Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Finished, again!

Whew! The revised and now freshly re-revised YA version of Black Dog went back to my agent . . . lessee . . . about five minutes ago. A nice start to the new year! I added about 4000 words — well, more than that, but then I did a little cutting, too, which of course is harder and harder because all the obvious deadwood is long gone from this manuscript.

I did a little of this and a little of that, but mostly what I added are short flashbacks — Caitlin’s suggestion, a way of getting more into the characters’ heads and developing both plot elements and character arcs just a little more. It was a good idea, now we’ll see if Caitlin thinks the stuff I did works the way she thought it should.

Next: a few days off! I want to read Mouse and Dragon by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee. Maybe the rest of my new Diana Wynne Jones books. Maybe a couple other things. But it’d be nice to get a start on a new book before the new semester begins. Which is on the eleventh, so hey, not much time for loafing!

Well, but I have LOTS of cookies in the freezer to fuel the ol’ creative urges. You know, I figured out that I made upwards of 1800 cookies and candies between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Really. Thirty-two kinds counting the almond pastry, which is made in a long “S” shape (about 14 inches long), but since you serve it in very small slices, I’ve decided does reasonably count.

So not going to run out for a few months, I expect, even with the boxes and tins and platters I gave and will still give away.

Though the rest of my cooking had better emphasize light food for those months. Thai and Japanese and vegetarian Indian and no coconut milk, either. I don’t have to step on a scale to know that I’ve put on a few pounds. And I don’t think typing even counts as exercise, worse luck.

Okay! Off to dive into a wonderful book and enjoy a chilly evening where I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything, other than gaze admiringly at the puppies from time to time. They’re starting to show very early play behavior! All very cute. I’m thinking of naming the girl Frivolity and the boy Fiddlesticks — don’t have to decide till I register them. I could call the girl Folly, but I don’t know about calling the boy Fiddle.

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7 Comments Finished, again!

  1. Michelle

    Congratulations on finishing the revisions. Can’t wait to read it.

    If you haven’t tried the audiobook of Conrad’s Fate, you need to try it. The actor does a fantastic job. It is one my favorite of her books.

    Maybe you should name the male puppy “Howl”. LOL.

  2. Elaine T

    Now where did that go…. aha!
    “FX: dark-pelted rodents in slinky shoes form into a
    line and dance sinuously back and forth, back and forth,
    as the band plays to a hot-blooded rhythm that disturbs
    the senses

    Conga rats.”

    Cong [a] rat ulations on finishing. I look forward to reading it.

    Which DWJ books are on the TBR stack?
    If Rachel names the male puppy Howl, would she’d have to name the female Sophie?

    One of our current pets is named “Theobroma” usually referred to as Mr. Theo, which rolls nicely off the tongue, even without the memories of the Mushroom Planet books. Fiddle – it’s a rather soft name, isn’t it? Although not a patch on the (once) famous dog named Flushy. I think that was a spaniel, too.

  3. Rachel

    Ha! Never heard the conga rats thing before!

    Technically, if I named the male puppy Howl, I would kind of be compelled to name the other puppy after Howl’s sister, not his wife. And I like non-people names for pets, just to give a little more scope for creativity!

    Anyway, this is my F litter, so F names only! That’s for their registered names, of course, they can actually be called anything. Fiddle may be a soft name, but hey, Cavaliers are soft dogs! I could totally name him Flush after the Browning spaniel.

    The other DWJ on the TBR pile (whoa, abbreviations are breeding in here) are Hexwood and The Merlin Conspiracy. DWJ books I just read for essentially the first time . . . might have read them a long time ago but no specific memory of ’em . . . The Ogre Downstairs, Archer’s Goon, and The Time of the Ghost.

    I really liked Archer’s Goon! Really enjoyed lots of the great details in that one, starting with the “two thousand” owed to Archer and going on from there. The Ogre . . . I loved the bit when the ogre realizes the little girl really was no kidding trying to poison him! That’d sure cause you to re-assess your fatherhood skills, wouldn’t it? Time of the Ghost . . . eh. Not my favorite. I really didn’t like any of the characters as children, though they improved when they grew up. That whole who-the-heck-IS-the-protagonist thing was pretty snazzy, though.

  4. Elaine T

    Archer’s Goon is one of our favorites, too. Did you know the Brits put it on TV? Our daughter found it on a service that wasn’t YouTube (IOW I can’t remember what it was), and watched it. They kept very close to the book’s story.

    The Merlin Conspiracy is perhaps the one DWJ I don’t think much of. It’s tagged in my memory as ‘the one with the elephant’ because that’s all I can remember about it. Hexwood I had to read several times. (FX starts to say more. erases. Tries again. deletes. decides best not to risk spoiling.) I’ll be interested in your take should you feel like posting about them after you read them.

    Time of the Ghost when I first read it was also an ‘eh’ for me. I reread it YEARS later, after it resurfaced on the shelves and also after finding out that the family was based on DWJ’s own family, neglectful parents and all. Perhaps just my being older, perhaps the extra info made a difference;I found it much more interesting and involving that time. Our daughter liked it from the start and reread it several times.

  5. Rachel

    Yes, I only recently found out about DWJ’s own early life and I did think of that when reading Time of the Ghost, but for me, while that made some aspects of T of the G interesting, I still didn’t like it.

    Hexwood — just started it! Wow, I see what it was difficult to say anything about. Really strange back-and-forth-in-time stuff. I like it so far and I’m really curious to see what happens next. I’ll see if I can say anything cogent about it when I’m done with it. I actually took it hiking with me today because the weather was beautiful but the only trail really nearby is a bike trail and seriously boring to walk on. I did a mile in and a mile out, switched dogs and repeated — taking a book was a great idea, much more fun for me and of course the girls don’t care as long as I walk fast and then let them pause to sniff things. Adora’s first outing since the puppies arrived!

    Oh, secret tip for bikers, for heaven’s sake, CALL OUT when you come up behind somebody with dogs on leashes! What are you trying to do, kill everybody involved?

    Hope I disagree with you about The Merlin Conspiracy, since I seem to have saved it for last!

  6. Caroline

    Hey there! Good for you. Happy reading and relaxing. I LOVE the idea of Flush after Ms. Browning’s spaniel. Just checking up on you (and avoiding writing myself) and yes, I check my email every once and awhile.
    Can’t wait to read the next one, which ever that may be! BTW, I was given the Hunger Games for x-mas – am I going to like it? ( I can’t remember if you read it or not – forgive me if you haven’t)
    C

  7. Rachel

    Hey! I should call you one of these days, circumvent the whole Caroline-doesn’t-check -email thing. I LOVED The Hunger Games — but don’t start it until you have time to finish it. For me it wasn’t too much of a downer despite the horrific situations because I figured by the end of the trilogy if not the first book, the bad guys would have been defeated (they were, though just a flat statement like that simplifies a situation that was actually pretty compled). Also, various REALLY horrific situations that could have arisen, didn’t. Read it and see if you can tell what I have in mind.

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