Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Yet another project kinda taking shape

Okay, I’m gradually getting some reasonable idea about (some of) what’s happening in the fifth Black Dog book. I mean, I know one of the central problems — so do you all, of course: plainly black witchcraft is a major problem. I know another more subtle but also central problem. I know I’ve got to find important things for various characters to do and resolve, or semi-resolve, various relationships. I definitely know something important that happens in the denouement that should work to help tie up the whole series.

But I do not know the title.

Two words, obviously. One or two syllables each.

Current thought: BLOOD WITCH.

Too much of a horror vibe? This book should actually edge a bit farther from horror. Probably. In some ways. I imagine some pretty awful things will most likely happen somewhere on the way to the end, but things can get pretty awful without actually falling too decisively on the horror side of the genre line.

Other thoughts: DEMON something or something DEMON

After all, demonic stuff of all kinds is the basic problem faced by this world. I mean, different kinds of demonic entities are still multiplying. I introduce yet another type of demon in a novella I’ve already written that takes place after Copper Mountain. A broad solution to demonic stuff in general would be a good thing, no question about that. Obviously the world of Black Dog has the fundamental potential to be a nicer place than the real world, as in that world demonic stuff is responsible for a very large proportion of the worst aspects of various societies.

Putting “demon” in the title does not get any farther removed from a horror vibe, though.

I’m going to have to come up with something pretty soon, as the cover artist is working on the cover for that book right now. Back cover copy will actually not be a big problem even though I haven’t written the book. I’ll just be vague and put the word “finale” in there somewhere to let readers know this one is the last novel in the series. But the title has to be figured out. If any of you happens to have a great idea for a title, by all means share it!

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16 Comments Yet another project kinda taking shape

  1. Elaine T

    To get away from the horror vibe:

    Shadow Light? playing off Shadow Twin’s title?

    Or, Copper Mountain had at least one pregnancy and I was rather expecting Natividad to turn up that way soon, too. So something about life.

  2. Amara

    “Blood Witch” is pretty grim, and gives off much more of a horror vibe than I think the books deserve. What about “False Witch?” Grayson and Miguel used that term towards the end of the last book, and if Miguel’s new abilities will be in play it might be appropriate.

    If you’re looking for something a little more hopeful/epic sounding/ less horror-y for the finale, I agree with Elaine that going with “light” in some way is a good idea. What about “Pure Light?” It’s not the strongest standalone title, but could work with the rest of the series, and gives the impression that things will end well. (Hopefully they do?)

  3. Rachel

    Spoiler: Sure, things end well. I mean, I don’t know how everything ties up for everyone, but I guarantee the series will not end with a giant pile of bodies and the world will not descend into a hellish state of demonic supremacy.

    Hmm. Light. I’ll think about this.

  4. Mary Catelli

    I can only sympathize with no help to offer
    myself.

    Then, A Diabolical Bargain got its title at the last moment because all the titles were either horror or romance. . .

  5. Pete Mack

    Yes, Devil’s Bargain immediately occurred to me, but I realized it was a but clichéd, and in any case would fit a story about the moon-bound better.

  6. Kathryn McConaughy

    I agree that Blood Witch and anything with demons in the title gives more of a horror/Satanist vibe than you probably want… Titles definitely impact whether I feel that I can recommend books to my students or not, but that is just my context. I really like the idea of having Light in the title.

  7. Rachel

    Pete, yes, another collection this year and then I hope the 5th Book, whatever it’s called, in 2022.

    I have one novella written, so I’m assuming I’ll write three more novellas this year. As soon as all this other stuff is out of the way, I ought to have plenty of time for that. I hope and expect to release the 4th collection on Halloween this year.

    I will probably start the 5th Book, but I don’t think it’s at all likely I’ll finish it this year.

  8. Rachel

    Thank you, everyone, for helping brainstorm about the title for the 5th Book. I’ll see if I can do something with Light in the title — that’s a good idea.

  9. Craig N.

    Since we’re brainstorming, I suppose the other place to put “light” would be the adjective in front — Bright, Shining, etc.

    A noun you haven’t used that fits with werewolves is Moon, but e.g. Blood Moon or Witch’s Moon sends you back towards horror.

  10. Hanneke

    The binding light?
    I rather expect that net of magic light that now stops people from falling into the demon’s hell-dimension to play a rôle, and Natividad’s Pure light magic can also be used to bind things.

    And I really hope those demons and vampires and witches-grimoires get bound away from the human’s world.

    If you put The in small font, it won’t detract from the look of a two-word titke.

  11. Pete Mack

    2 things:
    1. Please don’t have Natividad go off on her own and do some new dangerous magic and get in trouble *again*. She’s getting a little annoying that way.
    2. I disagree with Hanneke about a net to keep all demonic magic away. It means no more black dogs, and it also doesn’t actually make biblical sense if the Devil can’t “go to and from in the world, and up and down as well.”

  12. Hanneke

    @Pete, the devil isn’t supposed to be able to take people over without their will and choice, or reform the natural world to kill people wholesale and appropriate their souls like the big one did in that city, from what I understand. That goes far beyond offering individual temptation, and people having a choice between doing good or evil, their souls going to heaven or hell.
    Taking away people’s choices like that doesn’t make biblical sense either, I think (though I’m not a religious person and the details tend to make no sense to me), and I really don’t want the ability of such powerful demons to take over to be left active in this world.

    The small holes in between the strands of the net already let the smaller black dog demons through; at the moment it just stops people from being dragged bodily into hell, against their will and choice. It also clearly doesn’t stop the summoning of small (incorporeal) demons, as Miguel still managed that.
    Leaving that option for small demons to be called might satisfy your biblical sense, but how can you then stop them from getting too big and taking over unwilling people?
    At first I thought, if the net could limit the passage of demons to those small enough to fit through the holes, that would help by giving those infected a minimal chance of resisting the worst impulses, as Miguel did with the small one. But the big one was an accumulation of smaller ones, so letting through only small bits at a time doesn’t stop the later recombination.

    And how much biblical choice does a black dog have, born with a demon already tagging along inside them? Or a moon-bound shifter, for that matter. Getting bitten is not a soul-defining choice, nor should getting born be an immediate ticket to hell.
    I’m not sure that the black-dog-demons are from exactly the same demonic dimension as those demons summoned by witchcraft. Maybe they’re from a different but related demonic dimension, and shutting off access from one doesn’t shut off the other. The black dog demons do appear to be more individual, smaller and bound to their person, rather than the recombinable elements of the witchcraft-demons. So maybe the witches’ grimoires opened a pathway to the wrong demonic dimension, one humanity is not supposed to be in contact with / have to deal with, speaking from a religious view: those demons might be more appropriate (i.e. meant by god as temptors and corruptors) for some other hive-mind dimension, and have stepped outside their proper sphere of operations. In that case, shutting off that pathway would be the right thing to do.

    And considering how unusual the Lanning restraint and control is, maybe a lot of black dog parents who aren’t aggressive sadists would be happy if their kids could be reliably born without the demon riding them (their parents were at least as happy with Miguel and Natividad as Alessandro) – and giving aggressive sadists the choice to produce and mold more demon-strong aggressive sadist kids to terrorize others does not seem a very humane choice either (thinking of Amira and her family here…). If all new black dog demons could be given the Aplacando on their transition into the human world that would be better for the future, but if they are still being born into violent families like Amira’s (or the Russian group) that would still be awful, and being born human into that situation maybe worse, with no way to defend themselves.

    In the balance of the world, the black dogs are needed to deal with the vampires. I bet tgere are some left, in hiding, that would (slowly) resurge to enslave humanity again if the black dogs died out within a generation or so. Though if the interdimensional access is closed, the black dog demons stuck on earth may become available to new black dog babies when their host dies.

    One more part to the tangle; the government now knows about black dogs, their resistance to vampire miasma, and a lot of their strengths and weaknesses. They won’t let that possible advantage and threat go. They’ll either try to take control, possibly kidnapping unaffiliated black dogs or putting their kids in government “boarding schools” to “raise them right” (i.e. with obedience to their human military masters). Giving Dimilioc dominion over all the black dogs in North America only solves this locally, as Dimilioc is not strong or large enough to fulfill this rôle worldwide; and what one government knows soon a lot more will.

    I don’t know the best solution, but leaving things the way they are is not acceptable as a positive solution.

  13. Pete Mack

    H-
    I assumed that the Copper mountain scene was inspired by Revelations. And at least one devil rides a red horse.

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