Monday, October 31, 2016

October Wrap-Up

- My Avatar/Korra unanswered questions post is now my most-viewed post of all time. I don't know how this happened but it's been getting a weird amount of views lately. I think it's time to do more Korra posts. Strike while it's hot.
(Also it was announced that Korra comics will be out next year!!)

Image result for legend of korra book 4

- I got a new bird feeder. My yellow feeder got destroyed while I was trying to clean it, and soon after, the squirrels broke the door off their feeder. So I finally got around to replacing them.

- I hit my head really hard at Walmart yesterday. There was this rack thing on the aisle that didn't have anything on it and I slammed my head against it. No signs of concussion yet, though.

- I was actually around little kids at our work Halloween party. I ended up supervising games and being nice and friendly to small children. It was a cool way to spend a Friday at work. And I got my face painted.

- Hank and Katherine Green had a baby today! His name in Orin and will probably grow up to end world hunger, provide free education to everyone, and be president of Mars.

- NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Commence freakout mode.
(also add me on NaNo site as egallaher and follow me on Twitter @emilynanos)

"An" shouldn't be a written word. It's a spoken convention to avoid having to say two vowel sounds in a row. There's no reason why it should be written. It's like having to say "comma" and "period" when we speak to mark the punctuation.

- I've seen the use of non-binary "their/they" come up a lot recently to refer to individuals that do not identify as strictly male or female. So instead of saying he or she, they prefer "they." This bothered me at first because I'm a technical editor (though you wouldn't know it by the awful grammar I use on this blog!) and the use of the singular they is a pet peeve. But I thought about it for awhile and realized that I'm being ridiculous. We are not confined by English; English adapts with us and for us. There is no other gender-neutral third person singular pronoun, so we've adapted one to suit our needs. That's the beauty of language.

- We give out full-sized candy bars because we don't get a lot of trick-or-treaters. But the people who did come by this year kinda broke all the nonspoken rules. Two people took candy for their babies. And then a grown woman (probably between 25 and 30) took two, even though she said she didn't like candy. And she didn't even have a kid with her! I like giving out candy and would never deny anything to anyone, but I don't know. Is this normal? Is it okay for people to take candy for their babies? Or just, you know, because they can?

P.S. this black kitten came to keep me company while I was waiting for trick-or-treaters.

rex report

Rex just finished up week 7 of his recovery. He's started being a bit of a brat about his cage rest, though. He's feeling much much so that he refuses to accept that his vet ordered another week of rest. He started biting at the bars of his cage, so we moved him to the hallway. But yesterday, he weaseled his way around the gate and squeezed behind our refrigerator to break free while we were out shopping.

We've been letting him snuggle with us in the morning, though, and just look at how cute he is. Just look.

tv shows
The Office (still on season 6)
Grey's Anatomy (finished season 12)

The Shallows (liked it)
Warcraft (it was okay)
Me Before You (liked it)
The Road (it was...a downer)
The Conjuring (rewatch - really like it)
The Conjuring 2 (it was okay)
Steve Jobs (it was okay)

Attack on Titan, vol. 2 by Hajime Isayama (loved it)
Every Day by David Levithan (it was okay)
Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow by Gene Luen Yang (loved it)


currently reading: 
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (audio)
Quiet by Susan Cain
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

(kinda in a reading slump where I can't decide on what I want to read?)

Tell me how your October is! Do you give out full-sized candy bars for Halloween? Do you follow any rules about giving out candy? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo (tell me about your novel!)? How do you feel about the singular "their"? Let me know!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

books to get you in the Autumn mood.

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This TTT was hard because last year I did books to read for Halloween depending on your mood. I didn't want to repeat any books for this list, so I'm going for books to get you in the autumn mood.

Something with an October/November Setting

October Sky // Homer Hickam. This was required reading at my high school and I really liked it. It's a memoir about a group of kids from a mining town that learn math and physics in order to build rockets.

The Scorpio Races // Maggie Stiefvater. This one is set in November and totally has that autumn vibe. With November cakes!

Fangirl // Rainbow Rowell. This one isn't exclusively set in November, but it really gives me that vibe and there's a Thanksgiving scene. Plus it was written during NaNoWriMo so it's totally a great pick for some encouragement/inspiration.

 Something Paranormal

The Graveyard Book // Neil Gaiman. A kid that is raised by ghosts in a graveyard! Perfect for a light Halloween read. 
Twilight // Stephenie Meyer. (Don't judge me.) I think my favorite thing about Twilight is the setting. It's so rainy and green and autumn-y. And there are vampires.

Something Brontë

Jane Eyre // Charlotte Brontë. Creepy sounds from the attic. Mysterious fires. Almost dying in the moors.  
Wuthering Heights // Emily Brontë. If you can get past the horribleness of this romance, the setting is pretty cool. 
Agnes Grey // Anne Brontë. This one is shorter, lighter, and a bit happier than the other two.

Something Lyrical

The Night Circus // Erin Morgenstern. You could (and should) read this any time of the year, but I read it in November and something about autumn really brings out my lyrical/poetry vibe, so the description in this was perfect. 
And We Stay // Jenny Hubbard. I didn't really like this book, but it's about poetry and I read it in November and the girl on the cover is wearing tights. So it's worth a try.


So tell me! What books do you recommend this autumn? Do you prefer reading more scary books this time of year, or something more classic or lyrical?


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Introducing my NaNo 2016 novel // Beautiful Books Linkup

Today I'm linking up with Sky and Cait for Beautiful Books 2016. =) 

1. Describe what your novel is about!

Okay. *breathes deeply*

In a nutshell: pizza, Youtube, dogs, social anxiety, success

In a bigger shell:  Girl with social anxiety goes to college but is miserable and decides to drop out. She goes back to work at the pizza place she worked in as a teenager, lives by herself in a crappy apartment, and plays a lot of video games. She adopts a dog (subplot here that I don't have time to go into). One day, a Youtuber she follows walks in and orders pizza. They become friends. She helps him with his videos sometimes, and one day they record a mock educational video of Joanna. He posts it without telling her. It grows popular. She starts her own Youtube channel for educational videos, and gains a large following. But the success of the channel starts to weigh on her, especially when people begin to recognize her in public and the criticisms start rolling in.

2. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

(I swapped the order of these first two questions because I do what I want.)
It's been growing for a few months now. I think it first came up in late May/June, when my husband was away at an internship for the summer. I started to think about what it would be like to live in an apartment by myself with my dog. I also watched a lot of Youtube videos. And I've been wanting to write about what it means to be successful for a long time, and I've also been wanting to write about social anxiety. I also worked at a pizza place for like 5 years so I'm quite familiar with the turmoils of that position.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

I'm really not a big Pinterest pinner for my novels. I always have the hardest time finding things. But I tried really hard to find pictures for this one:

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

 :  :
Joanna, our MC (who I see as kinda Lorde-esque?)

Zackery, our Youtube star

Deepika Padukone:
Kalin, our video editor

and Nell, our adopted German Shepherd mix

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Chocolate, lots of hot baths, scribbles in a notebook, lots of Post-Its, a disappointing Pinterest board, watching videos of other Wrimos, reading through the forums on the NaNo website. Last year, I drew a big timeline on my wall with notecards and yarn (it's still there). This year, I'm trying to plan more than I usually do, so I've actually written a sort-of outline and am trying out the corkboard on Scrivener for the first time. So far, I think it's going pretty well.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I've never written a contemporary before! I'm kinda looking forward to the ability to draw from real-life experiences, which I've never really been able to do in my fantasy/science fiction novels. But that also makes me nervous because that makes this one more personal than the other things I've written.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Suburban city. Maybe in Illinois? Lots of college students. 
(Obviously I need to put more thought into my setting.)

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

She really doesn't know her goal in the beginning. She's kinda grown complacent where she is, even though part of her really wants to do more and be more. She feels like a huge disappointment to her family, but doesn't know how to change that. She feels safe online, where she can just be a username and interact with people without actually interacting with them. But that changes when she starts making her own videos. Suddenly, her safe place becomes hostile.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Zackery tries to bring Joanna "out of her shell" by forcing her into social situations that make her extremely uncomfortable. But by the end of the novel, she learns that there are better ways to deal with her social anxiety that put herself in control.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I want to write a book about what it means to be successful. I want my readers to know that success isn't the amount of money you make, and it might not even be complacency. It's in personal growth and strength. 

I also want to showcase social anxiety in the realest way I can. It's more than shyness. It's more than being introverted. It's wanting to do the things that come so easily to others, like making a phone call or talking to customers or hanging out with a group of people, but being unable to mentally and physically. 

Let me know if you are doing NaNo, and leave a link to your introduction post if you are! 

currently listening to: Hearts Like Ours by The Naked and Famous

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

books I read because you told me to.

I basically have no free will when it comes to picking up books these days. I'm 100% a follower.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Books You Read Because of Recommendation. I'm going to be combining direct recommendations from my friends/family with more general recommendations from book bloggers and Goodreads users.


Every Day by David Levithan (recommended by my friends Jenn and Sarah)
I read Boy Meets Boy back in the day, but haven't read any Levithan books since (except for Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, but I don't count that because I hardly remember it). Jenn and Sarah were both English majors with me in college, so I trust their opinions. Jenn is pretty much my go-to book person.)

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (recommended by Jenn)
Jenn really likes this author, and actual sent this ebook to me! (She's awesome like that.) I didn't like the book quite as much as she does, but it wasn't bad at all.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (recommended by Jenn)
Can you imagine that there was a time in my life where I was skeptical of reading Carry On? Jenn pretty much introduced me to all Rainbow Rowell, but it was this one that she really encouraged me to read the most. I loved Fangirl but didn't like all the Simon Snow passages, so I figured I wouldn't like Carry On. I was so, so wrong. (And bonus! Jenn met Rainbow Rowell and got a signed copy of Carry On for me. BEST FRIEND EVER.)


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (recommended by Cait @ Paper Fury)
This one wasn't really directly recommended to me but Cait  pretty much recommends all of Stiefvater, particularly this one, on a daily basis. So I finally caved and listened to the audiobook. She was 100% right about it. (Note to self: Don't judge an author based on her werewolf book.)

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (recommended by Jenn)
The conversation in a nutshell:
Jenn: You should read Jandy Nelson.
Jenn: Her writing is really poetic and beautiful.
Jenn: But sometimes very sad.
Jenn: You'll love it.
Me: Okay.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (recommended by everyone?)
I don't think one person recommended this to was just kind of like the mass of the internet? I didn't like it much, though.  


Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (recommended by my husband)
My husband read this when he was younger and has really strong, fond memories about it. He recommended it to me for years and I finally read it last December. It was okay? Probably would have had more impact if I were 12 years old.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (recommended by my sister) (back when she actually read books.)
I don't often read the books that Karlee recommends, but I remember her really pushing for this one to get me into Sarah Dessen. I read it. It was alright. I didn't read any other Dessen books.


Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (recommended by my young adult lit instructor)
Ughhhhh this book.

My reading status 70% through: Hate the writing style. Hate almost everything. But can't turn back now. 

I chose this as one of the 20 books to read for my young adult lit class in college. I had heard nothing by good things. But I did not like it at all. I would have stopped if it had not been for a class.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (recommended by my friend Amanda)
I don't really remember if Amanda recommended this for me, but I read her copy of it and so I assume she must have suggested it to me. It was a few years ago. I ended up liking it okay, but not enough to read the sequels.

So let me know: What is your favorite book that was recommended to you? Your least favorite?

currently listening to: Thousand Eyes by Of Monsters and Men

Monday, October 10, 2016

Rex Update (4 weeks after surgery)


It's been a month since Rex's surgery. We are halfway through his recovery!
Here's a quick list of updates:

  • He graduated to 7-minute walks. Which means he gets to go to the park twice a day (albeit a really short trip)!

  • He has started to kick his legs again after he pees/poops. He used to do this all the time, but stopped after he was injured. He didn't do it very much the first few weeks after his surgery, but now he's back to full-on kicking. Grass and dirt go flying.

  • He can walk really quickly and even tries to run and hop around. He'll even walk on the edge of the curb like a little kid, which he couldn't do while he was hurt because he didn't have the dexterity.


  • His appetite has been great. He has been eating every single meal, which he never used to do. We're feeding him slightly less to keep his weight down, so that might be part of it. But I've never seen him so eager for food before.

  • He's been sleeping in the bedroom with us. At night, we let him out of his crate and let him sleep in his bed in the corner of our room. He put up a gate so he can't wander around, and he's been sleeping there pretty well.


  • He jumped onto our bed all by himself. We don't let him jump on things and he spends the majority of the day in his crate, but while I was getting ready for work the other morning, he jumped into the bed with Deacon. It's a tall bed. He had trouble jumping into it even before he got injured, but did this like it was nothing at all. So we took it as a sign that he's healing really, really well. (We didn't let him jump down, though. Too hard on his joints.)

  • His hair is starting to grow back. Half of his butt is still mostly naked but it's got some fuzz to it. There's a strip that is starting to get blonder. Deacon is hoping it stays white. 


That's really all the new stuff from weeks 3 and 4. We're starting on week 5 now. His checkup with the vet is on November 10, so we still have about a month to go. 

currently listening to: Oh My Dear by The Head and the Heart

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Best Advice for NaNoWriMo


Today I'm linking up with Sky and Ashley for A Novel Idea
This week's prompt: What is your best advice for NaNoWriMo?

But only one piece of advice? Oh no. We like lists here.

1) Tell other people.
This is my best piece of advice. If you do nothing else on this list, you should do this one. Writers and introversion often go together. I know this and understand it. It's sometimes easier to lose yourself in your own world rather than finding a voice in this one. But for NaNo, you should tell at least one other person about your plans and, if you feel comfortable, your story. If possible, post it on social media (I find Twitter to be particularly supportive of Wrimos). This will make your commitment feel real, and might help you keep you accountable. And when you're facing hardships in your writing throughout the month, you'll have someone to turn to. 

And the best thing about NaNo? You're not alone. The community is awesome! And if you want to meet others but not be tied to your identity, make a Twitter account just for NaNo (like I did)!

2) Write every day.
This can be hard, especially if you have work/school/family/etc. There's always something that you will have to do. But from my experience, it's really hard to catch up if I miss a day of writing. So even if you don't make it to your daily goal, try to write at least something (even if it's on a napkin as you wait for your dinner).

3) Try word sprints (especially if you're stumped).
I've followed NaNoSprints on Twitter the past few years and it's really helped me get through some rough patches. It sounds odd, but if you're facing a block or are just struggling to get words down, I  highly recommend trying a sprint. (If you don't know, a word sprint is basically writing as much as you can within a certaint time limit.) Best of all, the NaNoWriMo website has just added a built-in feature for word sprints. With prompts!


4) Use various platforms.
It's easy to write in Word because you can save it to a jump drive and take it literally everywhere. I get that. But my writing was never more fun than after I started using Scrivener. It's pretty user-friendly and can do as much or as little as you want it to. I also inevitably end up writing  by hand some days, either because I'm at a birthday party or having computer problems or waiting for a meeting to start. I find that whenever I switch up my platform every now and then, I am able to write more during that session. I don't know why, and it might not be like that for others, but it's a trick that works for me and is worth trying.

5) Choose a system for names.
Some people like naming characters. Some people do it well. I'm not one of those people. It's always a struggle for me. For my last NaNo project, I decided to name all of my characters and places after towns in Missouri. And you know what? It was really, really effective. It made the process a thousand times easier and faster, and eliminated having to go to baby naming websites and looking up meanings and whatnot. (Another awesome thing about Scrivener--it has a random name generator!!)


6) Prepare beforehand. 
I'm not talking about plotting--though you may want to do that, too. I'm talking about doing little things that will get you excited for NaNo. Whether it's a design attempt for your cover, creating or downloading a special calendar for your desktop background, stocking up on chocolate, creating a playlist, or drawing a timeline on the wall with yarn and post-its, do little things that will get you prepared and pumped. I think of it as "nesting." (And it's a productive alternative if you're having trouble plotting.)

7) Write the scenes you want. 
Don't feel that you have to go in order or follow your plot. If you have a random scene playing over and over in your head, write it down--even if you don't know where it belongs. Embrace spontaneity. Chase inspiration. (The last few NaNos, I've added in impromptu characters and backstories at a moment's notice and those always end up being my favorite and the easiest things to write.)

8) Commit to a time frame.
Last year, I almost gave up after week three. It was really close to the end, but I was behind and felt like I had a thousand other things to do for school. But instead of quitting, I decided to just dedicate an hour to writing every day. Just one hour. If I didn't make my word count, than that's okay--at least I was still writing. And you know what? It worked. I caught up, and I passed the finish line with just over 50,000 words.

That time frame might not work for you; that's okay. Your schedule is different than mine. But I recommend setting aside at least some time to write. It could be 15  minutes. It could be getting up a little bit early in the morning. Whatever works for you.


9) Reward yourself.
I'm not just talking about Thank-God-It's-Over parties. I mean to give yourself small rewards along the way. If you meet your word count for the day, you earn time to watch an episode of your favorite TV show. If you write 500 words, you earn chocolate. Last year, I rewarded myself with reading a chapter of Rainbow Rowell's  Carry On if I met my word count for the day, which was pretty good motivation for me.

10) Remember other things you love. 
Even though you're going to spend a chunk of time and effort writing, it doesn't mean ignoring other things you love to do. If possible, make time to also read the books you want, watch the shows you want, catch a movie with a friend, talk to others, cook, etc. Those things are important. And as a plus, you can usually draw something from them for your story. That time isn't wasted; every conversation matters.

So tell me: What's your best advice for NaNoWriMo?

currently listening to: Alive by Sia

Saturday, October 8, 2016

My 2016 Haul and Subsequent Book-Buying Ban

Today, I went to a bookstore not to by books, but to look at them. To hold them. Hug them. Whisper that I love them. And then I left empty-handed.

I've been on a self-proclaimed book-buying ban since around August. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it's different from a book ban. I can still read books. I will read lots of them. I'm just banned from buying them.

Until Christmas.

I decided to do this because I have a problem. I love books. But specifically, I love buying books. I love going to bookstores and coming out with new books. But very rarely do I get around to actually reading them.


Purchased with Barnes & Noble gift card for my graduation
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Purchased from Barnes & Noble on impulse
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Dog Sogs by Mary Oliver
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a Word That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (currently reading)


Purchased from Audible during $5 sale
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (dnf)

Purchased for free on Audible because American Gods was boring
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Every Day by David Levithan
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Puchased during Audible's buy 2 for 1 credit sale
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


Purchased on impulse because Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Purchased downloadable file
Apartments by Sarah Marchant


Purchased from Barnes & Noble during manga sale
Attack on Titan, vols. 1-6 by Hajime Isayama (read vols. 1 & 2)

Purchased for Kindle for discounted price
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Purchased for Kindle for free
Virginia Woolf Collection by Virgina Woolf
A Story of an Hour: Short Story by Kate Chopin
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Purchased on impulse because of limited stock
My Life in Japan by Grace Buchele Mineta


Purchased with Amazon gift card for my birthday
Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke & Shadow by Gene Luen Yang

As you can see, I've bought a lot of books since May. More so than usual. And it was very wonderful.

But I haven't read that many of them yet, and my dog Rex had to have surgery in September, and he'll have to have a second one in November. The cost comes to about $6,000, so we're trying to cut out extra spending.

Which means reading the dang books I already have.

So, tell me: Have you ever been on a book-buying ban? Have you ever walked into a bookstore just to hold them for awhile? Any survival tips? Where do you usually get your books? (I cannot do libraries--germs and inevitable stickiness freaks me out.)

currently listening to: Breathe Me by Sia