Following are Emma’s author events for November and December. I will be signing books at LowellArts on Nov. 28 & Dec. 13 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on both days.
You can also order your books here by sending an email to Emma: firstname.lastname@example.org, calling or messaging on Facebook messenger. You can pick up your signed copies on the following dates at LowellArts: Nov. 28 and Dec. 13 from 12 to 2 p.m.
Emma’s Virtual Book Launch on Facebook on Sunday Nov. 15 at 5 p.m.
You can submit your questions in the comment section for a chance to win a free signed copy of the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.”
Lowell, MI – Welcome “Blue Moon” October with your two full moons, pumpkins, candy, spooky characters, books, Girls Nites Out in ugly sweaters and paranormal investigations in the Fallasburg historic village.
The month started off strong with a full moon, a storm in the morning and a brainstorming session in the afternoon with Anthony Mora Communications for the PR of my upcoming book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” about our family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the USA. As part of the project, they will also be marketing my book no. 2 that never fully reached the market because of covid-19. Thank you Anthony and Lindsey for your work on this project.
While most of the events have been cancelled, the nature hasn’t canceled her show in hues of oranges, browns and yellows. Moreover, today was the Feast of the Guardian Angels. We each have a guardian angel, and this year we need more than one. As I drove to the Vergennes Township hall to pick up my absentee ballot, I noticed a sign on Bailey: “Jesus 2020.”
Just 10 minutes before the brainstorming session, I found out from my Romanian poet/publisher friend Valeriu Dg Barbu, that my book has already been translated into Italian. Thank you Valeriu. Valeriu owns a small publishing house Editura Minela at:
Plus my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on Oct. 7. Happy anniversary Ludek.
The socially distant Lowell Harvest Celebration will take place on Main Street on Oct. 10. This year, the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce is taking over the Larkin’s Chili Cook-Off. The chamber will be selling $5 wristbands for chili tastings at different venues.
Featured photo: Hannah Rietzema at the Springrove Variety, that is now closed.
Copyright (c)2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Hooked on wild caught fish from the Straits of Mackinac at the local farmer’s markets
By Emma Palova
Ada, MI- It all started with a conversation, a few coolers and a canopy. And a brand-new enterprise was born 10 years ago.
But it took six generations of commercial fishermen, a passion for the great outdoors “Grizzly Adams” style and healthy eating to make the old trade work in new times.
Dan Sodini of DMS is the fishmonger, while his brother-in-law Jamie Massey is the fisherman of the Great Lakes based in St. Ignace.
“An opportunity to begin a small family business of taking wild caught fish from the U.P. to Farmer’s Markets around the state of Michigan came 10 years ago,” said Sodini. “We are celebrating our 10th year anniversary.”
The first market was in Midland, home to the DMS fish crew.
“We could drive to the U.P., stay with the family and get up and go to the market on Saturday morning,” Sodini said.
Rarely, do you see fish peddled at the local Farmer’s Markets. It’s mostly local home-grown produce spruced up sometimes with cheeses, breads and preserves.
“Some people were delighted and bought fish,” said Sodini. “Others took a little time.”
But after Sodini explained where, when and how the fish was caught, it all became easier.
“Once people tried it, they became customers and they’re still buying fish today,” he said.
Speaking about being hooked on genuine wild-caught fish taste.
I discovered the U.P. fish booth three years ago based on a word-of-mouth tip from a friend who lives in Ada.
“You know, there’s this fishmonger at the Ada Market and the fish is excellent,” she said. “Try it.”
Being a fish lover ever since I can remember buying trout at the “Rybena” deli in former Czechoslovakia, I didn’t need to be persuaded.
What first struck me unlike buying fresh fish at the stores, was that there was no fish smell around the booth. Everything was immaculately clean, and then Dan’s impeccable knowledge about the fish, surpassed the fish markets of Marseille.
The first time I bought all three “catch of the day”- fresh walleye, whitefish and trout, smoked whitefish and whitefish dip. It was an unsurpassed feast.
This is my favorite recipe: whitefish or trout baked with pesto and lemon. Bake for 20 minute at 350 F or on the grill.
In the beginning, DMS offered only fresh fillets which included: whitefish, walleye, lake trout, king salmon, yellow perch and smelt.
Over the 10 years, DMS has expanded both the fish selection and the farmer’s market locations.
“Once we realized that we could make a go of it, we expanded into other markets,” Sodini said.
DMS added smoked whitefish, lake trout, salmon and Laker bites, which are skinless, boneless bite size pieces of small lake trout.
“We have added our very popular smoked fish pate made with the fisherman’s recipe,” he said.
The pates include: smoked whitefish, salmon and lake trout. Brand new this year are the Laker patties, a fish burger or fish cake made with fresh lake trout, that can be grilled or sautéed in a skillet.
From August through mid- October, DMS has annual wild king salmon sales of the whole fish which averages 10 to 12 pounds. This yields approximately half to ¾ of the fish.
“With COVID we have experienced both a decrease and an increase in sales,” said Sodini.
The decrease mainly because of people not wanting to come out and take safety precautions while the increase is in direct access to wild caught fish vs. the limited high-priced beef and other meat products.
“From the beginning people chose fish for high quality protein,” Sodini said.
Backed by 150 years of Massey commercial fishing on the Great Lakes, Sodini, a former treatment specialist, found himself in the fish business. During his unemployment, the family had this important conversation about starting a fish distribution business.
“We are honored and proud to be a part of the family legacy,” he said. “We appreciate and are thankful for all of our customers from all over the state of Michigan, who are our friends and have supported us for 10 years.”
“I love what I do! Having the opportunity to offer wild caught fresh and smoked Great Lakes fish at local Farmers Markets is a privilege and a lot of work,” Mega said. But what I enjoy most is meeting each new customer and the friends that we have made over the 10 years we have been going to markets.”
On a Saturday market, DMS sells an average of 150 to 200 pounds of fish.
“The kids grew up on farmer’s markets,” he said. “They get paid and they love it.”
Today, the DMS crew does 12 markets a week:
Ada market on Tuesdays
Brighton on Saturday
East Lansing on Sunday
Flint on Saturdays
Frankenmuth on Wednesday
Holland on Wed.& Sat.
Meridian on Saturdays
Midland on Wed. & Sat.
Mt. Clemens on Sat.
Mt. Pleasant on Thursday
Northville on Thursday
The selling season is from May to October. From November through April, DMS does winter fish drops at the farmer’s markets locations.
“People can order frozen fish products biweekly or monthly,” Sodini said. “We deliver to each of the farmer’s markets location. The fisherman vacuum packs, blast freezes all of our fish fillets.”
You can find individual farmer’s locations at the DMS Facebook page at:
Big Rapids, MI – My mother, Ella Konecny, turns 83 on this beautiful summer day. We celebrated her birthday yesterday in Big Rapids with a cookout on the deck. Mom always puts on a feast: juicy ribs, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and her famous nutty cake roll, all preceded by a traditional Czech platter of cheese, salami and home-made pickles Znojmo style.
Together with my father Vaclav, they’ve been living in this small university town, home to Ferris State University, for more than four decades.
Mom was born Drabkova in former communist Czechoslovakia on Aug. 23, 1937 in Zlin to a working class family. My grandparents Anna and Joseph Drabek worked hard to get mom into the university so she could become the future pharmacist.
My mother has inspired the memoir Greenwich Meridian, where East meets west about the family immigration saga. She didn’t want to leave the communist country after the Soviet invasion on the night of August 20-21 in 1968.
The memoir, slated for Oct. 16, 2020 publication is dedicated to both of my parents because they have always inspired me both in hard and good times with their dedication and perseverance. It is available now on preorder on Amazon at:
Their journey from the Moravian hilly villages of Vizovice and Stipa to Big Rapids in Michigan was tumultuous with many twists and turns.
Some of the milestones included the 1973 return to hardline Czechoslovakia from Texas, and then the escape back into the New World for my dad in 1976. Mom joined him in 1980.
Dad landed the math professor job at the Ferris State University, and that finally anchored them permanently in their new home.
To this day, mom says she loved her bio lab technician job also at the university.
Their true story has also inspired my fiction in my first Shifting Sands Short Stories book. “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” contains some bits and pieces from the early years of immigration.
I wrote that story shortly after my immigration to the USA in 1989. When I compare some of the elements of the short story to the memoir, I consider them Visceral in character, coming from a gut feeling.
The main character in the story is professor Martin Duggan obsessed with his own quest for perfection.
May you both enjoy many more years of love, good health and optimism. Thank you for all your love and support.
For chapters “Prague Spring, Part I” & “Prague Spring, Part II from the memoir click on the following links:
Listen in today at 2:30 p.m. to radio WOES-FM 91.3- Ovid-Elsie Community radio- home of the polka palace.
Tom Bradley, one of the co-founders of the Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister, will be talking about the “Dozinky” festival. The festival always held on the first Sunday in August was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We could not take the risk,” said co-founder Diane Bradley.
The festival takes place at the ZCBJ Lodge in Bannister. in Cenral Michigan. It features a parade, costumed dancers, a festive dinner consisting of ham, chicken, dumplings, saurkraut, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes and traditional Czech desserts. The dinner is followed by a dance.
Whenever I seek inspiration for my writings, I look up to my father and I know I will find it. My father, former math professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, turned 86 on this lovely summer day. He is active, loving and most of all inspiring by his words and actions.
On any given day, you will find him either solving or proposing math problems for math journals or doing simple things like canning, picking blueberries and making jams and marmelades with mom Ella.
Dad is a typical Leo, strongly independent and likes to take charge of everything with great enthusiasm. Behind these character traits lies the fact that dad doesn’t trust anyone else would do an equally good job.
And he is right. No one can beat his solutions to any problems, be it maintenance issues around the house, cars or plumbing. He is logical, rational and precise, always a step ahead of the game.
Dad has a good sense of humor and knows how to start a conversation at a party with strangers.
“How do you do it, dad?” I asked him.
“Well, if I know the guy is a dentist, I start talking about teeth,” he laughed.
Like a good Leo, he is always prepared for anything that might come his way.
He was born in Brest, former Czechoslovakia in 1934 as the second oldest child out of five. Due to the lack of finances, his parents, who were also educators, enrolled my dad and Uncle Tony in the Archibishop Gymnasium-Boys’ Seminary in Kromeriz right after the end of WWII.
To this day, my dad credits all his accomplishments to this renowned institution led by priests. Although he was bullied for his height, it didn’t leave any marks on him.
“I’ve learned discipline that stayed with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “I even got beaten up by other kids.”
It was discipline that carried him through the tough times of twice emigrating from former communist Czechoslovakia to pursue his dream of independence and teaching in the USA without the fear of being persecuted for his religious beliefs.
Dad is a true self-made man, not overly embellished with medals or honors, but with degrees from various universities in Czechoslovakia and the USA, achieved by honesty and hard work.
However, his solutions to math problems were published in Crux Mathematicorum of the Canadian Mathematical Society in the 1990s. Dad received an Honourable Mention for participating in the solutions.
Love you dad. May you continue to inspire all of us. We wish you many healthy and optimistic years ahead.
My father and mother are the main characters in my upcoming book- the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” now available for preorder on Amazon.
Lowell, MI – April is poetry month. The featured photo is a poem “Love’s Omnipresence” by Joshua Sylvester printed on an Almond Butter chocolate wrapper.
My hopes are high as we await Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s word on Friday about the possible extension of the stay-at-home order and mainly about the reopening of the Michigan economy.
To the dismay of the most vulnerable people in the COVID-19 pandemic, protests have been sweeping the country to reopen the economies.
In the meantime, I moved ahead with the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” formatting on Kindle Create. The manuscript is now available for reviews. Please email Emma at email@example.com for Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs).
Overall, it’s been a dark, cold and cloudy April in Michigan. We had an occassional frost in the morning. I managed only three walks to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, two walks on the trails, and a total of four zoo room meetings. But the main thing that I really feared is done until the next formatting comes up for the paperback.
I also filed for the Library of Congress cataloging number for the upcoming “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” If you wish to check that out go to:
I have just found out that April is poetry month from the Library of Congress website. That’s good to know, since I love poetry, so I used Sylvester’s poem for the featured photo.
Hopefully, the economy will reopen to the satisfaction of everyone; I would be surprised if it did.
Introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir
I wrote this introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir during the unprecedented time of the coronavirus pandemic, as we celebrated the Easter Triduum in front of televised services in empty churches across the nation without audiences.
More than half a billion people around the globe are under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. This includes my homeland, the Czech Republic. The coronavirus did not discriminate or recognized borders between the states, the countries or the continents. Time will show if this was a modern apocalypse.
Our immigration story from former socialist Czechoslovakia to the U.S. has come full circle; from one history milestone to another one.
The milestone that offset our journey across three continents–Europe, Africa, USA– was the reformist movement known as the Prague Spring 1968 under the leadership of Alexander Dubcek.
The epic story of love and desire for freedom spans 52 years at the date of publishing of this memoir. The major characters, Ella and Vaclav Konecny, are my parents, to whom I have dedicated this memoir. Mom Ella was a happy pharmacist in former Czechoslovakia, while Dad Vaclav was an unhappy mathematician in the old country.
Dad’s quest for his career fulfillment has been a constant source of inspiration for me in good and in bad times. Recently, I found out that dad was afraid in the old country of persecution by the communists due to our religious beliefs. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to fully realize his teaching ambitions.
From the humble hometowns of Vizovice and Stipa in the hilly Moravia, we traveled to exotic places such as Khartoum in Africa, to the ancient Byblos known for its papyrus and the “City of Jasmine” Damascus in Syria with the Roman Temple of Jupiter.
We were no strangers to dangers connected to travel in the Third World Countries. My parents had a few close calls: the tourist boat on the Nile capsized with all the people on board either drowning or the crocodiles ate them in the murky waters, a week after we were aboard the cruise.
Then a cable car to the second highest peak in the Alps, Matterhorn, crashed also a few days after my parents were on it.
An interview with my parents in Venice, Florida in March of 2013 revealed that the hardest trial of all was the separation from the family back in Czechoslovakia. Nothing can bring back the lost time or not being able to say the last good-byes to the loved ones, as we have recently found out during the COVID-19 quarantine.
My parents both surprised me with an answer to my question about immigration.
“Would you do it again?” I asked seated in their pretty white dining room with mirrors in Venice.
The unison answer from both was a definite no. They both added their own written accounts of the immigration experience to the memoir, which I am grateful for.
I structured the memoir in a way that all three of us tell our stories. I lead off each chapter with the storyteller part, as I remember it. Then follows either my mom’s account titled “In her own words” or dad’s experiences.
I put emphasis on the phrase, “As we remember it.”
The accounts may wary in details, but together they bring forth a cohesive picture of immigration through the eyes of both adults and a growing up kid. The immigration experience has left its scars on all four of us, but it has also transformed us.
We lived through the hardline communism and the rolling capitalism. In addition to that, we are Catholics, so we have had the religious experience that is often tied to different regimes. Religion gave another dimension to our story, since it stood at the roots of our immigration together with the Prague Spring movement.
The immigration experience touched each one of us in a different way. Here is quote from my mom Ella:
During my lifetime, I have met a lot of good people that I wouldn’t have met in Czech Republic, because of limited travel. USA has its pluses and minuses–the society is too materialistic. In Czech Republic, we didn’t make a lot of money, but we were all equal. We had basic rights: right to work, right to education and healthcare. USA does not have that. People are afraid of socialism, but they basically don’t know what it is.I lived in socialism and I will continue to live in capitalism; one must try both regimes to know what’s better.
On the other hand, we most likely wouldn’t have houses, if we had stayed in Czech Republic. The majority of the population lives in apartments, that is if they are lucky waiting it out on long lists. I wouldn’t have realized my author’s dream in the old country.
The Greenwich Meridian Memoir is by no means a treatise on either of the above- mentioned regimes, then or now.
We each were free to return back to our homeland at any point in time during the 52 years. And we have. That is our story. Come along on a journey of a lifetime.
The latest COVID-19 tallyin Michigan on April 22, 2020.
Total cases: 33,966
Total deaths: 2,813
Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.
Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.
Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI- It’s a sunny Saturday in the quarantine so I write this with a light heart filled with hope.
As I journal through the Michigan Coronavirus quarantine, I have gathered some insights over the last four weeks. I’ve also learned new terms and words to enrich my vocabulary.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE can take on many different shapes and forms.
For me PPE constitutes a box of chocolates,candy bars, a head band flipped into a mask and winter gloves. For my husband Ludek, it’s a box of red Cabernet, a respirator and gloves. And for our son Jake, it is a six pack of Bell’s Two-Hearted, Jelinek’s plum brandy, gloves and a mask. Our daughter Doc Em just alternates the real hospital PPE gear with sweatpants in France.
New normal shopping
Number one: shopping in the quarantine is a mission and a challenge. First, we have to get ready our PPE consisting of masks, gloves, a sanitizer and a list. I don’t think bags are allowed or returnables in the stores. Usually Ludek goes by himself, but this time I was brave enough to join the adventure. I suited up with an orange headband that I slid down my face for a mask; I couldn’t wear the respirator because I couldn’t breathe in it.
Some shelves at Ric’s on Belding Road were completely wiped out. Most shelves had signs with limitations on the number of purchases. The dairy aisle was half empty offering only real butter. The store offered no ads, off course.
“I couldn’t believe there was no fake butter spread like the brand ‘ I can’t believe it’s not butter.”
Meat was expensive and nasty. We’ll see what happens with pork next week in the aftermath of the Smithfield plant Coronavirus disaster in South Dakota.
Just to make sure we have meat, we drove out into the country to Jones Meat Market near Saranac. The family-owned butcher shop offered high quality meat and sausages. Ludek spent another $80 and I restocked the freezer. People were properly social distancing outside the shop, while the strong wind was lifting their bandanas aka masks. I felt like in a bandit movie.
On our way back via Potters Rd., I noticed the signs by the road:
“Pharaoh, let us mow.”
I’ve learned that Gov. Whitmer is now a pharaoh ordering her subjects not to mow, not to golf and not to plant, in the wake of the protest rally in Lansing on Wednesday. But, I’ve also learned she is being considered as Joe Biden’s running mate in the fall presidential election.
How did a medical problem turn political so fast? The political game has started.
I’ve learned that the contagion may have accidentally escaped from the U.S. biochemical labs, if it first hadn’t leaked from the Chinese labs or maybe European? Which will it be? The blame game has started.
Parade of Planets
Early in the morning before the day brought in disturbances, I watched the “Parade of Planets” as the morning planets Mars, Saturn and Jupiter perfectly lined up.
Planting in a professional greenhouse box
I used a brand new professional mini greenhouse to plant seeds for our future dills. The store- bought seeds for $2.29 looked exactly like the ones from an overgrown yellow cucumber I had discarded into our manure pile last year.
Bummer, I should have known better. I’ve been growing veggies from seeds for the last two decades.
It was another great day in the quarantine.
Thank you essential workers for keeping us alive. We salute you.
Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the coronavirus quarantine.
Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.