#CleaningHouseNovel #RainbowSnippets Sixty-Eight 10/13: Festering Nothing

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. Next week, I’ll begin sharing tidbits from Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree, a novella-length story that will be available in both ebook and print formats 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.

This snippet is longer than it should be, but since it’s the last from the novel I’m running with it.

The Setup: Betty’s using tough love, but is Cent buying it?

The first line, in yellow, comes from last week’s snippet and it’s Betty speaking.

“Go home, country cuttah. This isn’t the place for you, and I’m not your friend.”

     “But I’ve lived in Chicago for almost a decade. You know this.” Cent sat tall when Betty drew her mouth into a snarl. “I’ve been to five continents. I—”

     “And now your sorry ass is trying to scratch together a living outside the Great Lakes naval base.” Betty jerked Cent to a stand and pressed a delicately painted fingernail into her chest. “That stink you always complain about? That’s the pharmaceutical plant across the road and the fish stand next door. It’s the smell of run-down, molding, festering nothing. It’s a hell hole. It’s Nowheresville. Go home, little girl.” She pushed Cent back with the heel of her palm. “Go. Home!”

     “Dammit! What’re you doing?” But as Betty kept pushing, Cent realized she was being herded toward the door. “You want me to leave? Okay, I’ll leave!”

     “Good! Leave! Go all the way back to Tennessee!” Betty shoved her a bit harder. “Go home, country girl. Go work your educated, southern fagginess out where you should be!”

     “Fagginess?” Cent knocked her hand away. “Seriously?”

     “You got it, chickie.” Betty kicked aside the half-used prop bag to stand over her again. “You’re nothing but an over-smart, out-of-your-element, mixed-up pan cuttah who’s afraid to face reality!” She spun Cent around and shoved her toward the door. “Go. Home!”

     “This is my home!”

     “No, baby doll, it’s not.” Betty’s street-tough exterior dropped, and she sighed. “I can’t wail on you if I try. So, listen, will you?” She grabbed Cent’s hand and pulled her to the fold-out, wrapping herself around her as they both burst into tears. “Dammit. Dammit to hell.” Betty squeezed her tight. “You…you’ve got to go home. Please. You’ve got something I’ve nevah had, family who takes you as-is, without question.”



This is my last #Rainbowsnippet from Cleaning House. Next week I’ll begin sharing snippets from Appalachian Elementals #1.5 – Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree, my upcoming holiday novella. Cent and Betty are there, along with the rest of the crew from Cleaning House. You’ll find even more magic, haints, fey, and wonderful Appalachian queerness inside the pages and a huge helping of holiday cheer.


A dozen handmade holiday ornaments, that’s all, but it might be an impossible task.

Centenary Rhodes and her mother are at constant odds. It’s one of the many reasons Cent left home when she was eighteen. Mama’s difficult for anyone to manage, but now that Cent’s back home, she has to try. Mama, however, won’t acknowledge who Cent’s become, even though she’s repeatedly been shown the truth.

It’ll take more than popcorn strings and paper snowflakes to heal the rift that’s formed between Cent and Mama. It’s going to take bushels of patience, heaps of magic, and assistance from everyone on both sides of Embreeville Mountain to reset the Balance between them.

But with Yule and Christmas just around the corner, it might already be too late.


Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree is available for preorder in both print and ebook formats.

AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE    and elsewhere

You can read a lot more #Rainbowsnippets and #WIPpet Wednesday posts from Cleaning House HERE.

*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!


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