Sweet smell of herbal cures.

Miami Indian 2.8.18


A Native American gardener shared her cultural knowledge of native Indiana, Fort Wayne, plants and their medicinal uses.

The marshes (protected areas in Fort Wayne) contain special grasses and floral plants. Sage is a component of the sweet grasses and is used in ceremonies. One ceremony is burn or smudge to purify area, which will get rid of evil and impurities-an herbal cleanse?

Sweet grass also grows in and near the marsh, women braid the grass and wear around neck to repel insects and counteract sweat aroma. (Personally I’m not sure this will work as well as a bath, but something is better than nothing.)

Another bush native to the area is Spice Bush, the leaves smell like citrus and the berries have an all spice aroma. Lovely. Medicinal use—cleansing.

Corn is a major component of the Green Corn ceremony of the Miami Nation. White corn: silk can be tied and put in a tea, which is a medicine for kidneys. Use the jawbone of a deer to scrap corn, then grind the kernels in order to make tortillas and bread. After the husks and stalks have dried use them as fire tender-can you imagine how great the air would smell?

Corn is important to Miami and they have several words referring to the vegetable in addition to using songs to chase away crows and encourage growth, the harvest and the process. How sweet is the community of people who put music to their tasks?

I love Redbud trees when they are in bloom and apparently the flowers when seeped taste similar to green tea.

Slippery Elm is another tree that has medicinal use for constipation; diarrhea and if you hold the bark in your mouth your sore throat will be reduced. Pulverize to make into powder and used in tea.

She showed us a basket made with American Elm and a braid on top is made from hickory, which gave a solid beautiful reddish brown color. The natives peel bark off the tree in large enough slits to draw the pattern on one side and used the portage as glue to hold it together.


She also shared their saying for sap collecting:

freeze at night warm in the morning.

When they have sugar dried from the tree collection they put it in a basket and bury to keep from animals.

Different plants can be used as cords for weaving, especially fishing baskets: Mulberry, milkweed, and dogbane (dogbane is also used as digitalis).

Buckeyes can be strung into a necklace and helps with arthritis and sore joints. Men put buckeyes in pockets. The inners of the nut can be used as a meat substitute…I’m not buying it. 😉

Walnut: I have experience with using fallen walnuts as a stain for furniture. The rich brown tint is unbelievable

The nut flesh helps with brain worms and memory.

Hazelnuts can be hulled and made into flour—can you imagine how many of those little fellows it’d take to make a cup of flour?

Sumac-fragrant collect berries three days post rain-strip them off the branch and steep in tea to prevent cold. Leftover can be used as a pink dye.

Mullein:  I’m not familiar with this plant but she said it has yellow flowers and the leaves are fluffy like lambs ears. Mullein helps with respiratory infection. The leaves can be wrapped on cut to reduce bleeding (shrinks tissue). When a fellow attendee asked if there is documented validation our little bear responded: TRUTH.

The stalk can be used as a torch and a spindle as a bow and spindle to start a fire.

Poke: I’m not sure what this is but she had a lot of laughter when she talked about eating the green and white plant when grilled or crumb coated and fried. If the poke gets bigger and has red streaks (tropical looking) don’t eat.

The berries are used by a vet to treat worms and as a dye (purple).

Remember: Green, wash and eat

Red, dead if eat.

Finally: Cattails.

This was the most interesting of the topics discussed. The cattail leaves and roots are used to make mats. In the fall dig up roots, burn on fire and take out the inside to eat. In the spring they eat the plant like asparagus, when the cone is white and green soak in water and eat like roasted corn. Take the cone and shove through the hole of a clean milk jug and the “tail” can be used as flour. Store in fridge.

Anytime a native gardener digs up or alters a plant it’s important to talk to the plant, like talking to a friend. State appreciation for the life and nutrition it provides and cover the root or damaged area to heal the plant and the plant will heal the person. (I didn’t do justice to the lyrical loveliness of this notion, but I believe in the value and will attempt to “talk” to my plants.)

Fertilizer isn’t a friend of the Native American and wishes more farmers committed to GMO. River Rice hasn’t been present in the environment for centuries and some has been discovered around the bend of one of the three rivers in Fort Wayne.

On tradition the Miami maintain is to set out a plate at Thanksgiving for ancestors, a symbolic reminder of the ancients who have passed. I liked the idea!V


A Love Letter

My Dearest,

I love you, always.

We met by chance and the shimmer glowed and grew.

Our holographic universe spat our destiny into waves and rolls.

We made choices and decisions, some bad but mostly good.

Learning about life, creating life and losing loved ones made us stronger.

I love you, always.

Sacrifices were plenty, celebrations few and oh so magnificent.

The sparks have lessened and the shimmer has dimmed; however, companionship is worth more than youthful heated ecstasy. I look forward to seeing how the future plays out.

I love you, always.


a heart not quite the same.



Heart on Concrete Floor

jj Keller is a native Hoosier. A dreamer. A writer. A storyteller.


She’s married and has two sons. Traveling to exotic locations is something she can’t do enough of (even if it’s only in her mind) and puttering around in her herbal garden is her favorite pastime. She enjoys a good story, easy listening music and a fine glass of wine.


Urban fantasy, paranormal, romantic suspense and thrillers are her favorite genres.


jj is a member of Romance Writers of America.


jj’s pen name is a result of her family name. She used lower case in her given name because of her fondness for ee cummings’ work.The man was a great poet and author. They both tend to be unconventional, his capitalization and her imagination and “fresh” attempt at writing. ee studied English, as jj did, he had a fondness for Greek and Latin and she loves to use Greek Mythology references in her work. His unique style of writing can be seen in Buffalo Bill’s/defunct and her only western to date, revolves around Buffalo Bill.


She hopes someday her work will be considered “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful”.








Fan page:







Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=JJ%20Keller&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank





http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30057 (Jewel Heist)


Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=93172








Wild Rose Press














https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxf1tPBXdSY (Trade Agreement)







2018…What Awaits Us in the Year of the Dog?

Changes are occurring.

Nuclear destruction: an omen?

Our connection to the cosmos is becoming clearer, let’s reach for the stars.

Global warming is a real threat.

Women are universally becoming stronger. Me too is just the beginning.

Massive numbers of authors are creating stories and publishing through various avenues.

As a sheep…I can’t wait to see how the year will progress. What about you? What do you foresee in your future?

Tarot Cards Proven to be a Link


“Yes, I’m here,” Emily Lucent responded in a whisper, yearning to hear her name again. The gentle, lovelorn utterance, tempting and mesmerizing, created a stronger need to see the speaker. His Scottish accent made his bereavement, if she could call it that, all the more intense. She wanted to help him find the love he had apparently lost. She longed to see him.

For the past few months the voice had grown stronger and more frequent as the days passed. He called her name in the pre‐dawn and lately during the course of the day. Her heart would race with anticipation. When would she hear the sweet harmonious sound again? Alone in the house, without the background noise of a television or music, sometimes she would hope to hear it, try to hear it.

Hear him.
Hear her name.
She questioned her sanity. Yet, the deep, clear masculine voice sweetly lulled and soothed her. Restlessness and greed took over. Despite the fear of lunacy, she wanted more, needed more. She wished to see the unearthly being who spoke to her.


The Watcher


Mikhail gathered tarot cards and shuffled the deck. “You need to shuffle this once and fan out the cards. Pick any three cards from the deck and place them face up on the table. The second card should be placed to the left of the first card. The third card placed on the right of the first card. You must concentrate on one aspect of a decision to be made or question while drawing the card.”

A force pulled her further into this web of mystery and mysticism. She must discover, divine or infer the source of the voice. Good or bad.

Earthly or unearthly.
Angelic or demonic.
Ghost or hallucination.
She shuffled, drew out three cards, and placed them face up on the table. Mikhail watched closely. They carefully viewed the cards on the table top. She threw her head back and stared at the door. Emily glanced behind her, thinking Melody had come into the room. Empty space. A shiver of unease rippled over her skin. She returned her attention back to Mikhail. The fortune teller removed the turban and combed her fingers through her hair.

“Emily, I must ask you if you’re a religious person.”

“I don’t know what that has to do with the forecast of my future, but I was raised as a Catholic. For the past two years I haven’t attended mass. Although, I believe I’m a spiritual person.” She lifted her glance from the elaborate, elegantly detailed, tarot cards to connect with Mikhail’s gaze.

“The voice is not a hallucination and does not belong to a…ghost.” Mikhail bit her lower lip. The white of her teeth gleamed against the red lipstick.



Buy at your favorite book retailer….

Happy Holidays!




Seasonal Meaning


I love to place words in an order to make a story come alive and having a sweet-happy-ending gives the tale a happy-happy-joy-joy feeling to the reader. The best time to market my books is during the holiday season, but the days are filled with friends, work events and family. As a result forgiveness is the theme for my seasonal blog.

I forgive my friends and myself for not being a good friend to the people from my past life…distance does not make the heart grow fonder. How about you? Do you have friends you’ve lost contact with and this season want to reconnect? Facebook may make it seem quick and easy, but face-to-face is more important-right?

Work events are what they are-I like to dress in evening/formal garments and chat with strangers. I hope the new acquaintances forgive me for not listening to their blah blah blah while I create new characters by using their behaviors and sometimes-odd physical anomalies.

Family, whew this is a deep well and  I don’t want to expose all of my vulnerabilities. My father and I are close; he was my mentor, guardian, teacher, confidant, and stable platform that allowed me to grow as an individual. I recently learned my siblings  might not have had the same perception of our family as I do. I’m not sure how to describe the heartbreaking lack of familial connection over the years. I guess I’ll just say I forgive them.

Happy holidays to all and to all a forgiving new year!


Book Signing for the Introvert

Hi all,

Whew, tomorrow is my book signing at the Allen County Library.  My nature is to stand in the middle of the crowd watching how people interact and, of course, to create stories from those observations…but as an author I need to market.  Yeah, I know, the dreaded market word (to some not all).

For the past ten years my cheeks heat, my stomach rumbles and my heart pounds at a rate I should be fainting, but I stand or sit and try to sell my books. I love to write which entails merchandising. Most of all I love talking to fans about books, my books especially, including plots, characters and future stories.

If you’re in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area please join me at The Allen County Library-Main Branch for a chat or to gaze upon my red face. 11.11.17 from noon until 5pm.





Black Widow, a Cocktail

Seasonal greetings! I’m sharing a recipe, one of my favs, to help you celebrate your upcoming holidays.

1/2 oz strawberry vodka

1/2 oz white rum

1/2 oz triple sec

cranberry juice

1 lace of licorice.

  1. Pour vodka, rum, triple sec into a glass.
  2. Top with cranberry juice and stir.
  3. Fold licorice three times and cut at each end so the spider will have eight legs. Use the legs to decorate inside of the glass.

(If you don’t want to invest in strawberry just use regular vodka and add strawberries or strawberry flavoring.)

This is an adult beverage but can be made as a mock-tail….substitue Strawberry Vodka with juice and leave out the rum.

black widow




Venice: City of Romance or a Murky Mess?

My husband and I just finished our tour of Italy. The one place I wanted to spend quality time was Venice, a city that survives all odds. Built on a eries of low mud banks constantly beaten by the tidal waters of the Adriatic the brigthly colored facades still stand in their architectural glory.


And I wanted to walk in the same footsteps of William Shakespeare centuries ago.


After boarding a ferry we went from the train station across the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. The boatmen had a muscle building tasks of tying the old-school rope instead of nylon. The earthy scent and squeaking of the line as the man wrapped it around a dock post helped distract from the constant downpour of rain.

The croweded pathways didn’t detour me from appreciating the streets made of water, or the black gondolas as the black and white striped shirted gondolier manuevered visitors through the narrow watery alleys.


Much to my disappointment many of the churches and museums didn’t allow photographs. The art work of Venice and architecutre of the buildings cannot be adequately described…you must see them in person.

Oddly enough my favorite store consisted of Murano glass products. The beauty of the clear and brillant glass made by Venetians since 1291 helped me to decide on gifts for many family members.

Our time in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region was too short. I wanted to spend more time exploring and maybe going over to the glass factory in the small cluster of islands, Murano.


all rights reserved jj Keller




Italy: Amalfi Coast

If you’ve seen a painting or print of Italy, generally the scenery is of houses built into the mountain side. The Amalfi Coast has this spectacular landscape admired by most who venture along the rough, wicked turning roads to get to the quaint seaside towns. My husband and I joined two other couples in a van driven by an energetic Italian. The wheels of the van barely touched the asphalt surface, but the fear wasn’t enough to keep me from admiring the scenery. I couldn’t look past the terraces lined with lemon trees.

Crags of misshapen olive trees bursting with soon-to-be-harvested olives dotted the landscape breaking up the vibrant yellow. Houses, seemingly built into the sides of the mountain, glistened in the noonday sun.

We jolted to a stop for a thirty-minute sightseeing walk through Amalfi, where the infamous lemon liqueur is made. Our taste buds were not disappointed…and the next leg of the journey was not as shocking with a bit of 32 proof in me.

A troop of school girls in matching outfits rushed through the streets handing out flyers to a play being performed that night. Visitors and locals interacted despite the language barriers. Coins, EUROs, were exchanged and merchandise moved.

Our next stop was at Positano and lunch at Chez Black a few feet above Mermaid Beach. We tried the buffalo mozzarella and swordfish, both were excellent. Well worth the winding staircase trip to get to the location.

What do you think of the magnificent blue waters of the Amalfi Coast?

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