Guest Chick: Donnell Ann Bell

Lisa here, delighted to welcome Donnell Ann Bell as our guest today on Chicks. I was delighted to meet this wonderful mystery author in person at Left Coast Crime last spring–we had plenty to chirp about over coffee! Here Donnell makes the case for coincidences–and tells us more about her latest, UNTIL DEAD: A Cold Case Suspense. Just look at that chilling cover, brrr…


Oh, thank heavens!  Special thanks to Chicks on the Case for at least talking to me about my case. I understand you’re under no obligation to proceed. First, I should ask how much you charge. I mean, if all the Chicks are involved, I should walk out the door right now. Just look at this office space! Must cost a fortune. You know what would be really helpful? If you’d agree to work at a reduced fee—better yet pro bono!

All right. Sorry to appear so needy, but apparently, I’ve broken some laws. Not any that can put me into the slammer, I don’t think, but some that might slam on the brakes to my writing career. I’m thinking the Chicks might run some comparisons so we could throw my appeal before the Court—maybe we might even find a sympathetic judge. Because, my dears, I know editors and agents will convict me before I even get started.

What is my crime? I can buy a coincidence in books. Especially if an author tells a compelling story and the writing is fabulous besides. Yet, coincidence is one of the first things that will get a writer rejected. Am I right?

Maybe it’s because coincidence has happened to me so much in my lifetime. I’ve stumbled on coincidence more often than J.B. Fletcher has discovered a body.

For instance:

My daughter-in-law and I were both born in St. Mary’s Hospital in Lubbock, Texas. (All right, not the same year.)

In grade school, in a crowded movie theater, while my mother and my little sister sat somewhere in the seats below and my best friend and I escaped to the balcony, I accidentally dropped my coke over the railing. Out of all the people in that theater, it landed on my baby sister. – Oops!

When I had my appendix removed in fourth grade, I met a boy in the hospital. I’d forgotten about the event until my sophomore year in high school I dated that same boy and we compared notes.

During a trip to Florida, when my cousin took my husband and me on a tour of an island, I learned that the bungalow we were staying in was the same bungalow my mother stayed in when my dad shipped off to Okinawa 55 years earlier. 

I now live in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I learned a few months ago that one of my neighbors who lives perpendicular to me is a mystery writer. Better yet, he’s fabulous. What are the chances that an author I admire lives on the same block, much less across the street?!

So there, you have it, Chicks. I can buy coincidence, especially if it’s set up well, it’s not too contrived, and the writing is superb. What do you think? Have I given you enough to take my case? More importantly, can you relate? 


Bio: Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning author of four bestselling romantic suspense novels and two mainstream taskforce suspense novels. Until Dead, a Cold Case Suspense, book two of her series was released on May 31, 2022. Currently she is working on Book Three. Readers can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or BookBub. For social media contact or to learn more, find her at


UNTIL DEAD: A Cold Case Suspense

This killer won’t stop . . . until she’s dead

When Lt. Everett T. Pope is notified of an explosion in downtown Denver close to the judicial buildings, his first instinct is gas leak. No such luck. As Incident Command and Pope’s own Major Crimes unit move in, he discovers he knows the intended victims—an Assistant U. S. Attorney—and Pope’s former partner, now a private investigator, has died shielding the injured AUSA with his body.

As ATF and the FBI take over investigating the bombing and unraveling motives behind the murder attempt, Pope is relegated to a peripheral role. But the injured AUSA’s aunt is a United States senator used to getting results. She turns to the team that solved the Black Pearl Killer murders with a very big ask—find her answers and locate the bomber.

FBI Special Agent Brian DiPietro must recall his entire cold case team from their far-flung assignments knowing he’s being asked to do the impossible. The senator, however, doesn’t know the meaning of the word. All too soon, DiPietro finds his team working alongside ATF on a red-hot mission.  One that uncovers a decades’ old cold case.

Readers, do you have any…”coincidences”…in your life you’d like to plea? Tell us in the comments!

25 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Donnell Ann Bell

    1. Tracy, I’ll be you’ve always been the more mature 😉 Thanks for stopping by. Have you ever been thinking about a person and that person suddenly shows up? Those are the types of scenes in books that an editor/agent might balk at.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a more juvenile sense of humor. lol. Here too, the thinking of someone happens to be involving my two cousins. I’ve thought of them, and they each have come strolling in my front door out of the clear blue! No pre-arranged visit. Weird with us three!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ha! Love this! My parents–one of whom grew up in Pasadena and the other in the Fairfax area of LA–had a fun coincidence. When they were about three years old, they were both taken to the same photographer in downtown Los Angeles, who took their photos with the exact same wooden ball. Those framed photos hung in our dining room as I was growing up, and it never failed to amaze me that of all the hundreds–perhaps more–of photographers in LA back in the early 1930s, they were taken to the same one.

    Congrats on your new book, Donnell, and thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today! I vote to acquit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you, Leslie! I’m breathing a sigh of relief 😉 Too funny. That stuff happens to me ALL the time. But I understand that it’s author laziness if we do it in books! Thanks for commenting and the vote to acquit!


  2. What are the chances of having lunch at a restaurant in Manhattan and bumping into friends who live in Philadelphia, PA? Or darting into the Marriott Marquis to use the ladies room and bumping into a friend who lives in Sacramento, CA? Both have happened to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome, Donnell!! UNTIL DEAD sounds fabulous–straight to the TBR pile! And okay, I’ll play: My sister, who is 16 years older than me, grew up here in New England and married a guy from Vancouver, WA (not Canada!). And so did I.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The book looks so good! My coincidence–on a flight from Seattle to Memphis, I sat next to a lady who hired a friend I go to church with a hundred miles from Memphis to make her daughter’s wedding cake.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I go by a version of the old Cosa Nostra dictum: once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. So twice is fine, but the third one, not so much.

    I once ran into an old neighbor in the airport in Caracas. I hadn’t even thought of her for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Donnell, I love the coincidences in your real life! As to fictional coincidences, Hallie Ephron once told me, “You’re allowed ONE coincidence per book.” I’ve taken that to heart, even though it’s sometimes hard!

    Thanks for guesting with us. And I echo Lisa’s comment that it was great to meet you in person at LCC.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Donnell, thanks so much for hanging out today with the Chicks!
    I totally buy coincidences— have had quite a few in my own life! I’ve been told that generally readers will only buy one coincidence in a book, so I keep that in mind when I’m writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks, Vickie! Still as author we have to do better, right? In my debut The Past Came Hunting, I had a huge coincidence. It was an award-winning book, and the book several agents were expressing interest in. I work hard not to put coincidences in my books if I can help it. And I think the one-coincidence per book suggestion (notice I didn’t say rule) is a good one. Else, it feels contrived to the reader. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone 😉


  9. Thanks so much for being here, Donnel! I’ll totally buy your case–and your book!

    I looooooooooooove a good coincidence–or even a semi-good one. And you’ve got great ones! I file real life coincidences under Truth Stranger Than Fiction.


  10. Love the list of coincidences. There’s so much synchronicity in the world, if only we’d embrace it! I did a book tour in Las Cruces once–wish I’d known you were there. We could have had another coincidence.


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