By Emma Palova
The new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets” is a collection of 15 short stories: “Silk Nora” and “Booksafe Code” are historical fiction stories. 40 Hunks is a fast-paced action story, where bus driver Jose transports 40 Mexican men to labor in Michigan apple orchards.
Stories “Six Palms by the Tiki” and “Devil’s Elixir” explore the themes of aging and disease. “When Layla met Corey” and “Oceans Away” reflect longing for love inspite of distance.
The characters in stories “Chief,” “White Nights” and “Secrets in Ink” sell their souls to the devil.
In “Waiting for Snow”, Colin aka “The Trainman” and store owner Hayden explore dimensions of time, while waiting for snow in Paris.
In “Being Faustina” and “The Writer, the Nun & the Gardener,” the characters deal with different forms of death, including suicide.
In stories “Raspberry Rage” and “Cupcake Wine,” the characters struggle with addiction.
“Secrets” will be ready for the market in May.
Excerpt from 40 Hunks
It was the letter from the US Department of Agriculture giving him permission to cross the border to the US with the 40 men sleeping behind his back. Before they boarded the bus, Jose had to make sure they were the right men. Most of them didn’t have any IDs, so he trusted them and tried to match up the names with the list from the government.
The list wasn’t exact, but Jose knew once they entered the US territory, they would be assigned a permanent work guide. From there on, it was none of his business what would happen with these men. The guides were correction officers borrowed from the regional correctional facilities in the US.
The border patrol in Nogales searched the smelly bus and studied Jose’s driver’s license and the piece of paper.
“How do you know who’s who?” barked a sweating guard with an AK47 across his shoulder, at Jose.
“Vaguely. I know that I have 40 men,” said Jose also sweating.
The guard boarded the bus and walked in the aisle examining each face, holding the piece of governmental paper in his hand. He stopped and looked closely at one man. The men were wide awake now. He leaned over the hulky man taking in his odor.
“Who are you?” he asked with his face distorted in an evil grimace.
Jose walked up to the two men in the back of the bus.
“Hey, amigo,” he said to the guard. “They don’t speak English.”
The guard shoved the piece of paper with the list of names in front of the hulky man ignoring Jose.
This is the timeline for the “Secrets” 2017-2019:
Prior to the November #NaNoWriMo 50K word challenge, I wrote the first two stories: ” Chief” (2017) and “White Nights.” (2018)
I penned the core of the book during the #NaNoWriMo novel writing month in November 2018 with word count of 56,433. That is nine stories.
After the November 50K writing challenge, I wrote four stories: “Devil’s Elixir,” “When Layla met Corey, “”Waiting for Snow” and “Six Palms by the Tiki”. I finalized the manuscript during #Camp NaNo in April.
I would not be able to do any of this without the support of the National Novel Writing Month projects of daily writing. Thank you.
Book signings and appearances
I am planning book signings and author appearances.
I will be at Lowell Arts in June/Aug. during the Livin Easy exhibit.
Muskegon Art Fair on July 5 & 6th
Ludington Books Alive on July 19
Belrockton in the fall -October
Girls Night Out -October
I am also looking for book reviewers. Please email Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org for ARCs.
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