Novel set in Michigan’s most famous ghost town

By Emma Palova

The Lost Town

In the third book of the Shifting Sands series- “The Lost Town”- author Emma Palova of Lowell creates the protagonist, Miss Ida. The historical fiction novel is set in the ghost town of  Singapore on the shores of Lake Michigan at the foot of the sand dunes adorned with white pines. Beautiful Ida is torn between her hometown of Chicago and her new home on the other side of the lake, and between two men.

Developed by New York investors, the once-thriving settlement of Singapore nurtured the dreams of adventurers like Oshea Wilder and pioneer settlers alike. Singapore would rival Chicago and Milwaukee. It almost did with its sawmills, hotels, boarding houses, stores, and a “wildcat” bank.

Entrepreneurial Ida struggles to adjust to the rough environment but finds more than support from her boss who invited her to Singapore to be the “Mistress” of the Big House. A “wildcat” bank was established in Singapore in 1837.

Who will win Ida’s heart?

INTRODUCTION

               I first visited Saugatuck originally “Flats” in the mid-1990s while exploring the Lake Michigan shore and its resorts. It struck me as a charming resort town at the confluence of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan. I immediately fell in love with the shops on main which is Butler Street named after the first white settler, William Butler, who came to the area in 1830.

          I was already writing at the time, always on the lookout for new themes and subjects. The lakeshore has provided a bounty of stories with its natural beauty settings, the Great Lakes lore and history. Enchanted by the small-town atmosphere of these lakeshore resorts, I wrote travel pieces for different magazines and newspapers. In pursuit of a travel story, I took a ride aboard the Saugatuck riverboat to the mouth of the Kalamazoo River, the re-engineered channel that cut off half a mile of the river with its bends near the buried ghost town of Singapore.

          It was at the northernmost bend of the Kalamazoo River where the thriving settlement of Singapore once stood. One of the largest sand dunes in the area stands on what the old maps indicate as the main street in Singapore running east to west on top of the bend.

          On another visit, we took a ride through the eerie sand dunes north of Saugatuck, and that too stayed with me forever along with the sand dune Mt. Baldhead aka Monarch of Dunes that I never got to climb. And that the sand hills could bury a town with its dreams and its future. Was it destiny?

          I stepped inside the Saugatuck Drug Store at 201 Butler Street in the summer of 1995 and found out about the ghost town Singapore buried in the shifting sands from a book about Singapore. I was determined to write about this Michigan’s most famous ghost town. I just didn’t know when. I must have used some of the information about the ghost town of Singapore in an essay, but I don’t remember when. It’s been that long ago. But the inspiration never went away. It just stayed with me.

          In 2017, I published the first book in the Shifting Sands series: “Short Stories.” I used the analogy of shifting sands in the case of character development that characters shift their personalities with their stories if they make it. I like the idea, people loved the title and the stories, so I continued with book two in the Shifting Sands series: “Secrets.”

          During an author’s event at the Lakeshore Art Festival (LAF) in Muskegon in 2019 & 2021, several people asked me if Shifting Sands series has a story about the original shifting sand dune of Muskegon. I didn’t know there was a shifting dune in Muskegon. So, I pulled out the book about Singapore searching for inspiration. I wanted to write a short story about Singapore in the third book in the Shifting Sands series: “Steel Jewels.”

          However, I found out there was a lot more to Singapore that would make it into a novel on its own merit. I switched tracks from penning a book of short stories as my NaNoWriMo 2021 project to penning a novel “Shifting Sands: “The

Lost Town.” It seemed like a natural transition considering the town’s interesting destiny. I did some research ahead of time.

We visited Saugatuck on October 8th, 2021, and stopped at the museum of the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society (SDHS) where I took pictures of the exact location of the ghost town of Singapore. Once I started writing the novel, I did research as I wrote. The research usually transpired into later scenes which have proven to be an interesting insight in itself.

This is my second historical fiction piece after “Silk Nora” in “Secrets.” I love history because it inspires my writing, whether non-fiction or fiction. “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” is set on the backdrop of two major historical events: the 1968 Prague Spring and the 1989 Velvet Revolution. History seeps into most of my stories.

                                                                                March 2022

The whimsical cover was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford. The book was edited by Carol Briggs of Lowell.

Winter book signings

Nov. 18-20 Christmas through Lowell, Lowell Area Historical Museum, 325 W. Main St., Lowell, MI

Dec. 3 West Catholic High School Craft Show,

9:00 am – 3:00 pm 

West Catholic High School
1801 Bristol Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Listen in to the interview on @The Morning Show with Shelley Irwin on
95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon

Click on the link below to listen to the interview.

https://www.wgvunews.org/the-wgvu-morning-show/2022-09-14/the-lost-town

13 on your side, interview with Meredith TerHarr, Oct. 27

https://www.wzzm13.com/video/news/live_stream/13-on-your-side-mornings-at-6/69-98ddf1ef-ad8d-4cde-add8-ea14c3e2b6bf

#thelosttown  #shiftingsandsseries

The Lost Town

The cover was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford, and the book was edited by Carol Briggs of Lowell.

Copyright (c) 2022. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Lowell author Emma Palova pens The Lost Town

Lowell author & reporter Emma Palova completed The Lost Town, a third book in the Shifting Sands series on the last day of June.

The historical fiction novel is set in Singapore, MI, a ghost town on the shores of Lake Michigan during the pioneer era of the 1830s.

The Lost Town cover by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford.

Palova captured the spirit of the once thriving lumbering town in its main characters – beautiful Miss Ida, her boss lumber baron John Bosch, Singapore founder Oshea Wilder and supporting characters, Sir Artemas Wallace and housemaid Mrs. Fisch.

Miss Ida was torn between her hometown of Chicago and her new home Singapore, and between two men. Who will win her heart?

The story unravels as the greedy New York investors set their eyes on the undeveloped land at the Oxbow bend in the Kalamazoo River surrounded by sand dunes with much coveted white pines.

Wily Oshea established the New York & Michigan Co. in 1836 to facilitate the development of Singapore. The investors envisioned that Singapore would rival Chicago and Milwaukee. With its humming mills, boarding houses, hotels, and general stores at the height of its prosperity, Singapore almost outshone Chicago.

The name remains a mystery, as its famous counterpart island city in East Asia was only a fledgling town at the time.

“The mysterious name inspired me to write this novel,” Palova said.

According to one interpretation, the exotic name was used to honor the “singing sands” of the Lake Michigan shore. The shape of the grains and the moisture combine to make the sand sing or squeak when someone walks on it.

Always on the hunt for stories and inspiration, Palova walked into the general store on Butler Street in downtown Saugatuck in the mid- 1990s. She picked up a book about Singapore and checked out the historic marker in front of the Saugatuck Village Hall.

“The story just gripped my imagination and stayed with me throughout the years,” she said. “Then I forgot all about it for decades.”

It wasn’t until getting ready for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last November, that Palova realized that what she had planned to write about Singapore would turn into a novel rather than just a short story.

“I wanted to do the fascinating story of Singapore its justice,” she said. “I knew a short story wouldn’t cut it.”

During her research for the novel, Palova came across Singapore’s ‘wildcat bank.’

“I knew this was big,” she said, “bigger than life.”

Singapore had a ‘wildcat bank’ that issued its own ornate bank notes that are still in the collection of the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society in Douglas.

“I used their online collections catalog exclusively for research,” she said. “It’s an excellent tool for anyone who wants to write about history. Most historical societies in Michigan have online collections.”

The novel covers the entire span of Singapore’s existence from the 1830s to its demise in the 1870s. At one point the town was known as Ellis Island since it accepted immigrants from European countries like Norway and Holland. The town was the first stop for Hollanders before they moved further up north and established Holland. It came before Saugatuck which was smaller and known as Flats.

“I wove nautical stories into the novel because I love the seas,” Palova said. “I wish I was a sailor.”

It was not just a lumbering era, but also a time for steamers, schooners, and tugboats on the Great Lakes. Nautical transportation was just as dangerous as travel by land, and later by rail.

“Sometimes the story evolved all on its own to my surprise like in the chapter ‘Mail fraud at Oxbow’, she said. “I was really surprised at what Ida was capable of doing driven by secret love.”

Other chapters were meticulously planned with research usually showing up later in the novel.

“My previous research didn’t help me much, but the immediate research during the NaNoWriMo challenge helped,” she said. “I can easily say that this novel is a direct product of the challenge.”

During NaNoWriMo, Palova wrote a minimum of 1,750 words daily to reach the victory lane at 50,000 words by the end of November. After that came months of more writing, revisions, and editing.

Carol Briggs of Lowell edited The Lost Town. The whimsical cover was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford. Beta readers include Nancy Price Stroosnyder and author Diana Kathryn Wolfe-Plopa.

Emma’s ease at mixing actual history into her stories is remarkable, and so entails Miss Ida’s response to an invitation to a soon-to-be bustling “Singapore” on the shores of Lake Michigan.  She is transported away from Chicago, family, and friends.  She quickly learns the duties expected of her in maintaining a boarding house and warehouse in the rapidly growing community.  Soon she falls in love with one of the corrupt founders.  The many colorful characters weave a fantastic story of love, mystery, hope, and faith.  This is a quick, very worthwhile read!

                                                                                Nancy Price Stroosnyder

The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

Palova will be signing her new book at the following locations: Fallasburg Summer Celebration on July 30, Englehardt Library in Lowell TBA, Holland, Aug. 6, and Paradise, Aug. 19-20. Listen in to an upcoming podcast about The Lost Town on http://emmapalova123.podbean.com

The Cover

The cover of The Lost Town was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss or Rockford.

February authors and events

I am really excited about the month of February as I am scheduling my podcast author guests, and the snow is drifting outside. They represent different genres, but romance will definitely be in the lead.

FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS PODCAST with host EMMA PALOVA

 Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy in the podcast book giveaway.

http://emmapalova123.podbean.com and on https://anchor.fm/emma-palova, major podcasting apps

February Schedule

Donna Neumann, I Want a Birthday Party, Feb. 3

Jean Davis, Lansing Women’s Expo, Feb. 8

Lisa Jacovski, Let’s Talk, Learning to Bowl, Feb. 9

Janet Glaser, Feb. 10

Tana Jenkins, Love Rescued, Feb. 14

Diana Kathryn Plopa, A Tryst of Fate, Feb. 17

Sponsored by Doc Chavent, The Lowell Ledger, Modern History Press

Pages Promotions Virtual Book Festival

Several things will be happening all at once: Pages Promotions Virtual Book Festival will kick off the month with the Mystery of the Missing Manuscript. You really don’t want to miss out on any of the evenings with authors, suspects, and detectives. Register on Zoom by 6:30 p.m.

Go to:

https://www.pagespromotions.com/2023-winter-virtual-festival.html#/

Michigan Reads

Michigan Reads, a new platform for Indie authors, will open its doors to most authors in mid-February, only limited criteria will apply.

https://michiganreads.com/

In-person authors’ events

February also kicks off in-person authors’ events with Women’s Expos in Lansing and in Grand Rapids in March.

https://www.kohlerexpo.com/mm-womens-expo

I will write separate stories about Michigan Reads and the Women’s Expo in Lansing set for Feb. 10-12.

Copyright (c) 2023. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author- photographer portrays Detroit’s hidden gems, obscure sites

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5p3hy-13756ff

In her Detroit Revealed: A Different View of the Motor City, author-photographer Leslie Cieplechowicz highlights the obscure and amazing hidden gems of the city which is sometimes portrayed as unapproachable. The imagery highlights places only seen by local people who have created a rich culture and scenery that is veiled from the public eye.

“I wanted to share my view of the city,” she said.

Cieplechowicz worked as an EMS paramedic for the Detroit Fire Department. She returned to the sites of former EMS encounters to capture the images, all 4,000 of them. 150 best pictures made it into the book.

“I captured the heart of the city and the people,” she said. “I put a positive spin on a city that gets a negative reputation.”

The book serves as a city guide for both locals and visitors with its stunning imagery, history of the sites, and addresses.

“You can visit all the places,” she said.

Walk along the radiant blue riverfront of the Detroit River and view the beautiful structures glittering in the sunlight. Hang out at the hole-in-the-wall local bar and absorb the glow from the antique fixture that bathes the vintage decor in a warm light.

Head to the streets in a snowstorm, and peer through a broken window down Jefferson Avenue at a city shrouded in swirling white flakes. Or check out an old, dimly lit industrial center that has been turned into an enclave for local singers and artists to hone their talent, whose studios are a splash of faded records, flashing neon lights, and vibrant flags.

 

Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of this book.

 

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan Reads connects authors with the world

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ityep-1372503

Michigan Reads is a functional gateway for Michigan independent authors which started out with authors Ingar Rudholm and Andrew Allen Smith. The site was tested and more authors were added.

“The purpose is to centralize Michigan authors in a single place,” said Smith. “I will be offering it to all authors in February or March.”

Eventually, more features were added such as electronic billboards. In the works are streaming and TV. The proposed cost per author per book is $10, and a requirement to write a review of somebody else’s book.

“You can have as many books as you want,” Smith said. “It’s a place that is easy to remember.”

The main innovation is name recognition, according to Smith.

Listen in for more details.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger

Author Ingar Rudholm talks about sales & marketing

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ipivs-1360691

The author of the Traveling Circus series, Ingar Rudholm, talks about selling and marketing your books in an increasingly complex market flooded with social media algorithms. Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of Traveling Circus and the Secret Talent Scroll. The episode was sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger.

Use the following hashtags when distributing.

#fantasybook #mermaid

 

Pages Promotions hosts Indie Author Virtual Book Festival

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-pyy3s-13575ed

Author Diana Kathryn Plopa, founder of Pages Promotions talks about the upcoming Virtual Book Festival in February with author Emma Palova, host and producer of For the Love of Books Podcast. Listen in for a chance to win free registration and Plopa’s book A Duck Quacks.

In support of Indie and small press author all over the world, Plopa is hosting the Virtual Book Festival on Zoom, from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28. The deadline for authors to apply is January 15.

It’s wintertime in Michigan (and other parts of the world), and authors aren’t easily able to meet with crowds of readers at book festivals and fairs like we do in the warmer months… so we’re hosting a Virtual Book Festival to give you the opportunity to discover new authors and their books… all while staying warm!

Each day, we’ll share live interviews with authors, listen to them read some of their work, play games, give away prizes with the Spinny Wheel of Happiness, and generally have a good time with the written word. 

 Writers can sometimes be a wacky group of unpredictable people… after all, we make stuff up for a living.  You never know what kind of literary shenanigans might happen…

​So visit our Facebook page every day to see what’s coming next!

Share on social media #virtualbookfestival #mysteryofthemissingmanuscript

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger.

Author Karen Tintori pens Unto the Daughters

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ic3nu-135173d

In her memoir and historical mystery Unto the Daughters, author & former journalist Karen Tintori unveils a family secret set in turn-of-the-century Detroit. The inciting incident to break the silence was an obliterated passport, and then a wedding photo.

 

“I am Italian, ” she said. “My mother’s side of the family was from southern Sicily. You don’t tell family secrets.”

The story of her great-grandaunt Francesca haunted Tintori’s inquisitive mind for decades. After 12 years, three novels, and advice from the editor, Tintori re-imagined the haunting truth of an honor killing.

Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of Unto the Daughters.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger, the hometown newspaper in Lowell, MI

 

Happy New Year 2023

Wishing everyone a great new year. May all your dreams, hopes and wishes come true this year.

Wish big, reach high. Disrupt a category, break your breaking point. Help others reach their goals. Don’t stop. Start something new. Be an innovator. Set lofty goals. Be generous and kind. Don’t settle into status quo. Change with the changing times.

Never give up.

Watch for my first podcast of the year. You don’t want to miss it.

Copyright (c) 2023. Emma Blogs, LLC.

EW This WordPress.com site is about Emma's Writings.

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