Having participated in Midwest Fiction Writers since 2006, I’ve had a chance to get to know many of our members, at least casually. I’ve learned that our writers are not only an incredibly talented group, but are also, individually, each a warm and caring human being. We are all concerned with telling stories that help deepen our understanding of the human heart.
I don’t recall who first proposed the idea of an anthology at one of our monthly meetings; it came up more than once and it always seemed to me like a great way to support not only our organization, but to raise the profiles of the participating writers as well.
When the proposal came up most recently, I was one of the first people to step up and volunteer to make it happen; I knew I could at least handle the production side of book cover-design and formatting. Fortunately, Laura Breck, who had more project management experience, stepped up too and I was happy to bow to her expertise, but I would have stuck with the project even if she hadn’t offered her help, because I’m a great believer in the value of working together to support great causes like this.
My story, ‘The Wind from the Lake’ is a quiet little story in which worlds of differing beliefs collide. It may seem like a contemporary romance, but it includes just a hint of magic. It may only be the magic that arises between people who care about each other, but it might also, possibly be more. Most of my stories contain at least a hint of magic of the sort we can believe might really be out there.
I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy (along with historicals, mysteries and whatever took my fancy). I finally became interested in romances later in life. When I heard about certain Harlequin guidelines requiring a hero to be at least a millionaire, it was only natural for me to wonder, ‘what’s better than a millionaire?’ and think: a vastly powerful genie who can grant one’s every wish!
My background of fantasy reading included such classics as the Burton translation of ‘The Thousand Nights and a Night’ – sometimes known as ‘The Thousand and One Arabian Nights.’ It’s interesting to see in these stories that the limitation to three and only three wishes is not a necessary requirement of the genie mythos. Genies have vast powers by their very nature and as often as not define their own boundaries in their dealings with humanity.
So, the hero of my forthcoming light urban fantasy romance, ‘Spirited!’ is just such a genie. He is one of the Marid, the most powerful and god-fearing of the djinn. His part of the story concerns a quest for freedom, even as he helps his heroine save her friends from the threat of a succubus demon she has unwittingly released into the world.
Circling back to the anthology… once upon a time, when I was in high school and college, I studied the ancient language of Latin. That was long, long ago, and much of it has faded from my memory, but I did study the language for seven years, and one of the bits I retained is how the plural form of a noun ending in -us, is -ii. Some people today use that declension on cactus and octopus and pronounce the results as cact-eye or octo-pie – but my Latin teachers were classicists and taught me to pronounce it ee, as in tea. Following this rule, I realized that the plural of genius is genii, or genie.
The magic of it becomes apparent when we find a group of seventeen authors, each contributing the product of her individual genius, to combine into the Genie of Group Creation that produced a book now available in multiple formats: ‘Love in the Land of Lakes.’