When Donna was four years old she wrote a “story” in “cursive” and gave it to her mother to read out loud. Her mother tucked the pages into a desk drawer, telling Donna that she should read the amazing story she had created in a few years—after she had learned how to read and write.
Now—able to read and write—Donna continues to create amazing stories. As an Ultrasound Technologist, she draws on the excitement and drama of working in the Emergency Department of a major city hospital to grip readers with her tales, taking them on a journey into an imaginative alternate world—one full of twists and turns and fast-paced action.
A Massachusetts native, Donna now splits her time between living in her home state and FL. She can often be found sweating in a Zumba class, playing in the Universal and Disney parks, or hanging around tiki huts as long as they’re on white sand beaches. Being under the impression she’s a treasure hunter, she sometimes scuba dives but usually chickens out and ends up snorkeling.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and later an associate degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from Community College of Rhode Island, where she graduated Phi Theta Kappa.
You can learn more about D. L. in the sections below.
The picture to the right was taken about a year or so before I suffered from my first debilitating anxiety attack. It happened on the morning my kindergarten class was going on a field trip to the elementary school. I felt light headed and nauseous, though I knew I wasn’t sick. I asked my mother if I could stay home because my stomach ached. She let me skip school but worried that I was deathly ill because, by staying home, I would miss out on the class field trip.
I realized much later in life that I suffered from an energy imbalance labeled in traditional medicine as Anxiety Disorder. I went through most days feeling as though I was jumping out of an airplane in tandem, it’s scary but okay. Then there were times when the imbalance would rear its ugly head, and everyday occurrences would feel as if the person holding me in the tandem jump would let go and I would plummet toward the ground. When the imbalance was active that falling feeling, that sheer terror, was how I felt every second of every day. For basically no reason.
Growing up, and even as an adult, I never told anyone about my feelings of terror. I went to great lengths to conceal it. I believed that if I told anyone, then I would be locked away in a psychiatric facility from which there would be no escape. All of these were fear-based thoughts generated from a fear-based brain.
I have since learned that there are two ways for someone with a fear-based brain to act. They either become homebound or they become counter-phobic. After upsetting my mother and missing what my classmates had deemed the “coolest field trip ever” I became counter-phobic. I was determined not to miss out on anything ever again. So from that point forward, I faced fear head on. If I was afraid of it, then I would do it times ten. Friend’s wedding in Europe? Okay, let’s stay for a month. Hiking up a mountain? Okay, let’s climb to the highest point and rappel down. Job that involved speaking in public? Sure, I can do that! I had no idea that I was acting in a counter-phobic manner.
When the imbalance was most active my fear-brain scanned every anticipated encounter to determine the degree to which it would aggravate my anxiety. Even a simple question like “Want to go to the movies?” would cause my mind to spin. Who was going to drive? (fear of being a passenger in a car.) Would we be going out to eat, too? (fear of eating in public) How far away was the theater? (fear of traveling away from home). Where would we sit in the theater? (needed to sit in an aisle seat to avoid feeling trapped).
It was exhausting. Like a filter constantly running on high. Every decision I made ran through my brain’s “fear filter.” Career opportunities, activities with friends, who I dated, where I lived. All of these were critically picked at by the fear filter.
To help ease my fears I would get lost in my writing. By doing so I could create fantasy worlds, places where I had control to make myself happy, have fun, and experience an inner calm. It was no coincidence that Disney World was my favorite childhood vacation. It offered complete immersion into an exciting, carefree, safe place. Talk about escapism. I also would get lost in other people’s worlds by reading books. I gravitated toward stories that were action-packed but I also wanted to learn something through the character’s experiences. As a child Nancy Drew was my favorite.
Finally the imbalance became so intrusive in my life, I gathered my courage and went to the doctors. I went from psychologist to psychologist, and they all kept harping on my childhood. They kept trying to coerce me into uncovering terrible memories about how my parents raised me, which was a problem because I had an awesome childhood. I grew up in a great neighborhood and had no problem with my parents or family. Traditional psychologists didn’t know what to do with me.
I even went to the psychiatric department at a world class hospital in Boston. The psychiatrist looked me up and down and said, “You don’t look sick.” He told me I was just a little stressed, which was normal, and sent me home. I knew I wasn’t a “little stressed” and that I wasn’t normal. I already thought that I had an unusual illness and this belief was validated by that visit. If a world class psychiatrist couldn’t diagnose what was wrong with me then I was the only one in the world with this bizarre disorder and therefore couldn’t be treated.
Eventually, I ended up practically having a nervous breakdown in a different psychiatrist’s office, who then put me on a medication that made me a thousand times worse. The medication gave me a bunch of brand new fears. I became afraid of rain, trees, nighttime, mountains, and the change of seasons. I could add more fears to this list, but you get the idea. That’s when I knew traditional medicine couldn’t help me.
After the mishap with the medication, my imbalance got so bad that I would’ve done anything to get better. That’s when I began looking into alternative healing modalities. From my numerous psychologist’s visits I knew what I was feeling hadn’t been caused by a trauma in this lifetime. So I opened my mind to other ideas—like past lives. After a lot of research, and trail-and-error, I discovered Energy Psychology.
Energy Psychology is a healing modality that works with energy signatures held within the organs in the body, including the brain, and promotes healing by correcting physical and behavioral imbalances. These energy signatures can be attached to current life traumas or illnesses, but can also extend back into past lives and in utero. Energy healing sessions are what cured me from my anxiety disorder.
It was during one of these sessions that I got the idea for my Anchoress series. I glimpsed a female warrior and became fascinated with her. I could tell she had been through a lot and I wanted to know her story. It was from this point that I created the Living World, developed the Anchoress series, and wrote “Shock of Fate,” my debut novel.
Vanessa Cross, the main character in my series, uses techniques I learned in my healing sessions to help her cope with anxiety while she’s on her journey to retrieve the Coin of Creation in book 1.
For more information on “Shock of Fate” click here.
For more information about Energy Psychology click here.
To contact my energy healer click here.
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My Favorite things
- My Cat Olive
- My mother’s grapevine painting
- My father having a drink in Havana, Cuba
- Sweet memories of my brother
As you can see in this picture, Olive likes to get involved with projects around the house. Here she is “helping” me write. She also “helps” me wrap presents. When I was a volunteer for the local animal shelter I specialized in cat rescues. Olive was my thirty-eighth rescue. Her great personality and sad story of abandonment at a year old landed her a place in my home.
My mother was a talented artist. This is one of her many wonderful paintings. When I was a little girl I would sneak downstairs to her art studio in the basement and watch her paint. One day I asked her why so many of her paintings were unsigned. She said, “Because I never feel like they are truly done.” Now, as a writer, I understand my mother’s answer. Artist’s eyes are always critical of their own work. We are constantly striving to tweak our projects to perfection before unveiling them to the world. This is probably why I have so much patience with the editing process!
I love this picture of my father. He was stationed in Cuba during the Korean War. He told me the bottle of rum he was drinking cost ten cents.
I treasure this photo of me and my brother. Look how happy we are in anticipation of Santa bringing us tons of presents. I have to hand it to my mother for keeping us still long enough to take this photo. This scene holds a special place in my heart because my brother died from cancer at the age of twenty-five.