Earliest Childhood Memory

Wow! I fell way behind on my own challenge. Since my last post, I started a new novel, and it took hold like wildfire. I decided to stick with that, just to get the first couple chapters done, and it left little time for working on my blog.

Now day 14, I’m just now coming back on a day that’s probably one of my favorites.

This one really shouldn’t be a favorite. A lot of my childhood memories were of me falling off something, or tripping over something, and winding up pretty hurt because of it. You’d think after years of adulting, and countless dance classes, I’d have stopped this nasty habit of falling, but it still hasn’t gone away.

My earliest memory goes like most of my memories of my childhood. I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, in this case, climbing a huge rock, and then falling into a cactus bed.

In retrospect, the rock wasn’t probably as big as I remember, but because I was so small, it seemed like a mountain. This means the single cactus I fell into looked like a bush of spikes straight out of a nightmare.

My biological father was with me at the time, and I can remember screaming as he took me to the nearest gas station where he borrowed their first aid kit and pulled needle after needle out of my arms and legs. I vaguely remember being surrounded by men, each one trying to get me to stop crying, giving me an ice cream out of the freezer I was sitting on, and helping my dad hold my arm when I kept trying to pull away.

Why do I like this memory so much? It was pretty traumatic at the time, but it’s always stuck with me as something that taught me a valuable lesson.

One, when you’re experiencing something negative, things look bigger and badder than they really are. But as time passes you begin to realize it wasn’t as bad as you originally thought.

Two, you’re going to fall down, and sometimes it’s going to hurt, but rely on others to help you back on your feet. I didn’t have a choice as a child, I had to get help from strangers, but as an adult, I try to remember that the kindness of others can sometimes help more than you realize.

And lastly, if you do fall, and you will, always get back up and try again. Learn from that mistake, and do better next time. A tumble from a rock didn’t stop me from getting up the next day and climbing something else. It didn’t stop me from trying things to push myself a little harder. Again, I was a kid, but it’s still something I apply as an adult.

 

What was your earliest childhood memory and what did you learn from it?

Check out Tanja’s Day 14 here.

Want more January blogging challenges? Check out Tanja RamirezLily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re all taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.

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Favorite Childhood Books

My mom was big on teaching me and my siblings how to read from a young age. I learned the escapism books provided, and reading these stories gave me the drive to want to write my own.

 

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Song of the Lioness – Tamora Pierce

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The Giver Quartet – Lois Lowry

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Full Tilt – Neil Shusterman
Check my post about how much this author has influenced my life.

 

 

 

 

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Doctor Franklin’s Island – Ann Halam

 

 

 

 

 

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Inkheart Trilogy – Cornelia Funke

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The Guardians of Time – Marianne Curley

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The Uglies – Scott Westerfeld

What books shaped your writing experience?

 

Want more January blogging challenges? Check out Tanja RamirezLily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re all taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.

What’s in my bag?

Well I’m running late again today. I got caught up with conversations on Twitter, making a massive surprise project for my sister’s baby shower, and then got to talking plot with my writing partner.

But I’m here now, so welcome to day five of the January Blogging Challenge! 

I have a few handbags, but none are as important to me as one my husband picked up at a military surplus store. What used to be an old gas mask bag is now toting around my wallet, keys, pencils, pens, loose change, and almost always a book or two. It doesn’t look big, but it must have some TARDIS/Mary Poppins magic, cause I keep everything in here.

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Occasionally I’ll have a random curio tucked away in the bottom, like a worry stone, or a pendant to St. Christopher (my current odd thing out in my bag), and I almost always have one or two tubes of chap stick, even though I rarely use it.

It’s not expensive, and it looks ragged, but I love my bag. It’s sturdy and is probably the most “me” thing I own.

 

Want more January blogging challenges? Check out Tanja RamirezLily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re all taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.

Day 4 – It started with a sketch

Talking about my first novel is always something I’ve wanted to do, but was never sure how to go about. The fear of offending someone or bringing up old wounds always stopped me.

I wrote a book about people with wings, for Pete’s sake! How do I even begin to talk about the amount of loss I felt before I put pen to paper?

 

 

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This post contains sensitive subject matter. I’ll be discussing suicide and miscarrying, so viewer discretion is advised.

Continue reading Day 4 – It started with a sketch

Confessing My Guilty Pleasures

As a quick disclaimer, this was supposed to be put up yesterday, but I didn’t post it correctly.  Sorry about that. On to day 3’s topic!

Hello. My name is Andrea McAuley, and I like anime.

Not just the action stuff like Trigun or Fullmetal Alchemist, no I love fluffy, brain cotton candy anime. I watch it dubbed, I watch it subbed. I even had the complete manga of Fruit’s Basket for a little while, before I gifted it to someone else when I needed to move.

And it doesn’t stop there. I love terrible television. Or. . . what other people consider terrible television. In fact my favorite show right now is Lucifer. I’m not exactly winning awards with my family watching that one, but it’s hilarious. My taste in movies isn’t that great either. Give me an underdeveloped plot or mindless writing, and I’ll enjoy it till the credits roll.

I also have a crush on Mads Mikkelsen, so if he was in it, chances are I’ve probably seen it.

Think I’m done? Not even close!

I started collecting tarot cards my senior year of high school, I love going to the movies by myself, I pick up rocks I think are pretty and keep them in my office in jars on my windowsill. I like putting too much sugar in my tea and I make my coffee too strong, and when I stay up late to write, sometimes I’ll light up to 15 candles just because I like the ambiance.

 

Yep. That’s me. But really, I wouldn’t trade any of these things for more “appropriate” things to enjoy out of life. Watching bad t.v. and movies teaches me what not to do in writing, collecting strange things gives me an appreciation for the odd, and the candles? Well actually I could probably tone that back a bit.

But the point is, the little things you enjoy out of life, that other people scratch their head at, are a part of what makes you unique. They are just as important to your writing as the things you enjoy that you’re open about, so embrace those guilty pleasures!

You know. . . unless your guilty pleasure is to do something that breaks a law. Then keep that stuff to yourself.

My Pen Name

Day two of my January blogging challenge!

When I was younger, and I mean way younger, we’re talking ten or eleven, I wanted my pen name to be Eleanor Wolfe. Wolves were my favorite animal, and Eleanor was the name my mom was going to give me. It made sense at the time. It was a clever name I could hide behind, and even entertained the idea of marrying a boy in my class with the last name Wolfe, although I never told him this.

Of course, I didn’t marry a boy just for his name at the age of eleven. And really, I didn’t have any opinions of him other than just liking his name, so it would’ve been a stupid reason to get married anyways.

After that, I became A.E.Wolverton. I swore off marriage until I got engaged my freshman year of college, to my best friend.

That brings us to today, where I’m known everywhere as A.E.McAuley. That being said, because I write both cheesy fun romance as well as dark scifi, I worry about how this will help or hinder my “author image”. I know that some of my work will only entertain a certain demographic, so while A.E.McAuley works for me, I might one day publish some of my work under a different pseudonym. Who knows? Maybe I’ll come back to Eleanor Wolfe after all.

 

Want more of this blogging challenge? Check out Tanja Ramirez, Lily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re both taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.

January Challenge Day 1 – Introduction

It’s a new year, and to kick 2018 off right, I’ll be doing a blogging challenge.

31 Day Bloggin Challenge

I came up with each day’s topic based off things that interest me, or just topics I like to talk about, but today I’ll just be introducing myself and my writing.

Before I start, there are two other people taking part with me, fellow blogger Tanja Ramirez and a fanfiction writer “Lily“, but if you decide you’d like to take part, please let me know. I’ll give a shout out to you in the next day’s post!

As for me, I’m a twenty eight year old writer, who finished my first book, Flightless, last year. I live in Texas, but move around with the military quite a bit, and my interests outside of writing include everything from drawing, to baking, to diving into vanlife with my husband.

The next project I’ll be working on is a bit of a mystery to me right now, since I’ve been floundering a bit when it comes to starting my second book. I have a few ideas I hope to pin down, and since Flightless is laid out in a universe with plenty of stories to tell, I might tackle some short stories in that world.

I’m trying to keep myself open creatively, especially with how many changes I’ve been going through since November, but here’s hoping January is a productive start to the new year.

 

Check out Tanja’s day 1 here! 

Life Changes for 2018

I don’t like setting resolutions.

Maybe it’s the wording of it, just like I don’t like the word “diet”. Both seem so temporary to me. Sure, resolution means “a firm decision to do or not do something”, but how many people break these supposedly “firm decisions” within the first month of the new year? 

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Back in 2013, I started using the phrase “Life Changes” for the new year. Instead of saying I was going to do a diet, I said I was going to change the way I ate. Instead of saying I was going to exercise, I said I was going to make a change to how active I was in a day.

By focusing less on an end goal, I tweaked my day to day schedule and created solid habits. I wound up losing 20 pounds since then, and I finished writing a first draft of my book in a month, then edited it in another eight. Setting changes to my schedule helped me create long lasting results that I’m still benefiting from.

So here are ways I’m going to change my life in 2018.

~ I’m going to set aside one hour a day for reading, and one hour a day for writing. During those two hours, I can listen to music, however the tv must be off, and the phone needs to be on silent.

~ I plan on putting aside one day a week to focus on a new skill. It can be anything from learning a new crochet stitch, to finally learning how to parallel park (because I can finally admit that I have no idea how to do that). There is no pressure to master this skill (although learning how to parallel park would be nice), it’s simply to try a new thing.

~ I will dedicate two days a week to querying and learning more about the publishing world. I’ll talk with already published authors, take a class, or read more information that’s available, but I recognize that I need to change how I look at my road to publication.

~ Two days a month, I’ll attend a writing group meeting. If the other members of this writing group can’t show up, I’ll go someplace quiet and take that time to work on my next book.

~ I am going to travel one week next year to a place I’ve never been. It can be a different place every day, an hour away from my house, or it can be more than one day to somewhere I actually need to travel to.

~ I’m going to start going to bed later so I can wake up earlier to hit the gym for at least thirty minutes, every other day. While at the gym, I’m going to change how I work out, from taking it slow, to pushing myself a little harder every time I’m there. This also means I’ll need a gym membership, so I should probably get on that.

~ I will spend less time on my phone when I’m out in public by keeping my data off and making more of an effort in social situations.

~ I am going to change how I view social media by not putting such high standards on myself. This means posting only once a week on my blog, and scheduling other site posts instead of stressing over them.

~ And last, I will look for time in my schedule for volunteering with my community, either at the library, the children’s theater, or even stopping in at the blood donor center. I know I’ll have time, but I’ve never volunteered in the past because, let’s face it, I’m too focused on myself. By paying attention to when I’m being selfish, I hope to replace some of this time with giving back to others.

Personal Post Friday – 2017 Was The Year I….

So much happened this year, I don’t even know where to start. If someone would’ve told me I’d have gotten as much accomplished as I did, I would’ve laughed at them.

For one, I’m not the type of person to do a 5k, even if it was just a fun run, and goat yoga? Who does goat yoga? Apparently 2017 Andrea.

So here’s a quick run down of 2017.

– Did a mud run.
– Finished Flightless and started sending to agents.
– Went to a goat yoga class.
– Built a van with my husband and drove from Tacoma to Texas and back to Tacoma, just because.
– Got a raise at work.
– Was maid of honor at my cousin’s Harry Potter/Fandom themed wedding.
– Built the foundations for my writer’s platform.
– Heard back from an agent, and rewrote Flightless.
– Drove across country again, for a military move to Texas.
– Camped on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere and saw more stars than I have in a long time.
– Reconnected with old friends I hadn’t spoken to since high school.
– Stood up for myself and started taking charge when I would’ve sat on the sidelines before.
– Got through 10 books, which is a big deal for me since I’ve been slacking off on reading since 2012.
– Started talking with other writers and authors on how they hone their craft.

I’d love to hear about your year! Make a blog post titled “2017 Was The Year I” and send me a link. Was your year productive, or filled with new experiences? Maybe you just got through another year, and hey, that’s an accomplishment, too.

Share how your life went and what you hope to accomplish next year.

Flightless Fan Art #2 – Daniel Bennett

When I first made Daniel, he played a crucial part in the original draft of Flightless. 

In spite of this, there really wasn’t anything to him. He was his girlfriend, Elizabeth’s, arm candy, and my main character, Christopher’s little brother. Daniel filled any exposition holes, but he wasn’t really “his own man”. He only existed to benefit others not because he belonged in the story.

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Original artwork

 

So he was chopped from the final draft, but I realized I had a great opportunity to add him to a different book that exists in the same universe as Flightless.

I rewrote him, created a well rounded character, and wow, the art that came from the changes to him turned out incredible.

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Daniel & Elizabeth Commission by Maddy

Daniel grew up in an abusive household. While it wasn’t intentional abuse, his mother thought she was doing the right thing, it was abusive none the less. Unlike Christopher, who shouldered all the problems and saw it as his job to take the brunt of the pain, Daniel grew resentful.

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Anthony, Elizabeth and Daniel by Kennie

Even after he was taken out of the situation, he still acted like the world owed him something after everything he went through. When he was forced to move away from his brother, and in with an able bodied “flock” (a, yes, very cheesy word I use for my avian family units), he was crushed.

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Nap Time by Maddy

At the end of the first book, there’s talk of Daniel coming to see his brother again, after years of being apart, but when he arrives in the second, Christopher is already gone. Forced with another abandonment, he spends time with Elizabeth, and the two work through both of what’s happened in their past, while growing closer through mutual respect.

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Church Meeting by Jillian

I can’t wait to tell his and Elizabeth’s story. It’s going to have a heavier romance plot than my other ideas for the Flightless universe, but one that’s a slow burn compared to a whirlwind of emotions.

If you’d like to see more of my own Daniel art, here’s some below! Hope you enjoyed it.

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Want more artwork? Check out my last art share, for Anthony Ortega.

 

 

Obligatory Disclaimer

All above artwork was posted with permission given by the artists, so long as credit was linked back to above accounts. If you’d like to use any of the above artists, please contact them directly through links to ask before posting images. 

 

Author. Blogger. Traveler.