view from a top floor of one of the buildings in Kamurocho. Tachibana of Tachibana Realty is the man reflected in the window. A non-yakuza group who is also vying for control of the "Empty Lot."

Of course, I forgot to take a shot of the login screen. Fighting skill tree pic is also probably in order. DOH!

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Cover Reveals - Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles and Inner Demons

I am super excited to share the final covers for the second edition of "Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles" and "Inner Demons."

Both are the impressive work of Charles Bernard!

Check 'em out!

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

Inner Demons

The books are still working through the sales channels to become active.

Currently, the Kindle versions of both are live, and the trade paperback for Inner Demons is out there as well. (Some issues with the generated cover template keep holding Crossed back. But it should be available soon!)

Both the trade paperback with Amazon are also part of the Kindle Matchbook campaign where if you buy the trade paperback version you get the Kindle version free. As a reader, I have been thrilled by this feature as it means I can start reading the book before it's made it to my door! Lol.

Here are some links for the ones that have gone live:

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles Kindle

Inner Demons Trade Paperback

Inner Demons Kindle

The books will also soon be available through Ingram and in a jillion formats at Smashwords.

I still need to fix the web pages. So much to do! (And the day job is super full with the merger and system migration! Ugh!)


No rest for the wicked! Lol.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Mini Movie Reviews 5/26/19

Morning, all!

Pressed for time, so no Virtual Tourist this week. Instead, we have two Mini Movie Reviews and some news!

Aladdin

Aladdin 

This is a live-action remake of the animated 1992 Disney film with Robin Williams (uncredited at the time). They kept the flavor and fun found in the original animated version. Almost all the original songs were included (they left out Jafar's twisted rendition of Prince Ali. One of my favorites! Wah!), and some had minor lyric changes. (At the time the original was released, there was a lot of push back, so I guess they decided to be politically correct?) There is one new song for Jasmine. There are minor changes in plot, but they wove them in nicely, mainly having to do with Jasmine.

All the characters are represented, and they did a great job with the non-human ones.  Abu, Rajah, Iago (Since parrots can speak, he still does!), and carpet (carpet was awesome!). The special effects were great! Costumes were made to resemble those in the animated film. Will Smith did great as the genie. There were also bits of homage to the original thrown in as well.

Overall, they did an excellent job. Should be fun for the entire family. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (I think I messed up my rating scale a few months ago. Ugh.) Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)


John Wick 3

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

While Chapter 2 was a disappointment, Chapter 3 makes up for a lot of it. This chapter starts minutes after the end of Chapter 2. The High Table is taking steps to erase John from the world as well as anyone who showed him any mercy or favors. The fact it was one of their own who warped their rules to get his seat, is never admitted to and they want to crush it all away.

The action hardly ever slows — lots of inventive fighting scenes and weird locations. The fight in the stables got extra kudos as Keanu showed horse knowledge - watch John closely in that section, he always lets the horses know he is there. This is a basic bit of horse knowledge that will keep you from startling them and getting kicked! :) They even added a couple of western movie horse trick moments we've not seen in years! Nice.

I was super thrilled to see Mark Dacascos - he does an excellent job as Zero. Half fanboy, half ninja assassin. He was a riot! (The song playing at the sushi place is "Ninja Re Bang Bang" a super adorable song. Hubby knew what it was on the first few notes! lol) Some higher graphic violence in a couple of places. Halle Berry as Sofia was fun as well. Her dogs are awesome! Also quite nasty! Guys, you will cringe at what they do. Lol.

Betrayals, alliances, rule-breaking, this film will fill up your action quotient quickly! Left open for Chapter 4! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

News! 

Re-edits on "Inner Demons" and "Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles" are complete! New covers by Charles Bernard are being converted to cover flats, and I will be sharing those with you soon - can't wait! They are awesome!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Virtual Tourist - Subnautica 5/12/19

(Looks like I didn't put last week's post in here. You can find it at www.gloriaoliver.com - Sorry!)

Mini Movie Review

Pokemon Detective Pikachu


Pokemon Detective Pikachu - This movie was so cute! It was awesome seeing all the pokemon with actual fur, feathers, etc. The story is more complex than expected. There are lots of red herrings to keep the audience guessing. All the weird stuff, like Pikachu being understood by Tim, all have explanations. This was a fun little film. I just wish they'd given Jigglypuff more camera time! Lol.  Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Subnautica

subnautica - giant sea creaytures

This freaked me out. You could hear moaning through the water, but seeing it was such a surprise!
subnautica - giant creature closeup

There are six or more of them, all different ages. You can tell by looking at the top carapace. This specimen is an older one. He has all sorts of plant life, coral and even some minerals on his shell.

subnautica - the underbelly of the giant beast

A picture of the beast's underbelly. They are truly fascinating.

subnautica - sunset on an alien world

Sunset on the alien world. There is a lot of beauty here.

subnautica - glowing life form

Glowing life form. Quite beautiful. The fauna and flora changes depending on what zone you find yourself in.

subnautica - glowing plant life

Drooping Stinger - gorgeous but don't get too close. They pack a bit of a punch. So be careful. (I also got carried away and let my oxygen get too low. Time to panic! lol.)

subnautica - burning Aurora and the moon.

The still burning Aurora and the reddish moon. 

subnautica - dry land

There is more than just water everywhere! Here's some dry land. Rescue is imminent. A passing spaceship picked up Aurora's distress signal.

subnatica - signs of aliens

We are not alone! A building of alien origin. Might there be alien lifeforms here as well? 

I did want to wish all the Mom's out there a fabulous and well deserved "Happy Mother's Day!"

Happy Mother's Day!


Sunday, April 07, 2019

Virtual Tourist - Tales of Berseria 4/7/19

Morning!

Mini Movie Review

Shazam
Shazam - I will admit, though I love Zachary Levi, I wasn't too sure how this film was going to turn out. Luckily, it more than met expectations. The kids were fantastic! Plus the film had other elements they did not touch in the previews, which made for some unexpected surprises. The movie has a lot of levity, but it also shows there's darkness. Evil doesn't just come from monsters. Rating: 3.75 out of 5. (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Tales of Berseria

This is a Japanese console game that has been converted for PC. You have the option of both English and Japanese for the voice-overs, which is nice. Unlike some games out there that have been brought to PC, they did an excellent revamp on this one.
I've not played this type of game before, where you have multiple characters that fight in a group, and you switch and maintain all of them. But the learning curve hasn't been too bad. :P
Tales of Berseria
This is Velvet. The start screen goes through a small sequence, and she walks towards you as the game loads.
Tales of Berseria
There is a demon blight that has spread across the land. One that turns people into monsters. Monsters that attack everyone around them.
Tales of Berseria - Velvet's village
This is Velvet's village. She lives here with her brother-in-law and her younger brother.
Tales of Berseria - forest
This is the forest just outside her village. The graphics are lovely. The little figure on the lower right means there's a dialogue sequence you can start by pressing 'T.'
Tales of Berseria - ruins
A set of ruins past the forest. They sit atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. It is here that bad things will happen and alter Velvet forever.
Tales of Berseria - night at village
Velvet's home at the village. Places you can enter have the blue dotted ring at the entrance.
Tales of Berseria
Inside Velvet's home. That's her younger brother, Laphiset. He's a little sickly, but very bright. Velvet is rather overprotective of him.
Tales of Berseria - ocean
Lovely view, no? Laphiset wants to see the world! Velvet just wants him safe.
Tales of Berseria - closeup of Velvet
A touching moment with her brother.
Tales of Berseria - ceremony
That night, however, is when everything changed...

Have an awesome week!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Inevitability of Change 2019


2019 is proving to be a challenging year full of chaos and change. Change is not something we can always control. Sometimes it can lead to better things, and at others, not so much.
Two major items hit in the last month related to the author side of my life.

ConDFW


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ConDFW18.jpg
The first change, which was back in February (though I didn't realize it until this week), was that one of my favorite conventions put on their last round this year. After 17 years ConDFW will be no more. I had no idea this was their last year, and I wasn't able to attend this year and be part of the final event due to health reasons.

They went out with a bang! Which was wonderful. But I regret not having been there.
This convention meant a lot to me. Back in the day, it was the first literary fantasy/science fiction convention I ever attended. It was the year I realized I had no choice but to get out there and network if I wanted any chance at a writing career. (I tend to be something of a wallflower and quite shy.) It was at that first convention that I first met Selina Rosen, Melanie Fletcher, and Jeff Turner. Meetings that had significant impacts on my life as they led me to Yard Dog Press and Zumaya Publications and my first publishing contracts.

I wish Dan Robb and all the other wonderful people who've worked so hard to put such a fun convention together many thanks for all the years of hard work. Kudos guys!


Start writing or type / to choose a block

Mundania Press


Mundania Press
The second change to hit this month was the closing of Mundania Press and their subsidiaries.

For the last couple of years or more, changes by Amazon to make the most of their self-publishing services, weird algorithms, the economy, and a ton of other factors have dried up revenue streams and forced many to go out of business.
Mundania having to close has orphaned two of my novels - "Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles" and "Inner Demons." While all rights have reverted to me, it also means I need to find new homes for these two books.

I'm looking into several solutions to see which way (or ways) I want to use to bring them back in print. So do not despair! But it was definitely a shock to hear of the closing.

My fellow authors and the writing and publishing community are awesome, and several people have reached out to me with suggestions and even possible new homes for the two orphaned novels. It will mean a ton of work, research, and patience, but it's time to look forward rather than back.




I will keep you all updated on what direction I end up taking. It could even end up being one of the best things that could have happened, even if it doesn't feel like it at the moment. Wish me luck!
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