Welcome Guest: Jaime Jo Wright

jaime-wright-media-12 (2)Dwelling in the past is something I love to do. Especially, when it involves ghost towns, gold, rivers, and hardy heroes. When I wrote my latest novella, “Gold Haven Heiress” from The California Gold Rush Romance Collection, it was very intriguing to find that ghost towns existed in the 1850’s! After towns were tapped out of gold, miners would pack up and hit the road for the next big hit and the buildings were left behind as memories of a bustling time filled with hopes of prosperity.

I loved planting my heroine, Thalia, smack in the middle of a ghost town. Stuck in a place where she could be alone and dwell in the murky pain of her past. Then I wondered to myself, how often do we plant ourselves in our own little ghost towns. Memories of where we once lived, who we once were, or what we once had. I believe in memories, they’re precious pieces of life that help us in the quiet moments. But to live there? To dwell there? It probably isn’t healthy when what before us are new memories, new beginnings, new hope.

My grandmother lived in New Mexico the majority of my growing up years. I recall hanging on the fence as my uncle worked the horses, riding the back of a hay bale pretending it was a bronco, and catching tarantulas with my cousins. Gramma always said that a piece of her heart lived in New Mexico and always would. But, she left it and returned to Wisconsin after my Grampa passed away.

I believe Gramma had the perfect equation of memories vs. living in the past. Pictures of New Mexico littered her bookshelf. A blue glass cowboy boot sat on her coffee table. A ceramic steer clock with leather ribbons hanging from its horns hung on the wall. An Aztec-patterned blanket draped over the back of her chair. But next to them all were the signs of new beginning. Even after the loss of her soul mate. The pictures of her great-grandchildren, the gardening gloves tossed on the kitchen table from tendering her flowers, the pressure cooker on the stove for canning, and her Sunday dress hung on the door ready to put on come service time.

Gramma always kept on keeping on. She moved forward even when memories tugged her back toward that ghost town. Toward the memories that perhaps seemed richer and more enticing than the future. She had hope in things eternal. In a land not-so-far away that would one day be that glorious place she’d call Home. My Gramma was an heiress to riches far greater than the ghost-town-memories.

I have memories too. They’re little golden nuggets I pocket in my heart. But like my Gramma taught me, I wave farewell to the ghost towns and journey down that dusty ol’ road. Adventure lays around the bend, you know, and there’s always the truth that more memories will be made.

What are some of your precious memories? Have you ever been to a real ghost town and felt the hovering of people’s memories in the vacant doorways?

I’m giving away one copy of THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH COLLECTION. Winner chooses either print or e-book.

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The California Gold Rush CollectionBarbour Publishing
Release Date: August 1st, 2016 |  ISBN:
978-1634098212

Gold Disappoints But Love Rewards

Rush to California after the 1848 gold discovery alongside thousands of hopeful men and women. Meet news reporters, English gentry, miners, morticians, marriage brokers, bankers, fugitives, preachers, imposters, trail guides, map makers, cooks, missionaries, town builders, soiled doves, and more people who take advantage of the opportunities to make their fortunes in places where the population swelled overnight. But can faith and romance transform lives where gold is king?


Gold Haven Heiress
?– Jaime Jo Wright

Jack Taylor determines to use his new wealth to restart a ghost town to help others. But one person challenges his conviction to embrace all the disillusioned and lost. Thalia wasn’t supposed to be hiding in the tiny little garden behind the ghostly saloon. And he never intended to fall hard for a used-up prostitute.

 

Professional coffee drinker?Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.  Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com.
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38 Comments

  1. I enjoyed hearing about the memories of your gramma. I spent time with mine too when I was younger and those were the better memories that I had. My grandparents had huge strawberry gardens and I remember helping pick them and we would sell them at a booth along the road.

    1. Grandparents are INVALUABLE to a child’s memory bank that they carry with them into adulthood, aren’t they??

  2. We always had a fairly good size garden, and my mom, dad and I worked it together every summer. I really can’t choose between those wonderful times of working and being together or all of the fresh, tasty food we had all summer long. I used to eat tomatoes like apples! Then my mom also did a lot of freezing and canning as well so we had our own tasty vegetables all winter long. We had a strawberry patch so that meant frozen berries all winter too.

    1. I remember the days of canning too! Though not with fondness, I must admit. I always wanted to have my nose in a book, not in a bowl of tomatoes 🙂

      1. My mom did the canning. I did the eating part. 😀

  3. I have never been to a ghost town, although I know there are some in my state.

    1. They are SO intriguing!!! You must visit one 🙂

  4. All my grandparents came from Sicily and my one grandmother was a wonderful story teller. It would be wonderful to visit some day to have some of those memories come to life!

    1. Ohhhhhhh bucket list, right?? Sounds as though you have some rich roots!

    2. Hey catslady, one set of my grandparents came from Italy too–Abruzzi. But it was my grandpop who was story teller, while my grandmom was always on about food and people should be eating, you know, mangia tutti! My grandmom was also a big time gardener which is where I guess my dad and I got it from.

  5. Hi Jaime and welcome to Wildflower Junction here at P&P! You sure have a lot of wonderful memories of your grandparent’s place in New Mexico! Mine were farmers in central Illinois, and since I was from the big city, a summer vacation to the “farm” was a treat for me. It was such a different way of life than I had in the city. I have been to a few old ghost towns, but never felt that sense of memories hovering there that you talk about. However…I did visit the Alamo in Texas once and I did feel it.

    Best wishes on your book!

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! Yes, I do have wonderful memories. Sounds as though you do too!! Grandparents are the best!

  6. Hi Jaime! Welcome to P&P. We’re so happy to have you visit. I loved your blog and can certainly relate. I’m drawn to real ghost towns (not the slick ones they build for tourists) and never fail to get goosebumps. It’s like I’m walking amid ghosts. I can feel their sadness and that they’re reaching out. The Alamo isn’t a town but each time I visit I feel the presence of those who died still in there. As a teenager, I went to several in California with my parents and I knew then that there was something special about them. It’s really sad when towns die. The lost hopes and dreams of those people break my heart.

    Congratulations on the new release! Your story- Gold Haven Heiress — sounds wonderful. I like that you made Thalia a used up prostitute. What a great story!

    1. YES! You captured exactly how I feel when walking through a ghost town. Even worse, ghost town cemeteries!! Thalia was a difficult heroine to write from some aspects, but rewarding to watch her grow from worthless to beautiful! 🙂

  7. I loved the stories of my grandma, of her 11 siblings and the life they grew up with. I miss her terribly! I also adore ghost towns and imagine what went on there and who walked the streets.

    1. 11 siblings?! WOW! You Great-Grandma must have been a heroine in her own right! 😉

  8. My grandmother had a small garden in new jersey and one also at there summer home in maine. She was 1 of 7 kids. Her Husband was 1 of 6 kids but they only had 3 boys.

    1. Gardens seem to be an unspoken gathering place for families, don’t they?

  9. I have memories of my own Grandma growing up! She loved to plant flowers every year and instilled the love of bird-watching in me. I remember helping her plant her rose bushes out in front of her house. I also have memories of putting out dried corncobs for the many squirrel visitors she had. Her backyard was a virtual nature sanctuary! She had many different bird feeders, even a couple of hummingbird feeders, and she’d have so many varieties of birds eat from them. What I miss the most, is seeing the bright red cardinals and blue jays! We don’t have those here on the Oregon coast. I also used to ride my bike to her house during the Summer and spending time with her. I miss her like crazy, but I have all the precious memories to remind me 🙂

    I’ve never been to a ghost town, but would love to visit one someday & experience what it must have been like to live there in it’s heyday! Thank you, Jaime, for the chance to win a copy of California Gold Rush collection! Looks like a great set of stories by some awesome authors 🙂

    1. AHHHHH! I LOVE cardinals! We have them in our backyard, along with the nefarious and ruthless blue jays which are so pretty, but so spiteful to their feathered neighbors 🙂

  10. My grandmother was a wonderful lady. Thank you Jaimie for sharing your interesting post.

    1. Anyone who can say that about their Gramma is truly blessed! <3

  11. I just love this!! My Grandma is hands down one of my best friends, I talk to her at least once a day, sometimes multiple times! She has taught me so much in the last 16 years!

    1. Awwww!!! Cherish this time!!!

  12. I love visiting ghost towns; I have been to a few in Montana. I bet California has some really interesting ones!

    1. I’ve been to a few in Montana and Arizona and New Mexico. Soooooo fascinating!

  13. My mother always said I would have lived with my maternal grandmother if my mother had allowed me to,I always cried when I had to leave her house and go home. I was the first grandchild and she doted on me – and spoiled me, I’m sure. Coffee lover that you are, Jaime, you can appreciate my grandparents saving coffee can lids to get me a doll for Christmas – I still have it. My grandmother always had her hat suit, white blouse, and white gloves on for church. She baked many kinds of cookies for Christmas – which she gave to the neighbors, mailman, etc., as well as family. I don’t remember any church friend, neighbor, or family not getting a homemade pie from her when there was an illness or death in the family. She was a huge greeting card sender – to everyone for every occasion. She belonged to a Christian book club and would order a book each month – I inherited her books and tiny book case. Every year, she and my grandfather invited a friend and the elementary school class she taught – out to their farm for a tour. Many children had never been on a farm – my grandfather would drive a tractor with an attached wagon full of kids over his large farm. They each brought a sack lunch and my grandparents always provided ice cream for them. I can still envision the fun my brother & I enjoyed playing with my grandfather under the trees and lilac bushes in his yard – he lying on his back & lifting us up as far as possible in the air. So many pleasant memories, however, one I don’t miss is seeing the decapitated chickens hanging from the clotheslines flapping their wings, LOL.

    I enjoyed your guest post, thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!

    1. I love this, Bonnie!!!!!! What magnificent memories!!!

  14. My Grandma passed on her love for the Bible and growing roses to me!
    Loved your story!

    1. Wonderful legacy!!

  15. I enjoyed reading your memories about your Gramma. I wasn’t lucky enough to remember much about my grandpas because they passed away when I was quite young. My Paternal grandma passed away when I was young as well. However my maternal grandma was a gem. I loved her dearly and miss her so much.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Grammas make indelible marks on our hearts!!!

  16. I enjoyed your memories of your grandmother. I spent a lot of time with my mom’s parents as a kid. I was very close to my grandmother. She did a lot of canning and putting up food. I remember as a kid, my mother and grandmother would get together to can and prepare food for freezing. I helped some. We had a system, Mother and mama would pick the corn and husk it. Mama would blanch it and mother would put it in plastic wrap that I had laid out on the table. Our system worked for years with our roles changing as I grew up and Mama got older. I don’t have my mother or grandmother anymore and I miss them. My grandfather planted the garden and I helped him do that and pick some of the produce. I miss him too. Anyway, good memories and a legacy of loving gardens.

  17. What a soul searching post today. 12 yrs of living a large part of each year, in Nicaragua. .. I often live in an internal ghost town also. Miss being a grandma, home with my MO and OK family. But then I realize, I have to be among the living and put those other nuggets away.

  18. Jaime, so good to see you here! Thank you for sharing your precious memories.

  19. I have been to several ghost towns here in Arizona. I never felt their presence, tho

    Your book sounds interesting

  20. Jaime, thanks for coming to P&P loved the post about your new book, The California Gold Rush Collection & your Gramma. No, I have never been to a ghost town. My grandparents were farmers & they grew all their vegetables & slaughtered their own meat. It was quite an experience to be around them & help to do all these things. It really gives you a insite into how hard their lives must have been years ago, now that they have passed on it makes you realize all those memories & helpful info. you learned from them is proud lessons that we have passed on to our family & generations to come.

  21. Thank you Jaime for this wonderful,fun and inspirational post! Looking forward to reading the upcoming California Gold Rush Collection! As far as precious memories go; some of them include wonderful times with my parents,especially when they would tell me family stories and the fun times I had with my nieces and nephews when I was helping to raise them !

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