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: Bj Edwards

picture of author BJ Edwards

 

Hello everyone. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with author BJ Edwards. I love to travel, but I never thought I would get the chance to take a virtual trip to visit the United Kingdom.

 

BJ: Thank you so much for having me Blaque Diamond. You should really take a trip out here. I’m sure you will find it a fascinating place to visit.

 

Blaque: I just might have to do that. The United Kingdom is a place on my bucket list that I would love to visit in my lifetime.

 

BJ: I would love to give you a tour.

 

Blaque: Awww! That’s so sweet of you. I would really like that. So, I would like to talk to you and see who you are behind your title of author.

 

Bj: There is a lot about me that people may not know.

 

Blaque: I’m sure there is. It is a great opportunity for readers to get to know you more. So, lets get started. How many books have you published to date?

 

BJ: I have had three books published to date, not including poems that have crept into anthologies. I also write plays and screenplays, some of which have been produced or published. I have a number of books waiting to be published, but publishers work very slowly!

 

Blaque: That’s awesome! What kind of child were you growing up?

 

BJ: Well, this is tricky. I suppose I was curious and creative. I asked a lot of questions and wanted to know everything I could. I always had a strong imagination which I channelled into play, then art, then into the creation of my own stories and characters.

 

Blaque: What makes you uniquely you?

 

BJ: At this point I should say that everyone is unique. That said, I am totally blind, I have been visually impaired all my life, so I guess it has given me a unique perspective. Allied to this, I am passionately devoted to fitness and exercise. So, I guess I am a hybrid – someone who loves books, art and theatre, and someone who loves sweating, sport and martial arts!

 

Blaque: Oh Wow! We have something in common. I am also totally blind. I haven’t been visually impaired all my life, but I am now, and I have adjusted to my new life quite well. So, if you were granted three wishes, what would they be?

 

BJ: Firstly, I would wish that one of my scripts or books would be turned into a film, that would be amazing. Secondly, I would wish that I had a part in a Star Wars film. I mean, a proper part with a lightsaber! Thirdly, I wish that I could direct one of my own plays at a West End theatre. Yes, I know, these are all really selfish, and I should have wished for world peace, or Donald Trump to spontaneously combust or something. But this is unashamedly about me!

 

Blaque: Another thing we have in common I see. Lol. I too would like to see my books performed on a stage and shown on the big screen. That would be awesome! Now, I know how I deal with writer’s block, but how do you deal with writer’s block?

 

BJ: I always make sure I am working on more than one project. In essence, I make sure I am juggling more than two balls, so if I drop one, I can carry on. So, I always try to have a story or book to write, or a play or script to write or edit. This way I can still be productive if I’ve completely ran out of steam in another project.

 

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

 

BJ: Stalking The Shadows will always be special to me. It’s complex, multi-layered and was difficult to write. It deals with so many passions of mine; magic, battle, anthropology, theology, fantasy. I loved writing it, and love so many of the characters.

 

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

 

BJ: Some stories start life as an emotion, a tincture of feeling that I want to communicate. Others start off from a dream, or a character or event. The key is to give the seed of an idea time to grow. Sometimes an idea will become a poem, sometimes it will become a storey or a play, and sometimes it will grow and evolve a life of its own and become a novel. Ideas are everywhere, fragments of wonder that float amongst us. The key is to capture it, take care of it, nurture it and allow it to fuse with your mind and soul.

 

Blaque: What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

 

BJ: Just write. Practice and enjoy. Write for yourself, for your own enjoyment and satisfaction. Writing can be deeply personal and therapeutic, it can make you happy, elated, excited or sad. Poor emotion and imagination into your writing, and don’t get bogged down in thinking about getting published. Just write, and if you’re determined enough, or lucky enough, somebody else will enjoy your words and invest in them.

 

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

 

BJ: My zodiac sign is Sagittarius.

 

Blaque: Who is your favourite author and why?

 

BJ: This is tough, I admire so many authors. If someone was to hold a gun to my head, I would have to say Bernard Cornwell. He is consistently excellent, and his research is exemplary. I adore so much of what he writes.

 

Blaque: Do you have any other talents besides writing?

 

BJ: I am a little bit musical. I play the piano, clarinet, saxophone, and sing.

 

Blaque: What is your biggest fear?

 

BJ: Failure is my biggest fear.

 

Blaque: If your best friend could describe you in one word, what would it be?

 

BJ: I’ll actually text him and ask…. back in a few minutes… Ok, he said, “Contrasting.”

 

Blaque: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

BJ: I go to the gym everyday – in fact, I try to train for about two hours a day. I love rowing and cycling. I also love going to the theatre, watching films, music and reading. I also collect swords.

 

Blaque: What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

BJ: When I was really small, I wanted to be an ice cream man! Then I wanted to be an archaeologist, then an actor. I ended up being an English teacher, before taking up writing seriously.

 

Blaque: Are you a dog or a cat person?

 

BJ: Dogs all the way. I have a big black Labrador guide dog called Oliver. Though, my first pet was a cat called Bill, and my second pet was a Yorkshire terrier called Loo-Loo!

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

BJ: Bestselling books are seldom the best written books. My goal is to get more books published, and work with progressively bigger publishers. It would be good to get my work out into more book shops. It would be nice to come across someone on a train and notice they are reading one of my books.

 

Blaque: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell it?

 

BJ: “You know, life is often pretty hard. Sometimes it’s like pushing a boulder uphill whilst wearing roller skates. But keep on trying, keep on working, keep believing and never give-up. Find the beauty in everyday things, and life just might work out Ok.”

 

Blaque: What is your all-time favourite book?

 

BJ: Tricky. The book that had the most profound effect on me was Wilbur Smith’s Sunbird. The book that moves me the most is Cry The Beloved Country.

 

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

 

BJ: Autumn. There’s a very interesting energy to the changing of the season, the falling of the leaves and the sun as it dips lower and burns more fitfully. The smell of wood smoke, the crunch of leaves, the knowledge that Winter waits, and that bonfires will soon be coaxed into life.

 

Blaque: Very interesting interview. It was nice to see that we have some things in common.

 

BJ: Yes, I wanted to give readers a deeper sense of who I am.

 

Blaque: That I can tell. I’m sure they found out some things about you today that they never knew. So, where can your books be purchased?

 

BJ: Readers can purchase my book Stalking The Shadows: Ancient Destiny Book 1 on

 

Audible

 

It is available as an EBook and an audio book. They can also purchase my book Tesserae from Amazon in EBook or paperback versions.

 

Blaque: Where can readers find you on social media?

 

BJ: They can find me here

 

Twitter

Facebook

 

Blaque: Are you also a blogger?

 

BJ: yes, my blog can be found at

 

BJ’s WordPress blog

 

Blaque: And your website?

 

BJ: My website can be found at

 

BJ’s Website

 

Blaque: Well, everyone, I hope you enjoyed getting to know just a little bit more about author BJ Edwards. Be sure to check out his publications. If you are a fan of historical fiction, poetry, or fantasy, then I’m sure you will find some amazing adventures in his books.

 

BJ: It was a pleasure speaking with you today Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: The pleasure was all mine. Thanks for having me. I’m going to hold you to that tour of the UK.

 

BJ: I’m a man of my word.

 

Blaque: Until next time. Happy writing.