Category Archives: publishing

Day 23 of National Novel Writing Month

Daily insights from #nanowrimo with excerpts

National Novel Writing Month.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

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.”

For more info go to:

http://www.nanrowrimo.org

Takeaways

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”

Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

“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.

Nanowrimo sponsors

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Day 22 of the National Novel Writing Month

Daily insights with excerpts from #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and followers around the globe.

As the tension in Europe intensifies with pending strikes in France and Czech Republic, I am deeply humbled by the Thanksgiving feast of hardiness and determination of our predecessors to survive.

I am thankful for this country’s abundance and the free creative spirit. I look forward to spending the holiday with our family from Big Rapids and Hastings. My deepest unfullfilled wish is for our French family to be here with us as well.

In the creative spirit of this free country, I logged in this morning with 42,578 words doing my personal part in the 50K word marathon.

The short story “40 Hunks” is a part of the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. This is a sequel to “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

It is my clear intention to see “Secrets” to print in 2019 after the revision months of January and February suppported by the National Novel Writing Month.

For more info go to:

http://www.nanowrimo.org

Excerpts from “40 Hunks”

Tracking progress at 42,578 words on Thanksgiving, 2018.

The work guide didn’t respond and turned his head away from Jose. He got immediately on the phone with the central farm.

“We’re heading out,” he said. “I need to count the heads. There’s supposed to be 40 men aboard. I need to count them to make sure I don’t have 50. We already looked in the storage; just fuel containers, no extra men.”

Jose decided to mind his own business and ignored the guide who walked to the back of the bus counting the men.

Antonio got up angrily as the guide approached the back of the bus. His shirt was ripped in the back and he had leather bracelets on his wrists. He grabbed the handle bars below the ceiling of the bus, and swayed in front of the work guide.

“How may I help you, gringo?” said Antonio in broken English. “How many times are you going to count us? There are 40 men on this bus. That doesn’t include you and the driver. I want to keep it that way until we get there.”

Antonio looked at the work guide and ripped off his name tag and threw it on the floor.

“There you go,” he laughed. “You’re nobody. You white piece of shit. Remember that.”

Antonio fell back heavily on the torn seat with white fuzz sticking out. He pulled some of the fuss out of the seat.

“I’ll stick this into your mouth, if you don’t stay quiet,” threatened Antonio.

The guide retreated to the front by Jose, who was now whistling to a tune on his cassette player.

“Man, you got a rough crowd here,” said the guide. “Who is that big dude?”

“Nobody, just like the rest of them,” said Jose. “Leave me alone. I need some rest.”

Sponsors of #nanowrimo

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 12 #nanowrimo

Half-way point reached with 25,282 words, daily insights

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I reached the half-way point of the National Novel Writing Month creative project this morning at 11 a.m. with 25,282 words in the 50K word marathon.

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Needless to say that I am excstatic. I average six pages a day or 1,500 words. I am still working on historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which becomes a part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) Emma Palova, a sequel to last year’s Shifting Sands: Short Stories.

I was delighted to find out about the different shoes from the 1920s like T-strap Mary Janes and Oxfords. Who said that research and history are boring? It depends on what you’re looking for.

I have a clear intention of seeing “Secrets” to print. There is a section “Now What?” on the #nanowrimo once you’re done with your 50,000 words. It will be supported in the months of January and February with the #NaNoNowWhat event to move along the revision and publishing process.

I am really looking forward to also chatting with #NaNoCoach Carolina DeRobertis on twitter this week. Not that I can take a breather, but it does feel good to reach the half-way point marked by a 25,000 word badge.

Excerpts

Nora was hesitant to speak.

“You want to talk to me, dear?” Doris encouraged her protégé to speak up.

“I know Doris, you’re single and you probably wouldn’t understand me,” whispered shyly Nora.

Doris straightened up in her chair and looked deeply at Nora’s face.

“I may be single, but that doesn’t mean I never had boyfriend,” she said.

The office was functional but pretty just like the rest of the dorms.

“I can’t attend high tea on Sunday,” Nora breathed heavily as got the dreaded words out of her.

Doris walked to Nora and put her hand on her shoulder.

“Look at me, Nora,” she said. “It isn’t a sin not to attend high tea. You know it’s not mandatory.”

“I know, but I don’t want to disappoint you, Doris,” said Nora teary-eyed, “or make you feel bad.”

“Nora, you’re acting up because of nothing, what is really going on with you?” Doris asked.

Nora had been secluding herself ever since that dance with Harry at the Rose Ballroom. She didn’t talk much with any other girls at the dorms or at work.

“You know my friend Harry?” Nora paused to think about her words.

“Yes, the newspaper writer, you danced with him at the ball,” said Doris. “What about him?”

“He asked me out to the movies this Sunday during your high tea,” said Nora sadly.

Doris sat back in her chair behind the desk.

 

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 10 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI -It’s the second weekend of the National Novel Writing Month. It’s a dreary day out there, a perfect one for writing. However, I have to tend to my family too. So, I broke up my morning writing routine to spend some time with our son Jake and the kids, Josephine and Dominic. Luckily my husband Ludek made dinner: brussel sprouts, ham and gnocci. I don’t want to be a starving writer all the time.

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I continued to write in the afternoon logging in with 21,900 words, a lot less than I wanted to. I was hoping to reach the half-way mark tomorrow in the 50K word marathon. I talked with mom Ella a little bit. We usually chat on Sundays, but my parents are going to a Vereran’s Day concert at Ferris State University.

Since, I am working on a historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova as part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, I had to do some research. Normally, I wouldn’t mind if the clock wasn’t ticking. Still, I was delighted to find out some facts from the 1920s: pastry pigs as desserts, cordials for cocktails, the cloche hat, and the increased use of the radio and the phonograph.

I looked up the menu for the 1920s on the Internet and this immediately came up on inliterature.net Book Inspired: “Throwing a 1920s Great Gatsby party; the Menu from the Book.”

In a way the 1920s era reminds of what’s going on right now as we approach 2019: increased independence of women, new devices with streaming, Tesla’s “Starman” in space and overall progress in every field.

I feel privileged to be a part of the inevitable progress in humanity by participating in #nanowrimo and its nobel goals of spreading the power of words around the globe. I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets”, a sequel to my debut book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

Dressed up to the nines, they walked to Hotel Belding where everything was set up to start as soon as the town clock struck 8 p.m. Nora and Mathilda were in awe since they have never been in the Rose Ballroom reserved for special occasions.

This was a very special occasion since the Belding brothers, Hiram and Alvah were expected to attend the benefit ball for Red Cross. The World War I had broken in Europe, and there was no end to it.

The Rose Ballroom was decked out in fall colors of orange, yellow, brown and green.

Doris after all was coming since it was a ball for the Red Cross. The stately matron was coming with the crew from the hospital.

They were all  seated at the same round table for 12. Nora kept watching the door nervously, if Harry was going to show up. He was supposed to cover the event for the Belding Banner. Nora was shocked when Doris entered through the main door to the ballroom sporting a short bob hiding under cloche hat.

“Doris, you look absolutely ravishing,” said Nora as she stood up the greet the matron and the team.

“I couldn’t resist, dear,” she said jovially. “How do you like it?”

“It’s absolutely adorable,” said Nora, “and your dress, it’s lovely.”

Doris had the dress made for last year’s New Year’s Eve ball but didn’t end up going because of an emergency at the hospital.

Seamstress Lulu with her Lulu’s Fashions was located on Main Street next to the Millinery Shop. At the time, women were expected to wear hats. To go outside without a hat was considered not just unfashionable, but rude and a display of bad manners. Compared to dresses, hats were fairly expensive. Women spent between 20 cents and $7 on a hat. To have two hats look alike was unheard of. The milliner sewed each hat by hand and made it unique to the owner. Being a milliner, was one of the few occupations women were allowed to work along with the seamstress profession.

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 8 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the 50K word marathon with excerpts

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By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I don’t know about the rest of the 500,000 people who are participating in the National Novel Writing Month around the globe, but I struggled today. I didn’t have time to check with fellow writers on social media.

Exactly one week into #nanowrimo, I logged in 1,200 words for today with the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova; that is less than the required daily rate of 1,667 words. I had to go to town and go about business, other than writing. And somewhere along the road, I caught the bug, sneezing and caughing all day. That all signifies that we’re getting the first snow tomorrow, that will actually stick to the ground.

Plus, I wasn’t completely sure, if I wanted to pursue the new story that required some research. But, I went for it, so the story will become a part of the new collection of stories: “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. It is my clear intention to see this project to print.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

The story began to unravel itself with new characters like Nora and Doris, along with old historical characters, the Belding Brothers. That brought up my total word count to 18,605 words with the plot ready to go.

Here is an excerpt:

Nora worked at the Richardson Mill located on the banks of the Flat River. Every morning she punched the clock at 6 a.m. and sat at her station by the window with hundreds of other girls. They made silk thread used for making stockings, long before nylon or rayon.

Long days spent inside the factory were offset by leisure time in the city parks located on the Flat River and on the boardwalk leading to the library.

Nora and Mathilda walked the city streets together enjoying their youth and independence. The women flouted conventional standards of behavior of homemakers and were on the cusp of the women’s right to vote in 1920. The 1920s represented the jazz age, a time of liberation for the feminine form. Women’s clothing became more comfortable and simplistic. The flapper proudly showed her liberation by bobbing her hair, rolling down her stockings, dancing the Charleston in her shorter gown and wearing the new look in hats.

Signs of progress were touchable everywhere from the interior six bathrooms at the “Bel” to a space designated for women in the saloons of the bustling city. At the time, the city of Belding had four hotels.

Known as the “Silk City Girls” the young women spent much of their time weaving silk on spools. Silk at the time was on high demand as the major feminine fabric due to the existing shortage of woolens and cottons.

Nora and Mathilda worked together long hours at the silk mill earnings 47 cents an hour. The Belding Banner called the girls “Sweethearts in Silk” blasting propaganda about their happiness with headlines such as “The Silks with Happiness Woven into Them.”

The girls sat at their stations on the floor of the factory in orderly rows. The downstairs of the Richardson Mill was used for making stockings.

Note: As of March 1, I continue to revise the short stories in “Secrets.” As I move ahead with the publishing process, it is important to me to give full credit to the Belrockton Museum in Belding for inspiration, information and finally the cover of “Gossip.”

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 7 #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month at full throttle

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Lowell, MI – I finished “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” after considering several possible endings of the story, that no longer seemed like a short story after working on it for 3.5 days.

The new story,  a historical fiction piece from Belding presented its own challenges in the 50K word marathon, known as the National Novel Writing Month. The main challenge proved to be research, that I don’t have the luxury to do. After firing it up, I put it on hold to see whether I can come up with an alternative.

I did have the legwork done for “Cupcake Wine”, so I tied it together to include it in the upcoming collection “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention of getting “Secrets” published.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

Then, I went back to the historical piece to consider its possibilities by adding another a friend, Mathilda to Nora. I think I will be able to spin the story, just like the “Silk City Girls” spun silk threads at the Richardson Mills.

I became fascinated by the process of creating under pressure; in other words when you have no other choice. I found encouragement on the #nanowrimo blog from an author who was able to complete her novel thanks to #nanowrimo. She also suggested using pacemaker.press to keep you going once the creative project is done on Nov. 30. Now, that was a priceless tip. Try it, I did.

Most wanna-be authors never complete their writing projects because of the lack of accountability or the pressure of daily writing. I can second this from my experience from writing for daily newspapers. Once, you have no other choice than to write, you write. It’s like punching a clock at the factory or a store. I know what that’s like, but it works.

To quote Jodi Picoult:

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Excerpts from “Secrets”, the Belding piece

Nora arrived in Belding by train at the depot on a hot summer day in July of 1915 from the West Coast to work at one of the silk mills.

At the turn of the century, Belding known as the Silk City of the World, was booming with the silk industry. The silk mills founded by the Belding Brothers attracted hundreds of young girls that worked in its silk mills. In was the avantgarde era of the flapper dresses and hats. The girls worked in the mills for eight to ten hours a day.

Nora received the bigger corner room at Belrockton. The dormitory for silk girls was built in 1906 in classical revival style. She shared the room with Mathilda who came from Alpena.

Nora was making enough to send money home to parents. She came from a ranch out West, and wasn’t accustomed to city life.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 4 #nanowrimo

Time change favors productivity of Wrimos with excerpts

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Lowell, MI -The time change favored the brave Wrimo writers of the National Novel Writing Month falling back an hour.

I started writing probably somewhere around 5:30 a.m. of the new time. The first signs of a new day came around 8:30 a.m. I logged in a total of  8,590 words with the short story “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” from the new collection “Secrets” (c) copyright Emma Palova.

The way the story unraveled itself surprised even me as I was writing and the characters began to lead me into their lives. Thank you main characters Zita, mom Dona, boyfriend Kurt and Mother Karla.

I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets” upon the completion of the 50K word goal of the National Novel Writing Month.

After the morning writing marathon, the day became quite a challenge with the regular Sunday routine broken not only by writing, but also by a visit to the Belrockton museum in search of inspiration. That’s where I discovered the poster for the cover of the new book, and a million ideas for a new story.

Another day of #nanowrimo is on the horizon, and I don’t have the luxury to run out of story fuel.

My parents Ella and Vaclav came over with brother Vas for an unusual Sunday afternoon visit. The rut of the Sunday visits from the old country of Czechoslovakia came back. Vas and mom were fighting.

I am grateful that we live close enough to visit, plus we had fun with my husband’s newly acquired fame thanks to his shining U.S. citizenship. Ludek even got a letter from one of his fans, Dave.

Here is an excerpt from “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Dona drove through the long alley of beautiful crab apple and oak trees. The crab apple trees were now in their late pink and white blossoms, so the petals were all over the dirt road leading to the Dominican campus. Dona passed the small red barn on the right with the apple orchard also in full blossom. The labyrinth of dirt roads took her to the main building. She knocked on the big heavy door again.

Mother Karla opened the door and welcomed the woman into her quarters. Sitting at a big desk with a cross behind her, Karla folded her hands and looked up at Dona. A rosary was intertwined between her fingers and wrapped around her right wrist.

This time, Dona was more composed. She dressed appropriately for a battle with what should become the new mother of her only child. Dona put on her best suit, a striped navy-blue jacket and skirt, and a white silk blouse. Golden bracelets were dangling from her left wrist, and Dona made sure she put the diamond ring on the correct finger of the left hand even though it was a little big.

An hour before Dona’s arrival, Mother Karla went through a different ritual of preparing for a dangerous guest. She prayed for a successful outcome. Karla too put on her best foot forward in her white garb.

“Speak about what brings you here,” Mother Karla said watching Dona closely.

Without wincing or fidgeting, Dona went straight to the point looking directly into the Mother’s eyes.

“I will not let my only child become a nun,” said Dona firmly. “There is no way, my child will be a nun; not while I am alive. It will happen only over my dead body. I will fight this. You lured her to this. She would have never done this on her own.”

Dona leaned back into the leather armchair crossing her slender legs. Mother Karla leaned forward over her desk toward Dona playing with the beads of the lavender-colored rosary. She inched her fingers toward the cross on the rosary.

“Why would I lure your child to the order?” asked Karla strictly.

Dona stood up and walked closer to the big desk breathing heavily into Karla’s face.

“You coaxed her into this with your lies and deceptions,” she attacked Karla.

Dona slammed her small fist in front of Karla’s face on the big desk. Karla stood up too and walked around the desk to stand face to face with Dona. Karla put her hands against her wide hips:

“First of all, I am a woman of cloth. I do not deceive or lie,” she said. “It is my highest duty to tell the truth to anyone who is seeking it.”

Dona was sobbing out loud now. She was trying to catch her breath before speaking again. Then, she collapsed back into the leather armchair.

“You’re stealing my daughter from me,” she wept. “You’re a thief.”

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 3 #nanowrimo

National Novel Writing Month gets off to a great start

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Excerpts from “Secrets”- The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Lowell, MI – It’s already day three of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Today’s target goal is 5,000 words. With half of my third chapter or story done, I have passed that goal logging in 5,480 words.

Although stretching a bit beyond the target, some heavy hitters logged in 20k. I am happy with my progress since this is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo with the clear intention to get “Secrets”, sequel to my debut “Shifting Sands Short Stories” published.

It is also a double-donate Saturday to the creative project supported by major sponsors such as The National Endowment for the Arts. Here are some stats of participation:

  • Nearly 500,00 writers, including 100,000 kids and teens in our Young Writers Program.
  • More than 1,200 libraries and community spaces in our Come Write In program.
  • Nearly 1,000 Municipal Liaisons who organize in-person writing events in communities around the world.

For mor info how to donate go to: http://www.nanowrimo.org

I am delighted to share the following excerpt:

The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener

Zita touched her left cheek and ran her finger on a newly-formed pimple overnight. It will soon flare into a nasty red bump that may get infected. She smoothed her jean skirt tightly hugging her thighs covered by floral tights. Her straight brown hair was long. She always sat by the windows in any class to tame her phobias. She looked outside the window at the falling leaves. The harsh winter would come soon, and as always, she wasn’t prepared for it.

Gossip
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.

Teacher Bob was going over it again; the reproductive organs and sexual functionalities or dysfunctionalities. She had just turned down a date, and Bob was having too much fun in his sex education class.

The only reason Zita took the class was her mother Dona, who insisted on it.

“You will soon be dating, you need to know some things about your body,” Dona said.

“But, why can’t you explain it to me?” asked Zita at the suburban home in Green Heights.

When Kurt asked her out again, Zita snapped, “I am not dating yet. I am not ready.”

Kurt didn’t live far from her in the middle- class neighborhood. When they were kids, they played together, since she was the only child in the family.

“Go and play with Kurt,” Dona said.

Kurt, too, had pimples and a lot of them. He had dirty blond hair, straight nose and blue eyes. He was tall and well-built, so he was on the football team.

In the boredom of winter, Kurt asked Zita out to go to the movies. This time, Zita couldn’t resist as the days were getting shorter and shorter; she had read all the books she could.

It was busy inside the movie theater. Most people were suffering from the lack of sun like Zita was. Kurt bought popcorn and looked at her pretty figure with pleasure.

“I can buy some chocolate too, if you want me to,” he said tempting her.

“Yeah, right, you want me to be fat or what?” Zita snapped.

Ever since her hormones kicked in, Zita had trouble with weight. The constant dieting cycled with overeating.

“We can run around the hood together,” he said.

The thought of running around the neighborhood in Green Heights startled her. The people loved to gossip about each other’s diseases and faulty relationships; who had sex with whom and let’s not forget that dry drunk next door, who beats his wife.

“You want to stir the soup, ha?” she laughed.

“It will be good for your figure,” Kurt leaned toward Zita and put his arm around her shoulders.

 

Thanks to some of the sponsors of #nanowrimo. For a complete list go to nanowrimo.org

 

Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Voices 2018

Let your voice be heard

“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?

Getting audio/visual

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.

Publicity

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

Women’s fiction involves a transformation of the hero with a bit of romance, but not as the major plot.

Non-fiction writing

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.

Copyright © 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

FFW 2018 Part II

Festival goers, panelists, authors do not shy away from tough topics

 

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Grand Rapids, MI- From #Me Too movement to women in Christian publishing, everything was up for discussion at the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College last week.

Publishers, lecturers and authors came from all over the country and represented a diverse cross-section of literature.

The exhibit hall, located in the Prince Conference Center, was home to 46 booths filled with publishing houses, small presses, journals, booksellers, editors and agents.

Publicity

“The Publicity Confidential: What Authors and Publicists Wish Each Other Knew” was an eye-opening session in an era of publicity stunts and media blitz.

“You have to own it from the very beginning,” said one of the panelists. “Audio magazines or podcasts are taking over.”

Piggybacking off keynote speaker Kwame Alexander, the panel of publicists agreed on one thing: “Say yes to everything.”

In the entire publicity process, the author needs to be herself or himself, fully engaged and present, according to the publicists.

“The goal of publicity is letting the market know that the book exists,” said Kelly Hughes. “Start a podcast to expand your platform. Don’t get hung up on reviews.”

The panelists recommended writing guest blogs, op-ed pieces, radio tours and speaking engagement in church groups, women’s groups and to others within their author’s tribe.

“The ideal author is game for anything, wants to collaborate, thinks big, but realistic, and is accessible,” said Jennifer Grant.

Film & play

This category was represented by producer Abigail Disney & screenwriter and playwright Dorothy Fortenberry. Both women likened the current creative environment in Hollywood to building a new structure out of flawed legos.

“A common lego we use is when someone’s life is endangered,” said Disney. “We have a flawed dynamic. Only 30 percent of writers in Hollywood are women. They have to be tough.”

Fortenberry said she has to spend a lot of time unlearning.”

Dutch screenwriter and director Jaap van Heusden discussed the adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Lame Shall Enter First” in his film “De Verloren Zoon.”

“Writing is the means, not the end,” van Heusden said. “Film is the art of all the things that are not there. My process is finding stories.”

Going deeper

Just because your mother dies, doesn’t mean your relationship ends.

-Angela Alaimo

In “Daughters Writing about Mothers,” four writers explored the complex relationships with their mothers, further complicated by a reversal of roles, as the parent ages.

Angela Alaimo tracked the journey of a broken relationship between her young widowed mother to final reconciliation.

Why Don’t Men Read Women Writers? Closing the Gender Gap in Christian Publishing

According to panelist Al Hsu’s doctoral research, women read relatively equally between male and female authors, whereas men are much more likely to read male authors than female authors (90%/10%)

Is it a matter of supply and demand?

Keynote speaker, Edwidge Danticat

Danticat, a Haitian-American novelist and short story writer, took center stage at Van Noord Arena on Friday.

“I create dangerously for people who read dangerously.”

Writing the Wrinkles in Time

Special guests at this conversation were Madeline L’Engle’s granddaughters Lena Roy and Charlotte Jones Voiklis, co-authors of “Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author.

Sarah Arthur, author of the forthcoming “A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle, moderated the session.

A movie with the same title “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018) directed by Ava DuVerney is now playing in theatres.

“We were fascinated by the drama of her childhood,” said Roy. “She was dumped off at an austere boarding school in Switzerland.”

The next FFW will take place on April 16-18, 2020 in Grand Rapids, MI.

 

Featured image: Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughters: Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy.

 For podcasts from the festival go to Rewrite Radio at http://festival.calvin.edu/podcast

Copyright © 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.