Crossfire By Jon Keys

The evolution of Crossfire has been interesting and a learning experience. The story of Gabriel and Rick started as a nine-thousand-word short story. I enjoyed that version, and part of the challenge of the original was telling an interesting story in such a limited number of words. The short story had massive amounts of cutting and condensing to make it fit the anthologies restrictions.

After its initial rollout, it became part of my catalog of stories, and off everyone’s radar. A few years later the publisher of the anthology went out of business and the rights to Crossfire reverted to me. The story languished in the proverbial drawer for several years. Why? Well, the original story never felt as satisfying as I would have liked. I knew it needed something, but I never found what was the best solution to improve the story. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love the original Crossfire in its short version. I just thought it could be more complete.

After having an original novel accepted by Pride Publishing, I discovered they also had an interest in re-editing previous work with a new scrutiny on the editing and a sparkly new cover (in case you wondered, I love the cover for Crossfire. I think it really stands out from the crowd.)

So I submitted Crossfire in the hope it would be one of those selected for a facelift, and the anticipation began. No one likes to wait for the response about a manuscript you’ve submitted but my strategy is to try and not think about it and start working on the next story I want to tell.

This time my reply came sooner than I expected. At least it happened quickly for the world of publishing. But the response was different from anything I’d gotten before. It was encouraging though, in its own way. So what did they say? They told me they wanted more. More specifically, would I be interested in expanding Crossfire from a nine-thousand-word short story to a thirty-thousand-word novel? I swallowed hard and said yes.

So for the next few weeks my focus became Crossfire. What could I do with a story I already liked, when I agreed with my editor’s assessment. It needs more. So after exchanging a flurry of emails with suggestions, I had a plan of how to move forward.

My writing process is fairly organic once I move past the initial plot. While the re-write of Crossfire evolved somewhat differently, it was more similar than unique. With several areas expanded and a new subplot mapped out, I began to write. Not surprising, I did extensive rewrites for some existing sections. It shouldn’t have been any surprise that my writing style evolved over the years. So what sounded reasonable and cohesive in the original short story—well, it sounded a little rough in the light of an expansion.

I worked my way through the development and sent it to my editor. And I got back a ‘Not quite’, followed by an encouraging ‘Let’s keep shooting for that thirty-thousand-word count’. The count was close but not quite. So with a little more background on the couple and how they met, the story fulfilled everyone’s vision.

After a few rounds of editing to polish the story and a new cover. It was ready for its second life.

I hope everyone enjoys reading Rick and Gabe’s story as much as I loved creating it.


Murder, kidnapping and a disappearance. Trooper Rick Anthis could use a break. But he hopes it isn’t too late in coming.

Rick Anthis, a forty-five-year-old veteran of the Colorado State Police and his husband, Gabriel Thorkelson, a deputy sheriff in a nearby county, enjoy the peace of their suburban Boulder home, but the neighborhood’s tranquility is shattered by three rapid-fire gunshots. The pair’s quick reaction allows Rick to witness the abduction of his eight-year-old buddy Jacob, by his father.

In their quest to find the boy, the clues are sparse and time is of the essence since Jacob is diabetic, a condition Gabriel is far too familiar with. A search of the father’s apartment yields nothing more than an old hiking map that narrows the search down to a few hundred square miles. Rick and his CSI team are on the hunt, but with every bit of progress they make, it seems they are thwarted, especially when Gabriel turns up missing.

Reader Advisory: This book contains gun violence and an instance of domestic abuse.

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been release elsewhere. It has been revised, re-edited and substantially expanded for re-release with Pride Publishing.


About the Author 

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in, he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

You can follow Jon on Twitter and Facebook.

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Crossfire By Jon Keys
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