Líona the Lionheart

Líona is about compassion, learning to love ourselves fully while learning to love others fully, too. In this book, there are no “good guys vs. bad guys,” only self-discovery. And women (young and old) are valued and they love each other. This is my heart, and my hope for humanity.

Public Book Signings and Readings

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Book Experience

I wrote this “Book Experience” for a group to read this story together and reflect. You have my permission to download and copy it for use with the book.


Book Summary: Líona the Lionheart is driven to mysteriously collect dry, dusty old bones and place them in a sack on her back. Each bone has a story, and magical characters and creatures help her along the way. One night, she realizes that her sack of bones is full. So, she lays them out under a full moon and sings over them. They come back to life as a mountain lion. The lion bounds down a mountain and wades into a river where she transforms into a woman. The woman looks back at Líona and Líona sees her own face—she had been collecting her own bones all along.

Líona the Lionheart is my version of the story of The Bone Woman (in Spanish, “La Huesera”). It’s a mash-up between the old Bone Woman folk tale, the Biblical story of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones, and a special walk I took one evening when the sky was pink after a storm. You will find Líona’s songs in Proverbs and Isaiah.

I also was inspired by the works of Dr. Elisabeth Shüssler Fiorenza (In Memory of Her) and Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés and her tale of La Loba in Women Who Run with the Wolves. Another favorite forgotten tale of a strong woman and a lioness is Thecla (see Chapter 9).

I personally relate to the bone gatherers of old, like the ancient Roman Catholic women who would gather bones of saints to give them a proper burial, I too have the desire to recognize and resurrect the stories of women.

Líona has the heart of a desert mountain lion (in French, you could say she has the “Coeur de Lion”). For me, the symbol of the lion represents resourcefulness, reclaiming of power, and as a nocturnal creature, she stands for the world of our dreams.

Many of the traditional fairy tales we tell are not kind to women. The young women are usually valued for things that are only skin-deep, the old women are often ugly and mean, and the relationships between them are tortuous. My favorite scene in the book is about a life-giving relationship between Líona and a young woman.

I would like to see a new generation of fairy tales in which female and male characters exhibit wisdom, courage, justice, temperance, and love. For this reason, I wrote this story to share. I hope the words and pictures spark your imagination and your own storytelling talents. Let us all write the stories we wish to read to each other and for our children.