That’s right, after dozens of rewrites, hundreds of revisions, and lost sleep over stray commas, it’s finally here.
My YA novel, These Great Affects, comes out one week from today. It’s the story of a girl who meets a guy and falls in love with him . . . after he dies. Early reviews have been positive (I’ll post them on Facebook), so I hope it remains that way with all of you.
It’s a big day for Endever, being our first book release. I fully hope that you all will come around to buy it on Amazon. I want to throw out there too, that it opens up with a short story by the talented Ryan Morris, marking his publishing debut.
And that’s not all. One week after that, on October 27, we’ll be releasing our second novel, A Deathly Compromise, by Coral Rivera. It’s the story of Dee, an angel of death who solicits a Portland hospital for patients who are ready to leave this world. You’re seriously going to be in for a treat with this one!
Read below for an excerpt from These Great Affects.
Another long un-awkward silence drifts by and Trill asks, “What are you thinking?”
“What?” Adelle asks. She swallows hard. She doesn’t know how to answer. Here sits the great and immortal Trill Vikus—in her room—and he wants to catch a glimpse of what’s going on inside her head.
But what is there to tell? What is she thinking? She’s given up trying to figure out why he’s still here, and at the moment she’s thinking a hundred different things, and yet nothing all at once. It’s like her thoughts are a carousel spinning wildly out of control—they’re a blur and she can’t stop the spinning to articulate just one thought. Adelle tells him the only thing she can think to say. “I don’t know.”
“Come on,” says Trill. “Try me. Give me a good Affect.”
She’s thinking about how hard it was letting go of him and she’s both angry and happy that he’s back in her life. But she wonders for how long. It’s a question she hates to ask because it suggests the end of something good. The end of the one good thing in her life.
“I’m thinking about last goodbyes,” Adelle finally says.
It’s such a weird thought that she expects Trill to scoff. But instead he says, “Which kinds? Like ‘see you later’s’ or permanent goodbyes?”
“Like deathbed goodbyes,” she says. “Hospice kind of goodbyes. The ones you know are the last ones.”
“Right. Or if you’re in a cult and you’re all about to kill yourselves,” Trill suggests.
“That’s morbid,” she says, suppressing a smile at his weirdness. “Or what about if you’re an astronaut and you’re losing oxygen and you’ve got only ten minutes to talk to your family via video transmission.”
Trill guffaws and says, “Did you really just use the word ‘via’?”
Adelle laughs along with him, realizing that “via” is a word much better read than said. It’s the sort of laugh that is generally reserved between close friends.
When they begin to calm their laughter a little, Trill asks, “Say you’re that astronaut losing oxygen and you’re talking to your family via video transmission. These would be like, not only the last words you’d say to your family, but the last words you’d say ever. In other words, you’re not extracting your own Affect but you’re leaving one behind for someone else. What would you say?”
“I don’t know,” Adelle admits solemnly, trying to take the question as seriously as he asked it.
“No, really. This is your greatest Affect you’ll be leaving for your family. These words are the epitome of your very existence. These are the words you will be remembered for saying long after you’re gone. These words will be read on major blogs all across the world and plaster the cover of every magazine from Health and Beauty to Playboy.”
“Okay,” Adelle says, sitting up from her bed now, accepting the challenge. “I’m about to die. My greatest Affect. I guess I’d say, ‘Mom, Dad . . . ’”
“No, no,” Trill interrupts, shaking his head. “Pretend it’s your kids and your husband. It’s more dramatic that way.”
Playing along, Adelle clears her throat and says, “My kids and my husband. Okay. ‘Timmy . . . Verdell . . . Mr. Hitchens,’” Trill loses it completely and it takes all of Adelle’s nonexistent stage talent to keep a straight face. Somehow she’s able to, and she continues, “‘I’m about to die now. But even though you won’t have a mommy anymore, just remember . . . I will always love you.'”
“Seriously?” asks Trill. “That’s what you’d spend your last ten minutes saying to your family? I mean, you’ve got ten whole minutes! Are you just going to stare at each other the rest of the time?”
“What’s wrong with that?” Adelle says, “Everyone says that before they die.”
“Exactly! Why do you want to sound like everyone else? Your kids are going to grow up wondering if those were their mommy’s last words or Bruce Willis’. The point is, say something that they’ll remember—something that comes from you and only you. Try again.”
Feeling motivated, Adelle sits up straighter, takes a deep breath, and says, “Kids . . . Husband . . . I love you. Very much?” she adds.
Trill shakes his head and puts his hands together in a slow-motion applause with a full two seconds between claps. “Beautiful. Just. Beautiful. That’ll be engrained on my heart forever . . . very much.”
“Shut up,” Adelle says, throwing a pillow at him. If she could shove him, she would. “What sort of wise and heart-wrenching prose would you share?”
“Well,” says Trill, sitting up now too, “seeing that I’m not likely to get married or have kids, and you’re the closest to a wife I had, I’ll just say it to you.”
The rising sun is striving to peek through the white curtains and illuminates his face, which is the most serious she’s ever seen him. Trill clears his throat. “Adelle Hitchens. Though I may have only minutes to live, I want you to know that every move you make, every breath you take, I will always be with you.”
Adelle realizes she has been holding her breath in case he says something that will threaten to take it away. When it’s clear he isn’t going to continue, she raises her eyebrows and leans forward. “That’s it?” she asks. “Mine was better than that, and a lot less creepy.”
“I didn’t say I had anything better,” says Trill, spreading his hands. “That kind of thing takes a lifetime to come up with.”
“I mean, ‘I will always be with you’?” she says in mock offense. “How cliché. And besides, what does that even mean? Like, I can’t do anything in private? Ever? Because you’ll always be with me?”
“You’ll just have to go your whole life wondering,” says Trill, with a sexy sly smile playing at his lips.
“That’s like saying, ‘When a breeze blows across your face, that’s my breath on your cheek.’ That’s so gross. And creepy!”
“Or what about, ‘When the grass tickles your bare feet, those are my fingers reaching up at you.’”
Adelle snorts and adds, “Or how about, ‘When you’re in the shower and the water is running down your body, that’s—’” she can’t finish because both she and Trill give into another fit of laughter.
“So we’re agreed then,” Trill manages through breaths, “that when we say our last goodbye, we won’t be A) cliché or B) creepy and disgusting.”
“Deal,” Adelle says, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I’m glad we’ve got that covered, otherwise we would have been severely disappointed with one another.”
It’s an odd conversation to have with someone who didn’t get their last goodbye in, but as they sit there laughing with each other, it’s easy to forget that Trill Vikus already did have his last words on this earth.