With great pleasure I’d like to introduce to you, Micki Peluso, this week’s Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author. Welcome, Micki!
What’s In A Word?
“In the beginning was the word . . .”
John 1:1 King James Bible
Remember the childhood taunt, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me?” (from Robert Fulghum). This is not true. The “pen is mightier than the sword,” and the complexity of language plays upon everyday living. It can be subtle,(my favorite) sarcastic, ironic, menacing, hateful, loving, instructive; the list is long. Ultimately words hurt much more than stones, because the scars from hurtful words do not always heal.
Writing is how I express emotions that cannot be exposed through any other outlet. All the feelings that encompass my psyche, subconscious mind, and yes, even soul, are transposed to a large yellow legal pad with an Erasermate pen. This most sacred experience allows me to examine my feelings from other points of view, vent words that hide from me verbally as I cope with the school of life–hoping to pass the test.
Words make or break relationships, erase the tears of a crying child, soothe an aching heart, cheer on an athlete, or manipulate an enemy. Words are power and it is essential to learn to use them wisely, to understand their strength. As applied to writing, proper word choice is critical to a successful essay, short story or novel. Making an error in word usage can change the tempo and alter the perspective of any given piece of writing.
Years ago, four years of Latin was a required course in High School. Students groaned, but this arcane language was the best example of how the nuance of a word can completely change the meaning of a sentence or story. English, based in part, on Latin, is no different.
The words one uses in narrative or description develop character traits and personality.”He was a tempting, seductive piece of work,” shows the reader much about this character, as does, “She donned her reading glasses and began stamping books the children brought to the library desk.” Words in dialogue express emotions and character behavior. Words are all one has to work with, both in real life and in writing. It is prudent to choose them well. Roget’s Thesaurus should be every writer’s bible, packed as it is with synonyms that shift context and meaning in subtle ways.
Who and what I am or hope to become is evident in my stories. In romance, I am the character searching for love, in paranormal, I am the character facing his/her demons, real or imagined. Humorous stories disguise me in my character’s take on the foibles of daily living. In every story that I write, I am there–in words.
“Words express ideas, name things. They carry you from one place to another. . . When your words change, you change.” Taken from The World Book Complete Word Power Library. “‘In the Miracle Worker,’ based on the life of Helen Keller, the little blind and deaf girl’s mother asks the child’s teacher what is to be taught first. “Language, I hope, replies the teacher . . . what is she without words?” Taken from the Dictionary of Problems and Expressions,” by Harry Shaw.
My losses, sorrows, joys, loves and dreams are forever etched in print. They cannot exist without me or me without them. Yet, I do not write to live, or live to write. Writing helps me make sense of the drama called life. Writing defines me.
It is an avenue of escape in an uncertain, sometimes frightening world – where love is fragile, dreams shatter, hope is dashed, then renewed. Writing takes me through the dark tunnel to the awaiting light. I will one day pass on to another realm with writing as my epitaph. Writing is not what I do . . . It is who I am.
Micki Peluso began writing after a personal tragedy. This lead to a first time publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a career in Journalism. She’s freelanced and been staff writer for one major newspaper, written for two more and has published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in colleges, magazines and e-zine editions. Her first book was published in 2012; a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called, . . . And THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG which won the Nesta CBC Silver Award for ‘Writing That Builds Character’, won third place in the Predators and Editors Contest and first place for People’s Choice Monthly Award. This book is close to her heart since it’s a deathbed promise to her dying child. It has the humor of ‘Cheaper by the Dozen,’ with the heart of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird. Some reviewers liken her writing to a cross between Erma Bombeck and Harper lee. She has over a dozen short stories in ‘Women’s Memoirs’, ‘Tales2inspire’, and ‘Creature Features’. Two of her short horror stories were recently published in an International Award winning anthology called “Speed of Dark.” She is presently working on a collection of short fiction, and slice of life stories in a book collection called, ‘Don’t Pluck the Duck’, due to be released in late 2017. Her first children’s story, ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ will be released in June of 2017. Author Peluso is a multi-genre and speculative writer who plans to tackle novels next.
And The Whippoorwill Sang
by Micki Peluso
It is a day like any other, except the intense heat wave has broken and signs of early fall are in the air.
Around the dining room table of her 100 year old farmhouse Micki Peluso’s six children along with three of their friends eagerly gulp down a chicken dinner. As soon as the last morsel is ravished, the lot of them is off in different directions. Except for the one whose turn it is to do the dishes. After offering her mother a buck if she’ll do them, with an impish grin, the child rushes out the front door, too excited for a hug, calling out, “Bye Mom,” as the door slams shut. For the Peluso’s the nightmare begins.
Micki and Butch face the horror every parent fears—awaiting the fate of one of their children. While sitting vigil in the ICU waiting room, Micki traverses the past, as a way of dealing with an inconceivable future.
From the bizarre teenage elopement with her high school sweetheart, Butch, in a double wedding with her own mother, to comical family trips across country in an antiquated camper with six kids and a dog, they leave a path of chaos, antics and destruction in their wake. Micki relives the happy times of raising six children while living in a haunted house, as the young parents grow up with their kids. She bravely attempts to be the man of the house while her husband, Butch is working out of town.
Hearing strange noises, which all the younger kids are sure is the ghosts, Micki tiptoes down to the cellar, shotgun in hand and nearly shoots an Idaho potato that has fallen from the pantry and thumped down the stairs. Of course her children feel obligated to tell the world.
Just when their lives are nearly perfect, tragedy strikes—and the laughter dies. A terrible accident takes place in the placid valley nestled within the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. On a country lane just blocks from the family’s hundred year old haunted farmhouse, lives are changed forever.
In a state of shock, Micki muses through their delightful past to avoid confronting an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension.
One of her six children is fighting for life in Intensive Care. Both parents are pressured by doctors to disconnect Noelle, their fourteen-year-old daughter. Her beautiful girl, funny and bright, who breathes life into every moment, who does cartwheels in piles of Autumn leaves, who loves to sing and dance down country roads, and above all loves her family with all her soul. How can Micki let this child go?
The family embarks upon yet another journey, to the other side of sorrow and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin. . .to weep. . .to laugh. . .to grieve. . .to dance—and forgive.
To learn more about Micki Peluso, or to purchase her book, …AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG,