What's Up with Donna?

New Book on the History of Venice, CA!

Venice, California is unlike anywhere else in the world. Historian Donna Lewis Friess, Ph.D., grew up on the ocean front in Venice in the midst of California’s 1940’s oil boom. Her next door neighbor, a working oil pump-house complete with derrick, was a constant in her life. Determined to bring a lost piece of Los Angeles history to life, and sequestered by the 2020 Worldwide Pandemic and following lock-down, Donna offers this vibrant story of a remarkably idiosyncratic place in America. While honoring the Indigenous People who once lived on its shores, this history begins with her great grandparents’ late 1880’s arrival in Venice Beach, travels through Abbot Kinney’s magical Venice-of-America years, continues across time to its evolution as an artists’ Mecca, and concludes with the newer Venice ethos as Silicon Beach.

What People Are Saying:

Your book looks fabulous! I was able to preview it on Amazon and can’t wait to read it.
My name is India Dupre and I am a board member of the Venice Historical Society.
I have reached out to our president, Jill, to see if I can post about it on our facebook page and will let you know.Thank you for an incredible contribution to Venice’s history!

Inspirational Articles

If you haven't seen Donna's regular emailings, you can check out her blog posts here on her website under "Inspirational Articles."  Here's a sneak peek at her latest blog:


Simmering Below the Surface

Recently, I experienced some emotional triggers which have given me pause. Yesterday, for example: dressed in my mission docent costume, mentally prepared to deliver a bang-up history tour, I parked my car in downtown San Juan Capistrano. I glanced up to see three big flags in front of the new hotel next to the mission, all flying at half mast. Suddenly the painful reminder of the two recent mass killings filled my soul. It felt like a knife in my heart. I took a few deep breaths to get hold of myself. That grim [Read More]

Donna Featured on Good Day Orange County

Choosing to Help and Be Happy!

Donna has started up a new network for writers!

Capistrano Trails Hardbound Edition is now available!

Click here for Amazon.com or 

Click here for Barnes & Noble


In the News!

The Capistrano Dispatch

San Juan Capistrano Patch

Shea Center Newsletter




 Now available on Amazon.com in b&w softcover and Kindle editions!