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


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.