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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
hours minutes seconds
Emma’s book signing at Lowell Museum
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.” Marissa Meyer
Back to the keyboard
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI- I am back behind the computer after a summer filled with author’s gigs, book marketing, anniversary parties and granddaughter Ella’s departure for Fixin, France.
The fall solstice weather is also much more conducive to being tied to the chair without any distractions; that includes minimum social media and Internet browsing only for research purposes and logging in daily word count on the NaNoWriMo website at https://www.nanowrimo.org/
However, I have one more big author event to go to before I embark on my second National Novel Writing Month 50k challenge starting on Nov. 1 with prep work in October.
Belrockton Dormitory , home of the Belding Museum
107 Hanover St. Belding, Oct. 6, 2019 1 pm – 4 pm
I am especially looking forward to this book signing of “Shifting Sands: Secrets” inside the original dormitory that housed the silk city girls when Belding was known as the” Silk City of the World.”
The making of “Silk Nora”
The long short story “Silk Nora” is the main story in book 2 in the Shifting Sands Short Stories series. By genre, it belongs to the historical fiction/historical romance catefories. So a good way to search for the book online is by using the keywords #historical fiction #historical romance. In physical bookstores, the book can be found in the fiction category.
The story digs deep into the history of the silk city girls’ dormitory “Belrockton” in Belding at the turn-of-the-century.
The Classical Revival-inspired building was erected in 1906 at a cost of $30,000 . It provided accommodations for 100 single female workers and staff. It was better known as the “Bel” and it is the last dormitory left from the three buildings. Much like the Richardson Mill is the last structure left from the three silk mills in Belding.
As a reporter for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in the early 2000s, I visited the museum on multiple occassions. But, it wasn’t until two years ago, when I spotted a picture of a woman in a hat during the museum’s fashion hat display in the fall of 2017. She was very elegant and beautiful with a nostalgic look on her face.
That woman in a hat served as a model for creating the main character Nora in the historical fiction story “Silk Nora,” which is the main story in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.”
I also explored extensively the interior of the dormitory including the girls’ rooms. There was another picture in an oval frame. This was a photo of Mathilda Adrian, who lived in the dormitory. Right next to the oval photo was her marriage certificate to John Mahar dated April 1917. And a double love story was born.
This discovery inspired the character of Mathilda, who became Nora’s best friend. So, at this point I had the main characters, and then I added Doris, the matron and the men into the story. All the characters are woven into Belding’s history of the silk industry started by the Belding Brothers in 1860 by selling silk from house to house.
Creativity of Belrockton staff
The creativity of the Belrockton Museum staff, Jane Forth, Barb Fagerlin, Jan Mehney along with others inspired my own creativity.
T he creative displays at the museum from Hotel Belding such as the receptionist’s desk helped me recreate the scenes of social life at the hotel.
The displays of girls’ rooms complete with mannequins, the movie theater, grocery store, fueled my imagination.
When I discovered the optical illusion picture of the “Face of Gossip” at the dormitory bathrooms, I was totally flabbergasted by the chain of coincidences that made the individual pieces fit into a complete story.
To be continued
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Palova. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
I am looking forward to my hometown book signing of “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series at the LowellArts gallery on Aug. 10 from 2pm to 4pm during the Livin’ is Easy exhibit.
Stop by for an autograph and for publishing insights. Also check out the story ” Taking the book on the road to connect with readers” about my tour in the Aug. 4 Buyer’s Guide.
The new book is a collection of 15 short stories with the main historical fiction story “Silk Nora” set in Belding, Michigan on the backdrop of the turn-of-the century era of inventions.
Other stories are based on Palova’s years of journalistic experience.
Together with other Michigan authors, Palova stands on the busy streets of hometowns manning her booth or tent, in the malls, at fairs or at art centers.
Locally, the book is available at the Springrove Variety in Lowell. It is on Amazon in both formats: paperback and kindle. It will be at the libraries of KDL, Schuler’s Books, Michigan News Agency and more. It is also at Horizon Books in Traverse City.
Traverse City, MI – It was a memorable Sunday afternoon in one of the busiest small towns in the Midwest.
“I love mall events,” said a local customer. “We came here for the books. We’re all readers.”
The Grand Traverse Mall event was organized by Dan McDougall of Bookbrokers & Kramer’s Cafe.
“This is the event that everyone will be talking about afterwards,” said McDougall. “T his one’s a keeper! ”
The event was complete with bagpipers, storytellers and a superhero.
Michigan authors represented all genres. Pictured below Ludington author Joan H. Young with Ella Konecny from Big Rapids.
“I support Michigan authors,” Konecny said.
The Ludington DDA has just sent a notice that people should not turn off Ludington Avenue at Harrison St, which is the way I suggested everyone come in to our location on Loomis Street. Because Loomis is one way east of Harrison, I’ve attached a little map with an alternate route. From US 10, turn S on Washington Ave (traffic light). Go 2 blocks to Filer St, turn R (west). Go to Harrison St and turn R (north) one block to Loomis.
Authors will be able to drive to your booth to unload, and will then need to park on a side street. If you attended last year, neither of the parking lots you may remember near the Arts Center are public any more, so think street parking! Volunteers will need to help with directing this, and possibly moving traffic barriers. We are being cautioned to move the barriers back into place after every entry/exit! See you tomorrow
Authors Tent at the Lakeshore Art Festival insights from author Jean Darla Davis
By Emma Palova
I spoke with Holland author Jean Darla Davis after two great days at the Lakeshore Art Festival on Saturday afternoon. Davis organized the Authors Tent located at Clay and 2nd Ave in downtown Muskegon to give more exposure to Michigan authors.
Hundreds of people stopped by the two tents with multiple authors and genres. Just like in a library or at a bookstore, the books with their authors represented different categories from mystery to crime, and everything in between.
The icing on the cake was that the authors were present for book signings and to chat about writing and publishing with readers and public in general.
Each author had their own story about their journey to publishing; from former cop Bob Muladore of Charlotte to hiker/author Joan H. Young from Scottville along with 18 others.
For some participating authors the next stop will be in Ludington at the Books Alive event in downtown on July 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There are still some open spaces. So you can sign up on Eventbrite to diversify the event or contact Joan H. Young.
Interview with Jean Darla Davis
Was this a chamber event and did it have sponsors?
How was this year’s festival? Which day was better?
This year’s festival
was the biggest yet, with more vendors. Thanks to how the holiday fell this
year, it seemed like both days had equal traffic.
Why do you think the attendance was lower than last year?
It felt like less
people this year, very likely due to the heat. But attendance was still quite
What seemed to be the the shopping trends and genres?
I didn’t get much of a
chance to wander the festival as a whole so I can’t really answer that. There
are always a wide variety of fine art and craft vendors, so something for
Were the authors from all over Michigan?
19 of our authors were
from all over Michigan, both the Upper and Lower Peninsula. One lives on the Indiana
border and is considered an honorary Michigan Author.
Your plans for next year?
adding a third tent to accommodate more authors, but that decision is
ultimately in the hands of the Muskegon Chamber Festival committee. Otherwise,
we’ll be using the same layout we settled on this year as that worked quite
What will you remember the most from this year’s festival?
The heat. And off course spending two days with so many fun and talented authors.
Feature photo by author Joan H. Young.
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.