DONNELL ANN BELL – The Story Behind the Story

About the Author:  Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning author who began her nonfiction career in newspapers. After she turned to fiction, her romantic suspense novels became Amazon bestsellers, including The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall, Betrayed, and Buried Agendas.

In 2019, Donnell released her first mainstream suspense, Black Pearl, A Cold Case Suspense, which was a 2020 Colorado Book Award finalist. In 2022, book two of the series was released. Until Dead, A Cold Case Suspense won Best Thriller in 2023 at the Imaginarium Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  Currently, she’s working on book three of the series. Readers can follow Donnell on her blog or sign up for her newsletter at www.donnellannbell.com.

Have you ever heard authors talk about a germ of an idea that led to their writing a novel? It’s crazy how one idea can take hold, and a 90,000-word book can result. That’s what happened behind many of my books. Still, when it comes to my romantic suspense novel Buried Agendas, a lone germ wasn’t what got me started. The ideas that flooded this book were more like an epidemic.

I’m married to a chemical engineer, so I lived daily with his adventures and misadventures in this necessary but often environmentally explosive industry. Chemicals make our lives easier, right? But if you put the wrong compounds or solutions together, you may blow up a lab. Discover too late that the ingredients used were toxic and leached into the soil or groundwater, you only wished you’d blown up a lab.

That was germ number one that made me want to write this book; what’s more, I thought I had the perfect expert at my disposal. Know what his response was when I started with my list of 20 questions? “Honey, I deal with this stuff all day. The last thing I want to do when I get home is talk about chemicals with my wife.”

On one hand, I sympathized with him. On the other hand, he hadn’t answered my questions, and my list was growing.

How did I handle that? Went around him, of course. We’d lived in Colorado for many years, and I’d met many of his contacts. To write Buried Agendas, I consulted with my husband’s colleagues, who, it turns out, were happy to talk with me about chemicals and what they do in their jobs. I spoke with plant managers, chemists, control room operators, an underground tank specialist, and shift supervisors. I was like the proverbial kid in the candy store as my plot gained traction, and I began to understand (in a simplistic, nontechnical way) what they were doing and why.

I still needed a cause and effect for my book, however. In a murder mystery, the cause of death is often explained by poison, drowning, a gunshot wound, etcetera. In Buried Agendas, I need to point to a newly created chemical that should have never been created.

This time, I needed specifics. So, I called up the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8. From there, I was put in touch with a very knowledgeable woman, who again was happy to talk to me about my scenario. You can imagine my elation (and considerable fright) when she confirmed my plot wasn’t far-fetched at all. Not only did we have a phone call, she also mailed me hundreds of pages of information to corroborate my thinking.

In a way, I’m glad my husband didn’t want to spend long hours discussing chemicals. After all, I received a synopsis of his job each evening, which created the germ in the first place. My hunting for specifics with others led to dozens of possibilities and, in my opinion, a more intriguing story.

Buried Agendas goes on sale June 16-30th on several digital outlets for the discounted price of $.99 Hope you enjoyed my trip down Memory Lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Comments

  1. Michael A, Black

    I missed this one the first time out, Glad to hear you’ve been busy writing. Keep it going.

    Reply
    • Donn

      Thank you, Mike, I’m slowly getting back in the saddle.

      Reply
  2. Ann Zeigler

    Donnell, it’s great to hear someone talk about how much fun it is to be a “plot detective,” always asking more people more questions until your characters finally have a real world to live (and make mischief) in. Congrats.

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Ann, that’s the way I love to research. Plot detective. I love that term. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Reply
  3. Lois Winston

    As someone who has read and loved Buried Agendas, I can unequivocally state that Donnell wrote a realistic, suspenseful story that will keep you turning pages.

    Reply
  4. Marie Sutro

    Love that you were able to get everything you needed from so many different sources. Way to stick with it!

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Thank you, Marie! Hearing from different sources opens so many possible storylines; would you agree?

      Reply
  5. Peg Brantley

    PERSISTENCE! I just love you, Donnell! xoxo

    Reply
  6. Marilyn Levinson

    Donnell,
    I always love to hear where my fellow writers get their ideas for the next novel. Wishing you many, many sales with this one!

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Thank you, Marilyn. Your ideas and backstory are inspiring as well!

      Reply
  7. Barbara Monaejm

    Wow, Donnell, sounds like a chilling story — and the research for it was fascinating.

    Reply
  8. Pamela Meyer

    My favorite discussion topic is story inspiration. This one was a doozy. Donnell, you had been thoroughly bitten by this idea, and you weren’t letting go. I love ‘the go around.’ Not only did it get you what you needed to build your story but it preserved your marriage, too. Inspiration and grit. Well Done.

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Ha! Pamela, I’m a little bit like Tom Skeritt’s character who starred in Steel Magnoias. Tom Skeritt has a great line in the movie–something like, “You, sir, are making me deal with my wife; I make it a point never to deal with my wife.” When you’re married to an engineer, at least in my one and only experience, you work around the black and white 😉 Thanks for your feedback on inspiration and for dropping by today.

      Reply
  9. Donnell Ann Bell

    Thank you, Margaret. I’m finally coming back to the writing world. Thank you, George, for hosting me and my fellow authors!

    Reply
  10. Mary Price Birk

    I love hearing about your writing and creative process! I’m looking forward to continuing to read your series! You create such a compelling story!

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Mary, thank you! I appreciate your feedback so much!

      Reply
  11. Margaret Mizushima

    Oh, Donnell…this looks like another good story! So glad you shared your germ of an idea and how it grew with us. Congratulations and best wishes with your work on book three in the Cold Case series. Looking forward to that one too!

    Reply

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M.E. ROCHE – Loves Writing & Follows Characters

I’m the product of a Midwest upbringing, but I’ve lived on both coasts as well as in Ireland. As a registered nurse, I’ve had the opportunity to work in many facets of nursing. Once officially retired, I began volunteering with the local coroner—part of the sheriff’s department—in northern California.

My favorite books have always been mysteries.

What brought me to writing? I first decided to try my hand at writing when I discovered there were so few books written about or by nurses and nothing for young readers since the student nurse mysteries of the 1950s. I started with three young adult mysteries modeled on those early works. I liked the writing process—of having a character tell me where the story would go—and when I decided to bring my student nurses into adulthood, I began writing for an adult audience, and now I have an additional three mysteries and two standalones.

New Book My newly released novel, TOOTS, is a historical stand-alone work based on one of my great aunts, one of my grandmother’s sisters. Growing up, I only knew my aunt as living with my grandmother. She was quiet but warm and generally retreated to somewhere quieter in the house when my family of eight kids arrived. I don’t remember ever having any extended conversation. We were told that her husband and children had died in a fire, and she had come back to her family in Chicago from wherever they had been living. I began thinking about this story several years ago, and I wanted to know more, but there was no one from that generation left to ask. And so I began trolling the memories of my siblings and cousins, but they were no wiser

Research TOOTS required spending a lot of time with Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com and my local genealogy people at the library. The amount of information out there is amazing. My grandmother and her sister, Toots, came over from Ireland by themselves at ages 12 and 10. They came to work as servants—first in New York and later in Chicago. My grandmother married and stayed in Chicago, but Toots met and married a homesteader from Nebraska. So many questions! I began by tracking down the ship manifests. Census reports, marriage records, obituaries, and homestead records. Finally, I made a road trip to Nebraska to see the homestead for myself. But then…what happened after Nebraska?

I discovered that there is also a ton of information to be found in obituaries. A good example: I knew my grandfather was a train conductor on the Northwestern railroad, but I had always thought of him as a passenger conductor (he had passed before I was born); his obituary stated he was a freight conductor! Tracking down the routes—possibly through Nebraska—that his train would have taken in 1915 led me to the tiny town of Albion in Nebraska, where my aunt’s husband’s homestead happened to be. There is no one alive to verify my guess, but I’d say my grandfather played matchmaker for his sister-in-law!

Setting the Location: I think it’s important to know something about the setting of one’s story, which is why I felt the need to see Nebraska. How many people plan to visit Nebraska? It was, however, a great experience—visiting the Homestead museum and learning something about the Dust Bowl period, of which I knew little beyond The Grapes of Wrath. It is beautiful farm country; the cover for TOOTS is a photo of their homestead. Similarly, I lived in San Francisco and northern California for some time, as well as in Boston, so I enjoy adding bits of local color to stories set in those locations.

Writing Process My writing process is changing. I’ve always felt most creative in the early morning hours, but not so much now. I do my own editing and preparation for publishing, and the more I write, the more time it takes to complete these non-creative tasks. I’ve discovered that my head doesn’t work for editing in the early morning. So now, I have coffee, walk, have breakfast, and then work on editing. But as I finish those tasks required by a new book, I think I’m almost ready to start writing something creative again. We’ll see.

Current Project Before turning to the final edits and publishing aspects of TOOTS, I finished the first draft of a mystery that spans the two coasts and centers on an arson group of firefighters in Boston. In the first re-read of that draft, I saw some serious problems, and now I’m looking forward to seeing what can be done to fix those problems. After that, I have the start of a black widow murder mystery.

Please visit my website and sign up for my newsletter at https://www.meroche.com, where I am now adding a section for Book Clubs with questions and personal recipes.

5 Comments

  1. Michael A Black

    Sounds like you’ve got a very interesting family and a great plan for writing. Looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming projects.

    Reply
  2. Pamela Ruthj Meyer

    Great Aunts are the best! Love this idea. And the title, TOOTS, is absolutely perfect.

    Reply
  3. John Schembra

    Interesting background, Peg! You are very meticulous in your writing. and I’m betting it shows in the quality of the book and the story! Looks interesting- I’ll be ordering my copy tomorrow!

    Reply
  4. Marie Sutro

    It must have been so fun to follow your characters into adulthood!

    Reply
  5. Rhonda Blackhurst

    Nice to “meet” you! I imagine you’re happy to be retired from the medical arena after the COVID nightmare. I do my best creating in the morning hours (after working out, walking the dog, and breakfast), but I find I can edit/revise and do business items any time of the day. Wishing you all the best on your new release.

    Reply

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BILL RAPP – Writes from the Viewpoint of a CIA Agent

Bill Rapp began his professional life as an academic historian of Modern Europe (B.A.: University of Notre Dame; M.A.: University of Toronto; Ph.D.: Vanderbilt University) but left after a year of teaching at Iowa State for something a little less sedentary.  So, he spent the next 42 years working at the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst, diplomat, senior executive, and consultant.

 

Bill started writing while still working full-time at the Agency, but after his retirement in 2017, he has devoted the majority of his time to his fiction and, most recently, to his Cold War Spy series.  He claims that this series allows him to combine his twin passions of history and the world of intelligence.  It also provides him with an opportunity to draw on the lessons he learned and things he’s seen over the last 40-plus years and, hopefully, provide readers with a realistic glimpse of what it’s like to live and work in that world. Bill also has a three-book P.I. series set outside Chicago, where he grew up and currently lives with his wife, older daughter, and their two dogs outside Chicago.  He belongs to the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the International Association of Crime Writers.

A Turkish Triangle, a quick summary:  It is October 1962, and the Cuban missile crisis has the world on a nuclear edge.  CIA officer Karl Baier is sent to Turkey to investigate the deaths of three Soviet assets, all of whom have either disappeared in the bowels of the KGB headquarters in Moscow or were shot execution style in Ankara and Istanbul.  It isn’t long before Baier realizes that the three deaths are only the tip of an espionage iceberg and part of a much more ambitious Soviet operation to undermine America’s posture and policy in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and beyond.  Before his assignment is over, Baier will face challenges to his mission, his integrity, and his perception and understanding of the people he has spent his career with inside the Agency.  This is the fifth book in the Cold War Thriller series.

What brought you to writing?    I have always loved literature, a term I define as broadly as possible.  In fact, during my undergraduate years, friends were surprised to learn that I was a history major because I spent so much time reading fiction.  During my graduate studies, I found that I occasionally needed a break from reading history, and I was lucky to discover the works of such masters as Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald.  Not only did I find those books incredibly enjoyable, but they were also inspiring and challenging.   Once I started dabbling in the world of mysteries and thrillers, I couldn’t stop.  I started with a private eye series, naturally, but soon found that my background in intelligence–and a new publisher–led me to a new series in espionage fiction.

What are you currently working on?  A Turkish Triangle is the fifth book in the Cold War series, all of which lead the reader through the 1940s, 50’s, and 60’s as we faced off with several adversaries. but principally the Soviet Union, in a global competition.  The series began in the ruins of postwar Berlin in 1945 and then progresses through such seminal events as the Hungarian revolt and Soviet invasion, the building of the Berlin Wall, and now the Cuban missile crisis.  In the next book, CIA officer Karl Baier–the protagonist throughout the series–is sent to Vietnam in 1964 by then-Director John McCone for his assessment of the developments, challenges, and prospects as Washington prepares to Americanize the war effort.  The Director warns Baier not to get involved in operational activity while on this particular assignment, but, of course, as a prototypical operations officer, Baier cannot resist when he discovers the makings of a budding espionage plot that illustrates the dangers and complexities the US faces in that environment. The new book is tentatively titled Assignment in Saigon.

What kind of research do you do?  Given my background in history, I am already familiar with much of what went on during the Cold War.  However, that information does not suffice for a deep probe into the specific events of the period.  So, I do additional reading before I begin to familiarize myself further with the setting and environment for the story, which fortunately gives me an excuse to buy more history books (which drives my wife crazy).  But then, like most authors, I find it necessary to do a second, more specific round of research as questions arise over individual items and occurrences as the story unfolds.  For example, I often need to find more information on the weapons or automobiles that appear in the story, not to mention the roles of certain historical individuals I introduce.  That is also where I can focus more effectively on the physical world as it existed at the time.

Where do you place your settings – real or fictional locations?  All my locations are real.  I use specific events and crises as the backdrop to the stories to bring the reader to the heart of the Cold War and to help them understand the ambiance, mindset, and perspectives of the period and how the characters react to the challenges of that time.  My publisher was the one to suggest this series, and I readily agreed, noting that there are numerous events during the Cold War that provide an intriguing and exciting setting for the novels.  That also allows me to create stories that stand alone, despite the use of a single protagonist and other characters that often reappear in the various editions.  Each setting and time are unique, which makes for a unique story.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process?  I think there are two aspects to that question.  The first has to do with my impatience.  It’s basically why I am a pantser and not a plotter.  Aside from the fact that I find the former more fun and more creative, I also find that once I start thinking of a story or plot, I want to just sit down and put pen to paper.  The other aspect that applies to the Cold War series in particular, is the challenge of placing myself and my characters in an accurate environment for the period.  By that, I do not mean the proper physical backdrop–as important as that is– but rather the outlooks, perceptions, and preferences.  Writing some 50 to 80 years after the fact, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making your characters prescient and omniscient. I know how the various crises turned out, or I know what sort of pitfalls we fell into in Vietnam, for example.  Karl Baier and the other characters did not have that advantage.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? Well, there are still numerous Cold War crises that await Karl Baier.  The largest on the horizon would be the Czechoslovak experiment in “Socialism with a human face”  and the subsequent Soviet invasion it produced.  I also skipped right past the Korean War and am wondering if there isn’t a way to travel back to that time, much as Philipp Kerr did in his Bernie Gunther series.  Also, now that my family has moved back to the Midwest after four decades in the Washington, D.C. area, I’m tempted to revive the suburban noir series starring P.I. Bill Habermann, which is set in the Chicago area and principally my hometown of Naperville.

For those interested in learning more about my books, please visit my website at billrappsbooks.com.  Copies of all the books are available on Amazon, from my publisher Coffeetown Press, at Barnes & Noble, or at bookstores near you.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. John G. Bluck

    Bill Rapp has had an interesting life, and I look forward to reading his books. I also lived in the general area outside of Chicago where Bill now resides. It reminds me of how differently people’s lives unfold as the years go by.

    Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    Bill Rapp writes with a sort of retrospective historical hindsight that covers important events in our history, but also reminds us that these events are more than things we read about in a history book. Although his books are fiction, they are also reminders that heroic individuals were involved in making these situations turn out for the better. I highly recommend his books. He’s walked the walk and knows what he’s talking about.

    Reply
  3. Jim Guigli

    I met Bill in Las Vegas at the PSWA Conference. I read two of Bill’s books and think they are first rate.

    Reply

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JIM GUIGLI – Author and Man of Many Talents

A student of many interests, Jim Guigli, has been a SCUBA diver, auto-mechanic, and gunsmith . . .toured Quantico as an FBI Citizens Academy graduate and earned BFA and MA degrees in Art/Photography. Jim is an active member of SMFS, PSWA, & Sacramento CWC.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? Both. Start pants, finish with structure.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? Real with fictional subparts.

Tell us about your writing process: I get an idea, a title, or one sentence, and then I write.

For example, my short story, Blood on the Stairs, was an idea and a title.

I like the old Dell Map Back mysteries and follow them on eBay. One title, Blood on the Stars, by Brett Halliday (pen name of Davis Dresser) appeared often, but I always read it as, Blood on the Stairs (touch of dyslexia). I put that new title with an idea that came to me after I attended a Left Coast Crime Conference:

What would happen if the attendees at a writers’ conference were encouraged to visit (bother) real local private investigators during the conference?

I already had my PI, Bart Lasiter, and my setting, Old Town Sacramento, with Bart’s fictional building and office. Then I added a murder and some what-ifs to get:

Bart attends a Crime Writers Conference and pencils in a murder.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? Both. Start pants, finish with structure.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? Real with fictional subparts.

Tell us about your writing process: I get an idea, a title, or one sentence, and then I write. For example, my short story, Blood on the Stairs, was an idea and a title.

Blood on the Stairs is available from Amazon in the fine anthology Murderous Ink:

Crimeucopia – We’ll Be Right Back – After This!

https://www.amazon.com/Crimeucopia-Well-Right-Back-After/dp/1909498424/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1701815141&sr=1-3

How do our readers contact you? jimguigli@sbcglobal.net
Website: https://www.jimguigli.com/

4 Comments

  1. Marilyn Meredith

    Hi, Jim, nice to see you again. I’ve enjoyed your writing too.

    Reply
    • Jim Guigli

      Thank you, Marilyn’ I always appreciate your support.

      Reply
  2. Jim Guigli

    Thank you George and Mike. Keep writing.

    Reply
  3. Michael A. Black

    Jim Guigli is the real deal. He’s an excellent writer and one of the modern masters of the short story. Rumor has it, and I hope it’s true, that he’s working on a novel. I’ve enjoyed his Bart Lasiter stories and just picked up the anthology, Crimeucopia Strictly Business with Jim’s new story, “Just a Dream.” And on top of all that, he’s one hell of a nice guy too.

    Reply

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JAMES L’ETOILE – Write What You Know—While You Can

James L’Etoile uses his twenty-nine years behind bars as an influence in his award-winning novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is a former associate warden in a maximum-security prison, a hostage negotiator, and director of California’s state parole system. His novels have been shortlisted or awarded the Lefty, Anthony, Silver Falchion, and the Public Safety Writers Award.

Face of Greed is his most recent novel. Look for Served Cold and River of Lies, coming in 2024. You can find out more at www.jamesletoile.com

 There’s this old saw in literary circles that authors should write what they know. I don’t necessarily agree with that guidance because I often find it more interesting to write about what I want to know. If I’m interested, then maybe the reader will be as well.

But there was a piece of that advice that stuck with me as I wrote Face of Greed. Write what you know, but write it while you can. There is a plotline in the book dealing with the main character’s mother, who is struggling with the ravages of cognitive decline—dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Detective Emily Hunter is a hard-charging investigator working to solve a complex murder of a political powerbroker who has to balance that demanding job with acting as a caretaker for her mother.

Emily’s burden is something many of us with aging parents have experienced or might have waiting for us in the years ahead. It’s a scary thing, and for the purpose of the story, in Face of Greed, it keeps Emily off balance. She’s sure-footed in her role as a detective with keen instincts and a solid partner in Javier Medina to follow the clues and bring down the bad guy. But with dementia and Alzheimer’s, Emily struggles.

One day, her mother is living independently, and the next, she’s had to move in with Emily because her memory lapses had gotten to the point when she nearly burnt her house down, forgetting the stove was on. It’s an insidious disease. Emily has a conversation with her, and she seems “with it,” aware of what’s happening around her. Then, the next moment, she loses touch and thinks Emily is still in high school.

Emily has to balance her responsibilities to her mother as her primary caregiver with the demanding job of a homicide detective. She has no family to rely upon, and she’s not the kind of person to ask for help. Emily must step outside her comfort zone and not only ask for help to care for her mother but make critical decisions for her long-term care.

So where does all this come from, you ask?

I was once in Emily’s shoes. My mother had dementia in her later years. It crept in slowly, and, as I found out, those who experience dementia become clever about filling the gaps in their memory. They’ll invent an idea that fits, and they’re convinced it’s what really happened. For example, I found Mom dressed and ready to go to a doctor’s appointment when I went to her place. I picked her up, and halfway there, she forgot where we were going and decided we were going to the grocery store instead. Another sign was simple decision-making would cause anxiety, so she found a workaround common to people with dementia. At a restaurant faced with dozens of menu options, the deception is, “What are you having? Oh, that sounds good. I’ll have that too.” It’s a workaround so they don’t have to make that decision. All the sensory input from the menu can’t get through.

As a caregiver for an aging parent, the roles are suddenly reversed. You’re now the parent to the much older child. And that dynamic can create a great deal of friction. Emily experiences it, and so did I. The person living with dementia sometimes realizes their life, who they were, is slipping away. They feel lost, disconnected, and alone. Some experience Sundowner’s Syndrome, where they try to leave wherever they are to get “home.” Their perception of home may be a fragment of memory from the distant past.

Caregiving can be difficult for the caregiver as well. It’s exhausting and mentally draining listening for the next sound of an escaping parent or that phone call that they’ve run off or hurt themselves.

I wanted to bring this into Face of Greed for a couple of reasons. It makes Emily struggle to balance her life. She feels guilt and sadness over her mom’s situation. And she realizes she can’t do this alone. She must bring other people into her life and let them help. Asking for help isn’t something that comes naturally to Emily—wonder where she got that from?

But I also wanted to talk about dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease because so many of us have gone through this—parents are aging, and this is an unfortunate common experience. I’ve gotten feedback from many readers who tell me that Emily’s struggle in this area resonated with them. They’d felt similar demands and struggled to find the help their parent needed.

It makes Emily a bit more multi-dimensional, and as tough as she seems, she’s got a big heart. It opens her up to people coming into her life at the right time—as she’s the better for it. I guess we all need to be a little more like Emily. And we all need to write what we know while we can because we don’t know what the future will bring.

Visit Amazon to meet Emily: Face of Greed (A Detective Emily Hunter Mystery) – Kindle edition by L’Etoile, James. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

 

14 Comments

  1. Ana manwaring

    This is such an important topic. Thanks for tackling it Jim. I’ve got Face of Greed on the TBR list. My mom also had dementia and it was heartbreaking. She lived long enough to forget her family.

    Reply
  2. Marilyn Meredith

    I just finished Face of Greed, and really enjoyed it. Lots of surprises.

    Reply
  3. Joan Long

    I enjoyed Dead Drop and can’t wait to read this new novel. I just moved it to the top of my TBR list! Thank you, Jim, for sharing this story with your readers.

    Reply
  4. Thonie Hevron

    Thank you all for sharing this powerful post. Jim and Donnell, you have my heartfelt sympathy. When my mom passed unexpectedly, I found her hair curlers in the refrigerator. I took that as a sign that she went before experiencing the worst of dementia as you both did. Establishing a connection with the reader like this can be moving and inspirational if handled well. Thank you for your candor, Jim…and Donnell.

    Reply
  5. Joseph Bryce HAGGERTY Sr

    i fully intend to add Face of Greed to my list. I read Dead Drop, another Jim’s books and I have to agree he is a fantastic writer with wonderful characters and twists that are surprising and create more dimensions to the overall story. The fear of dementia or Alzheimers plays on the minds of many elderly persons, myself included. As writers we keep our minds active and pray for the best. My mother had dementia and it pulled at my heart strings. My wife and I are both 77 yr old orphans as our parents have passed. We relish in the visits of our six children, eleven grandchildren and eight great children. They keep us young and busy.

    Reply
  6. Michael A. Black

    I’ve known Jim for years and can attest that he’s a wonderful writer. He’s able to utilized his vast experiences, and also create characters that you care about and want to root for. Nor does he shy away from difficult subjects, as Face of Greed obviously shows. I highly recommend his excellent books.

    Reply
  7. Craig KIngsman

    Thanks for a great book, Jim. My mom had Alzheimers too. I wasn’t her care giver but did experience some of what you mentioned when I visited. Thank you for taking us on the journey.

    Reply
  8. Karen A Phillips

    Thank you, Jim, for including the difficult subject of dementia in your book. It’s a wonderful way to depict the multi-faceted character of Emily. I use the word “wonderful” from a writer’s perspective, as dementia certainly isn’t “wonderful.” My parents are 87 and showing signs of cognitive loss. I am educating myself on how to best care for them. I’m thankful I have a brother to help. And people like yourself, who can share their wisdom and experience.

    Reply
  9. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Heartbreaking and touching. This post helped wake me up. Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Margaret Mizushima

    Jim, your book sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to read it. My mother also developed dementia before her death almost fourteen years ago but her heart and lung disease took her before it got too severe. You’ve illuminated a subject that so many face. And I always enjoy your books!

    Reply
  11. Marilyn Meredith

    I’ll have to get this one. Being as old as I am, when I forget or lose something it does make me worry a bit.

    Reply
  12. James L’Etoile

    Thanks for hosting me on the blog, George! Truly appreciated and I hope folks get something from this piece of Emily’s character.

    Reply
  13. Donnell Ann Bell

    Jim, my deepest condolences. I have Face of Greed on my TBR pile. Forgive me if I wait a few months; I’m proud to promote you and attest to your talent. I lost my mom to dementia in November so I’m afraid it’s wait too fresh. But this is such an excellent post and reminder.

    As a segue to your point, I met a woman who was doing her mother’s memoirs while she was fading. She found her mother had led a dual life while researching her background. There are some parts of history that will never be recorded. I have mother’s wonderful stories of growing up, nurses’ training and life afterward. Need to compile all these memories as fast as I can.

    Best wishes on a wonderful sell-through!

    Reply
    • James L’Etoile

      Donnell, I’m so very sorry for your loss. You’re in my thoughts. A collection of your mother’s stories would be a wonderful way to honor her memory.

      Reply

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