Category Archives: Shifting Sands Short Stories

Spring Equinox

Excerpt from “Shifting Sands: Secrets”

On the first day of spring, I drove to the nearby Murray Lake for inspiration and meditation to finish the last story in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets” slated for spring publication.

The lake was thawing and the ducks were bathing in the fresh streams.

It was only me, a diehard ice fisherman and a curious blue heron perched on a piece of floating ice. Later, it started snowing mixed together with rain.

I had to get out of the car to get a photo of that brave man, who was literally floating on the remaining ice. The man was totally oblivious to his surroundings.

Did I find my inspiration?

I have to answer the question: I did find inspiration on the shores of a water body. This time 1,000 miles up North from where I found the first pieces of inspiration on the Gulf for the following story.

Excerpt from “Six Palms by the Tiki”

“What kind of secrets were hiding in those calcium skeletons built by slimy mollusks that have no spine?” Amora often wondered.

After all, the mollusks were long dead when washed ashore eaten by another sea creature. Most big shells had broken fringes and fragments of shells were more usual than whole intact shells. To find shells still attached to each other was out of the norm completely.

Amora paid $2 for a cup of Venetian coffee at Papa’s. The hot dark liquid still steaming vaguely reminded her of mornings Up North. Seadog George was always available for a chat. He had a tan of a sailor and considered himself to be one, since he had spent the last 15 years on the pier’s deck hovering 20 feet above water.

“Do you ever get seasick?” asked Amora naively searching George’s tanned hardened by wind and sun.

“Sometimes, I do when the wind is high and the pier sways in the waves,” he said. “But they built to withstand anything from Brazilian swamp wood that has already grown in water.”

Tall seadog George wasn’t a native of Florida, although he wished he was. Once he tried to pretend in front of tourists that he was a Floridian.

“Come on buddy, you sound like the Yankees, you can’t lose that,” laughed the New Yorker. “I am a fourth generation Yankee, I know.”

From then on, George stopped pretending. With blonde hair matching the tan and the beard, Amora guessed he must have been Norwegian or Swedish. She hasn’t found the guts yet to ask him; Amora didn’t want to be either too friendly or too nosy, or worse yet: Seadog George could think she was hitting on him.

She only engaged enough in casual talk to finish the cup of Venetian coffee without having to walk with it.

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Kindle giveaway March 5-8

Check out my debut book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” on Amazon. You can get the kindle version for free starting tomorrow through Friday, March 8. Share the deal with your friends.

If you could write a review of the book on Amazon, that would be great. I am also looking for beta readers for my upcoming new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Palova.

Here is a link to reviews:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/page/emmapalova.com/296074

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Spring E- newsletters

Spring is coming

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I am working on e-newsletters; as I look outside my writing studio window, I see snow on the ground.

However, definite signs of spring are here. The spring theme dominated at the 40th Home and Garden Show in Grand Rapids at the DeVos Hall this weekend.

The fragrance of tulips and daffodils was in the air as hundreds of people browsed through the packed hall.

I marveled at the CNC sewing and embroidery machines; how skillfully they stitched an image and a message into a piece of cloth.

“That’s the only way I could do it,” laughed a woman next to me.

Also the upcoming March 23 Lowell Expo is close to the heart as more than a hundred of local vendors and organizations showcase their work at the Lowell High School.

My fellow history lovers from the Fallasburg Historical Society will be side by side with the Lowell Area Historical Museum located inside the cafeteria.

My favorite are the bucket rides by the Lowell Light & Power crew.

On a personal note, I am moving ahead with the publishing of my second collection of short stories “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Palova.

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

I am on target for April/May publishing. The new book, a sequel to my debut “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” will be available for preorder on Amazon. Both the cover and the anchor story “Silk Nora” were inspired by the Belrockton Museum in Belding. The “Gossip” photograph can be found on the third floor of Belrockton. The museum is open on the first Sunday of each month.

Check out my debut at:

https://www.amazon.com/Shifting-Sands-Short-Stories-stories/dp/152130226X

Kindle

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

ISBN

9781521302262

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Check out our blog at http://fallasburgtoday.org

Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, All rights reserved.

Happy editing

Make editing fun

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I liken the editing process to Adalimumab’s 130 patents. You never know what you’re going to discover during revision.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Creative Endeavor Project

Michigan News Agency supports local authors with Creative Endeavor Project

By Emma Palova

Kalamazoo, MI -I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Margaret Hauck, owner of Michigan News Agency (MNA) in downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday. The old-time newsstand with hundreds of newspapers, magazines, paperbacks, comics, souvenirs, candy and tobacco has been around since 1947.

The newsstand is emerging as a “literary hot spot.”

Most recently Hauck started the Creative Endeavor Project to support local authors.

“We will sell your books as a pass through and return all of the money to you, authors,” Hauck says. “The News hopes this will encourage our writing communities to strive to do your work.”

Hauck turned to me and said:

“You’ve done your work.”

I found my book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” in the Creative Endeavor Project section up front by the window. I will soon have the second book for MNA and others: “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.

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

There are 150 different titles included in the Creative Endeavor Project.

The MNA displays books in a special section up front and on their website http://www.michigannews.biz

All of these are recent titles.

The address of the newsstand is 308 W. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo. To talk to Hauck about your book call 1-269-343-5958.

Hauck is very encouraging:

“Hey–all you aspiring writers–come talk to me about your artistic creations.”

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Moments in time 2018

Looking back at 2018

Lowell, MI- Year 2018 was definitely one to be remembered in the mosaic of my life.

Two major events immediately stand out in my mind; and coincidentally they both happened in October.

Ludek and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on Oct. 7th by going to my beloved Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac.

On Oct. 18th, Ludek became an American citizen in a naturalization ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. See post: https://emmapalova.com/2018/10/18/magistrate-judge-you-are-america/

In January, Ludek and I started our Spanish classes under the tutelage of Jim Alberts. I’ve never enjoyed learning more; and we’re doing it again in 2019 if Mr. Alberts offers them again.

On Jan. 29, my lifelong friend Eva and her husband Honza made their dream come true, as they opened restaurant Lorenz in Kromeriz, Czech Republic. https://emmapalova.com/2018/01/29/lorenz-czech-restaurant-with-austrian-flair/

Since the big pond separates us, we missed the grand opening. We hope to visit Lorenz one day.

In January and February, I continued my book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories at LowellArts during their arts exhibit in the new gallery on Main Street.

February marked my annual writer’s retreat in Florida. It was in Ft. Lauderdale. See post https://emmapalova.com/2018/02/16/notes-from-ocean-2018/

As winter changed into spring, we celebrated St. Pat’s in historic Hubbardston tavern with the oldest liquor license in Michigan. It used to be a speakeasy during the prohibition. I have yet to write about this.

April marked the three-day biannual Conference on Writing at Calvin College. See post https://emmapalova.com/2018/04/16/ffw-2018/

In April, we also enjoyed Neil Simon’s “Rumors” by the LowellArts players.

The first weekend in May is always dedicated to my love for history. The theme of Spring into the Past tour was “Fashions through the Ages.” https://emmapalova.com/2018/05/04/fashions-through-the-ages/

In June, it was the “Guardians of History” script and video for the Fallaburg Historical Society, that made this month stand out. https://emmapalova.com/2018/06/17/guardians-of-history/

I was also featured in the 2018-2019 Grand Rapids City Guide in the life&style section “The long road to resilience.”

I love summer and surprises. They truly all came in one day: Interview with WGVU host Shelly Irwin, a new author event and the Epilogue Bookstore. While looking for a hotel in Ludington, where we celelebrated my dad’s birthday on July 23rd, I came across a true gem. I found out about the annual Ludington Writers’ Rendezvous organized by author Joan H. Young. Thank you Joan for so much inspiration and for new author friends. You rock. https://emmapalova.com/2018/07/16/writers-surprises-all-in-one-day/

On the first Sunday in August, we always attend the annual Czech Harvest Festival in Bannister, MI. Aug. 20th marked the 50th anniversary of Soviet occupation of former Czechoslovakia in 1968. See post: https://emmapalova.com/2018/08/20/50th-anniversary-of-soviet-occupation-of-czechoslovakia-1968/

I wrapped up the summer by saying goodbye to our French granddaughter Ella; together we completed a big goal. Passing on the family tradition, I taught Ella how to swim.

In September, we were in the Belding Labor Day Parade for the first time with my book float entry decorated with huge lollipops and an ice cream cone. We loved the parade with the Willy Wonka theme.

Who doesn’t love a parade passing by?

October: like I’ve mentioned in the highlights we celebrated our anniversary https://emmapalova.com/2018/10/17/discoveries-at-mackinac-island-straits/ My husband Ludek was naturalized.

November delivered a huge surprise for me: the NaNoWriMo 50K word novel writing marathon and with it comes a new book for 2019. That is Shifting Sands: Secrets. I completed the 50,000 word challenge on Nov. 27 with 56,432 words. https://emmapalova.com/2018/11/27/national-novel-writing-month-winner-2018/

December brought record attendance to the https://emmapalova.com/2018/12/06/christmas-in-fallasburg-2/Christmas in Fallasburg party thanks to the concerted effort of all the volunteers.

Our first ever team trip Up North brought new discoveries of the “Chain of Lakes,” a 75-mile waterway from Elk Rapids to Ellsworth.

I would like to wish all my followers a Happy New Year 2019.

Thank you for following me.

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

National Novel Writing Month – winner 2018

Daily insights from #nanowrimo with story excerpts

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings 

Lowell, MI – What does NaNoWriMo mean to me?

I can only answer this question now that I have completed the 50K creative project and claimed the Winner 2018 cetificate.

NaNoWriMo is like a powerful fuel that you need to keep you going. You also have to keep on refueling as often as possible. It’s a gauge that efficiently measures your progress as you go.

Secondly, I have realized that there is no such a thing as a writer’s block; only slumps, slowdowns and funks around the Thanksgiving holiday and on Sundays.

Is creative activity as mysterious as we all think? Yes. You don’t know at the end of the day, what you’re going to come up with.

Is it scary? It can be, if you don’t know what your character is going to do next.

The creative project required a lot of discipline without credits or end of the year bonuses. But, also you were your own boss in determining when and how you were going to accomplish the 50K challenge.

I was amused by some of the questions on social media like: “What is your favorite writing drink?”

Mine is definitely tea, because I get a headache from drinking a lot of coffee.

Will I do it again in 2019? Most likely yes.

Would I recommend it? It depends on your writing goals. Fifty-thousand words is a nice chunk to start with.

Is it doable with kids and a full-time job? It depends on your partner on how many house chores will he or she take on.

Is writing still the most lonesome activity in the world that in the end depends on the the public’s liking or disliking? Yes.

WHAT NOW?

At the end, I committed to revision and editing, as well as writing more short stories to include in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.

The NaNoWriMo certificate defines a winner as:

A literal literary hero. A disciplined wordsmith.

A squirrel-suit flyer who just earned their wings…………

For more info about NaNoWriMo go to:

http://www.nanowrimo.org

My sincere thanks to the staff, organizers and pep talk authors of the NaNoWriMo creative project for support and encouragement.

I will be using  Pacemaker.press on http://www.pacemaker.press to further measure my progress into the publishing of the new anthology of short stories.

Excerpts from “White Nights” (c) 2018 Emma Palova

It was the gossip of the village that Joe beat his wife. He was a fourth-generation farmer on the largest farming plat in the village.

In front of the public eye, he acted as a proper man. Joe did everything that was expected of the largest landowner to do. He sat on the township board, on the school and the church boards. In spite of the gossip, he was a respected man with other great qualities than self-control.

Unlike Father Sam, he had no choice of what he wanted do. He inherited the land, so he had to farm it. When farming got tough with the dumping of the cheap apple juice from China in the late 1990s, his two brothers decided to get out of working with dirt. They went to work forthe largest milling company out by Shimnicon Corners. At that time, Joe too had to seek his soul, after beating one of them near death.

“You will never cross the threshold of my house,” he yelled that winter when they fought over the buyout money. “Where do you think I am going to get two million bucks?

They left anyways, and Joe owed them for the rest of his life. Joe sold off land fordevelopment and paid off some of the money, while making enemies with other farmers.

NaNoWriMo sponsors

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

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 14 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I stuck to my morning writing routine: yoga, treadmill, meditations and writing until I reached a certain point in the story. That I did at 11 a.m., bringing the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova to its finale.

nano-2018-writer-twitter-header

This historical story was a little bit different from the rest of the bunch in the debut novel “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova or in the sequel “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

I thematically divide my short stories into the following circles based on my experiences: immigration, retail, newspaper, history and new era. Some are of course hybrids between the two or three circles.

I was first inspired to write “Silk Nora” about a year ago while visiting the Belrockton museum. I have a deep passion for history; I call it my second love after writing. Basically, It took a while for the story to gel, and then a week for me to pen it. I started to write it on Day 7 of the #nanowrimo creative project.

At first, I thought of research as a challenge during the 50K word marathon, but it had proven to be a delight. I came across major charms such as the “cloche” hat of the 1920s, gin rickeys and mint juleps. “picture palaces” or  movie theaters, the Ford Model T automobile and theatrical skits rather than plays.

Immediately, as I got done, I missed the story, its characters and setting. The experts call it a “character withdrawal.” Goodbye my friends, Nora, Harry, John, Mathilda and Doris.

I logged in with 29,339 words earlier in the day. Where will I go tomorrow with my stories? Wherever they take me.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

For a brief moment in time, Nora was able to forget all about that deep sadness in her heart. She waved crazily at the people in the parade. All three women decided to join in the parade with the Red Cross entry led by Doc from the hospital.

“I am glad you found us,” said Doc. “This is a great parade to be in.”

After the parade, there were public picnics in the parks around town. Finally, everybody took time away from ordinary life. Chef Josiah from the “Bel” had prepared their picnic hamper with stuffed eggs, celery stuffed with cream, salted radishes, homemade lemon-limeade, coconut layer cake, cheese sprinkled with paprika, slices of watermelon and chicken.

The “Belding Boys” moved into the bandshell and played jazz.

“You know they are missing a trumpet,” said Doc. “John had to go to the Catawba Sanatorium.”

They were all comfortably seated around the bench enjoying the late summer festivities. Nora stopped eating her stuffed egg and took a sip of the fresh lemonade breathing in the summer air.

“Doctor, is Mathilda going to die?” Nora asked Doc.

Doc paused before he took a bite out of the big sandwich. He had previously taken off his straw hat and set it carefully by his side not wanting to mess up the picnic.

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

Day 13 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month 50K word marathon

nano-2018-writer-twitter-header

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Feeling a little bit relieved that I passed the half-way mark in the 50K word creative project yesterday, I checked in with the Nanocoach for the week author Carolina de Robertis.

I love her advise for today: let the world of your novel unfold as you write. It’s already there for you, in the ether, or in some part of your consciousness, wanting to move through you to the page.

I always have to “feel into” whatever I am writing. This “feeling into” corresponds with the five senses plus intuition. Jeff Besos of Amazon said that he will follow his intuition in deciding about the place for the second headquarters of the company.

I find it amazing that the richest man in the world follows his intuition in business decision-making; why wouldn’t I do the same with my stories? So, I followed my intuition from the get go of #nanowrimo on Nov.1 with the choice of anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

 

I logged in today with 27,417 words with the historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I came across some really cool things during my brisk research on the Internet like the 1920s play “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

“Then, we shall celebrate together,” Doris shrieked with joy. “In a saloon.”

Working class taverns were knows as “saloons” with swing doors and bar-rooms proper that offered games such as: Faro, Poker, Brag, Three-card Monte and dice games. Some saloons even included bowling, can-can girls, theatrical skits or plays to face off increasing competition until the prohibition in 1920.

On Nora’s 21st birthday, the two friends, a single girl and a single matron, went into the local watering through, Frank & Norm’s Tavern. As such, they carved out their own space in the saloons of industrialized America unheard of before the female liberalization.

Even though most customers at the time were men, the tavern had a “Ladies Entrance.” Doris and Nora used it to get in just in time to catch the new theatrical skit “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”

The tavern was full of men drinking bourbon. But, the two women knowledgeable of cocktails from big cities, ordered a Mary Pickford with white rum, pineapple juice, Grenadine and a Maraschino cherry.

They happily watched the loud crowd and laughed. This was soon to become their secret; sneaking into Frank & Norm’s through the “Ladies Entrance” and hanging out at the tavern on Saturday nights way past the “Bel’s” curfew at 10 p.m.

“Have you heard from Harry?” Doris usually asked sipping on her Mary Pickford.

“Well, I mostly read his war stories syndicated in the Banner,” said Nora sadly.

“But, certainly, he writes to you or not?” asked Doris.

Nora pulled a letter out of her pocket, folded several times and re-read a million times.

 

 

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