Author Archives: Dawn Keur

Book 2 of The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries is in the Works

After a small hiatus due to a very close friend developing some serious medical issues, I’m back doing what I’m supposed to be doing–finishing book 2 of The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries. The title has (almost) been locked in. It’s to be called Stray Trouble, and here’s the tentative cover for it.

Right now, I’m working through the final manuscript …about a month behind my original schedule, but, as they say, yes, life gets in the way, sometimes, especially when it’s one of your best friends who is in trouble. Once the manuscript is what I call ‘author final’, I’ll be sending it on to my editors. Once back from them, I’ll hit publish on Amazon for you, I promise.

In other news, you’ll be pleased to know that, in the down time, I did get book 3 almost completely drafted. I’ve got some holes to fill, and everything is always subject to change, but it’s already a pretty solid book.

One of the challenges I had writing Book 2, aside from my friend’s dive into medical malaise, was the fact that search and rescue situations, especially those involving crimes, tend toward ‘situation-and-resolve’, so suspending the mystery for an entire book while maintaining tension can prove tricky. I think I’ve again managed to pull it off in book 2, but we’ll let you all decide that.

And so, here’s a sneak peek at the cover.

Book 2 of The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries by D. L. Keur

And so what happened to the audio of Book 1? Well, that went south with aforementioned friend’s illness. It’s on drive, but I still have a good solid ten chapters of sound files to listen to and edit before it goes to mastering it for distribution. Who knows, I may never get that done, because writing the books comes first.

Death Scent is Launched, Audio Being Mastered, Book 2 Well Underway

Death Scent, Jessica Anderson K-9 Mystery, Book 1

The eBook and the print versions of Death Scent are now out and getting wonderful reviews. I’m so thrilled. The audio is in the process of being mastered by my husband, but here are chapters 1 through 4 to get a taste of what it will sound like. (The zip file is available below for those who prefer to download and listen on their own devices.)

And in other news, yes, book 2 of the series is well underway and has been since January. It’s an exciting story to write, but, like Death Scent, there are places where I find it emotionally tough.

Chapter 1 – 9-1-1 Call

 

Chapter 2 – Trouble

 

Chapter 3 – Pertinents

 

Chapter 4 – Idaho Code

 

DOWNLOAD THE ZIP FILE

Death Scent

Death Scent: A Jessica Anderson K-9 Mystery (The Jessica Anderson K-9 Mysteries Book 1)

Available now while on Pre-Order for only $2.99 .  Take advantage of this discount price and save a buck! Special Pre-Order Price of Only $2.99

A Jessica Anderson K-9 Mystery, Book 1, by D. L. KeurHer first mistake was calling 9-1-1.

Drones were supposed to make life easier for Jessie and her search and rescue dogs. Instead, they’ve made everything a lot more complicated. Her equipment confiscated, her very freedom threatened, Jessica Anderson finds herself in the crosshairs of both law enforcement and a vicious killer when her drones discover a body on the slopes of Long Peak.

When evidence points to other victims, though, it’s Jessie and her search dogs who law enforcement needs to find their remains. What nobody suspects, though, is that the killer is watching, waiting, anticipating …ready.

A novel of a woman and her beloved dogs, a woman who, having fled a career in law enforcement, finds herself the target of, both, the sheriff and a murderer.

No profanity, no cringe-inducing graphic content, just exciting story.

READ AN EXCERPT

Chapter 1 – 9-1-1 Call

Oso, Jessie’s quiet, very independent Elkhound, watched from a distance, reserving judgment.

Giant Milo, the Wonder Mutt, lay in a crouched ‘down’ position, still and sphinx-like, except for his tail, which tentatively brushed back and forth in the grass.  Like Oso, Milo was reserving judgment, but with his natural optimism.

Jessica Anderson touched the ‘on’ icon on the interface open on her laptop.  The two little machines sitting on the ground in front of her clicked a couple of times, lights on them blinking.

All three German Shepherds—Acer, Britta, and Sumi—pricked their ears.  The fur on their backs rippled a bit, while Mitch, the Marvelous, Jessie’s young Belgium Malinois, came instantly to his feet.  He tipped his head sideways, his attention riveted.

Predictably, her top ground tracking dog, a deep copper-colored Irish Setter cross named Queenie, bounded up to the little machines, stopped short, backed up, barked, then moved in closer.  One sniff, and she took off to race around the field in deliciously happy circles.  Queenie thought them some new game or toy …which, in a way, they were.  …And weren’t.  “Good dogs,” Jessie crooned.

All the dogs relaxed.  Momentarily.  Then all of them stood and went to full attention.  The German Shepherds, or, as Jessie thought of them, GSDs, raised their hackles.  So did Mitch as the drones came alive, the machines unfolding like strange insects as they engaged their tiny rotors to pull themselves aloft.

Only Oso and Milo were still open to the possibility that these weren’t ‘danger’.  Only Queenie still thought them marvelous fun.

Good dogs, gute Hunde, brave Hunde,” Jessie called again, using both English and German to sooth her pack as the machines moved higher, hovered for a moment, then flew outward, following the path that Jessie had previously programmed into the software’s control interface.  “It’s okay.  They’re good guys,” Jessie said to the dogs.  “They’re going to save us a lot of time and effort.”  At least, she hoped they would.  Today would test that possibility.

Almost as one, the dogs looked back to her, and she smiled—her pack, The Motley Mutts, as her grandfather called them, and she was their pack leader.  “Good dogs.  Brave Hunde,” she answered them, English for her rescues, Queenie, Milo, Mitch, and Oso, German for the Shepherds, though, because of her constant use, all of them knew both lingos, now.

Watching her new tools circle the field twice, her dogs’ every sense tracking them, Jessie was pleased to see the machines were following her programming exactly.  She grinned, then touched in the second part of the program, one that would send the drones out to do a test search.  This will save countless search hours for us.  If we can just get Idaho to relax their privacy laws a little.  Still, there were other states.  Jessie wasn’t limited to state lines, not now.  Not with canine search and rescue expert Callen Parker on her side, and, so far, he was.

The all but silent machines disappeared in the distance, heading toward Long Peak.  Jessie hoped she’d gotten all the parameters right.  These were a lot better than the toys she’d been practicing with, but this was their first test flight, and, at five grand apiece, she didn’t want them flying into a tree or a cliff, thanks.  But, she’d already tested their proximity sensors, and they seemed to be working fine.  Still, though, she’d set the program to keep their altitude above the treetops and the Cliffs of Long.

Watching her laptop intently, she kept an eye on both their audio-visual feeds and their GPS positions on her screen.  So far, so good.  They were half a mile out already.  “They’re fast,” she whispered to herself.

A dog whined—Britta.  “Braves Mädchen, ganz braves Mädchen,” she said soothingly.  Acer touched his nose to his friend, and Britta yawned once, then lay down with a groan, Acer squatting down to sit next to her, hip to hip.

On her screen, the GPS locators were showing the little flying bots now a mile out and still absolutely locked to their programmed flight path on her test search grid.  She turned on the motion sensors just to see what they would do, and if they actually functioned the way the company said they would, sticking to the search grid and avoiding each other, but reporting movement.

Within moments, one reported in—what looked like maybe a raven taking flight.  The camera adjusted its focus, and the bird came crisply into view before disappearing into the trees.  The drone stayed true to its programming, maintaining flight path.

They were amazing, and so was the software that controlled them.  Not as amazing as her dogs, but Jessie was glad she’d come across the company responsible for building them—a small firm located in Alaska.  They were fast, light, and had twice the flight time of comparably equipped drones.  They were also more fragile, but the software helped with the flying.

At two miles out, some eight minutes into their weaving, criss-cross search pattern, Jessica caught sight of something the wrong shape and color on the mountain’s broken snow floor.  Taking manual control of the drone nearest to it, she lowered altitude and set the camera to target the object.

With sudden recognition of what it was, she zoomed in.  A proximity sensor blinked.  Her other drone avoided collision all on its own and was now crossing to the east of the one she manually flew.  It reported movement.

Diverted, she let the one she controlled hover on auto-pilot, hoping it caught movement from the body, while she turned her attention to what the other was reporting—another person, she realized.  That person disappeared into the woods, but the drone still sensed it.  She gave it autonomous control and watched, riveted, as the machine now dodged between trees, self-navigating on proximity sensors and its software’s AI.  Be careful, she pleaded silently to the little flying robot.

A flash of red….  The camera zoomed and focused.  The drone dodged and shifted, changing angles to auto-orient.  The flash of red reappeared—the backend of a pickup about fifty yards ahead, part of the vehicle occluded by the trees.  What she could see was that its tailgate was up, said ‘Chevrolet’, and it had no rear license plate.  There was the sound of the engine starting.  Then, the vehicle disappeared from sight into the trees.

Jessie touched in a command for the drone to raise altitude to above tree level again.  “In for a dime, in for five grand,” she muttered, hoping the drone’s proximity sensors accurately could sense overhanging branches above itself.  A dog whine answered her, but she kept her concentration on the screen, which had gone to a blur.

Shifting her attention to the other drone’s feed, she saw that, at least as much as she could tell, the body hadn’t moved.  Asleep, injured, or dead, she wondered.  And, deciding, she dropped the drone down close to investigate and saw what she didn’t want to.

Every dog came to full alert, their eyes riveted on her.

*

Test Audio for Our Volunteeers

A Jessica Anderson K-9 Mystery, Book 1, by D. L. KeurLike I posted on FB, We need some Guinea Pigs …er …volunteers to test Ch1 of my audio book compressed to MP3. We left it full, rather than chopping out the bottom, and what I need is for you to try it on whatever device you usually listen on (phone, computer, mp3 player, etc.) then report back telling us what device you used, whether you used onboard speakers, good quality speakers, etc., PLUS a report on how it SOUNDED on your device.

Usually, the ACX specs (and, no, I will not be putting this on Audible, EVER), has the whole bass end cut back, so only the mid-range and treble are pretty much left, making the sound bright and sharp. My husband (and I agree with him) would like to keep it more natural.  So, without further ado, here is a link to the page where you can either listen to it right on the interface or download the .zip file and listen to it (after unzipping it, of course) on whatever you choose.

And a HUGE thank you.  We need to see if our treatment works or we, in fact, will have to cut the low mid-range and bass out.

(Put your results in the comments here or on FB here.)

Chapter 1, 9-1-1 Call – 441-16.ZIP

Demonstrating My Point

I read a very good report by a professional journalist published on a known-to-be-liberal, even progressively liberal, website tonight.  The journalist himself is known for his progressive perspective, but his effort was to cultivate dialogue between sides, and it was very well executed in both the real world and in print.  Since I have a foot in canoes in both political streams (but not exTREMES), admittedly a political position that makes me unpopular and detested by members of both the left and the right extremists, but very popular with the middle, which makes me, in fact, part of the majority, I took the time and made the effort to acknowledge this journalist’s efforts.

Enter the intolerant mob.

Within minutes, my post of appreciation brought out demonstrations of the exact attitude of the intolerant, raving extremes, in this case (but hardly singular to their side) the rabid liberal fascists.  (Had I posted said same on a right-slanted website, I can guarantee that the rabid reactionary fascists would have done likewise.)  Those reactions gave me a chuckle, because, in their rabid, frenzied responses to my congratulatory post, the commentators demonstrated, not just their ignorance and stupidity, but their complete descent into totalitarian fascist attitudes toward those who they perceive aren’t firmly entrenched ‘on their team’.  Most notable …and saddest, in my opinion, was their exhibition of their own bigotry.  They demonstrated perfectly my point.

No Cell Reception Suddenly.

So two weeks ago, cell reception died here for both me and my flip phone (I don’t want a computer in my pocket, thanks) and for my husband’s fancy smartphone.  Wound up having to spend hours on the landline with Verizon tech support which kept bumping me up to the next level, then the next one after that.  And they wound up putting in a trouble ticket …which netted us lots of text messages until those stopped coming in, too.  Now, Forrest’s smartphone does suddenly have reception, again, but me?  Nope.  Not unless I walk or drive down to the highway.  Then it has all sorts of connection.  So, that’s where we sit.  You want to contact me?  It’s all email now until somebody figures out the problem …which, knowing how things go here, probably means next century.

Bird Washing Day

I have some birds.  All of them are re-homed here because of various health circumstances and special needs.  …Like Whacky Bird, who quite literally faints at the mere suggestion of a changed routine.  And there’s Dumpling who managed to break his wingtip off and almost bled to death when his owner let him out to play.  Since the break left a shattered bone end and the vet had to pull some magic out of her arsenal to save him, the bird was re-homed with me because he needs special care and caging.

Oldest of them all, weighing in at 26 years of age, is Regal, a magnificent, slightly odd looking critter because he suffers a condition I call Bad Cage Disease, his early years being spent in a cage whose bars were made of zinc, not plastic coated steel.   Regal has nerve damage in one foot and a ring of missing feathers around his neck, all permanent problems.  He needs special supplements …which he loves, thank you very much.  But, because of the nerve damage in his leg, he can’t perch up high.  He’s now, basically, a ground bird, except for daily cage cleaning where he jumps up, one footed to a low perch that’s barely off the cage floor.  The fact that he’s supposed to be a perching bird, not a chicken whose feathers (except for the roosters, of course) are designed to stay above the detritus, makes him prone to, (a) getting his feet covered in doo, and, (b) miring his long tail feathers and wing tips, this all despite his special bird bath which he uses daily.

So we have “bird washing day” around here where I get him on my hand, take him to the bathroom, run some warm water, and proceed to, well, wash the bird.  Then comes clipping his toenails if they need it and whacking off any tail and wing feathers that are too long to stay off the cage floor.  He doesn’t mind any of it, at all.  In fact, he revels in it.

Whacky Bird, of course, thinks this is all sorts of trauma, and, usually, when I come back from the bathroom with Regal, I’ll find her either panting like a tired locomotive, still conscious, but unable to move, or she’ll be crashed out, unconscious, on the cage floor.  (She comes to after about five minutes, and, once Regal is safely back and she can see no damage has been done to her pal, she recovers to her normal, rather obnoxious self.)  Dumpling, on the other hand, will make all sorts of sympathetic noises once Regal is returned to his cage …which, Regal, being quite proud of his coiffure and freshly bathed splendor, pointedly ignores as he preens and struts.

So, there you have it.  Bird Washing Day at Dawn’s North Idaho bird retirement home.

bird bathing

Thinks They’re Hot. They’re Not.

…What you get when you have ‘looks’, ‘sponsors’, ‘pull’, but little talent or good training.

I just listened to a bunch of performances by a self-applauding flutist of questionable talent.

Not impressed.

And, no, I won’t share name or links to their performance videos.

It makes me sad that this kind of lack of quality playing can be touted as ‘premier’.

Pernicious Impertinence

I’m part of several writing groups around the Net.  Where I used to be quite active, now, mostly, I lurk, unless the forum is absolutely private, and, even then, most of the time, I offer little input.  Why might that be?  Well, a recent incident in a private forum will illustrate one very pertinent reason.

Somebody asked a question.  Several people cautiously answered with patently safe responses, namely of asking the OP (original poster) tangential questions about aspects of their topic, a technique which neatly avoids having to actually answer.  Finally, somebody was candid enough to give an on-point answer …and immediately that person got piled on by people who hadn’t even yet participated in the thread.

Why?

Because, with typical ignominy, ‘The Collective Miffed’, as I’ll call them (and, yes, there were several), didn’t like the candor and the inherent implications that underlay the truth in that answer, namely that, if you want to target the specific demographic market that the OP was trying to reach, you have to target what that demographic market wants and avoid targeting what it doesn’t.

What caused the upset among ‘The Collective Miffed’ is that, in exposing that truth, the respondent also exposed a truism about one particular, very large demographic target market, a trusim that immediately marked books authored by ‘The Collective Miffed’ as inappropriate.

Can you say pitchforks and torches, feathers and tar?

Yep.  That’s what happened.

The respondent was labeled harmful and rude, never mind that he was the only person to lay it out the way it is.  Darn his pernicious impertinence, y’know? Give not answers of unpopular truth to the mob, but only flowers and icing, baldfaced lies, and lots and lots of steaming [*]! .

It’s Never Safe to Tell the (Unpopular) Truth when Mob Rule runs Rampant

Angry Mob of Four by Robert Couse-Baker

Angry Mob of Four by Robert Couse-Baker