#WIPpet Wednesday #AmWriting 2/14/18 Cheddar Crack

Yep, you’re seeing that correctly. I named Centenary Rhodes, the protagonist in Cleaning House, after Centenary Road. It’s an actual road in the area where I reside and not a meme I cobbled together from online content. I drove past that sign for years thinking that it’d make a great character name, and I was right. I adore Cent. Oh, and I just realized something I never did before. That road sign is located right next to a rock quarry. You can just see it through the trees in the picture.

You’ll find out why that’s funny if you read the novel. 😊 It’s set for an August 1st release.

Oh, and Welcome to #WIPpet Wednesday*.

Here’s the WIPpet math for 02/14/2018. I’m going with a 2 and a 0 to make twenty short, dialogue-filled paragraphs between Cent and her cousin Aubrey. It’s as simple as that.

The Setup: Aubrey’s taking Cent home to her Aunt Tess in Hare Creek when they stop at a local favorite, Pal’s  Sudden Service, for breakfast.

Note: Yes, my opinion of the Confederate flag is firmly planted inside this WIPpet. Take it as you will. I moderate comments so dissenting replies on the issue are pointless. That flag is nothing but a vile reminder of our sordid past, not a point of honor or pride or history worth remembering beyond the “we shouldn’t go there again” mentality. I have seen much worse on the back of vehicles in Greeneville that I won’t share here. However, such displays look to be on a slow decline, and I’m ever-so-glad they are.

     Aubrey flipped the turn signal as Pal’s distinctive giant hamburger, hotdog, fries, and drink, all mounted on the top and front of the building, came into view. Most Pal’s were drive-thru only so stopping meant eating in the immaculate Camry.

     “Welcome to Pal’s. What can I get you?” The girl at the first drive-up window grinned at Aubrey.

     “Two large Cheddar Rounds, a peachy tea, and…” Aubrey moved his eyes from the order window to Cent. “What you want to drink?”

     “Large Peachy Mello-Yello.” She sat taller in the seat. Home meant indulging in a few favorites like Mello-Yello soda spiked with peach syrup because overly caffeinated, sweet-soda blood sugar spikes sometimes weren’t enough. “Add a biscuit and gravy.”

     “Gotcha.” Aubrey repeated her order, adding a biscuit and gravy for himself too. “I gotta have one. Ethan’s vegan so he’ll have a fit if I eat something like that in front of him.”

     “That’s fourteen eighty-two.” The girl smiled at Aubrey again. “Please drive around.”

     “Thanks.” Aubrey circled the building, stopping behind a battered pickup bearing two Confederate flag bumper stickers. “Pricks.” He rolled his eyes.

     “Yeah. I didn’t miss that part of here at all. And Ethan’s vegan?” Cent asked as they moved forward. “No Cheddar Rounds either?”

     “No nothing from anywhere that’s good.” Aubrey reached into the Camry’s middle compartment for his wallet. “Damn thing makes my ass look huge, and it hurts to sit on, so I put it in here most of the time.”

     “Ethan needs to stop criticizing you so much.” She raised one brow at him.

     “Yeah, and—” He frowned as he flipped open his wallet. “You’re as bad as Aunt Tess, you know that?”

     “Maybe.” She watched him pull a twenty from his wallet. “I’ll pay for my part.” She reached into her cargo pants for the ten she’d left there.

     “Nu-uh.” He pushed her money away. “Tess’ll pluck me like a Sunday roaster if I let you pay any of this.”

     “She won’t know unless—” She put the money back in her pocket. “Yeah, right. Okay. I’m going to buy you breakfast someday soon.”

     “Deal, pickle.” He paid for the order and passed her both bags and her drink. “I’ll park then we’ll feast!” Aubrey licked his lips. “Love me some cheddar crack.”

     “This crack ain’t whack!” She shoved a straw into her Peachy Mello Yello and took a quick sip to drown the awkwardness that’d suddenly fallen between them.

     “My God, Cent, I stopped saying that phrase when I started nursing school.”

     “Yeah, flashback, I think. It’s not exactly PC, is it?” She thought of Betty’s struggle, and how she’d said it’d progressed from pain pills to heroin.

     “No, it ain’t.” His droll expression lifted. “Now are you going to give me my cheddar crack or not?”

     She passed him his biscuit and gravy instead.

And, while I have you, I’m hosting a giveaway to celebrate the upcoming March 1st release of Surrogate: Hunted.  I’d love to see more entries, so click the image below and follow the simple directions to enter for a chance at winning an ebook copy in the format of your choice (mobi, pdf, or epub format).

Read more #WIPpet Wednesday posts from Cleaning House 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.


    • We’re not deep south here, more like on the northern cusp, and we’re the part of TN that didn’t want to secede so I don’t get why there’s all this kinda stuff now. *shrugs* But it’s here, like it or not… and I”m a definite not.


  1. Ohhhh, this post is making me hungry, even though I’ve already had breakfast.

    I don’t think I could list all the things I love in this snippet. I’ll try: Aubrey and Cent and how they’re so at ease together; the food; the commentary on the flag (though I don’t know as I’m allowed an opinion on it, since I’m a born-and-bred northerner); Cent picking up on some subtle cues about Ethan (are we supposed to already not quite like him?); and the attention to detail that puts me firmly in their location. I am a HUGE fan of books where the setting is almost as much of a character as the people.

    I’ll stop gushing now. All that from one little snippet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like I told Fallon, this area voted not to secede… but the rest of the state pulled it along. I sometimes wish we’d been allowed to be our own state like we’d wanted to begin with, and that… hmm. Wouldn’t that be an interesting alternate history story?

      And this area is a critical part of this novel. I’ve gone from far future and deep space to local-yokel and contemporary, but I’m loving the change. Glad you like it too. I’m down to listening to the text for skipped words and flow issues. Listening is a new one for me, and the Word feature is often funny in its mispronunciation, but it’s well worth it.


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