Tag: California

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.
Web site:?
http://www.jaimejowright.com

Facebook:?
http://www.facebook.com/jaimejowright
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http://www.twitter.com/jaimejowright
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http://www.pinterest.com/jaimejowright?
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http://www.Instagram.com/jaimejowright?
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http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13916081.Jaime_Jo_Wright
Periscope: @jaimejowright

Victoria Bylin: Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?

Give a big howdy to former Filly, Vickie Bylin! We’re so happy she came to visit. AND she brought books to give away. Three in fact, so leave a comment!

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Home   . . .  That word is one of the most evocative in the English language. It’s also a fitting theme for today’s blog, because Petticoats & Pistols was my home for over three years. Hello, Fillies!  I miss hanging out with you and the P&P readers. I thoroughly enjoyed being a Filly during my time with Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical.

 

Westerns will always be close to my heart. So will California with its beaches, mountains, valleys, and deserts. The state may not be the first one to pop in your mind when you think “traditional western,” not like Texas or Wyoming, but the history and culture have a western flavor.

 

SomeoneLikeYouCoverI live in Lexington, Kentucky now, but I miss the Golden State. That’s why I started writing about it. If we took a road trip with the characters in my contemporary romances, we’d walk barefoot on Pismo Beach, see endangered California condors in the wild, and camp out on Anacapa Island.

 

The Pismo Beach scene is in my latest release, Someone Like You (Bethany House, May 2016). The story is set at a historic resort in central California and is about what happens when college sweethearts meet after six years. Back at UC Berkeley, Zeke Monroe was a strong Christian, and Julia Dare believed in living for the moment. Fast forward six years . . . Now Zeke is struggling with his faith and Julia is a new believer and a single mom with a four-year-old son.

 


Until I Found YouTo add some western flavor (and because I like country music), I made the owners of the resort a retired country music duo called the Travers Twins. Ginger Travers no longer performs, but George Travers (who looks and sounds a lot like Sam Elliot) is going strong and still a heartthrob for Julia’s widowed mother.

 

California condors played a big role in Until I Found You. Those birds are amazing!  During the 1990s, when my family and I lived in the Los Padres National Forest a.k.a. “Condor Country,” we had the pleasure of seeing condors soar over our home. With their nine-foot wingspans, the birds look like glider planes. Writing about them brought back some great memories.  

 

Together With YouGoing camping again on Anacapa Island is another secret dream.  Anacapa (pronounced ANN-a-cap-a) is one of the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast. In Together With You. Kentucky girl Carly Jo Mason and Los Angeles ophthalmologist Dr. Ryan Tremaine make a trip to the island with his kids.

 

 Ryan and Carly have quite the romance, but a little girl named Penny stole even more hearts—including mine. Penny has special needs and remains one of my favorite characters.

 

Thank you for taking a mini-trip home with me!  When it comes to romance, California is the perfect setting for strong characters, dramatic plots, and stories that touch the heart.

To celebrate my home state, I’d like to give away three books—reader choice from the titles above. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing!

 

A big thank you to the Fillies for inviting me to visit.  As the saying goes, “East or West, Home is Best.”

You can contact Vickie at:

WEBSITE   |    FACEBOOK    |     TWITTER   |   BLOGPOST

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LONGHORN CATTLE … IN CALIFORNIA? By Guest Blogger Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn Historical Author PhotoBefore James Marshall discovered those shiny nuggets at Sutter’s Mill that sparked the Gold Rush and made the precious metal the focus of fortune-seekers around the globe, longhorn cattle were California’s primary product. Sadly they were raised for their hides and tallow. Much of the meat was left to rot on the beaches while the valued items were loaded on longboats anchored off shore.

That changed in 1849 when California was overrun by miners pouring in by the thousands. Food was scarce in the gold fields of the north, so the cattle ranchers of the south found a ready market for their beef. At that point, nearly half a million head of longhorn roamed the countryside in the sparsely populated area around Los Angeles.

Some believe the California longhorn was closely related to its Texas counterpart, with both tracing their heritage to the Andalusian Iberian longhorn of southwestern Spain. The records kept at the time didn’t document the physical appearance or attributes of the California longhorn, so one can only speculate.

A series of droughts in the mid-1800s all but obliterated the herds. The disastrous drought of 1864 brought about the loss of 50-75% of the longhorn cattle in Los Angeles County due to thirst or starvation. The remaining cattle ranches were broken up into smaller ranches, with many of the ranchers diversifying into more stable and financially beneficial agricultural ventures.

One rancher, Henry Miller, originally a butcher in San Francisco, did well despite the disastrous losses of others. He expanded his herd and his holdings. It’s thought he might have been the largest owner of private lands in the state. Miller was one of the first to bring in Durham and Hereford bulls to breed with the longhorn cows, providing the public with beef from the British breeds the rapidly increasing population preferred. And thus the end of the longhorn legacy in California came about.

Cattle ranching increased in northern California as gold became harder to find and more expensive to extract. The small town of Shingle Springs, in which my debut Love Inspired Historical, Family of Her Dreams, takes place, shifted from mining to cattle ranching. Sprawling ranches sprang up in the area, and cattle could be seen grazing there for much of the year.

During the hot, dry summers, ranchers herded their cattle up the mountain to pastures high in the Sierras.longhorn-529572_640 Oftentimes the womenfolk would stay with the herds while the men remained in the valley and saw to things there. Since the temperatures in the valley can top one hundred for a number of days each summer, I think the ladies got the better end of the deal.

In my story, the hero, Spencer Abbott, dreams of leaving his stationmaster duties behind and becoming a cattle rancher, as was his father back in Texas. Spencer pays to have a longhorn bull brought to him, which he intends to breed. With payment in calves, he plans to grow a herd of his own. Whether or not he succeeds shall remain a mystery—until you read the story anyhow. 🙂

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Family of Her Dreams, just leave a comment with the  answer to one (or more) of the questions below by midnight EDT on Saturday, June 20.

  • Do you like rancher heroes in romances?
  • How prevalent are cattle ranches in your part of the country?
  • Have you ever seen a longhorn bull in person? If so, what was your impression of it?

Keli Gwyn Contemporary Author Photo (3)

 

Award-winning author Keli Gwyn, a native Californian, transports readers to the early days of the Golden State. She and her husband live in the heart of California’s Gold Country. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums and other Gold Rush-era towns. Keli loves hearing from readers and invites you to visit her Victorian-style cyber home at www.keligwyn.com, where you’ll find her contact information.

A Family to Cherish 

Headstrong Tess Grimsby loves her new job caring for the children of a recently widowed man. But she never imagined that she’d fall for her handsome employer. Yet Spencer Abbott is as caring as he is attractive, and Tess can’t help but feel for him and his family. Though, for the sake of her job, she’ll keep any emotions about her boss to herself.

Between his stationmaster responsibilities in a gold-rush town and trying to put his family back together, Spencer has his hands full. He soon finds his new hire’s kind personality warming his frosty exterior. But could he ever admit to seeing her as more than just an employee?

Leave a comment to enter her drawing on here for an autographed copy of Family of Her Dreams.

Copyright © 2015 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

June 19 - Keli Gwyn Petticoats & Pistols Giveaway

 

http://keligwyn.com/library/my-books will take you directly to Keli’s “My Book” page of her website, where she has a number of retailers’ links.

 

Man, myth, devil, or angel: who or what was Joaquin Murieta?

chelley kitzmillerPetticoats and Pistols is pleased to welcome Chelly Kitzmiller to Wildflower Junction.

Every book begins with an idea-a spark of imagination that excites the writer and makes him or her anxious to pursue the subject, and then to write about it. For me, Finding Joaquin Murieta was the beginning of a life-long romantic adventure. He has taken me on a journey I will never forget and opened door I would have never thought to open.

ChelleyKitzMiller_ElDorado200My new book, El Dorado, was conceived over the kitchen sink. I guess I was day dreaming. I saw alittle Mexican boy in white clothes sitting next to his aged grandfather. There was a small campfire burning brightly and behind them were some hills. Grandfather was telling the boy the story of Joaquin Murieta, California’s Robin Hood Bandit, and at the end of the story, when Grandfather said that Joaquin was no more, a shout was heard from the hills behind them, “I am Joaquin. You will remember my name.” The boy and the grandfather turned and saw a Zorro-like horseman sitting astride a rearing black stallion. Behind them was a full yellow moon.

ZorroNow, it’s only fair to say that I had been planning a driving vacation with my husband and had gotten the Automobile Club book on the Mother Lode, ie. Gold Rush Country. In it is a brief bio of Joaquin Murieta, so I was not unfamiliar with the name. But I was unfamiliar with his deeds.

I couldn’t get the image out of my mind and it eventually became a book, but it’s what happened during the writing of the book that has changed my mind about the paranormal.

I didn’t recognize it first. I didn’t put two and two together until it practically hit me in the face. There were incidents, which at first I wrote off as coincidences. Only now, after much reflection, do I see them differently.

JoaquinThe very first book that I wrote and never completed, took place in 1870 Arizona, around Tucson. I did a ton of research on Apaches and such. Some of that research involved General Stoneman in San Francisco. Once I had the over-the-sink vision, I became obsessed with writing El Dorado instead of the one I was working on. But I really didn’t want to do a whole bunch of new research. I decided to try to use my vision with some of the research I’d already done. Joaquin is a character that you can pretty much do anything with since there isn’t any proof of his birth or death.

According to the Joaquin legends, he was only 18 years old when he died in 1853, not old enough to be a hero in a romance novel. So, I tacked a few years onto his age, which brought the date up to 1870, the year I’d researched for the Arizona novel. There is speculation that Joaquin didn’t die at the massacre on the Cantua (a spot in the road off California’s I-5 freeway) as reported by Captain Harry Love’s California Rangers, but retreated to Mexico and recuperated from wounds there. Picking up on that idea, that Joaquin didn’t die, but did indeed survive, I brought him to the San Francisco I had researched in 1870 and had him looking to get revenge on the men who killed his wife back in 1852 or 1853. And so the book began.

Only after I was half way through the book did I pick up some new research material that casino online speculated that Joaquin eluded the California Rangers, returned to Mexico and found his way to San Francisco in 1870. I was more than a little surprised by this information.

We were living in Placentia, CA when the book was conceived. My hubby was transferred to KernThelateJackPalanceandhishorseFiesta County, CA. Soon after we made the move, I discovered that Joaquin was said to have come through the town of Tehachapi, near Bakersfield. I also found out that Academy Award winning actor, Jack Palance, was convinced that Joaquin had buried gold on his Stallion Springs property. In fact, he hired someone to hunt for it.

A woman who knew me through someone else called me because she was thinking of moving to Tehachapi and wanted to look at property. She asked me to drive her around. She was semi familiar with Tehachapi’s history and had been to Tehachapi a long time ago. I drove her to the end of Stallion Springs and she told me that somewhere in the vicinity there was a tunnel through which Joaquin Murieta and his horse gang used to escape. When she told me this, she had no idea that I was writing about Joaquin.

Joaquin gallopingAfter finishing the book, my agent sent it out to publishers. I got a rejection that clearly stated that Mexican heroes were not saleable. I was shocked. After I recovered, I rewrote Joaquin to be half Mexican and half white. Then more new research material came my way and the author claimed that Joaquin’s mother was a Mexican maiden and his father a Yankee engineer who came to Mexico, fell in love with a young Mexican girl and produced Joaquin.

After a number of such incidents, I planned a publicity trip for a writer friend through the gold rush country and picked up research material along the way. During the trip we stayed the night at a B & B. A guest informed us that the owner read palms and handwriting. We immediately scheduled sessions and during my session she told me that Joaquin had a large ego and that he was sitting on my shoulder helping me. When I finished the book he must have jumped off my shoulder and run away because I never had another incident until…recently, while writing about another real life character, Cochise! Stay tuned.

HappyTo all you pet lovers—My organization, Have a Heart Humane Society, is going to be holding a fundraising auction with Ebay Giving Works Oct. 22, 2014. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for spay and neuter. Please check out our Facebook page and Pinterest to see some of the items up for bid. Here are a couple of examples: a one night stay continental breakfast at the stars’ hotel, Sunset Towers in Hollywood ($500 value), a Prada dress, a Juicy Couture satchel, a Bulova diamond watch, a critique of your first three chapters by Christian Writer Lauraine Snelling and so much more. Please like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/haveahearthumanesociety

ENTER A COMMENT TO WIN A COPY OF HEARTBREAK RANCH, AN ANTHOLOGY I DID WITH FERN MICHAELS, JILL MARIE LANDIS AND DORSEY KELLEY!

California: The Not-So-Wild West —– by Keli Gwyn

If you hear the words “California history,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many of us, that would be the Gold Rush.

As a native Californian, I first learned about James Marshall finding those famous gold nuggets when I studied our state’s history in fourth grade. Little did I know then that I’d end up living just seven miles from the site of Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, where Marshall made the discovery that launched one of the world’s largest mass migrations.

In the early days of the Gold Rush, things in this untamed land were wild. My town of Placerville, first known as Dry Diggings, earned its most notorious moniker, Old Hangtown, when three men accused of robbery in January 1849 met their fate at the end of a rope following an impromptu trial.

 The heyday of the Gold Rush lasted from 1849 to 1852. After that, mining was done primarily by large operations making use ofhydraulic methods, since the easy-to-find gold had played out. The number of businessmen, farmers, and those in other occupations soon exceeded the number of miners, and refinement replaced roughness.

You might think culture was centered around San Francisco and Sacramento City—as it was called then—but that was not the case. While doing research for my stories set in the heart of the Gold Country in the 1870s, I unearthed many interesting facts, some of which I worked into my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.

At one point in the story, the hero, mercantile owner Miles Rutledge, tells newly arrived widow Elenora Watkins, “I think you’re in for some surprises. California is no longer the Wild West. Over in Placerville the hotels have running water, the streets are lit with gaslights, and they have a Philharmonic Society.”

Miles relayed only a few facts. Placerville also boasted a brass band, a roller skating rink, and a 1,500-seat theater. And it wasn’t the only town with quality entertainment. Many of those up and down the Mother Lode had theaters, musical groups, skating rinks, etc. as well.

 The presence of culture in itself doesn’t tell the whole story. The lack of crime was another factor that proved how quickly the state had been tamed. There were still outlaws and crimes, but as the stagecoach driver reassures Elenora following an unsettling encounter upon her arrival in California, “I hear tell the papers back East are full of stories about outlaws and Injuns attackin’ travelers, but them things are more likely to happen in open country. Not here where folks has settled.”

Many stories set in the West include a sheriff’s office in a town of any size. A Bride Opens Shop is no exception. However, the inclusion of Sheriff Hank Henderson is pure fiction. El Dorado didn’t have a sheriff. The nearest one would have been located in Placerville, which was nearly ten miles away. Law and order were well established within a few years of California’s statehood.

In the span of one generation, California had left behind her ignoble beginnings. While settled by an influx of people eager for instant wealth, a shift took place. The hardworking people who chose to stay put their energies into creating a forward-thinking state in the not-so-wild West, one that continues to make significant contributions to the U.S. and the world today.

Thanks so much for having me as your guest at Petticoats & Pistols. Spending time with you and your blog’s visitors is a pleasure.

I’d like to end with a question for all of you. When you think of California and the many things it’s known for today, which are the first to come to your mind?

One commenter who answers the question will win an autographed copy of my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.

The book is available for pre-order at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million!
Christianbook

BLURB for A BRIDE OPENS SHOP IN EL DORADO, CALIFORNIA

Widow Elenora Watkins looks forward to meeting her new business partner, Miles Rutledge, who owns a shop in 1870s El Dorado. But Miles is shocked to see a woman step off the stagecoach. His rude behavior forces Elenora to reconsider—so she becomes his competition across the street. Can Miles win her heart while destroying her business?

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015