What an AI thinks “walking through Faerie” looks like. Image created by the Wombo Dream app.

Happy holidays to all who celebrate! And happy December to all of us!

I have some awesome news I’m looking forward to sharing fully when the time comes. What I can say is I SOLD ANOTHER STORY! And I sold it to a fairly new science fiction/fantasy magazine out of Australia! I can’t wait to share my quirky little flash piece with all of you. Hint: it has a bit to do with the image above.

In other news: I sort of won National Novel Writing Month in November. Instead of attempting the 50,000 word goal this year, I adjusted my goal to 25,000 and worked on short stories and poems instead. I ended up with around 31,000 words, which I’m particularly proud of considering the current state of the world. Many of those words came from revisions to stories I’ve already written, but I totally counted them because they were still new to me.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to parent during a worldwide pandemic, and so far, it’s been both good and bad. My small family has stayed healthy for the most part, even with two kids going back to in person school. We have a great local health department who follows the science and has kept a mask mandate in place since forever. Our kids are required to wear masks at school, and the teachers and staff have been doing their best to keep students socially distanced and podded where possible. Nothing’s 100% effective at stopping the spread of the virus (except total isolation from society), but going back to school has done wonders for both my kids. My younger kid has always had anxiety, and the pandemic has exacerbated it to the point where he needs therapy (again) and medication. I’m glad he has a supportive school and wonderful medical practitioners looking out for his well being.

Besides writing and parenting, I’ve been sewing quilts when my sore back allows and embroidering when it doesn’t. I’ve also been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, spending an inordinate amount of time watching artists and makers on Twitch, and I have an account on MasterClass now, because I’m a sucker for learning new things. Recently, I heard about a new phone app called Wombo Dream that takes any concept and turns it into AI generated art. Below are a few more images from the app based on concepts or titles from some of my stories, both published and unpublished.

I highly recommend playing around with the app. It’s filling my creative well in ways writing and sewing can’t, and I think some amazing writing prompts will come out of these abstract pieces.

That’s it for now. I hope you all have a wonderful December and a safe, healthy, and happy New Year! May 2022 be a brighter year than 2021 has been!

As always, thanks for reading.

A. Cook

Amanda Cook is a writer and stay at home mom who lives in a southern Indiana woods with her spouse, kids, and one clingy dog. In the Before Times (and sometimes even now), she could/can be found helping out with her kids' school, catching up on her toppling TBR pile, playing games with her friends, hanging out at virtual conventions, crying over period dramas, or sewing yet another cosplay. Her second novel, "When We Were Forgotten," was the winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal for Best Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book from the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. She writes short speculative fiction and poetry that can be found at various markets and here on her blog.

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