Posted tagged ‘murder’

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.


books by hazel copy

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

Basic Sentence Structure

Basic Sentence Add-ons: Phrases

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!

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.





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


April 19, 2013

rae cuda promo final1


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.

Childhood Experiences Provide Novel Setting

January 12, 2013

RANDYgold frame 1 copy


Crazy About You has been described by reviewers as a coming-of-age, Young Adult, thriller/suspense book that relates in first person one week in the life of high school junior Brad Adams. Brad lives on the grounds of Larned State Hospital because his father is the institution’s dentist and the state provides free housing. Brad works after school in the mental hospital’s cafeteria. He has gotten to know the inmates (patients) from an early age and befriended many of them.

The week is set in 1964. It’s prom week. There is a horrific murder in a house between the hospital grounds and Larned, three miles to the east. All suspect a mental patient. Brad becomes involved in the investigation. He also becomes involved in the life of a schizophrenic teen girl he thinks he is in love with. But he dates a normal teen in town who thinks she is in love with him.

Complications lead to dramatic confrontations and discoveries.


The hospital was located three miles outside of a small town that was in the middle of a state in the middle of the nation. It was the dumping ground for the retarded, the senile, the schizos and the paranoids, the brain-damaged, adolescent dopers, the suicidal-depressed, the manics, maniacs, and the perpetually confused. And one building, the Pinel Building, the one with barbed wire around it, housed the criminally insane. It even had its own small hospital ward, and Dad had an auxiliary dental office there. Patients were never taken from the Pinel Building unless they were judged to have become mentally competent to stand trial for their crimes, or, if they had been committed because they had been found innocent by reason of insanity for their crimes, released when they became sane, which didn’t happen very often. If ever.

They said it would happen to Michael Fromme, who at the age of fourteen had killed his mother, father, little sister, and brother, and then sat in the house with their dead bodies until a neighbor happened upon the scene and called the sheriff. Since he was a juvenile, he couldn’t be tried as an adult, so he was committed to the Pinel Building for the Criminally Insane until he was 18, at which time, if he was judged to be mentally sane, he would be released. He could even claim the farm of the family he had murdered.

Dad had worked on his teeth and found him to be perfectly normal. “Now that he’s killed his family,” Dad had said.

I kept trying to write a folk song about it, but nothing was coming. It was teaching me just how hard those simple little ditties were to compose.

It wasn’t easy recruiting people to work as attendants in the Pinel Building because most of the patients weren’t perfectly normal at all. They were perfectly dangerous. So the attendants and nurses who worked there were paid more. They were a group apart. A little pitied. A little feared. A little envied.

The whole insane asylum was the principle economic force for the small town nearby. Farming was in decline. But there would always be nuts to take care of. America seemed to produce a bigger crop every year. Nepotism at the hospital was rampant because the town was so small you couldn’t help but hire someone’s brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or cousin.

Although the town needed the mental hospital, it also resented it. After all, it wasn’t much fun to come from a place whose name was synonymous with being crazy. When our high-school basketball team went to other towns for games, there always would be a group of students from the opposing side in the stands waving their finger in circles at the side of their heads and screaming, at the top of their lungs in the shrillest falsetto as we were introduced: “Woo-woo!”

The superintendent of the whole affair was a psychiatrist who lived in the nicest house on the grounds. He wasn’t seen much. He presented the budget before the state legislature and went to a lot of national conferences. Dad himself was away for the week I’m about to relate, making his annual trip to a national dental conference. Being the only dentist for such a large and heterogeneous population as the asylum provided gave him several dentally interesting cases to present each year.

For a while, Mother had tried to convince Father to go into private practice, but he said he liked not having to worry about patients paying their bills. He could decide what the best course of treatment was for them without regard to whether they could afford it or not. Socialized medicine existed. You just had to be nuts to get it.

So eventually, Mother ran away. I thought I might turn that into a simple little folk song, too.

randy by shore


I grew up on the grounds of a Kansas insane asylum where my father was a dentist. During the troubled 1960’s, I attended the University of Kansas getting  a degree in art history. After stints writing and teaching in Italy and Japan I had a 16-year career in newspapers as reporter, editor and column writer winning major awards in all categories. I turned to health care public relations serving as director of University Relations at KU Medical Center. I finished my career as media relations officer of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Now retired, I am marketing the fiction I’ve written over all those years. And creating more.

I donate $1 from every purchase of Crazy About You to Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence because those people work the Suicide Prevention Hotline for this part of America and deserve our support.

Check out Randy’s books and read his blog here.


February 17, 2012

In this Keyhole Conversations video, Conrad Jestmore reads a scene from his mystery novel, River of Murder, in which PI Jimmy ‘OReilly and university professor and bone specialist Laura Bascome find a missing finger bone in a most unusual place. Read below for more secrets on River of Murder and some facts about bones. His book can be found here.



“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, dem bones gonna walk around.”

Traditional spiritual song , based on Ezekiel, who prophesied in the Valley of Dry Bones, that the bones would come alive.

Bones do come alive, because they

  • survive the process of decay
  • provide living evidence
  • can verify age, sex, ancestry, stature, weight
  • can show manner of death: homicide, suicide, accidental, natural, unknown
  • can show cause: injury, disease, combination
  • can verify time of death

There are 206 bones in the adult human body.

There are 27 bones in the human hand.

A phalanx is a military formation. It is also a finger bone.

A proximal phalanx has multiple usages. Not all of them human. Not all of them alive.

Find the bones. Find the killer.


December 27, 2011


A woman inherits a mummy who will make her every wish come true. Then she learns the mummy has wishes of its own!


A Novella by Hazel Hart 

A young woman inherits a mummy with instructions for activating its powers and making her every wish and dream come true. But then she learns the mummy has wishes of its own in KISS MUMMY GOODNIGHT.

Click here to download your free e-book, then enter the coupon code ME96Y

Coupon expires Jan. 26, 2012

Have you ever wondered how guests are affected by a talk show host? Read THE NANCY NOLAN SHOW by Hazel Hart.


Short Stories by Hazel Hart

Love them or hate them, talk shows seep into our lives, playing in the background and affecting what we do. Read how one talk show host  influenced the lives of viewers, thousands of guests, and would-be guests. Here are a few of their stories.

Click here to download your free e-book, then enter the coupon code QE38N

Coupon expires Jan. 26,2012

You can try to forget the past . . . but the past will never forget you! A paranormal suspense.DEADLY SINS

by B. J. Myrick

A suspenseful tale of why one man’s obsession would drive him to  murder the woman he loves most.

Click here to download your free e-book, then enter the coupon codeMB79H

Coupon expires Jan. 27,2012


Where do Readers Go to Get the Best Quality Fiction and Nonfiction from Writers Who Dare to be Independent? Visit


December 17, 2011



Edge of Nowhere, by B. J. Myrick and Hazel Hart, is a short story collection of  scary fiction.

Watch the short video below, and then head  over to where you can buy the book. What a great Christmas gift for those special people in your life!

Rated: Adult Content

Lock the door and journey into fear IF YOU DARE!

–Two women move into their dream home and discover the house is inhabited by a demonic angel in the EDGE OF NOWHERE.

–An obsessed young man commits DEADLY SINS when he plots to kill a beautiful woman.

–A college professor of mythology fears her twin is dating a werewolf. Can she convince her sister this is more than a case of CRY WOLF?

–A man’s desire to escape poverty prompts him to marry the homely daughter of a rich rancher in exchange for a career in A LAUGH LIKE ROLLING STONES.

–a twelve-step group, L.O.V.E. ANONYMOUS, encourages a single woman to answer a personal ad.

Plus other unforgettable tales from . . . the dark side.


A special thank you to for the use of her exquisite images.


December 7, 2011


Holiday Picks for Christmas

  Dark Side of the Rainbow, by B. J. Myrick and Hazel Hart, is a collection of short stories for those who enjoy scary fiction.

Preview the book trailer below, then head over to the smashwords website where you can buy the book with our special holiday appreciation coupon. The coupon code may be shared with family members or your friends. What a great Christmas gift for those special people in your life!

Regular price $2.99. Now 99 cents with coupon code KL65F until Jan. 10, 2012

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Rated: Adult Content

An anthology of dark fiction where–

–A woman on the brink of madness plots evil revenge against local bully boys who killed her cats and finds, instead, the Dark Side of the Rainbow.

–A woman inherits an Egyptian mummy with instructions for activating its powers and making her every wish come true. Then she learns the mummy has wishes of its own in Kiss Mummy Goodnight. (This story is also available as a separate e-book.)

–A woman seeks eternal love and is buried alive by her lover in The Seduction.

–A woman’s search for her lost memory leads her down a dead-end road to a sinister old man who brings her face to face with her destiny in Erasure.

–A woman attacked by a gigantic five-foot spider searches for answers to the strange changes in her body and uncovers covert government research gone wrong in Lady in the Dark.


A special thanks to for the use of her exquisite images.