RUSSIAN TRADE AGREEMENT

A Russian traded contraband for a woman, at least for a moment-TRADE AGREEMENT.

Falling in love with the next door neighbor-impulsive.

Kidnapped by her ex-husband-startling.

Traded for contraband on the high seas-unbelievable.

Photo-journalist, Georgina Barrister, realizes she has little time left in this world when her ex-husband hands her over as partial payment for a shipment of illegal imports. Apparently being the perfect wife, the perfect hostess, and the perfect lover hadn’t been enough for him. What did he expect of her now, to be the perfect token? As a captive on a freighter, how will she escape? Special Agent Jake Callahan believes love at first sight is impossible, until he meets Georgina Barrister Kaplan. However, his assignment on a high-seas trafficking case must overrule his feelings when Georgina becomes the prime suspect. In search for the truth will they lose their one chance at happiness?


PAPERBACK/KINDLE

AUDIBLE

Dark Sun, Blood Moon

Dark Sun, He’s almost an angel and she’s pure temptation, was released through Cobblestone Press.

In Dark Sun, Brandi is a chef trying to transform Dark Shadows bar into a restaurant. Unfortunately someone tries to burn the place down. Her firefighter ex—always happens to be at the scene and so is her new beau, Niall Howard.

Niall is a Guardian Squad Chancellor testing Mark Kepler before he becomes a full fledge Guardian Squad member sending evil souls to hell or to repent at a Weigh Station. Part of Mark’s assessment is to revisit his old grounds, which brings us to Dark Shadows a pub he used to own but sold to his friend Brandi Sedgwick. 

Niall is catapulted back in time to his marriage to Fiona, Brandi reincarnated. He wants her, but does she want him?

In an attempt to woo Brandi, Niall prepares an old Irish Love in My Heart Potato Soup: Here is the recipe…you won’t be able to find this anywhere but here…shhh it’s a secret.

♥ 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil ♥3 ounce(s) thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped ♥2 clove(s) garlic, crushed ♥4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes ♥3 cup(s) chicken broth ♥1/3 cup(s) chopped fresh basil ♥2 cup(s) half-and-half (I use 2% as a sub to make it less calories but it’ll have a thinner broth) ♥1/4 teaspoon(s) salt ♥1/8 teaspoon(s) white pepper ( I use black and it works just as well, but then I get inspiration for creatures of hell in a variety of ways :> ) ♥2 tablespoon(s) grated Parmesan cheese

How to mix the love in: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté, stirring frequently, until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels; set aside. 
  2. Add garlic, potatoes and broth to pan; bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil and simmer for another few minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat. Dump into a blender of use a hand mixer (in the pot) to purée the soup until smooth. If you used a blender pour the contents back into the stock pot. Add half-and-half, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir until well blended (if needed put back onto burner for a few minutes). 
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with the prosciutto. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Read the story discover if Niall’s magical mix convinced Brandi to fall in love with him. Let me know if you try the potion on someone you want to captivate.

Dark Sun

Magic

Author Blindness: An Editor’s Impairment

Yep…I’ve had this malady and I’m here to tell you I don’t care for the inability to function at 100!

What is author blindness?

One editor, from my publishing houses, rose to the occasion and explained blindness occurs when the author has read a manuscript so many times, she/he doesn’t see/find/catch errors.

Blast! As if writing a novel isn’t challenging enough, blindness might become a barrier.

How to repair?

My editor provided a couple of tools to neutralize this failure to see flaws.

  1. Listen to the story.

Use one of your computer programs to have the manuscript read aloud. My suggestion is to have a written copy, as you listen, and mark the glitches you hear.

2. As above, edit on paper.

It is easy to edit on a computer screen, and why not? It’s faster to make the change, save and move to the next one. However speedy, physically having the document in front of you to edit is a game changer. Printing a manuscript is expensive. I recommend using a single copy and incorporate different colors of ink for editing: one color for when you listen; one for the paper version edit and a unique tint for the final run through of the galley. You can see the changes and alter accordingly.

3. Read the manuscript in reverse.

Hey, I must tell you this is the most difficult, but extremely useful in finding problems. Even if you have a hole reading the story in reverse will make it become a flashing light.

I hope the above tips will help you become a better author. If you know of other methods to overcome author blindness, please share.

jj

jj Keller is a multi-published author of contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy and suspense novels. She enjoys reading and crafting. Traveling and meandering in her herb garden are her favorite pastimes. She lives with her husband, sons, and Shetland Sheep dog, on a small plot of land in northern Indiana.

Visit her web presence at https://www.romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

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Amazon:

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Cobblestone Press Inc.  

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The Wild Rose Press

The Art of Writing

TRUE LIES

Would you rather your critique partner or an editor/ agent tell you a lie or the truth? Or a true lie?

Good day, my name is jj Keller. I write suspense, paranormal and urban fantasy. You can find excerpts and information about me and my work: https://www.romancewithjjkeller.wordpress.com

Trade Agreement is a suspense being published by The Wild Rose Press, The Crimson Rose Line and an e-book and a paperback. Trade Agreement is an exciting fast paced story of a woman, Georgina Barrister, fighting for her freedom and discovering herself along the way.

I’ve always been a writer, primarily academic script. The reason I began writing romantic fiction was due to a drastic change in my life. I needed a venue to expel all of my sadness, anger, and eventually joy and what better route than through emotion in characters.  

I understood (I thought) the mechanics of writing romantic paranormal, and suspense. But I found out a person could have a phenomenal educational background, but to write a great story, to be successful, a writer must have an imagination and a strong support group (crit partner, agent and editor) who will tell you the truth, not true lies.

Please allow me to explain. My first critique group was an eye-opening experience. I had fellow critique members say “yes, your work is great”. But I subbed to a publisher and learned through a rejection letter that I hadn’t adhered to “the rules”. Also, things I thought were so clever and unique…such as using a water tower as a penis symbol, had already been done. Why hadn’t the similar images been mentioned before, by the people I had grown to trust?

I changed critique groups and started reading more of my genre so my new-to-me clever descriptions wouldn’t be a repeat of what someone else may have already discovered and gotten published.

From my experience, I say never have a family member or close friend as your critique partner, because they will tell you true lies. Someone who cares about you will find it difficult to tell you they didn’t understand what you were trying to convey or simply that they didn’t like the story because lack of character development, plot, or gasp, the ending dragged on and on. To save face they may tell you the truth, or what you want to hear, but it might be a lie.

Rules I’ve adhered to:

Authorial intrusion, when a statement is made and not by a character. For example: from Dark Shadows, She broke the kiss, stood and tugged him until he rose. Like a man in love, [AUTHOR INTRUSION] he followed her without question to her bedroom. Who knew?

All of a sudden, an author can’t use the same word in the same paragraph…even if the character enters through a door, when it comes time to leave the character must exit through a portal, entrance, or something but not a door in this paragraph. 

 I like to start a sentence with a gerund, against the rules. I like to use gerunds for emphases, but they should have limited use or not at all.

“LY words”. They are the best. A fellow Cobblestone Press author did a little trailer about her writing partner’s love of “ly words” and saying goodbye to them. I understand how difficult letting go of “ly” can be…but I’m not ready to say goodbye…certainly I’ll use them sparingly especially since “ly words” affects strong POV.

I’m at the end of the blog and the above statements are JMO, just my opinion, but they are true, I’m not telling lies. 

If you have any true lies that you’ve experienced and want to share with us, please use the comment box and tell. Er, I mean show us what true lies have been said to you.

jj Keller, writing fantasies with spice and humor.

BOOKS

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuMJ_wl4UPk

Pink Skin

Pale as a full moon on a clear night…that is the color of my skin. Granted after skin cancer it has imperfections, but continues to be a creamy alabaster. Flaws are challenging to hide and my clothing color choices are limited. I disappear in a suit of white and black makes me appear as if I belong inside the casket…and yellow, oh, how I love yellow. The yolk pigment isn’t accentuated by my skin shade.

On the discovery channel I learned flamingos are born gray in color, but after fine dining on shrimp and algae containing carotenoids, yep, the natural red, yellow or orange pigments found in carrots, tomatoes and algae, their feathers transform. Consumption of the brine shrimp metabolizes in the pigments and revamps the flamboyance, all the bird feathers become a lovely garden pink. The flame-colored birds brighten the water and provide a delightful hue to surrounding greenery.

Pexels photo

I contemplate, if I begin consuming shrimp every day will my fair skin become a beautiful glowing rosy hue?

Should I clear a spot in my closet for garments made of yellow material?

Cruise ships are a floating germ fest…take an emotional cruise. Jewel Heist.

Jewelry designer Mary Keefe has been robbed–of a million dollars in diamonds belonging to her grandfather–by her own boyfriend, Conrad. Besides recovering the jewels, she’s got to conceive a baby within 5 days, to save her family’s legacy. Her friends have a plan, a singles cruise so Mary can find a sperm donor with the best qualities. The first mate could be the right choice–he rates a five on the Donor List. Then there’s John Wang, her neighbor in the adjoining room. Attraction sizzles between them and they’ve become friends, but he doesn’t act interested. Could be, she’s not his type. 

For John Kajiyama, posing as Wang, Mary Keefe is just his type. She’s beautiful, funny and sweet…but is she innocent? Diamonds are missing and he must recover them for the insurance company. How far will he go to maintain his cover in this investigation?

Buy Jewel Heist

Chapter 1

The bag of uncut diamonds fell from the safe and poured into Mary Keefe’s palm. She gaped in wonder. A million dollars’ worth of Canada’s finest, freshly mined from Whip Lake near Yellowknife. Slivers of ice appeared in the sharp edges, indicating what lay beneath the cool surface. She ran her finger and thumb over one of the chalky exteriors, anticipating what brilliant masterpiece she could create, devising a cut plan while envisioning a beautiful engagement ring.

“Mary, I’m taking off,” Lisa said from the doorway leading into the sales room. “Dental appointment, remember?”

Mary sat at her desk and glanced at her part-time sales associate. Lisa’s bejeweled hand perched on her slender hip, and in the bright lights of the cutting room, all of her sparklers came out to play. Mary had fashioned at least two of the baubles. Unable to resist, she tore her attention away from her co-worker and focused on the rough natural diamonds. “Oh. Okay, Lisa, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Do you want me to put the closed sign on the door and lock it?” Her tone held resignation. A silvery blond eyebrow lifted. “Andre wouldn’t mind having a bit of freedom from guard duty.” Mary laughed, fingering the soon-to-be resplendent stones. She must return them to their velvet nest. “You knew I’d be fascinated with the goods.”

Lisa chuckled and glanced at her watch. “Sorry, it’s too late to cancel the appointment.”

“No, don’t worry. I’ll put these away and sketch designs between waiting on customers in the lobby.”

“You’re sure?”

Mary nodded to the door. “Yes. Please, go.”

Lisa took a step. “Good night. I’ll see you after you return from your trip.” She strode to the exit, her wide handbag flapping against her narrow side.

Mary sorted through nature’s mysterious stones one more time. At the click of the door, she stashed the rocks inside their dark blue bag.

The shuffle of feet drew her attention from the sack’s drawstring. Lisa must have forgotten something. Instead of her assistant, a tall thin man completely covered in black from his ski mask to leather shoes, swayed inside the room.

Her heart beating as fast as the second hands on the clock collection at the south side of the jewelry store, Mary moved around the desk, intending to stuff the pouch into the safe and slam the door. “Who are you?”

The intruder didn’t deter her. However, the metal safe seemed farther away than it had appeared a moment ago. She crept forward, keeping the dark opening in sight. “My assistant will be back in a second.”

An arm came out of nowhere and wrapped under her breasts, preventing her upper body from moving. Despite her breaths expelling fast and in short bursts, she hurled the stones and threw her head back, connecting with the chin of her attacker.

“Shit!” a man snapped. A familiar voice. Please, it couldn’t be him.

The bag hit the rim of the safe with a thunk. As with all things earthly, the jewels fell.

She screamed loud enough surely her grandfather, in his office two stories up, would hear the vocal alarm. Where was Andre? God, she hoped he was okay. One huge hand completely covered her mouth and the other twisted her arm. Deep breaths brought scents, a mixture of plant fertilizer and pungent Axe cologne into her nostrils. Beneath the soft wool, she bit her lips, trying to keep them from trembling.

“Go!” he shouted, releasing her mouth. He reached for the dark blue bag of a million dollars’ worth of jewels resting on the cream and gray tiled floor. His partner shuffled out into the lobby, and soon breaking glass rippled through the silence. Smoke billowed into the office. Damn, her new glass display cases, destroyed. Surely her grandfather heard the explosion and would come running.

Her teeth clung to her attacker’s wrist as he bent, until his hand flipped and covered her nose and mouth, forcing her to relax. He stood straight, easing the tension of the hold. Velvet rubbed against her stomach where the blouse had come free from her slacks. They had made love once, on this very floor. An image of him placing a few minor gemstones on her belly and moving them around with his tongue flooded her mind. She resented the intrusion of a romantic tryst now that Conrad Peabody’s true character had been exposed.

His gloved fingers continued to press against her mouth, jamming her teeth into the soft tissue. She finally got relief from the force when he moved his hand and used his teeth to pull off the glove. He stuffed the leather into his pocket, then transferred the bag of gems to his unencumbered hand. His breathing increased, pushing his chest against her back, as his fingers worked open the yellow binding of the casing.

Mary drew a sharp breath. There it was–the mole shaped like molar tooth–at the apex of his right thumb and index finger, confirming the identity of her attacker and thief—a dishonest, unfaithful, and untrustworthy lover. Conrad’s sigh was followed by a sickly sweet scent, which tossed her into darkness.

Jewel Heist

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-jewelheist-615544-149.html

jj Keller

Fantasies with spice and humor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYtNMciTB34

Dark Sun: He’s almost an angel and she’s pure temptation. Dark Sun Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1KBQOdBSQA

Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book.  

 print, eprint and audio.

All rights reserved.

Birthday Cake for my Dog

Yeah! My sweet Sheltie is thirteen! We beat the heat advisory and took a pre-sun walk( a daily ritual) to celebrate. After a series of barks, sniffs and pleasant interactions with other K9s we returned home. She rested, and I baked her a birthday cake. Dog Heaven…PB and pumpkin.

I adapted a pumpkin cake, from lovefromtheoven.com, by adding a secret ingredient just for B…’cause it is her favorite.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter (check ingredients to make sure Xylitol isn’t one…organic is best. I used Santa Cruz)
  • ½ cup applesauce, plain unsweetened
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin-do not use pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 egg

I added ¼ cup shredded carrot, B’s favorite and helps make the cake less dense and adds nutrition.

Frosting

            1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

             ¼ cup peanut butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl mix together vegetable oil, peanut butter, applesauce and pumpkin puree. Add carrots (optional). Once combined mix in egg.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until merged.
  5. Pour mixture into an 8” pan that has been greased with oil.
  6. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly.
  7. Before removing from pan, allow to cool on a wire rack.
  8. While the cake is cooling, whip yogurt and PB. It thickens and is quite fluffy!
  9. Remove from pan, make sure completely cooled, then frost.

Two or four legged, celebrate your special day with a delicious treat!

Seeing Beyond…

Seeing Beyond…

Precognition is a topic which keenly interests me because of my genetic history: I come from a long line of “seers”.  In addition, my spouse has visions and 90% of the time they are on target. One of my sons has been double blessed (cursed) with the ability to divine events before they happen. These visions or random snapshots of inevitable providence are life altering occurrences and I question–is it possible to change the outcome, manipulate destiny?

Could we halt the dream, ignore or force the running mind broadcast to stop? More importantly when does one decide whether or not to act on the revelation? It takes a great deal of courage to admit having an ability very few people have tapped into and/or acknowledge the existence.

What if a warning is given to a person and it isn’t accurate? Should moral acuity prevail?

Precognition (dictionary.com) is having knowledge of the future, an event or situation, through extrasensory means. Theorists argue there may be layers or various dimensions in the universe which would allow for precognition to exist. Skeptics will contest a vision claiming it is a result of an existing future…from a different dimension?

Logic prevails: causality is a fact and it is called cause and effect. Example: If you are stabbed with a butcher knife (effect) the weapon must exist and be plunged into the person (cause). However, if a mapped-out future exists (destiny) then the order is abolished by altering the events due to precognition.

What about FREE WILL? We make choices every day. I tell my sons all the time, the choices you make lead to actions and those actions will determine the outcome of your future. Good and Bad. Your future is determined by you.

For my book Mystic Love I did a significant amount of research regarding ancient mysticism and theoretical models of reality. As a result, I question if objective reality exists or is our universe a phantasm?

If intuition is distilling information using ESP, touch, smell, taste, sound or sight, our survival depends on intuition on any plane, any universe.

80 to 85% of precognitive events concern family or friends and generally evolve around emotional circumstances or disasters, filtering future events by believing in precognition may affect you or your significant others.

Several passengers from the Titanic had a dream about the ship sinking, prior to boarding and told family members about the “dream”. One businessman didn’t get on the ship due to the third reoccurrence of the foreboding. The same with 911, family and friends of the victims had precognition experiences but shrugged aside the intuition. 

Why is it humans are uncomfortable discussing intuition?  Are dreams easier to talk about instead of claiming a vision occurred?

According to the Bible, a person with the gift of prophecy may receive messages in various ways, one of which is through visions (Ezekiel1) or dreams (Daniel7), words of knowledge or wisdom, discernment and the operation of another spiritual gift such as teaching (Paul’s epistles, Hebrews, James). Very often the prophet’s message will come in a way that requires the prophet to find the words to describe the message and may come in the form of a strong emotional impression.

On a deeper level, if we believe we choose the lessons we want to learn in this life and how we’re going to learn them, which includes very traumatic events that nearly kill us, do we take this knowledge with us in the next life?

Is precognition the next level? Will we be able to build this intuition into AI’s?

jj Keller

Fantasies with spice and humor.

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