Proud to report that I am in the prep phase for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2019 at full speed. During the month of October , I logged in 12,195 words. My goal is to complete the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West in November and follow up with revisions.
It is a memoir about our family immigration saga from former communist Czechoslovakia to the US.
NaNoWriMo is a great tool for any writing project that you may have. First of all, it gives you daily accountability of writing by logging in daily word count. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November.
I had to do a lot of prep work, because I also have author events in November with my new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series.
I will be at the Lowell Area Historical Museum during the Christmas through Lowell tour on Nov. 15, 16 & 17 signing my books. So stop by to pick up an autographed book. I will be offering writing and publishing tips, as well.
Locally, my book is available at Springrove Variety in downtown Lowell.
I am extremely excited about this Christmas event. I’ve done it before with my first book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories.” I was at the Red Barn Market with other vendors including my daughter-in-law Maranda, who has “Little Dreamers Sleepovers” party business.
I would still like to get in one more author’s event before the end of this year. And what a year it has been. Watch for my post “Year in Review 2019.”
“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/
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
Lowell, MI- I am working on e-newsletters; as I look outside my writing studio window, I see snow on the ground.
However, definite signs of spring are here. The spring theme dominated at the 40th Home and Garden Show in Grand Rapids at the DeVos Hall this weekend.
The fragrance of tulips and daffodils was in the air as hundreds of people browsed through the packed hall.
I marveled at the CNC sewing and embroidery machines; how skillfully they stitched an image and a message into a piece of cloth.
“That’s the only way I could do it,” laughed a woman next to me.
Also the upcoming March 23 Lowell Expo is close to the heart as more than a hundred of local vendors and organizations showcase their work at the Lowell High School.
My fellow history lovers from the Fallasburg Historical Society will be side by side with the Lowell Area Historical Museum located inside the cafeteria.
My favorite are the bucket rides by the Lowell Light & Power crew.
On a personal note, I am moving ahead with the publishing of my second collection of short stories “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Palova.
I am on target for April/May publishing. The new book, a sequel to my debut “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” will be available for preorder on Amazon. Both the cover and the anchor story “Silk Nora” were inspired by the Belrockton Museum in Belding. The “Gossip” photograph can be found on the third floor of Belrockton. The museum is open on the first Sunday of each month.
Daily insights from #nanowrimo with story excerpts
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – What does NaNoWriMo mean to me?
I can only answer this question now that I have completed the 50K creative project and claimed the Winner 2018 cetificate.
NaNoWriMo is like a powerful fuel that you need to keep you going. You also have to keep on refueling as often as possible. It’s a gauge that efficiently measures your progress as you go.
Secondly, I have realized that there is no such a thing as a writer’s block; only slumps, slowdowns and funks around the Thanksgiving holiday and on Sundays.
Is creative activity as mysterious as we all think? Yes. You don’t know at the end of the day, what you’re going to come up with.
Is it scary? It can be, if you don’t know what your character is going to do next.
The creative project required a lot of discipline without credits or end of the year bonuses. But, also you were your own boss in determining when and how you were going to accomplish the 50K challenge.
I was amused by some of the questions on social media like: “What is your favorite writing drink?”
Mine is definitely tea, because I get a headache from drinking a lot of coffee.
Will I do it again in 2019? Most likely yes.
Would I recommend it? It depends on your writing goals. Fifty-thousand words is a nice chunk to start with.
Is it doable with kids and a full-time job? It depends on your partner on how many house chores will he or she take on.
Is writing still the most lonesome activity in the world that in the end depends on the the public’s liking or disliking? Yes.
At the end, I committed to revision and editing, as well as writing more short stories to include in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.
The NaNoWriMo certificate defines a winner as:
A literal literary hero. A disciplined wordsmith.
A squirrel-suit flyer who just earned their wings…………
My sincere thanks to the staff, organizers and pep talk authors of the NaNoWriMo creative project for support and encouragement.
I will be using Pacemaker.press on http://www.pacemaker.press to further measure my progress into the publishing of the new anthology of short stories.
Excerpts from “White Nights” (c) 2018 Emma Palova
It was the gossip of the village that Joe beat his wife. He was a fourth-generation farmer on the largest farming plat in the village.
In front of the public eye, he acted as a proper man. Joe did everything that was expected of the largest landowner to do. He sat on the township board, on the school and the church boards. In spite of the gossip, he was a respected man with other great qualities than self-control.
Unlike Father Sam, he had no choice of what he wanted do. He inherited the land, so he had to farm it. When farming got tough with the dumping of the cheap apple juice from China in the late 1990s, his two brothers decided to get out of working with dirt. They went to work forthe largest milling company out by Shimnicon Corners. At that time, Joe too had to seek his soul, after beating one of them near death.
“You will never cross the threshold of my house,” he yelled that winter when they fought over the buyout money. “Where do you think I am going to get two million bucks?
They left anyways, and Joe owed them for the rest of his life. Joe sold off land fordevelopment and paid off some of the money, while making enemies with other farmers.
Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI – This morning I finished “Oceans Away” stort story and I started “Fallasburg Code.” I logged in with 47,568 words in the 50K word marathon. I would like to finish by Wednesday or Thursday depending on how the last two stories go.
This was my first time participating in the National Novel Writing Month. Many people have already completed the creative project. My major takeaways are:
Finding my optimum daily writing quota of six pages or 1,500 words. The hardest part is always the start-up of new stories, on day two usually the plot unravels, and the wrap up is on day three.
I will have a total of 14 stories in the new book “Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova. There were a lot of suprises for me in this one as well. In some cases, I changed titles to better fit the story. The second book is definitely not any easier than the first one.
Is it different and how?
I added some historical fiction in stories “Silk Nora” and “Fallasburg Code.”
Do I have a favorite short story? People asked me this question about the first book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories.” In this collection it is definitely “Silk Nora” which is set in my favorite time period of the 1920s.
In this sequel, I don’t dedicate as much to immigration as in the first one. Some stories like “Secrets in Ink” still draw on my newspaper writing experience.
I would like to thank the National Novel Writing Month staff for the opportunity and for the encouragement.
Even though she was suspicious at first, Norma went for the app and diligently filled out all the fields about herself.
Paul was good looking as she requested, blonde and tall; while she tallied up to his expectations as well, brunette and medium height and weight. Their first rendezvous was in Budapest, Hungary on a boat.
Norma insisted on neutral grounds such as Europe. It was Paul who picked the capital of Hungary for their first meeting. The app set their date on a boat “Princess” floating on the Danube to explore the river towns.
The date was expensive and exotic, that’s what they both wanted for their first time together. They had separate cabins on the boat. The first night, the boat was just anchoring in Budapest and they took a taxi into the city.
Paul proudly started first telling Norma all about himself. He was a doctor of Slavic origin, who wanted to get away from the nationalistic France. Norma wasn’t ashamed of her new job of the Warhol Museum executive director, either. She worked hard to get the job studying online for her master’s degree.
Budapest at night was like a star waiting to shine on the night sky. They sat long into the night on the deck bar on the boat eating shrimp and drinking red Hungarian wine.
“Will you come and see me in Noumea?” Paul asked on the boat looking at Norma.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI – The day after Thanksgiving, I finished the short story “40 Hunks” (c) 2018 Emma Palova logging into the #nanowrimo dashboard with a total of 43,723 words toward the 50K word marathon. That puts me on the final stretch to the winner mark on this publishing journey.
The story will become a part of the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova. After the revision period in January and February supported by #nanowrimo, it is my clear intention to have the book published next year.
The National Novel Writing Month, an Internet-based creative project, started in 1999 with 21 participants. It has grown over the years to 0.5 million participants around the globe.
Two days ago, I found a thank you letter in my email from the #nanowrimo executive director Grant Faulkner titled:
“Thank you for the light of your stories.”
It truly warmed my heart, as Grant described writer Matt Forbes’ reaction to his home burnt by the wildfires in Paradise, CA, as well as the entire community.
His response to tragedy? To create.
“I plan to write. That’s about all I can do…I don’t want one huge fire to burn out everything that was taken in its wake, and this is the only thing I can do to show otherwise.”
You can easily gauge your progress on the dashboard widget and graph.
Editing and revisions take place later in the months of January and February.
We also went out on Black Friday to Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, and it was jam packed. The same story was in rural Greenville. Speaking about the economy booming, it definately was at JC Penney’s who practiced Black Friday on both days, Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.
The staff was exhausted:
“We’ve been opened for the last 24 hours,” said a tired clerk in the men’s clothing department.
Excerpts from “40 Hunks”
“Not, now,” he said. “They have to be on the farm as soon as Friday.”
Antonio walked inside the gas station store looking around the shelves.
“You got booze,” he asked the scared girl.
Jose straightened up from the counter and looked at Antonio.
“No, booze on the bus,” he said strictly. “When we get there, you can talk to theproducer. Not here. We’re heading out.”
Antonio grabbed Jose by his shirt and tore it apart as he lifted Jose up on his feetand dragged him against the counter.
“ I said, I want some booze,” Antonio pulled out his knife and put it to Jose’s throat. “You girl give me some whiskey or I will slash his neck.”
Avlen quickly grabbed a bottle from behind her and handed it to Antonio, who opened it and drank from it, still holding Jose.
“That’s $20,” Avlen said to Antonio.
Antonio let Jose loose and turned him to Avlen like a puppet.
“You pay her,” he said. “I am going back on the bus.”
Jose gave Avlen the $20 bill shaking his head.
“Don’t call the police,” Jose begged. “I’d get in trouble that I let him loose.”
He waved to the girl and left the gas station store. Mike was smoking nearby shaking his head.
“I saw what happened,” he said. “Do you want me to call the police?”
Jose shook his head as he boarded the bus.
“No, I want us to get to the farm as fast as possible,” he said. “You deal with him at the farm with the producer. I don’t want to have anything to do with him. If he disappears, I won’t look for him.”
Featured photo: Butterflies from the Butterfly House on Mackinac Island.
Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.