Attention All Aspiring Authors

As some of you know, or maybe some of you don’t, I am a self-published author. My genre of choice is contemporary African-American fiction and poetry. I have published six books to date, and I’m in the process of publishing more. I am totally blind and have been writing since the age of eleven. Last year I took a leap of faith to get my work published and submitted some of my work to appear in an anthology. My work was chosen to appear in the book, and so my publishing career began. There were no proceeds from this anthology. It was just a promotional tactic to help aspiring authors get their foot in the door in the literary world. That was the first step I took to make my dream of becoming a published author come true. Since then, I have published my own books via Amazon’s Kindle, Ibooks, and Barnes & Noble and other eBook retailers.

Since I have gotten my foot in the door and have generated a fan base of loyal readers, I am extending the same opportunity to my fellow blind and visually impaired aspiring authors. I am putting together an anthology of short stories entitled United in fiction. This book will feature 12 authors, one story per author. Any genre is permitted except for children’s stories and erotica. The book will consist of many different genres and styles of writing, so I wanted to pick a general title. The stories have to be fiction, hence the title. Each story must be no more than 10,000 words and no less than 8,000 words. There will be no proceeds from this publication. This is just to help people who aspire to be authors get there foot in the door. I will take on the expense of editing, formatting, graphic design and publishing the book. It will be available in eBook format and paperback. People will be able to download the book free of charge from Kindle, Ibooks, Barnes & Noble, and other EBook retailers, but there will be a price to purchase the paperback version to help with cost of production.

This book will be published under my very own publication company, Diamond in the Rough Publications. I recently established my publishing company so that I can give other visually impaired and blind aspiring authors a voice in the literary world. For right now, I will be my only client until I build up enough revenue to take on other clients, but I will be producing anthologies so that you can have the opportunity to get your work published. Once I have generated enough revenue to take on clients, I will post a calls for submissions post, seeking books for publication. This has always been a dream of mine, and I am happy that I can have a hand in making someone else’s dream of becoming an author come true as well. There will be a contract for you to review and electronically sign, agreeing to the terms of the publication of your story in the anthology. It will all be simple enough for you to understand the terms of the agreement.

The deadline to submit stories to be published in, United in Fiction is May 31, 2018. I am looking to publish the book in late June, or early July of 2018. Not all stories submitted will appear in the book. They will be sent through a screening process by my co-editor who is helping me on this project. If your story is selected to appear in the book, you will be notified via the email you provide during the submission period. If your story is selected, you will need to provide a 100 to 150 word bio written in 3rd person along with the genre of your story. You will also need to include your social media links so that readers can follow, or befriend you if they choose. Providing social media links is strictly optional. Once the book is published, you will be provided with links that you can share with friends and family members. You will also be provided two physical copies at the expense of me, the publisher for your own possession. This is something that I thought would help those who do some day want to be authors. This is how I got my start, so I am providing the same opportunity for anyone who is interested.

You can send your submissions to Diamond in the Rough Publications. I will let you know when I have received your submission, and I will also notify you if any changes need to be made before the final manuscript is ready for publication.

Even though I was the only visually impaired person featured in the anthologies that I appeared in, my goal for this anthology is to feature only blind and visually impaired aspiring authors. It’s a way to showcase your talent for writing, and for you to have pride knowing that you have contributed to the publication of a book that the world will read. I look forward to hearing from anyone who is interested in being a part of United in Fiction.

**Note**

If you are already a published author, and you have your own Amazon author page, or Smashwords author page, please be sure to include your author name in your submission so that I can link you as a contributing author to this book. If you have not published anything yet, then this does not pertain to you. Also, the physical books will only be shipped in the US.

Author Q and A: SLF Entertainment

Charming without chance book cover
bad politics book cover

“Never settle even when you’re settling. Elevate!” – SLF Entertainment

Blaque: I’m back with another author spotlight interview. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with SLF Entertainment. Thank you for stopping by.

SLF: Thank you for having me.

Blaque: So, let’s dive in and explore your life and what led you to become an author.

SLF: Let’s do it!

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

SLF: I have come across so many barriers. Some are big, and some are small, but they have all made me a better person. I get inspired by the things I go through and the things people I know, seen, or heard go through, and it’s all a part of life’s challenges.

Blaque: I love writing in my home office. It’s my place of peace. Where is your favorite place to write?

SLF: My bed is where I enjoy writing. I do just about all my writing in bed with the pillows propped up behind me against the headboard.

Blaque: What is your favorite season of the year, and why?

SLF: It would have to be spring, because I was born in April.

Blaque: Where are you from?

SLF: I am from Dallas, Texas.

Blaque: What show(s) did you enjoy watching as a child?

SLF: Martin, Arthur, Goosebumps, and Star Trek are among some of the shows I watched as a child. “One Saturday Morning” had all the Cartoon Network shows that I loved to watch. I also enjoyed watching Moesha, The Parkers, Living Single, etc. I was watching some of everything.

Blaque: The Parkers was, and is still one of my favorite shows to watch. I have the entire show on DVD for my watching pleasure. LOL. What is your biggest pet peeve?

SLF: I have a hard time leaving things alone; especially when it doesn’t look “perfect.” I am a reformed perfectionist. I say this, because not pushing a chair under a table, wet counters near the sink, no punctuation in sentences, misspelled words, uneven lines, and procrastination bother me, but not so much to the point that I could scream. It just feels out of place. When it comes to my own work, I had to learn that nobody’s perfect. I just do the best that I can, find a stopping point and move on.

Blaque: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

SLF: We depend on fear way too much. Fear is like an annoying person that tries to denounce who you are, or what you have done. If we just stopped speaking out of fear, stop letting fear control us, and stop giving fear so much power, we could live our lives freely.

Blaque: Name three people who inspire you, and explain why.

SLF: My mother is one of the people who inspires me, because she is such an amazing, strong, and loving person. No matter what, she keeps her head up, and aims to do better each day. My family also inspires me because of their support and encouragement for me to succeed. Lastly, people that go after their dreams when facing adversity, because they know it’s possible to be and do whatever they want.

Blaque: We all have that food that we just have to have, what is your favorite food?

SLF: I love my greens: SPINACH, okra, sweet peas, salad, green beans, and sometimes kale. If it weren’t for Popeye, I don’t think I would love spinach as much as I do. LOL.

Blaque: I love all of the above greens except okra. Ewww! LOL. I can definitely do without that. What is your favorite holiday, and why?

SLF: I live for the end of every year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween, too, because I can watch scary movies back-to-back.

Blaque: How many books have you published to date? (Compilations and anthologies included.)

SLF: I have published three books: Charming Without Chance (2015), Charming Without Chance 2: Crimson Love (2016), and Bad Politics (2017).

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

SLF: In five years, I see myself enjoying my relationship with God, my family, my friends and all the good, positive things that I have experienced in life. I see myself getting to vacation whenever I want to. I also see myself working for myself with a great team of people, helping children and adults through my non-profit in my old neighborhood and spreading the love and message that God gave me to share.

Blaque: Sometimes the mind just draws a blank and ideas seem so far out of reach, how do you deal with writer’s block?

SLF: I don’t force the writing. I have to do something else like paint, read, or do a project. I leave the writing alone for a few days and then come back to it. Lately, I find what helps is to already have a plot going, and sometimes how I want the story to end.

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

SLF: A really sad movie can bring tears to my eyes. Whenever I can feel the tears coming, I look away and start shaking my head, and I say, “Awwww naw, they done got me for my tears.” LOL.

Blaque: If you had $1,000,000 to donate to a worthy cause, which would it be, and why?

SLF: Honestly, I would start my own non-profit in my old neighborhood. It would be two centers. One would be an afterschool facility for kids to be creative and educated. The second would be a place for adults to get their High school Diploma/GED, assist with finding employment and a home. It will also teach about the dollar bill and how to invest, save, and spend it.

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

SLF: I was very quiet around others. A little shy, but mostly because I wasn’t quick to get comfortable around people outside of my family. At home, I was funny, playful, creative, and a big sister – most people thought I was an only child.

Blaque: Out of the books you have published, which is your favorite, and why?

SLF: My favorite would have to be my latest book, “Bad Politics” because I was able to learn from my first two books and apply that knowledge to it. And mostly, because I have wanted to write this story for years. A group of women working together to make their dreams a reality in the music industry – I felt it was a much needed story.

Blaque: Where do you get most of your story ideas?

SLF: Experiences I have gone through, or that others I do/don’t know have gone through inspire my stories. Little things like a quote, a song, or a random thought can give me a story idea.

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

SLF: I love 90’s R&B all day, every day. I also enjoy smooth jazz.

Blaque: I am a huge 90’s R & B fan as well. What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

SLF: Stop saying “but” – “I want to write a book, but…” You can write a book or write anything you want. You can also self-publish like I have. You just have to research and commit to trial and error. You won’t know what can happen until you try it.

Blaque: That is great advice. I try to tell people that all the time. It’s not as hard as they think it is. As long as writing is your passion, you will know when you should begin, or how you should begin. Do you have any other talents besides writing?

SLF: Yes. I am a creative artist. I write songs, poetry, and short stories. I have my own painting business – Fascinating Paintings. I host my own podcast show – Characters Here, and I love Do-It-Yourself projects.

Blaque: How does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

SLF: I feel all bubbly inside. It’s like getting an award for sharing my passion. It’s like a stamp of approval. I love feedback.

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

SLF: I want to write full-time. Like, writing will be my day job. I want to be on a panel with other authors, and I want to sell 100 books a day.

Blaque: What has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to jump over while embarking on your writing journey?

SLF: Self-doubt and fear have been my hardest hurdles. I have second-guessed myself and talked myself out of opportunities instead of putting my trust in God and allowing him to take over. By myself I knew I couldn’t do much, but with God, I can do all things.

Blaque: What inspired your latest book?

SLF: Not seeing enough representation of women standing together, working together, and uplifting one another inspired my latest book.
Blaque: Thank you so much for sharing things about yourself that I’m sure your readers didn’t know.

SLF: No problem. I want my readers to get to know the person behind the words.

Blaque: So, do you have a website where readers can check out your work and more about you?

SLF: yes, readers can visit my website here.

Blaque: And are you active on social media?

SLF: Yes, if any readers are interested in keeping up with me and my latest releases, they can follow me on Instagram and on my Facebook fan page here.

Blaque: Well, this concludes another interesting and informative author spotlight interview. Until next time. Happy writing!

** Note **

If you are an indie author, and you would like to spotlight on my blog, visit Author Spotlight and follow the instructions to submit your interview. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

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