2019 Calendar Features Covered Bridges from Coast to Coast
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – The 2019 calendar by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges features covered bridges from 13 different states; from East to West coasts and their builders.
Locally, the #Fallasburg Covered Bridge adorns the month of May.
According to the statement on the calendar, the Fallasburg Covered Bridge was built in 1871 by Jared Brasee. Brasee lived in Ada. Brasee used for the construction of his bridges the Brown truss. Fallasburg is the only remaining Brown truss bridge.
The White’s Bridge (1869-2013) was in Ionia County. The White’s Bridge Historical Society is in the process of rebuilding the bridge that burnt in 2013.
At the end of the article, you will find a link to purchase the calendar. Due to the enormous success of the calendar, the society is accepting photos for calendar 2020.
Most of us can relate to slow starts after the holidays. On top of the holiday indolence, I’ve been sick too. And I even got my first ever flu shot in 2018 inspite of my wavering doubt about the effectiveness of the vaccine. This is the first day that “I feel like a human being.” That’s a quote from colleague writer Tamela Spicer.
What’s coming down the pipeline?
I am working on two last stories to complete the second book Shifting Sands: Secrets. (c) 2019 Emma Palova. It is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories. I will let the manuscript run through the AutoCrit self-editing software for fiction to test it and review it.
I found out about AutoCrit during the #NaNoWriMo 50K word marathon in November. It has reasonably good reviews. A webcast on self-editing using the software is scheduled for Jan. 22 from 4 to 5 p.m.
I am imposing a deadline on the memoir project “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia. I am taking this book to the event Books Alive! in Ludington on July 19 in conjunction with Ludington’s Friday Night Live.
This event is possible thanks to author Joan H. Young from Scottville.
I am also looking forward to continuing my partnership with LowellArts for book signings and the upcoming playwright festival.
Excerpt from short story “40 Hunks” in Secrets
were crossing the Sonoran Desert west of Nogales. Jose felt the pocket of his
jeans for a piece of paper. He pulled it out to look at it for the 100th
time as they were nearing the border.
was the letter from the US Department of Agriculture giving him permission to
cross the border to the US with the 40 men sleeping behind his back. Before
they boarded the bus, Jose had to make sure they were the right men. Most of
them didn’t have any IDs, so he trusted them and tried to match up the names
with the list from the government.
list was far from being exact, but Jose knew once they entered the US
territory, they would be assigned a permanent work guide. From there on, it was
none of his business what’s going to happen with these men. The guides were
correction officers borrowed from the regional correctional facilities in the
border patrol in Nogales searched the smelly bus and studied Jose’s driver’s
license and that piece of paper.
do you know who’s who?” barked a sweating guard with an AK47 across his
shoulder, at Jose.
I know that I have 40 men,” said Jose also sweating.
guard boarded the bus and walked in the aisle examining each face, holding the
piece of governmental paper in his hand. He stopped and looked closely at one man. The
men were wide awake now. He leaned over the hulky man taking in his odor.
are you?” he asked with his face distorted in an evil grimace.
walked up to the two men in the back of the bus.
“Hey, amigo,” he said to the guard. “They don’t speak English.”
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
As winter changed into spring, we celebrated St. Pat’s in historic Hubbardston tavern with the oldest liquor license in Michigan. It used to be a speakeasy during the prohibition. I have yet to write about this.
I was also featured in the 2018-2019 Grand Rapids City Guide in the life&style section “The long road to resilience.”
I love summer and surprises. They truly all came in one day: Interview with WGVU host Shelly Irwin, a new author event and the Epilogue Bookstore. While looking for a hotel in Ludington, where we celelebrated my dad’s birthday on July 23rd, I came across a true gem. I found out about the annual Ludington Writers’ Rendezvous organized by author Joan H. Young. Thank you Joan for so much inspiration and for new author friends. You rock. https://emmapalova.com/2018/07/16/writers-surprises-all-in-one-day/
The day after Christmas we headed Up North 150 miles into Antrim County, an outdoors lover’s paradise. We made our base in Mancelona with its proximity to the Shanty Creek mountain system: Summit and Schuss mountains.
We stayed at a chalet in the Lakes of the North community; a sprawling development in the woods complete with an indoor pool inside a clubhouse.
A network of trails weaved through the entire area making it ideal for snowmobiling, Nordic skiing or snowshoeing.
Shanty Creek Resorts near Bellaire were approximately 20 minutes away. Schuss Mountain with 450 feet of vertical drop offered downhill skiing for both kids and adults. The “Bunny Hill” was serviced by a Magic Carpet; moving escalator on the ground. The Cedar Creek Lodge at the foot of the hill offered respite from the brisk wind. A shuttle communted between Schuss and the lodge.
The ski school was in full swing with people falling all over tied to their skiis. We wanted to do dog sledding on Saturday, but due to low snow cover, it was postponed.
Any winter sport including mountain biking on a fatty bike could be spotted here. We ate our lunch at the River Bistro inside the lodge beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Jake with family explored Summit Mountain which brough back memories. Back in the 1990s, it was only known as Shanty Creek. That’s where Jake learned how to ski. Coming full circle, he was now teaching his own kids, Josephine and Dominik, the old skiing tricks.
As the saying around Shanty Creek Resorts goes: “Teaching new pups old tricks.”
Little town of Bellaire
Bellaire is probably best known for Short’s Brewery, Bee Well Meadery, Hello Vino and stores like Little Treasures and the Flying Pig. When the snow conditions are not good for skiing, Bellaire provides a back-up plan.
“We call it Halloween here, when the slopes are deserted,” said the clerk at the meadery.
Some of the sweet mead creations here were: Apple Pie and Cherry Vanilla.
The town of Central Lake is home to Bachmann’s General Stores and Mammoth Distilling; both are great sites to explore.
“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” read the storefront.
Truly, you could find here anything from hardware to books, and everything in between.
The “Cherry Bounce” bourbon was one of the many hand-hewn products at Mammoth with the actual still in the back.
Discoveries “Chain of Lakes”
Our team’s biggest discovery was the “Chain of Lakes,” a natural waterway traversing 80 miles across 14 lakes and rivers. The chain starts in Elk Rapids and ends in Ellsworth.
Recently, it was designated as the first water trail in northern Michigan to encourage water preservation and engagement with nature. According to the DNR, it will positively impact local economies of towns along the water trail and encourage healthy lifestyle.
The water trail was designed for non-motorized watercraft and fishing. The water trail has 81 access sites managed by 16 governmental jurisdictions and non-profit organizations that stretch through four counties: Antrim, Charlevoix, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse.
“We’re coming back in the summer,” was the consensus of our team.
Dad still contributes to the magazine, either by proposing math & geometry problems or by solving them. He received an honorable mention as one of the six problemists of 1996, who had participated in one-third of the solutions for the year.
My Escape from Czechoslovakia
Another document of great value is his letter: “My Escape from Czechoslovakia” dated Nov. 18, 1976 to the Department of State in Washington D.C.
As a true mathematician, dad, in great detail, describes his journey through various border crossings between four different countries. He even describes his alternative plan. Here is an excerpt:
I made two plans:
To get from Eastern block through some check point
To go to Bulgaria-Micurin- and swim to Turkey. I exercised a lot for this purpose and I was well prepared.
But plan one worked out okay.
Law-abiding citizen Vaclav
What fascinates me the most about his escape story is that he used any means necessary to get to his target; that is a Western country that would give him visa to re-enter USA. My father is a law-abiding citizen who never breaks any rules. And he definitely never breaks his own tough rules, forged by the years spent at the Archbishop Seminary in Kromeriz.
However, in his escape journey, he had to resort to lying and deception. Dad even came very close to breaking traffic rules in Yugoslavia.
“I went as fast as the traffic rules allowed to Belgrade. I was stopped by police there, but they let me go even if it were just in the opposite direction to Sophia. I reported to Mrs. Julia Cardozo-Neitzke, U.S. Consul on July 27, 1976. No embassy wanted to issue me visa, but after enormous effort of the U.S. Embassy I got German visa.”
His Contributor Profile closes with the following statement:
“Vaclav’s sincerest hope is for world peace.”
Thanks dad for so much inspiration.
Note: Dad Vaclav and mom Ella currently winterize in Venice, FL. I will be joining them for my annual writer’s retreat in February.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.