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.
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.
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.
Local author pens Shifting Sands book of short stories
A press release is a TraditionalGate way to media coverage at large, don’t be a Dormant writer,or author. You’ve finished your book now what?
For immediate release
July 25, 2017
Lowell, MI- Local author Emma Palova of Lowell has published the book Shifting Sands Short Stories, formats kindle and paperback, now available on Amazon for $7.99 and $11.99.
Palova’s book will also be available at the Kent District (KDL) libraries, the Hastings Public Library and in Big Rapids.
She will have a book signing event at the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum on September 16 & 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the Fallasburg Fall Fest and the Fallasburg village bazaar, with more local author events to be announced. The public is welcome.
The Shifting Sands Short Stories book is a collection of 13 short stories that Palova wrote and collected over the span of more than two decades. The fiction’s genre is magic realism, a combination of fantasy with reality.
“In magic realism you combine the fictitious with fantasy and sometimes you use real characters to model the fictitious characters,” Palova said. “It can be a hybrid. I don’t write about Martians. I write about real people.”
Palova started writing for the Czechoslovak Newsweek based in New York City in 1990 upon arrival in the USA. She initially wrote a column, “A Place for Commentary” in Czech.
Many of the stories are based on experiences Palova has had during her time living and working in the greater Lowell area, West Michigan.
“I am passionate about the hometowns in Midwest America their characters and personalities,” she said. “They are a hardy bunch.”
Palova has been writing for the area publications since 1997 when she launched her journalistic career with Kaechele Publications in Allegan. In 1998, she joined the staff of the Ionia-Sentinel Standard where she received awards for community reporting from the Ionia Chamber of Commerce in 2000 and the Ionia County Community Mental Health, 2003. In 2011, she received an award from American Legion for covering veterans’ events. In 2015, Palova also had a community blog in the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.
Palova worked as a correspondent for the Grand Rapids Press, the Advance Newspapers, Gemini Publications and the Lowell Ledger.
Palova is currently working on the second volume of stories, as well as on the memoir “Greenwich Meridian, where East meets West” about the Konecny family immigration saga from Czechoslovakia to the USA.
She is preparing her first novel, “Fire on Water” based on her communist experience for publication.
Palova has a lifetime passion for history and politics. She does social media marketing for the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS), and she is working with the Tri-River Historical Museum Network.
“I am deeply humbled by the opportunities this country has given me,” Palova said.
Shifting Sands Short Stories on Amazon, author’s page
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.
Fueling the passion of the Storyteller 2017 with book excerpts, part IV
I have named my book campaign Storyteller 2017 because I am so excited about this epic year full of big changes.
Follow me on my journey from writer journalist to author of Shifting Sands Short Stories to be released on June 30 on Amazon.
This is the fourth part of the Storyteller 2017 series following the introduction on June 20, the Beginnings on June 21 and the Impermanence of characters in the Shifting Sands Short Stories on June 22.
As I have mentioned in the previous installments, I have divided the 13 stories in the Shifting Sands Short Stories collection thematically and chronologically into three circles.
The first circle of stories draws on the early years of immigration experience of learning French in Montreal, and taking creative short story writing at the International Correspondence Schools, ICS.
Those were the transformative years or impermanence for me and the characters like Danillo in Danillo, Vanessa in Honey Azrael and the couple Martin and Ellen in the Temptation of Martin Duggan.
The second circle of stories reflects the time for assimilation into the American culture. These include: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The characters in the second circle suffer from the boredom of a daily routine in a store, but they fear change. The setting is rural Midwest America. I created the town of Riddleyville with its secrets and vices. The Riddleyville characters range from robust Big Irma, Shorty, philosophical Ula, pretty Rachel, boxcutter Amy, sick Therese to deceitful Vadim in the Death Song.
Here is an excerpt from Orange Nights:
The store kept its secrets in the backrooms where the employees gathered for breaks and meetings. Things not said on the floor, were exaggerated here freely over nasty coffee and lunches brought from home in plastic containers.
The kid who extended his stay at the store instead of going to college usually cleaned the backrooms and the public restrooms. Sometimes he worked in the smelly bottle room. Customers and employees called him “Shorty.”
It just caught on.
“Hey, people, do you have to make such a mess or what?” he asked.
If Shorty was in a bad mood, he’d complain, and mop the floor under your feet, and knock down your lunchbox.
He wasn’t a typical loser, he just acted like one.
The second shift already faced the remnants of the day, including the bad attitudes and unfulfilled dreams of yesterday.
The saying around the town of Riddleyville was that at one point in time, everyone has worked at the store for a million different reasons.
My passion for writing continued to grow as I took journalism classes at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in the mid-1990s. At that time I wrote feature stories for the GRCC paper the “Collegiate.”
I wrote a chunk of the short stories, while taking these classes and working at the store.
The passion continues in the next part V of the Storyteller 2017 series.
The book Shifting Sands Short Stories is now available for pre-order on Amazon at:
Storyteller 2017 journey from writer journalist to author
By Emma Palova
In the Storyteller 2017 series leading up to the June 30 publication of Shifting Sands Short Stories, I write about the origins of the characters and the stories.
I’ve named my campaign Storyteller 2017 because of the big changes taking place this year. These changes continue to inspire me, along with my passion for history, arts and nature.
I can divide the 13 stories in the book into three circles: The first circle draws on my early years of immigration to North America, and living in between Canada and the USA.
These stories in the first circle include: Danillo, Honey Azrael and the Temptation of Martin Duggan.
The second circle of stories is from the time of assimilation into the American culture. These stories draw on my experience of working in a Midwest retail store. They include: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The third circle of stories is from the newspaper business for various media; on staff and freelance. These stories include: Foxy, In the Shadows, Iron Horse, Riddleyville Clowns and Chatamal.
The characters in the first immigration circle of stories Danillo in the story “Danillo”, Vanessa in “Honey Azrael” and Martin with Ellen in the “Temptation of Martin Duggan” embody impermanence as they struggle under the burden of immigration.
They find themselves in a transient state between their old countries and the new American world. They have trouble adapting to the new culture in everything that surrounds them: food, people, spices and love.
In that aspect, the characters are living in a state of impermanence, and as such are transient for the rest of their lives like driftwood on the beach.
Also the featured photo of transient dew on grass in the morning.
They adapt or go back to the old status quo in their homeland. Either way this struggle transforms the transient characters into a new state.
Excerpts from “Danillo”:
He had trouble adapting not only to the winters Up North, an expression Danillo never quite understood, but also to the language. And of course loneliness. He had no friends, except for old Jose on the apple farm.
His family was thousands of miles away. His only connection with the warmth of home was the phone, the letters and memories of the past; the rising and the setting sun on the horizon of the small bay.
Danillo was living between the sunny past and the cold present. Back home by the Sierra Madre, he used to drive to the warm waters of the bay, but here Up North, the waters were cold.
Another cold wave came and washed more sand from under his feet.
About the design of the cover to Shifting Sands Short Stories by Emma Palova:
People have also been asking me about the cover design to the Shifting Sands Short Stories collection.
I used the hour-glass with the shifting sand as an anchor to the cover. The grains of sands make up the characters like the genetic make-up of our DNA. This was inspired by Dali’s fascination with genetic spirals. The grains shift like the destinies of the characters, like the fluid energy of our lives.
Further the mood/tone of the stories is expressed in the shade of the hour-glass and the fallen mauve colored petals of a tulip at the base.
Watch for more excerpts from Shifting Sands Short Stories now available for pre-order on Amazon