Tag Archives: inspiration

Happy International Women’s Day

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign theme is #PressforProgress which calls for action to press forward and progress gender parity.

Now, more than ever it takes on a new meaning in light of the recent events not just exclusive to Hollywood and the politicians.

The campaign gives us five options of positive behaviours toward gender equality starting with maintaining a gender parity mindset all the way to celebrating women’s achievements.

I have chosen all five. But long before this campaign I had the positive influence of celebrating womanhood in the old country.  The socialist government encouraged the celebration of IWD.

One of my favorite memories from the former socialist Czechoslovakia is the celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), both at work and at home.

The country very much valued its female population to the point that women could stay on a maternity leave for up to three years without losing their job. They received 60 percent of their salary for the first two years of their maternity leave with full salary for the first six months.

The nurseries were free as well as other preschool child-care establishments. While capitalism swiped all that away, the country did manage to keep all its old holidays along with the new ones. The country doubled up on fun when they picked back up Mother’s Day with the advance of the free market economy, and retained International Women’s Day from the past.

I still see well wishes to women from my Czech friends on Facebook on this day. Now, that warms my heart; the fact that both systems acknowledge a woman’s place in the society and in the workplace.

We used to get flowers or pantyhose at work, or the other way around at home. Even though now I don’t get either for this day, I still dedicate a memory, a post, or a wish to all the women in the world.

Inspired by the IWD tradition, I started my most popular story series, “Inspiring Women” in the winter of 2014. The series features women that are making a difference in their communities.

Since then, I have featured women from all walks of life: small town politicians, businesswomen, sportswomen, nuns, artists, doctors, herbalists, bloggers and many more. Each woman told her own story, and they were all inspiring. They are the
Fabric of their families and communities.

Just to name a few: Gail Lowe, Liz Baker, Betty Dickinson, Sharon Ellison, Betty Morlock, Mary Dailey Brown, Kathleen Mooney and most recently Betsy Davidson.

If you run into them, say thank you. Nominate a woman who has inspired you for a story.

Link to IWD is: https://internationalwomensday.com

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


Five years on WordPress

What I have learned while blogging on the WordPress platform

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – It’s hard to believe that yesterday marked five years since my registration on WordPress. My first post “About” followed on Jan. 15, 2013.

Some people asked me at my author’s book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories, why do you need a blog, if you have a Facebook page. There are at least a million reasons to blog; for me the most important one was to support my fiction career.

Five years on WordPress.

I had a successful journalistic print career for two decades, and I wanted to build on that following with a virtual audience.  When I embarked on penning our immigration saga from communist Czechoslovakia titled “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West” agent Barbara Lowenstein of Lowestein Associates Inc. suggested I need a blog/website.

I didn’t have a Facebook page, so I startedmy blog on WordPress with 0 followers that grew to two brave pioneers, Lowell artist Kathleen Mooney and Vergennes Broadband owner Ryan Peel. My Twitter account was  insignificant.

Over the years, I built the blog out just like you would build a fortress, stone by stone, wall by wall; that is post by post, page by page.

I’ve compiled  the following Q&A based on what people asked me in person and on the Internet. These include my insights gained over the last five years, including the publishing of my new book in the summer of 2017 on kdp publishing platform.

Q & A:

Q:How often do you post?

A: Twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays before the weekend.

Q: What do you write about on a weekly basis that grows your following?

A: You have to be able to offer a value to your readers based on the subject matter of your blog. Be relevant.

For example: if you have a food blog (and I do), give out recipes.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Everyday life and writing. As an author and a writer, I write every day. Even if it’s not writing behind the computer screen, I write in my wide ruled spiral notebook.  I jot down notes of everyday observations. I always keep these handy for future reference.

Q: What kind of insights have you gained during your blogging & author careers?

A: This is where I have to distinguish between blogging and being an author of fiction.

Even though one feeds into the other, that is blogging feeds into my fiction writing and vice versa, there is a difference.

Blogging: Numbers matter, that’s why you have to work the social media relentlessly. Connect your social media platforms to your blog. Post on a regular basis. Build a faithful following.

Fiction writing:  Write every day solid blocks of coherent text. Seek feedback, reviews and build a network of contacts. Make public appearances so people know about you.

In both cases, nurture the contacts in your network with a monthly newsletter. Enahnce writing with videos and book trailers.

In the sea of daily published new books in different formats, you cannot expect the reader to find you. You have to find the right reader to match what you have written.

Q: Where and when does it all come together?

A: It all comes together once you’re published on publishing and readers’ platforms.

Publishing platforms:

Kdp publishing on Amazon. Update your author centrale page.



Readers’ platforms

Goodreads authors


Summary: In both blogging and as an author encourage engagement with reviews, questions and feedback.

As such, I will be actively answering your questions until my departure for writer’s retreat in Florida on Feb. 8 on all platforms. Use slug: Emma answers.

Tips: You Study  the forums and help materials on WordPress.

You not only study the materials, but you implement everything that you have learned. Don’t forget to visit other blogs.on the Dai ly Post round-up. They are a constant source of inspiration.

To get discovered and for further insights: Participate in the Daily Post prompts


Happy blogging and writing.

Thank you WordPress for providing this free platform to all writers, authors and dreamers around the globe.

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

First book signing in 2018

Plotting writing projects this year

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – My first book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories in 2018 is today at @LowellArts from 1 to 4 pm in the beautiful new location of the gallery in downtown Lowell. Stop by to chat with local author Emma Palova.

“I love the opportunity to chat with my fans during the book signings made possible by local venues such as Lowell Arts,” Emma said. “I’ve always been their fan in everything they do to represent all arts.”

Check out the book trailer by Doc Emma of Fixin’, France. Doc is also in charge of the audio production of the book.

The video Evokes the mood of the book set in hometown America.

Link to trailer:

You can buy a copy of my new book locally at @SchulerBooks in GR, Lansing or on Amazon.
I will be offering writing tips for your projects in 2018.
I am currently working on Shifting Sands: Secrets, Book 2 (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I have also resumed work on Greenwich Meridian: East meets West. Follow me on my author’s journey for insights and adventure.

My next book signing will be on Feb. 3 at Lowell Arts from 1 to 4 p.m. Make plans to stop by for insights and adventure.

Currently, on display at the gallery are the Grand Valley Artists-In View.

For more info on LowellArts go to:


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

Book a friend

Books are perfect gifts for any age. They put a smile on a child’s face as they hold their first book in their little hands for the first time.

They also put a smile on your friend’s or grandma’s face s they glance at another new novel yet.

There’s still time to buy a book this week as a last minute gift. Just in the “Nick” of time.

Featured photo: Illustration of the nativity scene by Czech illustrator  & writer Josef Lada.

via Book as a friend

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.

Loyal public servant

Note: This article is part of a new series “Inspiring Communities.” This is the second installment following the article about Arctic Heating & Cooling owner Evert Bek “Installing water filters in Haiti.”

Nominate a person who has inspired you.

Former Lowell mayor Jim Hodges retires

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – After 23 years of public service, former Lowell mayor Jim Hodges has decided it is time to move on. He officially retired from the Lowell City Council on Nov. 6, 2017.

EW Jim Hodges retires
Former mayor Jim Hodges retires from the Lowell City Council after 23 years.

He started his successful career in public service in 1982 as the director of YMCA, which at the time functioned as the city recreational department.

“A connection with the city was established,” he said, “I attended meetings.”

In 1991, Hodges became the chairperson for the Lowell Area Schools millage campaign. He helped pass two millage proposals.

He applied for the city council seat in 1988, and he was elected to two four-year terms. In 1997, he was defeated in an election by 20 votes. Hodges took a break from the Lowell City Council for six years.

In 2004, he became a city council member all over again after being asked to run by Jeanne Shores, who became the mayor twice through 2009. Shores was the only female mayor the city of Lowell has ever had.

“Because of my loyalty and friendship, I encouraged Jeanne to run,” Hodges said.

“I have always encouraged women to run. It’s crazy not to. Everybody needs to be involved in politics to get a better balance and diversity in the society. Otherwise you’re cutting your assets in half.”

Due to Shores’ sickness, Hodges became the acting mayor in 2008.

All throughout his public service, Hodges believed in respecting others opinions and diversity.

“I have three big takeaways from my public service,” he said.

The first takeaway was to pay tribute to Shores; Hodges arranged for her to run her last meeting on Dec. 21 in 2009 from a wheelchair and named her mayor emeritus.

The second takeaway was negotiating for Dave Pasquale, manager of 23 years, to take retirement.

The third takeaway was putting a traffic light at the intersection of Bowes Road and Alden Nash.

“As the mayor, you have to be less bold and more proper than as a council member,” he said.

In an era of corrupt politics and improper behavior of various officials, Hodges was one of a kind. He was always diplomatic and smiling his impeccable smile.

Public service came with the good and the bad: the deaths of mayor emeritus Shores and council member Jim Hall, as well as the clash between the personalities on the city council.

There were some controversies during the more than two decades of service in a relatively quiet community on the banks of the Flat and Grand rivers.

Some pertained to the firing of the previous city manager Mark Howe. Other controversies involved the police chiefs; one had resigned, the other chief Steve Bukala was put on first paid administrative leave in April, and on unpaid leave in June as investigation into misusing police database and subsequent charges took place.

Since, then Bukala has been reinstated.

“It will make him a better police chief,” said Hodges. “It adds another dimension of being a better professional. We have a solid team of people working together. Steve brings leadership to them as we move forward.”

Hodges had the vision to locate the chamber building on the current Riverwalk in downtown Lowell.

And would Mr. Hodges do it all over again?

“Absolutely,” he said smiling. “I would like to think that I have helped. I like a variety of people and this has given me the chance to meet many different people.”

Hodges also takes pride in being able to balance his third shift work at Amway with his public service which included meetings in the evening or in the morning.

“You have to be disciplined,” he said.

He plans on traveling with his wife Chris and enjoying their grandson.

“I hope I have added some humor and entertainment,” he said.

Following are some moments in time from Hodges’ tenure with the city of Lowell. Hodges participated in countless city parades and in the Riverwalk flushing of the city manager.

A Loyal public servant.

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

Shakespeare by proxy

Shakespeare on a chocolate wrapper

I have Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” by Proxy on the wrapper of my salted almond butter dark chocolate.

The other day, I ate the entire chocolate bar in the morning for breakfast to get some energy. Now, that is exactly 480 calories. But, it did the trick of putting me back on my feet. Prior to eating the chocolate bar, I felt like a snake making his way through the tall grass by my pond.

Breaking into writing space

However, I didn’t realize until today what was going on. I was entering the subconscious working space of my new book “Riddleyville Secrets.” It took all that energy to break the outside barriers of consciousness.

And following are William Shakespeare’s lines from “Romeo and Juliet”:


          A thousand times good-night!


          A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.

          Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books;

          But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.


          Hist! Romeo, hist! O! for a falconer’s voice,

          To lure this tassel-gentle back again.

          Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud,

          Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,

          And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,

          With repetition of my Romeo’s name.


          It is my soul that calls upon my name:

  How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,

          Like softest music to attending ears!


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

Genius dad

My dad is my genius with excerpts from “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” in Shifting Sands Short Stories

The Genius in both my heart and my mind is my father professor Vaclav Konecny.  His genius and inspiration was Albert Einstein. Dad genius following another genius.

My father Vaclav has been my inspiration and a role model over the years. It’s not that he has always been physically present in my life. At times, he was as distant as the Atlantic Ocean and the sky over it are vast.

For many years he lived in the USA, while I was living back in former Czechoslovakia.. He taught math at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan well into the mid 2000s.

His influence never ceased. He was my firm constellation in the sky. I love looking at the sky, and thinking of the constellations as people in my life. He was my brave Perseus when he left Czechoslovakia in 1968 to “conquer” other countries that appreciated his talent more. He had to behead many “Medusas,” ugly heads of jealousy before he got to his beloved small town university.

EW Fermat's last theorem
Fermat’s conjecture in Arithmetica.

His genius manifested itself in hundreds of solved math problems in math journals around the world and hundreds of proposed ones. Dad says it is more difficult to propose a problem, than to solve one.

It was thanks to him that I have learned what Fermat’s Last Theorem is. The theme how to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem or conjecture was always on the table when friends came over to my parents house.

My father knows how to entertain even a stranger using his impeccable logic as a steady guide. Once he had to go to a party where he knew no one. He ran into a dentist.

“Dad, what did you talk to him about?” I asked.

“What else? We talked about teeth,” he laughed.

I remembered that forever. Once you know the profession of a stranger at the party, you talk about it, unless there is a better theme.

It wasn’t just the math genius in him, but also the artist. During critical times in my dad’s life, he turned to painting. He painted in oils scenes from the Candadian Rockies, Niagara and my favorite “Cacti at Night” on black velvet from the Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona. He also painted a Dutch windmill.

Dad is also a great handyman who can repair just about anything around the house. He calls the closet full of tools in their Venice condo, his “workshop.”

He served as an inspiration for the short story “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” in my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories.

Excerpts from “The Temptation of Martin Duggan”

“After years of traveling between Europe and the USA, Martin and Rose settled down in a small university town not far from the big lake. And that was Rocky Rapids, a humble town that suited Martin well. Idyllic and charming.

The only violence in this town on the Rocky River was stirred by the students jumping from their dorms or frat houses. If dreams come true, they came true here for both Martin and Rose.

Martin was a well-respected and accomplished professor of math with the post-doctorate title from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Martin considered the trek from the territories of Canada to the US Midwest inevitable.

He took great care not to participate in anything that would jeopardize the projected path of success and content, such as union strikes. As computers emerged on the scene, Martin acquired another degree in computer science and reached a tenure with the university. He got Rose a job at the university as well.

The noise from the students packing up their notebooks and leaving the classroom stirred Martin up from his flashbacks to Africa. He looked at his watch. It was time. He carefully packed his own carefully prepared lectures, and put everything in his light gray briefcase with a shoulder strap.

He walked to his gray Chevrolet, the only brand he trusted over the years. Just like everything else Martin had ever owned, it was perfectly clean. He didn’t forget to grab a bottle of cold diet Coke from the machine.

Driving through Rocky Rapids was a balsam on his nerves. The town was neat and clean too with a few banks, a video store, a car dealership and a long gone Spartan grocery. Rose used to shop there, when they still loaded groceries into cars back in the 1980s. As a remnant of the past, there was a Bear furniture store, a drive up restaurant and a Dairy Queen by the city park with the creek.

It could have been a perfect day, in a perfect life in a perfect town of one perfect professor and a perfect couple.


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

Master of his trade

Mastering the moldmaking for automotive industry

By Emma Palova

Grand Rapids, MI – It is no Coincidence that he gets called into work when others go to bed after a full day shift.

In a plant that runs three shifts, seven days a week, every minute that something doesn’t work like a well-oiled machine, means lost money. And a lot of it. The ABC Group global automotive supplier with vertically integrated plastic processing also has lots of pride being the GM supplier of the year several times.

And this mold maker knows how to fix what’s broken. Ludek must have mastered that elusive something that no one else knows. Call it the magic touch, and years of experience in the plastic injection molding industry. He is his own man in the tool room cage that is like an enclave between the plastic injection molding part of the company and the blow molding section.

Last night, as he walked into the gargantuan plant in his sandals sporting a black t-shirt from the Paranormal Society, he immediately commanded respect.

“Don’t touch anything,” Ludek yelled over the deafening sound of the machines to be heard.

The men standing around a 20-tun slab of steel hanging from a hoist turned around relieved, as if they had seen an angel in black.

Or better yet, the Raptor like the Raptor truck model that they were making the parts for.

Later, I learned that the slab of steel with holes and pins is called the tool. The tool is placed in a plastic injection machine, and it is expected to roll out plastic car parts.

The taller guy in blue shirt wanted to shake my hand, but grabbed a rag first to wipe the oil stains.

“Sorry to take him away from you,” said the manager.

It was 11 p.m., and the third shift had just started to find out that machine XOX was spitting out bad plastic car parts. It had to stop, and every hour the machine doesn’t work, the plant loses $60,000 according to the manager.

The question at hand remained what was wrong with what? Was it in the machine or in that 20-ton slab of carefully designed steel?

What first hit me, was the heat from the machines. Coming inside from a hot autumn night, it was like in a cauldron inside.

I had worked in the Svit factory in former Czechoslovakia several times during the summer breaks, but this was a different cup of coffee.

Ludek changed his sandals for boots. To my huge shock, he stooped underneath the steel slab to check the bottom of the tool. If it had fallen off the hoist, there would only remain an oil human stain.

“People get worried when they see me go under that,” he said.

Workers did come into the cage to see what was going on.

To be continued

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

Happy birthday mom

Mom Ella turns 80 in a Visceral celebration

Big Rapids, MI – Today, my mother Ella Konecny turns 80 in Big Rapids, MI. Together with my father Vaclav, they’ve been living in this small university town, home to Ferris State University, for more than three decades.

Their friends at the Saturday’s birthday party for mom have known both for that long.

Mom Ella turns 80 in Big Rapids, MI.

“Your parents are great people,” I heard over and over again.

Mom was born Drabkova in former communist Czechoslovakia on Aug. 23, 1937 in Zlin to Anna and Joseph Drabek.

My mother has inspired the memoir Greenwich Meridian, where East meets west about the family immigration saga. She was the one who didn’t want to leave the communist country after the Soviet invasion on the night of August 20-21 in 1968.

Their journey from the Moravian hilly villages of Vizovice and Stipa to Big Rapids in Michigan was tumultuous with many twists and turns.

Some of the milestones included the 1973 return to hardline Czechoslovakia from Texas, and then the escape back into the New World for my dad in 1976. Mom joined him in 1980.

Dad landed the math professor job at the Ferris State University, and that finally anchored them permanently in their new home.

To this day, mom says she loved her bio lab technician job also at the university. The warm friendly welcome atmosphere proved that at the birthday party.

Their true story has also inspired my fiction in the new Shifting Sands Short Stories book. “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” was inspired by some bits and pieces from the early years of immigration.

I wrote that story shortly after  my immigration to the USA in 1989. When I compare some of the elements of the short story to the memoir, I consider them Visceral in character, coming from a gut feeling.

The main character in the story is professor Martin Duggan obsessed with his own quest for perfection.

May you both enjoy many more years of love, good health and optimism. Thank you for all your love and support.

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