Monday, June 1, 2020

Ten Year Anniversary

Good morning, Just Romantic Suspense readers! It’s been a long time. Just how long? Ten years! Ten years since I’ve posted a blog on your esteemed venue. But today, it’s important I do because I’m celebrating my second romantic suspense novel’s anniversary. That’s right. It’s been ten years since DEADLY RECALL was published.
Have you ever had an idea that you thought had potential, but everyone discouraged you from trying? That’s basically what happened with this novel.
Deadly Recall had a rough start. I wanted to write a story that was as close to my roots as possible. I grew up in a small town in  New Mexico, and attended parochial (Catholic) school. There’s an old saying among us writers. “Never piss off a writer; you’ll end up in a book.”
And that’s kind of what I had in mind. To take fictitious revenge on my music teacher who refused to let me play the piano by ear. She insisted that I learn to read sheet music, and I did, but alas I lost much of my ability to play my way.
I’m also a mystery writer, and as I started the book, I made the fatal mistake of telling my mother what I had in mind. “Oh, no, you cannot do that,” she said. “You cannot, must not, ever disparage a nun.”
“Mom, I replied, “it’s fiction, and I’m not going to disparage anyone. Besides, I’ll wager anything that this nun is… how do I say this politely…. long gone.”
Still, my mother had gotten inside my head. And I adore my mother. There’s another thing we Catholics suffer from—it’s called Catholic guilt, and it is very, very real. But my muse is also very, very real, so I persisted. And as the story came to life, I thought to myself, you know, this isn’t half-bad. So, I entered a writing contest.
Imagine my relief when the scores came back PERFECT! No mark downs anywhere—the first-round judges, three of them, said, “This book is ready to go.” I thought I was on my way until the final round judge (an editor from Pocket) sent it back—dead last as an honorable mention.
Hmmm. What was up with that?  So, I sent it to my agent, and she came back with an equally discouraging comment, “Not your best work.”
Not my best work? I was crushed, Because, JRS readers, I thought it WAS my best work. After that, my agent and I parted ways, and I pitched it to another editor who said, “Nice idea. Now put it under your bed, and never get it out again.”
What was going on here? How could so many love the story and writing, but the gatekeepers hate it?
Then I found out a hard truth. No one in the Romance industry wanted to touch a traditional Catholic mystery. I thought about Andrew Greeley, but it was different. His work was mainstream. And again, I was told to abandon the story.
Finally, it finaled in a major contest, and I submitted elsewhere, and Bell Bridge Books bought both my first book, The Past Came Hunting and Deadly Recall, and on Amazon’s deal of the day Deadly Recall hit #1 in several genres (I still have the screenshot)

Today Deadly Recall has 263 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, which I’m grateful for.  Am I bitter it had such a rough start? Absolutely not. Writing that book was the best therapy a writer could have. Every single character in the book, sans the killer) finds forgiveness. And as I wrote, I even forgave my music teacher. Perhaps I understood her better. After all, I write Romance, and I love a happy ending.
So, tell me, have you ever had an idea that people told you to give up on? I’d love to hear your stories.
I’d also appreciate it if you’d check out Deadly Recall, which is on special for .99 cents June 1 through June 15 on all digital outlets. Meanwhile, let’s do a digital drawing for any of my other books And be sure to sign up for my newsletter so I can tell you about my other releases.
Wishing you safe and well.

Deadly Recall

Nine-year-old Eden Moran thought she was saying goodbye to her mentor that fateful day in St. Patrick’s. She had no idea she’d witness the nun’s demise, or that her child’s mind would compensate. Now seventeen years later, Albuquerque cops have unearthed human remains, and the evidence points to Eden as being the key to solving Sister Beatrice’s murder. When a hellbent cop applies pressure, Eden stands firm. She doesn’t remember the woman. Unfortunately for Eden, a killer will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

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Bio: Multi-award-winning Donnell Ann Bell knows statistically that crime and accidents happen within a two-mile radius of the average residence. With that in mind, she leaves the international capers to others, and concentrates on stories that might happen in her neck of the woods.
Writing around the theme SUSPENSE TO CLOSE TO HOME, Donnell's single-title novels The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall, Betrayed and Buried Agendas have all been Amazon e-book bestsellers. Before turning to fiction, she was an editor for the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Pikes Peak Parent Newsmagazine. She is a proud member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Pikes Peak Writers. Black Pearl, A Cold Case Suspense, is book one of a series.
To learn more about Donnell, check out her website at


  1. Donnell, Congratulations on your ten-year anniversary! I'm so thrilled for you. I have all of your books and absolutely love them. I'm always so impressed by how realistic they feel and am convinced your characters are all real people. They are, right??? Again, happy anniversary.

  2. Ah, thanks, Lena. They seem very real to me. I get really upset with them on occasion because, they're thinner and better looking ;) Thanks for your lovely comment, my friend. Your work is an my autobuy list.

  3. sending hugs, my friend. Ten years! And so glad you stuck with your story.


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