I’m sure most of you have heard of Spring Cleaning. That time of the year when you give your house some extra love and attention. When you hope against all odds that the dust doesn’t show up again for at least a month. When you make yourself, and the microwave, a promise to always put a paper towel over the food you’re heating.
Years ago, I did a lot of Spring Cleaning. Being an author has changed all that. Now I have different cleaning schedules. There’s ‘The Draft Cleaning’ which comes once I’ve completed the first draft and write in all caps—THE END. Of course, the manuscript isn’t really finished, but I do need to take a break and clear my mind. So house cleaning it is!
I head into this with the uplifting thought that within a few days…a week…a month at the most …my house will be shining like new. I will have donated clutter to charity. Stored random stuff in those see-thru storage bins, the ones you can keep stacking on top of each other so it looks like your organized. Purged the refrigerator, freezer and pantry of anything past the “best by” date. And tossed enough odds and ends that I can see the entire floor in my bedroom and master closet once again.
Full of energy and ideas, I charge straight into dusting, vacuuming and having carpets cleaned. I tackle the counter and cabinets, the microwave and stove, the—this is sure taking a long time. I glance at the windows and see a haze where sparkling glass should let in the sunshine, so full-steam ahead on those—this really isn’t fun anymore. In fact, I don’t care if every baseboard in the house is dust free or not…I’d just like to sit down and read a book, two at the most. After that I’ll clean some more.
So goes this in-depth cleaning cycle for the next week until—a character (usually the hero from my next story) creeps into my mind to say hello. Says he’s just passing by. To take my time. He’s in no hurry for his story. Except…he is lonely, has bad guys to catch and would sure like to see his future. Soon!
And, just like that, house cleaning flies out the window. My so-called glorious resurgence of making my home fit for one of those television-design shows has hit a roadblock.
The hero has decided to take up residence in my mind. Certain songs trigger plans for the first chapter. I start zeroing in on locations. Pretty soon, I start waking up at three thirty in the morning to think through possible plot points until… Suddenly the heroine pops into my head. The hero glances over, acts like he’s not impressed, acts nonchalant. But a tiny twitch at the corner of his eye lets me know I’ve hit pay dirt. Now it’s full steam ahead on the story arc.
How can I possibly take time to clean any more of the house? There are edits needed on the manuscript I just typed THE END on. Research is already stacking up for the new book. Plus my next release is closing fast. Marketing, social media and giveaways have reached lift off. It’s then that I decide I should focus on one room. Make that room perfect.
My office! That’s it…I’ll clean my office. Did the rest of the house just moan?
I zip through the piles of paperwork on my desk. File a few items for backup. Discard sticky notes. Dust everything in the office including the printers, display monitor and computer tower. Charge the laptop for times spent writing at the kitchen island or outside. Make sure I have plenty of printer ink, paper and pens. Wash the throws my two dogs love to lay on in my office while I write. Get everything back into its place and, finally, settle back into my desk chair…may need a new pillow.
Feels good to have completed ‘The Draft Cleaning’, I can hardly wait for the ‘Post-Release Day Cleaning’. I bet that microwave will be calling my name by then.
One person who comments will win a print or digital copy of SLATER’S REVENGE? (Winner’s choice).
To ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Granger, responsibility isn’t just a word. It’s his Code of Honor. But when assigned to protect Coercion Ten’s latest target, she challenges his authority, defies his rules, and wreaks havoc on his personal willpower. Fighting for her isn’t a problem. Giving his life for her isn’t a problem. Forgetting their world-stopping kiss? Definite problem. And if he can’t concentrate solely on keeping her safe, it may cost them both their lives.
Journalist Liz Walkert’s missing father sent her a cryptic message that she was in danger. What he didn’t tell her was why. Unbeknownst to Liz, her family has been in Witness Protection all her life. Mitch may be her bodyguard, but his protection comes close to being control, the one thing she has none of in his presence. After a kidnap attempt and a narrow escape from attacking CT forces, they both realize they’re going to need to focus on the mission and fight their attraction if they have any hope of surviving.
Each book in the Shades of Leverage series is STANDALONE:
* Slater’s Revenge
* Dangerous Lies