Things have been quiet around Katzenhaus Books lately, because the boss (that’s me!) has been insanely engaged in the “Spring Cleaning” impulse that arises every year when the weather warms up. When i was a kid, we knew it was finally spring in Ohio when the fire in the furnace was banked and put to rest until fall. But that event brought on the next. Every room in the house was now coated with a fine layer of black coal dust after the winter’s heating. The bathroom and kitchen were not a problem because the walls were painted and could quickly be scrubbed. But the other rooms all had wallpaper, and it was real paper, not vinyl, so we couldn’t apply water to it.
The solution was complicated. All furniture was moved to the center of the room and draped with old sheets. Then we opened the yearly supply of Kutol. This was a nasty mixture resembling putty and smelling like a chemical factory. Actually, it was little more than salt, flour, water, and cleaning substances, kept moist in a can until we took out handfuls, wadded them into ball and started wiping down the walls. As it picked up the soot, the clay turned from pink to gray, which called for further kneading until the dirty surface was replaced with cleaner particles. The process worked, but it was messy, and took days. I can still smell those chemicals. The advent of the gas furnace was a major turning point in my young life, but by the time we converted the old coal furnace, I had absorbed a need to clean somewhere deep into my genes. It rears its ugly head every year.
This year the impulse began with a search through the garage for a nail to rehang a picture. My hunt turned up 15 containers of used nails, most of them bent, rusty, or tinged with paint. It also revealed several cartons of household goods that had not been unpacked when we moved here twelve years ago, along with box after box of unsorted photographs. Those discoveries, along with a neighbor’s sidelong glance and offer to help me clean up “this horrible mess,” were enough to trigger the whole “Spring Cleaning” drive. I’ve been at it ever since. And once I got started with the garage, it carried over into several closets and my husband’s old office furniture. I’m happy to report that I now have a clean garage with room to park an extra car if I should ever need to, as well as a cozy new “girl cave.” I still have my writing office, full of books, papers, and computers, all of them telling me to get back to work. But this new room is a place where I can curl up in a comfortable rocker and read or daydream or listen to music without feeling guilty.
All those changes fall into the category of “good news.” The bad news is that I haven’t done any writing, and that includes both the new book manuscript and the usual blog posts. Ugh! I would firmly resolve to get back to work, except that I’m going to be tied up all next week with a writers’ conference. So to carry us all over until I can be more productive, I’ve scheduled another book promotion. Many of you have read “Damned Yankee” and wondered what happened to the Grenvilles after the Civil War. Now’s your chance to follow them through the turmoil and challenges of the Reconstruction era. I promise it will be more fun than spring house cleaning!
Here are the details:
On Saturday, May 21, starting at 8:00 AM (Pacific Time), the Kindle edition of “Yankee Reconstructed” will be available for just ninety-nine cents. That’s a price reduction of something like 80%. Grab it quickly, because at 8:00 AM on Sunday, May 22, the price will jump to $2.99. That’s still a bargain at half-price, of course. But don’t delay further, because at 8:00 AM on Monday, May 23, the price reverts to the list cost of $5.99. This is a once-a-year bargain countdown deal. The clock will be ticking, and the remaining time will show up on the book’s Kindle page, for those of you who need to convert to other time zones. Click here to grab your copy: