Last March, I was at work when I first heard news of the magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan. I grew up in Southern California and had experienced my share of earthquakes. One early memory, in fact, is of being shaken awake by 1971’s 6.6 magnitude Sylmar Earthquake. I felt helpless as the news from Japan kept coming in. First there was the earthquake, then the tsunami, then the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.
Admittedly, my ties to Japan are somewhat tenuous. My brother studied in Japan and has friends there. I’ve long been influenced and inspired by Japanese art ranging from haiku to anime. Still, because of those things, Japan has always felt like a neighbor in this world community and I wanted to help, but wasn’t sure how.
Then, Maggie Bonham at Skywarrior Publishing suggested a charity anthology to help those people in need. Phyllis Irene Radford came on board to edit the anthology and invitations were sent out to writers. I knew right then, I wanted to help.
I had a story in mind. It was an idea that came to me back when I was researching Vampires of the Scarlet Order. I read about a samurai called Minamoto no Raiko who battled a spider demon. I was reminded of Iktome from many Native American legends. I’ve long been fascinated by the ways that similar stories and characters can crop up independently in different parts of the world. For years, I’ve been thinking about a Scarlet Order story that involved Minamoto no Raiko.
That story finally came together for me after hearing the news of the earthquake in Japan. I called it “Experiment in Survival” and it told the story of how a well meaning elemental creature tried to help humans, only to have his experiment end in disaster.
People who’ve read Vampires of the Scarlet Order will recognize that the elemental creature is none other than Iktome, whose tampering in human affairs played a role in the creation of vampires.
I polished the story and sent it in to Ms. Radford. I was delighted when she accepted the story for the anthology.
Now, the anthology is available. Here’s a look at the cover:
Inside the anthology you’ll find stories, poems and essays by such folks as Jay Lake, Carol Hightshoe, Lawrence R. Dagstine, Jennifer Rachel Baumer and M.H. Bonham. None of us who have contributed to this anthology receive any money. Instead, we’re donating all the proceeds to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.
Now, it’s your turn to help. Go pick up a copy of the anthology at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89580. You’ll be helping your world neighbors and you’ll get a great book in the bargain.