Lowell, MI- Are you a writer or an author interested in networking to gain insights into the publishing industry?
Have you encountered endless obstacles on your writing journey that seem to lead nowhere? Are your manuscripts collecting dust? Do you have a stack of rejections from agents?
Have you ever doubted yourself on your writing journey from the original idea to seeing your book on the bookshelf at the local Schuler Books store or at your hometown library?
Are you still wishing you could see your screenplay on the big screen?
A writers group will bring confidence and synergy to your writing, screenwriting & publishing efforts. It will help streamline them into a flow of great content for publishing: print, digital, audible and/or all of the above.
It will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights with fellow wordsmiths.
You can start by joining the Facebook group: Writers Loop
Come for inspiration and author’s insights to my February book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories tomorrow on Feb. 3 at 1 pm at LowellArts.
I will share writing tips on how to write about love, with or without a happy ending.
First contact via EW Emma’s Writings blog, social media, Authors Central on Amazon, author’s page on Goodreads, personal book signings at local venues and writers’ conferences like the upcoming Calvin College Conference in Grand Rapids.
You will also enjoy the marvelous Grand Valley Artists Show-In View.
What I have learned while blogging on the WordPress platform
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI – It’s hard to believe that yesterday marked five years since my registration on WordPress. My first post “About” followed on Jan. 15, 2013.
Some people asked me at my author’s book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories, why do you need a blog, if you have a Facebook page. There are at least a million reasons to blog; for me the most important one was to support my fiction career.
I had a successful journalistic print career for two decades, and I wanted to build on that following with a virtual audience. When I embarked on penning our immigration saga from communist Czechoslovakia titled “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West” agent Barbara Lowenstein of Lowestein Associates Inc. suggested I need a blog/website.
I didn’t have a Facebook page, so I startedmy blog on WordPress with 0 followers that grew to two brave pioneers, Lowell artist Kathleen Mooney and Vergennes Broadband owner Ryan Peel. My Twitter account was insignificant.
Over the years, I built the blog out just like you would build a fortress, stone by stone, wall by wall; that is post by post, page by page.
I’ve compiled the following Q&A based on what people asked me in person and on the Internet. These include my insights gained over the last five years, including the publishing of my new book in the summer of 2017 on kdp publishing platform.
Q & A:
Q:How often do you post?
A: Twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays before the weekend.
Q: What do you write about on a weekly basis that grows your following?
A: You have to be able to offer a value to your readers based on the subject matter of your blog. Be relevant.
For example: if you have a food blog (and I do), give out recipes.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Everyday life and writing. As an author and a writer, I write every day. Even if it’s not writing behind the computer screen, I write in my wide ruled spiral notebook. I jot down notes of everyday observations. I always keep these handy for future reference.
Q: What kind of insights have you gained during your blogging & author careers?
A: This is where I have to distinguish between blogging and being an author of fiction.
Even though one feeds into the other, that is blogging feeds into my fiction writing and vice versa, there is a difference.
Blogging: Numbers matter, that’s why you have to work the social media relentlessly. Connect your social media platforms to your blog. Post on a regular basis. Build a faithful following.
Fiction writing: Write every day solid blocks of coherent text. Seek feedback, reviews and build a network of contacts. Make public appearances so people know about you.
In both cases, nurture the contacts in your network with a monthly newsletter. Enahnce writing with videos and book trailers.
In the sea of daily published new books in different formats, you cannot expect the reader to find you. You have to find the right reader to match what you have written.
Q: Where and when does it all come together?
A: It all comes together once you’re published on publishing and readers’ platforms.
Kdp publishing on Amazon. Update your author centrale page.
8th annul wild game dinner at St. Pat’s featured many suprises
By Emma Palova
Parnell, MI -To close off this year’s hunting season, which runs in Michigan from Nov. 15 through Nov. 30, my husband Ludek and I went to the annual wild game dinner at St. Pat’s on Dec.1.
Neither one of us hunts anything except maybe seashells or Petoskey stones on Lake Michigan, but we’ve heard nothing but great things about this premier event. It is also impossible to get into this camo gala complete with a gun raffle. I still don’t know what got us in this year, since most people buy tickets for next year as soon as one dinner is over.
I got a phone call that we have been added in. The event is a fundraiser for the youth ministry. What followed was a surprise after a surprise. They just never stopped coming in.
First of all I noticed horses and a mule in the gym set up with tables for the dinner. There were live trees behind them and bales. On the basketball posts were stuffed trophies of a cougar, but I couldn’t see the other one.
The place was full to the rafters of its capacity of 385 people. I felt like on Tenterhookssince I didn’t know what to expect, let alone what to wear. So I just wore a dress and boots. My husband was the one who was dressed up to “kill” in his navy dress jacket with a shirt with fish design and a green tie.
There was only one person who beat him in his white velvet vest, bow tie and black shirt. He looked like he lost his way from Hollywood into the northern woods. Later, I found out it was the announcer.
However, I didn’t feel out-of-place or out of my element in spite of all the camouflage outfits. The boots saved me. Since, it was a potluck, there were hundreds of different dishes ranging from pheasant, venison meatballs, venison salami and steel head.
A creative giveaway
Plus I had a task too. I donated my new book “Shifting Sands Short Stories” into one of the baskets. The prizes also were great; everything a hunter could possible dream of, and for his hunter’s widow too. These included crossbows, bows, camo outfits and much more.
But, the best was yet to come. That was the gun raffle and the bidding on a steak and beer dinner with Fr. Mark Peacock. The dinner with the Fr. Mark was auctioned off for $2,500 for six couples.
A 50:50 raffle wrapped it up. There were also games set up in the cafeteria along with the prizes, and the buffet style game dinner. This was the 8th year for the dinner, that has been steadily growing.
It was a night to remember. Thank you for an unforgettable experience.
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
I have Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” by Proxy on the wrapper of my salted almond butter dark chocolate.
The other day, I ate the entire chocolate bar in the morning for breakfast to get some energy. Now, that is exactly 480 calories. But, it did the trick of putting me back on my feet. Prior to eating the chocolate bar, I felt like a snake making his way through the tall grass by my pond.
Breaking into writing space
However, I didn’t realize until today what was going on. I was entering the subconscious working space of my new book “Riddleyville Secrets.” It took all that energy to break the outside barriers of consciousness.
And following are William Shakespeare’s lines from “Romeo and Juliet”:
A thousand times good-night!
A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books;
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.
Hist! Romeo, hist! O! for a falconer’s voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again.
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud,
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo’s name.
It is my soul that calls upon my name:
How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears!
Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
My dad is my genius with excerpts from “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” in Shifting Sands Short Stories
The Genius in both my heart and my mind is my father professor Vaclav Konecny. His genius and inspiration was Albert Einstein. Dad genius following another genius.
My father Vaclav has been my inspiration and a role model over the years. It’s not that he has always been physically present in my life. At times, he was as distant as the Atlantic Ocean and the sky over it are vast.
For many years he lived in the USA, while I was living back in former Czechoslovakia.. He taught math at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan well into the mid 2000s.
His influence never ceased. He was my firm constellation in the sky. I love looking at the sky, and thinking of the constellations as people in my life. He was my brave Perseus when he left Czechoslovakia in 1968 to “conquer” other countries that appreciated his talent more. He had to behead many “Medusas,” ugly heads of jealousy before he got to his beloved small town university.
His genius manifested itself in hundreds of solved math problems in math journals around the world and hundreds of proposed ones. Dad says it is more difficult to propose a problem, than to solve one.
It was thanks to him that I have learned what Fermat’s Last Theorem is. The theme how to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem or conjecture was always on the table when friends came over to my parents house.
My father knows how to entertain even a stranger using his impeccable logic as a steady guide. Once he had to go to a party where he knew no one. He ran into a dentist.
“Dad, what did you talk to him about?” I asked.
“What else? We talked about teeth,” he laughed.
I remembered that forever. Once you know the profession of a stranger at the party, you talk about it, unless there is a better theme.
It wasn’t just the math genius in him, but also the artist. During critical times in my dad’s life, he turned to painting. He painted in oils scenes from the Candadian Rockies, Niagara and my favorite “Cacti at Night” on black velvet from the Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona. He also painted a Dutch windmill.
Dad is also a great handyman who can repair just about anything around the house. He calls the closet full of tools in their Venice condo, his “workshop.”
He served as an inspiration for the short story “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” in my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories.
Excerpts from “The Temptation of Martin Duggan”
“After years of traveling between Europe and the USA, Martin and Rose settled down in a small university town not far from the big lake. And that was Rocky Rapids, a humble town that suited Martin well. Idyllic and charming.
The only violence in this town on the Rocky River was stirred by the students jumping from their dorms or frat houses. If dreams come true, they came true here for both Martin and Rose.
Martin was a well-respected and accomplished professor of math with the post-doctorate title from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Martin considered the trek from the territories of Canada to the US Midwest inevitable.
He took great care not to participate in anything that would jeopardize the projected path of success and content, such as union strikes. As computers emerged on the scene, Martin acquired another degree in computer science and reached a tenure with the university. He got Rose a job at the university as well.
The noise from the students packing up their notebooks and leaving the classroom stirred Martin up from his flashbacks to Africa. He looked at his watch. It was time. He carefully packed his own carefully prepared lectures, and put everything in his light gray briefcase with a shoulder strap.
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. 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 with the creek.
It could have been a perfect day, in a perfect life in a perfect town of one perfect professor and a perfect couple.
Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All Rights reserved.
Excerpts from Orange Nights in Shifting Sands Short Stories
The most Interesting things in the store were the changing seasons and the colors reflecting them. The summer colors were still vibrant, and hanging in the air or it could have been the nostalgia after a summer passing by.
And then there were the never-ending returns in the Women’s department always shoved in a heaping basket by the fitting rooms that served as a hangout spot.
“Why did you stay in the store all these years, Irma?” asked Rachel doubtful and wondering about her own future.
“You come in young like most, because you don’t know what to do with yourself,” said Big Irma. “And after a while you just get used to it, and you’re afraid of change. Just look around you. What do you see?”
However, it was all in what you didn’t see. Those were the underlying currents of being stuck in any situation in life, and not being able to move forward. It had different names, that all came under one label.
That label was fear. And fear had many faces. It was hiding under different coats of comfort and security, assurances or the lack of them.
“Have you ever been afraid in the store?” asked Rachel. “I mean really afraid. I know we have security department and all that, but afraid as in who is going to walk in through that door and what is he going to do?”
People were already streaming in along with normal day people who had nothing to do with the orange balloon clearance in the soft and hard lines, like the grocery people and the food court.
For the moment Rachel envied them the regularity of a normal day job. They came in and they left on regular basis without the madness of wanting to do something else with their lives.
“Why aren’t you in your own department?” a scowling voice breathed down her neck.
Startled she turned around. The tall orange blonde man with a mustache still dressed in civil clothes was right behind Rachel’s back. Wendell pulled out of the cart with the returns shorts tangled in with a bra and panties. The lines manager smelled of beer and cigarettes, after a night of drinking.
“How did the night go?” Wendell asked about the clearance mark-downs with orange stickers. “What’s all this crap?”
Big Irma tired after the long night turned to Wendell.
“You just have to over there and see,” she said. “There’s a lot of clearance this year. I guess people weren’t buying as much or we overbought, or both. You never know from year to year.”