Who I'm Reading

  We’ve all had a teacher, or two, in our lives that we can point to that made a huge difference in our development in one way or another.  Well, the first time I met Paula Shene, she was telling me I had a voice. Now for this fledging writer, that knew nothing about this art, that was huge. And I’m sure others have gotten words of encouragement and suggestions in the same vein from this lovely woman around the Bookrix community.

Paula Shene was born in Brooklyn, New York where she spent her formative years. She told me that, “My life, like my tastes from literature to food is eclectic.” It seems the development of that eclectic favor began early on, when little Paula spent her winters in a downward spiraling neighborhood while her summers were spent in the playground of the rich and famous, the Hamptons.  Her first book, according to her mother, was the Montgomery Ward Catalogue where she learned her letters, names, objects, prices and value. “A Truly good book in which to start,” she told me.

When Paula graduated from high school, with honors in secretarial business, her desire was to become a school teacher and attend Hunter College in New York; but the political landscape, at that time, wiped the state free tuition off the books and implemented all paid. Paula found she couldn’t afford the cost of college, even though she had a partial scholarship.  Like many of our young people today, Paula was faced with a decision to make about her future.  She wanted a college education, but didn’t let her lack hinder her from one. She continued to work during the day while taking college courses at night. Like everything in her life, Paula did things her way. She took courses that interested her, not those that would necessarily garner a degree. Her interests also reflected her eclectic style, she chose diverse subjects like Social Science, Humanities and Business. In Social Science, she took courses like genetics, psychology and criminology.
 “I think I was trying to understand why mankind acts the way it does by taking those courses.” 
Her Humanities courses had her indulging her love of the arts. Paula is an artist, but she told me that she is one that only occasionally put chalk or pencil to paper.
“I never did well in oils, but I have some of my water colors kicking around here.”
 Her communication course had her overcoming her fear of speaking in public. She learned how to properly write a script, direct a film and produce a spoof on television commercials of her day. She can also layout a plan for a week’s format for a radio station, impressive. She met her best friend in College while they took night classes together, and later married Paul Shene. They traveled and lived throughout this marvelous country called the United States. Although, life situations prevented Paula from graduating from college, it didn’t hinder her life education.

 Paula worked while her husband obtained his degree in teaching. She became his study partner, sounding board, thesis editor and producer; receiving the same education he had, only without getting the diploma. It seems this would be Paula’s modus operandi for learning.  Paula’s life long love of books and reading led her to wanting to become a Librarian, but instead worked as an apprentice, again, receiving the education without the sheepskin.  During one of their five transcontinental moves, Paula lost her prized portfolio of drawings. The collection held a group of drawings she did for the children she taught at her church. The church had a handful of parishioners, and every Wednesday night she taught a small art class for the children, until one of the kids told the neighborhood. She ended up with thirty-five to forty children ranging in age from 21/2 to seven, during all the art work including turning the week’s lesson coloring paper into puzzles for the younger in the group. 
When they lived in North Dakota, Paula finally got to use what she learned in her Communication course. She worked at an NPR station, were she was required to get her disc jockey license. She actually had to learn schematics to run a station, unlike today were everything comes canned and push buttons and testing for a license is not necessary. I didn’t know that, she also revealed that she had a bit of agoraphobia at this time and the best way she knew how to overcome it was to take the train. She took it alone from Rolla, ND to St. Paul, MN.
She told me victoriously, “I aced the test.”
The couple returned to the Hampton’s area in the mid 80s, where she continued her education while working as the Director of two divisions at a college that was part of the Long Island University.  The college opened the year she graduated from high school and it’s the same college where she met her husband almost twenty years before.
Paula has written a column for a church in another area, where she interviewed, culled, prayed, and turned out columns spotlighting the life and times of a special lady each month for almost three years before returning to the North East upon the death of a relative.

While going through this interview, I was thankful that Paula let me peek into her world, but her story would not be complete without her husband, Paul. A college professor, Paul taught at the same college where Paula worked as a Director. He’s worked at NYC  as an ESL teacher and for a year at Arthur Kill prison on Staten Island.  When they moved to Florida, to take care of his parents, Paul taught at the Eckhard prison, the only privately run prison for boys who are under eighteen and killers, in the United States.  The couple seems to have the same heart for matters while using their abilities and talents in different ways.
Like Paula, Paul wanted to write books and started several in his thirties, but never finished. In the earliest part of their marriage, he did a weekly feature in the local paper, after researching and presenting an extensive report of relatives and co soldiers that served in the Civil War, from the upstate NY region in which he was raised. They've owned businesses, working side by side, sung, and/or acted together on television, local churches, prisons, and most recently at a nursing and rehabilitation center, back in the Hamptons.  They have three sons, two with children, both of them with a girl and a boy.

The very first book Paula wrote and produced was a soft book for her youngest son who was six months old and the story was titled Prescott’s First Book. It was a touchy/feelie book with about ten pages, another causality of the moving. He is now her illustrator for the series, The Chronicles of the K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street; Mandy The Alpha Dog being the first.  

Mandy The Alpha Dog was published with a company that still holds the restricted rights for four more years, but Paula has decided to go with Indie publishing for the rest of her series. Most are on BookRix.com now for free while she slowly enlarges the stories for sale.  The first, in the series is called Captain Snooper, a present for her youngest grandson’s fifth birthday this just last week.  

Paula is an avid reader; but said she doesn’t have a favorite author. “There are too many I favor but not one over another.” Paula usually has three books going at any given time from non fiction for learning, right now it’s on internet marketing, to the paranormal. ‘I write the way I read, quickly and eclectically. ‘

Paula hasn't won any contests on BookRix, but she has won them.  “I’ve not entered any contest with the expectation of winning.  Rather, I use the contests as an exercise in writing in a particular genre or on a specific topic.”   Paula tells me she has her readers, her reviews, and her books, and an extended family and friends that either buy her books or when reading the free books give her feedback.

“While a Christian, I still find myself thinking I’ve been here before on this testing ground, and I really need to pass the course this time around.”

Paula tells me she has five cultures in her genetic makeup. “We, like lemmings continue to return to our roots.”  Both her and her husband, have Iroquoian lineage. Paul is from the Mohawk Nation, and Paula is from the Cherokee Nation.  They diverge here, Paul, into Irish and Paula into, Irish, English, German, and Spanish Mexican.  Another but weird, proven fact that Paul found  is that his paternal great grandfather killed Paula’s paternal great grandfather in the Battle of the Wilderness during the Civil War.   

Author's Choice
This book is part of her children series.
She has contributed this story to children charities under the Peacock Writers' Banner.

Blurb Mason, the oldest dog in the pack calls all the dogs to a meeting in the yard, away from his humans, as he tells his life story and his need to say good-bye.
It's a beautiful story, brought tears to my eyes
A sad story with a gentle moral
Well written, telling of an age old story of parting.
Written as only a true animal lover could, and with spirituality

From the Author
The Peacock Writers’ banner - is a group of writers writing for children’s charities, the third in the series of books is scheduled for Fall 2012. The book can be gotten in either e book or print at Amazon, all proceeds go to the children’s charities, called The Rain Cloud’s Gift.
My Favorite

 Two sisters share a night of chilly psychological terror. Will they get to the root of the evil in this room and solve the mystery surrounding this house.
Spooky story on a cold stormy night!
Wow Paula, I love this!
Great story! I loved it, will there be more?
I read this book during one of my weekends when I read only stories 
of horror and the macabre and welling enjoyed this story.

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