Hamburg Journal, Lexington

Lexington native to launch second novel at Joseph-Beth Booksellers June 25

Lexington-born native and novelist Melissa Newman has been invited to Joseph-Beth Booksellers to share her

Melissa Newman

latest novel, House of Cleaving released in June by Whiskey Creek Press, with Fayette County book lovers. The event will be Saturday, June 25 beginning at 2 p.m. with a reading and discussion.

Newman, who spent a portion of her childhood living on Judy Lane, a familiar street off Broadway here in Lexington, says her newest work actually includes settings from those homes and sidewalks.

“I remember Lexington fondly and especially Judy Lane,” Newman said. “It’s no wonder some of those memories keep finding their way onto my keyboard.”

House of Cleaving is written in Newman’s favorite prose – fiction. Her first book, Sister Blackberry released in 2010 by Whiskey Creek Press, has enjoyed much success and Newman is happy to have gathered fans along the way, many from Central Kentucky.

“Since my first book, Sister Blackberry, was released I have met so many wonderful people in Central Kentucky and Lexington and I have been invited all over the state to book clubs and readers’ groups. These thoughtful people have become good friends. I cherish my loyal readers and hope they like House of Cleaving as much as they enjoyed Sister Blackberry.”

House of Cleaving is the story of Annie, a woman who has truly lost everything – her son to a car crash in which she was driving, then a year later her mother to breast cancer. She wants to leave her small town and the painful memories there but there’s one problem – the house she thought she owned actually belongs to ten of her aunts and uncles, most of them estranged. Annie must travel outside her comfort zone and gather signatures from the family in order to move forward with the sale of her home. In doing so, she meets a colorful and sometimes crazy cast of characters who, above everything else tell her deep, dark Cleaving secrets, including a family murder, which involves her mother who she had always been viewed as quiet and passive.

The idea for Cleaving came about like most other Newman novel ideas – with just one small seed.

“Yes, the beginning of the book really did happen,” Newman said. “Faced with a choice to find an entire family which had been splintered for decades or just walk away, I did the latter. Annie Cleaving, much braver than I, moved forward into a fictional account of what I imagined the journey might have been had I taken it.”

Newman is already hard at work on her third and fourth novels, “Daddy’s Girls,” scheduled for a spring 2012 release and The Bridge, with a yet-to-be-announced release date.

Another summer book launch event will take place at Carmichael’s Bookstore, the Frankfort Avenue location, July 9 at 4 p.m.

For more information about Melissa’s work go to

A Note to Readers

Just a Short Hiatus ... More Novels to Come

While Growing Up Wilder was my last novel, it will certainly not be my final. I have two outlines just dying to escape from my desk drawer and I often have to apologetically shove them back in when I find they have made it to the surface time and again.

I am currently working toward completing my doctorate degree (I am all but dissertation, folks!) and I am tangled up in research that uses storytelling and social media as a way to increase hope levels for individuals and entire communities.

This research is allowing me to focus on solving a problem within Kentucky's Appalachia - negative stereotypes.

Readers, please be patient. I will return to fiction shortly. Until then, please continue to share Sister Blackberry, House of Cleaving and Growing Up Wilder with your friends and family.

As always, I welcome your notes and messages.