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Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Author Donnell Ann Bell with the Dammit Doll
Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning author of three romantic suspense novels, all of which have been e-book bestsellers. Buried Agendas is her fourth published novel. Currently she is working on her first suspense series for Bell Bridge Books. Donnell and her husband live in Colorado. Learn more about Donnell and her books at her website

Stress – who needs it?
I read an interesting article once that said some people thrive on stress. Hard to believe, but when you think about it, that explains why people go into law enforcement, become hot shot firefighters, become heart surgeons, or high rise window washers. They need challenges, the adrenaline rush that comes from their jobs, and these individuals deliberately choose to put stress in their lives.

These are the types of characters we writers love to create because they’re like a sleeper sofa with a built-in bed. Writing characters with dangerous occupations comes equipped with conflict. That’s the reason I like suspense. I’ve written about cops, defense lawyers, and a woman in jeopardy being stalked by an ex-convict. I infinitely prefer giving my characters stress, while keeping me out of it.

When I think about Lois Winston and her Anastasia Pollack series, Lois chooses a character who’s doing her best to avoid stress. Anastasia is a craft editor who craves the mundane. But with two boys, a narcissistic always-wedding mother, and an even crazier communist mother- in-law, stress is regularly heaped on Anastasia. Add a body or two in Lois’s stories, and she has the complete hysterical stress-filled package.

In BURIED AGENDAS, my newest release from Bell Bridge Books, my characters are under stress. I send my investigative reporter into a place where her credentials are useless. She has to enter Jordan Industries, a chemical processing plant, using only her wits, and everything about what she is doing is not only risky but illegal.
I’m grateful there are a lot of different personalities in this world. It keeps us writers in business. As for stress, I prefer to avoid it. How about you? Are you an adrenaline junky? Do you crave excitement or put yourself in stressful situations? Or are you more like me and believe stress is for the other guy?

For commenters, let’s do a drawing. Recently I saw the cutest stress reliever ever, and I’d like to include it in my giveaway. Today I’ll send one commenter a copy of Buried Agendas and a Dammit Doll, so be sure to include your e-mail address.

Whenever things don’t go so well,
and you want to hit the wall and yell,
here’s a little dammit doll that you can’t do without.
Just grasp it firmly by the legs
and find a place to slam it.
And as you whack the stuffing out,
yell, “Dammit, Dammit! Dammit!

Here’s to climbing mountains or lying on a beach, whichever you prefer.

Buried Agendas
Diana Reid is an investigative reporter skilled at uncovering other people’s secrets. It’s her own that she works to keep buried. Eight years earlier, she promised to leave her fiancé and hometown of Diamond, Texas forever. That pledge vanishes when she receives a letter stating people are going to die, implicating her hometown’s largest employer, and making a veiled threat against her mother. With no other choice, Diana will return to Diamond, albeit in disguise, to discover the anonymous author.

Brad Jordan moved on with his life after Diana walked out on him. Needless to say, she’s an unwelcome topic. Just as he rebuilt his life, the newly elected mayor of Diamond, and newly engaged to be married, he plans to rebuild his struggling hometown. Those plans are threatened when an El Paso physician notifies Brad that she believes his family’s company, Jordan Industries, is conducting illegal practices and sacrificing the public’s health.

When the doctor suggests bringing in Diana to uncover the wrongdoing, Brad is opposed to the idea. Still, when she appears despite his wishes, he is forced to accept that a woman he vowed to forget may be his only option to get to the truth.

Together Diana Reid and Brad Jordan face a dangerous adversary—one whose only intent is keeping a deadly agenda buried.

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Morgan Mandel said...

I try to avoid stress as much as possible, but I do enjoy reading about characters who accept dangerous occupations and the stress that go along with it. Great blog topic!

Morgan Mandel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Di Eats the Elephant said...

There are many people who create the crises they live in. .. sometimes it off thin air it seems. For sure they can be very helpful people who deal well with crises. . Like our special ops forces and our marines and 911 operators and firefighters and police, as you pointed out. But there are also those who like to be rescued and created them too. Or like to feel important and that makes what they do seem meaningful. As i get older, i want those folks to go away. There are enough real crises in the world, i don't need small dramas. But. People do watch those court tv shows and do engage in their own risky behaviors. We all find our thrill somewhere. But i do remember the days where i greatly enjoyed sitting and watching the sprinkler dropping waves of water across the grass from side to side.

vicki batman said...

I may not show it, Donnell, but I like being prepared. I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving now. Buying some food stuff. Had the furniture cleaned. Had extra cleaning chores done. Cleaned up spots. I usually eat chocolate, too.

I'm so happy for you and your book, dammit. ox

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, Morgan, thanks. I've always been of the mind that stress kills. Maybe I'm wrong?

Have you ever heard of a Dammit Doll. I think they're hysterical :)

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Di Eats the Elephant, I think we all have someone like that in our lives. Everything's a production or drama. I run like the wind from these people. But they ARE the perfect excuse for a Dammit Doll, wouldn't you agree?

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Dammit, Vicki Batman, I can tell that about you. You must have been a girl scout, weren't you? If stress comes your way, you vacuum over it! Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to introduce you to the shop I found this funny doll in!

Kathleen Kaska said...

I enjoyed reading your post today, Donnell. I'm working on a new mystery and I want my main character to feel stress beyond anything he's ever known. I want the stakes to be so high, it means survival or not. Reading your thoughts on stress was inspiring. Best of luck with your new mystery.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Kathleen, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Good luck stressing out your character. You can do it! We won't give your character a dammit doll to help him out with his stress, but maybe you'll win! Thanks for stopping by!

Melinda B. Pierce said...

My aunt gave my mom a dammit doll and they both use theirs daily when they wake up as a good morning ritual. I think they may be on to something!


Donnell Ann Bell said...

Melinda, how could anyone be in a bad mood after looking at a Dammit Doll. Well, of course they could, but I like to think laughter's the best medicine!

Angela Adams said...

I try and anticipate stressful situations and head the off at the path. Thanks for the post, and best wishes with your new release.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Thank you, Angela. You're a very wise woman.

Yetta said...

Last night, at the Waterville, Maine Citizens' Police Academy, the drug officer told us the best part of his job was the rush he got going to the place of interest and arresting the criminal. He said that was 5% of his work time. But he loved every part of his job.

Carol-Lynn Rössel


Congratulations to Di Eats the Elephant, the winner of the Dammit Doll and copy of Buried Agendas. Di, please contact me at anastasiapollack@gmail.com so I can put you in touch with Donnell.