INSTINCTS #4: ‘At the Asian Art Center’ by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Hello and Happy Valentine’s Day!

February’s feature for INSTINCTS is a poem from the prolific Vonnie Winslow Crist! We’re proud to have her as a contributor of Insignia: Asian Science Fiction, and in our upcoming Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology as well.

This piece is titled, ‘At the Asian Art Center’ and is inspired by the work of artist Hee-Young Kim.

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At the Asian Art Center

by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Listen.
Hee-Young Kim has written
a poem
on four horizontal banners pressed
edge to edge like
river, grass, mountain, sky.

Look.
Strokes on these panels
translate odes
chanted by airy spirits
into the ear of Hee-Young.
And she, treasured interpreter, used
brush, paper, inkstone, and ink stick
to paint mementos of
the wind’s meeting
beneath the Coincident Moon
with shy bamboo—
beyond graceful
in her robe of silvered jade.

Wait.
In this quiet, glass-and-wood gallery,
if you tilt your head, just so,
you will hear
the lament of owl
as she hides midst pine boughs,
and touch
the essence of abandonment.

  • First Published 2009, The Chesapeake Reader

~~~

Vonnie 11-17 close (2)

Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of The Enchanted Dagger, Owl Light, The Greener Forest, Murder on Marawa Prime, and other award-winning books. Her fantastical stories have been published in Canada, Spain, India, Australia, Japan, the UK and USA. Born in the Year of the Dragon, Vonnie believes the world is still filled with magic, mysteries, and miracles. For more information check her website: http://www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

enchanted dagger

To read a very long excerpt from her fantasy novel, The Enchanted Dagger: https://www.wattpad.com/226314378-the-enchanted-dagger-an-excerpt

Then, buy a copy for your bookshelf: https://www.amazon.com/Enchanted-Dagger-Chronicles-Lifthrasir/dp/1941559182/

For those who’d like to listen to or read a free fantasy story by Vonnie, here is the link to “Henkie’s Fiddle”: http://www.castofwonders.org/2016/03/episode-202-henkies-fiddle-by-vonnie-winslow-crist/

Website: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/
blog: http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/WriterVonnieWinslowCrist
Twitter: @VonnieWCrist

~~~

Do you have an Asian fantasy or science fiction poem you would like us to feature? Our INSTINCTS poetry series is open to submissions of original poems. Full details are on the submissions page.

~~~

Author Spotlight: SHEENAH FREITAS

 

After a short break, our Author Spotlight Series is back! Meet one of our regular short story contributors, Sheenah Freitas. Sheenah also has micro pieces in our soon-to-be-released Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology!

SheenahFreitas--AuthorPic

A geek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story structures, and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.

Sheenah works as a freelance book designer and works with both authors and publishers. Some of her clients have been The Sun, CoSchedule, and Dave Jesiolowski. You can learn more about her work as a book designer at papercranebooks.com.

Website: http://www.Sheenahfreitas.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas

Facebook: http://facebook.com/SheenahFreitasAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sheenahfreitas/

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS 

1. Author Name/s: Sheenah Freitas
2. Years active as a writer: 6-ish? I took some time off, but I’ve been working in the publishing industry in some capacity for 10 years now.
3. What genre/s you write: I mostly write YA, speculative, and literary.
4. Favorite genre to write: Young adult
5. Favorite length of story to write: I like shorter works because of that instant gratification, but nothing beats the elated feeling of finishing a full-length novel.
6. Your nationality: American
7. Country you live in: USA
8. Number of Asian countries visited: 0
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): N/A
10. Favorite place in Asia (visited): N/A
11. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: South Korea
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Korean
13. Favorite Asian dish: 갈비(Galbi) with a side of 김밥(Gimbap)
14. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Spirited Away.
15. Favorite Asian book (any genre): When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (but The Joy Luck Club comes in at a very close second).
16. Favorite Asian celebrity: Lucy Liu
17. Best thing about being a writer: Creating these vast new worlds and experiencing things in other people’s shoes. I love that someone can just go in and escape their own world for even just a little bit because of something I wrote.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: The first draft and imposter syndrome.
19. Day writer or night writer: I do my best writing in the morning. Despite that, I find myself writing a lot during in the evenings.
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): In the colder months, I prefer hot beverages like citron tea and hot cocoa. In the warmer months, I’m usually sipping on a matcha latte or a chai latte.
21. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): I don’t actively submit.
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Flash Fiction Online, The Sun, Fox Spirit Books, Cast of Wonders, and World Weaver Press.
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Facebook (groups, to be exact).
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: Self-published
25. Currently working on: The third novel in my trilogy and a fairytale retelling.

~~~

Stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:
‘The Third Eye’ (Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy)
‘Untouchable’ (Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories)

Stories Included in the Insignia Drabbles Anthologies:
‘The Water Child’, ‘And Keiko Went Missing’, and ‘The Time Kazuo Was Kidnapped by Aliens’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles)

~~~

COMING SOON!

JFD-COVER-2020

Check out the full list of contributors to our Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology here!

 

The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Also we are still looking to publish Asian fantasy/scifi poems once a month here on the blog. Reprints are welcome. Full details here on our Instincts Submissions  Page.

~~~

Cover Reveal! ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ (Insignia Drabbles #1)

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m very excited to share the cover for our upcoming anthology: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles. It is the first planned release in the new Insignia Drabbles series. I haven’t decided the release date yet, but it will likely be mid-February.

For now, enjoy the cover!

~Kelly Matsuura~

 

JFD-COVER-2020

This anthology includes 80 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yōkai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces. You’ll find wicked cats and dragons; ghosts and monsters; spaceships and time travelers; and much more. This collection has it all!

~~~

INSTINCTS #3: ‘Gobi Sands’ & ‘Kappa’ by DJ Tyrer

 

December’s edition of Instincts includes two poems from a new contributor, DJ Tyrer, who will also have a story appearing in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles.

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Gobi Sands

By DJ Tyrer

Great Khan on camelback
Has no fear of thirst
Dares all enemies to strike
Knowing none shall survive
Protected as he is
By the Great Blue Heaven
Taunts even Erlik
But, sands shift
Strange patterns
Great Khan on camelback
Stares in wonder
Marvelling till
Death Worms strike
Leaving nothing but bones
Bleached by the sun, acid
And, fading memories
Obscured by successors
Who shun desert sands
For the limitless horizon

Kappa

By DJ Tyrer

Water’s mighty pull
Good manners save from strange hands
Kappa loses mind

~~~

DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing, was placed second in the 2015 Data Dump Award for Genre Poetry, and has been published in The Rhysling Anthology 2016, issues of The Horrorzine, Scifaikuest, Sirens Call, Star*Line, and Tigershark, and online at Grievous Angel, Lonesome October, and Three Drops from a Cauldron, as well as releasing several chapbooks, such as The Tears of Lot-49. The echapbook One Vision is available from Tigershark Publishing’s website.

DJ Tyrer’s website is at https://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/

The Atlantean Publishing website is at https://atlanteanpublishing.wordpress.com/

~~~

The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Would you like to contribute a poem? See details on our Submissions Page

~~~

*Featured Photo by Mike Yukhtenko on Unsplash

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

~~~

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!

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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