Category Archives: festivals

Excerpt: Living in socialism

Note: Following is an excerpt from the chapter: “Living in socialism” from my upcoming book- the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” set for Oct. 16 release on Amazon.

The book is available for preorder in Kindle format at:

Greenwich Meridian Memoir is an epic story of love and immigration.

Continued: Living in socialism

Workplace ethic

Among interesting events at workplaces were birthday celebrations. Ludek described a typical birthday celebration at the ZPS factory as follows; the celebrant typically brought in a bottle of plum brandy and poured everyone from each department a shot. After work, the celebration continued at the local pubs. There was a lot of birthday celebrations throughout the years. Milestone celebrations like turning 50, meant you got a fancy watch from the company and a huge party at a local pub.

During national holidays, the workers would steal anything and take it through the gates without being checked because there were so many of them leaving at once for the parades. So, the parades were known as the “March of Thieves.” The parades actually started inside the factory. On the matter of overtime, one individual was selected to punch for all those, who waited somewhere outside the factory behind the gates.

The major employers in Zlin were Svit and ZPS; their huge factory complex spanned several blocks in town. The shoe factory Svit was built during the Thomas Bata era in the 1920s. It employed 10,000 workers. ZPS was the mechanical engineering factory, employing also 10,000. Women worked mainly in Svit, while men worked in ZPS.

Our hometown Zlin grew thanks to the T & A Bata firm, when Tomas Bata was known as the “king of shoes” (aka the creator) of the global shoe emporium with export of shoes to the U.S. as well. The growth and success of the Bata firm were attributed to a large army contract with the Austro-Hungarian Empire to make shoes for 5,200 soldiers.

The core of city Zlin boasts the fine architecture of functionalism; the former Bata headquarters building “Twenty-one”, a high-rise reaching 254 feet and the 11- story Hotel Moscow. During socialism, the shoe empire became the factory Svit, where people worked for generations. In socialism, the economy was planned accordingly into one-year plans, five-year plans and ten-year plans. All the companies had to strive to fulfill the plans to the highest percentage for bonuses at the end of the year. The bulletin boards at the different workplaces boasted the percentages of fulfilled plans.

The average salary for women working in the Svit factory was 1,200 crowns; for men working in ZPS it was 2,500 to 3,000. Since, the work or the economy didn’t fluctuate, most jobs were for the entire lifetime until retirement.

“You couldn’t quit,” said Ludek.

According to Ludek, even if you wanted to quit, you couldn’t because you had to give a six-months’ notice, and the other employer wouldn’t wait for you that long. On top of that you had to sign a work contract.

 Of course, there was no such thing as calling in sick; you had to have a doctor’s script that you are sick. Not showing up for work was called American time off or “A.” If you did it for three days in a row, the police would come looking for you.

 If you were sick and stayed at home, you had to be in bed, because regular controls at home were conducted if you’re not cheating.

 “They even touched the bed and the sheets if they were still warm,” Ludek said.

You got paid when you were sick, and the health care was free for all. There was a universal one crown fee per prescription of any drug. People often ask, if there was a shortage of drugs and doctors.

Of course, there was a shortage of everything due to the planned economy. You got used to most of the shortages, but some were just plain embarrassing like not enough toilet paper, hygiene products or laundry detergent.

On the other hand, there were fashionable dresses in nice boutiques, pretty shoes and fancy parties with crystal glasses and porcelain plates. The paradox of not having basic needs fulfilled sharply contrasted with the opulence of the fashion, including home fashions inside homes and apartments. People took good care of their homes and took pride in their furniture. Women spent days polishing the furniture, and usually you couldn’t touch anything when visiting a friend. You were designated a safe spot to sit, where you didn’t jeopardize the cleanliness and the order of things.

 Most products were made in Czechoslovakia or they were imported from the countries of the RVHP–the association of mutual economic assistance such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, Romania and U.S.S.R.

You spent a lot of time waiting around for anything and everything, quite often it was in lines for desirable items like bananas or meat.

The grocery stores were small with only a limited amount of shopping baskets, so you waited for the shopping basket, then you waited inside the store at the dairy counter for cheese, and at the meat counter for meat, you waited in a line for the cash register and you waited for the bus to get home with your groceries. There you waited for the elevator to get to your apartment.

 The waiting game was due to everything being small and crowded. Overall, the country is small with only 15.6 million population and territory of 127,875 square feet kilometers in the heart of Europe. So, it has traditionally been the target of other countries in their quest for more land.

At the time, there were only savings banks in the country except for the Commerce Bank in Prague that handled international currency. People got paid money not checks. Most of them kept the money at home and spent it for basic needs.

Nothing was really cheap; you pretty much spent your entire paycheck on life’s necessities. And that definitely discounted gas and telephone bills, because only a few people had cars or telephones. However, most people were not in debt, and mortgages didn’t exist. Something as bizarre as a non-returnable loan for newlyweds existed.

It wasn’t uncommon for several generations to live in one house. But the main housing was in apartments, that were affordable, but you had to wait for them for years. There were cheaper state-owned apartments and apartments owned by the cooperatives. Condos did not exist. This set-up was due to the socialist ownership of everything from apartments to land, factories and businesses that happened through the major nationalizations in 1945 and 1948. Houses were individually owned and usually built by owners. Most houses were in villages, and these included very old buildings like my Grandfather Joseph’s beloved “Ranch” at 111 Krnovska in Vizovice. The old buildings known as “chalupas” required extensive repair challenged by the shortage of contractors and materials.

However, the main source of the communist pride were the apartment mega complexes such as the “Southern Slopes” housing 20,000 people, which was one- fourth of the population of Zlin. These were dubbed as the “building successes of socialism.” The country is sprinkled with these and their inhabitants are happy to live in them. Most of them have been turned into condos.

Atheism vs Religion

A friend asked me to write about religion in socialist Czechoslovakia. Under the Marxism Leninism philosophy, the official religion was atheism–not believing in God or any deity. The church properties were confiscated along with everything else and belonged to the state as of 1945. But people went to churches, some secretly, others openly.

There were only two denominations that my husband Ludek and I could recall: Catholic and Evangelic. Each town had one church only, and the Catholic church usually prevailed depending on the region. The churches were old dating back to feudalism and the reigning aristocracy. It took 150 years to build the new Saint Mary’s Church in Stipa due to a pause in construction because of the 1620 war. The construction started under Albrecht of Valdstejn in 1615 and ended in 1765 thanks to the money from the Rottal countess.

 The clear and present danger of going to church mainly impacted teachers and career-oriented people who were trying to get ahead of the game. It impacted both my father and my aunt.

Although we come from a large Catholic family, Aunt Martha, who was a teacher in Stipa, could not go to church. Many years later, I found out that she was a member of the Old Catholic Church, a chapter located inside a chapel at the cemetery across the street from the Konecny house and that she had sponsored a priest in his education. The chapel is also a tomb of the count Seilern family, a major influence in the Stipa region with the Chateau Lesna.

One of the major wars, the Thirty Years’ War, in Czech history was over religion. What I consider the sad part of modern history is that after the downfall of socialism in Czechoslovakia, the majority of people never returned back to the church.

However, a big tradition centered around the parishes stayed intact–that is the feast of the saints. In our case, it was the Feast of Saint Mary in Stipa on September 8 th. These feasts or pilgrimages were much like homecomings or festivals in the U.S. The entire families gathered for the feasts for an opulent celebration of the saints. In many cases, animals were butchered and ladies baked the famous pastry-kolache or strudels. A dance took place at the local hall on the night before the feast. This often turned into a brawl, as people got drunk on plum brandy. Carnival rides always came into town with booths and paper roses. I loved these paper colorful crepe roses on  wires; I wish I had kept at least one. Other booths sold gingerbread hearts of all sizes and for all hearts.

In traditional pilgrimage places like Hostyn, the booths were set up all the time and opened for the season with hundreds of religious and non-religious items: rosaries, prayer books, medallions and miniature statues. Pilgrims streamed to Hostyn, both on foot and on buses.

That brings me to celebrations of holidays in general. In villages like Stipa, many people raised animals for meat: rabbits, pigs, geese, turkeys, chickens and ducks. That was the primary source of meat for the holidays. Most meat was roasted, served with creamy sauces or sauerkraut and dumplings. Pork and chicken were often fried into wiener schnitzel. Salads or vegetables were not as common as in the U.S. due to their year-round shortage. Soups were always a part of a holiday meal, mostly beef or chicken. In some households, people made their own noodles.

As a rule, women baked for the weekends all sorts of pastries, some for breakfast. But there was also an abundance of pastries on the market; at the bakeries, coffee shops, patisseries and in grocery stores. The patisseries served as cafes with people hanging around in them sipping coffee or wine, while enjoying a “rakvicka.” This dessert has always fascinated me; the pastry is in the form of a small coffin filled with delicious cream and ornately decorated on the top with whirls and swirls of more cream.

Among the most famous baked goods, were “rohliky” or bread rolls in the shape of a crescent, some even came with poppy seeds. And bread was always good, whether baked round with hard crust or in loaves in small or large bakeries.

Other homemade products included sausages and smoked meat. The butchering of the family pig usually took place in winter and before the holidays, so there was plenty of meat on the table. Socialism with its chronic lack of basic goods, drove the need for self-sufficiency specifically in the villages and craftsmanship as well. People were forced to be more creative in many different ways.

Many households in villages and towns were self-sufficient with everything homemade or home grown. National artist Joseph Lada illustrated the traditional festivities: The Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6, the butchering of the family pig in the yard with onlookers, Christmas by the tall tiled stoves, autumn campfires with fire-roasted potatoes and summer fun by the ponds with the willows.

The Czech Republic enjoys four distinct seasons: mild winters, early springs, hot summers and moderate autumns. The seasons are conducive to year-round vacationing and recreation. In the socialist era, people traveled freely between the two parts of the country, Czech and Slovak republics. Slovakia is the home to the Tatra Mountains. Travel to other socialist countries was also accommodated.

Recreation was encouraged and subsidized through the membership in the Revolutionary Union Movement (ROH) at the workplaces. Some companies had their own recreation centers in the mountains like Jelenovska. We visited this center in the mid-1980s. Much fancier centers belonged to the leaders of the Communist Party.

The ultimate goal of socialism aimed at the health and well-being of the population and the country. However, that was contradicted by the inability to act freely in many aspects such as travel to the Western countries and overall limitations of freedom of speech and press.

 The press of the socialist era represented the opinions and views of tolerated organizations. The number one daily newspaper was “The Red Truth,” the official paper of the Communist Party gloated with the party philosophy and the party news. Then, there was a version for the younger generation called, “The Young Front,” which was a little bit less biased. After that, came “The People News” and “The Agricultural News.” All of them were heavily censored for content and inuendo. Journalists had to go to political schools, which were hard to get into.

The older generation like my grandpa read “The People News” only on Sunday afternoons. At the Gymnasium Zlin, we had to recite the news in the “Citizens’ Education” class. The news was usually about the president sending a congratulatory letter to another leader of a socialist country or about the regular Communist Party conventions.

The TV wasn’t much better, if not worse. There was one TV station–The Czechoslovak TV run by the government. The books and magazines were less censored. I sent a lot of novels to mom Ella.

EVENTS

I will be participating in October Virtual Book Fest with a reading on Oct. 5 and an interview on Oct. 23.

Zoom Reading:October 5, 2020 @ 7pm – 7:30pm

Zoom Interview:October 23, 2020 @ 7pm – 8pm

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

52nd FAllasburg Arts Festival 2020 goes virtual

LowellArts Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020 Plans Finalized
A New Format For 52nd Annual Event
Lowell, Michigan -| Event organizers have finalized plans for the LowellArts Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020. Due to restraints from the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced earlier this month that a virtual version of the event would be held. With a new format, the 52nd annual event will consist of many of the same traditions people enjoy about the festival.
This year, visitors will walk through the festival via an on-line, interactive map that will “open” at 10:00 am on September 19, the original start date and time for the festival. The map will be available at http://www.lowellartsmi.org, and will include links to explore artwork, music, children’s creations, craft demonstrations, and more. Festival organizers want to create an on-line experience for visitors that makes them feel like they are “there.” To make this virtual experience a success, organizers are asking for help from the community to engage in several activities being offered before, and in association with, the virtual event.
ARTISTSEach of the 100+ talented artists that were juried into the 2020 festival will be represented on the interactive map, in their virtual booth location. On-line visitors can click on the artists’ booths to see more information about that artist and images of their artwork. If visitors are interested in purchasing artwork from an artist, they can connect with that artist through additional links to the artists’ website or other on-line sale platform. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to the artists.
LIVE MUSICLive music will be played on both September 19 and 20, available for free to on-line visitors. A limited number of tickets will be sold to visitors who wish to experience the live music in-person. Three shows, with multiple groups presenting at each show, will be showcased at a new, outdoor performance venue in Lowell called Camp Clear Sky. Showtimes are Saturday, September 19, 12:00-4:00pm and 6:00-10:00pm and Sunday, September 20, 12:00pm-4:00pm. Ticket prices and ticket sale date to be announced.
ARTIST DEMONSTRATIONS / PUMPKIN DECORATING / FOOD BOOTHSPrerecorded fine craft demonstrations will be featured as part of the on-line festival experience, as well as the opportunity for children (of any age) to create a “character” pumpkin and have a photo of their creation on the website as part of the virtual event. Pumpkins will be available free of charge at the LowellArts Gallery (223 W Main St, Lowell) beginning August 29 during regular gallery hours. Food booths will also be represented on the interactive map, with highlights about how these non-profit organizations that typically benefit from the proceeds of festival food sales impact our community.
QUILT RAFFLEThe festival would not be complete without the annual quilt raffle. As always, a beautiful quilt was created exclusively for the 2020 festival. This year’s quilt “Blue Lagoon” was created by Dawn Ysseldyke. The quilt can be viewed in-person at the LowellArts Gallery (223 W Main St, Lowell) beginning August 4. Raffle tickets for the quilt will be available for purchase soon and will be available through festival weekend. On September 20 at 5:00pm, a live-streamed “pulling of the winning ticket” ceremony will be held to announce the winner of the quilt.
LowellArts would like to thank this year’s Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020 Sponsors – Fifth Third Bank, Meijer, Litehouse Foods, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Fallasburg Virtual Arts Festival 2020 Sponsors:

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Czech “dozinky” Festival on Radio

Listen in today at 2:30 p.m. to radio WOES-FM 91.3- Ovid-Elsie Community radio- home of the polka palace.

Costumed dancers at the Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister, MI.
The men carry ladies up in a traditional Czech dance.

Tom Bradley, one of the co-founders of the Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister, will be talking about the “Dozinky” festival. The festival always held on the first Sunday in August was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We could not take the risk,” said co-founder Diane Bradley.

The festival takes place at the ZCBJ Lodge in Bannister. in Cenral Michigan. It features a parade, costumed dancers, a festive dinner consisting of ham, chicken, dumplings, saurkraut, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes and traditional Czech desserts. The dinner is followed by a dance.

https://www.ovidelsie.org/woes-fm

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Insights from book tour

Insights from summer book tour 2019 July-August

By Emma Palova

Lowell, 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.

But 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.

The 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.

Our 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.

“The 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.

“I am a flint knapper,” Bill would repeat 100 times a day.

We all had a blast and sold a lot of products.

“Are you coming back next year?” Bill asked.

“Yes, 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.

Labor 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:

https://www.amazon.com/author/emmapalova

END

Into Paradise

Heading to Paradise in Upper Peninsula

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – I am getting ready for my next book stop in Paradise located in Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The tiny village nestled on Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay annually hosts the popular Wild Blueberry Festival-Arts & Crafts Fair on Aug. 15, 16 & 17 with close to 100 vendors peddling everything from Lake Superior agate pendants to books.

My new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series is a collection of 15 short stories with the main historical fiction story “Silk Nora” set in the turn-of-the-century Belding.

One of the stories “When Layla met Corey” is set in Mackinaw City, which is a gateway to Upper Peninsula.

The book made its debut at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon in July.

An artist’s dream

Paradise, a community rich with nautical folklore, logging and Native American History attracts thousands of visitors and vendors due to close proximity to Tahquamenon Falls.

For its natural wonders and wilderness, Upper Peninsula has traditionally drawn writers, photographers and artists from all over the USA. Among the most famous authors were: Earnest Hemingway and John Voelker.

Where inspiration abounds

A recent wave of emerging Michigan authors is sweeping the shores of the Great Lakes from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior. They write from Michigan with Michigan settings and locations. They market themselves under the umbrella of Michigan Authors. Follow them on http://www.MichiganAuthors.com

This is by far, not my first visit to UP or Paradise. I have fond memories of vacationing Up North, both from years ago with our kids and most recently with our granddaughter Ella.

I love the wilderness of UP and its natural pristine beauty, as well as the spirit of the Great Lakes.

For info about the Wild Blueberry Festival in Paradise go to: http://www.WildBlueberryFestival.org

To be continued

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Insights from Authors’ Tent at Lakeshore Art Fest

Authors Tent at the Lakeshore Art Festival insights from author Jean Darla Davis

By Emma Palova

I spoke with Holland author Jean Darla Davis after two great days at the Lakeshore Art Festival on Saturday afternoon. Davis organized the Authors Tent located at Clay and 2nd Ave in downtown Muskegon to give more exposure to Michigan authors.

Hundreds of people stopped by the two tents with multiple authors and genres. Just like in a library or at a bookstore, the books with their authors represented different categories from mystery to crime, and everything in between.

The icing on the cake was that the authors were present for book signings and to chat about writing and publishing with readers and public in general.

Each author had their own story about their journey to publishing; from former cop Bob Muladore of Charlotte to hiker/author Joan H. Young from Scottville along with 18 others.

For some participating authors the next stop will be in Ludington at the Books Alive event in downtown on July 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There are still some open spaces. So you can sign up on Eventbrite to diversify the event or contact Joan H. Young.

Interview with Jean Darla Davis



Was this a chamber event and did it have sponsors?

Yes, the LAF is put on by the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce. Here is the link to their sponsor page: https://lakeshoreartfestival.org/support/sponsors/

How was this year’s festival? Which day was better?

This year’s festival was the biggest yet, with more vendors. Thanks to how the holiday fell this year, it seemed like both days had equal traffic.

Why do you think the attendance was lower than last year?

It felt like less people this year, very likely due to the heat. But attendance was still quite good.

What seemed to be the the shopping trends and genres?

I didn’t get much of a chance to wander the festival as a whole so I can’t really answer that. There are always a wide variety of fine art and craft vendors, so something for everyone. 

Were the authors from all over Michigan?

19 of our authors were from all over Michigan, both the Upper and Lower Peninsula. One lives on the Indiana border and is considered an honorary Michigan Author. 

Your plans for next year?

We’re considering adding a third tent to accommodate more authors, but that decision is ultimately in the hands of the Muskegon Chamber Festival committee. Otherwise, we’ll be using the same layout we settled on this year as that worked quite well.

What will you remember the most from this year’s festival?

The heat. And off course spending two days with so many fun and talented authors. 

Feature photo by author Joan H. Young.

Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author Tent @Lakeshore Art Festival

Interview with author/organizer Jean Darla Davis & Emma Palova

  1. Why have an author tent at Lakeshore Art Festival?  How well is the festival attended?
Author Jean Darla Davis

The Lakeshore Art Festival is attended by tens of thousands of people over two days. It runs July 5 and 6 from 10 to 6 and features over 350 fine art and craft vendors, along with artisan food,  children’s activities, street performers and interactive art.  It’s the perfect  venue to connect readers with local indie authors.

  • How did you get involved? Who came up with the idea and how did you go about implementing it?

This is our third year as a group of authors being involved with the Lakeshore Art Festival. The first year was organized by author Steve Lebel . When he stepped back, I was tapped to take on the project. Last year we officially became part of the festival with the emerging authors tent within the festival footprint. This allowed us much better visibility and allowed us to connect with more readers.

  • What was last year’s festival like?

Last year we had two beautiful sunny days and what seemed like a mostly endless flow of traffic both days. There’s so much art to see and great food to check out.

 Eighteen authors took part in our tents last year. We all had a great time networking with one another, talking to readers and signing books.

4-Which genre will be represented?

Our tents feature twenty authors with a little something for everyone. We everything from children’s books to adult books, including mystery, suspense, non-fiction  romance, science fiction, fantasy and more.

  • What do you hope to accomplish there in two days?

We’d love to introduce readers to authors they might not run across on Amazon due to the vast number of books there or in the big book stores that often focus on big name authors.  We’re available to talk about our books, our writing processes and  inspirations. This is a great opportunity for readers to buy direct from the authors and get their books signed.

  • Give us some tips for authors

Many authors struggle with marketing their books . They write one and hope that it sells online or through their publisher, if they have one. Unfortunately, even with a publisher, the majority of marketing falls on the author, and most of us would rather be home writing our next book. However, once you do a few book events, you’ll find it’s fun to network with other authors, learn from them, share your experiences and knowledge and to meet readers face to face. Festivals like this one give authors the opportunity to get their books in front of thousands of people a day. The Lakeshore Art Festival allows authors to purchase their own larger booth or to take part in our emerging author tent, which though we have smaller table spaces, is within the budget of many indie authors.  We do have a limited amount of spaces each year and they go quickly. If you are interested in being part of the emerging author tent, please contact me on facebook: jeandavisauthor

  • Give us some tips for visitors

Visitors should wear comfortable shoes. There’s so much to see and do at this Festival. Stay hydrated. Bring a bag to carry all your artsy finds. Most vendors will take cash or cards. And talk to the artists. Ask questions. Make your purchases personal. It’s not often you can talk directly to the artist who made the piece and find out the story behind it.  

  • How do you personally plan your book tour?

Having recently released my fifth book, I can easily say that I’ve tried a lot of different things to get the word out. Have I found the magic answer? No. What I’ve settled on, that works best for me, is doing a blog tour within my network of author friends, and booking in person events. I like to do a variety of venues: bookstores, libraries, craft & vendor shows, comic cons, ren faires, and art festivals. This year, with the release of the first book Trust of my new space opera series, The Narvan, I’m doing 30 different events all over Michigan.

I find personally connecting with readers to be the most gratifying way to get the word out . When I can do the same event a couple years in a row, it’s even better, because then people know where to find me and come back for my next book. I try to release one or two books every year so I have something new to offer.

Link to participating authors at the Author Tent at the Lakeshore Art Festival https://emmapalova.com/2019/06/12/authors-at-lakeshore-art-festival/

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

June Newsletter

Happy summer!

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

Follow me on my Amazon author’s page at:

https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

 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

Map to Lakeshore Art Festival
https://lakeshoreartfestival.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-LAF-Brochure-F-D.pdf
Copyright © 2019 Emma Palova, All rights reserved. 




Czech Harvest Festival

Summer  brings  heritage festivals and fairs

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI  -I am really looking forward to this weekend. First of all, it’s going to be hot again, and I love that.

Contrary to what the promoters of “Back to School” pump out, summer is not over. For me summer is over when I have to swap my flip-flops for closed-toed shoes, usually with the first snow.

Summer always stays in my heart year-long.

Other than my author event at the LowellArts gallery tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. during the Captured photo exhibit, I can’t wait to go to the Czech Harvest Festival “Dozinky” in Bannister this Sunday.

This is our annual treat and a tribute to our Czech heritage. Every year, I get my hopes high that I will run into a Czech-speaking person at the festival in the middle of nowhere.

Over the years of going to Bannister, I’ve met probably a total of eight people who knew some Czech. The fun part about this event is that I get to sing three anthems that I know: American, Czech & Slovak.

The third-generation organizers Tom & Diane Bradley of Czech origin have done a fantastic job of preserving the “Dozinky” event as it truly happens in the Moravian and Slovakian villages in the old country. The dancers wear original costumes, the band of accordions plays Czech polka and the singers sing Czech songs.

I marvel at this effort, because the festival passes the Czech heritage onto the younger generation. The dance troupe involves kids ages three to unlimited. The festivities open with the shortest parade in the world; it’s even shorter than the parade in Hubbardston on St. Pat’s Day.

The parade route is past the ZCBJ Lodge to the small field with a concrete platform for the dancers. The dancers and singers march in the parade with rakes and scythes, symbolizing the original harvest of wheat.

Usually, a polka band plays inside the hall after the dance troupe is done outside. I’ve never been to that part, because it runs later in the afternoon when we have to head back home for a long drive through the fields.

The best part of the event is the original Czech food. For ten bucks, you get to eat like in a fancy Czech restaurant without leaving USA. The buffet features, ham, chicken, dumplings, sauerkraut, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes, biscuits and a dessert.

Czech “kolache”

However, one thing you will not get here, is the traditional Czech “kolache” pastry. One of the editors of the Fraternity Herald asked me to share the origins of this festive pastry.

So, I asked my mother Ella, while she was still in Venice. Growing up in Moravian small town of Vizovice, she could trace the humble origins to the villagers.

“They used all the ingredients available to them in their households,” she said. “This included the cottage cheese they made themselves, butter or lard and eggs. The only thing they bought was sugar and flour. They had everything else including the plum butter.”

The popularity of “kolache” as a signature pastry at all events and festivities, skyrocketed over the years, as the city folks discovered them while touring villages.

“Kolaches” are to Czechs what pizza is to the Italians,” mom said. “They too use the ingredients available to them; olives, pasta sauce and such.”

There are hundreds of recipes for traditional “kolache” varying according to the region.

However, they all have in common the following: golden crust topped with plum butter with sugary crumbling and filled with cottage cheese mixed with raisins.

For one of the many kolache recipes visit the

Mazac Family Genealogy blog:

https://mazacgenalogy.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/czech-moravian-kolache-recipe/

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

FFW 2018

Festival of Faith & Writing attracts speakers and panelists from all genres

“I need the rigor and radicalism of friendship to be a poet, to be anything, really.”

-Natalie Diaz-

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Grand Rapids, MI – The three-day Festival of Faith & Writing was jam-packed with speakers, workshops, book signings and exhibitors. It started under the blue skies and ended with freezing rain on Saturday at the Prince Conference Center.

I had trouble picking workshops due to conflicting times and variety. Of course, I didn’t want to miss anything. Some sessions required pre-registration, and those were full three weeks ahead of the conference.

On Thursday, I attended “Self-Editing to Take Your Writing to the Next Level” with Erin Bartels. The lecture room was filled to the last seat.

“Schedule writing time and protect it,” she said. “Find an accountability partner. You owe it to people to get that done. Get involved in writing groups.”

Suggested reading: “The First Five Pages: A  Writer’s Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile” by Noah Lukeman.

The keynote speaker Kwame Alexander, poet and educator, first showed a picture of his tour bus. Yes, Alexander uses a bus to promote his books, wherever he goes, including at Farmer’s Markets. He received the 2015 Newberry Medal for novel “The Crossover

In his speech “Saying Yes to the Writerly Life”, Alexander said yes many times in his life, including to building a library and a health center in Ghana.

Historical fiction is huge and authors Natashia Deon and Suzanne Wolfe spoke to that in “Walking the Line between Fact and Fiction in Historical Novels.”

Deon is an attorney by day, and a novelist at night.

“I want to rescue people from history,” she said. “I write the story first, and then fill in the gaps with history research.”

Wolfe said she treats characters like they never died.

“You write what you know. I am alive and I am human. My character is alive. Augustine is not dead, Shakespeare is alive. They arepart of the conversation. I bawled over Augustine,” she said.

Deon’s novel “Grace” won the 2017 First Novel Prize. Wolfe is the author of “Unveiling: A Novel and Confessions of X.”

The #Me Too movement came up for discussion during several sessions including: “Silence and Beauty” in the Sister Books of Shusaku Endo and Makoto Fujimura.

“Insight and goodwill will heal us,” said Shann Ray, instructor.

The festival goers were not afraid to discuss Toxic  relationships.

To be continued with “Daughters Writing about Mothers, ” “Writing the Wrinkles in Time” and film at the festival.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.