Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Devil May Lie - book 6 in the Hernandez crime family series 😈

The Devil May Lie is Mima's 11th book and the 6th book in the Hernandez crime family series. In this book, Jorge Hernandez, former cartel kingpin is groomed for Canadian politics. Will the Canadian political landscape ever be the same again?

The sixth book in the Hernandez crime family series is a continuation of the murder and mayhem. Here is the summary:

With blood on his hands, Jorge Hernandez has enforced a brutal takeover of the Canadian legalized marijuana industry. Now facing opponents who want to challenge the existing laws, the former Mexican crime lord has no intentions of backing down. His brash style and sharp tongue captivate the media while behind the scenes, those who oppose him are often met by his crime family’s ruthless style of justice.

When a heartbreaking tragedy tears through the country and whispers of racism and government neglect dominates the news, Canada’s latest media darling finds himself courted by the nationally disgraced party. He has murdered, terrorized and tortured to get to the top and now he’s being groomed to lead one of the country’s political parties.

In the latest book in this brutal series, Jorge Hernandez insists that nothing is more important than the truth…and yet, the devil may lie….




Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Does a weak moment make a weak character?

Just like real people, even the strongest of characters have their weak moments. Why is it important for the reader to see this contrast and as a writer, how do you demonstrate it?

First of all, the best characters are often complicated and full of contradictions. This gives them many layers and makes them seem much more 3-dimensional and realistic. After all, most of us are also complicated and full of contradictions too which leads to my second point, which is that this helps to make characters relatable to the reader. We like seeing that we aren't the only ones who are kind of messed up. Also, seeing a normally strong, larger than life character occasionally fall apart makes them much more humble. We like that. 

A perfect example would be Jolene Silva, who is my current series. In the majority of books, she's featured in, Jolene is strong, confident, powerful and someone I would describe as a femme fatale. However, at one point in this series, the Colombian bombshell reveals a very weak side to her personality that no one saw coming. She makes a series of bad decisions that places her in a very dangerous position with Jorge Hernandez and his crew. After a long, difficult road, she finally is trusted by la familia again and comes back stronger than ever. 

I love this because it shows how a character, even one who always shown a great deal of strength, can fall apart but is able to bounce back under some of the worst circumstances that life puts them in. There's something very reassuring and comforting about that fact. 

Never assume a weak moment makes a weak character. In fact, it actually makes them more human. 


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.



Friday, January 18, 2019

The loyalty factor πŸ‘ŠπŸΌ

One of the aspects that I think people find most appealing about my current series is the loyalty factor. Actually, as the writer, this is one of the aspects that I like the best too. There's something to be said about a group of people who can trust each other, literally, with their life. We find comfort when watching or reading about these relationships because loyalty is a trait we respect.

I feel that in today's society people don't necessarily feel that they have loyalty in their lives. If we're lucky, we might have a very small group of people that we would even put in that category and even then, many of us have also fallen into the 'blind faith' scenario, only to find ourselves shocked when someone lets us down. We've seen the disappointment in relationships, friendships, employers and family, just to name a few. To a point, loyalty might not only be a hot commodity but it might also feel like a rare one, making it even more precious.

When I think about shows that have been popular over the years, I notice that character's loyalty to one another has been prevalent. It doesn't matter if it's friends living together or a group of gangster/mobster characters, the basis of their relationship is often loyalty whether the protagonist is dealing with a broken heart or a broken body. It doesn't matter if these relationships are dysfunctional most of the time; what matters is that when needed, these people show up for one another.

I'm not sure if this is a trait that can often be explored in books since loyalty is something that is best demonstrated over time. The beauty of writing a series is that I've had the opportunity to create and show the strength of these relationships through situations that put the characters to the test. And when you think about it, real life isn't all that different.




Friday, January 4, 2019

Do fairy tale endings really exist?

What's a 'fairytale ending' exactly and do people want them? More importantly, why you'll probably never find one the majority of my books.

This story all started a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from a stranger, let's call her a 'fanemy'. Essentially, in it, she said that she had 'tried' to read my latest book, And the Devil Will Laugh but couldn't through it because she found it troubling that the protagonist, was in essence, not the good guy. Not only was he not the good guy, but he was also winning at being bad.



Of course, this is an unusual concept in books because we are used to seeing a very specific concept in most fiction. There's a protagonist and he/she is the 'good' guy/girl. Then there's another character, usually the 'bad' guy/girl and of course, regardless of the struggles along the way, the 'good guy/girl' always wins. This is what I refer to as the 'fairytale ending'.

Obviously, it's not a 'fairytale' ending in the way you are probably thinking of right off the bat. It's no Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Disney cute ending but rather, nicely folded together that is the fictional version of a hot, cozy bath. It makes people feel good about the fact that the 'good guy/girl' won and the 'bad guy got what he/she deserved'...and they all lived happily ever after.

Or did they?

This is the part where I come in and shake things up. See, I'm not into that kind of ending. I find them a tad predictable and boring. I also find them somewhat unrealistic. Personally, I would prefer to give people something to think about after they finish a book. Kind of in the same way as the final episode of The Sopranos left me with something to think about when the screen went black with no further explanation. This pissed off a lot of people but you know what? Till this day, I still think about that episode and debate with myself about what that meant exactly. I've discussed it with friends and listened to their thoughts on the subject. Had this been the usual, happily ever after ending, I probably would've forgotten it by now or even worse, stopped caring.

The thing is that we, as people, are complex and so is life. Things usually don't end up all good or all bad and people are definitely not saints or sinners. Many people would prefer things were that simplified but they are not. It might work for some people but it doesn't work for me.


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.


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.




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˜‰


Monday, September 24, 2018

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.


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. 










Friday, September 21, 2018

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

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.




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.




Monday, September 17, 2018

How did I get started writing? πŸ’»

People often ask me how I started writing. My story probably that original but here goes...

I was a huge fiction fan as a child (Oh! Those days at the Bookmobile back in the 80s!) and eventually began to jot down some of my own stories. Not to suggest they were elegantly written by any stretch of the imagination but the point is that I let my creative side out because I thought it was fun. Eventually, I started to write little 'newspapers' called 'M News' which featured cutout images from magazines and various flyers to accompany some zany story that I would throw together. I can't remember any of the stories now just the basic format.

Later I moved on to writing longer stories but I think I was just dabbling in writing. My imagination was pretty big but I wasn't great at putting it all together yet. I think I simply enjoyed daydreaming.

At 16 I wrote my first full-length manuscript, a teenage drama that seemed more scandalous and fun than anything I was reading at the time. I feel like I may have sent it off to publishers but I don't recall if I heard anything back. If I did, it was definitely a rejection. 

I stopped writing after that point for a number of years. In fact, it was well into my adulthood that I decided to return to college to take business (why? Don't ask!) and within a very short period of time realized that it simply wasn't for me. I also realized that what I really wanted to do was write.

I ended up taking a creative writing course and then starting my first book, Fire, which was published in 2010. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

We need more diversity in books πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦πŸ‡²πŸ‡½πŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­πŸ³️‍🌈

More than ever, I believe diversity is important in books. Having said that, when I started writing back in 2009, it hadn't even crossed my mind. Much has changed since those days; my most recent books featuring characters of various ethnicities, some of which from the LGBTQ community and although I don't bring up religion often, the topic has come up a few times in my books.

As a child growing up in Canada, I don't recall reading many books about characters that weren't white, which seems unusual for a multicultural country. In fact, when considering many of the books I've read over the years - including bestsellers - I believe the majority featured mainly Caucasian characters. Interesting.

Now, I go out of my way to both read and write books with diversity because it's important. Why is it important? Well because it's realistic. That's our world. Why do we need it now more than ever? Turn on the news and you might get an idea. Governments and narrow-minded groups are attempting to divide us but the beauty of books, movies, and television is that we have the ability to bring us together and show that we really aren't so different after all.

And that's why diversity matters. I challenge other writers to include it in their books.



BOO!! Let's talk about Ghostwriters! πŸ‘»

Until recently, I always thought a ghostwriter was someone who assisted a less experienced person in authoring a book. For example, maybe a celebrity or some other public figure wants to write an autobiography and needs some help putting it together. Of course, I also didn't give the topic a lot of thought one way or another. It was no big deal.

And then - get this - I spoke to someone who told me that it was actually quite common for famous writers to have someone else do the work. He specified romance novelists however, I got the impression that it didn't start and stop there. In fact, I believe some pretty famous authors also use ghostwriters.

Why do I care?

Well, like most of us, I never really respect anyone who allows another person to do the work and then take the credit themselves. That's not cool. Furthermore, if I buy your book, I want YOUR book. I don't want a book with your smiling face on the back cover and someone else's words in the pages. Isn't that kind of like buying a knockoff purse? Sure, it might say Louis Vuitton on the bag but if you paid $20 to a guy selling purses in the back of his van, you're actually purchased a counterfeit purse. Except, of course, ghostwriting is legal. Also, you're going to pay the same price for the book authored by the ghostwriter as you would if you bought the same book authored by...well, the person it's supposed to be authored by in the first place.

Some argue that writers run out of ideas, don't have the time to write etc and I have to tell you, I have no compassion. I work and squeeze in writing, social media and all marketing for my book in my spare time, so you really aren't going to get any sympathy here. Furthermore, when did an author's name merely become a trademark rather than something that represents integrity?

And what about the ghostwriters? I realize that they're getting paid but if they write a best-selling book with someone else's name on it, why aren't they also getting the credit? I sincerely doubt the super famous author is going to publicly acknowledge that someone else did the work for them, nor give them credit for their 'brand' becoming more successful as a result. However, I could be wrong.

What do you think? How do you feel about ghostwriters? Does it matter? Would you feel differently about your favorite writer if you learned that they had someone else write their books?




The Devil is Smooth Like Honey 😈

The Devil is Smooth Like Honey is the 3rd books in the current series by Mima. It follows We're All Animals and Always be a Wolf. Here's a quick overview of the book.

El narco. A monster. Un diablo. Jorge Hernandez had been called many things, and it always made him laugh. If there was one word that could be used to describe him, it would be untouchable. Corrupt politicians combined with his charming disposition had contributed to Jorge’s success, but it was often the underlying threats behind his handsome smile that sealed the deal. He was unstoppable.
In Paige NoΓ«l, he had met his match. She was a woman as dangerous and sadistic as she was soft and gentle. The last thing he expected was to propose after an explosive first meeting, but the intense fire between them was as addictive as the thrill of violence and power.
When some of his personal enemies turn up dead, Jorge shuffles his daughter into a Canadian school, deciding that things are getting a little too hot in Mexico; but does life ever slow down in this dark underground world?  

The good news is if you love the books, there are more following Hernandez and his crew:

Check out the CBC interviews, local articles and more at www.mimaonfire.com