In her own unique style, Palova transports us in “Secrets” Part II of Shifting Sands. She exposes a local scandal in “Chief”. “Faustina” details a relationship lost…or is it? Palova shows us the hard line between fact and rumor in “Secrets in Ink.” My favorite, “Silk Nora”, takes us to small town Belding, Michigan at the height of WWI. A lost love is found again. I could go on with my little snippets from the dozen plus short stories in this book, but I think you’ll want to curl up and read for yourselves.
I finished translating mom’s memories from her first stay in the U.S. until 1973 this morning. Mom Ella captured three years of her life on 12 pages written in a pretty cursive.
When I compare my account of those years spent in Hawkins, TX as a kid to hers as a disappointed housewife, I begin to understand the mechanism of immigration.
From her lines, I could feel all the emotions:
Excerpt: Bittersweet memories
I planned the return home at the end of the school year in June. In April, Vaclav received a letter from his friend in Toronto, who was also in Sudan, with a newspaper clip from a Czech newspaper published in Toronto. There was a note for me in the letter, advising me not to return back to Czechoslovakia, that the amnesty wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. The newspaper article was about a person who had returned back to Czechoslovakia; at the airport he was taken into an establishment unofficially called “Introduction into citizens’ life.” I read the article at least 10 times and I determined that it was propaganda against Czechoslovakia, and that the press exaggerated everything. Deep inside, I doubted, that it could be true.
At the beginning of May, I asked Vaclav if he could buy us tickets to Czech. He was very unhappy, but he knew that he couldn’t keep me any longer in Texas. Although Vaclav refused to return with us, he bought the tickets – with a heavy heart. My desire to return back home was stronger than my love for him. I also firmly believed that he wouldn’t stay by himself in the U.S.A. and that he would return to us.
The scene from the Prague Airport repeated itself at the airport in Dallas; tears, wailing, remorse; I questioned why I had to go through all this again, why couldn’t we return from Sudan home to Czech. This tearful farewell spoiled the joy of my homecoming, and had yet to find out what was in store for me. Finally, after three years, I was leaving Texas, that I never liked.
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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
Shifting Sands: Secrets My new book “Secrets” in the Shifting Sands Short Stories series is ready for July 1 release. You can now preorder on Amazon. Just enter Emma Palova historical fiction. Below in the book section are listed links to book 1 and book 2 on Amazon. The core of the book is the long short story “Silk Nora” that takes place at the turn-of-the-century Belding. You will be swept away by the historical setting of the “Silk City Girls” dormitory known as Belrockton. The major characters are Nora, her friend Mathilda and the matron of Belrockton- Doris from Sussex in England. Other characters include newspaper man Harry and band player John. The cover “Face of Gossip” and the main story “Silk Nora” were inspired by my multiple visits to the Belrockton Museum over the last two decades. A story from the hosiery mills was picked up by the Associated Press and major newspapers in Michigan ran it. I will be with the new book at the Muskegon Art Festival on July 5th and July 6th inside the author’s tent on Clay & 2nd Streets. I will be at “Books Alive” in Ludington on July 19th, followed by a series of book signing events at LowellArts with exact date TBA. Fall events will include the Belding Labor Day twilight parade on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 9 pm. My major event will take place at the historic Belrockton in Belding on October 6th in the afternoon. The museum is open from 1 to 4 pm on the first Sunday of each month. For up to date news follow me on EW Emma’s Writings on http://emmapalova.com SecretsThe new book is a collection of 15 short stories. Thematically, the stories range from the action-packed 40 Hunks where driver Jose transports 40 Mexican men to labor in Michigan orchards to the core of the book which is historical fiction “Silk Nora”.
Excerpts from “Silk Nora”Signs of progress were touchable everywhere from the interior six bathrooms at the Bel to a space designated for women in the saloons of the bustling city. At the time, the city of Belding had four hotels. Known as the “Silk City Girls” the young women spent much of their time weaving silk on spools. Silk at the time was on high demand as the major feminine fabric due to the existing shortage of woolens and cottons. Nora and Mathilda worked together long hours at the silk mill earnings 47 cents an hour. The Belding Banner called the girls “Sweethearts in Silk” blasting propaganda about their happiness with headlines such as “The Silks with Happiness Woven into Them.” The girls sat at their stations on the floor of the factory in orderly rows. The downstairs of the Richardson Mill was used for making stockings. Sentiment played a part in the founding of the silk industry in Belding by the Belding brothers. After prospering in silk manufacturing in New England, they built a plant in Belding, where they had made their start as door-to-door textile salesmen. Mathilda traveled home to Alpena twice a year for the holidays, while Nora stayed year- round at the Bel. She had a beautiful view of the Flat River and the boardwalk from her room. Nora was an avid reader and she frequented the dormitory library. Nora easily made friends with other girls, both at work and at the dorms. She cut her hair short, a sign of times. Matron Doris Applebaum managed the Belrockton dormitory and the girls who lived in it. She came from England to take the job at the “Bel” when it opened in 1906. Doris kept her English accent and manners. “Girls, I will make you into ladies,” she said at the dinner table. “You already have the right foundation otherwise you wouldn’t be here in the first place. You’re a diamond in the rough. I will make you shine.” The silk girls respected this English lady from the county of Sussex on the English Channel seaside. Doris was single and constantly happy. She competed for the Belrockton job with other ladies from around the world and won. She took a special liking of well-mannered Nora. “We’re going to be friends,” Doris said resolutely to Nora at their second meeting, since Nora arrived in Belding. “We have a lot in common. You come from New England, I come from the real England. But you have better food here.”You can pre-order the new book at: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Shifting-Sands-Emma-Palova-ebook/dp/B07SH9YGQH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Secrets%3AShifting+Sands&qid=1559745646&s=digital-text&sr=1-1
Book 1 in Shifting Sands Short Stories series, 2017
Upcoming author’s eventsInterview with author Donald Levin on https://donaldlevin.wordpress.com/ on June 20 Muskegon Art Fair …..July 5th and July 6th Ludington ……………..July 19 LowellArts……………….TBA Radio shows TBABelding Twilight Parade…. Sept. 1 Belrockton, Beding………….Oct. 6 Girls Nite Out…………………..Oct. 17 Christmas through Lowell…..Nov. 15, 16, 17
A long journey starts with the first step, leaving footprints in Ludington
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – I attended the Ludington Writers’ Rendezvous on the shores of Lake Michigan last Saturday. It was my first encounter with the Ludington Writers group, and my second author’s conference experience after Calvin College in the spring.
It was a great gathering of 28 authors with a total of 80 titles and the tension of 10 million volts.
As the raindrops drummed on the roof of the Arts Center lodged inside the former Methodist Church in beautiful downtown Ludington, I absorbed the energy output of the organizers and fellow authors.
I loved author Carol L. Ochadleus’ poster designed by her son.
“We got the wrong cover on the last one,” Ochadleus laughed. “This time we got it right.”
The rush before the authors’ events is always nerve wrecking. An author, whose name I didn’t catch, stormed in with her pink luggage. Sudanese author Dominic Malual of “Barefoot in the Boot” had a wooden giraffe in front of his table.
In most cases, the conference attendance was the result of teamwork of entire families. The “assistants” were usually the partners of the authors, while the “runners” were book lovers who delivered food from the local restaurants. The extensive menu featured everything from the “Swiss Hammer”, “Ojibway Dip” to “Dirty Russian.”
Since, I missed my dad Vaclav’s birthday lunch, my assistant Ludek personally delivered my grilled chicken wrap from Jamesport Brewing Co., where the international family crew got together.
That fusion of aspirations, dreams and hopes fueled my own author’s drive that sometimes goes into overdrive.
“I want you to have a good experience,” wrote author/organizer Joan H. Young in her final approach to the conference message. “We want this to be the event to come to.”
For many authors it was their first time at anything and everything. Author Joseph Tilton debuted with his “Apocalypse” book here.
I thoroughly enjoyed the “wannabee” authors circulating around the authors’ tables. I didn’t catch their names. One wanted to write a dystopian novel and was seeking some direction. The other one carrying a stack of papers asked me about my book, “Shifting Sands Short Stories.”
“It’s a collection of short stories, that I have written for over two decades,” I said.
“Oh, I would have had a book like this big,” she said pointing to the huge stack of papers.
I smiled, thinking, “So, why didn’t you put it together?”
Today, on my morning walk to the Franciscans, I realized I should have said that out loud:
“Whatever you have written, put it together.”
I sat next to Ludington author Jeanie Mortensen and that was the greatest delight of all. The locals knew her and came to buy her books; both poetry and a novel.
I bought her “Taking in the Seasons” poetry collection, because I can’t handle long chunks of text. Mortensen bought my book; we swapped business cards with other authors.
It was not only an authors’ event, it was also a family deal like I mentioned before.
Mortensen’s daughter Amy stopped by and so did my adult children, Emma & Jake to say hi.
It was an unforgettable rendezvous, both professionally and personally. The survey asked: “Will you come back?”
For me it was a definite, “Yes.”
Thanks to organizers, Joan, Hanne Kelley & Barry Matthews of the Ludington Center for the Arts and the Writer’s Group.
My next author’s events:
July 26 @ 10 a.m. WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin 88.5/95.3
July 28 & Aug. 4 LowellArts, Lowell 1 to 3 p.m.
Aug. 6 panel discussion and reception with poet Ian Haight at LowellArts.
Check out the Grand Rapids Magazine City Guide at your local newsstand for the “Reading Room” article. My book is available at Schuler Books, Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo and on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.
To join our local Lowell Writer’s group contact Debra Duiven Dunning at 897-8545 at LowellArts.
Moving forward with author’s events in West Michigan
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- It’s unbelievable what all can happen in one day; even if it is a Monday.
WGVU Morning Show with host Shelley Irwin
First, I opened my inbox, and there was the response from host Shelley Irwin of the WGVU Morning Show.
“I get to share stories in a talk show format,” she wrote. “I would like to interview you at a time frame of your convenience.”
So, we are scheduling the time frame for the TV segment about my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” I thought it was a radio segment. I freaked out when I found out it was also TV.
As I went into the panic mode, Mr. Self-Doubt introduced himself into my writing studio; what am I going to say and wear?
I jumped on the dreaded treadmill that I have been neglecting because we have a special visitor here. That is our French granddaughter Ella.
I felt like Oprah, who started exercising two days before her birthday. And to make up for the excellent Sunday pork schnitzels, I dined on vanilla SlimFast tonight in front of the computer screen.
“That’s great mom,” said my son Jake about the TV interview. “It’s easy.”
“Yeah, how many times have you been on a live TV show?” I asked Jake, the business man, who made the schnitzels.
“The main thing is you have to know what you’re talking about,” he said. “You know the buzzwords.”
I like to think that after almost 30 years in the writing business, I can offer insights, rather than buzzwords.
And the Monday goodness continued when I discovered the best kept secret on the lakeshore.
3rd Annual Writer’s Rendezvous in Ludington, July 21
I’ve been looking for writers’ and authors’ events in Michigan for years. But, it was only yesterday at the Ionia Free Fair that I found out about the Writer’s Rendezvous in Ludington.
It is my parents’ favorite place on the Michigan lakeshore. They’ve been going to Ludington ever since they moved to Big Rapids in the 1980s. We immigrated to the USA from former Czechoslovakia based on the 1968 Soviet occupation of the country. I am writing a memoir “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West” about the family immigration saga.
Annually, my dad Vaclav celebrates his birthday on Stearns Park Beach.When we couldn’t find a hotel, I told my mom Eliska:”There must be something going on.”
“There’s always something going on there,” she said on the phone in the heat of the Sunday afternoon.
While searching for a hotel on mom’s smart phone, dad came across “some kind of a writing conference.”
I refined the search this morning and found out that the 3rd Annual Writers’ Rendezvous featuring more than 20 Michigan authors will be this Saturday, July 21.
I was ecstatic, hoping to get in at the last minute. Barry Matthews from the Ludington Arts Center immediately responded that there is some space left for $25 for half a table.
“Yes, I am in and I can’t wait to meet the other authors and visitors.”
The goal is to bring cultural and literary perspective to the lakeshore, according to the Visiting Writers group.
Ludington has always inspired me ever since I visited the town in 1990 around the 4th of July holiday. The visit inspired one of my first articles I have written for a publication in the USA. It was also the only time I wrote in my native Czech language for the Czechoslovak Newsweek. I had a regular column for the biweekly newspaper. In spite of the longevity of the print paper, it never made it to digital format.
I remember this opening line of the lead paragraph.
“Thousands of red, white and blue petunias lined the Ludington Ave on the back drop of the shimmering blue waters of Lake Michigan.”
I went back many times; most recently last year in August for a voyage on the Badger across Lake Michigan.
Now, I am getting ready for it all. I’ve been told a million times; you’re not ready.
Other than the treadmill and Slimfast, I ordered books, brochures and posters for my upcoming author’s events.
And finally from a Facebook friend, I found out about a new local book store in Rockford.
“Shockingly nostalgic entrepreneur opened a book store next to my law office, wow. There is hope,” Genie Eardley, owner of Eardley Law, PC posted.
The name is Epilogue Books.
That’s what life is about: adventures, surprises on Mondays, shocking entrepreneurs, the joys and pains of technology, our lovely French granddaughter Ella and family get togethers on Lake Michigan.
See you at the Writer’s Rendezvous this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
I will be offering writing, marketing, PR and publishing tips, and of course my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.”
It is also available locally at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids and Lansing. It will be available at the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and hopefully at Epilogue Books in Rockford.
The long road to resilience
You can pick up an issue of the Grand Rapids Magazine City Guide at your local bookstore or newstand to find out more about me.
My book is now available on Amazon Prime special for the next 30-some hours at a discounted rate.
I encourage readers to buy the book, print or Kindle, ahead of time for signing and discussion. I will have print copies available at my station inside the Ludington Area Center for the Arts located at 107 S. Harrison St.