Melinda Clayton
 From the Author
Map of Cedar Hollow

Thoughts, News, and Updates               
October 9, 2014

It's been a long, hot, rainy summer here in Florida, and as the backpacks are packed and the kids head off for another school year, I find myself taking inventory. Where am I in this writing career? What's happened over the past couple of months?

Well, a few things.

Appalachian Justice received a wonderful review in Curve Magazine. From the review:  "Serendipity is when you stumble across a book, buy it on the off-chance that it might be an interesting book and it turns out to be brilliant, a superb read. Appalachian Justice is such a rare find...."

Blessed Are the Wholly Broken received a fantastic review in Publishers Weekly. From their review:  "Clayton (Appalachian Justice) has written an emotionally charged, engrossing book that tackles life's large and often overwhelming questions. Phillip and Anna Lewinsky are struggling with heartache and grief after the death of their first child when Anna discovers that she is pregnant at age 43. Shuttling between the past and the present, Clayton probes the couple's troubled world.... Clayton writes with a raw immediacy, and the multiple narratives satisfyingly converge to create an intense and compelling atmosphere."

In related news, Blessed Are the Wholly Broken was a 2014 Readers Choice Award nominee at BigAl's Books and Pals, and was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Best Kindle Book Awards.  

And finally, I'm thrilled to announce that Shadow Days, the fourth in the Cedar Hollow series, is available to pre-order on Amazon, with a release date of November 11, 2014. For the curious, a preview of it can be found in the back of my brother, W. Michael Franklin's, short story, The Sheriff of Cedar Hollow. 

As the days grow shorter and the weather grows cooler (well...maybe not much cooler here in central Florida), here's wishing a beautiful, bountiful fall season to all. 
December 7, 2014

Another year nearly gone. I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older, or if it's because my kids are getting older, but time sure seems to go by more quickly than it used to.

Shadow Days, the fourth in the Cedar Hollow Series and my final major writing goal for 2014, was published on schedule in November. Many of the Cedar Hollow short stories originally published in the Cedar Hollow anthology (now out of print) have been cleaned up and re-released under the series title Snippets from Cedar Hollow

All of which leaves me looking forward. What's in store for 2015? A few may remember that before the inspiration for Shadow Days hit, I was working on a different novel, one outside the Cedar Hollow Series, set in Florida. My working title had been Inseparable Truths, inspired by a poem by Kahlil Gibran. I had hoped to include a section from the poem in the front of the book, but after trying for months to gain permission from the copyright holders, I gave up.

The loss of the poem has meant a change of title, so the working title is now Making Amends. I was right at 10,000 words when I put it on the virtual shelf, and was relieved to see in spite of time gone by, I'm still just as excited to finish it. 

As mentioned previously, it's set in Florida and involves a kidnapping, a murder, and some secrets. I'm aiming for mid-to-late spring for a release date, but I'm notoriously slow, so we'll have to see how that goes.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season full of love, joy, and laughter. 
December 15, 2014

A really fun interview with Jim Bessey, of 

Please excuse our bad camera angle and technical glitches. It was a first of sorts for both of us, and was a heck of a lot of fun. 

May 18, 2015

I'm thrilled to announce the audio version of Return to Crutcher Mountain is now available from Amazon and Apple.
June 29, 2015

The audio book for Entangled Thorns is now live on Amazon and Apple
September 1, 2015

Making Amends is now live, and available here!

           Making Amends

On a beautiful fall evening, in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek, five-year-old Bobby Clark is kidnapped by his estranged father, a shiftless man with a history of domestic violence and drug abuse. Bobby’s twin brother Ricky watches, terrified, from his hiding place behind the bougainvillea, while mother Tabby, who also struggles with addiction, lies inebriated on the living room floor.

Bobby isn’t seen by his loved ones again until a fateful morning twenty-five years later, when video of his arrest dominates the morning news. Bobby has been charged with the murder of his father, but before the trial can begin, he manages to escape.

As Tabby and Ricky absorb the news of Bobby’s return and subsequent escape, Tabby is convinced he’ll come home to the quiet Florida street from which he was taken so long ago. But when events begin to spiral out of control, she's left to wonder: is a child born to be evil, or shaped to be evil? And in the end, when it’s time to make amends, does it really matter? 

February 9, 2016

Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated, hasn't it? The end of 2015 got away from me. I had some health issues that necessitated fusion surgery on my neck, but now I'm up and about and ready to go. I don't think I even let people know the fourth in the Cedar Hollow Series, Shadow Days, is now available as an audiobook:

My first project of 2016 has been starting a sequel to Blessed Are the Wholly Broken. I've updated the cover of Blessed in anticipation:  

My second project has been having Blessed and Making Amends, produced as audiobooks. They're both scheduled to be available for your listening pleasure sometime in the spring.      

March 19, 2016

A couple of fun pieces of news: 

First, Appalachian Justice received a wonderful review by Library Journal.

And second, Making Amends is now available as an audiobook! 

May 14, 2016

Blessed Are the Wholly Broken is now available as an audiobook! 
Now available:  A Woman Misunderstood, Tennessee Delta Series, Book 2
On a sweltering July morning in rural Tennessee, fifty-year-old Rebecca Reynolds visits the family farm, where she literally stumbles across the mutilated bodies of her parents and younger sister, a sister who had spent life in a wheelchair after a birth fraught with complications.

Rebecca’s first thought is to call 911. Her second is to find her estranged sister, Lena, who was disowned by the family years before. Her third is to wonder how long it will be before Lena is arrested for the murder of their family.

As the police gather evidence pointing to Lena, the sisters turn to attorney Brian Stone. Convinced of Lena’s innocence, he agrees to take on the case. But in a family ripped apart by dysfunction, is anyone truly innocent?

Click cover for excerpt.
Click here for trailer.
Click the cover for a free PDF of my self-publishing guide. 
March 2020 Update:

A big thank you to all the readers who've reached out to ask when the third book in my Tennessee Delta Series will be released. It's on the way, I promise!

I've been sidetracked by a handful of family projects over the last couple of years. The first project involved researching my father's family history (the Franklins). We managed to trace back all the way to 1425 (actually, we flirted with 1390 but couldn't find proof, so settled on 1425). 

Once that was completed and published by my father (you can find it here), I began researching my mother's family history. We couldn't go quite as far back on the Hayner side because Europe's Thirty Years War wiped out records in the small German town in which they lived a few hundred years ago. We did manage to go back as far as 1597 (with a couple of sketchy places along the way). It's now available here, if any interested Hayners happen to drop by. 

Now, I'm in the midst of researching my husband's family history (the Claytons). Once that's completed, I'll wrap up the third novel in my Tennessee Delta Series, tentatively titled Child of Sorrow

And then, on to the next project!