Category Archives: writing

Writing Away 2019

Florida retreat brings inspirations with excerpts

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I am getting ready for my annual writer’s retreat in Florida. Each year in February, I head down south to the Gulf coast to get some sunny inspirations for my writings.

It has become a tradition since the late 2000s to visit with my parents, who winterize in Venice. Each year brings different insights; from dolphin sightings, chats with fishermen to encounters with beach painters and sand castle builders.

Two of my favorite memories are of course from the beach. I was walking on the beach, when French-speaking tourists asked me where is the west. The sun was just setting on the horizon to our right. So, I pointed in that direction.

“Oui, merci,” they shook their heads laughing.

The other one is from Sharky’s Pier. I walked on the pier boardwalk to watch the sunset.

It was getting increasingly dark in the orange glow on the Gulf side, but the shore was glistening in silver with the rising moon in the east. The contrast between night and day was striking much like the characters in my stories. Some are dark and shady from the very beginning like chief Will in the story “Chief” from my new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” Copyright (2019) Emma Palova. Other characters like manager Ricky go awry with time. Some characters shine bright throughout the story like the Belrockton matron Doris in the story “Silk Nora.”

Nature with its changing faces has always inspired me, as long as I can remember.

A heart and a cross made from sea shells overgrown by beach grasses is a close third runner up in the circle of inspirations.

“Start asking yourself questions,” one of my former editors said.

Many years later, I ask myself: “Who made that statement in the sand and for whom? How come it lasted?”

Then, there are golden nuggets from the Floridians who have never left sunny Florida.

“You mean to tell us there is snow on the ground in Michigan?” guys asked me in disbelief.

“Plenty of it. We have to stake the driveway for the snow plowing,” I said.

I am looking forward to chatting with my parents about out immigration saga, now spanning three generations.

I love yoga on the beach with Elin Larsen and hundreds of her followers. Her DVDs help me get through Michigan winters.

“Just move,” Elin encourages.

Excerpts from the “Chief”

And now this mess just before the holidays. In earlier years, he would light up to fight off the anxiety. He couldn’t even do that anymore. Nervously, he tapped his fingers against his thigh. He noticed he needed new pants.

Ricky in the meantime was staring blankly into the Monday rain on Main Street. The rain mixed with a few snowflakes, and his short drive to work was awful. And he wasn’t a good driver either. His strategy was as always to wait out until the other side spills out all the information putting him at the advantage. But this time it was taking longer than usual. Ricky was afraid of eating the whole pencil. Plus, he had a long day ahead of him with a meeting in the evening.

“I got a letter,” said the mayor pulling out a folded sheet of paper.

Ricky looked directly at the mayor fidgeting.

“Did you want to read it to me, Carl?” asked Ricky, “or you just want to tell me?”

The mayor too knew how slick Ricky ​was from previous dealings​ with him. He decided to be careful this time.

“It’s about the chief,” he said softly.

Of course, Ricky should have known right from the get go that it was about the police chief. The other day when he was getting a haircut at Salon 111, he overheard a conversation from the neighboring chair.

That was another bad habit in his portfolio: eavesdropping coupled with gossip.[EP1] 

“The chief was trying to change something in a file and he got caught,” said the cute redhead hairdresser leaning over the head of the lady in the chair fluffing her blonde hair.

“What was he trying to change?” the blonde raised her eyebrows looking at herself and at the redhead in the mirror.

Both of them stared into the mirror, as if the answer was inside that piece of glass.

Ricky rubbed his forehead, as he tried to chase away that scene from the salon from his mind. He knew it was going to be a long day and a long week in Riddleyville when the salons and the bars start buzzing with tidbits from the city hall.

“What about him?” Ricky looked up at the mayor. “He called in sick or what? I know it’s Monday and he worked the Ladies Night Out and the weekend. I don’t have a problem with him calling in.”

As always Ricky was trying to steer the conversation in his preferred direction.

“Somebody else can fill in for him tonight at the meeting,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”

Copyright © 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.


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Super Bowl LIII Inspirations

January ice blown away by February victory of Patriots; Wind never felt better

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- After the “unforgiving freeze” in the last week of January, the heated sixth victory of the New England Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl felt like a warm balsam on the rattled nerves. It melted away the ice with the wind, and ushered in inspiration.

As an author, people ask me a lot of questions. My favorite one is: “What inspires you?”

As a freelance journalist, I’ve asked local artists and authors that same question more than a hundred times. I like being on both sides of that question; you never know what answer you’re going to get or give.

Sometimes, inspiration comes in the form of an open space that needs to be filled, as a gap in time while waiting for snow or spring or from a masterpiece game.

I always eagerly expect the answer, but I have to think about my own response. There’s a certain tension in the question itself, plus it’s very timely as I have just found out. The artists most often say that nature inspires them and they have their specific spots they love to paint. For artist Kathleen Mooney, it’s the Yellow Dog River in Upper Peninsula, for others it’s the pretty garden by Ball’s Ice Cream or the dogwood by the Franciscan Sisters.

Authors say that family, parish stories, crime and history have inspired them.

However, I’ve never heard anyone in the artist/author tribes say, “The Super Bowl inspires me.”

On the contrary, I saw posts on writing groups on social media, that they’re not going to watch the biggest American game.

“Superbowl Sunday? No thanks. I’ll write. For the first time in about a month,” Jade states.

“Need to correct American writers tonight; it’s Super Bowl (two words, not one),” Warren responds.

“Proof that I don’t care about the game,” Jade professes his deepest beliefs.

“Superb owl,” Hugo responds. “I mean you’re wasting time on Facebook…”

Regardless, the correct spelling, the big game spurred a dialogue wherever you went; from general stores in the country, churches, main streets to living rooms. Anytime you have a heated discussion, you have a story: real and fiction.

After watching the spectacle on CBS from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, I beg to differ from reports of a boring game. The opening NFL commercial with John Malkowich from the Roman Colosseum in Rome talking on the phone with Peyton Manning in the USA rocked the boat.

It was a game hard to watch, according to the commentators. Some would call it a nail-biting old-fashioned football game.

“Wind never felt better,” Budweiser touted their use of wind energy in an ad.

And foreign car ads dominated the automobile scene, along with robots like The Transformer.

After 266 games, the New England Patriots won for the sixth time the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night just around 10 p.m.

“It was a physical game for a physical team,” a commentator said. “Any way you slice it, it was a defensive masterpiece.”

That’s the story twist: a victory in a defensive game. Wind never felt better.

“It’s sweet, we’re still in,” said Patriots owner CEO Bob Kraft. “We’re all patriots.”

Quarterback Tom Brady, 41, is expected to play the top role for the Patriots until 45. In response to the question what motivates and inspires him, Brady, looked around the stadium, and said.

“You, my fans, it feels like at home.”

Ditto, Tom.

Copyright © 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Revision time

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

William Faulkner

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo 50K word marathon, I am revising the manuscript to my second book. Here are the takeaways from a recent webcast on self-editing sponsored by Autocrit.

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Autocrit is a self-editing software that leverages algorithms to check manuscripts. It even compares your writing to other well-known writers. That’s the short description of a program that focuses solely on fiction, after the developers have scanned thousands of books to create the algorithms.
“It serves as a gage how many adverbs you have used,” said Kevin.
However, I am like most people and I hate doing the same stuff over. But other than the fun suggestion and revisiting the copy, several highlights shocked me and inspired me.
Ally suggested to write an outline of the first draft; that goes definitely for pansters. This can help reorganize the structure of the plot or subplot.
“Assess what you have,” she said. “Look for gaps in the plot.”
Secondly, introduce the “inciting incident” early on in the manuscript depending on genre.
“Don’t wait until you have written 18,332 words,” Ally said.
And Grant of NaNoWriMo delivered the golden nugget in a quote from William Faulkner:
“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
Easier said, than done. First you have to spot them, before the reader does.
“How do you recognize your darlings that can impede your story?” asked Grant.
Darlings are usually something that you are overly attached to in the story line. It can be an extensive backstory without enough action or you are injecting yourself into the book.
“Does this need to be there?” asked Grant.
“How long should you spend editing your manuscript?” a participant asked.
No right answer here. According to experts, some people spend more time editing their manuscript than they spent writing the first draft.
Always have a print copy, that you can take with you away from the computer.
“It changes your mindset,” Ally said.
To be continued as I work through the manuscript, and finish one last story.
Autocrit experts say you can edit chapter by chapter, or story by story.
You can still enter the Autocrit giveaway until Jan. 31 using this link:
http://bit.ly/2S6ZymM
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Days 24 through Nov. 26 of National Novel Writing Month

Insights from #nanowrimo with excerpts

National Novel Writing Month.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – This morning I finished “Oceans Away” stort story and I started “Fallasburg Code.” I logged in with 47,568 words in the 50K word marathon. I would like to finish by Wednesday or Thursday depending on how the last two stories go.

This was my first time participating in the National Novel Writing Month. Many people have already completed the creative project. My major takeaways are:

Finding my optimum daily writing quota of six pages or 1,500 words. The hardest part is always the start-up of new stories, on day two usually the plot unravels, and the wrap up is on day three.

I will have a total of 14 stories in the new book “Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova. There were a lot of suprises for me in this one as well. In some cases, I changed titles to better fit the story. The second book is definitely not any easier than the first one.

Is it different and how?

I added some historical fiction in stories “Silk Nora” and “Fallasburg Code.”

Do I have a favorite short story? People asked me this question about the first book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories.” In this collection it is definitely “Silk Nora” which is set in my favorite time period of the 1920s.

In this sequel, I don’t dedicate as much to immigration as in the first one. Some stories like “Secrets in Ink” still draw on my newspaper writing experience.

I would like to thank the National Novel Writing Month staff for the opportunity and for the encouragement.

For more info go to:

http://www.nanowrimo.org

Excerpts from “Oceans Away”

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

Even though she was suspicious at first, Norma went for the app and diligently filled out all the fields about herself.

Paul was good looking as she requested, blonde and tall; while she tallied up to his expectations as well, brunette and medium height and weight. Their first rendezvous was in Budapest, Hungary on a boat.

Norma insisted on neutral grounds such as Europe. It was Paul who picked the capital of Hungary for their first meeting. The app set their date on a boat “Princess” floating on the Danube to explore the river towns.

The date was expensive and exotic, that’s what they both wanted for their first time together. They had separate cabins on the boat. The first night, the boat was just anchoring in Budapest and they took a taxi into the city.

Paul proudly started first telling Norma all about himself. He was a doctor of Slavic origin, who wanted to get away from the nationalistic France. Norma wasn’t ashamed of her new job of the Warhol Museum executive director, either. She worked hard to get the job studying online for her master’s degree.

Budapest at night was like a star waiting to shine on the night sky. They sat long into the night on the deck bar on the boat eating shrimp and drinking red Hungarian wine.

“Will you come and see me in Noumea?” Paul asked on the boat looking at Norma.

Nanowrimo sponsors.

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

Day 23 of National Novel Writing Month

Daily insights from #nanowrimo with excerpts

National Novel Writing Month.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – The day after Thanksgiving, I finished the short story “40 Hunks” (c) 2018 Emma Palova logging into the #nanowrimo dashboard with a total of 43,723 words toward the 50K word marathon. That puts me on the final stretch to the winner mark on this publishing journey.

The story will become a part of the new collection of short stories “Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova. After the revision period in January and February supported by #nanowrimo, it is my clear intention to have the book published next year.

The National Novel Writing Month, an Internet-based creative project, started in 1999 with 21 participants. It has grown over the years to 0.5 million participants around the globe.

Two days ago, I found a thank you letter in my email from the #nanowrimo executive director Grant Faulkner titled:

“Thank you for the light of your stories.”

It truly warmed my heart, as Grant described writer Matt Forbes’ reaction to his home burnt by the wildfires in Paradise, CA, as well as the entire community.

His response to tragedy? To create.

“I plan to write. That’s about all I can do…I don’t want one huge fire to burn out everything that was taken in its wake, and this is the only thing I can do to show otherwise.”

For more info go to:

http://www.nanrowrimo.org

Takeaways

You can easily gauge your progress on the dashboard widget and graph.

Editing and revisions take place later in the months of January and February.

We also went out on Black Friday to Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, and it was jam packed. The same story was in rural Greenville. Speaking about the economy booming, it definately was at JC Penney’s who practiced Black Friday on both days, Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.

The staff was exhausted:

“We’ve been opened for the last 24 hours,” said a tired clerk in the men’s clothing department.

Excerpts from “40 Hunks”

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

“Not, now,” he said. “They have to be on the farm as soon as Friday.”

Antonio walked inside the gas station store looking around the shelves.

“You got booze,” he asked the scared girl.

Jose straightened up from the counter and looked at Antonio.

“No, booze on the bus,” he said strictly. “When we get there, you can talk to theproducer. Not here. We’re heading out.”

Antonio grabbed Jose by his shirt and tore it apart as he lifted Jose up on his feetand dragged him against the counter.

“ I said, I want some booze,” Antonio pulled out his knife and put it to Jose’s throat. “You girl give me some whiskey or I will slash his neck.”

Avlen quickly grabbed a bottle from behind her and handed it to Antonio, who opened it and drank from it, still holding Jose.

“That’s $20,” Avlen said to Antonio.

Antonio let Jose loose and turned him to Avlen like a puppet.

“You pay her,” he said. “I am going back on the bus.”

Jose gave Avlen the $20 bill shaking his head.

“Don’t call the police,” Jose begged. “I’d get in trouble that I let him loose.”

He waved to the girl and left the gas station store. Mike was smoking nearby shaking his head.

“I saw what happened,” he said. “Do you want me to call the police?”

Jose shook his head as he boarded the bus.

“No, I want us to get to the farm as fast as possible,” he said. “You deal with him at the farm with the producer. I don’t want to have anything to do with him. If he disappears, I won’t look for him.”

Featured photo: Butterflies from the Butterfly House on Mackinac Island.

Nanowrimo sponsors

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.

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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

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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.

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.

Veteran’s Day marks Day 11 of #nanowrimo

Armistice Day: The World observes 100th anniversary since the end of World War I

The National Novel Writing Month enters its 11th day

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I got closer  to the half-way mark of the National Novel Writing Month logging in a total of 23, 381 words in the 50K word marathon known as #nanowrimo earlier in the day.

We went out to eat at the Honey Creek Inn last night, and I noticed a white board up front, “Write a note to a veteran.” I thought that was very thoughtful of Don the owner of the Inn.

“Thank you veterans for fighting for our freedom.”

Armistice Day coincides with story plot

The US entered World War I in April of 2017.  Strangely enough, I came across that fact during research for my historical piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova this morning. I won’t reveal the plot here for obvious reasons, but I also found out that the United Kingdom had a conscription or a draft in 1916. These are some of the moving forces in the story.

I also looked up “high tea” in London’s finest establishments and the tradition entered my story. Not, only did it enter my story, but also my festive repertoire for the upcoming holiday season. Who said that research was boring? It also depends what you’re researching.

For the rest of this Sunday, I went about my regular business; church, grocery shopping, and cooking dinner. Well, yes it’s here: the store was getting ready for Christmas even though we haven’t done Thanksgiving yet. I suppose, it’s never too early for Christmas.

It wasn’t too nutty at the store with early shoppers, but the store had loaded up with nuts of all sorts. My favorite ones are Brazilian nuts and Pecans.

It is my clear intention to see the new collection of short stories “Secrets”, (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova, to print.

Excerpts

All the silk girls at the dormitory loved Doris’ high tea time in the tea room. They moved to the tea room to enjoy all the flavors. Doris had her tea porcelain set shipped from England. The fragile cups and saucers had floral print. The shipment included Ahmad Earl Grey tea with bergamot and the precious Darjeeling, the champagne of teas, from London

Doris modeled the high tea ritual at the “Bel” after the one she had once enjoyed at Claridge’s, London. The three-tiered stand featured colorful macaroons, chocolate cake and fruit tarts on the top; the freshly baked scones, plain, apple and raisin, were always accompanied by strawberry jam with heavy Devonshire cream.

Chef Josiah at the “Bel” took special care in making the sandwiches for the Sunday afternoon high tea. He always placed the finger-sized sandwiches on the bottom of the stand. The Chef didn’t shy away from putting cucumber slices on the dill and smoked salmon sandwiches.

Doris was the true “Tearista” here with her knowledge of teas from around the world such as Jasmine Dragon Pearls, Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, or Hathialli meaning ‘Elephant Road.’

Doris also always took care of the finale of the high tea that changed from Sunday to Sunday. This week it was the lemon meringue cake, expressing Doris’ nostalgia after the past summer.

The girls exchanged meaningful conversation with each other not thinking about the work week ahead of them.

Doris and Josiah also enjoyed a glass of champagne with their tea.

 

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

Day 10 #nanowrimo

Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI -It’s the second weekend of the National Novel Writing Month. It’s a dreary day out there, a perfect one for writing. However, I have to tend to my family too. So, I broke up my morning writing routine to spend some time with our son Jake and the kids, Josephine and Dominic. Luckily my husband Ludek made dinner: brussel sprouts, ham and gnocci. I don’t want to be a starving writer all the time.

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I continued to write in the afternoon logging in with 21,900 words, a lot less than I wanted to. I was hoping to reach the half-way mark tomorrow in the 50K word marathon. I talked with mom Ella a little bit. We usually chat on Sundays, but my parents are going to a Vereran’s Day concert at Ferris State University.

Since, I am working on a historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova as part of the new anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, I had to do some research. Normally, I wouldn’t mind if the clock wasn’t ticking. Still, I was delighted to find out some facts from the 1920s: pastry pigs as desserts, cordials for cocktails, the cloche hat, and the increased use of the radio and the phonograph.

I looked up the menu for the 1920s on the Internet and this immediately came up on inliterature.net Book Inspired: “Throwing a 1920s Great Gatsby party; the Menu from the Book.”

In a way the 1920s era reminds of what’s going on right now as we approach 2019: increased independence of women, new devices with streaming, Tesla’s “Starman” in space and overall progress in every field.

I feel privileged to be a part of the inevitable progress in humanity by participating in #nanowrimo and its nobel goals of spreading the power of words around the globe. I have a clear intention of publishing “Secrets”, a sequel to my debut book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova.

Excerpts from “Silk Nora”

Dressed up to the nines, they walked to Hotel Belding where everything was set up to start as soon as the town clock struck 8 p.m. Nora and Mathilda were in awe since they have never been in the Rose Ballroom reserved for special occasions.

This was a very special occasion since the Belding brothers, Hiram and Alvah were expected to attend the benefit ball for Red Cross. The World War I had broken in Europe, and there was no end to it.

The Rose Ballroom was decked out in fall colors of orange, yellow, brown and green.

Doris after all was coming since it was a ball for the Red Cross. The stately matron was coming with the crew from the hospital.

They were all  seated at the same round table for 12. Nora kept watching the door nervously, if Harry was going to show up. He was supposed to cover the event for the Belding Banner. Nora was shocked when Doris entered through the main door to the ballroom sporting a short bob hiding under cloche hat.

“Doris, you look absolutely ravishing,” said Nora as she stood up the greet the matron and the team.

“I couldn’t resist, dear,” she said jovially. “How do you like it?”

“It’s absolutely adorable,” said Nora, “and your dress, it’s lovely.”

Doris had the dress made for last year’s New Year’s Eve ball but didn’t end up going because of an emergency at the hospital.

Seamstress Lulu with her Lulu’s Fashions was located on Main Street next to the Millinery Shop. At the time, women were expected to wear hats. To go outside without a hat was considered not just unfashionable, but rude and a display of bad manners. Compared to dresses, hats were fairly expensive. Women spent between 20 cents and $7 on a hat. To have two hats look alike was unheard of. The milliner sewed each hat by hand and made it unique to the owner. Being a milliner, was one of the few occupations women were allowed to work along with the seamstress profession.

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