An Opportunity to Help Japan

Last March, I was working at Kitt Peak National Observatory 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 many friends there. My wife has a Japanese name. 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.

Then something personally devastating happened. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She faced major surgery and weeks of chemotherapy. However, one of the things that helped me get through that period was the help and support of my coworkers and many of our friends and neighbors. Friends chipped in food. My coworkers selflessly stepped in to work extra days so I could be with my wife. Neighbors helped shuttle the kids to and from school. More than ever, I saw that a little help can go a long way. I wanted more than ever to submit a story to the Healing Waves anthology.

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.

The morning my wife went to the hospital, I had nothing to do but to sit and wait. I’m not very good at sitting and waiting. That morning, I wrote the story “Experiment in Survival” which told the story of Minamoto no Raiko’s encounter with the elemental being the Scarlet Order vampires call Iktome.

Once my wife was up and about, she was the first one to read the story. She loved it. 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: You’ll be helping your world neighbors and you’ll get a great book in the bargain.


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