Category Archives: Shifting Sands Short Stories

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.

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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 5 #nanowrimo

Happy Monday Wrimos,

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We rolled into the first full week of the National Novel Writing Month at full speed with pep talks from author Andy Weir:

“First off, you have to accept that you’re not going to be blazing away in a creative euphoria all the time,” he wrote. “Next, you have to accept that your story will change as you write it.”

Now, that I consider solid and decent advice as I forge ahead with “The Writer, the Nun and the Gardener” from the new anthology Shifting Sands: Secrets (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I have a clear intention to publish this sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

The characters have changed their roles and their names as they continue to evolve with the plot. This is my third day plugging away and it has taken young Zita from her disappointed world into a different one.

I struggled a little bit with the changes, but as Weir writes about the “rough patches” during the writing process: “When you read the pages later, you won’t be able to tell which ones you wrote in a good flow and which ones were hard.”

That’s something to keep us going through the inevitable “rough patches.”

I validated my word count at 10,016 words on http://www.nanowrimo.org

Yay!

The next writing badge is set at 25,000 words, but I will divide that chunk into smaller pieces to make it palatable.

Here is an excerpt:

As weeks went by, Dona grew accustomed to the feeling of emptiness. She stopped the numerous attempts to reach her daughter. Zita’s phone number did not exist anymore. She could wait for letters or messages; none ever came.

Summers turned into fall and winters, and these turned into years.

Kurt called Dona several times inquiring about Zita, if she had changed her mind. He was already back home from the college overseas, but he hadn’t forgotten his high school girlfriend.

“How is she doing, Dona?” he asked occasionally. “Is she okay?”

Kurt was the only lifeline from the past to Zita, so Dona always answered unlike other phone calls. She stopped talking to Wilsa, since she was the messenger of the bad news.

“I don’t know, Kurt,” Dona said. “We haven’t heard from her in five years.”

As winter arrived with first snow, Dona finally received an ornate envelope with the insignia of the Dominican Sisters order.

It was an invitation to Zita’s final vows at the convent. Dona was shocked to read the signature: Sister Theophane. That was Zita’s new name forever.

“This is the last time, we will see our daughter,” said Dona.

“No, you don’t know anything about it,” said Mike, “These Sisters can come out into the public.”

“I don’t want to see her anymore after this,” said Dona.

Veni Sancte Spiritus played in the background of the chapel with huge organ pipes in the front. Then, the Sisters sang psalms. Mike and Dona sat in the back of the chapel. Dona noticed  Kurt standing on the side by the stained glass windows.

Their beautiful daughter dressed in a white bride’s gown with a wreath of yellow roses on her head, now Sister Theophane, walked alongside Mother Karla to profess the final vows. Mother Karla stepped aside to make room for new blood. Sister Theophane prostrated on the wooden floor in front of the priest and then recited the vows and received a ring. As such, she was the “Bride of Christ.”

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

40th Wedding Anniversary

As Ludek and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on Oct. 7th, I  think about all those years spent with one man. We were both born in former Czechoslovakia.

us

In 1978,  that seemed unimaginable to an 18-year-old girl still in the Zlin Gymnasium Prep School with university years of studying ahead of me.

“You’re going to spend  the rest of your life with one man?” classmate Zdenek asked me. “I can’t even fathom that.”

Yes, indeed. I spent all those years with one man.

“Boring,” said an acquaintance jokingly some time ago. She herself had been married to one man for a long time.

Just like in everything, there were some great times and some rough times over the four decades. Some of them, I consider historical moments.

Following are some highlights that really stand out:

The birth of our daughter Emma in April of 1979, my graduation from the University of Brno in 1986, the birth of our son Jake in 1987 and  the move to the United States of America in 1989. My book Shifting Sands Short Stories came out in 2017. I became an American citizen in 1999. Ludek will have his naturalization ceremony this year.

In between were big, medium and little things; all those elements that make up marriage.

“For better or for worse,” as we said our wows.

Among the big things were:  Weddings of our kids. Emma got married in Montrachet, Burgundy, France and Jake in Parnell, MI.

Another big shebang , I consider our celebration of the millennium at Stafford’s Perry Hotel, where Hemingway  once stayed. Since, I love history, I love to stay on historical properties.

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we will be staying in the historical Murray Hotel on Mackinac Island.  I find inspiration in history, because it has  a tendency to repeat itself. You can predict things based on the past.

We were surfing rough waters when the  recession hit in 2007 through 2009, and Ludek lost his job. Ludek had to leave the state of Michigan to work in Prarie-du-Chien, Wisconsin. I stayed in Lowell because we didn’t want to lose the house. Our friends have lost theirs.

He commuted 500 miles to work and  he came home for the weekends. When I wrote about it back at the peak of  the depression in 2008, I got a response from a publication:

“That’s normal, that’s not a story.”

Yes, maybe for them it wasn’t. But for us it was a big story, as well as for millions of other Americans. I compensated the horror of separation and living by myself with a dog in the country by writing a screenplay. I bought Final Draft software and wrote about the assassination on liberal candidates.

We got through it with scars and hurts. Sometimes, it still hurts.

We still adhere to Czech traditions and customs, but we also have taken on new American traditions. It makes life interesting sharing two different cultures.

People ask me what do I miss the most about the old country?

“Definitely friends, since most of the family members have passed,” I answer.

But, always having a positive outlook, writing and  innovation helped us through the  good and the bad. Of course there was more good than the bad. It depends on the perspective and interpretation.

The good prevailed in love, passion and belief in each other.

And like  talk show host Ripa said on TV, “It  always boils down to respect of each other.”

The values we have established have carried us through; first comes  our family, then passion for our work and innovation. This philosophy has always worked well throughout the years.

With well wishes for many more years.

Love always, Emma.

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

Czech Harvest Festival

Summer  brings  heritage festivals and fairs

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI  -I am really looking forward to this weekend. First of all, it’s going to be hot again, and I love that.

Contrary to what the promoters of “Back to School” pump out, summer is not over. For me summer is over when I have to swap my flip-flops for closed-toed shoes, usually with the first snow.

Summer always stays in my heart year-long.

Other than my author event at the LowellArts gallery tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. during the Captured photo exhibit, I can’t wait to go to the Czech Harvest Festival “Dozinky” in Bannister this Sunday.

This is our annual treat and a tribute to our Czech heritage. Every year, I get my hopes high that I will run into a Czech-speaking person at the festival in the middle of nowhere.

Over the years of going to Bannister, I’ve met probably a total of eight people who knew some Czech. The fun part about this event is that I get to sing three anthems that I know: American, Czech & Slovak.

The third-generation organizers Tom & Diane Bradley of Czech origin have done a fantastic job of preserving the “Dozinky” event as it truly happens in the Moravian and Slovakian villages in the old country. The dancers wear original costumes, the band of accordions plays Czech polka and the singers sing Czech songs.

I marvel at this effort, because the festival passes the Czech heritage onto the younger generation. The dance troupe involves kids ages three to unlimited. The festivities open with the shortest parade in the world; it’s even shorter than the parade in Hubbardston on St. Pat’s Day.

The parade route is past the ZCBJ Lodge to the small field with a concrete platform for the dancers. The dancers and singers march in the parade with rakes and scythes, symbolizing the original harvest of wheat.

Usually, a polka band plays inside the hall after the dance troupe is done outside. I’ve never been to that part, because it runs later in the afternoon when we have to head back home for a long drive through the fields.

The best part of the event is the original Czech food. For ten bucks, you get to eat like in a fancy Czech restaurant without leaving USA. The buffet features, ham, chicken, dumplings, sauerkraut, cucumber salad, mashed potatoes, biscuits and a dessert.

Czech “kolache”

However, one thing you will not get here, is the traditional Czech “kolache” pastry. One of the editors of the Fraternity Herald asked me to share the origins of this festive pastry.

So, I asked my mother Ella, while she was still in Venice. Growing up in Moravian small town of Vizovice, she could trace the humble origins to the villagers.

“They used all the ingredients available to them in their households,” she said. “This included the cottage cheese they made themselves, butter or lard and eggs. The only thing they bought was sugar and flour. They had everything else including the plum butter.”

The popularity of “kolache” as a signature pastry at all events and festivities, skyrocketed over the years, as the city folks discovered them while touring villages.

“Kolaches” are to Czechs what pizza is to the Italians,” mom said. “They too use the ingredients available to them; olives, pasta sauce and such.”

There are hundreds of recipes for traditional “kolache” varying according to the region.

However, they all have in common the following: golden crust topped with plum butter with sugary crumbling and filled with cottage cheese mixed with raisins.

For one of the many kolache recipes visit the

Mazac Family Genealogy blog:

https://mazacgenalogy.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/czech-moravian-kolache-recipe/

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

Interview with WGVU Shelley Irwin

Renaissance of the written word

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- While finalizing my interview draft for the WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin in downtown Grand Rapids, I was able to come up with a common theme; renaissance of the written word and literature overall.

That was my final takeaway message for the audience.

“We’re in a renaissance era of the written word,” I said. “Write every day, put together what you have written and send it out. Don’t let dust settle on your manuscripts. If you can’t find an agent or a publishing house, do it yourself. Find a self-publishing platform.”

Over the last two decades, people have been getting increasingly sick of technology and trying to figure everything out on devices, and the ever-changing algorithms.

On the other hand, the renaissance is partly thanks to Google’s keywords, business and product reviews and captioning on TV.

I’ve noticed an explosion of literature on my author’s adventures since I’ve penned “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” Poets are popping up, as well as memoirists and there is a huge demand for historical fiction.

As a true lover of history and artifacts, I brought in with me to the WGVU Studio at the Eberhard Center a remnant of a word processor; a font reel or wheel with my favorite script font 10/12. That’s all I have left of the word processor that had a screen for  three sentences at the max. I bought it in 1990 at, the close to being extinct, Kmart.

“The millennials don’t know what it is, but I used the Smith- Corona word processor to write my first stories,” I said.

Irwin looked at the reel wheel with the script font puzzled.

“I am not a millennial, but I can’t figure this out either,” as she looked at the artifact.

We talked about the “Riddleyville Clown” short story, that is pure fiction. Based on the story, I wrote the screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” © Emma Palova.

“It was inspired by a hometown parade to the 175th anniversary of fictive Riddleyville, organized by one of the town characters,” I said. “It is about the assassination on the liberal presidential candidates.”

When Irwin asked about my favorite stories out of the collection of 13 short stories, I said: “If I had to choose it would be a toss between “The Death Song” and “The Temptation of Martin Duggan.”

“Why?”

“Because the characters stay with you long after you’re done reading,” I said. “My daughter-in-law Maranda asked me what was wrong with the guys.”

That’s exactly what I want; that resonation with the characters and questions left hanging in the air. That’s why I am writing a sequel to Shifting Sand Short Stories, as well as the Greenwich Meridian memoir.

“iIt’s a balancing act,” I said.

The main character in “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” is a math professor, perfectionist by nature.

By pure coincidence, and with “Back to School” looming in the air, there was also a mathematical conference going on at the Eberhard Center. A girl offered me an AlgebraNation pencil and a flag.

I have to check if it is pencil no.2, that professor Duggan used in the story. It’s got to be just right, not too soft, not too hard.

“Obviously, you have a passion for writing,” said Irwin.

It was a great experience being in the same studio with Irwin and the intern, and other adventurers like  the Iron  Fish Distilleries.

I heard their story driving back to Lowell on WGVU 88.5 FM.

Thank you, Shelley, until we meet again on my next venture.

Books and events

Shifting Sands Short Stories is available locally at Schuler Books in GR and in Lansing, Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, KDL libraries and it is coming to “Epilogue Books” in Rockford. It is on Amazon.

 

Author events @LowellArts

 

July 28 & Aug. 4, 1- 3 p.m. Book signing & discussion

Aug. 6, 7 to 9 p.m. panel discussion with poet Ian Haight

 

To join LowellArts Writer’s Group contact Debra Duiven Dunning at 897-8545

For more info go to https://www.lowellarts.mi.org

 

WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin

 

http://www.tinyurl.com/ycp9cx5k

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

Writer’s steps

A long journey starts with the first step, leaving footprints in Ludington

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I attended the Ludington Writers’ Rendezvous on the shores of Lake Michigan last Saturday. It was my first encounter with the Ludington Writers group, and my second author’s conference experience after Calvin College in the spring.

It was a great gathering of 28 authors with a total of 80 titles and the tension of 10 million volts.

As the raindrops drummed on the roof of the Arts Center lodged inside the former Methodist Church in beautiful downtown Ludington, I absorbed the energy output of the organizers and fellow authors.

I loved author Carol L. Ochadleus’ poster designed by her son.

“We got the wrong cover on the last one,” Ochadleus laughed. “This time we got it right.”

The rush before the authors’ events is always nerve wrecking. An author, whose name I didn’t catch, stormed in with her pink luggage. Sudanese author Dominic Malual of “Barefoot in the Boot” had a wooden giraffe in front of his table.

In most cases, the conference attendance was the result of teamwork of entire families. The “assistants” were usually the partners of the authors, while the “runners” were book lovers who delivered food from the local restaurants. The extensive menu featured everything from the “Swiss Hammer”, “Ojibway Dip” to “Dirty Russian.”

Ludington Writers' Rendezvous
Authors (left to right) Jeanie Mortensen and Emma Palova of Lowell share a giggle.

Since, I missed my dad Vaclav’s birthday lunch, my assistant Ludek personally delivered my grilled chicken wrap from Jamesport Brewing Co., where the international family crew got together.

That fusion of aspirations, dreams and hopes fueled my own author’s drive that sometimes goes into overdrive.

“I want you to have a good experience,” wrote author/organizer Joan H. Young in her final approach to the conference message. “We want this to be the event to come to.”

For many authors it was their first time at anything and everything. Author Joseph Tilton debuted with his “Apocalypse” book here.

“My next thing is the parade,” he said.

Tilton promotes his book using a parade float. I immediately felt inspired. Of course, I love parades. Parades inspired my screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns”© Emma Palova. I am looking for a producer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the “wannabee” authors circulating around the authors’ tables. I didn’t catch their names. One wanted to write a dystopian novel and was seeking some direction. The other one carrying a stack of papers asked me about my book, “Shifting Sands Short Stories.”

“It’s a collection of short stories, that I have written for over two decades,” I said.

“Oh, I would have had a book like this big,” she said pointing to the huge stack of papers.

I smiled, thinking, “So, why didn’t you put it together?”

Today, on my morning walk to the Franciscans, I realized I should have said that out loud:

 “Whatever you have written, put it together.”

 I sat next to Ludington author Jeanie Mortensen and that was the greatest delight of all. The locals knew her and came to buy her books; both poetry and a novel.

I bought her “Taking in the Seasons” poetry collection, because I can’t handle long chunks of text. Mortensen bought my book; we swapped business cards with other authors.

It was not only an authors’ event, it was also a family deal like I mentioned before.

Mortensen’s daughter Amy stopped by and so did my adult children, Emma & Jake to say hi.

It was an unforgettable rendezvous, both professionally and personally. The survey asked: “Will you come back?”

For me it was a definite, “Yes.”

Thanks to organizers, Joan, Hanne Kelley & Barry Matthews  of the Ludington Center for the Arts and the Writer’s Group.

My next author’s events:

July 26 @ 10 a.m. WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin 88.5/95.3

July 28 & Aug. 4   LowellArts, Lowell 1 to 3 p.m.

Aug. 6 panel discussion and reception with poet Ian Haight at LowellArts.

Check out the Grand Rapids Magazine City Guide at your local newsstand for the “Reading Room” article. My book is available at Schuler Books, Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo and on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.

To join our local Lowell Writer’s group contact Debra Duiven Dunning at 897-8545 at LowellArts.

https://www.lowellartsmi.org

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emma’s author events

20180719_1126066925248097682003123.jpgLowell author expands events this summer

Lowell, MI – Lowell author Emma Palova will be featured live on WGVU Morning Show with host Shelley Irwin on July 26 at 10 a.m. WGVU is a service of the Grand Valley State University, a PBS member.

Palova will be talking with Irwin about her book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” Palova, a former reporter for the Lowell Ledger, penned the collection of 13 short stories for more than two decades.

The stories are based on her immigration experience from former Czechoslovakia, journalistic and retail experience in the USA.

Most recently, Palova was featured in the Grand Rapids Magazine City Guide 2018-2019 in the life & style section, Reading Room: The long road to resilience.

“I know it might sound cheesy, but even though not all the stories have happy endings, that doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us is either good or bad. It isn’t always that clear,” she said. “The real art is in discerning it.”

This Saturday, July 21st, Palova can be found at the Ludington Writer’s Rendezvous along with 28 Michigan authors. The event runs from 10 to 3 p.m., at the Ludington Center for Arts. It is free to the public.

She will be at the Lowell Arts Gallery on July 28th & Aug. 4th from 1 to 3 p.m. to sign books and offer writing and publishing tips during the new “Captured: A Photography Exhibition.”

Palova is a member of the newly-formed LowellArts Writer’s Group which meets every Monday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. Contact Debra Dunning for more information at 897-8545.

Palova is currently working on a sequel to “Shifting Sands” and a memoir about the family immigration saga spanning three generations. Palova has also written a screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns”@Emma Palova.

Shifting Sands Short Stories is available on Amazon, Schuler Books in GR and Lansing and at the Kent District Library branches.

Palova is looking for a publisher for her first novel “Fire on Water” based on her experience from former communist Czechoslovakia.

For more info on the WGVU morning show go to: wgvunews.org.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s surprises, all in one day

Moving forward with author’s events in West Michigan

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- It’s unbelievable what all can happen in one day; even if it is a Monday.

WGVU Morning Show with host Shelley Irwin

First, I opened my inbox, and there was the response from host Shelley Irwin of the WGVU Morning Show.

“I get to share stories in a talk show format,” she wrote. “I would like to interview you at a time frame of your convenience.”

So, we are scheduling the time frame for the TV segment about my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” I thought it was a radio segment. I freaked out when I found out it was also TV.

As I went into the panic mode, Mr. Self-Doubt introduced himself into my writing studio; what am I going to say and wear?

I jumped on the dreaded treadmill that I have been neglecting because we have a special visitor here. That is our French granddaughter Ella.

I felt like Oprah, who started exercising two days before her birthday. And to make up for the excellent Sunday pork schnitzels, I dined on vanilla SlimFast tonight in front of the computer screen.

“That’s great mom,” said my son Jake about the TV interview. “It’s easy.”

“Yeah, how many times have you been on a live TV show?” I asked Jake, the business man, who made the schnitzels.

“The main thing is you have to know what you’re talking about,” he said. “You know the buzzwords.”

I like to think that after almost 30 years in the writing business, I can offer insights,  rather than buzzwords.

And the Monday goodness continued when I discovered the best kept secret on the lakeshore.

3rd Annual Writer’s Rendezvous in Ludington, July 21

I’ve been looking for writers’ and authors’ events in Michigan for years. But, it was only yesterday at the Ionia Free Fair that I found out about the Writer’s Rendezvous in Ludington.

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Author Emma Palova

It is my parents’ favorite place on the Michigan lakeshore. They’ve been going to Ludington ever since they moved to Big Rapids in the 1980s. We immigrated to the USA from former Czechoslovakia based on the 1968 Soviet occupation of the country. I am writing a memoir “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West” about the family immigration saga.

Annually, my dad Vaclav celebrates his birthday on Stearns Park Beach.When we couldn’t find a hotel, I told my mom Eliska:”There must be something going on.”

“There’s always something going on there,” she said on the phone in the heat of the Sunday afternoon.

While searching for a hotel on mom’s smart phone, dad came across “some kind of a writing conference.”

 

I refined the search this morning and found out that the 3rd Annual Writers’ Rendezvous featuring more than 20 Michigan authors will be this Saturday, July 21.

I was ecstatic, hoping to get in at the last minute. Barry Matthews from the Ludington Arts Center immediately responded that there is some space left for $25 for half a table.

“Yes, I am in and I can’t wait to meet the other authors and visitors.”

The goal is to bring cultural and literary perspective to the lakeshore, according to the Visiting Writers group.

Ludington has always inspired me ever since I visited the town in 1990 around the 4th of July holiday. The visit inspired one of my first articles I have written for a publication in the USA. It was also the only time I wrote in my native Czech language for the Czechoslovak Newsweek. I had a regular column for the biweekly newspaper. In spite of the longevity of the print paper, it never made it to digital format.

I remember this opening line of the lead paragraph.

“Thousands of red, white and blue petunias lined the Ludington Ave on the back drop of the shimmering blue waters of Lake Michigan.”

I went back many times; most recently last year in August for a voyage on the Badger across Lake Michigan.

Now, I am getting ready for it all. I’ve been told a million times; you’re not ready.

Other than the treadmill and Slimfast, I ordered books, brochures and posters for my upcoming author’s events.

Epilogue Books

And finally from a Facebook friend, I found out about a new local book store in Rockford.

“Shockingly nostalgic entrepreneur opened a book store next to my law office, wow. There is hope,” Genie Eardley, owner of Eardley Law, PC posted.

The name is Epilogue Books.

That’s what life is about: adventures, surprises on Mondays, shocking entrepreneurs, the joys and pains of technology, our lovely French granddaughter Ella and family get togethers on Lake Michigan.

See you at the Writer’s Rendezvous this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I will be offering writing, marketing, PR and publishing tips, and of course my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.”

For more info on the rendezvous go to:

https://www.ludingtonartscenter.org/literary-arts.html

It is also available locally at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids and Lansing. It will be available at the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and hopefully at Epilogue Books in Rockford.

The long road to resilience

You can pick up an issue of the Grand Rapids Magazine City Guide at your local bookstore or newstand to find out more about me.

My book is now available on Amazon Prime special for the next 30-some hours at a discounted rate.

I encourage readers to buy the book, print or Kindle, ahead of time for signing and discussion. I will have print copies available at my station inside the Ludington Area Center for the Arts located at 107 S. Harrison St.

Amazon print

https://www.amazon.com/Shifting-Sands-Short-Stories-stories/dp/1521130226X

Kindle

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

ISBN

9781521302262

Connect with Emma Palova on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/emma.palova.9

Emma on Twitter

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice 2018

Welcome summer

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Today is my favorite day of the year. It is also the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, known as summer solstice. I woke up this morning to a striped sky with orange, white and blue and to a cacophony of sounds; the nature sounded to me better than any symphony in this world. Ludek left at 6:05 a.m. for work in nearby Grand Rapids in full daylight.

It is my morning ritual to wish him a good day on the doorstep into the garage. I make a point to do this in the deadbeat of winter, as well as in the beauty of summer. I may have missed maybe two mornings sleeping in.

Then I continue my morning with yoga, treadmill or a walk to the Franciscan Sisters , meditations with coffee and tying myself to a chair in the studio to write. I missed the solstice last year, as I was wrapping up the formatting of my new book “Shifting Sands Short Stories.” I could not believe it, when I found out from the evening news that it was indeed the summer solstice. It stayed with me for the rest of the solar year. I felt cheated.

Most often people ask me, “What inspires your writing?”

I do have to say that it is definitely nature and its seasons.

I had to make up for that this year. The saying goes, that real stories are in “what you have missed” or “what is not there” and “what is not said.”

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On this day, the Earth’s axis is most inclined towards the sun.

I felt better when I saw at the Franciscans that the grass hasn’t been cut yet.That’s what I missed last year, the first grass cutting.  I drove there instead of walking because of a new assignment that is very close to my heart and to the nation’s heart: immigration.

The meadow was delightful in the sun’s direct rays, as the grasses and wildflowers swayed in the breeze. The Japanese lilac tree was in full bloom as well as the ornamental dogwood by the tower. I discovered a birdhouse made from Michigan license plates inside the lilac tree. Hundreds of spirea shrubs were in full maroon bloom.

Earlier in the morning at my hideout on a nearby lake, I took photos of the local heron resident on the swampy shores and hundreds of lotus blooms.

I would never want to miss this longest day of the year again. I will keep it in my heart forever. I will savor the fragrances of the meadow,  and all the sounds of this first day of summer.

The Sizzlin Summer Concert Series in Lowell is now in full swing on the Riverbank, and the Farmer’s Market is open.

Life is good.

It’s been hot and it’s been cold, so far. But, it’s summer in Michigan on the Great Lakes. And I am ready for it.

 

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