Showing posts with label book series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book series. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2019

OMG! I finally fit in a genre! 😝

For all the times I complained about not wanting to be stuck in a genre, I've finally found the perfect one!

Ever since my first book, I've never been comfortable classifying any of my books into a specific category. Nothing ever quite fit. There was romance, action, suspense, murder, dark humor and even some vampires thrown in a couple, but none of these specific genres felt right. It was as though all my books included so many things that it was kind of difficult to really categorize them properly so I chose instead to toss everything into the 'dark fiction' category. It seemed like the most accurate, if not the best category.

Recently, I stumbled across the concept of 'counterculture' and I was immediately intrigued. What was that exactly and why did it sound so appealing? As turns out, counterculture tends to be a way of life that goes against social 'norms'. This demographic rejects 'conventional' society choosing instead to live by their own standards.

This grabbed my attention.

In my first two books (Fire and A Spark before the Fire) my characters reject the values of society by striving to become rock stars, which in itself, tends to be a very counterculture lifestyle.

In my third and fourth book, The Rock Star of Vampires and Her Name is Mariah, I tackle the underground world of vampires. You can't get much more counterculture than that, can you?

Maybe so.

In my current series, my cast of characters tends to go against pretty much all social norms. They make their own laws, follow their own rules and do so without a second thought. Murder, corruption, collusion, and torture are engrained into their lives as if they were the most natural thing. That's pretty counterculture.

My books finally have a home and it's pretty awesome.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Writing about characters that are vastly different from you 🀫

Different ethnicities, the opposite sex, and even vampires; is it difficult to write about characters that are different from you?

The truth is that we're usually writing about characters that aren't necessarily like ourselves. It doesn't matter if the character is the same ethnicity, age and has the same profession as you in a fictional novel, chances are that he/she still isn't quite like you. In fact, if the character did completely relate to you in every way then your book is actually autobiographical, not fiction. 

In my first book, Fire, I wrote about a young, blonde, white woman named Tarah. Many people seemed to draw a parallel between her and I because we had a similar physical description. However, that's where the similarities ended. Her story was vastly different from mine, therefore, I had to dive deep into my imagination to connect with this protagonist. She was a musician turned rock star, in an industry, and with experiences, I knew nothing about. Her life was vastly different from my own at that age. 

Following this book, I wrote A Spark before the Fire, which followed a teenaged, male character who had been featured in Fire. Originally, I feared that this was way out of my comfort zone. After all, how could I write from the voice of a male teenager? Where would I even start?

As it turns out, I had no problem. As soon as I started to write, the inner dialogue and actions of this young man flowed very naturally. It was very instinctual and, in fact, that's been my process as I continue to write about characters that are vastly different from me. I've since written about vampires, narcos, assassins, children, and people of various ethnicities, ages, and sexual preferences. The key is to really listen for the character's voice and it will tell you everything you have to know. 

How do you do that? I would recommend that you find a quiet place and time to do your writing and really focus on your inner voice. Stay calm, stay centered and just start writing. If your instinct is to write about a specific character, chances are they're ready to come out and play.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Songs that inspired The Devil May Lie

Music has a powerful influence on all my books and in fact, some of my most prominent scenes are inspired by specific songs. What inspired The Devil May Lie?

I always talk about how each of my books has a soundtrack. These are the songs that inspire ideas during the writing process. In fact, some of my most powerful scenes were born out of a great song that I couldn't get out of my head. Here are a few that stand out for this particular book.


1. Master of Puppets by Metallica

This song inspired the entire book but specifically one scene toward the end, where Jorge Hernandez has to make a political speech and is confronted by a decision that could change his life.



2. Rock Superstar by Cypress Hill 

This song popped in my head a lot while writing this book. There's a power behind it and speaks to the essence of Jorge Hernandez in the political arena, where he is the rock superstar but is it what he wants?





3. Peace sells...but who's buying

This song came into mind while writing a chapter about a specific character that attempts to tell Jorge Hernandez to drop out of the political race. It doesn't go so well....






I can't imagine music not playing a roll in my writing process. In fact, there are songs that immediately remind me of specific scenes in my books. 




Friday, February 8, 2019

Animals and Devils 🐺😈


If you're familiar with my series, you probably already noticed that the books have an animal and devil theme in the titles. But why is that?

As I talked about in previous videos, this became the series that was never meant to be a series. It started out with a book called We're All Animals in 2016 and took off with the follow-up, Always be a Wolf a few months later. This portion of the series follows protagonist Chase Jacobs who's a naive, small-town boy who has a tendency of trying to do the right thing.

And that's when things take a bit of a turn.

In the fall of 2017, the devil-themed titles start appropriately with the blood-thirsty thug Jorge Hernandez as the protagonist. The Devil is Smooth Like Honey followed the life of the Mexican narco who's about to take over the legalized pot industry in Canada. While Chase was very much the boy-next-door, Jorge is the complete opposite, demonstrating the vast differences in characters. Having Chase as an employee, both men tend to have an influence on one another as the series continues with A Devil Named Hernandez and And the Devil Will Laugh.

I've always said that I love character contrasts in books and feel that extremes have a way of balancing each other out. I'm really curious where this is going to go in the future because I see an interesting shift in both of these characters in my next book. Will Jorge bring out the bad in Chase and Chase bring out the good in Jorge or are certain aspects in their DNA to stay? What do you think?



Friday, January 25, 2019

Let's talk about Paige NoΓ«l-Hernandez 🧘🏼‍♀️

Paige NoΓ«l-Hernandez is the assassin wife of Jorge Hernandez and makes her first appearance in The Devil is Smooth Like Honey and is also a prominent figure in A Devil Named Hernandez and And the Devil Will Laugh.

What I love about Paige is that she's incredibly calm and balanced regardless of the situation. She manages to keep a little sanity to the otherwise erratic group of characters and yet, you're left wondering if maybe she's a little too calm in various situations. I guess it's the meditation. 

Paige enters the series (and meets her husband Jorge) in a very unique and dramatic way. Although it's probably a situation that seems absolutely insane, for some reason the two find themselves drawn to one another and start a very fiery, intense relationship which dominates this series almost as much as....well, the violence. There's a strength to their relationship that can't be denied and in many ways is admirable. 

Of course, if you're looking for a fairytale princess meets prince storyline, the relationship between Jorge and Paige Hernandez might horrify you.



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

How a simple story turned into a brutal series πŸ™€

It started with a very simple concept. The first book in the series is about the boy next door who finds his life taking a very dismal turn. This combined with an unstable family relationship put him on a dark, lonely path that led him to a group of criminals and a lifestyle he never would've imagined. Driven by naivety and desperation, he finds himself joining their world.

If you pick up the third or fourth book in the series, it might be difficult to imagine that it all started off in such a simple fashion especially when reading about the brutal crimes, collusion, and gang-like mentality. However, that's why I love it. I love the fact that it starts off so smoothly and slowly walks the reader into an unexpectedly dark world that grows in its ferocity with each book. It's like a slow burn which I believe demonstrates how all of our lives are the result of many decisions, the people we meet, the places we work, the world which we choose to explore. Nothing is by accident but certainly, many things are unexpected.

I've often said that this is the series that wasn't meant to be a series, however, the characters were so compelling that I had to keep writing. Who knew where it would lead me. 😈





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.




Saturday, September 22, 2018

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


Friday, September 7, 2018

Do I need to read the entire series to understand your new book? 🧐

A question I'm often asked is if it's necessary to read my entire series from the beginning in order to understand and enjoy the most recent book. The answer is...well, yes and no.

To begin with, I attempt to write each novel as standalone as possible. I want people to be able to pick up the most recent book and be able to read it with ease and no confusion. For this reason, I often make reference to previous events from other books in quick, digestible descriptions but I try to avoid retelling the story because, for those following my series, I know it could be redundant.

Spoiler Alert! As an example, in my second book in the series, Always be a Wolf, Chase Jacobs loses one of his sons. In my most recent book And the Devil Will Laugh, I make reference to it in a very general sense so that the reader has an understanding however, I don't repeat the entire story. I don't give details like how, why or explain the final resolution. Instead, I make a few broad hints and move on.

Essentially, I want the reader to have an understanding within the context of the new story without having to wade through the previous storyline. I've done this many times and find it's the best method to keep everyone happy. ☺️

The interesting thing about this series is that the first couple of books (We're All Animals and Always be a Wolf) center on the character Chase Jacobs, who tends to be slightly naive about what kind of world he is entering. A young man from rural Canada, his eyes are slowly opened up to the crime world he has joined.

My last three books (The Devil is Smooth Like Honey, A Devil Named Hernandez and And the Devil Will Laugh) has Jorge Hernandez as the protagonist and while Chase is trusting and gentle, Jorge is strong and defiant. It's interesting because not only do you get to discover the contrast between the two characters but also, you can finally see the flip side of the story as you enter the criminal side of the story. I love the fact that there is a slow discovering in the series that allows the reader to see how someone unexpected might get pulled into this dark world.

Of course, I explain this much better in the accompanying YouTube video below.