#CleaningHouseNovel Meet the Characters Number 12: Aunt Tess

Twelfth, in my post series about the characters in Cleaning House  – An Appalachian Contemporary Fantasy, comes Cent’s aunt, Tess Rhodes- a mentor and mother figure when Cent’s own mother wasn’t there.

1) Name/Nickname – Tess Rhodes, Aunt Tess

2) Occupation/ Title/ Purpose – Herbalist, Farmer, Trusted Elder, Granny Magic Specialist. Keeper of Old Ways

3) Associated Song – “God is Alive Magic is Afoot” Buffy Sainte-Marie (co-written with Leonard Cohen)

4) Descriptive Sentence, Phrase, or Excerpt –

“What the— begone from this home before I banish you!” Tess wrapped her arms around Cent to gently rock her, chanting a protective prayer under her breath until Cent found her voice. “Shh. No need to explain. I saw the booger for myself.” She rocked Cent as she spoke the prayer again. “You know the words.”

5) Quotable –   

“Cent? When you comin’ home?” Aunt Tess, seventy-five years old and a bit hard of hearing, all but yelled into the phone.

“I…I’m not planning to anytime soon, and you know dead-to-rights why.” Damn, I slide back into the accent far too easily.

“Your mama,” Tess grumbled. “I’d tan her hide if I thought it’d do any good. I need you, girl. And you know that ain’t an easy thing for me to say.”


Release Date: 8/1/18

Centenary Rhodes is an old soul with a well-traveled name, but she doesn’t know this yet.

Growing up in southern Appalachia wasn’t easy, so Cent 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 contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse. The family’s southern Appalachian 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 is waiting for her as well.

It’s a chance to solve some of Cent’s financial woes, but will her return be enough when evil sets its sights on Embreeville Mountain and the homestead?

 Cleaning House is a carefully woven Appalachian tapestry of granny magic, haints, elementals, and the fantastic diversity of the human condition – served with a delicious side of fries and a generous quart of peach moonshine.

Want to read more about Exan and the other characters in Cleaning House? Check out my #WIPpet Wednesdays and #Rainbowsnippets posts.

Read more Cleaning House Meet The Characters Posts HERE.

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