Behind the Book (The Ace of Diamonds): Chapter Thirteen


btbaceofdiam copyChapter Thirteen
1. They were standing around on the ramp like they had been waiting for her and Akaila to arrive. – Although Kristian, Akaila, Coco, and Dijuan are all in high school, I actually visualize my middle school as the setting for Brookstone High. Well, let me clarify, I envision the campus I remember as Beck Academy (Greenville, SC) as the setting. There were many ramps on campus, but this one in particular that my characters are at is the ramp just past the cafeteria that heads into the main academic building.
2. Blu paused as a red Cadillac pulled up in front of Kristian’s car.- I put Nicholas in this scene intentionally just so readers would know that he wasn’t going anywhere. Nicholas will be in the books for a while.
3. How they found something that had the size and look of a quarter, he didn’t know. – This line comes from the scene where Kane, Lieutenant Harris and Sanders are questioning Jarrod Luis. During the interrogation, an officer interrupts them and announces that the cameras that were planted in Continental have been destroyed. The look of the camera as described as being similar to a quarter is a reference to the movie, Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith. If you remember, the cameras in that movie looked just like a quarter.

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Hmm…the list is doing more growing than shrinking!


Love Heist by Jackie D.- PURCHASED!!!!!!!!

A Moth To A Flame by Ashley Antoinette

Softly and Tenderly by Lisa Binion

Dollhouse by Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian

Inner Circle: The Wives Association by Evelyn Lozada

Urban Web Tales by Gregory JT Simpson

The Prada Plan 2: Leah’s Story by Ashley Antoinette- PURCHASED

 

The Mind & Soul of Tiffani Real by Tiffani Real-PURCHASED!!!!

A Diamond in the Rough by Jacqueline McDuffie-PURCHASED!!!!

The Dirty Divorce by Miss KP

Leveled Mind Confused Heart by Angelique

Onyx and Eggshell by Wyatt Bryson- PURCHASED!!!!!

The Dopeman’s Wife by Jaquavis Coleman- PURCHASED!!!!

After the Party by Harvis Mathis

Prince’s Donor by Sindee Lynn

When A Tattered Past Catches You by Tasha Wright

Black Diamond 2: Nicety by Brittani Williams

Livin’ Ain’t Easy by Peron F. Long

Memoirs of a Creole Crime Cartel by Red Snapper- EXCHANGED COPY OF DITR FOR THIS BOOK- YIPPEEE!

Get N’ Serious by Rory Sheriff

Get N’ Serious 2: My Addiction by Rory Sheriff

Perfectly Addicted by Chermean Taylor Gregory

Behind The Book: Carmen Denise Davenport


The best place to start when discussing Carmen is with her name. Let me first say that there is no significance or meaning behind her middle name (Denise) or her last name (Davenport). Those names were just chosen randomly when I started writing the first book. For her first name, I chose the name “Carmen,” after watching Carmen Jones, a 1954 adaptation of the play Carmen, which starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. I fell in love with the way the name sounded and wanted to use it in a novel. Thus, the character of Carmen was born. 

Then, in 2001, another adaptation of the play came along that showcased one of the traits that I wanted Carmen to have. That trait was ambition and the movie was Carmen: A Hip-Hopera, which starred Beyonce Knowles and Mekhi Phifer. In the movie, Beyonce plays Carmen Brown an aspiring actress whose aspirations to make it to the top are so great that she doesn’t care who she hurts along the way. Sound sort of familiar?

While I definitely did not want to make a spin-off of Carmen: A Hip Hopera, I did want to take the trait of ambition and illustrate it in my novel. I showed this in the journey that Carmen takes to save Flame, the clothing boutique she inherits from her mother. If you’ve read the book, Diamonds in the Rough, then you know that Carmen does a few things that will make anybody question her morals and values. My goal was to create shock value by first showing her as a virginal, well-to-do college student who evolves into a woman who is somewhat of a femme fatale. The ultimate good girl gone bad. The good part about all of this is that Carmen is able to work through all of her obstacles and still come out on top.

It is this position of power that brings me to my next discussion. It may seem that every man wants or desires her, but it is not because of Carmen’s looks. Yes, she is attractive, which almost every main female character of a novel is, but it is Carmen’s wealth and power that attracts her to men. It is often said that a man will run from a financially independent woman, but if you are on the same level as her than there is no need to run. You are attracted to her status because her status is equal to yours. Besides, most of the men who are running after Carmen are on the same financial level as her. (Some of you may argue that Kane wasn’t, but you have to remember that Carmen was not rich or successful when they first met. She was a struggling store owner whose parents had moved to Dallas, Texas, leaving her to fend for herself.)

Speaking of attraction, I would like to share the visual I see when I think of Carmen. I see a woman who has a curvaceous shape, stands about 5’6, with dark brown eyes that matches a dark mocha skin tone. Her hair is relaxed and hangs just past her shoulders. I think the model depicted on the front cover of Diamonds in the Rough is a good representation of what I see. Even the model on Diamonds are Forever is a good match.

What do you see when you think of Carmen? Feel free to share

For those of you who haven’t read the books, check them out, and concoct your own visual masterpiece!

Tidbits about Carmen

-At the beginning of Diamonds in the Rough, Carmen is 21.

-At the beginning of Diamonds are Forever, Carmen is 39.

-Her favorite wine is Alice White Chardonnay

-One of her favorite foods to eat is honey barbecue ribs which is served at the fictional Old Town Bistro

-Her ethnic makeup consists of African-American, Bahamian, and… (This will be revealed in a future novel!)

-At the conclusion of Diamonds are Forever, Carmen is mother to 6 children!

-Carmen is an only child (currently)

Something else you want to know? Leave a comment!

Behind the Book: Brookstone, New York


 The fictional Brookstone, New York is the main setting of The Diamond Collection. Other minor settings are San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dallas, Texas, and the fictional Copperton City, Georgia, which will be introduced in The Ace of Diamonds.

When I first started writing Diamonds in the Rough, I knew that I wanted the main characters to live in a city that matched the lifestyles that I wanted them to have. In other words, I wanted them to live in a populous city that was fast-paced, vibrant, had glitz, glamour and offered a wealth of opportunities. In addition, I wanted it to be a place that was also crime-ridden. The first place I thought of was New York City. The added bonus was that it was known for being immersed with entertainment and fashion. To me, it was the perfect setting for the novel.

Having never visited New York, I realized early on when I first started developing ideas for the novel that this would be somewhat of a problem. Almost everything I knew about the city came from what I saw on television and the internet. Deep down, I knew that I could make it work. The plus of having a real city/state in a novel is that it allows your readers to form an instant connection with the book. It is easier for them to visualize the setting if it is a place that they are already familiar with. For example, if the setting was New York City and I had the characters in Times Square, most readers will automatically see busy streets, tons of people, and billboards everywhere. 

However, with a fictional city, you can create more of your own world. You can create your own restaurants, your own street names, your own colleges, etc. You have more creative control with a fictional city than one that actually exists. The good part about this is that you can take some elements of various “real” cities and combine them into one.

Realizing this, the city of Brookstone, New York was born.

To begin, I’m unsure of where the name actually came from. I just remember writing and typing Brookstone. It’s like it came to life on its own. In the series, Brookstone is one of the biggest cities in the state of New York. It’s not as big as New York City, but it’s a decent size. It is also divided into two parts, East Brookstone and West Brookstone. East Brookstone is stereotyped as the part of the city where the upper class resides while the lower class is considered to live in West Brookstone. To illustrate this, I have Carmen, whose family is well off, living in East Brookstone while her best friend, Tiara, whose family is lower middle class, lives in West Brookstone. I put these characters in two different parts of the city to show that they do mingle despite the stereotypes.

As for the businesses that are established throughout the book, most are in Downtown Brookstone, which is on the Eastside. Below are a few major landmarks that are mentioned in the series.

Landmarks in Brookstone, New York

Brookstone High School- attended by Carmen and Tiara (and a few others who I’ll discuss later *winks*)

Brookstone University- attended by Carmen, Tiara, and Rakim

Davenport Realty- owned by Harold Davenport/ Lotus Pagua (Carmen’s father)

Flame, Inc. – clothing company owned by Carmen (previously owned by her mother, Patricia Davenport)

Sapphire- hip-hop club and bar owned by Jay (was previously an elite gentleman’s club owned by his father, Hector Santiago)

Blue Magic- soul food restaurant owned by Jay and Carmen (introduced in Diamonds are Forever)

Iceland- jewelry store owned by Jay Santiago (introduced in Diamonds are Forever)

Something else you want to know? Leave a comment!

 

 

The Vogue Archive: “Clown”


So I was listening to some of Frank Ocean’s music on YouTube and I thought about how it felt to write a brutally honest song. I haven’t done it in a while, but I remembered a song I wrote in college, which I felt fit into the category of being brutally honest. I’m not speaking in terms of bashing someone, but in terms of  putting your honest feelings out there without embellishment. Here’s mine, its called “Clown.”

You see the pain never leaves

It just quietly hides

And no one understands

Why you’re afraid to go outside

When you enter into a world

And find a love that’s all new

And it becomes your world

The only thing that loves you

 

But then its taken away

All of a suddenly

No proper explanation

You were left alone to breathe

And you got an attitude

You’re so confused

Everything’s fell down

But you paint on a smile and become a clown

 

You see the rain is there

It’s coming out the cloud

You feel it everywhere

But you really don’t know how

And every inch of your body

Flinches in pain

And your eyes won’t stop crying

You just hear songs that say…

 

He was taken away

All of a suddenly

No proper explanation

I was left alone to breathe

And I got an attitude

I’m so confused

Everything’s fell down

So I paint on a smile and become a clown

 

 

Muchas Gracias


Yesterday at work, I tried to get my co-workers in the Thanksgiving spirit by suggesting that we all go around the room and say what we’re thankful for. Not saying that they aren’t in the “Thanksgiving spirit,” but they found the idea to be rather- corny, lol. Well, here’s a few of the things that I’m thankful for and feel free to comment with some of your own.

  • God- knowing that someone loves me unconditionally despite my mistakes
  • Health- It’s a blessing that everyday I can wake up, put one foot in front of the other, go to work, and pay my bills
  • Family
  • Friends

Hot Spot: Rosetta’s Live Music and Comedy, Rock Hill, SC


During the week, we are consumed with so much (work, errands, etc.) that by the time the weekend comes, we are looking for a way to relieve ourselves of our hectic schedules and everyday life, period. Well, the relief now comes in the form of a new local club and sports bar, Rosetta’s Live Music and Comedy. Located on 1335 Celanese Rd., Rock Hill, SC, you can visit anytime between the operating hours of 11am-2am. I had the chance to visit this new establishment on Saturday and was HIGHLY impressed.

Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect in terms of the building:

-Spacious dance floor with VIP room and bar

-Sports bar with several flat screens

-Tables for casual dining

-Excellent customer service

Food & Drinks

(Here’s a little bit of what the club has to offer, there is so much more!)

Big Daddy Burger (6 patties)- $12.50….with fries, $16.50- Take the Rosetta’s Challenge and try to down this bad boy in 2o mins! Chicken sandwich, hot dogs, chicken strips, wings, chili fries, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, onion rings, fish and hush puppies, salad ($6.99), hoagies (turkey, ham, roast beef, salami, Philly cheese, Trios sandwich)- hoagies come in either 6-in or 12-in.

Beverages: Fountain drinks, iced tea, bottled water

Drink specials (this may be subject to change)- Sex on the Beach- $5, Crown and Coke- $5, Vodka and Cranberry- $3, Gin & OJ- $3, Blue Motorcycle- $5

If you live in Rock Hill, any of the surrounding cities, or are simply visiting the area, I would definitely recommend this as a place to gather with friends. Not to mention, there are a ton of menu items so feel free to stop in for a quick bite to eat! Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself! I dare you!