Thursday, March 24, 2022

Chatting with author Colleen L Donnelly

I'm delighted to have Colleen Donnelly with me today. She shared the inspiration behind The Lady's Arrangement, a book that stayed with her, and what makes her laugh out loud. Plus there's an excerpt from her latest book.

What inspired you to write this book?

In my younger and more agile days, I took on the project of restoring an old, one-room schoolhouse in Kansas. Located on one acre and surrounded by fields and prairie, I was surprised at the amount of history I discovered regarding that small parcel of land. Its deed read like a novel with names and stories of people who had owned the property long before I came along, some transactions carrying the signature of Abraham Lincoln even. But the one that caught my eye was of the wife and children of a man who bought it and then unfortunately died. She appealed to Kansas to keep the property, but state law forbade widows any rights to land left behind by their deceased husbands. This woman made more than one appeal to keep the property, but Kansas awarded it to another man in the end, and she and her children were forced to leave.

Tell us about a book that stayed with you long after you finished reading it.

“The Monk” written by Matthew Lewis in 1796. Lewis was only nineteen when he wrote this book, and some deem it the first Gothic Horror story. If it was true horror as we think of it today, I wouldn’t have been able to read it, but this story is about the inner horror of a man believed and aspiring to be the epitome of good, when inside he is tormented by lust and evil.

What makes you laugh out loud?

I’m sorry. This is awful, but I laugh when someone, even myself, trips and falls. Without hurting anything other than their pride, of course. My husband holds the record for the longest fall, and therefore my longest giggle, when he tried unsuccessfully to keep his balance for innumerable yards before he tumbled into the dirt. It has been deemed the 90-Yard Fall in our family as we often recount his cartoonish efforts to keep upright and defy gravity.

Just reading the story had me laughing out loud! Thanks so much for being here!  

About the Book

The Lady’s Arrangement
Author: Colleen L Donnelly
Genre: Historical Romance


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…

Grab your copy
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Peek between the pages

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.”

About the author:
Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen studied and worked in science, using that career to travel and explore other parts of the country. An avid fan of literature, both reading and writing, she loves tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against. A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.

Connect with Colleen
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon


  1. Some unique finds in that old school house.
    A good fall is always funny.
    Congratulations, Colleen!

    1. I'm so glad to meet someone else who can giggle at a good fall, even our own! Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Cherie, for the opportunity to share a book and my experiences! You have a wonderful site, and I'm honored to have a spotlight on it.

  3. What an interesting background to your novel! Congratulations Colleen! Wishing you much success!

  4. This sounds like a fun read, and I loved the idea of restoring the school house.