me, chrisDSCF4111   What’s more exciting than winning a 2-hour consultation with Build the Fort author Chris Heivly? Actually having my consultation with him, at his headquarters on W. Main Street in Durham! That’s what.
Always aware of my surroundings, I was especially delighted in the set-up laid out before me. It is like a bee hive with all the different pockets of work spaces filled and everyone in them happily busy at work. This is a cheerful place, full of bright colors that instill confidence at first glance. It’s a place where dreams are confided and fulfilled. I’ve read the book (review posted already) loved it and now I am here to fill in the blank spaces. That’s with Chris’ guidance, of course.
The time has come to branch out, to make a plan to learn what avenues I need to travel in order to offer my talents and services to those who will benefit from them on a business level. I’ve been volunteering for many, many years now and it’s time to spread my wings and fly.
Chris is fabulous! He’s easy to talk to, immediately understands all my inadequate feelings of not knowing, how and where, to proceed next. We talked with comfort like I’d known him since he was born. That is very cool. He was also very helpful in getting me on my feet. I came home with a notebook loaded with ideas and scribbles that will direct me with confidence. I’m ready to set out and set the world aglow!
Thanks to LISA HAGAN BOOKS! For this great opportunity in winning this champion of wins!
A bunch of thanks to Chris Heivly, instructing me on how to Build the Fort! I’m on my way!

Leave a comment

Filed under book review, books, general, Uncategorized, women, women's stories, writing

BUILD THE FORT by Chris Heivly (book review)

DSCF4111   Well, really, don’t you remember building forts when you were a kid? We were lucky enough to have a small wooded area that we neighborhood kids converged on (and later my own four sons). Actually we built a tree house with connecting logs running to other trees. I cannot imagine how one of us didn’t break a bone in the process.
On rainy days, my brother and I built forts inside, using sheets and blankets incorporating the dining room table and chairs. It was great fun that left me with fond memories of building a fort. Thinking of those days pulled at me with interest to read Build the Fort by Chris Heivly.
This book came to me just in time. I’ve been wanting to spread my wings and help guide readers who want to become writers. I know what I want to do, but need to know how to go about it. This book is all about ‘how to’ in an easy way to follow.
Chris is the co-founder of MapQuest and The Startup Factory, sharing his knowledge with passion, about facing fear, overcoming it, and how to handle building your business with confidence. He breaks it down to five easy steps that he uses building a fort as a metaphor to make the task simple for the reader to understand.
He tells us how to socialize our ideas, choosing who to socialize it to. While he encourages us, he guides us to miss the pitfalls, laying it all out before us so it is clear. He isn’t shy about revealing his weak spots-the ones he doesn’t want to deal with and tells us how to do that, too.
In reading the book, learning about bartering is included, along with giving something back. Really, Chris covers it all. It’s a great little book, one the reader doesn’t get lost in, but finds her way to exactly where she wants to be. Get a copy. Today, if possible.
Oh, and yes, I love the way he lays out the plans for Building the Fort. It brings back memories.



Leave a comment

Filed under book review, Uncategorized, women


DSCF4089 Arlene Sandra Bice 2016.1.26

How is it, when I step out the day after
when everything is still covered by 6 inches
of snow
this solitary leaf
dressed in autumn colors
lays above it all

How does that happen on this day
it sinks into the wet stuff uncovered
by snow
where has it come from
this lonely leaf
bold to be alone

How is it making a mark in this life
leaving an imprint when I pick it up
the snow
doesn’t touch the veins or the tips
yet lays everywhere else
I cannot put it down

the leaf comes inside with me.



Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, reflection, snow, Uncategorized


The_Afternoon_Crowd_Cover_for_Kindlejpg If you are planning to cozy up with a good book after a day of creating snow sculptures, here is a brief excerpt from THE AFTERNOON CROWD.

Arlene S. Bice © 2016.1.24.

they came with bruised, calloused hands coarser than sandpaper
to lift a shot of whiskey chased by a cold mug of beer, a reward
for hard work done out in the elements, thanks not given, except
what they gave themselves; not a lot of time to linger; even on
Christmas Day horses had regular schedules to keep and these
workers were there to keep ‘em

they came from all parts of the country, from Canada, and the
Caribbean, landed here in the center of New Jersey, to work on
one particular horse farm or another; how did they find us,
I wondered
some from the west or mid-west; wasn’t that a
reversal of history?

They came as owners
water boys
stable hands

more on the list
of guys & gals
hard working
no shifting duties
either you were good
carrying your own weight or you were out

the owners came more often in the evening, for dinner
when the daytime bar folks did not; or they came for a
few celebratory drinks after the races were over

one trainer/owner
who I happened to like above others
usually a pleasant fellow
a common sense guy
never nasty or stupid
always came in alone;

this day he came in, dragging
he carried the look of the lonely on him
I knew he was married and I knew not happily
and I knew this day that his trouble was the
wife, not the horses;
a man has a certain look about him when it is
a woman that weighs on his mind; my heart
went out to him as my ears just listened, that
was all he wanted and couldn’t get anywhere
else to go along with his shot and beer

a year later, when he came in our positions were
“good god, you look terrible!” he said, “what’s
happened to you?’ etc. etc. etc.

Leave a comment

Filed under American History, books, historical taverns, New Jersey history, poetic narrative, Poetry, snow, Uncategorized



It’s been a few days now, that we have been snowed in. Isn’t it lovely? Once you know you can’t get to the workplace, you can relax and enjoy it. I hope you have. Here is a little poem that reflects how I learned to accept what Mother Nature sends to us, since I moved to the forests of North Carolina.

Arlene S. Bice © 2016.1.22.

It was only last year
the nine years previous, too
when I looked at the sky to know
that it was going to snow

and when I woke
the ground covered in white
peace blanketed the entire day
lovely to spend it this way

no need to run out
for eggs, bacon, and bread
the fridge is full, pantry, too
no emergencies to do

so I can use the day
with music thru the house
making biscuits, lots of butter
writing words to softly mutter

a day of staying in
enjoying it without the stress
just gazing out the window
reading, singing, about snow

without the TV hype
the day shows up different
positive, homey, no employ
a day of beauty to enjoy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, reflection, snow, Uncategorized, writing prompt

STEEPED IN TEA by Annelies Zijderveld BOOK REVIEW


I confess. I’m a tea drinker. I was brought up on tea with milk and sugar with my breakfasts in the wintertime. As an adult, coffee entered the picture, even espresso (Loved driving to Little Italy on Canal St., NYC in past years) until about ten years ago when I returned to my first love, tea. A small collection of quality tea pots, fine china tea cups, tea mugs with infuser, and tea cups that fit over top of one-person tea pots when not in use, sit on my cabinet shelf, in full view. I LOVE TEA.
Herb teas (tisanes) were unheard of in our household. We drank English Breakfast Tea. Period. No choices.
Steeped in Tea is where Annelies Zijderveld shares her knowledge of a variety of teas, shows us what they look like, where they grow, and informs us on how they can be used in cooking. I also love to cook, especially new, exciting ways, and she offers Mint Pea Soup for these biting-cold days, made with Moroccan mint, green tea and Lapsang Souchong Salt. Recipes for Cauliflower Steaks with Tea Umami Sauce, Chamomile Risotto with Currants, Jasmine Cacao Nib Meringues, and so much more. The color pictures are for drooling over, calling me to get into the kitchen and fire up the kettle.
This is a delightful book for anyone who enjoys tea, cooking the un-ordinary, or who would like to explore in an area they have never been before. It also makes a beautiful, everlasting gift.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Leave a comment

Filed under book review, books, cookbooks, SPEAKEASY, tea,, tea,, Uncategorized


2014 & 2015 ANTHOLOGY

The Warren County Anthology (working title) submissions considered are: poetry, and personal impression. Only one prose piece will be accepted per writer; the maximum is 1500 words per piece. You may submit up to 3 poems; maximum-30 lines per poem. Include a bio up to 75 words. Submissions must meet our guidelines to be accepted, include a bio.

Write about anything relating to Warren County, North Carolina i.e. about your living here, having family here, visited here, been impressed by reading about it, or seeing it through the eyes of another.

The anthology is open to all writers. Place your contact information in the upper left hand corner of each page submitted. Name, address, and email.

Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2016. You will be notified of acceptance by June 30. The anthology will be available for purchase by Nov. 15, 2016.

Mail your submissions and inquiries to: or

The Warren Artists’ Market; Arlene Bice, Thomas Park, Sterling Cheston, Vernita (Nana Vee) Terry.

Leave a comment

Filed under anthology, Poetry, reflection, Warren Artists' Market, warren county nc, writing