Shawn Milazzo has been writing since he was a child. He attended the Academy of Art University in San Franciso, California, majoring in a B.A. in Motion Picture & Television. He is currently a member of the HWA (Horror Writer’s Association), Comic Writers of the Future, and Riot Forge Studios. He’s also hosted The Literary Elements of Science Fiction seminar.
Shawn loves writing for comics, video games, and other mediums of entertainment. Ongoing contributions can be found at Tromamovies.com, Bizarrocentral.com, and Tes Reneweal. He’s also got dozens of works out there for your enjoyment, to include G.I Joe: Cobra’s Carnival (Kindle Worlds), Beast Birds and The Funeral Hobby (Kindle), and his work is included in the upcoming anthology Blood for You: A Literary Tribute to GG Allin (Weird Punk Books).
Not only did Shawn take 2nd place in this year’s Spooky Short Story Contest, but I’ve also had the esteemed privilege of reading Shawn’s work for the past couple of years as a beta reader/editor. I can attest his work pushes—nay, obliterates—boundaries with each new tale.
Strap in for a wild ride (and check out an excerpt from his novel at the end of the interview).
JO: Vampires have taken over the world, and they sure as fuck don’t sparkle in daylight. Your neighbors know a guy who knows a guy who knows of a safe haven. You opt to run with them. What three things do you pack into your duffel bag first, and why?
SM: Hmm… Good question. Well, considering I actually want to be a vampire, I would probably bring my laptop for gaming, writing and news, and a gun and ammunition. If the ammunition doesn’t count as one item, then I would bring bloody slabs of meat.
First off, the only reason I would go with someone to a safe haven is to sleep with their women and take what they have and/or use the people as a bartering tool for the vamps. That’s the main reason I would take a gun. Someone has to document the end of humanity, right? That’s what the laptop’s for, plus global news feeds. Hopefully the bloody slabs of meat can be used as a bartering tool or a diversion device. Worst case scenario, I would eat the food before I eat the people, only if I was human. =D
My interpretation of vampire mythology is: you cannot stop them. They have super fucking speed, and a mere human is royally fucked. Always wanted to be a vampire, so I would attempt to contact the undead creatures. Not terrified of vampires, unless they’re mindless killing machines.
Which is scarier: A dude’s hairy back or a chick’s hairy armpits?
Chick’s hairy armpits, for sure. I broke up with an American Idol winner because of her armpits. It’s not hot to me. True story.
Have you ever witnessed any paranormal activity? If so, what was it, and how did you handle it? If not, how do you think you’d react if you did?
I actually think I’m a spirit medium. If I was to write every single sighting I believe I have encountered down, I would have to at least get paid 25¢ per word because I would be writing a goddamned book. I believe this definitely affects my writing. Half the time, I’m not even sure if it’s me writing! I think it’s the spirits communicating through me. No joke. Most of the time, it’s terrifying.
If people don’t believe in the supernatural, I have one place that may change their mind. It’s called The Collingwood Art Center in Toledo, Ohio. With that being said, I will give three examples.
The first encounter that I recall was when I was around 4 or 5 years old, maybe younger. My uncle made my mother a baby crib for me when I was born. The wood was taken from Native American burial land. I was sleeping in the crib, even though I was too big for it, and a bed was right next to me. I would just play in the crib and pass out sometimes, when I was bored.
I woke up from a gravitational pull towards the opposite way my head was. I opened my eyes and saw an imprint on top of the blanket and something pulling at my ankle. It was very strong, and moved me like nothing. It stopped when I was fully awakened. I instantly sat up and looked over the crib to see if it was someone at the house or Tonka, the dog, wanting to play. But the safety walls were up on it, it was high up, and no one was in the room.
I never sat in the crib again.
On a positive note, it was made with exceptional craftsmanship, I dread the day that I inherit it. If I ever have children, I will never put them in it. Damn, red man trying to scalp me and shit. Nahh, who knows, maybe it was a woman who lost her baby to the White Man’s wrath. Pretty sad actually. I will never know.
Speaking of another racist piece of furniture, my roommate’s stepfather is an antique collector. He gave her a chair that some African tribe used to sit down when they would eat meals. It’s very small, and they sat very low to the ground. The carvings on it are beautiful. Us being dumbasses, we used to use it for a stepping stool. It’s probably rare, worth millions of dollars and/or priceless African history.
Let me tell you, this damn thing hates white people. It will purposely hurt you and has injured me numerous times. It moves in your way when you’re near it, tripping you or bruising your shins. If you stand on it, it will sometimes move, or tilt on purpose. Now, some may think, well Shawn, you cannot balance right and that’s why you fall off of it. No, I have practiced martial arts my whole life, and used to skateboard and snowboard. I know how to stand. Tell me why when African Americans stand next to it, it doesn’t fly across the room and hit them!
I talk to it and apologize to it all the time, telling it that I’m sorry that I used it for what it’s not intended for. I try to keep it in corners of the house, but somehow, it always gets underneath your feet!
[The third example gave me] more of an eerie, warm, comforting feeling than anything. I still to this day do not know what this poor woman was trying to tell me. For all I know she was warning me about something, trying to communicate to me about something, wanted her presence to just be known or tried to scare the fuck out of me. If she was trying to scare me, she definitely didn’t do a good job. Unlike other entities I have met.
I was 14 years old and it was my first real job. I used to do landscaping in a graveyard. I was mowing the grass in a Jewish cemetery and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a beautiful woman in a white flowing dress. She was Caucasian, and it looked like she was from a black and white film. At that split second, I was listening to Korn on a compact disc player…God, I’m old… Anyways, I went deaf, everything was muted, including the motor to the lawn mower. I quickly turned my head completely to her. She stood there, in the sun, a tree far off in the distance. She had her arms open and her dress was waving in zero wind, slowly. She smiled at me. It was like slow motion. I felt warm, and like I said, it was a very comforting feeling. I was dumbstruck, and dropped my mouth, while simultaneously going forward with the mower.
I blinked my eyes and she was gone.
I could hear everything again.
I stopped my lawn mower and walked over to where she was standing, from where I was at, the tombstones faced the other way. I looked at the tombstone that she was standing on and there she was, in a portrait, wearing exactly how I saw her. At this certain Jewish cemetery, all the tombstones have portraits of their owners.
I touched her tombstone and said, “Goodbye.”
I also stole a flower from someone who had a ridiculous amount of flowers on their grave and put in on hers but shhhh.
Zombies are real, and they’ve consumed over half the human population in a matter of weeks. You have no choice but to stand and fight. What’s your favored zombie-killing weapon, and why?
Well, my favorite zombie-killing weapon would be a machine gun. The shitty thing about using a gun, though, is you run out of ammunition. I prefer to use guns because you don’t have to get up close and personal with the rot. It all depends on how the zombies operate. My favorite weapon would probably be a giant mech vehicle or potentially, a chemical weapon that kills all zombies. The reason I would prefer to use a chemical weapon should be pretty fucking obvious.
Dead rise from the earth. Chaos and panic ensue. No place appears to be safe. Do you run or stay home? Why?
I actually have a full foolproof plan, I believe. I cannot share this information. Sorry, Jon, if you were a hot female, it would be a different story.
I need a good, goofy segue question. Give me a good, goofy segue question. Then answer it.
Do I really have to think?
What genres do you typically prefer to write in?
Horror. But will do most.
What is it about the comic book medium that makes your balls tingle so much?
I’m not satisfied with just my writing. With books, I feel like I’m completely oblivious to whether or not it’s good. I look at in a totally non-biased way. Which sucks. With comics, I see the art come alive and I can truly see whether or not my words are conveying what I mean with an artist. One of the most beautiful things is seeing your work come alive, at you. You should try it sometime. I feel like it’s easier to pitch a comic to film than novel to film.
What one writing tip—from anyone—has seared itself into your brain and lingers even when you’re watching pornography in the buff?
Write what you know or Neil Gaiman’s Rule of 3:
Do you follow publishing trends or just write your own shit? Why?
I try to do both. Publishing trends can potentially make us money. I gotta eat sometime! On a serious note, I write what I want to write.
What kinds of stories do you like to read? Which ones do you avoid?
Ones that are good, ha ha. I try to avoid stories that are used to influence people for all the wrong reasons.
If you could have written any one novel published prior to today, what would it be and why?
The Bible. Because I would be making people believe in some crazy ass bullshit!
This is the most important question, so be honest now: My raggedy beard turns you on, doesn’t it?
Fuck yeah, why do you think I grow out my flaming red facial hair?! To be like you!
Whew. (These evil gingers will take over the planet one day, so it’s always good to be admired by them.)
He’s also got a story included here:
And here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of one of Shawn’s novels,
Pounded by Pod People
Marilyn pulled the enormous dildo out of her slobbering mouth and stuck it to the top of her magazines. She opened her slippery vagina with her fingers, did a few shakes with her waist, and guided his cock deep inside her. The 10-inch toy stretched her, spreading her open. As she pulled up and down from the dong she noticed him pulling her back, internally.
Just a peek, she thought. Marilyn looked at the grey horizontal blinds that were hanging in front of her. She leaned forward and continued riding the fake dick. Marilyn discreetly pushed one of the blinds down.
Good. He’s still unpacking, she thought, as she packed the prosthetic pork sword into her pussy. Richard Lamb was across the street, helping the movers unload a designer couch. Marilyn wanted him to unload into her. She continued up the tracks of the cock coaster, climbing higher and higher, nearly reaching the climax. Marilyn came down onto the dildo faster. This time, her right titty popped out of her sports bra. She kept on going, squeezing her breast to the nipple. She put it in her mouth, pretending Richard was sucking on it just the way she liked it.