“Please do not come to Holland to see the tulips this year.”
Holland city mayor Nathan Bocks
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI- In the highlights posts, I will include curiosities and unbelievables as I come across them during the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.
Holland city mayor Nathan Bocks made a request on Tuesday, April 28. He hopes he will never have to make that request again. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 91st Tulip Time Festival was cancelled for the first time in history.
“Please do not come to Holland to see the tulips this year.”
The only sign of normalcy on this Wednesday morning was the Red Creek trash pick up truck. Thank you dear essential worker.
The annual Lowell Area Crop Hunger Walk on Sunday May 3 will be conducted virtually with the line: Walk virtually. Give online. Change the world. Go to: https://crophungerwalk.org to donate.
On the other hand, normal became our Wednesday zoo room meetings.
As we head into May, I am working on May e-newsletters. I will be highlighting Mother’s Day, Mayday and May as the month of love, according to the Czech literature.
I love the month of May from its Mayday to Memorial Day, and everything in between. It’s the month of summer promises, blossoming lilacs and cherry trees.
Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.
Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus quarantine in Michigan.
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Copyright (c)2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Among a multitude of other things COVID-19 has impacted how people meet due to social distancing. Since there are no coffee shops or restaurants open, a meeting alternative is nature. Even some parks are closed in Michigan.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we sat on the shore of Murray Lake with a friend. I will call her Lilian. She is a pretty blonde, who usually dresses up for the smallest of occasions. Lilian arrived all disheveled, wearing her black tights and a skirt with a flashy pink sweater. Her mask has slid down her chin to the neck. She drove 18 miles so we could talk about life’s troubles outside of the contagion realm.
We didn’t hug. She rolled out her sleeping bag on the green grass. I pulled out a folding chair from the trunk, that I didn’t know I had, and set it not quite six feet apart in order to hear her in the wind.
We watched the wind whip the waves on the lake from west to northeast as a blue heron glided above the water, swiftly navigating the wind. The water in the lake had a soothing feeling on the emotions that were riding high. Even though cars and bikes kept flying on the road behind us in spite of the quarantine restrictions, we felt a sense unity in the Coronavirus isolation.
Of course, we could have talked on the phone or texted. However, some things don’t convey well via media, and this was one of them. Just the fact that we could get together helped us both relieve the tension and anxiety of the last few weeks.
“Sorry, that I look like thrash,” I apologized for my Up North orange sweatpants and a black jacket with a ripped zipper. My hair was a mess too, due to the wind and the lack of a proper haicut.
“That’s ok, I had the same clothes on yesterday,” Lilian said looking at me.
“We finally meet under these circumstances,” I said. “It took Coronavirus for us to meet.”
During normal times before the virus, we had ample opportunities to meet in the eclectic cafes or restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. Seldom, we took the advantage of our freedom to meet, until yesterday.
What will the next meeting look like?
Work front in the quarantine
On the work front, I continued with my front and back matters for the upcoming book, the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” I will include the introduction in one of the upcoming daily posts.
Since the COVID-19 quarantine has impacted everything around us including book marketing, I was happy to find out that May is the National Novel Promoting Month brought to us by the goodwill of the NaNoWriMo organizers.
Join us in May.
Michigan may re-open on May 1
Below is a link to a warning from Dr. Fauci about premature opening of the economy.
Weighing in on the positives of the coronavirus pandemic: in search of humanity
In spite of the state shutdown, and shows like the Lowell Expo not happening this weekend, I see positives of the coronavirus shutdown in Michigan.
I pay more attention to the good things around me: my flowering orchids and amaryllis. My husband Ludek can get caught up on stuff rather than wining that he never has time to do anything around the house.
Our son Jake is homeschooling the grandkids and loving it.
I talk more to my daughter Dr. Emma, who is on the frontlines of fighting COVID-19 in France. Before the outbreak, I never heard from her. My brother calls me more nowadays and I return his phone calls.
There is goodness coming out of this pandemic. The pandemic too shall pass and we’re in it all together.
I think in this isolation we find a common bond- humanity and we recognize the need for each other.
I spoke with Dr, Emma Palova- Chavent about the Coronavirus pandemic this morning.
“We’re treating COVID-19 as triage,” she said.
She stressed that the social isolation is the most important and effective tool in the battle against the COVID-19 spread due to the resilience of the virus. It can live on surfaces up to seven days outside of the human body unlike the HIV virus. It has yet to be determined if the Coronavirus can be airborne.
France has reserved up to 50 percent of hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients after observing outbreaks in Italy and China. The remaining 50 percent is reserved for cardiac emergencies, chemotherapies and births.
“We’re behind them like two weeks,” she said.
According to Chavent, the USA and France, as well as other countries have taken late confinement measures.
The isolation must last at least two to three weeks to be able to assess the drop in new cases.
However, not every patient gets tested and most are not hospitalized. Patients with risk factors such as diabetes are more likely to get tested. Any low number of cases is an indicator, that infected people have not been tested, such as the Russians.
Ultimately, the death caused by the coronavirus results in respiratory failure.
“We’re not able to untubate people,” she said.
The outbreak should definitely not to be underestimated.
“It’s a highly infectious illness.
Hang in there. Stay at home. Stay well.
Featured photo: Melinda Cosgrove of Snow Avenue Greenhouse at last year’s expo in Lowell.
Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI – As the 50k National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge winds down and Thanskgiving is upon us, I have decided to share this letter from its director Grant Faulkner. It expresses exactly how I feel about the challenge, its impact and reaching writing goals way beyond the formidable 50,000K mark.
Deep inside me, I feel like I’ve always been a part of this collective effort to share our stories with the world, even though I have participated and won only twice in NaNoWriMo’s 20 years of existence. If I had known about it, I would have always participated to make a difference in this world, and not just to appease my ego.
I would like to thank all the wrimos and my readers for support. Stay tuned for a separate post on my writing day no. 27- Velvet Revolution.
For my project I chose the completion of the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir about our family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the U.S.
As of today, I have logged on my NaNoWriMo dashboard 55,895 words with Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West.
The memoir will be available for pre-order on Amazon at the end of January.
Don’t forget to shop Black Friday deals on my books no. 1 & no. 2 from the Shifting Sands Short Stories collections by clicking on the following link:
The other day, I was talking to a Wrimo at a write-in, and she told me how she didn’t go to write-ins for several years because she was too nervous. She worried that she’d walk into a room without knowing anyone and be greeted by cold, quizzical stares.
But that didn’t happen.
“When I walked in, people greeted me, asked me about my novel, and gave me snacks and tea. I felt like I belonged,” she said.
The ostensible goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but as I talked with this writer, I was reminded how NaNoWriMo is about much more than that. It’s about expanding your world through your story. It’s about going places you might be afraid to go. It’s about connecting to something larger than yourself—both on the page and beyond.
It’s about belonging, in short. We find belonging in our stories because our stories show us how our longings and our needs aren’t just ours alone, but part of something larger, something more universal. That’s important because when you feel you belong, you can do big things.
So I’m pausing today to thank you for helping to create a world of belonging through our stories. I thank you for welcoming people into write-ins and tweeting encouragement to writers you might not even know. I thank you for creating this community that is somehow the largest table of writers in the world, yet still feels so personal, so intimate, and so generous.
Grateful for a world where people find a home in their stories,
Grant Faulkner Executive Director 43,174 words and counting….
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir with Havel quote
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI – Between the two dreary November days, I logged in 4,000 words into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo 2019) dashboard. The Greenwich Meridian memoir about our family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia is my writing project. The 50K word writing challenge has entered its final week, as we also approach Thanksgiving and I have to do some grocery shopping.
The turkey is already in the freezer and the tasks have been assigned among the family members; mom Ella is making the stuffing and a vegetable casserole, if she feels good she will make the traditional Czech pastry “kolache.” Yay! We’re doing the turkey, cranberry relish and baked beans, daughter-in-law Maranda is making the twice baked potatoes. Yay again!
For many participants, NaNoWriMo is a great motivator and if you get your winner certificate and finish writing your content, it’s also a great marketing tool for your new book. I penned the core of my second book Shifting Sands: Secrets during last year’s NaNoWriMo.
I would not have been able to do it, without the daily accountability of the word count. Plus, by participating in the month-long NaNoWriMo, you form a daily writing habit, if you don’t have it already. That’s how you unlock your daily writing badges.
I have been writing for the last 22 days in a row after I exercise and do my meditations in the morning. If I have to do something else before I reach the daily writing quota, I continue to write in the afternoon. Overall, my less productive time is in the afternoon, so I leave it for marketing and communications.
I agree with all the great writing gurus:
“Protect your writing time, no matter what.”
If that means writing early in the morning or late at night, so be it. There is no time for goofing around on social media instead of writing. As I have learned at the 2018 Calvin College writing conference, some authors don’t even watch TV after they finish writing in the evening or in the morning.
This week I have been working on chapters “Velvet Revolution” and “Back in the U.S.” Looking back at the historical events like Prague Spring in 1968 and Velvet Revolution in 1989, has been an eye-opening experience. My love for history, politics and arts has only grown stronger while doing research for the memoir.
The Greenwich Meridian memoir will be available for pre-order in January of 2020. Follow me on Amazon on:
The Red Truth newspaper, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, interviewed Vaclav Havel on Dec. 2, 1989. This was his first opportunity to introduce himself as a playwright and writer, rather than a dissident and a political prisoner. Previously, the newspaper only published bad news about Havel’s actions against the regime.
“You must not like this newspaper?”
“Now is not the time for recriminalization of the past,” he said. “We have to think about the future. The party will enter the democratic system just like any other political party.”
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
MI – Short like a summer romance, the book tour started in Muskegon with the
Lakeshore Art Festival, where I officially launched my new book 2 “Secrets”
from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series.
It was my first time at the festival in Muskegon, and I was impressed by its magnitude. Two busy days brought many surprises like the guy who asked me to sell my book to him in two minutes. I had the marketing pitch ready, and I did sell him the first book faster than he expected. Then came a lady with a cart who had to have a book from each Michigan author. There was only a little time left to network with other authors. Thank you Diane for buying our books.
MichiganAuthors are sweeping the shores of the Great Lakes from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior and Lake Huron in a new wave of renaissance in literature.
I did manage to connect with authors Jules Nelson of “Shadows”, authors Andrew
Smith, Jean Darla Davis and Ludington author Joan H. Young. We filled two big
tents, and people did support #MichiganAuthors. The cost was $100 for two days.
Somebody asked me if my book was the original book “Shifting Sands” about a dune in Muskegon. And then better yet, my daughter Emma discovered the Pigeon Hill brewery in Muskegon with their Shifting Sands IPA.
next gig was in my hometown of Lowell during the annual Riverwalk Festival. We
were in the Riverwalk parade at noon, and in the afternoon, I was at LowellArts
signing my books during Livin’ is Easy exhibit. I had a big yellow and black
painting of a horse behind my back that matched my yellow dress.
Somewhere in between was The WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin and a podcast with America’s Community Voices Network with hosts Ronald & Donald Brookins. I will be reading passages from my new book “Secrets” on their podcast show.
Books Alive! In Ludington was a Downtown Development Authority (DDA) event, and it was incredibly hot. There could have been 14 authors bearing the heat. People were not buying a lot of books, more like ice cream and pop, while loading up on free stuff.
Traverse City, organized by Dan McDougall was very cool, since it was inside a mall. The traffic was good, and I made new friends with fellow Michigan authors; I also stopped at the Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City. My book is available at the bookstore now.
Then again, I joined the horse on the canvas inside LowellArts on Aug. 10.
But definitely the best event was in Paradise located in Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Paradise is a tiny village nestling on the shores of Lake Superior on Whitefish Bay. The Wild Blueberry Festival with Arts & Crafts show lasted three days. People flocked to it from all over Michigan and Canada. It’s about an hour drive from the Mackinac Bridge.
booth was located on a dune above the lake. Priceless. We could see Canada on
the other shore. The traffic was busy all three days. I had bratwurst with wild
blueberries, and a great little helper Ella, 8. She even got commission from
book sales. Ella learned the marketing pitch and worked it all Saturday long.
main story is historical fiction from Belding, MI when it was known as the Silk
City Capital of the world,” she said.
The book cover with the optical illusion of the “Face of Gossip” attracted a lot of attention. Other people were fascinated my own immigration story from former communist Czechoslovakia, when I showed than an article about my naturalization.
“You did the right way,” the lady said.
We were stationed next to Redfish Artworks booth of creative and original art, by Bill and Angela Kuhn. On second day, I knew their pitch for their arrowheads, just like they knew mine for the book.
am a flint knapper,” Bill would repeat 100 times a day.
all had a blast and sold a lot of products.
you coming back next year?” Bill asked.
we loved it.”
We were only a short drive from Tahquamenon Falls surrounded by beautiful nature from all sides. There were four other authors at the festival, and people were buying books.
I would consider both Belding parades, where the main story “Silk Nora” is set as the last summer events on my tour. Both parades started by the former Ballou Basket Works Factory and proceeded through downtown with hundreds of spectators.
Day weekend is known as Belding’s homecoming.
Thank you, Belding, for a great homecoming.
Watch for a post about my upcoming fall book tour.
I will be at the Fallasburg Village Bazaar on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 from noon to 5 p.m. Come for a book and an authograph. There will be plenty of vendors to find your treasure.
Check out the Kindle Countdown deal starting on Sept. 10 through Sept. 15 on Amazon at:
This is one of my most popular posts; back by demand
Happy May Day
May 1st traditions in Czech Republic & around the world
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – Every year, I observe May 1st as May Day in the renaissance Czech tradition with warm memories of the socialist past. If I close my eyes, I can still see the parades, the tribunes and the socialist propaganda with the slogans and the banners on the backdrop of the blossoming lilacs. The socialist patriotic anthems were blasting from the loudspeakers including the Soviet anthem “Coyuz Nerusimij.”
Today, Czech Republic still celebrates May 1, as an official holiday with a day off to commemorate the union manifestations in Chicago in 1884. Only this time around, without the parades or the slogans.
But most of all, May Day, was a great day off known for its official opening of the beer gardens, and the infamous “march of the thieves.”
The organized labor from the factories marched in the parades, while some individuals used the opportunity to steal from the gated factories because of less supervision. Therein the name “march of the thieves.”
First and foremost, May is the month of love, not just labor.
And I write about all this in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” with a light heart and a smile on my face with a touch of nostalgia.
I admire the old Czech country for being able to keep both the old socialist holidays, take on new ones, and tamper with the most important holiday of all that is the liberation of the country from the Nazi occupation in 1945.
New politicians with new agendas changed the date of the liberation of former Czechoslovakia from May 9th to May 8th based on the controversy who really liberated the country, whether it was the Soviets or the Americans. The question at hand; who was the first and where?
Having lived in many countries around the world, our family always honored the holidays of that particular country, otherwise we would have time off all the time.
Looking at my calendar last week for a summary, I found amusing that Canada also has Easter Monday off as an official holiday, just like Czech Republic.
However, any holiday can take root in any country as I have witnessed in my hometown of Vizovice.
I remember our neighbor bus driver Mr. Hlavenka in Vizovice, used to celebrate Fourth of July by taking the day off in the old socialist era.
I’ve always wondered, how did he know about Independence Day with all the propaganda against American capitalism.
But, May 1st has deep agricultural connotations as well. People gather wildflowers and crown a May king and queen, weave floral garlands, and set up a maypole.
They also have bonfires to encourage the fertility of the land and animals in the coming year.
It is fascinating how different traditions and believes take roots in different countries, and how they continue to evolve.
Watch for more upcoming May posts.
Copyright (c) 2013-2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Daily insights from #nanowrimo with story excerpts
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – What does NaNoWriMo mean to me?
I can only answer this question now that I have completed the 50K creative project and claimed the Winner 2018 cetificate.
NaNoWriMo is like a powerful fuel that you need to keep you going. You also have to keep on refueling as often as possible. It’s a gauge that efficiently measures your progress as you go.
Secondly, I have realized that there is no such a thing as a writer’s block; only slumps, slowdowns and funks around the Thanksgiving holiday and on Sundays.
Is creative activity as mysterious as we all think? Yes. You don’t know at the end of the day, what you’re going to come up with.
Is it scary? It can be, if you don’t know what your character is going to do next.
The creative project required a lot of discipline without credits or end of the year bonuses. But, also you were your own boss in determining when and how you were going to accomplish the 50K challenge.
I was amused by some of the questions on social media like: “What is your favorite writing drink?”
Mine is definitely tea, because I get a headache from drinking a lot of coffee.
Will I do it again in 2019? Most likely yes.
Would I recommend it? It depends on your writing goals. Fifty-thousand words is a nice chunk to start with.
Is it doable with kids and a full-time job? It depends on your partner on how many house chores will he or she take on.
Is writing still the most lonesome activity in the world that in the end depends on the the public’s liking or disliking? Yes.
At the end, I committed to revision and editing, as well as writing more short stories to include in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.
The NaNoWriMo certificate defines a winner as:
A literal literary hero. A disciplined wordsmith.
A squirrel-suit flyer who just earned their wings…………
My sincere thanks to the staff, organizers and pep talk authors of the NaNoWriMo creative project for support and encouragement.
I will be using Pacemaker.press on http://www.pacemaker.press to further measure my progress into the publishing of the new anthology of short stories.
Excerpts from “White Nights” (c) 2018 Emma Palova
It was the gossip of the village that Joe beat his wife. He was a fourth-generation farmer on the largest farming plat in the village.
In front of the public eye, he acted as a proper man. Joe did everything that was expected of the largest landowner to do. He sat on the township board, on the school and the church boards. In spite of the gossip, he was a respected man with other great qualities than self-control.
Unlike Father Sam, he had no choice of what he wanted do. He inherited the land, so he had to farm it. When farming got tough with the dumping of the cheap apple juice from China in the late 1990s, his two brothers decided to get out of working with dirt. They went to work forthe largest milling company out by Shimnicon Corners. At that time, Joe too had to seek his soul, after beating one of them near death.
“You will never cross the threshold of my house,” he yelled that winter when they fought over the buyout money. “Where do you think I am going to get two million bucks?
They left anyways, and Joe owed them for the rest of his life. Joe sold off land fordevelopment and paid off some of the money, while making enemies with other farmers.
Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI – The day after Thanksgiving, I finished the short story “40 Hunks” (c) 2018 Emma Palova logging into the #nanowrimo dashboard with a total of 43,723 words toward the 50K word marathon. That puts me on the final stretch to the winner mark on this publishing journey.
The story will become a part of the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova. After the revision period in January and February supported by #nanowrimo, it is my clear intention to have the book published next year.
The National Novel Writing Month, an Internet-based creative project, started in 1999 with 21 participants. It has grown over the years to 0.5 million participants around the globe.
Two days ago, I found a thank you letter in my email from the #nanowrimo executive director Grant Faulkner titled:
“Thank you for the light of your stories.”
It truly warmed my heart, as Grant described writer Matt Forbes’ reaction to his home burnt by the wildfires in Paradise, CA, as well as the entire community.
His response to tragedy? To create.
“I plan to write. That’s about all I can do…I don’t want one huge fire to burn out everything that was taken in its wake, and this is the only thing I can do to show otherwise.”
You can easily gauge your progress on the dashboard widget and graph.
Editing and revisions take place later in the months of January and February.
We also went out on Black Friday to Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, and it was jam packed. The same story was in rural Greenville. Speaking about the economy booming, it definately was at JC Penney’s who practiced Black Friday on both days, Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.
The staff was exhausted:
“We’ve been opened for the last 24 hours,” said a tired clerk in the men’s clothing department.
Excerpts from “40 Hunks”
“Not, now,” he said. “They have to be on the farm as soon as Friday.”
Antonio walked inside the gas station store looking around the shelves.
“You got booze,” he asked the scared girl.
Jose straightened up from the counter and looked at Antonio.
“No, booze on the bus,” he said strictly. “When we get there, you can talk to theproducer. Not here. We’re heading out.”
Antonio grabbed Jose by his shirt and tore it apart as he lifted Jose up on his feetand dragged him against the counter.
“ I said, I want some booze,” Antonio pulled out his knife and put it to Jose’s throat. “You girl give me some whiskey or I will slash his neck.”
Avlen quickly grabbed a bottle from behind her and handed it to Antonio, who opened it and drank from it, still holding Jose.
“That’s $20,” Avlen said to Antonio.
Antonio let Jose loose and turned him to Avlen like a puppet.
“You pay her,” he said. “I am going back on the bus.”
Jose gave Avlen the $20 bill shaking his head.
“Don’t call the police,” Jose begged. “I’d get in trouble that I let him loose.”
He waved to the girl and left the gas station store. Mike was smoking nearby shaking his head.
“I saw what happened,” he said. “Do you want me to call the police?”
Jose shook his head as he boarded the bus.
“No, I want us to get to the farm as fast as possible,” he said. “You deal with him at the farm with the producer. I don’t want to have anything to do with him. If he disappears, I won’t look for him.”
Featured photo: Butterflies from the Butterfly House on Mackinac Island.
Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Daily insights not only from #nanowrimo 50 K creative project with excerpts
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – As I plug along toward the 50K #nanowrimo novel writing goal, I observe daily life with new joy; that is the time when I don’t have to write.
So, first of all: “Happy birthday Josephine Marie Palova.” The chocolate cake with the five princesses are all waiting for you.
Second: It’s a nice day out there with unusual November sunshine, so I took a ride to the tart cherry and apple H&W Farm on Belding Road to get some Thanksgiving goodies for the big feast tomorrow.
I got some fresh apple cider, Honeycrisp apples, chocolate covered tart cherries, hot pepper preserves, boysenberry jelly and cherry green tea from Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor.
With the exception of the delicious cider, all the goodies are going into a care package for my parents who are leaving for Venice, Florida the week after Thanksgiving.
With that said, I logged in this morning with 41,264 words in the 50K marathon while a few have reached the end of their sprint. My short story “40 Hunks” (c) 2018 Emma Palova has taken on a surprising spin.
The story will become a part of my new story collection “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.
Who knows where this story will lead me?
Excerpts from “40 Hunks”
The men arrived the next morning on the frozen central farm shaking with cold, thirst and hunger. They only knew the heat coming from the Sonoran Desert along with the “dust devils.” The producer showed them into the large barn with half-empty storage crates with Evercrisp apples. It was cold in the barn too. The producer known to friends as Frank was saving money on everything from heat to labor cost.
Jose watched the process along with work guide Mike carefully.
“We were expecting 40 men,” said Frank looking at the government list with names. He noticed one name was crossed off. “You know the drill; 40 men in, 40 men out at the end of the season. No tricks or I get in trouble with the government.”
Holding tight onto Mike’s shoulder, Jose immediately responded.
“Antonio couldn’t make it, he stayed at home sick,” said Jose looking directly at Mike.
Mike was shaking with fear as he felt the barrel of a gun press through his pants onto his thigh. He could hear the lyrics in his head from the bus ride, since the casette player played it over and over again.
Do you mean this horny creep, set upon weary feet, in need of sleep, That doesn’t come?
Copyright (c) 2018 . Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.