asshole character, author excerpt, horror, sci fi, science fiction, social commentary, storyteller, suspension of disbelief, the dancing lilly, Transmundane Press
If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Anthony.
What is the best thing about being an author? What is the worst thing?
Best—being an asshole to characters. Worst—being an asshole to characters I like.
What are the genre(s) of the stories you write and why?
Horror. My heart and passion exist in shadows cast by moonlight, in the creaking walls of a haunted house, and the devilish grin of a midnight creeper. The genre often explores morality tales with complex human emotions. Along with science fiction, horror asks the highest amount of suspension of disbelief from a reader, so if a tale ropes someone in, it is the mark of a talented storyteller.
What is the title of your next story and what will it be about?
Working on several projects. Closing circles as I like to call it. Just finished a short for The Syndicate’s next Adventures in Arcaneanthology, and I am tinkering with a few more for Transmundane Press. I have two books planned for this year, a collection of absurdist vignettes called A Grin Without a Catand then a collection of my horror shorts called Ossuary Tales. Next year, two novels: zombies and a book examining what happens after death.
From “The Dancing Lilly” by Anthony S. Buoni:
Blazing orange, the sinking sun burned in the eastern sky, setting on the right of downtown’s skyscrapers. A haze blurs the river, and the chemtrail-scarred sky bleeds above the city.
As we cross the canal bridge, Peter’s got his extra claws digging into the steering wheel, sneer revealing his sharp teeth and bad gums. “Damn rats own everything. It’s not right.”
“This again?” I fiddle with the dial, hoping that music will smooth his raised hair. I swear, if Peter doesn’t learn to relax, he’ll stroke out in less than a dozen cycles.
“What do mean, ‘this again’?” Peter accelerates, bringing our transport too close to the ride ahead of us and setting off the dash alarm’s flashing red lights. “Things should be divided evenly between all of us. No one should have any more than anyone else.”
I yawn. I don’t want to grind today. “Doesn’t work. The ancients already tried that, remember?”
“They were uncivilized. We’re different. We’ve evolved.”
“I hardly think that’s true.”
“Believe what you want, we blew it when our leaders signed that treaty. Now the rats have all the money, power, and land, and we’re keeping the wheels turning so that they keep on getting fat. Slavery never went out, it simply morphed into a legal, controlled ideal. You and I…we’re suckers, man.”
I inspect my paws, and one of my nails is chipping. Was there a file in my locker? “Look, if you don’t like it, join the protestors. Hold up a sign and march and chant or something. A treaty is a treaty, and now we have peace. That’s that.”
He could have cut me with his glare. “That is most certainly not that. Those protestors are idiots, blocking traffic and wasting time. I betcha half of them didn’t even vote on Election Day. Then they hit the streets and smash windows. They beg for a free handout, and they have no idea what they really want.”
“I think all they want is respect.”
“No, no, no. That’s not it at all.” Peter’s worked up real good—his fur pokes out of his collar, and his ears point back. “Sure, they go on the Viewdaddy and cry and complain about respect, but what they’re really after is to be feared. They’ve mistaken the one with the other. They’re thirsty for power, to be on top, so they can be the ones calling the shots and making rules. If we lived in a world without rules and boundaries, where commerce could exchange freely between two parties instead of…”
Down below, despite Peter’s daily rant during our commute, three kittens and shoat play along the levee, oblivious to the wicked paths before them. Though I can’t hear their jubilation over Peter’s ravings and the jazz on the wireless, their gleeful expressions give away everything. Part of me nags to jump right out of window and land on the levee and run with them, but the realist, the adult, is louder than their muted fun and says you’ll drown in the canal. Poor kids. In no time, they will all be in the factories—the kittens pushing buttons and the shoat doing all the hard, back-breaking work.
“…Jack? Jack, hello? See, head in the clouds. You gotta stay focused, live in the now.”
“I’m tired. Not feeling the job today.”
“And that’s how we lost everything to the rats. People like you sleeping, not doing your part. You want to play rock and roll star and hang out with your dopey love toy while the world needs real people making real progress.”
“Maybe what the world needs is more dreamers instead of animals trying to fight each other over control.”
Peter shakes his head. “Hippie slacker. El Blanco hears you talking like that, and he’ll piss test you, can ya, then feed you to his rat buddies on Cielo Street. Mark my words, buddy-boy. Mark my words.”
Having relocated from Northwest Florida’s lonesome roads and haunted swamps, Anthony S. Buoni now prowls the gas lamp lit streets of New Orleans, playing moonlight hide and seek in the Crescent City’s above ground cemeteries. Anthony is the author of Conversation Party, Synchrony, as well as the editor to the Between There anthologies. His stories and articles have been featured in North Florida Noir and Waterfront Living. When not prowling, Anthony keeps it scary, writing dark fiction, editing, and watching horror movies. In his spare time, he DJs, plays music, and conjures other worldly creatures with tarot cards and dreams.
ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.