“It struck me that as writers, we have a unique opportunity – a responsibility, even- to voice our own truth and to help others do the same.”
Writer’s Digest editor-in-chief Tyler Moss
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI -I got an e-mail today from the BlogHer 18 Creators Summit seeking nominations for Voices of the Year. The deadline to nominate an inspiring woman influencer is May 31. The tradition of celebrating women’s voices has been around for 11 years in the ever-changing world of blogging.
Just a few minutes ago, I happily removed the metal stakes designating the driveway for snowplowing and stored away the snow shovel. Only our famous blade for the Jeep reminds me of a winter gone by. It’s too heavy for me to lift it.
I picked up my Fleet Street Missy spring coat yesterday at J.C. Penney in Greenville. I hope I won’t need it until late fall.
I ran into a fisherman at my favorite hideaway at the tip of the horseshoe-shaped lake three miles away.
“I am just poking for bass and pike before I get my boat out,” he said.
“Yes, it’s a very nice lake that gets really busy on weekends,” I said.
“Sure, that’s why I come out on weekday mornings,” the fisherman said.
Me too; I always come out to the lake in the morning seeking inspiration in its calm waters. Today, I also discovered my Lenten Rose poking its purple head out of the thawing ground.
Earlier in the week, I had an interesting interview with a writer for the Grand Rapids Magazine about me and my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories. My husband Ludek wished me good luck, as I assured him that I am equally comfortable on both sides of the interview.
I absolutely loved the question that Lauren had asked me during the interview at Jamnbean Coffee Co. in Ada.
“How do you want your readers to feel after they are done reading the book?” she asked.
I had to get to the right answer with a lot of prelude. Finally, I responded.
“Transformed and maybe bewildered,” I said, “because that’s how I feel when I am done writing them.”
The article will come out in the print version of the Grand Rapids Magazine in July.
The interview was also an opportunity to list my forthcoming author’s events. I realized I wasn’t a great planner, by not being able to look that far ahead.
But, after reading “Roar,” a profile of emerging and groundbreaking authors in the Writer’s Digest, I realized something very important. And I quote:
“It struck me that as writers, we have a unique opportunity – a responsibility, even- to voice our own truth and to help others do the same.”
Editor-in-Chief Tyler Moss
Don’t Fret your own voice. It will shape your destiny.
As an author, blogger, screenwriter, journalist, short story writer and a novelist, I really have a unique opportunity to “Seize the day” or “Carpe Diem.”
Book me for your events in the physical world or on the web today. Don’t wait another 100 years.
Following are the topics that I will be addressing in the upcoming months:
Creating an author’s platform & following
How to create your author’s platform using WordPress blog/website plus social media.
Writing your life story/memoir
Memoir writing does require an outline or a timeline with important milestones pertaining to your story. It should be chronological, but you can open each chapter with the most interesting episode/scene.
For example: When daughters write about mothers, their complex relationship does not necessarily end with the parent’s death.
When writing about a business that has been handed down from generation to generation, start with the generation that has made the most profound impact or the generation that has pulled the business through a major crisis or to new heights.
When capturing a segment of your life, focus on how has a certain experience changed you and why.
Researching your roots, ancestry. Why does it matter and to whom?
Book trailers, video productions and podcasts are a must in an increasingly visual society. Always script everything you’re going to say. Create an audio version of your book.
How to write an effective press release to get media interviews and publicity.
Have an email list of useful contacts. Inform your contacts on regular basis about your progress in a newsletter.
From idea to final
How to take the initial inspiration on a journey to the final product; whether it be a book, a screenplay, a movie or a video production.
You find yourself one lovely afternoon struck by a fast-fleeting thought that will soon disappear along with others into the imagination swamp.
How do you make it stay or how do you rescue your idea from the swamp?
Test and explore your inspiration.
What genre to pick, and what format to use?
Depending on your topic and how you treat it, it will land you with a certain format within a genre.
This may be a novel, novella, a short story, a play or a screenplay.
Don’t just go by what’s big now, because it could be little tomorrow.
By that, I specifically mean the current phenomenon of historical fiction.
Women’s fiction involves a transformation of the hero with a bit of romance, but not as the major plot.
Pick something you know well, but give it a new angle. Pick the right market/audience from Writer’s Market.
Know how and when to pitch the right editors.
Become an expert in a certain area.
Don’t be afraid to stand out with a unique opinion a new perspective.
This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign theme is #PressforProgress which calls for action to press forward and progress gender parity.
Now, more than ever it takes on a new meaning in light of the recent events not just exclusive to Hollywood and the politicians.
The campaign gives us five options of positive behaviours toward gender equality starting with maintaining a gender parity mindset all the way to celebrating women’s achievements.
I have chosen all five. But long before this campaign I had the positive influence of celebrating womanhood in the old country. The socialist government encouraged the celebration of IWD.
One of my favorite memories from the former socialist Czechoslovakia is the celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), both at work and at home.
The country very much valued its female population to the point that women could stay on a maternity leave for up to three years without losing their job. They received 60 percent of their salary for the first two years of their maternity leave with full salary for the first six months.
The nurseries were free as well as other preschool child-care establishments. While capitalism swiped all that away, the country did manage to keep all its old holidays along with the new ones. The country doubled up on fun when they picked back up Mother’s Day with the advance of the free market economy, and retained International Women’s Day from the past.
I still see well wishes to women from my Czech friends on Facebook on this day. Now, that warms my heart; the fact that both systems acknowledge a woman’s place in the society and in the workplace.
We used to get flowers or pantyhose at work, or the other way around at home. Even though now I don’t get either for this day, I still dedicate a memory, a post, or a wish to all the women in the world.
Inspired by the IWD tradition, I started my most popular story series, “Inspiring Women” in the winter of 2014. The series features women that are making a difference in their communities.
Since then, I have featured women from all walks of life: small town politicians, businesswomen, sportswomen, nuns, artists, doctors, herbalists, bloggers and many more. Each woman told her own story, and they were all inspiring. They are the Fabric of their families and communities.
Just to name a few: Gail Lowe, Liz Baker, Betty Dickinson, Sharon Ellison, Betty Morlock, Mary Dailey Brown, Kathleen Mooney and most recently Betsy Davidson.
If you run into them, say thank you. Nominate a woman who has inspired you for a story.
This feature series is dedicated to all women who are making a difference in their communities. They work to improve other people’s lives, as well as their own. They give Profusely of themselves. In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in my life that in particular stand out.
No.1 A dedication of a Relax, mind, body & soul book by Barbara Heller from my son Jake: “I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” Kuba
No. 2 While on a story prior to Mother’s Day, I dropped in at Ace Bernard Hardware to talk about the prizes with owner Charlie Bernard. We talked also about the Lowell Area Chamber and its director Liz Baker.
“You know what I like about Liz, she keeps re-inventing herself,” Bernard said.
No. 3 Again on a story prior to the International Women’s Day on March 8, I talked to Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown.
“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.”
No. 4 At a parents teacher conference at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell in the mid 1990s, I spoke with my son’s teacher, Karen Latva:
“Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” she said.
This series is geared toward the International Women’s Day on March 8. Nominate a woman who has inspired you. Contact Emma at email@example.com with subject Inspiring Women.
There is a parallel series “Inspiring Communities” where you can nominate both men and women, year round.
Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce names Betsy Davidson Person of the Year 2018
“Find something that you are passionate about and jump in with both feet.”
Lowell, MI- Betsy Davidson, owner of Addorio Technologies, is the recipient of the 2018 Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year Award.
She will accept the prestigious award at the winter gathering of the chamber membership on Feb. 15.
The award came as a total surprise to Davidson, who found out about the honor at the ambassador breakfast club. “It’s very humbling,” she said. “My customers have been congratulating me. I am very happy.”
Davidson has been the owner of Addorio Technologies since 2000. She started the company when her former employer Creative Handling of Hudsonville went out of business.
Her first job was at Deer Run Golf Course, and her first car was a blue Renault.
How does she gets things done
Davidson described herself as a dedicated and persistent individual. In preparation for a big project as in building a website or a server/network upgrade, Davidson first meets with the customer to make sure expectations are met and details are communicated.
The major challenge in the technology business, according to Davidson, is keeping up with constant changes in IT. That means attending trainings, workshops, webinars and on the job training.
For inspiration, Davidson looks up to fellow business owners. Her role model is chamber executive director Liz Baker.
“She has so much energy,” she said. “I can’t keep up with her.”
There was another reason why Davidson wanted her own business, since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Positive thinking has always kept me going,” she said, “my family, my husband Matt and my friends.”
She has never wanted to quit her job.
“I get more excited as I grow my business,” she said. “I keep moving forward.”
A lot of Davidson’s business is in the greater Lowell area.
In response to a question about fear in both professional and personal lives, Davidson said the only fear she has in business is disappointing customers.
However, in personal life Davidson said she’s afraid she could miss out on spending time with the family and friends.
Her biggest professional accomplishment is receiving the 2018 Person of the Year award.
Also, last year, Davidson was presented with an award for raising $50,000 for the MS Society.
“We were among the top 10 for a “do it yourself fundraiser” for the state of Michigan.
Davidson and her family have been doing this fundraiser for the last 16 years.
On the theme of success, Davidson attributed her achievements to her determination.
“I am kind of stubborn, and I keep going,” she laughed. “I don’t stop.”
Among her goals is to continue to do 5k runs, and a 10k run tentatively in 2018. She does the 5/3 Fifth Third Run, Ionia Parks run and Alpha Women’s Center run.
Her interests include travel. She plans to visit her grandma Annette Addorio, 103, in Maine. She named her business, Addorio Technologies after her grandmother.
Davidson is an active volunteer with the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and the Lowell Area Trails network. Between the three organizations, Davidson spends approximately five to 10 hours volunteering a week on top of her 50 to 60 hours a week work schedule.
She offered the following tips and advice to other women:
“Number one is balance,” she said. “It’s hard to squeeze time out of the day, but I have a passion for what I am doing.”Also, Davidson advises not to be afraid to ask other people for help.
“Find out who else is passionate about the same thing, and it will strengthen the project,” she said.
In face of negativity, Davidson always focuses on positivity.
“There is a lot of negativity, try to focus on the positive,” she said.
The Person of the Year Award annually honors people who make contributions in the greater Lowell community above their regular work.
“It is a huge honor to receive the award,” Davidson said. “It’s all-encompassing. I wouldn’t have received this award, if it weren’t for the help of the people I work with.”
Davidson hopes to continue to do all this and more into the future.
Name: Betsy Davidson
Occupation: Business owner of Addorio Technologies
Education: Central Michigan University
Family: husband Matt
Hobbies & Interests: walking, running, travel and spending time with family
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
International Women’s Day theme 2017 encourages to Be Bold For Change
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Hastings, MI- The screen on all my devices says Wednesday, March 8. Today is International Women’s Day. Every year on this day, I think about the women in this world, both privileged and underprivileged.
I think about the progress we have made since the suffragist movement for the women’s right to vote in the early 1900s. I also think about the progress we have yet to make.
Yes, in modern societies we get equal education like men in any given field, at any given time. The difference is in what happens after schooling, regardless the continent we live on.
I am not a feminist by any stretch of imagination, but I do have to admit after years in the labor market, I have to say:
“It is still a man’s world.”
Years ago, the pretty blonde character Amanda from the TV series “Melrose Place,” said it the best, as she was in vain climbing the company ladder.
“The big boys will let us go only so far.”
That is not to say that I haven’t met women in top positions as editors, publishers and business owners. I am an Internet entrepreneur with a big love for the free business spirit. And I know other women who own businesses like Nancy DeBoer, owner of Station Salon in Lowell.
But, even then, there is a missing fraction of an inch, that missing gap why Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first female president of the USA last year.
The movement for women’s rights is not always just about money and equal opportunities. It’s more about a woman’s positioning in the society.
Maybe, it’s because our primary role is to take care of our families; at first children and then aging parents or grandparents.
“What do you like about being a woman?” I asked babysitter Heather before I left for a meeting on this very windy morning.
“Being a mom,” she said laughing, “a man can’t say that.”
And yes, I braved the 50-mile winds to drive 40 miles to a meeting, only to find out there was no power. There was no meeting and tree limbs blocked the roads. I ventured into the local KDL library in hometown Lowell to finish writing this International Women’s Day post because I couldn’t get home due to a fallen tree in the road.
No matter how brave we are, at any given stage in life, we will always be the primary caregivers. The society relies on us in any country around the world to take care of what really matters, at a time when it matters.
On daily basis we drive cars, buses, use public transportation, order food in restaurants, pay for it, pound the keyboards, stand in front of cameras and lead in meetings and speeches.
We are teachers, nurses, doctors, babysitters, high-lo drivers and construction workers.
But, first and foremost, we are moms, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and girlfriends looking out for each other in a fellowship.
This global fellowship is called womanhood.
As I have recently and gratefully found out, we also have to take care of each other. If we don’t do that, no one else will do that for us. We get together, whether in knitting or gardening clubs, to encourage each other.
So in essence, the 2017 theme “Be Bold For Change” has always been with us for the last 100 years since the Soviet Revolution.
A prologue quote to one novel says:
“May you live in changing times.”
In the popular winter series “Inspiring Women” on EW Emma’s Writings that leads up to the International Women’s Day, I have written about women from all walks of life. They have always stood boldly in the face of adversity, without expecting any rewards.
Hiker Babe Gail Lowe walked in memory of her daughter Becka 4,600 miles on the North Country Trail (NCT) to commemorate her life in 2014.
Since the establishment of NCT in 1980, only five men have completed a thru hike of the trail and Lowe was the sixth person, and the only woman in the USA.
NCTA executive director Bruce Matthews said Lowe’s hike elevates the awareness of the North Country Trail.
“It fires people’s imagination and makes the trail more accessible to women,” he said. “It expands the horizon. It is unusual to complete it in one season.”
Matthews said solitude is part of the trail experience.
“We hope it inspires others to hike the trail,” he said.
Fellowship with women at home and around the world is the key to overall well-being and peace.
Helping women in the Third World countries is the primary mission of the SowHope organization based in Grand Rapids.
“If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty,” said SowHope director Mary Dailey Brown.
On this day, women are also gathering around the world to protest the status quo of inequality and the violation of women’s rights to decide about their own health.
For more info go to:
For more posts about Inspiring Women go to:
Hiker Babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of daughter
Lowell, MI- In light of the March 1, “Big Birthdays” post, I find this, “When I am 64,” by Debra Kolkka of Brisbane, Australia post very enlightening.
And I discovered that the story behind the “Bagni di Lucca and Beyond” blog is even more inspiring. Two friends, Debra and Liz, who live in Brisbane, Australia, started blogging about their houses in Italy to inform tourists.
Much like for the rest of us, Deb’s and Liz’s blog has grown into a passion building upon their colorful careers in fashion and retail.
Watch for a story on blog discoveries around the world. Visit with Debra and Liz in Brisbane for cosmopolitan inspiration.
Longtime artist inspires generations embedded in Lowell area
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Note: The IW winter series, which leads up to the International Women’s Day on March 8, features women from all walks of life who continue to inspire others in our communities.
Their positions in the society are not measured by money or the accolades they receive, but by contributions to progress and well-being of all.
Nominate a woman who has inspired you for the series.
Lowell, MI – Artist Janet Y. Johnson, 86, is an icon. Together with artists late David Davis and current Kathleen Mooney, they have created an artistic legacy for generations embedded in the greater Lowell area.
Johnson has been a staple at the Flat River Gallery & Framing in downtown Lowell with countless exhibits of watercolor and acrylic paintings.
The gallery will celebrate its fourth anniversary with the “Let’s celebrate” event with champagne and chocolates on Feb. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Johnson recalls all the great years of exhibiting and painting in the Lowell area.
“They’re all realistic paintings,” said Johnson about her work.
Some of them go as far back as to the heydays of another icon, the Lowell Showboat on the Flat River in the 1950s.
“I used to sing on it, and then I painted it,” Johnson said during a recent interview at her home.
As we looked at the dark blue watercolor painting of the Showboat with strings of lights floating on the Flat River hanging in the detached studio, one could imagine the lively atmosphere on the deck.
You could almost hear the voices singing:
“Here comes the Showboat.”
Johnson sold two paintings of the Showboat and bought one back when the owner stated, that the painting should stay in the Lowell area.
Johnson has lived in the Lowell area for 57 years.
Growing up on a farm in Alto, Johnson acquired a natural affinity to all animals.
Johnson studied animal drawing at the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL and graduated in 1951.
Prior to that, she studied at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, and worked as a publication designer for Amway in the 70s.
“It was a wonderful place to work,” she said.
Among her favorites are vivid paintings of exotic animals in circus settings.
Johnson’s most recent watercolor painting is of the Miller Circus which performed in Lowell last August after the fair. She will hang the painting of the circus at the gallery for the new February show.
According to Johnson, the circus ringmaster at the Miller Circus was connected to the Ringlings.
Johnson spent most of 2016 illustrating the children’s book “Gertie Goose.”
“It’s a story about bullying,” said Johnson.
Pat Markle, former teacher of Hastings Schools, wrote the book. This was the third project for the author illustrator duo during the last decade.
The book is available at the Lowell Arts and at the Flat River galleries for $15.
“Gertie Goose” was published by J-Ad Graphics of Hastings in 2016.
I am bringing back the popular IW Inspiring Women series for the winter. The series carries the logo of the enigmatic orchids which come in a thousand of varieties, each bringing joy with her own beauty. Much like the women in this world.
In this series I bring to you the stories of women who inspire others with their character, actions and the love for what they do. As daughters, mothers, grandmothers and wives, they all make a difference in their own way.
All of them juggle different responsibilities; to themselves, to the families and to the society at large.
Their value is not listed in dollars they bring to the economy, but in their contribution to bettering the lives of other people.
Meet artist turned hunter Linda Kropf Phillips
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- I first met artist Linda Kropf Phillips, owner of Natures Serenity, at a little known bazaar in the historic village of Fallasburg two years ago.
She was manning the booth with her brother Jerry Kropf. Most people in the area know the name Kropf, as the well- established owners of the Kropf apple orchards.
“Are you related to the Kropfs?” was one of my questions during a recent interview with Linda.
“Which ones?” she asked.
“The apple farmers?”
“My father was the carpenter in the family,” Linda said.
It was her father Bob Kropf ,who not only inspired Linda, but who also taught her perfection in glass etching of gun cabinets and everything else in business, like reasonable pricing.
“My dad challenged me,” she said. “I worked in his wood shop for 20 years at Murray Lake. He taught me a lot of woodwork. I taught myself glass etching on china and glass cabinets.”
Yes, there was no challenge too big for Linda to handle, whether it was the etching of a standing bear and a partridge flying over his head, or other intrinsic scenes from nature.
“I found a picture of a standing bear in a magazine,” Linda said.
One of her first drawings was a sketch of the GI Joe doll. Some four decades later, Linda easily found the pencil drawing at the house. And it was not just the doll, but also some sketches of the Beatles.
Linda started drawing when she was 11 years old. Growing up as a 4-H girl and doing rodeo, she loved to draw horses.
She went to the Alton country school from 1964 to 1968 prior to going to the Lowell public schools.
“I rode my horse to school,” she laughed.
But, sometimes it was mom Jan Kropf who played the bus driver loading up the kids in a car and hauling them to school.
Linda graduated from the Lowell High School in 1976, and she received the perfect graduation gift.
It was tuition for one year at the Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids. She had already taken advanced ceramics and design classes in high school. In sixth grade, Linda also took art classes from local artist Jan Johnson.
Four years ago, Linda started her Natures Serenity line of artwork on slab and drift wood.
“I love being outside, hunting, taking pictures of nature and kayaking,” she said.
While kayaking on the Flat River on the morning the Whites Bridge in Smyrna burnt, Linda found pieces of driftwood and metal from the bridge down the river.
She painted the covered Whites Bridge on a piece of driftwood and hung it on the metal from the bridge. First the driftwood had to dry out and Linda coated it with three to four coats of polyurethane to preserve them.
The two pieces sold at the Danish Festival in 2014 in Greenville with half of the proceeds going to the “Rebuild Whites Bridge” organization.
Artist Linda is also an avid hunter, who annually heads out into the woods in the Upper Peninsula with her husband Scott. Naturally, she would not reveal their “sacred hunting grounds” somewhere northwest of Marquette.
Scott has been hunting for the last 45 years, while Linda started hunting 11 years ago. Before that Linda rabbit hunted with her brother. She took her first deer with a gun, when she was three months pregnant in 1986.
For Linda, family always comes first.
“I started going with Scott with my camera and took my artwork with me,” she said. “We go during the gun season hunting for bear, and I bow hunt for deer.”
Naturally, Linda who took up bow hunting three years ago, is inspired by the great outdoors and what it has to offer. Her booth at the Dec. 3 Rogue River Arts Show was an amazing display of nature’s scenes on wood. Everything from deer, fowl, fish, Queen Anne’s lace to footprints captured on a wooden slab. Some of the artwork boasted 3D imagery in detailed foliage and branches during different seasons.
“I like the fall, so bow and arrow wins,” she said. “I feel safer.”
One of her scariest experiences was while hunting on the ground.
“I had a wolf behind sniffing at me,” she said. “I was nervous. I thought it was just a squirrel crinkling again.”
Well that “crinkling squirrel” turned out to be a 157 pound black bear. But, these adventures do not prevent Linda from going “Up North” to hunt in the “sacred land.”
“We stay in a camper, 10 days at a time depending on the weather,” she said. “Sometimes it’s two hours to the closest processor.”
And back home in Lowell, the dinner always features some wild game, whether deer, bear, fish or fowl in the form of burger, roast or steaks.
“We have deer all the time,” Linda said.
Most recently, based on popular demand from the less macho side of the population, Linda added to her wildlife art portfolio paintings of chickadees and cardinals.
“It runs the gamut from deer, moose, bass and I added flowers, “she said.
Natures Serenity artwork is available at Bodacious in Rockford and at Pinky’s Place Antique & Artisan Market in Grand Rapids.
Her busy art show season starts in July with the Fourth of July Artist Show in the UP, Lake Odessa Arts in the Park on Aug. 5th, Danish Festival on Aug. 19th & Aug. 20th and Rockford on Sept. 10th
The last show of the season is always the Rogue River Arts & Artisan Show on the first Saturday in December at the Lowell High School.
Nominate a woman who has in any way inspired you this year or in the past. In the IW women’s series, I have featured artists like Kathleen Mooney, entrepreneur Station Salon’s owner Nancy DeBoer, hiker Gail “Chosen” Lowe who has hiked all five national trails in the USA, Lowell Area Chamber director Liz Baker, former Lowell city clerk Betty Morlock, trail developer Carolyn Kane, founder of SowHope Mary Dailey Brown and many others.
E-mail Emma via the contact page or on Facebook at emmapalova@Facebook.com