January 17, 2011

What Is a Good Book with Author Anthony Anderson

The Writer

Upon reaching a certain age and noticing a certain expanding of his waistline, Anthony Anderson struck upon the idea of a writing career as a method of weight loss. He is so confident that he will not be overeating in the future, he has begun work on his second novel. You can learn more about Anthony and his writing endeavors at his [blog].

The Book

What would Latrina Emerson, unassuming librarian and church organist, have in common with an agnostic physicist and a bunch of occultists over 2000 miles away? Absolutely nothing if she could help it. Some not-so-benevolent "Forces of Light", alas, won’t let her help it. She’s part of their plan save their credibility after some recent embarrassments (Y2K failing to end the world on prophetic schedule, increasing distrust of authority, etc) and shut up those smart alecks in the Forces of Darkness. But the Forces of Darkness have never followed the Light's rules—like the ones that say they have to be totally evil or always lose in the end—and they're not about to start now. A faction of Hell, in fact, has decided that despite religious and philosophical differences, Latrina is too decent a person to be martyred "for the greater good". Warning her, however, gets a bit tricky. And the real wild card may be Latrina herself, who may not be as “manageable” as the Powers-That-Only-Think-They-Be would like.

Click the cover above to order your copy of The Vile, Sinister, and Most Utterly Diabolical Account of Latrina Emerson today!


What is your definition of a good book?
My definition of "good" as far as books, movies, music, TV shows, newspaper articles, video games, etc is so simple that some people of a more "intellectual" bent might take umbrage to it. How "good" I judge a work to be is how well it answers this question: "Do I REALLY want to spend my time with this piece?" If I'm under no outside obligation to deal with this book, film, etc (writing a review, studying it for a class or book club meeting, trying to impress some woman I met at the art museum...); do I really care what happens next in the story? Once I finish, do I feel it was a fair exchange of my time? Would I purposely listen to the song again? How much time would I spend looking at some particular piece of artwork? Would I buy this video game after renting it? A lot of times the answer has been "no", but that doesn't necessarily mean that the piece is "bad" in some objective sense. It's just that the piece didn't work for me.

How does your latest literary offering qualify as that "good book"?
Well, in light of what I've just written, the most honest thing I can say is "Dunno." It's been good for me because--now that I look back on it--it's sort of an homage to a lot of my favorite stories and ideas that have passed through my little brain during my lifetime. I loved writing it overall even when I've been so frustrated with it that I'd seriously despaired of ever completing it. Hydra M. Star, who edited the book for me, and other people who've read the earlier chapters when I was calling it "Maid of Honor" told me they liked it, so I guess it was good for them. Other people who take certain things more seriously than I do may very well NOT like it (especially once they read the book description I've included here). To such people, it could very well be a very BAD book.

I've got nothing against "literary" or "artistic" works; in fact, "highbrow" ideas are the kind of toys I like to play with. But I indulge myself in them because I enjoy doing so, not because some humorless intellectual told me that I should for posterity's sake. I'd rather concentrate on writing the best stuff I can for readers who are alive now. Being remembered by some "artist circle" decades after I'm dead and gone is not my primary concern (and from what I studied, it wasn't the primary concern of Shakespeare or many other "darlings" of the literary world either).


Sathariel continued. “We now must consider a crucial qualification: just how well can she handle knowledge of certain Secrets of the Universe? She may fare a little better in that category than in general combat. She’s a member of one of the more charismatic denominations of Christianity. As such, her belief system considers angels and demons to be real and palpable forces in her world. The Cherubim calculate she wouldn’t suffer as much of a shock as our more ‘practical’ candidates. Then again, belief in things beyond the physical doesn’t necessarily protect a human from severe cognitive dissonance, regardless of faith. I’m sure you can all recall problems we’ve had with visitations.”

The angels all muttered in agreement. They well remembered the Virtues’ initial attempts to recruit humans by condensing down to Earth and performing direct miracles like healing the sick, feeding the hungry, giving sight to the blind, and so forth. The fortunate recipients of these boons were then supposed to go forth and recruit even more humans for Elysium. More often than not, however, when a bunch of eight-foot tall glowing humanoids with twelve-foot blue wingspans had suddenly materialized, many so-called ‘believers’ had simply keeled over dead in shock, the little ingrates. From then on, Elysium resorted to direct manifestation and miracles much more sparingly.


“Okay, but as long as it’s not some mess about thugs, pimps, and prostitutes,” she said as she took the 15A exit off the Interstate and turned toward the posh center of Memphis Yuppiedom that was Germantown. She was thinking more about what she might or might not have heard on the radio a few minutes ago.

Meanwhile, the radio deejay announced that he was going to go “back in the day” with the next song. Latrina thought he meant some Motown song out of the Sixties, but apparently the announcer felt Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback” was old enough. Mavis was in the passenger seat snapping her fingers and swaying to the beat. “Oh, yeah, that’s my shit right there, girl.”

Lord, grant me the serenity, Latrina thought, not believing the morning she was having. She didn’t have to look directly at Mavis to let her passenger know how she felt. The blank look on her face said that she took to the song in much the same way she would have taken to the suggestion that she could help increase attendance at her church by wearing only clear heels and a thong and offering lap dances during Sunday service.

“Oh, lighten up, girl,” Mavis said as she changed the station to 103.5 FM, much to Latrina’s relief. “We’ll put on some grown folks’ music for you.” They came in on the middle of Marvin Gaye crooning “Sexual Healing”. “Oh, now, that needs to be your song, Trina.”

“Yeah, when I finally get married,” she said. She preferred Marvin Gaye’s older stuff like “What’s Going On”. “Sexual Healing” was not something she wanted to think about just then.

“Well, if you want to catch a husband you might want to just modernize your wardrobe a little bit,” Mavis said as they stopped at the traffic light on Poplar and Kirby Parkway, near the shopping plaza. Marvin Gaye faded back into the static once he had had his say. No one really bothered with trying to adjust the radio as they were only a tenth of a mile from work. “I know you ain’t a ho, but would it kill you to remind the fellas once in awhile that you’re an actual woman?”

“I don’t think guys would normally wear my clothes.”

“Oh, now you’re trying to be funny, huh? Well, let me tell you what’s funny. What’s funny is that the average mummy shows more skin than you. Look, all I’m saying is that I don’t see how you going to attract a man’s attention when your clothes probably make him feel like he’s trying to push up on his grandmamma. I mean sometimes you dress like an extra for ‘The Color Purple.’”

“Hey, I liked that movie,” Latrina said. “Besides, I know you’re exaggerating because I know my clothes are not that far out of style.”

The chorus of “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show suddenly resounded out through the static.

“And you can just hush,” Latrina snapped at the radio, forgetting to care how that looked to Mavis.

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