Welcome to this week’s installment of Rainbowsnippets*! This one is uniquely mine, but there are lots of other great snippets to read, so after you finish here click the FB link at the bottom of the post to discover other great LGBTQIA authors and their works.
I’m sharing again from Cleaning House. The novel is an Appalachian-set Contemporary/ Paranormal Fantasy where the past and the present are blended with a healthy dose of granny magic. The mountains are alive, and a little moonshine can cure what ails you.
My ARC reviews are still rolling in and they’re generally good, but a few readers are tripping over my usage of they/them pronouns for my elemental spirits. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Death don’t have gender, so my placing binary terms on them seems ridiculous. Most of those same readers, however, do say they enjoyed the book once they got past the pronouns, but there are still a few… sigh.
I’m not going to please everyone, but that’s never really been my aim. That said, I think there’s something deeper going on with a few of those reviews, but the issue has nothing at all to do with me.
If I’m pushing my readers to think differently, if I’ve challenged their perceptions, I feel like I’ve done something important.
I’ll be releasing an ebook holiday novella set in the same world as Cleaning House later this fall, so look for it. It’ll be a quick read about my protagonist Cent’s relationship with her mentally ill mother. It’s multi-faithed and full of fun, family, “ah, how sweet,” and “what the…” moments.
And, yes, Betty Holub, who you’ve all been following through my #Rainbowsnippets, will be there too, but not as much as she will be in the sequel to Cleaning House, Keeping House, which will be out next year.
The Setup: Cent has joined Betty in her apartment for a day of decompressing which includes movies and some cheap champagne.
Note: The portion in yellow comes from last week’s snippet.
“Play hell, you will!” Betty grabbed Cent by the back of her gray t-shirt and shoved her toward the couch. “It takes at least two, baby doll, and I’m in the mood for real company. Sit!” She crawled onto the fold-out beside Cent, grabbed the bottle, and poured two sloppy, foaming glasses, one of which she held out. “Bottoms up.” She wiggled her ass and giggled.
“Why not?” Cent downed the cheap champagne in two gulps and swiped her hand across her mouth, stifling the burp that rose with the bubbles. “What movie?”
“The Birdcage or Rocky Horror, your choice.”
Cliché, but why not? “No hiding ourselves today. Rocky Horror.”
“That-a-girl.” Betty popped the DVD into the player and trotted back to the pull-out where she draped her arm over Cent’s shoulders and pulled her close. “You and me. Two queers against the world.”
A little champagne, a classic movie, and a good friend. What more could a person want? How do you decompress? Do you paint? Walk? Write? Throw cheap pottery at walls? (The last sounds fun in the right environment.) What do you do to manage stress and anxiety? Me? I write, poetry if I’m horrifically stressed, but most of the time, it’s fiction.
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.
Ready to read more from Cleaning House? You can do so HERE and/or order the ebook version HERE or at other online book retailers. There’s a link to the print version on the same page if you’d druther.
*RainbowSnippets 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!