Saturday, March 28, 2015

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING . . . AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG


I'm happy and excited to announce to all my friends and followers who have not yet had the pleasure of reading my book . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang that the book will be available for 99 cents on Amazon Kindle beginning: March 30th 8AM PST through April 6th PST. Be sure and grab your copy before Kindle runs out — just kidding — electronic books can't run out. Those preferring the print version can find it on Amazon for around $13. Try to take advantage of the offer before the craziness of Passover and the Easter Season begins.
This is the story of two teenagers in love. Micki’s dysfunctional mother convinces the two of them to elope to Elkton, Marylyn and marry in a double ceremony with a man her mother barely knows. This begins the story of Micki and Butch, who go on to have six children and an outrageous life, filled with animals both tame and feral, and wild escapades including a cross-country trip to Nevada in which everything that can go wrong does.
Returning to their home town in Pennsylvania, they buy 100-year-old farmhouse complete with rats, bats and wasps as well as their own ghosts. Life is wonderful for this family filled with laughter, filled with love. On a sunny summer day in late August, their 14-year-old daughter, Noelle, the child whose wacky sense of humor and love, wove the fabric of the family together, was killed by a drunk driver. That day the laughter died.
Micki promises her dying Noelle that she will make sure that the world knows who and what she was by writing a celebration of her life rather than a eulogy of her death. The result of this promise is . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang, a story of love, loss and survival, with the humor of ”Cheaper by the Dozen,” and the heart of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
For those of you who choose to read this story, please let me know what you thought of it and if you can leave a short review. You can use the links below to order from Kindle and use the fan facebook page to watch the video of the characters you will be meeting in this book.

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

AN EXCERPT FROM . . . AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG


     School started and Fall, as always, descended upon us at once, mourned again by the whippoorwills, that who had to migrate to warmer lands. I had come to grips with the ghosts; whether true ghosts or poltergeist activity by my wacky teenagers. The house blew a lot of fuses that strangely, flew clear across the large basement, a good thirty feet—which baffled Butch. It happened mostly on weekends when he was home to change the fuses and always in the middle of a good television show. 

Butch had traded the white pickup truck, aka camper, for a ridiculous looking UPS truck, painted a bright orange. Inside, it was nicely furnished as a large camper, with a kitchen, bed and bath. It had two comfortable, large swivel chairs in front which made for comfortable driving. He’d had enough of New Jersey and took a job in Massapequa, Long island, working for a Ground Round Restaurant, as General Manager. It was about an hour and a half from our old home in Island Park, Long, Island. Our friend, Danny, from Benny’s, had also moved back to New York and told him about the job. The traveling time was longer than from New Jersey, but Butch was more comfortable and loved the job. It was similar to what he did at Benny’s, except more a family style restaurant—a cross between fast food and fine dining.

     That Sunday he left early for his long ride back. The younger girls and I were all home watching the movie,”Halloween,” when we heard odd thumping sounds from the basement. The ghosts never appeared there, and I feared an intruder had come in through the unlocked basement door. I grabbed the shotgun and put a shell into it, hoping not to have to use it and break my shoulder or hip. I peeled Nicole, who had wrapped herself around my legs, to keep me from going downstairs, off me and made her sit down and be quiet. I snapped my fingers for Sheba to follow me downstairs, although the usually good watchdog hadn’t barked at the noise. I quietly opened the door to the basement, warning all the kids to stay on the couch. They actually obeyed. Maybe it was the sight of me brandishing a shotgun. Sheba stayed behind me, brave dog that she was—watching my back, I supposed. I tiptoed down the steps, scanning the basement, shotgun ready to fire, when I saw a large potato at the bottom of the steps. I held my fire. The menacing spud had fallen off the pantry shelf and thumped down the basement steps. I tried to bribe the kids to secrecy, but never lived down the story of the night that Mom nearly shot an Idaho potato.

 

AN EXCERPT FROM . . . AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG




Monday, February 23, 2015

BIG 99 CENT SALE ON AMAZON--DON'T MISS IT!!

. . . And the Whippoorwill Sang Kindle   reduced to .99 US Amazon 3/30/15, 8AM  PST--4/ 6/15 12AM
PSThttp://www.amazon.com/Whippoorwill-Sang-Micki-Peluso-ebook/dp/B007OWPBGK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424658104&sr=1-1&keywords=Micki+Peluso+kindle

 
UK   FEB 32 - FEB 28


 I invite all my friends and followers to take advantage of this spectaclular sale in both the UK and later on Amazon US.  Those of you wanting to read . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang can now buy it for 99 cents. This is a story most of you will enjoy and I promise the story--a true family story, will stay with you long after finishing the book. Those inclined to read this promise to my daughter, could also post a short review which would be greatly appreciated. To know more about the book before buying, read my reviews which will give you an idea of what the story is about.
 
I don't usually brag, but I'm happy to announce that I am the highest ranking author with the most sales for the past royalty quarter with my publisher, LspDigital publishing.com. In today's ecomonmy and with the competition, this is a huge honor and makes the hard work getting to this point, worth it--for me and for Noelle.
 
Thanks to you all for reading this and I hope you take advantage of this offer and the chance to read a wonderful, poignant book.
 
Micki Peluso
 
 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How Do I Love Thee?

This is an article on the origen of St. Valentine's Day



February 14th sometimes signifies the first day of Lent, depending upon the date of Easter, and is also Admission Day in Arizona. Most people however, celebrate the day by sending comic or heartfelt Valentines to family, friends and lovers. People seem to delight in St. Valentine’s Day, as florists, candy stores, boutiques and card shops do a rallying business providing heart-shaped novelties of all variety. Chocolate, long known for having properties that produce a euphoric feeling similar to the bittersweet emotion of love, seems an appropriate gift for St. Valentine’s Day.
The origin of the holiday is uncertain
, but St. Valentine actually honors two Saints of the same name. One was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of the Emperor Claudius, the other, a martyred Bishop of Interramna. They were both buried in the Flaminian Way, which was later named the Gate of St. Valentine. Today the gate is known as Porta Del Popolo — the Gate of the People. The accounts of these men's lives are legendary, based on sparse historical fact. It is possible, researchers agree, that the legends denote different versions of the martyrdom of only one person. St. Valentine’s Day, as it is known today, is a lovers Festival, bearing no relation to these legends.
One theory as to how the name Valentine came to be applied to the day is founded on the belief in England that birds begin dating on February 14. Chaucer, in his “Parliament of Foules," says it like this: “for this was Seynt Valentyne’s day. When every foul cometh to choose his mate." Those disagreeing with this claimed that the connection between lovers and St. Valentine stems from a similarity between the Norman word “galantin," meaning a lover of woman, and the name of the saint. St. Still another theory contends that the lover’s custom dates back to the pagan Roman feast of Lupercalia occurring in mid-February young Roman men and women placed their names in a love urn from which their names were drawn at random. During the upcoming year, the young man would be the escorts of the women whose names were matched to their own.

The Christian clergy objected to this pagan custom and substituted the names of saints. Each person, the clergy hoped, which strive to emulate the saint drawn for them. The drawings were held on February 14, the feast of St. Valentine. Yet the drawing of names by young people on St. Valentine's Day continued long after the Christianization of pagan rites had been abandoned. The boy and girl paired by the drawing adopted the practice of giving presents to each other. Later the boy only gave to the girl; so started the custom of sending Valentines to loved ones.

St. Valentine's Day was widely celebrated in William Shakespeare's time, as this quote from Hamlet illustrates:
“Good morrow, ‘tis St. Valentine's Day,
All in the morning betime,
And I am made at your window,
To be your Valentine."

Paper Valentines with inscribed sentiments date from the 16th century. The first printed Valentine, issued in 1669, was probably inspired by “A Valentine Writer”, a book of verses offering help to those not articulate enough to pen their own rhymes. In England, the introduction of Penny postage and envelopes in 1840 popularized the exchange of Valentines and ornamental lace paper Valentines were in great demand. In the U. S., crude woodcut Valentines were fashioned by Robert H. Elton and Thomas W. Strong of New York, but most people preferred the lace paper cards imported from England.
With the establishment of the Post Office, the mail became swamped with Valentines each February. Comic Valentines, as well as coarse vulgar ones, cost only one cent. In the early 1900s, the Chicago post office rejected 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were improper for mail delivery. By the 1930s Valentine cards were primarily an activity for small children, who were taught to make the cards and decorations in kindergarten.

On one particularly gruesome Valentine's Day, the streets ran red with blood and the message given was not one of love. This notorious incident was “The St. Valentines Massacre," in Chicago on February 14, 1929. Al Capone’s gang, disguised as policemen, forced seven members of the rival “Bugs Moran” gang to stand against the garage wall with their arms raised. Capone’s mobsters methodically gunned the rival gang down.

recent years, St. Valentine's Day continues to gain popularity, as lovers and children eagerly await its arrival; perhaps because it breaks the monotony of the long winter. However, not all people recognize the holiday. One husband whose name I will not mention, chooses to totally ignore St. Valentine's Day, even when it falls three days after his wedding anniversary — but that's another story.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Girl Who Loved Christmas


The Girl Who Loved Christmas

          I had always wanted a Christmas baby; a special gift at a special time. When my fifth child was due to be born on December 25th, I was ecstatic, but nervous about the likely prospect of spending the holidays in the hospital. I just had to be home for Christmas. Somehow I conveyed that message to my overly ripe body and delivered the baby 10 days before Christmas Eve. Noelle Marie, French for ‘Merry Christmas,’ entered the world with a caul over her face, a white ‘Angel’s veil,’ reputed through legend to be a sign of a lucky or gifted child. I pondered that phenomenon in my heart, briefly, but was more impressed by the fact that the two of us had conspired to be home for Christmas — home with her father and four excited siblings.
          I distinctly remember that Christmas Eve. It was snowing, a soft and silent snow that blanketed our tiny home in white velvet. We laid the baby in a cradle in front of the scraggly ‘Charlie Brown’ pine tree, decorated with homemade ornaments and tediously strung popcorn. Next to her sat the wooden manger housing the Holy Family, which her father had made, topped with a beaming ceramic guardian angel, that had fallen off the nail at the top of the pointed roof so many times that her smile was chipped and crooked. Noelle, dressed in a red and white Santa Claus jumpsuit, resembled a tiny elf as she gazed up at the colored lights on the tree with unfocused eyes, wrinkled and funny-faced, unaware of her status.
          Today, when remembering Christmases past, that day waxes sharp in my memory, followed by other Christmases, some joyous, some harried with six children throwing up. That year, unbeknownst to her father and me, Noelle and her sisters sampled the eggnog. We found 11-year-old Noelle trying to fly like an airplane around the large dining room table until she collapsed into a fit of giggles. Needless to say, they were all severely reprimanded, putting a slight damper on that Christmas.
          Noelle insisted that we watch every Christmas television special as a family, sobbed each year over ‘It's a Wonderful Life,’ and generally drove us to distraction with her frantic preparations for the holiday. One Christmas we baked flour dough ornaments, and one of Noelle’s gingerbread boys looked exactly like ‘Mr. Bill,’ on Saturday Night Live, which forever gave him a special place on the tree; second in importance only to the bedraggled Angel that dangled off the treetop. Noelle refused to part with or replace any of our original decorations, which were all beginning to show their age. She was contagious with her love for Christmas, and bonded with the holiday almost as if her name gave her an aura or presence that ordinary-named portals could not grasp.
          She loved baking the cookies, decorating the tree, attending midnight Mass, and sharing in the giving of gifts, no matter how great or small. The season was hers. She reveled in it. Her zest for the holidays, however, did not extend to cleaning the house or washing the mountains of dishes following sumptuous holiday feasts. She talked about helping, and insisted she did more than her share, but somehow had a unique ability to disappear from the face of the earth whenever chores needed to be done. And even in a household of five outraged siblings, she usually got away with it.
          This Christmas, 23 years after her birth, I still marvel at the magic of the season, coveting the memories of a newborn babe lying beneath the Christmas tree, personifying the birth of Christ; and the magic of a young girl who cherished the celebration of the birth of the King, and knew how to give homage. That magic will never die.
          Noelle’s last Christmas fell right after her 13th birthday. She was nearly a young woman then, with the gangliness of puberty rushing headlong into the promise of beautiful womanhood. But on ‘her holiday’ she retained the naivety of a child, bursting with love and eagerness. The pond behind our house froze solid that year, and the logs in the old Ben Franklin stove blazed warmth and comfort to six nearly frozen ice skaters. Noelle, as on every year, caught us all up in her joy and excitement. She could barely contain herself.
          The Christmas which shortly followed her death, caused by a drunk driver, was not somber. We were obligated by unknown forces to celebrate Christmas in her honor as she would have; and in doing so eased our grief.
          Other subsequent Christmases, not shielded by shock, were not so easy, and for several years Christmas without Noelle seemed a contradiction in terms. As passing years made our sorrow bearable the ambience Noelle evoked at Christmas slowly drifted back into our lives. Maybe it was the birth of her first nephew, born two years later on the day of Noelle’s death; her way of not allowing us to mourn that day? Maybe it was just the lapsing of time and life renewing itself. Maybe she taught us, albeit we fought the knowledge, that love lives on though life is fragile. I don't know. I only know that the true spirit of Christmas was shown to me through the eyes of a lovely young girl named Noelle Marie.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

THE CHRISTMAS FAMILY PORTRAIT

This is a slice of life story of a family taking their kids to be photagraphed for the Holiday portrait

I smiled to myself when they told me of their plans. As a mother, I believe even grown children should learn by experience. I had to hang up the phone before spasms of laughter overtook me. My two daughters thought that taking all of their children to a professional photographer would make wonderful Christmas presents for the grandparents. Ideas are always best in their infancy.

On the hottest day of December in decades, the children were dressed in their winter finery and off we went to the Mall. One daughter’s three boys were all sick with low-grade temperatures and noses running like Niagara Falls. Endless nose-wiping with tissues on gentle skin resulted in red faces and grumpy dispositions. Makeup partially solved that problem. She is blessed with a good-natured five-year-old, a tyrannical terrible two-year-old and a one-year old with attitude.

 
Her sister has a nine-year-old, Nicky, already protesting the humiliation of posing with his “baby” cousins, and a daughter, Bailey, who at four believes that one cannot be too rich or beautifully dressed. Local clothing stores know her by name. The photograph studio is seasonally crowded, with tykes of assorted ages running amok and babies wailing—not my choice of a fun day.
 
The temperature keeps rising as well as parents’ tempers while appointments typically run behind. One-year-old TJ takes a power nap, while his two-year-old brother, Brandon, makes several escape attempts, one almost successful. At long last, my family is called for their shoot. Nicky, still disgruntled, is itchy from his woolen Christmas suit, and has broken out into livid hives,announcing that he may throw up. His sister, Bailey, the ‘Calvin Klein’ of the four-year-old set, insists that the tights she’s wearing are certainly not the ones she chose with her outfit and begins to remove them,much to her brother’s chagrin and mother’s horror.
 
The wannabe, ‘Ansel Adams’, manages to get all five children lined up for the photo take. A smile seems permanently pasted on her face. Things begin to get scary. Brandon is sitting in the sleigh as the session begins. For reasons known only to her, she decides that this will not work and tries to remove Brandon form the sleigh. Did I mention Brandon has a bit of a temper? He screams so loudly that the security guards rush in like Marines on a mission. TJ begins to suck his thumb, a habit he’s never exhibited before, and Christopher, his older brother, slinks to the floor in an effort to appear invisible. Nicky tries to pretend that he is not with this family. Bailey has her hand on her hip, a glint in her eye and one foot pushed forward—never a good sign. Now the future photo genius snaps the shot!
 
The photographer is determined to complete her job. She lines everyone up again for some final takes. It seems to be going well, until she snaps the picture at the precise moment Brandon, who now refuses to sit in the sleigh on principle, catapults backward off the platform. There are more blood-curdling screams, but he’s unhurt since he is a very tough little boy. By now the other parents are quietly moving away from my family, some actually leaving the store.

The photographer makes one last attempt to catch the children on film. She is, if nothing else, courageous. All the kids are in place at last. It is a bit much to hope for smiles from them, so she clicks away at the exact moment Brandon once more falls off the platform, leaving both legs sticking up in the air. The shoot is over.

My daughters are not happy with the shots but I find them spectacular. TJ has a startled ‘Oh’ on his mouth and it may take a while for him to recover from this experience. Christopher has a perpetual smile on his face, but it is rumored that he believes he was switched at birth. Nicky is disgusted by the entire event and Bailey is asking for a reshoot. All that can be seen of Brandon is his two legs sticking up—perhaps his best shot.


 My girls wanted to know how I ever photographed all six of my kids.

“Are you crazy”? I asked “I never took all of you out at once, except to church, until you went to school.” Some things must be learned, not taught. Meanwhile the picture with all the kids is a conversation piece, especially the kid showing only two legs.