Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Ice tomorrow!

They sound pretty sure about it.  An inch of ice and then a foot of snow, that’s the prediction.  Here’s hoping that, if this is true, the ice comes down as sleet and not an ice glaze that will coat roads and pull down trees — our fantastic 150-year-old oak lost three or four big branches in the last bad ice storm in November 2007.  It’s too bad to lose power, but the power will come back on eventually, you know?  But you’ll never get your trees back.

I bought a bunch more YA fantasies over the last week; they’re all downstairs in the Get To This Someday stacks.  Haven’t read any of them yet, and with this weather forecast, it may take awhile to get to them.  That’s because, if I’m going to be stuck at home for two or three or five days, I’ll probably start working on projects of my own.  Projects, plural, ’cause I need to polish up and smooth out different stories I’ve got beginnings for.  I’ll see if I can actually write semi-complete-ish outlines for any of them and then send them to Caitlin.  So that’ll keep me busy for a little while.

But I have read some pretty amazing books lately, though, even if I don’t expect to read nearly as many in February.

I finally got to The Bards of Bone Plain.  It was very good, of course, which I expected — I mean, McKillip, after all.  But it didn’t sing for me the way The Bell at Sealey Head did.  Don’t know why. I did like it very much, but it’s not in my top ten list for McKillip.

Also read The Gaslight Dogs (Lowachee).  I really didn’t like it anything like as much as I’d hoped to.  The male main character was so passive and kind of a jerk.  Until the end, when he turns evil.  Not my kind of thing, don’t care what happens in the sequel.

Also!  The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Jemisin).  Now THAT was outstanding.  I love the way Jemisin plays with time and perspective.  Amazing book, wonderful characters, beautiful writing, great plot — yes, one can see the ending coming, but not exactly how Jemisin is going to get there, so that’s okay.  Loved it, glad I moved it to the top of the Get To It pile in time to nominate it for the Nebula and I hope it wins.  The sequel (The Broken Kingdoms) is also very good.

Also, yes, I made it to the show this past weekend and All Was Well.  Despite the horrible filthy parking lots, which are not helpful when showing dogs with white feet, let me tell you.  Both my puppies won their classes both days, and on Sunday little Kenya got Winners and her first championship point.  Go, Kenya!  My friend Deb talked me into getting a win photo for her.  Both of my youngsters also finished off their first Rally titles, even though I did a pretty terrible job of handling so their scores were pretty embarrassing.  AND we got home in time to make some really outstanding bread, like so:

2 tsp instant yeast

3 1/2 C flour

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cardamom

1/4 C. crushed crystallized ginger

1 1/8 C warm water

1/4 C butter

1 egg

Put everything in bread machine and let the machine take care of the kneading and the first rise.  Remove the dough and divide into thirds.  Form each third into a long rope and braid the ropes together.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  If you have enough self-discipline, cool completely before slicing and eating.

This was based on a recipe I got from somewhere, but I added the crystallized ginger because I had some that had dried out into little chips, like sweet zingy potato chips.  Plus I upped the cardamom a whole lot (the original recipe called for 1/4 tsp) because I love cardamom and making Indian food has taught me not to be afraid of spices.  Also, I only used water instead of milk because I was out of milk.  But the bread was wonderful and I will certainly make it again, especially if I have more crystallized ginger to use up, which is likely since making more crystallized ginger is on my list of things to do if we get iced in for several days.

Glad we have a generator!  Let the ice come down!  But preferably NOT the trees.

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