Oakley Hall Annual Literary Award

Dr. Don Arnold presents the Oakley Hall second Annual Literary Award to Arlene Bice. Ernie Fleming looks on with congratulations.

As if to start the new year by reporting on the end of the last year, I tell you now what my shyness didn’t tell you in November 2018. I am appreciative and thankful but wasn’t sure how to pass this news along without sounding like a boast.

Dr. Don Arnold and Ernie Fleming of Oakley Hall Antiques & Art in Warrenton, bestow an annual award of an engraved plaque and $100 cash prize. In November of 2018 this second annual award came to me for “outstanding contributions to Southern literature and encouragement of Southern writers. Don recited a long list of wonderful adjectives (that made me blush, smile in appreciation & weep in surprise a bit) while presenting this beautiful plaque to me at the First Friday Poetry Night held at Working Landscapes on S. Main Street in Warrenton, NC.

Don quotes from Henderson Daily Dispatch, “she has been involved in founding the Warren Artists’ Market, considered a go-to professional for local writers for help in improving their craft and publishing their works. She is a member of the International Women Writers Guild and has received the Florence Poet of Distinction Award.  She has published 12 non-fiction books, many available for sale at Oakley Hall Antiques & Art.



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Questions on Topics that Matter by Vicki K. Silverman


This is a book that raises questions about a lot of things that matter to you, even things that you may have tucked into your back pocket, hoping they will go away. They won’t and the author guides you into finding the answers to those things. If you are at odds with yourself, questioning about mistakes you’ve made and guilt you feel and you don’t know how to go about healing, this book takes you by the hand leading you into a field of how to find answers. 

Silverman opens each chapter with a poem that relates to the upcoming topic. I love this! It brings a different touch that I have never seen offered before in this genre. Scenarios are given that help you identify your problem, discussion suggestions, and finally reflections to ponder.

It’s a great book to use when examining your relationships with the people in your life and also with yourself. A good place to start.  I highly recommend it! When you love it like I have, you may want to consider giving it as gifts. That is another whole field of sharing these topics for discussion and would be great over a cappuccino and a slice of Raspberry Champagne cake at the Coffeehouse or maybe host a Wine ‘n Cheese at your place. What fun and what results it could bring!

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THE FIVE GIFTS, Dr. Laurie Nadel, PhD Book Review

Well, if there was ever an absolutely perfect time to read this book, it is now! With all the extreme weather destruction around the world, when violence erupts in the least expected places and times, when people are losing everything they have and cherish. Dr. Nadel provides guidance to work your way through it, survive and go on to pick up the pieces in the best possible way. The book is not only for those who have had disaster strike but for the others to share empathy and understanding what truly happens in a person’s life.

When violence enters your life, you want to move forward away from the shattered pieces of yourself and pull them all together again. Nadel provides ways to do this with, what she refers to as keys, to calm your mind, body, and spirit.

Personal interviews with EMTs, First Responders, and survivors brings the reader right into events that destroy so many. I highly recommend keeping this book handy to refer to, reread, and let her knowledge help you or a friend through some bad times.

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RASI-Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

I just finished reading this exciting book that has a sharp, sexy gal with a classy name of Ashleigh Wanamaker as the owner and CEO of RASI. I love it when smart women are in charge! She also hires competent guys, like Erik Deckard (easy to look at, too) with experience and know-how to do the jobs she takes on.  Most of the action of retrieving diamonds and bars of gold bullion from a sunken ship takes place in Cape Town, South Africa.  The plot has twists, turns, and surprise, which I am not going to reveal!

It’s easy to tell the writing is by a former U. S Marine Corp. guy with aerospace experience. He makes me wonder if he was in the middle of this caper. I highly recommend it to those who like to read fast action, weapon tech, and an intricate plot full of characters.

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Interior  of a house in Warrenton with many ghosts that love where they are.


This is the time of year when ghosts are talked about whether pretending for a Hallowe’en costume or the real thing. Of course they are present year ‘round but the subject seems to come out of the woodwork in October.

Part of the fun of gathering stories to write a new book on hauntings and things that go bump in the night, is hearing the experiences of other people when they see  that wispy something floating up off the floor, or a body in a red plaid shirt that also happens to be transparent, which everyone knows is impossible. It’s an interesting way to realize it’s time to expand your thinking, to search out some of the new scientific findings that prove what others have been swearing was true all along.

It’s also a lesson in learning to believe what another is saying even though you cannot see what they are seeing. Of course you can practice ways to open your mind to intuitive senses, you know, that sixth sense that you already depend on when meeting someone that you may or may not like instantly. Where does that come from? There are many good books available that can lead the way to learning so much more about the after-life and the before-life, too.

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DSCF2956All this talk about tattoos and the young people (anyone under 50) who foolishly spend a lot of money decorating their bodies with expressive artwork and how it’s going to look and how are they going to feel, when they get to be 75 years old and their muscles are sagging and their skin is getting that old look. Well how does anyone feel when their undecorated bodies are sagging and their skin is turning into crocodile skin? At least they enjoyed the beauty of their tattoos while the designs last.

What something may look like 25 years from now is no way to decide whether you should enjoy something now. What if?  What if? What if? What a lousy way to deny what you want to do now.

The way I see it, decorating one’s body with paint goes back to the beginning of time, right about the same time the cave men and women were painting their activities on the walls of the caves they lived in. So many cultures that came along afterwards followed suit, aborigines in Australia, Native American tribes that originally came from the land of today’s Russia, South American peoples, African tribes, etc.
European royalty of the 17th and 18th centuries had their faces painted with bold beauty marks, boasting little designs of stars and sky-high wigs, men included, thank you. The courts in Asia were partial to painting their faces white before adding the colorful lips and eyebrows, etc.
And really, how many women won’t leave the house without their face power, lipstick and eyebrows. What’s the difference? Style. That’s the only difference.
Is there such a difference from the fancy fashion designers changing the styles of clothing each year? Have you seen some of those gowns worn on the red carpets of film festivals? Sometimes I feel embarrassed for those women! It’s as if the designers spent a lot of time and imagination to create a new way to make women look like clowns. Maybe those women don’t have full length mirrors in their homes, or perhaps they got dressed before they put their contact lenses in.
Body piercings? Not new. Been around since history was first recorded, maybe earlier.
My thoughts? Enjoy your body art. Some of it is downright gorgeous. My hat is off to you artists that create the beautiful designs and the courage those of you have to withstand the pain to have the glory of a tattoo. Enjoy it!


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RANDOM EVENTS TEND TO CLUSTER-Judy Wieder -a Lisa Hagan Literary book

Sorry, I read it on my Kindle so I have no cover picture.
Another memoir that is interesting, unusual the way it’s laid out: her life up against major attention-getting, earth shattering events since the ‘60s. RANDOM EVENTS TEND TO CLUSTER by Judy Wieder is a Lisa Hagen Literary book that kept me riveted, opened me to lifestyles different from my own and struggles far from my own. Which means I learned a lot of new information about life from a writer who lived her life very different from my own.
I’d not heard of Judy Wieder but was intrigued by the title and I do love memoirs. So I jumped in and was rewarded by good writing, a deep pull on my emotions, a re-visit to major events I remember reading about, and a reminder of some personal struggles I survived, too.
This memoir is all about being a writer and the path it took her on. I loved it and recommend it to anyone who likes reading the adventures of others. It brought a lot of memories back to me, to

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