Yes, I’m well aware that it’s only been a few months since the release of Cleaning House – An Appalachian Contemporary Fantasy, but I’m spending the month of November featuring it in my #TBT series because of the impending release of the second title in the series, the novella Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree (info below). It’s generally good to relive the past, even the recent past, so I’ll be sharing Chapter One from Cleaning House throughout the month.
The brief portion in yellow comes from last week’s post.
The old bank had once been grand, but now…
“What a dump.” Still, it was all she could afford on two part-time jobs. Cent threw her coat over the single dinette chair and flung herself, face-down, over the sheet-draped, worn plaid couch that served as both her living space and bed. Not even a fold-out. She’d finagle one eventually, but until then she’d sleep solo. Always solo. “Who’d want to come back here, anyway?” Her romantic and job prospects had been abysmal since she’d lost her full-time accountant job in a corporate down-size. For the past year, she’d divided her time between a local bodega and a small computer repair shop. Both bosses were pricks, and the bodega owner’s wife kept telling her that she’d find herself a good man if she’d try.
“You’re a smart girl, too smart to attract a man, so dumb it down and pretty yourself up. Put on some makeup. Grow your hair. You can’t find gold without putting a bit of polish on yourself.”
Forget that. Take me as I am or not at all. Cent kicked off her shoes and rolled so she faced the cracked, plaster ceiling. She’d graduated top of her class at the University of Chicago and knew account management inside and out. Cent could do absolute magic with numbers and tell you exactly where things were going right or wrong in your financial life. But, even so, the ability to manage her own numbers now evaded her. She was in over her head and nearly bankrupt. Her monetary life was in shambles, and she knew you had to have good credit yourself to manage other people’s money. “If I can’t be myself then—” She startled when something struck the door four times. “What the—” Cent rolled off the couch and plodded to the door in sock-feet. “Who is it?” She peered through the peephole.
More next week.
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 in both print and ebook formats.