Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

November 24, 2015


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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.


August 2, 2013

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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.


April 19, 2013

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Freelance photographer Lindsey Grayson had planned a quiet morning snapping photos in the forest.  When she becomes the only witness to a vicious double murder, she’s glad that she has her camera ready.  Lindsey quickly and quietly documents the event and then alerts the authorities.  She doesn’t expect to become embroiled in the mystery, but when her photos hit the news, the killer realizes he didn’t go undetected.  He won’t think twice about eliminating a witness. Lindsey’s world is soon turned upside down as she finds herself fighting to stay alive and bring the killer to justice.  Rival gangs, a growing drug ring, and a startling kidnapping all play a part in making this one photo shoot that she will never forget.



RaeHRRae Cuda is a retired speech-language pathologist with a passion for photographing the beauty of God’s creation.She is active in her local church and has co-authored materials for other speech-language pathologists to use in therapy, which feature her photos. Rae lives in central Kansas with her husband and dogs and they all love to travel. Her book is available here.


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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks  for the use of their images.


March 15, 2013

Bonnie and Hazel discuss plans to select ten writers to promote on their vlog.


Sign up for a free promotion.


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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images

KWA in 2013: An Interview with H.B. Berlow

January 23, 2013

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In this Keyhole Conversations interview, H. B. Berlow, president of Kansas Writers Association, discusses the purpose of the organization and reveals details about the 2013 Scene Conference which will be held on March 16, 2013.


KWA Scene Conference – March 16, 2013
“The Complete Writer”
Visit to register.
Early Bird Special if you register by February 14, 2013. (What a Sweet Deal!)

Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.


November 30, 2012

In an interview, Grandmama, a character in B.J Myrick’s “Nelly of No Man’s Land,” gives her opinions on Nelly’s marriage and the author’s choices. “Nelly of No Man’s Land” will be available on Amazon Kindle December 1, 2012.


As I watched Grandmama on the vlog, I had to smile. It isn’t often I get to control someone else’s life, since I’ve never been able to control my own. Life is a game of chance. You only think you’re in control, but you aren’t. Maybe that’s why I became a writer. I like to move my characters around like a Kansas tornado, just to see how they land on their feet, see what they’re made of.

Do you think Grandmama was even aware I was directing her life as well as her granddaughter’s? As Grandmama stated, I could have given her granddaughter that devilishly handsome and newly-rich man, and it almost happened, but then I snatched that ripe, red apple from her before she took that second bite.

In the end, though, it all came out as I planned. Sometimes that apple has a worm in it or a core that’s rotten, but you don’t see it until you take that first bite. After all, isn’t life about losing everything you love and accepting what crumbs are left? Or is it about learning to appreciate how good the crumbs taste when all is said and done?


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

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.

Second Place Winner of the Halloween Book Trailer Contest

October 26, 2012

Congratulations to Samantha LaFantasie! Her book trailer for Heart Song, created with Makayla Yokley, placed second in the Keyhole Conversations Halloween Book Trailer Contest.

The criteria were the scary factor, plot, graphics, and sound. Heart Song received high marks for all. Is there anything scarier than magic, immortals, and werewolves? The book trailer, Heart Song, clearly depicts the plot through readable text that is enhanced with pictures and sound effects. The music varied with the shifts in mood as the calm of everyday life was shattered and fear was struck in the hearts of all. Click on the book trailer below and prepare to be scared


A Kansas native, Samantha spends her free time with her husband and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, but she only took up writing seriously a few years ago. Among her writing credentials, she’s a board member of the Kansas Writer’s Association and has founded her own critique group lovingly named The Fighting Hamsters.

You can find her presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Read more about Samantha on her website.

Her novel, Heart Song, is available on Kindle eBook, Smashwords, and   in paperback on  CreateSpace.

SECOND PLACE WINNER: Heart Song by Samantha LaFantasie

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.


September 28, 2012


Keyhole Conversations scary Halloween Book Trailer contest closes on September 30, 2012. Be sure to get your entry in. You could be one of the the lucky winners. Not quite sure if your book trailer qualifies? Here is an example of a ‘scary’ book trailer. We’re even offering a special Kindle free e-book promotion of Dark Side of the Rainbow through September 30, 2012. Just click on the link and prepare to be scared . . . if you dare.


To be eligible:

Your entry must be in English and five minutes or less in length.

You must have the rights to the images and audio in the trailer with all credits listed at the end.

Your entry must be truly scary with elements of horror or the supernatural. Think Edgar Allan Poe to Mary Shelley to Stephen King.

Your entry must be received by 11:59 p.m. on September 30, 2012

To enter:

Upload your book trailer to

Send e-mails with the YouTube link to both and to by September 30, 2012.

Book Trailer judging criteria:

The scary factor

The design, including graphics and sound

The plot: a hook, a middle that holds attention, and an effective close

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Thanks to vintagefeedsacks for their images.


May 5, 2012

Conrad Jestmore, author of the Jimmy O’Reilly murder mystery series, is currently working on Fields of Death, a sequel to River of Murder, in which a pet turtle named Tiresias is used symbolicallyl. The New Oxford Dictionary records that in Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind Theban prophet noted for his wisdom.

In River of Murder, Private Investigator Jimmy O’Reilly’s pet Box Turtle named Tiresias is blind and seems to have some powers of premonition to warn and help O’Reilly. In the second book in the series, Fields of Death, which is scheduled to come out in November of 2012, it is revealed that Tiresias has a girl friend.  Janie O’Reilly’s teenage helper gets to name the girlfriend (You’ll have to read the book to find out the name; hint: like Tiresias, it is Greek, and it has something to do with sex), and of course a natural outcome of a boy and girl turtle getting together is the offspring.

In Fields of Death, small town Private Investigator Jimmy O’Reilly continues to struggle with his demons from the past, while trying to solve the deaths of twenty-seven men found left to die, locked in a tractor trailer in the intense Kansas heat. The trail leads to the Japanese Mafia, a human slavery ring, and even a State Senator. Tiresias, O’Reilly’s blind pet box Turtle, Laura, his side-kick and Janie, his teenage helper all continue as characters from the first book, River of Murder, as does Alex, the colorful local sheriff. O’Reilly, as always, is sometimes helped and sometimes hindered by his bizarre sense of humor.

Take the poll below. Which series did you enjoy most?


Special thanks to vintagefeedsacks for the use of their images.