#WIPpet Wednesday #Amwriting 11/1: Meet Centenary Rhodes

(working cover)

Last night, the veil thinned and the candles in our home danced as midnight approached, indicating the presence of spirits. Our ancestors? We’d like to think so. And they’re welcome in our home anytime. They’ve visited before, as have other spirits; all are welcome as long as the intention is good.

This home didn’t come with its own spirits (Many of our homes have come pre-equipped. My Anna can attest to that.) but they somehow always find us. Again, they are welcomed if they’re benevolent. We don’t plan on moving again, so they’ll settle in with us eventually, as will the fairies and all the other creatures that come to stay when you open your mind and heart to them. Our simple home will grow to be magical this time too.

Having a lovely wooded area on two sides of our home definitely helps. We must, however, remember to feed the fairies regularly. They get mischievous when we don’t.

Now, the reason for this post, but the above was definitely a great lead-in. Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday*! Today, I’m starting something new… at least to you readers. I’m going to share from one of my current WIPs, Cleaning House. (tentative title) Cleaning House is a bi/pan contemporary fantasy novel primarily set very close to where I actually live, but I’ve lived in every modern location detailed in the novel, whether I liked it or not.

The novel makes use of my knowledge of Appalachia and Appalachian granny magic traditions and reflects my experiences as a modern Appalachian woman. You’ll meet elemental spirits, hear from wee-folk, learn some Appalachian history, and get a healthy dose of witchcraft which focuses on the veil and what lies beyond. And, yes, there’s a bit of romance too, a human-elemental love affair that spans lifetimes.

Here’s the book blurb as it stands now.

Growing up queer in Southern Appalachia wasn’t easy for Centenary Rhodes, so she left home as soon as she could, but the post-collegiate happiness she expected in Chicago has never occurred. She can’t find a decent date, much less find that special someone, and, after losing her job in a corporate downsize, she’s struggling to meet her most basic needs. Her car has been repossessed, her bills are piling, and her questionable North Chicago neighborhood is dangerous to navigate.

Returning home to Hare Creek never crosses Cent’s mind until her Great Aunt Tess, one of only two people in Cent’s family who accepts her as-is, contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse. The old family homestead must be sold, and Aunt Tess needs help cleaning it up. Cent can work part-time at a local convenience store, will have access to Aunt Tess’ garden, pantry, and pick-up truck, and she can live with Tess rent-free for as long as it takes.

It’s a chance to solve Cent’s financial woes, but going home, she soon finds, will mean discovering a past she can’t remember and a future she never expected.

Here’s my WIPpet math: 11/01/2017 – 2, 1+1+1+1, 7 . 247 words from Chapter One of Cleaning House with enough added to wrap things up.

I’ve never shared anything still in initial draft status so here goes nothing… oh, and I’m doing NANOWRIMO for the first time. Game on!

North Chicago, Illinois, August 2017

     “Fourteen. Fifteen.” Centenary Rhodes counted the bills in her hand for a second time then shoved them back into the front pocket of her cargo pants. She had fifteen dollars left after she paid her rent. Fifteen dollars for food and bus— she sighed and turned away from the hamburger joint whose door she’d darkened. “Beans and rice it is… again.”

     She skipped the bus— that’d be another dollar— and walked the twenty-two blocks back to her shabby, one-room North Chicago apartment, opting for the alley that shortened the last six blocks to four, ignoring the cat calls from the construction site at alley’s far end.

     Short, dirty-blond hair cut at a sharp angle, black, thick-rimmed glasses, loose t-shirt, and baggy cargo pants that hid what little curve her large-boned frame had managed to develop. She was skinny but strong nonetheless, a sturdy-built Appalachian woman, a concept no one in North Chicago seemed quite able to grasp. 

     She turned on her size twelve sneakers to jog across the street, picking up her pace the last two blocks to her apartment when it began to rain, closing the progression of bolts and chains on her front door before she leaned against it to stare wearily at her apartment. The marble-flooring and Art Deco lighting in the corridor were still pretty, but they didn’t match the cracked plaster walls and rough-wood floors inside her apartment. The former bank had once been grand, but now…

     “What a dump.”

Read more WIPpet Wednesday posts HERE.

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.


    • Appalachia’s unique, I think, but of course, I live there. We’re a blending of strong wills, old ways, and multiple religious paths deriving from Native American traditions, African traditions, and Christian traditions brought from Europe.

      And, yes, Centenary is a unique name. Centenary Road is an actual road name near where I live, and I have always thought it would make a great character name. Glad I wasn’t wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

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