Heart Trilogy Media Kit
Author: Carmen Peone
Genre: Young Adult/Historical
Books: Change of Heart, Heart of Courage, Heart of Passion
Change of Heart:
After fighting with her sister, thirteen-year-old Spupaleena bolted from their Arrow Lakes pit home into the dead of winter. Spupaleena 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, Spupaleena 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 town, a pregnant Elizabeth and a weak Spupaleena are forced to find strength not only in each other but in God as well. In this story of hardship, grief, and eventual hope, Spupaleena learns all she needed was a Change of Heart.
Heart of Courage:
Spupaleena was not about to back down. Knowing she encompassed the skills to race against young men, Spupaleena would begin her intense training. However, Rainbow, her trusted middle-aged mare, would only carry her so far. She would need to find a new horse, but where? She was tired of her fellow racer’s cruel insults, one boy’s in particular. She was determined to not only race him, but to win. She drew her strength from God and exhibited a Heart of Courage. But at times, wondered if that was enough. Spupaleena’s father was against her. Would she have the spirit to compete and win? If so, would her father ever learn to accept her dreams of training and racing horses?
Heart of Passion:
Spupaleena nodded walking briskly to her stallion. The fringe on her dress swung back and forth as if being shook by a badger. She said a quick prayer for everyone as she went. She looked up to see Hahoolawho standing in her path. God help me, she prayed.
Spupaleena will do nearly anything to make her dream of breeding the finest race horses in Indian Country come true. She and her relay teammates have been racing and winning, but one boy is resolved to see her fail. Spupaleena is passionate about her dreams and goals. Not any human nor circumstance will deter her–not poison, not injuries, and certainly not a pride-filled, vengeful boy. She leans into God for direction and wisdom, but will the hunger to triumph steal the reins? Will Spupaleena find her place in a man’s world and prove everyone wrong? Follow Spupaleena and her friends as they find out in this tale of drive, faith, perseverance, and ultimately, a Heart of Passion.
Change of Heart:
Her anguish drove her to keep moving forward in the pelting snow and wind. She would half run and half hop a few yards and fall. She told herself, Get up and press on. Spupaleena squinted through the blinding snow. Her face felt like tiny needles; she knew numbness would follow. She wished she would have thought to grab her snow shoes. Travel would have been much quicker. Her long legs sank down past her knees with each step slowing her pace.
Spupaleena stopped. She bent over with her arms across her stomach, gasping for air. The cold rushed into her lungs, burning with each breath. Dropping to her knees, she looked to the heavens and cried out to the Creator for answers. She sobbed and screamed. She released an exasperated sigh. Her body shook not of cold, but of raw emotion. She was too exhausted to go any further. Sitting back on her feet, she curled herself forward. Defeat taunted Spupaleena as she cupped her face in her hands and cried until she had nothing left.
A screen of white snowflakes surrounded her as she sat, staring into nothingness. She failed to notice the whirling wind swirling her long, thick hair around in the frigid air. Spupaleena could neither think nor feel. The snow piled on top of her elk robe. After some time, Spupaleena rose and began walking again. Her feet and legs wobbled, hardly able to carry her. She swayed like an old larch tree in the wind.
Heart of Courage:
“I bet him.” The boy pointed down at his gelding as the animal twirled about. The crowd caught their breath. Mumbling ricocheted down the rows of onlookers. Never before had a rider put up his horse for a wager. No one had ever been that foolish.
Spupaleena glanced over her shoulder, spotting her brother. His eyes seemed to spark as he energetically shook his head in disbelief. His smile communicated the idiotic notion of his sister’s competitor. He turned his back, clapping his hands in one single motion, trying his hardest to contain his exhilaration. He was elated at the prospect of a new horse.
Spupaleena stared at the boy square in the face. His glare sharpened. Finally, Spupaleena nodded. “Kewa, I accept your offer.” She tilted her head and raised her brows, astonished at his dim-wittedness.
“Get ready to crawl back home, foolish girl.” The boy sneered, then turned and went to line up.
Spupaleena laughed. She turned her mare and readied herself for the faint cry at the end of the mile-long stretch of grass that would start the race. The boy lined up his prancing horse next to hers. Even though Rainbow stood still, Spupaleena could feel the mare was on edge and ready to lurch forward at her rider’s command.
“I will see you at the finish line,” he barked.
Spupaleena ignored his snide remark. She refused to play in to his game. She focused on the race. She felt Rainbow tense in anticipation. Feeling her own tightness, she took in a deep breath, held it a second, then let it rush out through her mouth as she sank into the saddle, one hand loose on the rein and ready to be thrown forward, the other tightly clutching the whip. Then in moments came the shrilling cry.
Heart of Passion:
“Lthkickha, what’s going on?” Pekam softly laid a hand on her shoulder as he walked up and stood by his sister.
I saw him, again.”
“The foo––Hahoolawho. Something changed…he’s different. I don’t know…” Spupaleena’s gaze was fixed on the hillside.
“Spupaleena we have a race. Come on, let’s go and get ready.” Pekam took hold of her wrist and led her toward the horses.
She took a few steps still searching the trees for one last glimpse. Forgiveness couldn’t be that easy, could it? Focus. She turned and followed her brother. Kewa, focus. I have a race to run. She shook her lingering thoughts away as Dusty stopped and jerked her mind back to reality. She stumbled and Pekam caught her.
“What’s the matter with you?”
“Nothing,”––Spupaleena righted herself and pulled away from Pekam––“I just––just forgot I still had a grip on the lead rope.”
Pekam tossed her an impatient and disgusted look and walked off. “If you’re serious about today, you can come on your own; I shouldn’t have to hold your hand,” he said over his shoulder.
The corners of Spupaleena’s mouth tuned up at her brother’s brash words. She was thankful he loved her enough to speak the truth. She straightened her buckskin dress as a flood of pink stained her face. She glanced around to see who was watching, gave a small smile, and went to catch up with Pekam. She was thankful most people weren’t paying attention.
As Spupaleena walked, she imagined the perfect exchange in her mind as she fought off the butterflies taking flight in her tummy. She gulped in deep breaths and let them out slowly until her head felt light and then breathed normal. Smooth, light, hop, hop, hop, lift, on, and run. She repeated her plan over and over in her mind with exact visual effects.
Once Spupaleena was at Dusty’s side, she crouched down and ran her palms over his legs and back. She felt no heat. Next she picked up each hoof and only a slight red shadow gave face to the bottom of his right hoof. Spupaleena gently let go of his leg and he set it down in the dirt.
Carmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington, on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988 gleaning knowledge from family and friends. She had worked with tribal elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural traditions and legends. She has owned and trained her horses for thirteen years and competed in local Extreme Challenge Competitions for three years. She lives with her husband and tribal member Joe. They have four grown sons who are also tribal members and seven grandchildren. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and wanted to create a legacy for her sons.
Links to Social Media:
Website and blog: https://carmenpeone.com/
About me: https://carmenpeone.com/about/
Barns and Noble:
Change of Heart:
Best book I’ve ever read about Native Americans. It’s respectful and admiring of their culture while not slipping into cheap hostility to all Caucasian characters OR sentimentalizing about the pagan religion of Native American tribes. Spupaleena’s emotional journey as she learns to find God and forgive herself and her sister was told with sincerity and sensitivity. Also her physical journey was described with blunt honesty. Carmen Peone doesn’t try to shock the reader with tacky images of blood–but she doesn’t pretty up just how horribly beat up Spupaleena must have been after her injuries.
Elizabeth and her husband were also admirable characters and well shown. But Spupaleena took over the story. I have rarely seen an ” angry teen” character handled so well. She didn’t come across as a brat, or as insincere in her rage–she came across as being like a temperamental colt. Growing up is just going to be very hard for her.
Outstanding western story about growing up and coming to terms with the mistakes of your past.
–––Hannah, Goodreads Review
Heart of Courage
Great book for young girls that love horses. The book has a lot of lessons about how to live a good, clean life. I’m not one who generally reads just for pleasure, but Heart of Courage is one of the best books I’ve read. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one day. I would recommend it to parents for their kids to read. It’s great to see clean books these days.
––Andrew, Amazon Review
Heart of Passion
Young people will find the heart and courage of Spupaleena as gripping as ever. Heart of Passion is a great story of faith and determination. The richness of culture and language, the strength of faith, and the girl who fights for her dreams…Peone fans will not be disappointed.
—Jim Boyd, Singer/Songwriter, Colville Tribal Member
Carmen Peone, Colville Confederated Tribes, Northeast Washington, Native American Culture, Native American Legends, writers, Young Adult Fiction, horses, horse racing, Indian relay