Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Friday, January 21, 2011

Special Guest Author: Paty Jager

I'm so pleased to have author Paty Jager here as my guest. She's a terrific writer and has a fascinating paranormal trilogy to talk about. So here she is!

Amy, Thank you for having me here today.

I'm excited to talk to you about a little bit of what I've learned while writing my paranormal historical trilogy, Spirit of the Mountain, Spirit of the Lake, and Spirit of the Sky. These books are about a trio of siblings the Creator made spirits to oversee the Lake Nimiipuu or the band of Nez Perce who lived in the NE corner of Oregon in the Wallowa country.

The second book of a trilogy has a pregnant heroine, which led me to devote hours reading books about the Nez Perce customs and social living aspects to learn all I could about pregnancy and child birth.

The Nez Perce women had specific jobs. They gathered roots, berries and herbs as well as the firewood. It was their job to keep the fire going all night during the winter months. They were the cooks, the ones who dried and stored the meat, fish, berries and roots. Tanned the hides, made the clothing, wove baskets and constructed the dwellings. They did everything needed to sustain a family other than hunt, prepare weapons, and fight. If need be, they could hunt for smaller animals, fight, and take care of weapons though it was not one of their jobs.

During battles women provided fresh horses, food, and water for the warriors, tended the wounded, warned others of danger, directed children and the old people where to hide and how to leave when their encampments were attacked. If a husband was shot they could pick up his gun and fight. They also cooked and gathered wood during attacks, keeping the children, old people, and warriors fed during the attacks and battles.

Pregnant women still did most of the chores right up until the moment they started labor. Some would have miscarriages from long periods of riding horses in the last months of pregnancy. Usually during campaigns of fighting.

If a woman was pregnant they believed their man would have bad luck hunting. She was also not allowed to see any part of a kill—blood, skinning. They feared her child would be born deformed. They also didn't touch, view, or ridicule any deformed animals or humans, fearing it would cause their child the same misfortune. They didn't tie knots or do things symbolic of obstructing the birth.

A wide strip of buckskin was tied around their bellies. This was believed to protect the child. After the birth, this strip was burned or buried, giving the child a healthy, strong body. They did everything to keep the baby safe. The Nez Perce wanted to build a large strong tribe.

When a woman started labor she was isolated in a small dwelling with either an older family member or a mid-wife. If there were complications the Ti-wet (medicine man) was called in. The dwelling had a hole dug in the middle of the structure. The blood and after birth were put in this hole and buried. The umbilical cord was kept in a small leather pouch attached to the cradleboard. It is believed to be bad luck to destroy such an intimate part of the baby.

The cradle board is made by a relative. The baby is transported and tended in the board until he is ready to walk. Children were breast fed for several years. This was one of their ways to contribute to birth control. Other ways were with herbs.

This information was incorporated into Spirit of the Lake the second book of the trilogy which will release in May.

Blurb for Spirit of the Mountain

Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, has been fated to save her people ever since her vision quest. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, her world is torn apart.

Himiin is the spirit of the mountain, custodian to all creatures including the Nimiipuu. As a white wolf he listens to Wren’s secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he cannot prevent her leaving the mountain with the Blackleg warrior.

When an evil spirit threatens Wren’s life, Himiin must leave the mountain to save her. But to leave the mountain means he’ll turn to smoke…


Wren’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “My gift is to save The People. The weyekin who came to me in my vision quest said this.” She wrapped her arms around herself as if staving off a cold breeze.

Himiin hated that they argued when they should relish their time together. He moved to her, drawing her against his chest, embracing her. The shape of her body molded to his. Her curves pressed against him. Holding her this way flamed the need he’d tried to suppress.

He placed a hand under her chin, raising her face to his. The sorrow in her eyes tugged at his conscience. To make her leaving any harder was wrong. But having experienced her in his arms, he was grieved to let her go. Even for the sake of their people.

Her eyelids fluttered closed. Her pulse quickened under his fingers. Shrugging off the consequences, he lowered his lips to hers. They were softer than he imagined. Her breath hitched as he touched her intimately. Parting his lips, he touched her with his tongue, wanting to see if she tasted as sweet as she smelled.


She tasted of sweet honey straight from the bosom of a bee tree.

One taste was not enough. He pulled her closer, moving his lips across hers, tasting and savoring the feel of them.

Her mouth opened and she sighed.

His body came to life. The sensations transcended anything he’d experienced before. How could one woman make him feel powerful and vulnerable at the same time? Why did he wish to crush her to him and never let go and yet feel compelled to treat her with the tenderness

one would give the tiniest of creatures? He couldn’t continue this way.

To hold her, to touch her soft skin. He would never be able to let her go.

He must.

Buy link:


Sources: Nez Perce Women in Transition, 1877-1990- Caroline James; NeeMePoo – Allen P. Slickpoo Sr. and Deward E. Walker Jr.
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Thank you so much, Paty!


Paty Jager said...

Amy, Thanks for having me here today!

Kat Ducan said...

Fascinating info on birth and childrearing. A great excerpt, Paty! Very sensual...I like your style!

Lilly Gayle said...

Fascinating blog! I love Native American stories. One of my favorites is Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson. It's a romance based on the true story of Cynthia Parker who was kidnapped by the Comanche. She married the cheif and gave birth to the last free Comanche Cheif, Quanah Parker. Your books are definitely going into my must read pile!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Kat.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Lilly,
I love Native American stories too. I'll have to check out Ride the Wind.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating background information and the excerpt is beautiful!
Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity
Who Dares Wins Publishing

Paty Jager said...

Joy, Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog and here.

Fedora said...

Hi, Paty and Amy! Intriguing info! It's neat to learn about what life for women was like in earlier times--I'm not sure I would have survived! Looking forward to reading more about how you've incorporated your research!

Paty Jager said...

Hi Fedora,

Check out my Monday posts on my blog. I'm using every Monday to discuss the writing process for the third book of the trilogy. And thanks for stopping by!

Sherry Gloag said...

A fascinatng blog Paty. Thanks for sharing. I love your writing style.


Nan D Arnold said...

I'm ignorant of Indian customs, particulary this tribe. Fantastic research. And, to think we multitask today! Great blog

Lauri said...

You really did a lot of research! Thanks for sharing, it's very interesting. Very nice excerpt! Congrats on another awesome book!

Paty Jager said...

Thank you, Sherry!

Hi Nan, LOL, yes the multitasking is fun!

Howdy Lauri! Research is my favorite part in case you didn't already know. ;) Thank you!

Fedora said...

Will make a note to do that, Paty--very cool! Thanks!