Have you been through the publishing odyssey between agents, traditional publishing houses and self-publishing?
I have been on this route for the last 28 years, and I have learned a lot about the publishing, the filming and the arts industries, as well as about myself. I traveled this path as a print media journalist who swapped ink for the digital WordPress platform in 2013 with the first post published on Jan. 15.
I am an author, journalist, writer, screenwriter, designer, photographer and an entrepreneur of Emma Blogs, LLC, based in Lowell, MIchigan. That is professionally. I am also a human being: a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a grandmother. Some people call me, Mrs. Emma.
And I am somebody’s aunt, a Godmother and a”babe.”
How many different hats can a writer wear? Many. But the real question is, “Which is the right hat, and where do we hang it? Where do we put what?
My new friends like T.G., Barb and Wendy, think I am a geek. Ask my old artistic friends like Tom and Pam Woodruff of Leland, or Eva Laurencikova of Kromeriz, Czech Republic, “Who am I?”
I started my own flagship blog EW Emma’s Writing on http://emmapalova.com after advise from agents to build up the Emma Palova name brand in pursuit of publishing Greenwich Meridian (c) 2017, a memoir about the Konecny family immigration saga, @emmapalova@ludekpala now spanning three generations.
The mission of Emma Blogs, LLC
Over the four years of my publishing journey on WordPress, I have diversified into providing an advertising platform for others on the Emma Blogs portfolio, creating blogs for other people, publishing and most recently re-branding old structures into new designs. In Russia, they called it “Perestroika.”
Opportunities await if we keep our minds open to them
You guessed it, the “Wasteland” (c) 2017 theme park is on my mind. After all, who doesn’t want to re-do a theme park or the arts sphere? Stay tuned for more on this.
Re-branding and re-structuring into new designs
I have assisted in the digital re-do of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) organization founded by a group of women in 1965, who used to get together somewhere on the grounds of the Fallasburg Park, into a digital conglomerate, known around the world.
The FHS slogan now is, “The next 50 years of Fallasburg.”
When asked about the direction of the Fallasburg historical organization, president Ken Tamke said the goal is to spread the word about the Fallasburg village on the Internet, and then people may actually find the hamlet in the northeast Kent County.
Currently, I am working with the arts community of the greater Lowell area to create a new palette.
Thai wind 1 by Kacey Cornwell, Art Prize entry
Prague horloge on the Old Town Hall by “I love Czech Republic” group
You can call or e-mail Emma for a re-branding consultation as we fly fast toward 2020. Don’t wait around. You can do your research, but make a move now, or we will all miss the train. One person cannot rebuild an empire overnight.
My publishing ventures on Edition Emma
Join me on my explorations of the publishing industry on both platforms; print and digital. Like most of my friends, authors and artists, I’ve learned the hard way; endless rejections, phone calls from sales people from different Publishing Houses that are now going digital.
Being constantly broke, I had to get more resourceful than just waiting around for a publishing prince to arrive on a white horse at my doorstep. He or she never did.
I also looked for the magical publishing white horse in the actual zoo as a kind sign that I might find an avenue one day.
That’s why I rolled out the blogging/writing portfolio, Emma Blogs, LLC in the summer of 2014.
Part of the portfolio is my own Publishing House Edition Emma (c) 2017 copyright. All rights reserved.
If you want to get published, submit your work to Edition Emma. Looking forward to seeing your work.
Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI – The January Daily Post writing prompt “If I could turn back time” hits close to home as I am writing the second half of the family immigration memoir “Greenwich Meridian.”
Whenever I sit behind the computer and think about the past, it evokes an entire spectrum of memories ranging from excellent to poor.
If there was a time machine, I would return to two big eras in my life. Chronologically speaking, first I would go back into the late 70s and mid-80s.
It was a tumultuous time in my life. In not even a decade, I managed to get married, have a first-born daughter Emma, finish prep school Gymnasium Zlin, work at a veterinarian institute and finally complete bachelor’s degree at the Technical University in Brno. I got my first car as a present from parents for graduating. It was a black Skoda Rapid LS, the sports version. What I didn’t manage to do was to get a driver’s license because of all the other studying. I regretted that later in my life when I came to the USA in the nineties.
So, why would I want to return to something as intense as the marriage while studying bundle?
There is one great reason that threaded through all that time. And those were my grandparents Anna & Joseph Drabek. They lived in Vizovice, Moravia, that is the central part of Czech Republic.
My grandpa bought a house in 1979 on the outskirts of Vizovice because he was sick of living in a tiny apartment overlooking the château park. He called the dilapidated dwelling “ranch.” It had the lucky street number 111.
That completely struck harmony with my husband Ludek and I, since we were sick of living in the massive apartment complex “Southern Slopes” that housed more than 30,000 people. These massive apartment complexes that sprang all over the Czech Republic were known as “Building successes of communism.”
People desperately tried to escape those modern concrete successes. Most often they escaped into the local pubs and breweries. The luckier ones had cottages and dwellings in the country. Thanks to my grandparents we were among the lucky ones.
And the beautiful years on the ranch ensued. It was an epic time.
Every weekend, we packed up Emma in a portable baby carry on, boarded the morning bus to Vizovice and for a while we forgot all about living in a concrete box at the concrete fort in Zlin, then Gottwaldov.
To this day, I hold Vizovice close to my heart. I went to kindergarten and first grade there and I made many friends on the street. I call them my “street friends.” We still meet when I go back on rare occasions usually for funerals.
Later with my husband, we made friends together in this plum brandy capital of the world surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. Yes, this city in the Walachian region rich in folklore, boasts the headquarters of the liquor giant “R. Jelinek” established in 1894. The plant spurts out 100 proof plum brandy into the whole world. The liquor is known for being able to “knock out everything that’s bad in you.” That covers bacteria, bad thoughts, habits, flu and earaches.
One moment at the ranch really stands out in my memory. As we were cleaning the house, we found 20-year old canned pork steaks that the owners Bohacovi left. The pork had beautiful pink color. I remember my mouth watering.
On Sunday, I opened the jars, sniffed and tasted the meat. Perfect. I made the best breaded steaks in my life. We all ate them and waited into the night for a sickness that never came.
There were countless episodes of searching for grandpa who loved to wander off into the local watering holes. His best excuse was that he was going to get some beverages and groceries so we can make lunch and dinner.
That Saturday in the heat of the summer, there was not a drop of water to drink on the dried out premises.
“Where is grandpa,” asked Ludek working on the bathroom. “I don’t have anything to drink.”
I was hand washing the universal cotton cloth diapers and Emma’s baby clothes in a bucket in the front yard, while grandma Anna was resting on a wooden bench. Grandma suffered from Parkinson’s disease. She spent most of the day laying on the bench that grandpa made for her. Baby Emma was sleeping in her carry-on.
“That beastie, I bet he’s at the hotel,” said grandma with a sigh.
She was referring to the local hotel with a restaurant known as the “People’s House” with the following inscription, “Equality, freedom, fraternity.”
I always wondered why the hotel had in its coat of arms the slogan of the French revolution. No one could answer my question.
“Ludek can you please go to the hotel and get grandpa to come home?” grandma requested.
“Okay, I’ll be right back,” Ludek hurried away hiding his ulterior motives.
As my stomach growled, I had a strange feeling that afternoon.
Grandma dozed off and I headed to the kitchen to figure out what we’re going to eat. There was some salami and old “rohliky” or Czech croissants, already chewy like a gum.
“Okay, we’re just going to have to wing it this time,” I thought to myself as I made some chewy sandwiches.
Minutes changed into hours and the sun started its path down the horizon.
“Emma, you’re going to have to go and get them,” grandma said struggling with the sandwich. “I’ll watch Emma.”
It wasn’t the first time or the last time that I had to drag out of the hotel the twosome.
I found both of them in great joy downing their 10th beer “kriegel” along with shots of brandy.
“Grandma says you gotta come home,” I begged. “We’re hungry and thirsty.”
“Come and have one with us and then we’ll go home,” grandpa laughed.
“You promise?” I downed the “kriegel” filled with Brod beer from nearby Uhersky Brod.
That was the best case scenario when they would finally agree to go back to the ranch as the dusk set in.
And I write about all this and much more in the memoir. I want to finish the memoir this year.
Part II If I could turn back time……Living in Canada coming next week.
Lowell, MI- On this day three years ago, I boarded the WordPress flight 101 to destination unknown.
I came across WordPress just by pure coincidence as I was doing research for my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga.
The Hawkins Chamber site had a WP like box. In order to like it, I had to get on the platform. So, I did because I needed Internet presence anyways according to the agents whom I approached about the book.
It was an easy pick compared to the other complex blog/web building sites. Plus it was free.
Looking back at those three years, there were definite milestones when I wanted to just plain quit without explaining anything to anyone. There was this strange voice that kept whispering into my ear, “Give it up, you can’t do it. Go back to the store.”
I actually even attempted going back to the store where I worked in the nineties, but the manager discouraged me.
“You can do better,” he said. “Keep trying what you’re doing. You will master it.”
Initially, there is a steep learning curve on WordPress, just like with anything new. I compare to a child learning to walk. All those bumps and falls and getting up, crawling along the walls for support, and then suddenly a bang. The child stands up and takes his or her first steps.
I spent hours behind the computer with tutorials and the support team as my wall. I was dealing with an avalanche of information trying to sort through it all.
“Why don’t you let someone else do it for you?” asked my husband Ludek shaking his head when he saw me crunching my teeth and pulling my hair out.
“Like who,” I said. “And mainly where am I going to get the money to pay a person for a decent job?”
My persistence prevailed. I finally had the first post ready “About” on Jan. 14th with a Jan. 15th date.
The WP team welcomed me along with other newcomers into the community graciously with the slogan, “Thanks for flying with Word Press.” I still didn’t know what to expect just like when you take off on a plane for a long journey across the ocean.
As time ticked away, more things became clear. Having a traditional publishing background with knowledge of QuarkXPress and InDesign, the real design on word press became easier.
I have to say that I never had serious trouble coming up with copy. And as serious, I mean not being able to pound out a story or a post every day. Traditional newspaper journalism was a lot like an army boot camp.
“A story and a photo a day will keep the editor away,” we used to say at the Ionia Sentinel-Standard newsroom.
Easier said than done and that goes for both worlds; ink and the grid.
I find it helpful to have the right mindset even before I get out of bed. The right mindset was, is and always will be that, “Content is the king.”
I always think about that before I sit behind the screen and as I look at the Stephen King calendars filed in my library, year after year, until they finally stopped publishing them in 2014.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that things can only get better,” wrote King.
I agree. Whenever I have trouble coming up with ideas or writing, I start procrastinating. To avoid procrastinating further, I go for a ride, take a walk, and swim a few laps if I am lucky enough to find a pool or dip myself in a hot tub.
Once I physically exert the inner frustration, the writer in me is reborn. I shake everything off and step into a new world of creation. The destination remains unknown.
To be continued with “Milestones” and “If I could turn back time.”
The above ranking of top posts shows me that human interest stories have the most views.
It warms my heart because I came to the same conclusion in print media after years of experience. On a long term basis, not at a particular second, people prefer the human over the dead, success over failure, tenacity over weakness, continuity over the beat of the day.
Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
I would like to wish a happy New Year 2016 to all from Emma Blogs, LLC. May all your wishes come true.
On this last day of the year I always look back at the previous one. Year 2015 was very good and productive on both professional & personal fronts.
With this post and thanks to the 30 Day Content Challenge, I have reached 346 posts.
I sought out new clients, the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) and created the Fallasburg Today campaign. I continue to work with CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts and with new prospects and that is Lynn Mason 2016 campaign, Tri River Historical Museum Network, Americas Voices and more.
The 30 Content Writing challenge by Learn to Blog was inspiring and it transformed me in many ways. The challenge taught me the discipline of everyday writing.
The challenge encouraged me to explore new avenues such as writing for children, writing about fear and persistence. It was a powerful force in a sense that 400 people were writing and posting on that same day.
During the challenge I made many new friends such as Pittsburgh Grammy, Peter Safe, Annie Conboy, Jan Booth, Deanna Burton, Nan Raden and Nicole Varge, Lisette Jenkins, Kathy Thompson just to name a few.
Then I participated in a heated political debate in the group Czechoslovaks on Facebook. It warrants a separate post. Watch for it soon.
Another surprise came just last week. Bene Hofmann, a German architecture student contacted me via FHS Facebook page. Hofmann will be building a model of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge for a school project. So, I wrote about that as well.
Peggy Topolski contacted me that her husband wen to the one room school in Fallasburg. I will be doing a story on that.
Twenty people came to look at the historical buildings in the pioneer village during the first annual Fallasburg village bazaar.
So, to wrap it up as the clock keeps ticking, I found out that social media marketing really does work. It has its own bizarre ways, but it works.
Lowell, MI- Ah, the holidays at our household. Even though I was born in former Czechoslovakia, I have a feeling we must have had Italian ancestors. I should check our family tree that’s more like a shrub.
Whether celebrated in the old country or in the USA, holidays are rough. The preparations are endless and exuberant. By the time you are prepared, you are exhausted.
It’s kind of like with security. You can never have enough preparations because something always goes wrong. And the good old saying “the more the merrier” works its magic.
For any gathering my parents arrive with my brother. They get out of the car already fighting.
Mom brings food and we make food. The food is a combo of Czech and American dishes. We eat with a fork and a knife. Mom likes to be the center of attention at any gathering. The focus must be on her.
Beware if not or don’t dare to invite other guests because she wouldn’t be able to show off. I made that mistake last summer that I invited other people than family to a birthday party.
We eat and drink. We eat more and drink more. Mom stands up from the table and gives a speech. Usually, it’s something self-centered.
“I was the most beautiful one at the party,” she said, “and she talked too much. She wouldn’t allow me to say a word.”
That was directed at a guest whom she invited to her home.
“She told me her entire life story and I couldn’t speak,” mom said.
My brother is getting increasingly drunk sneaking in an extra drink downstairs when nobody is watching. Dad doesn’t say much. He likes it that way.
Mom either hits on my brother or on me. Most often on both of us. And then comes the pinnacle in front of all:
“I should not have had either one of you.”
And we fight and we fight more. We raise our voices and mom cries.
Depending on the occasion of the gathering my husband joins in. He laughs out loud. Our son is the peacemaker. He should have been a diplomat.
If it’s Christmas, our son plays Czech carols on the saxophone, I play the piano. My daughter-in-law is also low key. She’s not a Czech.
On top of all of this we’re supposed to have a super moon as if family and alcohol were not crazy enough.
We depart in peace, only to do it all over again.
Happy holidays and a great new year 2016 from Emma Blogs, LLC, Fallasburg Today and CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts.
Lowell, MI- It’s been 26 years since we’ve landed at JFK on this day, Dec. 22, 1989. The long flight from former Czechoslovakia finally ended. We took the Czechoslovak Airlines flight (CSA). People were still smoking on jets back then.
I was exhausted with two children and from the previous night ride to the Prague airport.
It was a journey into the unknown, although I have lived in the USA in the 70s. My parents were waiting for us at the frozen airport. I only had a Benetton denim jacket on and I was freezing. I was still sporting long hair and jeans from Austria.
We spent the night at a friend’s house in NYC. And then a long trip to Big Rapids, Michigan ensued. Any water tower that we passed, my son Jake wanted to climb on it. Also he insisted on sitting in my lap over and over despite the fact that he had to be buckled up.
“I’ll make you a chock for you to sit on,” said my dad.
The windows of the gray station wagon have frozen up. We were like in an ice cave from the film Elsa. That increased the claustrophobia in me, as well as anxiety.
We finally arrived on Christmas Eve in Big Rapids. We picked up my brother Vas from his trailer with an enormous flood light in Roger’s Heights.
Mom had the festive supper ready ahead of time. The Czech traditional fare for Christmas Eve is mushroom or fish soup, fried fish and potato salad. And of course traditional Czech pastries. The only choice of fish back in Czech homeland was carp.
We opened presents and all I could think of was if I could go to bed. Dad turns on TV and there’s the Rumanian revolution. I just have escaped one, the Velvet Revolution. I participated in it on frigid town squares including Wenceslas Square in Prague. I shouted along with two million other people:
“Havel na hrad.”
That translates as, “Havel for president or Havel to the castle.”
I finally laid in bed thinking about all of this.
“What’s ahead of me?”
My husband received immigration visa to Montreal, Canada. I had to make decisions again what to do, “Stay or leave?”
We moved to Montreal and we lived in that great cosmopolitan city for three years. In 1993 we returned to Michigan. I took journalism classes at the Grand Rapids Community College.
In 1995, we built a house outside of Lowell in Vergennes Township and that sealed it for us.
The details of all of this are in my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” that I have to complete. It is my goal to pick it back up in January 2016 and to finish our story.
A tribute to chief challenger Bradley Will of Learn to Blog
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI- I must say I feel lighter today and that’s not because I didn’t have anything to eat.
I just finished watching the “Best Year Ever Webinar Replay” and completed the 30 Day Content Challenge.
Just like the challenge, it was very inspiring right before the holidays. I would like to officially thank Bradley and the ambassadors for all of this. You made me a different person.
I uncovered things about myself that I didn’t know throughout the #30 Day Content Writing Challenge.
The thoughts for each day guided me in a forest of thoughts and ideas. I made new discoveries like the story about a Magnetic Island down South. I made new friends with Nicole Varga. Gary and Pete Safe.
Even though the challenge was marked by constant violence, it was productive and creative. I found out that by making myself write every day, I could be helping someone else accomplish the same goal.
When I missed posts, I caught up thanks to Pittsburgh Grammy and Gandhi quotes. I wrote a simple children’s book in Czech.
I found out that I can efficiently write about fear in the wake of Paris attacks on Day #3 of the challenge.
“I keep feeding my mind, I am not that one-dimensional blogger,” Will said in the webinar.
Well, I feel the same way that everyday writing made me stretch my mind and expand my personality. I am not a one-dimensional blogger either. I am everything I want to be.
“Sometimes it takes other people to point out our blind spots,” Will said.
Yes, it does.
“Turn back to art,” was Will’s advice.
Art has always been my favorite haunt, my favorite hideout. So, I am going to finish the challenge on that note.
Collectively between 500 people, we published 3,200 posts.
“The results left me stunned,” Will said. “Inspiration stems more inspiration.”
The opposite is also true that violence breads more violence. And we all fought it back with creativity.
“Be around great people.”
Thanks to you Bradley, I was around great people. Some of the best in the industry. They motivated me and carried me through the challenge.
I also learned about rather giving than taking and that money doesn’t bring you happiness.
Everyday writing is like keeping a diary. It is very therapeutic and explorative.
Lowell, MI- I love number 29. I was 29 when I came to the USA and got creative. I grabbed the first money I had, and took off to buy a word processor. I still remember that day.
I returned victoriously from the store and started writing for Czechoslovak Biweekly newspaper based in NYC under the editorship of Peter Bisek.
Unlike what my parents wanted to continue in my civil engineer career and go work for an asphalt company, I knew that’s not what I wanted.
To be happy, I had to go my own way.
Going my own way means living creatively, not in conformity. Living creatively hasn’t always been easy. Ask Vincent Van Gogh. No, I haven’t cut my ear off and I am not living off of my brother.
You endure hardship and most of the time you have no or little money. You’re criticized by other people to get a real job.
But, you get the satisfaction of expressing yourself at a time when people are silent in this violent world.
You get the satisfaction of maybe helping someone out there to do the same thing.
Once we all regroup, we have won. If we all live creatively, there will be no violence left.
By living creatively, we’re moving forward not backwards.
I took my creativity to the next level in 2013 when I learned to blog on the WordPress platform. I enjoyed it from the get go: the challenge of learning something new and being a part of a group of progressive people.
My brother Vas is also creative. He paints and builds model trains.
I also love entrepreneurship. I take that after my grandpa Joseph. He had his own business in communist Czechoslovakia, which he went to jail for. You were not allowed to have a business in communism.
Grandpa wasn’t afraid, he would not conform. Neither will I.
I will always stand up for what I believe. I always have.
My personal hero is late Czech president Vaclav Havel. He went to jail many times for standing for what he believed in. But, he kept writing against the regime. Havel signed the Charta document that started a movement that eventually brought communism down.
It all starts with one person who is not afraid to speak up.