Charlene Bell Dietz

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Biography, Mystery, Suspense, Adventure


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Charlene Bell Dietz writes science-suspense and historical-suspense award-winning mystery novels and short stories. The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur combines family saga with corporate espionage and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018, winning a Kirkus Starred Review. The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker propels readers back into 1923 frenetic Chicago and was also named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018, winning another Kirkus Starred Review. Her latest novel, 2019, The Scientist, the Psychic, and the Nut gives readers a frightening Caribbean vacation. Her award-winning short stories have been published in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers 2016 Anthology and SouthWest Writers 2019 Anthology. Her current work in progress, a biographical historical novel, starts in England in 1638 and ends in precolonial Maryland. Charlene, a retired educator, traveled the United States as a consultant for Houghton Mifflin Publishers after a career of teaching little ones, older ones, and college graduates. Surrounded by forests and meadows, she currently lives in the foothills of the mountains in central NM several miles from the small village of Torreon. Charlene is the current president of Croak & Dagger, New Mexico Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She belongs to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. Connect with Charlene on Facebook,, or

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My current work in progress is a historical biography novel that begins in Protestant England in 1638 when an unmarried Catholic woman puts her noble family in jeopardy from her illegal activities. She and three siblings escape to pre-colonial Maryland where she encounters privations and fears beyond imagine. She settles court matters the equal of any man, builds a fort that becomes the Catholic garrison during a Protestant Rebellion, and gives up love and marriage to save Maryland from reverting back to Virginia. In 1648 she becomes the executrix of the Governor of Maryland, and she asks for the right to vote (which is denied). Now every year the American Bar Association bestows on a deserving female attorney an award in this woman’s name: Margaret Brent. Working title: The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor: Margaret Brent- Precolonial Maryland 1638-1648.


Title: The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur
Publisher: Quill Mark Press (2016)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Literary

Kirkus Starred Review: “. . .this story becomes much more complicated than a simple whodunit–it delightfully turns into serious literature.” Beth Armstrong clearly knows someone is sabotaging her ground-breaking bio-medical research. When other scientists’ projects are ruined and researchers are murdered, she’s caught between caring for her redoubtable elderly, chain-smoking, ex-flapper aunt or stopping the culprit before she and the research institute are destroyed.

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Title: The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker
Publisher: Quill Mark Press (2017)
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Historical

Kirkus Starred Review–“The action never stops, the author is a master of suspense–fast-paced historical novel that is both scary and witty, a wonderful combination.” Young, brilliant Kathleen, a 1923 teenager flees to Chicago, hoping to find happiness as an entertainer only to discover betrayal, heartbreak, and a murderous stalker. This is the delightful story of the elderly aunt, Kathleen, in The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur. Here the reader will learn about Kathleen’s raucous and troubled life as a teen and young adult.

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Title: The Scientist, the Psychic, and the Nut
Publisher: Quill Mark Press (2019)
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Suspense

Honoring her deceased mother’s advice to rekindle the romance in her marriage, the scientist takes her husband on the vacation of his dreams. However, her obsession to discover the identity of her biological father stirs up a nest of angry islanders, turning their island-hopping adventure into a lethal nightmare. Kirkus Reviews–“An Impressive family tale with a strong cast.” This story begins where Beth Armstrong, the Scientist, left off in the first book, The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur.

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Title: The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Artemesia Publishing (2024)
Genre: Suspense, Adventure, Historical Biography Novel

Move over Susan B. Anthony. There’s an unsung woman asking for the vote 224 years before you. Murderous rebels and bigoted gentlemen can’t prevent spinster Lady Margaret Brent from wielding her power to defend Maryland settlers from plunder and obliteration. Lady Margaret Brent, compelled to right wrongs, risks her life by illegally educating English women, placing her family at risk. She fights to have a voice, yet her father and brothers exclude her from discussions. Worried the kings’ men may know of her illegal activities, she flees to the New World where she can enjoy religious tolerance and own land, believing she will be allowed a voice. Once in Maryland, she presents cases in provincial court where she’s hired as the first American woman attorney, but there she uncovers perilous actions, prompting her to build a fort to shield those within from being murdered. Can Margaret Brent’s integrity and ingenuity protect Maryland from being destroyed?

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Short Story Anthologies

Title: Woven Pathways: The 2023 SouthWest Writers Winners Anthology
Publisher: Independently published (September 6, 2023)

“The Dinner Hour”
♦ Honorable Mention: Flash Fiction

SouthWest Writers has released a new collection of award winning prose and poetry highlighting the talents of both experienced and novice wordsmiths. This delightful anthology weaves together diverse genres and viewpoints to bring you an eclectic mix of humor, pathos, and intrigue. These pieces were all winners in the 2023 SWW annual writing contest. This year’s contest includes writing categories in both prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction, spanning the gamut from opening pages of novels to flash fiction to memoirs. The Annual Writing Contest allows both new and seasoned writers to sharpen their skills by taking them out of their comfort zone. We the members of SouthWest Writers hope you enjoy this year’s anthology of contest finalists — after all, you the reader are the reason we write!

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Title: SouthWest Writers 2019 Winners Anthology: Annual Writing Contest
Publisher: Independently published (September 4, 2019)

Story: “Red Winter 1945”

This historical fiction spy story won first place in the SWW 2019 Annual Writing Contest. Milly attends the University of NM. Her mother died months ago. She’s desperate for someone to care about her because her father’s secret work at Sandia National Laboratories keeps him emotionally distant. Milly enjoys her father’s friend’s attention, but knows if she honors his requests, she’ll put them all in danger, and she’ll be a traitor.

Here you will enjoy winning contest entries in each of sixteen categories for 2019. At the time of the contest these stories had not been previously published, however, the author had the right to pull their work from this anthology if they chose to retain first publishing rights for use elsewhere. These stories are fun, or sad, or factual, or surprising―many of them are all these things. The genres are randomly mixed through the book. Pay attention to the names of the authors―you will probably see them again!

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Title: Found
Publisher: ‎ RMFW Press (2016)

Story: “The Inner Child of Henry J”

This story grew from watching those who struggle to maintain normal lives while fighting cancer. When this disease invades a young child’s system we’re incensed at the unfairness of this game. If cancer assaults someone of elder years, we sympathize and begrudgingly accept the next move. Here’s a joyful tale about emotional loss and generational bias.

Winner of the 2017 Colorado Book Award for Best Anthology! Sometimes things are better off lost. And sometimes they were never meant to disappear. Either way, when they’re found, everything changes. Explore fifteen illuminating tales of short fiction that reveal the consequences of finding something once lost or better off forgotten. From Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers comes this collection of inspired works from both award-winning and talented new writers to include Mark Stevens, Dean Wyant, J.A. Kazimer, Joshua Viola, Diana Holguin-Balogh, Terry Kroenung, Natasha Watts, and more.

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