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.
I have fond memories of this event aka MDZ from former Czechoslovakia. On this day in history, we received flowers and/or pantyhose to celebrate our womanhood. The celebration mainly honored women as mothers and workers for the common good. It felt good to be recognized for something that is natural to all women in the world.
The Inspiring Women series is dedicated to all the women around the globe for their day to day efforts.
Inspiring Women- Carol Briggs
Person of the Year inspires and motivates others to get things done
“Whether I work
with two or 10 people, I like to share the success, and not to solely own it.
It takes a myriad of people and networking effort.”
MI – If you want to get things done, just ask Carol Briggs.
Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce has named Briggs as Person of the Year 2019 for
her community involvement in multiple organizations such as the Lowell United
Methodist Church, F.R.O.M., the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce and Relay for
top award came as a complete surprise to Briggs, when chamber director Liz
Baker gave her a piece to proofread on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
found out from the chamber flyer that I was the person of the year,” Briggs
said. “There were friends waiting for me at the chamber to congratulate me.”
is passionate about the Lowell community, and she radiates and spreads that
passion around her.
personal motive is to help our Lowell community to be vibrant, inviting and fun
for those who live here, as well as for those who may stop by for an event,” Briggs
said in her acceptance speech at the Annual Membership Gathering at Deer Run.
Form a committee
special events are her cup of tea. Briggs has a keen interest in organizational
love working with a group of people with the same interests toward results that
are both educational and enjoyable,” she said.
enjoys the most working in committees for special events. Her most recent experience
comes from organizing the 20th Anniversary of F.R.O.M. last summer.
like when everyone takes their piece and follows through,” she said.
She attributes the huge success of the F.R.O.M. event, held at Witt’s Inn and attended by 140 people, mainly to being prepared. The preparations for the event started about a year ahead of time with regular monthly meetings of a committee of nine.
Be prepared, have
started brainstorming with the theme,” she said, “having in mind the main purpose
of the event, whether it’s education, awareness or celebration.”
The committee consisting of nine people picked the theme: “Roaring 20s.”
all evolved from there; from entertainment by Roger McNaughton to catering by Miss
P’s Catering and the silent auction.
used china plate settings from F.R.O.M. and some costumes,” she said. “Eighty-five
percent of people dressed up.”
event was complete with pictures by the vintage car provided by John Sterly.
The key to success
key to success is understanding the purpose of the event,” she said. “That is
what does the organization want to achieve.”
about people and their connections in the area,” she said. “It’s about finding
those connections in the community and expecting people to follow through.”
advises to face challenges by not feeling overwhelmed with an upcoming event.
work through it and you have to be flexible,” she said. “Sometimes I woke up at
likes to break down complex tasks into steps and she definitely makes lists.
I have a lot going on, I have a lot of lists and a lot of folders,” she said.
funds for the event were directed from the proceeds of the Food Fight, while
others were in kind gifts.
am a visual learner,” she said. “I like to see things first, and then the mind
absorbs it. I like to see my task or I can’t sleep.”
like to share the success, whether I work with two people or 10,” she said. “I
am not the only one who made this happen. I try to practice humility.”
person who has his or her fingers in many pots must have a motive,” she said. “My
personal motive is to help our Lowell community.”
offers tips and advise for other women in terms of everyday goals, as well as
long term goals:
try to find good in every day in whatever comes my way,” she said. “I try to
decide how to respond not to react.”
mantra is acceptance.
am accepting of others and their lives,” she said.
response to what makes her feel good about herself, Briggs said: “It’s mainly
family and close friends, if they are supportive you can do so much more.”
you can always do a lot more than you think you can, according to Briggs.
let other people’s comments or your own inhibitions hold you back,” she said. “Ask
for an opinion from a trusted friend, we don’t have all the answers. We’re all
in this together.”
If Briggs has any secrets, we’re not going to find out about them from her.
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.
Aboard Allegiant Flight 1600 from Punta Gorda to Grand Rapids
By Emma Palova
In Air- I
am leaving Florida eight days later, just like I have arrived, with the rain.
In between, the sun and the full moon graced the clear skies.
horizon, the turquoise sea touched the blue sky in a magnificent union.
the full moon on Feb. 18, a strong morning tide hit the Venice Beach washing
ashore shells galore and wracks wrapped in seaweed.
perfect morning cup inside a cockle shell was hiding the jewels from the sea;
small olive and bubble shells, sturdy jewel boxes and translucent jingle
I spent a
magnificent week in “Paradise” where the hibiscus bloomed in shades of orange,
the banana trees in white and the palms rendered orange ripe figs.
The front yards were tropical gardens with “Birds of Paradise” just opening up their orange beaks.
The sunsets were a splash from an artist’s palate of yellows, reds, oranges and browns.
It’s February- Soak it up, stir an argument
instructor Elin reminded us this morning to soak up the beach life in February.
walked here, laid in the sand, listened to the waves,” she said. “Soak it up.
Wednesday, Elin held up a large red leaf and said something about mailing it as
a postcard. Since, the wind carried Elin’s words into the sea, I missed the
details. For some odd reason, I thought it had to be a mangrove leaf.
I picked up some reddish leaves yesterday thinking they were mangrove leaves on the dune banks by Sharky’s. Yellow veins branched into the ripe red leaf. It resembled large grape leaves.
My hosts in Venice were my parents Ella and Vaclav Konecny of Michigan. They made fun of me because I believed in the USPS red leaf postcard program. I asked my dad to take me to the post office, so I could mail the red leaf. My mom Ella was convinced my prized leaf wasn’t a mangrove, and that I shouldn’t pursue mailing it.
Siri,” my dad said.
When I asked Siri, and she knew nothing about the mangrove leaf USPS mailing program, doubts also entered my mind.
came to the conclusion that it was an April Fool’s joke. In our homeland we
used the following prank:
“It’s like going to the store to get mosquito fat,” he laughed. “I am not going inside the post office with you.”
it’s not April Fool’s,” I refused to give up.
I found myself in the midst of an argument over the validity of the USPS leaf postcard mailing program.
your dad alone, he needs to get some rest,” mom snapped.
maybe we can wrap up some meat inside the leaf and make rolls,” I defended
my grounds sarcastically.
My dad who never gives up suggested that I ask Elin. After my last morning yoga session on the beach on Thursday, I made my way through Elin’s fans to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
“You pick up some sea grape leaves,” Elin said pointing to the banks by the beach house and take it to the post office. The postal workers get a kick out of it. A lady from my class sent out five of them the other day. The postage is under a dollar. Send it out within five days or they dry out and crumble.”
According to Elin, the post office can even put a dried out leaf in a cellophane.
told you, it wasn’t a mangrove leaf,” my mom persisted.
“You know they wrap up meat in grape leaves in Greece, right?” I snapped back.
Back home at the writing studio Feb. 22, 2019
Lowell, MI -That was it. I was running out of time to go to the post office, since I was flying out of Florida in the afternoon.
I wrote my address on the sea grape leaf, mom provided the stamps, and dad disguised the leaf in a sac and took it to the mailbox. Dad was convinced that I made a fool out of him.
unknown whether he put the sac with the sea grape leaf in the mail, or in the
bizarre way, we were all right; mom with her contention that it is not a
mangrove leaf, me with the sea grape meat rolls and dad with the April Fool’s
prank, that he had probably created by dropping the leaf in the trash.
Venice, FL- The morning tide washed ashore treasures galore: large speckled cockles, coquinas, calico scallops, whelks, sturdy white jewel boxes, twisted conches, translucent jingle shells in shades of orange, olive and bubble shells.
The yellowish cocquina and turkey shells were still attached holding on tight to each other. The mollusks have long jumped out of the shells digging themselves into the sand.
The warm westerly wind combined with the cold Norte whipped a white foam on top of the waves breaking and crashing to the shore.
The perfect morning cup of jewels hiding inside a large cockle shell was still filled with water. A skilled paddle boarder navigated the wild waves falling only once, and climbing back up again. A sailboat rocked in the waves.
A dead seagull found its resting place on the beach. A trio of pelicans delighted in the wind flying ten feet above the water.
A slippery wrack of branches and seaweed washed ashore will serve later as a buffet for the birds. Wrack communities are native to Florida beaches; it is stuff cast ashore by the sea.
The encounters on the two-mile long morning walk on Venice Beach range from brief hellos to “How long are you going to stay?”
People walking on the beach were not only couples or families, but often a parent with an adult child. Life on beach takes on a different rhythm; time constraints disappear.
The beach walk has inspired the last story in Shifting Sands: Secrets, a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories.
Feature photo: The perfect morning cup of jewels
The perfect morning full of jewels washed ashore still filled with sea water.
To be continued
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
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
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.
merci,” they shook their heads laughing.
other one is from Sharky’s Pier. I walked on the pier boardwalk to watch the
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.”
with its changing faces has always inspired me, as long as I can remember.
heart and a cross made from sea shells overgrown by beach grasses is a close third
runner up in the circle of inspirations.
asking yourself questions,” one of my former editors said.
years later, I ask myself: “Who made that statement in the sand and for whom?
How come it lasted?”
there are golden nuggets from the Floridians who have never left sunny Florida.
mean to tell us there is snow on the ground in Michigan?” guys asked me in disbelief.
of it. We have to stake the driveway for the snow plowing,” I said.
am looking forward to chatting with my parents about out immigration saga, now
spanning three generations.
love yoga on the beach with Elin Larsen and hundreds of her followers. Her DVDs
help me get through Michigan winters.
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
“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
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.”
Michigan News Agency supports local authors with Creative Endeavor Project
By Emma Palova
Kalamazoo, MI -I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Margaret Hauck, owner of Michigan News Agency (MNA) in downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday. The old-time newsstand with hundreds of newspapers, magazines, paperbacks, comics, souvenirs, candy and tobacco has been around since 1947.
The newsstand is emerging as a “literary hot spot.”
recently Hauck started the Creative Endeavor Project to support local authors.
will sell your books as a pass through and return all of the money to you,
authors,” Hauck says. “The News hopes this will encourage our writing
communities to strive to do your work.”
turned to me and said:
done your work.”
I found my book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” in the Creative Endeavor Project section up front by the window. I will soon have the second book for MNA and others: “Shifting Sands: Secrets.” (c) 2019 Emma Palova.
are 150 different titles included in the Creative Endeavor Project.