Saturday, March 25, 2023

Virtual Tourist 03/24/23


Table of Contents

News/MusingsStoryOrigin Swap 1
Virtual Tourist – Ghostwire TokyoStoryOrigin Swap 2
Aliens Don’t Always Wear Greeen Group PromoMarch YA Fantasy Reads Group Promo
Reviewers Corner!


Welcome to Spring! 🌷🌸🌺🌼πŸ₯€πŸ’πŸŒ»
And high pollen count, allergies, more crazy weather, and water leaks! πŸ˜‹


The Year of Chaos continues!

Have you ever noticed that when one bad thing happens, there tend to be two more coming as well? Well, the newsletter is a few hours late going out the door because we had more “fun” come and visit.

First, we got a new pipe leak. Which is super exciting all on its own. When they came to find and fix it, they also found we had another one. 😲 On top of that, I ate too many onions and bloated up like a balloon. (I’d been doing pretty good balancing them out and taking precautions, but not this time.) 🀯 So it’s been a busy/chaotic/crazy the last few days at Casa Oliver. Wheee!

Writing News

I’d hope to get the prequel story back from the editor so I could start sharing it in the newsletter, but it’s still out. (If you want to be one of the first to see it, sign up now and grab a free gift or three!) So instead, here’s the fully revealed prequel cover that I showed you a glimpse of last time. I think I also have the blurb for it nailed down, so I’ll share that as well. 😎

Next time will include the cover teaser for Book 1. 😁

I’ve also started on Book 3 of the Daiyu Wu Mystery series! The working title is “Music of Death Blues!” (Now to remember to share research bits as I go along.) 😁

Pay It Forward Cover Sneak Peek GraphicPay It Forward by Gloria Oliver - a prequel short for the Discoveries of Julia Xero urban fantasy thriller series


A social worker fighting the good fight. A mousy orphan dodging trouble. Can the public servant find common ground before one of them gets permanently kicked to the curb?

Laurel Caine wants to pay it forward. As a case handler in child protective services, Laurel maintains a professional distance from her charges while using her stash of ‘secret weapons’ to keep them safe. But after she meets a thin, timid girl named Julia, keeping the child at arms’ length is proving harder than resisting the call of chocolate.

So when Julia’s current foster home wants to ditch her without cause, Laurel bayonets the rules and goes all in. But Julia is a tough nut to crack and wheedling what Laurel needs to know out of her is like pulling teeth from a bucking bronco.

Can Laurel hammer the cryptic clues together in time, or will she stay stuck in the muck and lose more than she ever imagined?

Again, this will appear in the newsletter as a freebie, so be sure to subscribe

Extra content today:

1) StoryOrigin Swap 1 (Freebie)

2) StoryOrigin Swap 2 (UBL)

3) Aliens Don’t Always Wear Green Group Promo

4) March YA Fantasy Reads Group Promo


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

The West Road

The West Road

StoryOrigin Swap 1 (Freebie)

He would defend them, unless the demons got there first…
A Ring Keeper Story

Dane had been a soldier for most of his life. And he’d traveled for nearly a year before a muddy country road brought him to Gildan. Sworn to complete a quest even with time quickly running out, he can’t give up his search for a missing girl and an enchanted ring. If he fails, his nation will be destroyed.

In the woods on a rainy night, Dane finds a wandering child and escorts him back to his mother. Lindy is a widow, raising her son alone, but she shares shelter and food. Dane and Lindy find the beginnings of friendship. While he’s trying to help her, he discovers that she holds the final clue that could enable him to complete his quest.

Soon, Dane realizes he isn’t the only one searching the countryside. Shekkar Demons have begun their deadly hunt. Dane will do everything he can to protect Lindy and her son from the demon’s poisoned claws.

Ghostwire Tokyo

More oriental creepiness is incoming!
You can see all the currently uploaded pics here.

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Yes, creepy! He is looking at you! (Inside a haunted building.)

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One of the haunted rooms in the building is the game maker’s own office! The snail is their logo. So cute!

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Yes… nothing creepy or disturbing happening here. πŸ˜‹

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This is adorable! Looks like a giant robot’s head! This is actually a small neighborhood police station. Koban’s will have anywhere from 1 to 10 police officers depending on the area.

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This had me rolling. Booboo Burger! What a name! ROFL. Not sure I would eat there if it will give me a Boo Boo. πŸ˜‚

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At first look, this seems like a perfectly normal subway car, until you notice all the TVs staring at you! Eek!

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Another one where just a glimpse makes you think things are normal, until you realize the Maneki-neko is two stories tall! Maneki-neko’s are lucky cat figurines that you will see in a lot of stores and restaurants in Japan. The paw is trying to entice customers to come inside. Such a cute idea!

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Things are getting serious! Despite attempts to halt the bad guy, he’s moved on to the next step. The giants are made up of the souls he’s stolen in Tokyo.



StoryOrigin Swap 2 (UBL)

Vengeance runs through her veins. Can one unlikely hero unleash legendary powers without opening the door to destruction?

Etain Rhys burns with singular zeal. After losing her family to a demonic assassin, the superhuman warrior-in-training will stop at nothing to avenge their deaths.When the hunt ends with her impaled on a sword, the fierce woman discovers a mysterious savior who yearns to cut down the same foe.

Convinced her rescuer holds the key to reaching the villain’s realm, Etain struggles to push aside her budding feelings and focus on their quest. But as the steadfast fighter joins her new ally’s inner circle, she fears the twisted force that hungers for her magic could destroy both of their worlds.

Alamir is the imaginative first book in the Blood of Kaos dark fantasy series. If you like determined female characters, visionary world-building, and exhilarating battles of good versus evil, then you’ll love Nesa Miller’s captivating read.

Buy Alamir to battle the forces of corruption today!

Aliens Don't Always Wear Green Group Promo Banner

Science Fiction enthusiasts, don’t miss out on the offerings from the Aliens Don’t Always Wear Green (In Sci-Fi) group promo!

March YA Fantasy Reads Group Promo Banner

The March Young Adult Fantasy Reads group promo is on the way out, so don’t miss it!

🌟 Shout out to Reviewers Corner! πŸŒŸ

Thanks this month go to:

The Joy of Murder – The Arizona Bookstagrtammer


A great big THANK YOU to all the reviewers!

(Do you want your name in here, too? All you need is to post a one or two-sentence review at Bookbub, Goodreads, Amazon, or send me a link if it’s posted elsewhere and I will add you here next round!)

Have an awesome week! See you next time!



Saturday, March 11, 2023

Mind Sieve 3/10/23

Table of Contents

News/MusingsStoryOrigin Swap 1
Mini Movie/Show ReviewsMovie/TV Show Previews
StoryOrigin Swap 2Just for Fun!
Discover Sci-Fi Group PromoAliens Don’t Always Wear Green Group Promo
March YA Fantasy Reads Group ProoStrong Women – Strange Worlds



I hope all the weird storms have not affected you much. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. 🌩🌨🌧⛈πŸŒͺ


Black Jade Sale Banner

If you’ve been on the fence about checking out my historical cozy mystery series, Black Jade (Book 1) is currently on sale for $0.99 until the end of day 3/12/23.

(Unfortunately, the way Amazon sets up KU-enrolled ebooks, only the US store carries the sale. 😭) I do hope to eventually have the ebook versions back in wide distribution and you will be one of the first to know when I do!)

Minerva and Xena are just too darn cute! While I’ve had dogs off and on throughout my life, this is the first time I think I’ve had two at once. It’s been an experience. LOL.

Some online software I purchased last year got an extra perk. They allowed owners to try the new feature for free – AI-generated art. I decided to have fun with it and see what it would make of Daiyu Wu’s 1930 Scooby Gang. The cute video below shows the results! I thought the characters came out looking adorable! (I did have to tweak Dai’s for her blind eyes, but otherwise, they came out great!) Enjoy!

Writing news

The Secret Humankind – The Discoveries of Julia Xero – Book 1 (An urban fantasy thriller) has been converted from 3rd person to 1st person (with a little more of this and that) and is off to the editor! Woot!

The prequel short “Pay It Forward” will be shared in the newsletter. So if you want to be one of the first to see it, sign up now and grab a free gift or three! I’m hoping the editor gets that one back in the next couple of weeks so I can start sharing!

I already have the cover for the prequel short, so here’s a sneak peek! πŸ˜‹ (I’m saving the sneak peek for the novel cover for next time. Heh heh heh.)

Pay It Forward Cover Sneak Peek Graphic

The Secret Humankind Teasers Banner

(Pre-editor teaser of the week!) (Mild language warning!)

Cold sweat broke out over my body, my gut wrenching as primal terror singed my nerves. I inched away from the door unable to look away, my breath rasping in and out. Every inch of me rebelled. This thing, whatever it was, was a hellish nightmare. Yet it was there, watching me, studying me.

That’s when it hit me. Where the hell was Stan?

As if it could read my thoughts, the glowing sneer grew wider, impossibly so. My breath caught in my throat. I cringed, sure it would come at me. Instead, it turned around in a blur and took off. An afterimage of the evil grin seemed to hang in the air on its own then dissipated.


Extra stuff I’ve shoved in here:

1) StoryOrigin Swap 1 (Freebie)

2) StoryOrigin Swap 2 (UBL)

3) Discover Sci-Fi Group Promo

4) Alien’s Don’t Always Wear Green Group Promo

5) March YA Fantasy Reads Group Promo

6) Strong Women Strange Worlds Rapid Fire Reading and Birthday Party


More deets on all of these in their sections. 😊


StoryOrigin Swap 1 (Freebie)

StoryOrigin Swap 1 (Freebie)

Storm and Flames (Book 1)

Two teenage outcasts on a quest to save magic from total annihilation.

A YA Fantasy with a strong female lead and snarky talking animals.

Elena has always been a disappointment. Her magic is practically non-existent and now, on her sixteenth birthday, she is expelled from magic school by the strict headmistress–also known as her mother. Cast out into the world of the magically inept with only her familiar for company, Elena feels lost and alone until she meets a strange boy in the woods.

Quinn is a thief, a hunter, and a hothead. His unexpected friendship with Elena awakens a fiery side of him that he didn’t know he had, quite literally, and uncovers new and surprising magical abilities. Except men aren’t supposed to be capable of magic.

With Quinn’s help, Elena carves a safe new life as a barmaid, but when she is attacked, her powers awaken with shocking ferocity. Elena’s explosion of magic creates a power surge that attracts the attention of magical investigators, sent to uncover and contain the source of the power surge.

But the awakening of their powers kickstarts an ancient prophecy. Will they be able to escape those that hunt them? Can they fulfill the prophecy, destroy the turmio and save magic from being destroyed once and for all?

Content warning: the story mentions incidents of child abuse, sexual assault, and birth trauma. May not be suitable for some readers.

Mini Movie/TV 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!

Lupin the 3rd vs. Cat's Eye

Lupin the 3rd vs. Cat's Eye

I stumbled over this by accident at Amazon Prime. The “SQUEE” could be heard for blocks. (OK, probably not!) Both the manga and anime series for each were super popular in the 80s. Monkey Punch’s Lupin (loosely based on the Maurice LeBlanc fictional thief) gets new specials and limited series even now. Cat’s Eye was my first introduction to Hojo Tsukasa’s awesome work. (His most popular character Ryo Saeba (AKA City Hunter) even gets a cameo as the thieves escape at the beginning of the film! (He’s the guy leaning against a column – robbery happened in Shinjuku which is Saeba’s home turf.)

Loved, loved, loved this mashup! 😍

The plot was good, and connected the main driving forces between the two sets of characters rather well. The robberies themselves were a lot o fun. All my favorite characters from both series were in attendance. Goemon even broke his sword! Eek!

They included some of the original music BGMs for both series, which was awesome! Even more Squees! (This would make for a nice introduction if you’ve not seen either of them.)

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


Ant-Man and Wasp Quantumania

Ant-Man and Wasp Quantumania

It will help a lot to watch the first two Ant-man films as several things that get brought up are from there. Awesome graphics and special effects. As in the previous films, there’s a nice doze of comedy/fun-making amidst the deeper more serious topics. Though Scott did seem to get more than his share as if making up for not including Luis and the gang. (I kept hoping we’d get even one tiny bit from them, maybe in the extra bits, but no go. Maybe they’ll be back next time *fingers-crossed*) 

Secrets, trust, and family are the main themes. Most of the story takes place in the Quantum world and they came up with some great imaginative stuff. Doctor Pym gets poked at a lot about his love of ants, but he will be the one laughing the most in the end. πŸ˜‹

A fun romp, for sure! Props to Jonathan Majors as Kang, especially when we get to the final section at the end of the film. He rules!

Rating: ★★★★.25 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission!)




The best thing about animated films is that suspension of disbelief is pretty much a given. This film was obviously counting on as the premise is a little out there. Yet if you ignore the improbability, you should have a ton of fun watching it. Gags abound!

Loads of themes get played with—overcoming your fears, familial duty, independence, fish-out-of-water, doing things outside your comfort zone, and more. The animation is outstanding. The city the mummies live in was breathtaking with a lot of attention to detail. 

The pet crocodile (who makes noises like a squeaky toy) stole the show, in my opinion. So cute! Also, get ready for 80s music nostalgia! A fun little film!

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


Mr. Queen (Netflix)

Mr. Queen (Netflix)

Mr. Queen is a Korean Dramedy. A master chef in the current day gets set up for a crime and ends up falling into a pool when trying to get away. In the water, he sees a young woman in ancient dress swim to him and kiss him. When he wakes, he is no longer in his body or his time. His soul is trapped within the body of the queen of Joseon.

What makes the series hilarious is that the master chef, who is a womanizer, self-centered man, having to deal with being inside a small demure woman. Actress Hye-Sun Shin is a hoot! You can easily picture the master chef inhabiting her as she tromps around, uses slang, and basically does everything a woman of that time would have avoided like the plague. Watching the contortions of the head maid as she tries to nag her into behaving properly (and not getting very far) is a hoot.

Secrets being kept before the body swap (which we find out later a swap at all), people making assumptions, a king trying not to be used as a puppet, and more just escalate the hijinks and the stakes. The players vying for power are more than happy to eliminate those in their way.

I haven’t seen John laugh so hard since he originally watched Ren and Stimpy. LOL.

Rating: ★★★★.25 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission!)


Movie/TV Previews πŸŽ₯

Lupin the 3rd vs. Cat’s Eye Trailer – Yes, I did a review of the movie, but here’s the trailer to entice you even more! Bwahahahahaha!

Knights of the Zodiac Movie Trailer – a live-action Saint Seiya in English! Woot! The special effects look rad. Greek mythology action!

Citadel Trailer (Amazon) – a spy thriller! Looks mind twisty!

StoryOrigin Swap 2 (UBL)

StoryOrigin Swap 2 (UBL)


Battle for the Rimworlds is just beginning…with one man.

Daniel DeWynter is unlike any of the arrogant, brash DeWynter star-lords carving the galaxy with their glory. Perhaps because sixteen years ago, he witnessed first-hand, treachery and betrayal that saw thousands of innocent lives perish in the explosion of the Lynwarren Trading Station, he tends to look at any situation with humanitarian eyes. He is a soldier, just as his family traditions dictate, but he can also fill the role of a diplomat. As such he has the skill to assess a situation well before he walks into it. When his formidable star-warrior mother, Admiral DeWynter, sends him on a mission to the Rimworlds, he’s asked to be neither. What he is asked, makes him uncomfortable—and fills him with a strange sense of foreboding.

A frontier world like Synoor sees all kinds of traffic; a confederate spy would hardly stand out. That’s the way Admiral DeWynter reasoned when she sent her only son to Synoor, to evaluate the world’s economic potential—and to spy on Regent Banoran. The moment Daniel DeWynter’s foot touches the dusty landing strip on the edge of the jungle, he feels he’s walked into a trap.

Days later, the rumors of invasion take on an ominous cast. As a soldier he could deal with the treacherous regent and his buddies, the pirates of New Hebrides. But he can’t deal with the possibility of losing the one person who is the star of his life—his wife who walks beside him, unaware that they may well be heading for execution.

Just for Fun!

A Love Letter to Good Eats – awesome show, whether you cook or not! Watch this to get a hint of what you’ve been missing. Go Alton Brown!

Taylor Tomlinson on Dating Apps pt 3 – from hubby. This is pretty funny! πŸ˜‹

This Cow is the Best Snuggle Buddy video – no idea how my husband ran across this one. But, I have to admit, this is so cute!

Discover Free Sci-Fi Group Promo Banner

The Discover Sci-Fi Group Promo is about to cross the boundary! Grab your freebies while there’s still time. 😁

Aliens Don't Always Wear Green Group Promo Banner

More science fiction this month with the Aliens Don’t Wear Green (In Sci-Fi) Group Promo! πŸš€

March YA Fantasy Reads Group Promo Banner

Mar 2023 is filled with YA Fantasy Reads! Check out the titles in this group promo!

Strong Women Strange Worlds 03.16.23 Banner

Strong Women – Strange Worlds QuickReads and Special Birthday QuickReads for 03.16.23!
Also, join them on Saturday, March 18th for a Big Birthday Bash on Facebook from 11-4Pm EST! They have a Digital Swag Bag for the celebration, too!

Stay dry, stay warm, and have a fabulous weekend! smile

Till next time!


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