Category Archives: author events

Excerpt: Living in socialism

Note: Following is an excerpt from the chapter: “Living in socialism” from my upcoming book- the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” set for Oct. 16 release on Amazon.

The book is available for preorder in Kindle format at:

Greenwich Meridian Memoir is an epic story of love and immigration.

Continued: Living in socialism

Workplace ethic

Among interesting events at workplaces were birthday celebrations. Ludek described a typical birthday celebration at the ZPS factory as follows; the celebrant typically brought in a bottle of plum brandy and poured everyone from each department a shot. After work, the celebration continued at the local pubs. There was a lot of birthday celebrations throughout the years. Milestone celebrations like turning 50, meant you got a fancy watch from the company and a huge party at a local pub.

During national holidays, the workers would steal anything and take it through the gates without being checked because there were so many of them leaving at once for the parades. So, the parades were known as the “March of Thieves.” The parades actually started inside the factory. On the matter of overtime, one individual was selected to punch for all those, who waited somewhere outside the factory behind the gates.

The major employers in Zlin were Svit and ZPS; their huge factory complex spanned several blocks in town. The shoe factory Svit was built during the Thomas Bata era in the 1920s. It employed 10,000 workers. ZPS was the mechanical engineering factory, employing also 10,000. Women worked mainly in Svit, while men worked in ZPS.

Our hometown Zlin grew thanks to the T & A Bata firm, when Tomas Bata was known as the “king of shoes” (aka the creator) of the global shoe emporium with export of shoes to the U.S. as well. The growth and success of the Bata firm were attributed to a large army contract with the Austro-Hungarian Empire to make shoes for 5,200 soldiers.

The core of city Zlin boasts the fine architecture of functionalism; the former Bata headquarters building “Twenty-one”, a high-rise reaching 254 feet and the 11- story Hotel Moscow. During socialism, the shoe empire became the factory Svit, where people worked for generations. In socialism, the economy was planned accordingly into one-year plans, five-year plans and ten-year plans. All the companies had to strive to fulfill the plans to the highest percentage for bonuses at the end of the year. The bulletin boards at the different workplaces boasted the percentages of fulfilled plans.

The average salary for women working in the Svit factory was 1,200 crowns; for men working in ZPS it was 2,500 to 3,000. Since, the work or the economy didn’t fluctuate, most jobs were for the entire lifetime until retirement.

“You couldn’t quit,” said Ludek.

According to Ludek, even if you wanted to quit, you couldn’t because you had to give a six-months’ notice, and the other employer wouldn’t wait for you that long. On top of that you had to sign a work contract.

 Of course, there was no such thing as calling in sick; you had to have a doctor’s script that you are sick. Not showing up for work was called American time off or “A.” If you did it for three days in a row, the police would come looking for you.

 If you were sick and stayed at home, you had to be in bed, because regular controls at home were conducted if you’re not cheating.

 “They even touched the bed and the sheets if they were still warm,” Ludek said.

You got paid when you were sick, and the health care was free for all. There was a universal one crown fee per prescription of any drug. People often ask, if there was a shortage of drugs and doctors.

Of course, there was a shortage of everything due to the planned economy. You got used to most of the shortages, but some were just plain embarrassing like not enough toilet paper, hygiene products or laundry detergent.

On the other hand, there were fashionable dresses in nice boutiques, pretty shoes and fancy parties with crystal glasses and porcelain plates. The paradox of not having basic needs fulfilled sharply contrasted with the opulence of the fashion, including home fashions inside homes and apartments. People took good care of their homes and took pride in their furniture. Women spent days polishing the furniture, and usually you couldn’t touch anything when visiting a friend. You were designated a safe spot to sit, where you didn’t jeopardize the cleanliness and the order of things.

 Most products were made in Czechoslovakia or they were imported from the countries of the RVHP–the association of mutual economic assistance such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, Romania and U.S.S.R.

You spent a lot of time waiting around for anything and everything, quite often it was in lines for desirable items like bananas or meat.

The grocery stores were small with only a limited amount of shopping baskets, so you waited for the shopping basket, then you waited inside the store at the dairy counter for cheese, and at the meat counter for meat, you waited in a line for the cash register and you waited for the bus to get home with your groceries. There you waited for the elevator to get to your apartment.

 The waiting game was due to everything being small and crowded. Overall, the country is small with only 15.6 million population and territory of 127,875 square feet kilometers in the heart of Europe. So, it has traditionally been the target of other countries in their quest for more land.

At the time, there were only savings banks in the country except for the Commerce Bank in Prague that handled international currency. People got paid money not checks. Most of them kept the money at home and spent it for basic needs.

Nothing was really cheap; you pretty much spent your entire paycheck on life’s necessities. And that definitely discounted gas and telephone bills, because only a few people had cars or telephones. However, most people were not in debt, and mortgages didn’t exist. Something as bizarre as a non-returnable loan for newlyweds existed.

It wasn’t uncommon for several generations to live in one house. But the main housing was in apartments, that were affordable, but you had to wait for them for years. There were cheaper state-owned apartments and apartments owned by the cooperatives. Condos did not exist. This set-up was due to the socialist ownership of everything from apartments to land, factories and businesses that happened through the major nationalizations in 1945 and 1948. Houses were individually owned and usually built by owners. Most houses were in villages, and these included very old buildings like my Grandfather Joseph’s beloved “Ranch” at 111 Krnovska in Vizovice. The old buildings known as “chalupas” required extensive repair challenged by the shortage of contractors and materials.

However, the main source of the communist pride were the apartment mega complexes such as the “Southern Slopes” housing 20,000 people, which was one- fourth of the population of Zlin. These were dubbed as the “building successes of socialism.” The country is sprinkled with these and their inhabitants are happy to live in them. Most of them have been turned into condos.

Atheism vs Religion

A friend asked me to write about religion in socialist Czechoslovakia. Under the Marxism Leninism philosophy, the official religion was atheism–not believing in God or any deity. The church properties were confiscated along with everything else and belonged to the state as of 1945. But people went to churches, some secretly, others openly.

There were only two denominations that my husband Ludek and I could recall: Catholic and Evangelic. Each town had one church only, and the Catholic church usually prevailed depending on the region. The churches were old dating back to feudalism and the reigning aristocracy. It took 150 years to build the new Saint Mary’s Church in Stipa due to a pause in construction because of the 1620 war. The construction started under Albrecht of Valdstejn in 1615 and ended in 1765 thanks to the money from the Rottal countess.

 The clear and present danger of going to church mainly impacted teachers and career-oriented people who were trying to get ahead of the game. It impacted both my father and my aunt.

Although we come from a large Catholic family, Aunt Martha, who was a teacher in Stipa, could not go to church. Many years later, I found out that she was a member of the Old Catholic Church, a chapter located inside a chapel at the cemetery across the street from the Konecny house and that she had sponsored a priest in his education. The chapel is also a tomb of the count Seilern family, a major influence in the Stipa region with the Chateau Lesna.

One of the major wars, the Thirty Years’ War, in Czech history was over religion. What I consider the sad part of modern history is that after the downfall of socialism in Czechoslovakia, the majority of people never returned back to the church.

However, a big tradition centered around the parishes stayed intact–that is the feast of the saints. In our case, it was the Feast of Saint Mary in Stipa on September 8 th. These feasts or pilgrimages were much like homecomings or festivals in the U.S. The entire families gathered for the feasts for an opulent celebration of the saints. In many cases, animals were butchered and ladies baked the famous pastry-kolache or strudels. A dance took place at the local hall on the night before the feast. This often turned into a brawl, as people got drunk on plum brandy. Carnival rides always came into town with booths and paper roses. I loved these paper colorful crepe roses on  wires; I wish I had kept at least one. Other booths sold gingerbread hearts of all sizes and for all hearts.

In traditional pilgrimage places like Hostyn, the booths were set up all the time and opened for the season with hundreds of religious and non-religious items: rosaries, prayer books, medallions and miniature statues. Pilgrims streamed to Hostyn, both on foot and on buses.

That brings me to celebrations of holidays in general. In villages like Stipa, many people raised animals for meat: rabbits, pigs, geese, turkeys, chickens and ducks. That was the primary source of meat for the holidays. Most meat was roasted, served with creamy sauces or sauerkraut and dumplings. Pork and chicken were often fried into wiener schnitzel. Salads or vegetables were not as common as in the U.S. due to their year-round shortage. Soups were always a part of a holiday meal, mostly beef or chicken. In some households, people made their own noodles.

As a rule, women baked for the weekends all sorts of pastries, some for breakfast. But there was also an abundance of pastries on the market; at the bakeries, coffee shops, patisseries and in grocery stores. The patisseries served as cafes with people hanging around in them sipping coffee or wine, while enjoying a “rakvicka.” This dessert has always fascinated me; the pastry is in the form of a small coffin filled with delicious cream and ornately decorated on the top with whirls and swirls of more cream.

Among the most famous baked goods, were “rohliky” or bread rolls in the shape of a crescent, some even came with poppy seeds. And bread was always good, whether baked round with hard crust or in loaves in small or large bakeries.

Other homemade products included sausages and smoked meat. The butchering of the family pig usually took place in winter and before the holidays, so there was plenty of meat on the table. Socialism with its chronic lack of basic goods, drove the need for self-sufficiency specifically in the villages and craftsmanship as well. People were forced to be more creative in many different ways.

Many households in villages and towns were self-sufficient with everything homemade or home grown. National artist Joseph Lada illustrated the traditional festivities: The Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6, the butchering of the family pig in the yard with onlookers, Christmas by the tall tiled stoves, autumn campfires with fire-roasted potatoes and summer fun by the ponds with the willows.

The Czech Republic enjoys four distinct seasons: mild winters, early springs, hot summers and moderate autumns. The seasons are conducive to year-round vacationing and recreation. In the socialist era, people traveled freely between the two parts of the country, Czech and Slovak republics. Slovakia is the home to the Tatra Mountains. Travel to other socialist countries was also accommodated.

Recreation was encouraged and subsidized through the membership in the Revolutionary Union Movement (ROH) at the workplaces. Some companies had their own recreation centers in the mountains like Jelenovska. We visited this center in the mid-1980s. Much fancier centers belonged to the leaders of the Communist Party.

The ultimate goal of socialism aimed at the health and well-being of the population and the country. However, that was contradicted by the inability to act freely in many aspects such as travel to the Western countries and overall limitations of freedom of speech and press.

 The press of the socialist era represented the opinions and views of tolerated organizations. The number one daily newspaper was “The Red Truth,” the official paper of the Communist Party gloated with the party philosophy and the party news. Then, there was a version for the younger generation called, “The Young Front,” which was a little bit less biased. After that, came “The People News” and “The Agricultural News.” All of them were heavily censored for content and inuendo. Journalists had to go to political schools, which were hard to get into.

The older generation like my grandpa read “The People News” only on Sunday afternoons. At the Gymnasium Zlin, we had to recite the news in the “Citizens’ Education” class. The news was usually about the president sending a congratulatory letter to another leader of a socialist country or about the regular Communist Party conventions.

The TV wasn’t much better, if not worse. There was one TV station–The Czechoslovak TV run by the government. The books and magazines were less censored. I sent a lot of novels to mom Ella.

EVENTS

I will be participating in October Virtual Book Fest with a reading on Oct. 5 and an interview on Oct. 23.

Zoom Reading:October 5, 2020 @ 7pm – 7:30pm

Zoom Interview:October 23, 2020 @ 7pm – 8pm

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

August newsletter

July has flown by with the speed of a rocket. As we swiftly moved into August, the primary election found us on firm grounds with 2.5 million cast ballots in Michigan.

We continue with canning pickles grown in our own garden. So far we’ve canned 25 jars in Znojmo style based on a recipe from Czech Republic.

We had to forgo another birthday- my dad’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without dad, we celebrated at the Cedar Springs brewery enjoying the classic schnitzel.

I wish I could stop the time and let it be still in the summer breeze from Lake Michigan. I totally immersed myself in its beauty in Grand Haven.

To be continued…

Check your inboxes for August newsletter.

Reviewers needed

Copyright (c)2020 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAY 12: COVID -19 Czech video airs on cnn encourages to wear masks

CDC recommends wearing cloth masks in public

By Emma Palova

As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to skyrocket and health workers are facing a daily suicide mission, the Center for Disease Control recommended on Friday that all Americans wear basic cloth masks to prevent the spread of the disease.

However, this does not replace social distancing of six feet or washing hands. The U.S. has reached a new daily high of 1,100 deaths and a total of 273,000 cases on Friday.

Get your sewing machine out and make a mask for yourself and loved ones, or go bigger as you make it a community project.

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the best around the world. Play your part today. Make a mask.

#Masks4All

I continue to delight in the beauty of my sunroom plants, because it’s kind of dreary outside.

I am also scheduling my book tour 2020. Stay tuned for details.

So far, I am planning on launching my upcoming book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon on July 3 and July 4.

The book is now on pre-order at:https://www.amazon.com/Greenwich-Meridian-Memoir-Emma-Palova-ebook/dp/B085DD2ZR3/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Greenwich+Meridian+Memoir&qid=1586018567&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus crisis in the U.S.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from greenwich meridian memoir- Shortage of toilet paper

After having a second show- the West Michigan Women’s Expo – canceled due to the coronavirus threat and reading the posts about the shortage of toilet paper, this excerpt seems like a great fit.

The Haves and the Have Nots

The useless feeling never went away; it intensified with time until it became a monster. I watched this happen between my mom, Ella, and her younger sister, Anna, over the years before 1968 and after my parents’ immigration to the U.S.A. 

In 2018, Time published a special edition:1968 The Year That Shaped a Generation with introduction: “Like a knife blade, the year severed past from future.” 

Before 1968, the two sisters were like regular siblings with occasional hard and soft feelings for each other. They even went together on vacations with their spouses to the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Aunt Anna is also my godmother as was the custom in the old country for the closest relatives to be the Godparents. 

Their parents treated them equally as any parent would. They had similar hopes and dreams. Neither one of them made a lot of money. 

Life before the 1968 “Socialism with a human face” movement started by Alexander Dubcek and the Velvet Revolution in 1989 was simple.

People enjoyed both the advantages and the disadvantages of socialism; everyone had the right to work. There was no such thing as unemployment. If you were unemployed for more than six weeks, you went to jail. Since the economy was regulated and planned, there was always work, whatever work and any work at any given time. If you wanted a good job, you needed connections or my mom’s long arm.

That was balanced out by having to stand in long lines for basic items such as toilet paper. However, college education was free, along with healthcare for all and free daycare. 

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Great Lakes Writers @Expo

The show is on

Great Lakes Writers at the West Michigan Women’s Expo

Grand Rapids, MI- The Great Lakes Writers group will be at the 22nd West Michigan’s Women’s Expo at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids on March 13-15. They will be located in booth 976 inside the Exhibitors Hall.

Stop by and chat with authors, who have been sweeping the shores of the Great Lakes with the renaissance independent author movement. Join our @Michigan Authors group at http://michiganauthors.com/welcome/

The West Michigan Women’s Expo will feature over 350 exhibits, seminars, shopping and fun that aim to provide a weekend of entertainment, education, and enjoyment tailored to women and their families. 

“This year the 22 nd annual West MichiganWomen’s Expo will be larger.We are pleased to have you join us in the largest 2020 event for women in the West Michigan area,” said author/organizer Janet Vormittag.

Pictured authors below from left to right, top row and left to right bottom row:

Janet Vormittag, Joan Young, Robert Muladore, Emma Palova, Jean Davis, Melanie Hooyenga, Norma Lewis and Judith Wade.

Vormittag is an author, publisher and animal advocate. She is the founder and publisher of Cats and Dogs, a Magazine Devoted to Companion Animals, a free publication distributed in Western Michigan that promotes pet adoption and spay/neuter.

Most recently, the group expanded to the Lansing Women’s Expo held in February.

Following are the participating writers:

Great Lakes Writers
Sherry A. Burton
Jean Davis
Ellen Murray
Laura Holmes
Judith Wade
Norma Lewis
Christina Lonski
Kimberly Mocini
Robert Muladore
Nancy Sanders Pokerwinski  (Friday – sharing with Melanie)
Melanie Hooyenga (Saturday and Sunday – sharing with Nancy)
Kathy Spohn
Wendy Thomson
Janet Vormittag
Joan Young (Friday and Saturday –sharing with J.R. Armstrong)
J.R. Armstrong (Sunday – sharing with Joan Young)
Emma Palova

The Great Lakes Writers on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/976991479041183/about/

PUBLIC SHOW HOURS:
Friday, March 13 – 10:00am – 6:00pm, Saturday, March 14 – 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday, March 15 – 11:00am – 4:00pm
DeVos Place
303 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

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Greenwich Meridian memoir preorder

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Happy Monday to all. This has been one of my happiest Mondays ever. I have just submitted my third book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” for preorder on kindle Amazon. I will be offering tips on both my EW Emma’s Writings blog and on Facebook, on how to write a memoir. The cover was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford. We selected a collage of memorabilia including my mother’s Sudanese driving license, the Czech coat-of-arms and postcards.

Greenwich Meridian Memoir is an epic tale of love and immigration spanning three continents and two generations. The story takes place on the backdrop of two major historical events in former Czechoslovakia: Prague Spring 1968 and Velvet Revolution 1989. The two events have propelled the major characters into unpredictable action as they journeyed into the unknown. Inspite of the trials and tribulations, Ella and Vaclav have never lost their passion for each other. The next generation Emma and Ludek followed in their footsteps.

The manuscript is being edited by Carol Briggs of Lowell. It has been one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life and that includes surviving the recession of 2007 and two major historic events in former Czechoslovakia. I would like to thank all my friends, family and #NaNoWriMo for the support and keeping me on track.Check out my Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

Author’s events

West Michigan Women’s Expo, Devos Place, Grand Rapids

I will be at the West Michigan Women’s Expo on March 13- March 15 at Devos Place with my previous books from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series, and with the preorder for the memoir.

There will be other @Michigan Authors present.

Stop by our authors’ area and meet your next favorite book.

Venice Book Fair, Blalock Park

I will be in Venice, FL on Saturday, March 21 for the 9th annual Venice Book Fair in Blalock Park from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

West Michigan Women’s Expo

I am really looking forward to this first event of the book tour season 2020. I still haven’t come up with a name for my book tour.

I am readying the third book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” for the market. It will be available for pre-order on kindle Amazon. It is going to the editor Carol Briggs this week.Greenwich Meridian Excerpt

The cover was designed by graphic designer Jeanne Boss, editor emeritus of the Lowell Ledger.

Greenwich Meridian Excerpt

Life was a lot like living in a shoebox next to another shoebox, while the shoeboxes were stacked on top of each other with the imminent danger of collapsing in those infamous megacomplexes. 

There was not much one could do because of the constant scrutiny by jealous neighbors, bosses, other employees or the police. The police were called public safety for propaganda purposes to protect us.  

Jealousy was the ruling emotion or feeling. No one was safe from this monster. It also had many different forms and ugly faces. Like a Medusa, they reared their heads at any given time.   

Family members were not immune either from any of this. On the contrary, jealousy was magnified among siblings. Some had more, some had less. It was the communist version of Hemingway’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.”  

Resentment over the 1968 Soviet occupation and massive exodus into the Western world never really went away. It still lingered in households. There was animosity between those who left the country during the Soviet occupation and those who stayed. That is the expatriates were despised, and the freedom fighters who stayed, were jailed but honored.  

It was like being the only child for a long time, and then a younger sibling is born. One can’t help but be resentful over what was before and after everything had changed.  

Greenwich Meridian Memoir cover designed by Jeanne Boss.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Reviews on Amazon, Venice book fair

Hello everyone,

Thanks for writing reviews that will help the ranking of my books on Amazon from the Shifting Sands Short Stories collections. I need to reach 25 reviews for basic ranking.

This is the main link to writing reviews on Amazon. The reviews do not have to be long.

https://www.amazon.com/author/emmapalova

You can basically just state what you did like about the book, what you didn’t like about the book and what stayed with you and why.

If you click on the stars, it will take you to customer reviews, and you will see examples of  a few reviews.

customer reviews

I am in the process of planning my book tour for 2020. Let me know, if you want me to come to a specific place or event.

I will be in Venice, FL for the book fair and writer’s festival on March 20 & 21. It is also my writer’s retreat.

I am looking for an author to share a table.

Contact me with questions about my new book Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West, or any other questions. The book will be available for pre-order in January.

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

NANOWRIMO DAY 12

For NaNo Day 11 go to post “In observance of Veterans Day, NaNo Day 11. https://emmapalova.com/2019/11/11/in-observance-of-veterans-day-2019/

Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West with excerpt

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – We’re moving into winter “blietzkrieg” style- hard and fast. We already have snow frozen to the ground in Michigan as we hit 17F this morning.

I approached this year’s NaNoWriMo 2019 50K word challenge in the same style- hard and fast. I researched the background for the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir over the past few years, Moreover, I lived the historical events that shaped the story from Prague Spring in 1968 to Velvet Revolution in 1989 up to the present moment.

I logged into the NaNoWriMo dashboard a total of 27,403 words, averaging daily more than 2,000 words.

The previous years of research and writing have been like putting together the pieces of a puzzle with an unknown picture at the end.

Dad Vaclav Konecny with mom Ella at their 60th wedding anniversary celebration in Big Rapids.

Greenwich Meridian is an epic tale of our family immigration saga from Czechoslovakia to the U.S. spanning more than 50 years. It is also a love story between the main characters mom Ella & dad Vaclav. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 8, 2019 at Naval’s Mediterranean Grille in Big Rapids, MI.

After hitting a dead end around chapter 12, I took a break from the memoir and worked on the Shifting Sands Short Stories anthologies that resulted in book 1 “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” and book 2 “Shifting Sands: Secrets.”

I completed “Shifting Sands: Secrets” in the summer of 2018. So, I returned to the Greenwich Meridian memoir starting fresh with its second half that includes memories penned by my parents in chapters “In her own words” by mom Ella and dad wrote “How math professor escaped Czechoslovakia.”

Here is an excerpt: How math professor escaped Czechoslovakia

By Vaclav Konecny

I suffered through all the injustices of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia. I did not want to live there anymore. I applied for emigration visa for the entire family to get out of the country; all in vain. At the beginning of 1976, two officers from the Department of Interior visited me only to announce that I would never get the visa, even though I wasn’t working. 

Nothing helped my case; neither letters written to president Gustav Husak, who was proclaiming at the time, that people like me could pack their suitcases and leave the country, nor the Helsinki Accords of 1975. In vain, I wrote letters to different institutions, but I always got the same answer: “It isn’t in the best interest of the republic.” However, the only interest of the republic, was for the communists to fill their own pockets. I haven’t met a lot of honest communists there.  

The Helsinki Accords of 1975 signed by 35 countries including the U.S. and all the European countries attempted to improve the relations between the communists and the West. However, the Helsinski Accords were not binding as they did not have a treaty status. 

The communists abided only by those paragraphs and laws that they wanted to. I was a factory worker operating NC machines at the Precision Engineering Plants in Malenovice. That was the result of an intensive job search and after the recommendation from President Husak. This shows that the officials had no idea about my profession. They were probably judging by their own experience of gaining titles in exchange for lies and deceiving their own bosses. I didn’t complain; I worked honestly at the factory and I carefully probed all illegal avenues of leaving Czechoslovakia. However, I realized that it would be too risky to leave with the entire family. So, I decided that I would leave the country illegally by myself and get the family out of there later. 

Different options of escape seemed risky, because the borders were guarded against the people of the country, so they wouldn’t escape, not some outside enemy. Soldiers and their dogs were dangerous; the life of a Czech or Slovak person meant less than the life of a rabbit. I assumed that the border patrol in other countries would be less dangerous.  

Stop by for an authographed book from the “Shifting Sands Short Stories” anthologies during Emma’s book signing at the Lowell Area Historical Museum on Nov. 15, 16 & 17.

2019-11-15T09:00:00

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Emma’s book signing at Lowell Museum

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Happy Halloween

Ready for #NaNoWriMo 2019

I am as ready as I can be for the National Novel Writing Month 50K word challenge starting tomorrow Nov. 1 with my Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir project.

However, Halloween is not only followed by the NaNoWriMo blast off , but also by All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day in the catholic calendar on Saturday. I always go to the mass at St. Pat’s for one or the other to reflect and for inspiration.

Usually, the Book of the Dead is on display. An evening candlelight procession goes to the cemetery.

The feature photo is an optical illussion “All is Vanity” from Belrockton in Belding. It is hanging next to the “Face of Gossip,” which is on the cover of my new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories collections.

Follow me on my NaNoWriMo journey to the completion of the memoir about our family immigration saga to the U.S.

I will be signing my new book at the Lowell Area Historical Museum (LAHM) on Nov. 15, 16 & 17 during Christmas through Lowell.

For more info on NaNoWriMo go to: https://www.nanowrimo.org/

For more info on Christmas through Lowell go to: www.christmasthroughlowell.org

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.