top of page
  • N. N. Light

N. N. Light's Book Heaven presents Colleen L. Donnelly #authorspotlight #historicalromance #romance #mustread


Take Up the Pen


They say, “Writers write,” so if the compulsion to put words on a page burns inside of you like it always has in me, you’re a writer. If you have problems seeing yourself as a writer, just as I did, you are still a writer. If others raise a brow and dismiss whatever you wrote…just as friends, teachers, classmates, critique partners, and family did to me…you’re still a writer. And if years go by before you finally sit down at a computer or with a pad of paper, guess what… You are still a writer. The compulsion might be ignored, belittled, or doubted, but I tell you from my own experience—write. That is who and what you are. Following this advice turned my first book into an Amazon #1 Bestseller.


They also say, “Write what you know.” In my case, what I knew was painful. The imagination and passion I wrote fiction from as a girl and young woman, took a hard hit when in real life the man I married chose infidelity over family. Optimism, creativity, and life as I knew it vanished. No writing happened during my grieving time, but once my children and I established our new norm, the words began to surface again. And believe it or not, no husbands were maimed or murdered in those novels. Nor did my voice sound angry or bitter. Instead I wrote what I knew once healing had begun—the deep cry to find and be the right love no matter what the cost.


They also say, “Write every day,” even if it is just one paragraph and gibberish. Exercise your soul if you write fiction, and your mind if nonfiction. Both can become dull, overwhelmed by daily clutter, and distracted by the urgent. Some days, especially after my painful divorce, I would look in the mirror and be horrified by what I saw. In like manner, there were times I stared at what I wrote…cranked out, more like it…and was equally aghast. Don’t judge yourself or your abilities based on how you look first thing in the morning or how you write at the end of a tiring day. Protect and encourage the creative part of your soul. As I navigated single parenting and a demanding job with a broken heart, I carved out “me” time late at night when the kids were asleep and the house quiet. “Me” time kept the writer inside of me alive and consisted of reading, watching select movies that spoke to my writing voice, and of course pulling out my laptop or a pen to air my own words whether anyone ever read them or not.


And they say, “Create a writing space, a nest all your own.” I have moved a few times since I began to write more seriously, and in each house I established my “place” — a spot that fostered creativity. I marvel at the people I see hunched over laptops in busy coffee shops. No amount of caffeine could enhance my soul enough to isolate me from the distractions. My nest suits me, a quiet room of tasteful clutter—comfy furniture, subdued tones, chalk portraits, busts or other zany artwork. Once you design your space, guard your time in it. I make one exception to my rule of “My time in my space every day” and that is “Others matter.” Not the others who would distract me through social media, scam phone calls, or emails. But the others who are family and very special friends. Only they can bring me from my nest. Willingly, not regretfully, for to the nest I will return.


“They” say what I say to you, because I have lived and proven their words…Write. Write what you know, no matter how painful. Write every day. And do it in the space carved out for and by you. 


Follow on Amazon:



Title       Mine to Tell

Author    Colleen L Donnelly

Genre      Historical Romance

Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


Annabelle Crouse is determined to reopen her great-grandmother’s boarded up house—and her shunned life. Many years earlier, after an unexplained absence, Julianne was relegated to a separate home by a rigidly unforgiving husband, and the Crouse women have suffered the disgrace of her assumed guilt ever since.


Despite her family’s strong disapproval, Annabelle is driven to pursue her mission through cobwebs and dust, finding the clues and the coded story left behind by her great-grandmother—Why did she go? And why did she return? Annabelle has to know.


Only one person, a man she grew up with but never noticed, stands with Annabelle as she discovers the parallels between her story and her great-grandmother’s—two women, generations apart, experiencing what love truly is.




“Mine to tell,” Kyle said suddenly. It was a jolt. I was yanked from my mental tumble into a pit of unredemption. Alex looked up too, a quizzical expression on his face. “Julianne left a story behind,” Kyle continued. “Some of it speculation and rumors by people who don’t know, and the rest of it by her own hand. It was a love story. One that was countered with suffering.”


We were quiet. I looked at him, my heart melting as his masculine voice spoke of love and suffering. I wanted to hug him, but I was too afraid.


Alex leaned back in his chair. “What my father went through didn’t feel like love when we were little.”


“But maybe it was,” Kyle persisted. “Does love always turn out the way we want it to? Julianne Crouse was a fine woman. We haven’t finished her story, but she suffered, and she was fine indeed.”


Tears came to my eyes. “Thank you,” I squeaked. Kyle stood and walked around the table to me. He helped me stand as he thanked them for their time. He retrieved Julianne’s picture, took my hand, and together we went to the door, Alex and his wife following us.


“I hope you’re right,” Alex said, running his hand through thin, brittle hair. “My father had some things to come to terms with, but he was a good man. A better man later in life, when he told us he was sorry. I never knew for what.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)





Author Biography


Colleen L Donnelly was born and raised in the US Midwest but ventured to other parts of the country as an adult to experience life from other perspectives. Besides writing, she spends time outdoors, antique hunting, reading, or watching a good movie. Even though she retired from a career in laboratory science, she is never bored and always busy at something.


Social Media Links



Title    Letters and Lies

Author   Colleen L Donnelly

Genre     Historical Romance

Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


Louise Archer boards a westbound train in St. Louis to find the Kansas homesteader who wooed and proposed to her by correspondence, then jilted her by telegram – Don’t come, I can’t marry you. Giving a false name to hide her humiliation, her lie backfires when a marshal interferes and offers her his seat.


Marshal Everett McCloud intends to verify the woman coming to marry his homesteading friend is suitable. At the St. Louis train station, his plan detours when he offers his seat to a captivating woman whose name thankfully isn’t Louise Archer.


Everett’s plans thwart hers, until he begins to resemble the man she came west to find, and she the woman meant to marry his friend.




“He wrote and changed your plans? Why didn’t you tell me? You know I love hearing his letters.”


Everyone loved hearing his letters. Or at least they’d pretended to. I glanced at my friends, especially the one who’d first suggested I correspond with her husband’s homesteading friend in Kansas who was ready to look for a wife. She dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief while she flicked the fingers of her other hand in a weak wave. I dredged my soul in search of a smile. The man she’d introduced me to truly had penned everything I’d ever wanted in a husband, months of letters which convinced Mama Jim was my open door. Letters I’d foolishly carted from family to friend to blather every word like a desperate spinster. Drat.


“He didn’t send his change of plans in a letter, Mama. He sent them in a telegram.” Don’t come, I can’t marry you. The only words I never shared.


“Well I imagine your Jim has a surprise for you and didn’t have time to send a letter before you left for Crooked Creek. How thoughtful to wire you instead.”


Thoughtful…I felt poisoned and Mama would too if she ever found out Jim had shut my open door. Which she wouldn’t, since as soon as I got out there and found him, I’d wedge it back open again.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)



Barnes & Noble: 





Title     Love on a Train

Author      Colleen L Donnelly

Genre        Historical Romance

Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


The moment Martha noticed Raymond on the train, everything her mother warned against erupted – romantic notions, palpitating heart, the desire to write it all in a novel and tell the world. Martha lived and wrote that love story until the day Raymond handed her a sketch. “Want to see a picture of the girl I plan to marry?” The penciled profile resembled Martha… But when Raymond went away, she knew. She wasn’t the girl he planned to marry.


David was her father’s apprentice, everything Martha’s mother said made a good husband – hardworking, no romantic nonsense, no tolerance for writing about it. Martha added a fictional happy ending to her and Raymond’s story and published it. Cleansed herself of romantic love, and prepared to marry David. Until a copy of her book appeared. Full of sketches – Raymond’s version of their love story, drawings that enticed her heart to beat once again – for the wrong man.




“Want to see a picture of the girl I plan to marry?” Raymond’s face forced its way into my mind—the way he’d looked when I first met him, and when he asked me that question, both of us riding the train into Kansas City. “Just got back from doing my part for the war,” he said, and he meant the Second World War. “I build bridges. I’m building bridges for the city and building a whole new life for myself at the same time.”


Then he looked at me in a way that told me there was more to what he’d said. Hearing his voice and seeing his expression ignited tiny flames inside me. Flames that had flickered quietly too long, done little more than lick the surface of my imagination.


Until that day. Each time he spoke after that, something flared to life and heated me from within, bringing what Mama called an unladylike glimmer to my eye. A glimmer that was identical to the one I saw in his eyes, but she never knew that. I never talked about Raymond. I didn’t dare.


“I love words,” I said. “I have a secretary job and take dictation. My boss says I’m good at it.” I didn’t tell him Mama said it wasn’t proper for me to write my own words and stories, and that’s why I copied everyone else’s.


Until I met him. After that, my own story erupted. I couldn’t stop it. Then it began to grow.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)





Title    Out of Splinters and Ashes

Author    Colleen L Donnelly

Genre   Historical Romance

Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


Cate is a runner. She prefers to help her fiancé run his New York senate race, but she finds herself running instead to fix what’s broken between her grandparents before he finds out her grandmother has moved out of the family home, and her grandfather is accused of a pre-WWII relationship with a woman in Germany.


Dietrich is a German journalist with a spotless reputation. He prefers facts, but he finds himself lost in a world of fiction instead to prove his novelist grandmother couldn’t possibly have been the lover of a US runner in Berlin’s 1936 Olympics—especially when that runner’s granddaughter is Cate, a stubborn obstacle he should but can’t ignore.


Cate runs hard to cover up what Dietrich uncovers, until he shows her how it could have been—and how it could be again—that one can indeed love an enemy.




Grandma was impossible to stop. She charged around me, into the room, flipping on a light as she did. “You can go now,” she barked at the soldier still holding the door. “This won’t take long.”


He nodded at Grandpa, then shut us in, us and the mirror.


I saw Amabile’s story all over again as Grandpa spotted the mirror, the deep-down flicker I’d noticed before, but brighter now. Grandma and I disappeared as time took him backwards, his face transforming from old and haggard to young and alive—then to terrified, and lastly to nothing, except guilt. Grandma didn’t raise the mirror as I expected her to, and shake it in his face. She let it hang in front of her, between them, the charred frame and lone lily all he could see.


I stared at the trembling finger that stretched and touched the blackened wood, scars this man probably deserved exposed at the cuff of his sleeve.


“I believe this is yours.” Grandma’s voice was low.


I’d never seen them this close together before, never seen them face each other. But I’d seen the mirror between them forever without knowing it was there.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)




Title   The Lady’s Arrangement

Author     Colleen L Donnelly

Genre    Historical Romance

Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.


Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.


Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…




Ben was tall, and he felt even taller as he took a step closer and leaned my way. “It takes two to bind a contract, and since I’ve just withdrawn, your arrangement is null and void. And just so you know, you can thank your lucky stars I’m not staying to marry you, because I take surprises a lot better than I take orders.” His eyes stayed on mine until his gaze traveled from my face down to my boots. “And wearing trousers doesn’t make you any more suited to giving orders than wearing a skirt would make me fit for giving birth.”


My nails dug into my palms as I rolled my hands into fists. A word I’d heard Ted say when a pail slid off his bad arm came to mind. The word was immoral, but probably not too immoral for Ben Miller. “Just so you know, Mr. Miller, I’ve been running this ranch for three weeks now, in pants. I find skirts get in the way of things you’d probably be surprised I can do.”


The half-smile returned. “I won’t argue that. Skirts surely do get in the way.” Ben straightened and slapped his hat tighter on his head. “Been my experience, too. Fortunately, neither one of us has to put up with one, since you can keep right on doing things the way you have been. I’m giving you an early parting. I’m leaving.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)




1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Apr 17

Thank you for sharing your fabulous books with us!

bottom of page