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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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Part 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. “It has Jay’s stamp on it. Isn’t that the best news to come back to?” – The stamp idea in regards to Jay’s drugs came from the movie American Gangster. In the movie, Frank Lucas, Denzel Washington’s character stamped his bags of heroin with the word Blue Magic.
2. I paid thirty dollars to some crackhead for that information. – This line was inspired from a scene in The Wire in which one of the Baltimore detectives paid an addict money to get information. Of course, the detective knew the addict would use the money for drugs.
3. “You’re Carmen, right? Carmen Davenport,” he questioned. “You got quite a company here. You’re pulling in some major cake. My name is Shawn,” he said, extending his hand, “Shawn Blumington. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” – Once again, I wanted to show how close Blu could get. This time, he shows up at Flame and even makes it to Carmen’s floor.
4. He opened it and pulled out a pink Cobra pistol. – I saw the rapper Diamond in a picture holding a pink pistol and I figured if Carmen was going to get a gun, it might as well be pink, too.
1. Clad in a strapless black mini-dress, she made him forget all about Blu or King’s question. The dress fitted her to the T, but it was a number that Jay wished was for his eyes only. – Anytime Carmen has to wear something slightly skimpy, I always tend to browse Frederick’s of Hollywood for ideas. That is the place to go for skimpiness!
2. The dress was made entirely of black lace and had a bustier top. – Once again, here’s another description of the dress.
3. She turned around only to find Blu standing behind her. – I intentionally put Blu in this scene to show how easily he could get close to the Kane/ Santiago family. Despite being threatened by Jay, Blu still makes an appearance at Sapphire. Since he does, I wanted readers to see that Blu isn’t scared of Jay.
4. For the first time in his life, King was starting to realize that he wasn’t a killer. – Jay’s father, Hector Santiago, was a killer as was Jay so one would think that King would follow in their footsteps. In this book, it appears that King will not.
5. He also gave me a little something to help with the bills. You know I had a baby last year. – This line is spoken by Ms. Rosetta who is Rico’s mother. She says this to King when he comes to her house looking for Rico. While this will be something that most readers will probably not remember, the baby she is speaking of will become a main character in Book Eight of the series.
1. She looked in the direction in which she was pointing, and automatically clutched at her heart as she saw King emerge from the car. He was clad in a tan seersucker suit and looked more like a young businessman than a twenty year-old male who had been released from the county jail. – In this scene, King originally gets out the car and proposes to Coco. I changed my mind before I sent the book to the editor for him not to propose at this specific time. I felt it was cliche to propose at a graduation. To me, proposing on holidays, birthdays and graduations are so expected nowadays.
2. He knew Jay had come close when he saw the slash that had been made in his dress shirt. – If I’m remembering correctly, this idea came from a scene in the Princess Bride, lol. I want to say it is when Westley is dressed as the man in black and is fighting Inigo. I think one of ‘em got their shirt slashed.
3. Blu stepped into the doorway as a .22 was pointed in his direction. “Like father, like son, eh?” – I chose this gun on purpose as a reference to my sorority, which was founded in 1922. The “Like Father, like son,” line is also a subliminal reference to The Game’s song, “Like Father, Like Son.” Game is one of my favorite rappers, right behind DMX.
1. If you want to fuck, get someone else. I’m not doing this shit anymore. I’m forty-seven now. I have three kids and I deserve more than a one night stand.”- This line is spoken by Jay and is a reference to Book Two, Diamonds are Forever. In this book, Carmen gets mad at Kane, and seeks revenge by sleeping with Jay. Now, in The Ace of Diamonds, she is mad at Kane again so Jay assumes she wants to do the same thing.
2. “You’re wearing a twelve million dollar necklace around your neck. It was part of a private collection in Switzerland. My friend in Africa sent it to me.” – I know the necklace described here is a real diamond necklace I found, but unfortunately I can’t locate the name of it.
1. Kristian and Akaila had headed to Club Monaco, which was about four stores down from where Carmen was. – I was looking up different clothing stores for this scene since Carmen, Kristian and Akaila were going to be at the mall and found this store. The clothes appeared to be something I felt I would find in Seventeen so I included the store in this scene.
2. Once I find out who it is, I’m putting twenty thousand on his head. – This line is spoken by Blu and was inspired by a YouTube video I saw where T.I. was performing. If I’m remembering correctly, someone was throwing things on stage and T.I. responds with placing a $50000 bounty on the person’s head if they continued.
Update: Peep the video of T.I. below:
1. “You won’t have anywhere to hide.” – Jay says this to Malik as a warning that if he was to get taken down again, Malik wouldn’t be able to get away again. I also put this line in here to let readers know why Malik wasn’t arrested along with Jay and Carmen. Apparently, he was hiding in Jay’s warehouse when the raid occurred or so he says.
2. You were always the one ready for war. – This is another comment which references a part of Diamonds in the Rough. In Part One of the Diamond Collection, readers are introduced to fraternal twin brothers, Malik and Rakim Washington. Malik runs with Jay all day while Rakim is a student at Brookstone University. Malik was considered to be the trigger happy hustler while Rakim was the brainiac of the two.
3. “Thank you and you’re welcome,” Malik shot back. – I got this phrase from the title of Kanye West’s book, Thank You and You’re Welcome, which was written with J. Sakiya Sandifer.
4. His relationship with Carmen had always been platonic, but that didn’t mean he never had feelings or thoughts. – One of my readers asked me why men were always attracted to Carmen. While she is attractive, it isn’t because of her looks. Carmen has a multi-million dollar empire, which gives her power and attracts men to her. She didn’t have this initially when she met Jay so he was attracted to her because of her innocence. Kane, was attracted to her because of her ambition (which eventually led to her downfall and imprisonment) while Malik looks at her as a dollar sign. As for Carlos, Jay’s best friend in Diamonds in the Rough, he wasn’t attracted to Carmen, he just wanted the pleasure of saying he bedded his girlfriend.
5. You know how to play a dirty game, Bonnie. – Although Jay is angry with Carmen, he uses the term Bonnie still as a term of endearment. Carmen is, in fact, the Bonnie to his Clyde.
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.