All the Roads Home – Character Spotlight #1 #BookBuzz

All the Roads Home

This is the first in a series of posts where I will be introducing you to my character from my soon to be released novel All the Roads Home; book one of The Oregon Series. These spotlights will give you a little bit of insight into the characters, who they are what makes them tick.

Character Spotlight—Shawn Stewart

Shawn is the main character in All the Roads Home. He is 39 years old and emotionally tortured from a particularly hard divorce. We meet Shawn on the tail end of his time in Scotland where he went to live following the divorce and after losing nearly everything. He is a broken and in some ways jaded man because of all he has been through and feels alone in the world. Originally Shawn is from a small town in Michigan called Silver Lake but moved to Astoria Oregon with his sister Jenna and their mother following the tragic death of his father when he was very young.

He eventually found his way to Chicago working as a Journalist for a major newspaper. Because of the personal and professional choices he made after college, his rocky marriage, and being haunted by emotional ghosts from his past Shawn built a barrier between himself and his family in Oregon especially after the death of his mother.

In All the Roads Home, we find Shawn returning from Scotland with his dog Magnus and moving back to Astoria to be near his sister Jenna, her husband Peter and their daughter Charlene (Charlie). It is there where he finishes mending his heart and reconnects with the only family he has left while coming to terms with the personal battles and ghosts he fights every day. His new accent, roguish looks, and edgy demeanor catch those who have known him his whole life off guard. After arriving in Astoria, Shawn finds himself torn between who he is, who he was, who he wants to be, and who is family needs him to be while being surrounded with turmoil.

Like all my male characters in my books and stories so far Shawn Stewart has an underlying darkness within him, an emotional fog which in some ways he accepts and in other ways scares him. He uses this to push people away and keep them at arm’s length while exasperating his trust issues. His emotional barriers cause him to feel out of place virtually anywhere in the world and only add to his feelings of loneliness. Because of all the personal loss Shawn has dealt with in his life, he feels uncomfortable with the idea of any sort of permanence and stability especially when it comes to romance and where he lives.

With the help of his family, his best friend Billy, a long lost love from his past and a new friend Shawn slowly sees the light at the end of his dark tunnel and has a willingness to explore face it head on.


Note: Readers of my monthly newsletter receive these and other sneak peeks into The Oregon Series two whole weeks before I post them on here. So, if you want to read the next one before anyone else please click the link below and sign up


An introduction to The Oregon Series #BookBuzz #IndieTuesday

An introduction to The Oregon Series

By Michael Melville

The other day a close friend who has read both Running Northwest and a not final edited version of All the Roads Home asked me an interesting question. She asked which one was the first book in my new Series. I thought it was an odd question with an obvious answer but after thinking more about it, I thought it was worth explaining since I guess it could be slightly confusing at least for people who have read Running Northwest.


I will say right now that All the Roads Home is the first book in The Oregon Series. I guess you could say that Running Northwest was the inspiration for The Oregon Series however. Writing that novel opened my mind up to all kinds of different characters, storylines, and possibilities on the Oregon Coast and in the state that I love so much. It was during the editing of the final edition of that book where I seriously began developing characters and stories for the Oregon Series.

Imagine you are wandering through Barnes and Noble, an independent bookstore or scrolling through a few years from now. You see Running Northwest and then notice the books in The Oregon Series by Michael Melville as well. You see All the Roads Home,  The Diner and three or more (currently yet unwritten or titled) books.

Where do you start? What book do you read first?

It doesn’t matter!

It does not matter because the series does not have a long running plot encompassing several books like you find in many series. My first series doesn’t have a starting or ending point. It is about a semi-fictionalized Oregon and it’s towns and people who I have invented in my mind. The series ends when I decide to stop writing it and NOT when each story is finished. Each book, however, is its own unique story in terms of the series but in some ways, the people in them will continue in other stories.

So how is this going to work

My plan is to write characters with their own unique storylines and lives in the individual books of the series but have them take place in the same region and towns as other characters from other books within the series. I will have certain characters occasionally re-appear in various ways in all the books in the series, which was my driving idea behind this. Some may play a major role while others may only show up in one or two key scenes or even just in passing. Certain geographic locations, circumstances, and such will be used in all the books in this series. Think of it as a form of continuity.

My intent with this is to show the world I am creating and to show the fullest version of my characters’ lives as I possibly can and to give Oregon and the coast the fullest and widest breadth of description as I know how. I’m not calling it The Oregon Series just for fun after all. Ideally, it will be to show the community they live in as a whole and how my characters play roles either big or small in the lives of each other. Think of it almost as a literary form of the Six Degrees of Separation theory. In movies, this has been a thematic style I often enjoy seeing used and one example would be the film He’s Just Not That into You and an even better example would be Love Actually or the TV show Lost.

How many times have we read a book, fell in love with the characters, and wonder what happened after the end if there is no sequel? After I published Running Northwest, I got a few reviews and countless emails and Facebook messages from fans and readers begging for a sequel. They desperately wanted to know what happened with Thomas and his son, Stephanie and the other characters. They wanted to know what happened next because of the way I ended the story. The Oregon Series will give me the ability to do that not just with those characters (if I decide to) but with any of them. I’m doing this so my readers can get a glimpse of what happens to the characters they learned to love (or hate) when they are not the focus of the story anymore OR before they were the focus of a story.

Need an example?


When it comes to stories that I am writing now, will write and have written for the series an example of this “continuity” idea and how it’s used would be a relatively minor character nicknamed, Pockets. He is a rowdy old Irishmen who has a dark and secretive past but also a tender and caring heart. Readers of my first novel Running Northwest will remember him well from several important scenes in that story. He will make an appearance in the first book in the series, All the Roads Home, and assist my lead character, Shawn Stewart, during a family crisis in an edgier part of the story. He will also play a very dramatic role in the life of Shawn’s best friend Billy (which could lead to another series). Pocket’s unique and mysterious nature made him perfect to bring back for parts of this new story.

For all of you who have read Running Northwest you are well aware of certain things…aspects of the characters and circumstances that I left open to interpretation in that story. I did not do that with the intention of a series or a sequel, but it almost seems that way in retrospect. In fact, I was so anti-writing a series for a long time you would not believe it. Perhaps my mind knew more than it was telling me I don’t know. Readers of Running Northwest have been clamoring for a sequel. Although there isn’t one coming I will say that Thomas, the main character from that story will make an appearance in at least the first 2 books of the Oregon Series in some way. I won’t say how though so you will just have to read and find out.

So if everything goes right and lets’s say The Oregon Series is 5 books (Which is the plan for now but there could be more) you could read all of them in any order and still enjoy them but still want to read the rest. There will be no getting behind and no feeling like you missed something. Just a whole lot of “aha moments”. I hope that it will be a great reading experience because so far it’s been a tremendous journey writing them.  I’ve already been told this could either make or break my writing career so….let’s just hope for the best.


Look out for the first book in the series, All the Roads Home which comes out in mid-January


Wish me luck







Traffick by Ellen Hopkins- A Badass Book Review and Tour #Bookreview

The sequel to “Tricks,” Hopkins’ latest book follows five teenage victims of sex trafficking — from all walks of life and gender orientations — as they try to extricate themselves from their current situations and find a new way of life.

About The Book:

TRAFFICK (Tricks, #2)
By: Ellen Hopkins
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Pages: 528
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Five teens victimized by sex trafficking try to find their way to a new life in this riveting companion to the New York Times bestselling Tricks from Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank.

In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.

And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heart wrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home.

Goodreads | IndieBound | B&N | Amazon | Powell’s |BAM |S&S

Pimps – The Trailer:
Traffick Teasers:


Traffick Review

By Michael Melville

After taking part in Ellens Hopkins tour for her last book “Love Lies Beneath,” I was not sure what to expect with Traffic. It’s poetry and I am not ashamed to say that I sometimes don’t get poetry the way I should. It just goes over my head but branching out and trying new things is important in this business and as a writer. After my interview with Ellen before I was intrigued so I signed up. I was worried because I hadn’t read Tricks which is where the characters from Traffick are introduced. I didn’t find that to be a problem at all however. When I got my print copy in the mail I nervously excited and briefly asked myself, “Michael what have you gotten yourself into.” It was a MASSIVE print book but twenty pages in and I was hooked. Not only was I hooked I was blown away.

During my 4 ½ years in college (so far) the poetry I was reading and studying had been things like the epic of Gilgamesh, the works of Homer, English and American poets from the 1800’s like Keats, Frost, and Tennyson. Classics to be sure but not exactly socially relevant in this day and age (in my opinion). THIS book….Traffic is the kind of poetry students in writing and English classes in college should be studying. Not only so they can appreciate its artist qualities but also the sheer genius of how Ellen pulls very relatable, gritty and fighting subject matter from the real world and shoves it right in the readers face. She does it in a way that isn’t over the top and appears to teeter on the safe side of the line of too much info but is still real and truthful. You get what’s going on or went on.

Traffick is about sex trafficking, not just any sex trafficking but the hush-hush world of underage sex trafficking. It’s a very real and very huge problem in the world and one that goes largely overlooked by most people. Working where I work, it would be a lie if I said that I hadn’t heard stories and seen some things over the years. This book follows 5 teens who for one reason or another become victims of the sex trade in sin city itself; Las Vegas.

There aren’t any chapters but rather sections I guess which are about the individual characters. Each section starts with a poem written by a character than all the poems after that are about that characters story. An example would be “A poem by Whitney Lang – Need rises up” after that poem there are 12 more which move forward that specific scene in her story. I won’t lie it took me a bit to get used to the pace of the poems, but once I did it was an awesome experience.

As I was reading, I realized this book is considered teen fiction by the publisher and written for grades 9 and up (14 years old+). At first I was shocked and asked myself, “who would let their daughter or son read this book? It’s just so intense and gritty and real?” It was then that I realized this is exactly why teens should read this book. Life is not all sunshine, princesses, and roses. This book can show you just how easily it is to get involved and trapped into this the kind of life where nightmares are made.

Ellen shows us how desperate the characters are which gets them into this life and how desperate they are to get out or even just survive. This isn’t Pretty Woman and there is no Richard Gere who is going to rescue you. Whitney, one of the characters who is from a privileged California lifestyle is tricked into the life by a pimp outside the GAP who fuels her new need for heroin and eventually traps her into a life of prostitution. The realness of this book and characters is vivid and gripping that I was caught up in a way that is rare.

I won’t lie; It made me hate my fellow members of the male species a little bit who drive the supply and demand of this business. It made me feel sick and sad and even happy for some of the characters as the story when on. I would highly suggest and recommend this book to anyone who likes poetry, intense stories, and gripping characters.

(I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review)

Follow The Tour:

November 2nd Batty for Books – Review
November 2nd Acting Up With Books – Review
November 3rd Reads All The Books  – Review
November 3rd Christine Abee  – Review
November 4th anything but vanilla book blog – Top Ten List
November 4thBookish Lifestyle – Guest Post
November 4th– A Diary Of A Book Addict – Review
November 4th Beauty’s Library – Review/Author Interview
November 5th KDH Reviews  – Review


November 5th Reads and Treats  – Review
November 6th Book Chic  – Review
November 6thThe Power of Three Readers – Review
November 9th Reading Junky’s Reading Roost – Review
November 9th Backseats and Airports – Review  
 November 10th Journeys
& Life
  – Review
November 10th heyheyheyjackie – Review
November 10th Books and Ladders – Review
November 10thBookish Lifestyle – Review
November 11th   Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review
November 11th Heather Ann’s Book Reviews – Review
November 11thShe Reads New Adult – Review
November 12th BookAHolics Anonymous – Review
November 12th Erin Fanning – Guest Post
November 13th Heather Harlen – Random Ten’s List
November 13th Alec John Belle  – Review
November 13th Confessions of a Kid-lit Lover  – Review
November 13thMelissa Martin’s Reading List – Review / Interview
November 13thThe Phantom Paragrapher – Review
November 13thTeen Librarian Toolbox – Review / Interview
November 13thMiranda’s Book Blog – Guest Post 

About The Author:

Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing.
Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of ChildrenÕs Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She is a regular speaker at schools; book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world. 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter |Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr


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Special thank to Amy with Lady Reader tours for letting still take part in this tour despite the lateness of my review

Infographic: Do You Know The Difference Between Literary, Upmarket and Commercial Fiction?

OregonMike98 (Michael Melville):

I thought this infographic was incredibly interesting and helpful so I felt I should share it.

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent:

Knowing how to categorize your work is one of the most important skills a writer needs to know–especially while querying. Here’s an infographic to help.

Fiction Category Infographic

View original

News and the terrorist attacks in Paris. #PorteOuverte

Today was a very sad day for Paris; the city of lights, the city of love and one of the greatest in the world. What’s more shocking is that I had no idea anything had gone on until hours later when a friend of mine happened to make a post about it on Facebook.

All day long I sat home with my son, Jax, my phone and tablet nearby watching kids shows, feeding him lunch and putting him down for his nap. Ya know normal Dad stuff. All the while one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in over a decade was happening on the other side of the world. In fact nothing like his has happened in France since WW2 (thank you MSNBC for just saying that)

I received no texts about it. I got no breaking news alerts about it on my phone until after all the attacks were long since done. My local news had limited coverage, there were no breaking news interruptions (while it was happening) that one might expect if this happened in my own country. Even the friend who posted the initial post that piqued my interest was surprised at the lack of news even hours later. I got more news from Twitter than  traditional news sources which I am not surprised by.

Everyone is in bed so I’m gripped by the news, trying to play catch up and make heads or tales about what has gone on in Paris while me and the world wait for the almost inevitable news; that ISIS, AlQaida or some other terrorist group attacked Paris France.

I can’t imagine some of these people; the victims. Sitting one minute at a french café with friends drinking espresso or wine, talking and laughing then…..chaos…death.  I am shocked, I am saddened and I am horrified not as an American and not as Frenchmen but as a human being.  I am horrified for the people of France. I am horrified that there isn’t more news about this tragic event.

It’s 2am. I am going to bed soon. Martial law was just implemented. The Eifel Tower has just gone dark.  I am scared for what could happen next.


My heart goes out to all the Parisians. Restez forts mes amis. Nous sommes avec toi


I found this video ( I am sorry that its Fox news) where they show Parisians walking in the night singing their national anthem. We sing with you.




His name was Frank. #NonFiction #essays

I sold my car this week. His name was frank

I know you may be thinking, “So what you sold an old car. What’s the big deal?”

Let me tell you about Frank. He was a burgundy Oldsmobile built in 1995. My Grandpa bought him brand new and was quite thrilled with the fact it had power seats. Back in those days people kept cars for years and sometimes decades.  Frank whose name was not Frank then was one of the first cars I ever drove when I was learning to drive back in 1994/95. My grandfather would pick me up after school and let me drive his car when he brought me to work as a bagger at a grocery store during my Freshmen year of high school. It was from him that I learned the best curse words to use while driving since he was more than happy to use them toward other drivers.

On weekends during the summer, my sister and I would ride in the back seat of Frank on our way out to Gun Lake where we would spend the day swimming. These weekends were the tail end of a tradition that dated back to my even younger days. Eventually, work, sports, friends, and girlfriends took up my time on the weekends and those weekends faded away. I remember those trips, though; the silent hot drives where grandpa was always sparing with A/C and would only let us roll the windows down a few inches. By the time we got to the lake, we were sweaty messes and ready for the cool water.

Fast forward a decade or so after the death of my grandmother where Frank began getting used less. Grandpa was not one to go away often or very far being the sturdy and reliable creature of habit that he was. He would drive the short distance to the grocery store, to his favorite restaurant in Wyoming Michigan called to Russ’s for lunch and sometimes to my aunts or my moms and then home. I think he may have only drove 12 miles a week for years. Eventually, health problems grew more severe as normally happens with someone in their 80’s and Frank would sit for weeks or months un-driven.


My Grandpa, was always meticulous about taking care of Frank, keeping every receipt, washing Frank regularly and writing down everything he did with the care one might expect from someone who spent decades as a machine maintenance person at a General Motors plant. As the years and health took its toll on grandpa, Frank suffered as well. Oil changes became less frequent, tires were not rotated as often, and he was not cleaned as often as he used to be. One could argue that with the little amount grandpa drove that these basic maintenance needs were not necessary. However, while Frank sat parked in the garage for extended periods when my grandpa was in and out of the hospital the salt from the Michigan winters slowly began eating away at him. Franks burgundy skin became bubbled and rust spots began appearing. Over time, the rust increased and scarred his once perfect body, in large patches that added to the dents from grandpa’s occasional oopsys.

In 2011, after grandpa lost the ability to drive, I was given the opportunity to buy Frank who only had 62,000 miles on him. He wasn’t even broken in yet. Yes, you read that mileage right. That is just under 4,000 miles a year and the tires on it were bought in 2002 at 48,000 miles.

Selling the car wasn’t something my grandpa was thrilled with (his loss of independence, not me buying his car). I got Frank who needed some love, the years of neglect and weather took its toll on him. Grandpa gave me every single repair receipt he ever had…even the ones for oil changes done at 3,000 miles without fail. He put a duffle bag in the trunk with jumper cables, extra light bulbs, fuses, a screwdriver, and even a sweater. This sweater, a mustard orange one was one I remember seeing my grandpa wear when I was a little kid. It was his emergency sweater. Now it was mine even though it was two sizes too small.




After several repairs right off the bat because of the rust and with the help of my dad Frank became a fairly well running old man. I chose not to repair the rust on the body since I saw it as a sign of age, experience and better days gone by and an ode to my Grandfather. At this point, the car was 16 years old and some dings and rust is par for the course. It was then that I named the car Frank after my favorite singer, Frank Sinatra, who found a rebirth in his own career.


My dad working on Frank

With a little love, my Frank also found a rebirth. My dog Harley and I drove Frank everywhere, to the beach, to the woods, out for coffee, to the park and up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan. Frank was our car, our ride, and our escape when times got tough. She would sit in the passenger seat with her nose against the windshield or out the passenger window with her face in the breeze while I drove. I cannot even count how many great memories we had driving around in Frank.


Even after my life-sucking ex took her from me, Harley was still a part of the car and a part of my life. Her nose prints were still on the windshield, a little bit of her hair remained in the brown fabric by the rear window and a picture of her was tucked away on the dashboard near the gauge panel. Wherever I went, however far I drove and whatever I did all I had to do was look down and see her there.

I suppose I needed her there.

I suppose I needed those memories



After I lost Harley life spun out of control, dangerously so, but Frank was there. A series of smaller solo trips in and out of Michigan and one massive solo 2-week excursion to the Carolinas, Florida and back through the Smokey mountain states culminated the road trips that I took in him. Franks existence helped me get through one of the hardest parts of my life and led me into the next part of it.

Frank saw the start of a new life. The seats that once carried my grandparents now carried my eventual fiancé and me before our son joined us. Some of Jax’s first post-birth excursions happened in Frank. At some point, I toyed with the idea of storing Frank and keeping him running for Jax when he reached driving age but decided that was insane.


Awesome little motel in Munising Michigan

Eventually, the years and miles became too much for old Frank and he started breaking faster than I could fix him. Frank coughed and smoked. He had trouble running, staying started, and for one winter, I drove him with little or no heat. That was the winter Jax was not allowed to drive with dad.  In the end, it became too much to handle and afford. Therefore, I sadly put Frank up for sale. A nice kid offered to buy him, one who had the money and time to devote to fixing Frank up properly.

Before the kid and his dad picked Frank up, I drove him to the gas station, put a little fuel in him one last time, and reveled in the memories and all that we had done over our 72,750 or so miles and almost 5 years.

Frank was not just any car I sold, not just a car that I leave behind without a thought. It was one of the last vestiges of my now deceased grandfather and of my dog Harley — two things I cannot get back. I said goodbye to one of the cars I learned to drive in, went back to college with, survived snowpocalypse in, and learned to live life again in and started my family with. Frank was a huge part of my life that I now leave behind. 134,756 miles later Frank is starting a new life once again and so am I.







Books By Michael Melville

-All images are property of Michael J Melville and Books by Michael Melville. Any reproduction or use is not allowed unless permission is given first.


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