Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Giving thanks —

Along with “five places I’d like to visit,” we might pause to consider “five things I’m grateful for at this moment.”

So —

1) Even though I haven’t finished a single project this year, and the year is practically over, I’m grateful I have written 80-90,000 words of two different manuscripts. SURELY I’ll be able to finish one or both soon!

The 4th Black Dog book, Copper Mountain, is the one I’m actually working on at the moment and might even finish this very year (if much later than I’d hoped).

The other is a science fiction novel that I thought of as a space opera when it started, but it’s not really a space opera. I’m not sure what it is. I got very stuck on it at the 80,000 word mark. So far I’ve tried taking it on in three different ways, none of which I like.

But hey! I do have 80,000 words of it sitting here! For which I am determinedly grateful, because surely I will be able to bring that book to an end eventually.

2) My two babies!

Yes, I only got one puppy from each mother. Yes, I lost a lot of money by breeding two girls and getting zero puppies to sell. But! These are both very nice puppies.

Naamah, the white one, is a lot like her mother — slender, short-coated (so far), with excellent structure. But Naamah has a significantly prettier head than Chloe, so that is exactly what I wanted from this breeding. She also poses beautifully. She should do very well in the puppy classes and I look forward very much to showing her. Besides her future as a show dog, she is also personable, charming, very active, a bit shy of new situations (we’re working on that), very attached to me, and altogether a delightful puppy.

Morgan, the black one, is not much like her mother at all! She is a solemn little thing. Her structure is not as nice right now, but was superior at eight weeks and ten weeks so is very likely to come back as she matures. She has a lot more bone and is going to be a heavier type, but still probably well within the standard. Pretty head! I hope and believe she will take after her grand champion daddy. She doesn’t have a shy bone in her body and never meets a stranger, but wow, she does not pose automatically the way Naamah does. I am having to specifically teach her to pose.

These new babies are welcome additions to the Teeming Horde, plus they both housetrained easily and early, for which I am indeed grateful.

3) I am very pleased and grateful that Leda won two majors this year, thus guaranteeing that she will become a champion in the near-ish future. I didn’t expect it. She’s not as pretty as her sister Kimmie, but she is a solid youngster with plenty of bone, shorter-cast, and I think that is what put her ahead. Plus she’s cute when she tips her head sideways:

Plus I’m grateful that Conner won a major. He does need one more, but surely in 2020 my handsome young dude will get that major. Poof, instant champion, that’s all he needs to finish.

4) Leaving the dog theme, I’m grateful I’m in reasonable health. Sure, I deal with chronic pain issues. I’m grateful (truly!) that these are minor and that I can deal with them via OTC painkillers and exercises and so on.

While I’m at it, I’m grateful for the continuing reasonable health of my various relatives, and very grateful Dad likes reading, as his mobility has become so restricted that heaven knows what he would do if he didn’t have a near-infinite supply of books.

Can you imagine what it would have been like for an elderly mobility-restricted person in the 1500s? Or the 1200s? Or in 1000 BC? Even if his family took care of him, how difficult and frankly boring his life would have been before the modern day!

So I’m deeply grateful, as always, to have been born now, and here, and not as, say, a hunter-gatherer at any point in humanity’s deep history.

5) Bringing my focus back to smaller and more immediate things, I’m grateful for all the writers whose books I’ve read this year. I haven’t kept track of books read, but I’ve been doing a ton of re-reading all year. I’m very grateful to every author who’s written such outstanding novels that I can go back to them again and again and love them every time.

I just re-read Nicola Griffith’s Aud Torvingen trilogy The writing in those is sooooo stunning. Griffith breaks rules in the best possible way, as when she opens The Blue Place with a couple of fragments. The writing is just so … lush. Reviewers throw that word around pretty casually. They should stop. This is the type of writing that really deserved that term. Lush, rich, extraordinarily sensual … Griffith pours more attention into building the physical, sensual world than literally any other writer I can think of.

I’m grateful to her for writing this trilogy, and to all the other many and varied authors whose work has brought me such pleasure this year.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving!

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4 Comments Giving thanks —

  1. Allan Shampine

    Do you know if the Aud trilogy is available in ebook form? Was just checking on Amazon and was only finding The Blue Place in used paper copies.

  2. Rachel

    No, not yet, but hopefully soon. Griffith has a post about this here:

    https://nicolagriffith.com/2019/11/18/a-writing-update-hild-aud-ammonite-and-more/

    Short version: She has the rights back to all three books, she has recently found a publisher who will bring out new editions of all three, and I know she hopes and plans to go on with the series too.

    I just looked at her blog and all kinds of advocacy work has been slowing down the writing work; she’s trimming that back hard and hopefully we’ll therefore see more movement in the near future on various writing projects.

    In the meantime, at least the used books are available at hopefully reasonable prices.

  3. Rachel

    Thanks, Kim! I made some progress over the weekend and really hope to have a draft finished before Christmas. I won’t go so far as to call that a “plan,” but definitely a firm hope.

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