Now available on Amazon Books.
a story about going home
by Melissa Powell Gay.
When Are You Leaving,

"The story begins when a stranger comes to town”

—Robert Goolrick, author of
Heading Out to Wonderful

“About four of the clock we came to
the foot of the first mountain…”

Diary of English explorer Robert Fallam, 1671;
from Franklin County Virginia 1786-1986
by John S. and Emily J Salmon

Sun setting on tobacco farming
in Piedmont, Virginia.
Visit Crabtree Falls, George Washington
National Forest, Nelson County, Virginia
Glenn and Melissa Gay
Appalachian Mountains viewed from
Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina

    Click Bait Be Gone

    Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 8.14.07 PMClick bait bothers me. Yet, I can’t not click for fear of being the only person on the planet who doesn’t know the ten highly effective habits of millionaires.

    Once Google informed the publishing universe that I had self-published a book, the promise of literary fortune flooded my mailbox and social media accounts. “Top five ways to sell more books, click here.” “Find a literary agent in less than ten days, sign up now.” “Learn how [IMPORTANT AUTHOR] writes blockbusters.”

    These infinite “listicles,” which promise instant success, trick me every time. I click, hoping to discover easy solutions and shorter paths to literary immortality. Instead, I’ve lost time I can’t get back, time which I could have devoted to writing.

    Having now spent a few years in the writing wardrobe, I’ve learned there are no shortcuts to writer’s Narnia. Serious reflection, writing every day, and interacting with a writing community are the true paths for obtaining literary goals. Add hard work and a pinch of luck for good measure.

    As John Lennon sings: “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun,” I state my 2018 writing resolutions.

    1st Resolution: avoid fleeting guarantees of instant New York best seller fame.

    2nd Resolution: hold fast in my confidence as a writer with meaningful messages.

    If 2018 is the year you’ve resolved to write your story, take advice from a novice novelist who’s been there. Spend less time traversing internet rabbit holes. Instead, kick off your writing year by interacting with other writers and those who want to help you succeed.

    Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 8.00.50 PM



    Join me for James River Writers’ January Writing Show – A 2018 Creative Plan: Scheduling, Motivating & Organizing Your Writing Life. When: Jan. 31. Where: Firehouse Theatre 1609 W. Broad Street. Time: 6-8 pm


    Serving up a sequel

    Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 9.48.31 AMIris Lee and Heyu fans: they’re back.

    Creating a worthwhile tale takes as much patience as preparing a Saturday evening dinner. The opus casserole should always leave a guest asking for more.

    Before shopping for that first word, consider guests’ preferences while composing a table of contents. Sift through heaps of contemplation, setting the extra darlings aside for another use. Gather all ingredients: character sketches, story outline, and a first draft synopsis.

    The recipe for a hardy story calls for a prime ingredient of raw characters. Once unwrapped from the butcher’s paper, they must rest awhile to expose the essence of their promise and disappointments. Season with spicy phrases to amplify their innate nature and to test their fortitude.

    Select choice verbs. Peel and chop sentences; blend together paragraphs and scenes. Sautee, or toast on one side, chapters. Marinate plot and theme then sear to fuse. Next, simmer manuscript for just the right amount of time. To ensure that the story doesn’t curdle into a tome of mush, sample often for desired taste.

    Then, voila! A book for the reading appetite. Ready for seconds? Every Now and Then, the sequel to When Are You Leaving, is currently simmering in the editorial stewpot on a slow burner. Set your timers for an early spring 2018 release.




    Hanover Book Festival and Lots of Virginia Authors

    Join me and other Virginia writers for the 2017 Hanover Book Festival on Saturday, April 22 from 10-2.

    Come out to the Richmond Times Dispatch Community Room at 8469 Times Dispatch Boulevard in Mechanicsville in Hanover County, Virginia.

    If you are interested in learning about the craft of writing or want to discover new authors, we’ll be signing books and talking about story telling and publishing.

    Book titles When Are You Leaving and Parkland Tales will be available at the event or can be purchased at .

    For when you can't sleep at night

    When Are You Leaving by Melissa Powell Gay


    I Am Jake Crow











    Hello, I’m Jake Crow.


    In case you were wondering, that’s steam coming out of the holes where my eyes used to be. Somebody has pecked them out and done who knows what with them. I can’t see a thing.  And, yeah, those are my ribs you see poking out of my chest. And those bits you see floating around me with the feathers, you guessed it, those are maggots. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the buzzards away.

    I’ve been murdered and my family wants to know who did it. Read all about how Nod, Elder of the Scurry and Gus Owl solve the case in Parkland Tales by Melissa Powell Gay.

    If Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven had you leaving the lights on, this story will scare your socks off.

    Miss Gay promises that a copy of Parkland Tales makes a great holiday gift for your reader friends. Find it on Amazon Books along with her novel When Are You Leaving.

    For when you can't sleep at night





    Book Signing and New Library Tour

    When Are You Leaving by Melissa Powell Gay




    Join me for a discussion about self-publishing, my debut novel When Are You Leaving and the hot writing scene in central Virginia.



    And, added fun, let’s tour the shiny new Varina Branch of Henrico County Library together.

    Where: 1875 New Market Road, Henrico, VA 23231  804 501 1980screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-3-52-31-pm

    When:   Monday, September 12 7-8:30 pm


    Parkland Tales: Stories for 3 a.m. Readings

    For when you can't sleep at night

    A pleasant distraction on sleepless nights.

    I am excited to introduce the cover for my new book Parkland Tales, Stories for 3 a.m. Readings. The book features a series of connected stories about the furry and feathered residents of Parkland, an urban park surrounded by concrete and asphalt. The stories were inspired by my many visits to city parks and classic literary characters like Don Quixote, Bambi Deer, Romeo and Juliet and others.

    Parkland Tales, Stories for 3 a.m. Readings will be available on Amazon Books and other book selling outlets by October 16, 2016.


    Channeling The Bard

    Is there really anything new under the stars when it comes to creating love scene dialogue?

    You had me at "hello."

    You had me at “hello.”

    Remember the run away line from the movie Jerry Maguire?  Showing up unannounced, Jerry (Tom Cruise) professes in a garrulous soliloquy his undying love for Dorothy (Renee Zellweger). She patiently listens then delivers her love punch, “You had me at ‘hello’.”

    Something about the understated line rings true for today’s lovers struck with the “love at first sight” fever. The phrase inspired country crooner Kenny Chesney to write a song titled “You Had Me At Hello.” And when the opportunity arose in which he met the object of his song’s affection, the lovely Ms. Zellweger, he, like Jerry Maguire, howled at the moon then declared his eternal love for her with a marriage proposal.

    Imagine my delight when I discovered that this wonderfully simple claim of one’s instant devotion had been written before. That’s right, William Shakespeare’s Juliet used the same sentiment on the obviously clueless Romeo when he showed up at her residence unannounced.

    487009351Upon Juliet’s insistence that it is time for the love-struck and babbling lover to leave, Romeo asks, “O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?”

    To which she replies, “What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?”

    And he begs, “The exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.”

    Then she asserts, I gave thee mine before thou didst request it: And yet I would it were to give again.”

    In other words, Romeo, you had her at “hello.”