In very easy and novel ways, these stories give youth and adults a window into using imagination to explore their own perceived dilemmas instead of just escaping from them

Born out of the Author's acute need to cope with her own life, these truly simple stories can help change the reader's life - just as they do for the Author.



[By William D. Kuenning - Founder – Military Family Voices]
[What the author has produced and the enduring human value]
[Through the eyes of her creation]
[- of the developed body of work to date.]
Books I, II, III & IV [“A Coping Hand For Life” – Overview]
VI: BOOK I – Spirit of the Crystal - SUBJECT TREATMENT
Making a World Work -(Complete conceptual package with full storyboard illustrations)

The Healing of Tradition - (Complete conceptual package with full storyboard illustrations)
Exploring the Basics of the Sub-Stories
(Complete and advanced development text conceptualizations at varied edit levels)


[By William D. Kuenning - Founder – Military Family Voices

Donna approached me to see if her extensive body of work, “Zontoria”, could in some way benefit our charity, Military Family Voices®. We were touched by the gesture, and even though I have been aware of her work and projects for years, I was intrigued by the depth, unique value, completion and extent of her Zontoria project.
Our charity, Military Family Voices®, MFV (http://www.militaryfamilyvoices.us), (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military Family Voices), records, in studio audio quality, to preserve the voices of our current and former United States Armed Forces and their Families; so, they might use those recordings of their Loved Ones to mitigate and to preempt the extreme personal and familial stresses caused by the effects of the brutal separations and relentless harms’ way of their Military lives.
Because we do this sensitive, humanistic and enduring work in honor of those who protect our ways of life, we are very careful about which groups and products that might seek to sponsor MFV recordings. Our sponsors should represent family values that reinforce personal bonds, integrity and empathy, and they should not be corporations or individuals whose products, images and/or actions put additional stresses upon our society or the world.
Zontoria is a collection of completed and developing integrated works that together exemplify reinforcing personal and familial: bonds, coping and individual respect - all of which our charity stands for and has built over the years. In fact and ironically so, Zontoria was conceived and developed out of the Author’s deep need and drive to find a way to reduce her own intense stresses and to work through many of the universal and personal dilemmas she faced, and still faces, along her entire life path.
I find the works of Zontoria, uniquely human, simple and charming to absorb, and amazingly relevant to life’s maze. These extensive works are certainly potentially helpful to any child or adult who struggles with life’s questions and with their inescapable journey of trying to figure the answers out to anything they face.
With Zontoria, very much like with Military Family Voices’ recordings, the child or adult who participates does so with fun, curiosity and ease, never realizing just how helpful these exciting experiences are, and will continue to be, throughout their entire lives.
I believe that the integrated works/world of Zontoria is unique and groundbreaking in its potential and lasting effect on individuals’ lives. Because it grew honestly out of the struggling needs of the Author to craft a way to deal with her own life’s struggles -instead of simply escaping from their pressures, Zontoria should rightfully end up as that all too rare set of simple literary treasures that gets passed down through generations.
Therefore, Military Family Voices® would be proud to be associated with this body of work and its creative, insightful, and compassionate Author, who is clearly driven to help others with her work –just as developing her stories helped her in her past, and continues to help her now, cope in life.


[What the author has produced and the resulting enduring human value]



Addressing high impact subjects of concern that are usually avoided, most individuals are resigned to struggle their entire lives to find ways to cope with her challenges and to find personal answers to get them through. Sensitive and taboo subjects are rarely, if ever, bridged, and answers are guessed through peer interaction and pressures. Stress and personal questions of belonging cause deep scars and low self-confidence. Just talking about personal worries or concerns is intimidating for both adults and youth.
To find a way to talk about personal issues and questions in a language kids and adults can both understand and discuss, as subject matter through everyday conversation and everyday life, is an age-old dilemma and challenge, which has resulted in endless books and stories missing the salient points that the child or adult must articulate their feelings and not simply be told what the adult perceives as their problem and its solution.
As she was growing up, the Author felt the problems of confusion and frustration, with no real place for answers that were directly relevant to her problems. She never had a place to state, or attempt to state, her feelings and worries; so, she could find her voice and answers.
Finally, out of sheer frustration for dealing with her hopes, dreams, traumas, questions, confusions and doubts, she took her heartaches and traumas and turned them inside-out to expose and dissect them into little pieces of understanding through her writing. She let the characters in the stories she explored speak for her and state what she needed to say. It was cathartic. Her approach was so powerful, she gained confidence, found self-esteem, and was driven to move beyond her personal tribulations, blocks and boundaries to complete more of these exploration stories of family and of life. She wrote these stories for herself, and they got her through life.
Eventually she realized that finding a voice like this was important for everyone and that her stories could help others, who read them as well.
Through these works, grown from her own life and voice, she is touching the core of the value of being human and dealing with being human – self-coping. People have always escaped the tribulations and traumas of their lives and tried to cope with them by using their imaginations. This Author’s body of work takes that coping uniquely further. These works are not an escape from reality but rather an absorbing way to find a voice to explore the solutions for getting through ones’ own reality.
Along her life journey, the author/illustrator, Donna J. Setterlund, has created and compiled a literary collection featuring the world of “Zontoria”, based on her life experiences and those of individuals around her. This large body of integrated work includes: fully illustrated manuscripts, sub-story books, early readers, and a continuing series of ancillary subjects and works, as they relate to the Author’s drive to cope in this world for herself and now, as shared, for others.


[Through the eyes of her creation]

Introduction: the Author’s works were generated out of deeply felt sincere needs and stresses for coping with her life tragedies, conflicts and the resulting emotions she endures. She works through life’s issues vicariously through her characters, their worlds, dilemmas and the solutions they explore, articulate and live. Consequently, it is appropriate to have her very first character, Jeannie, describe the Author’s journey in developing this body of work:
We all have dreams and make wishes. We want a life where we can have some fun, find peace, relative calmness, contentment and ultimately continuing moments of happiness. But, when troubles take over, frustrations and stresses start squeezing the life out of us we want to scream, cry, or just find some place to hide. People all over the world are pretty much the same when it comes to happiness, sadness and stress. It was no different for Donna but she refused to let adversity get the best of her and was determined to find a way to make life better. It took a lot of work but that’s what she did, and then something great started to happen. Then she realized that what she was doing to help herself could really help others, too, and people wanted to share what she was doing with their families and friends. If you would like, I will tell you all about it.
Hi, my name is Jeannie. I am here to tell you a little bit of Donna’s story. Just in case you don’t know, I was the first character she created. Donna’s idol was Walt Disney, and even as a child, she was drawn to his ways of coping with life’s craziness and his inner conflicts. He had a mouse to talk with. Donna has me; so, I guess that makes it okay for me to try to explain things, because Donna has trouble talking about herself.
Donna’s life was really colorful and complicated growing up and she had a lot happen that was both good and bad. Her Dad was an artist and a writer. He inspired her to be creative. He taught her how to keep her life full of curiosity and interest. He told her to dream and, no matter what happened, to go after those dreams. He pushed her and inspired her but he died, when she was only eleven. Not having him anymore to talk with left a great big hole in her heart. Her mother was both practical and artistic and taught her to think, create and to make things. Her mother told her that if she was going to do something, do it right and don’t waste anyone’s time. Being a teenager was hard for Donna because she had so much responsibility, and things happened that she doesn’t like to talk about. She says she got a lot of experience; so, she relates to and understands many things that are the sources of other’s struggles.
Her family moved a lot, and Donna only had short-term friends and was always having to make new ones. She was alone most of the time and learned to watch and listen. Anyway, Donna made it through her teens, got married, found the joy of being a mother, and gathered a whole bunch of new problems along the way. Being married didn’t turn out to be that “happily ever-after thing” she had dreamed of. Therefore, after a lot of years of trying to make a bad marriage work, she gave up and started over as a single mother. Several years later, and with more of that stressful life experience to add to her lessons, she remarried, became part of another story, and of a whole bunch of new adventures and challenges. That is all to simply say that she was and is just human.
We all have days when we feel we can’t survive, when our dreams are shattered, and stress turns to hard frustration, doubt and defeat. Donna was going through a real rough patch. It wasn’t just the stuff in her own life that made her sad; it was all the things happening around her. She had just gone through a hard six months recovering from a really bad illness, and then her new husband became disabled and couldn’t work. Donna had two daughters, two stepchildren, and foster kids to worry about. She couldn’t let the family down because they all depended on her. She wanted to keep the family together, but what could she do, and where should she start?
It’s funny about life, when things get really hard; you think there is nothing else that could possibly go wrong. Well, good old “Fate” can always come up with a surprise, and she had a big one in store. A series of earthquakes shook their community, causing major damage, and Donna’s family lost their home, and most of their personal possessions. She was even separated from her kids because they all had to go live with family and friends in another town. I think losing her kids is what really broke Donna’s heart. Despair and sadness can be overwhelming sometimes, and when life just keeps demanding more and more from an individual, something has to happen, something has to give way. Everyone deals with this kind of pressure differently, some cry, scream, lash out at the world, or shut down completely. Donna’s life was really messed up but she wasn’t going to give up and desperately searched for a way to get her head on straight, and make things better.
Donna didn’t know what to do: no home, no job, no family, no hope, only worry and despair. Those were very dark times for her. Then one day, while cleaning up their demolished home, she found a box of acrylic paints; so, as therapy, she started painting. All the things she loved as a child started to appear on canvas. I was in her first painting, and it made her feel better. In fact, it felt great, and she painted some more. As she painted, she thought about her childhood and about all of the choices she had made to get to this place in time. She wished she could go back and start over, and the thought that she would never be able to change the past drove her down. In reality, she had a family depending upon her; so, moving forward was the only option. She simply dove into her painting. Her painting’s caused people to ask her questions about the subjects and circumstances that inspired her visions and these creations. She felt better when she was painting, and the final results and others’ reactions to them made her think how she could express her feelings further.
She loved to write poetry and short stories; so, why not create a story about the characters in her paintings? But what kind of story should she write? She was advised to write about what she knew best but what she knew best was her own life, and all the things that had happened to her were the source of her depression and confusion. She needed help and not to revisit feeling bad. She thought that writing about all the stuff that had happened and was going on in her life would be depressing. But maybe, if she created a story about the things in her life that made her happy it would be a fun thing to do. So she started writing.
Not being an experienced writer, Donna had a lot to learn and needed help. They lived in a little tourist town in Northern California, and that is where fate stepped in one more time with an incounter that would change life forever. A Gift Shop owner loved Donna's art and told her the characters would be great as an animated movie. Then she gave her a book with Hollywood's Production Companies listed in it. Donna went through the little book and one company caught her eye. She thought what harm would it do to call the number listed, so she did.
"Hello, may I help you." A sweet voice asked. After a short conversation, exchange of questions and information, the lady said. "This is my son's company and I don't usually answer the phone, but today I felt Like I just needed to. I am so glad I did. It was very nice talking with you. I will have my son call you."
This author, Donna Setterlund, was a thirty-eight year old woman searching for the magic to make sense of her tumultuous complicated life. Inspiration came in the form of an amazing woman named Margaret, who was Tinker Bell's studio reference model for the Disney film Peter Pan. Tinker Bell took Donna by the hand and sprinkled her with pixie dust, encouraged her to look for the things she didn’t know she needed, and shared her serendipitous personality. This fortuitous magic ignited the curiosity that started everything and led to a lifetime of writing and illustrating.
After a trip to Hollywood, and with a To-Do list from her new Hollywood team, Donna went to work rewriting her story, adding background scenery, and making a three minute video presentation. Tinker Bell's magic pixie dust gave her a spark of energy and inspired a confidence she hadn't felt in years. It was an amazing time thinking about how to make her project more marketable and appealing to Entertainment Industry professionals as Donna went through many stages of concept development.
Donna basically changed her perspective for the way she did almost everything. She figured that maybe she could ask the questions or “re-live” the issues of her life in such a way that she could get answers for once, and that would make all the bad things and sadness have happy endings. She started asking me a bunch of questions but I didn’t know how to answer them until she figured out what I could ask and say. Kind of funny, huh?
Then she thought what fun it would be to have someone else live all the problems for us, making it so we don’t have to. Then she found out that even in a made up world, there are real problems and challenges to overcome. She started talking with her children and their friends, asked questions and talked about all their problems and frustrations. The kids wanted answers for things that bothered them, too. It made Donna think about all those subjects of concern and how hard it is to talk about stuff that everybody struggles with in their lives. Being a parent and foster-parent made her want to do something. She wanted to write about the things that would make a difference to help her life and her kids’ lives, and maybe do it as a school project. So, she went to the High School but was told, “We can’t talk about all those things. We have to protect the kids from life until they graduate.” Well, that made her angry and frustrated because it didn’t make any sense. Protecting the kids from life by not talking about all the things that happen in life? That is what had happened in her life. That was just wrong!
So, Donna started writing about all those things with her own children, and foster-children. The more she wrote about all the things that happen in life, the more she understood why they happened and what she could have done differently. She started taking situations and problems from her life, and as she explored these, I felt bad that there was so much sadness, frustration and feelings of being lost. Yet, along the way, she figured out how to make the stories really simple and fun, while we all found helpful answers to all the problems. The writing helped her, helped me, helped her kids, and we all loved it, and all our problems got better. All that writing, research and thinking about life from different angles started to help Donna feel better. Little by little, she started to change, and all the things around her became better. Her creations simply made her feel good.
Now, she writes every day, and I don’t think she will ever stop. Some people call her obsessed but she really does it because, for her, it makes magic happen. The magic is really just finding a way to help us all understand the things that happen in our lives and to find ways to deal with all that pressure and self-confusion.

I think the hardest part of life is the feeling of being alone, as we search to find our own answers. The idea that no one really understands what we are going through makes things harder. Each of us should be able to find someone to talk with but most of us are afraid or just don't know where to look. The worst is when we never have anyone to talk to. I became Donna’s voice, and a communication tool, to help her speak to herself, to ask questions, and to find her own questions and answers, which in the end are many people’s questions and answers. It just happened that when other people read these simple stories, they ran into “themselves” there and accidentally gained a little hope and insight for their own lives. Donna really liked that the stories might help others to find themselves through these simple worlds, and she decided to share these worlds with others.

Zontoria and all of the stories, may have started with Donna and me but in the years that followed, the worlds, like the problems they explore, continued to grow and are now a pretty big collection. The stories we are in are very simple; and yet, they have a huge effect on us all.

Discover Zontoria and step through a portal into a world where Tinker Bell continues to watch over Donna spreading pixie dust to help engage her audience with a bit of serendipity, inspiration, and everyday magic. Donna’s books are an amazing adventure with life, where parents and grandparents appreciate the high moral value, practical life lessons, common sense, and magical realism.
Pretty cool, huh?
Sincerely, Jeannie


[The developed body of work to date.]


Zontoria - "A Coping Hand For Life"
[G-Rated, Families with Children -to be enjoyed by all ages]

[These creative works represent the integrated parts of the Zontoria collection and their evolutionary development.]


I. Fully Illustrated Manuscripts

These are fully illustrated manuscripts, forming the continuing series of worlds/books of Zontoria. Each of these simple and singular worlds hosts an array of special characters, who interact with life's questions and challenges in their unique ways and inspire in turn the next worlds/books - not as sequels but rather as the next logical steps/ series in the World of Zontoria. This is the journey of anyone learning to self-cope with the dynamic changes and complexities of their life's personal pressures and choices.

PLEASE NOTE: These are complete storyboard conceptualizations of the manuscripts at their advanced edit levels.

ZONTORIA Book I. “Spirit of the Crystal” - Northland: Friends & Fantasy
Making a World Work -(Complete conceptual package with full storyboard illustrations)
ZONTORIA Book II. “Star Riders” - Eastland: Technology & Time Travel
The Healing of Tradition -
(Complete conceptual package with full storyboard illustrations)
ZONTORIA Book III. “Water’s Breath” – Westland: Ecology & Mystery
(Advanced Development - Fully Written - Second Edit - Base Illustrations)
ZONTORIA Book IV. “Destiny’s Eye” - Southland: Big City & Life Planning
(Developing storyline logically out of book three)


II. Sub-Story Books (Evolved from Fully Illustrated Manuscripts)

Each world/book in the Zontoria Collection spawns a logical progression, and continual series of short stories – Sub-Story Books, dealing with the endless every-day issues of the lives explored in the Zontoria Books Manuscripts. In the Zontoria Books, the characters/the readers explore various worlds, and in the Sub-Story Books, they explore the ever-growing array of specific pressures in those lives/those worlds. Therefore, the reader, immersed in the Worlds of Zontoria, observes these challenging personal issues, questions and perspectives explored with and by familiar and trusted characters.

PLEASE NOTE: These are complete storyboard conceptualizations of the 48 page short-stories at their varied edit levels.

A. Sub-Story Books (Evolved from the “Spirit of the Crystal”)
A1. “Walter & the Princess” Dragon & Princess: Friendship
(Complete Conceptual Package with Full Storyboard Illustrations)
A2. “Gus Learns a Lesson” Pegasus Twins: Stranger Danger
(Complete Conceptual Package with Full Storyboard Illustrations)

PLEASE NOTE: These are text conceptualizations of the 24 page short-stories at their varied edit levels.

A3. “Hot Time In Fairytown” - Fat Fairies: Fire
(Fully Written)
A4. “No Place Like Home” - Green Valley Dragons: Homeless
(Fully Written)
A5. “The Magic Touch” - Sasha & Shandi: Child Abuse
(Developing Storyline)
A6. “A Fairy’s Power Goes Poof” - Faleen: Drug Abuse
(Developing Storyline)
A7. “The Best I Can” - Dori: Single Mother
(Developing Storyline)
A8. “Does Anyone Care?” - Shateen: Loneliness Frustration
(Developing Storyline)
A9. “Why Am I Different?” - Baby Bubba: Adoption
(Developing Storyline)
A10. “Bad For Your Throat” - Green Dragons: Smoking
(Developing Storyline)
A11. “Don’t Drink & Fly” - Green Dragons: Alcohol Abuse
(Developing Storyline)
A12. “My Cold Ivory Tower” - Princess: Depression
(Advanced Development)
A13. “It’s Bad to be Bad” - Elves: Being a Bully
(Developing Storyline)

PLEASE NOTE: These are text conceptualizations of the 24 page short-stories at their varied edit levels.

B. Sub-Story Books (Evolved from “Star Riders”)
B1. “Are You Listening?” - Village Boy Chesley: Death - Frustration
(Fully Written)
B2. “I’m Still Young” – Elderly Woman Ms Renco: Aging
(Developing Storyline)
B3. “Hit Me Back” – Teen Boy Edmond: Run-away - Texting
(Developing Storyline)

PLEASE NOTE: These are text conceptualizations of the 24 Page short-stories at their varied edit levels.

C. Sub-Story Books (Evolved from “Water's Breath”)
C1. “It Isn’t Fair” – Teen Girl Alina: Hardship / Death
(Developing Storyline)
C2. “My Crazy Life” – Mountain Boy Nate: Mental Illness
(Developing Storyline)


III. Early Readers (Evolved from the “Spirit of the Crystal”)

“Early Readers” are the Author coming full circle; so, the characters of the journeys and triumphs in the Zontoria Collection engage and inspire the youngest readers –thus actually familiarizing them with the Worlds of Zontoria.
PLEASE NOTE: These are complete storyboard conceptualizations of the 24 page early reader stories at their advanced edit levels.
E1. “One to Ten, Say It Again” Subject : Counting
(Complete, Fully Illustrated)
E2. “Ten to One, Counting is Fun” Subject: Counting
(Complete, Fully Illustrated)
E3. “Sasha’s Alphabet Garden” Subject: Learning Letters
(Complete, Fully Illustrated)
E4. “Bubba Tells Time” Subject: Learning to Tell Time
(Complete, Fully Illustrated)


IV. Other Productions: (Evolved from the “Spirit of the Crystal”)

Much like the "Early Readers", these interactive opportunities evolve to allow, to indeed encourage, youth to naturally engage with the worlds and inhabitants of Zontoria in a unique and non-threatening manner.

PLEASE NOTE: These are conceptualizations of other products at their various development levels.

O1. “Numbers Game” Interactive
(Complete, Fully Illustrated)
O2. Character Cards Printed
(Characters - Educational Quotes - Illustrated)
O3. Art & Prints
(Characters -Acrylic Paintings - Printed Posters)


Books I, II, III & IV



In our worlds of the increasing complexity of sameness, Zontoria is that refreshing, simple world of fantasy that never disappoints those with an insatiable appetite for learning to cope with life without wanting to dwell on the added frustrations of just trying to figure out how to find those solutions. In short, Zontoria in its stories is different for everyone but positive for everyone. This is a world, which is deceptively simple and clean but truly singular and remarkable in its self-explorations and coping experiences.
Zontoria exists to fill a need in youth (of all ages). That universal need is to offer a true, enduring alternative to the fantasy trends of today –merely seeking to escape one’s problems, and to move toward, and thrive in, the light of the opposite, to absorb into a simple fantasy that actually explores self problems and solutions without broadcasting those as the mission.
In Zontoria, one loses themselves in a kind, simplistic alternative universe, where magic is not deception but rather is presented in its most constructive and addictive form -where the inexplicable and transforming have deep affects on us all -when something seemingly impossible of our inner self struggle is teased to the surface, illustrated and usefully explored. All this interaction reinforces the hope of a better self and a way of thinking to work toward that better self.
When a fantasy world is generated from universal needs to cope with life, for all ages, there is something for everyone to explore and feel and to positively adapt to their own lives, all along thinking they are reading a simple little story in a simple little universe. That is the World of Zontoria.

To cope with life there must be understanding and help. To self-cope with life there must be justified self-confidence, built upon experience and a questioning mind. Zontoria offers such from a simple but compassionate world.

Book I, “Spirit of the Crystal” by Donna J. Setterlund
Making a World Work - (Complete & Fully Illustrated)
[Spirit of the Crystal is the first in a series of adventures, which all take place in the Land of Zontoria.] Jeannie, a teen dealing with the adolescent pressures for eventually becoming an independent adult, creates a fantasy world, at first for escape, but later to learn that even in a make-believe world, there are life adversities, challenges and personal tests.


Book II, “Star Riders” by Donna J. Setterlund
The Healing of Tradition - (Complete & Fully Illustrated)

[Star Riders is the second in a series of adventures in Zontoria.] Chesley, a young man dealing with the questions and frustration of being adopted, had uncertainties and felt disconnected from people, and yet, he found comfort and solace in nature. He was confused and uncertain about his future until he was forced from his home in the middle of the night, by one who knew his story. He was taken to a strange and frightening place, and out of that trauma, he began to learn where he came from and eventually why. Finding courage to overcome his fears and confusion, he became a leader and helped resolve the threat that faced mankind.


Book III, “Water’s Breath” by Donna J. Setterlund
(In Development)

[Water’s Breath is the third in a series of adventures in Zontoria.] Shandi, a girl becoming a woman has much to learn about herself, as she explores new experiences and becomes immersed in the age of independence. Being a child of divorce, an annual visit with her father reveals hidden family secrets and awakens new concerns. Facing an environmental crisis, combined with emotional uncertainties, challenges her inner strength and values. The mind and childhood fantasies can play tricks on the truth, distorting what is real and what is imagined.

Book IV, “Destiny’s Eye” by Donna J. Setterlund
(Research & Development)

[Destiny’s Eye is the fourth in a series of adventures in Zontoria.] Sometimes our journey down life’s path leads us to strange unfamiliar places; yet, we continue to explore possibilities knowing Destiny is watching over us. Pursuing our goals and dreams often draws in family and friends, whether or not they wish to be included. Conflicts and uncertainties may intrude on our plans, or change our course completely; however, we continue to move forward as we learn, and discover new possibilities.
In pursuit of her dream, Jeannie asks for help from a close friend, who does not understand the need and responds with rejection and indifference. Destiny’s Eye sees all and watches us as we experience fear, or explore our deepest wish fantasies. This journey of hope takes us into places only imagined, and back again to the reality of truth. We are often confronted by our own challenges, not realizing how our choices and actions may alter the life course or destiny for others.


VI: BOOK I – Spirit of the Crystal - SUBJECT TREATMENT
Making a World Work -
(Complete conceptual package with full storyboard illustrations)

Why This Matters to Us All:
Youth, struggling through adolescence, is a universal challenge for families, parents, and anyone close enough to become part of the story. Most experience the same series of problems. Few get through the issues without permanent injury to their psyche. With additional stress factors like divorce or having a new stepparent thrown into the mix, many young people become disillusioned, distressed, distant and dysfunctional. Most become difficult to communicate with and find themselves at odds with everything their family does – making these times extraordinarily difficult for these young people and for those around them. These youth need help and traditionally become further alienated: the longer the answers and questions remain unclear. In their worlds, they have few options to address and to relate to which will help reduce their anguish.
Through The Story:
In a novel way this first story deals with the dilemma of acute youth frustration and the attempt to solve their problems through imagined worlds, emerging stronger and with a greater potential to resist the inner demise of joy and innocence – a story born from the depths of that crushing and demoralizing frustration of being young.
This Story:
Features a young woman frustrated with almost everything about her oppressive, boring life in her small town. Feeling alone, left out, and mistreated, she wishes for a place where she can do anything she wants -without parental rules. Questioning life, confused and wondering, she finds herself in an amazing land, only to discover that even in a world of her own making, there are still questions, challenges, and life changing choices. She is faced with pressures, like anyone not just trying to escape from their life’s pressures but rather attempting to cope with those fears, heartaches and challenges.
In this world, her search for answers leads her into unique communities, where new friends share their stories of emotional hardship, conquest, and things that are considered unusual even in this strange land.
Each encounter gives her useful information, and offers a new perspective for coping with life and for relying on one’s self to get through. Having much to learn, she cannot go home until finishing her adventure of personal growth and discovery. It was important for her to learn that there are consequences for everything we do, and some choices cannot be undone.
As she explores this unique land, with her new friends, she helps resolve problems, finds answers to questions, discovers personal strengths, and takes home a different outlook on her own life, which makes her a better and more resilient person.
Having expected simply an escape from her unfortunate life reality, she ultimately discovers her inner strength for uncovering personal questions and then working to answer them, as she navigates through her real life.


The Healing of Tradition - (Complete conceptual package with full storyboard illustrations)

Why This Matters To Us All:
Life often puts us in situations without giving us any explanation. Growing up, even with a loving parent, is hard enough without continually wondering if we have any family history or what our connections are. Constant questions can frustrate daily survival and become a distraction from productivity. We are not given directions or maps for growing up and often do not have a clue how to proceed. Beginning to learn about one’s past can be enlightening and scary, and that exploration, intentional or not, can constantly shift worries and hopes to make us think differently and never settle in on a single path of thought of direction for self-worth.
Young people becoming independent individuals make mistakes, and in the worry and disorientation there isn’t even time to learn from those mistakes. The personal growth and success of our youth will continue to interact with the lives of everyone around them -influencing the happiness or stress of others. It is imperative to not give up on our youth and to help them survive and grow through the most difficult times, offering the tools needed to untangle the things that are blocking and binding their lives and to help them see some glimmer of light at the end of their clearly oppressive tunnel.
Through The Story:
The question, what would I say to my younger self, is taken even further by turning it around and exploring what would my younger self ask me, and how will my choices make a difference?
This Story:
Features a young man who always felt different from others in the village where he was raised because he was the only one who did not know anything about his past, and had no one to ask. He felt disconnected from people but found comfort and solace in nature. He was confused and uncertain, until he was forced from his home in the middle of the night, by one who knew his story. Taken to a strange and frightening place, and traumatized, he began to learn where he came from and eventually why.
Touching the mystery and intrigue of time travel, the young man was transported to the place and time in his past to the very moment his personal life questions started, something we all have wished for. His heritage had been hidden to protect him and his family, but now, only the boy who had become a man, could connect the pieces of the past with the present to overcome the task set before them. He experienced a deep moment of understanding when he realized he was watching himself as a child, witnessing his own story, while at the same time his younger self was watching him. Growing up was extraordinarily frustrating for him but having the opportunity to meet his ancestors, his family and his younger self, made it apparent to him that life choices directly affect everyone around us and change the course of the future.
Everything begins with nature; a healthy environment is the defining factor in all human life. This story promotes environmental awareness with the intention of motivating young people to realize their potential in solving real-world problems -and so it was for this young man. Sometimes what we learn in life only makes sense when we have enough pieces of information to start connecting the dots. Finding the confidence needed to move forward in a productive manner sometimes only takes one individual who cares. The young man who was taken from his family at such a young age had struggled with questions about his life and was given the opportunity to learn his own story because he was needed. He found the courage to overcome his fear and confusion, to become a leader. He discovered he was a child of the old ways, taken to the North to learn the teachings from many tribes, to find an understanding and to have compassion for all things. This story offers our young people methods for understanding themselves and respect for the environment, helping us all.


Exploring the Basics of the Sub-Storiess
(Complete and advanced development text conceptualizations at varied edit levels)

Each world/book in the Zontoria Collection spawns a logical progression, and continual series of short stories – Sub-Story Books, dealing with the endless every-day issues of the lives explored in the Zontoria Books Manuscripts. In the Zontoria Books, the characters/the readers explore various worlds, and in the Sub-Story Books, they explore the ever-growing array of specific pressures in those lives/those worlds. Therefore, the reader, immersed in the Worlds of Zontoria, observes these challenging personal issues, questions and perspectives explored with and by familiar and trusted characters.
Why This Matters To Us All:
Addressing the issues of everyday life, personal challenge and family adversity can sometimes be overwhelming and frustrating. We often face each new crisis with apprehension and panic. Learning to cope with the constant challenges of life and finding resolve is sometimes as simple as taking a deep breath and stepping back to look at the situation. Other times we must learn how to apply logic and work through each step one by one. We cannot plan for adversities, but we can learn some basic methods for coping with life.
Through The Sub-Stories:
Explore emotions of individuals and families, as we go back into the personal lives and situations of those who live in communities of a world very similar to our own.
In These Stories:
We look at subject matter from everyday life, which is often very difficult to talk about. Many think stories for children should be fun and light hearted, avoiding reference to any deep emotion, personal frustration or content that could upset a young mind. In these short stories however, life is discussed and some of its most difficult subjects are addressed by fun, lighthearted characters, who talk in ways that offer easy acceptance of information, emotional explorations and communications.
We cannot hide our children from life. This is an age of technology, and our children live in a time of more frustration than we as parents could ever imagine. We are the guardians of our children’s future, and our collected knowledge should be used to teach and prepare our young people for whatever life presents to them –horrors to happiness. If we cannot talk about life, death, pain and frustration, and all those taboo subjects that happen in real life, then how are our children going to become successful adults?

In the author's life, Zontoria became a world of possibilities because of life's adversities. It was a tool for the author to go back into her childhood and to talk about all those things she was protected from - those very things that created more frustration and questions in her adult life. These stories talk about those things.

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Copyright 2018 - Donna J. Setterlund