Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

NANOWRIMO DAY 12

For NaNo Day 11 go to post “In observance of Veterans Day, NaNo Day 11. https://emmapalova.com/2019/11/11/in-observance-of-veterans-day-2019/

Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West with excerpt

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – We’re moving into winter “blietzkrieg” style- hard and fast. We already have snow frozen to the ground in Michigan as we hit 17F this morning.

I approached this year’s NaNoWriMo 2019 50K word challenge in the same style- hard and fast. I researched the background for the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir over the past few years, Moreover, I lived the historical events that shaped the story from Prague Spring in 1968 to Velvet Revolution in 1989 up to the present moment.

I logged into the NaNoWriMo dashboard a total of 27,403 words, averaging daily more than 2,000 words.

The previous years of research and writing have been like putting together the pieces of a puzzle with an unknown picture at the end.

Dad Vaclav Konecny with mom Ella at their 60th wedding anniversary celebration in Big Rapids.

Greenwich Meridian is an epic tale of our family immigration saga from Czechoslovakia to the U.S. spanning more than 50 years. It is also a love story between the main characters mom Ella & dad Vaclav. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 8, 2019 at Naval’s Mediterranean Grille in Big Rapids, MI.

After hitting a dead end around chapter 12, I took a break from the memoir and worked on the Shifting Sands Short Stories anthologies that resulted in book 1 “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” and book 2 “Shifting Sands: Secrets.”

I completed “Shifting Sands: Secrets” in the summer of 2018. So, I returned to the Greenwich Meridian memoir starting fresh with its second half that includes memories penned by my parents in chapters “In her own words” by mom Ella and dad wrote “How math professor escaped Czechoslovakia.”

Here is an excerpt: How math professor escaped Czechoslovakia

By Vaclav Konecny

I suffered through all the injustices of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia. I did not want to live there anymore. I applied for emigration visa for the entire family to get out of the country; all in vain. At the beginning of 1976, two officers from the Department of Interior visited me only to announce that I would never get the visa, even though I wasn’t working. 

Nothing helped my case; neither letters written to president Gustav Husak, who was proclaiming at the time, that people like me could pack their suitcases and leave the country, nor the Helsinki Accords of 1975. In vain, I wrote letters to different institutions, but I always got the same answer: “It isn’t in the best interest of the republic.” However, the only interest of the republic, was for the communists to fill their own pockets. I haven’t met a lot of honest communists there.  

The Helsinki Accords of 1975 signed by 35 countries including the U.S. and all the European countries attempted to improve the relations between the communists and the West. However, the Helsinski Accords were not binding as they did not have a treaty status. 

The communists abided only by those paragraphs and laws that they wanted to. I was a factory worker operating NC machines at the Precision Engineering Plants in Malenovice. That was the result of an intensive job search and after the recommendation from President Husak. This shows that the officials had no idea about my profession. They were probably judging by their own experience of gaining titles in exchange for lies and deceiving their own bosses. I didn’t complain; I worked honestly at the factory and I carefully probed all illegal avenues of leaving Czechoslovakia. However, I realized that it would be too risky to leave with the entire family. So, I decided that I would leave the country illegally by myself and get the family out of there later. 

Different options of escape seemed risky, because the borders were guarded against the people of the country, so they wouldn’t escape, not some outside enemy. Soldiers and their dogs were dangerous; the life of a Czech or Slovak person meant less than the life of a rabbit. I assumed that the border patrol in other countries would be less dangerous.  

Stop by for an authographed book from the “Shifting Sands Short Stories” anthologies during Emma’s book signing at the Lowell Area Historical Museum on Nov. 15, 16 & 17.

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Emma’s book signing at Lowell Museum

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

nanowrimo Day 6

Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West

Excerpt: How professor of math escaped Czechoslovakia

By Emma Palova

It’s snowing and it is freezing cold outside, as I am done with my morning writing session on day 6 of the National Novel Writing Month 50K word challenge. My shrubs in the garden are covered with snowflakes.

For my #NaNoWriMo 2019 project, I am working on the completion of the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir about our family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the U.S.

Professor Vaclav Konecny at Ferris State University.

This epic tale covers a span of more than 50 years and historic events from Prague Spring in 1968 to Velvet Revolution in 1989 and beyond that propelled the story into an adventure between three continents: Europe, Africa and North America.

Thanks to the prep work that I did in October, the research in previous years, and my parents’ accounts of their experiences, I am moving swiftly between the historic events that have formed our lives.

Here is an excerpt from chapter: “How professor of math escaped Czechoslovakia.”

Different options of escape seemed risky, because the borders were guarded against the people of the country, so they wouldn’t escape, not against some outside enemy. Soldiers and their dogs were dangerous; the life of a Czech or Slovak person meant less than the life of a rabbit. I assumed that the border patrol in other countries would be less dangerous.  

So, I decided to escape either from Rumania or Bulgaria. I diligently analyzed reports from other tourists to these countries. It was interesting that the officials were issuing quickly passports to socialist countries. I applied and to my surprise I was issued a passport in Brno on July 7, 1976. My situation became easier even though the passport was without an exit clause to any capitalist country. So I was free to travel in Eastern Europe.  I used my three-week vacation to get ready for the escape. 

Excerpt from escape to be continued

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Nanowrimo Day 5

Mom’s sacrifice

By Emma Palova

It’s a chilly November day as I look outside from my writing studio window at my garden with the ornamental grass bed. The grass is still green and the remaining leaves are rusty red and yellow. Only the Royal Purple Smoke tree with a dedication plaque to Ella has bright burgundy leaves clinging onto the branches.

I don’t walk to the pond anymore in the back of the garden, because my beautiful koi fish are gone. An heron devoured them in September. I didn’t want to put new fish in the pond before the winter.

Mom's diary
Mom’s diary

I logged in 10,019 words earlier in the National Novel Writing Month 50K word challenge with the Greenwich Meridian memoir about our family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the U.S. It was an interesting writing day as I could compare mom’s and dad’s statements about their biggest accomplishments in the USA.

My dad published more than 150 solved problems in different math journals and in the Canadian Crux Mathematicorum. But, he states that he is most proud of his lecturing style that was well understood among the students and that he was well liked.

I was surprised reading mom’s answer that for her America was a sacrifice to her husband’s teaching career. I found it on the last page of the pretty diary with yellow roses.

“I fullfilled my husband’s dream of teaching at an American university without being afraid of losing his job because of religion and going to church,” she wrote. “He was well-liked and with his diligence, at one point, he was making more money than his American colleagues. I ensured freedom for my children and my grandchildren, who have great careers and appreciate it. They thanked me for that.”

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

NaNoWRIMO Day 4 with excerpt

Greenwich Meridian continues

I am catching up on my posting, so today I am writing about Day 4 of #nanowrimo- Monday, Nov. 4. I logged in 7,523 words in the National Novel Writing Month 50K word challenge.

My father Vaclav Konecny wrote this for me in between working on his math solutions, and preparations to leave for Florida shortly after Thanksgiving.

Grand Hotel in Khartoum, Sudan

Life of professor Vaclav Konecny in Khartoum, Sudan briefly 

On Nov. 1964, early in the morning, I landed via Sudan Airways in Khartoum, Sudan. It was a beautiful area of three cities: Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman separated by the River Nile, Blue Nile and White Nile. 

My future colleague Kenneth was waiting for me to give me a ride to the Grand Hotel on Blue Nile not far from the University of Khartoum. It looked like in a fairy tale; streets lined with palms, the glistening Nile with the three bridges and the British colonial style hotel. 

After three days, Kenneth helped me settle down in Pink Palace with half board. I reported to the head of the Department of Mathematics Prof. Sobhy Sidrak, who had instructed me about my teaching. He instructed me to teach Applied Mathematics; it was called Theoretical Mechanics or Math of Newtonian Mechanics.  

After moving several times, I ended up in an apartment close to the Pink Palace. I bought a very old car Ford Anglia. The administration of the university arranged for me everything I needed. My wife Eliska and children Emma and Vaclav at the time were in Czechoslovakia, so I had time to prepare for the first lecture. 

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Let #nanowrimo 2019 begin

NaNoWriMo 2019 kicks off today with excerpt

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – On the opening day of this year’s National Novel Writing Month 50K word challenge, I logged in 1,663 words in spite of the fact that I had to have a painful dental procedure done in Grand Rapids. I still have a numb jaw and I have trouble swallowing, kind of like those people in America’s Funniest Videos.

So, I broke up my daily writing session into two parts: morning and afternoon. My NaNoWriMo project is the completion of the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir about our family immigration saga from Czechoslovakia to the U.S.

What helped me immensely to move this forward, was that mom Ella penned her memories in a pretty cursive in Czech in a hard cover diary with yellow roses. It has a dateline: Big Rapids-Florida, 2019-2020. Wow , and it’s dedicated to me: “To my daughter Emma.”

Mom even included a complete timeline titled “Life in a Nutshell” from 1959 to present.

Mom's diary
Mom’s diary

Here; enjoy an excerpt from chapter “In her own words.”

I was a pharmacist, and it wasn’t that the profession was narrow and had nothing to offer, but I didn’t want to nurture vain ideas of travelling. So, Sunday afternoon trips to the dam in Luhacovice or Bystricka were the only means of breaking up the gray of ordinary days. 

The first bigger trip was our honeymoon to the Krkonose mountains in the old Tatra and mother’s departing comments: “I hope the poor car will make it.” 

When we arrived in Harachov, we sent a message to my parents: “We’ve arrived under Mount Blanc.” At that moment, it never occured to me that one day I would indeed be looking at the majestic highest mountain in the Alps. 

After five years of marriage, we had two children: Emma and Vasek. I was working part-time in a pharmacy in my hometown Vizovice and my husband Vaclav was teaching physics in Brno. He would come for the weekend to Vizovice, because I couldn’t find a job in Brno and we had no place to stay there. We were on the waiting list for an apartment, that we got in 1965. We didn’t have a car or money to furnish the apartment. My husband found out that the president of the university in Khartoum, Sudan was hiring English-speaking professors to teach different subjects. Vaclav’s English was excellent and he got the job.

Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Nano prep 2 with excerpt

Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Today, during my morning writing session, I ventured into our U.S. naturalization, as well as answering the most important question for a writer.

How has America changed me?

Michigan authors at the Lakeshore Art Festival 2019 in front of the Authors Tent.

I have broadened my horizons from a naïve person with a narrow perspective on the evils of capitalism to a responsible American citizen, who votes and participates in democracy. Rather than complaining about things, I take action to change them, when possible as in the case of my authorpreneurship.

I am proud to be a part of the Michigan Authors movement sweeping the shores from Lake Michigan to Lakes Huron & Superior. See http://michiganauthors.com/

I was naturalized in August of 1999 in a beautiful ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids along with 96 other people from around the world. I received congratulations from all over Michigan, because the Associated Press syndicated the story about my naturalization written by Kara Henigan for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard. Here is an excerpt from the Ionia Sentinel-Standard Aug. 19, 1999.

Ludek’s naturalization in October of 2018.

Emma Palova of Lowell, was among the new naturalized American citizens. She tells other people’s stories for a living as a writer for the Sentinel-Standard, but on this day, she shared her own tale, a tale of a dream fulfilled.

“The United States has always symbolized freedom for me, coming from an oppressed, communist country,” she said. “And it still does, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

Citizenship was not a necessity for her livelihood.

“It was my goal and my dream,” she said. “It is kind of a closure.”

My husband Ludek was naturalized last year in October, also at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. Ludek takes his citizenship very seriously, and always asks me about candidates, proposals and follows the debates.

The story about his naturalization appeared in the Lowell Ledger on Oct. 24, 2018.

At his ceremony, magistrate Hon. Ray Kent congratulated the new citizens with these words:

“Write the next great chapter in the history of this country.”

That statement is still ringing in my ears as I write this chapter of the memoir. Ludek has already voted in the last school election. Voting is a privilege. Back in communist Czechoslovakia, we could only vote for one party- the Communist Party. It defeated the purpose of voting at all.

Tomorrow I will dive into the tentacles of the Velvet Revolution in 1989, led by dissident playwright late Vaclav Havel.

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

NaNO prep

Proud to report that I am in the prep phase for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2019 at full speed. During the month of October , I logged in 12,195 words. My goal is to complete the Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West in November and follow up with revisions.

It is a memoir about our family immigration saga from former communist Czechoslovakia to the US.

NaNoWriMo is a great tool for any writing project that you may have. First of all, it gives you daily accountability of writing by logging in daily word count. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

I had to do a lot of prep work, because I also have author events in November with my new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series.

I will be at the Lowell Area Historical Museum during the Christmas through Lowell tour on Nov. 15, 16 & 17 signing my books. So stop by to pick up an autographed book. I will be offering writing and publishing tips, as well.

Locally, my book is available at Springrove Variety in downtown Lowell.

I am extremely excited about this Christmas event. I’ve done it before with my first book “Shifting Sands: Short Stories.” I was at the Red Barn Market with other vendors including my daughter-in-law Maranda, who has “Little Dreamers Sleepovers” party business.

I would still like to get in one more author’s event before the end of this year. And what a year it has been. Watch for my post “Year in Review 2019.”

For info on NaNo go to: https://www.nanowrimo.org/

Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Revision time

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

William Faulkner

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

20190128_1517533632456856022799747.jpg

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

Day 20 of National Novel Writing Month

Daily insights from #nanowrimo with excerpts

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – Today is the first day, you can validate and claim your winner of NaNoWriMo title, if you have logged in with 50,000 words of any genre of literature.

National Novel Writing Month.

Today, I alternated between reporting from a township meeting for the Lowell Ledger and fiction writing of short stories. Yes, it can be done. I logged in with 39,358 words in the My Novel yellow box on the dashboard.

I started the short story “40 Hunks” (c) 2018 Emma Palova this morning. It will become a part of the new collection of short stories “Secrets.” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.

Takeaways

The most-valued takeaway from the #nanowrimo creative project is gauging your creative daily output measured by the widget in the dashboard.

The second insight is the fact that you can flip between the two categories of writing: non-fiction and fiction.

Excerpts from “40 Hunks”

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

The list was far from being exact, but Jose knew once they entered the US territory, they would be assigned a permanent work guide. From there on, it was none of his business what’s going to happen with these men. The guides were correction officers borrowed from the regional correctional facilities in the US.

The border patrol in Nogales searched the smelly bus and studied Jose’s driver’s license and that piece of paper.

“How do you know who’s who?” barked a sweating guard with an AK47 across his shoulder, at Jose.

“Vaguely. I know that I have 40 men,” said Jose also sweating.

The guard boarded the bus and walked in the aisle examining each face, holding the piece of governmental paper in his hand. He stopped and looked closely at one man. The men were wide awake now. He leaned over the hulky man taking in his odor.

“Who are you?” he asked with his face distorted in an evil grimace.

Jose walked up to the two men in the back of the bus.

“Hey, amigo,” he said to the guard. “They don’t speak English.”

Sponsor of nanowrimo

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.