The scents of Czech Christmas

I love traditions. They take us back while moving us forward.


A Czech Christmas in America

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – I landed at JFK on this day 28 years ago to live permanently in the USA with my family. We had two days to get from NYC to Big Rapids to be home for Christmas. My dad Vaclav Konecny, former math professor at Ferris State University, did all the driving through New York City and on the treacherous turnpike to Michigan.

I will never forget this road trip in mom’s station wagon with frozen formations on the windows across five states.

My mom Ella in anticipation of our arrival from former Czechoslovakia did all the prep work in the kitchen. This included the traditional Christmas Eve dinner that consists of a mushroom soup,  fried fish with potato salad and traditional Czech pastries.

wp-1448208711702.jpg Czech mountains Radhost.

I knew immediately what I missed. Since everything was ready,  there were no smells…

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Book as a friend

In the final week before Christmas, you can still find great gifts. Books are awesome gifts. After a while they become your friends.

Just last week, I found out at the Metro Hospital, that whether you’re reading or writing a book, you’re in the safe zone from worries and anxiety. Writing or reading lessens anxiety just by shifting the focus from your concern about a patient to another subject.

It works for a while. But, any reprieve helps. Now, if the anxiety is about getting a gift for a friend or a relative in the final week of shopping, turn to books. You can’t go wrong when gifting a book.

Most people still love books. To my big surprise at one of my book signings during Christmas through Lowell, some ladies told me they don’t read. I really had trouble believing that.

I mean seriously? You read nothing?

What kind of world would it be without books? Printed books have been around since  Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1439.

And if you don’t read print, you can read kindle e-books or listen to audio books. Just the other day I picked up the classic “The Night before Christmas” by Clement Moore as a gift for my grand kids.

I was delighted to read it while waiting at the hospital. The book so well describes Jolly  old Saint Nick.   I also started translating the book into Czech for the grand kids who will be fully bilingual. I forgot about my worries and entered a different world; a fantasy world without a care.

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there………….”

In Czech:

“Byla to noc pred Vanocema, a v celem dome,

Se nepohnulo nic, ani myska;

Puncochy visely vedle komina,

V nadeji ze prijde Svaty Nick……………………..”

So, whether you buy a classic, a novel, a travel book or short stories, you can’t go wrong.

Check out my new book “Shifting Sands Short Stories” both in kindle e-book and paperback editions on Amazon.

Shifting Sands Short Stories is a collection of 13 short stories where the heroes and heroines shift their destinies like grains of sand in an hour-glass. Often, they cannot escape what others have arranged for them. 

They wither under pressure, die or change. Sometimes the characters like professor Martin Duggan have to pass through the narrow part, only to rediscover themselves as they emerge in a new form; changed forever. 

They’re packed in the crowd with others, 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.

Come along on the route of the Storyteller 2017. Come and visit Midwest Riddleyville and beyond.

This final week before Christmas, the kindle version is for $5.99. I you buy the paperback, you can get the kindle for $2.99. You can also lend the book to a friend via the kdp publishing lending program.

Today, I enrolled the book in the matching program and in the lending program. You have many options to choose from.

Here are the links:

kindle e-book


The book is also available locally at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids and in Lansing.



Schuler Books

My next book signing will be on Jan. 13, 2018 at the Lowell Arts Gallery located at 223 W. Main Street from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Bring your book and a friend with you.

Feb. 3 at Lowell Arts from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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

Building a fan base

Stay tuned for more Q & A about writing, publishing, blogging and inspiration for your blogs and other projects.


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…

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