You revel in the certainty that today’s good intentions will reap tomorrow’s just rewards. Although your practicality may be tested now, your consistent actions add up in your favor. Stay strong and keep the faith, even if the attainment of your goals seems closer to a distant horizon than to your doorstep. Continue moving forward one step at a time.
Author Josh Shipp wrote, “Perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose.”
My author’s journey continues
Grab a book at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids or Lansing, or on Amazon, and come to my book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse on Sept. 16 & Sept. 17 from 1 pm to 4 p.m.
All set for book signing during the Fallasburg village bazaar & Fall Festival for Arts on Sept.16 and Sept.17
By Emma Palova
East Lansing, MI – What a way to spend the Labor Day weekend. We delivered copies of my new book to Schuler Books in East Lansing at the chic Eastwood Towne Center.
My new book Shifting Sands Short Stories will be available after Labor Day at Schuler Books in the Okemos and East Lansing stores.
It is now available at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids on 28th Street.
Stop in. Chat with a friend at Chapbook Cafe. Pick up a copy of my book just in time for the upcoming book signing at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse during the 3rd annual Fallasburg village bazaar on Sept.16 and Sept.17 from 1 to 4 pm.
Come and chat with the author of Shifting Sands Short Stories, Emma Palova about the egotistical characters in the book.
Big Rapids, MI – Today, my mother Ella Konecny turns 80 in Big Rapids, MI. Together with my father Vaclav, they’ve been living in this small university town, home to Ferris State University, for more than three decades.
Their friends at the Saturday’s birthday party for mom have known both for that long.
“Your parents are great people,” I heard over and over again.
Mom was born Drabkova in former communist Czechoslovakia on Aug. 23, 1937 in Zlin to Anna and Joseph Drabek.
My mother has inspired the memoir Greenwich Meridian, where East meets west about the family immigration saga. She was the one who didn’t want to leave the communist country after the Soviet invasion on the night of August 20-21 in 1968.
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. The warm friendly welcome atmosphere proved that at the birthday party.
Their true story has also inspired my fiction in the new Shifting Sands Short Stories book. “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” was inspired by 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.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Crossing Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger carferry as stories like waters Unfurl
By Emma Palova
Ludington, MI – We crossed Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger on Aug. 14 from Ludington to Manitowoc, WI. It was a four-hour long voyage across the 60 miles of calm waters, as we enjoyed the breeze and the sun in the lounge chairs on the bow of the ship.
By taking the car ferry, which is part of the U.S. 10 highway system across the Midwest, we sailed a piece of history. The Badger was officially designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in February 2016 by the Secretary of the Interior in recognition of the American transportation technology in the mid-twentieth century.
The designation is rare, making U.S. 10 one of only two U.S. highways with a ferry service connection.
We sailed aboard the 410-foot ship complete with a museum, gift shop, game & movie rooms and cafes. However, unlike the luxury cruise ships in the Caribbean, this vessel was built for transporting heavy railroad cars across the lake in 1953.
Badger has two decks below for cars, tour buses and RVs and both were full to the aft of the ship. The upper and lower passenger decks were filled with tourists and families. However, it’s not usual for passengers to Inhabit one of only 24 staterooms.
Aboard the ship, I learned the sailing lingo like the “starboard” side is the right side of the ship, while the port side is the left side.
The trip saves approximately 300 miles of driving around the lake, while providing magnificent vistas of the dunes, the lighthouses and the glistening lake.
For me, the most relaxing was just listening to the waters splash against the ship, as the sun kissed my face. The other pastime was listening to people talk about their adventures from other boats and times, as we smoothly sailed forward to the shores of Wisconsin.
Nothing inspires me more than water, whether still or in motion, being in it, on it or around it. The next best thing to water for inspiration is history. The stories like the waters or sails Unfurlin front of me.
The Badger leaves a legacy as the last coal-fired, steam-powered passenger vessel operating in the United States. The ship continues a unique and vital maritime tradition. The crew of 50 makes every effort to celebrate the heritage on board to educate and entertain the passengers.
We smoothly sailed onward to our next adventure along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.
A well-written story is a Symphony of words that click well with the reader. If the reader cannot relate to the content, the writer is not at fault. The reader shouldn’t be at that show. Not everybody likes classical music or country music. But everybody likes music, everybody likes books. They are like pizza. There is no such thing as a bad pizza.
“What inspires you?” people ask me the most.
That is probably the most popular question for any author. There is no single answer, but a multitude of answers depending on the day.
Early in the day, I was inspired by someone else’s selfishness. That person feared that I wouldn’t make the birthday party, if I got into an accident on my upcoming vacation.
I was speechless and flabbergasted. Not a care about the fact, if I was going to make it alive out of the accident. The only thing that mattered was the party.
I always say: “Real people inspire me the most with their actions and emotions, or the lack of both.”
“What powers people’s thinking?”
“With our thoughts we make the world,” Buddha said.
I try to think before I say something and definitely before I write anything.
My best advise to any writer is clear thinking that comes out of meditating, out of that space inside us that we explore, free of distractions and turmoil.
And maybe even more important is the detachment from the outcome, as I found out today while meditating.
After a month of my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories hitting the market, I started feeling resentment for not writing books for all those 20 years that I was working as a journalist for different newspapers.
That thinking honestly surprised me, and that’s why I went back into meditating.
“Emma, without the journalism jobs, there would be no Delivery of the book, that’s how you built your name recognition and following.”
“That’s how you gained experience, mom,” my daughter Doc Emma said.
I meditated with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey in their newest Desire & Destiny meditation. I highly recommend it, and not just to writers and authors.
It’s better than any “How to…….” manual.
It starts with the paramount question that we should ask ourselves every day.
“Who am I?”
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
My next book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories will be during the Fallasburg Fall Festival & village bazaar on September 16 & 17 from 1pm to 4 pm at the one-room schoolhouse museum.
Everyone is welcome.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Daily Post prompt Bury with book excerpts from Shifting Sands Short Stories
By Emma Palova
Not only am I buried with all the tasks around marketing my new book of short stories, but one of the early stories “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” touches on burying one’s miseries.
Storyteller 2017 Emma
We often would like to bury a lot of things, and some of them we actually do in meaningless stockpiles. However, sometimes we need to refer back to them, and dig out some parts of the past.
The main character professor Martin Duggan in the story “Temptation of Martin Duggan” finds himself in this position as he confronts the major conflict in his life: and that is his son Joe.
As soon as the daylight broke, Martin grabbed a spade from the garage. There was still morning dew on Rose’s mauve tulips, as Martin started digging a hole in the middle of the garden. Soil and tulips were flying around as Martin dug deeper into the earth.
Along with the brown soil, Martin was also exhuming his suppressed past longings. He intended to bury in the hole all the role models, present and past, including the model of himself.
He ran back into the den. Rose couldn’t sleep all night long. Courageously, she went after him into what used to be his pride, his office. She looked at the rampage Martin left. Little tears, tiny like the dew drops on the destroyed mauve tulips, rolled down her swollen cheeks, as she watched the man she once had loved.
There were broken pieces of furniture scattered all around along with the broken window pane. There were blood stains on the white carpet and some of the papers.
“Martin, stop. Are you crazy?” Rose cried.
Martin was stuffing his books, notes and computer perforated paper into black garbage backs. He filled six bags with equations and solutions. He tied the bags up neatly and ran back into the garden.
Martin, stop, you don’t what you’re doing,” Rose cried helplessly.
He threw the garbage bags into the hole and threw dirt on top to cover them up. He worked diligently, all sweating. He made a neat mound, and stomped on it to level it.
He grabbed again the axe and wanted to chop up the pretty Danish teak furniture in the living room, he only stopped for a minute in front of the oil painting of the Dutch windmill.
“Stop, I am going to call the police,” Rose said. “Don’t you dare turn on me, you crazy fool.”
Rose walked boldly toward Martin and took away his axe. She pushed him into a chair. Martin was panting, exhausted. He was all flushed and couldn’t breathe.
The book Shifting Sands Short Stories is now available on Amazon at:
You can add the book to your bookshelf using the Goodreads icon in the sidebar
Currently discussing Shifting Sands Short Stories, Tonight on Main
I think the first story “Tonight on Main” is the most mysterious out of the bunch, followed by the Death Song.
Illusion Illusion plays a big role in both stories.
Tonight on Main is a story that puts side by side the deception in the soul and heart of the old and the anticipation in the eyes of the young. We see several contrasts happening at the same time, the exposed sins in the thoughts of the old women and the innocence of the young boy. The fast paced and noisy main street and the slow nonchalantly unveiling card game on the table. Once in a while one of the old women resurfaces from her sea of nostalgia to bring everyone back to reality with a simple phrase, later proven to be fateful, which goes ignored. Hard to say if purposefully or by simple oblivion. The card game continues as the women sink deeper into their memories. Everyone is attached to the past and no one wants to live in the present as portrayed by the decaying porch and old curtains on the window. In the end, we find out that feelings like jealousy and the need for revenge burns strong in the human heart.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this series following the release of the Shifting Sands Short Stories collection, I answer questions about the stories, characters, me and my writing career.
By Emma Palova
I’ve been on the other side of an interview only twice in my life. That is if I don’t count job interviews. As a reporter, I’ve interviewed thousands of people for newspaper and magazine stories over the years. I’ve always been very comfortable at asking questions, in person or over the phone.
The subject didn’t really matter, unless it was a personal issue of officials resigning under duress.
Recently, Tim McAllister interviewed me for the local paper the Lowell Ledger about the Shifting Sands Short Stories book release. I wrote for the paper for many years as the lead reporter. The article “Ledger reporter pens book of short stories” came out on July 5.
It was a great interview that resulted in a great story. And I am grateful for that. Thank you.
An interview is like a Bridge to a destination. A good interview is a firm bridge to a good story with a firm foundation. It is a lot like the physical structure that connects two places.
Here is a picture of one of my favorite bridges, and that is the Fallasburg Covered Bridge built in 1871. It has been connecting people with the Fallasburg pioneer village for the last 146 years.
And because everything is connected, my book signing on July 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. will be held at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum. Everyone is invited into the historic setting, that well fits the premise of the short stories set in hometown Midwest America.
The only other time I was interviewed was when I became an USA citizen in 1999 in a naturalization ceremony at the Gerald Ford Museum, along with my daughter Doc Emma.
And now I have found out that I am equally comfortable on the other side of the interview. That is answering questions about my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories, me and my writing career.
I love the interaction with my followers, friends and family.
Just yesterday, I got this question:
“What is your favorite story in the book?” asked my daughter-in-law Maranda.
I love this question. I used to ask artists the same thing.
“What is your favorite painting?”
I use the analogy of releasing the book to releasing your child into the world, after he or she graduates. You nurture them or the book idea for years. Then you work it into a book, and release it to the world.
“You’re kind of sad, and it’s also a highly emotional situation that you did everything you could possibly do,” I said.
The entire world around the publication of the book is different from anything else. I had to write it down on a piece of paper:
“Don’t treat this like everything else you’ve done in life, because it’s different.”
The difference is mainly in the novelty and the complexity of the entire publication process from the inception of the idea to holding the actual book in your hands.
“I got shivers for you when we got your book in the mail,” said Maranda.
In between story circles, a story of transformation with excerpts
For the last week since June 20, I’ve been posting about the stories in Shifting Sands Short Stories collection that span more than two decades as part of the Storyteller 2017 book campaign.
Thematically and chronologically, I have divided the stories into three circles: early years of immigration with stories Danillo, Honey Azrael, & The Temptation of Martin Duggan.
The second circle of stories from retail experience includes: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The third circle of stories is from the media business; both print and digital.
These stories include: In the Shadows, Iron Horse, Foxy, Riddleyville Clowns and Chatamal.
Transformation during the crisis of mid-2000s
My husband Ludek left the state of Michigan to work in Wisconsin in 2008-2009. We were separated by Lake Michigan, and 500 miles deep into the Midwest America. Locals say that Wild West begins in Prairie-du-Chien on the Mississippi River, where Pere Marquette and Joliett arrived. On a few occasions, I took the Amtrak train “Empire Builder” to LaCrosse to visit with him.
At the time, I was writing for the local newspaper and for regional magazines in the Grand Rapids area. But, that wasn’t enough to make me forget the absurdity of the situation. This was the second time in life that we were separated.
I turned to more writing like a Magnet. I got the idea to write the “Riddleyville Clowns,” a short story from a hometown parade featuring clowns to celebrate the town’s founding anniversary.
I wrote some of the copy aboard the “Empire Builder” train.
Here is an excerpt from the “Riddleyville Clowns”
The harvest moon has just started to light up the entire loft apartment on Main Street. The brick walls softened with blue shades, the pressed tin ceiling was illuminated, while the river was like a silver thread lined with black banks.
Still resisting to get up and go check out the old steamboat, Kip tossed in bed watching the ceiling. He looked up at one of the walls.
Flabby blue pants, a yellow camisole, wide red band and a big red plastic nose topped off with a wig were hanging in the corner. Down below were big red shoes with a tongue sticking out and large-fingered gloves.
Kip walked to the window. Below, a large flock of geese and ducks, had buried their heads deep to sleep. He could hear them fighting over bread thrown down from of the other lofts. Kip walked to the boat.
The old white steamboat known by the locals as the Showboat, all decked out for tomorrow, was swaying in the wind and the water. Swinging over the white railing, he checked out the shaft by the stairway leading all the way to the upper deck. It was dusty, but he could see the lid that opened up on the deck.
Kip quickly attached a rope to a rusty hook. He also had to cut out a plank at each deck level to make the shaft passable. He noticed on the walls of the shaft old posters of vaudeville acts that took place on the boat in the depression era.
Kip climbed up and opened the lid right behind the ship’s black chimney. In the moonlight, he could also spot a dilapidated amphitheater with grass growing over the sea walls and the island of cattails up the stream. Wind howled again through the river corridor. Kip wrapped his wind jacket tight around him and gazed toward Main Street. A tribune was set up right by the Riverwalk promenade for tomorrow’s parade.