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LEXICAL GAP Issue No. 4

Adulting at my own pace.

Good Lord. I can't believe it's May already. At the same time, I can't believe it's only May. Time is weird in publishing; your mind is a year ahead, even as your body remains in the present. This creates a strange paradox where you feel as though you are constantly catching up to time, even though you're actually ahead of it. 

I spent a lot of April working on copyedits for Wintersong (which I'll discuss more in depth below), I've also taken it easy. I finally set up some bookshelves in my office after two years and am slowly starting to move my books from the Closet of Shame. My office bookshelves are for my young adult and middle grade books; the bookshelves downstairs are filled with "grown-up books" (adult science-fiction/fantasy, comic books, etc.—this is what passes for "adult" in our house).

You'd think that at 30, I'd have my life more together than this. Ah, well.

When Bear and I first started dating, he turned me into a Build-a-Bear, so naturally I returned the favor. (I think we both nailed it.) Now our bear selves sit in my office along with a "bear" version of White-Harp. (Yes, White-Harp gets one too.)

Wintersong is available for pre-order!


Welp, it looks like my book is up for pre-order at Amazon! Of course I advocate y'all buying books at the establishment of your choice, but it appears as though retailers are slowly getting their buy links up.

Except Barnes & Noble. Why no love yet, BN?

Lexical Gap: Tsundoku


This month we are veering away from German and into Japanese. May's word is tsundoku, or "the buying of books and letting them pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands." I am EXTREMELY well-acquainted with the concept of tsundoku. (See above for the link to the Closet of Shame.)

In this issue:


1. LEXICAL GAP: Tsundoku
2. BEHIND THE SCENES OF WINTERSONG:
From Adult to Teen
3. RECIPE: Salmon with Lemon-Shallot Sauce with Roasted Radishes and Sauteed Greens
4. GIVEAWAY WINNER
4. FURTHER READING
5. PREVIOUS ISSUES

BEHIND THE SCENES OF WINTERSONG

Illustration by Yoshitaka Amano. Image taken from Neil Gaiman's short story "The Return of the Thin White Duke," which is his unabashed David Bowie fanfic.

Going from adult to teen...


In contrast to my stumbling toward adulthood, Wintersong has undergone the opposite process. So, what EXACTLY did that entail?

*cough* 

So my joke pitch for Wintersong was 50 Shades of Labyrinth. However, it wasn't entirely a joke, for while my book isn't erotica, it had erotic content. Explicit erotic content of the possibly slightly kinky variety.

Yeah.

Now, while YA can have sexual content (and explicit sexual content at that), the way it's written and portrayed differs from adult in a number of ways. If we think about books having the same rating system as movies, sex in YA would fall more along the PG-13 spectrum, whereas sex in adult can go from PG-13 to X. When Wintersong was acquired, the sexual content was a very hard R. Very hard.*

Now, I'm all for positive portrayals of sex in young adult literature; after all, I read romance novels and explicit fanfiction as a teen. I found sex in fictional spaces a safe place to explore my sexuality without actually having to go out and experience it. I didn't want to deprive my readers of that, and my editor agreed that the sex scenes were integral to Liesl's growth. So then, how to keep the sex on the page while making it appropriate for the teen market?

It involved a lot of pruning, as it turned out, as well as some slight tweaking of the emotional context. We were ruthless with the red pen, cutting away every extraneous word that wasn't focused on Liesl's emotions. It involved finesse and a couple of rounds back and forth before my editor and I found a balance we (and the sales and marketing folks) were happy with.

Now I'm extremely pleased and proud of the final version of Wintersong. The core of the story (and indeed, 99% of the words) remains unchanged. It is still a coming-of-age story. It is still the story of a young woman who goes Underground to save her sister, only to find herself instead.

* No pun intended.
However, for those of you who are interested, I intend to make the original "adult" versions of the scenes available after publication. I will likely send them out to a select list, to those who have opted-in. (I do ask that you exercise discretion in putting yourself on that list: if you are a young teen, make sure both you and your parents are comfortable with this.)

If this sounds like something you would like, then sign up here. If you don't want to participate, then go ahead and like my Facebook page. There will be plenty of other opportunities for exclusive content!

RECIPE: Salmon with Lemon-Shallot Sauce with Roasted Radishes & Sauteed Greens

 

It's spring and I've been in the mood for radishes. There's something about their earthy, slightly tangy flavor that says "spring" to me, so I've been putting them in my salads,* but have also decided to try using them in different ways, including roasting.

I've seen roasted radish recipes floating around the internet and I was intrigued. I was unsure of how they'd turn out, plus I wasn't sure what I was going to pair them with. In the end I went very boring; I eat a lot of fish, so I went with what was easy and decided to use what I had on hand: namely, salmon. 

When I went grocery shopping before this, I spied shallots and thought about buying them, but then disregarded the thought because I didn't know how I wanted to use them. Of course, when I got home, I kicked myself because I decided to make a lemon-butter-shallot sauce to dress the fish with and I had to go back out and get them. Oh well. Never let it said I plan very well. #pantserproblems

The roasted radishes were DELICIOUS, by the way. Roasting mellows the flavor, and texture-wise, they're tender and juicy with just a hint of crispness.

I'm notoriously terrible with recipes, instructions, or even teaching of any sort because I operate by the philosophy of "It just seems right!" But I'll try my best to recreate my measurements for you below.

*Incidentally, I would recommend a salad of arugula, radish greens, kale, red cabbage, heirloom tomatoes, sliced radishes, avocado, and hard-boiled egg, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. I've been eating this a lot after the gym: it's got great texture, and the mix of bitter greens and sweet tomatoes and earthy radishes softened by buttery avocado just makes this work for me.
 

Ingredients

PREP: 10 minutes (mostly chopping)
COOK: 20 minutes
SERVES: 2

2 4oz salmon fillets
2 bunches of radishes
3 tbsp butter
1 medium shallot (minced)
1 small lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Wash and trim radishes. Save the greens! We'll be using the greens in this recipe.

3. Halve the radishes and put into a mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil, toss in some salt and pepper, and coat the radishes thoroughly. Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Roast for about 8-10 minutes.

4. While the radishes are roasting, skin the salmon and salt and pepper the fillets. Heat some oil in a pan and sear the fish for a few minutes, then lower the heat.

5. Once the radishes have finished roasting, lower the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees. Stick the fish in the oven, pan and all. (The pan should be fine in low heat like this.) The radishes can stay in the oven too to keep warm. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.


6. While the fish is baking, quickly sauté your radish greens with some butter or olive oil. Set on plate as a bed for the fish.

7. Then melt the butter set aside for the sauce in medium high heat, stirring to avoid burning. Add shallots. Keep whisking!

8. Once the shallots have turned translucent, turn down the heat to medium-low. Squeeze lemon juice and keep stirring (or if you have a grater, you can grate some lemon zest into the sauce before adding the juice). Let butter sauce thicken and brown a little.

9. Once fish is finished, place on the bed of radish greens. Add the roasted radishes, and drizzle the sauce over the dish. Voila! Dinner.

April Giveaway Winner!


This month two gorgeous books by two of my gorgeous friends released on the same day! I have signed copies to giveaway as a thank you to my (US) subscribers. And this month's winner is...
 

vintage.latte@gmail.com!


Please email me your address so I can send you your signed copies of The Star-Touched Queen and The Rose & the Dagger!

Further Reading

Previous Issues of Lexical Gap

My name is S. Jae-Jones, but JJ, if you please. I'm an artist, adrenaline junkie, and author Wintersong, forthcoming from Thomas Dunne in Winter 2017. 

Mailing Address
Uncreated Conscience
c/o Jill Grinberg Literary Management
392 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

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