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Tara Taylor Quinn and Her Alter Ego, Kelly Chapman on Housekeeping

The author of more than 50 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold.  She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a four time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, and appears regularly on the Waldenbooks bestsellers list.  She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker.  Tara loves to travel with her husband.  They’ve been spotted in casinos and small town antique shops across the country.

Please join us in welcoming, Tara Taylor Quin and Kelly Chapman, her alter ego!  Tara and Kelly have a special money saving gift for all our readers today at the end of this blog! 

Expert witness psychologist, Kelly Chapman, my alter ego, and I have been looking forward to this visit so much.  I love this blog.  It’s real.  Accessible for daily living.  And entertaining.  And it’s just the kind of food I like best – luscious and calorie free all at the same time.

Kelly and I are in the midst of a three month international blog tour to promote our fall releases, The Chapman Files:

Which brings me to today’s topic – house cleaning.  It’s not getting done like I’d like it to be.  I’ve been warring with myself over the necessity.  I grew up in a beautiful home.  Beautifully decorated.  And beautifully kept.  My mother was a professional homemaker.  Professional in quality.  She ‘worked’ only for us.  But she did it perfectly.  Laundry was always done.  The house was always cleaned.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner were always made.  Evening snacks were provided.  The house was always cleaned.  Vacations were planned, trips to the pool happened, games were played almost every night.  The house was always cleaned.

It wasn’t a small house – three levels, five bedrooms, three bathrooms – and it was always cleaned.  Beds were made every single morning.  Faucets did not sport water spots – they glistened and shined like mirrors.  There was a place for everything and everything seemed to know its place.

I noticed in my house last week that the dust motes that used to conglomerate in the corners of the wood floors once in a while had migrated to the middle of the floor.  Or rather, they’d pro-created to the point of over-population.  When I saw them I almost cried.  I felt like a failure in the most elemental way.  The weight of that dust was heavier than the pages yet to be written that day.

And I thought about something a realtor had said recently.  (Our home has been on the market as we’re making a cross country move this fall.)  The visiting realtor asked our realtor if a single woman owned the place.  She replied in the negative.  He then wanted to know if two women lived there.  He said he’d never seen a place so put together.

The dichotomy in my dust tears and his Better Homes and Garden estimation was not lost on me.  Maybe my tears are bit over the top – leftover conditioning from my childhood.  But he’s also obviously blind.  Dust families in the middle of the floor were not indicative of a clean house.

It occurs to me, though, that I’m a bit confused about good housekeeping.  What is good housekeeping?  What’s good enough?  I go from, well, we’re not sick so it must be sanitary enough, to, when you can write your name in the dust on the furniture there’s a problem.  Doesn’t help that the entire upstairs is eighty year old pristine-condition wood floors that are excellent backdrops for…whatever falls there.

How often do I have to change the sheets to not be disgusting?  If I Lysol the kitchen counters once a month, can I just wipe them off the rest of the time?  Am I lax if my faucets have water spots?  You know, once those spots build up enough, you’ll never get the faucets to shine again.  Or will you?  Is there something that takes built up water spots off from faucets?  Does it matter?  I mean, the faucets work either way, right?

Kelly Chapman is sitting here shaking her head at me again.  I do drive the woman crazy.  But that’s alright.  She’s been in my brain for more than two years, giving me her stories and her professional opinions and judgments and she drives me a little nuts sometimes, too.

And, by the way, Kelly’s house is pristine.  Ask FBI missing persons agent, Clay Thatcher.  He has to investigate the place in The Fourth Victim when Kelly goes missing.  But then, Kelly lives alone.  It’s easier to keep up with water spots when all you have to do is wipe up after yourself every time you use the faucet.

Those water spots again – obviously I have issues with them, too.  Help me out here.  In the housekeeping department, what’s good enough?

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, expert witness psychologist, Kelly Chapman and I are going to be asking for help.  We’re raising money for Strengthen Our Sisters, the US’s first battered women’s shelter.  If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. Go to and click the donate button to go directly to a secure Paypal site. Or just comment here to show your support.

There’s an item from our new book, The Second Lie, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: Many are only on for two hours at a time.  Send all guesses to To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at Guess as many times as you’d like!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at! Tour prize winners will be announced!

Next blog tour stop: Friday, October 15th, 2010 on Storybroads, We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.

For weekly blog tour dates, visit Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to

For all our blog readers today, Tara has a special link below that will give you a printable coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of her latest book, The Second Lie.

Debbie Kaufman - October 13, 2010 - 9:10 am

I love a good mystery. I hopped over to your site and read excerpts. I loved the line from The First Wife where the detective asks her to interview the wife and she says she doesn’t do so well with dead people. Love your dry wit in Kelly’s character. Loved it so much that I just went to and download books The First Wife and The Second Lie to my Nook.

Susan - October 13, 2010 - 10:03 am

Tara and Kelly,
Thanks for joining us today. I was just a housewife for many years,still am really, but I used to think how clean the house was reflected on how good a mother and wife I was being. Not any more. Now I dust when company is coming. I also make the other three adults that live with me do their part. I’m much happier.

Darla - October 13, 2010 - 10:04 am

I don’t care how often I clean, I always have Nurf Balls all over the house! Thats our name for dust bunnies from having 3 dogs! When my 6 year old granddaughter starts drawing in my dust then I know its time to clean again! LOL

Dianna Love - October 13, 2010 - 10:47 am

Congrats on your success, Taylor, and best wishes on your new series. Kudos on supporting the battered women’s shelter – so many people don’t realize that it’s still a serious issue even though we don’t seem to hear as much about it these days. Unfortunately, some behavior has never changed and these women need our help.

Sia Huff - October 13, 2010 - 11:04 am

My mother was the same as yours, Tara. I do know how to clean well. It’s just finding the time.
If you are trying to sell your home, it’s even more difficult to keep up. Good luck with that and your move cross country.
Thank you putting a spotlight on domestic violence & Strengthen Our Sisters. It’s important women have a place to go when needed.

Maxine - October 13, 2010 - 11:41 am

Thanks for joining Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. I love mysteries. Will have to get The Second Lie and try to guess the item. You sound so busy, but have accomplished so much. Will definitely read about Storyboards.

Tara Taylor Quinn - October 13, 2010 - 1:44 pm

Debbie and everyone,

Thank you for your hospitality! Susan, exactly, there’s still just that little bit of ‘a woman’s worth’ in how your house looks.

The domestic abuse issue is huge. More so than even I knew, judging by the private emails while on this tour – some from people I know professionally and had no idea. Hard to believe, but we still hide our heads in shame. Me included. The abusive cycle is insidious because the abuser manages to convince the victim that it’s her fault. And that buys her shame and her silence.

Hope those of you who picked up The Chapman Files enjoy them. They are most definitely my best work to date.

And…I cleaned a few things this morning on my way through the house on the way into the office. I wiped up the bathroom sink but I did NOT shine the chrome. I’m naming the dust families. Just seems homeier that way.

Sandra Elzie - October 13, 2010 - 3:48 pm


I’ve always enjoyed mysteries…since I started reading as a child.

I applaud you for the cause you’re helping shine the light on. Abuse is huge and probably even more often in times of economic decline.

Congratulations on your success and may it continue.


Rosemarie - October 13, 2010 - 5:24 pm

My mom was the same as yours, always kept the house perfect even with five kids and her and dad working full time. Me? I guess I missed that day they passed out the ‘clean house’ genes. Hehe.

Like Sandy, I’ve been reading mysteries since I was a child.

Marilyn Baron - October 13, 2010 - 5:28 pm


Thanks for visiting our blog and sharing information about your new series and domestic abuse. One of my PR clients was a local battered women’s shelter and I helped in the fundraising effort to build a new shelter. The work they do is so worthwhile.

Let me go on record by saying,
“I HATE HOUSEKEEPING.” I have a cleaning service and they don’t do a good job but I’d rather have them do a bad job, than do it myself. To the naked eye my house looks good (except my office and bedroom closet) where all the clutter is. I just remodeled my laundry room and so had a good excuse to clean up that room. The painter is here now and when he opened an air-conditioning vent there were tons of spider webs I never knew were there. He’s going to clear those out.

There are more important things in life than cleaning your house.

There I said it.


Tami Brothers - October 13, 2010 - 5:39 pm

:lol: I HATE dusting! I am one of those people who got rid of a LOT of nicnacks in order to keep from dusting them…grin…

Thanks for blogging over here today! I haven’t read this new series but I am really looking forward to them. I love your Super Romances, so I’m sure I’ll love these.


Tara Taylor Quinn - October 13, 2010 - 7:17 pm

Thanks everyone!! I hope you enjoy the series. And most particularly, thank you for helping take care of my case of guilts. Life IS too short. And there is just so much that needs to be done.


I love hearing accounts of other shelters, other women banding together to help those in their community who need it. This issue is an epidemic. Just not one we teach each other how to deal with until we’re forced to do so.

I believe so fiercely in the healing power of love. And the shadow side, the most egregious wrong as far as I’m concerned – is one who turns a back on the love in favor of the rage. To take a love and a trust so deep and then attack the one person you’ve promised to love and protect…I just can’t find a way to express how horrible that is.

Lee Williams - October 13, 2010 - 9:33 pm

I am a firm believer of allowing a few bunny families to cohabitate with me. and the spots on the chrome…….once a week unless something needs to be done in the garden. There are more things to do than time in a day so some things must wait for the weekend! Great job on the books! will have the second lie done by sunday!

Lynda K - October 13, 2010 - 10:14 pm

Thanks for another great post, and a terrific new blog to visit!

I sense my mother twitching every time I look past the dust on my bookshelves or floor to do something else instead. She used to clean *before* the cleaning woman arrived each week. But it’s very true that there are so many other things on the list to do before cleaning…. But when it gets bad enough to make me twitch, I invite friends to dinner, so I’ll have to clean! :)

Marilyn Baron - October 14, 2010 - 7:44 am


I like your thoughts about “bunny families.” Cute dust. That’s a novel idea.


Tara Taylor Quinn - October 14, 2010 - 8:37 am

Lee and Lynda,

Great to see you here!

I have to share this with you all in thanks for the housekeeping tips.

My aunt read the blog – and sent me a private email.

It was housecleaning instructions:

1. Open a new file in your PC..

2. Name it ‘Housework.’

3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN.

4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN.

5. Your PC will ask you,
‘Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?’

6. Calmly answer, ‘Yes’ and press mouse button firmly…

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