July 26, 2021

#011: SmokeLong Quarterly Owner and Successful Writer, Christopher Allen, talks about what it takes to be a successful author, flash fiction, SmokeLong and lots more.

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Christopher Allen is Managing Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly, a very successful short fiction journal. He has also been teaching for almost 30 years. These days he mainly leads workshops on writing compelling flash narratives (stories under 1000 words). His own work has been published, most recently, in The Best Small Fictions 2019, Booth, Split Lip Magazine, and Gone Lawn as well as in over a hundred other journals and anthologies. His debut collection of flash fiction–Other Household Toxins (Matter Press)–came out in 2018.

He’s been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, The Best Small Fictions, Million Writers Award and others. His flash fictions and short stories have won or placed in numerous competitions.

As well as all that he’s judged the Cambridge Prize for Flash Fiction, the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and Micro Madness and has guest edited for journals such as Lighthouse Literary Journal, Ellipsis Journal, Flash Frontier and others.

In this episode we discuss Christopher’s writing approach, his insights about what it takes to write winning flash fiction pieces, SmokeLong Quarterly and much much more.

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July 9, 2021

#010: Robert Ottone, dark fiction author and owner of Spooky House Press, talks about writing and the Smokey Muse.

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Robert Ottone is an author, teacher, and cigar enthusiast from East Islip, New York. He owns Spooky House Press, a small independent publisher of fiction. He has roots in journalism and true crime writing and he is the host of the Voices of Gilgo Project. He can be found online, or on Instagram and Twitter. His collections Her Infernal Name & Other Nightmares and People: A Horror Anthology about Love, Loss, Life & Things That Go Bump in the Night are available now wherever books are sold.

This is a great episode. We had a lot of fun recording it and Robert brings some excellent advice and ideas to the table. If you are an aspiring writer then I fully recommend listening to this episode.


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June 13, 2021

#008: J.D. Horn, Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author, talks about writing, the publishing process and beta readers.

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J.D. Horn is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series (The Line, The Source, The Void, and Jilo), the Witches of New Orleans Trilogy (The King of Bones and Ashes, The Book of the Unwinding, The Final Days of Magic), and the standalone Southern Gothic horror tale Shivaree. J.D. is also founder and owner of Curious Blue Press, a small publishing concern originally founded during the Coronavirus pandemic. Curious Blue Press has just published Good Southern Witches, a collection of short spooky fiction. A world traveler and student of French and Russian literature, Horn also has an MBA in international business and formerly held a career as a financial analyst before turning his talent to crafting chilling stories and unforgettable characters. His novels have received global attention and have been translated into Turkish, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Italian, German, and French. Originally from Tennessee, he currently lives in California with his spouse, Rich, and their rescue Chihuahua, Kirby Seamus.

This is another brilliant episode! In this conversation, we discuss J.D.’s writing, his method, his experience with traditional publishing. We also discuss his independent publishing company, Curious Blue Press, and how this has given him a new perspective. 

Selected Links From Episode

J.D. Horn’s website.

Curious Blue Press’ website.

J.D. Horn’s Instagram Profile.

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May 28, 2021

#007: Michael Heppell, Sunday Times Best Selling Author, keynote speaker and success coach talks about how to become a successful writer.

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Michael Heppell (@MichaelHeppell) is an international best-selling author of 7 books, including ‘How to Be Brilliant’. His books have been translated into 27 languages and include the Sunday Times No.1 Best Seller ‘Flip It’. His latest, ’17 – the little way to get a lot done’ was launched in September 2020. His passion is presenting. He has been described as ‘one of the top 3 professional speakers in the world.’ He works with individuals and organisations who are dissatisfied with being good and have a desire to be brilliant. Through his events and coaching Michael has worked with everyone from Category B prisoners to business leaders; from Premiership footballers to TV personalities. Davina McCall credits Michael as ‘the person who, in one hour, changed my life’. Michael works with his wife and business partner Christine, and in 2001 they set a goal ‘to positively influence 1 million lives’. Through presentations, training, books, audio programmes, and coaching they hit this target several years ago and now have the goal to positively influence everyone they connect with.

This is a fantastic episode! I highly recommend you listen to it. In this conversation, we discuss a wide range of topics including approaching successful people for endorsement, how to build and pre-build an audience for your book, developing and drawing out your core message, how to handle negative reviews, finding and working with the very best coaches and mentors, the impact of limiting beliefs and the good work Michael is doing with his ‘Write That Book Challenge’ which aims to support 1000 people to write 1000 books in 1000 days.

Michael Heppell

Selected Links From Episode

You can find out loads more information about Michael on his website.

You can also find Michael on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

You can see Michael’s Amazon Author page here.

If you are interested in hearing more about Michael’s FREE Write That Book programme aimed at supporting 1000 writers to publish 1000 books in 1000 days check out the programme’s dedicated website here.

Show Notes

Michael’s journey so far (1m 40s)

Killing Mrs. Lumsden – negative comments, limiting beliefs and how to overcome them (5m 0s)

Imposter syndrome – are you good enough? (8m 40s)

How to find and connect with the very best coaches and mentors (11m 0s)

How to develop your core message and theme (15m 30s)

Fortune favors the bold – approaching successful people and celebrities for endorsements (20m 52s)

How to build and pre-build a following for your book(s) (23m 49s)

Michael’s high-level writing process – keeping it flexible (31m 0s)

How to handle negative reviews and comments (36m 0s)

Thinking about audiobooks (39m 50s)

Michael’s FREE Write That Book Challenge – how he’s helping 1000 authors, write 1000 books in 1000 days (42m 0s)

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March 23, 2021

#001: Adam Jones talks about his non-fiction and children's books, promotional tactics, editors, book coaches and his writing process.

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Adam Jones (@aj1books) is an author and part-time podcaster from the English, West Midlands. He writes books for children and hard-hitting self-help books for adults. His debut non-fiction book, The Money Mistakes of Mom and Dad, reached number 21 in the Amazon Business Charts on the day of its release. His second book, You Are Going To Fucking Die, which focuses on the inevitability of our death in an attempt to make us appreciate the present, is due to be released in spring 2021. Adam has also published a children’s book, Ninja Nana, and has several more in the pipeline.

In this conversation, we discuss the importance of living in the now, editors and book coaches, promotional approach, self-publishing and Adam’s own writing experiences and processes.

Selected Links from the Episode

Adam’s non-fiction book You Are Going To Fucking Die.

Adam’s non-fiction book The Money Mistakes of Mom and Dad.

Adam’s children’s book Ninja Nana.

You can find Adam on his Instagram and Facebook pages. And, here on Adam’s Facebook Group.

During this episode Adam talks about his social media consultant at Fox Red Digital who specialises in managing social media campaigns for writers and other creatives.

Show Notes

We discuss (among other things):

Adam’s new non-fiction book, You Are Going To Fucking Die (1m 56s)

The importance of editors and book coaches (14m 5s)

Adam’s debut non-fiction book, The Money Mistakes of Mom and Dad (21m 20s)

Promotional Tactics (24m 56s)

Adam’s first children’s book, Ninja Nana (32m 40s)

Future writing plans (40m 5s)

Adam’s writing process (49m 28s)

Optimal times for creative output (56m 2s)

Adam’s top tips, tools and tactics for budding writers (57m 45s)

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