Sunday, May 23, 2021

Upcoming Virtual Reading and Two Giveaways!

 

Strong Women — Strange Worlds Virtual Readings
Strong Women — Strange Worlds Virtual Readings

Strange Women – Stange Worlds is doing a set of live virtual readings from speculative fiction authors. The event is free and will be on the Zoom platform. More info on the overall event at http://nydamnprints.com/StrongWomenStrangeWorlds.html

I am scheduled to read from the science fiction novel “Alien Redemption” on Friday 6/4/21. All the times on the poster are EST. So my reading with five fellow authors will be at 11 AM CST. You have to pre-register https://bit.ly/345p7ZI

Take a quick lunch break for a vacation from the everyday world!  πŸ˜ 

I’m participating in two giveaways this month! The first is Adventures of a Lifetime – a Fantasy Group Giveaway sponsored by Prolific Works.

The second giveaway is also at Prolific works – Space Exploration – Sci-Fi Group Giveaway.

A Black Jade Audiobook?

Yep! There’s going to be a Black Jade audiobook! πŸ₯³

It was not something I’d originally planned, but…

The reader for the book will be Tom Briggs – he has about 15 yrs experience recording books for the blind or the visually impaired. He also has a weekly radio program on Radio Eye (a closed circuit program available to persons with visual difficulties) and he is actively involved with VIPS (Visually Impaired Preschool Services). With Dai being blind, this seemed a great fit for both of us.

I’ll keep you posted!

I think that’s it! I hope you had a fabulous week!

Gloria

P.S. Happy reading!

Black Jade Audiobook Cover

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Black Jade Cover Reveal Plus!

 



The cover above is for my latest novel called “Black Jade – A Daiyu Wu Mystery.” The first book in a new series of cozy historical mysteries! (Uhm, my first ever series, too. So nervous about that part! Lol.) πŸ˜„


Awesome art and cover by the talented Charles Bernard!


Here’s the back matter:


Could an old-fashioned ballgown be used to commit murder?

Daiyu Wu is aware that fear of the Yellow Terror has made her nationality a rare breed in the Lone Star State. Being Chinese and blind makes her doubly unique in 1930 Dallas. Despite these impediments, anyone who dismisses her for either fact does so at their peril.


One day, at her family-owned laundry business, Dai detects the scent of burned garlic. With the help of her companion, Jacques, the source is soon discovered. It is a green ballgown. The gown has money pinned inside it to pay for the cleaning, but oddly, it came with no address label to identify its owner. Her extensive knowledge leads Dai to believe someone has committed murder using arsenic. The perpetrator is trying to use White Laundry to hide the evidence. But no mention of foul play turns up in the newspapers, and there’s not enough proof to convince the police there’s been a crime.


Her curiosity and intellect stimulated like never before; Dai ignores the possible consequences and sets out to solve the mystery with the help of her canine companion, Prince Razor, and her confidant, Jacques Haskins. It’s either that or let the killer get away with it — assuming a spoiled popinjay, his jealous self-appointed girlfriend, and Dai’s overprotective parents don’t get in her way.


A Daiyu Wu Mystery – Book 1


It is currently LIVE for Trade paperbacks (long story), and on pre-order for ebook editions. Reviews are coming soon!

Trade - Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733951164

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/black-jade-a-daiyu-wu-mystery

B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-jade-gloria-oliver/1139321955

Apple https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1564384317

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Black-Jade-Daiyu-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B094PXSNPS

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1080675


Here’s the first chapter to give you a taste! laughing

Black Jade – Chapter 1

“Jacques, I need you!”

My copy of the Dallas Morning News twirled to the floor as I jumped to my feet. The rare emotions in the summons made my pulse race. It wasn’t often that my companion felt either surprise or excitement, and I’d just heard both. “What is it, Dai?”

“Can you smell it?”

Daiyu was the only child of the immigrant Wu family. She was also the principal reason for the continued success of White Laundry. My companion wasn’t what anyone would expect. She was more of a ‘doll’ than most women called by the moniker could ever hope to be. A mere four foot eight, she was a tiny thing—but assuming that was all she was would be a grave mistake.

“Lye? Soap?” I had no idea how anyone could smell anything else in here.

Dai half-turned on her stool, her dainty gloved hands on her lap. “Garlic, Jacques. I smell burned garlic.”

Her straight black hair fell to just above her shoulders. It was untouched by the finger waves currently in fashion, so there was nothing to detract from its silky fall around her heart-shaped face and almond eyes. Her skin was the color of yellowed porcelain, but the bad lighting in the crowded work area made it seem darker, like transparent yellow amber. A line of perspiration trailed down her long neck, the only sign that she was bothered by the laundry’s oppressive humidity. Her opaque teashade glasses sat ignored at their assigned spot on the worktable, along with the chemicals and powders she mixed for the family business. Her meticulous efforts and her enhanced sense of smell gave her family’s company an edge over the few remaining Chinese laundries in town, and placed them at an even more significant advantage over the American ones. The glasses themselves were more to ease other people’s discomfort than her own. She did not need them. Dai had been blind from birth, her unseeing eyes almost silver and possessing no pupils. Most thought the sight of them disturbing. To me, they were anything but.

“Do you see any garments colored bright green?” Dai’s excitement rebounded in every word.

I was used to being her eyes. It was the main argument she’d used to win her parents’ permission to keep my then seven-year-old self, whom she discovered following her at Dallas City Park. She’d been only eight, her mind already sharp and looking to the future.

“Yes. It’s a ballgown by the looks of it. It’s still hanging with the recent arrivals. Should I fetch it for you?”

“No, don’t!” Dai shook her head. “Not without first donning gloves. No one should let that fabric touch their bare skin.”

My eyebrow rose. What were we about to get into?

As commanded, I found a thick pair of workmen’s gloves and fetched the gown. It was an old-fashioned evening dress, all gossamer and lace. Not something typically found in Texas—more like New York or London, and at least thirty years ago, at that. I hung it nearby, making sure it wouldn’t accidentally touch Dai.

“That’s the one. Surely you can smell it now, can’t you, Jacques?”

“I’m sorry, Dai, I can’t. You know my nose is nothing compared to yours.” I smelled no garlic and had no inkling why that would be a concern, or how it had led her to the conclusion that the gown’s color would be green.

A sharp bark near Dai’s feet drew our attention as her second companion left the comfort of his pillow. Another mongrel she’d picked up off the street, and as loyal as myself. At a guess, I figured him to be a Scottish Terrier and Pomeranian mix. His owner had abandoned him as a pup in the streets as money became scarce everywhere.

“No, Prince Razor, you mustn’t get near it. Sit.”

He did as she asked. Prince set his small paws neatly before him, and his expressive brown eyes watched her every move.

“Jacques, is there a ticket pinned to it?”

I checked. There was one, although… “It’s blank, but stamped paid.”

“Really? How curious.” The timbre of excitement in her voice grew. “Here, run this swab over the dress. Hold your breath while you do it, just in case.”

Still wondering what this could be about—and growing more nervous about it by the moment—I ran the swab down the length of the gown, then deposited it into the test tube she held. “What now?”

She gave me a teasing, coy smile. “Now we go to the lab.” With a spring in her step, Dai grabbed her teashade glasses and led the way, knowing every nook and cranny of the establishment. Prince scouted ahead, in search of any errant mice who dared be in the vicinity. We passed several of the Chinese workers at the vats. They stared as we walked past, but as usual, said nothing. A superstitious lot, many carried charms with pictures of gourds, long believed to be capable of warding off or protecting the bearer against evil. The workers touched them whenever she drew near—despite the fact they owed her. If not for Dai, there might not be a business to employ them or homes purchased in their names so they could stay in the country. But she was both blind and female and had been allowed to live and thrive. Expectations and traditions practiced even in these modern times would have called for Dai’s death when she was born—particularly since she was female and the family had no male heir. Even though from the time of Confucius the blind were supported in court as musicians, her parent’s social class would not allow them to keep a child with such reduced status. But Dai’s mΗ”qΔ«n had lost all her other children before they were born, and hadn’t been able to stomach the thought of giving up the one who’d made it through.

Going against convention and escalating social pressure were two reasons her family had abandoned all they knew, including their property and lofty status, to come to the land of the free. It was a fact they never spoke of, but one Dai never forgot. Yet even those who came to America to seek freedom from the class restrictions in their country still viewed her continued existence with fear. That she would not be shackled by her blindness somehow made her an abomination and therefore evil.

Dai’s “lab” was located in a small corner of the cellar, which housed the bottom section of the laundry’s large vats and pipes. It was damp and dark—not that the latter made any difference to her. But it kept others out, giving her privacy for what most considered unladylike pursuits. A hanging bulb had been added for my benefit, along with a hatch to make the room light-proof.

Prince dived under the table to keep watch back the way we’d come.

“I believe I have everything we’ll require.” Her hands ran over the small shelves in the corner, grabbing beakers, an oil lamp, and glass tubing.

“Required for what?” I mopped at my sweating brow.

“Why, to test for arsenic. What else?”

Arsenic? She thought the dress had poison on it? “Why would you ever think such a thing, Dai?”

“Please, Jacques—you read me an article on this just last year. Don’t you remember?” She set a stopper in a flask and attached a glass tube to a funnel, which she then placed through one of the two holes on the stopper.

“My memory is far inferior to yours. As you so often enjoy reminding me.”

“Why, yes, you’re right. I do rather like that.” She flashed me an impish grin. “But we digress. You see, arsenic was used before the turn of the century to create the color green in fabrics. But manufacturers weren’t always conscientious about the amounts used in their dyes. Fatal cases were rare, but many consumers suffered health issues because of long-term exposure. Workers dyeing the textiles at the factories even more so.”

More tubing led to a U-shaped vessel, which continued to another lengthy stretch of glass pipe clamped over the oil container of the lantern. “What is all this for?”

“Depending on its current oxidation, arsenic is odorless and, at times, colorless. So detecting it proved difficult for many years, until a brilliant man came up with the Marsh test. An ingenious and effective method of determining the amount of arsenic in the flesh, body fluids, and more.” She ran her hands gingerly over the apparatus she’d made, double-checking her work. “If you’ll place the swab into the beaker, I’ll add the zinc and acid. By heating the mixture, we will further oxidize the arsine in the arsenic.

“Once that happens, please hold the ceramic bowl over the ensuing vapor. Then we shall see what we shall see.”

Dai added the ingredients to the waiting flask. As the chemicals reacted with one another, I held the bowl above it. After that, applying heat to the container caused a silvery-black stain to appear.

“Did it stain?” she asked.

“Most definitely.” It was black, dark as death.

Dai nodded as if she had expected nothing else. “The color and density of the stain are used to pinpoint the concentration of arsenic present. Unfortunately, it’s not something I’ve dabbled in, so I’ve no data to compare it against. The pathologist should have access to a copy of Marsh’s guide.”

Prince Razor barked in agreement. Dai’s excitement was becoming contagious.

“We must find out which of our employees handled the dress and have them wash off any residue right away. Also, have them turn the fans on high. We’ll want to cycle the air as much as possible. Arsenic can convert to a gas, and since I detected the scent of a reaction, it’s likely some got released upstairs. We were lucky a bit of the arsenic wasn’t fully oxidized, so it reacted to the heat and the humidity here. Otherwise, we would have never known something was amiss. Whoever left the gown didn’t count on Texas temperatures.”

She paused for a long moment. I said nothing, still trying to digest all she’d just told me. Then she added, “Before that, please bag the bowl and the dress, as we must bring them with us. We’re going on a field trip!”

“A field trip? Where to?”

“Why, to see the justice of the peace, Jacques! Where else?”

 

Want more? Click here for all sample chapters and also downloads in your favorite format to read them in. 😎

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Virtual Tourist – Styx: Master of Shadows 5/9/21

 Good morning!

This week, Virtual Tourist will be focused on Styx: Master of Shadows by Cyanide Studios.

For anyone who loved the Thief games, you’ll want to check this one out. First-person sneaker for the win!

I love that while you are learning about the world and the problems there, there is a subplot you don’t realize is there until you’re 25% or more into the game. This is something of a mind-bending game. I can’t wait to see what other secrets they reveal as the story moved forward.

The new album for Styx can be found here.

Game start screen. You can already see there will be lovely visuals! πŸ˜„

The cause of all the troubles. Magical amber. It can open your mind, but it’s also highly addictive. The human and the elves have a truce, but there are those undermining the status quo.

Styx has been caught by the humans currently controlling access to the Tree and its amber. I don’t know yet if Styx was ever human.

This place is huge. Here is one of the hallways. Massive ironworks and gates. Styx has a few tricks up his sleeve though. He can make temporary clones of himself!

This pic gives you a peek at the amazing architecture. This citadel is enormous!

There are all sorts of secret nooks and crannies you can use. Here a view from above of one of the rooms. I love the chandelier!

There are a lot of bad things going on in this place. Human experimentation, probably being the least of it.  πŸ˜± 

They do such a good job with the graphics, I’ve felt a little queazy on some of these long drops. πŸ˜‹

The big object is an elevator. As I said, this place is immense!

Home sweet home. Though his brain is addled and he keeps hearing voices, Styx still manages to make it to his safe place inside the citadel.

They have airships! 😍

Sweet!

Hope you all have a great week! And Happy Mother’s Day!


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Mind Sieve 3/21/21

Mind Sieve 3/21/21

Table of Contents
1) News/Musings
2) Mini Movie Reviews
3) Movie/TV Trailers
4) Just For Fun


Greetings!


Got all sorts of stuff going on for you this week. πŸ˜„


Enjoy! 

News/Musings

 

My editor has started work on Black Jade. I am super pumped that things are finally moving forward. ✨ Huzzah!

I found out about a Cozy Mystery anthology the 20K50 folks are going to put out in late 2021. I’m currently trying to work on a short story to submit to them that includes the characters from the upcoming book. I’ll let you know how that goes. πŸ˜„

One neat thing about the anthology is that the mystery needs to involve some aspect of Halloween. I was aware of how the holiday is based on Samhain, an old pagan holiday. What I didn’t know was that in the 1930s Halloween was a totally different day than what we see today.

Back then, it was all about pranks and even riots! Multiple cities almost banned the day as people got more and more carried away and started destroying property. Luckily, people came up with the idea of sharing treats to dissuade the tricks.

You can find a cool article on Halloween and Dallas at the FlashbackDallas site. Fascinating stuff!


 

Remembering Rachel Caine 

Rachel Caine

 

Rachel Caine (AKA Roxanne Longstreet, Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, Julie Fortune, and more!) passed away late last year. She was a fellow author and a friend. I’m also a major fan of her work. (Once I find an author that pushes my buttons, I go find everything I can get my hands on. πŸ€“)

You can see how prolific she was just by looking at her author page at Amazon. She was the bomb! (Aside from a few short stories, I think I’ve read every single one of her works! πŸ˜²

Anyway, she’s been on my mind a lot this week as her final book hit the market this week – Heartbreak Bay. Book 5 of her Stillhouse Lake thriller series. (She wrote urban fantasy, fantasy, thrillers, many fun things.)

Book publishing is a slow process – which is why only now, five months after her death, is her final book out in print. I’m hoping to start it today, but it will be a bittersweet experience. She kept on writing, even while in the grips of cancer and experimental treatments and more. Her stories always came first. πŸ˜­

Movie/TV Reviews

New movies are coming out again! Woot!



Raya and the Las Dragon

Fantasy - Animated


Gorgeous CGI animation. The plot was decent though contrived in a couple of places. Lots of memorable characters. 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission) **The opening cartoon called “Us Again” will make you tear up! 😭**



Chaos Walking

Science Fiction


The film had a super neat premise, and they carried it out well. Based on a book series. (Not one I have read.) They show a few things they never follow up on (the aliens, what happened to the people in the second town.) Plenty of plot twists. 3.75 out of 5. (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)




Daughter of Lupin

Action/Comedy (subtitled)

This is a short series we found on Amazon Prime. We checked it out because of the premise and “Lupin.” This was a hoot! Lupin meets Cat’s Eye meets Romeo and Juliet. Awesome fight scenes, which was a fun surprise. 4 out of 5. (Hubby’s Rating: A ton of fun.)





Movie/TV Previews

Thunder Force – Comedy – it will be really good or really bad. LOL. 


Mortal Combat – based on the old video game. Not for kids! CGI looks awesome!


Army of the Dead – (Netflix) – Las Vegas, a sea of zombies, and bank robbers? Looks bizarre. 







Free Guy – Urban Fantasy – This looks like it will be a lot of fun!



Just for Fun!

Incredible Machines That are on Another Level – science is awesome! Some of these contraptions are super amazing.


From the Animal Rescue blog – a cool post about Lake Cadaver Dogs!





This one was so trippy! Goalie Cat! I love the real football/soccer commentary!



Hope you enjoyed this week’s Mind Sieve!

Stay safe! Till next time!

 

Gloria

 

P.S. If you’ve seen cool stuff you’d like to share, let me know! πŸ˜ Also, subscribe to my newsletter to get these posts sooner. πŸ˜˜











Sunday, February 21, 2021

Mind Sieve 2/21/21

 

Table of Contents

News/MusingsMovie ReviewsMovie/TV TrailersJust for Fun

Greetings!

Trying to add a TOC to make things easier for everyone. This is also seemingly helpful for SEO. Still haven’t figured out how to make anchors work with blocks, so you will have to scroll. Sorry!

I found a cool site where you can copy/paste emojis into almost anything. πŸ˜ Thanks, getemoji.comπŸ₯³

 

News/Musings

For the past week, I’ve been working on the website’s SEO. SEO = search engine optimization. Some of the tweaks help with how the search results actually look like. Of the 70+ pages on the site (this does not include blog posts), I am about 2/3’s through.

 

Why is this Important? See the pic below…

Gloria Oliver Google Search

Something I was planning to do for a while, I have finally implemented. The two titles that reverted back to me in early 2019, after the publishers went out of business, I’ve now put out at the super low (and probably permanent) price for the ebook versions of 99¢. This has aggregated to all vendors, not just Amazon. (Looks like Apple Books is not there yet, though. πŸ˜­)

If you’ve yet to read any of my titles, this could be a great opportunity to check me out. The website has sample chapters for all my novels, so you can get a feeling there of the tone of the books before committing to anything. πŸ˜

Since these are 2nd editions, I lost all the original reviews at the vendor sites, but I have a lot of them on my website on each books’ review page.

Cross eyedDragonTroublesPaperback 1

“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles

YA Fantasy – magic school with dragons! Average review rating 4.7 stars.

Sample Chapters – multiple formats

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

InnerDemonsPaperBack

Inner Demons

Urban Fantasy – 1st Person POV.
Average review rating 3.7 stars (It’s weird how skewed a couple have been.)

Sample Chapters – multiple formats

Amazon

Nook

Kobo


Movie Reviews πŸŽ₯

We haven’t been to the actual theater in weeks, but we have been digging up movies elsewhere. So reviews are happening! πŸ˜Ž

Space Sweepers

Space Sweepers

SF Movie (subtitled) – awesome CGI and some super cool space moves. A good amount of action. Some twists. Fun to watch. 3.75 out of 5.

 

Monster Run

Monster Run

Urban Fantasy (subtitled) – loosely based on A. Lee Martinez’s book “Monster.” 3.5 out of 5.

(If you’ve not read any of A. Lee Martinez’s work – I highly recommend his books, especially The Automatic Detective.

 

The Midnight Sky

The Midnight Sky

SF Movie – based on a short story. George Clooney did some impressive work on this one. His character’s age and illness were well portrayed. Some details on the ship were super cool. This one won’t be to everyone’s tastes. It ambles slowly along, though it was well worth it by the end. (To me anyway!) 3.75 out of 5.

 

The Watch

The Watch

Fantasy Series – Ok, yes, it’s a series, not a movie, but I love all things Terry Pratchett. The Night Watch books are my all-time favorites of the Disc World Series. It was a hoot. This is PRE normal Vimes/Night Watch, so takes a little getting used to. But so far it’s been a ton of fun. 4 out of 5 (I may be biased!)

Movie/TV Previews

Cruella – Emma Stone – this could be fun!

 

Chaos Walking – (SF) – really a weird premise, but I’m game!

 

LOKI – yes, he’s getting his own TV show! Time travel craziness, too!

 

WHAT IF – (animated) – world-hopping, time travel (?), The Watcher. Cool!

 

There are too many streaming services! πŸ˜­

I’m just not sure how they think people can afford them all. I know I can’t! Dang.

Just For Fun!

Robotic Bartender – Yes! MSC Cruises is getting a new ship with a super futuristic-looking bar with a robotic bartender! How cool is that?

Robotic Bartender

 

There’s an old adage about never knowing what is around you. It is so very true! One of the things I ran into as I was doing some research for the Black Jade prequel short story was the Dallas Heritage Village.

Okay, I guess I’ve tortured you guys enough. I’ll let you go for now. (I was going to add some Virtual Tourist to this but it’s way long already. Sorry!)

Till next time!

Gloria

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