Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Jordan McCollum

Name: Jordan McCollum
Email: jordan at jordanmccollum dot com
Title: FAÇADE--Thriller

Pitch: To protect the world's tenuous peace after WWII, a dyed-in-the-wool Soviet must choose between love and loyalty.

First 250:
As a Soviet living in Paris, and a woman, I had multiple fronts to defend. But the most devastating attack would come from a quarter I'd never anticipated. I would remember everything except the blast.

Though my father must have considered how accepting a favor from the Americans would affect the treaty negotiations, he'd done the political calculus and apparently this was his answer. I couldn't muster the same confidence, nor could I stop worrying my ring's rounded edge as I followed Papa across the broad court to the waiting maroon Packard.

For now, I had to help my father maintain the political balance for the duration of the ride as best we could. None of us could afford another war.

I stopped my restless hands and stepped into the Packard. The two Americans in the backseat nodded at me. The Secretary of State touched his gray homburg's brim. I settled onto the collapsible seat in front of him, but even the familiar, faint scent of cigarette smoke and leather couldn't make me comfortable.

"His Excellency James Byrnes," my father introduced the silver-haired man.

The slight American held up a hand. "Titles aren't necessary." He certainly didn't look like a capitalist, but then, they never did.

My father set his briefcase with the others at my feet and climbed into the seat by me. "My daughter, Yekaterina Korneyevna Mikhailova," he continued in his slight accent. "Our cultural attaché."

"Mikhailov," the fat American next to Byrnes addressed my father. "Who'd've thought? [. . .]"


  1. I'm really out of my depth here as I write YA, but hey, I've read Tom Clancy, so let me give this a try.

    First, though I'm pretty weak when it comes to Cold War history, from what I can tell, you've done your homework, which is great.

    But the opening few paragraphs don't pull me in the way they should. This is just my personal opinion, but the opening which foreshadows what's to come puts too much distance between the reader and the main character.

    I also have a hard time following the action and understanding what's at stake. It's a tough line to walk. You don't want to overload readers with history, but you need enough information to give a sense of place and person. I'm going to assume most readers don't know the details of the Paris Peace Conference, so you need to ease us into it gently, help us understand what these negotiations are about and why they're important to the MC and her story.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh, one other thing, you mention the MC's father has a slight accent. She probably wouldn't notice it. She would notice the Americans' accents though.