Emily M. DeArdo

writer

behind the scenes

I Never Want to Get Used to This

behind the scenes, the bookEmily DeArdoComment

I came home from grocery shopping yesterday and found a box against my door.

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This is the box that holds my contract, as well as some AMP swag (yay swag!) and other notes that are important in the Writing of The Book.

I still really can’t entirely believe this is happening.


And yes, the book is being written. The contract will be signed and mailed today so yay!


Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, knitting, life issues, memoir, Seven Quick Takes, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

—ONE—

I haven’t done this in awhile, so, hey, time to do one! Especially since we’re supposed to get a big old snow storm with insanely cold temperatures this weekend, so if you never hear from me again, at least you have this. (I’m kidding. I’ll be fine.)

This cartoon made the rounds a few years ago, but once again it looks like I’ll be living in Hoth:

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—TWO—

There’s been a lot going on over here. I’m moving, so that’s the first thing—in March! So I have two months to get my place packed up. Which means that yes, I’ve been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and I love it. (And no, she’s never said that you only need 30 books, where did people get this?! I have WAY more than 30> I have more than 30 cookbooks, probably—yes, I might have a problem.)

But I’ve really enjoyed the process. If you haven’t heard of her, the idea is that you get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy”, or that you need (like, a screwdriver, for instance. Or copies of recent tax returns.). So you let go of things that you’re just holding on to out of guilt or uncertainty or “just because”, and it’s done in categories: clothes, books, papers, “komono “ (miscellaneous—she divides it down further), and sentimental items. I’m on “komono”, and it’s mostly household stuff and knitting stuff that’s left.


—THREE—

Speaking of knitting, here’s this week’s yarn along! I’m making a drachenfels shawl, again. :) Deets are at Ravelry, here.


—FOUR—

In other news, I’m very close to submitting my book proposal! Oh my gosh. This has been a few months in the making but I think I’m in the home stretch! Yayyy!

And you can help me!

Please subscribe to the blog! This is something that really helps me with publishers. It shows I have people who care about what I write! So do that, and then follow my author page on Facebook? Every follower/subscriber is important! If you already subscribe, thank you! Mwah!


—FIVE—

The proposal is a memoir about my life with CF and transplant and how it ties into the idea that life is always worth living, no matter what’s “wrong” with you. Today is the March for Life, so yes, I feel it’s a timely topic. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t exist. But I DO exist and so there. :-p

—SIX—

I made a holy hour yesterday, since I might not be able to get to Mass this weekend depending on weather. If you don’t make a holy hour (Or holy half hour, or Holy Fifteen Minutes!), can I recommend that you start? It’s restorative, transformative, energizing….it’s time with the Lord who loves you so much! Get thee to an adoration chapel! Or get to Mass early, if you can. God wants to visit with you!


—SEVEN—

And, also, if you missed it, Take Up & Read has a new study! We’re starting on Monday but feel free to hop in whenever! It’s called Call Me Blessed (here’s my blog post about it!)—and you can get it at other bookstores besides Amazon! Yay!!!!! It’s all about our vocation as women, our dignity as women, using women in the Bible and the writings of Pope John Paul II. I do hope you’ll join us!

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A Friday surprise--quick takes!

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, travelEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I haven't done one of these in forever, so maybe it's time to do them again? :) Linking up with Kelly! :) 

1. 

Dad just got back from his trip to London for a DevOps conference (DevOps is IT related stuff, for you non tech geeks out there). I was a just a little jealous, especially since he got to go to Westminster Cathedral for Mass and see Buckingham Palace and just be in London, which is really the greatest city in the world. 

Westminster Cathedral 

Westminster Cathedral 

2. 

He also brought me back the papers, which delight me to no end. I love getting papers from other countries. The first thing I noticed is how big they are? No American paper is this big anymore. It's amazing!

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So yeah, I'm slowly savoring the reading of the papers. Because it's just fun, and that probably makes me a nerd. But a nice nerd. :) 

3. 

I always knew that London was fairly far north, but in checking the weather for my dad's visit, I noticed that it's a LOT farther north than I thought--the sun was rising at 4:30 AM! That's just amazing. But also, in the winter, London has to get dark pretty quickly. Sort of sobering. But I do think it would be cool to see one of the white nights, or even a sunrise at 4:30 (provided I could go back to sleep after seeing it. :-) 

4. 

Yes, my "desk"--my kitchen table--is a mess. I've got SO many things going on right now. I've started writing a new book (YES! Wheee! Let's hope someone wants it!) about churches and accessibility. I've been getting new library books like every day since the library actually has books I want to read, and they can be delivered to my local library so I don't have to drive all over creation to get them (our library system is huge).  I've been working more on my sketching, and I've been packing because we're going to Pittsburgh later today. So yes, it's nuts, and my table is crazy. 

5. 

Also, Catholic 101 is currently on sale for FIVE BUCKS! If you don't have it, you can grab it here. This is the cheapest it will be all year! 

6. 

I've been knitting, too, even though the hand thing took a bite out of that, but I finally got some more yarn for my scarf project so I'm back at that. I promise a Yarn Along next week!

7. 

And I also promise to do a reading round-up soon. I've been reading so many books that I need to talk about them. Soon, I promise!

 

Goal Setting 2018: April results and May goals

Barton Cottage Crafts, behind the scenes, current projects, goal setting, health, knitting, memoir, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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It's MAYYYY! Yay! 

So it's time to revisit my goals! Let's get started. 

Goal Number 1: 

Work through Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps for Financial Peace to cultivate good stewardship, gratitude, and contentment.

April goal: Start the debt snowball; this is baby step 2, where all your debts are paid off. Fortunately I don't have much to do here! 

Status: Started! Yay!!

May goal: Continue working the snowball. 

 

Goal Number 2: 

Find an agent for my manuscript

April goal: Write a darn proposal!

Status: DONE!  I sent it to a friend of mine to read/peruse, so now I'm just waiting for her feedback. Once I get that, I can make any changes and send it out!

May goal: Send it (hopefully!) 

Goal Number 3:

To deepen and strengthen my relationship with God, because He is the center and the well-spring.

April goals: Confession/Holy hour/Weekday Mass once a week

Status: Confession, check! Holy hour, check! Weekday Mass....no check. Sigh. Something still to work on!

May goals: Confession, Holy Hour, and at LEAST ONE WEEKDAY MASS. Just one. :) 

Goal Number 4: 

Continue to lose weight and treat my body well so I can do everything else I want to do, and honor my body which God made.

April goals: Focus on healthy snacks and regular workouts. 

Status: Did really well here. Lost some weight (yay!), have found new healthy snacks, and I'm still doing yoga classes regularly. I've also continued to make progress on body measurements. I take my measurements on the first of every month, and this is where I can really see progress, or not. So I'm glad to see progress being made!

May goals: Consistent working out--yoga classes; continue to focus on health snacks. 

Goal Number 5: 

Grow Barton Cottage Crafts, to help with baby steps (goal 1), but also to have a creative outlet and for enjoyment. 

April goal: Finis commissions and get new ones.

Status: I did finish my commissions, and I'm working on getting new ones. Part of that is the new Barton Cottage Crafts page here on the site! I'm really proud of it! So in May, while I wait for commissions, I'm going to be working on new projects, as well as starting to plan knitting projects for birthdays and Christmas--because guys, handmade takes time. So if you want birthday presents/Christmas presents, you have to get them early. As in, now is not too early!

May goals: See above. :) 

Goal Number 6: 

Have a beautiful, peaceful, welcoming home so I can appreciate what I have, encourage hospitality, and cultivate peace.

April goal: Get another KALLAX unit for the living room. 

Status: The one I want isn't in stock--and wasn't for ALL OF APRIL. Grr, IKEA. Grrrrr. So I'm waiting for that. In the mean time, working on keeping spaces clear. I did do a lot better in having people over in April--I would say come on over, knowing the house would be presentable. So that's great. 

May goal: Pray that the KALLAX comes back in stock? :) If it does, that'll happen. If not--continue weekly clean/focus on certain areas (FlyLady zones, if you're familiar with those), and keep inviting people over. And continue contentment challenge--that fell off in April, so I'm doing month three now!

Goal Number 7: 

To nurture my creativity so I can learn new things, inspire myself, stretch my mind, and feed my soul. 

April goals: Knit two new Quince projects, start reading Artist's Way, get new commissions. 

Status: I knit the projects! Yay! And I have big plans for more new ones....I didn't read Artist's Way, but that is definitely on the list for this month. Commission--see above.

May goals: Start new knitting project; start reading Artist's Way. (I have to DECIDE on new project. I think it's going to be a tricolor cowl, but that means getting yarn, or a cowl with a textured stitch, in order to really "get" working in the round done.) 

This month, my brother is getting married--NEXT WEEK, holy cow!--so I didn't go hog wild on my goals. My daily goals are balancing my checkbook (yes, old school!), lectio, knitting, and working out 5/7 days a week. So they are important goals, but it's not a ton, so I can really focus. I didn't want to stress this month. I want to celebrate and enjoy this big moment for our family! :) 

 

It is here! Catholic 101 RELEASE DAY!!!

behind the scenes, books, Catholic 101, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Cue the confetti! 

It's the release day for Catholic 101!

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This project has been years in the making. I'm so proud of it, and I'm so grateful for all the people who have already pre-ordered and have offered support and encouragement. 

If you haven't pre-ordered, you can grab it here

Have questions? Check out the answers here

I've been doing a lot of social media videos, so it's a good time to follow me on Instagram or Facebook to get all the goodness!

Thanks again for all the support. I really appreciate it! I hope you enjoy the book! 

The release of Catholic 101

behind the scenes, books, Catholic 101, Catholicism, writingEmily DeArdo1 Comment
Catholic 101 (1).jpg

So, I'm sure you've noticed that I've been talking up the release of my first ebook, Catholic 101, which has been in the works for well over a year now. I can't believe it's going to be going live! I'm really excited to share this with you. Today's post is going to walk you through the book and answer any questions you might have. 

Catholic 101, as long time blog readers know, started as a series here on the blog. Every Monday, I wrote a post about Catholicism based on the first grade CCD text I used in class (I was a CCD teacher at the time).  The reason? I'd noticed a lot of adult Catholics had big holes in their religious education--even cradle Catholics, and Catholics that had gone to parochial schools. As a Dominican, it's my job to spread the truth of the Gospel, and what better way to do it that to write a blog series? 

As the series progressed, my dad suggested that I compile the entries into an ebook, which would also give me the opportunity to expand on some topics, add new entries, and add resources in a comprehensive, tidy way that you can't really do on a blog. That's what Catholic 101, the ebook, is all about. 

Here are the details: 

*Over 80 pages of content, divided into four sections: The Basics, The Liturgical Year, Beliefs and Practices, and Prayers and Resources. 

*Six new or expanded entries in additional the original series content! New posts on Mary, Christmastide, the Ten Commandments, Angels, Papal Elections, and Papal Infallibility. (If you want to see what was covered in the original series, click over here.) 

*A list of recommended books

*A compendium of basic Catholic prayers

That sounds good, right? I think it does, anyway. We hit all the sacraments, Jesus' life, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, all the liturgical seasons, including a special look at Advent, Lent, and the Triduum. We talk about Mary and the rosary, and why the Eucharist is so vital to Catholic life. There are even Outlander, Pride and Prejudice, and Princess Bride references!

So, with all that goodness, here are the FAQs: 

1) How much is it? 

The book is $9.50. 

2) What the heck is Gumroad? 

Gumroad is the platform I've chosen to use for this release. I really like how they work on the business end (read: taxes are easy when it comes time for that) and the app is total simplicity. Just download it and bazinga! You can read your Gumroad products. 

3) I don't want to download Gumroad. Can I read it on other devices? 

You sure can! You can read it on Gumroad's website (which works on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices), and it will be available in formats for iBooks and Kindles. Wooo!

4) How do I know everything in it is right? I mean, you aren't a theologian. 

No, I'm not. I don't even play one on TV. But everything in the book has been copiously documented, with most of it coming right from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I've cited papal documents, websites, and lots of other resources, so you know you are getting correct information. I certainly don't want anyone to get bad information! That being said, despite the best efforts of myself and my editors, there's the possibility that there might be typos or things that aren't clear. In that case, drop me a line and we'll check it out!

5) When is the book actually available? 

November 2--the feast of All Souls. 

6) Why pre-order? 

Because you get it immediately! Those who have pre-ordered the book get it as soon as it's "live" on the Gumroad site. 

7) But I can still get it even if I don't pre-order, right? 

Right. Same price, same everything. 

I have a question you didn't answer

OK! Drop it in the comment box or use the contact form to drop me a line and I'll help you! 

You can pre-order here: 

 

 

 

Welcome, October

behind the scenes, essays, current projects, writingEmily DeArdoComment
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 A month ago I was in Duck, NC, sitting in Duck's Cottage, writing in my journal and thinking about what the month would hold. And now it's October, one of my favorite months of the year. It finally feels like fall here in Ohio, so all the windows are gloriously open, the nights actually feel chilly, and it's definitely candle-lighting season at my house. 

September was a month of great progress, both inner and outer, and I'll be writing about that over the next few days. My October Power Sheet tending list is huge. A lot of it is small things, but there's a lot I want to accomplish this month! One of the big things is finally finishing my ebook and getting it ready to sell! Yay! It's so close, guys, and I'm so excited to present it. 

Do you set monthly goals? What do you want to accomplish in October? 

And happy Feast Day, St. Therese!  Little bloggy throwback there. 

Have a great Sunday, everyone! 

Creative Burst

behind the scenes, Catholic 101, current projects, knitting, writingEmily DeArdo1 Comment

The last week has been so exciting! I've been making progress on some big goals, including one thing I never thought I'd do, so I thought I'd share this with you today. 

First, as I said last week, I've got a cover for my ebook!

This was a big hurdle for me, because graphic design is elusive in my world. But I'm really pleased with how this came out. I took the photo during my last trip to D.C., when I visited the Franciscan monastery

Now I have to finish writing and editing a few pieces, then it gets sent to a few beta readers for testing, so to speak--and then it's almost ready for the rest of you! If you use an e-reader, what format do you use the most? Kindle? iBooks? Doesn't matter? Let me know!

The ebook is based on my Catholic 101 series, but there are also brand-new pieces, to make it worth your while. I'm hoping to have it on offer later in the fall! 

The second big thing--I've decided to start selling some of my knitted pieces. 

 

Whenever I post photos of my variegated basketweave scarves, people always say how much they love them. And that got me thinking--would people buy them? Turns out, YES. I have three orders already! I'm really excited about this. 

I'm not planning on making this a huge thing, but I'm excited to be offering these scarves, and some other projects, in various styles and colorways. Right now I'm posting most of the information about them on Instagram and Facebook. So keep your eyes out--I might also cross-post some things here, too, when the pieces are available. Right now I'm sort of behind the gun because I had to order yarn for the projects, but soon I will have some available! 

And in between all this, I'm still working on proposals for my memoir. Whew! There's a lot going on. But I'm using pockets of time to work on these things in a somewhat organized fashion. For example, the yarn for the next project isn't here yet, so I can use today to write and work on the proposal and the ebook. (And give my shoulder muscles a break--knitting so much really does cause them to work!) 

Thanks for all your kind comments and support with my projects! I really appreciate it and I can't wait to share these with you in the near future. 

 

Saturday Miscellany

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Jeopardy, knitting, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Normally, as you know, I don't do a blog post on Saturdays, but I had a stomach bug on Friday, which derailed my plans to do one then, so, here we are: Saturday! (Stomach's fine now.)

First, the winner of the Cultivate Book: Cristina! Yay! I'll get this book out to you in the next week!

Second: Next week marks a year since my appearance on Jeopardy!, which you can read all about here. The Tour de France, people! :-P (If you don't get that, read the posts....or try to find my episode online. I wish Jeopardy re-runs ran around here....)

Third: Take a look at this!

 

I'm kind of a fan. Do you like it? Let me know! I took the photo at the Franciscans of the Holy Land Monastery in D.C. a few years ago and I thought it was a good choice for the cover. 

And finally, in the knitting area: here's the second Christmas gift in progress. 

Yes, it's the same pattern as the first scarf. But man, I love this yarn too! This is called Sugar Cookie--same yarn as the last one, too. 

So, that's my miscellany for this Saturday! Hope you have a great weekend! 

Daybook No. 124: entering Ordinary Time

Daybook, behind the scenes, fiction, travel, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Outside my window::

Dark. I tend to write these on Sunday nights, so that they go up in the morning without me having to scramble to write. So it's Sunday night, but it was light until like 5:45 today! I love that. :) 

Wearing::

A skirt and a three-quarter sleeve robin's egg blue t-shirt. When I have to work around the house I'd rather do it in one of my dress down skirts because it's easier to move around in, and I was cleaning the kitchen this morning. 

Reading::

Kim, Anne of Green Gables, and I'm going to dig out my Queen Victoria books, because of Victoria on PBS. (No, I'm not watching it right now--the Steelers are on!) I have a feeling the series is not going to be as historically accurate as I would like, so I need to refresh my memory on the finer points. 

Played Disney Scrabble over the weekend. There are four "Disney words" in this puzzle: Song, Fox, Deb, and Hope. Do you know why? (Answers at the bottom)

Played Disney Scrabble over the weekend. There are four "Disney words" in this puzzle: Song, Fox, Deb, and Hope. Do you know why? (Answers at the bottom)

Looking forward to::

The Making Things Happen Intensive! I won a ticket to the conference, but I had to book my flight and hotel, and I'm done with my prep now! Yay! I am so excited to be attending this conference, and glad that the conference gets a good room rate and I found a decent airfare to Raleigh. 

Around the house::

Cleaning. Finishing the Christmas tree putting-away-ness. Putting it up, I usually have help. Taking it down, it's usually just me. So it takes a few days, especially since I like all the ornaments to go back--nicely--into their boxes. 

Random thoughts::

Is anyone else tired? What is it with this January? Is it the weird weather pattern of 3-4 days of FREEZING COLD and then 3-4 days of spring? I'm sleeping for 10-11 hours a night, and that's just weird. I shouldn't be sleeping like that. Anyone else, or am I just weird? 

Writing projects::

I'm making really good progress on the ebook editing, which is the first step here. I'm making sure every piece that I want to have in the book is first off, written, and second off, edited. Not finished, but edited. I'll have this goal met by the end of the month, then it's time for fine-tuning. 

I'm also editing my 2016 NaNo novel this month, to see if there's anything relatively passable in it. :) 

Fun Quote I found last week::

 

Tea is sacrosanct, thank you very much.

Dr. Gordon Wyatt, Bones

 

Plans for the week: 

*Lunch with Dad

* Mass at least once

*Finishing the Tree Takedown

*Taking yet more books/CDs/DVDs to Half Price Books

And knitting! Moreeee knitting--progress posted on Wednesday. 

 

Answers for the puzzle: In Disney Scrabble, Disney words are a wide variety of things and can include: ride names, movie titles, song titles, character names, etc. Obviously you have to prove it's a "Disney word." So in this case: Deb (character from Finding Nemo), Song ("Love Is a Song That Never Ends", from Bambi; "Happy Little Working Song" from EnchantedSong of the South; "With A Smile and a Song" from Snow White); Fox (Fox and the Hound), and Hope ("One Last Hope" from Hercules.) 

Updates from the writing desk

behind the scenes, writing, current projectsEmily DeArdoComment

(No, I'm not going to ask you why a raven is like a writing desk.)

I have begun editing  Tempest, my NaNoWriMo 2015 winner. My editing process works in layersThe first is--I don't start editing right away. In this case, I gave myself more than a month to let the novel "sit" and give me a break from it. I want to approach it with fresh eyes when I begin to edit. 

Second--I don't read it all in one gulp. I've set about 45 minutes aside each day for editing. Yesterday, that turned out to be basic copyediting, for the most part, because I was really pleased with what I'd written. I think I captured Julie's voice really well in the first section, and that makes me happy. (Julie is my protagonist, for those of you just joining me.) The novel is divided into several parts, and yesterday I got through the first part and a few chapters of the second. 

Third--after I do my first edit, I go back to the beginning, and read it all again. Is everything still working? Do I like where the novel goes? Does the plot work? Do I need more detail anywhere? Do I need less detail? 

So far, that's how my process works. After these steps, I'll leave it alone for another few months, to, again, give myself distance from it. I repeat the process until I'm satisfied with what I have. 

Since Tempest is the first part of a planned trilogy, I need to make sure that what happens here is really clear in my mind (and in my notes!), so that when I go to write books two and three, they are built on the solid foundation of the first book. I've begun writing book two, but I've held off really getting into it until I've done at least one editing pass on Tempest

 

Daybook No. 112

behind the scenes, books, Catholicism, current events, current projects, Daybook, Dominicans, fiction, knitting, links, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Cloudy, a marked contrast from yesterday's blue skies and sun, but since It's going to be in the 60s, I'll take it. Especially since....gulp.....snow might in the future! 

Wearing::

My PJs--I just got up (it's 8 AM as I'm writing this) 

Reading::

North and South, Mockingjay, Rising Strong,  and The Betrothed. I really like North and South--Margaret Hale is a great character. I'm late to the Rising Strong party, but better late than never, and I also have Daring Greatly to read.

In the CD player::

Fun Home and Hamilton. No Christmas music until at least after Thanksgiving!

Living the Liturgy::

Today is Lucy Pevensie's feast day! And since she's my Dominican patron, I get to party all day. 

 

Around the House::

Doing the deep cleaning to get ready for decorating> I don't have much to do--the tree, a few baubles, and my Fontanini creche (one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received, ever). The Baby Jesus doesn't go in the creche until Christmas Eve, and the Magi make their way into the set proper by Epiphany. If you're looking for a Nativity set, I highly recommend this one. The figures are made of a type of plastic that means kids can chew on them, play with them, etc., and they won't break!

Speaking of Catholic households, this is a good article from Our Sunday Visitor that's worth a ponder. 

I'm also in the last stages of Tidying Up. I took three bags of books to Half Price books yesterday, so I'm still looking for the book/CD/DVD "click point" that Kondo talks about. I'm sure I'll find it--eventually. :) Until then, I just keep taking books to HPB. 


Creativity::

I have "won" NaNo--but the book's not done. Oh no. I'm going to write a sequel. (I can't believe it either!) Nothing about this book has gone the way I thought it would, but it's been in a great way. My friend Andrea says the "muse has inhabited me", and while that may or may not be true, it sure is fun. I will officially "win" NaNo on the 20th, when you can start verifying word counts. 

So I have to put an ending on this guy (a cliff-hanger, of course), and then start the new document for book two, maybe do some outlining--and then touch nothing until January. This is what usually happens with my NaNo books--I finish them in November and then don't touch them until January. That gives them, and me, a nice break before I begin revising/editing. 

And I can purl! You'll see the proof tomorrow in the Yarn Along. 

 

Pondering::

In light of the attacks on Paris, this is an excellent read. It's long, but it's well-worth the time it takes. 

There are so many problems in our world that are new, and all colliding at once--fighting a war against an enemy we can't see (as Judi Dench said in Skyfall), the Syrian refugees, elections, earthquakes in Mexico and Japan....

The only solution I can see to it is to pray more intensely. 

 

Plans for the week::

Not much, which is nice. CCD on Sunday, when we'll talk about Jesus' birthday (we talked about Advent last week). And then it's Thanksgiving week, and then we're into December! Holy cow!

 

This Week's Question: How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your family? 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 101

7 Quick Takes, writing, theater, holidays, behind the scenesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

First an addition to the Daybook from earlier this week. I don't know what happened to the text, but I'd written a bunch about Hamilton that inexplicably disappeared after I hit 'publish'. So, I'm rewriting it here. :) 

 

Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton), and Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schulyer Church) in a scene from  Hamilton . 

Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton), and Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schulyer Church) in a scene from Hamilton

This musical has been getting a lot of positive press, and at first I was skeptical, because: rap? hip-hop? Whaaaa. No. Emily doesn't like that sort of music. But surprisingly, it works really well here, to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton. Most of us know Hamilton because of one of three things: he died in a duel with Aaron Burr; he's on the $10 bill, or he wrote a lot of the Federalist Papers. But he did a lot more than that. He found the New York Post, was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and served with George Washington during the Revolutionary War. 

The musical is sung-through (I think) and covers his life from his arrival in America as a young man, his graduation from Princeton, involvement in the Revolution, marriage to Eliza Schuyler, birth of his son, rise in Washington's administration, and then his political downfall and death. The musical was written and composed by its star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Some of my favorite tracks are "Helpless", "Burn", "My Shot", "The Room Where It Happens", "You'll Be Back" (a hilarious song for King George III, played by Jonathan Groff), and "It's Quiet Uptown". 

Anyway, all this to say--give it a whirl. It's probably going to kill it at the Tonys and there's even talk of a Pulitzer Prize win. 

II.

I won NaNo! Yes, it's only the second week of November, but I'm over 50K, and I think there might be a sequel to this novel, because I don't think I can do the story justice in one setting. How crazy is that? These characters haven't stuck with the plan at all, but I've never written anything so fast, and as long as what the characters want works with the plot, then I'm fine with them dictating things to me. 

Right now I'm imagining them as YA novels. But of course anyone can read them. 

III. 

The Confirmation last weekend went well. I was proud of my cousin, and glad she picked a real saint--some of the kids just picked their middle names or something. (I know this because I asked one kid who her saint was--I'd never heard of this--and she said "it's my middle name." Eyeroll. Now, I'm sure there is a saint with that name, but come on, guys!)

IV. 

My Christmas cards are  done! Yay! I always love doing the Christmas cards. I usually start sending them out the first week in December, because some of my friends are in school and go home for the holidays, and I want them to get it before that happens. And I also love sending real mail to people. 

V.

I also binge watched Starz's Flesh and Bone this week. I wish the ending would've been more concrete, since the series isn't being renewed, but I guess it was probably shot before that decision was made? I love anything that has to do with ballet, so this series, which focuses on a fictional ballet company, was something that's like catnip to me. There were several great plot lines. (And also several tired plot lines--crazy artistic director, back-stabbing catty corps dancers, etc. )

VI. 

I'm moving on in Sketchbook Skool, too. Right now we're doing continuous line drawing ,which is something that I definitely need to work on, because my drawings looks crazy right now. Our assignment is to do one, two, and three objects this way, and then do one three object drawing and watercolor it. I'm a little afraid of that assignment. 

VII.

How are you guys doing on your holiday shopping/preparation? When do you put up your decorations? I Usually start the day of the OSU-Michigan game, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

 

 

 

Daybook No. 106--the day the manuscript is mailed!

behind the scenes, current projects, Daybook, writing, books, memoir, travel, Tidying UpEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

(Well, it's really Starbucks' window. It's 9:30 AM as I'm writing this and I'm being very sterotypically "writerly" by doing this at a Starbucks.)

Cloudy and windy. Only going to be in the 50s today. Well, hi, Fall.....

Wearing::

Jeans, pink flats with flowers on them, a long-sleeved gray t-shirt, fake diamond studs. (Big ones. Ha!)

Listening to::

Outlander Vol. 2 is in the CD player, but in here it's low talking and coffee machines humming and frothing. This Tanzania reserve I'm drinking is pretty awesome, btw. 

Writing::

Guys. Today the book is getting ailed to a  publisher

Yeah. Squeal a little with me. :) 

No, they haven't already accepted it. This is my submission. It will take about three months to hear back. But it's getting mailed to a real, live publishing house. I can't even, people. 

(Actually, by the time you read this, it might already be out and on its merry way!)

How can you help me get this published? , you may be asking. 

Well, I'll tell you!

First, if you already subscribe to this site, five thousand thank you. That's a huge help. If you could follow me on other social media (the buttons are over on the right sidebar), that would also be enormously helpful. Social media follows are a huge part of my "platform", as it were, and very helpful because it indicates people who might actually, you know, read this thing when it comes out--and buy it! Not just read it. Spend money on it.  

If you do not subscribe to the site, and you followed this link from somewhere else--please subscribe? I promise I won't do anything untoward with your information, and you won't get five thousand emails from me. You'll just get notices when blog posts go up, and maybe, occasionally, newsy things. (I haven't done that yet. But I could.)

Second, send prayers/good thoughts out about it. If you pray, please pray for its success! If you don't, then just send happy thoughts out into the universe, please? 

If this publishing house doesn't take the manuscript, then there are many other places I can try. This is by no means the only place. It's just the first place. 

And thank you to everyone who supports my writing on a daily basis. I am thankful for you! (That means you, readers.) 

Also: My Second September Real Housekeeping Piece is up now! 

Reading::

The books I have packed for Boston are all about creativity and writing. Noticing a theme? Right now, though, I'm reading The Book of SHEFinding God's Will For You, and The Throne of Fire. I've also got arly Warning in my pile, but it is so not speaking to me....but I don't want to give up on it, yet. I'm also reading Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series. I finished My Brilliant Friend, which I really liked, so I'm on to book two, The Story of a New Name. There are four books, total, in the series, and the last one was just published. Thanks to Richelle for letting me know about these! 

 

Thinking Ahead::

After Boston, I have our Third Order Retreat the following weekend, and then  blessed weekend at home. :) The weekend after that, I have a wedding of a good friend in Indiana. Then another weekend off, then I'm going to Pittsburgh to be my cousin's confirmation sponsor. So I'm thinking about ways to enjoy all of the awesome that's coming, but also stay sane with the things that have to be done--health, fitness,keeping the house clean, eating well, all those things. So it's going to be a balancing act, but I think a useful one. I'll have to use my weekdays to recharge and focus on the "here" things. 

In other news, my Boston bag is almost packed, and I think I've decided what to wear for the audition!

Tidying Up::

So the clothes are done, done, done! The last bag of donated items went out the door today. The books are a work in progress. I keep weeding out, a bit at a time, but so far 11 bags of books, CDs and DVDs have gone to Half Price books, and a few have been donates. 

The third step is paper, and I've got the paper on the first floor corralled and dealt with. Yay! Now the goal is to hit the office, where paper just lives. It's the Paper Capital of my house. So that's on tomorrow's agenda, I think. 

After the paper, that's when Marie K. suggests hitting the DVDs and CDs, but I've already done those, since they go with the books in the "to be sold" pile. I weeded out a lot of CDs, which made me happy, so now it's down to CDs that I actually listen to. What an idea, right? 

Looking Ahead::

I leave for Boston on Saturday, and I come back on Monday. So Friday is the mania that is finishing packing and making sure all the logistics are in place. It might rain, now, when we're in Boston, so I have to come up with a Rain Sight Seeing Plan. This might involve....museums. I don't think Dad likes museums. But I do? We'll figure something out. The Freedom Trail does have some inside sights, and we can always hang out in the North End and drink coffee with our Italian brethren all day. Nothing wrong with that!

 

 

 

The Book Proposal is Written!

behind the scenes, current projects, memoirEmily DeArdoComment

Getting closer to a real book! @emily_m_deardo

An update on last week's checklist:

I have a written book proposal--a completed proposal! I am, if you can't tell, really excited about this. I'll be talking more about this on Wednesday (what  makes up a proposal), but this is a huge step forward in preparing my queries/book packages.

The proposal is essentially an Idiot's Guide to my book. I summarize it, say why it's needed, talk about me and my background, and then give a bit of the book. Some agents and houses just want this; some want this and a completed manuscript, and some just want a manuscript, full stop.

I've also decided that the book, at the moment, doesn't need a prologue, so I don't have to write a new one. I'm planning on writing the new epilogue once I'm back from vacation, because by then the actual ten year anniversary will have passed.

Today, I start work on the last list item: going through what particular houses/agents want.

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! Did you do anything particularly exciting to celebrate?

Getting to "it's a real book!": The checklist for July

behind the scenes, memoirEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Getting closer to a real book! @emily_m_deardo

So, if you read last week's post, you know that I've made some major decisions regarding the length and scope of the memoir manuscript. (If you haven't read it, go do that and come back.)

OK. So, I give a vague outline there, but here's more specifics of what I need to do:

  • Write a new beginning/ending to the manuscript, reflecting the new scope and tone of the piece. Due date: July 9.
  • Get out the drafted book proposal and print it out. There will be a Real Live Editor from a publishing house at the conference I'm attending in July, so I really hope to get to talk to her, and I'll need this to show her (I think. Maybe not. But it can't hurt to have it, right?) Due date: July 6.
  • Go through my list of houses/agents and being to assemble the things I need for a query. This can be really complicated, actually. Some want them mailed, some want them emailed, and they all have a list of things they want in the "package." Some houses don't want to see the manuscript at all, and some want it completed (Hence item one on this list.) Due date: July 9.

These are the things I'm aiming to have done before I leave. When I come back, that will start the actual process of querying, which as I said before, is terrifying, but exciting ("excited and scared", anyone?)

Writing Updates: June 22, 2015

behind the scenes, current projects, memoir, Real HousekeepingEmily DeArdoComment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

  • I've submitted my August Real Housekeeping piece to the editors, so I'm excited about that. My piece on books for babies will be going up sometime in July, and I'll post the link here when it goes live. My August piece is about how to create and keep a well-stocked pantry so you can make a variety of meals without having to run to the grocery store right before dinner time.
  • The memoir is coming along. I feel like I keep writing that, but it's true! I'm working on the section about the Dominican nuns now (for those of you who don't know me, you're probably going, what? But all will be revealed....eventually). This section is proving to be the hardest to write, but it's also the last section that really needs written. The plan is to have this section done by the end of the month, so that when I'm back from vacation in July, I can start sending out queries and proposals. I'm on track with this plan.
  • The Jane Re-Read continues with Northanger Abbey. 

Filling the Well: Movies to Inspire Creativity

behind the scenesEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Here are some of my favorite movies to inspire creativity! @emily_m_deardo

Last week, I talked about some writing books I've found inspiring and helpful; this week I thought I'd share some movies that always serve as a creativity jumpstart for me.

Shakespeare  In Love: (1998) This film, written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Mark Madden, won Best Picture in 1998, and gives the "back story" of the writing of Romeo and Juliet. With fantastic performances by Joseph Fiennes, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow (she won her Oscar for this movie), Geoffrey Rush, Judi Dench (who also won an Oscar for this movie), and Colin Firth, it may not be based in reality, but it's a wonderfully funny film, especially if you're a Shakespeare fan. The costumes are sumptuous as well.

Movies That Inspire Creativity: Shakespeare In Love @emily_m_deardo

The reason it inspires creativity is because the basic premise of the movie is that Shakespeare (Fiennes)  has writer's block--and he solves it by falling in love with Lady Viola (Paltrow), who is, alas, already engaged, to Lord Wessex (Firth). The movie takes us into Will's world, both onstage and backstage, and demonstrates that writers can't just write good things at the drop of a hat. This is an excellent movie for when you're facing any sort of creative block.

The Hours: (2002): OK, guys. This movie is not for everyone. But if you're interested in the life of Virginia Woolf, this is a great movie. Nicole Kidman won her Oscar for her performance as Woolf, and the film was also nominated for Best Picture. Every time I watch this, I'm motivated to dive back into my writing and journaling. And the music, by Philip Glass, is incandescent. The novel is also on my list of favorite books.

Movies to Inspire Creativity: The Hours @emily_m_deardo

The Red Shoes (1948): Not about writing, but about dance, and art in general. Nominated for Best Picture, the film is a retelling/adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Red Shoes, which compel the wearer to dance to death. In this case, the story revolves around an up and coming ballerina (Moira Shearer), the impresario who becomes infatuated with her talent, and the composer whom she loves. The film demonstrates the physical effort involved in creating beautiful art and the extremes that are to be avoided in its creation!

Movies That Inspire Creativity: The Red Shoes @emily_m_deardo

Babette's Feast (1987): This shows creativity in the kitchen. If you've never seen it, please do so, but eat first. This is the story two single sisters, who live quite lives stripped of luxury, until their devoted cook, Babette, wins the French lottery and wishes to cook a meal for the sisters and their friends. The film is based on Karen Blixen (Out of Africa)' s short story. A wonderful fable of hospitality and virtue, but also creativity: watch how carefully Babette prepares the course of her meal, in every stage of its development.

Movies that inspire creativity: Babette's Feast @emily_m_deardo

Becoming Jane (2007): Of course, this one. This biopic, based on Jon Spence's Becoming Jane Austen, focuses on Jane's (Anne Hathaway) relationship with the young lawyer Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), and the writing of Pride and Prejudice.

Movies That Inspire Creativity: Becoming Jane @emily_m_deardo

 

 

Reading About Writing: My Favorite Writing Books

behind the scenesEmily DeArdo3 Comments

Reading About Writing: My Favorite Writing Books @emily_m_deardo

One of the most common tips writers give to want-to-be-writers is to read a lot. This isn't something I've ever had a problem with, but there are certain books about writing that I've found incredibly helpful to me over the years, so I thought I'd share them with you.

  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg. The chapters are short essays that motivate and inspire writing; there's a list of prompts toward the front of the book if you're stuck on the what am I supposed to write? horse. I found her writing very accessible and almost like she was sitting across the table from me at a coffeeshop. Goldberg is a gifted writer and her writing always inspires me to take another crack at my current project.

    • Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True, by Elizabeth Berg. This is my favorite book about writing. Berg gives a ton of unusual prompts and activities to really inspire creativity, and she writes about her own writing process and inspirations. I've got this book post-it marked, underlined, and bookmarked in many different ways.

    • Make it Happen, by Lara Casey. This isn't a writing book, per se, but it's a book about setting and achieving your goals. I love it!

  • The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. The classic book on freeing your inner artist, this has helped a lot of writers I know, especially in the institution of Morning Pages. I'm working my way through this--very slowly. :)

These are my favorites. How about you? Do you have favorite books that inspire you to be creative?

Writing Updates--June 8, 2015

behind the scenes, current projects, fiction, memoir, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

  • The first installment of the Jane Re-Read is up on the blog. A new post will go up every other week throughout the summer. First was Sense and Sensibility, and next is Northanger Abbey. Come join us!
  • The Dominican Part of the Memoir is being written. The timeline is important here, and after this part is down I'll need to finesse how it works in the manuscript as a whole, but this is an important part that's been missing.
  • Remember the NaNo novel I abandoned last year? think I might have a new way into it, which excited me, but I need to play around with it. Right now it involves moving from a third person to first person narration, and possibly adding more points of view, instead of the limited third person I was going with before. But we'll see if that helps.
  • Coming up on the blog this week: travel tips and Sketchbook Skool!