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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Details matter to characters

Details underline character’s personality

I find that details like clothing matter in any story, just like they matter in our own lives.

I always dress for the occasion, why shouldn’t the character do the same. Dressing also reflects on personality.

In one of the stories in my new book Shifting Sands Short Stories math professor Martin Duggan always wears pinstriped suits, preferably gray.


Because the pin stripes remind him of geometrical lines. After all, Martin is a math professor at the university in Rocky Rapids.

Here is an excerpt from “The Temptation of Martin Duggan.”

To match the white shirt that Rose bought him at JC Penney, Martin wore his favorite gray pants with pin stripes 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 origins of his love for numbers and symbols to his childhood and later growing up in the strict austere atmosphere of the seminary in Brest.

The details in Martin’s clothing bring out his character and his growing up in the austere atmosphere of the seminary.

The lines create the platform for his character and to move the story in and out of the classroom.

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

Come & See What His Dark Deeds Have Done

Melinda Kucsera - author of epic fantasy adventures

Hi Readers!

We hope you had a great week. Thank you to all who bought a copy of Curse Breaker: Faceted. We hope you’re enjoying it as much as we are. And now back to where you last saw us–on our way out of a scary castle after an equally scary dude appeared.

(Said hooded man appears in Curse Breaker: Faceted, where he shows off his sickle-smiling mug and lures just about everyone to their doom. What game is he playing? How does it affect me and my dad? You’ll have to read Curse Breaker: Faceted to find out.)

Yes, the Adversary somehow made a cameo appearance in our newsletter. We’re still not sure how that happened. This is supposed to be a heroes-only zone. I blame Jerlo. The Commander should protect more than just the enchanted forest. He should police this newsletter and keep out scary characters!

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How to finish your writing project

I was surprised at one of my recent book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories
by the following question:

“I am on chapter six, how do I finish my book,” a woman asked me at Girls Night Out on Oct. 19 in downtown Lowell @Sweet Seasons.

Here is what I have gathered over the years about  finishing​ any big writing project like a book or a script.

Writing tips

How to finish your book or script

1- Set a target finish goal, something that’s important to you like your birthday, a national holiday or Mother’s Day.

2- Write every day a quota of pages, for example 5 pages.

3- Always have an end in mind for the final book or script, but also for each chapter or scene.

4- Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish in this chapter?

5- A loose flexible outline always helps.

6- Establish a reward program for yourself after each chapter.

7- Create a cover or poster early on even as a draft. It will help you visualize the book, play or film and the entire process.

8- Have a color theme in mind for the characters and the book overall. Some colors are harmonious, others create conflict.

9- Be cohesive.

10- Explore, observe, discover. I especially like these three verbs that I found on a sign by the Wittenbach nature center. They will continue to feed your inspiration and motivation. And in turn, the reader will keep turning the pages.

11- Use character compass to balance out your stories. That means the right amount of thoughts, appearance, action and dialogue.

12-Don’t forget about the location and tension.


13-Don’t let any project become your Ghoulish project that will haunt you.


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

Emma’s book signing in Lowell during GNO

Emma’s booksigning event of Shifting Sands Short Stories comes to historic downtown Lowell


Emma’s booksignings come to downtown Lowell

Come and visit with local author of Shifting Sands Short Stories Emma Palova on Oct. 19 from 5 pm to 8 pm @Sweet Seasons Bakery and Cafe during Girls Night Out in beautiful historic downtown Lowell.

Bring a book for autograph. You get a brownie bite with the purchase of a beverage.

Source: Emma’s book signing in Lowell

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