Yes, that is what I'm doing today. The House of Clampitt, aka my sister Hannah and her hubby Steve, are coming to town this weekend, and my house is one step away from being a FEMA joke punchline. Break out the vacuum!
I've got some authorial housecleaning to do as well. Odd and ends that need tied, cleaning up, that sort of thing.
So for starters, I'd like to call everyone's attention to the fact that Courtney Milan has moved from the Gonna Make It! section of author listings to the Authors You Should Read section, because yesterday, the lovely Ms. Milan signed a two book contract with Harlequin. So, I figure if everyone starts saving a dollar a week now, by the time her first novel, Proof By Seduction, comes out in Fall 2009, we'll be able to buy enough books to put her on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Next on the tidying list: The Best They Could - or what used to be the second novel of the Emerson series. When two readers who've never met and probably don't even know the other exists (Hi, Leah and Don!) point out the exact same flaws with my heroine, you know it's time to scrub up and dive in. So I've broken the novel into two (again - I tried making it one to preserve a traditional Happily Ever After ending, but it just doesn't work. If Janet Evanovich can have a non-traditional HEA, so can I!)
My problem is that the second half - post-Vietnam war - is still The Best They Could. But the first half? No IDEA what the title should be. I am taking suggestions NOW. Brief Plot Synopsis: Lily Emerson leaves the family farm to become a nurse and meets Bobby Hofstetter. He's perfect for her, but Lily's violent ex makes things difficult. Once he's mysteriously dispatched, Lily and Bobby grow closer. When she accidentally gets pregnant, they get married, but she loses the baby (Did I mention my stuff can be dark?). Bobby's love saves her, and it seems like they'll get that happily ever after - until the epilogue, when Lily tells her mother she's joining Bobby in Vietnam (cue segue into the next novel).
What the heck am I going to call this thing?
This is the 12th time I've rewritten the opening. I am TIRED of rewriting this book. It's got such potential to be a real powerhouse, and once it gets going, it goes pretty smoothly. But openings are one of my big weaknesses, and this one is pushing me to the edge. Everyone - Mary, my co-worker, my sister Leah, my mom, and ESPECIALLY my hubby - is sick unto DEATH of hearing about these people. I need to finish and move on. Unless, of course, any lovely agents or editors want to talk edits. In that case, I'll happily get cracking on new rewrites with a smile on my face.
Next on the to-do list: Does anyone out there speak Lakota? Know someone who speaks Lakota with a computer? I need some translation, and I've received no replies to the emails I've sent. A Part of Her is essentially done, except for the translation, and I need to make sure I get it right. I lived in Columbus, Ohio, for two years (Trust me, this fits). Columbus is ground zero for Native American Indian protests of Columbus Day (something about the 25 ft. bronze statue of Columbus in front of City Hall, frequently with a replica of one of his ships docked 75 ft away on the river, makes for good protesting P.R.). I have seen angry Native Americans in person. I do not want Native Americans to be angry at me. So, if ANYONE can help out here, much obliged.
Finally, I'm going to the Fall Harvest Workshop on Sept. 27th in Bloomington, Minn. Now this is going to be something close to a family thing (Hubby and toddler will spend the day at the Mall of America whilst I attempt to schmooze with Donald Maass without sticking my foot in my mouth), so I can't offer to share rooms or anything, but is anyone else going? I get less worked up when I know there'll be a familiar face in the crowd. And I'm already getting nervous about what to wear. But I'm going shopping next week in St. Louis. I may buy a suit. Or not.
Well, I can't put off scrubbing bathroom fixtures much longer. Sometimes, though, it's good to clean house. Perhaps I'll leave myself a mint on my pillow.