Cleaning House: Meet the Characters – The Master Collage and its Purpose

If you follow this blog, you know I shared character collages for my new novel, Cleaning House, for an entire month before the release. Why have I gone to all this work? Several reasons, actually, and here they are in no particular order.

  • Artistic expression – drawing is difficult for me these days because of my hand tremors, so collages are a simple and effective means of expressing myself.
  • Character collages give me think time.
  • They help me get to know characters better.
  • Collages help me visualize, therefore helping me with description.
  • They’re fun.
  • Collages give me another method of sharing my character creations with my readers.

If you’re an author, I suggest trying collage, either in real life or virtually like I do. Whether you share them or not is, of course, up to you, but right now I’m going to share all my collages as one giant mess of Cleaning House creation then separate them as a countdown numbers one through fifteen, sharing a sentence or two about each character involved.

Each image is clickable to see each Meet the Characters Post in a new tabl.

#1 Exan: Crosser of Souls, Kindly Spirit





#2 Gan: Snagger of Hats, Whisperer of sweet breezes




#3 Dane Gow: You don’t become king by being a fool.




Pyre: Let the playful flames lap your toes





#5: Demis: Ugly death is their preference





#6 Nida Rhodes (Mama): The family you’re born with




#7 Dustu: Thousands of years but still too young to understand




#8 Ivan Ruleman: Don’t judge a preacher by his possessor




#9 The Wee Fairies: Neither cute nor cuddly, but an important part of the Balance




#10 Betty: Sees, feels, and experiences the dead alongside the living





#11 Aubrey Rhodes: Mr. Aubrey to his little patients





#12 Aunt Tess: With age comes wisdom and a healthy dose of “told you so”





#13 Rayne: Quiet ripples, raging floods






#14 Stowne: Nervous, waiting, and ancient






#15 Centenary Rhodes (Cent): Over one-hundred lives, “Aren’t any of these memories happy ones?”





You can see each character’s individual collage and the accompanying post HERE.


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.



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