Monday, August 1, 2011

My Life by Paisley Kirkpatrick

Who am I? That’s a good question. I am a wife, a mom, a writer, a seamstress, a mountain woman, and a good friend. It’s not easy to describe yourself when you are basically shy and would rather watch from the sidelines.
I grew up in Northern California in Santa Rosa, the town Luther Burbank settled in because flowers thrive in its cooler climate. We had fog that would roll in from the ocean similar to San Francisco. I married a handsome, hero-type Air Force sergeant 42 years ago. It was the classic love-at-first-sight for me and I’ve never regretted my decision. We had two daughters, nine and a half years apart. Our older daughter died nine years ago from cancer and left a big hole in our hearts.

We’ve basically lived in a mountainous area for most of our marriage. Ken retired from Pacific Gas and Electric Company as, first a lineman and then an electrician, after 33 years, much like my father did. Living in remote areas gave me the chance to expand my love of writing. I joined an International Pen Friends organization in 1989 and out of the 41 pen friends I had, I still write to a half dozen of them. I’ve also had the chance to host Cristache from Romania for three weeks and we stayed with Sue in Scotland a few days while visiting her beautiful country. This penpal opportunity gave me the chance to explore the world through their letters and friendships. We also met and ‘adopted’ Bert, a young Dutch gentleman, 31 years ago while on a camping trip and that friendship opened the door to hosting a Swedish exchange daughter. My husband’s comment was, “How much can one person change the house?” We soon found out. It was an experience of a lifetime and we still consider Magdalena our daughter.
It wasn’t long until we started traveling to Holland (we were actually in Bert’s wedding in a castle in Holland) and spent two extra weeks in Sweden. Now we’ve added Canada, Germany, Scotland, Denmark (where my Dad’s parents came from) and several other countries to our list of places we love to visit. My Mom’s family came here from Scotland and that seems to be my favorite place to visit.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed decorating cakes (none of the little girls in my life forgot I promised to make their wedding cakes), but the greatest joy was making my daughter’s cake.
I have suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome for twenty years now, so the cakes aren’t as fancy as they used to be. I love bringing children-of-my-heart into my life and they say I am like the old lady who lived in a shoe and didn’t know what to do with all her children. They let me love them…. What’s amazing to me is that they are all in the age range of the daughter we lost. I am thinking she is sending them my way.

An extraordinary time of my life was being president of the Kevin Sharp Friends Club for thirteen years.
Kevin grew up nearby and rose to become an award winning country singing artist. He survived life-threatening cancer at 18 and has devoted his life to helping kids with the traitorous disease. We had over 2000 members in the fan club. I sent out 50 newsletters – one every three months – and met so many fantastic people along the way. My partner and I ran a booth at Fan Fair in Nashville five years and I fell in love with the South. You cannot imagine the feeling I had standing on the stage of the Grand Old Opry and experiencing Kevin singing for a full audience. Awesome doesn’t even begin to cover it. And, yes, he is one of my sons-of-my-heart.

We live in a small community located halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe on an acre of land amidst the tall trees.
We love it here – lots of wild life such as bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and birds to keep us company. Our daughter and son-in-law live down the road less than an hour away, a very good thing.

I spend my time writing and sewing. In memory of our daughter, I have made and given away 36 quilts, mostly brightly-colored, crib-size flannel baby quilts and some photo quilts.

I’ve worked as a secretary for certified public accountants, accounts payable clerk for property management and a clerk in an art gallery. The gallery opened a door for me as it was located in the old gold-mining town of Placerville, and located across the street from The Cary House hotel built in 1857. My stories are set in the gold rush era and my research lives around me. So many of the old timers here still love to remember back and talk about when there was gold taken from these hills.

I have written four stories, but none are published yet because I haven’t sent them out. I keep learning new skills and applying them. My goal is to tighten them up and start sending them on their way. I’ve been enjoying some wins and a first place in contests this past year. Since joining RWA and Sacramento Valley Rose in November, 1999, I have been a board member in my local chapter and membership chair for From the Heart for six years. My other chapters are Hearts through History, Celtic Hearts, and Music City Romance Writers, and my blogs are Writers Playground, Scandalous Victorians, Voices of the Heart and Sweethearts of the West.

This is a brief overview of my life’s story. What’s next? I am hoping to see a book with my name on the cover. I believe in miracles and know dreams come true. Thanks for spending time with me today.

44 comments:

  1. Mom, you always manage to make me cry. I love getting that peak-a-boo into your lives with your handsome romance novel hero husband.

    I loved hearing about all your children of your heart, I am so glad I am one of them, you are just like my mom and I think maybe your daughter and my mom are sitting up in heaven conspiring. What do you think?

    Your place looks so beautiful, so peaceful and I know having read some of one of your story, I can feel the magic you experience in your everyday life seep right into the pages of your books.

    I can't wait until your published. Quit tweaking and get to putting your stuff out there so I can go buy it. ;-) This was a wonderful post. Love you mom! Muwah!

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  2. Paisley, what a remarkable woman you are! I loved learning more about you. I always knew you were a special person, and now I know several reasons why. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Thank you, Lizzie. You are a testament as to how lucky I am to have my children-of-my-heart. Thanks for the kick in the backside. I promise to get these stories up to parr and outta here. SOON!

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  4. Hugs, Caroline. You make me blush. I guess I have to admit life is never and has never been dull. Thanks for coming by to visit with me.

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  5. Great post, Paisley! You've shown what a wonderful caring person you are and will always be.

    I love the picture of your house and I loved seeing it in person. It's beautiful throughout. Ken's woodworking skill is fantastic. And the fireplace is amazing.

    Every time I read something you write I learn something new about you.

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  6. Hugs, Denise. It was fun having you and Kevin visit so we could show our new improvements to you. Thanks for your kind comments. :)

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  7. Paisley, I've no words to say except that how blessed all of those you've touched must be. I'd write more but I find the need to find the tissues.

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  8. Renee - thank you. I am sorry I made you cry. Hugs for stopping by.

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  9. Wow, what an amazing woman you are! I'm so blessed to have you as a friend and to be another one of your kids. :-) I love your giving spirit, fun-loving nature and perseverance. You're an inspiration. Love you!

    P.S. Now let's get those manuscripts sent out. ;-)

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  10. I enjoyed getting to know more about you, Lady Paisley! You're as warm and wonderful as I've always thought you were.

    Get those stories out there so the whole reading world can get to know you as well.

    Hugs,

    Nic

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  11. You continually amaze me, Lady Paisley! Thanks for sharing with us this look into your life.

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  12. Hello, Paisley. Wonderful post. Enjoyed the opportunity to learn about your amazing life. I look forward to seeing your books on the shelves. I believe in dreams too. My motto: Dare to Dream!

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  13. Sounds like you have done so many interesting things in your life. I was especially touched by the quilts and how you give them away. I just bought my wife a new machine, and she is learning how to quilt.

    I look forward to getting to know more about you, and seeing your writing being published in the future.

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  14. Oh my Paisley. I knew you were a fantastic, dedicated friend, but I had no idea you did all this in your life. How amazing! Shy or not, you are doing things with your life and not letting the pain of losing your daughter get you down. I am so proud of you.

    I am so glad you allowed us to get to know you better. I, for one, enjoyed this post VERY much!

    Sending you huge hugs. And if I could have found a way to post a GB pic in the comments section I would have.

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  15. Hello, Paisley. It continues to amaze me how special people come into our lives. I was introduced to Lizzie Walker through a mutual friend and now another special person, you, through Lizzie.

    It's wonderful to meet someone who makes such a positive influence on others.

    I'm so sorry about your daughter. I know she must be so proud of you in all the help and love you provide others.

    Your home and surroundings sound amazing and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your life through this blog.

    I look forward to your published stories. :-)
    ~Melissa

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  16. Paisley sweetie! You are an amazing woman.

    Look at all you do or have done. The cakes are beautiful and I loved your house! Kinda jealous of all the places you have been and the people that you know.

    You are a special woman and I appreciate you sharing with us today!!!!

    KISSES from Sarah

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  17. Paisley, what a wonderful story of your life. I loved getting to know you. I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter, and so happy that you have so many other wonderful things in your life.

    I'm like you, I kept learning new things and applying them to my story, and then one day I decided...that's enough, the story is ready. My agent agreed, and she sent it off. Maybe it's time to stop tweaking and take a plunge. It worked for me. And I believe in miracles, too.

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  18. Paisley,
    I'm so glad to have you as a friend. I love the photo of your home in the mountains. Reminds me of all the great times I've had on vacations in the Rockies.
    Can hardly wait to read your stories!
    Your sewing and your quilts are beautiful, and I'm proud to have one of your designs. :-)
    *Hugs*

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  19. Paisley, I enjoyed learning more about you and your beautiful, interesting life. You are an amazing, generous, loving person. You always inspire me and make me feel better. I consider myself fortunate to call you a friend. Big hugs to you!

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  20. How wonderful that you have touched so many lives by "adopting" and looking after so many young people, Paisley. Perhaps your beloved daughter is sending them your way, who can say? It's a lovely thought, you have a lovely home, and you're a lovely person. And I agree with everyone, start working on those query letters! All the best to you, ma'am.

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  21. What a great life story, Paisley! Now, you go and start sending those stories out. You're a wonderful writer! Those stories will find a home.

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  22. Hugs Carla. I am working on shoring up Broken Promises and then need your stamp of approval. Thank you for visiting with me. Love you back!

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  23. Thanks, Nic. I can see it is time to give my characters a chance to be read. That time is getting close. :)

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  24. Thanks Isabel. I am trying and can see the light at the other end of the tunnel.

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  25. Yes, dare to dream, is a great motto. My latest one that has helped me through a lot of not so good stuff is 'you can't fight fate'- it helps to push the reset button for me.

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  26. Thanks Derek. I hope your wife loves making quilts as much as I do. All the bright colors and then the joy in the person wrapped in the love put into them is unbelievable. Best of luck to her with her sewing.

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  27. Doggone - Gerry's photo would just be one more gorgeous face on the blog today. :)

    You're much to kind, but I loved hearing it. I like that we've become friends and that I got to finish your story the other day...even if you surprised me, but I won't say a word about the ending. Hugs!

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  28. Thanks Melissa. It's nice to meet you today. Yes, our Lizzie is a jewel and has brought others into my life as well. One of these days, I hope you will have one of my stories to read.

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  29. Sarah - thanks for the kind words and the kisses. It's been fun sharing parts of my world even though I was nervous about doing it. Hugs back attcha.

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  30. Thanks Anita. We spoke earlier today after I read the post of your beautiful scene. I only hope I can write one as great. It's been fun getting to spend time with you today.

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  31. I'm glad we're friends, too, Jeanmarie. We've been doing this together for many years now. One of these days I will not be the last holdout and can put published next to my name.

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  32. Nicole, you made me cry. I admire you so much and have learned a great deal in your terrific classes. I promise I will get this sexual tension thing down and then I can stumble into the sex scenes. I won't be your one student who didn't get 'it'. :)

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  33. Pat, so nice to have you come for a visit. You are so right, I am truly blessed with all of my children-of-my-heart. They have added so much to my life.

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  34. Okay, Susan. You just keep bugging me and don't let me back down on sending my stories out. :)

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  35. PAISLEY--I am so honored to know you, and work with you on Sweethearts of the West, the blog Caroline and I sweated over so long before we finally gave it a go and began inviting the special authors and writers we especially wanted to be here with us on this journey. Oh, how blessed we are to have you with us--don't we have fun??
    You have done a grand job of lauching our "August Meet the Sweethearts of the West" campaign.
    Thank you, dear heart--Celia

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  36. Celia, you don't play fair. Thank you for your kind words - you made me cry. It is me who should be honored to be included with such a great group of talented authors and special friends. Hugs!

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  37. One of the things I admire most about you is your boundless love and joy in living.

    A couple of us are going to have to wrench those wonderful manuscripts of yours out of your hands and send them in ourselves.

    Take the leap, Paisley, and let more people learn about your area and your joy from your Voice. It comes through strongly in your writing.

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  38. I'm blessed to have you as part of my extended family, both heart and soul. You are truly amazing and I cherish our friendship.

    I agree with Carla, get those great books out. You need to share your characters' amazing worlds, journeys, heartbreak and love with more than just Carla and myself. lol

    Love ya!

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  39. Oh dear it looks like I've opened a door and now I can't close it again. All right, I will stop fooling around and set my mind back on revising the end of my fourth story and then see how it sounds. I am just a scardy cat.

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  40. Are you going to have to proof it for me first, AM? Everyone is too busy right now so I can procrastinate... ;)

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  41. Paisley,

    What an awesome, awesome post. I loved learning about you and your life. What a loving, giving person you are, and what a gift to so many people. I cannot imagine losing my daughter. My sister lost her oldest daughter 2 years ago to cancer, and as you say, it leaves a hole in your heart--for everyone, but especially for parents and siblings. You have been a rock for many people in your life, I can tell by what you've written here. I think my favorite quote applies to you, dear lady: "To the world, you may be just one person; but to one person, you may be the world."
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  42. Thank you Cheryl.I really had no idea I would get so much love back from my blog. How nice it has been!

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  43. Paisley, I can't believe I missed the announcement of this blog. I was so busy with four grandchildren at the time. I want to tell you, I am pleased to call you my friend and so happy that we are still in touch after meeting so many years ago. You are an inspiration to me. As Carla said, let's get the manuscripts out.

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  44. Thank you so much, Mona. Yes, our friendship goes back so many years and we've gone through a lot of ups and downs together. You are a blessing to me...

    I am working on getting the manuscripts finished and ready to go. A friend took me to Annie Get Your Gun at the Music Circus last night and inspired me with new thoughts on improving my first story and make my heroine a kickass character. I feel more focused now and am enjoying my writing again. It will happen or I know one of you will be knocking on my door with blood in your eye to get me to send out my stories.

    Thanks for sticking with me. Hugs to you, my friend.

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