#CleaningHouseNovel #RainbowSnippets Sixty-Four 9/15: Critters and Confetti


Welcome to Saturday and #Rainbowsnippets!* I’m at a local pride event today, hawking my books, hoping for the best. The weather is supposed to be good (I’m writing this on Wednesday) and, Florence willing, the rain will hold off here in East Tennessee until Sunday or Monday.

My thoughts and energy are with those in Florence’s watery path. After things clear, I’ll be looking for an appropriate charity to send support through.

Here’s this week’s #Rainbowsnippet. I’m sharing from Cleaning House again, finishing out the chapter I’ve been sharing for a while. Things are about to start changing for Cent, and I’m going to share from the next chapter for a few weeks before I begin sharing tidbits from Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree, a novella-length story that will be available in ebook format in early November. This story will concentrate on Cent’s relationship with her mentally-ill mother but, of course, Betty will be in there too.

The setup: Cent’s just told Betty something about creepy crawlies, paper bags, and glue. Ewww.

     “You serious?” Betty dropped the bag back onto the floor.

     “Yeah, and keep yours here. I got enough critters of my own.”

     Betty laughed at this. “I love how your accent comes out when you drink.” She kissed Cent on her forehead, dropped the confetti bag into her lap, and wrapped her arm around her shoulders again, pulling her even closer. “Remote’s on your side.”

     “Okay.” Cent passed Betty the remote and settled back, more than ready for the comfort of being her total self with someone who was doing the same.


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!

Rainbow Shoes photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash


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