Category Archives: fiction

Belding Museum at Historic Belrockton

“Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.”
Marissa Meyer

Back to the keyboard

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I am back behind the computer after a summer filled with author’s gigs, book marketing, anniversary parties and granddaughter Ella’s departure for Fixin, France.

The fall solstice weather is also much more conducive to being tied to the chair without any distractions; that includes minimum social media and Internet browsing only for research purposes and logging in daily word count on the NaNoWriMo website at https://www.nanowrimo.org/

Emma’s book signing during Fallasburg Village Bazaar at the one-room schoolhouse.

However, I have one more big author event to go to before I embark on my second National Novel Writing Month 50k challenge starting on Nov. 1 with prep work in October.

Belrockton Dormitory , home of the Belding Museum

107 Hanover St. Belding, Oct. 6, 2019 1 pm – 4 pm

I am especially looking forward to this book signing of “Shifting Sands: Secrets” inside the original dormitory that housed the silk city girls when Belding was known as the” Silk City of the World.”

The making of “Silk Nora”

The long short story “Silk Nora” is the main story in book 2 in the Shifting Sands Short Stories series. By genre, it belongs to the historical fiction/historical romance catefories. So a good way to search for the book online is by using the keywords #historical fiction #historical romance. In physical bookstores, the book can be found in the fiction category.

The story digs deep into the history of the silk city girls’ dormitory “Belrockton” in Belding at the turn-of-the-century.

The Classical Revival-inspired building was erected in 1906 at a cost of $30,000 . It provided accommodations for 100 single female workers and staff. It was better known as the “Bel” and it is the last dormitory left from the three buildings. Much like the Richardson Mill is the last structure left from the three silk mills in Belding.

As a reporter for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in the early 2000s, I visited the museum on multiple occassions. But, it wasn’t until two years ago, when I spotted a picture of a woman in a hat during the museum’s fashion hat display in the fall of 2017. She was very elegant and beautiful with a nostalgic look on her face.

That woman in a hat served as a model for creating the main character Nora in the historical fiction story “Silk Nora,” which is the main story in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.”

I also explored extensively the interior of the dormitory including the girls’ rooms. There was another picture in an oval frame. This was a photo of Mathilda Adrian, who lived in the dormitory. Right next to the oval photo was her marriage certificate to John Mahar dated April 1917. And a double love story was born.

This discovery inspired the character of Mathilda, who became Nora’s best friend. So, at this point I had the main characters, and then I added Doris, the matron and the men into the story. All the characters are woven into Belding’s history of the silk industry started by the Belding Brothers in 1860 by selling silk from house to house.

Creativity of Belrockton staff

The creativity of the Belrockton Museum staff, Jane Forth, Barb Fagerlin, Jan Mehney along with others inspired my own creativity.

T he creative displays at the museum from Hotel Belding such as the receptionist’s desk helped me recreate the scenes of social life at the hotel.

The displays of girls’ rooms complete with mannequins, the movie theater, grocery store, fueled my imagination.

When I discovered the optical illusion picture of the “Face of Gossip” at the dormitory bathrooms, I was totally flabbergasted by the chain of coincidences that made the individual pieces fit into a complete story.

To be continued

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

Advertisements

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.

“Secrets” book signing @LowellArts Today

Hometown book signing

Lowell, MI – Stop by today for an autographed copy of my brand new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories collections. I will be at the LowellArts gallery from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the Livin’ is Easy exhibit.

I will be sharing insights from the publishing industry and from my own publishing journey. See you there.

Check out the article in Aug. 4th Buyer’s Guide “Taking the book on the road to connect with readers.”

Also watch for my posts from my book tour with the next event in Paradise, MI during the Wild Blueberry Festival on Aug. 16,17 & 18.

Check out other Michigan authors on http://www.MichiganAuthors.com

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

Kindle giveaways

Watch for Kindle giveaways of my books in the Shifting Sands series: Short Stories and the new book 2 Secrets.

If you could write a review of the book on Amazon, that would be great. Pm Emma on Facebook messenger for pdfs.

Post reviews on customer reviews on Amazon:

Here is a link to reviews:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/page/emmapalova.com/296074

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. 




Camp NaNOwrIMO

Writing camp helps complete goals

I have completed goal one for the April Camp NaNoWriMo which serves either as an extension of the novel challenge started in November and/or fuel for new writing.

I penned the core of “Secrets” during the November challenge reaching 56,433 words. The anchor story in the collection is “Silk Nora” inspired by my multiple visits to the Belrockton Museum in Belding.

I going through the stories for content and insights. I will be submitting some of the stories via app Submittable for reviews to magazines.

I am sending the manuscript “Shifting Sands: Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova to the editor this week. Thank you Carol.

Goal 2

Camp goal no. 2 is to recast the Konecny family immigration saga. This includes the title and the cover.

Follow me on my publishing journey.

Shifting Sands: Secrets

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

Day 4 Camp NaNOWRIMO

The Camp NaNoWriMo in April is an extension of the National Novel Writing Month in November. We’ve entered the fourth day of the camp already.

I penned the core of “Secrets,” which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories, during the November NaNoWriMo project.

From my camp cabin log:

Since, I have two goals for my camp 2019, I am moving ahead to
finish the last story in the collection “Secrets.” I will be done with that
shortly. Then comes formatting.
No.2 goal is to recast the familly immigration saga “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West. Instead of discarding 11 chapters, I will just
shuffle content around. I have to get the memoir going in the right
direction. I don’t want it to be a list of facts.
I hope for all us campers that we can get done what we have set out to
do; the camaraderie and support help. I have
family here from Europe, so it’s hard to get in my actual “butt in chair”
time.

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

Equanimity of characters

Balanced

The key to a good story is balancing all its elements as well as the mental composure of its characters, while pitching them against each other.

It’s a juggling act.

I realized that while writing the sequel “Shifting Sands: Secrets” in the characters of Amora and Margot.

In the final story “Six Palms by the Tiki”, easy-going Margot, an Irish catholic from Chicago offsets Amora’s hardline self-imposed principles.

Check out the excerpt from “Secrets.”

Dear Margot,

You haunt me at night. I wanted to let you know that, even though we’re friends. I am not going to apologize for leaving you at that old Irish Pub, because you were gossiping.

I hate gossip. Gossip is worse than lying. Gossip is immoral. Gossip is the sister of secrets and lies. You should have asked me first about seadog George. You know I still have Anthony.

We’re both old, and we can die any day.

But you were the only friend I had at that looney “Cottage Nest” down South. Friends are hard to come by. The older you get, the harder they are to find. You know you should be picking up your phone. I hate when you don’t answer your phone.

I also know if I lose you, I won’t find a new friend.

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

Lenten soups

Lent, a time to reflect

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lent is a spiritual time of reflection for 40 days before Easter observed by Christians around the world. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, April 18 this year.

It is marked by the color purple and fasting. On Lenten Fridays, Christians should abstain from meat and excessive drinking.

One of its traditions are Lenten soups served by many local parish communities such as The Franciscan Life Process Center. The following soups, donated by the area restaurants, will be offered on Lenten Wednesdays:

March 20th Cannonsburg Catering Potato Soup Dilly Bread Cannonsburgcatering.com

March 27th Applause Catering Broccoli Cheese Oatmeal Bread Applause-catering.net

April 3rd G RCC Culinary Program Beef Barley Cinnamon Bread http://www.grcc.edu

April 10th Vitale’s Ada Minestrone Extreme Garlic

With its deeply embedded traditions, Lent has inspired many of my stories and writings. My favorite soup, not only for Lent, is Mediterranean lentil soup with lemon and turmeric.

Excerpt from “Shifting Sands: Secrets”

Amora decided to further think about a night walk under the moon in pursuit of a glimpse of the giant silk moth.

In the meantime, she would do some research about the luminous winged wonder, and find a clock that wouldn’t be as noisy.

Worse even yet in the cottage living, you couldn’t release any stink either; like frying a fish on a Lenten Friday or on any Friday. Being a good Catholic, Amora made sure she never ate meat on Fridays. Unlike Margot, who both ate meat and drank on Lenten Fridays, Amora stuck to her acquired routine.

Undisciplined Amora had to build up her routine like a bee flying from a wild flower to an order trapped in her own beehive.

“Are we going out on Friday, Amora?” Margot asked when they were gossiping on the balcony.

“We shouldn’t,” Amora said. “It’s Lent. You should know that, you’re Irish.”

They decided to go anyways to the old Irish Pub with dubious reputation in downtown. They settled at their favorite table in the corner.

“Will it be the usual two Killarneys for the ladies?” asked the waiter.

“Just one,” snapped Amora. “It’s Lent.”

“For you, mam?” the waiter looked surprised at Amora.

“No, for her,” Amora pointed at Margot.

“Slainte,” Margot smiled at the waiter. “That’s cheers in Irish.”

The waiter brought the reddish beer and a glass of water full of ice. for Amora. Margot disciplined herself and ordered fish and chips like Amora.

“At least it’s cheap,” Margot said eating her chips. “Tell me all about him.”

“Who?” Amora was shocked.

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