Saturday, December 8, 2018

Some of your questions answered πŸ‘

I was recently invited to a library to talk about my writing but unfortunately, bad weather caused the event to be postponed. Since I didn't get an opportunity to speak, I decided to answer the questions here! 🀩

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I remember writing as a child and in fact, I wrote my first full-length manuscript when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, due to lack of confidence and guidance, I didn't pursue my dream of becoming a writer until around 2007-2008. I published my first book in 2010.

When did you write your first book?

Fire was published in 2010. 

What inspired you to start writing?

Throughout the years, I've always hoped that my writing has caused people to think, to be empathetic and to see various perspectives. I enjoy provoking people because they are more likely to get involved in the story if they feel an emotional connection. 

How long does it take you to write a book?

I write a chapter a day and have 50 chapters in my books, so in essence, 50 days to complete the first draft. Editing and figuring out details such as a synopsis and cover image also take some time but it can vary. For the last few years, I've published two books a year. 

What is your genre and who is your main audience?

I always talk about how I hate being stuck in a genre because I like to think my writing falls into many categories: suspense, thriller, murder, crime, romance and so on. I even have a couple of books that fall into the fantasy category. 

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I gain information from simply reading about and watching documentaries and interviews about topics that interest me. Many of the topics end up becoming a part of my books. For example, I often read about cartels, violence and the psychology of a criminal, which ends up making it in my books. 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Check out this answer πŸ–•πŸΌand research time varies. I don't really pay attention to how long it takes. 

Do you write using a pen or computer?

Computer. However, I do write notes on characters and each chapter in a journal in order to keep organized and for reference.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Editing because it's very tedious and it requires extreme focus. Writing the back cover synopsis is always a challenge too but I usually have some help from other writer friends. 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Ten so far and my latest, And The Devil Will Laugh is my favorite to date. 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? ( if you have any?)

I only write chapters early (like 6 AM) in the morning and I do so with no interruptions, unless necessary. I don't get up to eat, take out the garbage or anything else when I'm writing. I try to stay focused and not divert my attention because it's very difficult to get back once I do. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

It tends to be the other way around. I usually write around my work schedule. On mornings that I'm not working, I get up and write. On mornings I'm working, depending on how much time I have, I might do some light editing on previous work, work on social media, upload or record a video for YouTube or any other task that requires my attention. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I recently read a quote that said that writers aren't playing God when writing a book but are merely the secretaries. This is completely accurate. You cannot force a character to do what they don't want to do unless you enjoy getting writer's block. 

What is your favorite type of books to read?

Non-fiction about topics that interest me. 

Were there any authors of books that had a particular influence on you or your writing?

George Orwell. He was a genius. Orwell had the ability to observe and analyze human nature and create works of fiction that reflected how he viewed the world in a way that was served as much as a warning as an entertaining tale.


How do the books get published?

This could be a rather long answer but essentially, you can self-publish, seek out a smaller publisher who is interested in your specific genre or seek out an agent, who will, in turn, proposition larger publishing houses. Large houses generally only deal with agented writers. Always do your research when doing any of the above. There are a lot of scumbags out there. 

Do you design your book covers or how do they come about?

My publisher designs the cover but I pick out the image I would like them to work with and perhaps make suggestions such as, darken the image, colors I prefer etc. 

How do you market your books? 

I mainly use social media but I also use my website, send press releases when new books come out and give out bookmarks with all my covers. I'm always trying to think of new, creative ways but social media is my first stop.

Where can we get your books, other than here?

Everywhere online!! Check out my site for more details. 





Tuesday, December 4, 2018

All my books have a hidden theme 🀫

Did you know that all my books have a theme? This is the message that takes the driver's seat and creates a direction for the entire book or in some cases, the entire series. But why are themes important?

In a nutshell, themes are sort of the 'point' of everything you do. For example, when you pick a career, there's probably an underlying reason that goes much deeper than a paycheque and what areas you feel there are jobs. As a writer, I like making people think about things that perhaps wouldn't normally cross their mind. There are tons of other reasons but that would be the 'theme' of why I choose to write.

In my books, themes are essential because they are the lifeblood of the story. I think the best way to demonstrate this is to give some examples.

In my first two books, Fire and A Spark before the Fire, my theme was how our culture often doesn't see entertainers as real people but rather machines who's every move is meant to entertain us, their lives on constant display, kind of like an animal in the zoo. This was brought on when I watched as a celebrity had a very public meltdown and people were essentially laughing at her, rather than having any concern for her mental state. It frustrates me that we have tabloids and silly shows that focus on everything the stars are doing and actually, this has only grown worse since writing these two books. Of course, this wouldn't exist if there wasn't a demand.

My third and fourth book had a vampire theme, which is something I didn't want to explore but felt compelled to write about. Not surprisingly, the vampires in my books represent the 'bloodsuckers' or 'vampires' in our lives. Around the time I wrote these books, I felt that I was seeing an increasing number of people who fell in this category, not even in my own life but the world in general. We view it in the news pretty regularly as many of these questionable people are floating to the surface, in clear view. The Rock Star of Vampires is my first of two books that dive into this area and in it, we discover that the protagonist, although she's a vampire, is probably less of a vulture than other characters in her life. In Her Name is Mariah, we learn about a young, troubled woman who preys on others because it's the only way she knows to survive, therefore, showing both sides of the same situation.

My final books turned into an extended series that easing the reader into the whole world of organized crime, criminals and an underground world that most perhaps assume is a rarity, if they even believe it exists at all. The central theme is corruption, crime, collusion and the belief that sometimes it's hard to be certain who the 'good' and 'bad' guy really is; although my books follow a group of criminals, there is a point where readers see that the lines are often blurred. My goal was to make readers think and perhaps ask some questions, if only to themselves. Who really runs the world? Politicians, corporations, religious leaders....or is it you? Who controls what we see and what we know? Is it manipulated? These are the questions that I've explored as the series unfolded a couple of years ago and I continue to ask myself.

I think themes are as important for the writer as they are the reader. It gives us a focus that is bigger than simply telling an entertaining story but something that might have a bigger message.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Why readers love to be shocked? πŸ™€

I'm sure there's a part of our brains that light up like a Christmas tree when we read something shocking in a book. Let's talk about why. 

It's interesting how we're iffy on shocks and surprises in our everyday lives but we do love it in our entertainment. There's something about the unexpected that is alluring; I've often said that I'm sure there's a part of our brain lights up when something exciting or stunning happens to our favorite character (in books or television) that we never saw coming. It's called being entertained.

As I'm writing a book, I tend to be very conscious of when the story is starting to take a low point. It doesn't mean it's not crucial, however, I don't like to have things go an even course for too long. My rule is if I'm feeling a little bored, so is my reader and therefore, it's time to shake things up.

Shocks can come in many forms. It could as simple as a character's comment or reaction to a situation or something more alarming, like violence, an impromptu sex scene, an argument, unexpected news, sudden death, illness or when unexpected characters show up. Of course, there are many other options but the main idea is to add something that readers didn't see coming; and ideally, neither do you, as the writer.

Shocking twists keep the story alive. Remember, readers, want to be entertained, so entertain them.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Why do you have to be as much a marketer as a writer? ✍️

If you're about to publish your first book, it's time to sharpen those marketing skills! Let people know about your book, what it's about and most important of all, why they should read it.


  1. Make your front cover pop! Realistically, marketing begins with the cover. Make it eye-catching. If it grabs the reader, they're more likely to investigate further and see what the book is about, which brings me to...
  2. Create freakin' awesome description on the back cover. Your job is to make them want more! Choose passionate words and descriptions to captivate them. I always have difficulty with the back cover summary so often ask other writers for their help in order to capture what I'm trying to say in a couple short paragraphs. 
  3. Send out a press release with a cover photo. Start with your local media, smaller newspapers, free newspapers, radio, and televisions stations, send it everywhere! Not everyone will respond but at worst, you're creating awareness of your book. 
  4. Change your signature at the bottom of your emails. This allows anyone you send an email to know that you're an author, what your book is called and even add an image of the cover if you can.
  5. Post it on social media. This is one of the best tools in your toolbox. Social media is a FREE and outstanding way to let people know about your new book. Be creative. Present the cover, share reviews, events etc with your readers and friends. Have a page or account dedicated to your writing life so people can find you and learn about your book.
  6. Videos are nice. Not everyone is crazy about recording videos but I find it helps to let people learn about you, your books and it's another way to capture attention. It also gives you an opportunity to discuss your books, increase your confidence and make you more comfortable talking about your writing in interviews and events. 
  7. Ads are doable but expensive - so look for deals. You can pay next to nothing for ads or you can pay through the nose. Be careful who you're dealing with too. There are a lot of scammy, suspicious people out there. I receive an email from sketchy companies attempting to sell me marketing packages every week. 
  8. Bookmarks are the best! I have bookmarks made with all my covers on them and where to find me online. Remember, bookmarks travel, can be shared and are just fun to give out. 
Of course, there are many other things you can do, such as have book signings, speak at your local library and have book launches but these were just a few quick ideas. 

The important thing to note is that marketing will be a big part of selling your book. It doesn't matter if you're the most famous author in the world or an indie author who has just written their first book, this is as essential as turning on your laptop to write the first chapter. If you aren't sure, research online, see what other authors are doing and check out books on the subject. Good luck! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

How do you write books so fast? πŸ™€

One of the most common questions I get asked is how I write my books so fast. This is probably because I'm averaging a couple books a year for the last 2-3 years. Of course, there are a few contributing factors such as more time and the fact that I'm writing a series where I already know the characters which make it easy to pick up where I left off.

To begin with, I have made writing a priority. Currently, my living situation allows me to work part-time so I can focus on my books. This isn't by accident but a decision I have made for this point in my life. This allows me to provide an appropriate amount of time not just on the writing itself but on social media and other forms of marketing for my books. This won't be forever but it's for now so it's up to me to make the best of it.

That aside, I schedule very carefully. Depending on my work schedule or what I have to do, I tend to organize my time so that I accomplish something every day. I get up early to write (6 a.m) on my days off or when I have later shifts. Scheduling the time is very important because if I waited until I 'felt like it' or when I'm 'inspired', there's a chance I would take a long time to write my books. Inspiration is when I jot down notes but writing time has to be planned around my schedule.

I write one chapter per day. I try to avoid stopping halfway through the chapter because it's very difficult to get back into the same headspace if I walk away and return later. Editing takes longer and is much harder to schedule because some chapters are easier to get through than others and of course, there are many rounds of editing before the book is sent off to the publisher. Meanwhile, when I'm finishing a book, I also have to start thinking about what I want on the back cover for a synopsis (I usually have a couple people assist me on this one) and of course, the front cover; what kind of image do I want? What colors work best? What will grab attention?

On days that I'm working or busy, I plan other things that are also relevant to my writing. For example, I might record or upload a video on a morning before going to work (depending on the time) or, at the very least, prepare and check social media.

Social media in itself is time-consuming. I'm on a few platforms so I must keep it up to date, check notifications and always be thinking of new things to add to keep things fresh. I'm on social media every day. There are some places that I focus more on but unless I have no internet access or am physically unable to do it, I'm on there every day working up a storm.

It's essentially up to me how much time I want to dedicate to my writing and therefore, it's also up to me to make the best of the time I have each day.






Friday, November 2, 2018

Knowing the ending first 🀭

I know it is common practice for many authors to 'write the ending first' when outlining a book. However, I don't. In fact, there are two things in that sentence that I don't do. I don't outline and I don't know the ending when I start writing a book. I like the surprise element and always figured that if I was shocked by the ending, then the reader would be too.

But then...I geared up to writing my 11th book and something very strange happened. I knew the ending first. 

I fought it. I tried to push it aside but the final scene was much too strong for me to ignore. This forced me of getting out of my comfort zone and although it did make me hesitate for a short time, I eventually started the book with the ending crystal clear in my mind. 

I won't lie. This freaked me out. 

Of course, we're always a little freaked out when we go out of our comfort zone. That's just human nature. I'm now 13 chapters into the book (as opposed to the accompanying video that says 5; This was recorded a week or two before writing this blog) and so far, it's going pretty smoothly. For now, I'm just along for the ride and who knows, maybe things will still end up differently than I expect after writing the next 37 chapters. πŸ˜„After all, characters have an incredible way of surprising us.




Friday, October 26, 2018

Do writers need a high word count per day? πŸ’»

Something I've noticed a lot of author's comment about is their word count per day and often, their stress to meet a certain target in order to be successful. But should they be worrying at all?

I guess it's really a matter of opinion. Word count has never been a concern to me, other than whether or not I have too many words when I finish a book. It's not something I think about each time I sit down to write and I certainly don't check my word count per day - ever.

Having said that, we all need a way to measure ourselves when it comes to a successful day. I simply like to write a chapter with each sitting (note I said 'sitting' not per day. I firmly believe that it should be done in one shot in order to not lose your momentum or train of thought) and with that I'm happy. I don't feel like a failure if I don't reach a certain amount of words and in my opinion, neither should you.

The problem is that if you set your sights on so many words per day, what ends up happening is it can become your focus more than the actual writing itself. It also might end up that you create a 'wordy' piece of writing that you'll have to cut from later on. Also, a lot of words doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be pure gold. It's kind of like the girl who wears a lot of makeup; sure, some women will do it to perfection and walk away looking like a model, but most of us will end up wiping half of it off because we don't want people to think we have the makeup gun stuck on 'whore' (and yes, this is a Simpson's reference πŸ˜‰)

The bottom line is that I don't like to see any writer put stress on themselves to meet some crazy target because it actually can make writing feel more like work than a project that they love. And if that's the case, what's the fucking point?


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Should we allow readers to be our censorship police? πŸš“

I always tell the story about a woman who criticized my first book, Fire. She said 'If I took out all the F-words, your book would be half the size'. Of course, she was kind of a bitch on a good day, so I wasn't surprised when she made this snarly remark to me back in 2010. If you've read any of my books since that time, you already know that her thoughts did little to sway me and I continue to use a lot of profanity and graphic content in my books.

I don't do this for shock value (which has also been suggested by one particularly gnarly reviewer back in the day) but because it is my style. This is how I choose to write. I don't exactly sit down in front of my laptop and think 'what can I write that will shock people the most' but I do follow my writing instinct and admittedly, it sometimes takes me down a dark, twisted and even questionable road but one thing can be assured, I'm never bored. To me, this is a good sign. If the writer isn't bored, chances are good the reader won't be either.

The truth is that only in very extreme situations is a writer going 'too far'. There are 'how to' books out there that would make the most insensitive person a little ill 🀒and although there are some that definitely cross the line, for the most part, we have to consider freedom of expression. And the really beautiful thing about freedom is that it kind of goes both ways. I'm free to write what I want and you're free to not read it if you believe it's too offensive. πŸ˜‰


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Why words matter πŸ—£

If you've ever been in an argument or had a misunderstanding with another person, chances are you're already aware of why words matter. We often find ourselves in situations where words should be picked carefully especially when there's a risk of being misinterpreted.

Not to suggest that we're already great when picking our words. If you're like me, during particularly rushed or stressful times, an entire sentence can fly out of my mouth and not make any sense at all. It happens. We're human.

So how important are words in writing?

When we create a scene, a conversation or show what characters are doing, it's important that the best words are selected for creating the mood. For example, in And the Devil Will Laugh, I had help preparing the back cover because I wanted to be certain that I chose the best words that summed up my book. I wanted to show the intensity, the fierceness of the characters, to create a sense of what to expect....

...he and his loyal foot soldiers will muscle in and tear off a big chunk of it for themselves. 

This, of course, creates a pretty strong impression of what kind of characters can be found within the pages of the book. If I had chosen instead to simply say that Jorge planned to 'move in and with the help of his associates, would take over' it simply wouldn't have the same impact.

Also, keep in mind that each character has their own kind of dialogue. For example, Jorge Hernandez, the protagonist in my last few books, is known for often saying "I don't got time." When he says this, it's usually a sign he's aggravated and is about 5 seconds from rushing out the door and he wants a situation resolved now. Each of my characters has their own, unique dialogue patterns and expressions.

With dialogue, its also important to remember that it can vary according to a character's education, age, ethnicity, experiences, and even attitudes.

Words do matter. Pick yours carefully.






Friday, September 28, 2018

Start your book with a bang! The importance of chapter one 🀩

Chapter one is your chance to grab readers by the throat and make them want more!

We see it all the time in television show pilots. It's up to that original episode to captivate its audience and make them coming back for another week. Something has to shake things up in order to create an interest with the viewer and books are no different. 

So what do people want to see? It really depends. Some people are drawn in by action, adventure, drama, violence, and sex, while others might be intrigued by a unique character, an unexpected action or perhaps the protagonist is going through something that connects with the audience. The main point is that the start of anything, whether it be a movie, book or television show must make the reader or viewer want more. 

I always say that you should start chapter one in the middle of something relevant to the rest of the book. For example, in my last book And the Devil Will Laugh, the protagonist and his associate are visiting the (soon to be) editor of a large newspaper in hopes of swaying him to write articles in favor of both himself and a political candidate he is backing. Meanwhile, across town, the protagonist's wife is murdering the current editor, who didn't go along with his previous wishes. This ties in with the rest of the book because violence and media manipulation are a huge part of the entire book. Also, this is in the middle of the action. I didn't start chapter one with the characters discussing their plan to bully the media or the protagonist having breakfast before he left the house, I jump right into the action. 

Catching a reader's attention is very important. With so many other books, the Internet and of course, Netflix as ways to be entertained, readers can easily pass up on your novel and move on to something else; so give them a good reason to not want to put it down.




Monday, September 24, 2018

Why L. M. Montgomery Rocks! πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

So why does L. M. Montgomery rock? I'm going to tell you....

To begin with, she wrote and published books in the early 1900s, which was a time that I somehow doubt many women had careers let alone authoring books. I'm no history expert but I'm pretty sure that the usual career for women in those times involved pots, pans and a lot of screaming babies but as I said, I'm no expert.

Furthermore, she wrote about a feisty character named Anne - with an 'e', by the way - who was quite assertive, occasionally bold and didn't have an issue with breaking a slate over a boy's head on occasion, if you know what I mean. In fact, she probably has a lot in common with my character Diego who also likes hitting people with inanimate objects (except he prefers a baseball bat 🀭) and also has a feisty streak.

That aside we're talking a female character in the early 1900s when children were to be seen and not heard and little girls were supposed to be ladylike and obedient. Anne was a strong little girl, which is quite admirable and something I have a lot of respect for as a writer. As a woman, I think this is important and I believe L.M. Montgomery felt it was important too.

How amazing it is to be from the same province as this legendary author. 🀩




Fire πŸ”₯

Fire was my first book, published in 2010. The story follows protagonist Tarah Kiersey as she set her sights on the music world, joining a band that quickly gets signed. She learns the many ups and downs of working in the industry, how her life vastly changes (not always for the better) and how conflicts within the band can make everything just a little more difficult. Did I mention she has an affair with two of her bandmates?

First, there was a match.
In 1992, Tarah Kiersey wasn't feeling very optimistic about her life. From dead-end jobs to dead-end relationships, she failed to see how anything could ever improve. But at least, she had her music.
Then, there was a spark.
There was something about holding a microphone that made Tarah feel alive. And there was something about how she sang that made people listen. One of those people included William Stacy, a young musician who invited Tarah to join his band, Fire. She said yes and her entire life changed overnight.
And now there s FIRE!


The book was quite popular and later followed up by A Spark before the Fire featuring a secondary character, Jimmy Groome. The books overlap slightly, however, each has their own unique perspective. 



A Spark Before the Fire 🎸

The character Jimmy Groome originally showed up in my first book Fire in 2010 and later became the protagonist in A Spark Before the Fire, a few years later. Although the two books are connected, they overlap more than one being the continuation of the other. For example, in A Spark before the Fire, Jimmy's story starts at age 10, when something traumatic happens to his character. However, the book follows him through his teenage years and into his early twenties, when he meets Tarah, the protagonist from Fire.

The really cool thing is that you are able to see Jimmy's point of view to a few things mentioned in Fire, where the protagonist is a woman. As you can imagine, they often see things from vastly different perspectives.

Here's a brief summary of the book:

Jimmy Groome never really believed that his life was worth anything. An overweight and unpopular teen, it takes a suicide attempt to bring a traumatic childhood experience into sharp focus. With some encouragement from family and a counselor, Jimmy picks up a guitar and it quickly becomes obvious that he has a natural talent. After losing weight and joining a band, Jimmy goes from being a shy and insecure child to an outgoing and self-destructive young adult. In a world where sex, drugs and rock n' roll goes hand in hand Jimmy’s future is uncertain.
In this prequel to Fire, we follow Jimmy Groome on his dark path, where he decides if he'll ignite the fire inside - or if he’ll let it burn out and fade away.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Rock Star of Vampires πŸ§›‍♀️

The Rock Star of Vampires was my third book and my first time I tackled the topic of vampires. I would later follow it up with Her Name is Mariah. 


With this book, I explored the idea that perhaps vampires weren't so different from everyday people; with only a few exceptions, one of which was their need to drink blood. I compared it to most people's need for specific vitamins in order to maintain a balance. Also, my vampires had heightened senses. For example, they would be able to see the pollution on trees, have enhanced taste buds and the ability to hear sounds from miles away.

Here is a quick synopsis of the book:

Did Hollywood get it wrong? A year after transforming into a mortal vampire, Ava Lilith continues to have a lackluster life. The new dietary requirements and the intensifying of her senses aside, she continues to face unhappiness rather than the glamorous and provocative lifestyle that television and movies would suggest. She then learns of an underground society of immortal vampires, led by the mysterious 'rock star of vampires' Cloaked in shadow, this Immortal sect controls the major powers of the world - from business and finance to science and politics - all manipulated for personal gain and to keep their existence concealed. Ava finds herself drawn to this secret world where she could live forever and pursue all her dreams. But what will she lose, in order to gain immortality?



Her Name is Mariah πŸ§›‍♀️

Her Name is Mariah is the second of my two vampire books. The first one was The Rock Star of Vampires and it received such a warm reception, I was inspired to follow up with one of the more prominent characters, Mariah Nichols. 

Mariah Nichols was adaptable. She lived through her parent's bitter divorce, a childhood of neglect and the discovery that her only sibling was transgender – so the concept of turning into a mortal vampire was just one more adjustment in an already chaotic life.
But when tragedy rips through Mariah's heart, she realizes what it takes to survive in the world. She must become like an animal and run on instincts not emotions, or so she thought.
Her name is Mariah, and this is her story.









Saturday, September 22, 2018

Different Shades of the Same Color πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’œ❤️

Different Shades of the Same Color was my 5th book.


It all started when Natasha Parsons hit her head - in a very undignified manner- at her uncle's political fundraiser. Suddenly, she finds herself exiled to the country and discovers some surprising truths about both her family and her own life. In a world of prejudice and judgment, Natasha quickly learns that we are all different shades of the same color, but is she ready to accept the darkness that lurks around the corner?  

The story was a slight diversion from my other books. A young woman who came across as whimsical and possibly flighty fluttered through the book in a series of crazy adventures until the shocking end. 


Although the character of Chase Jacobs made a brief appearance in this book, he would turn up again in We're All Animals, with an explanation for his unusual predicament. 

This was a bit of an unusual book that captured a lot of attention when it came out in both the media and with fans. 










We're All Animals πŸ₯Š

We’re all animals; led by our desires, ready to fight in the light of fear yet with a soul that leads us on a path to wherever we must go.


It started with a broken heart and it took no time for Chase Jacob’s world to spin out of control. An unwanted pregnancy allows his mother and obsessive future bride to manipulate and control his life, turning him bitter and resentful. His destiny becomes a dark road to misery and whenever he tries to take the wheel, temptation only leads him further astray.
When a provocative and sinister side of life introduces itself, Chase discovers there’s an animal lurking inside each of us; a powerful creature that wants to take over. But will he let it win?

It became the series that wasn’t meant to be a series! Starting with We’re All Animals we follow Chase Jacobs from his days in small-town Alberta to the big city, where he connects with a group of sinister characters in the follow-up, Always be a Wolf.   
The books are then taken over by a new protagonist, Jorge Hernandez. Mima’s most loved character, Hernandez is bold, abrupt and always gets what he wants. Part of the Mexican drug cartel, by the time we reach The Devil is Smooth Like Honey, it’s very clear that Chase Jacbos has stepped into a world of organized crime. We follow the group along in A Devil Named Hernandez where they start to get involved in politics and the legal pot industry…but don’t worry, the murder and mayhem continue right through to And the Devil Will Laugh


How Do I Start my Book? πŸ“š

I will admit that there is a lot of time and effort involved in writing a book. However, once broken down into small, manageable tasks, it actually isn't bad. Of course, it also has to be something you enjoy, otherwise, you will be struck with writer's block, find excuses not to work on it or probably toss it aside altogether.

So let's begin!

Your tenth-grade creative writing teacher probably told you to outline everything before you start writing. I disagree. For me, this would never work. There has to be a certain amount of spontaneity involved to keep it fresh and interesting. If you can easily plot out the chapters and figure out the ending before getting past chapter one, chances are your reader will too. Remember, readers are very savvy and automatically try to figure things out as soon as they pick up a book. If you have no idea what is going to happen until you're typing it, chances are they will be just as surprised.

Not to say you shouldn't jot down ideas but I wouldn't bother organizing right away. You can picture specific scenes, conversations, events and know they're going to fit in somewhere, you just don't have to know where yet. Also, you must follow the natural flow of the story and take the characters into consideration; how will each action affect them? What is their own unique path or struggle? How does it fit in with the rest of the story?

Of course, I'm talking about fiction but what about non-fiction? Are the rules the same?

I probably would have an outline for something that falls under non-fiction, but with room to breathe so that you can see how the story flows and which angle it takes. Make sure it is factual and be ready to list any sources you might be using. Remember, you don't want to get sued.

Regardless of what you write, the first draft should be fun. Editing is another story. Let's not go there today. ☺️





Thinking about doing a video blog and actually doing it! 🎬

I wasn't exactly comfortable recording my first video blogs. In fact, I barely breathed while recording the first several videos but I also recognized that this was a challenge I had to take on. It was for my writing and therefore, necessary that I get comfortable talking about my writing.

Over 80 videos later, I'm probably a little too comfortable since recording the video below, however, there are still things to learn. With each video, I see what I can improve. It's really the best way to learn.

The beauty of recording a video is that people can see who you really are and if you do so without editing or overproducing, it looks much more authentic. The idea of perfecting my makeup, figuring out perfect lighting and all these other things seems like a waste of time for a short video that really, is just a way to communicate about my writing to those who are interested. I'm not trying to become a television or Internet star. This is simply to talk about my books and answer some questions that I'm regularly asked.

Having said that, I know people talk about doing videos and it never gets beyond the talking stage. I think most of the time it's a lack of confidence or maybe even not any real interest in doing the work. Doing these videos is relatively easy, however, you have to be ready to jump in front of the webcam and not overthink every detail. You have to consider your content; not which shirt to wear. If anyone is watching your videos and are more concerned with your appearance, chances are they aren't really interested in the topic you're discussing anyway. (unless you're actually talking about fashion, makeup or hair)

The best tip I can give anyone interested in recording a video is to simply do it. It doesn't matter if it's perfect or if you even share it with the world, you just have to try.


Friday, September 21, 2018

The Authors that Inspire Me! πŸ“š

Although I don't have a 'favorite' author, I certainly have a few that have greatly inspired and amazed me along the way. Here's a quick list of who they are, why they inspired me and how this reflects in my writing.


  1. Douglas Coupland. A few years ago I read Worst. Person. Ever. and was shocked...in a good way. I had never read anything so brutal, so blunt and cutting. It was awesome! Few books shock me so when one does, it definitely has my attention. Coupland's work definitely inspires me because through him I've learned to color outside the lines, to not worry about having characters that were less....pleasant and that sometimes people enjoy the shock, a surprise that grabs them by the throat in the middle of a page.
  2. George Orwell. Pretty famous guy. Wrote a book called 1984 and Animal Farm. Both remind me a lot of....well, we won't get into that but trust me, if you watched the news anytime after November 2016, you probably already know. At any rate, I loved his insightfulness, his observations and the beautiful way he demonstrates it throughout his books. This inspires my writing because rather than simply writing about what is happening, I allow my imagination to wander and write about what could happen.
  3. Gabby Bernstein. The only author (other than myself) who I own every book of, simply because she is amazing. Unlike the first two, her books are spiritual but I take so much from her words and find that her philosophies sometimes have a way of working into my stories and characters. It might seem hard to believe considering my characters are...shall we say, less than moral but you know, even dark souls sometimes see the light. 
There are just three amazing authors that inspired me along the way. There have been others and there will be more in the future. 


How do I pick out my book titles?? πŸ€“

People often ask me how I come up with book titles. The key is to come up with something that is catchy, demands attention and is sharp. That's not to say that all my titles fall under these categories, however, I like to think I'm getting better at naming my books.

With my first book Fire, it was pretty straightforward. The story was about a fictional band in the 90s called 'Fire' and that was as creative as I got with that title. The follow up was A Spark before the Fire, which was pretty much an attempt to connect the two titles, letting people know that this book was kind of the prequel to my original book. Also, there is a line in the book where someone referred to the protagonist as 'a spark in the sky'.

I thought my third book, The Rock Star of Vampires, was a pretty catchy title. This was in reference to 'the rock star of vampires' that Ava was attempting to learn the identity of throughout the book.

From that point on, most of my titles come from a line from the books themselves. For example, Her Name is Mariah is a line from the book. This is also the case in Different Shades of the Same Color, We're All Animals, Always be a Wolf The Devil is Smooth Like Honey, A Devil Named Hernandez and And the Devil Will Laugh

Having said that, here are some interesting notes. In Different Shades of the Same Color, the title comes from a comment that suggests that we, as humans are pretty much the same regardless of race, religion or any other trait that supposedly makes us different, we're just 'different shades of the same color'.

We're All Animals references a conversation in that particular book where it is suggested that regardless of how soft or fierce we are as human beings, we're essentially all animals led by desires.

Always be a Wolf comes from a line Diego Silva says throughout my last few books, which is that many people choose to be sheep but given a choice, one should always be the wolf.

All my 'devil' titles are in reference to Jorge Hernandez and are books where he's the protagonist.

A title should capture the essence of a book and give readers a sense of the overall theme that awaits them.







Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why do authors bug the shit out of you for a review! πŸ™„

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not shy to ask for a book review.  It doesn't have to be a long review, it doesn't have to have a lot of detail, it just has to be some reflection on what the reader thought of the book. A simple 'I enjoyed this book' would be sufficient.

And it's not about ego. Authors don't chase down reviews to feel good about themselves but because it gives new and potential readers some insight into what kind of books you write. I can say whatever I wish in my YouTube videos or blogs, put what I want on social media or create a terrific description for the back cover but sometimes what people really want is an outside party's point of view. What kind of book is it? Was it a fast read? Did it keep you hanging on? Was it exciting? Did it leave you wanting more?

Not that authors don't appreciate positive comments outside of reviews. In fact, we love them!! Like, with all the big hearts in the world ❤️❤️❤️we totally love them but unfortunately, people who aren't familiar with us or our work might be skeptical. Many readers stick with the tried and true authors, the ones everyone is raving about online and whoever is on Oprah's reading list and that's understandable but it makes our job finding readers a bit more difficult.

A review can make a difference. I know I've certainly hesitated to purchase a product (especially online) unless I was able to compare reviews to see what other people think. I've also heard it can affect your ratings on Amazon too but I'm not really sure if that is true. I'm guessing it can't hurt though. ☺️

So that's why authors bug the shit out of you for reviews.


Switch away from the protagonist?? Don't mind if I do! πŸ˜ƒ

Something I started doing a few books ago is to switching away from the protagonist for one chapter. So essentially, I have another secondary character take over the story for one chapter, usually around the middle of the book, in order to give the reader another perspective. It also gives me an opportunity to shake things up a bit. It adds another layer to the book.

The beauty of it is that you can have a better overall view of the protagonist. For example, if your protagonist has a specific point of view about themselves, you might swing around to another character who draws a completely different picture. It gives the reader food for thought. Maybe the impression that the protagonist is giving isn't completely accurate. Then again, it might also change your opinion of the secondary character as well, since you will be seeing them up close and personal.

I do this with almost every one of my books and find that it really gives me a different perspective too. Sometimes the only way to really understand where a secondary character is coming from is to climb inside of their mind. It's really fascinating.


Always be a Wolf 🐺

Always be a Wolf is my seventh book  and the second in my current series. It follows We're All Animals and follows the lives of a group of people heavily involved in organized crime. Here's a quick synopsis of the book:

In the gripping sequel to We're All Animals, Chase Jacobs moves to Toronto with his Colombian bosses, Diego and Jolene Silva, where they expand their elite sex party business. The underground's best-kept secret is going legit, but just as Chase starts a brand new life, tragedy strikes.
The heartbreaking lessons ahead of him are the most difficult he's ever had to face, and Chase must rely on his new family to help him through. But will his blind faith in Diego and Jolene prove to be a mistake, and has he underestimated just how far they are willing to go to prove their loyalty?
He learns there are times when passion and anger cause you to throw away the rule book even in the face of deadly consequences. He learns that words have a great deal of power but not as much power as silence. But most of all, Chase learns that in a world full of sheep, one should always be a wolf.




Let's talk about Chase Jacobs - SPOILER ALERT! πŸ₯Š

Chase Jacobs is a fan favorite because he is gentle, kind and very much the boy next door. He tries to do the right thing in most situations and is known overall as a salt of the earth kind of guy.

Chase came along in the first book for this series, We're All Animals and has stuck around for the entire series. When we first met him, Chase was 18 years old and just graduating high school. Suddenly dumped by his first girlfriend, he was confused about what had gone wrong as he hung out at a house party. After one of the guests sets her sights on him, she slips something in his drink to 'loosen him up' and the two end up hitting the sheets. Although it was automatically a regrettable mistake for Chase, it quickly becomes more regrettable in the weeks that follow when he learns that the girl is pregnant. From this point on, Chase's life starts to spin out of control.

We continue to follow along with Chase at the protagonist in Always be a Wolf and we later switch gears, when Jorge Hernandez takes over as the protagonist in The Devil is Smooth like Honey, A Devil Named Hernandez and And the Devil Will Laugh.

Chase is also half indigenous, young, attractive and an overall sweetheart. ❤️This is why so many of the other characters are so drawn to him. In one of the books, Jorge Hernandez even jokes, " Why does everyone fall in love with Chase Jacobs?"




Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Let's Help One Another! 🀝

Independent artists and small business owners have a lot in common. They're both working hard to get noticed (often as a side project along with a job) and don't really have much money to invest in advertising. It's a struggle - but it's a struggle that's filled with passion. Anyone who has a side project probably isn't doing it for money alone because as any new business owner or indie artist will tell you, it takes time to show a profit. They'll probably also tell you that they wouldn't be doing it if they didn't love it.

Somewhere between the time I published my first and second book, I had a friend insist I was crazy. Not to suggest she wasn't totally wrong but her specific reason was that I invested in a book and advertising and wasn't making stacks of cash back. To her, I was wasting my time. Here's a spoiler alert; we weren't friends much longer. πŸ˜„

We have to follow our passion. It's not just for potential financial gains but the personal growth stemming from the challenges and the many learning opportunities along the way. Had I never written a book, would I even be the same person? Where would I be now? Would I still be friends with that imbecile I mentioned in the last paragraph? I can't even imagine.

Artists and small business owners need to work together and try to help one another out. Be open-minded and know that by helping someone else, you're indirectly helping yourself too. To a degree, it is an unselfish act but it also makes you feel pretty good to give a hand to someone you know has been working hard to get ahead. Always be open to new ideas. Maybe you never considered (or wanted to consider) having a YouTube channel but another artist suggests you start a project together. Maybe another business owner wants to collaborate together on a promotion. Hear people out and consider their ideas. You never know where it might lead.

Another great tip is to look into Buy Me a Coffee. This is a great way for people to 'buy you a coffee' through a donation in order to help you have a slightly smoother ride on the road to success.

Follow your dreams because without them, what do we really have?


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What are my books about? πŸ€”

One of the most commons questions I'm asked is what my books are about. You would think this would be one of the easiest questions to answers however, it is somewhat complex to tackle.

As it turns out, there are a lot of subjects that I cover in each book. For example, my first two books are about rock stars...but they are about so much more. For example, Fire is about the commercialization of the music industry, the unexpected stress and pressures of fame and the reality of our obsession with celebrity.

I later wrote two books about vampires. Just as with the last example, the books weren't just about vampires.  In The Rock Star of Vampires, for example, I talk about how this group of people is essentially like the rest of us except that they need to drink blood in order to live. It is like a vitamin to them. You discover their challenges and attributes that aren't always so glamorous. I also discuss their struggle with these sudden changes in their body and how they view the world. There's so much more going on than just being vampires; issues with family, friends and life. As it turns out, being a vampire doesn't automatically solve all your problems.

My last series is about organized crime/narcos. As with the other examples, these books are also about many other things; loyalty, family, health, social issues like racism and so much more.

No book is ever just about one thing and in fact, most books are vastly complex when you really try to break them down.




Always be a Wolf 🐺

Always be a Wolf is the follow up to We're All Animals and is the second book in Mima's current suspense/thriller series following the dark world of organized crime.

In the gripping sequel to We're All Animals, Chase Jacobs moves to Toronto with his Colombian bosses, Diego and Jolene Silva, where they expand their elite sex party business. The underground's best-kept secret is going legit, but just as Chase starts a brand new life, tragedy strikes.

The heartbreaking lessons ahead of him are the most difficult he's ever had to face, and Chase must rely on his new family to help him through. But will his blind faith in Diego and Jolene prove to be a mistake, and has he underestimated just how far they are willing to go to prove their loyalty?
He learns there are times when passion and anger cause you to throw away the rule book even in the face of deadly consequences. He learns that words have a great deal of power but not as much power as silence. But most of all, Chase learns that in a world full of sheep, one should always be a wolf.