Lazy summer days. That phrase is an oxymoron.

Is it really summer? The humidity level says it is, but otherwise, I’m not quite convinced. Our area has had a few spots of blue sky accompanied with the usual summer heat, but for the majority of our waking hours (and many of our sleeping ones), the hills of Indiana have been swathed in gray clouds and rain. Buckets of rain. You’d think we were living in the Tropics. I managed to tame my jungle of a lawn in the few minutes of dryness we experienced yesterday, and it may have been some sort of record for the week, both the amount of sunlight and my race to finish mowing before it started raining again. As I write this, there’s been a break in an hour long downpour, but the timpani beat of thunder continues to rumble in the distance, promising more.

Also, as lazy as I have been in regards to my writing, everything else hasn’t slowed down much. Since last weekend, my husband and I renovated a bathroom in our house (wall paint and vinyl self stick floor tiles are the superheroes of the home improvement arena), and our boys are a bit more knowledgeable in the ways of swimming. They have four more lessons to go, but so far they’re showing amazing progress for their ages and abilities. Between driving them back and forth to the pool and running miscellaneous errands and hosting our weekly board game group one evening and sewing costumes for upcoming conventions, I haven’t exactly been lazy. This has been the first morning that I’ve been able to sit for a long while and catch up on a few Internet things, which is probably why I suddenly felt compelled to write a blog post.

It’s going to be a short(ish) post, because I need to get back to sewing. With a food festival tomorrow, Father’s Day on Sunday, and date night tonight (we’re seeing a local production of “Hairspray”!), there are going to be only so many hours in which I can hole up in our basement and work at my sewing machine — after I play with the boys, of course. So without further ado:

Blog Post, Part the First:

I’d like to direct you to this amazing article on empathy by musician/songwriter/wonder woman Amanda Palmer. Her words stuck in my brain and have not let go. They are reshaping the way I look at conflict.

Which leads into a video I shared on my personal Facebook page this morning about racism in America as it pertains to recent events (with my own text and a link to the video in quotes below):

“Jon [Stewart] always knows what to say, and he says it here brilliantly. And I may get some flack for this, but I’m trying to empathize as much with the young man who committed this heinous act as with the families who were devastated by his act, if only because I do not want to forget that he’s a human being too. A misguided, morally reprehensible human being, but a human nonetheless…just as every other terrorist is on this planet. And when we forget that and scream out for more violence to be perpetrated on them, it doesn’t make us any better than them.
Okay, I’m done.”

Jon Stewart is my spirit animal.

Okay, now I’m done.

Blog Post, Part the Second:

So, that science fiction novel I had been feverishly working on since November and now am slogging through to get revisions done … you know, that one?

It has a cover.

Yes, it’s not even close to being published, but let me say that again.

IT HAS A COVER!

My awesome, amazingly talented friend, Devin Night, who did the cover for The Golden Orb as well as the map of Ouestfold agreed to do a cover for my sci-fi novel, and like him, it is awesomely amazing. (Of course, I may be biased.) He’s given me permission to share it before I publish the novel, so here it is in all its beauty:

By Devin Night at http://immortalnights.com

By Devin Night at http://immortalnights.com

I am in awe of how Devin can take the notes I give him on my stories and create images that are much more beautiful than what I see in my head. He may make a few tweaks to the cover to fit the trim size of the finished novel, but otherwise, this is it. Those are my main character’s hands, by the way. What she’s using is a memopad, like a futuristic iPad/tablet. And that logo for the Terran Alliance, my futuristic world government? I gave Devin a single sentence from the novel as well as a few more details describing it. Again, just astounding work. If you like the cover design, you can check out more of Devin’s work at immortalnights.com. He makes digital character tokens and maps for virtual role-playing games (RPGs that you play on your computer), and they’re just as fun to look at as that image above. Hopefully, posting the cover here will motivate me to get down to work myself.

But not now. Now it’s lunchtime for me and the boys. And I have some serious sewing to get done this afternoon. And it’s raining again.

Thanks for reading.

A. Cook

Amanda Cook is a stay-at-home-mom and writer living in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. When she’s not caring for her family or obsessing over punctuation, she can be found helping out at her sons' school, catching up on her Goodreads list, playing (and sometimes winning, but mostly losing) board games with her friends, crying over her favorite PBS programs, or sewing yet another costume for the local gaming/pop culture convention, where she’ll probably lose at even more board games.

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