Promote like a Food Network Star

I love to write a story, its especially thrilling to get the characters and their tale out of my head. But marketing…ah that is a beast I’ve yet to conquer.

Food Network Star is a program I’m becoming addicted too, not because of hot Bobby Flay or even the eye-rolling Giada De Laurentis, it’s because of their marketing tips. Food Network Star provides cooking information and marking ideas…how can you go wrong with recipes and promotion suggestions.

During the show a contestant must cook an impressive original food and get in front of the camera to try and convince people to eat said dish. The producers create many scenarios, like Beauty and the Beast dinner party, Flashback Dinner (recreate a old staple into a yummy contemporary) and All-Terrain Eats, an experiential restaurant experience.

My favorite star hopeful is Jason Smith. He has a charming Kentucky accent and clever euphemisms. As winner of Holiday Baking Championship, he has certified cooking abilities, but the camera segments each week are new. He’s adapted well and adds his sweet personality to sell his dish.

Like the food network star hopeful, an author must sell his or her book. Even if the author has an outstanding, interesting, story, if the book doesn’t wow the public with the possibility of what’s between the covers the book won’t sell and make the top one hundred.

The chef presents his/her dish, making it as attractive as possible. The book cover needs to draw the attention of reader.

Once the dish is in place the chef describes what the person will taste. And the author needs to create a tagline and blurb to entice the reader farther into desiring the book.

Presence, visual beauty, description and taste are key to becoming a Food Network Star. Bobby told a contestant to keep the film bit simple, the same concept should apply for the virtual presence for an author.

An author’s marketing plan should include presence in the venues where fans/readers might hang out. A writer should include a cover visually attractive to a reader, a blurb that draws the reader to add the book to the cart and check out. The book, like the dish, must have substance and flavor so the reader will get a sublime experience.

As Jason from Kentucky said, “It’ll make your tongue slap your brains out.”


Road Trip to Old Stone Fort

The setting for Mystic Love was created from a road trip my family took a few years ago.

We were driving to Florida for spring break and took a rest stop in Tennessee. I’d been reading about ley lines and how the underground alignments of places hold a mystical power. And what do you know–Old Stone Fort Park was at the next exit.

Fee paid and car parked we shed our over coats and embraced the warmer temperature. The boys wanted to go to the site and get it over with

Instead we walked the trail that looped around. At the entrance of the ceremonial site were two mounds of soil, perfectly formed. The park had been created during the Woodland period so pedestal mounds…much like Native American burial grounds found in the northern Indiana area of my parents homestead… were typical in a religious place.

I stood in the center of the religious area and closed my eyes. I let the sounds of rushing waters from the Duck Rivers and the birds cooing in the leafless tree branches surround me. Earth scents from the warm fresh breeze, mixing with the fallen leaves and pungent waterfalls took me to another place. Peacefulness beyond anything I’d experienced before set over me. I could almost feel the magic in the area.

Until, my eldest son shouted into my ear.

The spell was broken, but I’ve never forgotten the special emotions I experienced.

Do ley lines hold mystical powers?

Mystic Love

Ericka Gilmore dabbles in life and death when she tries to conjure a ghost lover. But when flesh and blood, Joe Reeves appears on her doorstep in the midst of a storm, she has to rethink her destiny.

A car accident left the former cop with the ability to foresee death. No longer willing to watch people he cares about die, Joe goes in search of a shaman to remove his “gift”. His remedy until then is to avoid all relationships. But like a lightning strike, he experiences a strong connection with Ericka. A nearby mystical ley line could be Joe’s solution if he and Ericka combine their gifts. But her secret past and his fear of seeing her death keep them at odds.

Rating: Spicy 
Page Count: 282 
Word Count: 68692

978-1-5092-1060-2 Paperback 
978-1-5092-1061-9 Digital


She threw herself against her dream lover, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His lips were cold, but perfect in form. At first, his mouth didn’t move, but after a couple of seconds, he pressed into her. She flicked the tip of her tongue over his mouth, outlining the curves, and then slid it between his lips. His tongue played with hers. Sharp, decadent longing powered through her.

Wait a minute, he didn’t taste like she’d imagined. He tasted like mint and human. She touched whatever smooth cool skin she could find available between the coat and his neck and shoulders. Strong and virile hot body. She inhaled, taking in his scent; fragrant late fall wind and the odor of male sweat.

Sweat? Wet skin? She licked her lips, savoring the zest. A spear of lightning brightened the sky. Six foot three. Left ear piercing. Broad chest. Wrangler posture, with one knee bent.

Her heart thumped harder, pounding strong in her chest.

Whom had she kissed?


Joe supported her, keeping her in an upright position. Definitely a her as supple breasts snuggled tight against his chest. Her robe opened, and he fought the urge to remove his own garments to feel her warm body against his, flesh to flesh.

Lips tasting of wine connected with his, insistent and passionate. Six months ago, he embarked on his solo quest, but it hadn’t been so long that he couldn’t remember previous intimacies, and those encounters didn’t compare to her lavish kisses. Whew, hot, he’d go with the flow for a little longer.

She jerked, and then shoved him away. Sadly, the kiss had been a mistake, and from the flash of surprise crossing her face, she’d realized it as well. The pale blue, almost white, towel came loose from her head. She snapped the cloth off. Sexy dark ringlets fell in twisted disarray to her shoulders.

Joe had been lucky enough to catch a joyful kiss and snuggle. He’d delighted in the touch of her lips, the scent of her womanhood, and her wonderful nipples piercing into his thin, sodden shirt. Enjoying the mistake and resulting benefits, he grinned.

The gleam in her eyes went from surprise to anger. With a shaking hand, she wiped her luscious pink mouth.

He stood in a quandary and debated how to explain. Under the circumstances, she wouldn’t accuse him of a forced entry.

“Sorry. No lights. I didn’t hear a security system buzz. I would’ve shouted.” He took a step. “Instead of coming inside.”

She retreated.

Damn. He’d be sleeping in the rain after all.


Mystic Love


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Shadow of the Hawk

Shadow of the Hawk
Shadow of the Hawk
Cover Art: Louisa Gallie
“Simple educator” doesn’t begin to describe Kristina, not when she has the ability to read minds and shove someone’s molecules into another dimension. The kidnapping of her little brother by the Dark Angel adds another complication to her life, which is already messed by desiring Grant Carmichael.

Grant uses shifting and clairsentience searching for a means to an end, until he touches Kristina Palmer. A jolt of normal excited him and for the first time, in a century, he’d have to navigate a relationship the old-fashioned way. But will the sweet paranormalist allow him, a shifter, to seduce her?

Cold drops of liquid splashed against her cheek. She’d lost consciousness. How could she have let that happen?
Chills ran over her skin, creating a brief clamminess. Kristina couldn’t allow deep sleep for lengthy periods. Vigilance was required or she would become vulnerable to outside forces. Evil lurked and waited, for that fraction of time when her defenses were lax, to take advantage. Mentally she checked her safeguards, on the window ledges and thresholds. Outdoor lights activated, chimney flue, made from an iron bound by special spices, locked into place, and the local security agency’s system blinked green. Although the emerald lights were soothing, she tried to power off her brain. What had she forgotten? The smoky odor of the fire and her warm, tea-filled belly had weakened all of her shields, allowing her to segue to the other realms and open pathways to slumber. Yet, cold drops of water slid along her cheek.
The cold liquid slipped down her neck. Focused on her surroundings, she drew a deep breath, trying to get a scent and determine if a foreign entity risked entering her living room. No unusual sounds, just the quick blustery winds whipping leafless birch branches against the massive wall of windows. The repetitious click and snick of freezing rain provided a musical torrent, as a rough-callused finger stroked the side of her face. Her muscles tensed, tightening in preparation to fight whatever monster dared enter her home.
She met an amber stare straight on. A shiver of fear ran through her at the sight of a well-formed man. Over six feet tall, he had a sleek, golden cap of wet hair stuck to his perfectly shaped head. Naked, his sculpted muscles gleamed in the dim light provided by the combustion of red, blue, and white flames snapping on the wrought-iron grate housed inside the stone fireplace. She couldn’t tap into his thoughts. Well, this was different. She could fry him on the spot with a single bolt of lightning from her fingertip, though that weapon wasn’t her most potent. As a youngster she’d sent a playmate into another dimension. His molecules separated like falling confetti and disappeared in a violent flow of energy. Granted her mother found the missing boy and retuned him to his parents. A heart-wrenching experience, but it gave her a sense of power. She could create a force to send this handsome stranger somewhere into the galaxy.
Water had formed perfect circles, and clusters ran rippling along his powerful physique, leading her gaze from his shoulders to a tapered waist. Her lower region tingled with pleasant jolts of carnal need. From his relaxed, almost sappy expression she assumed he intended no harm, but still, a naked stranger in her living room did unnerve her. His penis rose. She lowered her glance. Pools of water collected near his large feet, soaking onto her burgundy Persian rug. Fight the attraction!
She jerked upright. Chilled, due to his touch leaving her or a result of the open French doors, she glanced at the human-designed security system. The jade lights continued to flash. Keep calm. She snatched her cell from beside the laptop and tapped the face. “Who are you? How did you get past—”
“Your time has arrived. You need to be strong,” he responded without answering her query.
She jumped to a stand and unsteadily held out the phone, keeping the face away from him. No bars, no signals, no help from that quarter. “I’ve notified the police.” “You are the one I seek, the one chosen. Prepare.” He leaned. His elongated nose bumped into hers, and he exhaled licorice-scented breath. Warm, firm lips touched hers. His arrogance and features reminded her of her gypsy relatives, but his kiss—straight from her dreams. Despite wanting another kiss, she drew the chair in front of her like a shield. He took a step away and smiled a cocky grin. “What do you mean you’ve been seeking me? Why?” The words would have been more authoritative if she could have focused on anything but his southern region. The pungent tang of red vine titillated her mouth. She licked her lips, wanting to taste him again. An unclothed, beautiful man, who favored a sweet, told her she’d been selected to…what? Her mind stuttered to a stop. The warmth of the flames didn’t heat her numb body as she drew random conclusions of what to do next.
He didn’t appear to be threatening. Could he simply be seeking help from a modern day crystal ball, rune-stone-carrying fortune teller? His eyes glittered as if he’d read her thoughts. He was beautiful, exactly what she’d look for in a mate, if she was searching for one. His amber gaze softened. Her stomach rioted with desires she’d squelched years before. Who or what was he? More importantly, why did her heart beat staccato at his nearness?
His well-muscled legs took him closer to the patio doors. Instead of walking out, he pivoted. “We need to save the world.”

All rights reserved by jj Keller
Fantasies with spice and humor.

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Love Hurts

Falling in love with her fiancé’s best friend is wrong—right? Not in Shania Miller’s case it isn’t. The man she vowed to marry has a second fiancée and failed to remember her after returning from Iraq. Now, unable to trust in love, she answers lonely hearts calls, saving up
enough money to attend a university three hours away from the only home she’s known.

Broken hearted, Shania and her son move to Briarwood, Indiana. Financial struggles don’t make her lose hope, although her optimism wavers. Will a complete family – one with a mommy and a daddy for her son – ever become a reality?

Morgan Hardwick stood silently by as his friend broke Shania Miller’s heart.His faith allows him to help Shania, especially after she’s abandoned by her fiancé and family. Why then, did he hesitate when she announced her broken engagement and love for him on his wedding day?

Content warning, explicit sex scenes and violence.




Can you ever really trust in love?

EXCERPT: He fidgeted with the blue tie while glancing out the church’s chancery window. Her rusty four-door jerked to a stop in a yellow zone of the parking lot. Shania jumped out of the SUV. Morgan’s heart pounded against his rib cage. Strands of brown hair caught in the wind fell from the knot at the nape of her slender neck, as she ran to the other side. The baby “everything” bag flopped against her side as she lifted Justin out of the car seat in the rear. Using tight fists, Justin rubbed his eyes, and then wiped his nose on her shoulder. While massaging his back, she kissed his plump baby cheek. There was no denying Shania Miller was an excellent mother.

A teenage girl wearing pigtails, jeans and a white t-shirt met Shania on the sidewalk near the bell tower. A quick transfer and Justin’s mouth opened wide as he struggled to grab his mother, kicking his feet in rebellion. Shania handed the bag to the tiny bit of female, and then kissed Justin’s forehead. Smoothing his hair, Shania said something to the youngster. A quick bob of her head toward the chancery window, then the overburdened teen pivoted to walk along the cement path. Shania glanced up and smiled. Love for her exploded inside him.

What had she wanted to say last night at the rehearsal? Her perfect lips drew his attention, making him miss most of her words. Unable to resist, his fingers had caressed her bare shoulder as he released her. He chastised himself for giving in and making the contact. Sometimes doing what was morally correct hurt.

“What are you staring at?” Tom asked from behind him. Hesitant to look away from the scene below, Morgan glanced at his best man, who was tugging his shirt at the neck. “Shania just arrived.”

Tom stared at him, reading him as he always did, and nodded. Morgan could never keep his thoughts hidden from him. “Are you sure you want to go through with this wedding? It’s not too late to call it off.”

Morgan grimaced. Was he that obvious? A few seconds later Shania rushed through the door and stood stock still, gathering her breath. His plebeian attendants hovered, mouths open, gawking at her. Granted, her sexy body was sheathed in a thin form-fitting dress.

“Leave us alone,” he ordered. The guys stopped their incessant ribbing for the first time in two days and dragged their feet toward the door.

Shania took his full attention. Though beautiful before, after giving birth to Justin she’d matured into a sexy voluptuous woman. Unlike her normal jeans and sweatshirt, she’d dressed in a revealing outfit and looked stunning. He’d been falling in love with her since the first day they met.

Should he call off the wedding as Tom had suggested? No, he and Shania could never be together, too many missed opportunities to become lovers. They would be buddies for life and remain simply friends. He tried to think mundane thoughts and proceeded to recite the Ten Commandments, waiting for her to speak her mind.

She dashed forward and halted within an inch of him. The scent of mint surrounded him, rushing out of her mouth, as she licked her perfect pink lips.

“Don’t marry her,” she demanded.

“What?” Commandments forgotten, he shook his head in disbelief and wonder.