These Great Affects (Teen Book), Chapter 2 Continued

Most love stories are about two people who are completely different from one another. How different can you get than one being alive and the other being…well, not?…

Click here for Chapter 1

Click here for Chapter 2.1

Selected pieces from Chapter 2 continued…

I couldn’t stop myself. I swiped at the phone he was still holding up and knocked it onto the wet grass, now lost in the falling current. I began to storm off a second time but stopped when he threw another punch my way. “So first you ruin my car, then you try to break my phone. What are you, determined to completely destroy me?”

“ I’m not the one who tried to run you over with my car!” I yelled, my temper getting the better of me now. “In fact, speaking of phones…”—I dug into my wet jeans pocket for my own—“I’m calling the cops. You should never be allowed to drive again.”

I began swiping at the screen on my phone so I could dial 9-1-1, but it wasn’t coming on. It was drenched, so obviously broken. When I looked up in frustration, the guy was already digging around the flooded grass for his phone. It only took him a moment to find it and pull it out of the water.

“Here. Use mine,” he said, handing the sopping devise to me. “It’s waterproofed. Password is Elle Fanning, one word, no spaces.”

I glared hard at him before snatching it out of his hand, which I think almost made him laugh. “Elle Fanning, huh?”

“Oh, yeah. Big crush. It’s hopeless. But if you’re going to call the cops, you might want to step out of the water. I doubt they’ll be able to hear you if you’re standing right in it.” He grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the torrential downpour.

At that moment I was struck by two simultaneous thoughts pulling me in two different directions. One was, What a hopeless jerk. And the other was, This guy is kind of cute. I was appalled at my own shallowness, but I gave in anyway. I stretched my arm out, offering his phone back.

“Why don’t you hold on to that for me for a while,” he insisted. “Your phone’s dead, so I’ll let you borrow mine.”

“I’ll get mine fixed, eventually,” I said, hating that the edge was dulling in my voice. “Besides, you need to call your parents so they can pick you up.”

“You think I’m in a hurry to tell them about this?” he waved his hand in the air as if shooing a fly. “I’ll be taking my time walking home so I can put together a well-rehearsed confession.”

“You’d rather tell them in person?” I asked, surprised.

“Why not? If I tell them over the phone, it’ll take away from the Affect.”

“The affect?” I asked, a little intrigued.

“Yeah. The Affect. That’s what I call the moments that you can capitalize on for future use to affect certain emotions. Sure, it’s gonna suck when I tell my parents that I crashed my car, but years from now, when I tell my kids about today, which I inevitably will because, let’s face it, this day will be pretty hard to forget. So when I tell about today, I want to be able to describe the looks on my parent’s faces. That’s the effect you can’t get over the phone; that’s the Affect that will make the story worth telling.”

“Wow.” I literally did not know how to follow up with that. “That’s gutsy.”

“Gotta do it for the kids,” he said with a smile that kind of affected my breathing.

“I do think your kids’ll be pretty impressed about the totaled car and the flooded street.”

“That’s certainly a good aside, but I was thinking the big Affect could be meeting their mother and talking to her in the falling sewer water.” I think by that point the mascara had leaked down far enough to reach my mouth because I think I choked on some. Thankfully the guy saved me from having to respond. “Anyway, I better get home so I can keep my story going to tell our kids. You’ve got my number. Gimme a call sometime.”

“Wait,” I managed, as he began to walk away, my voice more hoarse than it had ever been. “I have your phone, how would I call you?”

He held out my phone. He must have somehow gotten it from me while he was wooing me and I was being too taken to notice. “I’m gonna get this fixed for you. I expect to get a text or something from you. You know your number.”

He walked away toward his house and I didn’t bother to stop him this time except to say, “Mock bird 60. No spaces.” He raised my phone as though in salute and smiled, then continued on his way.

And that’s how I met my first love who would not live long enough to tell our story to anyone.

Be sure to join my new Facebook author page for more fun stuff!

More From These Great Affects (Teen Book), Chapter 2

I promised I’d share some passages of my upcoming teen book, These Great Affects, for every ten people who join my Facebook author page. So without further adieu, here’s 500 words from Chapter 2. Click here for Chapter 1. 

Most love stories are about two people who are completely different from one another. How different can you get than one being alive and the other being…well, not?…

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Pieces From Chapter 2

The tires didn’t screech, no one yelled, and there was no horn blown to turn me around. The only reason I did turn around was because it sounded like the car was no longer on the street. When I looked it seemed as though my entire line of vision was filled with the grill of a Ford.

There I was, toeing the line that divided life from death, or life from a seriously-damaged-and-immobile life. But as the Ford came speeding toward me it never made contact.

Nothing went black; there was no pain—my body, in fact, did not crumble. Instead, the grill of the car disappeared behind a thick veil of mist, which instantly matted my face with cool water and my ears were filled with a deafening, static-y noise.

“You’re good, right?” came a voice from somewhere on the other side of the misty wall. “You’re not dead, are you? If so, my parents’ll kill me.”

As I was trying to reinsert myself into the present, the voice suddenly had a body as he walked around the gushing water. He was soaking wet and totally excitable. “Oh, man!” he yelled, surveying the damage to his car and gawking at the upended fire hydrant that had apparently saved my life. “Oh, man!”

Even though it was him who should have been asking me, I asked anyway: “Are you…all right?”

“Did you see that?” he asked, turning to me, disregarding my question.

“Um. I kinda had a front-row seat,” I answered, wanting nothing more than to just walk away right then. I started to, actually, but then I couldn’t help myself, so I turned around and walked closer to the guy who almost killed me and I said, “You’re a jerk, you know that?”

I’m not sure if he heard me or not, because he just kept yelling about the snafued fire hydrant and his smashed car. “You should be asking me if I’m okay. You can’t just go around almost killing people and then not apologize for it. And you certainly shouldn’t be ignoring the person you almost killed!” By this time the guy had his phone out taking pictures of the accident. “What’s your problem!” I yelled, outraged by this blatant sign of apathy. But he still didn’t acknowledge me accept to hold his finger to his lips to silence me. The nerve!

“You’re recording the broken fire hydrant?” I asked. “What do you think, it’s just going to grow arms and legs and do a little jig for you?” Feeling coy, I did a mock Russian dance for him, hoping to get his attention.

Drenched as I was, I moved my little Russian folk dance in between his camera and the fire hydrant. From what I could tell from his soaking wet face, this at least got his attention. I’m not sure how to describe it, actually, but he sort of stopped grinning like an idiot, then he just sort of, I don’t know, gawked.

“That running mascara kind of ruins it all,” he said. “You’d probably be a lot hotter without all that goop running down your face.” I wanted to ask him how much my dad paid him to say that since he was always getting on me about wearing too much makeup. But no one had called me hot before, so I kind of fixated on that long enough for the guy to add, “But honestly, you look like your eyes are pooping, so it’s hard to take you seriously.”

Remember, for every ten followers I get on my Facebook author page, I’ll reveal more..

Why Fiction?

ReadingNovels

Last month I made an unusual New Year’s resolution for someone as widely-read as myself: It was to read less. It’s been a challenge limiting my book intake in order to focus on my writing.

So in honor of my resolution to spend less time reading, I have to be even more selective of the books I do read than I ever have been before.

I’m having to put aside my beloved history and biography books for a while to focus on fiction to help shape my own writing, but in the realm of fiction, there’s still so much to choose from.

Here’s a list of reasons fiction is good for not just writers such as myself, but for everyone.

1) Fiction can help shape or break a worldview

Oftentimes an author will write about a certain topic because they’re passionate about it. And more often than not, that topic will be explored from every angle from a singular point of view. For instance, if you read the book Unwind by Shusterman, it may cause you to realize the horrors of abortion. The Jungle by Sinclair has been known to convince many people to become vegetarians.

2) Fiction can help you understand or acknowledge certain worldviews 

There are many belief-systems out there – hundreds that we’re not even aware of, and authors tend to be the leading voices for these hidden beliefs. We ought to know about the world we inhabit so that we can engage in intelligent, thoughtful conversations with those around us who subscribe to the surrounding belief-systems.

3) Fiction can spark your imagination

This one seems obvious. But what is the first thing you thought of when you saw a book with the cover of a boy and a tiger in a lifeboat in the middle of the sea? My thought, as an author myself, was, Why didn’t I think of that! Just look at what The Lord of the Rings did for the fantasy world, and what Jurassic Park did for sci-fi and mainstream movies in general.

4) Contemporary fiction can help you write to today’s audiences

“I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading,” says writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I think we all do that. When I only read classic literature, I wrote just like it (or tired to, anyway), but much to my detriment (there’s not really an audience for that anymore). So with the help of popular fiction like The Hunger Games, I learned to write with a more popular and modern prose.

Check out an excerpt of my upcoming teen novel These Great Affects, here.  And as a reminder, for every ten people that join my Facebook author page, I’ll reveal more of the book…

These Great Affects: 501 Words From Chapter 1

You delivered. In my last post I promised I’d share an excerpt for every ten new fans I got for my new Facebook page. Keep spreading the word about my upcoming teen book and I’ll keep revealing more excerpts.

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An excerpt from Chapter 1:

I don’t think we were really supposed to meet. I was supposed to have died and he was supposed to have run away—or gone to jail, whichever he decided.

So one Saturday I was at home with Mom and Dad. Mom and I were fighting, which was kind of unusual. My mom was trying to get me to join some extracurricular activity at school, like track or drama or something. Being a hardcore introvert, I wasn’t too hot on the idea of staying at school any longer than I needed to; judging by the classes, school wasn’t doing much to sell their other activities.

“I’m just saying,” my mom was saying, making a mess flipping one of the pancakes in the skillet, “it’d be good for you to do something outside of school or writing.”

“So that’s my extracurricular activity—writing. If others want to join in, they’re more than welcome,” I said. I was warming the syrup up in the microwave and pulling the dishes out of the cupboard.

“So start a writing club on campus,” my mom suggested.

I laughed derisively. “Oh, yeah. That’ll go over real well with all the people that already think I’m a total geek.”

“Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it like the in thing to be a geek now?”

I sighed. “No, Mom. Being a nerd is cool, or even a dork is passable, but being a geek means you’re just a loser. I don’t want my pancake to be that big.”

“But isn’t it cool to be a loser now?” asked my dad, sitting at his Toshiba laptop. I hated these sort of patronizing talks with my parents almost more than anything.

“Mom, seriously. I don’t want that much.”

“You’re too skinny,” she said, turning the burner up. “You can stand to have a little more food than us.” Because clearly she still thought I was an infant who needed fattening up.

Maybe things weren’t like that for her in the fifties when she was in high school, but in today’s world, you can’t afford to just “fatten up.” I mean, sure there’s all sorts of Public Service Announcements and stuff about not bullying, and everyone seems to be on board with all that—except the bullies. Being an introvert was bad enough for my already-fragile self-esteem.

As far as my hardcore introversion goes, I spent most of my time reading Nicholas Sparks novels, writing poetry or short stories in preparation for being the next Harper Lee, and watching episodes of Gossip Girl when my parents weren’t looking.

My mom turned back to me and asked, “So what do you think you’ll sign up for?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Can you at least let it go for like one day?”

“Why is it such a big deal?” she asked, walking her plate to the sink. “Why are you so adamantly against doing anything outside of your comfort zone?”

“Because it’s uncomfortable!” I said. “Besides, it’s the principle of the idea.”

Share this on Facebook and and I’ll reveal more as it develops.

Click here for the synopsis

Join my new Facebook fan page for extras!

A Sneak Peek at My New Teen Book

bookFLYING

So you know when you’re fifteen, you’re at that awkward stage where your parents still think you’re a kid and it seems like they’re prohibiting you from crossing over into adulthood? Or how about how you’re not quite old enough to hang out with sixteen-year-olds because they’re all out driving their cars with other licensed drivers? Well yeah, that was a terrible age. And it was an even worse age for me than other fifteen-year-olds because that was the year I killed my first love. Only, we didn’t fall in love until after that happened.

Meet Adelle Hitchens, the center of my upcoming teen book, These Great Affects. She’s an unambitious writer who is a “hardcore introvert” who watches Gossip Girl behind her parents’ backs. Like most adolescents, she thinks love isn’t for her.

Enter Trill Vikus. Self-obsorbed, handsome, unpredictable, and a terrible driver. He’s obsessed with the band Fun. and is convinced that if Elle Fanning ever met him she’d want to marry him, and he’d accept.

Most love stories are about two people who are completely different from one another. How different can you get than one being alive and the other being…well, not?

For every ten followers my new Facebook page gets, I will share 500 words of These Great Affects until it is complete and ready for publication. Happy sharing!

Click here to read an excerpt from chapter 1

Book Rec: Looking for Calvin and Hobbes

There are very few people who do not have fond memories of reading the morning paper with a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal, and the first thing they flipped to was the funny pages. Not for Peanuts or Garfield, but to read more adventures of a boy and his stuffed tiger.

77122In these strips, you were almost guaranteed a laugh to start your day off. Sometimes you’d be forced to ponder a philosophical topic. Sometimes your heart would break. Sometimes you’d nod your head in agreement or shake your head at Calvin’s silly antics and oddball disputes with his tiger Hobbes.

But who was the man who made millions of people laugh on a daily basis? Every Calvin and Hobbes strip was signed by “Bill Watterson,” and we all owed a debt of gratitude to him, but who was he, and where could he be found?

 

That’s what Nevin Martell asks, and he takes it upon himself to travel wo0Kzthe country in search of the greatest cartoonist our generation (and quite possibly the world) has ever seen.

But don’t worry. Martell is not out to exploit our dear friend, Mr. Watterson. He’s not simply after a juicy topic. His goal, as he states early on in his book, is to show Mr. Watterson how much he’s appreciated and missed, and to reveal the man behind the strip so his readers can have a tangible person to thank for his brilliancy.

In essence, Martell’s book, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes, is a love letter written on our behalf. There’s not a single illustration of the boy and his tiger except for the Calvin’s shoe walking in one direction and Hobbes’ tail cutting off on the other side of the cover. Illustrations in this book would not have been needed because the author captures those strips so perfectly that you can recall those original scenes as clear as day.

Martell does a supberb job at anazlyzing the strip as though he were a serious seminary student bent on dissecting a New King James Bible commentary. On the outset, some might think it kind of embarrassing how much he pored into this strip, viewing it from all angles, analyzing themes and recurring situations, and hypothosizing Watterson’s inspiration for the strip.

Calvin-Hobbes-calvin-and-hobbes-23762778-1280-800But really, it’s not embarrassing at all, because given the chance, we’d all do the same thing. So as fans of the strip, we’re indebted to Martell for doing the hard and tedius work for us.

I’m not going to lie. Some parts of this book made me tear up quite a Looking-for-Calvin-and-Hobbes-PB-Cover_fullbit. Not because the author was unsuccessful in tracking down his subject, or because it turned out that Mr. Watterson never took his seat in the limelight for all to admire and lavish praise upon, but because the author handled to topic with such care and attention that I felt like he truly did understand my own personal love of Calvin and Hobbes. And there were instances where I truly felt like I was back in my wooden fort in my backyard with copies of Calvin and Hobbes collections splayed all around me.

On a more personal note, Calvin and Hobbes had such an impact on me that it, in many ways, inspired my debut novel The Man in the Box. Calvin had such a vivd and wild imagination that my protagonist could have had the same childhood experience as Calvin. (The imagination, as you know, catches up with my protagonist, Robbie Lake, and he’s thrusted back into a more cynical, darker version of his childhood dreamlands. Not to mention all the countless ways Calvin reinvented the box.)

So lovers and fans of Calvin and Hobbes will adore their own personal walks down memory lane as Martell gives us permission, as adults, to have one last playtime with Calvin and his stuffed tiger.

You can read more about Nevin and his work here.

Read my review of the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson here.

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Book Rec: Looking for Calvin and Hobbes

Looking-for-Calvin-and-Hobbes-PB-Cover_full

There are very few people who do not have fond memories of reading the morning paper with a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal, and the first thing they flipped to was the funny pages. Not for Peanuts or Garfield, but to read more adventures of a boy and his stuffed tiger.

77122In these strips, you were almost guaranteed a laugh to start your day off. Sometimes you’d be forced to ponder a philosophical topic. Sometimes your heart would break. Sometimes you’d nod your head in agreement or shake your head at Calvin’s silly antics and oddball disputes with his tiger Hobbes.

But who was the man who made millions of people laugh on a daily basis? Every Calvin and Hobbes strip was signed by “Bill Watterson,” and we all owed a debt of gratitude to him, but who was he, and where could he be found?

 

That’s what Nevin Martell asks, and he takes it upon himself to travel wo0Kzthe country in search of the greatest cartoonist our generation (and quite possibly the world) has ever seen.

But don’t worry. Martell is not out to exploit our dear friend, Mr. Watterson. He’s not simply after a juicy topic. His goal, as he states early on in his book, is to show Mr. Watterson how much he’s appreciated and missed, and to reveal the man behind the strip so his readers can have a tangible person to thank for his brilliancy.

In essence, Martell’s book, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes, is a love letter written on our behalf. There’s not a single illustration of the boy and his tiger except for the Calvin’s shoe walking in one direction and Hobbes’ tail cutting off on the other side of the cover. Illustrations in this book would not have been needed because the author captures those strips so perfectly that you can recall those original scenes as clear as day.

Martell does a supberb job at anazlyzing the strip as though he were a serious seminary student bent on dissecting a New King James Bible commentary. On the outset, some might think it kind of embarrassing how much he pored into this strip, viewing it from all angles, analyzing themes and recurring situations, and hypothosizing Watterson’s inspiration for the strip.

Calvin-Hobbes-calvin-and-hobbes-23762778-1280-800But really, it’s not embarrassing at all, because given the chance, we’d all do the same thing. So as fans of the strip, we’re indebted to Martell for doing the hard and tedius work for us.

I’m not going to lie. Some parts of this book made me tear up quite a bit. Not because the author was unsuccessful in tracking down his subject, or because it turned out that Mr. Watterson never took his seat in the limelight for all to admire and lavish praise upon, but because the author handled to topic with such care and attention that I felt like he truly did understand my own personal love of Calvin and Hobbes. And there were instances where I truly felt like I was back in my wooden fort in my backyard with copies of Calvin and Hobbes collections splayed all around me.

On a more personal note, Calvin and Hobbes had such an impact on me that it, in many ways, inspired my debut novel The Man in the Box. Calvin had such a vivd and wild imagination that my protagonist could have had the same childhood experience as Calvin. (The imagination, as you know, catches up with my protagonist, Robbie Lake, and he’s thrusted back into a more cynical, darker version of his childhood dreamlands. Not to mention all the countless ways Calvin reinvented the box.)

So lovers and fans of Calvin and Hobbes will adore their own personal walks down memory lane as Martell gives us permission, as adults, to have one last playtime with Calvin and his stuffed tiger.

You can read more about Nevin and his work here.

Read my review of the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson here.

340450

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