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.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Twelve

  1. “Did you really come all the way here to bring Nyla?” – Jay asks Carmen this question after she brings Nyla to Puerto Rico for a visit. One of my readers told me she wanted Carmen to sleep with Jay in this scene, which I did think about; however, I felt like Carmen had done enough dirt. It was time for her to finally say no and not be vulnerable whenever Jay pressured her into being frisky, lol.
  2. Kane believed that their time was wasted until Jarrod pulled up driving an exterminator’s van. – So I was trying to find a clever way for Jay to sell his drugs aside from the stereotypical stuff (selling on corners, etc.). A guy friend suggested that Jay have a taxi cab service, which was a great idea, but I settled on an extermination business (Jay doesn’t really have this, it’s just a front).
  3. “First thing first, Seventeen wants to do a feature on Kristian. They faxed over this letter to our publicist.” – I had a subscription to Seventeen growing up so if Kristian was going to be on the cover of any teen magazine, Seventeen was going to be it.

Behind the Book: Chapter Ten and Part Two: Flashing Lights

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Ten

  1. “Can we all sit down?” she asked looking back and forth between the two men. – Carmen is at the hospital about to give birth when Kane is served papers for paternity fraud. Jay is on one side of the bed while Kane is on the other. Of course, this arrangement was done on purpose so Carmen would be in the middle to represent that good ole fashion love triangle.
  2. “Do you want to do the honor? I’ll lead you through it. No worries, you can’t go wrong.”- Since Jay has missed two of his children’s births (King’s and Rakim’s), I figured it would not only be fair, but also special, if he got to witness Nyla’s birth. I took it a step further by also allowing him to deliver her. In this scene, Carmen’s doctor is giving him the opportunity to deliver his own child. 

Part Two: Flashing Lights (Behind the Title): Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw a little ode to Kanye West in the book, right? This is just a hint to the reader that the book is about to become even spicier.

Official Synopsis for Black Diamonds

blackdiamonds5 copyWithin the last year, acclaimed fashion designer, Carmen Davenport, has witnessed the ups and downs of being romantically linked to one of New York’s most prominent men. On the heel of her engagement to Jay Santiago, a Puerto Rican businessman, she learns her oldest daughter has been kidnapped. A direct result of an ongoing war between her fiancé and a disgruntled drug kingpin, Carmen becomes determined to put an official end to the conflict.

She sets out to track down her daughter only to be met with unforeseen obstacles. A criminal investigation, led by her soon-to-be ex-husband, Michael Kane, leaves her fiancé behind bars. Due to Jay’s incarceration, Carmen is placed in the care of his estranged cousin, Gully. He constantly reminds Carmen of the price of fame, ultimately forcing her to take matters in her own hands. Determined to bring her daughter to safety, she takes a no holds barred approach to ensure her daughter’s return.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Nine
1. So far, she had spent the past hour or so flipping through several fashion magazines to find inspiration. – Have you ever watched a TV show centered on fashion (or even Life in the Fab Lane) and seen the number of designers who have cutouts from magazines around their office? I’ve seen it so much I figured Carmen should have the same. Everyone takes inspiration from some place.
2. She grabbed a letter opener off of her desk to use as a makeshift weapon. – Carmen is working at her office when she hears loud footsteps. Well aware the office is closed and security isn’t on duty, Carmen grabs the letter opener to protect herself. This idea came from a very old episode of Days of Our Lives. One of the female characters was in a home office, suspected she wasn’t alone and grabbed the letter opener off a desk to protect herself. I believe the character was Greta, but I’m not for sure.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Eight
1. Carmen opened up one of the cabinets, taking out a casserole dish. She sprayed it down with canola oil before ripping the edges off of six slices of bread. – Before I was writing this scene, I was browsing recipes for a breakfast casserole. Since this scene starts in the morning and Carmen is fixing breakfast, I located a recipe and simply inserted the steps into the chapter. I can’t remember exactly what Carmen was fixing, but it is a real recipe.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Seven

  1. Softly crying, she did the only thing she knew how; she prayed to God for guidance and strength. – This line comes from the scene when Kane leaves the house in the middle of the night. He’s bothered by the fact that Carmen is pregnant again by Jay since he is unable to give her a child. Just like I mentioned in Behind the Book: The Ace of Diamonds (Chapter Five) with Jay, I try to put references to God in my book so readers will know that despite my characters’ shortcomings they do have a relationship with God.
  2. “No, Jay, I have diabetes. I’ve known for years. Patricia and I didn’t publicize it. – Lotus breaks into Jay’s apartment to have a conversation with him regarding the diamonds he received and Carmen. He also discloses that he has diabetes. This was always planned even during the creation of the first book, Diamonds in the Rough. There is a scene near the end of that book where Patricia, Lotus’ wife, chastises him for some having too much sugar. I knew my readers wouldn’t remember that small detail, but I still planned on expounding on it later in the series.
  3. “No, Jay.” Lotus chuckled, “I’m talking about when you were six. I had brought Carmen to the house one day so Hector could see her. You were playing and you came into the parlor where we were. You asked to hold her. I let you and it was like pulling teeth to get her back. – I always thought that if Hector and Lotus were as good friends as I described them to be, there had to be some point in time when Jay and Carmen’s path crossed. I mean, if your best friend has a baby, you are going to come into contact with the child at some point in time, right? I figured this was the best time to insert a conversation where Lotus shares this information with Jay. I even shared how intrigued Jay was with Carmen even when he was six years old.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Six

  1. “It’s almost that time,” she heard him whisper. Carmen nodded her head, but didn’t respond verbally. His comment was sincere although she knew deep down that he was hurt. They might have renewed their vows, but she still was about to give birth to Jay’s baby. “Are you happy?” he asked. – It was always my plan to have Carmen pregnant with a baby by Jay while still trying to maintain her relationship with Kane. The child symbolizes the everlasting connection they (Carmen and Jay) will have. While it may appear that Jay is somewhat acting as a surrogate for them that was never my intention. It’s just the way the cards fell. In this scene, Kane is bothered by Carmen’s pregnancy. He asks her if she’s happy although he knows she is and he isn’t. His wife’s pregnancy is only a reminder that he is sterile.
  2. Before responding, Kane stuck both of his feet into his Timberland boots without bothering to lace them up. – I figured since the setting was New York, it was only right to have Kane putting on Timberland boots versus a different kind of shoe.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Five

  1. Blu wasn’t necessarily ugly, but he had distinctive features. He was extremely tall, approximately six-seven, and had a butterscotch complexion. His large nose was crooked and had been offset by deep, sunken, brown eyes. – This description of the book’s villain and even the storyline between Blu and Kristian was inspired by the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera. While Jay describes Blu as not being necessarily ugly, I think if someone describes someone as being a “skinny ogre,” (which Jay does in this scene) you get the picture that the person is somewhat grotesque.
  2. We haven’t blessed the food.” – Jay said this when Blu tried to eat a piece of his fruit without praying for his food. This is during their initial meeting. I tried to put little things like this in all my books with Jay so you know he does believe in God even if he isn’t a practicing Christian.
  3. kimora_intro_shot

    Carmen rolled her eyes at Kane’s timing. She had been waiting on his phone call for several hours, and then he called right when her team was about to start pressuring her into doing a shoe line. – This part of the storyline was thrown in after Kimora Lee Simmons landed the job as President and Creative Director of JustFab, Inc. I figured since Carmen’s fashion career is highly inspired by Kimora, I could throw in some stuff about shoes, too.

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

  1. btbaceofdiam copyBoth envelopes were the same size, telling her that she and Akaila both had the same fate. – This line is from the scene when Kristian and Akaila received their acceptance letters from the fictional Copperfield University. It’s reminiscent of the time I got my acceptance letter from Winthrop University. I knew I got in because the package was the same as my best friend who also got accepted. She received hers first so I was able to see what it looked like.keep-calm-and-drink-kamikaze
  2. A minute or so later, he returned with Malik who was holding a Kamikaze in his hand. To give Malik the heads up on the investigation involving Jay, Kane visits Sapphire. Malik comes out the club with a cocktail, a Kamikaze, which is an equal mix of vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. I chose this drink after listening to, “Overnight Celebrity,” from Twista’s Kamikaze Curious to know what Kamikaze meant, I Googled it and discovered it was an alcoholic beverage. I needed a drink for the scene so inside the book it went.
  3. “You steer those Girl Scouts away.” Malik is referring to the police when he says this to Kane. Girl Scouts was a phrase my father used once when he felt like men were being cowards. It stuck with me so you’ll always see someone in the book refer to a man, specifically the police, as a Girl Scout.

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

  1. btbaceofdiam copyCarmen looked back inside of the box, spotting a black velvet bag in the upper right-hand corner. This line is from the scene when Cathy, Carmen’s receptionist, comes in her office with a package. Inside that package is a floor plan of Flame and a black velvet bag filled with diamonds, which were sent from Jay. The whole velvet bag thing came from watching the movie Cradle 2 the Grave with DMX and Gabrielle Union. In the movie, DMX plays Anthony Fait who is stealing diamonds for a Frenchman. When he and his crew go to The Diamond Exchange to steal the diamonds, they find black diamonds in a bag. I don’t know for sure if the bag is velvet, but it looks like it. I figured; if Jay is going to give out diamonds, he might as well put ‘em in a black velvet bag like in the movie.
  2. He grabbed her arm, turned her around so that she was facing him, and then gave her stomach a slight caress. This gesture is made to Carmen by Jay when we’re at the park. Although they aren’t together and Carmen is very much legally married to Kane, she still has this strong connection to Kane. In the book, I tried to have scenes where Jay and Carmen touch each other in some kind of way so the readers can see that there is still an attraction there.

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

btbaceofdiam copyChapter Two

A brownstone

A brownstone

1. Blue Magic was housed in downtown Brookstone about three blocks away from Flame. It sat on the corner of 34th and Pendleton in a building that favored a brownstone rather than the traditional restaurant. – Most of us has have seen at least one episode of the Cosby show. Typically during an episode, the camera will cut to a shot of the family’s brownstone. I’ve seen this shot plenty of times and always pictured it as the way Blue Magic would look. Take a peek at the shot enclosed.



2. Rico and Jerome McFadden were his stepson’s best friends. He saw them on a regular basis for four straight years back when they were arrested for fighting, truancy, or selling dope. What he was seeing now was very different from the roughnecks they used to be. In fact, they both looked like executives who were ready for Wall Street. – This line is from the scene where detectives, Kane and Sanders, start investigating Jay. They are outside of Blue Magic, watching as Jay and his men leave after a meeting on the future of the cartel. I think most people picture drug dealers as being dudes on corners who are wearing sweatshirts, jeans, Timberlands, or sneakers. When you think of mobsters, you probably visualize a man in a suit. With Carmen being a fashion designer and a person who styles Jay, I figured it would be good to have him and his men dress alike. Therefore, the idea was born to change everyone’s dress to a more professional look. The movie, American Gangster (2007), shows Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington) in the same kind of look. In addition, this is also shown in Takers (2010) except with bank robbers. While I didn’t get my idea from these movies, it is good to see that great minds think alike.

3. “Sometimes, these things take time. There could be three thousand other high school seniors trying to get in. – Carmen makes this statement during dinner to Kristian and Akaila who are waiting to hear back regarding their acceptance to Copperfield University. When I was a senior in high school, I applied to college much later than most people do. I hadn’t heard back from Winthrop so I talked with my guidance counselor about it who told me that the school had probably already picked their freshmen for the year. He then reminded me of all the students across the world who were applying. I thought this experience fit well in this scene since it drew from a real experience.

Behind the Book: The Ace of Diamonds (Title & Chapter One)

btbaceofdiam copyBehind The Title

The title, The Ace of Diamonds, refers to Jay, however it also relates to the theme of everyone wanting to be on top or number one. Jay, feeling second to Kane, wants to be number one in Carmen’s life, while Carmen is trying to stay number one in the fashion world. In the meantime, Blu arrives in Brookstone trying to take over the cartel in hopes of controlling the drug trade in the US.

Chapter One

  1. texasDallas, Texas- The book opens in Dallas where you learn Jay has come to Texas to visit Lotus Pagua, otherwise known as Harold Davenport, Carmen’s father. This location became a part of the book after a nearly two week trip to Dallas to visit my aunt who lives there. I wrote part of the series there so I wanted the city to be a part of the collection.
  2. “It was tastefully decorated by illustrations of luxury home floor plans and commercial real estate properties”- This line comes from the scene where Jay visits Davenport Realty in hopes of convincing Lotus to sell him a warehouse to keep his diamonds. At the building where I work, there is lots of artwork of buildings, which gave me the idea to incorporate this into the building for Davenport Realty. Since it is a real estate company, it only made sense that the walls would feature paintings of buildings and blueprints.
  3. Paternity fraud One of the issues in the book is Rakim’s paternity. Jay sues Carmen and her then-husband Kane for paternity fraud. This plotline idea came from the paternity case involving Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn, and Larry Birkhead.

    “There he was admitting that he was suing her and in the same breath, he was asking her to team up with him. The last thing she wanted to do was go into business with him”- This line comes from the scene when Carmen finds Jay outside of Flame. She confronts him about the paternity suit in which he asks for her hand in another one of his business ventures. She says no at first, but eventually she complies. If you’ve been following my previous blog series, Behind the Book, you would know Carmen’s character is influenced by Kimora Lee Simmons. Have you noticed that despite her divorce from Russell Simmons, the two still work together in business? Their latest venture, which was announced just yesterday (April 24, 2015) is an energy drink called Celsius. When I was writing the novel, their relationship made me believe that despite the end of a personal relationship, a business one can still strive.

  5. “You’ve always been my Bonnie”- This line was spoken by Jay and is an ode to of course, Bonnie and Clyde.

On My Soapbox: Black Diamonds + T.I. +Addresses + Rolling Out

After being stuck in the house due to the snowstorm, I spent the day, working on Black Diamonds (the fourth book in The Diamond Collection series), watching YouTube (movies, music videos, and interviews), and chatting on Facebook.

One of the music videos I watched and a favorite song of mine by rapper, T.I. is his song, “Addresses” from Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head. The song’s title actually inspired the title of a chapter in Black Diamonds. While watching the video, I noticed there was a video suggestion on YouTube for an interview T.I. conducted with Sway in the Morning. The YouTube video was posted December 17, 2012 by SwaysUniverse. In the interview, T.I. discusses the motivation behind the song, “Addresses,” and says in the interview, “When there is a violation, there must be a demonstration.”

This quote reminded me of the plot of Black Diamonds. If you are familiar with the series then you know that this book is focused on Carmen and Kane, trying to find Kristian, their daughter who has been kidnapped by a drug dealer, Blu. If you are not familiar with the series then this is the storyline of the book. Since Blu has violated them (by kidnapping their loved one), a “demonstration,” must now take place, which will be illustrated in the chapter, “Addresses,” the title inspired by the song by T.I. I decided the name chapter, “Addresses,” because in this chapter they learn the location of where their daughter is.

As I am known to do, I made an InstaQuote picture which contained the quote because it reminded me of my novel (see below).
In addition, I made another InstaQuote picture, with a lyric from “Addresses” that contained an image of T.I. from the movie Takers, because it reminded me of a scene from my novel as well (see below).
What I didn’t expect was for T.I. to ever see the picture or repost it. When I saw he did, because I do follow him on Instagram (@troubleman31), I was very excited and even reposted that he had done so (see below).
Moreover, I didn’t expect for anything else to come of the picture. Since I did use to blog about celebrities, I still follow some online magazines and blog sites. I actually receive a daily email from a few including Rolling Out Magazine. I visited the website to read an article about Michael Ealy’s son and saw the headline, “T.I. Finally Responds to Cheating Rumors.” I read the article and my mouth dropped open when I saw my InstaQuote picture being tied in with his “alleged” response to photos of his wife, Tiny:

“Tip then addressed the criticism he’d received over politely asking his wife to stop posting photos of her butt on Instagram,” was the statement prior to the picture.


I cannot speak for T.I. as to what he was thinking when he reposted the picture or what in particular he was addressing. However, I can say that when he initially made the statement, it was in reference to the motivation behind his song, “Addresses,” from his album. The InstaQuote picture was also not created to aid in any of the rumors against him and his wife. I do not know T.I. or Tiny personally and only made the InstaQuote post because it reminded me of certain scenes from my forthcoming novel.

Question of the Day: Where is Black Diamonds?

ImageTo answer the question, Black Diamonds is only halfway written. When I mean, halfway, literally halfway, I’m on Chapter 13, which is halfway through the book. I expected to have the book released this month, however, that is obviously, not going to happen. The only thing I can guarantee is that the book will be released this year. Thanks so much Diamonds for everything! *Razzle~Dazzle*

Check out a Sneak Peek of Black Diamonds on Amazon’s Kindle!

blackdiamonds5 copy A sneak peek at the first seven chapters of Black Diamonds, Part IV of The Diamond Collection is currently available exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle. The preview is currently priced at .99 but will become free for 5 days starting 12:00am on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 Pacific Standard Time and will end 11:59pm on Saturday, July 20, 2013.

Please click on the official book cover to your left to be directed to Amazon’s Kindle.

Disclaimer: This is a rough draft of the first seven chapters of the novel. These chapters have not been professionally edited and may be altered or deleted in the final version of the novel.