Author Archive

December 8, 2015


hazel's blog photo

Where Home Is was the working title of the novel that is now The Survivalist’s Daughter. Kindra, the main character, kidnapped by her father when she was a toddler, is sixteen when she learns that the woman she has always believed to be her mother is, in fact, her stepmother. When the woman she has called “Mom” for as long as she can remember is killed in an FBI raid and her father is arrested for illegal gun selling, she learns the truth and is taken from her isolated mountain home to her birth mother’s home in small town Kansas. The changes in her life are many:

  • She must adjust to a new mother, three sisters, and a stepfather.
  • She must attend a public high school; previously she had been home-schooled.
  • She misses and worries about her baby brother, Michael, who was taken into protective custody.

Even as Kindra begins to adjust to her new life, she knows that no place can truly be home without Michael in it. But what can she do? The FBI won’t tell her where he is.

The Survivalist’s Daughter addresses several current social problems, including parental kidnapping, the reunion of a kidnapped child with the left-behind parent, and overcoming a traumatic event.

Kindle Countdown Sale starts December 8. The Survivalist’s Daughter, regularly $2.99 will be available for 99 cents until December 14, 2015.

Visit my Amazon Author Page to view my novels and books on writing.


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Visit Pierce Family Saga for updates on the progress of Book 2 in the series, For Want of a Father.

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Visit Write to Fit for writing and editing advice.


THE SURVIVALIST’S DAUGHTER: Kindra experiences her first school lockdown drill, which triggers memories of the FBI raid on her mountain home. THE SURVIVALIST’S DAUGHTER is available in paperback and on Kindle at



Where authors and readers come together!

December 2, 2015






The Night before Christmas, my first novel, is currently on sale. Regularly priced at $2.99, the special December price is 99 cents.

The Night before Christmas is not a warm and loving Christmas story, but a book about one family’s tragic Christmas. The need to write the book came one day in 1970 when I heard a news report about a man who killed his children on Christmas Eve. My immediate reaction to that heart-wrenching, horrifying act was a question: Why would a man do that? I set about writing the novel in an attempt to answer that question. The main character, Wes Myers, loves his children, but he fears their souls are being corrupted, and the only way to save their souls is to send them to Heaven to be with Jesus. Over the years, I have heard other news accounts of similar murders in which children were killed for that very reason.

If you would like to know more about the writing of this book and its message, watch the video below and check out the article on askDavid.


November 24, 2015


angel of mercy book cover final gak

Back in 2003, I had just finished my new mystery when the blue screen of death flashed across the monitor; that was the day my computer crashed. My daughter, a computer technician, said to send it to her in Salt Lake, Utah, saying she would recover my files from the hard drive and put them on  a new computer. The only problem was the postman delivered the computer to the wrong house. My manuscript was lost forever.

I moped around for three months before a light bulb came on . . . if my critique partners were as dilatory as I about deleting my sent files, maybe they didn’t either. Between the four critique members, I recovered all the chapters but two. My novel was resurrected from the dead. It was tedious to retype and revise the novel, but I was determined to save my story.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite scene with you, my readers.


Emma put the tray on the coffee table, handed Suzy a plate filled with chips, the slap sandwich, and wedges of fresh green pepper. “Can you reach your coffee if I set it on the table?” Emma asked as she put the cup down.

Suzy nodded, crunching the food with obvious delight.

Emma settled on the couch and bit into the sandwich.

Suzy fixed her eyes on the ceiling with a faraway look. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to kill someone? To actually murder and feel the burst of emotion first hand, to capture the sensation in your writing?” She stopped and giggled. “Of course, it would need to be someone weak and unable to fight back. I’m at a disadvantage in this wheelchair. Still, other ways are just as effective, like rat poison, for instance. It would be easy to slip something like that into a drink. Get what I mean?” She arched her brows, leaning a bit toward Emma, watching her with narrowed eyes.

Emma froze. Her sandwich stuck in her throat. She took a quick gulp of coffee and choked. Her mind exploded with questions. Was Suzy involved? Was that why she came to visit? She had motive, however bizarre, by acting out murders to use as research in her writing. But taking realism to a new level by murdering someone for the sake of a novel was unthinkable. Yet . . . .

Suzy’s voice cut through her thoughts. “Are you all right, Emma? You look a little pale. Did I upset you?” She crammed a mouthful of food in her mouth and chewed vigorously.

“It’s okay. My sandwich got stuck.” Emma fingered her throat. “I’m fine now, though.”

“Ohhhhhhhhh . . . well, that’s good,” Suzy said, rolling her eyes and nodding. “Sometimes I get so carried away.” She took a small brown notebook from her jacket and opened the pad, reading from a list. “Here’s a good one,” she said, placing a finger on the page. “Smothering an old person is easy and never leaves bruises if you use a pillow. Oh, and this one is great. You can hide medicine from an asthmatic or someone with a heart condition. Look.” She turned the book so Emma could see and flipped through the pages. “These notes are full of fool-proof ways to murder without getting caught.” She paused. “I’ve been researching this crap forever.” She finished the last of her sandwich, gulped the rest of her coffee down, and leaned back with a satisfied smile.

Emma swallowed hard. “Sounds like you’re thinking of killing someone. Am I having lunch with a killer?”

Suzy’s laughter peeled through the room. “Tell me you haven’t thought about the realism that murdering someone would add to your work. Admit it!” She leaned forward, reflections glancing off her glasses as her eyes appeared to measure Emma’s reaction.

Emma’s heart beat double time, and she edged forward on her seat. Suzy’s bizarre visit took on new meaning. For the first time she wondered how Suzy had known which apartment was hers unless she’d been shadowing her. Now, Emma was trapped with a crazy, giggling writer who wanted to talk about different ways to commit murder. Was the woman insane?


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Read more about B. J. Myrick and her books at

Read more on her book page.





November 7, 2013

Nelly of No Man’s Land, by B. J. Myrick,  is being offered at a special promotional discount that will run from November 5th through November 11th. Now is the time to take advantage of this great offer to pick up your copy. Think Christmas, birthdays, or a thank you gift for that someone special in your life at


Nelly promo

CHAPTER ONE–A Deadly Diagnosis

May 1890

Kaw City, Oklahoma

Nelly Duncan’s breath caught in her throat as the doctor’s bushy gray eyebrows drew together in a frown. With a solemn expression, he slipped the stethoscope from around his neck and placed it in the black bag, avoiding her eyes. Bad news was coming. News she’d rather not hear.

“Reckon you got an infection, Missus Duncan.” The doctor turned toward Will, Nelly’s husband, who hovered anxiously at the foot of the bed. “I’ll give her some tonic for now and check back in a day or two.”

“She gonna be all right, Doc?” Will asked. He was a stout man, and tall, with dark hair and brown eyes. His round face was drawn with worry lines, and his eyes were puffed and red. He shoved his hands deep in the pockets of his faded blue overalls.

The doctor sighed, picked up his bag, and peered over horn-rimmed glasses. “Might be nip an’ tuck.” He jerked his head, motioning for Will to follow as he trudged to the door, pulled back the feed sack curtain, and stepped into the hall. Will’s head barely cleared the door frame as he trailed after the doctor and disappeared from view.

Nelly clutched the edge of the bright patchwork quilt. She curled into a fetal position and faced the door, listening to the muted voice of the doctor.

“It’s a bad infection, Will. Might be too late to save her, but we’ll treat her for a couple of weeks to see if she responds to the medicine.”

“Aw, come on, Doc. Ain’t there somethin’ more you can do?” Will’s husky murmur was thick and unsteady.

Nelly twisted the sheet between her fingers. Will had always been an emotional man. Soon as the doctor left, he’d be hunting for that hidden bottle of whiskey he thought she didn’t know about.

The doctor’s voice was low and composed. “It’s up to the Lord, Will. I’ve done all I can. There’s nothing I can do for her.” He sighed.

She heard the clump of the men’s footsteps as they descended the hard oak stairs of the old two-story farm house. Icy fear spiraled through her, and panic formed a cold knot in her stomach. A spasm gripped her chest, and she took deep breaths to fill her lungs until it passed. Tears slipped down her cheeks. The frightening words sliced through her fevered mind. She was going to die.

At thirty-one?

Why me?

In her heart she knew the reason. Her mind burned with regret, but she couldn’t change the past. It wouldn’t help to dredge up old memories. She prayed for forgiveness.

The touch of her arms against her body burned her flesh. She knew she had fever . . . a high fever. Pain hammered in her head, her throat burned, her stomach and legs ached, and it was difficult to breathe.

The cool Oklahoma breeze—what little there was this morning—drifted through the bedroom window. A lone fly split the air with its buzzing. She turned on her back and watched it land on the cracked plaster walls, whitewashed but yellowed with age. In the next instant, the fly took flight to light on the windows, the muslin curtains, the window screen, and finally, the Holy Bible on the handmade walnut nightstand that rested beside her iron bedstead. The fly crawled over God’s Holy Book. Of course, the fly had no way of knowing about God; it was too busy searching. I should shoo it away, she thought, but I don’t have the energy.

The fly reminded her of her husband. He was too busy flitting from town to town and too busy carousing to be a real husband and father, even after she’d birthed five babies during their sixteen years of marriage. The last, a stillborn, had been buried five days ago without Nelly’s presence; she’d been too sick to go.

Light footsteps skipped up the stairs, pulling her from her tortured thoughts. Evie, her youngest, peeked around the door covering. “Mommy, can I come in?” Her bright blue eyes shined, and her oval face was framed by fine, golden hair. A warm grin brightened her features.

Nelly forced a smile. “For a moment, precious. Mommy doesn’t feel much like talking. Where are the girls?”

“Downstairs. Poppy told Hannah and Lena to make potato soup for supper. An’ Wray is cleaning out the barn.”

“He’s a good son,” Nelly said.

Four-year-old Evie tiptoed barefoot into the room and crawled up on the bed beside her mother. She still carried the roundness of baby-fat. Sitting cross-legged, she spread her gingham dress over her knees and leaned over to stare into her mother’s face. “How come you got purple circles under your eyes, Mommy?”

“You’ll have to ask the doctor about that,” Nelly answered. “Mommy doesn’t know.”

Evie patted her mother’s cheek. “I’m gonna pray for you, so you can get well.”

Nelly smiled. “That would be nice.”

A gust of air cut through the room. The fly, disturbed by the current, soared up, buzzing frantically. Drops of sweat beaded on Nelly’s upper lip, and moisture drenched her nightgown.

“Close your eyes,” Evie ordered as she put her chubby hands over her mother’s eyes.

Her daughter’s childish voice drifted over Nelly like a cool blanket of mist.

“Dear Jesus, Mommy needs help,” Evie whispered. She reached over and stroked her mother’s temples. “I prayed to You when my doggie cut his foot, an’ You healed him. So can You please heal Mommy, too? An’ thank You, Jesus. Amen.” She patted her mother’s cheeks again.

“Open your eyes, Mommy,” she begged, lifting Nelly’s eyelids with her finger.

Nelly’s gaze rested on her daughter’s face. “Thank you, little one. Come now. Give Mommy a kiss, and then Mommy needs to rest.”

Evie’s sweet lips on Nelly’s cheek were like a spring breeze wafting by; then the four-year-old twisted her bottom sideways and scooted slowly until her bare feet reached the rag rug below. She ran across the room and stood on tiptoe, looking out the window.



“Is Poppy leaving?”

From her two-story vantage point, Nelly glanced out the window and saw the doctor driving off in the buggy. “No, dear. Poppy just walked the doctor out.” Will’s shoulders drooped as he shuffled toward the big barn behind the house. Like a light wind skiffing through her mind, she wondered if he would miss her once she was gone. How would he handle the responsibility of raising four children alone?

The buzzing fly soared frantically, lighting for a brief moment before taking to the air again, looking for the place it had entered through the window. The frenzied flight of the insect annoyed her, yet she felt sorry for it. Maybe the fly would escape.

And maybe the doctor’s tonic would work.

She didn’t want to die.

Read more about B. J. Myrick and her books at

Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.

Legacies From The Past

September 27, 2013


Have you ever wondered where a writer gets the idea for a particular book and what is involved in the creation of the story that looks so enticing in the book’s description? The idea for my novel was inspired by Mother’s stories about homesteading in No Man’s Land and my great-grandmother’s recipes for herbal cures—she was a medicine woman.

Within the tattered pages of the old Dr. Chase book, published in the 1800’s, were my great-grandmother’s recipes for herbal cures written on blank pages at the end of chapters. They contained weird ingredients such as sugar of lead, chloroform, sarsaparilla, sulphuric ether and acid, iodide of potash, stillingia, poke root, and morphine, to name just a few. Her cures covered diphtheria, blood purifier and liver regulator, piles, worms, and a host of other ailments. With her concoctions, she healed ill and dying patients who had been given up to die by the doctors. Unfortunately, she never passed down the tradition of healing with herbs.

As I considered how I could use the herbal healing in a novel, I remembered all those family stories my mother told me about homesteading in No Man’s Land. As a child, I used to beg her to retell the stories, and she would laugh and say, “Oh, you don’t want to hear that again.” But she always recounted those fascinating tales of digging the dugout, confronting outlaws, digging the well, fighting prairie fires set by the cattlemen to drive out settlers who were a  threat to open range. I never tired of hearing about those frightening experiences of what it was like to homestead in that wild and untamed territory.

The story, Nelly of No Man’s Land takes place in Oklahoma over a two-year period. A pioneer family homesteads in The Strip where they struggle to survive in a lawless territory. Nelly Duncan is a dying woman who battles to regain her health while struggling to resolve the personal pain of her husband’s alcohol addiction and infidelity. Through the help of a medicine man, she regains her health there. Then the past returns to haunt her: the handsome peddler she turned to for comfort during her husband’s unfaithfulness and who fathered a child her husband thinks is his own, reappears in her life.

Take a step back in time and travel with me through the pages of Nelly of No Man’s Land as I share the journey with you. The historical novel is available at in both eBook and paperback.


Read more about B. J. Myrick and her books at

Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.


September 6, 2013

hazel's blog photo


Throughout The Survivalist’s Daughter, Kindra has flashbacks to the FBI raid and the killing of her stepmother. The worst of these flashbacks happens during a school lockdown drill when the tinny intercom voice and the loud banging of chair legs on the floor combine to bring the devastating event back to her.

Kindra is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental illness most often associated with soldiers. However, the illness can happen to any person of any age who undergoes a harrowing experience. Read more on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of PTSD on the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in civilians


hazel cropped copyHazel Hart, a member of Kansas Writers Association and Kansas Authors Club, has won awards for her short fiction, including “Amanda Marie,” published in Kansas Voices, and “Confessions,” published in Words out of the Flatlands.

She has three published suspense novels, The Night before Christmas, Family History, and Possessing Sara and has co-authored two books of short stories, Dark Side of the Rainbow and The Edge of Nowhere, with Bonnie Eaton aka B.J. Myrick, which are also listed on  Visit her amazon author page and preview The Survivalist’s Daughter.

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images


August 23, 2013

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Through the generations of my family, there have been several members who have had multiple marriages and divorces, bringing about a number of blended family situations. In my own case, I, like Kindra in The Survivalist’s Daughter, was not told the truth about my family. At the age of ten, I found my birth certificate in a box of old photos and clippings and was shocked to see that the name listed as father was someone I had never heard of. The feelings of confusion and betrayal that I felt in that moment haunted me through the years. I tried several times to write a novel about those feelings but was always stopped after the first chapter. Fifty years later, I finally broke through the writer’s block when I made the novel my NaNoWriMo project. After much rewriting and a couple of title changes, The Survivalist’s Daughter was complete. Visit my Amazon author’s page 


Hart-likemotherlikedaughter author2Hazel Hart, a member of Kansas Writers Association and Kansas Authors Club, has won awards for her short fiction, including “Amanda Marie,” published in Kansas Voices, and “Confessions,” published in Words out of the Flatlands.

She has three published suspense novels, The Night before Christmas, Family History, and Possessing Sara and has co-authored two books of short stories, Dark Side of the Rainbow and The Edge of Nowhere, with Bonnie Eaton aka B.J. Myrick, which are also listed on  Visit her amazon author page and preview The Survivalist’s Daughter.

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images.


August 6, 2013

hazel reading copy



In The Survivalist’s Daughter, I explore a number of social issues, including parental kidnapping, blended families, gun control, school security and lockdown drills, and social media. A major issue that runs throughout the novel is parental kidnapping and its effects on the main character, Kindra.

Over 203,000 parental kidnappings occur each year. While most children are recovered quickly, a few, like Kindra in The Survivalist’s Daughter, were kidnapped at such a young age and kept so long that they have no memory of the left behind parent. Even if the left behind parent is remembered, the kidnapped child often distrusts that person. For Kindra, that lack of trust is exacerbated by her suspicions that FBI Agent Epperson is using her mother to get information from Kindra about her father’s gun-selling activities.

For more information on parental kidnapping, check these websites: gives the reasons why children are kidnapped, tells who may be at risk, and includes stories of children who have been kidnapped.  contains facts and statistics about kidnapped children.

This FBI sit, Violent Crimes against Children, defines parental kidnapping and lists the options under the law that allow the FBI to become involved. focuses on international parental kidnapping, but the emotional effects of parental kidnapping on children are the same, regardless of whether the kidnapper stays in the United States or takes the child abroad.


Hart-likemotherlikedaughter author2Hazel Hart, a member of Kansas Writers Association and Kansas Authors Club, has won awards for her short fiction, including “Amanda Marie,” published in Kansas Voices, and “Confessions,” published in Words out of the Flatlands.

She has three published suspense novels, The Night before Christmas, Family History, and Possessing Sara and has co-authored two books of short stories, Dark Side of the Rainbow and The Edge of Nowhere, with Bonnie Eaton aka B.J. Myrick, which are also listed on  Visit her amazon author page and preview The Survivalist’s Daughter.

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images.


August 2, 2013

gold frame template reader theater copy

Welcome to Keyhole Conversations new venture into Readers Little Theater. 

Author  B. J. Myrick and co-author Hazel Hart have allowed their characters to speak from the pages of their book, DARK SIDE OF THE RAINBOW.  Jenny Marsh and her sister, Darlene, share the spotlight in this scene from the tale, “Lady in the Dark.” Bonnie Myrick portrays Jenny who has been attacked by a mutant spider, while Arlene Graber stars as the beautiful and personable sister, Darlene.

Jenny is recovering from her hospital stay with Darlene after being attacked by a giant spider. Darlene is ready for Jenny to go home.

The lights are going down now, the curtain is parting. It’s time to settle into a comfortable chair, watch the show, and be grateful it wasn’t you the mutant spider wanted for lunch.

We want to  thank Arlene Graber for participating in today’s Readers Little Theater. Be sure to check out her amazon author page and her website.


Every story starts with an idea, but there is more thought put into even a short story than you might imagine.

First of all, I had to familiarize myself with the habits of arachnids before I could write “Lady in the Dark.” Then I considered: was it possible for mutant spiders to exist? What if government experiments could combine stem cells with transgenic research to trap a human brain inside a spider, making it possible for a man’s brain to control and use a giant spider as a weapon of war?  How would the mating urge affect the story if the spider escaped? Research had to be conducted on spider sex to discover how it might be possible for an arachnid to mate with a human.

For a story to succeed, a reader must be able to suspend disbelief, which is made possible if an author lays a thorough groundwork of  research. With this in mind, would you suspend belief and take a walk with me on the dark side?

tech hotties copyABOUT THE AUTHORS

Authors, Bonnie Myrick Eaton and Hazel Hart have partnered up to produce two short story collections of dark fiction, DARK SIDE OF THE RAINBOW and EDGE OF NOWHERE.  Both authors are members of the Kansas Writers Association, and both  have won numerous awards for their fiction.

Hazel teaches English online for Butler County Community College. She has published four novels and co-authored two books with Bonnie Myrick, She also has published one collection of short stories, THE NANCY NOLAN SHOW.

Bonnie Myrick has published two novels, a historical and a paranormal suspense and written two books of dark fiction with Hazel Hart. Her current mystery, ASSISTED DYING, is schedule for publication in 2013.

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images.

THE END OF THE JOURNEY: Publication and Promotion

April 28, 2013

grant's final promo copy

Grant Overstake: Publication and Promotion

In this third and last segment of  our interview with Grant Overstake, he details the final steps he took to prepare Maggie Vaults Over the Moon for publication and distribution. Listen in as he discusses his experiences with book cover design, editing, Create Space and Amazon, and promoting through social media.


In the new teen sports novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, author Grant Overstake retells the story of another amazing small-town athlete, Maggie Steele, a gutsy farm girl who pours her broken heart into the daring sport of pole-vaulting. The story climaxes at the Kansas State High School Track and Field Championships, the largest track meet in the nation, held at Wichita State University‘s Cessna Stadium.


grant overstakeFormer Miami Herald Sports Writer, Grant Overstake, is a lifelong participant in the sport of track and field who competed in the decathlon for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the author’s premiere work of sports fiction.  Read more about Grant on his website.


Many thanks to The Inn at Glenstrae for graciously allowing Keyhole Conversation to film the interview with Grant Overstake. Take a tour of this beautiful bed and breakfast inn here.


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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images.