Category Archives: historical fiction

Day 15 marks halfway of #nanowrimo

Daily insights from #nanowrimo

It is the opening day of the firearm hunting season in Michigan

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – Today marks the halfway point in the 50K work marathon of the National Novel Writing Month. I logged in with 31,435 words and a new story, “Secrets in Ink” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

As Anton P. Chekhov said: “Always incubate a new idea.” I did that for years, while working as a reporter for both weekly and daily newspapers in West Michigan. I went into reporting with the intention of writing books. 

I still like reporting being around live people rather than book characters. In the end, there is no difference between the two; any author can attest to that. You draw on inspiration from real life, unless you’re writing about Martians.

As I watch the explosion of new books based on the current White House happenings that beat any soap opera, I must say Mr. Chekhov was right along with another great author: You borrow from others.

There is no such thing as an original idea that hasn’t been worked before. It just depends how you work it around; what kind of a spin you give to a story.

I started the “Secrets in Ink” this morning after meditation. Once I have determined the framework, the story began to unfold itself with the two main characters: AJ and Luke.

However, I still miss my “Silk Nora” from the week-long writing sprint. I am looking forward to publishing the new anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova with the bulk of the writing done during this creative project.

Excerpts from “Secrets in Ink”

On the cusp of the Internet, most newspapers had credibility, that would be lost later in the binary digit maze and social media of the new millennium. However, most newspapers jumped on the Internet bandwagon late, but earlier than doctor’s practices.

Whether corporate or hometown, they all had in one thing in common; they could be bribed by the advertisers. None of them really had a clean conscious mind.

Behind every 50-point bold headline lied a tragedy: small or big, but always newsworthy in line with the slogan:

“All the news that’s fit to print.”

But not all the news gathered was fit to print.

“Can you handle that story?” a publisher asked. “You’re not going to be biased, right?”

In the decadence of the late 1990s, scandals abounded: nationwide and hometown.

Each story had to pass the test: number one who will it upset the most?

The other motto followed by 100 percent of the newspaper industry continued into the current multimedia news streaming business.

“If it bleeds it leads.”

It may seem cynical at first look, by the time second look comes around, it has validated itself by another tragedy or massacre.

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

Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.
Halfway through NaNoWriMo today
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Day 14 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I stuck to my morning writing routine: yoga, treadmill, meditations and writing until I reached a certain point in the story. That I did at 11 a.m., bringing the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova to its finale.

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This historical story was a little bit different from the rest of the bunch in the debut novel “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova or in the sequel “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

I thematically divide my short stories into the following circles based on my experiences: immigration, retail, newspaper, history and new era. Some are of course hybrids between the two or three circles.

I was first inspired to write “Silk Nora” about a year ago while visiting the Belrockton museum. I have a deep passion for history; I call it my second love after writing. Basically, It took a while for the story to gel, and then a week for me to pen it. I started to write it on Day 7 of the #nanowrimo creative project.

At first, I thought of research as a challenge during the 50K word marathon, but it had proven to be a delight. I came across major charms such as the “cloche” hat of the 1920s, gin rickeys and mint juleps. “picture palaces” or  movie theaters, the Ford Model T automobile and theatrical skits rather than plays.

Immediately, as I got done, I missed the story, its characters and setting. The experts call it a “character withdrawal.” Goodbye my friends, Nora, Harry, John, Mathilda and Doris.

I logged in with 29,339 words earlier in the day. Where will I go tomorrow with my stories? Wherever they take me.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

For a brief moment in time, Nora was able to forget all about that deep sadness in her heart. She waved crazily at the people in the parade. All three women decided to join in the parade with the Red Cross entry led by Doc from the hospital.

“I am glad you found us,” said Doc. “This is a great parade to be in.”

After the parade, there were public picnics in the parks around town. Finally, everybody took time away from ordinary life. Chef Josiah from the “Bel” had prepared their picnic hamper with stuffed eggs, celery stuffed with cream, salted radishes, homemade lemon-limeade, coconut layer cake, cheese sprinkled with paprika, slices of watermelon and chicken.

The “Belding Boys” moved into the bandshell and played jazz.

“You know they are missing a trumpet,” said Doc. “John had to go to the Catawba Sanatorium.”

They were all comfortably seated around the bench enjoying the late summer festivities. Nora stopped eating her stuffed egg and took a sip of the fresh lemonade breathing in the summer air.

“Doctor, is Mathilda going to die?” Nora asked Doc.

Doc paused before he took a bite out of the big sandwich. He had previously taken off his straw hat and set it carefully by his side not wanting to mess up the picnic.

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

Day 13 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month 50K word marathon

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By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Feeling a little bit relieved that I passed the half-way mark in the 50K word creative project yesterday, I checked in with the Nanocoach for the week author Carolina de Robertis.

I love her advise for today: let the world of your novel unfold as you write. It’s already there for you, in the ether, or in some part of your consciousness, wanting to move through you to the page.

I always have to “feel into” whatever I am writing. This “feeling into” corresponds with the five senses plus intuition. Jeff Besos of Amazon said that he will follow his intuition in deciding about the place for the second headquarters of the company.

I find it amazing that the richest man in the world follows his intuition in business decision-making; why wouldn’t I do the same with my stories? So, I followed my intuition from the get go of #nanowrimo on Nov.1 with the choice of anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

 

I logged in today with 27,417 words with the historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I came across some really cool things during my brisk research on the Internet like the 1920s play “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

“Then, we shall celebrate together,” Doris shrieked with joy. “In a saloon.”

Working class taverns were knows as “saloons” with swing doors and bar-rooms proper that offered games such as: Faro, Poker, Brag, Three-card Monte and dice games. Some saloons even included bowling, can-can girls, theatrical skits or plays to face off increasing competition until the prohibition in 1920.

On Nora’s 21st birthday, the two friends, a single girl and a single matron, went into the local watering through, Frank & Norm’s Tavern. As such, they carved out their own space in the saloons of industrialized America unheard of before the female liberalization.

Even though most customers at the time were men, the tavern had a “Ladies Entrance.” Doris and Nora used it to get in just in time to catch the new theatrical skit “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”

The tavern was full of men drinking bourbon. But, the two women knowledgeable of cocktails from big cities, ordered a Mary Pickford with white rum, pineapple juice, Grenadine and a Maraschino cherry.

They happily watched the loud crowd and laughed. This was soon to become their secret; sneaking into Frank & Norm’s through the “Ladies Entrance” and hanging out at the tavern on Saturday nights way past the “Bel’s” curfew at 10 p.m.

“Have you heard from Harry?” Doris usually asked sipping on her Mary Pickford.

“Well, I mostly read his war stories syndicated in the Banner,” said Nora sadly.

“But, certainly, he writes to you or not?” asked Doris.

Nora pulled a letter out of her pocket, folded several times and re-read a million times.

 

 

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

Day 12 #nanowrimo

Half-way point reached with 25,282 words, daily insights

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I reached the half-way point of the National Novel Writing Month creative project this morning at 11 a.m. with 25,282 words in the 50K word marathon.

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Needless to say that I am excstatic. I average six pages a day or 1,500 words. I am still working on historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which becomes a part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) Emma Palova, a sequel to last year’s Shifting Sands: Short Stories.

I was delighted to find out about the different shoes from the 1920s like T-strap Mary Janes and Oxfords. Who said that research and history are boring? It depends on what you’re looking for.

I have a clear intention of seeing “Secrets” to print. There is a section “Now What?” on the #nanowrimo once you’re done with your 50,000 words. It will be supported in the months of January and February with the #NaNoNowWhat event to move along the revision and publishing process.

I am really looking forward to also chatting with #NaNoCoach Carolina DeRobertis on twitter this week. Not that I can take a breather, but it does feel good to reach the half-way point marked by a 25,000 word badge.

Excerpts

Nora was hesitant to speak.

“You want to talk to me, dear?” Doris encouraged her protégé to speak up.

“I know Doris, you’re single and you probably wouldn’t understand me,” whispered shyly Nora.

Doris straightened up in her chair and looked deeply at Nora’s face.

“I may be single, but that doesn’t mean I never had boyfriend,” she said.

The office was functional but pretty just like the rest of the dorms.

“I can’t attend high tea on Sunday,” Nora breathed heavily as got the dreaded words out of her.

Doris walked to Nora and put her hand on her shoulder.

“Look at me, Nora,” she said. “It isn’t a sin not to attend high tea. You know it’s not mandatory.”

“I know, but I don’t want to disappoint you, Doris,” said Nora teary-eyed, “or make you feel bad.”

“Nora, you’re acting up because of nothing, what is really going on with you?” Doris asked.

Nora had been secluding herself ever since that dance with Harry at the Rose Ballroom. She didn’t talk much with any other girls at the dorms or at work.

“You know my friend Harry?” Nora paused to think about her words.

“Yes, the newspaper writer, you danced with him at the ball,” said Doris. “What about him?”

“He asked me out to the movies this Sunday during your high tea,” said Nora sadly.

Doris sat back in her chair behind the desk.

 

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

Veteran’s Day marks Day 11 of #nanowrimo

Armistice Day: The World observes 100th anniversary since the end of World War I

The National Novel Writing Month enters its 11th day

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I got closer  to the half-way mark of the National Novel Writing Month logging in a total of 23, 381 words in the 50K word marathon known as #nanowrimo earlier in the day.

We went out to eat at the Honey Creek Inn last night, and I noticed a white board up front, “Write a note to a veteran.” I thought that was very thoughtful of Don the owner of the Inn.

“Thank you veterans for fighting for our freedom.”

Armistice Day coincides with story plot

The US entered World War I in April of 2017.  Strangely enough, I came across that fact during research for my historical piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova this morning. I won’t reveal the plot here for obvious reasons, but I also found out that the United Kingdom had a conscription or a draft in 1916. These are some of the moving forces in the story.

I also looked up “high tea” in London’s finest establishments and the tradition entered my story. Not, only did it enter my story, but also my festive repertoire for the upcoming holiday season. Who said that research was boring? It also depends what you’re researching.

For the rest of this Sunday, I went about my regular business; church, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. Well, yes it’s here: the store was getting ready for Christmas even though we haven’t done Thanksgiving yet. I suppose, it’s never too early for Christmas.

It wasn’t too nutty at the store with early shoppers, but the store had loaded up with nuts of all sorts. My favorite ones are Brazilian nuts and Pecans.

It is my clear intention to see the new collection of short stories “Secrets”, (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova, to print.

Excerpts

All the silk girls at the dormitory loved Doris’ high tea time in the tea room. They moved to the tea room to enjoy all the flavors. Doris had her tea porcelain set shipped from England. The fragile cups and saucers had floral print. The shipment included Ahmad Earl Grey tea with bergamot and the precious Darjeeling, the champagne of teas, from London

Doris modeled the high tea ritual at the “Bel” after the one she had once enjoyed at Claridge’s, London. The three-tiered stand featured colorful macaroons, chocolate cake and fruit tarts on the top; the freshly baked scones, plain, apple and raisin, were always accompanied by strawberry jam with heavy Devonshire cream.

Chef Josiah at the “Bel” took special care in making the sandwiches for the Sunday afternoon high tea. He always placed the finger-sized sandwiches on the bottom of the stand. The Chef didn’t shy away from putting cucumber slices on the dill and smoked salmon sandwiches.

Doris was the true “Tearista” here with her knowledge of teas from around the world such as Jasmine Dragon Pearls, Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, or Hathialli meaning ‘Elephant Road.’

Doris also always took care of the finale of the high tea that changed from Sunday to Sunday. This week it was the lemon meringue cake, expressing Doris’ nostalgia after the past summer.

The girls exchanged meaningful conversation with each other not thinking about the work week ahead of them.

Doris and Josiah also enjoyed a glass of champagne with their tea.

 

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

Day 10 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI -It’s the second weekend of the National Novel Writing Month. It’s a dreary day out there, a perfect one for writing. However, I have to tend to my family too. So, I broke up my morning writing routine to spend some time with our son Jake and the kids, Josephine and Dominic. Luckily my husband Ludek made dinner: brussel sprouts, ham and gnocci. I don’t want to be a starving writer all the time.

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I continued to write in the afternoon logging in with 21,900 words, a lot less than I wanted to. I was hoping to reach the half-way mark tomorrow in the 50K word marathon. I talked with mom Ella a little bit. We usually chat on Sundays, but my parents are going to a Vereran’s Day concert at Ferris State University.

Since, I am working on a historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova as part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, I had to do some research. Normally, I wouldn’t mind if the clock wasn’t ticking. Still, I was delighted to find out some facts from the 1920s: pastry pigs as desserts, cordials for cocktails, the cloche hat, and the increased use of the radio and the phonograph.

I looked up the menu for the 1920s on the Internet and this immediately came up on inliterature.net Book Inspired: “Throwing a 1920s Great Gatsby party; the Menu from the Book.”

In a way the 1920s era reminds of what’s going on right now as we approach 2019: increased independence of women, new devices with streaming, Tesla’s “Starman” in space and overall progress in every field.

I feel privileged to be a part of the inevitable progress in humanity by participating in #nanowrimo and its nobel goals of spreading the power of words around the globe. I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets”, a sequel to my debut book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

Dressed up to the nines, they walked to Hotel Belding where everything was set up to start as soon as the town clock struck 8 p.m. Nora and Mathilda were in awe since they have never been in the Rose Ballroom reserved for special occasions.

This was a very special occasion since the Belding brothers, Hiram and Alvah were expected to attend the benefit ball for Red Cross. The World War I had broken in Europe, and there was no end to it.

The Rose Ballroom was decked out in fall colors of orange, yellow, brown and green.

Doris after all was coming since it was a ball for the Red Cross. The stately matron was coming with the crew from the hospital.

They were all  seated at the same round table for 12. Nora kept watching the door nervously, if Harry was going to show up. He was supposed to cover the event for the Belding Banner. Nora was shocked when Doris entered through the main door to the ballroom sporting a short bob hiding under cloche hat.

“Doris, you look absolutely ravishing,” said Nora as she stood up the greet the matron and the team.

“I couldn’t resist, dear,” she said jovially. “How do you like it?”

“It’s absolutely adorable,” said Nora, “and your dress, it’s lovely.”

Doris had the dress made for last year’s New Year’s Eve ball but didn’t end up going because of an emergency at the hospital.

Seamstress Lulu with her Lulu’s Fashions was located on Main Street next to the Millinery Shop. At the time, women were expected to wear hats. To go outside without a hat was considered not just unfashionable, but rude and a display of bad manners. Compared to dresses, hats were fairly expensive. Women spent between 20 cents and $7 on a hat. To have two hats look alike was unheard of. The milliner sewed each hat by hand and made it unique to the owner. Being a milliner, was one of the few occupations women were allowed to work along with the seamstress profession.

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

Winter arrives on Day 9 of #nanowrimo

TGIF, Daily insights from #nanowrimo

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – It’s Day 9 for the National Novel Writing Month participants, and it’s Friday. I couldn’t be happier. I logged in a total of 20, 242 words with “Silk Nora.” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. The story is taking on a nice historical spin that I will carry on into the weekend.

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Thanks to the characters, both old and new. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. And of course the lovely historical setting of Belding on the banks of the Flat River makes everything flow.

At the daily rate of 1,667 words, you really don’t take a break on the weekends, because you wouldn’t make up for it, unless you’re a writing machine. It reminds me of the studying sprints before the exams at the University of Brno.

But, writing daily is also the only way to get a novel or any piece of literature to print. The next badge is set at 25,000 words, which will mark the half-way point of the 50K creative project.

It is my clear intention to see the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to “Shifting Sands: Short Stories,” to print.

Insights

The project keeps you accountable and helps you move forward. You have to find your optimum writing window during the day or night.

If you can do any prep work outside of writing time, do it. Revise later. Keep track of revisions. I do it on one note. Rome wasn’t built in one day either. Stay motivated and focused. There isn’t really much time to fight with your inner editor, just keep on writing. Get up hourly for five to ten minute breaks.

Excerpts

Nora unpacked her petticoats, camisoles, bloomers, black stockings and an extra nightgown and went down to the main lobby. She could smell the dinner from the kitchen downstairs by the main dining room. Nora was waiting patiently to get connected.

“Mother, thank you very much for the dresses and the furniture,” she said. “It arrived today on the afternoon train.”

“How are you and how is your new home,” mom as always wanted to know everything at once and immediately.

“I love it here, mother,” Nora said. “I’ve already made friends, and there are only good people here.”

“My dear, there are good people wherever you go,” said mom. “But, I did fear for you. It must have been a long journey, was it not.”

“Yes, it was,” said Nora.

“But, mainly how is the work, Nora?” asked mom. “Do they treat you well?”

“It’s nice to have my own money, but I do spend a lot of time at the mill,” said Nora. “I’ve made friends there and at the dormitory.”

“Is it nice; is the “Bel” nice?” asked mom, who even knew that the dormitory was called the “Bel.”

“Oh, it’s absolutely exquisite and Doris is fabulous,” said Nora immediately feeling guilty about her friendship with Doris.

“Who is Doris, my dear?” asked mom.

“Doris is the matron at the dormitory and the main nurse at the hospital,” Nora said.

Then, the phone went dead as it got disconnected.

That evening at the main dining room, a lively chatter warmed up the space between the white walls. Mathilda was back from her trip to Alpena. The two girls chatted about Mathilda’s trip and family.

 

 

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

Day 8 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the 50K word marathon with excerpts

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By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I don’t know about the rest of the 500,000 people who are participating in the National Novel Writing Month around the globe, but I struggled today. I didn’t have time to check with fellow writers on social media.

Exactly one week into #nanowrimo, I logged in 1,200 words for today with the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova; that is less than the required daily rate of 1,667 words. I had to go to town and go about business, other than writing. And somewhere along the road, I caught the bug, sneezing and caughing all day. That all signifies that we’re getting the first snow tomorrow, that will actually stick to the ground.

Plus, I wasn’t completely sure, if I wanted to pursue the new story that required some research. But, I went for it, so the story will become a part of the new collection of stories: “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. It is my clear intention to see this project to print.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

The story began to unravel itself with new characters like Nora and Doris, along with old historical characters, the Belding Brothers. That brought up my total word count to 18,605 words with the plot ready to go.

Here is an excerpt:

Nora worked at the Richardson Mill located on the banks of the Flat River. Every morning she punched the clock at 6 a.m. and sat at her station by the window with hundreds of other girls. They made silk thread used for making stockings, long before nylon or rayon.

Long days spent inside the factory were offset by leisure time in the city parks located on the Flat River and on the boardwalk leading to the library.

Nora and Mathilda walked the city streets together enjoying their youth and independence. The women flouted conventional standards of behavior of homemakers and were on the cusp of the women’s right to vote in 1920. The 1920s represented the jazz age, a time of liberation for the feminine form. Women’s clothing became more comfortable and simplistic. The flapper proudly showed her liberation by bobbing her hair, rolling down her stockings, dancing the Charleston in her shorter gown and wearing the new look in hats.

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.

 

 

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

Day 7 #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month at full throttle

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Lowell, MI – I finished “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” after considering several possible endings of the story, that no longer seemed like a short story after working on it for 3.5 days.

The new story,  a historical fiction piece from Belding presented its own challenges in the 50K word marathon, known as the National Novel Writing Month. The main challenge proved to be research, that I don’t have the luxury to do. After firing it up, I put it on hold to see whether I can come up with an alternative.

I did have the legwork done for “Cupcake Wine”, so I tied it together to include it in the upcoming collection “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention of getting “Secrets” published.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

Then, I went back to the historical piece to consider its possibilities by adding another a friend, Mathilda to Nora. I think I will be able to spin the story, just like the “Silk City Girls” spun silk threads at the Richardson Mills.

I became fascinated by the process of creating under pressure; in other words when you have no other choice. I found encouragement on the #nanowrimo blog from an author who was able to complete her novel thanks to #nanowrimo. She also suggested using pacemaker.press to keep you going once the creative project is done on Nov. 30. Now, that was a priceless tip. Try it, I did.

Most wanna-be authors never complete their writing projects because of the lack of accountability or the pressure of daily writing. I can second this from my experience from writing for daily newspapers. Once, you have no other choice than to write, you write. It’s like punching a clock at the factory or a store. I know what that’s like, but it works.

To quote Jodi Picoult:

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Excerpts from “Secrets”, the Belding piece

Nora arrived in Belding by train at the depot on a hot summer day in July of 1915 from the West Coast to work at one of the silk mills.

At the turn of the century, Belding known as the Silk City of the World, was booming with the silk industry. The silk mills founded by the Belding Brothers attracted hundreds of young girls that worked in its silk mills. In was the avantgarde era of the flapper dresses and hats. The girls worked in the mills for eight to ten hours a day.

Nora received the bigger corner room at Belrockton. The dormitory for silk girls was built in 1906 in classical revival style. She shared the room with Mathilda who came from Alpena.

Nora was making enough to send money home to parents. She came from a ranch out West, and wasn’t accustomed to city life.

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

Day 6 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month creative project

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By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I wrote and I voted, equally diligent, and in that particular order. I am a morning writer. I get up early, do my yoga, walk on the treadmill and meditate to get into the writing zone.

In today’s meditation, I found out that news can be a potential stressor. The Wrimos (Writers and pep speakers) reiterated the same statement; stay away from TV during the 50K word marathon through Nov. 30. Our friend Dave T. suggested the same in the congratulatory letter to Ludek’s U.S. citizenship:

“All I can say is pay little or no attention to the ‘Cat Fights’ that are played out in the glut of political ads found on television! They are an exerci$e in how to wa$te million$ of dollar$ to make TV $tation$ rich!”

I did however like Google’s Go Vote encouragement instead of the usual doodles or caricatures.

“I Voted, Google.”

After four hours of writing “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener”, my inner editor kicked in and started questioning my thought process and my morals. I knew I had enough of writing and I headed out into the misty day to the polls.

I was voter no. 511 voting at Precinct 1 at the Vergennes Township Hall at 1 p.m. The ballot was crowded with state and county proposals. I was perplexed by the last question asking for funding of the early childhood program. How was it funded before?

I walked on the wet boardwalk from the township hall and put the “I Voted” sticker on my winter jacket before I lose it.

After I recorded my thoughts on how to end the story that doesn’t seem like a short story anymore on the banks of Murray Lake, I was relieved to do a little bit of website updating for Fallasburg.

Anyway, I logged in 13,050 words lowering the daily quota to 1,448 words. That’s still a lot of intense writing. I had to skip some of the motivational talks on Instagram in order fullfill the quota.

It is my clear intention to publish the anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova as a direct product of #nanowrimo. It is a sequel to my first book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories.”

Here are excerpts from “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener.”

Years went by faster than minutes on the clock on the wall, Sister Theophane went through more rigorous discernment. One Saturday afternoon, she decided to take a walk on the trails. She just followed the one that seemed familiar to her. There were the cherry trees on the left and the deer tracks on the right. The trail went a little up the hill and into another curve before the opening on top of the hill.

She stood by the bench under the big tree overlooking the rolling hills. The essence of that afternoon long time ago vaguely came back to her. Theophane could feel Kurt’s touch. She forgot completely what he looked like. They were too young back then to savor their memories.

Saddened by the moment, Theophane headed out on the trail looping back to the convent gardens. The gardening team was working along with other sisters. It was the Saturday work day. And the community was getting ready for another event.

Theophane was so immersed in her discernment and studies for the promotion, that she forgot what the event was.

“Hello, Sisters,” she said. “What’s the rush?”

“Mother, we have another 5K run coming,” said one novice. “Have you forgotten?”

Theophane looked into a distance bringing back that ominous 5K run many years ago.

“When is it?” she forced herself back into reality.

“In four weeks,” said the novice.

Theophane realized that by then, she would become the Mother of the Order. Karla passed away two months ago, and a directive came from the administration that Theophane will be taking over.

“You have only a few weeks to get ready for this important new service,” the note stated. “Don’t let your ambition get to you. Stay humble and pray.”

This time the ceremony was very private unlike the public final vows; no public was allowed. The chapel was full of other nuns and clergy.

Theophane kept her sister name. She learned to love and to respect it. From now on she would be leading the lively campus with many work teams. She would have to get acquainted with the team teams.

On a Monday, Mother Theophane went to introduce herself to the gardening team. As a girl she loved to garden. That all vanished with the increased requirements by the order.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude for your work that glorifies these gardens,” she said to the team. They bring so much joy to all of us.”

She noticed a tall tanned guy in the back.

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