Lowell, MI – I am getting ready for my next book stop in Paradise located in Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The tiny village nestled on Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay annually hosts the popular Wild Blueberry Festival-Arts & Crafts Fair on Aug. 15, 16 & 17 with close to 100 vendors peddling everything from Lake Superior agate pendants to books.
My new book “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series is a collection of 15 short stories with the main historical fiction story “Silk Nora” set in the turn-of-the-century Belding.
One of the stories “When Layla met Corey” is set in Mackinaw City, which is a gateway to Upper Peninsula.
The book made its debut at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon in July.
An artist’s dream
Paradise, a community rich with nautical folklore, logging and Native American History attracts thousands of visitors and vendors due to close proximity to Tahquamenon Falls.
For its natural wonders and wilderness, Upper Peninsula has traditionally drawn writers, photographers and artists from all over the USA. Among the most famous authors were: Earnest Hemingway and John Voelker.
A recent wave of emerging Michigan authors is sweeping the shores of the Great Lakes from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior. They write from Michigan with Michigan settings and locations. They market themselves under the umbrella of Michigan Authors. Follow them on http://www.MichiganAuthors.com
This is by far, not my first visit to UP or Paradise. I have fond memories of vacationing Up North, both from years ago with our kids and most recently with our granddaughter Ella.
I love the wilderness of UP and its natural pristine beauty, as well as the spirit of the Great Lakes.
I am looking forward to my hometown book signing of “Secrets” from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series at the LowellArts gallery on Aug. 10 from 2pm to 4pm during the Livin’ is Easy exhibit.
Stop by for an autograph and for publishing insights. Also check out the story ” Taking the book on the road to connect with readers” about my tour in the Aug. 4 Buyer’s Guide.
The new book is a collection of 15 short stories with the main historical fiction story “Silk Nora” set in Belding, Michigan on the backdrop of the turn-of-the century era of inventions.
Other stories are based on Palova’s years of journalistic experience.
Together with other Michigan authors, Palova stands on the busy streets of hometowns manning her booth or tent, in the malls, at fairs or at art centers.
Locally, the book is available at the Springrove Variety in Lowell. It is on Amazon in both formats: paperback and kindle. It will be at the libraries of KDL, Schuler’s Books, Michigan News Agency and more. It is also at Horizon Books in Traverse City.
The key to a good story is balancing all its elements as well as the mental composure of its characters, while pitching them against each other.
It’s a juggling act.
I realized that while writing the sequel “Shifting Sands: Secrets” in the characters of Amora and Margot.
In the final story “Six Palms by the Tiki”, easy-going Margot, an Irish catholic from Chicago offsets Amora’s hardline self-imposed principles.
Check out the excerpt from “Secrets.”
haunt me at night. I wanted to let you know that, even though we’re friends. I
am not going to apologize for leaving you at that old Irish Pub, because you
hate gossip. Gossip is worse than lying. Gossip is immoral. Gossip is the
sister of secrets and lies. You should have asked me first about seadog George.
You know I still have Anthony.
both old, and we can die any day.
But you were the only friend I had at that looney “Cottage Nest” down South. Friends are hard to come by. The older you get, the harder they are to find. You know you should be picking up your phone. I hate when you don’t answer your phone.
I also know if I lose you, I won’t find a new friend.
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Venice, FL- The morning tide washed ashore treasures galore: large speckled cockles, coquinas, calico scallops, whelks, sturdy white jewel boxes, twisted conches, translucent jingle shells in shades of orange, olive and bubble shells.
The yellowish cocquina and turkey shells were still attached holding on tight to each other. The mollusks have long jumped out of the shells digging themselves into the sand.
The warm westerly wind combined with the cold Norte whipped a white foam on top of the waves breaking and crashing to the shore.
The perfect morning cup of jewels hiding inside a large cockle shell was still filled with water. A skilled paddle boarder navigated the wild waves falling only once, and climbing back up again. A sailboat rocked in the waves.
A dead seagull found its resting place on the beach. A trio of pelicans delighted in the wind flying ten feet above the water.
A slippery wrack of branches and seaweed washed ashore will serve later as a buffet for the birds. Wrack communities are native to Florida beaches; it is stuff cast ashore by the sea.
The encounters on the two-mile long morning walk on Venice Beach range from brief hellos to “How long are you going to stay?”
People walking on the beach were not only couples or families, but often a parent with an adult child. Life on beach takes on a different rhythm; time constraints disappear.
The beach walk has inspired the last story in Shifting Sands: Secrets, a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories.
Feature photo: The perfect morning cup of jewels
The perfect morning full of jewels washed ashore still filled with sea water.
To be continued
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- I stuck to my morning writing routine: yoga, treadmill, meditations and writing until I reached a certain point in the story. That I did at 11 a.m., bringing the historical fiction piece “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova to its finale.
This historical story was a little bit different from the rest of the bunch in the debut novel “Shifting Sands: Short Stories” (c) 2017 Emma Palova or in the sequel “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova.
I thematically divide my short stories into the following circles based on my experiences: immigration, retail, newspaper, history and new era. Some are of course hybrids between the two or three circles.
I was first inspired to write “Silk Nora” about a year ago while visiting the Belrockton museum. I have a deep passion for history; I call it my second love after writing. Basically, It took a while for the story to gel, and then a week for me to pen it. I started to write it on Day 7 of the #nanowrimo creative project.
At first, I thought of research as a challenge during the 50K word marathon, but it had proven to be a delight. I came across major charms such as the “cloche” hat of the 1920s, gin rickeys and mint juleps. “picture palaces” or movie theaters, the Ford Model T automobile and theatrical skits rather than plays.
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.
Immediately, as I got done, I missed the story, its characters and setting. The experts call it a “character withdrawal.” Goodbye my friends, Nora, Harry, John, Mathilda and Doris.
I logged in with 29,339 words earlier in the day. Where will I go tomorrow with my stories? Wherever they take me.
Excerpts from “Silk Nora”
For a brief moment in time, Nora was able to forget all about that deep sadness in her heart. She waved crazily at the people in the parade. All three women decided to join in the parade with the Red Cross entry led by Doc from the hospital.
“I am glad you found us,” said Doc. “This is a great parade to be in.”
After the parade, there were public picnics in the parks around town. Finally, everybody took time away from ordinary life. Chef Josiah from the “Bel” had prepared their picnic hamper with stuffed eggs, celery stuffed with cream, salted radishes, homemade lemon-limeade, coconut layer cake, cheese sprinkled with paprika, slices of watermelon and chicken.
The “Belding Boys” moved into the bandshell and played jazz.
“You know they are missing a trumpet,” said Doc. “John had to go to the Catawba Sanatorium.”
They were all comfortably seated around the bench enjoying the late summer festivities. Nora stopped eating her stuffed egg and took a sip of the fresh lemonade breathing in the summer air.
“Doctor, is Mathilda going to die?” Nora asked Doc.
Doc paused before he took a bite out of the big sandwich. He had previously taken off his straw hat and set it carefully by his side not wanting to mess up the picnic.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Daily insights from the National Novel Writing Month 50K word marathon
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI- Feeling a little bit relieved that I passed the half-way mark in the 50K word creative project yesterday, I checked in with the Nanocoach for the week author Carolina de Robertis.
I love her advise for today: let the world of your novel unfold as you write. It’s already there for you, in the ether, or in some part of your consciousness, wanting to move through you to the page.
I always have to “feel into” whatever I am writing. This “feeling into” corresponds with the five senses plus intuition. Jeff Besos of Amazon said that he will follow his intuition in deciding about the place for the second headquarters of the company.
I find it amazing that the richest man in the world follows his intuition in business decision-making; why wouldn’t I do the same with my stories? So, I followed my intuition from the get go of #nanowrimo on Nov.1 with the choice of anthology “Secrets” (c) 2018 Emma Palova, which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories (c) 2017 Emma Palova.
Book cover for “Secrets” aka the Face of Gossip.
I logged in today with 27,417 words with the historical fiction story “Silk Nora” (c) 2018 Emma Palova. I came across some really cool things during my brisk research on the Internet like the 1920s play “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”
Excerpts from “Silk Nora”
“Then, we shall celebrate together,” Doris shrieked with joy. “In a saloon.”
Working class taverns were knows as “saloons” with swing doors and bar-rooms proper that offered games such as: Faro, Poker, Brag, Three-card Monte and dice games. Some saloons even included bowling, can-can girls, theatrical skits or plays to face off increasing competition until the prohibition in 1920.
On Nora’s 21st birthday, the two friends, a single girl and a single matron, went into the local watering through, Frank & Norm’s Tavern. As such, they carved out their own space in the saloons of industrialized America unheard of before the female liberalization.
Even though most customers at the time were men, the tavern had a “Ladies Entrance.” Doris and Nora used it to get in just in time to catch the new theatrical skit “Parlor, Bedroom and Bath.”
The tavern was full of men drinking bourbon. But, the two women knowledgeable of cocktails from big cities, ordered a Mary Pickford with white rum, pineapple juice, Grenadine and a Maraschino cherry.
They happily watched the loud crowd and laughed. This was soon to become their secret; sneaking into Frank & Norm’s through the “Ladies Entrance” and hanging out at the tavern on Saturday nights way past the “Bel’s” curfew at 10 p.m.
“Have you heard from Harry?” Doris usually asked sipping on her Mary Pickford.
“Well, I mostly read his war stories syndicated in the Banner,” said Nora sadly.
“But, certainly, he writes to you or not?” asked Doris.
Nora pulled a letter out of her pocket, folded several times and re-read a million times.
Copyright (c) 2018 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Join me this afternoon at@LowellArts gallery from 1 to 3 pm. I will be signing copies of my book “Shifting Sands Short Stories” during the Captured photo exhibit. Come and chat about your writing projects. We are experiencing renaissance in literature. It’s a great time to be a part of this movement.
While touring with my book around West Michigan, we have discovered the “Creative Endeavor”project at the Michigan News Agency (MNA)in Kalamazoo. In order to keep authors writing, MNA does not keep any profit from the local author book sales.
I will be writing more about this initiative. My son discovered this while looking for the Grand Rapids Magazine.
“To encourage our Creative Endeavor Project Writers, we will sell your books as a pass through and return all of the money to you, the authors. The News hopes this will encourage our writing communities to strive to do your work.”
For more info about this Creative Endeavor project go to:
Here is an example of a manuscript proposal that I have submitted to the Calvin College writing conference in Grand Rapids. As a standard, everything must be submitted electronically via app Submittable by a certain deadline.
Always Explore the option of submitting your manuscript to a writer’s conference. Some conferences accept manuscripts even if you are not a registered participant for a fee.
manuscript proposal for Shifting Sands Short Stories, contemporary fiction with excerpts from “Tonight on Main” and “The Temptation of Martin Duggan.”
A manuscript proposal should include the following: author’s bio, book summary including page length, book’s audience/readership, brief comparison to similar titles on the market, marketing strategies/promotion ideas, possible endorsers and chapter samples.
Emma Palova (Konecna), born in former Czechoslovakia, is a Lowell-based short story writer, novelist, screenwriter and a journalist.
Palova wrote for Czechoslovak Newsweek and Prague Reporter in the 1990s. She received bachelor’s degree from the University of Brno in 1986.
She started an eclectic collection of short stories during her studies of creative writing at the International Correspondence Schools in Montreal, and at the Grand Rapids Community College in the early 1990s.
The collection “Shifting Sands Short Stories” is now in its first edition. Palova self-published the book on the Kindle Direct Publishing (kdp) platform on Amazon in the summer of 2017.
“I did not want the stories to get lost,” she said.
The collection continues to grow with new stories in volume II of Shifting Sands: Secrets.
Palova’s passion for writing dates back to grade school in Stipa near Zlin in the region of Moravia.
“I’ve always had a knack for languages and adventure,” she said. “Our family immigration saga has been a tremendous inspiration for all my writings.”
The short story “The Temptation of Martin Duggan” captures some immigration details embodied by math professor Martin Duggan.
Palova’s work at a major Midwest retailer has enabled the core of the Shifting Sands stories. While working on the second shift at the women’s department, Palova wrote in the morning emulating Ernest Hemingway’s writing habits, short story form and journalistic career.
During her journalistic years, Palova continued to write fiction inspired by real life happenings as in “Iron Horse” and “Foxy.”
Palova became an American citizen in 1999 in a naturalization ceremony at Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.
In 2012, she diversified again with the digital platform WordPress. Palova founded Emma Blogs, LLC, a portfolio of blogs for marketing in 2014. She combined her passion for history and writing by working with history clients such as the Fallasburg Historical Society.
Palova wrote the screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” in 2009. It is registered with The Writers Guild of America.
Shifting Sands: Short Stories book summary
Book complete self-published on kdp platform
The book is a collection of 13 short stories where the heroes and heroines shift their destinies like grains of sand in an hour-glass, quite to the surprise of the reader.
Sometimes the characters like the grains have to pass through the narrow part, only to emerge in a new form, that is transformed into stronger human beings. They’re packed in the crowd with others, suffering or loose by themselves, either stranded or pushed to the wall. The shifting shows that everything changes and is like a fluid energy in life.
The stories are divided into three circles. The first circle comprises stories from the early years of immigration spent between the USA and Montreal, Canada until 1993.
These would include: The Temptation of Martin Duggan, Danillo and Honey Azrael.
The second circle draws on retail experience from a Midwest store. These are: Tonight on Main, Therese’s Mind, Boxcutter Amy, Orange Nights and the Death Song.
The third circle of stories was inspired by journalistic career in the regional print newspaper and magazine media through 2012. These include: In the Shadows, Iron Horse, Foxy, Riddleyville Clowns and Chatamal.
Most of the setting is in fictive Midwest Riddleyville. The stories are a tribute to hometown characters and their hardiness to survive.
Adults 18 and up
Brief title comparison on the market
Much like in Anjali Sachdeva’s “All the Name They Used for God,” the characters in Shifting Sands Short Stories attempt to escape their fate. However, in a lesser fantasy world.
As in Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things,” the stories came into existence under different circumstances, and kept changing. Time molded these stories into unconventional shapes, as the hour-glass on the cover suggests.
As in Jeffrey Archer’s “Tell Tale” some stories are closely tied to travel like the story “In the Shadows” based on Milwaukee meetings.
And Earnest Hemingway’s classics based on reshaping different experiences: “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio” will be reflected in the works “The Writer, the Nun, and the Gardener.
The book is available throughout the Kent District Library (KDL) system in Grand Rapids, in Hastings and in Big Rapids.
Blog tours, author tours, book signings, libraries
Book stores, print companies,
Book excerpt with samples from two stories not to exceed 3,000 words
Tonight on Main Excerpt
Cards with red hearts and hearts again land on the table covered with a lace doily in the old house located at 534 E. Main Street in Riddleyville. Waiting for his ace, young Willy stretched back into a dilapidated arm-chair that squeaked under his light weight. He took a long look around.
Old clothes and empty boxes were laying on the floor and on the couch. An open can of cat food sat on the dining table. Yellow and red drapes with a green and blue hydrangea pattern were drawn down to further dim the dark room. They looked like hanging rags with holes in them.
An antique lamp cast dim light in the living room. The house was filled with old smells combined with the aroma of rum. Willy admired the vintage Coca-Cola collection in the corner. He also peaked through a hole in the drapes to get a good look at the porch and the Main drag through sleepy Riddleyville.
The Midwest town of Riddleyville breathed past with old-fashioned lamp posts, an old Opera House under reconstruction, two rivers crossing paths downstream from the dam, and the remnants of the defunct railroad.
Furniture was piled up on the porch and flowers of the summer were wilting in the cracked pots. Willy recognized millionaire Roby pedaling on his bike. Roby waved as if he knew someone was peaking. Maybe, he just saw the three old women moving the card table on to the porch to play a game of poker.
The house is old, the lady of the house is old, and her daughter Irma is old. The daughter’s cat is old. Aunt Bertha who came to play cards is old. The old has settled in. The porch is half rotted as it leans into the ground. The construction studs are crooked.
The sun is setting down on Main. The three old women are sitting in the late afternoon sun on the half-rotted porch joined by the little angel Willy, the godson of Aunt Bertha. A black fat cat with the French revolutionary name, J. M. Robespierre snuck under the table ever so silently in the deafening noise of the passing by cars.
The noise is unbearable, but the women cannot hear. The pervasive smell of rum has invaded the porch.
“I can’t hear you, mom,” yelled Irma.
“Well, unplug your ears or wash them,” yells back old mom Goldie who will turn 97 in the fall.
Goldie can’t see or hear anymore, but she can still smell. She can smell what the neighbors had for dinner last night.
“I said, isn’t your rum cake burning? I can smell the rum in it burning,” the old lady rocked back and forth as her voice dies in the noise of the street.
“Did you say to get another deck out?” Irma shouted at the top of her lungs.
The street talks at night. It whispers its secrets.
End of excerpt
The Temptation of Martin Duggan Excerpt
The professor’s bald head was shining in the bright morning sunlight. He was bouncing in front of the blackboard explaining triple integers. He was now on his fourth board, all scribbled with numbers and strange symbols.
Martin was wearing a perfectly ironed white shirt with long sleeves from J.C. Penney. Rose made sure that the shirts had a pocket on the left side when buying shirts. He still favored light pastel colors, mostly blue, that matched his grey blue eyes so well.
But, Martin always bought his own pencils. They had to be pencils no. 2, not too soft, not too hard. He found them the most comfortable somewhere in the middle of the scale on the hardness of graphite. The pockets of all his shirts were full of pencils and pens. Martin took great care not to have any smears from his writing tools on his clothes. He diligently put the caps back on pens; black had to match black, blue had to match blue. That way he wouldn’t confuse the color of his ink. Martin never used red.
To match the white shirt, he wore his favorite gray striped pants from his striped suit reserved for special occasions. There was something about lines that had always comforted him. Lines commanded respect.
They could be lines vertical, horizontal, or curves. And then came symbols, and Martin’s love for them; like pi or the toppled 8 symbolizing infinity. He traced the origin of his love for numbers and symbols to his childhood and later growing up in the strict austere atmosphere of the seminary in Brest. He had no intentions of becoming a priest. But parents lodged him in the seminary with his older brother Peter, so they could both receive good education.
In the cold walls of the seminary, Martin found warmth in numbers.
He felt free unleashing his power in numbers and their swift magic. Numbers and ellipses on curves were stories to Martin. His own story was a rollercoaster upside down racing on a fast track starting with a jerk at the faculty in Brno, former Czechoslovakia, which perched him to new heights at the University of Khartoum in Sudan, Africa. This was part of a socialist program to help the Third World countries in the late sixties.
Fresh with a new title, a wife that had just turned 30 and the Prague Spring 1968 movement tearing the old country apart, Martin was ready to climb higher into different unknown spheres.
At 34, he had a receding hairline, an impeccable command of English and an expertise of an old professor. He made decent money in English pounds and bought Rose a set of pearls for her 30th birthday, that she would later hate. She blamed the pearls for her destiny.
According to an old legend, pearls bring tears and bad luck to their owners.
“Do not return home,” letters from the occupied Czech homeland by the Russians kept arriving at the “Pink Palace” apartment complex in the arid desert city on the Blue Nile.
Rose wearing a yellow headband and a lime colored dress, suitable for the late 60s, shed more tears than the Nile had water in it, as the two fought over immigration. She faithfully followed her husband on his career trek that flourished to serve both the developing Sudan and the tossed Czechoslovakia in the heart of Europe.
However, a new house, sick parents and a jealous sister were awaiting back at home, along with a good pharmacy job in the apothecary.
One hot night in the late summer, right around her birthday, Martin kept fidgeting nervously around the kitchen holding a piece of paper. The kids were outside with friends.
“I got accepted to a post doctorate program in Canada,” he said calmly suppressing fear..
End of excerpt & proposal
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Parnell, MI- The Easter Triduum started on Holy Thursday evening with the Lord’s Last Supper, that has inspired countless generations of artists beginning with DaVinci’s renaissance painting in 1498.
The catholic priests around the world washed the feet of their “servants” or parishioners to show humbleness. Fr. Mark Peacock of St. Pat’s Church in Parnell encouraged to share the act of humbleness by washing other’s feet at home.
The entire three days known as “Triduum” are filled with symbolism and mysticism as the feast of the Lord’s Passover begins on Thursday and ends on Saturday night.
Today, on Good Friday, the lectors will read the “Passion” of the Lord Jesus Christ according to one of the four gospel writers. This served as a basic premise for Mel Gibson’s 2004 controversial movie “The Passion of the Christ.”
The Triduum ends on Holy Saturday night with the great vigil of Easter at 8 pm.
Easter Sunday ensues with the resurrection of Christ Jesus, the Lord.
The symbolism of the Catholic Church also inspired another controversial work; American author Dan Brown’s 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code.”
I often use the elements of catholic mysticism and symbolism in my fiction as in the short story “White Nights “ and the one I am currently working on:
”The Writer, the Nun, and the Gardener.”
These stories are in my new book of short stories that I am working on “Shifting Sands II.”
Palm Sunday marked the start of the Holy Week on March 25. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Monday led with the feature photo of the Palm Procession in Jerusalem.
It was the only time I bought a print copy of WSJ for $4. I almost passed out at the counter of the Honey Creek shop in Cannonsburg when the clerk named the price.
But, the image of the Franciscan friars and Roman Catholic clergy carrying the palm fronds at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City spoke out loud. I almost dropped the paper staring into the cupola centering the color image on top of the fold of the newspaper. The WSJ used to be black and white only without any photos.
Holding the paper in my hands, I realized this was also history before print goes out completely.
Watch for excerpts that show the power of symbolism.
About feature photo: A procession after the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper on Thursday evening walks to the Chapel of Repose at St. Pat’s in Parnell.
Next post: Czech and Slovak Easter traditions.
Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.