Tag Archives: blogging

Building a fan base

Building a fan base long before the book or screenplay are done is paramount.

How do you build a fan base?

Fan by fan.  The best place to start are social media. Start a page on Facebook, that you can later connect to your WordPress blog. Also do twitter.

Blogging for a writer is essential. It was the first recommendation I got from an agent.

“Start blogging,” agent Barbara Lowenstein said. “You should be writing reviews like crazy.”

I started blogging in January of 2013 to build my fan base.  I chose WordPress for its impeccable reputation. I started with two follows from friends. Typically, I post twice a week.

What to post?

Give fans a value in your writings; whether it’s inspiration, information, entertainment, insights or a reprieve.

The best posts are relevant to what you are working on. Write about how you came up with the idea for your book, screenplay or business. How does it impact other people?

Why do you feel your work is important, and not just to you?

I can answer this one based on my new collection of short stories “Shifting Sands.”

The reason I put the collection of stories that span more than two decades, was preservation. I knew they would just get lost with time. I wrote some of them on my Smith Corona word processor with only a small screen that showed at the max three to four lines. I bought it for $450 in 1990 at a Kmart store in Big Rapids.

Later, I continued to build my fan base with my journalism career. But, I always had the book in mind first. It was the goal of my life.

Now, that the book is out, I continue to build my fan base with book signings and public appearances. I give it away at raffles.

I accommodate my fans by reaching out to them with also a private book signing, when they already bought one book for themselves and now they want it for a relative as a gift.

I made brochures about me and  my book that I hand out wherever I can. I send out newsletters to my mailing list. If you don’t have one, create one. Use  MailChimp. It’s free up to 2,000 emails.

Don’t just rely on the Internet to market your work. Be personal and be in the public eye. People love meeting up live with authors.

“How many people can say, they had an author at their museum,” said vice-president Tina Siciliano Cadwallader.

Plus, I love meeting up with fellow authors like Glad Fletcher during Christmas through Lowell. At the age of 80, she took a class so she could pen her memoir “My Garden of Stones.”

Glad is 85 now, and does all her own book marketing including public speaking.

My other favorite local author is the Oakwood Cemetery sexton Don DeJong. I bought his book, he bought mine. He writes stories about the people buried at the cemetery using old newspaper records.

Does being an author carry a responsibility?

You bet it does. People have expectations from you.  You have to live up to them.

Whether people read your book or not is a factor you cannot control. The main thing is if they have it in their library. I read an interesting post from “Brain Pickings” on Facebook about the importance of having books at home, even if you’re not going to read all of them. It doesn’t mean you are ignorant or that you’re wastefully spending your money.

Why would you want a book that you’re not going to read?

It’s the energy behind the book that counts. You never know when you’re going to pick it up and just browse through it or use a Snippet for inspiration. I have tons of books that I use for inspiration including poetry and haiku. I also look for book cover ideas, formatting and quotations.

I compare my library to my garden and the books to my flowers. I don’t cut or pick all my flowers, but I enjoy all of them in their natural environment. They inspire and comfort me by their presence.

How do you stay motivated?

Solid motivation is a must to finish your work, whatever it may be. For me motivation is accomplishment. I need to have that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. The fans are also motivation when they ask you about your next book.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

All around me in daily happenings, in old magazines and newspapers. I also find inspiration in arts and old pictures.

When I had my book signing at the Lowell Arts Gallery, I was inspired by other artists’ energy and expression.

How do you filter through ideas?

Sometimes, I have too many ideas and I don’t know how to connect them. Then, I have to discard some or jot them down in my diary. I prioritize. Now, that I am working on my second book of short stories, I made an index of them. I can shuffle the stories around, as inspiration comes. You can do the same with book chapters or scenes.

What matters the most?

The most important is every day writing. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write. Later, it will make sense. Establish your own writing routine. Listen to your fans and followers. They are your valuable readers.

Now this all could just be a theory if not put to work.

For more info on “Brain Pickings” go to: https://www.brainpickings.org

Watch for my series “Year in Review.”

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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An Australian discovery

Enlightened by discovery

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- In light of the March 1, “Big Birthdays” post, I find this, “When I am 64,” by  Debra Kolkka of Brisbane, Australia post very enlightening.

And I discovered that the story behind the “Bagni di Lucca and Beyond” blog is even more inspiring. Two friends, Debra and Liz, who live in Brisbane, Australia, started blogging about their houses in Italy to inform tourists.

Much like for the rest of us, Deb’s and Liz’s blog has grown into a passion building upon their colorful careers in fashion and retail.

Watch for a story on blog discoveries around the world. Visit with Debra and Liz in Brisbane for cosmopolitan inspiration.

 

 

64 once seemed so old, but not now…

via When I’m 64 — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond

Be kind, love like a kid

Be kind in an unkind world

“Change is in the air, as old patterns fall away and new energies are emerging. Consciously release what needs to be released, and welcome with a full embrace the newness you’ve prayed for and so richly deserve.”

Marianne Williamson

 

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I’ve never seen a more varied reaction to the happenings in Washington D.C. than this week following the presidential inauguration of Mr. Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

Any psychology student would have had a great doctoral thesis if he or she had analyzed and tabulated the responses to president Trump’s inauguration, Women’s March on Jan. 21, the first executive orders, retreat in Philadelphia, the Right to Life March and the mainstream media commentaries. Not to speak of late night shows, Saturday Night Live, and the fashion comparisons of the First Lady to historical figures and her linguistic disabilities.

ew-be-kind-jan-27

Only the death of the incarnate of the modern woman Mary Tyler Moore, and maybe watching “Charlie Bartlett” kept the weights of humanity from tipping over completely.

“So tell me what you think about all of the above and I’ll tell you who you are,” independent analysts and charlatans tested the Internet waters.

Facebook, twitter and other social media were bubbling like a witch’s potion with all the ingredients starting with hate to complete apathy, withdrawal and secure rationalization.

In between reigned ridicule, sarcasm, vulgarity, hopelessness, fear and despair.

Of course, there were observers patiently waiting to render their opinions after all others have gone first, ala “risqué” style.

I’ve tasted my share of firsts with the post “Join 10 Actions in 100 Days”, a story about a local inspiring woman Sharon Ellison, a participant in the Women’s March.

The overwhelming reaction was that the women were vulgar and inappropriate like Madonna in order to get attention.

I didn’t catch what an editor would have caught, that is a vulgar phrase on a sign accompanying the post. It cost me some.

However, one of the best observations in the last 8 days was the use of the “alternate fact” term as the means to justifying anything.

I find that term especially useful in teaching my American born protégé Josephine Marie Palova, 3, the Czech language.

“My dear Josephine, a cow is actually a horse, or vice versa, depending on what you need it to be.”

Not, that this is anything new in politics.

“What you meant to ask me, was….?” A city manager restructured my question to his prepared answer.

“What I really wanted to say was that…”

“But you said something else,” I said.

“Oh, I didn’t mean that.”

The politician’s word play is like a bad game of chess. No matter how good you are, the opposing party will claim they had won…….although in a different game.

Well, at least the Wall Street was happy in this game as the stocks soared past the 20,000 mark, if that is any indication of anything, according to ill-willed analysts.

I found some reprieve in the pacifist stance on the matter of the affairs in the union, in the world and in the universe, thanks to a post from a friend in Iowa, Sheryl Groen.

“Change is in the air, as old patterns fall away and new energies are emerging. Consciously release what needs to be released, and welcome with a full embrace the newness you’ve prayed for and so richly deserve.”

                                                                                      Marianne Williamson

 

There’s means to an end, my friend.

Be kind, everyone else is fighting a hard battle. Love like a kid, because love wins.

Featured photo thanks to Michelle Emaus of Lowell.

 

 

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

In Retrospect 2016

Looking back at the second half of 2016

Note: This is the second post on the Daily Post theme “Retrospective” on https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/retrospective/

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- The second half of 2016 rocked and we rocked with it. We rocked the Milky Way as we elected the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump by the vote of the Electoral College.

We’ve seen stars rise, shine and fall; both on the human scene and in the sky. Most recently we marked the death of Carrie Fisher better known as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, the star of the 1952 “Singin’ in the Rain” musical died one day later.

They joined a string of deaths of famous personalities in 2016, starting with David Bowie in January and Prince in April.

We proudly watched the summer Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

We lived through nature’s wrath at us in tornadoes and fires, as we ran human stampedes in malls seeking deals after Christmas.

Finally, we were so disappointed after the much coveted “Hatchanimals” that didn’t hatch.

It was a year to remember, personally and nationally.

Things lost, things found in 2016

Summer breaks rediscovered 

In July, I rediscovered the magic of the summer break as our granddaughter Ella Chavent, 6, of Fixin’, France spent her first summer on our three-acre ranch in northeast Kent County.

Starting in July, every morning I took her to the St. Pat’s summer school in Parnell, MI so she can improve her English.

“Grandma, tell me one of your stories,” she asked.

During our brief ride, accompanied by the music of Queen, I told Ella about “that dude with the fancy Corvette,” who almost ran over a boy.

Together, we celebrated Christmas in July after I bought Santa and rocking horse ornaments at an estate sale in Fallasburg for quarter a piece.

“Who died?” I asked at the sales tent which featured lovely items like a black J. Marco Galleries dress with a perfume bottle pattern.

“Our sister did,” said the lady at the dress tent. “We miss her.”

We went to the Picnic Pops concert in Canonsburg to listen to the music of Queen. We beat the heat on the beach in South Haven and explored Ella’s first fairs: the Ionia Free Fair and the Kent County Youth Fair in Lowell.

We gardened and picked red currant to make currant pies, we bought tart cherries at H&W Farms in Belding and made tart preserves and syrup.

Ella went on her first field trips to local farms.

Motivated by Ella who was going to a catholic school, I returned back to church after a 10-year long sabbatical.

And a new journey has begun. I still have on the fridge Ella’s paper star with these words:

“You were made for greatness,” Pope Benedict.

August, Burgundy revisited

 Ella and I headed back to France in mid-August. I had her on a leash and she carried in her backpack a collection of stuffed animals.

“They are my tain tains,” Ella said passionately. I could only feel what tain tains mean.

“Grandma, hold on to me, I need you,” she said.

We held on together as we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris after a sleepless flight.

“Nice to meet you,” said a woman in a short skirt.

“Selene, this is mom,” Doc Emma introduced us. “Mom, this is our friend and au pair, Selene.”

Selene was the first of a colorful set of characters, I was to meet during my third stay in Burgundy.

From my studio on Rue Magniens in the peaceful wine village of Fixin’ I wrote about the “Climates” aka vineyards in the aftermath of the Bastille Day killings in Nice.

September, things new. .Podcast platform

 Upon my return from France, I dedicated my studio time to new accounts, such as the Americas Community Voices Network as we headed into the election.

It was a feverish time of exploring and discovering on both the WordPress and Podcast platforms.

The fall at the Pala ranch means preservation of pickles and tomatoes. Why? Because you have to answer to winter when she asks.
“What did you do in summer?” so goes the old Czech saying.

October, things old, things new

October delivered a bang in many different ways, on many different levels. My cousin Brona Pink of Stipa, maintenance manager for Zoo Lesna, visited the USA for the first time. He stayed at my parents’ Ella & Vaclav Konecny in Big Rapids.

Today, I wish we had spent more time together.

We also celebrated our wedding anniversaries, Ludek and mine, along with our son’s Jake & Maranda.

On Oct. 21, the Rockford Ambulance took me to the Metro Hospital on M-6 aka “Hotel.” I passed out from exhaustion and dehydration, and I started a new path to better health and wellness.

November ushers in president-elect Trump

 In spite of my better judgment, I voted for Mr. Donald Trump on Nov. 8th. As a lifelong Democrat I voted Republican for the first time. Doc Emma missed the election by one day.

“Good, at least she couldn’t vote for Trump ,” my mom Ella said angrily.

Tired of old Washington tactics, much like the rest of the nation, I was ready for a change.

A spiritual and physical change in everything.

I started with myself; I did a thorough inventory of my mind and my physical belongings.

I have fiction manuscripts collecting dust on the shelves in my studio. They’re good stories. I was the bad one.

I stopped the rut of yo-yo dieting and overeating. I cleaned the shelves of my pantry and threw out a lot of old things.

If perfection exists in this world, the family Thanksgiving 2016 was next to perfect. As a family we got together, we didn’t fight, nobody got drunk and we didn’t burn the turkey.

After the holiday, my parents left for their winter stay in Venice, Florida, as fires blazed in Kentucky and tornadoes whipped Alabama.

December whips and shakes

 Dec.7, 2016- On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I tied yellow ribbons of hope around our ranch.

On Dec. 7th, I  published the first installment of the 2016 IW Inspiring Women series featuring artist Linda Kropf Phillips of Lowell at https://emmapalova.com/2016/12/07

Dec. 8- I started marketing a brand new account for Costa Rica on ETravel & Food at https://etravelandfood.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/visit-jaco-costa-rica/

Dec. 10- Together with the Fallasburg Historical Society, we celebrated the biggest “Christmas at Fallasburg” party ever, thanks to the power of the social media.

“Thank you Mr. Zuckerberg, your Facebook helped me make the party a huge success.

No pun intended, but it was a party for the “history books.”

On Dec. 17, I passed the Czech Christmas baking tradition on to granddaughter Josephine Marie Palova, 3. She joins the gallery of the Palova bakers spanning generations of traditional Czech baking.

Yesterday on Dec 28, I mourned the loss of my doggie friend, Annie. Annie was the neighbor’s dog who filled in the gap after my dog Haryk died almost three years ago.

“We’re heartbroken,” our neighbor announced Annie’s death.

“I loved her like my own dog,” I responded in tears. “Goodbye, Annie.”

As we close on this year, and the red dogwood twigs in Christmas bouquets have new shoots, the yellow ribbons are still hanging around the house.

Dec. 29- Today is my brother Vas’ birthday. He has completed 55 trips around the Sun. May he enjoy many more.

“Happy birthday, Vas.”

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

END

Sea in Me Unravelled

Christmas time unravels epiphany

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI-This morning, I was fortunate enough to come across the “saidsimply” blog about artistic ventures. And the labyrinth-like colorful painting inspired me to write this epiphany piece.

 

I looked at the photo of the “Sea in Me” painting and the following took place in my head:

This is how I feel about writing when I don’t write for a while; I am lost in a labyrinth of thoughts.

Yesterday, my friend Kitty from the Netherlands really encouraged me. We ran into each other  in the snack aisle at the Lowell Meijer store.
I needed to get some yellow lemonade, ribbons and nuts for undisclosed reasons.
We chatted about Christmas and getting old. We both agreed that Christmas is more about getting together with friends and family than about gifts.
“But, we can do that anytime right?” I asked for assurance all frazzled at this time of the year.
“Sure, that’s what it’s all about, we don’t need Christmas for that,” she laughed.
Kitty has re-posted the Christmas bucket list on Facebook with comment:

“My kind of Christmas.”

Here is the Christmas bucket list

1-Be present instead of buy presents
2-Wrap someone in a hug vs. wrap gifts
3-Send love vs. send gifts
4-Donate food vs. shop for food
5-Make memories vs. make cookies
6-Be the light vs. see the lights

“I am already tired of people asking if the shopping is done and if we are ready for Christmas. Flying the coop again,” Kitty commented.

Kitty told me she was leaving for the holidays for a cruise somewhere in the Caribbean. I was jealous.
“Keep writing, Emma,” she smiled and off she walked with her shopping cart that wasn’t fully loaded with goodies.
And I left the store with warmth in my heart, two yellow Fanta lemonades, hecho en Mexico, a yellow ribbon and some trail mix nuts.I was determined to keep on writing.
Thank you, Kitty and  the saidsimply blog for all of the above.
Emma

For the  simply said blog go to: https://saidsimply.wordpress.com

About the featured tiled photo mosaic:The big photo on the right accompanies post “Secrets, we all have them.”

Small photos on the left from top to bottom:

1-Me at Sea…at the Gulf of Mexico

2-“Glass Flowers” (c) Emma Palova, a manuscript with hand blown pink glass flower from the castel Karlstein in Czech Republic. This was a gift from my daughter Emma.

3-The Wedding Tree at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL.

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Simple Thoughts About Life & Stuff

A new acrylic on paper.  It has literally been months since I’ve had the paints and brushes out and I must say it was glorious.  I could not resist the impulse to let my inner painter come out and play!

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WordCamp US 2016 comes to Northeast

WordCamp comes to Northeast, brings technology evolution

Lowell, MI- Since one of my goals for 2016 was to stay up to date with technology, I would like to go to the WordCamp in Philly from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4.

First of all, the camp is close to home and I’ve never been to Philly or to a WordPress Camp. That in itself is very exciting for me.

I have recently completed a large Podcast Website project for Americas Community Voices Network (ACVN) based in Tampa, FL with founders Ronald & Donald Brookins. It was a very interesting project on the cutting edge of British developers changing under continuous development.

I finished one phase of the project during a recent stay at my daughter Emma’s house in Fixin, FR. The Internet in my studio wasn’t working half of the time, so I had to use my son-in-law Adrien’s studio overlooking the wine village.

 

The view from the window of the vineyards or the “climats” of Burgundy was awesome and inspiring.

Even though, I arrived back at home in Grand Rapids on Sept. 6  with a smashed computer screen, I still feel inspired by the stay in France. Travel has always fueled my writing, design and photography. It doesn’t matter if I go three miles east from my home to take photos in Fallasburg, Lowell or 4,000 miles to Paris, or even to visit my brother Vas Up North in Paris, MI.

Thoughts on fear in the wake of Paris attacks.
Paris from a rooftop restaurant with the view of the Eiffel Tower.

I keep my eyes open for new angles, new stories as everything changes in the flow of time. Whenever I look at the grandfather clock that says “Tempus Fugit,” I get scared. I am afraid of time. The clock was one of the first things I bought here in the USA in 1990.

Now, we don’t even need watches anymore because we have cell phones. Long before cell phones, I never had a watch. I didn’t want one. Not wearing a watch has sharpened my sense of time and dimensions.

I was comfortable using the clocks on church and cathedral towers. While hiking in Burgundy, I used the church steeples to orient myself in the “climats.”

This morning, I discovered the news about WordCamp on Facebook and I got a kick out of the fact that the after party “A Night at the Museum” will be at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

My husband Ludek and I organized “A Night at the Museum” Thanksgiving party at the Lowell Area Historical Museum in 2012. Ludek wanted to alleviate the stress on women during the holiday season.

What a great coincidence.

Last year in November, I participated in the 30 Day Content Challenge by Learn to Blog. On Day #3  I posted the following article:

“Thoughts on fear in the wake of Paris attacks.” And that was the end of my blog on Gateway Media. Some corporate brass didn’t like my thoughts.

While respecting both, my passion and fear of time, I love history. I always have. All the history, I don’t pick and choose. So, Philadelphia is the perfect location for an all time history lover and a technology user.

For more info on WordCamp go to: https://2016.us.wordcamp.org

For “Thoughts on fear” go to: https://emmapalova.com/2015/11/19/30-day-bloggigng-challenge-3/

or go to www.sentinel-standard.com/article/20151120/opinion/151129832

For Americas Community Voices Network go to: http://www.americascommunityvoicesnet.org

For Podcast Websites go to: https://podcastwebsites.com

 

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Exploring Lourmarin & Ansouis in Provence

I am back home in the USA from a writer’s retreat in France. Follow me on EW Emma’s Writings on http://emmapalova.com for stories from Provence, Burgundy and Paris. Pictured is Paris from a rooftop bar in the historic Le Marais quarter. To the right is the flashing Eiffel Tower. Every full hour the Eiffel sparkles in lights along with the blue beam that illuminates parts of Paris near the river Seine.

The fabulous panoramic “Les Nympheas” paintings inside the L’Orangerie Gallery were a gift from Claude Monet to the people of Paris.

Stay tuned for stories from Provence, Burgundy, Jura region and Paris on EW Emma’s Writings on http://emmapalova.com.

St

Villages of the Luberon Mountains Continued from Provence most beautiful villages at  By Emma Palova EW Emma’s Writings Provence, FR- After a morning writing session on Sunday in the large Provença…

Source: Exploring Lourmarin & Ansouis in Provence

Summer with Ella in America

Goodbye Ella

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- As our time together with Ella winds down, I write this with deep sadness in my heart.

Today is Ella’s last day at the Early Fives summer program at St. Patrick’s School in Parnell. I went into my husband Ludek’s experiment with butterflies in my stomach.

“Ella will stay with us this summer and you will fly back with her to France,” Ludek said back in May.

“Wow, slow down I got to work,” I said surprised.

Ella will be going to the first grade in the wine village of Fixin in Burgundy, France after the summer break in the USA. In six years, we’ve seen her six times, when she came for brief visits with her mother Emma.

“That’s the price you pay for immigration,” I said to Ludek and my friends.

And that’s when Ludek came up with the idea of having Ella here to capture the time gone by over the years, as she was growing up.

It wasn’t just the ocean of time that separated us. It was all the little things that we missed. All the firsts that had gone by: the first steps, first words, first hugs, first laughs and first tears.

I’ve never imagined that I could miss someone else’s tears or laughs.

But, the reality is different.

“I will miss your laugh,” said former publisher Val at the Ionia Sentinel-Standard when I left the paper for good in 1993.

“How about her work,” snapped the editor also Val.

Ella has grown from the toddler that we took with us to the beach in South Haven back in 2011 to a smart and sassy girl with an artsy flair.

“Why do you get angry,” I asked her the other day in the car on the way back from school as the Queen rocked & rolled to full blast.

“Because sometimes you annoy me,” Ella said pouting.

“Really, so no more crepes or ice cream for you,” I said.

“No, sorry.”

We missed all the sorries, too.

“Sorry, grandpa,” Ella apologized after refusing to follow another one of Ludek’s orders.

However, time apart brings along appreciation, deeper love and understanding.

“I miss my mommy,” Ella cried one afternoon after school as she hugged Emma’s graduation picture hanging in the living room next to Mona Lisa.

“I am sure she misses you too,” I said.

“I want to be with her,” Ella continued.

“You will eventually,” I said trying to comfort her.

But, Ella was inconsolable. The persistent little girls cried hours into the night.

“Alright, you’re flying back with her to France tomorrow,” I said to Ludek.

 

The next day was a brand new day.

“Will I see my friends today?” Ella asked on our way to school with Queen blasting in the background. “Tell me one of your stories.”

And I started telling her the story of Scheherazade and the mean king, and the story of the guy with the expensive McLaren automobile who ran a red stop sign.

“Tell me the story about the bracelet and Jake’s wedding ring,” Ella demanded more storytelling.

Ella loves the music of Queen after a Picnic Pops concert at Cannonsburg in July.

“I am like Freddie Mercury, I want it all,” she laughs as we go back home.

Throughout these six weeks, I’ve learned several big lessons. I learned that stories are soothing and healing. I learned that food which reminds you of home is comforting. I learned that the jittery music of Queen can bring on the atmosphere of home. And that the school environment is good for kids.

So, whenever Ella got homesick, I made French crepes and opened a jar of “cornichons.” We call them dills, here in America.

And I spent a perfect day with Ella doing the “Back to School Shopping” rut that was so new to me. Finally, Ella got her ears pierced at the Piercing Pagoda at the mall.

And I told her my endless stories on demand.

I will keep telling them, until I can’t speak or write anymore.

Goodbye, my friend. It was brief, but it was. It really did happen that you were here in America.

I need to assure myself.

Note: Most of my relationship stories appear in the “Greenwich Meridian” (c) memoir, as well as ethnic and travel stories. I hope to finish the memoir for publication my Mother’s Day 2017.

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Frail times

Small frail things matter

“Do small things with great love.”

Mother Teresa

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I have just found out that small things matter, that destiny  exists and that life is frail.

Three times in life I had close calls when death was reaching for me with her long arms.

Once, I almost drowned even though I am an apt swimmer, not like Michael Phelps but close. Just joking. I feel lucky when I can swim  a 50-meter pool once and not the butterfly style.

The second time I almost got killed in a car driving on a rural route from one small town to another small town in northern Michigan.

Ella by her computer station in her girl's room.
Ella’s time in America.

The third time I fell down straight on my face due to low blood pressure, heat and dizziness from medication at the height of summer on July 14th.

A one-night stay at the Metro Hospital on M-6 cost us $10,000. My husband Ludek also spent one night at what we call “Hotel 6” with heart problems. That also cost us $10,000.

We came out of there alive unlike our neighbor Ted aka “Teddy Bear” who never made it out of “Hotel 6” after a 2-year struggle with leukemia.

“At least he lived it up,” said my daughter-in-law Maranda Palova.

No matter what you call it whether living it up, bucket list or living your way because you think you’re going to die soon, you can’t escape destiny.

Ella Chavent with one of the teachers at St. Pat's.
Ella Chavent with one of the volunteers at St. Pat’s.

And yes life is frail at all its stages.

I am breathing again freely with new wisdom. I found out why I didn’t die in any of those close calls.

It’s my French granddaughter Ella Chavent, 5. She will turn six in September. Ella is staying with us for the summer. At first I had butterflies in my stomach. I worried about this international experiment not knowing where it will take us. We didn’t know Ella that well because we’ve seen her in six years only six times.

Ella’s parents left for France last Friday taking along her two-year old brother Sam.

“Did Sam leave?” she asked me.

“No, he’s living under the roof in the attic,” I said seriously but laughing out loud afterwards.

And we’ve played that joke ever since. Ella keeps telling everyone that her brother lives in the attic. That simple joke broke the ice when Ella started crying for her mami  after coming home from St. Pat’s summer school.

Our international family clan on July 4th under the pergola.
Our international family clan on July 4th under the pergola.

Normally, I hate Mondays but this time I didn’t. I took Ella to school in the morning. She carried her tart cherry pie for her friends. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made that cherry pie. I would normally not go to St. Pat’s Church.  I would just lounge around all Sunday morning.

But, with Ella going to a catholic school, I felt compelled to go to church. Ella wouldn’t go either, but she wanted to see her friends from school.

After dropping her off this morning, I felt an urge to drive to Smyrna to see if  the work on Whites Bridge replica has started.

Instead, there was a stronger pull to go home. I kept looking around over all my stuff; things that I used to think mattered so much.

At first I wanted to do the laundry, so I went upstairs to pick up Ella’s clothes. Picking up stuff off the floor in what was my daughter’s room in the nineties, I realized there’s a greater cause than just dirty laundry.

Without taking down Emma’s posters from the white walls, I started re-doing the room Ella style. I cleared the shelves for her souvenirs from the Ionia Free Fair and from Picnic Pops fireworks and concert, that she enjoyed so much over the weekend.

In the corner of the room, I created a work station for her. Our neighbor Catherine Haefner gave Ella a “computer” with books and a tape. Ella tested it out at the open house for Katie Haefner.

Then I went to the balcony to water the flower boxes. I looked at Ella’s little garden made inside a cut off milk jar. Her chicks and hens started already growing.

Next to Ella’s miniature garden is a bigger black square pot with mums. I forgot to water them during the June heat. So, the flowers died. I wanted to pull out the plant and throw it out. Something wouldn’t let me.

I looked closer at the plant after watering it thoroughly for the last three weeks. With all the rain we had, I found new buds coming out on the leafy stems.

To me, the new buds symbolize new blood and a fresh new outlook on life.

There was a reason why I didn’t die in one of those close calls.

Thank you universe.

Note: This story ties into the earlier post “Immersion English” or “International Experiment” found at https://emmapalova.com/2016/07/14/international-experiment/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/frail

#dailypost #frail

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Picking up the Pieces

The great return to finale

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I am putting back together the pieces of my life like in a shining kaleidoscope. Some call it a comeback.

I am back on the final stretch of the “Greenwich Meridian” (c) memoir. I took a break to establish my Internet blog design company Emma Blogs, LLC. Now that I feel well grounded, I am returning back to the life of a daily writer. I missed it anyway.

The blogging journey took me from a rookie to a lifelong learner. Internet is much like water & wind; it never stands still or like Wall Street; it never sleeps. You can’t abandon it, because it’s like the writing life. It doesn’t let go of you.

Along that three-year long journey, I’ve met some of the best people in the industry by trial and error, as well as by targeted searching. After spending endless hours on learning the ropes of the blogging business, I sought help. I found Learn to Blog. This group of people is golden. Their support is pivotal in my blogging life.

And I’ve made friends. How can you make friends working all day alone in your writing studio staring at the flashing cursor with an occasional glance at my orchids on the window sill?

Well, you join private and public Facebook groups. I have done that. I am a member of the private Learn to Blog (LTB) and WordPress Support facebook groups. I’ve done both LTB and WordPress challenges. I’ve commented and I got comments back. I’ve gained the most followers on the 30 Day Content Writing Challenge . I established my own writing group “Writers Loop” on facebook based on advise from Soulpreneurs founder Leigh Ann Dickey.

“Facebook pages are old school, groups are the way to go,” she said in a Skype interview.

20140712_144005.jpg
Some of the major players in the memoir Greenwich Meridian: the Two Sisters, Mom Ella & Aunt Anna, grandma Anna and grandpa Joseph.

One of the best things that has ever happened to me on a blogging challenge was making a lifelong friend and a business partner.

During the 30 Day Content Challenge, a link to a healing site Beautiful Body, Mind and Spirit caught my eye. We were supposed to like and comment five blogs. I liked it and commented on it.

“I’ve always been interested in alternative healing,” I commented.

I e-mailed the owner Nan Raden asking for an interview to feature her as the blogger of the month on EW Emma’s Writings. During the first Skype call, we immediately clicked.

Nan is a natural healer and I suffer by nature. We compliment each other. She healed my inability to take action. She healed me emotionally and physically to a distance of 1,884.90 miles between Grand Rapids, MI and Tucson, AZ.

Now, we’re getting ready to webcast our show on Google hangouts on air. I will announce the name shortly. Stay tuned for a story and a video.

Other than the blogging challenges, the most productive in gaining followers were posts relevant to the current events. These included: “Alpenhorns at the Octoberfest in Grand Rapids,” ” Thoughts on Fear in the Wake of Paris Attacks” posted during the 30 Day Content Challenge, “Evil Choices” after a SuperTuesday primary ,”Happy Mother’s Day” and most recently “Cannes Film Festival 2016.”

Speaking about timing. My former editor and friend Jeanne Boss used to say, “Timing is everything.” The 30 Day Content Challenge started before Thanksgiving. I scrambled to get through it around the holidays. Sometimes I had to play catch up writing up to five posts one day.

I’ve learned a lot and I’ve diversified in the blogosphere. I’ve joined SheKnows and BlogHer platforms that have merged since. I am still carving out my own path. I am contemplating Blogspot, but I want to stay focused on the memoir.

Posts about relationships like the “Two Sisters” about the animosity between my mother Ella and her sister Anna attracted more followers. The relationship that went raw over immigration is a big part of the memoir.

“They never mended not even now standing at the gate to heaven or hell,” I write in the book.

I would also like to highlight the mini-series “Eyeology with Dr. Verdier” about my cataract ordeal two years ago. The IW Inspiring Women was a joy to write because I met all these interesting women who continue to inspire and motivate me to this day. It is a living ongoing series with new encounters every day.

I found out that the best writing comes from the heart and without a narrow purpose. Big tears rolled down my cheeks penning the most emotional posts like “It took a lifetime to get to this moment,” based on a prompt from the 30 Day Challenge.

It took me a lifetime to get this moment to write this post and to complete the memoir.

Thank you all for your ongoing support.

The featured image is by Nan Raden.

Links to mentioned stories:

Mom Ella & Aunt Anna (Two Sisters)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-3d4

It took a lifetime to get to this moment (30 Day Challenge #28)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-B44

Thoughts on Fear in the Wake of Paris Attacks (30 Day Challenge #3)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-zwK

Evil Choices

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-HC3

Happy Mother’s Day

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-HEk

Cannes Film Festival

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-HFn

Alpenhorns video from Octoberfest in Grand Rapids

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-xLJ

Series

IW Inspiring Women (Hiker Babe walks 4,600 miles in memory of her daughter)

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-tuE

New Eyes with Dr. Verdier

http://wp.me/p34jQ1-5VP

Companies mentioned in the article:

Emma Blogs, LLC

http://emmablogsllc.wordpress.com

Beautiful body, mind and spirit

beautifulmindbodyspirit.com

Learn to Blog

http://www.learntoblog.com

Soulpreneurs

http://soulpreneurs.co

Beautiful body, mind and spirit

Copyright (c) 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.