Kate J. Meyer is an author, speaker, therapist, and minister living in West Michigan with her husband and two chocolate labs. She self-published her first novel in July 2021. The Red Couch, available on Amazon, is an adult coming of age novel about a woman named Toni, whose life is nothing like she imagined it would be; in fact, it is a mess! When Toni returns to Lake Harbor, WI to bury her grandmother, she does so intending to leave again asap. So when she is challenged to stay for a mysterious project, she’s reluctant. Is a shoebox of old letters worth the risk of staying? Here’s to hoping! Kate participated in her first NaNoWriMo in 2020 and can now announce that that book is under contract to be published with Lake Drive Books! Keep up to date with the launch date and other information by subscribing at http://www.katejmeyer.com. Kate also hosts the weekly series ‘Mental Health Mondays with Kate’ videos are available via her blog on her website and on social media.
I finished the NaNoWriMo 50k word challenge in November this morning at 6:38 am right before the start of Christmas Through Lowell. This was my third time participating. I can’t say that the novel writing challenge gets any easier with more experience or with more books published. However, I better understand my inner workings as a writer and an author. I know what is my most productive time, and how many words I need to log in per day, (2, 675) and how to push through a writing block.
Each year, I learn something new. This year, it was the buddy system and that it actually works.
When I saw the daily word log ins by buddies and fellow authors Andrew Smith, Diana Plopa, Marianne Wieland, Brenda Hasse and Jean Davis, I just had to keep up with them.
Near the summit, more insights other than metrics came in, and I will be posting quotes.
. Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs LLC. All rights reserved.
With the National Novel Writing Month better known as NaNoWriMo just around the corner, NaNo authors Jean Davis, Sara Shanning, and Kristine Brickey share their insights from their experiences in conquering the word marathon.
According to all the panel participants whether you hit a writers’ block, crossroads in the plot, or the midway slump, you just keep on rolling.
Author Brenda Hasse has participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November multiple times. Her most recent NaNo book is “A Victim of Desperation” based on a true story about human trafficking.
Her most recent book, romantic suspense, is “A Cursed Witch” with a setting in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1828 when body snatchers stole dead bodies from “kirkyards” and sold them to the local medical college for 8 to 10 British pounds.
Listen in for a chance to win a free signed book of your choice.
Lowell, MI – At the beginning of each year, I set my personal and professional goals as an author. I try to make them realistic and attainable. I skip the classic weight loss resolution, but I always want to make changes toward a healthy lifestyle and better relationships.
My author goals are: writing a screenplay based on my new book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” I started storyboarding it on Nov. 30, 2020. I would like to finish the screenplay by this summer, since I am hoping for outdoors author events and festivals where I can sell my books again. Some events like the Wild Blueberry Festival, Monster Ball in Frankenmuth and the Lakeshore Art Festival (LAF) rolled over from 2020.
The first in person outdoor event should be the LAF in Muskegon on June 26 & 27.
Concurrently, I am working on a new short story collection “Steel Jewels” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series. I plan to write at the pace of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is an average of 1,700 words a day.
In order to stay focused and in the writing zone, I will limit the time spent on social media to marketing only in the afternoon.
My personal goals include eating less meat and a healthier diet, spending more time outdoors, meditating and doing yoga on a regular basis. I also want to do one new thing a day; for today it is expressing gratitude. I am grateful that my sister-in-law is speaking to me again after four years. I will be designing her CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s blog and newsletter.
On the Fallasburg historical front, we will continue with the series “Tales From the Burg” that highlights the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) artifacts and their virtual collection “Collective Access.”
Copyright (c) 2021. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Among a multitude of other things COVID-19 has impacted how people meet due to social distancing. Since there are no coffee shops or restaurants open, a meeting alternative is nature. Even some parks are closed in Michigan.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we sat on the shore of Murray Lake with a friend. I will call her Lilian. She is a pretty blonde, who usually dresses up for the smallest of occasions. Lilian arrived all disheveled, wearing her black tights and a skirt with a flashy pink sweater. Her mask has slid down her chin to the neck. She drove 18 miles so we could talk about life’s troubles outside of the contagion realm.
We didn’t hug. She rolled out her sleeping bag on the green grass. I pulled out a folding chair from the trunk, that I didn’t know I had, and set it not quite six feet apart in order to hear her in the wind.
We watched the wind whip the waves on the lake from west to northeast as a blue heron glided above the water, swiftly navigating the wind. The water in the lake had a soothing feeling on the emotions that were riding high. Even though cars and bikes kept flying on the road behind us in spite of the quarantine restrictions, we felt a sense unity in the Coronavirus isolation.
Of course, we could have talked on the phone or texted. However, some things don’t convey well via media, and this was one of them. Just the fact that we could get together helped us both relieve the tension and anxiety of the last few weeks.
“Sorry, that I look like thrash,” I apologized for my Up North orange sweatpants and a black jacket with a ripped zipper. My hair was a mess too, due to the wind and the lack of a proper haicut.
“That’s ok, I had the same clothes on yesterday,” Lilian said looking at me.
“We finally meet under these circumstances,” I said. “It took Coronavirus for us to meet.”
During normal times before the virus, we had ample opportunities to meet in the eclectic cafes or restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. Seldom, we took the advantage of our freedom to meet, until yesterday.
What will the next meeting look like?
Work front in the quarantine
On the work front, I continued with my front and back matters for the upcoming book, the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” I will include the introduction in one of the upcoming daily posts.
Since the COVID-19 quarantine has impacted everything around us including book marketing, I was happy to find out that May is the National Novel Promoting Month brought to us by the goodwill of the NaNoWriMo organizers.
Join us in May.
Michigan may re-open on May 1
Below is a link to a warning from Dr. Fauci about premature opening of the economy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.