Category Archives: film

Discoveries at Mackinac Island & Straits

Up North Straits of Mackinac Area attracts crowds,  inspires a creative mind

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Mackinac Island, MI- It was a steady stream of cars heading Up North for the weekend last Friday. The traffic was a mix of hunters, fishermen, tourists, golfers and  other adventurers.

Some braved the chill both in the air and in the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron hauling  kayaks, canoes, bicycles , seadoos and  ATVs.

The ferries to  Mackinac Island were packed full with people bringing their bikes with them.  The waters in the straits were so wild  that the catamaran rocked from side to side as the waves splashed over the panoramic windows.

In spite of the Friday rain, the Main Street  on the island was lined with bikes.  Some porters on bicycles carried the luggage in the baskets in front of them. I wondered how they could see.

Where horse is King

I discovered that on this island, where no motorized traffic is allowed except for snowmobiles, the horse has the right of way. And in peak season, there are 600 horses on the island. They are a way of life.

We did the one-hour buggy ride with horse Shorty inside the island.

“He was on a team, so he has a tendency to veer off to the left, just pull on the right reign,” said the friendly guy at Jack’s Livery & Stable located  on Mahoney Ave.

After a while we found out, that Shorty was quite a character. Not only  did he veer to the left, but he slowed downhill and went faster uphill. All the other carriage drivers knew him.

“Hi, Shorty,” they greeted him all around the route.

En route as we tried to make Shorty  go left to the Arch Rock, Shorty wouldn’t do it and he showed it by whinnying.  Having taken the long loop around the lake last year, it dawned on me that certain horses are trained to do certain routes. They won’t go any other way.

The horse handler back at the livery confirmed  my insight.

“Yes, they are trained to go at walking speed and they will go only on their  route.

Where lilacs take over

The staple event of the Mackinac Island is the annual Lilac Festival  that takes place  during the first two Sundays in June.

In search for the annual Lilac Festival poster, we stopped  at the Island Bookstore inside the Lilac Tree Inn on Main Street.

“Some of our lilacs are 300 hundred years old,” said the clerk. “They come from Eastern Europe.”

“Yes, we had them in Czech Republic,” I said. “Now, we have them in our garden.”

Where projects abound

As a true newspaper woman, I buy local papers wherever I go.  So, we bought the Town Crier and  The St. Ignace News at the Doud’s Market. The oldest family owned  grocery store in America, founded in 1884, serves as a lifeline for the 200-some permanent island residents.

Other than regular groceries, it has everything from kombuchas to a seafood case with octopus. This is where I rediscovered kombucha,  a fermented tea made with cane sugar and yeast.  The first time I heard of a kombucha was at the Calvin Festival of Faith & Writing in April.

When we got back to Murray Hotel, two buildings down the street,  a headline  in the advertising section of  The Mackinac  Island Town Crier struck me:

“Mackinac Island Harbor Beach Boardwalk Project.”

A full back page  screamed: “Save our Island.”

Apparently,  one of the freight operation owners, is proposing a boardwalk  with access to  the beach for all. The project would  consolidate the freight operations into the two most historic docks, including the coal dock.

Mission Point Resort on the sunrise side

A short stroll from downtown took us through the alley to the beautifully restored Mission Point Resort. The last time I saw it, it was a dull greyish structure built in the early 1820s by a Protestant missionary Rev. William Ferry.

A couple from Texas bought the sprawling historic property and poured millions into it.  Standing in the middle of the main lobby, I stared into the 51-foot tall teepee. Attached to it was a big library.

We watched weddings on the front lawn from the panoramic windows of the Round Island Bar & Grill. I took in the breathtaking views of Lake Huron with  Bois Blanc Island.

Back in Mackinaw City, mainland

As the  ferry  smoothly navigated the waters of Lake Huron, I watched the  Big Mac Bridge swing in the wind. The night before, we watched a documentary on the history channel about the building of the Mackinac Bridge, dubbed as a swinging water masterpiece.

The pretty “candy city” with fudge and candy shops was busy on a Sunday morning.  My last goal was to buy fresh fish caught locally.  Other than fudge and candy, there were a few shops with smoked fish.

A clerk at a smoked fish shop recommended Big Stone Bay Fishery. located on US 23.  I’ve never heard of it even though we’ve been coming up to the Straits area for the last 25 years.

As we entered the fishery, I could smell smoked fish. But, the fishery  dealt mainly in fresh fish: whitefish, walleye, coho salmon and trout. It was a fish lover’s paradise.

The paradise Up North always brings new discoveries and inspires a creative mind. The Mackinac Island attracted Hollywood twice. In 1947 Hollywood filmed “This Time For Keeps” and in 1979 “Somewhere in Time.”

The “Somewhere in Time” weekend is always on the last weekend in October, and it officially closes down the island for the season. A few properties, shops and restaurants stay open for the winter.

Winter is a magic time on the island.

Go to my  E Travel and Food blog:

https://etravelandfood.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/mackinac-island-winter/

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

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Happiness comes from creating new things

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Lowell, MI- I love this quote because it is so true. Yesterday, I completed a brand new mobile app on Swiftic for a client. It took me a long time as the app development companies kept changing.

Once I figured out the last feature, I was ecstatic. It’s a top notch app with eye-catching push notifications and more than 20 features such as loyalty and scratch cards, and catalogs.

I had that same feeling of joy when I uploaded my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories ” to the publisher last year.

I feel happiness today as Ludek and I are about to head out to Mackinac Island to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.

Yes, it’s the same place where Universal Pictures filmed “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.

It was also the home for the famous fur trade entrepreneur Madame Framboise.

The island will be all dressed up for Halloween. We plan on going to the Haunted Theatre and take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Cars are not allowed on the island, only bicycles and horses.

Even this late into the season, the hotels were sold out. We will take the ferry Star Line across the Straits of Mackinac.

It is also my writer’s retreat, because Mackinac Island inspires me with its history and character. I will include in my new book three historical fiction short stories; one from the island and two from Fallasburg.

Stay tuned for more posts from the island.

 

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

FFW 2018 Part II

Festival goers, panelists, authors do not shy away from tough topics

 

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Grand Rapids, MI- From #Me Too movement to women in Christian publishing, everything was up for discussion at the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College last week.

Publishers, lecturers and authors came from all over the country and represented a diverse cross-section of literature.

The exhibit hall, located in the Prince Conference Center, was home to 46 booths filled with publishing houses, small presses, journals, booksellers, editors and agents.

Publicity

“The Publicity Confidential: What Authors and Publicists Wish Each Other Knew” was an eye-opening session in an era of publicity stunts and media blitz.

“You have to own it from the very beginning,” said one of the panelists. “Audio magazines or podcasts are taking over.”

Piggybacking off keynote speaker Kwame Alexander, the panel of publicists agreed on one thing: “Say yes to everything.”

In the entire publicity process, the author needs to be herself or himself, fully engaged and present, according to the publicists.

“The goal of publicity is letting the market know that the book exists,” said Kelly Hughes. “Start a podcast to expand your platform. Don’t get hung up on reviews.”

The panelists recommended writing guest blogs, op-ed pieces, radio tours and speaking engagement in church groups, women’s groups and to others within their author’s tribe.

“The ideal author is game for anything, wants to collaborate, thinks big, but realistic, and is accessible,” said Jennifer Grant.

Film & play

This category was represented by producer Abigail Disney & screenwriter and playwright Dorothy Fortenberry. Both women likened the current creative environment in Hollywood to building a new structure out of flawed legos.

“A common lego we use is when someone’s life is endangered,” said Disney. “We have a flawed dynamic. Only 30 percent of writers in Hollywood are women. They have to be tough.”

Fortenberry said she has to spend a lot of time unlearning.”

Dutch screenwriter and director Jaap van Heusden discussed the adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Lame Shall Enter First” in his film “De Verloren Zoon.”

“Writing is the means, not the end,” van Heusden said. “Film is the art of all the things that are not there. My process is finding stories.”

Going deeper

Just because your mother dies, doesn’t mean your relationship ends.

-Angela Alaimo

In “Daughters Writing about Mothers,” four writers explored the complex relationships with their mothers, further complicated by a reversal of roles, as the parent ages.

Angela Alaimo tracked the journey of a broken relationship between her young widowed mother to final reconciliation.

Why Don’t Men Read Women Writers? Closing the Gender Gap in Christian Publishing

According to panelist Al Hsu’s doctoral research, women read relatively equally between male and female authors, whereas men are much more likely to read male authors than female authors (90%/10%)

Is it a matter of supply and demand?

Keynote speaker, Edwidge Danticat

Danticat, a Haitian-American novelist and short story writer, took center stage at Van Noord Arena on Friday.

“I create dangerously for people who read dangerously.”

Writing the Wrinkles in Time

Special guests at this conversation were Madeline L’Engle’s granddaughters Lena Roy and Charlotte Jones Voiklis, co-authors of “Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author.

Sarah Arthur, author of the forthcoming “A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, moderated the session.

A movie with the same title “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018) directed by Ava DuVerney is now playing in theatres.

“We were fascinated by the drama of her childhood,” said Roy. “She was dumped off at an austere boarding school in Switzerland.”

The next FFW will take place on April 16-18, 2020 in Grand Rapids, MI.

 

Featured image: Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughters: Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy.

 For podcasts from the festival go to Rewrite Radio at http://festival.calvin.edu/podcast

Copyright © 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Watch “Interview with author Emma Palova” on YouTube

Here is a link to my author interview at LowellArts on April 7, 2018.

The reason I picked this venue is because of their recent move to Main Street. The new location on Main has been a dream come true for LowellArts much like my new book “Shifting Sands Short Stories” has been for me.

Main Street is the major source of inspiration for the lead story “Tonight on Main” in my new book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” It is also featured in my Shifting Sands: Secrets book II. (c) 2018 Emma Palova

The interview followed a short video “From Idea to Final.” I am currently editing the video about the creative process from the initial spark through incubation to the final product, whether it is a book, a play, a screenplay, video production or a film.

I will also post a transcript to both videos. I wrote the script on celtx script app. It’s easy to use; perfect for pre-production.

For more info on pre-production tools go to http://www.celtx.com.

Join us live from Calvin College conference on writing April 12 through April 14.

Pardon me. I could not Crank out the live video.

The festival schedule was so packed, that it sometimes allowed only 15 minutes between lectures located on two campuses.

But, I will post today and tomorrow full stories from the FFW, Festival on Faith & Writing that ended on Saturday.

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

April, poetry month inspirations

I ‘ve been getting in my inbox selected poetry from the Knopf Doubleday Publishing.

I chose to do that, once I found out that April showers not only bring May flowers, but also some of the best poems. So, I get a poem-a-day.

Today, “Louie Lies” poem by Philip Levine arrived.

I was so enchanted by it, that I bought the book “The Last Shift.”

Now, poetry has always inspired me; everything from French poet Charles Baudelaire, Czech poet Jiri Wolker, American poet Stanley Kunitz to my Rumanian friend Valeriu Dg Barbu.

And now this delight by Levine came just in time to further inspire my writing video shoot tomorrow @LowellArts.

I am finalizing the script for the video today. I want to have it on hand when I talk about my writings at various events.

Whenever I explain the creative process from idea to final product; whether a book, a screenplay, video or movie, I start with the empty room analogy.

This originates in Picasso’s: “Give me a museum, and I will fill it.”

You need a Faceless room to put a face to it.

I will post a link to it once we’re done. I am really excited about the video. Screen and playwrighting are my second love.

I wrote a full-feature film screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” @emmapalova in 2009 that I am looking to produce.

I ‘ve also been following my Indian friend and moviemaker Ashray Dravidian on his film making journey with his latest short film “Nirvana.”

Subscribe to Emma Blogs LLC E-newsletter to stay in the loop.

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

Mystery of Easter Triduum

The Triduum inspires with its mysticism

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Parnell, MI- The Easter Triduum started on Holy Thursday evening with the Lord’s Last Supper, that has inspired countless generations of artists beginning with DaVinci’s renaissance painting in 1498.

The catholic priests around the world washed the feet of their “servants” or parishioners to show humbleness. Fr. Mark Peacock of St. Pat’s Church in Parnell encouraged to share the act of humbleness by washing other’s feet at home.

The entire three days known as “Triduum” are filled with symbolism and mysticism as the feast of the Lord’s Passover begins on Thursday and ends on Saturday night.

Today, on Good Friday, the lectors will read the “Passion” of the Lord Jesus Christ according to one of the four gospel writers. This served as a basic premise for Mel Gibson’s 2004 controversial movie “The Passion of the Christ.”

In the Passion, Jesus was Betrayed by Judas.

The Triduum ends on Holy Saturday night with the great vigil of Easter at 8 pm.

Easter Sunday ensues with the resurrection of Christ Jesus, the Lord.

The symbolism of the Catholic Church also inspired another controversial work; American author Dan Brown’s 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

I often use the elements of catholic mysticism and symbolism in my fiction as in the short story “White Nights “ and the one I am currently working on:

”The Writer, the Nun, and the Gardener.”

These stories are in my new book of short stories that I am working on “Shifting Sands II.”

Palm Sunday marked the start of the Holy Week on March 25. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Monday led with the feature photo of the Palm Procession in Jerusalem.

It was the only time I bought a print copy of WSJ for $4. I almost passed out at the counter of the Honey Creek shop in Cannonsburg when the clerk named the price.

But, the image of the Franciscan friars and Roman Catholic clergy carrying the palm fronds at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City spoke out loud. I almost dropped the paper staring into the cupola centering the color image on top of the fold of the newspaper. The WSJ used to be black and white only without any photos.

Holding the paper in my hands, I realized this was also history before print goes out completely.

Watch for excerpts that show the power of symbolism.

About feature photo: A procession after the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper on Thursday evening walks to the Chapel of Repose at St. Pat’s in Parnell.

Next post: Czech and Slovak Easter traditions.

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

Writers group network

From idea to paper, bit, print & market

LowellArts to form a writers group

Lowell, MI- Are you a writer or an author interested in networking to gain insights into the publishing industry?

Have you encountered endless obstacles on your writing journey that seem to lead nowhere? Are your manuscripts collecting dust? Do you have a stack of rejections from agents?

Have you ever doubted yourself on your writing journey from the original idea to seeing your book on the bookshelf  at the local Schuler  Books store or at your hometown library?

Are you still wishing you could see your screenplay on the big screen?

A writers group will bring confidence and synergy to your writing, screenwriting & publishing efforts. It will help streamline them into a flow of great content for publishing: print, digital, audible and/or all of the above.

It will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights with fellow  wordsmiths.

You can start by joining the Facebook group: Writers Loop

https://www.facebook.com/groups/880655965317296/

Contact Emma at 1-616-550-3885 or email me at emmapalova@yahoo.com

Also follow my publishing blog Edition Emma Publishing

http://editionemma.wordpress.com

For more info on LowellArts go to:

http://www.lowellartsmi.org

About the feature photo & logo:

The path shows the poet’s Meandering  journey through the woods of the publishing maze. The lights of insight are shining on it.

The poem is by an unknown poet

I see a pleasant path, and I begin to ramble

On either side are thorns and rocks

The ground is full of brambles……..

Fallen trees to trip me, the woods are very dark…..

But around the corner, and down the path,

I think I can see a park,

I think I’ll walk on the path today, the woods are too scary..

The path is my way,

It has a few hills as I walk toward the park,

But the sun is shining, and I am not in the dark……

It is simple to do….

Just stay on the path,

And we’ll walk with you!

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

Novel Writing Festival

I just missed the Jan. 15 deadline. I plan to submit one of my short stories from Shifting Sands to the festival for February.

The festival aims to give exposure to writers whether the submission makes it into a movie or not.

I dub my short stories lovingly “A Moveable Feast.” I borrowed the nickname from Hemingway’s memoir of Paris in the 1920s.

The reason I call them moveable is because they can easily transfer into a movie script due to vivid dialogues and scenes. Thus, they are screen friendly.

”Your book is very visual,” wrote an agent to me in response to the submission of the first chapter of my first book, “Fire on Water.” (c) Emma Palova

I am really excited about exploring this avenue of exposure for my new book.

The submission is $35 for the first chapter of the novel. You get a feedback and a longline listing on the Writing Festival site.

 

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

 

via 1st CHAPTER and FULL NOVEL FESTIVAL. Deadline January 15th

One last look “Year in Review” III

Note: This is the third and final part of the mini-series “Year in Review” that looks back at 2017 with all its joys and tribulations. It was a year of big changes and adjustments both professional and personal. It rolled in like a monster truck and flew away like a balloon.

Lowell, MI – I physically bid farewell to 2017 on New Year’s Eve in Belding, and welcomed the new year looking out at the frozen Candlestone golf course with a pine forest in the background. I was trying to imagine why someone left their underwear in the woods, as the comedian Billy Ray Bauer cracked a joke before we toasted to the new year.

However, it is only today, that I can give a final closure to last year finishing the series, as I start the new year with hope, gratitude and love. I will highlight some of the biggest events in the second part of the year.

August

The Czech Heritage

On the first Sunday in August, we always attend the Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister with dances, songs and food. It has become a tradition that annually connects us with the old country, now Czech Republic. It is the only place that I know, that plays three anthems before the beginning of the festival: American, Czech and Slovak.

My mom Ella turned 80 on Aug. 23 and she had a great celebration at Naval’s Mediterranean Eatery in Big Rapids.

I had no idea my parents Ella & Vaclav had that many friends that could fill up the entire restaurant. I write often about them, since they are the major characters in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian, where East meets West” about our immigration saga. Owner Naval even made her a big wedding cake that could feed 80. I found out that you don’t lose friends as you get older, you make more.

September, October & November

Emma’s book signings & local scene

I continued my book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories into the fall tying them to many local events at different venues. This was very efficient. In September, the Fallasburg Historical Society held their third annual Fallasburg Village Bazaar. I had my second book signing at the one-room schoolhouse which was very well attended. I was at the Girls Night Out at the Sweet Seasons Bakery & Cafe, and then at the Lowell Arts Gallery in downtown Lowell. In November, I was at the Red Barn Market during Christmas through Lowell.

Pictured below are people from the local Lowell scene: former mayor Jim Hodges in the story series “Inspiring Communities, Loyal public servant. Fallasburg Historical Society vice-president Tina Siciliano Cadwallader with Tracy Worthington, Patricia and Annelyse Dlouhy from Sweet Seasons Bakery & Cafe and book signing at the one-room schoolhouse.

The disaster months

Unfortunately, this was also the time for most disasters both in nature and in the society.

Over the years, I have been able to track many catastrophes, natural and man-made, to the last months in the year. The end of August started the stretch of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria bringing devastation to millions.

I was impressed how fast the famous on the US entertainment scene came together to raise $44 million in a telethon for the victims of the catastrophes.

Sadly enough proliferating nature’s anger was also men’s anger.

That was the Las Vegas shooting on Oct.1, followed by 8 killed in terror violence by a man in a pickup truck who plowed into people on a bike path in New York City and a man detonating a pipe bomb in the New York City subway.

The famous who left us in 2017

As the year rocked to its final days, we accounted for all who have impacted our lives.

I was deeply touched by the death of teenage idol David Cassidy, rock superstar Tom Petty, Mary Tyler Moore, Jerry Lewis and countless others.

On the Czech scene, it was mainly late actor Jan Triska who emigrated to the US during Czechoslovakia’s communist era. He died after falling from the Charles Bridge in Prague. He was best known for his appearances in The Karate Kid Part III, Quantum Leap and The People vs Larry Flynt directed by fellow countryman Czech American director Milos Forman.

I am pretty sure most of us can Relate to these losses and events.

I would like to thank the many followers, fans, and the hosts of my book signings and wish everyone a great 2018.

With love,

Emma

The links to the first two parts of the series “Year in Review” are:

Year in Review part 1….. https://wp.me/p34jQ1-UhW

Year 2017 in review II…….. https://wp.me/p34jQ1-V4G

Link to Bannister Harvest Festival and ZCBJ/WFLA Lodge:

http://www.zcbjbannister.org

Shortlink to Inspiring Communities “Loyal public servant” is:

https://wp.me/p34jQ1-SzS

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

How to finish a book or a screenplay

Don’t leave unfinished projects behind to haunt you. Don’t be afraid to pick them back up with new energy behind them even if they have been collecting dust or taking up space in the computer.

A woman surprised me at one of my recent book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories by the following question:

“I am on chapter six, how do I finish my book,” she asked me.

It was a definitely out-of-the-box question, because not everyone wants to admit they can’t finish something.

Here is what I have gathered over the years about  finishing​ any major writing project like a book or a screenplay:

Set a target finish goal, something that’s important to you like your birthday or any other milestone.

Write every day a quota of pages, such as 5 pages.

Always have an end in mind for the  book or script, but also for each chapter or scene.

Ask yourself: What do I want to carry out in this chapter or scene?

A loose flexible outline always helps.

Establish a reward program for yourself after each chapter. It can be anything from having a coffee with a friend or a token that will remind you that a particular chapter or scene is done.

Create a cover or poster early on even as a draft. It will help you visualize the book, play or film and the entire process.

Have a color theme in mind for the characters and the book overall.

Be cohesive. Don’t let it fall apart into pieces just because you stumble on a block in your way.

Explore, see, discover. I especially like these three verbs that I found on a sign by the Wittenbach nature center. They will continue to feed your inspiration. And in turn, the reader will keep turning pages.

Use character compass to balance out your stories. That means the right amount of thoughts, appearance, action and dialogue.

Don’t forget about the place and tension.

Don’t let unfinished Ghoulish projects haunt you.

The feature photo is from the Lowell Arts show “Between Turbulence and Tranquility” by artist Kim Ensch.

 

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.