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Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – #PostApocalyptic #SciFi – Once Upon a Time in the Swamp by C.S. Boyack

Sally has graciously shared her thoughts on Once Upon a Time in the Swamp. Click the link to learn what she thought about the story.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share my review the latest release by C.S. Boyack... a post apocalyptic science fiction novel Once Upon a Time in the Swamp.

About the book

Mari and her husband opted for a simple life as farmers. It’s been decades since the world tore itself apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor and family against each other. They were happy in this re-emerging world, until disaster struck.

Mari sets out on a solo quest to avenge the deaths of her family and loss of everything she holds dear. She’s ill equipped for the task, but seems to have time on her hands. Time alone in the wilderness to deal with her personal demons along the way.

She is helped by a few sympathetic elders and a couple of animal companions with lessons Mari can use if she pays attention. Can Mari find justice for her family?

Set in a post…

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Here with Mom

I didn’t get a lot of Muse action during my drive yesterday. I think I’ve pissed her off. You know when a woman says, “I’m fine,” that you’d better duck.

There were a few tiny developmental ideas for things that don’t even have a book to put them in. Something tells me I’ve neglected Lorelei and she’s making me suffer for it. I will get back to drafting new material, but life has gotten in the way.

This weekend is all about visiting, and I thought I should mention the drive.

There were plenty of the standard things to look at, but some were more fun than others. I saw one deer and a couple herds of antelope. There were white pelicans on Wildhorse Reservoir, and some sandhill cranes in the fields.

I ran over a blow snake in Owyhee Canyon. This is a winding narrow highway with a river beside it. I never saw him until it was too late. I felt bad, but wasn’t about to swerve into the river. These guys are also called bull snakes, but are properly a gopher snake.

When I got to Grassmere there is a small ranching area. Something had been spilled on the highway, and there were tracks through it from a dually, one-ton truck. Not unheard of in an agricultural area. It kind of looked like manure or something.

I never paid it any attention until the tracks turned off the highway, but the spillage continued. Looking closer it was something small and almost pelletized. About the size of coffee beans. Oh shit!

I let my foot off the gas and slowed to a more realistic speed. I generally travel about 80 mph through the desert. Lower velocity allowed me to see them hopping.

They were Mormon crickets. They weren’t as big as I usually see, but then, it’s only May. The might get up to three inches by mid-summer and I would have known immediately.

These guys can cause what amounts to a grease slick on the highway as cars run them over. The first swarm lasted for twenty miles, but ended at the Nevada border. There were three or four other swarms in Nevada.

These things never existed when I was a kid. The government used to control them, and I never saw one until a couple decades ago. Government controls are bad for everything else, like songbirds and anything that feeds on songbirds and small rodents. I’m glad they stopped poisoning, but here is the result.

Nasty buggers, and I’m sure my truck is filthy. No sense trying to address that until I drive through them again on the way home.

Anyway, I’m here and having a nice visit. I hope all of you are enjoying the weekend, and if you need a good book to relax with I could make a recommendation.


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Next adventure

I’m writing this on a Thursday night. This is because I have to drive to Nevada after work tomorrow. I don’t want to be dark, because I’ve been moderately successful maintaining a Friday post.

I woke up this morning from a reasonable dream. I could actually hear the voices as a strange caller dialed in to Night Bump Radio. This one needs some time in the fermenter, but it should make a fun bit for a future Hat tale. I need to make it more absurd, then find a way to blame Lizzie and the hat for all of it, but it’s a glimmer of something. Lorelei, the Muse hasn’t completely abandoned me this Spring.

Nevada should be my last road trip for a few months. While I still have other things going on, this might allow me to get back to my works in progress. I’m seriously debating driving tomorrow in silence. That usually temps Lorelei to ride along.

My last promotional post went live Thursday morning. I don’t know how much more I can put out there without spoiling things for those who are interested. It’s been fun chatting with all of you about the new book, and I am moved by all the sharing and reblogging that you have done.

It’s time for Once Upon a Time in the West to stand on its own now. I don’t have any extra cash to put into promotion, but might mange something later this year for it. I could do a Fussy Librarian thing in a few months. We’ll see.

I am thrilled with all the reviews. It seems like those who took a chance have really enjoyed Mari’s story. It’s time to remind everyone that the cover in my sidebar is an active link. If you still need a copy, please click that cover. (Works on computers and iPads. If you’re on your phone it might look different.)

I will have a chance to check in on Saturday, so drop me a line or two. Mom and I will just be chatting, but it’s pretty simple to check on comments.


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Book Review: Once Upon a Time in the Swamp by C. S. Boyack #newrelease #postapocalyptic #adventure @Virgilante

I discovered this review by Mae Clair. This one means a lot to me. Mae is one of my favorite authors, and I hope everyone will visit her to check it out. Once Upon a Time in the Swamp is getting some great reviews from those who give it a shot.

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Striped kitten lying on open book, eyeglasses resting on pages. Book and kitten on white blanket

Hello everyone! I know I’m hit or miss on blogging these days, but I hope to have some announcements to share in the near future that may change some of that. In the meantime, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to promote my latest read—which I devoured in a single day.

I’ve read most of Craig Boyack’s books, but—OH MY WORD!!!—he really outdid himself with this. He’s not touring this book, which is a shame, because it deserves plenty of buzz. If you’re a fan of good guys vs. bad guys, imaginative adventure, or old spaghetti westerns, this is pure gold. I could almost hear “wah-wah-wah” in the background. 🙂

I am doing double duty today, covering my own job and a second position, so I don’t know if or when I’ll be available to answer comments, but I’m keeping them open for cheering on Craig! 🎉

Long-horned ox pulling cart, swamp and large satellite dishes in background


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Another road trip

Work is sending me for some training on Monday. I’m going to be squeezed a little for time while I’m on the road. I mention this, because I’m expecting blog comments.

I have two new promotional posts scheduled for everyone. I went with Tuesday and Thursdays for these. My hope is that I can sneak off to my hotel during lunch and respond to everyone then. I hope you’ll be a little patient with me, but I will get to everyone.

Monday is a travel day, as is Friday. I’m going to Savannah, Georgia for the week. I’ve googled the images and it looks beautiful. Of course, I’ll spend most of my time locked up in a conference room, but the evenings are mine.

Two of my travel companions are way excited and already booked us into some restaurants. One has a pirate theme, so there could be rum involved. They also talked us into a ghost tour as a group. You know they didn’t have to twist my arm. I already bought my ticket online.

My hope is that my Muse will walk a few blocks with me. I’m a couple of years out on stories, but a seed or two for the future is fine by me.

I’m actually excited about the training this time, too. It’s been a long time since I got to dabble in something new and am looking forward to it.

I was thinking about writing tomorrow, but there is a lot going on. I’m torn between The Kentucky Derby and the coronation of King Charles. One comes along yearly, but the other one is once in a lifetime.

I kind of want to party like I’m on the infield and look at girls in hats while I view the roads each horse took to the big race.

On the other hand, the coronation is history happening… and there could be girls in hats.

Drinks are on me either way, since I’m not physically at either event.

What to do? What to do? I have a story coming up soon that involves horse racing and an opportunity to bring back the headless horseman. Lizzie and the Pythons could get a party gig in Louisville fairly easily for this story. I’m certain to start writing it this year.

I have no royalty stories planned at all, but maybe I need one. Could be some temptation for Lorelei the Muse to watch the coronation.

Tonight, I’m watching the residue from May the Fourth. Right now Yoda is kicking some butt on television. I may be out of commission again this weekend. There are some decent distractions going on and that’s okay sometimes, too.

Have a good weekend everyone. Tell me what you would choose. Maybe you’d just stick with Yoda. Stick with me, there are some interesting things coming about Once Upon a Time in the Swamp next week. I really appreciate all the sharing and reblogging you’ve put out there on my behalf.


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April #BookReviews @JenMcMurrain @dlfinnauthor @Virgilante Elizabeth Gauffrau Leona Nichole Black

I don’t have anything scheduled today, but there is a great review of Once Upon a Time in the Swamp over at Jan Sikes’ place today. After work, I’ll follow up for any comments it gets.

Writing and Music

Welcome to my April book reviews! I hope you find something here you can’t live without. 🙂



As a long-time student of Tarot, this book caught my eye. What I found between the pages is a fresh new look at the practical everyday use of tarot cards presented in a truly profound way. I love that the book is divided into eight sections.
Starting with Love, the author shares a deeply personal story and journey. The following sections, Purpose, Healing, Change, Truth, and Hope, give the reader a detailed look at ways to utilize the major arcana in a tarot deck to help flesh out the answers to these universal questions. I found the writing to be superb and easy to read and follow.
The final section, The Modern World of Tarot, takes everything shared earlier in the book and gives practical applications that anyone could…

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Transitions are hard

It’s Saturday, so I thought I might accomplish some writing of some kind. You all know I’ve been promoting my new story, but I felt like I deserved to get some words down. If you’re a writer, you know the feeling.

It’s been a rough stretch for me, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to end until June. It all started with my mom being hospitalized in Salt Lake. I was neck deep in a project at work that involved live presentations and could not get down there to see her. I had to live through the telephone for updates.

I was involved every day of the presentations, sometimes peripherally and once as the presenter. Mom went home with a diagnosis and some medications. I still haven’t been to visit her, but it’s on my list for May.

I had to get my daughter moved here from Twin Falls, then move her from Boise to New Hampshire. That took a week and I shared a few of the interesting places we stopped.

Immediately after getting home I had to report for jury duty. It was scheduled for eleven days of medical malpractice fun. They settled after six and I know more about being a rat scientist than I ever wanted to know. Also gained an education about gestation and birth that I never needed.

Since they settled, it allowed me to freak out for half a week about being so behind at work. At one point I threw up my hands and said, “Oh my God! I need a weighted blanket and a Ding Dong.” I don’t think my cubicle mates are going to let me live that one down.

After next week, work is sending me to Savannah for a week. I am looking forward to this training, and will probably try to share something from the trip with all of you. Then I can be behind at work again.

Somewhere along the way, I published a new book that you’ve been getting teasers for. Why not? It’s not like I have anything else going on.

Today was all about getting a few words down. Unfortunately, I’m at a transition phase in the story. I read back every word of this story. I want it to be a slow burn with a lot of mystery boxes to open. I’ve never done a tale like this, and there is a learning curve. I stared at my open word processor and never wrote a single word.

Jenny is my main character and needs to chat with her adult son, Cody. This is how they piece things together and figure out the next steps. I need to include Jenny’s new training, discover something to chase, and hint at the gyrations of the bad guy in this conversation. Then they’ll chase the next item in the plot.

I’m a big fan of the double conversation, and use it quite a bit. Jenny and Cody can use that trick to get information to the reader. This is where the characters have dialog about more than one thing at once. One example is from my new publication where the topic is about throwing knives, but also includes a history lesson at the same time. Jenny and Cody might need a triple conversation, so I’m trying to figure that out.

It might be a good idea to plot this section of dialog out. That way I won’t forget anything.

Honestly, I might just have too much going on right now. The urge is there, but the brain cells are tasked with other things. I have a bunch of things happening after Savannah, and still want to go see Mom. Writing might have to take a back seat for a little longer.

I discovered the first review for Once Upon a Time in the Swamp this morning. If you’re so inclined, D. Wallace Peach had some nice things to say


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Resting, and making an odd discovery

I have no intention of cracking one of my manuscripts this weekend. I want to recover from my recent adventures, and learned I have to report for jury duty on Monday morning. What I wanted to do was view some fun movies about the places I visited.

I wound up renting Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s been decades since I saw it and it was a blast. Wasn’t precisely what I wanted.

Last week I visited Little Bighorn, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Salem, Lexington, and Concord. Passed through parts of Boston, too. Aside from those, we drove through a bunch of country that could be considered as Last of the Mohicans territory. Basically, I wanted something historical.

A few Google searches revealed some titles, but a dozen or so premium services failed to provide anything. I expanded my search, and tried The Crossing, which was a favorite about George Washington. It was made by HBO, but it’s not available on HBO Max.

I went through this dance with all the locations and found nothing worth my time. I get this isn’t exactly uber popular currently, but I figured the premium services would have something to offer. I also understand fully they aren’t historically accurate. Entertainment was my goal, a specific kind of entertainment.

If there was no movie, perhaps I could find a documentary. Nope. Documentaries seem to all be about finding some hidden treasure, fishing for crabs, or preg testing cattle. Never saw anything by Ken Burns.

At this point, I expanded in an attempt to find anything remotely patriotic at all. I never found anything. I frequently see social media postings about some attempting to brainwash the general public, and tried to blow it all off. After today, I’m not so sure.

I will admit to not looking for The Patriot with Mel Gibson, because I’ve seen it a bunch of times. It might be there. The Untouchables is on Dish tonight, so it would vaguely qualify as my having passed through Chicago, but that wasn’t my main focus today.

I would settle for Little Bighorn from the Indian perspective if we’re all so politically correct these days. Never found anything.

There is a statue of Tesla at Niagara Falls. Maybe I can find something about him tomorrow. Might have to settle for National Treasure or North by Northwest. At least they have Mt. Rushmore.


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Today started well before dawn. My daughter’s man told us about something he thought sounded absurd, Maple Milk. He said people drink it like chocolate milk. Then he brought some home for a laugh. I decided it’s actually pretty awesome in a cup of coffee. However, that coffee was to go, and away we went.

My daughter set her app to avoid all the toll roads, and the drive to the airport was kind of an adventure. We wound up on side streets in warehouse areas, but it did send us to Logan International. We both spotted a highway sign that said Delta flew out of area E, and made for that.

When we got there, I didn’t see a Delta logo in sight. She whipped to the curb, then said, “I don’t know what to do.”

We’d both seen the sign, so I bailed out. After a hug and some well wishes I marched inside to a sea of people. I was completely lost, but a nice employee found me. This location was for Delta’s international flights. The ones I wanted were on a completely different concourse. He gave me directions, but not complete directions, and I was off.

This involved an escalator up, a skybridge over the freeway, a hike through an open-air parking garage, another even bigger skybridge, an escalator down, a long tunnel and about two miles of effort. I arrived at a whole different sea of people.

There was a huge line for the kiosks, another huge line to drop off my bag, followed by an even longer and more elaborate line for security. After that it was only about half a mile to my gate. We got to the airport two hours early, and I basically walked right onto the plane.

I had a 1.5 hour layover in Minneapolis, and was kind of looking forward to it. Once again, I had to change concourses. I’d been well stretched out after Salem, Lexington, and Concord. This airport had broken people movers, so I had to leg it out. I arrived with a few minutes to spare for a cup of coffee, sadly without maple milk.

Getting out of Minneapolis was kind of like a rodeo, and I was the cowboy. After we reached altitude the ride smoothed out and it was easy going.

This trip was a whirlwind, but I’m so glad we did this together. There were emotions aplenty, and leaving was pretty hard, I don’t mind telling you. We saw and did a lot of things along the way, even though the goal was to get clear across the country.

The minute I got home, Old What’s Her Face handed me the bills and reminded me today is payday. The adventure is truly over now.

I’m writing this from my usual spot at home. I have a couple days to rest up, then have to go back to work.


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Seeing the sights

Originally, I planned to fly out today. My wife and daughter took over and scheduled me for tomorrow instead. I think my wife appreciates one more day of calm around the house. This left me looking for things to do. I don’t want to blow off valuable time in such a rich area as this.

I had my daughter take me to Lexington & Concord. In my mind, this is hallowed ground and it was well worth visiting. I found it odd that the National Park Service doesn’t have anything open in the area. Apparently, they have big plans for what they call Patriots Day. (April 19th) There will be reenactors as both Minutemen and Redcoats. It sounds like a fife & drum good time… if only I had a few more days.

It is what it is, and we visited both sites along with the running battle area between the towns. The Lexington area is very small and surrounded by civilization. Concord has a slightly larger area, but you can hear the kids playing in their back yards from the battlefield.

We wandered another old cemetery and this one has men from the actual fighting buried there. Some local group puts out American flags to mark their graves, but they also put out British flags as well. (On that particular day we were all British when the sun came up.)

I have photos, but the tombstones are virtually illegible. 250 years in the weather has that effect on stone. What I found odd was the British markers were legible. I suspect they were thrown in holes and only marked 100 years or so after the fact. This is merely my supposition, though.

Here are some to compare. This couple died much later, but both succumbed to small pox.

Note how this fellow’s headstone is more square and seems as if it’s from a newer era. At least they had the good sense to lug him to a tavern.

Captain Parker’s quote above is in Lexington.

Minuteman bronze in Lexington. (I took one at Concord, too. I was shooting over school children and managed to cut off the top of his head.) So enjoy this fellow.

This is posted at the site where Revere was captured. He was carted back to Lexington and paroled after questioning. I like the way they capitalize the odd word here and there. Makes me feel better about my own typing.

Old North Bridge is where everything hit the fan in Concord. The British held one side of the bridge and were attempting to tear it up. These were hardened regulars, but they were hopelessly outnumbered. I don’t understand the value of the bridge in particular. I think the Colonials were looking for a fight and happened to find one here. You could throw a rock across it and the presence of a bridge wasn’t holding anyone back from crossing.

This placard is at Concord.

One of the things that stood out to me was the women in the cemetery. They are all noted as being Mrs. Somebody, wife and mother, those kind of things. They weren’t recognized for their own accomplishments, or even allowed their own names. Other than Mrs. they had their husbands’ first and last names on their tombstones. I think that’s kind of sad, but I’m glad I saw them like this before political correctness modifies everything.

I have more pictures, but I’m sure some of you are cussing how long this page is taking to load. The area is beautiful, and my daughter said she liked it more than Salem.

These towns are passing up good money. I had a fist full of dollars, but there wasn’t a tee-shirt shop in sight. I would have bought both a Lexington and a Concord shirt if only there had been one to buy.

Concord has a similar cemetery and it’s called Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It’s not the right Sleepy Hollow, so we passed that one up. It might be sacrilege for an author, but I also passed up the Ralph Waldo Emerson House, the Henry David Thoreau House, and the Louisa May Alcott House.

I tried my level best to visit the Sue Coletta house, but it wasn’t meant to be. I was willing to drive an hour North to visit with one of my favorite fellow authors, but we never could put it together. I kind of wanted to meet Poe, too.


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