Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Guest Post: Out of Splinters & Ashes by Colleen Donnelly

Welcome my guest today Colleen Donnelly talking about her book: Out of Splinters & Ashes

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a scientist turned author…or the other way around, maybe, since I was a writer from the beginning, but needed to pay the bills so I earned a degree and worked hard in laboratories while stories grew in my mind. I was born and raised in the midwestern states of the US, moved to more urban areas in my young adult years in order to experience other cultures, then returned to the rural quiet of the Midwest. I love the outdoors, reading, writing, interacting with my pug, and coffee. I believe in hobbies and passions, delve into several myself and encourage everyone I know to do the same.

What do like the most and the least about writing?

I relish the birth of a story and the time it spends developing in my soul. When that little spark becomes a flame, it is ready to become words on paper, and at that point I am in my element.

My least favorite part of writing is probably the same thing which vexes most authors – marketing. Writers are rather private in their work and easily lost in their craft. Definitely true of me, so I remind myself we don’t spend years loving and training a child only to boot it out the door when it comes of age, and wave goodbye. Tending still continues, and books as well need some parental ushering into the world.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

This is from “Out of Splinters and Ashes,” winner of the Crowned Heart Award, and a finalist in the running for this year’s Rone Award in 20th Century historical fiction:

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.

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I have a lighthearted book in edits now, a late 1800s story of a jilted spinster determined to get her man. My next book after that one is in the germination stage. It’s title and premise are set, and I’m letting inspiration leaf out the plot.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

Authors rely on reviews. Please write one if at all possible. We not only depend on having them, we also learn from them, so approach the review as professionally as we approach writing. Dig beyond whether you liked the book or not, and tell why. We need to see our work through others’ eyes who detect what we might have missed and can teach us something.


     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:

Sonata Contineo
Mine to Tell
Asked For
Love on a Train
The Lady’s Arrangement   
Out of Splinters and Ashes

Social media links:



Great post. Always nice getting to know authors better.

Colleen L Donnelly said...

Thank you, Jennifer, and I agree! Sometimes it's hard to drag us out into the open or away from our computers!

Colleen L Donnelly said...

Thank you, Marie, for a moment on your blog! Loved being here!