KN, p. 149 “Another Week, Another Funeral.”



We’ve spent way too much time in funeral homes and cemeteries lately. I know it’s a part of the cycle of life, but it seems like every time I pick up the phone these days, I hear another one of those awful messages that starts with: “I’m so sorry…”


This time we put a favorite older cousin into the ground. He was the inspiration for three articles that appeared here on Kerrian’s Notebook last year about the use of firearms – their care and the training needed to maintain safety and competency levels. Any time I wrote an article about firearms, he checked the details for accuracy, then would send me a ‘thumbs-up’ email. He didn’t have a large collection by enthusiast standards – only a half dozen rifles and handguns – but he knew a great deal about the history of each and enjoyed them all at one time or another during his weekly visits to his gun club.


He had been a paratrooper, a sailor, an aerospace engineer, a furniture maker, and most important of all, a churchgoer and a family man.


He died of cancer, but was not a young man – an octogenarian when he succumbed. He chose to fight and live his life fully, right up until the docs admittedly gave him an overdose of meds. And even after that, he went out to lunch and dinner all the time, held court at the local breakfast place every morning and was at the shooting range two weeks before he died. He was chalky pale, but as long as he was able to walk, he was learning how to reload bullets, checking new sources for unusual wood, attending the latest antique car show, chatting with friends he made along the road of life.


Now you might wonder: “80? He probably died of old age.” Nope. In our family, 80 is the age when you admit you’re on Social Security and start talking about retirement. He had been driving for a trucking company up until his birthday in December. They wanted him to stay on, but he said that it was time to slow down a bit. Most of my side of the family lives into our 90s, so I was in denial about my Cuz being that sick.


We still wonder if administering the extra meds was a calculated risk or a really bad choice made by the doc. We know that his intention was not to harm, but to help. But, it was the wrong choice. Not like the slip of a knife during a surgery, or the wrong kind of anesthesia that would cause someone to die on the table, but lethal in the end.


How often does this happen? Medical malpractice and honest mistakes are different in the eyes of the law and insurance companies. At this point in the post, I might normally give you statistics and information that you could use in an article of your own, and Cuz would love that he got to appear in Kerrian’s Notebook once again, even if behind the scenes.


But, today? I’d simply like to salute a guy who lived a life that many would envy, happy until the end. We will miss him.







KN, p. 111 “50 More Ways to Die an Unnatural Death.”


Shovels anyone?

It’s well known that Kerrian’s Notebook readers are a fun bunch. The anniversary post of “100 ways to die an unnatural death” was the most popular new post of 2014.  So popular, in fact, that many readers clamored for more.


Bring on the groans! Here are another 50 ways to die an unnatural death. Some were accidental, but some were murderously carried out. Can you tell which was which?

101. Deck collapsed with dancing partiers on it, who then fell to death

102. Partier standing below the deck crushed by the falling debris

103. Tripped and fell downstairs, breaking neck

104. Hypothermia inside a car stuck in a snowstorm

105. Sneezed to death

106. Laughed to death – wife actually sent thank-you note to TV show, because her husband enjoyed his last moments so much.

107. Baked to death by sunburn

108. Impaled – Death by stingray barb to heart

109. Impaled thru eye

110. Impaled on ski pole


111. Impaled by fork lift

112. Crushed by car while lying under it to repair it.

113. Hit on head by falling coconut

114. Death by video game – played until exhausted and beyond

115. Decapitated by helicopter blade – careless

116. Decapitated by airplane propeller – murder

117. Decapitation by chain saw – self-inflicted

118. Death by eating four pufferfish livers

119. Overate at one meal

120. Overate during several hours of food competition


121. Crushed by a stack of falling coffins

122. Neck broken by flying coffin

123. Slow death by slicing off pieces of body a bit at a time

124. Crushed by cow falling through roof

125. Asphyxiation after being rolled into a gym mat

126. Hit by flying fire hydrant

127. Injected with dirty hypodermic needle

128. Hit in head by golf ball

129. Hit in head by 9-iron


130. Suffocated under a pile of elephant dung

131. Suffocated under a pile of sand

132.  Ink poisoning thru skin

133. Carbon monoxide poisoning

134.  Coal dust in lungs

135. Fell off a moving train

136. Trampled by cattle


137. Allergic reaction to bee sting


138. Stabbed with a pitchfork

139. Shot with nail gun

140. Drowned in vat of beer


141. Blown up by dynamite tossed out car window while window was closed

142. Ate the wrong kind of newt – ya know, the one with toxins in its skin

143. Fell off skateboard while holding onto a moving vehicle

144. Suffocation in cement at building site

145. Suffocation after being trapped in bank vault with no ventilation

146. Suffocation inside coffin when mistakenly thought to be dead in the first place.

147. Drowned in vat of chocolate

148. Sucked into an airplane engine

149. Fell out of exploding hot air balloon

150. Bashed on the head with a shovel


Sources? You may not believe it, but I come across these methods of death on an almost daily basis – either in the books I read, the news programs I watch, or in the movies.


The BIG question: Do you know whom to call to help with the shovels if the time comes?

Pass the pitchfork, please.  😉



*Photos by Patti Phillips – nobody died during the photo shoots. Honest.



KN, p. 132 “Fan Favorites – 2014”


I’ve said it before and it’s still true: Kerrian’s Notebook followers are a great bunch. A few of the readers mentioned that some of the posts in 2014 were ‘ripped from the headlines.’ Truth is often stranger than fiction, so while Kerrian is a fictional character, the posts are based in solid fact. As I say in my upcoming novel, “Murder is messy,” and it’s sometimes just plain weird. But, even a Homicide Detective cooks, goes on an occasional trip, and works with other law enforcement officers, so the fan faves were an interesting mix.


Below is the list of the most frequently read new posts on Kerrian’s Notebook in 2014.

Click on each title to take you to that page.  🙂


10.  “How many bodies at the yard sale?” (p.122) – Based on a visit to the 2014 Writers’ Police Academy.



9.  “Death by Elevator” (p.105) – Based on my real-life experience in April, 2014.


8.  “50 More Ways to Die an Unnatural Death” (p.111) – The #1 vote getter was so popular that I wrote another list and it made the top 10 as well.  🙂


7.  “Cemetery at the Golf Course” (p.116) –  Yup, this one is true.



6.  “Officer needs assistance!” (p.117) Photos taken at the re-enactment of a high-risk stop.


5.  “75 Second Mookies” (p.126) – Created, taste tested and eaten by us.  🙂


4.  “Chocolaty Chocolate Banana Muffins” (p.96) – Created, taste tested and eaten by us  🙂



3.  “What does a firefighter wear?” (p.119) Info about uniforms and videos of heat resistance testing. Photos taken during the 2014 Writers’ Police Academy.





2.  “What does a sheriff do?” (p.115) tells the difference between a Sheriff and a Police Chief, as explained to me by an active duty Chief.


…and the most frequently read new post on in 2014 was:


1. “100 Ways to Die an Unnatural Death” (p.100) Written in honor of the 100th Kerrian’s Notebook post.  There were LOTS of writers that checked out the two unnatural death lists, used some of the ideas in their own writing and even contributed suggestions. Readers sent me some wickedly funny emails and some of those ideas are in #8!


Thanks to all of you, readership almost doubled in 2014. It was a phenomenal year!


Here’s to a great 2015, with fewer real-life homicides, more crimes solved and always, more amazing mysteries/suspense/thrillers to read.



*Photos by Patti Phillips

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