A Special Grandmother by Paisley Kirkpatrick

Paisley Kirkpatrick2I may have inherited my great, great grandmother. She lives in my head and feeds my muse. I have no other explanation for how her words got in my head, but if it is true and she is living in there giving me plots, I am not complaining. Up until I asked a speaker on past lives who spoke at our Sacramento Valley Rose chapter meeting, I had no idea where my ideas came from or why this time period and the gold country has always been important to me. I consider her a gift and I intend to always nurture it.

Her pen name was Mary Kirke. She sailed from the east coast to San Francisco to marry the man she loved — he was my great, great grandfather who wrote the journal I used for research in my Marriage Bargain story. Mary is supposedly the first woman to have had stories published in a magazine and the originals are kept in the Sacramento State Library. My mother was able to get copies of her stories and while I was writing Forever After, I happen to read them. When I read the first one (which I later found out was about her own journey to San Francisco by sea), I was gobsmacked when I read two sentences that were written verbatim to two sentences that I had written in my story, with my heroine traveling under the same exact circumstances. Chills raged through me – how could this be? I asked the speaker if I could have inherited my ancestor’s memories. She said maybe, but she figured I probably inherited Mary.

These two ancestors lived in the west and left quite a footprint in the history here. Do you think I have this talented woman in my head, feeding my muse? It’s a question that I probably will never know for sure, but then again — how did those exact words in the same order happen?

I have an ebook copy of Paradise Pines Series: Forever After to give away to one of the commenters today. This isForeverAfterCoverArt Marinda Benjamin’s story. She is the last of the Benjamin sister stories in the Paradise Pines Series. My next book introduces the MacGregor brothers. 


Abandoned by her sisters, her father in jail, Marinda Benjamin takes on the care of her ailing mother the best way possible — working for an unscrupulous man with the power to crush her.  Forced to spy on a decent man, Marinda’s honesty saves her virtue and revenge restores her self-respect.

When Ethan Braddock discovers his brother’s poker pot cleaning his private office, he jumps to the right conclusion — she’s there to spy for his nemesis. Ethan can’t help but find her irresistible. In spite of what his heart tells him, his brain reserves judgment on her character. Until he unravels the mystery of her connection to Danforth, trust is the one thing he can’t allow himself. For that, she’ll have to prove herself.


“I’ll bet this little lady against whatever you’ve got in your hand.”

A sudden hush stifled all the noise in the Hidey Hole Saloon. Master against novice. Who would win? Then quiet snickers began to echo off the wood walls. The regulars of the saloon moved in for a closer look.

Marinda Benjamin stared around at all the patrons who just witnessed her humiliation by Danforth’s claim. She latched onto the back of her employer’s chair to steady her crumbling nerves. Jonas Danforth had bet her, body and soul, in a card game.

Fancy women dressed in garish attire crowded around the poker table. Some stared at her with pity while a few sneered in obvious enjoyment of seeing another Benjamin sister fall from grace.

She wracked her brain for a way of preventing the ridiculous bet, but she knew Danforth held all the cards. Yet she had to stop this travesty. “Enough!” She stepped up beside his chair. “You can’t do–“

The menace in Danforth’s glare as he looked at her stopped her from saying more.

A malicious sneer marred his face. “As long as I hold the loan on your house, you’ll do as I say. Is that clear?”

She wanted to run, but her feet refused to move. She wanted to speak her piece, as she always did, but now was not the time. So instead, she held her head high. She refused to allow Jonas Danforth to see her frustration. He had broken her father’s spirit. He would not break hers.

The town’s mischief-maker sat across from Danforth. Patrick Braddock glanced her way. “She looks like she might be worth five twenty-dollar gold eagles and I could use a servant. I call your bet. Let’s see what ya got.”

The knot in her stomach tightened.


Desert Breeze

Paisley Kirkpatrick Says "WAGONS HO!"


Wagons Ho! Those two simple words won the west. Thousands of Americans traveled across country to find their fortunes in gold. Grueling days under the penetrating sun, inhaling dust, facing dangers beyond what we can imagine today, didn”t dampen their spirits. Gold! A fever to find that elusive fortune brought miners to California by the thousands. Some came by wagon train, some through the Isthmus of Panama when it was still a jungle, and others sailed around the Horn. Sailors abandoned ships in San Francisco Harbor, leaving a graveyard of useless sailing vessels. Sails made great tents in the Sierra Mountains.

My hubby and I live in California”s Sierra Mountains where the 1849 gold rush happened. There are still relics found in the wild, romantic town of Placerville, which was called Dry Diggins and Hangtown during that time. Tunnels twist and turn under the town”s streets, Victorian homes are scattered throughout the surrounding hills, several buildings that housed saloons back then still share the history in their interiors, and a Chinese bordello building is now a business office. My favorite building is The Cary House, a hotel built in 1857 which is still functioning as a popular hotel. I used this four-story brick hotel in my first story, NIGHT ANGEL. We still have staged gunfights during festivals and a wagon train that comes over the Sierras replicating the most popular way of heading west. At Christmastime, we have Doc Weiser drive an old Wells Fargo stagecoach through town, giving rides to visitors. Doc secures a Christmas tree on top of the coach and delights both residents and visitors. How could I not have become obsessed with sharing all of this history with my readers? The information is everywhere and I can”t get enough of it.

My great, great grandfather, Charles Kirkpatrick, was one of those men who traveled by wagon train from St. Joseph, Missouri to California. He was a doctor and his plan was not to dig for the gold, but to set up a medical practice. He kept a 45 page journal along the way and it is now sealed in a glass case in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. My Mother was able to get a copy of the journal and I consider it a great family treasure. He gave me a lot of information that guided me on my own wagon train ride west in my story Marriage Bargain.

Now, let my family”s rich history be your first step into a past full of adventure and, as always, what is life without a whole lot of romance. Come ride the trails with me and I”ll guarantee you the ride of a lifetime! I”d love to hear your stories on keepsakes you”ve inherited from your ancestors and what they mean to you.

Stop by and leave a comment.  I”m giving away a copy (in electronic format) of Night Angel, the first story in my Paradise Pines Series, to one of my visitors.

In Night Angel, sassy Amalie Renard, a poker-playing saloon singer, shakes up Paradise Pines, a former gold-rush mountain community by turning the saloon’s bar into her stage. Her amazing voice stirs the passions of the hotel owner, a man who anonymously travels tunnels at night providing help to the downtrodden as the mysterious Night Angel. Declan Grainger agrees to subsidize the building of a music hall to fulfill Amalie”s dream, but a bounty for her arrest could spoil his plans. Distrust and jealousy stir flames of malice and revenge threatening to destroy their town. Drawing from past experiences, Declan and Amalie turn to each other to find a way to save the community.

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