The Dream of a Thousand Nights – Secrets of the Jinn

September 26, 2011

Before writing The Dream of a Thousand Nights and its precursor, “The Prince and the Jinn,” my only experience with Jinn (also “Djinn” or “Genies”) was from reading “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” or watching reruns of “I Dream of Jeannie.”  Okay, so mostly fantasizing about Larry Hagman!  (Anyone still remember “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts?”)  So let me tell you what I’ve learned about the Jinn and their origins and about how I created the Jinn of “Dream.”

The Jinn in the short story that inspired “Dream,”  “The Prince and the Jinn,” which I co-authored with my friend and fellow author, Venona Keyes, was a pretty traditional one (well, except that he has a happily-ever-after at the prince’s side!).  Three wishes, a brass lamp — you know, the Aladdin myth.  But the history of the Jinn in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings is quite different from the Disney version.

In ancient middle-eastern teachings, Jinn are supernatural beings who occupy a world parallel to the one inhabited by men.  In the Islamic Qu’ran (the sacred text), the only two of Allah’s (God’s) creations that have free will are humans and Jinn.  There isn’t much in the Qu’ran about the Jinn, although the text explains that the Jinn are made of smokeless flame or “scorching fire.”  Jinn, like human beings, can be good, evil or somewhere in between.

The word “Jinn” comes from the Arabic root that means “to hide” or “to be hidden.”  The English word, “genie,” is derived from the Latin word, “genius,” which was a guardian spirit thought to protect every human from birth.  The French used the term “genie” as a translation of the Arabic “jinni” because it sounded similar.  The English adopted the French word and, viola:  “genie.”

There are many interpretations of the physical attributes of the Jinn.  Many portray the Jinn as having two different sexes, like humans.  The Jinn are often shown dressed wearing vests and sashes, with their long hair tied high up on their heads. According to various stories, Jinn could exist independently or be bound to any particular object (hence the “genie in a bottle” or “genie in a lamp” from folklore).

Archaeologists who study ancient Middle Eastern cultures often refer to any spirit which is less than an angel as a “jinni.”  Some traditions divided Jinn into three types: flying Jinn, Jinn who look like snakes and dogs, and those who wander ceaselessly.  The Jinn live in a civilization that resembles the human world, with kings, laws, weddings and other rituals.  Ancient scholars believed the Jinn to be treacherous and dishonest creatures.  Some people believed the Jinn could magically whisper into human souls and convince humans to submit to their evil desires. 

The Jinn in The Dream of a Thousand Nights resemble the Jinn of ancient tradition in many ways.  They appear human, tend to have long hair (and in the case of Tamir, wear their long hair tied in a high ponytail), and can be good, evil, or somewhere in between.  They are often reviled by humans for being fickle and untrustworthy.  The Jinn in “Dream” are created to serve and pleasure humans – that is the entire reason for their existence.  I loved the idea that Jinn are made of fire, which led me to think of them as overtly sensual and sexual creatures who are nearly irresistible to humans.  I also gave the Jinn a hierarchical society, with a Jinn regent to whom all the Jinn answer, just as the humans in the story answer to the King of Tazier.  And, most importantly, the Jinn are capable of love, even though they believe that to love a human is among the greatest of sins. “Dream” is a story about that love, and one Jinn’s punishment for loving a human more than himself.

Peace,

Shira

Source: Wikipedia

The Dream of a Thousand Nights by Shira Anthony

September 26, 2011

Tamir will stop at nothing to see Neriah take his rightful throne, but will their love survive? The Dream of a Thousand Nights by Shira Anthony, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Neriah, the crown prince of Tazier, escapes his father’s deadly wrath with the help of a Jinn named Tamir. Knowing that the other Jinn would find and punish him for falling in love with a human, Tamir takes Neriah’s memories of their brief time together and leaves him with only a jade pendant as a token of his love. Tamir is then stripped of his powers and imprisoned for his crime.

Ten years later, Neriah is still on the run from the King’s assassins, but each night he dreams of a lover whose face he cannot see and whose name he does not know, but who fills his heart with peace. Tamir, freed at last from his prison cell, poses as a pleasure slave and offers to serve the prince. Although Neriah does not recognize Tamir, he falls in love with the powerless Jinn. But just when Tamir has earned Neriah’s trust, he is forced to betray it. There may be no hope of mending their broken relationship, but Tamir is determined to see Neriah on his rightful throne—even if it costs the Jinn his life.

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Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: Novella

Release Day: “The Dream of a Thousand Nights,” by Shira Anthony

September 26, 2011

It’s finally here!  Release day!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally see “The Dream of a Thousand Nights” on the Dreamspinner Press “New Releases” page!  It’s been a three-year journey from the first bit of inspiration to publication, and I’m so happy to see the finished product at last.  The editors here have been fabulous to work with, and, oh what a cover from Anne Cain!  I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect image to capture the essence of the story of Prince Neriah and the Jinn, Tamir.

Cover by Anne Cain

Throughout the day today, I’ll be posting excerpts and writing about the inspiration for “Dream”  under the “excerpts” and “virtual book signing” areas of the DSP blog.  I’ll also tell you a little bit about the origin of the Jinn (a.k.a. “genies” or “Djinn”) and how their myth has evolved since ancient times.  I’ll tell you about my own version of the Jinn in both “Dream” and its predecessor, “The Prince and the Jinn.”

I’ll also be letting you know what I’m currently working on, and about my next book, “Blue Notes,” which will be published late this year by Dreamspinner.  And of course, don’t forget to purchase and download your copy of “The Dream of a Thousand Nights” here on Dreamspinner Press! 

Feel free to ask me questions of comment on the blog entries – I’ll be checking in throughout the day!

Peace,

Shira

One More Wish by Devon Rhodes

September 21, 2011

Can Benny and Curtis overcome an outside enemy and their own doubts? One More Wish by Devon Rhodes, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Benny Oshiro is having the time of his life at a private gig for his band, One Wish, until he’s assaulted and kidnapped by their former manager. When his rescue—or more accurately his rescuer—gets a little hairy, Benny knows he should reconsider their sparking attraction, but no one has ever looked at Benny with the naked want that Curtis does—want Benny can’t help but return.

Curtis Salinas knows at first sight that Benny is the only one for him. But now is not the time to test Curtis’s newly developed control. Outside forces are at work, threatening to expose his family’s secret, and when Benny is kidnapped a second time, Curtis realizes the enemy he’s searching for is only half the problem. To ensure a secure and happy future, he must also face down his doubts and claim Benny for his own.

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Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: Novella

The Regent’s Capture by Rebecca Leigh

September 21, 2011

The Regent’s Capture by Rebecca Leigh

Raden’s heard all the tales about the vampire known as the Regent. As infamous for his power as for his irresistible good looks, the Regent doesn’t care about Vampire Law—he makes his own law. No one dares defy him. He does what he wants, when he wants, and what he wants now is Raden. Captured and dragged to the older vampire’s underground lair, Raden is about to discover the truth behind the tales… and what the tales don’t tell.

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Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal, BDSM/Kink
Length: Short story

Snowdrop by Augusta Li

September 19, 2011

Will Snow let go of his pain to save the man who saved him? Snowdrop by Augusta Li, available from Dreamspinner Press.

When pickpocket Robin Pastorious comes across some graphic photographs of a young man suffering in bondage, he knows he has to liberate the victim—even after seeing the long, distinctive ears that mark the subject as a faerie, a creature Robin has been taught to hate and fear. Robin finds that the fey Snowdrop is afflicted with somewhat loose morals, a desire to be restrained, and a learned fear of reprimands, so naturally his ensuing encounters with Robin are both blistering and sporadic. But the faerie’s distant, fickle nature eats away at Robin’s sanity, and Robin ends the relationship.

That’s when the village comes under attack by the fey and Robin is captured and put on a train with the very man who tortured Snow. Will Snowdrop mount a rescue and find a way to convince Robin of his sincerity? Or will the pain of their shared past darken any possible future?

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Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: Novella

Inheritance by Lissa Kasey

September 14, 2011

Will Gabe and Jamie be enough to save Sei’s life and keep him from losing his humanity? Inheritance by Lissa Kasey, available from Dreamspinner Press.

As the only male studying magic in a female-dominant society, Seiran Rou’s life is already on a precarious perch. Then he finds a dead co-worker on his doorstep, and Sei realizes someone is trying to set him up for the fall. It could be anyone—including his own mother, a powerful witch and leader of the Dominion, the ruling body of elemental magic.

Sei’s only saving graces are his on-again, off-again vampire boyfriend, Gabe, and the mysterious Jamie, who wants to help him for reasons Sei doesn’t understand. They may be all that stand between Sei and the Dominion’s demands to control his magic. One man’s devotion could be the key to save Sei’s life and pull him back from the brink of losing his humanity to the magic he possesses.

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Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: Novella

To Adam with Love by Adrienne Wilder

August 29, 2011

Can Ean and Adam find the balance to support their lives together? To Adam with Love by Adrienne Wilder, available from Dreamspinner Press.

A Gray Zone novel

Adam’s mother brought him as a child to the Gray Zone, the no man’s land between the crumbling city and the Dens where the Kin—the dragons—and Lesser-Breds—their mixed-blood offspring—live. He was different, not completely Human, and she knew fear and prejudice would drive people to do horrible things… like a father trying to kill his son. Five years later, Adam’s father is behind bars and Adam has come home to the Zone, the last place anyone would expect innocence, loyalty, and devotion, to complete his becoming Lesser-Bred and find his best friend and only love, Ean.

But Ean has a life of his own. He’s always wanted to belong to Batu, the Male Kin who has watched over him since childhood, but now Ean’s caught in a deadly trap of biology and vengeance: he isn’t enough to feed his beloved Adam during the dangerous transformation, and Kin won’t allow an emotional bond in their midst. Years ago Ean lost Adam after failing to keep him safe. Now that Adam is back, will a simple feeling give Ean the strength to defy everything he’s ever known and keep them together?

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Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: Novel

Tonight or Else by M. King

August 24, 2011

Tonight or Else by M. King

Every Cornishman comes into the world with the soul-deep knowledge that his land straddles the narrow shallows between the solid rocks of English practicality and the ocean of myth that lies beyond. Jamie Tregellis has no time for old men’s tales; working at The Lamb Inn keeps him too busy even to pine for his lost love, Will Andrewartha, who’d split Jamie’s heart in two when he left to become a sailor. Will promised to come back for him, but Jamie had long since given up hope – until one night he hears a noise in the stableyard….

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Genre: Historical—European, Fantasy/Paranormal, Bittersweet Dreams
Length: Short story

Boots for the Gentleman by Augusta Li and Eon de Beaumont

August 19, 2011

Can Querry and Reg stop Lord Thimbleroy from draining Halcyon’s magic? Boots for the Gentleman by Augusta Li and Eon de Beaumont, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Steamcraft and Sorcery Book One

Hired by a mysterious faerie gentleman to steal seemingly worthless artifacts, Querrilous Knotte is seen as a traitor by the humans of Halcyon. But as long as he’s getting paid, Querry doesn’t mind. When his client makes a cryptic comment about a certain house, Querry contacts his old flame Reg—a former street rat who now works in the Royal Archives—to learn if the property contains anything of value.

Though Reg has no answers for him, Querry learns there is indeed something precious in the house, something Reg is convinced will bring nothing but trouble. The armed guards that attack the thief prove Reg’s prediction true, and he can’t leave Querry to face it all alone. Not when Reg’s feelings for the man may not be as extinct as he’d thought.

The trouble is, Querry’s heart doesn’t just belong to Reg anymore, and surprisingly, Reg’s heart no longer belongs only to Querry. In the end, it may not even matter, because if Querry, Reg, and their hearts’ desire can’t stop Lord Thimbleroy from draining Halcyon’s magic, they won’t live long enough to regret their unresolved romance.

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Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy/Paranormal, M/M/M
Length: Novel