Going to new places

Hi all!

So if you are an email subscriber to this site, you already know this. But if you’re not:

I’ve combined my blog and my author site into one lovely page at emilymdeardo.com 

I really love the new home and it’s so pretty! I can’t wait to share it all with you.

So if you are following me on wordpress, please go over to the site (linked above) and sign up for the newsletter over there, so you don’t miss any entries and updates.

Thanks for all your support!

“I’m an author!”

Remember that scene in Little Women when Jo goes to get the mail and finds $5 for a story she submitted to a magazine? She comes running back into the house yelling, “Five whole dollars! I’m an author!”

I’m not really sure what the twenty-first century equivalent of this would be; maybe the New Yorker or First Things publishing poetry or a sketch? Not sure.

But in the spirit of Jo March, I’m unveiling my official author site to all of you:

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 3.19.17 PM

This is my official “home” for my authorial things on the web. Its purpose is to talk about my writing projects, where they are in completion, and update readers on what I’m writing around the web and chronicle my Journey to Get The Book Published.

One of the things agents and publishing houses are looking for these days is an online “platform”. This site is my part of that. It’s a huge help in getting things published in the agents/houses know that you already have an audience for the things you write.

On the site we have three main pages:

1) The About Me: this is similar to the one on this blog, but more professional and less off-the-cuff. This talks about my background, my education and work, and various awards/accolades I’ve won.

2) The blog: that is, this page. Self-explanatory, right?

3)  My Writing: This is the meat of the site. Each project I’m working on (big projects) has its own page under the menu. If you hover over “my Writing”, four projects will show up, in alphabetical order.

The first one is “Everything is Grace”, which is the new working title for The Big Book. I explain where we are in the writing/revising process, why I’m writing it, and Why It’s Different Than All The Other CF/Transplant Books Out There.

Second is “Pilate’s Wife”, a short story I wrote in 2010. This is completed and I have plans for releasing it to the public….but you’ll have to subscribe to my author site to hear more about that. 🙂

Third is “The Gift of Snow”, my medical drama/Downton Abbey/ Royal Family Mash-Up that I wrote for 2013’s NaNoWriMo. (The queen is a Countess Violet relative, I swear.)

Finally is my first completed (meaning a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end) novel, “The Undesirables.” This is my 2012 NaNoWriMo winner. This story is a sort of medical drama/dystopian novel with opera and lawyering mixed in.

Each page has a brief synopsis of the piece, plus some behind the scenes notes about the writing of it, and where it is in my editing process. Some are much father along than others.

I’m working with the excellent Cristina on making all this change happen–there’s no way I could do all this without her!

This blog is also, as I mentioned above, linked to the Author Page, so you can find everything I write there–it’s one-stop shopping, which we all like! And, as I mentioned above, this is a big step in helping me be a legitimate writer in the eyes of the Writing Powers That Be.

So, if you’d really like to help me, and get extra goodies, please pop over to the site and sign up for updates. You sign up for updates, you get goodies, a sneak peek into my pieces, behind-the-scenes look at my writing life, and maybe the chance to be a beta reader and tell me what you think! (Because who doesn’t like sharing their opinion, right?)

Here’s something

10 years. Cannot believe it….

Charlotte was Both

I was poking around my archives looking for an account of some previous travel (which I will get to in a moment), when the timing of that trip struck me for a couple of reasons…

Gosh, it was ten years ago. Just about this time of year. 

And while we were on the trip, John Paul II was dying…and then he died.

That was ten years ago tomorrow (April 2)…is anyone remembering this? 

(I see that Pope Francis referred to the anniversary today.)

So weird, considering the impact of that moment and the subsequent consistory electing Cardinal Ratzinger.  Those weeks were quite memorable, for they were weeks in which the Catholic understanding of life and death, embodied in the lives of human beings and the ritual of the Church, was there for everyone to see, and it was all rather stirring, beautiful and hopeful.


What I was looking for…

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Lenten Contemplation

From A Time of Renewal: Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season:

In order to make an attempt toward a reflowering of beauty in our own lives in this springtime season, it is necessary to take the responsibility for our own goodness and for our own beauty…When we don’t like ourselves, we are also very easily a prey to envy, to jealousy, to vindictiveness, to sullenness, to resentfulness of other people. This is only what you would expect of this kind of area. But if you accept the image of yourself as a temple of God, then by that acceptance you immediately take on a tremendous responsibility. A temple of God has to be kept shining and clean and uncluttered and beautiful…And so in agreeing to love ourselves, to appreciate ourselves, we show ourselves humble enough to take on the responsibility for our own lives and our own growth before God…

The first step in trying to grow beautiful is to accept ourselves as created beautiful, called to be beautiful and called to be great…But when we have accepted responsibility for ourselves, when we have the security of knowing that we are created beautiful, whatever our failures are, whatever the ways we have defaced ourselves, then we have the power to become increasingly beautiful…

Let us look deeply into the liturgy, and let us pray for one another, that at the end of this Lent we may be more beautiful to one another, more responsible for the goodness that is in us, more appreciative of what is possible for us to be in God’s sight.

Daybook No. 93


Outside my window::

Sunset time. The sky is a lovely robin egg blue, one of my favorite colors, and it so feels like summer.

Or as Olaf would say…..”SUMMMMMMMMMERRRRR!”


PJs–my BalletMet t-shirt and Disney World sweatpants. There are, by the by, the only pair of sweats I own. Apparently sparkle and tiaras must be had for me to go this route. 🙂


The Pilgrim’s Progress (Oxford World’s Classics)

On the Passion of Christ: According to the Four Evangelists : Prayers and Meditations

I also read Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat- Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatiusover the weekend, and found it excellent. Really, it was the perfect book for me to read this year, since the word of the year is Trust. 🙂 A great read. It’s big, but if you’re a fast reader like me, you can get through it in much less than the weekend he recommends, but it’s not a book you really speed read, anyway.

In the CD player::

Jesus Christ Superstar, alternating with Lent at Ephesus. These nuns are amazing, folks.  Get their Easter CD, too!

Around the house::

There are several corners of the house that require deep tossing/cleaning. So I’m going to put them on my to-do list. I also need to take the HUGE pile of books/movies/CDs to Half Price Books and get some cash for them! It’s really an impressive pile.

From the kitchen::

various meals I’m making this week: sautéed salmon, French onion sou, Chicken with grapes, turkey burgers, Greek shrimp and feta penne, Provencal stew, balsamic chicken. (These are all Rachael Ray recipes. I’m on a Rachael Kick atthe moment.)

Plans for the week::

Dermatologis appt. in the morning. St. Patrick Feast Day Mass tomorrow (my parish’s patron, so we have Mass and then we party with Irish music and Irish tea party fixings). Also planning on getting to the gym several times this week.


Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our Good Lord, and I say to Him, ‘Lord, I am here. Tell me what you would have me do.’  If He gives me some task, I am content and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that. And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell Him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the Good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach Him plainly and simply.

–St. Catherine Laboure

Retreat Notes 2015 Part IV

retreat notes

Sunday Morning
7:30 Rising Bell
8:15 Morning prayer and benediction
8:45 Conference
10:00 Mass
11:00 brunch–silence ends

Conference four dealt with one of the dominicans’ favorite things: contemplation. In fact, my favorite Dominican motto is “Contemplate and give to others the fruit of your contemplation.” Fr. C ran with this idea in his last conference. He also touched on the Dominican pillar of study.

  • “You have to be perfect to get into heaven. It’s the entrance requirement.”
  • Purgatory–fire of purification
  • We have to have a desire to intercede for others.
  • Practice of virtue–trial and error. The more you do it, the easier it is.
  • Flexibility and adaptability in prayer life
  • Study is meant to be lovely: good study pursues wisdom
  • Virtue is in the middle of two extremes.
  • “The happiest possible activity is contemplation.”–St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Practical intellect: Thinking about what you do
  • Speculative intellect: (or Contemplative intellect) Ponders the truth. Looks on God in a disinterested way.
  • Adoration is an extension of Mass
  • Have gratitude–this frees the soul to love God.
  • Allow him to make all things new.

Homily: Third Sunday of Lent Year B (Jesus overthrowing the tables in the temple)

  • Emotion is part of man. Passion drives us.
  • Being passionate about your task can be a good thing.
  • In the Gospel, Jesus is furious. “Zeal for God’s house” has consumed him.
  • St. Dominic witnessed by her fervor, warmth. He was intrepid. and compassionate.
  • He had “radiant joy in all circumstances”
  • Fervor of the Holy Spirit: Acts 18:25
  • Hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good.
  • “Be aglow with the spirit, rejoice in your hope, be constant in prayer.”
  • “Joy is the leaven which pervades Dominican life.” (One of the reasons I love being a Dominican) Joy and zeal give us strength to do God’s will.
  • Fervor enkindles the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Retreat Notes 2015 Part III

retreat notes

Saturday Evening
6:45 Conference
8:00 Exposition, Vespers, Adoration until 8:15 AM

Fr. C had been in the confessional for a long time that day–my conservative count was about three hours. So I imagine he was glad to get up out of the confessional room and stand up for a bit!

Conference Three Notes:

  • The three theological virtues (how God works in our lives): Faith, Hope and Love. “God Words in us without us.”
  • St. Augustine: The God who made you without you can’t save you without you. (Think about that for a bit)
  • We participate in our salvation
  • Mary has all the virtues perfectly. (i.e., prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude)
  • Her role for us is intercessory.
  • God works as a movement in our lives–how is he working?
  • God acts first. Everything that we do that is good is a result of His first act.
  • Surrender takes faith.
  • You cannot love what you don’t know.We have to get to know God.
  • God wants us to recognize what we need. He’s acting, but we can’t always see how he’s acting.
  • All grace is mediated.
  • Angels mediate grace/law/messages, in their Biblical appearances.
    • God chooses to have grace mediated (instrumentality). It doesn’t have to be this way.
  • Even when we’re in a spiritual desert, God is acting. He gives us things specifically for our good.
    • the desert is about conversion, which we all need.
    • Mary is fully converted. She had a choice, and she helps us with our choices.
  • God is knowable; He uses human instruments to be mediators of grace.
  • Mary: “Do whatever He tells you.”
  • We desire the good of others. We want our love to be effective and we get frustrated when it is not.
  • Feminine instinct: To anticipate someone’s needs and to do it gracefully. We live in accord w/ that instinct. Our generosity is reveled in our love for others.
  • Sin and the devil want us to cling to things/people. We have to turn and see what is truly attractive.
  • Mary is our hope.
  • Charity/actions reveal who we are. We are judged by our actions.
  • People in Heaven (saints) are active in charity. They intercede for us–they are superabundant in their charity.
  • “God can help us anonymously, but He doesn’t like it as much.”
  • Trust that God is acting in your life. Be patient, be ready, and don’t rush it.
  • Turn back to the Lord. Patience–God really does things.
  • Grace of charity speaks of real friendship.
  • God orders everything for our Good. He wants us to flourish.
  • Model the saints, admire them.
  • Acts of worship, i.e., adoration, help us get to know God better.
    • The first act of worship is adoration.
  • God wants to reveal himself to us.

Yarn Along No. 21

So, I have finished one of the four (planned) washcloths/dust cloths/pot holders for the Housewarming gift. 🙂 I call it that now because I made my sister one for her housekeeping gift, and she uses it as a potholder! So these things are really versatile knitted squares, which is what I should probably call them. But that sounds unappealing, right?

So anyway, the white one is finished. On to the next one, in the lightest shade of purple:


The book is  The Shell Collector, a collection of short stories by Anthony Doerr, who wrote All the Light We Cannot See: A NovelI read one of his first books, Four Seasons in Rome, years ago, and really liked it, so I was on the Anthony Doerr bandwagon before everyone else. (Maybe. Not?) I’ve just started this but I’m liking it thus far. Anyway, I’ve never gone wrong in his books yet.

Daybook No. 92


(More on grace later in this post, y’all)

Outside my window::

It’s WARM!!! It was brilliantly sunny most of the day but now it’s clouding up a bit. But it’s still warm! My bedroom window is open! The snow MELTS! I rejoice. 🙂


A J. Jill jersey skirt with an asymmetrical hemline; a long-sleeved gray t-shirt (v-neck) from Eddie Bauer. This is one of my favorite outfits. Earlier I had on a pink and coral scarf but that went off when I had to cook dinner. I don’t want to set myself on fire.

In the CD player::

I had Surfacing in yesterday because I needed to sing to some nice songs. 🙂 🙂 Nice meaning with a decent beat. First sunroof opening of the year? Cause for celebration.

In the book pile::

Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love
Death On A Friday Afternoon Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander)
Be Holy: A Catholic’s Guide to the Spiritual Life
That last one?I love it. I read it on a sort of regular basis, and it always goes on retreat with me. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it to all people. It’s one of my favorite books ever.

Around the house::

It’s so much easier to keep the place clean when it’s easy to take the trash out. Really. No snow? No drifts? Straight shot to the dumpster. 🙂 I changed the filter in my vacuum, swept the kitchen floor, and am mopping after I finish writing this.

From the kitchen::

Dinner was Rachael Ray’s leek-y chicken with a rice pilaf. Normally I’m not good at cooking rice, but this was great–it has white wine, chicken stock, thyme, and lemon zest in it, along with a shallot. Win. basically the only thing I needed to buy for this recipe was the chicken and the leeks!

Rest of the week–Black Bean and Rice “Stoup”; Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon; Luna Marinara (Friday lunch), and taco bowls. Yum.

Pondering//Retreat Notes:: (One of many to come, I’m sure)

There’s a lot I could say about this retreat. And I will. But in re the photo at the top of this page, I have this from our retreat director:

“Grace doesn’t just sit on a shelf. Grace is mediated, grace is given, grace is asked for, and grace is used! It’s not just something in a box.”

The theme of the retreat was the Virtues of Mary, but we talked about a lot of other things as well. Stay tuned.

Plans for the week::

Holy hour on Wednesday, lunch with my Dad on Thursday, and not sure about Friday 🙂 Going to see Donna del Lago on Saturday!!! Yeah Bel Canto! I can’t wait to see this opera. It looks like a gorgeous production, and I adore Joyce DiDonato.

Photo I’m sharing::

Tiff at I at the Columbus Hofbrauhaus.

Tiff at I at the Columbus Hofbrauhaus.