It’s time for #Rainbowsnippets*, and I’m changing gears in a major way. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I do it chiefly for myself, but the fact I can make a little money at it thrills me. I simply can’t go a day without “tinkering.” That’s what I call my writing, revision, and editing process. Tinkering… I do a lot of it anymore because there’s so much I can’t do. You see, I’m physically disabled but my mind… it and a laptop are all I need to build and destroy entire worlds. *insert wicked grin here*
A writing mentor once told me that I should put my protagonist in the worst situation possible, short of killing him/her/them, and help them get back out of it. I’ve taken that advice to heart in every novel I’ve written since, and my newest novel, Cleaning House, is no exception. That advice, however, is the only thing this novel has to do with my other works. First off, it’s not Sci-Fi; it’s Fantasy. To be more specific, it’s Queer Appalachian Contemporary Fantasy that’s primarily set a few miles from where I actually live. For an author who has written far-future Sci-Fi set in deep space for seven novels (six released), that’s a vast departure. But, you know what? I genuinely like it. Cleaning House and its draft-status sequel have come quickly and naturally to me. They’re fun and familiar, and the protagonist, Centenary Rhodes, is like my younger self in a lot of ways. I know the geography of this story because this is where I grew up and where I live now. I know the people too because I’m local. I’m a queer Appalachian woman, and proud of it, but Cent isn’t in this snippet. In fact, she’s living in Chicago and making a general wreck of her life.
But before we get to the snippet, here’s the blurb for Cleaning House to get you started.
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’d expected 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 up, and her questionable North Chicago neighborhood is dangerous to navigate.
Returning home to Hare Creek, Tennessee, never crosses Cent’s mind until her Great Aunt Tess, one of only two people in Cent’s family who accept her as-is, contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse. The family homestead must be sold, and Aunt Tess needs someone to clean it up. Cent will have access to Aunt Tess’ garden and truck and can live on the homestead rent-free for as long as it takes. A part-time job at a local convenience store is waiting for her as well.
It’s a chance to solve some of Cent’s financial woes, but going home, she soon finds, will mean discovering a past she can’t remember and a magical, elemental-filled future she never expected.
So, without further ado, here’s my first #Rainbowsnippet from Cleaning House (release date: 8/1/18)
“Fourteen. Fifteen.” Centenary Rhodes counted the bills in her hand a second time and 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 the bus. She sighed and turned away from the hamburger joint whose door she’d darkened. “Beans and rice it is… again.”
Want to read more from Cleaning House? You can do so HERE.
*Rainbow Snippets is a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ authors, readers, and bloggers to share 6 sentences each week from a work of fiction—published or in-progress—or a book recommendation. Feel free to join in!