Tag Archive for: Critique partners

Neighbors and Critique Partners

By: Donnell Ann Bell

Hello! I am the newest member of the Stiletto Gang, and as a mystery writer and a woman who loves shoes, I will do my best to fit in. I
wrote an article for Stiletto Gang way back in the day https://donnellannbell.com/characters/
 Call me biased, but I still think it’s relevant.

Much has changed since that article, however. I’ve
written more books, I’ve relocated from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Las
Cruces, New Mexico, and with the exception of COVID-19, so far so good. This
city, thirty minutes from El Paso, Texas, has an amazing culture and some of
the kindest people I’ve ever met. Imagine (pre-COVID by the way), walking into
the grocery store when somebody sneezes, and from every surrounding aisle,
people shout, “God bless you.” Also, while I may miss Colorado’s green, you
can’t beat New Mexico’s sunsets.

Land of Enchantment’s Sunset 

One of the hardest things about leaving Colorado after
thirty-plus years was saying goodbye to lifetime friendships. Las Cruces has a
way to go to compete, but my next-door neighbor is working hard at making the
list. She arrived on my doorstep with cookies (my downfall), and our friendship
quickly became reciprocal. Like me, she has a creative side. Where I write, she

Tuscany Village by Carol Oxford 

One of the things I love about my new home is my front courtyard. But it was kind of sparse, so I went to work decorating. I found this adorable chihuahua and put him just out my front door. Wouldn’t you know it, though, my artistic neighbor pointed out something was missing.

Every chihuahua needs …
… a friend

One person I didn’t have to say goodbye to although we live
1,882 miles apart is my critique partner, Lois Winston, who I’d met online,
then in person on a transport van that delivered us to a conference. We’ve
exchanged chapters and brainstormed for years. We walk while we talk (because
we’re notorious multitaskers), and I can’t tell you how many “aha” moments we’ve
had via our treks.

I’m also close to Stiletto Gang member Cathy Perkins. She’s
a great conference roommate, by the way (Portland as I recall), and she and her
husband have visited Las Cruces. She’s a major talent, and one day I hope to
see her gorgeous home in the Pacific Northwest. 

Donnell, Cathy & spouses

That’s basically my introductory blog in a multi-cracked
nutshell. Looking forward to sharing thoughts, ideas and hopefully a little

 Do you have a
neighbor you love and/or a valued critique partner? In my opinion, they make
the world a whole lot brighter.

About  Donnell’s latest book: A cold case
heats up when a 9-1-1 call puts police at a Denver murder scene pointing
investigators to the abduction of a Colorado teenager fourteen years before.
The connection? A calling card
a single black pearl—is found on the newest victim. Is the murder
a copycat? Or has a twisted serial killer, thought dead or in prison, returned
to kill again?

The hunt for a multi-state killer is
on and brings together an unexpected team: a Denver Major Crimes police
lieutenant; an FBI special agent who investigated the previous murders, a
rookie FBI agent with a specialty in psychology; and the only living victim of
the Black Pearl Killer is now a cop.

For Special
Agent Brian DiPietro, the case is an opportunity to find answers. For Officer Allison
Shannon, the case will force her to face down the town that blamed her for
surviving when another did not. And for both DiPietro and Shannon, it’s a
chance to find closure to questions that have tormented them both for years.

Bio: Donnell Ann Bell gave up her nonfiction career in
newspapers and magazines because she was obsessed with the idea she could write
a mystery or thriller. An award-winning author, including the 2020 Colorado
Book Award finalist for her latest release Black Pearl, A Cold Case Suspense,
Donnell’s other books have included Buried Agendas, Betrayed, Deadly Recall and
The Past Came Hunting, all of which have been Amazon bestsellers. Currently
she’s writing Book Two of her Cold Case series. For further information or buy information, please go to www.donnellannbell.com