Saturday, January 29, 2022

Virtual Tourist 01/28/22


Table of Contents

News/MusingsStoryOrigin Swap 1
Virtual Tourist – Star Wars Jedi Fallen OrderStoryOrigin Swap 2
Cozy Up with a Mystery GiveawayRing in the New Year with Mystery Books


How is everything? I hope life’s been good!



I’m always trying new things to market the books, get more readers, or write better books. You have to be careful or you can drown in everything out there or stretch yourself too thin.

The first draft of White Gold, book two of the Daiyu Wu Mysteries is almost complete. I am chomping at the bit to get it done! But that’s when I need to reign it in to make sure the end is as good as I can make it for the first pass. This is my first book two ever, so it’s weighing on me more than usual. LOL.

I also worked with someone to re-do Black Jade’s blurb. I was getting clicks on Amazon Ads but minimal buys. So the cover and ad blurb were doing their jobs, but something was not working on the actual book page. I put up the new blurb this week and restarted the ad. It’s still too early to tell, but I am hoping it will do better now. 🀞 Wish me luck!

If you want to see the new blurb, you can see it at my website here.

Around Christmas, I joined another author promo group called the Dream Team Network. So you may see swaps from that direction soon. It’s not as organic as the StoryOrigin setup, but hopefully, I can join some cool giveaways to share.

Extra content today:

1) StoryOring Swap 1& 2

2) It’s January—Cozy Up with a Mystery Book Giveaway!

3) Ring in the New Year with Mystery Books

Scroll on down to get all the deets. πŸ˜‰

Gargoyles: Stone Curse

Gargoyles: Stone Curse

StoryOrigin Swap 1

Your whole family is dead, so here’s a bunch of money, a rundown estate on twenty acres, and a chance to live in a po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere.

Three months after sixteen-year-old Violet Kai moves to the small town of Concrete Washington to receive her inheritance from her late uncle, she starts to get the feeling that not everything is not what it seems in the sleepy nook of the Pacific Northwest. During an impromptu sΓ©ance with friends that ends up in chaos, Violet learns she was bequeathed much more than she bargained for. Six gargoyles swoop in and save her life; only to inform her that she also inherited them as her wards. Along with an ancestral curse, and a book load of magic. With Violet in town, the gargoyles are awake for the first time in years and Violet quickly learns why they seem to need a magical babysitter. Ready to stretch their wings and go wild, they wreak havoc on her life and even her reality.

Pulled into a new world of magic and stony shenanigans, it’s not all fun and games. Awakened gargoyles also mean awakened demons too, demons who are attracted to Violet and her powers. With monsters of all sorts seemingly running loose, it’s up to Violet and her gaggle of gargoyles to fight and contain them. Demons aren’t the only threat in her midst. When long lost memories start bubbling to the surface, they bring with them betrayal, deep seeded feuds, and strong feelings that Violet isn’t sure any amount of magic can fight.

Star Wars – Jedi Fallen Order

I am a sucker for all things Star Wars. While I have not played all the games, Star Wars – Jedi Fallen Order had been calling to me for a while. There were specials during Christmas and New Year, but I hesitated as the reviews kept comparing it to Dark Souls, which I stopped playing after the first boss as he was way, way, way overpowered. But seemingly there are people out there who love impossible challenges. Me, not so much. My time for fun is limited and I want to make it count. Being frustrated out of my mind is not something I enjoy. So I went back and forth, and back and forth, and finally, I caved and got it. I’m glad I did!

As all games should, you can pick the difficulty level, so those who like impossible odds can set it to hard. I went with the story-rich version. The game also uses parkour movements. What this means is that the player will use more ways to move around than just walking and jumping. You’ll climb walls, swing on ropes/vines, and look for non-standard ways of getting to places.

You don’t get a map until you meet BD-1 (He’s so cute!), and it can be a bit troublesome as it’s in 3D. You do have to go to the same planets/areas multiple times, but you do get to create shortcuts as you go along, so that’s nice!

Premise: Set five years after Order 66 was initiated and most Jedi killed, we meet Cal, a young padawan at the time of the purge, who has been hiding at a junkyard world to stay under the radar. Then things go wrong.

Great music, gorgeous graphics, and a very Star Wars movie feel. You can see all the pics I’ve uploaded so far here.

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Our journey begins on the planet Bracca, a junkyard planet. It’s there that we meet Cal, the game’s protagonist. No map on this planet, so you have to get to where you need to go on your own! Think outside the box. πŸ˜‹

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​Be prepared for insane, outside-the-box situations. Cal saved a coworker when some wreckage messed up the platform and had to use the Force. This brought imperial forces to hunt him down. Now he is trying to flee. (Cal was a padawan at the time of Order 66 (The kill all Jedi orders) and suppressed his connection with the Force so he wouldn’t be found.



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​A couple of freedom fighters helped Cal at the last minute on Bracca. An ex-Jedi has asked for his help to find a Holocron with the names of Force-sensitive children. The ex-Jedi is no longer connected to the Force. Things will be revealed as we got along. Cool ship, no? As you find secret stuff in the game, you get skins to change the colors of the ship, your poncho, BD-1, and lightsaber.

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Cal’s first look at Bogano—a supposedly unknown, sparsely populated world. It is here that Cal is looking for a Jedi Master to help find information needed to possibly restart the Jedi Order.



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Cal is here to get information on an extinct race and its location. It is here that Cal has his first flashback of his Jedi Master and remembers a blocked-out skill. (Running on walls sideways!) You also get skill points to spend as you get experience points.


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​Here’s a closeup of Cal with BD-1.


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Close up of BD-1. He’s so CUTE!!!!! He rides on Cal’s back and as you ad modifications, he does all sorts of things. He was left on Bogano by a Jedi doing research on a Force-sensitive race. BD-1 will trigger recordings when you reach certain places. (***He shows up on Episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett! The whole episode is about the Mandalorian! Woot!***)


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​Walls of the temple that contain the first clues on finding the Holocron.



Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

StoryOrigin Swap 2

Magic. Betrayal. Forbidden love.

A human girl must choose between safety and truth when she falls in love with an elven prince.

Kala was only 8 when Mystics killed her parents.

At least, that’s what she’d been told.

Her uncle-one of the king’s soldiers and the only witness-had never had the heart to burden her with the details of the night that had changed him forever.

Still, she should have known better than to wander in to the woods alone.

An encounter with a pair of elven enemies leaves Kala even more confused about her past, and uncertain of her future in the human world. “Love had blinded me to all logic, wrapping me in my own denial…” If you like magic, adventure, and clean fantasy romance, you’ll love Ring of Fire.

It’s January – Cozy Up with a Mystery Giveaway!

​Click the banner to see all the books available!

It's January-Cozy Up with a Mystery Giveaway!
Ring in the New Year with Mystery Books

Ring in the New Year with Mystery Books – I missed sharing this one last time. DOH! You still have a few days to check it out. 😁

Until next time! May you have a ton of fun!



Saturday, January 15, 2022

Mind Sieve 1/14/22


Table of Contents

News/MusingsStoryOrigin Swaps 1
Mini Movie ReviewsMovie/Show Previews
StoryOrigin Swaps 2Just for Fun!
Cozy Up with a Mystery GiveawayRing in the New Year with Mystery Books
Strong Women—Strange Worlds


I hope you’re keeping warm!


There is not a lot to report aside from the fact that the whole family now has head colds from the flip-flopping weather here in Texas. Ugh. We’ve been couch potatoes most of the week.

My friend Pat had mentioned the Nero Wolfe Mysteries with Timothy Hutton around Christmas, and we binged watched them on youtube a couple of weeks ago. (If you’ve not seen them, I recommend them. The two-season series is unusual in its own right, as all the secondary characters (the ones you only see one episode and then are gone) are played by the same group of actors! So you will see them episode after episode, playing different people! Weird but awesome!)

The series is based on books by Rex Stout from the ’30s and ’40s. I got the kindle version of the first book, called Fer-de-Lance. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it. The stories are from the perspective of Archie Goodwin, Nero’s assistant. Nero is a weird eccentric and a genius. (He does not consider himself a detective, but an artist—as he paints in the details of the crime.) He never leaves his home, and certain times of the day are reserved for his orchids, and nothing is to disturb that. An odd but fascinating man.

I got derailed last week when someone mention that I should make the cover for the reader magnet “Elixir of Life” look more like a typical Urban Fantasy cover. So I did! (Book covers are custom by artists, but for a short story, it’s DIY.)

What do you think? Better, right?

Elixir of Life—Original Cover

Original Cover

Elixir of Life (Urban Fantasy short story by Gloria Oliver)

New Cover

Extra stuff I’ve shoved in here:

1) Two info swaps from StoryOrigin.

2) It’s January—Cozy Up with a Mystery Giveaway

3) Ring in the New Year with Mystery Books

4) Strong Women—Strange Worlds and their first virtual reading for 2022!

More deets on all of these in their sections. 😊


Story Origin Swap 1

Story Origin Swap 1

Ranger of Kings by C.J.R. Isely

Training to be a knight isn’t fun…
if you die

Living as a lowly village boy, Will finds himself thrown into a world he could only dream of when he meets the mischievous son of an influential Lord and a calculating last heir of a powerful Count. Brought to Alamore castle, he can not believe his luck when he is invited to join his two new friends in training to become knights of the realm.

But training isn’t all the grandeur and chivalry he imagined.

After he and his friends stumble upon a secret set of tunnels beneath the castle that hide a clan of traitors to the crown, they are plunged into new dangers. Their lives are at risk from new threats beneath the fortress while, beyond Alamore’s walls, alliances crumble and the uneasy peace begins to fracture.

When fate twists again, Will must face the reality that more than good fortune brought him to Alamore. There are secrets he must uncover, truths he has to find, in order to help keep Alamore from falling into war.

But the only person who holds the answers that might keep Alamore from falling, that will help him to discover who he is, is a man more dangerous than the tunnels themselves. A man known only as the Ranger of Kings.

Mini Movie Reviews πŸŽ₯

★ – Why did I go see this? Why?!

★★ – Showed promise but on execution, crashed

★★★ – Enjoyable, just don’t look under the hood too closely

★★★★ – A great film, totally worth seeing!

★★★★★ – 🀯 Too fabulous for words!



This was not one of the better Marvel films, but it’s still worth watching for the special effects and flashes of historical places. (Though I will say, both the alien tech and historical spots looked a lot like what you see in the Assassin’s Creed games!) The plot was uninspired, with minimal surprises. The lead-in narration for the film gave too much away. The movie did have a lot of amusing moments and the Bollywood dance scene was awesome. The fact one of the Eternals was a teenager whose body never matured after 7,000 years, made no sense (especially later in the film after one of the reveals.) But the music was good, the special effects excellent, and the acting was decent, so worth a watch. As they normally do, there is a clip after all the credits are done.

Rating: ★★★.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)


The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections

A lot of nostalgia with snippets from the previous films and returning actors/actresses infuse the movie. All the special effects/CGI were great. There were some decent twists and turns. Yet, there was something missing. Hubby and I have tried to pin it down, but haven’t had success. I loved the growth they gave Trinity, but Neo being emasculated to do so, I did not. The whole Matrix as a PC Game angle was amusing, especially the meetings. LOL.

Rating: ★★★.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission )


Spider-man No Way Home

Spider-man No Way Home

I’d been a little worried after seeing some of the trailers, but I was happily shown they were baseless. The film was a lot of fun! What they did with the multi-verse as a means to bring homage and cool interactions with all the previous spiderman films was genius. (There was even a nod sent to Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse.)

Willem Dafoe is still scary as heck—that man is amazing! Loved them bringing in Matt Murdock as Peter’s attorney. I don’t want to say much more and spoil the million surprises in store. 😁

The only nitpick was with Sandman. (Not the actor, just what they did with the character.) He’s going one way for most of the film, then does a 180, which made little sense.

As always, stay until the credits are done for the last sneak peek!

Rating: ★★★★.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission to see Again!)

Movie Previews πŸŽ₯

The King’s Daughter – Pierce Brosnan with long hair?!?! A mermaid in the King’s basement? 🀯

The Lost City — OMG! This looks like a riot! Somewhat reminiscent of Romancing the Stone, but possibly more fun?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Oooh! Dark Strange! Wanda finally as The Scarlet Witch! Chaos! Woot!

Story Origin Swap 2

Story Origin Swap 2

Space Pirate Roberts by Jay Toney

Plundering innocent worlds; that is Doc Roberts’ job and he is good at it. He is awarded a Letter of Marque and a territory to hunt in exchange for his service to the Alliance and of course, a cut of his take.

The Alliance government can’t openly operate in Coalition territory without starting another war, so they use privateers like Captain Roberts to destabilize governments and cause unease among the people, in hopes that they will ask for Alliance protection.

Cheating and treachery cause Captain Roberts to reevaluate his loyalty. He can live with a little pilfering, but not outright stealing from him and trespassing on his planet. The Alliance has gone too far. It is time to teach them that there is a price to pay for stealing from him.

The Alliance sends a snobbish young captain, Captain Thornton, to assassinate Doc’s wife. Her death is the start of outright war, at least for Captain Roberts. Now, he is both a pirate and a rebel, with people on both sides of the border who either love him, or want him killed.
After fighting a duel with the Alliance’s promising new captain, torturing him, and leaving him for dead, he has made powerful enemies in the Alliance hegemony. The Alliance military leaders want to make Captain Roberts suffer like he has made their rising star suffer.

One man can only do so much, and Doc is getting tired. It is time to pass the reins of command to his son. But first, he must crush his son’s dreams and teach him what it means to be an Alliance citizen.

Just for Fun!

I Built a Giant LEGO Train in a Snowy Forest – I would never have the patience to do this! I have to say he is quite impressive. Such a neat concept!

Slide into the Void – super cool music video based on the PC Game Control. Quite impressive! Not only does he have scenes from the game, he’s also recreated one or more of the rooms and taken the place of a couple of the characters.

Dogs Pick Out Their Own Christmas Presents 2021 – This is so freaking adorable!



It's January—Cozy Up with a Mystery Giveawat

It’s January—Cozy Up with a Mystery Giveaway! Tons of titles to choose from. 😁


Ring in the New Year with Mystery Books
Strong Women Strange Worlds Virtual Reading 1/18/22

The Strong Women—Strange Worlds peeps have their first virtual reading of 2022 on Jan 18th! More info here.

Before I forget (again), I was featured over at as I supplied a list of ‘the best historical mystery novels that will both enlighten and ensnare your imagination.’ Just click the link if you want to take a look at my recommendations. 😁


I hope 2022 has been great for you so far!


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