Tag Archives: Emma Palova writer

Notes from the Beach

Saturday, February 16, 2019 5:11 AM

Venice, Fl- On Valentine’s Day, I went to the beach to live deliberately.

It was 50 F in the morning, and I was still like an ice cube after arriving in the sunshine state from the frigid North. I did yoga with Elin on the Venice Beach including the “palm tree” pose to honor the new palms on Venice Avenue.

I breathed in the fresh air coming from the Gulf waters and watched the seagulls fly over my head.

The lady doing the “cat and the cow” pose in front of me was wearing socks with the following verbiage on the bottom of each sock: “If you can read this, bring me a glass of wine.”

We parked in front of the beautiful Venice City Hall built in the Mediterranean Revival style much like the rest of the historic and Venetian theme districts.

One of my favorite joints in the bustling downtown is Croissant & Co., a French artisan bakery magically transported from Paris.

Even the mousse desserts were decorated for Valentine’s with ornate words in pink and red. My dad professor Vaclav Konecny, who never drinks coffee, ordered café de la maison or house coffee. Mom Ella tried their tarte d’apricot or apricot pie and I had salmon and spinach quiche. My dad with a gift of gab greeted the bicyclists in front of the bakery, and to his great surprise they spoke French.

“He’s a charmer,” said the clerk at the Green Parrot gift shop.

Back at the condo, I noticed figs on the palm and the orange hibiscus blossoms.

It warmed up by 22 F in a few hours.

“ It would take three days to warm up in Michigan,” mom said.

On the beach

Digging my feet deeper into the sand, it felt cool from Wednesday’s rain. On a perfect day, the blue Gulf waters touch the blues of the sky in a magnificent union.

This blues symphony harmonizes with the rhythm of the waves.

I thought the slight breeze from the South should have a name like Zephyros signifying it’s softness, while reflecting the turquoise waters. Water erosion has washed some of the beach away while creating a bank that wasn’t there during my last visit in 2016.

I watched the beach goers with their sifters in search for the elusive black shark teeth. They usually emptied the small cage full of broken shells, but no shark teeth. The sifter rents for $7 an hour at Sharky’s boutique. It seems to me like a very zen thing to do: the water goes through the sifter, takes with it smaller parts and leaves in fragments of shells. If you’re lucky, a three-prong black shark tooth might be among them.

More seasoned hunters appeared by the Sharky’s Pier. This is where hundreds of fishermen cast lines with bait into the water attracting both dolphins and sharks.

I’ve seen schools of dolphins usually around noon lured by the bait. Mom and dad have seen dolphins in the morning at the jetty again with fishermen throwing lines.

Back at the pier, a kid caught a baby shark and proudly showed it off for a photo op. Then, he threw it back into the water. The kid with the shark scene reminded me of the white Egret with its yellowish beak showing off in front of cameras by the light posts on the pier waiting for his reward. If the heron doesn’t get its shrimp, he flies off.

One evening, we walked on the pier to watch one of the magnificent sunsets. It looked like an artist tipped his or her palette with the yellow in the middle and the oranges, the reds and the browns running away from it; the yellow explosion was flanked by the shades of blue on top and bottom.

Sunday surprised me with crowds; hundreds of people flocked to the beach with everything you can imagine.The sandy shore speckled by beach umbrellas, parasols and tents looked like a circus, only without animals.

If a colony of seagulls found a spot in between, they would invade it.

It’s not unusual to hear French or Russian in this area with authentic restaurants.

To be continued

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

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In the dark

Day four of power outage with excerpts from “Waiting for Snow”

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I have just finished cooking Sunday dinner, as Ludek ran back in the house shouting, “Everything is back on.” I could finally hear the air coming from the heating vents, as the house came alive with sounds.

During the four-day long power outage, I had to learn how to ration the energy from the generator; it was either the water pump or another appliance on top of keeping up the house temperature to prevent the pipes from freezing. I had to fill jars with water.

Even brewing a cup of tea became an unsurmountable task, because the kettle was taking too much power.

I could either use the stovetop or the oven, but not both. Then came the issue with “potty breaks” and not enough water beyond two flushes.

After a while, the oven knocked out the generator due to overload. It managed to maintain the heat in the house while we were using the woodstove as a back-up when the generator went out.

We had the last power outage of this magnitude during the spring ice storm of 2003. The generator got its test run.

This morning we ate hot breakfast at Saint Pat’s parish hall. On our way back, we finally spotted the Consumer’s trucks working on power lines near the Franciscans.

“They’re getting closer,” I said.

“Close is not good enough,” Ludek said.

Last night we returned from the new production of Phantom of the Opera at the Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo to our house and neighborhood pitched in black. I thought I was back at the opera with the phantom lurking in the surrounding woods and singing “Angel of Music:”

“Angel of music, guide and guardian………”

The worn-out generator stopped running and Ludek had to fix it again-something about spark plugs. The house was still warm, so the generator must have been running for most of the afternoon.

As of yesterday, the Celebrations Cinemas started offering free movies for people to warm up.

I watched the disturbing news: An 82-year-old lady made it through the outage by warming up in her car, running back home for a bathroom break. In the evening, she visited with her sister.

“She’s a nun, so I joined the convent,” the lady joked.

On Sunday morning, we passed the Consumer’s restoration time of 3:30 a.m. No power.

But the Facebook posts from people getting back power were very encouraging and enlightening. The smallest tasks turned into accomplishments during the power outage.

Eight states were helping Consumer’s restore power in ice-stricken Michigan around the clock. There were more than 200,000 people without power.

“Thank you, guys.”

Friday, Feb. 8

The temperature in the house is dropping quickly; it’s down to 62 F now. It is 16 degrees outside with winds gusting at 45 mph. The weather advisory warns of large chunks of ice falling from trees and power lines; rain showers will change to snow showers and wet roads will quickly freeze.

We’ve been without power since 10:30 am yesterday, Feb. 7, 2019. During the last two weeks, we got the wrath of the polar vortex, refreeze and now flash freeze. The generator wasn’t working until now, as Ludek had to come home from work early to fix it. He brought me a large cup of hot coffee.

When the power goes out in the country, that means the water pump stops working and we’re without water as well. From the window of my writing studio, I see the snow swirling in the wind. Our spruce tree with drooping branches turned into a green tent.

At the onset of the refreeze on Wednesday, Feb. 6. I experienced strange energy. Eight minutes before the end of my yoga session with Elin, the TV screen went dark. A strange force propelled me to put on my boots, sweatshirt and jacket. I went into the gardens surrounding our country home to take photos. I shouldn’t have. The branches were cracking under the weight of ice. I started feeling dizzy and almost passed out in my little veggie and herb garden. I looked at the frozen Weigela shrub and thought of the novel “Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough. The main character priest Ralph de Bricassart dies in the beautiful gardens in Australia.

“Lord, please do not let me die yet until my work is finished,” I said.

Winter strengthens the silence in the country when the wind is not blowing and the branches or power lines are not falling to the ground.

The woodstove now glows with fire and warmth. I am brewing some hot tea by Health King and listening to the struggling generator outside. I realize that we remain totally at the mercy of nature. It is a humbling thought.

As the Chinese say: Water is the most powerful element because of its non-resistance. It wears a hole in a rock drop by drop, and tears away everything in front of it.

“Fallasburg looks like a war zone,” a friend posted on Facebook from the nearby Kent County park.

Others posted that the weather outside and the power outage are romantic, conducive to a simple life before technology. I can see the romance in the ice encased landscape, in the burning wood that was chopped from the trees above the hill over the railroad tracks and in the cup of tea.

As neighbors, we’re used to helping each other in times of need such as this. The garbage hasn’t been hauled away for two weeks in a row. Last week, we were without postal service. The Internet is not working. The school has been out for 10 days. The politicians say that the kids won’t have to make up for lost time. The Consumers gave us no restoration time for power.

Time in all its dimensions is often the subject of my stories. Most recently, I wrote a short story “Waiting for Snow.” Last year, an exhibit at the Franciscan Sisters showcased “Waiting for Spring.” Now, I could write “Waiting for Power.”

My brother Vas, who lives in Paris, MI, complains that he’s constantly waiting for something.

“Wait till Hell freezes over.”

And there is actually a community in Michigan that is called Hell. I’ve never been there. When the snow and ice are gone, I might swing over there to check it out.

Everything is relative to time and in time.

Excerpt from “Waiting for Snow”

It was January in the new year of the Earth Pig, and there was still no snow on the ground. Green stalks of grass and weeds were peeking out of the ground and laughing in the wind at the parked snowmobiles with no riders. Other equipment too was idling.

The eager machines just sat still waiting in the front and backyards. Mother Earth was refusing to cooperate on one side, on the other she released her wrath on the coastal states.

The Midwest was sleeping its winter dream dipped into deep dry freeze and after the holiday blues. A man in the tiny community of Paris put some water in his coffee maker. The year-round Christmas tree was still lit and cast colorful lights on the modest kitchen with a broken cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. He stored a bucket with a rag there for his chores; now this was a habit from the old country in Europe.

The first morning cigarette of the day was the best one. He deeply inhaled and let out the smoke in gray circles. One wall of the mobile home was an entire mirror divided into three separate sections. He often walked to the mirror wall to look at himself. But just before looking in the mirror, Colin had to look outside. He pulled aside the checkered racing flag that was covering the window overlooking the front yard with a view on Paris Road.

Colin had to move through a set of obstacles to get to the window. These were large train layouts taking up the entire living room. Colin’s mom called it a fire safety hazard, so would the firemen.

The green and yellow grass lacked the coveted white cover. Colin carefully stepped outside on the wooden steps to make sure there was no snow. He went to the green snowmobile with the new permit and a full tank of gas.

Paris sat on an extensive trail system close to a county park. The community had a motel, a pizza parlor and a general store “Papa’s;” all located on the trail.

Colin, always wearing a train conductor’s black hat, called himself “The Trainman.”

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

Dad professor Konecny

Contributor Profile

I found my dad Vaclav Konecny’s contributor profile for the Crux Mathematicorum math magazine of the Canadian Mathematical Society on the Internet yesterday.

20181220_1412326910501251751484398.jpg

I am including it in one of the chapters of the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir. The title of the chapter is: Contributor Vaclav Konecny.

Below is a link to the pdf.

ContributorProfile_36_5 Konecny

Dad still contributes to the magazine, either by proposing math & geometry problems or by solving them. He received an honorable mention as one of the six problemists of 1996, who had participated in one-third of the solutions for the year.

My Escape from Czechoslovakia

Another document of great value is his letter: “My Escape from Czechoslovakia” dated Nov. 18, 1976 to the Department of State in Washington D.C.

As a true mathematician, dad, in great detail, describes his journey through various border crossings between four different countries. He even describes his alternative plan. Here is an excerpt:

I made two plans:

  1. To get from Eastern block through some check point
  2. To go to Bulgaria-Micurin- and swim to Turkey. I exercised a lot for this purpose and I was well prepared.

But plan one worked out okay.

Law-abiding citizen Vaclav

What fascinates me the most about his escape story is that he used any means necessary to get to his target; that is a Western country that would give him visa to re-enter USA.  My father is a law-abiding citizen who never breaks any rules. And he definitely never breaks his own tough rules, forged by the years spent at the Archbishop Seminary in Kromeriz.

However, in his escape journey, he had to resort to lying and deception. Dad even came very close to breaking traffic rules in Yugoslavia.

“I went as fast as the traffic rules allowed to Belgrade. I was stopped by police there, but they let me go even if it were just in the opposite direction to Sophia. I reported to Mrs. Julia Cardozo-Neitzke, U.S. Consul on July 27, 1976. No embassy wanted to issue me visa, but after enormous effort of the U.S. Embassy I got German visa.”

His Contributor Profile closes with the following statement:

“Vaclav’s sincerest hope is for world peace.”

Thanks dad for so much inspiration.

Note: Dad Vaclav and mom Ella currently winterize in Venice, FL. I will be joining them for my annual writer’s retreat in February.

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

Day 16 of #nanowrimo

Daily insights

Day 16 of National Novel Writing Month

Staying on target as Christmas through Lowell kicks off the season

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I can’t say whether the writing is getting any easier or any harder as I move along toward the 50K goal by the end of November.  It is a lot like a roller coaster slowly climbing up the first hill, then dropping down and swerving into a sharp curve, before it climbs up again. It changes quickly its speed.

Have I done anything like this before? That is write daily a certain quota of words to stay on target. The answer is a definite no. Even though, while looking at the #nanowrimo graph and the average words per day written, I realized that I pretty much average six pages a day, regardless. I just didn’t know about it.

The new “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova anthology was born long before I started writing it on Nov. 1, 2018.  But, whithout putting the words down, it’s just that; words and ideas in your head and imagination.

However, getting the words out in front of the public can be a scary deal too.

“The scariest moment is before I start to write,” said horror master Stephen King.

I couldn’t agree more and this is probably the main reason why most wannabe authors procrastinate. We’re all afraid of the result. The only medicine for that is: Write as much as you can every day without thinking about the result; edit later.

That’s my  major takeaway from the #nanowrimo project 2018.

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

Considering that I still have to live ordinary life other than the creative one, I am looking forward to covering this year’s “Christmas through Lowell” tour after taking a break from it for a few years. Stay tuned for the weekend coverage for the Lowell Ledger on newstands on Nov. 21, 2018.

Excerpts from “Secrets in Ink”

Well,the court hearing was set for Friday after Thanksgiving at the district court.

“That’s going to be a hell of a Black Friday,” said AJ. “For you, Luke. I’ll be near a phone if you need help.”

Luke had heard of stories of christening by fire, but this exceeded his expectations.

“I’ve never covered a court story before,” Luke said. “I’ve been to a jury duty, though.”

“That’s good enough. There’s always the first time,” said AJ. “The reporting business isn’t as glorious as you thought, ha? You will always come across issues such as the ‘homos’, you’d rather not talk about. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”

Luke was nervous when he sat near the front on the left side of the courtroom imagining windows, where they did not exist. He felt the old claustrophobia magnified on himself. There was no escaping from this closed courtroom.

The chiropractor was already seated up front without an attorney. It was the first time, Luke had heard the chiropractor’s name spoken out loud by the judge.

“I don’t like to see you Mr. Brown without representation,” said the judge known for her bias toward men. “You do realize that what you have done is pretty serious.”

Thejudge was also a stand-up comedian, performing her acts for the localcharities. She was known to be on the other side of Mr. Brown’s personalsexuality problem. Men hated her for the sexual gender bias. The judge favoredwomen, no matter what they had done.

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

Day 15 marks halfway of #nanowrimo

Daily insights from #nanowrimo

It is the opening day of the firearm hunting season in Michigan

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – Today marks the halfway point in the 50K work marathon of the National Novel Writing Month. I logged in with 31,435 words and a new story, “Secrets in Ink” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

As Anton P. Chekhov said: “Always incubate a new idea.” I did that for years, while working as a reporter for both weekly and daily newspapers in West Michigan. I went into reporting with the intention of writing books. 

I still like reporting being around live people rather than book characters. In the end, there is no difference between the two; any author can attest to that. You draw on inspiration from real life, unless you’re writing about Martians.

As I watch the explosion of new books based on the current White House happenings that beat any soap opera, I must say Mr. Chekhov was right along with another great author: You borrow from others.

There is no such thing as an original idea that hasn’t been worked before. It just depends how you work it around; what kind of a spin you give to a story.

I started the “Secrets in Ink” this morning after meditation. Once I have determined the framework, the story began to unfold itself with the two main characters: AJ and Luke.

However, I still miss my “Silk Nora” from the week-long writing sprint. I am looking forward to publishing the new anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova with the bulk of the writing done during this creative project.

Excerpts from “Secrets in Ink”

On the cusp of the Internet, most newspapers had credibility, that would be lost later in the binary digit maze and social media of the new millennium. However, most newspapers jumped on the Internet bandwagon late, but earlier than doctor’s practices.

Whether corporate or hometown, they all had in one thing in common; they could be bribed by the advertisers. None of them really had a clean conscious mind.

Behind every 50-point bold headline lied a tragedy: small or big, but always newsworthy in line with the slogan:

“All the news that’s fit to print.”

But not all the news gathered was fit to print.

“Can you handle that story?” a publisher asked. “You’re not going to be biased, right?”

In the decadence of the late 1990s, scandals abounded: nationwide and hometown.

Each story had to pass the test: number one who will it upset the most?

The other motto followed by 100 percent of the newspaper industry continued into the current multimedia news streaming business.

“If it bleeds it leads.”

It may seem cynical at first look, by the time second look comes around, it has validated itself by another tragedy or massacre.

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

Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.
Halfway through NaNoWriMo today

Creepy feelings

Spooked out by Halloween

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s writings

Lowell, MI – My mixed feelings about Halloween are expressed in the photography below and above. On one hand , I love it because I love candy and masks as well as “doing myself up” one year as  Gene Simmons from Kiss.

On the other hand I don’t know what to think about it. You know, kids dressed up as everything from Disney princesses, fairies, superheroes to brides and grooms as skeletons. Each to his own. Who said that all Spirits of Halloween have to be scary?

But flipping back to the first hand, I totally enjoyed the ghost hunt at Fallasburg conducted by the Michigan Paranormal Alliance for the second time last Saturday. Even though it was creepy to listen to the hardsole footsteps of the ghost of teacher Mrs. Richmond. I was also bummed that I couldn’t go to the Masquerade: With a side of Murder at the Candlestone resort in Belding.

Not to mention that the scary event inspires me.

I missed out on a Halloween themed wedding last Friday. But, we watched a spooky movie “Amityville” last night.

According to newgrange.com, Halloween has Celtic roots in the Samhain Festival. Smahain was the division of the year between the lighter half and the darker half allowing  spirits to pass through at its thinnest.

One of the scariest places I’ve ever been to is the  Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba in Spain. The Moor mosque is located inside a cathedral as pictured in the feature photo.

Enjoy the sampling. Get spooked.

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

Happiness comes from creating new things

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Lowell, MI- I love this quote because it is so true. Yesterday, I completed a brand new mobile app on Swiftic for a client. It took me a long time as the app development companies kept changing.

Once I figured out the last feature, I was ecstatic. It’s a top notch app with eye-catching push notifications and more than 20 features such as loyalty and scratch cards, and catalogs.

I had that same feeling of joy when I uploaded my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories ” to the publisher last year.

I feel happiness today as Ludek and I are about to head out to Mackinac Island to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.

Yes, it’s the same place where Universal Pictures filmed “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.

It was also the home for the famous fur trade entrepreneur Madame Framboise.

The island will be all dressed up for Halloween. We plan on going to the Haunted Theatre and take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Cars are not allowed on the island, only bicycles and horses.

Even this late into the season, the hotels were sold out. We will take the ferry Star Line across the Straits of Mackinac.

It is also my writer’s retreat, because Mackinac Island inspires me with its history and character. I will include in my new book three historical fiction short stories; one from the island and two from Fallasburg.

Stay tuned for more posts from the island.

 

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

Writers group network

From idea to paper, bit, print & market

LowellArts to form a writers group

Lowell, MI- Are you a writer or an author interested in networking to gain insights into the publishing industry?

Have you encountered endless obstacles on your writing journey that seem to lead nowhere? Are your manuscripts collecting dust? Do you have a stack of rejections from agents?

Have you ever doubted yourself on your writing journey from the original idea to seeing your book on the bookshelf  at the local Schuler  Books store or at your hometown library?

Are you still wishing you could see your screenplay on the big screen?

A writers group will bring confidence and synergy to your writing, screenwriting & publishing efforts. It will help streamline them into a flow of great content for publishing: print, digital, audible and/or all of the above.

It will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and insights with fellow  wordsmiths.

You can start by joining the Facebook group: Writers Loop

https://www.facebook.com/groups/880655965317296/

Contact Emma at 1-616-550-3885 or email me at emmapalova@yahoo.com

Also follow my publishing blog Edition Emma Publishing

http://editionemma.wordpress.com

For more info on LowellArts go to:

http://www.lowellartsmi.org

About the feature photo & logo:

The path shows the poet’s Meandering  journey through the woods of the publishing maze. The lights of insight are shining on it.

The poem is by an unknown poet

I see a pleasant path, and I begin to ramble

On either side are thorns and rocks

The ground is full of brambles……..

Fallen trees to trip me, the woods are very dark…..

But around the corner, and down the path,

I think I can see a park,

I think I’ll walk on the path today, the woods are too scary..

The path is my way,

It has a few hills as I walk toward the park,

But the sun is shining, and I am not in the dark……

It is simple to do….

Just stay on the path,

And we’ll walk with you!

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

How to finish a book or a screenplay

Don’t leave unfinished projects behind to haunt you. Don’t be afraid to pick them back up with new energy behind them even if they have been collecting dust or taking up space in the computer.

A woman surprised me at one of my recent book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories by the following question:

“I am on chapter six, how do I finish my book,” she asked me.

It was a definitely out-of-the-box question, because not everyone wants to admit they can’t finish something.

Here is what I have gathered over the years about  finishing​ any major writing project like a book or a screenplay:

Set a target finish goal, something that’s important to you like your birthday or any other milestone.

Write every day a quota of pages, such as 5 pages.

Always have an end in mind for the  book or script, but also for each chapter or scene.

Ask yourself: What do I want to carry out in this chapter or scene?

A loose flexible outline always helps.

Establish a reward program for yourself after each chapter. It can be anything from having a coffee with a friend or a token that will remind you that a particular chapter or scene is done.

Create a cover or poster early on even as a draft. It will help you visualize the book, play or film and the entire process.

Have a color theme in mind for the characters and the book overall.

Be cohesive. Don’t let it fall apart into pieces just because you stumble on a block in your way.

Explore, see, discover. I especially like these three verbs that I found on a sign by the Wittenbach nature center. They will continue to feed your inspiration. And in turn, the reader will keep turning pages.

Use character compass to balance out your stories. That means the right amount of thoughts, appearance, action and dialogue.

Don’t forget about the place and tension.

Don’t let unfinished Ghoulish projects haunt you.

The feature photo is from the Lowell Arts show “Between Turbulence and Tranquility” by artist Kim Ensch.

 

 

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

Spring fishing for relaxation

Relaxing into the outdoors

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I am working on exploring new methods to alleviate mental distress  as expressed in the article, “Easter Fishing.”

I will take it one step at a time: First I will find the patience for morel hunting (May 2 article), second I will learn how to fish and golf and thirdly I will take on boating.

But, for now I have to get out my kayak, and hit the waters of my beloved Murray Lake.

We’re getting a one day break from the rain and cold, according to forecasts. But, who knows?

What would you do with that one awesome daybreak from the cold, wind and the dark in your life?

I am looking forward to new horizons.

http://roughfish.com/content/easter-and-cure-mental-distress

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