Monthly Archives: June 2013

More Snaps From Mary’s Gone Wild

Several readers asked to see more photos from Mary’s Gone Wild which I wrote about last time. Here are four. I hope you enjoy them.

The outside of another house she built from recycled  wood and bottles

The outside of another house she built from recycled wood and bottles

Inside each bottle house is more of Mary's art -- painted glass and furniture.

Inside each bottle house is more of Mary’s art — painted glass and furniture.

Mary's boat made from donated bottles

Mary’s boat made from donated bottles

Mary's studio.  The red building in the background is the Coca Cola House.

Mary’s studio. The red building in the background is the Coca Cola House.

A Vision Came to Her, and Mary Went Wild.


Fifteen years ago the Lord came to Mary Paulsen during a dream and told her to start making art, and she obeyed him, even though her husband and mother-in-law laughed at her. After all, red-headed Mary knew nothing about paint or brushes or color therapy or the high cost of supplies. But that didn’t stop her. She had faith.

IMG_0530Mary gathered empty bottles of all sizes and shapes, salvaged windows from tear-downs and renovations. She invited the people of Supply, NC to drop off their unwanted junk. She bought paint and brushes and, later, power tools and went to work.

The result is Mary’s Gone Wild, a dazzling village of play-size houses built by the artist, herself, and that houses a fairy garden, folk art galleries, a museum of more than 6,000 dolls, a Coke-Cola house, a boat sculpture made from wine bottles and more. Because her preferred canvas is glass, this tiny town glowsIMG_0535 during daylight. People come from all over the United States to buy her folk art painted on old windows. Depictions of roosters, flowers, cartoonish worms, dancing crabs. Many others come to talk to Mary, browse her creations, and leave donations to help her feed tens of thousands hungry children in North Carolina.

No one, except Mary, is laughing at her now.

You can find Mary at 2431 Holden Beach Rd. SW, Supply, NC. She welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 365 days a year.

I’m Dating My Cousin and Other Near Truths

The Tour of the Unknown Cousins has started, and, as I admitted via FB to the cousin I will meet first, I’m both family-tree-printableexcited and a bit nervous.

Becky said that she was, too, and likened us to couples who meet on or some other online dating service, learn about each other through emails and a couple of phone calls, and then come to the big day when they face each other across a cup of coffee. The only difference is that we will be drinking wine. And we’re both fifty-something women.

Of course she’s right, which calmed me until on the hottest day of this year I went for a haircut and left the salon looking like a Marine two weeks into a civilian-transition program. Lucky for me, my hair grows quickly, but four days isn’t enough time to look like someone whose head wasn’t recently shaved to stave off lice. And more than one cousin wants to take pictures, which I’m dreading because vanity is part of my DNA.

But as my dear father says way too often, “It is what it is.” I normally adjoin this with, “Until it isn’t,” but I can’t say that now.

So I’m on the road, first stopping in Clayton to visit the cousins I’ve known since birth before proceeding on to Wilmington for a one-night stand with my HOBL, then onto Holden Beach to meet the first of my unknown cousins, and, at last, Winston-Salem where I will meet a whole slew of kin. I’m not even there yet, but as you can read here, as I leave my military hometown full of more Yankees and Midwesterners than Southern natives, my speech and syntax are changing. I feel a “y’all” coming on, which is a comfort.

Stay tuned, because in addition to this, three of my family members have taken DNA tests, and archival research by my older brother has turned up some interesting finds.

Early in life I was told our family was descended from German royalty, which was not true, and those of you who read this blog, know that for many years I falsely believed (and) hoped) I was the daughter of Elizabeth Taylor.

The truth is a lot stranger.

By the way, my novel, Cooley & Rose, is available in paperback from and as an e-book for all types of readers. Both are now on sale. Either would make a fine birthday present, Fourth of July hostess gift, a Labor Day beach read. Plan ahead; buy now.

Goodread’s All Author Blog Blitz – Meet Lisa Day

June 15 is Goodread’s All Author Blog Blitz which means Lisa Day, an author with whom I was paired a few days ago, is posting on this page, and my post is appearing on the blog of sci-fi/fantasy/ horror writer David Nicol. Lisa lives in North Carolina. David is in Wales. I’ll be back here in two weeks.

My name is Lisa Day. I’m fairly new to the writing game. Some great people helped me along the way. They saved me not only time in learning what a new writer needs to know in this relationship between the writer and social media, but they helped me not to fall victim to the many scams out there.
The first thing I learned, after setting up your Facebook Page or pages is to begin blogging and grow an audience. But when I began my blog, I discovered I am not a blogger in the normal sense of the word. This knowledge left me with a dilemma. Now what?
As you move through the pages of my blog you of course will see my books. You will also notice there are pages showcasing other writer’s works. These are the pages that give me more pleasure than I realized they would. Each new writer who lets me share his work validates me, not as a writer, but as a person. I find pleasure helping others. Today’s social media is now one of the fastest ways to spread the word about anything, especially books.
I hail from New Jersey before ‘Jersey Girls’ became famous. Having lived in the south for so many years, I now think of myself as a retired southern belle, just born in the wrong century. So, what else am I to do but write those pesky stories that live my head?
Please take a few minutes and explore the pages of my blog. You will find my latest book. Wolfkeeper’s Woman there. Below is the blurb from the back cover of my book.
“Cassie was now alone with her husband dead and son abducted. She stood before the one she hated. Her only goal: Her child must live.
The instant Wolfkeeper took the child all three of their lives were forever changed. To save them all, Cassie had to make the ultimate sacrifice.
As a warrior without a heart Wolfkeeper took from her everything she loved. As a man he discovered she filled his heart. How will he ever be able to make amends?”

You can also find me here and there:
Facebook Author page:
To purchase Wolfkeeper’s Woman

Words of Cautions and Words of Thanks

First, a PSA

Last Friday I was handed a message to call someone named J—– W—–. Neither the name nor the phone number was familiar to me. My HOBL said it was a business call, but he could not remember the company’s name. I usually would toss such a message into the trash, but on that day, I was expecting information from a book distributor, so I called.

When the phone was answered, there was chaos on the other end – several voices talking, things being dropped. It sounded like a small group of young people sitting at a long table, eating lunch and shouting to each other. At least ten seconds passed before someone actually spoke to me, and , even then, I could not make out the words because of the noise in the background.

Then all went quiet, as though the group had been shushed or the speaker function had been disabled. On the line was a young man whose accent was one that we all recognize from call centers, but one I’d rather associate with champion spellers or good doctors rather than what I later concluded was a scam artist. I asked to speak J—– W——- and gave his the extension. The man asked me to hold, but he did not put the phone on hold or mute. There were none of the clicks associated with a call being transferred. Then the same young man said, “This is J—–W—–.”

Right off, he asked my name, and I told him. Then he wanted to know if I was at my computer.

“Excuse me, “ I said, “what company is this?” He gave me a high-tech sounding name, which I will not divulge here because there might be a legit company out in the world that shares the same one. Besides, I imagine this guy changes company names, his own name and phone numbers on a near daily basis.

Again, he asked if I was at my computer and told me to turn it on immediately. I did not do a thing. He told me my computer had a virus. When I asked how he knew that, he said information on his monitor told him, and he was going to help me fix the bug. Funny, nobody has ever called and offered such help before. Even before virus programs were developed, I would go into my registry and do the tedious work of cleaning it up.

“Whom do you work for?” I asked. (And, yes, I dangle my prepositions on a regular basis when I talk.) He named his company. “No,” I said, “Who pays your company to do this?” He would not say. Instead, he insisted that I start up my computer. “We detected the virus last week. We need to fix this.”

Throughout this conversation, I was sitting at my Mac, which is almost virus-proof. I had seen no evidence of any problems. “Which computer are you talking about?”

“It’s a Microsoft problem.”

“And you detected it last week?”

“Yes,” he said.

And that’s when I knew for sure I was being scammed, because my other computer, a PC laptop that seldom goes online, had been unplugged for more than two weeks.

“I can’t do this now, “ I said. “I’m waiting for a call. I’ll be back in touch next week.”

The guy on the other end did not thank me for my time or offer any pleasantry. Instead, he cut me off.

I went to the PC, plugged it in and powered it up. After checking my virus program for updates, of which there were none, I ran a full scan. All was fine.

Early in my marriage, my HOBL and I spent two years dealing with Identity Theft. This was just after President Clinton signed a bill making it a crime but before the law was enacted. The local police had no idea how to track such things. As a former reporter, however, I knew some handy investigative techniques and how to apply them online. Because of cross-referenced information gathered from banks and businesses that had been targeted, I was able to get the Secret Service involved.

So, Friday, even though J——– W——— gained nothing from me, or at least I have seen no evidence that he did, I filed an online complaint with the federal government, outlining our conversation, providing the telephone numbers and call times involved. Who knows if that’s enough for those investigators to do anything, but I do hope this post might help someone.

If you receive such a call, please take a name and number and the reason for the call from the “tech,” and then call your computer company, concierge service, and maker of your virus protection software to see if the call is legit. And if it isn’t, report it. The federal government has an online internet complaint page.

Now, Something Lighter

As a supportive gesture, a dear friend who is overworked and has no time to read, bought my novel, Cooley & Rose, in e-book form and sent it to his father.

“Why did you do that?” said his wife, who’d already read the novel in an early form and is the person who told me this story. She asked because her father-in-law is an 83-year-old retired CIA employee who reads thrillers, — not quirky, road stories about two flawed characters whose marriage is on the rocks. Although I was grateful and touched by the support from her husband, I was a bit sad that the book would probably go unread,

Almost three weeks passed. The wife called me to say her father-in-law not only read Cooley & Rose but loved it so much that he had been talking about it for two weeks.

Everyday I’m hearing from more and more men who are taking time to sit down with Cooley & Rose.
I’ve also heard from several women who confessed that reading the novel has made them kinder to their spouses.

Isn’t that something? Cooley & Rose is spreading the love.cover final 3-2-13

Feel free to comment on this site about your experience with the story, or go to the online store from where you bought your book to comment and review.

By the way, the novel is available in a trade paperback from and as an e-book from online reader stores. You can read the first chapter for free.