Behind The Book: Diamonds N’ Roses (Chapter Four)

Behind the Book is a series in which I give you a behind the scenes look at one of the latest installments of The Diamond Collection. For this round, I will be focusing on Diamonds N’ Roses: Part Five of The Diamond Collection.

Diamonds N’ Roses was released on December 25, 2016 and is available at the following online retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.

Other Available Titles in The Diamond Collection: Diamonds in the Rough, Diamonds are Forever, The Ace of Diamonds, Black Diamonds, The Diamond Tiara (Part Six) and Dirty Red Diamonds (Part Seven).


This chapter opens with a family dinner in which Carmen and Jay’s son, King, announces his plans to marry his girlfriend, Coco. While the marriage plans were revealed in a previous chapter, King and Coco are hesitant to announce their pregnancy due to their fear of how Coco’s mother, Maya, will react. While they dance around the topic, Maya has already figured out that her daughter is pregnant (the biggest clue is that they are trying to have a shotgun wedding).

Maya shares her thoughts on the pregnancy in a one on one conversation with Carmen. Her reaction isn’t positive because I wanted her to have a similar reaction to the one Carmen’s mother (Patricia) had when she learned Carmen was pregnant with King. This is an example of history repeating itself. Like Patricia was with Jay, Maya disapproves of the pregnancy because of King’s past and run-ins with the law. Another example of history repeating itself, is that just like Carmen, King is also having his first child in his early twenties.

The pregnancy and pending nuptials are only more toppings to distract Carmen and Jay from planning their wedding. With a year to go until their wedding date, more drama can only be on the rise.

Behind The Book: Diamonds N’ Roses (Chapter Three)

Behind the Book is a series in which I give you a behind the scenes look at one of the latest installments of The Diamond Collection. For this round, I will be focusing on Diamonds N’ Roses: Part Five of The Diamond Collection.

Diamonds N’ Roses was released on December 25, 2016 and is available at the following online retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.

Other Available Titles in The Diamond Collection: Diamonds in the Rough, Diamonds are Forever, The Ace of Diamonds, Black Diamonds, The Diamond Tiara (Part Six) and Dirty Red Diamonds (Part Seven)

At the time I was writing this book, I had two friends who were looking to create an event planning company. I added them to the book as the characters, Veronica Freeman and Patience Nelson, because Carmen needed event planners for her wedding. In fact, DreamGirlz, as named in the book, was going to be the name of their company.

This particular chapter was entitled, “Want Some More,” because more drama was brewing. The relationship between Jay and his eldest son, King, which has always been rocky, was taking another plunge. Kane also hints to Carmen in this chapter that he still has a soft spot for her when he asks for “one more night,” before their divorce is final.

Behind The Book: Diamonds N’ Roses (Chapter Two)

Behind the Book is a series in which I give you a behind the scenes look at one of the latest installments of The Diamond Collection. For this round, I will be focusing on Diamonds N’ Roses: Part Five of The Diamond Collection.

Diamonds N’ Roses was released on December 25, 2016 and is available at the following online retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.


In this chapter, readers learn that Chapter One was a nightmare. Well, parts of it was. Some of it did actually happen.

In Chapter Two, readers are introduced to the two main plot points of the book. The first is Story A, which is the planning of Carmen and Jay’s wedding. The second is Story B, which is Jay being introduced to the issue of conflict diamonds (or blood diamonds).

Story B conflicts with Story A because it distracts Jay from the main task at hand – the planning of his wedding. This chapter shows the start of the breakdown in some of Jay’s relationships. First, with his fiancée, Carmen, as he misses their first planning session. Then, with his business partner in Africa and his best friend/ right-hand, Malik Washington.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Diamond Collection if there wasn’t a sea of other conflicts occurring at the same time (i.e. Coco’s pregnancy, Kristian’s disappearance). I planted this stuff on purpose as I wanted readers to question if the wedding between Carmen and Jay was even going to happen with all the drama surrounding them. Hence why the chapter is named, “All Things Go.” The title of the chapter as well as many more in the book come from the tracklisting of Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint album. This album stayed on repeat while I was writing the book, which is why I named the chapters after most of the songs.

Behind The Book: Diamonds N’ Roses (Chapter One)

Behind the Book is a series in which I give you a behind the scenes look at one of the latest installments of The Diamond Collection. For this round, I will be focusing on Diamonds N’ Roses: Part Five of The Diamond Collection.

Diamonds N’ Roses was released on December 25, 2016 and is available at the following online retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.

Other Available Titles in The Diamond Collection: Diamonds in the Rough, Diamonds are Forever, The Ace of Diamonds, Black Diamonds, The Diamond Tiara (Part Six) and Dirty Red Diamonds (Part Seven)


To kick it off, let’s start with Chapter One, which is entitled “The Lion’s Den.” The chapter’s title was partly inspired by the show, Empire, and by the primary setting of the scene – Jay’s office at his club, Sapphire. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Jay Santiago is the main male character of the series. At the time of this chapter, he is engaged to the book’s main female character, Carmen Davenport.

This chapter is a mix of reality and fantasy. I wanted to pick up where Book Four, Black Diamonds, left off, which was at the re-opening of Jay and Carmen’s soul food restaurant, Blue Magic. I also wanted the book to open with a bang. This chapter is an intimate scene between Carmen and Jay, which begins with the two sharing a couple of drinks. One in particular, was VSOP, which I chose on purpose as an ode to one of my favorite singers, K. Michelle (she has a song called VSOP).

Their intimate moment is “interrupted,” by Carmen’s soon-to-be ex-husband Kane. This was to show that the love triangle between these three is still on-going despite Carmen and Kane being in relationships with other people. The end of the chapter is where the fantasy comes into play (I won’t share this spoiler) and is a foretelling of what is to come later in the book.

Behind the Book (Black Diamonds): New Blood: Roman Soliz

btbbdnewblood copyThe last character to discuss in this mini blog series is the character of Roman Soliz. Roman is personal to me, because the idea for this character came from a friend. While writing Black Diamonds, one of my friends attended a Comic Con event in Greenville, SC. He went dressed as Black Mask from Batman, a character I didn’t even know existed until he told me about the event. Since I am the type of person who likes to “stay in the know,” I went and looked up the character to see exactly who Black Mask was. Black Mask, born Roman Sionis, was a character who was born to wealthy parents who cared very little for him. Roman ended up killing his parents by burning down their mansion because they didn’t approve of his relationship with his girlfriend. A freak accident in which he is struck by a lightning bolt trying to break into his parent’s crypt causes him to hit a stone headfirst. It is this incident, which turns him into the villain and crime lord, Black Mask. After discovering this information, I informed my friend that I was going to create a character for him in Black Diamonds. He would be one of the main male character’s sidekicks and I promised him he wouldn’t die, lol. From there, the character of Roman Soliz was born. While my friend is the character, Roman Soliz, there aren’t any personal attributes between him and the character aside from what is mentioned here. The two are completely polar opposites.

Black Mask

From the story of Black Mask, the only thing I took from the Batman character was the character’s first name and I did somewhat of a play on the last name. I also plan on giving Roman a love interest (unlike Gully, who will remain single throughout the series), who Jay and Carmen will not approve of just like Black Mask’s girlfriend wasn’t approved of. Since, I don’t want to give too much away, I’m intentionally leaving out why they won’t approve of the relationship. This storyline will come into affect in Diamonds N’ Roses. As far as Roman Soliz’s persona, he is totally different from Black Mask. Soliz isn’t evil or a villain despite his background as a former bounty hunter for the US government. He, just like most of Jay’s men, only kill when necessary to save their life or the people they are protecting. When it comes to style, their look is also totally different. While this isn’t heavily described in Black Diamonds, Roman Soliz, unlike Jay Santiago and his other right-hand men, doesn’t dress in suits. He dresses in jeans and T-shirts. In fact, I would say Roman Soliz’s character dresses more like Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel’s character in the Fast & Furious).

Jesse Williams

Last, but not least, Roman Soliz, is of Hispanic descent. He was born in Puerto Rico and is an associate of Gully’s, which is how he ends up working for Jay. He is a widower having lost his wife and daughter during childbirth. Jay describes him in the book as having the same complexion as Jesse Williams. I would like to go on record and say that I don’t at all envision Jesse Williams as the character of Roman Soliz. If anything, the only thing the two share is the same complexion. Roman, similar to Gully, is ruggedly handsome, muscular, and is described as being a few inches shorter than Jay who is 6’5.

To see how Roman Soliz’s character pans out in Black Diamonds, check out a copy of the book on Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook.

Behind the Book (Black Diamonds) : New Blood: Victor Fontaine

btbbdnewblood copyVictor Fontaine is a character who was in the works during the beginning stages of the series. In fact, he was a part of the original version of The Ace of Diamonds, which was later scrapped. His character was moved and introduced to what is now known and published as, Black Diamonds. While the character remained a part of the series, his persona completely changed. In the original version, Victor is a twenty-seven year old restaurant owner who is quiet, reserved, and easily intimidated. He is Blu’s sidekick because he is someone Blu can easily control and scare. He also had a strong passion for reading classics (books like Great Expectations). The idea for his character was actually inspired by a photograph I saw of Jay-Z and Kanye West in XXL Magazine. It was a recreation of a famous photograph of the late John F. Kennedy and his brother, the late Robert Kennedy. When I looked at the photo, Jay-Z appeared to be the one in charge and Kanye was there listening to an order. It reminded me of the relationship between Blu and Victor. One was the ringleader while the other was only second in command.

I didn’t change my mind about his character until I started watching Season 3 of VH1’s Single Ladies (now airing on Centric). I liked the persona of Terrence Franks (portrayed by Harold “House” Moore) and how he was tough as nails, ruggedly handsome, and had a great business sense. His character made me think of how Victor could be perceived. I didn’t want readers to think that Victor was soft or a man who couldn’t stand on his own so I decided to change his persona a bit. I made him slightly more like Terrence in the sense that he has great fashion sense and style, and has some clout about him.



In terms of Victor’s background, I’m going to reveal something that was not mentioned in Black Diamonds. Victor was adopted and raised in a single parent household. He has zero knowledge of his birth parents and never had a father figure. This information will be revealed in Diamonds N’ Roses, which is the fifth installment of The Diamond Collection series. As far as his physical appearance, Victor is dark-skinned, has a normal build for a male, and wears his hair cut in a Caesar.

To see how Victor Fontaine’s character pans out in Black Diamonds, check out a copy of the book on Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook.

Behind the Book (Black Diamonds): New Blood: Guillermo “Gully” Perez

btbbdnewblood copyIt wasn’t my initial plan when I started writing The Diamond Collection series to have a character by the name of Guillermo “Gully” Perez. The idea for this character came about from me wanting Jay, the main male character, to have other blood ties in the series aside from his children. I easily could’ve resurrected his father or mother from the dead, but I settled on him having a cousin. With Gully, I figured, he could be Jay’s cousin by relation, but his “brother” in terms of the closeness of their relationship.

To start, Guillermo “Gully” Perez was actually born Guillermo Santiago. Gully’s father is Hector Santiago’s brother who I have not yet given a name (Hector Santiago is Jay’s father). He is full-blooded Puerto Rican, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to parents who both have Puerto Rican ancestry. Perez is Gully’s mother maiden name, a name he uses purposely to separate himself from all things Santiago. Just like Jay, both of his parents are deceased, however, they weren’t murdered. I haven’t came up with reasons as to why Gully’s parents are dead, but it will probably be something like a heart attack, cancer, etc.


Jim Jones

Before I came up with the name Guillermo, I knew the character’s name was going to be Gully. I chose Gully because I wanted a name that represented a persona which was tough, mean, and hood. While it didn’t seem fitting to have a man in the book with a birth name of Gully, I knew it would have to be a nickname. I didn’t come up with Guillermo until I was watching an episode of Chrissy and Mr. Jones. Jim Jones had the appearance I was visualizing for Gully so I did a little Wikipedia search on the rapper and discovered the name Guillermo, which is actually Jim Jones’ middle name. It fit perfectly with the nickname Gully and made sense. I then gave him the last name Perez because of its Spanish origin.

Gully makes his first appearance in Book Four of The Diamond Collection, but will have a strong presence in the rest of the series. He will serve not only as Jay’s cousin, but also has his new right-hand, best friend, and “brother.” At this time, there are not any plans to give him a love interest, but this can always change. To see how the character, Guillermo Perez pans out in Black Diamonds, check out a copy of the book on Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook.

Behind the Book (Black Diamonds): New Blood

btbbdnewblood copySo I got the idea recently to start a part two to my blog series, Behind the Book. While it is too early to blog about the inspiration for scenes, etc, I realized I could delve into the background of the new characters without spoiling anything. Hence, the subtitle of the series, New Blood. I felt this was important because these new characters are going to be prevalent throughout the rest of the series. This series of Behind the Book is written to give you the background you probably won’t get in the books.

So, the characters I am going to focus on in this series are: Guillermo Perez, Victor Fontaine, and Roman Soliz. I did think about adding Jean Monet, but since she’s technically not a new character, I decided to leave her out. Besides, her story will be told in Part Six of The Diamond Collection, The Diamond Tiara. If you haven’t heard of these three male characters then you haven’t read Black Diamonds or you haven’t finished. This series will give you something to look forward to. If you are familiar with them then this will only give you a little bit more insight on their character. I hope you enjoy!


Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Forty-Eight, Forty-Nine, and Fifty

btbaceofdiam copy

Well, here we are, the last final edition of Behind the Book for The Ace of Diamonds. I hope you enjoyed the review of Book Three of The Diamond Collection just as much as I enjoyed reviewing it. It was an excellent review as I finalized thing for Black Diamonds, which will be available on July 4th.

Chapter Forty-Eight
1. I’ve been the clean-up man since he got back in this game. – This line spoken by King actually came from a quote by Young Buck I read in a magazine. He was discussing how he was bringing G-Unit back on top because his album, Buck the World, was actually selling thus making him the clean-up man (he even had a song called Clean Up Man on the album). I felt like King was a clean-up man, too and decided to use the phrase in this scene.
2. Coco bit her lip as she thought about giving in to him. Her concern wasn’t necessarily in the physical pain that came with losing her virginity, it was the aftermath. She had heard countless stories about girls who had gave it up only to become single again. She didn’t want to be one of them. – If you’ve ever seen Aretha Franklin’s video with Lauryn Hill, A Rose Is Still a Rose, then you know the synopsis involved a “good girl” losing her virginity only to be ditched for another chick. I think this is one of the fears girls/women have when it comes to making that decision of losing their virginity. The whole idea of “giving it up” only to be ditched. Since Coco is a virgin, I wanted this to be her concern other than the whole, “What if I get pregnant?” or “Will it hurt?”
3. Her right hand was busy putting the final edits on a design while the paper next to it was a rough outline of his grandfather’s homegoing service. – While planning my own father’s funeral, I had several rough outlines of the service before turning in the final one to the funeral home. I figured Carmen should at least have the same.

Chapter Forty-Nine
1. “We commit his body to the ground,” Minister Harrison was saying, “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make His face to shine upon him.” – I had to research how to conduct funerals in order to get this quote. Believe me, this part wasn’t fun. I don’t like looking at caskets especially not at night. This line is from Lotus’ burial ceremony.
2. She took a deep breath and knelt down in front of Tricia’s tombstone. “Well, it’s not a secret that we weren’t the best of friends,” she told her. “I wouldn’t exactly say we were enemies, but we had our differences. For some reason, we never confronted each other about them. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. What I do know is that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that your kids grow up to be successful. I know you’re proud of them and so am I. Without you, I wouldn’t have them. I guess that means I’m indebted to you.” Carmen placed the lily bouquet on the right side of the tombstone. “I know that I could never take you or Consuelo’s place. I don’t want to. I just want to make you proud,” she continued. – One of the things I regret about Book Two, Diamonds are Forever, is that there was never a scene where Carmen and Tricia had a conversation. I tried to make up for it in this book, but there were a slew of things that couldn’t be discussed because Tricia is dead. IY YI YI… too late to change it now.

Lil' Kim

Lil’ Kim

Chapter Fifty
1. “I’m not taking my foot off his neck. – This line spoken by Kane, is actually a Lil’ Kim quote. She said this in regards to Nicki Minaj during an interview with Angie Martinez. I loved it so much, not because it was in reference to Nicki, because I’m a fan of the Harajuku Barbie, but because I thought it was very ferocious.
2. I guess I better start calling the DreamGirlz now. – The DreamGirlz is actually two of my friends who were looking to start an event planning business. I’m putting them in my series as the event planners Carmen is using for her wedding. They will appear as characters in Book Five, Diamonds N’ Roses.
3. Blu glanced periodically out of the window as he was led down the streets of Copperton City. – This is the first line of the last scene in The Ace of Diamonds. In the original version of the book, this is the FIRST line in the FIRST scene of the entire book.
4. While the money was good, he wanted to get his hands on the black diamonds that he knew Jay possessed. – I dropped the words black diamonds here on purpose as a teaser for the fourth book, Black Diamonds.
5. “See nothing in the air but green dollar signs/ they say I can’t claim it, but from the looks, its mine/ I love the way it shines/ my ski mask, the next in line/ I steal with cats cryin’/ my eye is set on the diamond” – These six bars, part of a fictional rap song that Kristian is listening, too, are actually original rap lyrics written by me. It’s not a full-out song, but just something I wrote quickly for the scene

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Forty-Five, Forty-Six, and Forty-Seven

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Forty-Five
1. Therefore, he headed towards the den were he knew Patricia was. He hadn’t seen her since they had returned to the house and he wanted to check up on her before he left. – This scene where Jay goes to check on Patricia is supposed to show readers that the two did have a cordial relationship at one point in time.
2. “Birds of a feather may flock together, but you can’t fly with the eagles if you’re hanging with the chickens. – In my father’s kitchen, years ago, there was a magnet which said the famous quote, “You can’t fly with the eagles if you’re hanging with the chickens.” I thought this quote would be a good response for Patricia since Jay said, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Chapter Forty-Six
I didn’t want to skip this chapter, but after reading it, there wasn’t anything in it to really dissect. I will say that some of the things Kristian said to her mother in this chapter, I never could imagine saying to mine. All right, moving right along to Chapter Forty-Seven.


Teairra Mari

Chapter Forty-Seven
1. The park had always been her refuge and thankfully, it didn’t fail her this time. – In this scene, Kristian goes to the park after her argument with her mother. I chose the park because I knew Nicholas was going to be in this scene and in Book Two, Diamonds are Forever, it was a place they were always at together.
2. Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.”- This quote by Alex Tan, spoken by Nicholas, was inserted in this scene on purpose. I did a search on quotes about tears and crying and settled on this one. Nicholas uses this quote to announce his presence to Kristian.
3. Now, she was eighteen, appeared to be more mature, and had the body of Teairra Mari. – This is Nicholas’ description of Kristian. I guess this is the part where I say that I always see Teairra Mari in my head when I’m writing about Kristian.
4. Daddy always said, Carmen thought, whatever is done in darkness will come to light. – This thought of Carmen’s is a reference to the theme of Book One, Diamonds in the Rough.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Forty-Two, Forty-Three, and Forty-Four

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Forty-Two
I didn’t want to skip this chapter, but after reading it, there wasn’t anything in it to really dissect. Therefore I’ll be moving right along to Chapter Forty-Three.

Chapter Forty-Three
1. Her father couldn’t be dead. It wasn’t possible. – This was the easiest and the hardest scene to write. This is the part of the book where Carmen finds out her father has passed. It was the easiest to write because I know what it’s like to find out unexpectedly that a parent has passed. However, it was hard because I had to relive my own experience. Many of Carmen’s thoughts and feelings were my own, but not necessarily her actions.

Chapter Forty-Four
1. I have a relative who works in the mailroom, too. I think she’s like my father’s second cousin or some shit. Whenever I visit her, I get a badge with full access. Bitch doesn’t even know I’m using her.”- I inserted this line by Blu into the book purposely to explain how he was able to get into Flame so easily.
2. Shit, I didn’t even tell you about the phone call I got from Cesar. All of the bodies that were left at Blue Magic ended up at Jimenez Funeral Home. You know what that means? I get another chance to show Blu who he’s fuckin’ with. – These lines spoken by Jay end up again in Book Four, Black Diamonds during a flashback scene Carmen has.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapter Forty, Part V: The Aftermath, and Chapter Forty-One

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Forty
1. This chapter contains the only real love scene in the book. I honestly don’t believe in putting love scenes in books unless there is a purpose. While one may assume that this scene was simply a set-up to create a plot twist in the book, it wasn’t. When you read Black Diamonds, you will understand perfectly why a love scene had to be in this book.
2. “Don’t tell me you’re pregnant this time,” he joked. – This line is spoken by Jay and is a reference to the very last scene in Diamonds in the Rough when Jay and Carmen are arrested for the first time together.

Part V- The Aftermath
This section serves as the calm after the storm. The climax of the book is over and now it’s time to wrap all of this up…well, sort of, the book does have somewhat of a cliffhanger ending.

Chapter Forty-One
1. “My husband and another guy, I never knew his name.” – This line spoken by Carmen is in reference to the Triad agents who were responsible for getting her out her charge (of stealing the Pink Sunrise diamond) in Book One. The unknown man in this sentence will become a character in Book Seven: Dirty Red Diamonds.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Thirty-Seven, Thirty-Eight, and Thirty-Nine

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Thirty-Seven
1. Silvas set a mug of steaming hot green tea onto the table. As Jay picked up the cup, he pulled out a chair so that they could talk one on one. – I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but Silvas is actually German. Most people would probably assume that he is Puerto Rican, but he’s not. He actually moved to Puerto Rico as a young boy. This information isn’t in any of the books yet, but it will be.
2. “Why should I be a king when I can be an ace?”- This line was intentionally put in this scene as a reference to the title of the book.

Chapter Thirty-Eight
1. From what King could see, there were two empty chairs on the opposite side of his grandfather’s bed. – Since I knew how the book was going to end, I wanted a lot of the major characters to each to have a final conversation with Lotus where he gave them words of advice. This was the start of those conversations.
2. Malik took a step away from his car so he had more room to maneuver. He walked closer to Kane so that they were standing toe to toe. “You did this same shit twenty-something years ago, Kane. I gave you what you wanted then. You don’t remember? We made a deal. I gave you everything you wanted to know about Jay. I led you right to him. – One of the most asked questions I got from my first book was why Malik wasn’t arrested. Here is the answer right here in this chapter.
3. When he looked at his daughter, he could see for himself that she was torn between two men. Each of them gave her what the other one didn’t. Carmen longed for the traditional household, which Kane gave her while Jay fed her desire of a quick thrill. – Now that I’m rereading this statement, this is almost an example of the difference between a life partner and a soulmate. In this case, Kane would be Carmen’s life partner because he gave Carmen the traditional household while Jay would be Carmen’s soulmate because there’s a strong connection there yet they never seem to make a relationship work.

Chapter Thirty-Nine
I didn’t want to skip this chapter, but after reading it, there wasn’t anything in it to really dissect. Therefore I’ll be moving right along to Chapter Forty in the next installment of Behind the Book.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Thirty-Four, Thirty-Five, and Thirty-Six

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Thirty-Four
1. Mom was the single word that read on the screen of Kristian’s Blackberry. – It’s funny how the phones they use change depending on which phone I have at the time. In most of the books, they had Blackberry phones, but starting in Black Diamonds, they will have IPhones.

Chapter Thirty-Five
1. The man stated his name to be Stephen Franklin, the CEO of Continental. Tall, medium build, with dark brown hair and an olive skin complexion, it was the first time that Jay had officially seen him in person. – I don’t know if Patrick Dempsey’s (Grey’s Anatomy) skin complexion would be considered as olive, but I always pictured him as Stephen Franklin.

Chapter Thirty-Six
I didn’t want to skip this chapter, but after reading it, there wasn’t anything in it to really dissect. Therefore I’ll be moving right along to Chapter Thirty-Seven in the next installment of Behind the Book.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Part IV: The Tipping Point, Chapters Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, & Thirty-Three

btbaceofdiam copyPart IV: The Tipping Point- The title of this section serves as an alert to the reader that you’ve reached the climax of the book.
Chapter Thirty-One
1. Once Kristian and Akaila were both back inside of their dormitory, Carmen got inside the mini-van, preparing for the long drive back home. – I debated about using the word dormitory because I was always corrected in college by the RAs that we don’t live in dorms or dormitories, but in residence halls, lol.
2. “There’s a freshman party at the Sphinx Club. It’s like opening night for the club or something. I wanna go. You know, learn the city; meet new people.”- While the Sphinx Club is the name of Blu’s club in Copperton City, this part of the chapter is also a reference to my freshmen college days. The first party I went to was hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha. The Great Sphinx of Gaza is actually the fraternity’s symbol. In this scene, Kristian is planning to attend her first college party at the Sphinx Club.
3. Kristian was about to say more until she was interrupted by a guy who came up to them out of nowhere. He didn’t appear to be a bouncer and looked like he had stepped out of the pages of a Ralph Lauren catalog. – The guy spoken of in this scene was supposed to be a strong supporting character in the original version of The Ace of Diamonds. Right now, it appears that his character will be deleted from the series all together. To be honest, I don’t even remember what his name was.

Chapter Thirty-Two
1. Malik came in right behind him, along with Cesar, a man his father had brought from Puerto Rico. He served mostly as his father’s right-hand, taking over Costa’s duties. – I will go on record and say that when I think of Cesar’s character, I always visualize Brian J. White. I don’t think he’s Hispanic, but he can pass for being a black Latino.
2. Like they say, no one man should have all that power. When you get to the top, you have no choice, but to come back down. – Both of these lines are references or inspired by two hip-hop songs. The first line, which is probably the most recognizable, is from Kanye West’s, “Power,” while the second line is from the Intro on Jermaine Dupri’s first solo album, Life in 1472.

Chapter Thirty-Three
1. His friend in Africa had an army much bigger than his and fiercer. – This line was not meant to be taken literally, but as I started working on the plots for future novels, it became a literal statement. This statement references Jay’s comrade in Africa who is supplying diamonds to him.
2. She realized he was when he followed her into the hospital’s garden. – I was visiting a family member at the hospital one time and needed some fresh air away from the nurses, and that hospital smell. I went down to the garden for some peace and quiet. When I was writing this scene, I figured it would be a good private place for Carmen and Kane to talk since they’re at the hospital.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine,and Thirty

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Twenty-Eight
1. It was rare that she saw him like that, but she knew why when he held up the glass of Red Berry Ciroc.- While I’ll never be a Ciroc girl, I can always put product placement in my books. I intentionally put the product here. This is from a scene in the book when Carmen visits Jay to discuss her attack.
2. I need you to ride with me on this one. – Jay says this to Carmen to try and persuade her to handle her attack the way he wants too. It’s another ode to the whole Bonnie and Clyde theme in the storyline.
3. He showed his acceptance by planting a single kiss on her forehead. – Ever watched The Best Man and seen how they talk about the forehead kiss? It’s simple, sexy, and says so much. I had to put it in this scene.

Chapter Twenty-Nine
I didn’t want to skip this chapter, but after reading it, there wasn’t anything in it to really dissect. Therefore I’ll be moving right along to Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty
1. Despite there being two large Louis Vuitton suitcases near the recliner, his godfather was inside alone. – Here’s another reference to Kimora Lee Simmons. If you watched Life in the Fab Lane, you probably remember that most of her luggage is Louis Vuitton and she has tons of it.
2. Jay could hear the sentiment loud and clear in Lotus’ voice. He knew there was a lot that his godfather wanted to say, he only needed someone to listen. – I always felt like there needed to be a scene in one of the books that gave some background to Jay’s parents. This scene in Lotus’ hospital room seemed to be the perfect place to put the information.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapters Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Twenty-Six
1. Once she had reached the police department, she ran inside, dropping her Hermès Birkin bag onto the counter. – Sometimes I have to remember when I’m writing that Carmen is rich. Therefore the items she wears, carries, etc. have to have a certain price tag as well.
2. Believe me, Harris; you have a better chance at fuckin’ me than getting me to be an informant.” – This quote by Carmen was intentionally put in this scene to show how feisty and nasty she can get when someone she loves is being threatened. She says this to Lt. Harris after he reveals that the Brookstone PD is working once again to take down Jay.

Chapter Twenty-Seven
1. Once Carmen had gotten everything squared away with Malachi, she called Kane to schedule a late lunch at Old Town Bistro.- There was actually a restaurant called Old Town Bistro in Rock Hill, SC, when I was writing this book. It has since closed down. I used the name of the restaurant only because I liked the way it sounded. The set-up that I visualize for the book is totally different from what the restaurant looked like in Rock Hill.
2. “Whoever catches Jay first will get the most money out the pot.” – Years ago, a guy friend of mine gave me a book on Pablo Escobar called Killing Pablo. In the book, it spoke of how different government agencies were in a race to get Pablo first. I used this same scenario for this situation with Jay. If two agencies were trying to get Jay, in this fictional world, it would be the DEA and the Triad.
3. The first place he took her was to the desk of a man who was drawing out the shape of a ring. He let her watch him for a few seconds before he brought her over to a young woman who was sawing off a piece of carving wax. – I watched a YouTube video on how to make a diamond ring and I incorporated information from the video into this scene for the book.

Cuban Link

Cuban Link

4. “Linx,” he replied, looking out the window. – This line is from the scene in which Carmen meets Linx, one of Jay’s new workers for the first time after being attacked by Blu’s men. The idea for this character came solely from the rapper Cuban Link. I’m a big fan of his song, “Flowers for the Dead.” I knew Jay’s new men on his team would be of Hispanic descent and I wanted them to be stocky. I remembered the rapper and felt he looked similar to what I wanted so I decided to name the character Link. Then to jazz it up a little, I took off the k and added the x.

Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapter Twenty-Four and Chapter Twenty-Five

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Twenty-Four
I didn’t want to skip this chapter, but after reading it, there wasn’t anything in it to really dissect. Therefore I’ll be moving right along to Chapter Twenty-Five….

Chapter Twenty-Five
1. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them. – This is a scripture, which comes from Matthew 7:12. Blu passes this message to Carmen in a note while she is eating with Malachi, her middle son.