Emily M. DeArdo

writer

memoir

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:

hoth.jpg


—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!

CMB 1.jpg



Goal Setting 2018: April results and May goals

Barton Cottage Crafts, behind the scenes, current projects, goal setting, health, knitting, memoir, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
IMG_7001.JPG

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! :) 

 

2018 Goals: March update and April goals!

goal setting, Barton Cottage Crafts, knitting, memoirEmily DeArdoComment
GOALS .png

So, if you're new to this, I use powersheets to set my goals. I love Powersheets! You can catch up on this year's series by going here

March was the longest month. It really was! But there was progress made in some areas!

Goal Number 1: 

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

 

March goal: Finish baby step one--get an emergency fund in place. 

Status: ACHIEVED! Guys, I am so proud of this. And it was so enjoyable to know that, when I was having computer issues earlier this month, I could go to the store and know that if it needed repairs, I could pay for them! This fund also allowed me to replace part of my Bionic Ear without freaking out. 

April goal: Start baby step 2--also known as the Debt Snowball. This is where you list all debts, smallest to largest, and start to pay them off, by moving as much money as you can toward to the smallest debt. Once that's paid off, that money + the minimum payment for the second debt goes to the next debt....you see how this works? I will have the first part of the snowball done by this fall. Yay!

 

Goal Number 2: 

Find an agent for my manuscript

March goal: At least one two-hour block of time outside the house working on my proposal. It doesn't have to be finished. But I have to dedicate at least two hours to drafting one. 

Status: yeah...no. AGAIN!

April goal: GET IT DONE. And I've already started! I've written out the basics of a proposal and now I just have to tweak/re-write the sample chapters. I am ON IT. 

Goal Number 3:

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

March goals: Weekday Mass once a week, confession once a month, holy hour, daily vespers (evening prayer).

Status: Everything but that weekday Mass--because every time I tried to go, there was no place to park. I'm not kidding. So I tried, God! But I did get in a holy hour and daily vespers. Confession, no go either...I wanted to go wen I went to Mass. Face to face confession is offered at my parish on Fridays, which was the day I wanted to go to Mass as well. But no parking. Sigh. 

April goals: confession, holy hour, Mass once a week! 

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. 

March goals: Daily yoga glo classes, weekly meal planning, go to bed by 10:00 (be IN bed, not necessarily asleep). 

Status: I did REALLY well here. I attended a yoga glo class almost every day! The meal planning was OK, as was the bed thing. 

April: Focus on healthy snacks, regular workouts--yoga glo strength courses, continue meal plan. 

Goal Number 5: 

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

March goals: Keep trucking. :) 

Progress: I finished my drachenfels shawl  and am almost done with a current commission. That means that BCC is open for new work! If you'd like a scarf or a shawl, please contact me and we'll talk! I can do them in solid or variegated colors. Shawls at $45, and scarves are $35, and shipping is included! 

April: finish new projects (I have two that I want to knit), get more commissions!

Goal Number 6: 

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

March goals: ZERO OUT (with alarm at 9 pm); zone clean weekly; weekly surface clean; contentment challenge; finish Emily Ley's simplify challenge! 

StatusZeroing out just isn't me....I sort of tried but it doesn't work. I'd much rather come down in the morning and clean a bit. So that's what I switched to. I'm in zone cleaning weekly, and doing the weekly surface clean. 

The Contentment challenge is almost done!

The biggest thing I did this month: 

Sorry it's blurry!

Sorry it's blurry!

This was a terrible corner on my first floor. I hated it. I had no idea what to do with this empty space. 

So I was sick of looking at it, and went on an organizing spree. I dumped my old stereo that I NEVER use from my book case, and added a new shelf of "favorite books". That gave me more space in all my bookcases, yay!

Then I went on the IKEA website--motivated by a birthday coupon--and looked some something that would fit here. KALLAX would! KALLAX is pretty!

KALLAX IS HEAVY. I had to open the box and take the pieces in piece by piece. :) After an hour, I had entered in the realm of adulthood, because I had put together a piece of IKEA furniture. 

And now, behold!

IMG_6805.JPG

 

Isn't that much better

So, for April: My goal is to get another one of these units to go in my living room, to hold some other things that are currently being "stored" crappily. :-p I will also continue weekly cleaning (both detailed and surface). But I want stuff up off the floor. I'm tired of living like a college student! :-P 

Goal Number 7: 

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

March goals: Shawl--finish? Maybe? Continue Artist's Rule. 

Status: DONE, on both counts! Yay!!!!

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

Progress is happening on the first project: 

IMG_6842.JPG

It's a really simple project, but I love this yarn. I'll talk more about these in the next yarn along. 

So, March had ups and downs. But it also had some great progress!

 

 

 

Writing Update: Sending queries and other notes

writing, memoirEmily DeArdoComment

I thought I'd update you on the status of my manuscript, since it's been awhile. I'm still shopping the memoir manuscript around to different houses and agents. Each one wants different things in the query, so I've been adapting each proposal per regulations, and then sending them off. I have also completely re-written the beginning of the manuscript, including adding a new preface. I'm really excited about that part!

As far as fiction goes, I've uncovered a really old manuscript that I abandoned, and I've set to work finishing it. My goal is three chapters a month until a final rough draft exists. That's not a lot, but I wanted a sort of easy goal. I definitely surpassed it in May, writing about seven new chapters, so I figure I'll do the same thing in June. It's very easy to write once I'm in the characters' heads again. 

That's all for now, but I'm excited about the way things are going! I hope to have good news to share with you soon!

 

 

Daybook No. 107: Back from Boston

books, Daybook, drawing, memoir, Tidying Up, travelEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

Sunny, a few clouds. It's going to be beautiful today--in the low 70s. Yay!

Wearing::

jeans and a dark cherry colored elbow length t-shirt. Keeping it casual today. 

Reading::

The Story of a New NameDaring Greatly, and the new Rick Riordan book, Magnus Chase--which takes place in Boston. :) If we'd stayed a few more hours I could've gone to the author's book signing! Drat! Since I did so much walking in Boston, my shins are not pleased with me--I get shin splints really easily. So today I'll be reading and putting some ice on the cranky body parts. But it's totally worth it. 

In Boston, I read Bird by Bird and Big Magic--both of which were excellent. I might have to re-read them both before NaNo kicks off. I especially enjoyed the parts that talk about publishing--and how getting rejection letters doesn't mean your work sucks! That's helpful, as I look at the following....

Writing::

The Manuscript is being delivered TODAY!!!!! Eekkk! Then the three month counter kicks off. (That's about how long they say it takes for them to evaluate a manuscript.) NaNo starts next month, so I'm thinking about what I want this year's novel to be about. So far, nothing is hitting me yet, except last year's NaNo novel, that I had to abandon, because it wasn't working. I think this year I might have a way of making it work, but it may require starting from scratch, which would work for NaNo15! 

 

Boston::

OK, so I don't want to do all Boston Palooza on you here--I'm going to spread it out over the week. So we can have Pretty Funny Happy Real Boston Edition, and then some Seven Quick Takes, Boston edition. However, I will talk about Jeopardy, here, because that's what we all care about right? :) 

Boston harbor, as seen from our hotel room 

Boston harbor, as seen from our hotel room 

 

The audition works like this: You go in, you get a polaroid taken, and then you are called into the audition room. In Boston, they divided us up into two groups--in NYC, we all went in as one group. You are instructed in the ways of the contestant pool--how you got picked, what's going to happen today, and what's going to happen after. We're in the contestant pool for 18 months, so until April 4, 2017. About 100,000 people take the online test, and from that, about 1000-3000 are selected for the second round of auditions. From there, 400 people are called to be contestants on the show. We were reminded many times to be loud and enthusiastic--two things I never have trouble with, ever. 

From there, we had a 50 question test--50 questions flashed on a screen, and you had eight seconds to answer each question (you wrote the answer down on a lined answer sheet). On the online test, you have 30 seconds to answer each question. After that, the tests are collected and graded, and then three people are called up at a time to play a practice round and be interviewed. The practice rounds and interviews are videotaped. 

I was in the first group called up. So we played a "round"--the game board was on a screen and we got to pick categories and everything, just like on the show, and we used the buzzers (more about those later this week, and How Crazy They Are). After that, you are interviewed, and I was interviewed second. Yes, you are interviewed in front of everyone. We were asked what we would use the money we won for, what we did, etc. Nothing really difficult--it was mostly for personality purposes. 

No, you do not find out how you did on the audition. But you just might get a random call summoning you to LA for taping. 

 

For today::

Happy Feast Day, St. Bruno! And since she's the Gospel reading for today: St. Martha and the Dragons.  Let's give Martha some love, guys!

 

Tidying Up::

The paper will be finished this week--my insurance stuff and tax materials are stored downstairs, and those have been sorted already, and are good to go. In the office are my other sorts of papers that I probably don't need and can toss. 

After paper comes the category of "Komodo", which is a Japanese term for miscellany, and in Kondo's book, it means: 

  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Toiletries
  • makeup
  • accessories (non clothes)
  • valuables
  • electronics and appliances
  • household items and supplies 
  • kitchen goods/food
  • and Other: hobbies and such, so for me that's knitting, my music books, board games etc. 

You can see this is a BIG category and will probably take awhile. But after this there are only three more categories: Small change, sentimental items, and photos. 

I've already done the CDs, because those went with the Books to Half-Price, and I've done a lot of the DVDs, for the same reason, but I'm sure there are still some I can put in the sell/donate pile. 

This week::

Like I said, here on the blog we'll have several Boston reports, so you can look forward to that. In other news, I have a dentist appointment, the first BalletMet performance of the season (yay!), the Pirates Wild Card game against the Cubs  tomorrow, and a Lay Dominican retreat all weekend! Whew! 

 

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!

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 88: A Very Important Day

writing, memoirEmily DeArdo1 Comment

 

Today we only have one big piece of news! 

The manuscript is finished. Edited, formatted, and printed out, finished

Now, no book is ever really "done"--there just comes a point where you stop writing. There will probably be a few minor tweaks in the future, especially if/when it gets taken by a publisher. But I've stopped messing with it, and it's reached a form I'm happy with people other than me seeing. The story is as I want it. 

It took me probably five years to get there--from the initial getting everything down on paper, to the editing, then more writing, then more editing, a few tweaks, and then the pages finally having a corporeal form. I love to look at the stack of pages on my desk! 

In this last editing go round, a lot of things that had been in the manuscript from the beginning went by the wayside. My focus became much tighter, and I think the book is the better for it. 

It runs 351 double-spaced pages, and is just shy of 85,000 words.  351 pages is almost a ream of paper, so imagine a ream of paper minus about 100 sheets. That's it. 

Next week, this gets mailed off to a publisher for perusal. But right now, it's done!

 

 

DaybookNo. 103, in which a manuscript is revised (again!)

Daybook, memoir, writing, books, Tidying Up, foodEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window:: 

Sunny and hot. Hot. Hot. HOT. Did I mention, hot? Not that I'm ready for two feet of snow, mind you, but I am ready for it to be not ninety

In the CD player::

Cassie and Maggie, and Joyce DiDonato's ReJoyce! recording. 

Reading::

Cloud Atlas--I'm more than halfway through, and am by turns intrigued and frustrated. I'm trusting that the everything will congeal into a Pleasing Whole as I go through the second half. Since that's a library book, I'm giving it more attention than the other things I'm reading (including Middlemarch) and it's just one of those books that requires close reading, because if you put it down for too long, you'll forget everything, and that's not good in this book. 

Writing::

So I am preparing to send the Memoir Manuscript to a publisher, to see if they'll take it. They want it completed. So I was doing what I thought was a brief perusal for formatting errors yesterday morning. No. It turned into a slash and burn editing session. I took out entire pages, plot lines, and people. I embraced the idea of "nothing that does not serve the story", and out went a lot of things. It was liberating, in a sense, and it definitely tightens things up. I also decided that it definitely needs an epilogue, which I'll write this week. Before I fell asleep last night, I was toying with the idea of moving some pieces around, and I think I might do that today/tomorrow too. This is what makes things better.  And it's sort of exciting, actually. It's like cutting away the fat from a piece of meat. 

Around the house::

So while the above was happening yesterday, I also decided it would e a good day to kick off "Kondo-ing" my house. If you've been anywhere near a bookstore in the past year, you've seen Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I've read it a few times, but I decided yesterday to get to it, and I started with my clothes, as she suggested. So far, three bags (trash bags) have been filled (no, they won't be trashed--they'll be donated. If the clothes are full of holes and torn up, then they go in the trash.). There is a huge pile on my bedroom floor that will probably take another two bags, and the hangers! It's incredible! Today we move on to socks, bags, accessories, and shoes (or as many of those as I can get done today). 

From the kitchen::

I made Irish Tea Brack yesterday from Clodagh McKenna's Irish Kitchen cookbook. I had a piece for breakfast, and it was delicious. It smells like gingerbread when it's baking. For dinner today, I'm trying a Jamie Oliver salmon stir-fry. I've got a very small grocery list that needs tending, as well. 

So in case you can't tell, yesterday was the Epitome of Crazy Busy, but good crazy busy--the kind that leaves you feeling very satisfied when you go to bed and look back at what you did. A good start for the first full week of September! 

 

 

 

 

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?)

Eureka--Manuscript breakthrough!

current projects, memoirEmily DeArdo1 Comment

An update on the memoir! @emily_m_deardo

I feel a little sheepish about this. However, I'm sharing anyway!

I had thought, when I was writing, that I needed to write about the entire decade post-transplant. Everything that happened....every trip, every show, every everything. And I kept hitting blocks in my writing.

While I was trying to write what I kept calling "the last part", I had a brainstorm. What if....I didn't write everything? I mean, who says I need to write everything? This isn't War and Peace! You don't need to know all this stuff I'm writing!

It was ridiculously freeing. So I opened my scrap document (this is an idea I got from Elizabeth Gilbert--a Word/Pages doc that holds the big parts I cut from the manuscript, so I can use them later, if I need them), cut out about 5,000 words, and put them in there.

I feel so much better! And the manuscript is now a decent length! I've decided that it needs a new prologue and a new epilogue, but that's it.

So I'll be moving things around/fixing things for the next week or two, and when I get back from Charleston, I'll start sending out book queries.

Scary, scary thought. It sort of terrifies me to send out book queries. But hey, it has to be done. Seize the day, screw your courage to the sticking place, and all that.

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. 

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!

Writing Updates--May 11, 2015

behind the scenes, current projects, fiction, memoir, The UndesirablesEmily DeArdoComment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

The latest updates from the office:

  • First, I'd like to state that, as much as I love the new baby princess's name, I named my royal character Charlotte years before she was born (The Gift of Snow). So when the novel comes out, don't be thinking I stole her name, guys. ;-)
  • Blog: The blog has its own tab here (look up--it's the furthest right), but if you want blogging posts when they're published, please go over there and subscribe. Here's what I wrote about last week: How to handle life's curveballs; knitting and reading. Two weeks ago, I had a post about books you need to read before you die, so if you're looking for some summer reading, I've taken care of it for you!
  • Some of you have been asking about excerpts of the novels. I'm in the process of working on finding good sections and I will post those under the "excerpt" pages, above (they're currently empty). I'll update you when there is something there!
  • I'm doing major revisions to The Undesirables. When I first wrote it, my objective was basically to get a beginning, a middle, and an end in 50,000 words for NaNo. To do that, I wrote quickly and skimmed over some pretty large plot developments. Now I'm going back and filling all of those empty spaces in, and I'm having a ball.
  • As a gift for subscribing to the page, I've sent y'all a copy of Pilate's Wife. If you did not get it--or are a Wordpress Subscriber, in which case you didn't get an email because I don't have your email--please let me know so I can send you a copy. I want to make sure everyone who wants to read it can!