Category Archives: Shifting Sands Short Stories

Symphony of words

With our thoughts we make the world.

Buddha

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.

“Really, Emma?”

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.”

Mark Twain

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.

Exhausted

I am exhausted and ready for a vacation. Follow me on my author’s journey deeper into the Midwest as the sands shift some more into a new book.

I need some reprieve after all the commotion with the recent book Shifting Sands Short Stories that came out in July, both in kindle and paperback on Amazon.

I still have quite a way to go before the vacation next week, so at least I can write about it. It feels good to finally be able to think about some time off.

Watch for exclusive excerpts from the book, and more author events coming to the area.

What keeps me going are my morning therapeutic walks on the gravel road into the peaceful untrodden meadows, and meditations with Deepak & Oprah.

I especially love the Desire & Destiny meditation about fulfilling your purpose in life. It seems so relevant now with the new book.

Today, I did Day 12: “Inspired Me” with the centering thought, “I am inspired. I am unstoppable.”

I found out that I’ve been pushing too hard. I need to be effortless.

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Late July with excerpts

It’s no ordinary Friday, as the late July sun shines on my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories. The paperback came out at the beginning of July.

Writing, collecting and publishing the stories that I have gathered for over more that two decades wasn’t a walk through the strawberry fields by any means.

On the contrary, the stories and their characters are not Shallow.

Check out one of the major characters, professor Martin Duggan who struggles with his own perfection.

Excerpt from the Temptation of Martin Duggan short story:

“He walked to his gray Chevrolet, the only brand he trusted over the years. Just like everything else Martin had ever owned, it was perfectly clean. He didn’t forget to grab a bottle of cold diet Coke from the machine.

Driving through Rocky Rapids was a balsam on his nerves. The town was neat and clean too with a few banks, a video store, a car dealership and a long gone Spartan grocery store.

Rose used to shop there, when they still loaded groceries into cars back in the 1980s. As a remnant of the past, there was a Bear furniture store, a drive up restaurant and a Dairy Queen by the city park and creek.

It could have been a perfect day, in a perfect life in a perfect town of one perfect professor and a perfect couple.”

At one of my newspaper jobs, the publisher called me shallow for not following up on a major story about a Belding boy who delivered his sister in the bathroom of the family home. After being syndicated by the Associated Press, the story made it to the Dave Letterman Show.

Dave held up the front page of the Ionia Sentinel-Standard with the story.

However, I did not know about that, another paper reported on that.

“You are shallow and selfish,” said the publisher.

I remembered that. I will always remember that.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved

Shifting Sands Short Stories book press release

Local author pens Shifting Sands book of short stories

A press release is a Traditional  Gate 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

Contact info

Emma Palova

phone

email

website

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

For Fallasburg info go to: Fallasburg Today at http://fallasburgtoday.org

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Shifting Sands Short Stories discussion

Join in the discussion and also #AsktheAuthor, add your review.

Here is a link to reviews and stories discussion on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18669446

You can add the book to your bookshelf using the Goodreads icon in the sidebar

Currently discussing Shifting Sands Short Stories, Tonight on Main

Author Emma:

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.

Reviews

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.

On the other side

Ask the author, Storyteller 2017

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.

I couldn’t have said it better.

Thank you all for making this possible.

Ask the Author, Storyteller 2017 to be continued

The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Storyteller 2017 countdown to book release

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.

20170611_101314
Storyteller 2017 Emma

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.

For the book detail page on Amazon go to:

https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

 

To be continued tomorrow with Grand Finale

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Storyteller 2017 in final countdown with excerpts

In between story circles, hit hard

For the last week, I’ve been posting about the short stories in Shifting Sands Short Stories collection that span more than two decades as part of the Storyteller 2017 book campaign.

20170611_101314
Storyteller 2017 Emma

Thematically and chronologically, I have divided them 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.

In the final countdown, I would like to touch on stories like “In the Shadows” that fall into a dark period of life. Husband Ludek lost his job in the mid-2000s due to crisis in the automotive and housing industry.

The story was inspired by us living apart, when Ludek had to take a job in Prairie-du-Chien, WI.

Ludek and I had to Cringe  confronting the reality of the crisis.

We didn’t want to lose the house, because of the unsure future, so I stayed in Michigan.

On several occasions, I took the Amtrak train 500 miles out west to visit with him on the Mississippi River, or we stayed in Milwaukee.

“In the Shadows” story is set in Milwaukee and in the botanical gardens. It was inspired by a wedding party in the gardens.

The characters lived in the state of impermanence Transient

Excerpts from “In the Shadows”

 With a shaking had speckled by age spots, Agnes Loire dressed in pink and white purchased three tickets to the Boehm Botanical Gardens near Bales Corners in Wisconsin. An elderly clerk taped a red band to her tiny wrinkly arthritic wrist refusing to give her a discount.

As Agnes reached into her pocket to feel an amulet with dried periwinkle in it, the clerk looked somewhat familiar.

“Do I know you from anywhere?” she asked the old man.

He shook his head and turned back to his business of taping red bands to people’s wrists standing in a long line in the glass atrium.

Just before Agnes entered the new modern building with a two-story atrium and a vaulted ceiling, she paused to watch a white limousine arrive. The morning sun illuminated the vehicle and the grounds. The internationally renowned gardens were a marrying haven for couples.

The flowering pink, white and maroon crabapples in the arboretum swayed in the southerly wind spraying the area with petals of blossoms.

Agnes breathed in the early spring scent, fresh with promises.

In the meantime, the photographers had eagerly gathered to take the first shots of the bridal party. Bridesmaids in bright green dresses and beige high heels stepped out of the limo.

The last girl was taller, her dress a tone lighter and she was wearing flat shoes with no heels.

 Finale countdown to be continued……..

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Storyteller 2017, the third circle with book excerpts

Storyteller 2017 -part VI

 I have named my book campaign Storyteller2017 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.

20170611_101314
Storyteller 2017 Emma

This is the sixth part of the Storyteller 2017 series following the introduction on June 20, the Beginnings on June 21, the Impermanence of characters in the Shifting Sands Short Stories on June 22, fueling the passion of the Storyteller on June 23, and Storyteller-the passion on June 26.

20170622_070528

 The first circle of stories draws on the early years of immigration and includes: Danillo, Honey Azrael and 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;  papers, newspapers, newsletters and magazines where ink used to be bought by the barrell. Since printing is also becoming a lost art, I decided to collect these short stories and publish them, all the while remembering the words of a city official:

“If it isn’t written, it hasn’t happened.”

As I wrote this I realized this was a great fit for the June 22 Daily Post prompt: paper.

Paper

 
These stories include: In the Shadows, Iron Horse, Foxy, Riddleyville Clowns and Chatamal.

My writing passion is coupled by my love of history.

 I started writing for Czechoslovak Newsweek based in New York City in 1990 with my own column, “Commentary Place.” That was also the only time I wrote in Czech language. It was a biweekly column about the issues pertaining to the Czech community living in the USA. I wrote essays as well.

20170627_055847

My first official newspaper job was with the Kaechele Publications in 1997. I commuted 145 miles round trip to Plainwell. The editor Dave Trinka, who interviewed me, loved the fact that I had included the newspaper clips in Czech. Go figure.

I loved the hometown Union Enterprise newspaper based in Plainwell. Due to the distance of the commute, I found closer newspaper jobs, the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, Lowell Ledger, Advance Newspapers, Gemini Publications and the Grand Rapids Press.

Here is an excerpt from the “Iron Horse.”

 “Everybody in the room was wearing yellow. The tablecloths on round tables were yellow. I bit my lips hard, so that a streak of blood appeared on them. I was hoping the blood wouldn’t drop on the blouse.

I closed my eyes and I could see the old township hall at the Shimmicon Corners.

“So, is this all you expected,” an angry farmer barked into my face.

His face was swollen and his Adam’s apple was rolling in his throat. He was wearing Carhart overalls smeared with manure. His hands were big with strong fingers.

I backed away. He smelled of hay and manure. A terrifying stench spread in the meeting room of the Shimmicon Township.

I looked around me. The township hall was packed. The latecomers were peaking in from the windows. Two policemen were standing by the door, their hands on their pistols and truncheons. I could hardly breathe because the air was so heavy with sweat. Somebody spat on the floor in front of me. There was straw on the floor.

The farmers were thumping their feet against the plank floor and shaking their fists. I sank into a chair in the first row right across from the supervisor’s seat. Everyone else was seated except for him. As minutes ticked by, the farmers got angrier. Finally, supervisor Ned walked in looking at the mob. His big eyes were protruding from its sockets. Ned was a medium built man with thick hair. He pounded the mallet to bring order to the room.

“Silence,” he yelled. “I said quiet.”

The angry farmers were shaking their heads, gesturing and talking. Pig farmer Frank was standing in the corner. Tall Frank with black mustache and hair was leaning against the wall wearing his rubber boots. He came directly from the pig pens. His hands were stuck in his pockets.

Supervisor Ned pounded the mallet again.

“I will use the police, if you do not shut up.”

This post is also about how to create in writing.

@create

Create

 

 

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Storyteller 2017-the passion

The passion in the Shifting Sands Short Stories continued from June 23

 Book excerpts from Shifting Sands Short Story Therese’s Mind

 I have named my book campaign Storyteller2017 because I am so excited about this epic year full of big changes.

20170611_101314
Storyteller 2017 Emma

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 fifth part of the Storyteller 2017 series following the introduction last Tuesday on June 20, the Beginnings on June 21, the Impermanence of characters in the Shifting Sands Short Stories on June 22 and fueling the passion of the Storyteller on June 23, and now on June 26-the passion and commitment.

About commitment

The Storyteller 2017 series also fits the Daily Post prompt commit. The biggest part of the Shifting Sands Short Stories project that spans more than two decades of writing has been commitment.

Commit

 

The first circle of stories was inspired by the early years of immigration and includes: Danillo, Honey Azrael and the Temptation of Martin Duggan.

The second circle of stories includes: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.

 The second circle of stories draws on the years of working in a Midwest retail chain in the  mid 1990s and beyond. It was a time of assimilation into the American culture after tumultuous years of wanting to return back to the old country, former Czechoslovakia that still existed under that name.

I had packed and unpacked my luggage several times.

At the time, I was working the second shift in the store, writing and taking journalism classes at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in the morning.

About inspiration

My stories are usually inspired by human struggle, whether physical or emotional, real or perceived.

Here is an excerpt from Therese’s Mind:

 The “Singing in the rain” rose was her favorite one. It was a hardy breed. Copper-like leaves stood defiantly against the onset of another fall. The ground was almost frozen now, yet the rose kept yielding new dark reddish leaves. From the depth of the reddish leaves, new buds unleashed a strange smell. It was the smell of a lost summer and the captured sun for one fleeting second. Therese could only imagine the smell from what she had known many years ago.

The thorns broke off easily, so she didn’t have to be careful anymore. They wouldn’t hurt her. Therese drew in deep breath inhaling all the secrets of a fragrance, and sat down on a bench. The bench was like her; all weather-worn and beaten down a thousand times with repeating rains, leaving and coming back again. She felt the constant drumming of the raindrops in her heart and bones. Coming and leaving, leaving and coming.

She was in her fifties. Therese was a grown-up woman with a child’s heart, longing to be held in someone’s arms. During her fifty-year long journey, she never learned the tricks of womanhood or adulthood for that matter.

Therese was pure as refined sugar that makes up a fine Bacardi. She was fine and fragile like the leaves of the roses in her garden in the first October frost.

“Therese, hurry up,” somebody hollered from the house.

“You have a phone call.”

Therese had trouble recollecting her thoughts due to severe brain damage over the years from non-malignant tumors. The doctors said that the tumors were not immediately deadly, but they spoke kindly of several options, all equally dangerous.

“You can’t have anything in our head,” they said at the nearby Heart of Blessed Hospital.

Storyteller 2017….part VI to be continued book excerpts

You can pre-order the Shifting Sands Short Stories on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY