November News: Submissions are closed! Thank you!

NEWS

Submission Calls

Submissions for ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ are officially closed. I want to say a big thank you to all the contributing authors for submitting such a fantastic selection of drabbles. Otsukaresama desu!

I’ll probably write a post in December about the submission call, for those who are curious about the data and behind-the-scenes work involved in this project.

AS for new anthology calls, I’ll try to make a decision about that before the end of December too. I can say that the next anthology will be for short stories and offer a token payment as we have done in the past. Then perhaps we’ll do another drabble anthology after that…

For the poets, we’re always open for Asian Speculative poems. I’m really hoping to see some submissions from Asian writers for next year–please add us to your submissions list for 2020!

Details on our Instincts poetry series are here

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Site Updates

This past week, I made some changes to this site and some of our social media accounts. There’s a new profile logo, and I’ve changed the site name to Insignia Stories where possible. This is because the new drabble anthology will be the first in its own series, Insignia Drabbles Vol.1, Vol.2, etc. So the main site name will be Insignia Stories, and The Insignia Series will continue to be the series name for the anthologies we’ve done. Hopefully that’s clear!

Here on the site, I re-organized the menus and made a few drop-down listings which should make things easier to find. I’ll be putting up a new ABOUT page and one for the drabble anthology very soon, so that will have all the contributors name on it as well.

~~~

Story Recommendation

I read a quite disturbing (in an awesome way) horror story recently, featuring a Japanese woman as the main character. It was written by Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy contributor, Eliza Chan and is published online at Three Crows Magazine.

I highly recommend it!

Link: ‘Knowing Your Type’ by Eliza Chan

~~~

Have a great weekend everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to our North American writers and readers 🙂

~Kelly Matsuura~

 

 

INSTINCTS #2: ‘Graveyard Shift’ by Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Welcome to our second INSTINCTS publication: a free-style poem by new contributor, Kim Whysall-Hammond.

Kim says the poem was inspired by Malaysian folktales told to her by a friend. Enjoy!

Graveyard shift

In old Malay, draped in forest

lies heat swamped George Town

along tree lined avenues

abandoned colonial mansions

forsaken, cracked, diminished

irrelevant to today

they rot in new technological haze

yet from shattered empty windows

evening jazz drifts across warm night air

inside, lights flicker

shadows dance over damp walls

slim couples flirt and smoke

your exploratory visit

brings silence

reveals vacant rooms

missing floors instead of lively dancers

they were the old tenants

hantu partying on the graveyard shift

~

Old hotel, four square and white

now with modern pool and spa

and the original private beach

golden, secluded, sunlit

it’s a long walk

but a short drive

a bus plies the mountain road

past green country and

decaying tombs behind

collapsing walls

the last ride of the day

is often full

today extra guests board

quiet individuals

some tall and lanky

a woman in a green qipao

halfway back, the bus empties

although the feverish driver

can’t remember stopping

his new passengers have

truly started their graveyard shift

~~~

Kim-2
Kim Whysall-Hammond  is  an expert in obsolete telecommunications arcana
and believes, against all evidence, that she is a good dancer.  She has
been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears, Three Drops from a Cauldron,
Amaryllis, London Grip New Poetry and Crannóg. She also shares poems at
https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/

~~~

If you’re inspired by series and want to give Asian speculative poetry a go, check out our submission details here.

We also have an open anthology submission call for 100-word (drabbles) Japanese Fantasy stories. Submissions close November 30th.

We’d love to read your work!

Have a great week,

~Kelly~

~~~

  • Featured image from depositphotos.com (Fatt Tze Mansion in Georgetown, Penang)

Author Spotlight: HEATHER EWINGS

Next in our Author Spotlight series is one of Insignia’s original contributors, Heather Ewings!

Heather Jensen

Heather Ewings (whose story Kitsune was published in Insignia Vol. 1 under the name Heather Jensen) is an Australian author of speculative fiction. She has a MA in History, and a fascination with myth and folklore.

Aside from Insignia, Heather’s work has been published in Asymmetry Fiction, and Lite Lit One, and in 2018 her novella ‘What the Tide Brings’ was included as part of The People’s Library project, in Tasmania, Australia.

Heather studied the Japanese language throughout high school and university, and in Grade Ten visited the country in a whirlwind 12-day trip that took in everything from the temples of Kyoto to the ‘hells’ in Beppu, and so much in between.

You can find her online at heatherewings.com or on Facebook.

TWENTY QUESTIONS

  1. Author Name/s: Heather Ewings (have also written as Heather Jensen)
  2. Years active as a writer: 8
  3. What genre/s you write: mostly speculative fiction
  4. Favorite genre to write: fantasy
  5. Favorite length of story to write: novella, or flash fiction!!
  6. Your nationality: Australian
  7. Number of Asian countries visited: 1
  8. Favorite Asian country (visited): Japan
  9. Favorite place in Asia (visited): I loved Beppu!
  10. Favorite Asian dish: oyakodon, or maybe sukiyaki, or sushi,
  11. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Love Letter
  12. Favorite Asian book (any genre): The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  13. Best thing about being a writer: the freedom to write whenever and wherever
  14. Worst thing about being a writer: the nerves from pitching to publishers…
  15. Day writer or night writer: I much prefer the night.
  16. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): chocolate, and water
  17. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 4
  18. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Tricky! Daily Science Fiction, and Flash Fiction Online are a few at the top of my list.
  19. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Facebook, though I’m not very active there are the moment.
  20. Currently working on: A sort-of urban fantasy novella

~~~

COMING SOON:

Heather has a story in the upcoming anthology, Fire and Brimstone: A Demonic Compendium of the Wicked, Fallen and Accursed from Specul8 Publishing.

Pre-order information is here

~~~

Heather’s stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Kitsune’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories)

TBA title/s in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles (Coming 2020)

~~~

Interested in publishing with us? We are now open for poetry submissions to a new online series, Insignia: Instincts. See full details on the Submissions (Poetry) Page.

We’ll also have an open anthology call for  Japanese Fantasy Drabbles here!

~~~

October News & Updates

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!

I work as an English teacher (part-time) here in Japan, so have been busy these past two weeks with Halloween lessons on weekdays, and parties on the weekend. In fact, I still have another party to attend THIS Saturday….that’s more than enough Halloween for me!

david-menidrey-MYRG0ptGh50-unsplash

UPDATE: ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ Submissions

As of this evening, we have accepted 41 drabbles for this anthology. I’m quite happy with the variety of themes too: yokai is of course the most popular, but there are also some good dragon and ninja stories, and a growing number of scifi pieces as well. (More, please!)

We’ve had a few Japanese authors submit stories, which is awesome! And Toshiya Kamei has been very busy translating for a few new, international contributors also.

The call is open until November 30, each author is allowed 3 accepted drabbles, so why not have a go? Even if you are doing NaNoWriMo this November, a quick drabble or 2 could be a good break or even a prompt for a bigger story!

As I said, we have 41 accepted stories, and I would like to close on the deadline with 80-100 drabbles. Any help to spread the word about this call would be much appreciated.

Our submission guidelines and further details on the theme etc can be found on the Submissions Page. Please check the guidelines carefully before submitting. I haven’t rejected anyone for missing a step, but it helps me a lot when I receive everything I need in the first email.

Good luck with your drabbles (and NaNoWriMo if you are participating)!

~~~~~

‘INSTINCTS’ Poetry Series

We are also still open for our online poetry series, Instincts. So far, 1 poem has been published this month (see here), and I have a 2nd to be published in mid-November. Submissions have unfortunately been slow, with several being rejected because they don’t have any fantasy/speculative elements. Poems MUST have both Asian and speculative elements for this call.

Full details can be found here

~~~~~

Want to check out previous Insignia Series anthologies? We have 7 volumes, ebook only, available from most retailers, and all for US$.99c!!!

See all our books here

~~~~~

Photo credit: David Menidrey on Unsplash

Author Spotlight: KELLY MATSUURA

Continuing our Author Spotlight series, I’d like to share my own interview this week! (Excuse the following use of third-person…)

 

Kelly-profile-2015-BW

 

Kelly Matsuura grew up in Victoria, Australia, but always dreamed she would live abroad.  She has lived in northern China, Michigan in the US, and over ten years in Nagoya, Japan, where she now lives permanently.

Kelly has published numerous short stories online; in group anthologies; and in several self-published anthologies. Her stories have been published by Visibility Fiction, Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing, A Murder of Storytellers, and Ink and Locket Press.

She majored in Asian Studies at university, and (sometimes) studies Japanese, Chinese and German. Her other hobbies include cooking, knitting, sewing, and traveling.

As the creator and editor for The Insignia Series, Kelly uses her knowledge of Asian cultures to help other indie authors produce great diverse stories and to share the group’s work with a new audience.

Kelly’s blog/website: www.blackwingsandwhitepaper.com

Facebook: Kelly Matsuura-Author

Twitter: Kelly Matsuura

~~~

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS

 

  1. Author Name/s: Kelly Matsuura & Kelly Noro (romance, 18+)
  2. Years active as a writer: 8
  3. What genre/s you write: mostly fantasy, some scifi and literature.
  4. Favorite genre to write: YA fantasy
  5. Favorite length of story to write: short story length (1500-7500).
  6. Your nationality: Australian
  7. Country you live in: Japan
  8. Number of Asian countries visited: 6
  9. Favorite Asian country (visited): Japan, of course 😊
  10. Favorite place in Asia (visited): Terracotta Warriors in Xian, China. Incredible!
  11. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Indian
  13. Favorite Asian dish: Really hard to say…but, Okonomiyaki (Japanese).
  14. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Raise the Red Lantern (Chinese). My dream is to see the ballet version!
  15. Favorite Asian book (any genre): A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
  16. Favorite Asian celebrity: Li Lianjie aka Jet Li
  17. Best thing about being a writer: Always having something to do and new things to try. There are always short story markets open, or you can make your own projects, etc. And you can be as busy as you want to be with it.
  18. Worst thing about being a writer: Having to give up on a story that you love but can’t get right.
  19. Day writer or night writer: Night. I write better when all my housework and other jobs are over for the day.
  20. Drink/snack of choice (while writing): Endless cups of tea! No snacks at the computer.
  21. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 2-3 per month.
  22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Daily Science Fiction (flash stories), and Harlequin for paranormal romance.
  23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Facebook.
  24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: Both.
  25. Currently working on: editing a paranormal romance (as Kelly Noro) and I’m putting together some dark fantasy stories of mine for a new ebook.

~~~

Stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Moon Shadow’ and ‘The Waiting World’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy  Stories)

‘The Great Qilin’ and’The Ghost Bride’ (Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories)

‘Never Seen’ (Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy)

‘Ribbons & Bones’ (Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories)

‘Apsaras’ Dance’ (Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts)

‘Stay Silent’ (Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry)

~~~

Interested in publishing with us? We are now open for poetry submissions to a new online series, Insignia: Instincts. See full details on the Submissions (Poetry) Page.

We’ll also have an open anthology call. If you love to drabble, or want to give a try, get ready for Japanese Fantasy Drabbles here.

~~~

INSTINCTS #1: A Haiku by Stewart C. Baker

 

Today we’re sharing the first poetry contribution to our new online series,  Instincts: Asian Speculative Poetry. (‘Instincts’ for short).

Haiku are wonderful expressions of thought and beauty: adding speculative elements is especially difficult in this form, so I love the creativity of this piece. And if you’re into haiku, you’ll get the frog reference…

A Haiku (Untitled)

By Stewart C. Baker

Basho’s death day

the neural network stops

to watch the frogs

~~~

Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian, speculative fiction writer and poet, web editor for The Heron’s Nest, and editor-in-chief of sub-Q Magazine. Stewart was born in England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and California, and currently lives in Oregon with his family­­—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet. You can find him online at https://infomancy.net

~~~

 Stewart’s work in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Love and Relativity’ (Insignia: Asian Science Fiction, July 2018)

‘Raising Words’ (Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts, Aug 2018)

~~~

If you’re inspired by Stewart’s words and want to give Asian speculative poetry a go, check out our submission details here.

We also have an open anthology submission call for 100-word (drabbles) Japanese Fantasy stories.

We’d love to read your work!

Have a great week,

~Kelly~

~~~

*Frog image by Samuel Giacomelli on Unsplash

 

 

Author Spotlight: ANITA GOVEAS

Happy September everyone!

Continuing our Author Spotlight series, let me introduce UK writer, Anita Goveas.

anita goveas (2)

Anita Goveas is British-Asian, based in London, and fueled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently in  Lost Balloon, Terse and JMWW. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction,  a reader for Bare Fiction and tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer

TWENTY QUESTIONS

  1. Author Name/s: Anita Goveas
  2. Years active as a writer: 4 years
  3. What genre/s you write: Mostly literary fiction, some magic realism/speculative. Unless ‘samosas’ are a genre because I write about them a lot
  4. Favorite length of story to write: Most of my stories accidentally end up about 500 words
  5. Your nationality: British-Indian
  6. Country you live in: UK
  7. Favorite Asian country (visited): Vietnam
  8. Favorite place in Asia: My Nana’s house (in Mumbai)
  9. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: It’s a tie between Laos and Nepal
  10. Favorite Asian cuisine: My Nana’s cooking
  11. Favorite Asian dish: Pho
  12. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Lagaan
  13. Favorite Asian celebrity: Juhi Chawla (Bollywood actress)
  14. Best thing about being a writer: When someone enjoys something I wrote, that’s thrilling!
  15. Worst thing about being a writer: Imposter syndrome
  16. Day writer or night writer: Night writer
  17. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): Coffee and toast
  18. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 3-4
  19. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter
  20. Currently working on: A novella, allegedly (am mostly on Twitter)

~~~

COMING SOON:

Watch out for Anita’s debut flash fiction collection, being published by Reflex Press, in 2020!

~~~

Anita’s stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Night Mares’ (Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry, 2019)

‘Looking at the Stars’ (Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry, 2019)

~~~

Interested in publishing with us? We are now open for poetry submissions to a new online series, Insignia: Instincts. See full details on the Submissions (Poetry) Page.

We’ll also be opening a new anthology call October 1st. If you love to drabble, or want to give a try, get ready for Japanese Fantasy Drabbles here.

~~~

OPEN for Poetry Submissions :)

We would like to invite poets to contribute to a new online publication series!

Insignia: Instincts

INSTINCTS-CallGraphic.jpg

We hope to publish 1-4 poems on The Insignia Series blog per month, depending on the volume of submissions.

Reading Period: Open now and ongoing.

Format: Poetry only

Length: No limit, however no epic poems please.

Theme: Must have both Asian and speculative elements (fantasy, scifi, etc). Due to the short format, you do not need to specify which country your poem is about within the poem itself, but the Asian setting/people/culture should all give good hints. The Asian elements are more important that the speculative ones, for this call. (It’s a challenge, but we believe in you!). We also have a broad view of ‘Asia’ and would love to see poems stretching far west across the Silk Road and to Persia, etc.

Payment: Sorry no payment at this time. We will do our best to build up this new series and be able to pay for poems in the near future.

Contract: We offer a basic contract, asking solely for permission to publish your work this one time on our site. If we wish to include your poem/s in an anthology at a later date, a new agreement will be made.

Submissions: Reprints are very welcome! Please include the first publication details in your cover letter. Simultaneous submissions are also fine. Please submit no more than TWO poems at one time. You may submit again once a decision has been issued. If you have a poem series that you’d like us to publish, please query first.

Send submissions to: insignia.submissions(at)gmail.com. Your submission should include a brief cover letter about your work, a short author bio (2 links only), and your poem/s attached as a Word doc. Please include [ Submission – Instincts – YOUR NAME ] in the email subject line.

For queries, use the same address, with [ Query – Instincts ] in the subject line. For quick questions, post a comment below or on the Submissions (Poetry) Page,

Good luck with your poems! We look forward to reading your submissions. 🙂

We also have an upcoming anthology call for Japanese Fantasy Drabbles here.

~~~

Author Spotlight: MARY SOON LEE

 

Today we bring you a second author interview, with new contributor, Mary Soon Lee.

We are all passionate, cross-genre writers who love Asian cultures and stories. Get to know us a little better through our Answers to 20/25 Questions challenge!

~~~

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She writes both fiction and poetry, and has won the Rhysling Award and the Elgin Award. Her work has appeared in Analog, Daily Science Fiction, F&SF, Science, and Strange Horizons. She has an antiquated website at http://www.marysoonlee.com and tweets at @MarySoonLee

TWENTY QUESTIONS:

  1. Author Name/s: Mary Soon Lee
  2. Years active as a writer: 28
  3. What genre/s you write: fantasy, science fiction, science, mainstream
  4. Favorite length of story to write: poems or stories under 2000 words
  5. Your nationality: American
  6. Country you live in: USA, but I grew up in England.
  7. Number of Asian countries visited: 1
  8. Favorite place in Asia (visited): Singapore
  9. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: China
  10. Favorite Asian cuisine: Indian
  11. Favorite Asian dish: aloo gobi
  12. Favorite Asian book (any genre): The Journey to the West
  13. Best thing about being a writer: writing the first draft of a story or poem
  14. Worst thing about being a writer: uncertain, often low, income
  15. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): tea to drink, no snacks
  16. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 15 submissions, with poetry often being sent in batches of 3 to 6 poems in a single submission
  17. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter
  18. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: traditionally published
  19. Currently working on: a sequence of astronomy poems with the working title “How to Navigate Our Universe.”
  20. Coming soon: Elemental Haiku, a book containing a haiku for each element of the periodic table, will be published on October 1st 2019, by Ten Speed Press, and may be pre-ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

~~~

Poems included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Training: Stances’, ‘The Horse Lord’, ‘Tsung’s Battle’, ‘The Matter of the Horses’, and ‘Respect’ (Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry, 2019)

~~~

COMING SOON!

LEE_ElmentalHaiku_Cover_FINAL

Pre-order from:

~~~

Thanks for joining us!

We’ll have more author interviews coming

approximately every two weeks 🙂

~~~

Interested in publishing with us? We are now open for poetry submissions to a new online series, Insignia: Instincts. See full details on the Submissions (Poetry) Page.

We’ll also be opening a new anthology call October 1st. If you love to drabble, or want to give a try, get ready for Japanese Fantasy Drabbles here.

Featured Book: ‘Magical Women’ Anthology (Sukanya Venkatraghavan)

If you love short stories and love Indian/South Asian fantasy writing, you might want this one on your TBR list 🙂

MAGICAL WOMEN (Anthology)

Edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan

MagicalWomen-cover

Blurb:

A weaver is initiated into the ancient art of bringing a universe into existence. A demon hunter encounters an unlikely opponent. Four goddesses engage in a cosmic brawl. A graphic designer duels with a dark secret involving a mysterious tattoo. A defiant chudail makes a shocking announcement at a kitty party. A puppet seeking adventure discovers who she really is. A young woman’s resolute choice leads her to haunt Death across millennia. . . A compelling collection of stories that speak of love, rage, rebellion, choices and chances, Magical Women brings together some of the strongest female voices in contemporary Indian writing. Combining astounding imagination with superlative craft, these tales will intrigue and delight in equal measure.

My (Kelly’s) Review:

This anthology includes 14 stories, all by South Asian women. Many stories focus on social and environmental issues, and a few were too feminist for my own taste, but overall I enjoyed the variety and quality of stories in this collection.

My personal favorites:

  1. ‘Rulebook for Creating a Universe’ by Tashan Mehta. This is the 3rd story in order, and I just loved the storytelling and prose. It’s also original mythology, which I like to see in short stories.
  2. ‘Bahameen’ by Asma Kazi. This is a very intriguing story about a ‘time-hopper’, closer to fantasy than scifi.
  3.  ‘The Girl Who Haunted Death’ by Nikita Deshpande. I liked that this was a modern retelling of the Hindu story about Savitri and Satyavan, and was easy to read (after a few heavier mythology-based stories in the book).
  4. I can’t leave out the editor’s contribution, ‘The Rakshasi’s Rose Garden’. A rakshasi is a ‘man-eater’, similar to a succubus, and I quite liked the storytelling of this piece too.

And regarding the book production: I think the cover art is amazing–it captures both the fantasy and science fiction imagery of the different pieces. However, the font inside is very hard to read; both the headings and italic fonts are thin and light lettering. I read the kindle format and had to change the font and text size setting (first time ever). I had to read the whole book set to Large Print just so the italics was readable. It was distracting, and I only read a couple of stories at a time because of it.

~~~

View ‘Magical Women’ on Amazon.com

~~~

I would love to feature more Asian fantasy books here on The Insignia Series blog. If you have a review you’d like to share, or are an author with a new release, feel free to get in touch with me! Send email enquiries to: blackwingsandwhitepaper@gmail.com, or post a message to @InsigniaStories (Twitter) or The Insignia Series (Facebook).