Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Life in a Nutshell

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
I was born at the end of WWII. Right after the war ended, life was easy and people were happy to have the horrors over with. We were an average family - probably considered boring in these times. Santa Rosa, California, is where my younger brother, Steven, and I grew up. My mother was the 'happy' housewife and stay-at-home mother. My father walked to work at the gas and electric company every day.

My education was in the public school systems. After graduating from Santa Rosa High School, I studied business at Commerce Business College and came out with secretarial skills that I still use in my writing career. I always wanted to be a secretary and ended up spending several years working for Certified Public Accountants in Santa Rosa and then Sacramento. It's a good thing I loved to type because we had to type every tax return page without error. It's why I became a qualified statistical typist.

I met my husband at an Air Force picnic when I was 23 years old. I knew the minute I saw Ken that he was the man I wanted to marry. Four months after we met, I put him on a plane and watched him fly off to Vietnam for 366 days. Five days after he returned to the states, we got married in a beautiful chapel in Sacramento and have been happy for 45 years. Our daughters were nine and half years apart. We lost our older daughter to cancer when she was 32 years old. Our younger daughter is married and works in a County Clerk's Office.
Writing has always been part of my life. In school I went a bit overboard with term papers. I don't think I ever turned in a project less than 2 inches thick. In 1989 I joined an International Pen Friends Organization and wrote to 41 foreign pen pals for years. Now I am down to fifteen from the original group and think of them as good friends. Cristache from Romania spent three weeks with us, one of my German pen pals and his wife visited us for a day, and we spent three days with in the home of my Scottish penpal and her husband. It's been an amazing part of our lives to have friends in so many foreign countries.
Our 'foreign children' have been a major part of our lives for what seems like forever. We met Bert on a camping trip 33 years ago. He was 21 and touring the states with several other young people at the time. When he got married, we traveled to his homeland of Holland and were part of the wedding party in a grand castle. Our Swedish daughter, Maggie, was an exchange student from Malmo, Sweden for the school year 1986-87. To this day she and her husband consider us their 'other' parents. Luckily for us, we have been able to visit their homes and they ours on many occasions.
In 1996 I became the president of country singing artist, Kevin Sharp's fan club. Those 12 years I worked for him are some of the most treasured moments in my life. I was so proud of Kevin when his first song, Nobody Knows, was No. 1 on the charts for four weeks. My fan club partner and I spent five summers in Nashville running Kevin's fan club booth for a week of greeting his fans and supervising his meet and greets. An extra bonus was standing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry while Kevin sang.
I started making quilts after we lost our daughter. I have given away 54 quilts in her honor over the years. The first quilts were for babies. I make them out of brightly colored flannel. My husband is the one who finds the best prints and colors in the fabric stores. I have also made quilts with bookcovers on fabric and one wedding quilt.

I actually started having that 'I want to be a published author' dream in 1989. I joined Romance Writers of America in 1999 and after 22 years of practicing the craft, making lots of writer friends, and finishing two novels with a third one started, I received an offer for five books from Desert Breeze Publishing on Christmas Eve, 2011 at 10:35 -- but who is remembering? My sixth historical romance novel is what I am working on now. Since we were living in the Sierra Mountains of California, near where the gold discovery happened, I was able to write about the 1849 gold rush. I loved the history surrounding the area and I wrote what I loved.
Three months ago, we left my native state of California and moved to my husband's hometown in northern Wisconsin. We love living here with the Tomahawk River as our back border. I have the greatest view from my desk in my sunroom office. As I finish writing Paradise Pines Series: Stealing Her Heart, the last book in my Paradise Pines Series, I am looking forward to getting to know my new area and writing the Northwoods Series. This is an exciting time in our lives. We are getting to know my husband's classmates and they are involved in selling my books and making me feel part of their community.

My newest book, Broken Promise, was released on May 21, 2014. It can be purchased in ebook or print format at Desert Breeze Publishing at
 http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/paradise-pines-broken-promise-epub/ and at Amazon http://amzn.com/B00KI268Z6  


  1. You've had an interesting life, Paisley. Love the view from your office.

  2. Thank you Caroline. I can't say it's been boring at all. I almost have my office organized and love spending time out there. :)

  3. What an interesting life. Sorry for your daughter, it must have been so hard to go through her loss. I'm glad quilting helped you though. And I find that writing helps, too. Nice view from your office. :) And nice meeting you here, Paisley.

  4. This is why I looked forward to this month of meeting everyone. Of course, we sort of know each other, but certainly, only the tip of the iceberg of our lives.
    You have led a fascinating international kind of life.
    I can't imagine losing a daughter at a young age. 32 is not even getting started on life. I do sympathize with you on your loss.

    The most interesting part of your post is the number of pen pals you had, and how many you still have. That is amazing. As a teenager, I had one pen pal, a girl my age who lived in England. I wish I'd kept her letters. By the time we graduated, we just stopped writing.
    Oh, I envy you your desk and view. How beautiful. While I wouldn't live in that part of the US on a bet--I would freeze to death--I do hold great respect for the fabulous beauty of the area. Picturesque.
    Thanks for your post. I would say you have led a very exciting life!

  5. Great post Paisley. We sure miss you here in California but I am so glad that you are adjusting and making new friends in Wisconsin.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  6. Paisley, I love learing more about you. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I enjoyed learning about your international pen pals. You truly are such a caring, talented person. In all you do. Even turning the painful, heartbreaking tragedy of losing your daughter into a beautiful remembrance of her by making baby quilts is so beautiful. Congratulations on meeting your own hero and 45 years together. And best wishes to you both in your new home. Wisconsin is beautiful, and the view from your desk will be mighty inspiring. Cannot wait to read your Northwood series. :))

  7. Paisley,

    It's great to learn more about you! As the new cowgirl on the ranch this month is going to be as fun for me as readers. Sounds like you've had an interesting life.


  8. Liette, so nice to meet you, too. I do so love the view from my office and find it so peaceful and relaxing. Thank you for joining me here today. :)

  9. It definitely will be colder here than in California, Celia. We are already seeing some of the trees turning to the fall colors and they are gorgeous.

    I loved having my penpals and am so glad I have kept some of them. I also had one other penpal in Denmark. The interesting thing about him was his grandparents and my grandparents were friends. He became a doctor and stopped writing when he headed off to college.

    Thanks for coming by today and helping me with my post as well. :)

  10. Waving Patricia. Yes, we are making so very nice friends and adapting to our new lifestyle. It was a good move for us even though I miss everyone in California. Hugs!

  11. Hi Ashley. I can't wait to start working on the Northwoods Series. There is so much history here to discover.

    I do love making those quilts. The other half of my office is being setup as my sewing room. The sunroom is quite large and able to handle all my 'treasures' and still leave room for writing and sewing.

  12. So nice to meet you, Kirsten. It is fun to get to know people you've known for many years. Thank you for stopping by and chatting today.

  13. I like the idea if quilts for book covers--very inventive, Paisley. I'm sorry though that you lost your daughter to cancer. 32 is so young. We share the same historical beginning--post WWII babies.
    I never took typing classes. It sure would have come in handy.
    Congratulations on your extraordinary marriage. You have truly been blessed.
    Your sunroom office sounds so dreamy.
    How wonderful to have had all those marvelous pen pals and exchange students. It seems so exciting to visit friends in other countries...such adventures!
    It was so good getting to know more about you.
    Continued success to you in all you do.

  14. Hi Sarah, thank you so much for visiting with me today. I know our lives are much richer by having contact with friends around the world. My Father's parents came to this country from Denmark when they were in their 20's so have always been around people with accents. I actually love accents and think they are charming. :)

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  16. Loved the blog. Learning more about the amazing woman you are never gets old.

  17. Thank you, J. Morgan. What else can I say?

  18. I got teary-eyed at the quilts, Paisley. What a terrible loss...we drove thru Placerville the other day and I thought of you! Best of luck with life in Wisconsin and your wonderful stories!,

  19. Paisley, you have a wonderful family, such great photos! I'm sorry you lost your daughter. Such a tragedy. I'm glad you have your writing and quilt making. The quilt book covers are a very cool idea.

  20. Aww thank you, Tanya. Those quilts are a work of love for me and have given me a lot of comfort. Thanks for coming by and I hope you said hi to Placerville for me. I loved living close to there.

  21. Hi Lyn - thanks for coming by. The first book cover quilt went to Karen Rose Smith my mentor and the dear woman who told me about RWA. I owe her a lot of happiness and she loved that quilt. Me, too.


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