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This site contains both book reviews and my own writing. If you're interested in the former, try the Reviews tab. If you're interested in the latter, proceed directly to the Writing tab. My most recent posts appear below.
In which I answer the age old question, “Where do you find this stuff?”
Comic Con 2012 has come and gone, leaving my bookshelves full and my wallet empty. If you haven’t guessed, what I enjoy most about the convention is that it is a cornucopia of new and exciting reading material. Better yet, it’s a whole community of people who love books and come there to talk about and recommend new material. This year I received many good suggestions from the Witty Women of Steampunk panel, the Dystopian panel and my longtime favorite, the i09 Fiction That Will Change Your Life panel. Here are a few that I’m particularly excited about:
Ready Player One: A Novel
A serenade to all 80’s based geek culture – equal parts epic quest, love story and virtual space opera.
Humans may not be the most intelligent life form in the universe, but we’re the only ones that make music. Unknown to us, alien cultures have been listening in to our tunes ever since we started broadcasting and now they want to go “behind the music”. When you throw in copyright law and intergalactic finance the situation only gets weirder. This one was a Comic Con special and came with a memory stick loaded with music and readings by the author.
Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle
A short story collection tribute to the great Ray Bradbury, including submissions by Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers and many more.
Ben H. Winters
As if the idea of tiny creatures that live in your bed and bite you while sleep wasn’t creepy enough, Ben Winters throws in a creepy brownstone, a secretive landlady, a young couple and psychological horror.
The Last Policeman: A Novel
Ben H. Winters
A police procedural set in a pre-apocalyptic United States raises an interesting question: What’s the point in investigating murders if we’re all going to die soon anyway?
Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities
A showcase of over 1,500 engravings that originally graced the pages of Webster’s dictionaries in the 19th century. I’ve already spent a few hours flipping pages and wondering at everything from Bell Jars to tarsiers. It makes a great visual prompt for any writer or artist.
Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me
The first trade paperback of this Image comic book series, Fatale features hard-boiled secrets, lies, horror and lust from one of the best crime writers in the business.
A man goes out drinking. The next morning he wakes up with a killer hangover and a pair of horns growing from his head. He also has the power to make people tell him their deepest, darkest secrets. Nothing good can come of this. Added bonus: I got a signed copy!
My poem, “An Evening in Two Stanzas,” is up at the minutiae. They’re a new journal focusing on micro poetry, flash fiction and short essays. You can check it out here: http://theminutiae.blog.com/2012/06/04/melissa-milazzo-an-evening-in-two-stanzas/
Saturday night Tone and I attended the San Diego Book Awards banquet for the second time. The first time we went was in 2009, when Tone’s manuscript for Picking Up the Ghost was a finalist in the unpublished novel category. This time the published version of Picking Up the Ghost was a finalist in the published SciFi, Fantasy, & Horror category. Unfortunately, Picking up the Ghost didn’t win. I still think that being nominated twice isn’t too shabby!
The night wasn’t a total loss for the Milazzo household. A Year in Ink, Volume 4 , edited by Jericho Brown & Laurel Corona, won the short story collection/ anthology category. Since my short story, “Sleepwalking” is included in the collection, I can now say I’m published in an award winning book!
One of my micro fictions has been published over at Postcard Shorts. You can check it out at: http://www.postcardshorts.com/read-886.html
Billed as an art house take on the classic zombie story, Daybreak delivers on that promise. Author/ artist Brian Ralph tells a careful, understated story about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Blood and guts are scarce, but hunger fear and fateful decisions are plentiful in these black and white pages.
Daybreak is told in the second person, placing the reader as the protagonist of the story. Usually I’m not a fan of the second person voice; it tends to be gimmicky and can become tiresome when used in longer pieces. It does, however, work well for this short graphic novel. In making the reader the protagonist of this story, Ralph makes the most of his medium. He forces the reader to interpret the images on the page rather than rely on narration or dialogue to tell the story. When presented with a panel of a room, the reader must visually search it, just as he would have to do if he really was running from zombies. The room looks empty, but is it? Look again. These wordless panels create a great tension and an immediate sense of intimacy with the few characters that do appear in the story.
With Daybreak Brian Ralph succeeds where many other zombie stories fail. He creates a world where looking and listening are just as important as shooting and running, where human interaction is brief but meaningful and everything can change at a moment’s notice. It’s a refreshing take on a familiar genre.
Q: You’re writing a novel?
A: Why yes I am, thanks for asking!
Q: What’s it called?
A: The working title is Snake Woman Rain Dance.
Q: What’s it about?
A: Murder, Mexican folk magic, Aztec gods and wildfires
Q: For reals?
A: For reals.
Q: How much do you have written?
A: 50,000 words (about ½ the book)
Q: Can I read it?
A: When the rough draft is complete I’ll be pushing this story on anyone who is literate and slow moving enough for me to catch.
Q: Is this why you haven’t been updating your blog?
A: Damn your deductive skills! Yes, yes it is.
Q: Does this mean your blog will be lame an dead until you finish said novel?
A: No, I’ll keep posting lists, flash fictions and reviews. The updates will just be happening with less frequency.
Q: What do I do if I have more questions or feel the need to write a rambling and only tangentially related response to this announcement?
A: Use the LEAVE A COMMENT button below. I promise you I’ll read it.
Miss Kitty’s (five stars)
“Enjoyment is to be had in any of her fine lady-holes. Try them all!”
Jolly Jane’s (four stars)
“Good selection of purty girls at a low price. Some has peckers too, but I don’t let that slow me down none.”
The Oriental (two stars)
“Fancy furniture and such. The whorin’ weren’t too good, but the gal did give me a bath.”
Big Nose Kate’s (three stars)
“Name of this establishment is misleading. THERE ARE NO LARGE NOSED WOMEN HERE! However, a small nosed whore did fashion a wear a paper cone while servicing me. All was not lost.”
Bessie in the Alley (one star)
“Worst hump of my life. Had more fun riding my horse.”