Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Progress!

So, lately, with THE WHITE ROAD OF THE MOON, I’ve been writing 2000 words per day and deleting about 1000, or writing 3000 and deleting about 2000. It’s all very tedious and annoying and I’m not super-keen on the manuscript anyway. It seems too episodic, not pulled together as tightly as it should be, and I’m not happy with the characterization of the secondary characters, either.

I just mention this because it is all normal. I usually feel like this and generally I like the story a good deal better when I re-read in preparation for the first major revision. Deepening characterization is always necessary; I never have written a book where I thought I’d done that well enough the first time through. It’s usual for me to need to put in more foreshadowing and suddenly, right at the end, see how to tie various plot elements together better. And so on.\

Still, before tackling revision, after reading through the story from top to bottom, I normally do see the manuscript is better, in important ways, than I thought it was at the time I was writing it. I trust that will happen this time, too.

Anyway! I passed the 300 pp mark this past weekend. So, yes, that does count as progress. That’s about, I’m not sure, 95,000 words, say. I am positive this one is going to go long and need to be cut back, but I think I am heading toward the endgame at this point and I hope the rest of the story will shape itself up about now and start to flow downhill.

Progress: basically on track, expecting to finish this draft approximately the first week of August.

Distraction level: normal, not particularly distracted by life right now.

Procrastination level: high, but there’s only so many games of mahjong you can play before dying of boredom and switching to useful work. That’s why I don’t have or want any actually interesting games on my computer. And hopefully THE WHITE ROAD will start to flow well shortly and I will be less inclined to procrastinate.

Number of novels stacking up on my TBR pile: seems infinite

Nonfiction books I’m reading right now: I’m rotating among Keegan’s THE FACE OF BATTLE, Oliver Sacks’ THE MIND’S EYE and the Larousse Gastronomique set of cookbooks.

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Blog / News / The Best Cookies In The World

Busy busy. Also, cookies!

I’ve had a pretty busy couple of days, though honestly they’ve been the kind of day where you seem to be doing stuff all the time and yet at the end of the day you haven’t got much to show for it. I suppose we all have days like that.

Anyway! Today I wasted an hour and a half driving to a dog show. And an hour and a half back. I was so peeved, because Honey needs just one (1) point to finish her championship, and there were only two bitches entered, so it was a one point show and she just had to beat this one other bitch. And then the other bitch didn’t show up! Aargh!

I’m going back tomorrow, though. Because there are two dogs, so one of them will get a point. If Honey beats the Winners Dog and gets Best of Winners, she would get his point. This is called a crossover point. It’s rather unusual for a young bitch to beat a mature male, but I think it could conceivably happen this time. Neither of the dogs at this show is particularly great. One has no coat to speak of — I can’t think what can have happened to give a male Cavalier such a short coat, he might as well be a Welsh Springer, seriously — and he also has a rather plodding manner in the ring; the other has a nice head and decent body and a showy attitude, but only a snippet of white instead of a full blaze and (more important to me) a very visible movement fault. Now, Honey has white showing in one eye (in Cavaliers, the sclera is supposed to be pigmented, so that’s a cosmetic fault on a par with lacking a full blaze) and, of course, she is still rather puppyish in both head and body. But she has great movement and a charming, lively attitude. So it will all depend on what the judge prioritizes. A head judge will probably put the no-blaze male up, but a movement/structure judge should go for Honey. Or a fault judge, the kind of judge who just puts up whatever dog has the fewest obvious faults regardless of his actual quality, might say “No blaze! White eye!” and put up the plodder. I don’t know about this judge, so I’ll have to show to her to find out what she likes. I will certainly be taking notes about what she does.

Anyway, I really did not feel like working on my current WIP today. Technically I should be revising MOUNTAIN for Navah at Saga Press. And I will! Before Christmas if I am fairly on the ball, or by the middle of January at worst, I should think. But not tonight. Tonight I made cookies, because, you know, priorities.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this recipe before, and it’s a favorite for both me and my mother, so you may want to try it:

CHOCOLATE ALMOND COOKIES

1 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp almond extract, which I realize as I type this, I forgot the almond extract. Well, the cookies are fine anyway. I just ate a couple to make sure. It’s a tough job, taste-testing cookies, but I’m willing to take one for the team. Anyway:
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 C baking cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 C mini chocolate chips
1 C finely chopped almonds

Additional sugar or demerara sugar

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine the dry ingredients and stir in. Stir in the mini chocolate chips and chopped almonds. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill an hour or until you get around to baking the cookies. Divide the dough into fourths. Divide into fourths again. Do that once more and you will have 64 little balls of dough. Roll each into a smooth marble and then roll in the sugar or demerara sugar (if you want a slightly fancier cookie and more crunch). Flatten cookies gently with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes. Try not to overbake, but you don’t have to tell me about what a nuisance chocolate cookies can be. Try touching one gently at 6 minutes and seeing if it seems to be mostly set, and if it does, take that tray out. You may want to bake and cool one tray of cookies first and eat a cookie to see how they turned out, then adjust the timing.

Anyway, these are great, even if you aren’t ordinarily super fond of almonds.

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