January authors represent a diverse group

January author on "For the Love of Books Podcast" represent various genres.
January authors from left to right starting at top row: Dallas Woodburn, Donny Winter. Middle row: Erik Bean and Renae Micou. Bottom row: Stacey Rourke.

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – I am very excited to announce the January author line-up of diverse authors. They are Dallas Woodburn, Donny Winter, Erik Bean, Renae Micou, Stacey Rourke, and Tony Lindsay.

Each author brings their own different perspective to common questions that we all ask from inspiration to stance on issues.

Since this is the beginning of 2022, which sounds futuristic to me, we will be talking about creative goals and tips to succeed in the literary world.

How do you start and finish a book from the original idea to the final marketing plan?

I’ve been privileged to meet only a few authors featured on the podcast “For the Love of Books” in person at authors’ events. So, I am happy to be able to bring their expertise to all listeners via the podcasting magic on all major apps.

Even though Covid has been bad for all of us, in a way it united us in our common fight not only against the disease but against bias, since the virus strikes all equally.

Then, the Zoom technology that enables podcasting the best shines because of the pandemic.

Find time to listen to all of these indie authors at their best.

Here is the podbean link

Become a guest and or a sponsor of the show. This show is made possible thanks to the generosity of Doc Chavent.

Thank you for listening and have a great new year 2022.

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

YA novel ”Thanks, Carissa, For Ruining My Life” set for February release


Author Dallas Woodburn skillfully flips friends into lovers in the love triangle between Carissa, Brad, and Rose using two points of view.

Set for February release the friends-to-lovers romance delivers a heartwarming message about self-improvement, identity, and acceptance in an image-obsessed culture.

This is Woodburn’s second novel with a short story collection How To Make Paper When the World is Ending slated for June publication.

A former John Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, Woodburn’s writing has been honored with the Cypress & Pine Short Fiction Award, the international Glass Woman Prize, and four Pushcart Prize nominations.

When she’s not writing, Dallas hosts the podcast “Overflowing Bookshelves.” Woodburn is also a book doula.

Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of Woodburn’s new novel.

Upcoming Events & Readings

I am pleased to announce that poet Donny Winter will be my guest today on For the Love of Books Podcast. Winter will read two of his poems.

The recording posts tomorrow on podbean at


Donny Winter

2022 has come in roaring for me on the creative writing front. I will be attending and featured in a number of poetry readings throughout January and February. If you’d like to attend any of these events, below is a list. All of these are scheduled in EST.

Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. – For the Love of Books Podcast Interview

Friday, January 14, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. – Meet Michigan Poet Donny Winter! (Reading)

Sunday, January 23, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. – Guest Appearance: Between the Lines Podcast

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. – Brown Bag Talk: Feats of Alchemy, HLC

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. – GAS Poetry Reading

Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. – Alien Buddha Press Live Reading on Twitter

Thank you all for your endless support! Keep writing, friends!

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MotownWriters Meetup Notes 2021 – 2022

I am very excited to have Sylvia Hubbard on “For the Love of Books Podcast” in February. You can ask questions for Sylvia here or on the facebook page “For the Love of Books Podcast.”

I just got done listening to the replay of the meetup notes with Sylvia Hubbard, and it was awesome. Hubbard is incredibly knowledgeable about the media business.

This session was about how to land an interview with the media on podcasts. I could also speak to that extensively.  The podcasters are actually looking for guests. You just have to find the right fit for your work.

And just like Hubbard said, you have to weave your message into the podcast message. Each podcast has a certain message. That means, you need to familiarize yourself with the show.

Among the many resources, there is a podcastguest.com directory.

Motown Writers Network . . . Michigan Literary Network

Notes are listed if the presenters allows. Otherwise you’ll have to contact the presenter for those notes.

Grab meetup notes here: https://sylviahubbard1.gumroad.com/l/TjCOt

Most Meetup notes in PowerPoint or a pdf. The initial sheet only has a link to August and September. 

October, November and December of 2021 is in the versions you’ll have to select. Upcoming year of 2021 will be also there.

You’ll also get Canva templates to help you promote and our popular book checklist.

If you want for free just put in 0.00, but if you’d like to make a kind donation to help our network strengthen, thank you. We appreciate any and all donations given. 

Some of them demand a charge for a very low fee, but only because there were researched well, with links and to help our literary network.

Grab meetup notes here: https://sylviahubbard1.gumroad.com/l/TjCOt

For updates on literary news, updates and giveaways, please subscribe

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In ”Shadows” Emma fights to follow her heart before Civil War


Author Jules Nelson emphasizes women’s role in history before Civil War rocked the nation in her book “Shadows.”

It was an era when men entered history as pioneers while women ensured that everything else around was a success.

“Girls and women played a huge part in history,” said Nelson. “History is not just about men. What we do is important even if it does not make it into a history class.”

With her deep love for history in its quirkiness, Nelson portrays the main character Emma in the shadows of times marked by rumors that can create a shadowy reputation.

Nelson encourages everyone to read and write reviews.

“Reviews are like tips for writers,” she said. “It’s what gets us noticed.”


Czech Christmas Traditions II

The live carp in a bathtub

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Among the age-old Czech Christmas traditions that I consider as the most bizarre and “fishy” was the purchase of a live carp on Christmas Eve or the day before for Christmas Eve dinner at the Czech open-air holiday markets.

The carp were transported in barrels with fresh water from the carp ponds in Southern Bohemia such as Trebon. The carp ponds were started in medieval times in the Rozmberk area. Annually in the autumn, the ponds are drained and the carp are netted and kept in large vats before they hit the holiday markets on city squares.

We had to stand in lines for fresh carp at the open markets and the no. 1 tip was not to forget your crochet net bag so the carp could breathe in it before you got the poor fish home, that had already been fighting for oxygen with hundreds of carp in the barrels and vats since November.

If you were lucky to get the carp home live, you had to release it into the bathtub. The next day the men in the household butchered it and it was served for Christmas Eve dinner. Sometimes the head was used for fish soup. We have always used the mushroom soup alternative.

The next hurdle you had to overcome was not to get a bone stuck in your throat. The fried carp always had plenty of bones, fat, and smelled of mud from the ponds, if it was big enough. Yet, it was the fish of choice for the festive dinner accompanied by potato salad, and soup.

If you had something different like fish fillets or fried schnitzel, it was looked down upon.

Fishy tradition modified

This fishy tradition I have modified accordingly since there is no live carp sold on American open holiday markets. At least not that I know of. For years I bought fish at the local grocer’s fish counter, until 2020, the year of Covid.

As I frequented farmer’s markets in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, I discovered fishmonger Dan Sodini from Middleville. He brings fresh and frozen fish from the cold waters of Lake Huron to the markets in West Michigan. Last year, he started the annual winter “fish drop” and I rejoiced.

I knew the Great Lakes Fish annual fish drop was as close as I could get to the Czech live carp tradition. During the first winter fish drop on Jan. 16th at the Ada market, I bought our Christmas fish: lake trout, whitefish, and salmon. And yes, I had to stand in a line. Thank you, Dan, for keeping our “fishy” tradition alive.

Some Czech families feeling sorry for the carp let it loose the next day, which was not recommended.

Back to Christmas Eve; those who fasted all day before dinner got to see the golden pig, signifying prosperity. Also if you put a scale from the carp under your plate or in your wallet, you will enjoy prosperity.

Creative Czechs have been inspired by the live carp tradition for generations; it has made its way into movies, folk tales, legends, poems, new blog posts, and radio talk.

If you see a star made from apple seeds by cutting an apple in half, the whole family will enjoy health for the entire year or there will be a birth in the family. On the other hand, if you see a cross from the apple seeds or the center is rotted, there will be a death in the family.

Single girls threw a shoe behind them at the doorstep, if the tip pointed to the door, the girl would get married next year. If it pointed inward, the girl would stay single for at least the next year.

Sometimes, we each floated a nut shell with a candle resembling little sailboats in a pot; the sailboats that traveled away from the edge, meant travel for their owners, the ones that stayed by the edge, meant staying home.

A major difference between Czech and American Christmas is that gifts are found underneath the tree right after dinner. “Jezisek” brings them while we eat.

This was preceded by a long period of hiding gifts, and hunting for them; finding gifts in unusual places and boxes marked with something else than the content. I picked up this tradition from my dad, Vaclav Konecny. Once in Africa, he put my doll in a box from a train. I remember the tears of disappointment, that didn’t last too long.

Mom Ella found her golden bracelets hanging like ornaments on the Christmas tree. Thanks, dad for this fun tradition.

Then, we play traditional Czech carols on the piano and the trumpet. We usually go for the Christmas mass the next day on Dec. 25th. Now, almost exclusively to St. Pat’s in Parnell.

In the Czech Republic, the day after Christmas Day was known as the Feast of St. Stephen, which we all celebrated by visiting with family and going to church.

Since we have been sharing our favorite Christmas traditions on my “For the Love of Books Podcast,” I would be remiss if I didn’t share my own.

Here we go:

Favorite holiday tradition

After a long day of working in the kitchen, my favorite moment was finally sitting down at the festive dinner table, lighting the candles, and seeing all the hungry faces ready to eat after the prayer led by the head of the family.

Check out the “For the Love of Books Podcast” on


Merry Christmas

Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Czech holiday traditions

This is our 32nd Christmas living on the North American continent. We have kept most of the Czech Christmas traditions. Let me start with the oldest ones. The no. 1 undisputed Czech holiday tradition is baking. Recipes are passed from one generation to the next, sometimes perfected, sometimes left at their best.

Most women and girls start baking at the beginning of December and the reason is simple; cookies like Linzer and marzipan have to soften over time for the best taste.

I usually bake the third week in December, this year was an exception as I baked with our granddaughter Josephine for the first time ever. So we started early last Saturday before the power went out due to high winds. I passed on the baking tradition to our kids, Emma and Jake, now it’s our grandkids’ turn.

Somewhere in an old shoebox, I have print photos of Jake standing on a stool wearing black sweatpants and a blue shirt making Christmas cookies long before Facebook’s existence. I remember buying him a baking tool set the next year for Christmas.

And cook books is where I start no matter how long I’ve been baking. That’s the sacred rule no. 1. Like most women I have hundreds of recipes in hundreds of different formats and hiding in hundreds of different places. You name it, I have it. From original cookbooks in Czech and Slovak languages to Czech cookbooks in English from the ZCBJ Lodge in Bannister, magazines in Czech and English to priceless hand-written recipes in Czech from my best friend’s mother and even from my own grandmother Anna.

Baking recipes from the Czech Republic.

Not to mention the greatest baker of all my mother Ella whom I consider baker extraordinaire. Mom has baked for weddings and for any occasion you can think of, all the way to Sunday afternoon desserts. Now, in her 80s, mom Ella still bakes to this day. As of this year, mom has again baked Czech kolache for us before my parents left for Florida at the beginning of December. I froze them for Christmas Eve. I have just found out that we are celebrating Christmas at our house. That’s good. I don’t have to transport all the food to Hastings.

A long time ago when I first baked in the Czech Republic as a kid, my uncles always cracked the walnuts for us for hours before we started baking. We harvested our own walnuts and had to peel them from their thick green skins, which left our fingers brown and with a bitter smell. My favorite recipes are made with nuts. I like nuts either in the filling or in the dough. The best recipes have nuts in both- the cream and the dough.

So this year I made Russian nuts and nutty baskets filled with a nutty creme. My daughter-in-law Maranda says that Czech cookies are a lot of work. Yes, they are, but the result is what I call “Unicorn Heaven” when you’re floating on the sweet taste of love. BTW, I still have to finish baked batches of both desserts.

For the Russian nuts, I use the following recipe (in metric measures) from Libuse Sustalova’s “Cookbook: Baking with Success.”

Don’t forget to buy the forms that look like nutshells. The refrigerated dough goes into the forms, bakes for 22 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit.

Recipe for dough

500g of flour, 350 g of butter, 150 g of powdered sugar, 150 g of ground walnuts

Recipe for creme filling

10 dkg butter, 3 yolks, 8 dkg powdered sugar, 6 dkg nuts, 3 dkg breadcrumbs

Beat the yolks with the sugar, add butter and nuts. Spread the filling on the baked nuts and stick two together. Cover with chocolate. Inspired by my mother Ella, I add vanilla pudding to the buttery creme to lighten it. It is optional. If you choose to use it buy instant vanilla pudding.

You can buy the forms at Czech and Slovak Ed. Center and Museum by going to their website:


Czech traditions to be continued……the bizarre live carp tradition.

Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author Theresa Halvorsen pens ”Warehouse Dreams”


As author psychologist Halvorsen puts it: “Go gently into 2022.”

Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of featured authors’ giveaways.

In “Warehouse Dreams” author Theresa Halvorsen pitches the “Wilds” against the “Breds” embodied in delightful characters Kendle and teacher Stephen.

Kendle recruits teens with psychic abilities, for the Warehouse, the only school for Wilds. Accepting teens with Wild Gifts is risky; refusing means they face life under sedation. Stephen, the telepathy teacher, is a celebrity Bred with perfect genes. Can a Bred fall for a Wild like Kendle? As society’s hatred of Wilds goes up, the schools’ resources go down. Can Kendle protect her students?

Email the authors for a chance to win a free signed copy of their books.


Author Andrew Allen Smith releases book ”Adam” in new series ”Eternal Forever”


Character Adam is edgier and author Andrew Allen Smith tells the story of the immortal in first person with the final fifth book in mind. “Adam” is a product of a dream, as often is the case with Smith’s books.

“He’s the first and only of his kind,” Smith said. “I tried to stay away from the stereotype of immortals. I wanted to stay on the edge of it.”

In this book, the author tackles the concept of death among many others from a different perspective.

“…here I am, cradling her in my arms. The cool breeze blowing across my face. I am looking down at a woman between life and death. I can save her, but at the cost of her being a little of me. I can watch her pass as I have seen so many pass before. The decision is mine. As I wrestle with it, the sirens scream in the background, closer and closer. Just a drop of my amazing blood will give her life, but how can I decide?”

Smith also talks about grieving during the holidays or at any time of the year in this special holiday episode.

“Don’t go through it alone,” he advises. “Be there for people who are grieving.”

Smith penned his only non-fiction book “What Not to Say to People Who are Grieving” after the tragic death of his niece in 2020.

Listen in to the episode for a chance to win a signed copy of “Adam.”

Coffee talk in Slovak

Join us for a conversation in Slovak on Dec. 9 at 12:30 pm EST. You can register by clicking on the following link


The other dates are Dec. 14th and Dec. 16th, all at 12:30 pm EST.

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