My Blog


I love to tell stories.

I am an Arizonan. I grew up spending hot summer days reading, between dips in the pool. I later found a love for writing.

I'm the author of three novels, Under the Same Moon, Basket Baby, and Counting Coup.  

Donley Publishing is a boutique firm, focused on telling the stories of Arizonans. Inquiries:

Under the Same Moon


Abena Udate was selling mangos on a humid market day in her Mozambican village when she caught the eye of a wandering foreigner. Kidnapped and brought to live in suburban America, the African teenager struggles with the glaring cultural and social differences of her new life. Abena is expected to play along with her kidnapper's story -- she's just another hungry child plucked from a desolate country and saved by foreign adoption -- or else. As her younger brother Kupela searches for clues to explain her disappearance, Abena must decide whether to remain with a family she doesn't love for a life of luxury, or find a way home to those she loves in a world of despair.

Basket Baby


Reeling from the loss of their first baby, Macy Duncan and her husband Ben flee their grief and enter an unknown world as Ben accepts a job offer that takes them to the far reaches of Southern Bolivia.

While Ben's work takes him into the dangerous politics of coca farmers and indigenous rights, Macy sinks deeper and deeper into a bottomless depression, one that threatens to never lose its hold. Seeking to run away from it all, Macy trips over a mysterious basket left on her doorstep. A basket that begins to cry . 

In Basket Baby, a tale of loss, grief, and the overcoming power of love, Macy and Ben must embark on a journey to find the mother of this abandoned baby and, maybe, find the path back to each other along the way.


Latest novel: Counting Coup

Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie—and her failing memory—into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing.
Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of.
Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember, and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities, and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for.

Reviewed on Horizon

Reviewed on the PBS program, "Horizon," Donley discusses her latest novel, Counting Coup.

Book club information:

Counting Coup is available to book clubs, including a readers' guide, via the Mesa Public Library system. 

If you have a book club and would like Donley to speak, or if you'd like a copy of the reader's guide, email:


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