A Shining welcome to romance author Paisley Kirkpatrick, visiting today with an excerpt from her latest release, Forever After, Book Three in her wonderful western Paradise Pine series. Paisley is going to tell us about some of the fascinating inspiration she gets for her stories. It’s almost as if someone else wanted her to write them…
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"Where Do Your Stories Come From?"
This is the question I am asked the most. Honestly, I don't know but I may have an idea. My great, great grandparents might be the answer to this popular question. Charles Kirkpatrick was a doctor who left Illinois and traveled across country on a wagon train in 1849. He kept a journal which is now kept under glass in the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, in California. I can understand why it's considered five-star quality. He was quite literate and wrote a lot of what he saw and what happened around him. I am lucky enough to have a copy of it and was able to share a lot of what he put on the pages in his journal in my second story, Marriage Bargain.
Something quite strange and remarkable happened while I wrote Forever After. His wife, Mary Kirkpatrick, wrote seven stories under the name of Mary Kirke. She is supposedly the first woman to have stories published in a magazine. When I finally settled down and read through one of the five 3-inch thick binders of genealogy that my Mother assembled, I was about halfway through writing Forever After. My heroine traveled to San Francisco on a ship without luggage. When I read my great, great grandmother's first story published in a magazine, I was caught off guard when I found two of her sentences were written verbatim to mine. Also, the scene was under the same circumstances as mine. Eerie, spooky - these were the words running through my head. How could this have happen?
At my next Sacramento Valley Rose chapter meeting our guest speaker spoke about past lives. I told her what had happened to me and asked if I could have inherited my great, great grandmother's memories. She agreed it was possible, but thought it was more than likely that I inherited Mary Kirke.
On one other note, when I read the last two sentences of her story I cried and I still get emotional telling you about them. She was standing on the wharf at San Francisco Harbor. She had just arrived after sailing from the east coast to San Francisco and was waiting for the man she was to marry to meet her. She felt his hand on her shoulder and knew she was home. I have tears telling it again.
I have no idea how her words got in my head, but if it is true and she is living in my head giving me plots, I am not complaining. I have no idea where my ideas come from or why this time period and the gold country has always been important to me, but it's a gift and I appreciate it.
* * * * *Blurb for Forever After:
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.
Marinda Benjamin won't marry until she finds the forever after kind of love. Has the man she's dreamed of loving been beside her all along?
Fulton County, Illinois
"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.
Danforth put his concentration back to the table. He placed three kings on the table -- a heart, a diamond, and a spade. He leaned back and twirled his waxed mustache around his pinky finger. The smirk he directed her way turned her blood cold.
* * * * *About Paisley Kirkpatrick:
Discovering that riding off into the sunset was a lot easier on a computer screen than in real life, not to mention those saddle burns, Paisley Kirkpatrick began her career as an author. Hiding in the Sierra Mountain Range of California with her husband of 44 years, Paisley spends her time roping in the cowpoke of her dreams, or can be found wandering the streets of California's gold rush towns to find inspiration for her books. She might not have found gold in them there hills, but she did find a love for the old west and the prickling of the stories that make up her Paradise Pines series.
Drawing on family history and a healthy imagination, Paisley kicks off her wild ride on a dusty trail with Night Angel. Don't worry your little heads, though. It's the first of many adventures in a time when men were men, and women knew how to put them in their place. If you love your cowboys rugged with a sensitive side, and your heroines with enough fire to light up the western sky, you've got a home waiting in Paradise Pines. Just be sure to bring a six-shooter because the Lady Paisley aims for the heart, and when she fires, she never misses.
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THE PARADISE PINES BOOKS
Night Angel / Available from
Marriage Bargain / Available from
Forever After / Available from