I love story and have since I was old enough to sit and listen while my dad read to my siblings and me in the kitchen while getting our hair cut, or Captain Kangaroo read stories on the television in my grandfather’s house where my family and I lived until I was seven.

cover for The Fairy Tale bookWhen I was seven, I wrote my first book, “Fat Man, Thin Man,” on folded and stapled typing paper. In junior high, as an assignment in English class, I wrote my first mystery on lined tablet paper about a female teen character eerily similar to Nancy Drew. Some of my favorite books that we owned or I signed out from the library were collections of fairy tales and myths, like the Golden Book of Fairy Tales my aunt gave my siblings and me for Christmas. Throughout my school years, when my class was given a writing assignment of any kind, I dove into it with a smile while my classmates groaned.

No surprise, then, that I majored in Creative Writing at Pennsylvania State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation, I married my husband, Bob, and we lived for nine months in his hometown of Pittsburgh (I love that city).

photo of Bob and me

We moved to the Washington DC area, so Bob could get his Master degree in demography at Georgetown. I worked at an insurance company and contributed articles to their in-house magazine, and in my free time, studied textile arts with a local artist.

After the birth of our first son, Stephen, we moved to the Albany area, for Bob’s new job with the state. Two more sons, Christopher and Jason, were born, and between pregnancies, births, and diapers, I learned to weave. A couple of years later, I received a Master’s of Fine Arts in Fantasy in fiction and weaving. For my MFA, I wrote a young adult fantasy manuscript that involved the secret to achieving the royal blue color in dyeing cloth for king’s robes, and hung an exhibit of my framed pictorial weavings.

Phoenix1   Shawl

In the early 90s, I created my business, Nettles and Green Threads ( the name taken from a fairy tale), and sold my wearables and throws woven from luxurious, colorful rayon chenille at craft shows. Individual customers, boutique shops, and galleries from across the country, Europe, South America, and Japan purchased my work. It appeared at resorts like the Greenbrier Hotel (WV) and the Broadmoor (CO), and in museum shops like the Smithsonian’s Renwick.

Even as I spent hours at the loom to fill orders, I wrote, mostly articles for a crafts professional magazine. But weaving is an ancient craft found in myth and fairy tale, and is an active metaphor, so it seems inevitable that in 2006, I completed and self-published, Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom. The book won several awards, including a Bronze in the self-help category in Foreword Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year Awards. Ironically, a year later, I stopped weaving professionally except for a design firm in Baltimore.

Kitchen work areaInstead, I coached other creatives on everything from process to marketing content to booth design. In the fall of 2009, I sent out the first issue of my digital newsletter, Divine Muse-ings, that continues to arrive in readers’ e-mail every week.

In December 2018, my first novel, In the Land of the Vultures, was published. In March of 2019, I celebrated the publication of Tarot for the Fiction Writer, a non-fiction book that shows you how to use the tarot as a tool for storytelling and the creative process.

I am at work on more books, and coaching and editing to help writers tell their stories as well.

Because whether I am leading a workshop, doing a tarot or dream consult for a writer, coaching or editing someone’s book, I am a storyteller.

Paula presents at the Lodge at Woodloch 5-16

Once upon a time…