featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, February 28, 2014


Donnell Ann Bell makes return visit to Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers today. Writing around the theme “Suspense too Close to Home” she’s the author of three books: The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall, and her newest release, Betrayed.  Her debut and sophomore releases have been e-book bestsellers, and Deadly Recall is a 2014 EPICON nominee for best thriller/suspense. She co-owns Crimescenewriters with retired Veteran Police Officer Wally Lind.  To learn more about Donnell and her books, visit her website

A Muse for Every Creative Endeavor

I’m always a little intimidated when I’m invited to blog on Lois Winston’s Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers.  Although I write about killers, I’m hardly crafty about it, and when it comes to crafts, I’m something of a disappointment.  Take my sewing class –that worked out well.  Not.  My jump suit evolved into a pair of gauchos.  I’ve dabbled in painting, crocheting, and floral arrangements, and although I love gardening, the point is, I don’t have the right muse for any of these jobs.

It never crossed my mind that craft makers, artists and tradesmen, among the myriad others, had muses.  After all they can look at a picture, right?  They can follow schematics, correct?  Boy, was I misled.  I have a friend who is an interior decorator.  One of her side jobs is decorating homes for the holidays.  I’ve gone into her basement and observed what appeared to be heaps of garland, ribbons, ferns and beads and watched her transform these items, seemingly magically, into some of the most gorgeous wreaths imaginable.  Companies hire her to make their business environment festive.  When I asked how she does it, she says, “I’m no different than you.  I have a muse.”
A few years ago, I had my kitchen remodeled.  I was so excited. After seventeen years of austere white and plain cabinets and aging appliances, I would at last have the kitchen of my dreams. 
"Before" Kitchen
My contractor didn’t simply come into my home and begin demolition.  He brought with him a decorator and an interior decorator and they consulted me about my tastes.  But I’ll never forget the first words out of my contractor’s mouth when he entered my home and examined the floor plan, “What a train wreck,” he said.  “Why would anyone close in all this beautiful space?”

"During" Kitchen
I looked around and went, “Huh?”  His muse (skill and experience no doubt) was already hard at work the moment he walked in the door.  In his mind he was already taking down soffits and knocking out walls.  He could see something that I couldn’t even dream of.  He was listening to his muse. 

No, I’m not handy or crafty but I do see stories in my head, and they’re rather vivid.  I love to think about characters and what makes them tick, and then put them into “What if” and sometimes impossible situations.  My tools of the trade are words, and yes, my drafts often look like a construction site in need of OSHA supervision. 

"After" Kitchen
But much like my creative interior decorator friend or my contractor, I believe we all have muses that inspire and set us on a journey of creation.  My talent and passion is storytelling.  Further, I love suspense.  My third book from Bell Bridge Books is called Betrayed.  I hope you’ll check it out and see how my muse operates.

Do you have a muse that speaks to you? 

A cold-blooded conspiracy that strikes at our most precious bonds.

When Oklahoma City resident, Irene Turner learns the incomprehensible, that the stillborn baby she delivered 28-years earlier is alive, she takes the evidence to where her daughter now lives—Denver Colorado. 

Detective Nate Paxton can’t believe what Irene’s evidence shows him.  Kinsey Masters, a world-class athlete, raised by a prominent Denver family, an unattainable woman he’s known and loved for years, was stolen at birth. 

Irene Turner, Nate Paxton, and Kinsey Masters are united in a sordid conspiracy.  Irene’s foundation of trust will be ripped from its core, as kidnapping, murder, and a thirst for revenge lead her to learn she’s been betrayed.

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Annette said...

Wow, Donnell. Having SEEN the "after" and only having heard about the "before" these photos are amazing.

I've always compared constructing a story to constructing a house. Never thought about others having a muse though.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

I know, it's all about writers, isn't it, Annette. But they do. Everyone has a muse. Incredible, right? :) Thanks for stopping by.

Jerrie Alexander said...

Love your books! And can't wait for the next one.

And I'm glad you posted the before and after pictures! My carpets are being ripped out and after the new hardwood flooring is installed, the kitchen is next! I take heart seeing how beautiful yours looks now!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Good morning, Jerrie, yes, being the recipient of a remodel is a lot like a pregnancy and going through labor. It's a pain the whole time, but you love the end result! Thanks for stopping by!

Cathy Shouse said...

Donnell, your talents as a storyteller trump any need for you to redeem yourself as crafty! Your latest sounds like another page-turner. Congrats!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Thank you, Cathy Shouse! Guess everyone has to look for his/her niche, right? Thanks for stopping by.

Dianne Drake said...

After having just ventured into my first mystery for Entangled Books, I have to say I admire what you do to craft such good suspense thrillers. It's not easy. Now about remodeling (which I hate!!) What happens when they knock down a wall and you find dead body there? Do you: A) Have a margarita or two before you decide what to do? B) Move out of the house immediately and leave your husband a forwarding address? C)Use it as a plot?
Good luck on your next project. Can't wait to read it. Can't wait to see what Anastasia is up to, as well -DD

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Ha, Dianne Drake, you use it as a plot after calling the police of course and finding out it was the original owner who built the house, and one of the reasons she stopped by so often and said the house was perfect, no need to remodel, was that she'd buried a body in the basement.... Then after thwarting her dastardly plans you write the book and drink margaritas upon publication :) Great to see you!

Vickie said...


I love what someone said about comparing constructing a house and a story. There are so many stages to seeing the finished product that the comparison fits. Thanks for sharing. Loved the blog today.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Thanks, Vickie! It's exactly like that. Thank goodness for contractors' muses! Good luck on your deal of the Day and Amazon Kindle for Carly's Rule. I already bought my copy!

Jodi Anderson said...

Great point about different creative types having a muse. Never crossed my mind. Hope you are enjoying the lovely new kitchen. Always LOVE your books.

Christine Finlayson said...

Terrific post, Donnell! I'd never thought about people in all professions having a muse, but it's true, we all have our inspirations and things we excel at--and ways of looking at the world differently. I envy you your new kitchen! Deadly Recall was a great story and I look forward to reading Betrayed.

Merit Clark said...

Donnell, I am in the midst of both a major home renovation and book two in my Jack Fariel series. Both could use some OSHA intervention :) After seeing how well both of your projects turned out it gives me hope! Betrayed sounds great and it's on my reading list once I come up for air.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Jodi, yes, I selfishly coveted the muse for writers alone. We should share, don't you think. Thank you for the lovely compliments about my books!

Christine, I was shocked too. But it makes sense, doesn't it. An architect listens to a client and then designs the product of their dreams, right? I love my kitchen. After so many years, in my old one, I can't quite believe it's real or that it's mine!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Merit, thank you! Are you sure you want OSHA intervention--they're worse than a critique group. If you get a chance to read Betrayed, I hope you enjoy! Thanks for stopping by!

E. B. Davis said...

Great hook, Donnell. Can't wait to read it.

Diane Kratz said...

I think everyone needs a muse! I've been remodeling our home for 17 years. Too cheap to hire someone, but after seeing yours-WOW!

I think I'll be saving up for the next remodeling job! Love the excerpt from your book. It sounds Amazing!

Good luck!

Diane Kratz said...

Forgot to say hi to Anastasia Pollack! Miss you lady!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, Diane, thanks for dropping by. If my DH and I were handy in the least I'd be right there with you. Not gonna happen. Yes, we do miss Lois on KOD. She's around, don't worry!

Lois, thanks for having me!


Lana Williams said...

Love the comparison between construction projects and writing a story! So true! Can't wait to read this story, Donnell!


Diane D., I'm sure Lois will stick me in some untenable situation in which I barely get out with my life and limbs intact. She's notorious for doing that to me.

Diane K., waving back! Miss you guys, too. Blame it on RWA rules. :-(