Relief From My Reading Rut

Welcome back guest blogger, Brianne of itlookseasyinthemovies!

Over the past few years I’ve found myself in a bit of a reading rut. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve mainly stuck to work by women authors, particularly romance novels and young adult lit with romance as a prominent theme. Easy and happy has been my book prowling motto, in an attempt at escapism from my stress. Thankfully, in the past year I’ve managed to get a lot of my stress under control, and as a result I’ve delved back into variety bit by bit. Some of these books may be old news to most out there, but they are all books that surprised me and support the value of a good recommendation and taking a chance.

The_Maze_Runner_coverThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

This been on my reading list for ages as a recommendation from my English teacher friend Eric. I finally settled in to read this (barely managed to finish it before the library took it back from my Nook) last night. The surprise here was a sci-fi novel I wanted to describe as a beach read – a first for me. It was a pretty easy read despite some serious events and plenty of introspection about the value of memories. A teenage boy wakes up in a small community of boys in the center of a maze. None of the boys in that live in the center of the maze called The Glade have any memory before they show up but all work to find a way out. It’s hard to describe without giving things away but worth checking out if you like dystopian themes or a good quirky mystery/suspense.

200px-CherryhForeigner10AnnCoverForeigner by CJ Cherryh

Foreigner caught me totally off guard. I admit I was hesitant to pick this up because it looked kind of dry, but it came highly recommended by my brother’s slightly eccentric father-in-law Ed, and my brother himself. I have to agree with Ed’s assessment that the aliens are unique in that they are not just strange looking creatures with human traits, but they genuinely think and act different from us. This idea of conflict arising from humanity trying to apply their own emotions and priorities to every person/species around them is a strong theme in the book and kept me fascinated from start to finish. I look forward to reading more from this thought provoking series.

Book Cover imageThe True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Definitely an older book, just happened to be a used book store find that caught my eye because I love the ocean. After I read it a good friend mentioned how the book made a huge impact on her childhood and I can see why. It is a children’s story but the surprise in this gem is the realism. This is not a sugar coated happy story about the sea, it’s a gritty look at what happens when you follow rules blindly, and the value of making your own choices even when you are afraid. I’d recommend it as a change of pace, but maybe not for the easily traumatized child.

Sci-fi and historical fiction may not be your cup of tea, but I recommend getting out of your comfort zone if you haven’t in a while. You never know what surprises you might find, and what stand-out novels you missed out on because it wasn’t your usual genre.

I’m a Gollum and Why It’s Okay To Phantom Menace When You Meant To Empire

I feel like Gollum. I haven’t been getting out much on account of Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m all pale and my hair is stringy, my only company during the day is my hobbit-sized son and I’m OBSESSED with my precious. Not the one ring to rule them all, but my novel. All the time I devote to thinking on, talking about and, of course, writing my novel, is making me crazy.


Which is fine by me. See having a creative brain can feel like insanity. It is crazy to have make-believe people and imaginary worlds in your head and the longer we fight to lock them away or ignore them, the harder those characters and ideas fight to get out. I’m treating my particular case with heavy doses of writing. I pour all of my crazy out on the page, so that my brain can have a break from the constant hammering of ideas. It’s like popping in a cough drop to cure a sore throat. It does nothing to cure the overall condition, but it does offer some blessed, albeit temporary relief.

But none of that explains why I haven’t posted anything in over a week. I’m behind on my goal and I had a few days there where I struggled to find the words. See writing is also communication and the challenge is to take these amazing movies that we see in our heads and describe them in such a way that others can see them. This is a great plan in theory, but when I’m writing my rough draft this is rarely the case. I envision Empire Strikes Back, but I end up writing Phantom Menace.

Now when this happens, I’m tempted to throw my computer against a wall and call it a day but, while that would feel amazing, that is not how novels get written. Also, eventually the crazy of creativity will return and then it’s back to square one. No, the only real solution is to let your Empire Strikes Back be Phantom Menace. Let it be crap.

I get to the point eventually where I just throw it all out there. As Hemingway put it, bleed. Naturally this can be painful, particularly when I read through what I’ve written. I cope by leaving comments for Future Hayley like “make this suck less.” And sometimes I will write a paragraph from a new angle to see if second take is better, but I don’t delete anything.

As mentioned, writer me is nuts and what Present Hayley thinks is crap, Future Hayley might appreciate. And there is nothing worse than knowing you’ve already written the perfect words to describe something and those words are gone because Past You was a jerk and deleted them.

So, I hope this ranty rant is of the sense-making variety and if you don’t hear from me much this month or I don’t post anything for awhile, check the Misty Mountains.

Total Words Written in July: 14,788
Goal for this point: 18,387
Manuscript total: 82,101

How I feel about writing today

Now I want to hear from you! How is your writing (or reading) going? Rate it either Phantom Menace (sucktastic), Empire (you seek Muppet guidance), Jedi (fun and space bears) or A New Hope (ALL OF THE AWESOME).

The Mockingjay Lives! Hunger Games: Mockingjay Teaser Trailer 2 is Here

Never before have I been so excited to see a movie based on such a disappointing book. That is the power of these amazing new teaser trailers for the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Most cumbersome title ever). hunger_games_mocking_jay_a_p These teaser trailers are the televised propaganda that Katniss watches in the novel. Separated from Peeta at the end of Catching Fire, these videos are the only indication she has that he is alive and unharmed. The question is: why? In the first teaser trailer, Peeta is looking away and appears to be showing some resistance to the Capitol. In this new video, he looks the camera dead-on. His expression is chilling. This is clearly not same lovable Boy-With-The-Bread that we know and love. But then he is surrounded by guards and forced to wear matching monkey suits with President Snow. Couldn’t Snow just make himself a Mini-Me like in Austin Powers? Why does he have to mess with our Peeta? On the other side of President Snow is Johanna looking sassy as ever though considerably more blond. Snow is making a clear statement to Katniss: her people belong to the Capitol now and there is nothing she can do about it. So, he thinks. The end of the video is intercepted by Beetee, formally of District 3, the technology district, now pirating the airwaves with transmissions from District 13. He has a message for snow, “the Mockingjay lives!” I’ll be lining up for Part 1 of the exciting conclusion to this trilogy November 21st. Will you? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the trailer. 

Being a Unicorn Chest-Burster and Getting Out the Words

I swore I wouldn’t let it happen to me. I told myself that I would stay the course, but I gave in. I socialized. Don’t be social, kids. Writing a novel in a month and interacting with other humans in a face-to-face capacity does not a novel make. (See that? Even my sentences are all wonky now.)

What happened was that I took a day off for the 4th of July and then that turned into a couple more days because I had company in town and then my kid had all these needs that required parenting and then before you know it, I was behind over 5,000 words.

If I had efficient time management skills, I could have done the parenting, socializing and the writing. I have heard of mythical creatures that can accomplish this task (I’m pretty sure unicorns can), but I’m not too worried. I’ve written more than 5,000 words in a day before and I’m sure I can catch up if I get started tonight.

I have a good feeling about this. Today I took time for myself and read, watched some vlogs, and listened to music from the playlist I created for my novel. That was just what I needed. A Vlog Brothers video I watched today reminded me how lucky we are to have the time and freedom to write and how awesome it is that we have stories in our heads and the ability to write them down.

I’m feel inspired and I’m confident that I will catch up. Like ALL OF THE WORDS are going to erupt from me like the chest burster from Alien or Spaceballs! I’m just gonna word explosion all over the place so you might want to duck and run for cover or else you’re gonna get words all over you. Or maybe the words will just do a song and dance number and be on their way. You never can tell.

Total Words Written in July:
Goal for this point:
Manuscript total:
How I feel about writing today:

Now I want to hear from you! How is your writing going and when you fall behind what gets you amped to get back on track?

The Mega-Awesome Super Inspiring Voltron Award

I have been very fortunate as of late to be nominated for not one but three ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Awards.’ Of which I have procrastinated responding to…until now (yes, you are supposed to read that last part in the Christian Bale Batman voice. You know me so well.) Instead of responding to each of these awesome awards individually, I will combine them and make THE MEGA-AWESOME SUPER INSPIRING VOLTRON AWARD. If you’re too young for the Voltron reference, think Power Rangers.


Let’s begin. So first off, a HUGE thank you to the amazing bloggers that nominated me Serins Sphere, Shannon A. Thompson, and Callum McLaughlin. Serins and Callum are two amazing authors in the making. They write fiction and poetry. Shannon is the published author of Minutes Before Sunset. All three of these amazing bloggers post content that you need to read and follow and comment on regularly. Seriously, what have you been doing with your life. If you’re not already, you should go and visit their pages now, stalk them and return to share all their secrets with me.

Go on. This post will still be here when you get back. I can wait.

*Some time later…*

Yay! You’re back! I missed you! Now where were we? Ah yes, THE MEGA-AWESOME SUPER INSPIRING VOLTRON AWARD! But first before we dive into this wacky barrel of fun, the rules. You didn’t think we were going to just jump into this thing all willy nilly did you? For the record I am neither willy or nilly or Milly Vanilli (I seriously need to come up with some references from this decade).

The Rules (They’re really more like guidelines. You don’t even have to follow them. I won’t tell anyone)

  1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you. (I made a special one just for you!)

Now I’m supposed to list 7 facts about myself. Here goes!

  1. I met my best friend 17 years ago in high school. She was crying in a bathroom stall because a friend of hers bailed on her. I told her she could come hang out with me is she wanted to and we’ve been friends ever since.
  2. I love horror movies!
  3. I’m a military brat.
  4. I call my son Bean, sometimes Bean Machine.
  5. I was named after actress Hayley Mills. My mother narrowed it down to the name of the actress or the name of the character she played, Pollyanna. I’m glad she went with the actress’s name.
  6. My favorite movie is True Romance.
  7. The first books I ever fangirled over were the Beatrix Potter books when I was really little.

That was tough! Glad I did these all together because there is no way I could have come up with 21 facts about myself. Now for the fun part, I get to nominate 15 blogs that have inspired me. I’m sure I will inevitably nominate someone who has already received the award. In any case, there is no pressure to accept the award or if you’ve already received a Very Inspiring Blogger award, yoink the MEGA AWESOME SUPER INSPIRING VOLTRON AWARD for a little extra bling for your blog.

very-inspiring-blogger-award (1)

Here are my nominees:

  1. She Reads She Blogs: Jackie hosts the best book giveaways and I love her reviews. Her reaction gifs at the end of her reviews are hilarious and were the inspiration for my “how I feel about writing” gifs at the end of my nano posts.
  2. Caught Read Handed: Stefani has amazing productivity. On of top reading and creating great content for her page, she also contributes reviews to WatchPlayRead and, if I remember correctly, is starting two new jobs.
  3. Confessions of a Book Geek: Rachel hosts fantastic giveaways, reads a ton and posts great content. I can always count on her to introduce me to great new books!
  4. Coffee. Write. Repeat: Victoria’s dedication and passion for writing is always inspiring.
  5. Natacha Guyot: One of my favorite science fiction bloggers. She posts about great topics and shares my love of Buffy. She’s also a very supportive blogger and always leaves great comments.
  6. PERMASHIFT: Sierra is hilarious. She tells it how it is and her posts are always entertaining and insightful.
  7. Sarah J. Carlson: I love how cultured Sarah is. Her blog has introduced me to new parts of the world. She is always on the move and seeking adventure.
  8. booknerderie: I love her book reviews. Short, sweet and funny. She also has already met her goal of reading 100 books this year!
  9. Kathryn St. John-Shin: Kathryn juggles a busy life but she remains dedicated to her pursuits as a mother, writer and fitness instructor.
  10. The Crazy Nerds: I love Christian’s comics and his productivity amazes me! He is also very well-read and always has interesting things to say.
  11. A Writer’s Life for Me: Miska released not one but three novels this year! Amazing!
  12. A Well-Read Woman: April is my go-to source for women’s fiction. She always has fantastic recommendations!
  13. Winter Bayne: One of the most supportive and active members of the WordPress community you will ever meet and a very dedicated and productive writer.
  14. Callum McLaughlin: So Callum nominated me but he is truly one of the most inspiring bloggers I know so I’m nominating him back! (Take that Callum). He’s already received this award and for good reason: he is incredibly passionate about writing and you can’t help but feel inspired to write all the words after reading his posts.
  15. Often Clueless, Always Shoeless: Olivia’s posts are always fun and exciting. This month she has challenged herself to write one short story a day: creative and awesome!

There! I did it! Wow, that was a long post. If you’ve made it to the end, huge thanks to you! *blog five*

Becoming a Vampire and Writing While the World Sleeps

Camp NaNoWriMo has turned me into a vampire.

Okay, it’s not as bad as that. I mean, hey, at least I don’t sparkle. What nano has done though is messed with my sleeping schedule so that I am now staying up all night and sleeping through the better part of the day.


It all started the first night of nano, I put my writing off until 2am and then wrote until 5am (by Hayley logic the day is not over until I’ve slept. Yes, I know. There is a fly in my logic ointment). So, then I slept in late. I won’t say how late but let’s just say I would not have been able to order from the McDonald’s breakfast menu. Then I did normal Hayley day stuff which includes cleaning, playing with the kiddo and dancing around the house singing “Rump Shaker”…forget that last part. Of course, I procrastinated again and then at 2am writing happened.

A lot of writing actually, I not only met yesterday’s goal of 1,935 words total, I almost met today’s goal as well. I ended up writing 2,782 words, putting me at 70,095 total for my manuscript.

Surprisingly, I cranked these words out within a couple hours. I think this was in part because there is a huge reveal about one of the characters in the scene I was writing, so I had a lot of exposition to cover.

Still, I was surprised. That’s much more than I usually write in a day never-the-less two hours. I sort of sat there for a moment thinking, “well, that was weird” then went to bed.

So, now I’m left with two problems. One: I need to get back onto people waking hours before someone comes to stake me or some high school kid falls in love with me. This could be difficult because I do tend to enjoy writing at night. I like the quiet but I’m also missing out on fun daytime activities. Ugh am I going to have to give myself a bedtime?

Two: I’ve written about 70,000 words and I’m only halfway through act two. I’ve been developing this book for six years now and writing it since last November. Is this book ever going to end? Am I going to be writing this book when I’m a crazy old cat lady? I am still hoping my goal of 30,000 words for the month will be enough to finally finish this novel. If not, the good news is that I’m over my word count so I guess if I finish early, I can just keep writing (and now I’m hearing Dory from “Finding Nemo” in my head. I am going crazy).

Total Words Written in July:
Goal for this point:
Manuscript total:
How I feel about writing today:

Now I want to hear from you! What time of day (or night?) do you get most of your writing done?


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