Monday, September 23, 2013

Fabulous Fruit Salad

What am I reading now?  Ship Breaker (Paolo Bacigalupi)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? The first few lines of this novel are do intriguing. "Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free. Ancient asbestos fibers and mouse grit puffed up around hi as the wire tore loose."
I immediately had questions:
•Who is he?
•Why is he in a service duct?
•When is this if asbestos is ancient?

This post-apocalyptic novel takes place after the environmental ruin of our civilization. Nailer, the main character, works to salvage derelict oil takers. He faces a moral dilemma; salvage a new ship or save the only survivor aboard.

Fruit Salad

Okay, it doesn't take a recipe to make a fruit salad. Choose the fruits you like, cut them in to bite-sized pieces, as needed, and toss them altogether. Voila', fruit salad.

But it's the topping that makes this one special.
Sift together 3/4 c sugar, pinch of salt, 1 rounded tablespoon of flour. 
Stir in 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 c. grape or raspberry-cranberry or pineapple juice (or some other juice you like). 

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and very foamy. Cool completely. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream and fold into cooled custard.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Payoff for Writing

What am I reading now?  Crown of Midnight (Sarah Maas, book #2 in Throne of Glass)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Celeana might be the king's champion, his personal assassin, but that doesn't mean she agrees with him or is even loyal to him. If he knew that though, she would be killed, so she takes his commands. When his next hit makes her confront her past, and possibly the only person who accepted her, she has to decide whether to obey or pay for her disloyalty with her own life and sacrifice her new friends.

Thought for the Day:
While online with some writing friends, I made this comment:

What's your payoff for the dull parts of the writing process?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Spy for a Spy Cover Reveal!

Spy for a Spy, the sequel to I, Spy, will be released November 12, 2013 (11-12-13!)

Already know you want to read it? Add Spy for a Spy on Goodreads.

Today, we’re especially excited to reveal the cover! But first, a little more about the book.

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. And it was the last place CIA operative Talia Reynolds expected to run into fellow operative Brand Copley. AKA her new boss. AKA her ex-boyfriend.

Just the guy every woman wants to face in the middle of planning her wedding. Once again, Talia’s lying to the man she loves, but this time, to protect his heart.

After Brand takes over Talia’s latest case and steals her newest agent, he assigns her to spy on her old boss—who’s suddenly giving her every reason not to trust him. With only weeks until the big day, planning falls by the wayside as she goes into damage control mode. But when Talia discovers Brand’s real motives, fighting him is the only option, no matter what the personal and professional cost.

And now for the cover!

More about Spy for a Spy | Add Spy for a Spy to Goodreads!
Join Jordan’s mailing list for sneak peeks & a chance to get an advance review copy!

Advance praise

Spy for a Spy is the perfect followup to McCollum’s exciting debut, I, Spy. With more tension, more romance and higher stakes than ever, Talia’s story won’t let you go until you’ve come to the heart-stopping, surprising conclusion. Such a fun read!

Emily Gray Clawson, author of A Way Back to You

 

 

Jordan McCollum’s talent for first person present tense narrative puts the reader in the driver’s seat for heart-pounding action in Spy for a Spy. . . . Talia is back along with her fiancé Danny, and many of the same great characters from I, Spy. We also meet a man from Talia’s past, a high ranking CIA operative with secrets that threaten the U.S. . . . This novel is a perfect blend of danger, intrigue, romance and even a little of the LDS religon. It is a great read the whole way through.

— Becki Clayson

 

Spy for a Spy is a story threaded with an unforgettable main character, high stakes espionage, and a case of wedding jitters that would try the patience of any groom. McCollum deftly keeps us on a tightrope of page-turning suspense balanced with witty romance that will not let you down. A great follow-up to I, Spy, and one you don't want to miss!

Julie Coulter Bellon, author of Ashes Ashes

 

About the author

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Follow Jordan on Twitter, like Jordan on Facebook and add Spy for a Spy on Goodreads today!

Check out Jordan’s blog tomorrow for your first chance to get a sneak preview!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Title Gymnastics

What am I reading now? Rising (Holly Kelly)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Xanthus, a powerful Dagonian (similar to Mermen) soldier, is sent to the human world to stop the humans from poisoning the oceans and killing thousands of Dagonians. While investigating the humans responsible, he notices Sara. To everyone else she is an introverted, paraplegic human, but to him she's a criminal, an abomination, who he must kill.

Fun, creative story. This is a clean read full of action and plot-twists. Doesn't need a second book, but if it has one I'll buy it. :)

Title Gymnastics

Deanna and I need to title a book, but everything we've tried falls a little flat of our expectation. The books was originally titled "Book" then it became "Delia's Story". And seriously with any attempt on our part, it could only get better from those two titles. So I've been pouring through my library and through Goodreads looking at titles, thinking about why those were chosen and how that might apply to our story.

Nancy Kress (Writer's Digest article in 1994) suggested using grammatical structures for ideas for titles. Here are some grammatical structures and a title example of each. Then we tried it on for our own story.

•Possessive-Noun: Sean Griswold's Head; Delia's Lives

•Article-Noun: The Help; The Seance

•Adjective-Noun: Shadow Kiss; Fractured Time

•Article-Adjective-Adjective-Noun: The Romantic Young Lady; The Poor Rich Debutante

•Article-Adjective-Noun: The Torn Wing; The Damaged Debutante

•(Article)-Noun of Noun: City of Bones; Fact of Lives

•Noun for Noun: A Rose for Emily; Bargain for Delia

•Noun with Noun: The Girl with the Iron Touch; The Girl with Two Souls

•Prepositional Phrase: Beneath A Marble Sky; Within Two Worlds

•Verb-Prepositionsal Phrase: Taken by Storm; Sold to the Highest Bidder

•Noun and Noun: Friends and Foes; Fear and Happiness

•(Article) Noun-Prepositional Phrase: Tuesdays at the Castle; Memories in New York

•Infinitive Phrase: To Kill A Mockingbird; To Live by Choice

•Adverbial Phrase: When You Reach Me; How to Stay

•The Noun Who: The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window; The Girl Who had Two Lives

•A Command: Die for Me; Choose

•If-Clause: If I Stay; If I Die Young

Okay, this was hard! (And some of these are horrible!) But it forced us to think outside the normal titles we were considering. I've underlined some of the titles that might work for the story.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Text-to-Speech

What am I reading now?  Feudlings (Wendy Knight, Fate on Fire #1)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Ari has a choice to make--fight a war for the survival of her family or don't fight to save her brother and her friends. Caught in a war and a prophesy that determines their futures, Ari and Shane are supposed to kill each other to stop the war not fall in love. Both are the most powerful sorcerers each side has had in 300 years.

This is a fun story that is easy to recommend to everyone! (p.s. The second book comes out today!)

Text-to-Speech on a Mac
A friend of mine, Donna Weaver, posted how she uses her computer to check her manuscript for missing words or typos using the text-to-speech option. I used it this week on an old story that I've recently reworking and found a lot of places where I can improve the text.

Caught missing words: sometimes it should have had "the" or "a" that I'd left out while typing and on each rereading of the text I must have just read it as if it were there because I didn't catch it until the computer voice read the sentence as typed and I could hear it missing!

Identified missing punctuation: It pauses for punctuation and hard returns, so when the voice doesn't pause where I expect it to I can hear where there is missing punctuation (mine were mostly commas.)

To activate voice-to-speech on a Mac
--Click on the apple
--Choose system preferences
--In the "System" row, click on "Dictation & Speech" (microphone icon)
--Select the "Text to Speech" tab
--Select a voice preference and speed.
--I also checked the third box "speak selected text when key is pressed" Then I set it up for "Option Z"

Now I just have to highlight a section of my manuscript and press those keys for it to start reading the text to me. Be prepared for the voice to have weird inflection, and it can make an exciting scene dull and dry, but for the purposes I used it above, it worked great.

I'll definitely add text-to-speech to my editing checklist from now on.