6/7/23 Guest George Dismukes

Time to learn more about George Dismukes and his new novel, Paradise My Prison!

Voice of Indie Podcast

VOI 128 Placard - Dismukes copy

George Dismukes has pursued bullfighting and professional snake-milking, chasing wild animals across the Serengeti in the movie business, and operating an animal-export company in Peru. He spent many years exploring archaeological sites of the ancient Maya Indians in Central America and studying their lost civilization, at one point living in Honduras. He founded a video-production company in Houston, which led to a CLEO award for his PSA work. His hobbies include growing exotic chili peppers and experimenting with salsa recipes. Above all, George is a devout animal lover with two dogs, Pulga and Gizmo. George lives on the Texas Coast with his soulmate and closest friend, Nadine, where he writes and works in magazine advertising.


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Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Multigenre – Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

Sally Cronin shares a blush-worthy review of my short-fiction collection. Thanks, Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

During this series I will be sharing my reviews for books I posted during 2022 

Good books deserve to be showcased on a regular basis and I hope that it might entice you to either move the books up your groaning TBR’s or add the books to its burden!

Here is my review from June 2022 for a collection of short stories reflecting the human condition in all its glory and potential for loss – Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

About the collection

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to…

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Artificial Intelligence

C. S. Boyack sobers us with ponderings on the future of AI in writing/publishing.

Story Empire

Hi, Gang. Craig with you once more to talk about something that concerns me; Artificial Intelligence. (AI) I’m going to qualify myself by saying I grew up as a pen & ink draftsman in a surveying firm. This was the first time I noticed computers taking over. Might as well be the village blacksmith as a draftsman these days.

I’ve seen other projects “modified” by AI for decades, like the deep water crab boats in Alaska. The ship drives itself to the traps then signals the crew to haul one in. After it “improves” an industry, the AI wave seems to move on to the next one.

Here we are at the author’s doorstep, and what set this post in motion involves AI art creation programs. Everyone is monkeying around with them these days, and I’ve done it myself. The app I used seems to create people with extra arms…

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Birth Order and Character Development: the Only Child

Gwen M. Plano covers a key aspect of character development. Thanks, Gwen, and Story Empire.

Story Empire

Hello SE friends, Gwen with you today. Over these last several months, we’ve considered birth order traits as another possibility for developing our fictional characters. We’ve reviewed firstborns, middle child, and lastborns. Today the focus is the only child.

As a quick review, birth order theory is not chiseled in stone. Many factors affect personal characteristics. But, as writers, we’re free to generalize and use the characteristics as we wish in our stories. So, let’s look at the only child.

There’s considerable focus on the only child these days, because the one-child family unit is growing exponentially. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of one-child families doubled between 1976 (11%) and 2015 (22%). And today approximately 42% of families have a single child. The U.S. Census Bureau claims single-child families are “the fastest growing family unit in the nation.”

Though the explosion of one-child families…

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5/31/23 Guest Janice Toney

Check out this week’s guest author!

Voice of Indie Podcast

VOI 148 Placard - Toney

Janice D. Toney was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and grew up in the Madison County area. She attended Alabama A&M University where she earned both a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Dr. Toney has taught in the Limestone and Madison County School Systems and acquired an administrative endorsement from the University of Alabama. She earned her doctorate in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Human Resources from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Toney has always helped students reach their full potential, often saying, “Take it to another level!” She is family-oriented, spending as much time as she can with her husband, often traveling together. Besides writing, she likes to shop and dine out. She is active with her church and the Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Janice Toney still lives in the Huntsville area.


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5/24/23 Guest Michael Scott Clifton

This week’s great guest!

Voice of Indie Podcast

VOI 147 Placard - Clifton

Multi Award-Winning Author Michael Scott Clifton, a public educator for over 38 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie and family cat. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, he enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys…action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch and The Open Portal, received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short story contests with Edges of Gray winning First Place in the Texas Authors Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. Clifton’s latest book, The Open Portal, won The Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award, and launches the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil.

He is not only an author…

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5/10/23 Guest Andrew McGregor

A guest you won’t want to miss! Check out Voice of Indie.

Voice of Indie Podcast

VOI 145 Placard - McGregor

Andrew McGregor holds a liberal arts degree in philosophy and a University of Southern California master’s in screenwriting. He is a global traveler who likes typewriter poetry busking and competing in events such as strongman and Highland games. He is a chessboxing champion who now referees record-setting tournaments. An accomplished accordion, duduk, and bagpipes player, he has performed on a Grammy-nominated album and in venues stretching from California to Japan. Andrew calls the USA home, often in Los Angeles, though he prefers to write at his place in Colorado.



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

A fine review of an excellent book by C.S. Boyack. Thanks, Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of 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…

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The Story Tree

Staci Troilo offers a fun comparison between growing trees and growing stories!

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers! Happy Arbor Day!

Today is a day (in several countries, the US included) dedicated to planting trees. Trees give us air. They give us shade. They give us beauty.

They give us stories?

Not exactly. I’m not talking The Giving Tree. (And don’t get me started on how tragic that story is.) And I don’t mean in the sense that wood becomes paper in some instances, which could eventually become pages of books.

So, what do I mean? In honor of Arbor Day, I thought we’d have a little fun and compare trees to story.

The Seeds

You can’t have a tree without a seed. This could be planted by someone or a naturally occurring event in the woods (or even your yard). But to grow a tree, you start with the seeds.

You start a story the same way. Just the kernel of an idea is…

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The Interior of Your Book

Cautionary pointers about formatting your book from Story Empire maven Joan Hall!

Story Empire

Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today. D. L. Finn posted last week about book formatting. If you haven’t read it, you can do so by clicking this link. Today’s post also deals with the same subject but is directed toward the style.

Last time, I talked about the importance of a good-quality cover. Today, we’ll discuss the interior design of your book.

A poorly formatted book can lead to its downfall. Spacing, alignment, and chapter headings that are inconsistent are a sign of amateurism. We’re writers. If we’ve published and made money on our writing, we’re professionals. Why would you want to spend weeks and months writing and editing only to have improper formatting turn readers away?

For the purpose of this post, I’ll use screenshots from Atticus, a writing and formatting software. (Denise mentioned Atticus in her post last week.) These images are stories from my recently-released short…

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