OOSA Book Club gives Diamonds Are Forever 5 STARS!

So today, randomly, I decided to check amazon.com just to see if there were any new reviews that had posted for any of my books. Lo and behold, I spotted a new one from OOSA Book Club for Diamonds are Forever. Check out what the reviewer had to say:

“Diamonds are Forever” tells the story about several characters from book one,
“Diamonds in the Rough.” I did not read book one but I was still able to follow
some of the events of what happened.

Carmen went to prison for stealing a
diamond. She gets her sentence reduced and she is able to go come home to a
multi-million dollar enterprise and more drama than she knows what to do

Kane, Carmen’s husband, works as an undercover agent who gets his
wife’s sentence reduced because he was responsible for her being in prison in
the first place. Kane was trying to take down Carmen’s long time love, Jay
Santiago, and she got caught up in the rival.

Jay is the king of the
streets. He is trying to rebuild his empire but doesn’t realize that what he has
been longing for is in his path.

Vogue’s “Diamonds are Forever” was very
enticing. It will draw the reader in and keep their attention from the very
beginning. I think it was very well written with plenty of drama and lots of
twists and turns. I would recommend this book to anyone as this author did a
great job at telling this story.

Behind the Book: Jayceon King Santiago

When I first decided that Carmen would become a mother, I instantly knew that her first born would be a boy. The next thing I knew was that he was going to be a bad ass. I didn’t want him to be as tough or as ruthless as Jay, but I wanted to set him up on the trek where he had the potential to maybe one day become just like him.

Now that I’m older and more mature, I want my characters to make that same transition. My plan is to transform the character of Jayceon King Santiago (born Jayceon Santiago Kane, but generally known as King) from a troubled young male to a legit businessman.

The Troubled Young Teen

If you’ve read Diamonds are Forever (DAF) then you know that when you are first introduced to King that he is beating up an old comrade who owes him money for drugs. The purpose of this scene was to set the tone for the kind of persona that King has. It also allows you, the reader, to see that although he was not raised nor has knowledge of Jay, he still possesses some of his characteristics.

Most of King’s teenage years were spent in juvie and behavioral centers as a result of selling drugs, truancy, fighting, and theft. In DAF, he attributes this behavior to wanting his mother’s attention. He realized early on that he got it whenever he was getting into trouble and she had to come to his rescue. When he finally reveals this to her, Carmen expresses her love for him and tells him that she will try and work on their relationship.

Making the Change

Throughout the course of the book, his persona starts to change, which is due to his new relationship with Jay (who is first introduced to him as Jigga). In addition, Malik encourages King to stay out of trouble so that he can successfully maintain his new position in the Santiago cartel. Although King is still involved in illegal business, he does become more levelheaded. This can be seen in the scene when he is arrested by his stepfather for a jewelry heist. In the past, he usually put up a fight, but this time, he keeps his cool. He just wants to do his time, get his sentence over so that he can get back to business.

Behind Bars

Most of his downtime is not described or shared in DAF or AOD, but I can tell you that he spent most of his time developing several business plans including one to start his own record label (King Records). A millionaire before the age of eighteen (due to his father’s constant financial support), his money nearly doubled because of his involvement with the Santiago cartel. It is with this money that he plans to fund his record label along with two silent partners.

King’s Future

I will go on record and say that King has a bright future ahead of him. After he is released, you will see more of this as he branches out and creates his own businesses. He also becomes more of his own person and gets out of his father’s shadow.

Tidbits about Jayceon King Santiago

-Jayceon is normally pronounced Jay-see-on, but his name is actually Jason which is a play on Jay’s son

-He is short for a male, only 5’9 and weighs approximately 160 lbs.

-He keeps his hair cut low and closely resembles his great-grandfather, Vincent Santiago (Hector’s father).

– He changed his name to Jayceon (first name) King (middle name) Santiago (last name) when he was nineteen years old to reflect his true parentage.

-The collection, King, manufactured by Flame is named after him.

-His love interest is Coco Masterson, who is best friends with his sister, Kristian.

Something else you want to know? Feel free to leave a comment!

Behind the Book: Rakim Washington

ImageRakim Washington was a character that most readers took a liking to at the beginning of the series. In a way, this was intentional when I was writing his character because I wanted him to be the perfect balance between Jay and Kane. On one side, he was the good guy who was in college (Rakim attended Brookstone University with Carmen) and wanted to go to medical school and on the other; he was the guy who ran the streets to provide for himself financially.

Rakim became dependent on the drug game after his parents were killed in a car accident, which was caused by a tornado three years prior to the start of the novel. He, along with his fraternal twin brother, Malik, were barely out of high school when they linked up with Jay and joined the Santiago cartel. Although Rakim was a drug dealer, he was not as deep in the game as his brother. Rakim’s passion was education and selling drugs was merely a way for him to fund his dream.

In addition to being a college student, Rakim was looking to pledge the fictional Theta Beta Psi Fraternity. In an earlier post of Behind the Book, I discussed my reasoning behind having him join a fictional fraternity versus an organization that was part of the Divine Nine (see Behind the Book: Brookstone University). If you’ve read Diamonds in the Rough, then you are well aware that Rakim never completed his pledge process due to unfortunate events.

Rakim’s demise was the main turning point in the story. It is the dividing line between the “good Carmen,” and the “bad Carmen.” I honestly believe that if Rakim was still living that Carmen wouldn’t have done half of the things that she did. His passing left her without a confidante and made her more susceptible to temptation and greed.

What do you think? If Rakim had of lived, would Carmen have gotten into that much devilment? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Tidbits on Rakim

-Although he and Malik would be confused for identical twins, they are actually fraternal because Rakim has a mole on his face. This is used to distinguish between the two.

-He was a Biology major at Brookstone University

-He once claimed to work at the pharmacy at Kroger to hide his true occupation

-He dated Carmen’s best friend, Monifah, which he kept a secret for the majority of the book

-In his honor, Carmen named her second biological son (Malachi is adopted) after him. Her son’s full name is Rakim Antonio Kane.

Behind the Book: Michael Antonio Kane

I think that it is only fair to say that Kane is a character that I still haven’t figured out yet. When I first introduced him in Diamonds in the Rough, my plan was for him to be the reincarnation of Rakim. I wanted him to be the good Christian guy that rescued Carmen from Jay and was also the polar opposite of him.

Then, while writing the novel, I created a twist in the storyline and revealed that he was a Triad agent (the Triad is a fictional government agency, somewhat of a mix between the FBI and DEA). Some readers were already suspicious of him because he was so accommodating to Carmen and wasn’t that surprised when I revealed the secret. However, I took it a step further with his dramatic turn in Diamonds is Forever.

My whole plan for him being the perfect man for Carmen was now officially out the door.

As I continue writing the series, I see now that I am showing more of his alter ego than the real him. The “real Kane” is the man that Carmen met inside of her store and fell in love with. His alter ego is the one who pins her down in the bed, calls her out her name, and is quick-tempered. This is the same alter ego that Kane uses when he goes undercover.

In terms of Kane’s background, I shall start with the origin of his character. In one of the earlier versions of Diamonds in the Rough, Kane was actually the name of Jay’s character. Somehow, I ended up sending that version to the chop shop. There was also another version of the book where I introduced Kane at the beginning of the story as an up and coming clothing store owner who was Carmen’s competitor. I actually kept part of this storyline for the current version of Diamonds in the Rough.

Originally, I didn’t plan on giving him a full name until I decided that his character would be prevalent throughout the series. I settled on his first name being Michael and his middle name Antonio, which doesn’t have any real major significance. As for his moniker, “Kane,” he started using it when he went undercover as a drug dealer. Since his product of choice was cocaine, “Kane,” seemed to be the perfect name for someone who was posing as a Jamaican drug lord.

In addition, Kane was born and raised in New York and his family (his parents and sister) currently lives in Manhattan. Right now, I am unsure if they will play a bigger role in the series than what they do. With the way the storyline is going, I don’t really see them fitting in unless I squeezed them into book five (tentatively titled Diamonds N’ Roses).

Of course, I can always change my mind.

When it comes to Kane’s physical characteristics, his looks are somewhat similar to Lotus’. He’s dark-skinned, bald-headed, about 6’2 and weighs approximately 200 lbs. He is also very muscular. Several people have told me that they envision Tyrese when reading about Kane or D.B. Woodside who plays Malcolm Franks on VH1’s Single Ladies. In my personal opinion, I see more of Kane in D.B than Tyrese.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment!

Behind the Book: Harold Davenport/ Lotus Pagua

In celebration of Fathers’ Day, I decided that the next blog post of Behind the Book would feature Harold Davenport/ Lotus Pagua. As an avid reader, most urban fiction titles that I read either had an absentee father or a father that was a drug dealer, pimp, alcoholic, etc. I did not want this in my novel although it is revealed later on in Diamonds in the Rough (DITR) that Carmen’s father was a former drug dealer. While he does have a past, Lotus is presented in the novel to be somewhat of a “Cosby” dad. To be honest, this part of the story is somewhat inspired by Delroy Lindo’s character, Isaak O’Day, in the movie, Romeo Must Die. Lindo’s character was heavily involved in various illegal operations, but was still viewed as a family man.

Much of what is known about Lotus can be found in DITR. His past is further explored in the Ace of Diamonds, however, I will not reveal that information since the book has not been published. To start, Lotus was born in the Bahamas to a rather large family. I never went into detail regarding his family aside from the fact that his parents disowned him when he entered the drug trade in his late teens. It is because of this that Lotus found solace in Hector Santiago, a young drug dealer who made a name for himself in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lotus was introduced to Hector through a local drug dealer in the Bahamas and soon started to work for him thus becoming a part of the Santiago cartel. Lotus never moved to Puerto Rico to work alongside Hector, but the two of them did migrate to the United States together (Lady, Hector’s wife and mother to Jay, also moved with them to Brookstone, New York at this time).

In the states, Lotus helped Hector to build the Santiago cartel until his late twenties. During this time, his main role aside from handling the day-to-day operations of the cartel was to oversee the construction of the cartel’s various businesses. One of these businesses was Sapphire, which was originally an elite gentleman’s club before Jay took over. Other businesses include laundromats and restaurants, which were closed after the demise of the cartel.

Once Lotus decided to settle down with Patricia (Carmen’s mother) and she got pregnant, he began to want a different life for himself and his family. Lotus broke away from the cartel and even changed his identity to completely disassociate himself from all things Santiago. This decision stemmed from the numerous investigations that Hector was under. Lotus feared for his freedom and did not want to be taken down if the government got enough evidence to indict Hector. He changed his name to Harold Davenport and started Davenport Realty, Inc. with the earnings he made from his time with the cartel. His departure created strife in his friendship with Hector though there was never any retaliation on Hector’s part.

In the end, Lotus found success with his real estate business and even opened up a second office in Dallas, Texas. As for his relationship with Patricia, the two remained together despite a brief separation in DITR. At the conclusion of Diamonds are Forever (DAF), the two have been married for almost forty years.

What else would you like to know? Feel free to leave a comment!

Tidbits about Lotus

– He is dark-skinned, bald, and approximately 6’2

-He loves to play golf.

– He owned two houses throughout the series (one in Brookstone that is sold to Kane and a house in Dallas, Texas)

– He is not an only child and has lots of siblings (I don’t have an exact number because I never went into much detail regarding his immediate family)

-He only has one child, which is Carmen (This will not change either.)


Behind the Book: Brookstone University

One of the first locations introduced in The Diamond Collection is the fictional Brookstone University. Located in East Brookstone, New York, the school is one of the primary settings in Diamonds in the Rough. Carmen, Tiara, Monifah, and Rakim are all attendees although none of them will graduate with degrees from the school for various reasons.

Kinard Hall

The university is heavily modeled after my alma mater, Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC). This is only natural since I wrote the first two books while in attendance (I attended Winthrop from August of 2003 to December of 2007). There are only two differences between the two. The first difference is that one school is fictional and the other is not. The second difference is that Winthrop is located in a small city while Brookstone University is located in a large city. In terms of the structure of Brookstone University, I did not describe the buildings or the campus. If I had of, the buildings would’ve been very similar to those on Winthrop’s campus. For example, Gardner Hall (which is mentioned at the very beginning of the novel- it is the place where Carmen meets Tiara before they head to the diner) represents Kinard Hall. There is also a nameless auditorium where Carmen meets Tiara to discuss the possibility of her being intimate with Jay. This building could very well be Byrnes Auditorium.

The French Toy Poodle, official mascot of Sigma Gamma Rho

As for similarities, both universities have the presence of Greek Life. This part of the story came from the fact that I joined Sigma Gamma Rho in 2005 and wanted to incorporate Greekdom into my novel. In the book, Carmen’s mother, Patricia Davenport, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta and Rakim is looking to pledge the fictional Theta Beta Psi Fraternity.

When the book first came out in 2010, I got the question of why Carmen’s mother was a Delta. Well, the honest answer is that I felt that if she was a Sigma Gamma Rho, it would be expected. I decided to go against the grain and make her a Delta. I also knew that if I ever wanted to create conflict between Carmen and her mother, one of the causes could be that Carmen became an honorary woman of Sigma against her mother’s wishes. This would only contribute to the strife that will already have formed between the two.

Next, the decision to create a fictional brotherhood for Rakim came during the editing process of Diamonds in the Rough. Originally, Rakim was pledging Omega Psi Phi. There is also a scene in the book where Carmen goes to Rakim’s house, sees his line brothers there, and they discuss brief details of his pledge process. I didn’t want to attribute hazing, an illegal activity, to any organization that was a part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) so I decided to create a fictional organization. By using Theta Beta Psi, the image of NPHC and Omega Psi Phi remained protected.

Since I am on the subject of Greek Life, I thought it would be only fair to disclose that the original version of The Ace of Diamonds focused on Carmen’s daughter, Kristian, pledging a fictional sorority, Lambda Pi Omega. Whether or not, I will keep this same story, but introduce it with new characters and as a book that is not part of the Diamond Collection is up in the air. For right now, it shall remain in my vault of unfinished works.

Something else you want to know about Brookstone University? Leave a comment!

Diamonds are Forever: Synopsis and Excerpt

Book Cover Concept by Vogue

The Diamond Collection continues.


Eight months pregnant, and Carmen Davenport is unsure of what is waiting for her outside of the Metropolitan Correctional Facility. For six grueling months, she sat in a cold cell with only the thought of her unborn son, Jayceon King Santiago, keeping her sane.


Carmen returns to Brookstone to discover that Flame, Inc. is now a multi-million dollar enterprise. It’s all thanks to her best friend Tiara.  


The man responsible for Carmen’s imprisonment and the disbanding of the Santiago cartel, Michael Antonio Kane, is now a permanent resident of Brookstone. Without a doubt, Carmen knows that their paths will cross


He may have received a life sentence, but Carmen is certain that Jay will find his way back to Brookstone.

Diamonds Are Forever is a reunion with familiar characters and another look into the dramatic lives of Brookstone’s finest. Can they all just get along?

Diamonds are Forever is the second of ten books that comprise “The Diamond Collection.”  




            The steel gray bars separated into two as Carmen stepped one foot out of the cell. She had told herself that when this day came that she wasn’t going to look back. She was going to put one foot in front of the other and continue walking, leaving behind the stale smell of the quarters, the loud yelling of the inmates around her and the memory of being locked up. She did exactly that. She put one foot in front of the other as the guards led her out of the cell and into a small room. They closed the door behind her allowing her to change out of the orange jumpsuit that she had been wearing for nearly six months.      

            Carmen stared at the window knowing that the guards were watching her change. Through the last six months, she had grown accustomed to the lack of privacy. Carmen stared at the plastic bag that lay on the table. In the bag were the clothes she was wearing when she was arrested. Carmen slid the jumpsuit off, anxious to get back inside of real clothes. The jumpsuit fell at her ankles and she grabbed the dress, pulling it over her head. It stopped just about two inches above her knees. She grabbed the flip-flops, putting her feet inside of them. She felt for the holes in her ears, hoping that the holes hadn’t closed up and slid the earrings inside. Carmen waited, knowing that they were watching her. It was only a matter of seconds before they were going to open the door.

            Carmen waited until she heard the sound of the door opening before she moved. She grabbed the plastic bag and followed the guard out of the room and down towards the releasing department to collect the money that had been left in her account.

            “Going home,” one of the other inmates asked as she walked by.

            “Yes ma’am,” Carmen answered. She kept walking, knowing that the inmate had to be new to the facility because she had never seen her before. Carmen stood in line, seeing another woman being released until it was her turn. She filled out the card with her information and handed it to the clerk.

            “Are you having a girl or boy?” the guard asked, peering down at her belly.

            “A boy,” Carmen replied, starting to drum her fingers on the counter as she waited for the clerk to hand her the leftover money. Carmen touched her head, feeling the tight cornrows that she had gotten the night before. Due to the vitamins and pills she had to take for the baby; her hair had grown almost down her back. Carmen knew that she wouldn’t be able to take care of her hair because she was in prison so she quickly made friends with an inmate who could braid. Carmen got her hair braided regularly, trading braids for food and postage stamps.

            “Here you are,” the clerk said, handing Carmen an envelope. Carmen took it from her hands and slid it into the plastic bag.

            “Ready?” the guard asked.

            “I’ve been ready for six months,” Carmen told the guard. Carmen followed the guard down the long hallway. She could feel tears starting to wail up in her eyes as it hit her. It was over. Her prison days were over.