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Postcard update and Cleansweeps…

Okay, I went with the cream color for the background. If I’m to be consistent, it was the choice to go with as the back of my website is cream. So it goes. I also changed the definition of Rose Gordon to read:

Rose Gordon–/n./ writer of unusually unusual historical romances that include, but are not limited to: scarred recluses, spinster heroines, villains who are heroes, scandals, scandalous schemes, scheming scoundrels, naughty literature, a sprinkling of newly coined terms, a dose of fiery passion, tender love, sweet kisses, and always a happily-ever-after.

So, what are “cleansweeps”?

First of all, I have to tell you all that is not the catalog name for these things and when you find out what they are, you might be disappointed. But that’s okay, it’s not really the product necessarily that makes these so great (even tough I love the idea), it’s the story behind them.

To back up a little, if you all search your memories a little  you might remember that in my first book I named the housekeeper at Rockhurst Mrs. Cleansweep. Over the past year, there has been a mixed reaction to this as some have thought it humorous or clever and others have expressed they found it to be the stupidest, most juvenile thing ever to appear in a book. Needless to say, I’ve considered changing it, but haven’t because A. I don’t have the energy to bother with that when I thousands of far more important things to do with my day; B. I vowed in January that I wouldn’t change another thing in any of my books due to public criticism (see  12 for 2012); C. While some people think it’s trite and have hurt their eyes from rolling them, it’s just a book and one of the best things about writing books is expressing your personal differences whether it be in how you word things, the characters’ names or actions, or even the plot. And there is no denying it, as I’ve admitted many times before, I’m a different kind of person and my stories are not for everyone.

While public discussion comes and goes in waves regarding Mrs. Cleansweep, the name is mentioned around my house a little more frequently as I have this odd tendency to go sweep the kitchen floor like a madwoman when upset. The first time I did this, my husband came in from the garage and excitedly said, “Clean!” As if I didn’t do enough cleaning already.

Glaring at him, I said, “I’m not cleaning, I’m sweeping.”

“Clean, sweep, same thing.” Then his eyes lit up and he said, “Cleansweep? Isn’t that the name of that cleaning lady in your book?”

And from then on, he has started calling me Mrs. Cleansweep whenever I’m in a mood to sweep.

Well, two weeks ago I went to go order some promotional items and explained that paper products were not my thing as I’d rather give away things people won’t throw away. The three of us at the meeting were trying to come up with something unique that would not only be kept but that might “stand out” and help people remember me. Then the younger woman who worked there goes, “Oh, I got it!” Then she shuffled out the door and when she returned, she had her phone. And when she flipped it over, there was a little square about an inch tall and an inch and a half wide stuck on the back (it looks like a sticker, but it’s not). Anyway, she started moving the thing around the back of the phone, then took it off and put it on the front then moved it around–letting the thing clean the fingerprints off the front of her phone as it went!

“Oh, yeah those are great,” the owner of the business said, watching her daughter clean her phone. Then when she was done demonstrating, the owner looked at me square in the eye and said, “Not only are these really useful, so I don’t think anyone would throw them away, but because they’re unusual, everyone will remember the author associated with the cleansweep.”

Had there been anything in my mouth I might have choked to death right then. As the two of them discussed how cool, useful and memorable cleansweeps would be, I sat there, mutely nodding at everything they said for the next fifteen minutes, racking my brain about how these two might associate me with the term cleansweep! Had they read my book or did they know of my odd behavior? Neither idea was very promising for me. All around me all I could hear was cleansweep this and cleansweep that. These things aren’t really called cleansweeps, but what are they called? Blah, blah blah, cleansweep. Oh, yada, yada, yada, cleansweep. Would they please stop calling them that?! Cleansweep. Cleansweep. Cleansweep. It was like I was in a room that echoed and all I could hear was cleansweep and being the author associated with the cleansweep and all I wanted to was think of the right term and use it so I could end this torment.

Finally just when I thought I might go mad if I heard anymore about the cleansweeps it was the end of the meeting and time to decide what I’d order. I agreed on pens and USB drives preloaded with a book. Then it happened. The owner looked up from where she’d been ticking off the list on her fingers.  “Oh, and the cleansweep, right? The cleansweep would be perfect for you.”

I blinked had she just emphasized “you” or was that my imagination.

“You did say you wanted to be unique,” she continued. “I think the way to accomplish that is to get the clean–”

“Phone swipes!” I nearly shout, not able to even say the other word. “Yes, let’s go with the phone swipes.” I’m the kind who can admit when I’m wrong or when someone else has a better idea than me, and quite frankly, these were a good idea just for what they are and I’d be crazy not to get them.

So we shake hands and I head home to tell my husband what I got. I told him about the pens and USB drives, then said, oh and we ordered these little phone swipey things.

“Phone swipey things?”

I nod. “Yeah, these little squares that you rub across the screen on your phone to clean it then it uses static to adhere to the back.”

“Oh, a screen cleaner?”

A groan, half-borne of relief and half frustration escapes me. “Yes! That’s what they’re called.”

I then of course told him the story and what the ladies at the advertising place were calling them, only to find out what a huge mistake that was as now he’s started referring to them as cleansweeps…

Oh, and I still don’t know if either of these ladies have read that book or if this was completely coincidental and they couldn’t remember the name, either. I do know when I got my invoice it had them listed as screen cleaners and not cleansweeps.

This might be one of those “you had to be there” kind of stories, but now that it’s been two weeks, I find the story hysterical and I know a few of you will, too.

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6 thoughts on “Postcard update and Cleansweeps…

  1. I love the “cleansweeps” story and can just imagine the thoughts going through your head during that meeting.
    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that people gave you a hard time about the naming of the housekeeper, but I am. I remember laughing at the name the first time but not really thinking anymore about it. I would think, being the author, you could name your characters whatever you want to. I can only imagine what other “critiques” readers have shared with you. You could probably write a very long and humorous post about those I am sure.
    Thank you for sharing the story with us. Can you believe I have been checking my email all day to see if you had posted yet? I am happy to say your story didn’t disappoint.

    • Sarah, I wanted to space them out a bit since I sent three yesterday! Plus, when I finished writing it I waited for a while, thinking, “Is this only funny to me?” I’m glad it didn’t disappoint!

      Oh you might be surprised just where I’ve seen these little bits of criticism pop up. You’re right though, I have enough little stories about the crazy things I’ve experienced from critical readers to fill a book! But for fear of giving anyone any ideas I try not to post about those things. LOL

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