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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.
Book Excerpt: “It was a day like any other, except that the intense heat wave had broken and signs of an early fall were in the air. The dining room table was filled with my kids and three of their friends—greedily gulping down a chicken dinner. When the last morsel was eaten, they all took off in different directions, except for the youngest, who was ten years old.
The one whose turn it was to do the dishes impishly offered me the sum of one dollar, to cover the chore. I laughed and caved in to that deceptive smile.
The last one ran out the front door, calling out, “Bye Mom,” as the door slammed shut. And then the nightmare began.”
Book Genre: Memoir
Micki began writing after a personal tragedy, as a catharsis for my grief. This lead to a first time out publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a 25 year career in Journalism.
I've freelanced and was staff writer for one major newspaper and wrote for two more. I have published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in newspapers, magazines and e-zine editions.
My first book was published in 2008; a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called ‘And The Whippoorwill Sang’.
My collection of short fiction, slice of life stories and essays, in a book called, ‘Don’t Pluck the Duck’ will be published in 2015, as well as a children’s book, called, ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’.
True story of a cat who wants his own little dog but is in for a big surprise
Hi boys and girls, I'm Toby, a handsome cat if I say so myself. I do whatever I want but Grandma and Grandpa think they own me! My favorite thing is to take Grandma's shiny jewelry and hide it. Grandpa is still looking for his favorite pen. I have one friend, Casey, a wild cat who lives outside but she tells me through the screen door about the outside world. I was a happy, cool cat until---well, read what I wrote about the day Grandma invited the 'Monster' to visit. Yikes!
Some stories are special only to the person who owns them. Others, so moving they need to be shared. The 'tales' in this Sapphire Collection shout out: pass me along, tell me to your family and friends.
Each story in this book is a winner from the annual Tales2Inspire international competition, anonymously selected by a jury of accomplished authors. These authors, all winners of a Tales2Inspire™ annual writer's contest, understand the power of stories. They have crafted the ones you are about to read with meticulous care. We hope they will echo in your mind long after you reach the last page of this book.
A sampling of the 'baker's dozen' of amazing stories in this collection include the following:
EXPANDED AND REVISED, 2017
Tales2Inspire ~ The Topaz Collection is filled with stories of Personal Awakenings. These stories were all written by winners of the Tales2Inspire global, annual writers' contest, anonymously selected by a jury of accomplished authors. Although often compared to the "Chicken Soup For the Soul" series, Tales2Inspire books offer two distinctive features that set them apart: Each story includes original photographs to enhance the reader's experience and the books are all gift sized, to keep pace with our contemporary, fast paced life style.
The Topaz was selected as the symbol for this book because it is the gem symbolizing self-realization, while promoting energy, truth and forgiveness. It seems the deal symbol for a group of stories that awaken not just the spirit of the author, but of its readers as well.
Did you ever have an experience and know at once that the memories of that moment would last you a lifetime? This book is filled with stories of such moments, moments we repeatedly replay in our heads. Now let's look at just a few of these stories to see how they connect with the Topaz. Here is a sampling:
At other times these most precious memories come from a cluster of experiences spread over an extended period in time, such as in the story A Horse Named Cody, where this author slowly masters the technique of communicating with her recalcitrant horse.
The Awakenings stories found within the pages of this book fall into one of these two categories. But they will warm your heart as they inspire you to live your life to its fullest. Don't be surprised if you begin to view the world and your place in it slightly differently after savoring the Tales 2 Inspire ~ Topaz Collection of inspiring Awakenings stories.
NOTE: As a special bonus to the whose Kindle devices suport color images, you will be viewing the original photos included with these stories in full color
100 Inspiring True Stories in the four volumes of Seasons of Our Lives (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter).
The award-winning stories in the four volumes of Seasons of Our Lives will charm, intrigue, captivate, and inspire you because they speak of our lives almost as much as they do the authors'. The details of childhood, coming of age, adulthood, and aging—of passion, friendship, love, sacrifice, betrayal, disappointment, survival, and unexpected joy—of lives intersecting with history—of ordinary yet extraordinary experiences are unique to these award-winning authors and yet at their core these stories tell of all our lives.
In this Summer volume, you'll find 21 stories and 21 takeaways or mini-lessons that will help you reflect on the seasons of your own life. And, they just might help you write more dynamically if you decide to share your stories with family, friends, and even more widely.
Matilda Butler is the co-founder of http://WomensMemoirs.com and award-winning co-author of the collective memoir Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, Second Edition, Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep and other books. A psychologist, online and in-person memoir coach and writing conference speaker, she writes and teaches in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii.
Kendra Bonnett, the other co-founder of http://WomensMemoirs.com is the award-winning co-author of Rosie’s Daughters and Writing Alchemy and author/ghostwriter of nine books, a marketing executive, and a speaker and memoir coach. She regularly blogs with Matilda Butler at WomensMemoirs.com and writes and teaches from her home in Downeast Maine.
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
It is true that each woman is a story waiting to be told—and in this outstanding collection of memoirs you’ll find many wonderful women’s stories. It is also true that each woman’s story is everywoman’s story, for we share so many of the same experiences. As I read these stories [in Seasons of Our Lives], I am reading bits and pieces from my own life, and I am inspired to write my own with a more passionate and compassionate heart. I hope you are, too. ~Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling author of Writing from Life.
...brings poignant stories of history and nostalgia to the reader, as well as writing observations and lessons for the author in everyone. Seasons of our Lives is sure to be another award-winning work from the dynamic duo of Butler and Bonnett. ~Judy Sheer Watters, author of The Road Home: The Legacy that was, is and is to Come
A summer’s bouquet of award–winning stories that engage, inspire, and also teach. ... “takeaways” on each piece illuminate the modes of thought and specific techniques that make each story work. A delight for anyone who enjoys compelling stories as well as a handbook for those who desire to tell or write their own. I’m proud to be included in Seasons of Our Lives: Summer. ~Judith Newton, Professor Emerita, UC Davis, Women and Gender Studies, award-winning food memoir author, Tasting Home
The stories ... collectively sparkle like facets of a crystal chandelier. Each enjoyable, thought-provoking story is told in an authentic voice.... But these are no ordinary anthologies. The editors' insightful remarks at the end of each piece turn the volumes into uniquely powerful writing texts for students of memoir. ~Sharon Lippincott, life writing coach and author of Adventures of a Chilehead, The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description, and others.
pull up a chair at the kitchen table or sit on the sofa in the living room. Make yourself comfortable. You'll want a cup of tea or coffee nearby as you settle in for a great read. You might even need a few tissues for some of these stories. As you read, you will probably recall the family stories that have mattered to you. That's part of the sweetness of memoir reading...memories of our own tales.
Message From The Author: I have written since I learned to hold a pencil. But life interfered with serious writing until a tragedy struck my family. This time I took up the pen and wrote as a catharsis to my grief--where spoken words failed, written words helped heal my wounded soul.
My first short story of the incident was published in Victimology:an International Journal, launching a career in journalism. When writing for newspapers there were no more rejections, a nice surprise. I became a staff freelance writer for a bi-weekly award winning newspaper and freelance slice of life writer for my local paper, serving a city of 600,000 people. The diversity of writing for newspapers let me experiment in many areas of writing from essays, commentaries, interviews, humor, pathos, analogy, and short fiction.
I have recently published my first non-fiction book, . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, dedicated to the one I lost. Published by LspDigital, it is a funny, poignant celebration of life rather than a eulogy of death. My newly released children's book, 'The Cat Who Wanted a Dog' is a coloring and illustrated book for ages from 4-9 years old. I love writing short stories, my favorite category, which has culminated into a collection of slice of life, humor, and multi-genre short fiction and non-fiction, called, 'Don't Pluck the Duck' due to be released in December, 2016.
Cold Coffee Café Spotlight Interview With Author Micki Peluso
What makes you proud to be a writer from New York, NY? I’d be proud to be a writer from any location. In my case, I did not choose writing. Rather, it chose me, as the only outlet I had for venting my grief. Today, I can finally write for pleasure as well and New Yorkers have responded well to my work.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? The death of my 14 year old daughter, Noelle by a DWI was the catalyst for my introduction to writing. I started with letters to the editors, petitions to the Judge handling the case; wrote poems as I cried late into the early dawn.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? After my short story version of the vehicular homicide and its affect upon our family was published in Victimology: an International Magazine the first time I sent it out for publication, I began to write seriously—first non-fiction and essays then graduated to multi-genre fiction and books; submitting to newspapers and magazine and online magazine, winning many awards for both my book and my short works.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I had always enjoyed writing in school and writing poems, so it was a comfortable fit when I pursued it as a craft and occupation. My personal background was abusive so I had much to glean from in both my own childhood and that of my family.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? Usually I have a ‘working title’ but that often changes as the work progresses.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I wrote multi-genre, mainly to teach myself how to write in all genres but my first love is slice of life non-fiction, in my favorite—first person, present tense.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? It was not inspiration, but rather a death bed promise that I made to my dying daughter; that I would let the world know who and what she was in the hopes that other DWI events might be stopped. My reaching people with this funny, sad, poignant story helps others with similar losses and also makes them, especially teenagers, think before they drink and drive.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Without a doubt, my greatest pride is my published book—half of my promise kept. The other half is in the marketing of it.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Not having written a book before and being mostly a panzer writer, I did not outline the book. I had 10 chapters with 20 pages each to stay focused, and then as I switched to flashbacks, I realized the chapters were too long. After that I was chasing chapters around like a litter of kittens. I used dates in the flashbacks for my sanity rather than my readers.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Hands down, seeing the book touch readers on an emotional level and tell me that felt like they were in the book with me and my family, living our lives with us, was my greatest reward.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Actually, I have been lucky that I avoided the pitfalls of many writers. Just as I grew tired of getting magazine rejections, newspapers opened up for me, and I never got a rejection again. My publisher came to me so I avoided the challenge of finding a good agent and publisher.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? My best piece of writing advice is well worn but true. Write what you know before venturing out into the unknown. Respect the English language and use it well. Remember that to sell your book, you must sell yourself. Lastly, enjoy what you do.
Who is your favorite author and why? Diane Gabalden who wrote the “Outlander’ series—a remarkable writer who kept me entranced through 6 books with 1000 pages in each.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I’m happy to be back at The Cold Coffee Café after a long hiatus due to illness. I hope to become a more active member and enjoy interaction with fellow writers and friends.
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