Category Archives: author/novelist

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

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

 

 

 

 

A New Series in the Making

Yes.  That’s right.  I’m writing a new fiction series.

No.  I’m not going to tell you much about it, yet.  It will be a surprise.

But I will share this: It features a female protagonist.  It’s set in today’s rural West (as in U.S. West), but, unlike Through Better & Worse and To Have & To Hold, it’s NOT a Western Family Saga, and it’s certainly not Modern Western Romance.  It’s got absolutely no profanity and no sex.  It’s got no ‘gruel’ — no gratuitous cruelty, gore, and/or barbarism.

Will you like it?  I think a lot of people will, yes.

Why am I writing it?  Because I need something in my catalog that will appeal to a broader audience than my more literary efforts.

I write good books.  But, unfortunately, what I’ve published doesn’t fit neatly into a genre.  This series will, though.  This series will fit right into one major fiction genre that people love.

More later.

Mystery Cover

 

Why I Write.

…Because I have to.  It’s a compulsion.  And, no, I’m not an obsessive-compulsive personality.  I am driven, yes.  I am passionate.  I am labelled a ‘high achiever’, though, when measured against the achievements others I know and what they accomplish in the same amount of time, I’m a slacker by comparison.

Someone asked me what genres I actually prefer to write.  I had to think about that, because, I love all the stories I write.  I love the characters, I love their stories.  But, when push comes to shove, when it comes to ‘genre’, I love writing science fiction.  As usual, though, I don’t write formula.  The aliens aren’t the bad guys.  Humans aren’t the heros.  There aren’t any bad guys and good guys, no good against evil.  Because that’s not really how reality works.  It’s all about perspectives.

A Gathering of Rebels, a story so big it took 2 books to tell it.

Changes at Amazon Important to Indie Authors

I predicted it last year. (I shared those predictions with another author who’s a close pal …and with my webmasters’ group. Only.)

Click to see larger image Hit ESC on your keyboard to close the modal window.

It’s happened …when I predicted it would. (Yes, math still works.)

Click to see larger version. Hit ESC on your keyboard to close the modal window.

What does it mean?

It means that indie authors now really have to treat their vocations as a business or get out of the game. It means calculating in overhead, operating expenses, and COGS. It means pricing their books competitively, not giving them away, nor discounting them, except for planned promotional deals that run days, not weeks, months, or years. It means less ability for indie authors (or the trad published, either) to game the system with cooperative ventures. It means a lot more than that, but it’s not prudent for me to publicly share the rest of what I know, calculated, and project …except, of course, with my inner circle.

Start of One of the NF Books I’m Writing

In case you think I’m fooling with you, I thought I’d share the draft first chapter of one of the non-fiction books I’m working on. Here ya go. Tell me what you think over on my DLKeur Writing As page on Facebook.


WORKING TITLE: Writing Your Novel – The Very Best, Easiest, Fastest, Least Frustrating Way to Write Your Novel

I like books that get right to the point, so let’s, shall we?

 

I’m, by nature, a pantser, that is, I like to create organically, writing on inspiration driven by emotion, rather than pre-calculated structures.  I like to let my characters lead the way through the crises presented to or perpetuated by them as churned by the story’s plot engine.  It’s an exciting way to write …if you know what you’re doing and where you are going.  It has surprises, elicits moments of pure genius, and, most of all, is sublimely fulfilling.  There’s a ‘but’, though.

 

Organic novel writing, or pantsing (‘writing by the seat of your pants’), has its problems, namely left turns, right turns, U-turns, and, worst, winding up completely lost.  These problems can leave the writer frustrated and discouraged, their manuscript unfinished and abandoned.  There’s a reason for that, and there’s a way to avoid it.

 

A successful pantser, just like a plotter—a writer who calculates what happens next in a story based on their detailed outline and story mapping/plot mapping—should know a few things before plunging into the writing, namely:

  • what their story is and what that story is about (two different things, though related),
  • who the story is about, and
  • where the story is going and will wind up (terminate).

 

You also should know the main conflict and pretty well understand how the plot will flow (the overall plot mechanism to be utilized).   Most importantly, though, you must know your ending …usually. (Don’t you just love exceptions? We’re going to proceed without discussing those exceptions, though, because they so very rarely apply to such a very few writers.)

 

Further, you really should know your main character(s), their vulnerabilities and strengths.

 

What you don’t have to know is the how of where the story is going to go next and next and next as you write it through, not unless you’re a died-in-the-wool plotter.  If you are a plotter, then, yes, you will need to know exactly or all but exactly where your story and its plot are going next and next and next through every moment of every scene.

 

My main complaint about plotting is that there’s absolutely no excitement or real joy in writing a novel via the plotting method.  It’s pure labor.  Once you’ve dryly outlined the whole of it, it’s a matter of padding it out so it holds reader interest.  My brain goes cold and my eyes dry up doing that, so that method is absolutely not something I advocate for anyone who isn’t writing pot boilers for minimum wage income.  And nothing really genius usually happens unless the character really takes it off script—those extreme left, right, or even U turns organic novelists regularly can experience, twists and turns that often lead to surprising, even brilliant results, but sometimes lead to complete disaster.  Nice thing about disasters is that, as the creator, you can go back to the fork in the road that leads to it and try again, over and over, taking yet another pathway until you find the one that’s perfect.  Of course, that means that writing without plotting can take regrettably longer to complete.

 

Disasters like this rarely happen to me, and there’s a very good reason.  It’s called ‘know your story’.

 

For those of you who read my How to Write a Good Book in 17 Days, you’ve already seen a crash course that employs this technique.  In this book, though, I’m going to elaborate on the process and start from inception and conception, then walk you through execution.  Let’s begin.

 

Every Story has a Beginning that is the Result of a Previous Ending

Every story has a beginning, but that beginning is actually the result of an ending.  You’ll often see me end a novel or short story with ‘The Beginning’ instead of ‘The End’.  There’s a reason for that.  Because the story’s culmination is actually the beginning of the next story.  This is true of every cherished novel I’ve ever read, be it something by Mark Twain, Conrad Richter, Ursula Le Guinn, Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Bear, Charles Todd, Prestin and Child, or any of the other many authors I enjoy reading, a list way too long to present unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys reading through the begats in the Bible’s Old Testament.  If you check your own list of favorite novels and novelists, though, I think you, too, will find the same to be true of your favorite author’s novels.

 

The end of one novel can beget a new unwritten novel’s beginning.  And therein lies a clue to effectively starting your novel….

END EXCERPT

The Trans-Dimensional Shift Machine Let Loose

8 Months Research, a Breakthrough, So It’s Build Time

Inside The Dimensional Shift Machine, strip

Back in January, 2016, I quit publishing.  I had book #3 of the Country James series ready to throw to my editor and was pounding out the final manuscript of E. J.’s Come-Back Road, the second book of a planned three book series covering the life of one Dr. Warren Jeffries, DVM that started with Old Hickory Lane. I quit because I got a good solid look at the piracy numbers of just one of my titles.  Then, I got the rest of the numbers, too.  

Throughout 2016 and 2017, I published nothing.  And I was pretty darned sure that I would never publish another novel, not until piracy could be defeated (Ha! Dream on. Did a year of research on that and found no good solution.) Then I met author Laura Belgrave, mystery/crime author of the Claudia Hershey Mystery series.  Like a drip of water that slowly wears away stone, Laura got my rock hard petulance worn down bit by bit.  It took her until January of this year.  Then, once again, I began to research.

I’ve got a very interesting brain.  It works at its own pace, and, usually, that pace is quite fast.  Not this time.  I kept shoving data in, but got back …silence.  I shoveled in more data.  Then more again.  Still silence.  Eight solid months inputting more and more data; eight solid months of dead silence.  …Until last week, when, like gears finally starting to move once the penetrating oil does its job or like one of those strange flowers that takes months to form, then bursts open into full bloom all at once, the whole evaluation and conclusion precipitated from subliminal simmering into fully served answer.

So I tried it.

And it worked.

Now, I’m scurrying about, pulling out projects I built, then mothballed as unworkable, and all the pieces are hanging together quite nicely.

I’ll keep you posted on progress as I work through all the various branches of the project’s build. See you on the other side.Inside The Dimensional Shift Machine, DLKeur 2016 web