What I learned – January Goal Update

January is over, and I must say I feel like I kicked off 2018 with a bang.

I’m hoping I continue this into February, a month that’s always given me a hard time over the years, but before I jump forward, it’s time to look back.


  • Try at least one new thing a week. 
    • I’m pretty excited about this one! This month, I learned how to use a sewing machine, finished crocheting an afghan, baked a cake from scratch, learned how to find my way from my small town to San Antonio, Texas, and started gardening. I learned way more than I thought I would, and it’s been an amazing experience.
  • Start a writer’s Group.
    • This one was technically accomplished, even if group attendance has an abysmal. The next meeting will take place on Saturday, so I’m crossing my fingers that people show up!
  • Host a giveaway. 
    • This one wraps up today, and I hosted it over on Twitter. There’s still some time if you’d like to jump on board.



  • Do a January writing challenge.
    • This kind of ties in with the next one, but when I’m working on a novel, I tend to ignore challenges. Because I started two big projects this month, doing a challenge didn’t seem as important as starting to write my next book. Not a great way to handle challenges, but I’m glad I got my next novel started.
  • Complete an Instagram or Twitter Challenge. 
    • I’m not sure why I’m having such a hard time with these. I really enjoy them, however I push them to the back burner whenever another project pops up.
  • Limit my social media time to an hour a day. 
    • My online life goes one of two ways. Stay on it all day every day, or avoid it completely for days. The first one isn’t good for me, and the second isn’t good for my writer’s platform. I need to be more consistent and focus on the quality of what I’m posting, not the quantity.
  • Write and read for one hour a day.
    • While I accomplished this about half of the month, I still didn’t consistently write and read every single day. I have faith that my February will be better though.



  • Sent more queries for “Flightless” and got a full manuscript request. 
    • After a handful of rejection letters in early December, I took a break for three weeks before I started submitting again. On my third email, I got a full manuscript request about an hour after I sent the query, and it really renewed my faith in my writing.
  • Found books to cover my “2018 Reading Challenge”
    • Reading challenges are completely different for me than online challenges. I started a writing list on Instagram, and my stack is piling up. I’m going to have a blast knocking out all these books.


Did you finish any goals? What were you happy to have finished, and what do you wish you had done better?


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.

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.



Song of the Lioness – Tamora Pierce


The Giver Quartet – Lois Lowry



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








Doctor Franklin’s Island – Ann Halam







Inkheart Trilogy – Cornelia Funke


The Guardians of Time – Marianne Curley


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.


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?




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!