Category Archives: Writing

Just What I Always Wanted

My very first blogging buddy, Nancy Roman, of Not Quite Old, has written a book!

Amazon Image

Amazon Image

I admit, I was a little nervous to read it.  I always am, whenever I pick up a book by someone I know.  Because I worry that I might not like it.  And then what do I say?

When it’s a book written by a blogging buddy, though, I am being ridiculous.  Because I already know that I like them.  I already know their writing style.  I already know that they can spin a good yarn.

Still, I shouldn’t have worried.  Not with Nancy.  Because Nancy is that good.

Just What I Always Wanted is the story of a fifty year old woman who changes her life dramatically, in part by adopting a pregnant 14 year old misfit.  Nancy’s gift for dialog and understatement, makes the story of the interaction between Cynthia and Shannon, as they try to form a life together, simultaneously poignant and hilarious.  It’s a story of hope, of love, of commitment and forgiveness.

After the real-life events we’ve all been living through, this warm-hearted story shined up my innate optimism just a bit.

Buy it.  Read it.  Get it here.

Would I steer you wrong?



Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Fashion, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other, Writing

On Your Way Out

She’s leaving. What a shame. What a pity.

Can I make a confession? I think that Barbara Walters is largely responsible for the sad state of our news media.  She started the trend that became the norm:  news that focuses on the scandal, the people, the intrigue instead of the, ummmm, news.

Yup, I lay it all on Baba.

Before Baba, TV news was above the fray.  Remember Cronkite?  Huntley/Brinkley?  Howard K. Smith and Harry Reasoner?  News was news.  It focused on what happened. On the event and its place in the current day and its context in history in a serious way.   It was informative, not entertaining.  And that, I believe, is how it should be.  Because news is serious business and it should be treated as such.  Is it today?  I don’t think so.  Had Barbara Walters never existed, I honestly don’t think we could have the clowns at Fox — or on the left either.  News was news and sitcoms and variety shows took care of entertainment.

Since Baba, news has been completely people-focused. Everything is personality – nothing is action. I think that is very wrong.

Since Baba, news-folk have looked for the scandal, for the tears in the story — instead of the story itself. No story is complete without tears. Without scandal. Without some personality saying or doing something that can then be replayed, discussed, analyzed as if that matters more than the results of their actions.

Of course I’m biased.

I knew Harry Reasoner, slightly. One of his kids was (and is) a close friend of mine. So I was in and out of his house growing up. He was a great dad – involved but not intrusive. Interested. Humorous – very humorous.

I hung around his house when the folks in the Nixon White House took a particular dislike to him. That alone is a feather in his cap.

I hung around his house when he became anchor of the ABC Evening News.

[I once arrived at his front door in full makeup for a play – I had to borrow a prop from his daughter.  My makeup consisted of dirt, smeared on my face, a torn dress – a rag, really. Bare, dirty feet. He and his wife met me at the front door in formal attire – they were having a seriously fancy party. His comment was classic: “Why Elyse,” he said with a delighted chuckle (having already seen the play),  “you dressed so nicely for our party! Thanks for coming!” Mortified, I ran upstairs hopefully without being seen by the crowd of Who’s Who in the living room.

I hung around his house when Baba joined him. And when he went back to 60 minutes.

I had few substantive conversations with Mr. Reasoner. I never tried to learn the scoop. In fact, it was only years later that I understood what had happened to him.

Harry Reasoner was not, from everything I ever saw, a sexist. He was a newsman who cared about words and integrity and getting the facts, ma’am. He believed that the news should be the story. Not the person who deliverd the news He believed in getting the story right and in writing well. In letting the event tell the story.

Baba Wawa is retiring – at least in part.

But today will be her last time on “The View.”  But in the way she has done for five decades, Baba Wawa makes herself the story. And that is a huge part of the problem she created in the news industry. The story should be the news. Not the journalist.   Of course, Baba has been milking this retirement. She has been for a year now, and will for another year or so.  Probably until she dies.  Because, of course, Baba is the story don’t cha see.

She’s leaving. What a shame. Don’t let the screen door hit you on your way out.


Filed under Childhood Traumas, Family, History, Huh?, Wild Beasts, Writing

It’s In His Kiss

Fess up. It’s your fantasy and mine.

You’ve not only finished your book, but it was published. It wasn’t a best seller, but literary types – like us writer/bloggers – read it. Of course you don’t make any money, but writers are supposed to struggle.

At least until they get an offer from Hollywood, that is. And a flight to Palm Springs to discuss the film option with the head of a major studio and a cast of characters straight out of, well, Hollywood.

Vickie Lester (of Beguiling Hollywood) has a new book! It’s In His Kiss reads like a vintage photograph. Light and dark, blended into a page turner. Palm Springs in full bloom, Hollywood, stars and wanna-bes. Oh, and did I mention murder?


Available at

Available at


It’s out and available at .  A perfect book to take out to the cee-ment pond with you this summer.

Yup it’s your fantasy and mine. Except maybe the murder part.



Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Holidays, Writing

Vote for ME Please, If It’s Not Too Much Trouble

One of the many reasons I’ve never run for public office is that I hate asking for things.  It makes me uncomfortable.  It makes me feel unworthy.  Unloved.

Votes have always been especially hard for me to ask for.  So this is really hard for me to do.

But one of my earliest bloggin’ buddies, Lorna of Lorna’s Voice, nominated me for the BlogHer “Heart:  Feel it” Award!  And I need your vote to avoid total humiliation.

It is for my story/blog post, Letting Go.

Letting Go is a very heartfelt piece.  You see, it was written with my dog Cooper asleep at my feet.  Written knowing that the vet would soon come for his last, and saddest, visit with my ailing Cooper.  But it isn’t a sad story.  Because it is about a very special walk with a very special dog who made a very special friend that day.  Or tried to, anyway.  And it happened many years earlier, when Cooper was young and healthy and carefree.  The story really did help ease the pain of his passing, even as I was facing it.

So please click on this link, register (sorry!) and vote.  For me and for Coops.  For Letting Go.  (There’s a link to the post through this link.)

And pretend you’re in Chicago — vote early and often!

Thanks, Lorna!


Filed under Awards, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Cooper, Dogs, Elections, Humor, Pets, Writing

Am I a Total Idiot?

For years I’ve thought about doing this.  There has always been a reason to not do it.  It happens in November.  I always do Thanksgiving.

I have always started a writing project so it doesn’t count towards the goal.

I will be traveling…sleeping…having a life.

I have a job.  A husband.  A son.

But I always wanted to try.  So I just signed up for NaNoWriMo.  So the answer to the title posed in the Title is:  Apparently so.

I may live to regret this.

I may live to regret this.

Wish me luck.  I can’t wait to tell my husband.



Filed under Books, Childhood Traumas, Huh?, Humor, Stupidity, Writing

Make Money Blogging!

Ha!!  He laughs at the amount of time I spend blogging.

“What do you get out of it?”  says my husband, John.  “You should be penning a best seller, not giving your stories away for free.  You don’t even have banner ads on your blog!”

John will eat his words when he reads how I can earn the big bucks. Because I just got this business proposition:

Hi. Good afternoon.

I am a blog administrator and I manage a team of solid writers who are passionate about a wide range of topics.

I was wondering if you’d be open to a guest blogging opportunity.
We would pay you $30 for a post on your site (you may choose the topic if you wish) and a small link to our blog at the end of the post in an author bi-line.

If you are interested in working with us, please write me back.


I’m going to make a fortune.  At last, the big bloggy payoff.  Nice!


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Humor, Stupidity, Writing

Biting Me

Do you ever feel you are being bitten in the butt by your own advice?  Well, that’s how I’m feeling right now.  And it is, well, it’s a bit odd.  Because as I’m sure you’ve noticed, my advice is usually something you can depend on.  Live by.  Hang your hat on.

You see, a while back, my blogging buddy TwinDaddy of StuphBlog wrote a post about how uncomfortable he is getting compliments.

Naturally, being the good friend/know-it-all that I am, I gave him a piece of advice:

“[G]et used to it, TwinDaddy,” I said in the comments.  “We folks who hang out here think you’re swell.  Now say thanks and smile.”

And isn’t that the proper way to respond to a compliment?  No hemming and hawing, no self-deprecating remarks, no false modesty.  Just a simple thank you and a smile.

But tonight I find myself in a bit of a dilemma.  A quandary.  A pickle.  And well, I’m not sure if my own advice isn’t coming back to bite me.  Because I’ve gotten a compliment and I don’t really know how to respond.

I feel like hemming and hawing.

I feel like making a self-depreciating remark.

I feel like being unusually/unnaturally modest.

You see, the last week was a fantastic one here at FiftyFourAndAHalf.  Out of the STAT-is-sphere, if you know what I mean.  And it follows closely on my tour of the ‘sphere, with Peg and Darla and Michelle.   March has been a blast.

And it is ending just as well as it began!  But it is a bit confusing.  Because this past week, I’ve gotten more followers than I got in the entire rest of my nearly two years of blogging.

Cool, you say.  Congratulations!  I want to puncture her ego (oh, wait, you wouldn’t say that to me, would you — you’re my friend!) But the thing is, I don’t know how to accept this ummm, compliment.  Why not?  Why not just smile and say thank you?

Because in the last week, I haven’t written a word.  Nope.  Not one.

So I’m trying to figure out if the secret to getting more followers is to, ummm, not write anything.

To my new bloggin’ buddies – welcome.  I’m in the process of checking out your blogs.  Thanks for stopping by here and letting me razz you a bit.  Thank you for following me.  I’m smiling.

Google Image

Google Image


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Humor, Writing