On October 20, 2015, Sugar Skull Press released my book, WINDY CITY SINNERS: A Magic Realism Crime Novel. Read Patrick T. Reardon’s review at


TALES OF THE SACRED HEART (Bogfire Press) Available at

“I loudly applaud the fact that you have chosen to write about something significant, rather than the dysfunctional families, bad marriages and unhappy childhoods that most unimaginative American word weenies are choosing as their subjects.” Tom Robbins, best-selling author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

“Visions, angels, prophecies, apocalypse — all firmly wedded to a portrayal of a real and brightly colorful Chicago neighborhood. Tales of the Sacred Heart is satiric, tender, pungent, and forgiving — a wild and unlikely mix that performs like a charm. In fact, that’s what it is: a magical charm that works a powerful spell.” Fred Chappell, former poet laureate of North Carolina, author of I Am One of You Forever

“In the same vein as Kurt Vonnegut‘s Breakfast of Champions and Tom Robbins‘ Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Melanie Villines weaves fantasy, superstition and a keen sense of the absurd in a modern-day parable set in Chicago’s Sacred Heart Parish. . . Bitingly funny . . .enchanting and life-affirming.”  Lori Wilkerson, Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter

“The characters and their loopy humanity took me back to Confederacy of Dunces. A joy to read.” Jon Anderson, Chicago Tribune

“Funny, creative, and direct.” Amy Matthew, Pueblo Chieftain 

“High humor.” Patrick Reardon, Chicago Tribune


ANNA & OTTO, a novel for children

A book for the young and young at heart — written in the spirit of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THE WIZARD OF OZ. ANNA & OTTO tells the story of a girl who wakes up on the edge of a forest, where nothing looks familiar. Soon, the girl realizes she can’t remember her name, her age, what she looks like, or where she came from. A dog named Otto arrives, names her Anna, and they embark on a journey to learn the girl’s identity — and cure her amnesia. Along the way, they meet a variety of offbeat characters — both friend and foe — who offer clues, advice, directions, and sometimes misdirections. Anna & Otto sometimes don’t know if they’re coming or going, which only makes sense — because their names are spelled the same backwards and forwards. Available at AMAZON.COM.

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