Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Black Dog Short Stories II

The second collection of stories is coming right along, finally. I’ve finished that prequel novella that focuses on Keziah’s childhood. Finally. That was really difficult to write — intrinsically difficult, not just because I have also been trying to work on other things over the past couple of months.

Well, well, it’s finished at last. The collection is not quite ready to leave the nest, though — I need to get comments about Keziah’s novella from a couple people and probably revise and do a tiny bit of formatting and nudge the cover artist. But I should think it’ll be available later this month. “Short stories” is actually kinda misleading, as in fact the collection includes two novellas (18,000 words or so each) and two novelettes (12,000 words or so each). I don’t know why the lengths came out in pairs that way. It just happened.

Anyway, here is my first stab at the table of contents for Black Dog Stories II:

1. Mothers and Sisters
Before the failure of the miasma that hid all supernatural darkness from the sight of ordinary humans, brutal black dogs sometimes ruled as kings – sometimes for generations. In a country where black dogs rule and the Pure are despised, even a girl as fierce and determined as Keziah finds life a precarious struggle. But after her little sister is born, she has so much to fight for…
This is a prequel novella, set well before the beginning of Black Dog.

2. Unlikely Allies
Ezekiel is on his own when he discovers an entrenched enemy with a particularly unpleasant plan to supplant and destroy Dimilioc. To defeat this enemy, Ezekiel needs an ally…even a man who might turn on him as well before the end.
This novelette is set after the events of Pure Magic.

3. Bank Job
Living and working with a lot of stray black dogs is a real trial for Ethan Lanning, especially since not even the proper bloodlines and best training gave him the kind of strength a Lanning ought to possess. But when a mission gets complicated, maybe Thaddeus is just the right guy to have at his back after all…
This novelette is set after the events of Pure Magic.

4. A Family Visit
Just an ordinary Christmas with his grandmother, that’s all Justin has in mind. Sure, it’s a little awkward that Grayson insisted Keziah keep him company on the trip, but surely everything will be fine once they all get to know one another. Only Justin never expected to discover his grandmother has just vanished from her home…
This novella is set after the events of Pure Magic, directly before the opening of Shadow Twin (forthcoming).

How do those descriptions work for you? Inviting, intriguing, thumbs up? Or confusing, boring, thumbs down? I’m still tweaking. These one- or two-sentence descriptions are kinda tricky to write.

Oh, I’ll add: Ethan’s story sets up a not-very-important point, and Justin’s story sets up a really-very-important situation, for Shadow Twin. You don’t NEED to have read these stories before the third novel, but it’ll help.

However! If you do not like ebooks, that’s fine! All the short stories from the first collection plus all these stories plus “nonfiction” essays will be put together in a paper version. All together like that it’ll be eight stories and two essays, over 100,000 words, so it seems reasonable to issue a physical copy at this point.

Anyway, in the next week or so, I hope to be about ready to hit Go on this little project.

Special thanks to Laura Florand, who has provided invaluable feedback on the stories as I completed them.

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