I am as ready as I can be for the National Novel Writing Month 50K word challenge starting tomorrow Nov. 1 with my Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir project.
However, Halloween is not only followed by the NaNoWriMo blast off , but also by All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day in the catholic calendar on Saturday. I always go to the mass at St. Pat’s for one or the other to reflect and for inspiration.
Usually, the Book of the Dead is on display. An evening candlelight procession goes to the cemetery.
The feature photo is an optical illussion “All is Vanity” from Belrockton in Belding. It is hanging next to the “Face of Gossip,” which is on the cover of my new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories collections.
Follow me on my NaNoWriMo journey to the completion of the memoir about our family immigration saga to the U.S.
I will be signing my new book at the Lowell Area Historical Museum (LAHM) on Nov. 15, 16 & 17 during Christmas through Lowell.
“Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.” Marissa Meyer
Back to the keyboard
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI- I am back behind the computer after a summer filled with author’s gigs, book marketing, anniversary parties and granddaughter Ella’s departure for Fixin, France.
The fall solstice weather is also much more conducive to being tied to the chair without any distractions; that includes minimum social media and Internet browsing only for research purposes and logging in daily word count on the NaNoWriMo website at https://www.nanowrimo.org/
However, I have one more big author event to go to before I embark on my second National Novel Writing Month 50k challenge starting on Nov. 1 with prep work in October.
Belrockton Dormitory , home of the Belding Museum
107 Hanover St. Belding, Oct. 6, 2019 1 pm – 4 pm
I am especially looking forward to this book signing of “Shifting Sands: Secrets” inside the original dormitory that housed the silk city girls when Belding was known as the” Silk City of the World.”
The making of “Silk Nora”
The long short story “Silk Nora” is the main story in book 2 in the Shifting Sands Short Stories series. By genre, it belongs to the historical fiction/historical romance catefories. So a good way to search for the book online is by using the keywords #historical fiction #historical romance. In physical bookstores, the book can be found in the fiction category.
The story digs deep into the history of the silk city girls’ dormitory “Belrockton” in Belding at the turn-of-the-century.
The Classical Revival-inspired building was erected in 1906 at a cost of $30,000 . It provided accommodations for 100 single female workers and staff. It was better known as the “Bel” and it is the last dormitory left from the three buildings. Much like the Richardson Mill is the last structure left from the three silk mills in Belding.
As a reporter for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in the early 2000s, I visited the museum on multiple occassions. But, it wasn’t until two years ago, when I spotted a picture of a woman in a hat during the museum’s fashion hat display in the fall of 2017. She was very elegant and beautiful with a nostalgic look on her face.
That woman in a hat served as a model for creating the main character Nora in the historical fiction story “Silk Nora,” which is the main story in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.”
I also explored extensively the interior of the dormitory including the girls’ rooms. There was another picture in an oval frame. This was a photo of Mathilda Adrian, who lived in the dormitory. Right next to the oval photo was her marriage certificate to John Mahar dated April 1917. And a double love story was born.
This discovery inspired the character of Mathilda, who became Nora’s best friend. So, at this point I had the main characters, and then I added Doris, the matron and the men into the story. All the characters are woven into Belding’s history of the silk industry started by the Belding Brothers in 1860 by selling silk from house to house.
Creativity of Belrockton staff
The creativity of the Belrockton Museum staff, Jane Forth, Barb Fagerlin, Jan Mehney along with others inspired my own creativity.
T he creative displays at the museum from Hotel Belding such as the receptionist’s desk helped me recreate the scenes of social life at the hotel.
The displays of girls’ rooms complete with mannequins, the movie theater, grocery store, fueled my imagination.
When I discovered the optical illusion picture of the “Face of Gossip” at the dormitory bathrooms, I was totally flabbergasted by the chain of coincidences that made the individual pieces fit into a complete story.
To be continued
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Palova. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lowell, MI – I am getting ready for my next book stop in Paradise located in Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The tiny village nestled on Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay annually hosts the popular Wild Blueberry Festival-Arts & Crafts Fair on Aug. 15, 16 & 17 with close to 100 vendors peddling everything from Lake Superior agate pendants to books.
My new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series is a collection of 15 short stories with the main historical fiction story “Silk Nora” set in the turn-of-the-century Belding.
One of the stories “When Layla met Corey” is set in Mackinaw City, which is a gateway to Upper Peninsula.
The book made its debut at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon in July.
An artist’s dream
Paradise, a community rich with nautical folklore, logging and Native American History attracts thousands of visitors and vendors due to close proximity to Tahquamenon Falls.
For its natural wonders and wilderness, Upper Peninsula has traditionally drawn writers, photographers and artists from all over the USA. Among the most famous authors were: Earnest Hemingway and John Voelker.
A recent wave of emerging Michigan authors is sweeping the shores of the Great Lakes from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior. They write from Michigan with Michigan settings and locations. They market themselves under the umbrella of Michigan Authors. Follow them on http://www.MichiganAuthors.com
This is by far, not my first visit to UP or Paradise. I have fond memories of vacationing Up North, both from years ago with our kids and most recently with our granddaughter Ella.
I love the wilderness of UP and its natural pristine beauty, as well as the spirit of the Great Lakes.
I have completed goal one for the April Camp NaNoWriMo which serves either as an extension of the novel challenge started in November and/or fuel for new writing.
I penned the core of “Secrets” during the November challenge reaching 56,433 words. The anchor story in the collection is “Silk Nora” inspired by my multiple visits to the Belrockton Museum in Belding.
I going through the stories for content and insights. I will be submitting some of the stories via app Submittable for reviews to magazines.
I am sending the manuscript “Shifting Sands: Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova to the editor this week. Thank you Carol.
Camp goal no. 2 is to recast the Konecny family immigration saga. This includes the title and the cover.
Follow me on my publishing journey.
Shifting Sands: Secrets
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Camp NaNoWriMo in April is an extension of the National Novel Writing Month in November. We’ve entered the fourth day of the camp already.
I penned the core of “Secrets,” which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories, during the November NaNoWriMo project.
From my camp cabin log:
Since, I have two goals for my camp 2019, I am moving ahead to finish the last story in the collection “Secrets.” I will be done with that shortly. Then comes formatting. No.2 goal is to recast the familly immigration saga “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West. Instead of discarding 11 chapters, I will just shuffle content around. I have to get the memoir going in the right direction. I don’t want it to be a list of facts. I hope for all us campers that we can get done what we have set out to do; the camaraderie and support help. I have family here from Europe, so it’s hard to get in my actual “butt in chair” time.
Copyright (c)2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
The key to a good story is balancing all its elements as well as the mental composure of its characters, while pitching them against each other.
It’s a juggling act.
I realized that while writing the sequel “Shifting Sands: Secrets” in the characters of Amora and Margot.
In the final story “Six Palms by the Tiki”, easy-going Margot, an Irish catholic from Chicago offsets Amora’s hardline self-imposed principles.
Check out the excerpt from “Secrets.”
haunt me at night. I wanted to let you know that, even though we’re friends. I
am not going to apologize for leaving you at that old Irish Pub, because you
hate gossip. Gossip is worse than lying. Gossip is immoral. Gossip is the
sister of secrets and lies. You should have asked me first about seadog George.
You know I still have Anthony.
both old, and we can die any day.
But you were the only friend I had at that looney “Cottage Nest” down South. Friends are hard to come by. The older you get, the harder they are to find. You know you should be picking up your phone. I hate when you don’t answer your phone.
I also know if I lose you, I won’t find a new friend.
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lent is a spiritual time of reflection for 40 days before Easter observed by Christians around the world. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, April 18 this year.
It is marked by the color purple and fasting. On Lenten Fridays, Christians should abstain from meat and excessive drinking.
One of its traditions are Lenten soups served by many local parish communities such as The Franciscan Life Process Center. The following soups, donated by the area restaurants, will be offered on Lenten Wednesdays:
March 20th Cannonsburg Catering Potato Soup Dilly Bread Cannonsburgcatering.com
March 27th Applause Catering Broccoli Cheese Oatmeal Bread Applause-catering.net
With its deeply embedded traditions, Lent has inspired many of my stories and writings. My favorite soup, not only for Lent, is Mediterranean lentil soup with lemon and turmeric.
Excerpt from “Shifting Sands: Secrets”
decided to further think about a night walk under the moon in pursuit of a
glimpse of the giant silk moth.
the meantime, she would do some research about the luminous winged wonder, and
find a clock that wouldn’t be as noisy.
even yet in the cottage living, you couldn’t release any stink either; like
frying a fish on a Lenten Friday or on any Friday. Being a good Catholic, Amora
made sure she never ate meat on Fridays. Unlike Margot, who both ate meat and
drank on Lenten Fridays, Amora stuck to her acquired routine.
Undisciplined Amora had to build up her routine like a bee flying from a wild flower to an order trapped in her own beehive.
we going out on Friday, Amora?” Margot asked when they were gossiping on the
shouldn’t,” Amora said. “It’s Lent. You should know that, you’re Irish.”
decided to go anyways to the old Irish Pub with dubious reputation in downtown.
They settled at their favorite table in the corner.
it be the usual two Killarneys for the ladies?” asked the waiter.
one,” snapped Amora. “It’s Lent.”
you, mam?” the waiter looked surprised at Amora.
for her,” Amora pointed at Margot.
Margot smiled at the waiter. “That’s cheers in Irish.”
The waiter brought the reddish beer and a glass of water full of ice. for Amora. Margot disciplined herself and ordered fish and chips like Amora.
least it’s cheap,” Margot said eating her chips. “Tell me all about him.”
“Who?” Amora was shocked.
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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”
kind of secrets were hiding in those calcium skeletons built by slimy mollusks
that have no spine?” Amora often wondered.
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.
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
you ever get seasick?” asked Amora naively searching George’s tanned hardened
by wind and sun.
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
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.
on buddy, you sound like the Yankees, you can’t lose that,” laughed the New
Yorker. “I am a fourth generation Yankee, I know.”
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.
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.
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.