Lowell, MI- Are you a writer or an author interested in networking to gain insights into the publishing industry?
Have you encountered endless obstacles on your writing journey that seem to lead nowhere? Are your manuscripts collecting dust? Do you have a stack of rejections from agents?
Have you ever doubted yourself on your writing journey from the original idea to seeing your book on the bookshelf at the local Schuler Books store or at your hometown library?
Are you still wishing you could see your screenplay on the big screen?
A writers group will bring confidence and synergy to your writing, screenwriting & publishing efforts. It will help streamline them into a flow of great content for publishing: print, digital, audible and/or all of the above.
It will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights with fellow wordsmiths.
You can start by joining the Facebook group: Writers Loop
What I have learned while blogging on the WordPress platform
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI – It’s hard to believe that yesterday marked five years since my registration on WordPress. My first post “About” followed on Jan. 15, 2013.
Some people asked me at my author’s book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories, why do you need a blog, if you have a Facebook page. There are at least a million reasons to blog; for me the most important one was to support my fiction career.
I had a successful journalistic print career for two decades, and I wanted to build on that following with a virtual audience. When I embarked on penning our immigration saga from communist Czechoslovakia titled “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West” agent Barbara Lowenstein of Lowestein Associates Inc. suggested I need a blog/website.
I didn’t have a Facebook page, so I startedmy blog on WordPress with 0 followers that grew to two brave pioneers, Lowell artist Kathleen Mooney and Vergennes Broadband owner Ryan Peel. My Twitter account was insignificant.
Over the years, I built the blog out just like you would build a fortress, stone by stone, wall by wall; that is post by post, page by page.
I’ve compiled the following Q&A based on what people asked me in person and on the Internet. These include my insights gained over the last five years, including the publishing of my new book in the summer of 2017 on kdp publishing platform.
Q & A:
Q:How often do you post?
A: Twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays before the weekend.
Q: What do you write about on a weekly basis that grows your following?
A: You have to be able to offer a value to your readers based on the subject matter of your blog. Be relevant.
For example: if you have a food blog (and I do), give out recipes.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Everyday life and writing. As an author and a writer, I write every day. Even if it’s not writing behind the computer screen, I write in my wide ruled spiral notebook. I jot down notes of everyday observations. I always keep these handy for future reference.
Q: What kind of insights have you gained during your blogging & author careers?
A: This is where I have to distinguish between blogging and being an author of fiction.
Even though one feeds into the other, that is blogging feeds into my fiction writing and vice versa, there is a difference.
Blogging: Numbers matter, that’s why you have to work the social media relentlessly. Connect your social media platforms to your blog. Post on a regular basis. Build a faithful following.
Fiction writing: Write every day solid blocks of coherent text. Seek feedback, reviews and build a network of contacts. Make public appearances so people know about you.
In both cases, nurture the contacts in your network with a monthly newsletter. Enahnce writing with videos and book trailers.
In the sea of daily published new books in different formats, you cannot expect the reader to find you. You have to find the right reader to match what you have written.
Q: Where and when does it all come together?
A: It all comes together once you’re published on publishing and readers’ platforms.
Kdp publishing on Amazon. Update your author centrale page.
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- It is Day 395 of the 30 Day Content Challenge that officially ended last year in December.
But, Annie Conboy of Hebden Bridge, United Kingdom is still burning the midnight oil as she cranks out post #395, “Dreaming of a Peaceful World.”
Conboy is a medium and the founder of “Down 2 Earth Medium.” Her major focus is to channel for energy beings, such as angels, archangels and fairies.
She reached her one year anniversary of daily blogging on Nov. 15 with post #365, “First Year Done and Dusted.”
“I need to clear my head, so I can sleep,” she said in a recent Skype interview about her writing schedule.
“It’s felt a bit strange today. I’ve done something I’m really proud of. My writing has been happening for a full year. I have written every day than just the monthly articles I started in June 2015.”
Before starting the challenge in November of 2015, rookie writer and blogger Conboy wrote a few pieces for Valley Life.
“Then out of cyberspace I got an invite from my lovely friend Jan to join her in a 30 day blogging challenge. And I said yes. Now I’m a year on and amazed that I had all those words inside me. I have to say I don’t feel like I’m done yet either,” Conboy wrote in the anniversary post, “First Year Done and Dusted.”
Conboy has realized the challenge came at the right time for her.
“I was invited, it felt good, I was supporting a friend,” Conboy said. “I knew there would be discipline because it was every day, and I wrote every single day.”
And when she couldn’t physically write on the computer, Conboy wrote a post on a piece of paper.
“It helped me make a commitment to me,” she said.
Like for many writers, the first challenge was to find the right time to write. Conboy chose to write as the last thing at night.
“The clicks came quickly,” she said, “as I continued through the month I was sleeping better because I was clearing up the clutter in my head. I was clearing the day of everything that had happened.”
During the last week of the challenge, Conboy felt she had acquired a distinct voice in writing that was very specific.
“If I was to continue to write, I needed a commitment, a goal,” she said. “I decided I was going to blog for 1001 days.”
“Why in the world,” I asked, “Would anyone want to take part in the challenge beyond the designated 30 days?”
I participated in the original 30 Day Content challenge along with some 600 other bloggers from around the world, including Australia. Sometimes, Bradley Will, the founder of LearntoBlog, posted the daily guidelines and the themes 24 hours early “for the Ozzies.”
But, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I wrote posts in the morning, just like my regular writing. Every morning a new theme for the day awaited in the inbox. That part was exciting.
And the time was of the essence for the challenge due to the intensity and the synergy of the group. I felt like back at the university cramming for the final exams. Also the timing was unbeatable, since the challenge ran in a framework when all the catastrophes in this world seemed to happen, and during the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA.
To be continued………………..
Copyright (c) 2016. 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.
I am going to work on this daily prompt by Daily Post because it is so close to my heart especially at a time when I am starting the second half of my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga.
Stay tuned for the full story as I develop it to fruition.
If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?
Lowell, MI- If we only knew what people really like, the creative business would be much less trickier. It’s not just that we as creators don’t know, but sometimes the receiving side doesn’t know either.
I found out this from my experience while trying to select a movie to stream from YouTube. My husband and I go through hundreds of movie selections both in English and in Czech. Quite often we end up not knowing what we want, and we switch lazily back on the TV programming to do the picking for us. It’s easier than making up our own minds.
But, taste is also a matter of the moment that keeps constantly changing. On the other hand there are nights, when I immediately know what I want to see even before turning on the screen. Luckily, we usually agree on the choice.
That brings me to my major goal for 2016 and that is to write what people like to read.
“What is it?” I ask. “Does it mean that I am catering to a trend?”
Not, necessarily. Gauging what people like and don’t like is important just like in the food industry. Recently, I found out that the frozen Ristorante pizza is not as good as DiGiorno. They look the same, they cost the same, but they don’t taste the same. Ristorante is missing something. What is it? It’s like with a good story or a bad story. What is missing and why is it bad?
Finding that missing ingredient is in the psychology or knowledge of your character and your reader. They have to match up. We need a perfect match.
But, writing isn’t just point-blank, let’s say, for the firearm hunter of deer but for the entire hunting category. Just like the pizza example appeals to a wide group of people, if not to most. But remember that both are frozen.
When I think of writing to a certain interest or maybe a trend, I always think of an entire group or a segment of population.
“Okay, who is going to read my next short story, “270 Degrees to Beach Pines?”
It could be the largest segment of American population. That is the baby boomers. The short story is about aging and what a tragic comedy it is; watching it, living it and trying to cheat it. Totally, Shakespearean or Marquez style. It will be humoresque and very light, almost as light as the “Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Kundera.
It should feel like a feather in the wind, like a butterfly’s kiss as it slowly dissipates into thin air.
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.
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.