# 1 ON MY BUCKET LIST by Albert Bell

I’ve been writing since I was in high school. In 1972 I sold my first piece to Christian Century. “I’m on my way,” I thought, but it just never happened. I kept writing and piled up a long list of articles and stories. In January 2001 I joined a writers’ group that met every Wednesday night. That’s right, every Wednesday night. Attendance averaged about 15, and still does eighteen years later. It’s not the same 15 people, but as some have moved on or passed away, others have joined us. In the course of the past eighteen years I have published fourteen books and have another one in my editor’s hands. It will be the eighth in my series of Roman mysteries set in the late first century A. D. and featuring Pliny the Younger.

But I have other projects as well. My publisher, Perseverance Press, is small and does not have room for me to monopolize their resources with all that I want to have published. In addition, they do only mysteries, and some of my projects aren’t mysteries. Now that I’m in my early 70s, I don’t have time to piddle around with getting an agent etc. I have several projects that I want to get out there, so I’ve turned to self-publishing.

For a long time I looked down my nose at self-publishing. I was being published by a traditional, royalty-paying press, even if it was a small one. The second book in my Pliny series, The Blood of Caesar, was named one of the 5 Best Mysteries of 2008 by Library Journal. Words like “masterpiece” and “master story teller” have come up in reviews of my books. But I couldn’t seem to break through to that next level of success.

In 2017 I just decided to “go all in,” like a poker player putting everything on the table. I was still in contact with an editor who had worked on some of my early books. She was working independently, formatting and designing books for people who wanted to get them published. I do not have the technical expertise nor the software (nor the patience) to put a book up on CreateSpace or any similar platform. Judy did that for me. In a year and a half we did four of the books on my bucket list: Murder My Love, The Flute Player, What You Wish For, and Death By Armoire.

But how do I get publicity for self-published books? After all, there are a couple of million of them on the internet at any given time. In 2018 I entered Death By Armoire in Writer’s Digest’s contest for self-published books. AND I WON the genre fiction category. I’ve now entered it in another contest. Results haven’t been announced yet, but one of the judges said the book is “robustly plotted” and “transcends the formulaic.” I consider it #1 on my Bucket List.

You can find information about me and all of my books on my website: www.albertbell.wixsite.com/writer


Albert A. Bell, Jr discovered his love for writing in high school, with his first publication in 1972. Although he considers himself a “shy person,” he believes he is a storyteller more than a literary artist. He says, “When I read a book I’m more interested in one with a plot that keeps moving rather than long descriptive passages or philosophical reflection.” He writes books he would enjoy reading himself.

A native of South Carolina, Dr. Bell has taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan since 1978, and, from 1994 - 2004 served as Chair of the History Department. He holds a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as an MA from Duke and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to psychologist Bettye Jo Barnes Bell; they have four children and two grandsons Bell is well-known for the historical mysteries of the series, Cases from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger. Corpus Conundrum, third of the series, was a Best Mystery of the year from Library Journal. The Secret of the Lonely Grave, first in the series of Steve and Kendra Mysteries for young people, won a Mom’s Choice Silver Medal and the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.


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