For the past three decades, she has resided on the Colville Confederated Reservation near Colville, WA with her husband who is a tribal member. She was born in Colville but grew up in the Spokane Valley camping and horse riding. Family attitudes and beliefs are reflected in her work. As a writer, she draws from her personal experiences - horse racing, competitions, what she knows about horses, history told to her by tribal leaders, and from her mentor and Salish language teacher, the late Marguerite Ensminger.
A few years ago, she retired from her job with the school system to write fulltime. Since she had worked with youths for years, she decided to write about common issues youth entail in their daily lives. Historical fiction was her choice because she wanted to include elements of tradition and culture practiced in the past that continue into the present among the Salish people. Her settings are from her photos taken of animals and nature on the Colville Reservation. With a writing schedule of three hours a day usually in the fall and winter when there is three feet of snow and she can't ride, it takes her a few months to write the first draft of a book and few weeks to edit. Although she takes notes, she considers herself a pancer claiming she knows her characters and main events but her imagination and creativity do the heavy lifting. When not writing, she rides horses with her grandchildren.
She hopes readers will take from her books the knowledge of the Colville Reservation, its culture and traditions, the love of Native people, and themes like forgiveness and hope.
After fighting with her sister, Spupaleena bolted from their Sinyekst lodge into the dead of winter. She didn't know where she was going but knew she could no longer live at home. Haunted by the deaths of her mother and baby brother, she ran until she'd run too far.
Upon discovering Spupaleena's body, Phillip Gardner, a trapper, brings her home to his cabin. His wife, Elizabeth, does her best to help heal Spupaleena, although with a broken heart and a mangled body, she is not likely to survive. But when Phillip doesn't return from a trip into Hudson Bay's Fort Colville, a pregnant Elizabeth and a weak Spupaleena are forced to find strength in each other. In this story of hardship, grief, and eventual hope, Spupaleena learns all she needed was a change of heart.
Bunker started a small fire. "You're welcome." He sat cross-legged on his wool blanket, adding kindling a stick at a time.
Spupaleena tipped her head. "You know what I said?" She made her way to the corrals and leaned against them. The fire popped, its heat warming her legs.
He nodded. "Don't know many words, but I've picked up one or two at the Falls."
"Why did you not tell me?"
"You were too busy whoppin' me with that stick of yours." He nodded to her walking stick and grinned.
Spupaleena fiddled with her skirt, wishing she was dressed in her buckskin. "Do you trade there?"
Bunker nodded. "Pelts for guns. Ammunition. Beads. Knives. Whatever I can get my hands on." He rubbed his palms over the flames.
"My mistum and I fish and trap there. We sell the pelts at the Falls. I do not recall seeing you there."
"There are a lot of folks in those parts. How could ya?" he said. "How'd you end up here?" His gaze traveled to her broken leg. "What happened?"
She shrugged. "I do not remember everything...but Phillip told me he was trapping on the other side of the river. A place he calls Twisted Pine Canyon."
Bunker nodded. I know the place."
How did he know? Had he followed them? Was he the footsteps she'd heard before Phillip found her? Why was he really here? Had her father sent him? Was he spying? She stiffened. Had he killed Phillip and Hal? And was now after them? But why?
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