SALE! Smashwords’ Read an Ebook Week

It’s Read an Ebook Week again over at Smashwords!

It’s an awesome chance to stock up on free and discounted ebooks by your favorite indie authors.

We’re offering volumes 1-3 of The Insignia Series for FREE this week!

And volumes 4-6 are 50% OFF!


Just enter the coupon code (found on each book page) at the checkout to receive the discount.

Happy Reading!



Excerpt: ‘The Drowning Pool’ by Vonnie Winslow Crist

‘The Drowning Pool’ is a lovely mix of science fiction and fantasy, with Indian cultural elements. It a flash piece, so the excerpt is just a small tease….


‘The Drowning Pool’ by Vonnie Winslow Crist


The swimming pool on the Chandra Estate in New Thoothukudi was shaped like a coffin. From local historical records, Darshan knew this had not been the case when the pool was first constructed on Mars in the twenty-third century. Then, it had been oval in shape, and the centerpiece of an elaborate garden. But that was prior to Lalita’s drowning.

The facility manager stood on a slope of well-manicured grass and contemplated the pool. Mango and arjuna trees, genetically modified to fit the terra-formed planet’s climate and trimmed to near-perfection, and jasmine, bred to bloom year-round, surrounded the pool’s patio. Wrought metal chairs circling form-stone tables with decorative umbrellas poking out from their centers were positioned around the pool awaiting the wedding reception guests. Bathed in the glow of solar lamps and the scant moonlight of Phobos, the scene beneath the environs-dome was postcard beautiful, except for Lalita’s ghost perched on the edge of the pool.


Vonnie Winslow Crist’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page



Excerpt: ‘Love & Relativity’ by Stewart C. Baker

Stewart C. Baker is a new contributor to The Insignia Series, and his story, ‘Love & relativity’ is an interesting Indian sci-fi piece that’s sure to linger after reading.


‘Love & Relativity’ by Stewart C. Baker


Dearest Adhi,

The psychiatrist assigned by Headquarters suggested I start a diary to help me cope with your ship’s disappearance.  Instead, I’m going to write you a bibliography.

I won’t write every day, and maybe you’ll never read this anyway, but it helps to think that someday I’ll be able to show you what I’ve written here.  To think that somehow, someday, we will bring you home.

Can’t write any more today.

I miss you.  I love you.



Source: ‘Special Relativity, The Universe, and You’ (New Beginnings Press: London, 2028)

Date Read: December 3, 2036

Summary:  Time is not an absolute, but depends on your location in the ‘hypersurface of the present’—a map of all physical space.  The speed of visible light limits observations to events already past, so the past is all there is.

Notes: While reading, I discovered I was pregnant.  It’s strange to think that once she’s born, I’ll only ever be able to see what she was—even if it’s only a few nanoseconds difference.  I wonder, if someone is inside you, can you still connect at the speed of ‘now’?

Ravi from mission control keeps calling, but they are no closer to learning what became of your ship.

Be safe.  I love you.



Stewart C. Baker’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page



Excerpt: ‘Kill/Switch’ by L. Chan


Stolen memories and black market tech feature in L. Chan’s intriguing story, ‘Kill/Switch’.


‘Kill/Switch’ by L. Chan


Harpold opened his eyes and stared at his dead face. Cheeks already chalk white; dry eyes forever staring at the ceiling. A memory interrogation rig was still pressed tight around the head of the corpse. He traced the twist of wires from the rig back to the humming computer between him and the body.

Wu Yen Xing, said the security tag pinned to the breast of Harpold’s smart looking suit. Harpold’s body was dead in a chair. Harpold’s soul however, was alive in another man’s body. The world spun; he bent over double and splattered the floor with hot vomit. His memories, another man’s body. Memory transfer gone wrong? Sour, dusty air filled his lungs and left his nostrils slowly. He ran inventory; a litany of memories spaced to see if the transfer had gone through.

He was Harpold David Chang.

  1. He was ten. He topped his class in mathematics.
  2. His first kiss. She was drunk. He was not.
  3. Graduated a year early, top two percent of his cohort.
  4. Third year in Tarshem Industries, first year in advanced memory tech research.
  5. A missing year, one of five stolen from him when he fled the industry.
  6. Up to his eyeballs in synthetic drugs, working black market memory tech.

As the present day drew nearer, he sampled his memories with increasing frequency. Years. Months. Weeks. Long term was intact. Short term was good up to about a week before. He examined his new security pass. Interrogator, First Class, it said. First Class meant dangerous work, deep diving into the memories of the recently dead, fishing for memories in a sea of decaying neurons. Except somehow Harpold was in Wu’s body and he had nothing to explain why someone wanted his memories bad enough to kill him. That, and two giant holes in his memory.


L. Chan’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page



Excerpt: ‘The Galaxy’s Cube’ by Jeremy Szal

The third excerpt I’d like to share from our new anthology is by another first-time contributor, Jeremy Szal.

‘The Galazy’s Cube’ is a gritty tale of black market tech dealing set in New Bangkok.


‘The Galaxy’s Cube’ by Jeremy Szal


It started to rain as he made his way back home, warm spatters of water drumming on tin roofs and taut tarpaulins. Two moons were visible in the sky, pouring pale light on the road. The third was obscured by thick clouds. Back on Earth, where his grandparents were born, there had been only one moon in the sky. And the days were twenty-four hours long, not thirty-two. He’d been meaning to go there, see the wonders they spoke about. But even getting a permit to travel would require years of saving. And then there was buying the actual ticket. He’d spent all his money on his daughter when she came down with the blister plague, slowly eating away at her body. Every sale he made from selling equipment fought back the disease just a little more. But in the end, it hadn’t been enough. It had crawled into Serah’s brain and killed her.

Some days Jharkrat didn’t know what kept him going.

He arrived at his bottom floor apartment. Blood-red creepers curled around the sagging poles that were weary with the building’s weight. He fished for the rusty key and unlocked the ancient door. He could have gotten a keypad or printscan system, but that would draw attention. Showed he had something to hide. The place was going to get broken in again anyway. No need to encourage the thieving devils. He’d seen what people would do for money. Just last month a man a couple of blocks down from him had traded his newborn son for a dog so he could sell its litter. Jharkrat had to restrain himself from going over and smashing the man’s teeth out.

The flat was a wreck; the floor littered with computer equipment and crushed beer cans, plastic chairs wrapped in thick cables. A moldy fan spun lazily overhead, swirling muggy air around the room. Stock was packed in cardboard boxes threatening to fall apart, stacked to the ceiling. Jharkrat swept away a disassembled motherboard from his desk and brought out the cube. He simply had to know what this was. There was no way the Ministry had licensed it. Which just made it all the more exciting.


Jeremy Szal’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page



Excerpt: ‘Connecting Through the Cosmos’ by Holly Schofield


Another great story in Insignia: Asian Science Fiction is by new contributor, Holly Schofield.

‘Connecting Through the Cosmos’ follows twins Andy and Stephen’s struggle to survive working for an alien race.



‘Connecting Through the Cosmos’ by Holly Schofield


Stephen grows aware he is slumped in his console chair and the Crow has withdrawn to its quarters. The screen is dark. He drags off his helmet, letting it fall to the floor beside the Crow’s discarded headset. He grabs the towel he keeps under the chair and mops the conductive gel and the sweat from his head. He pictures Andy doing the same.

The dizziness, nausea, and lingering pain take time to subside. He had just given a part of his life, his mind, and his soul in order to help the Crows’ colonization efforts. He scrubs his face, checks orbits, and realizes that PanEuro-TianGong8 has swung close by. He will head there tonight and spend most of his pay, attempting to forget the sensations he just experienced. He cannot imagine how Andy copes. His little brother lives ‘in the moment’, suffering transfer agony to an even greater degree than Stephen. And Andy’s isolation on Kepler-48b is total—he will have no human contact until the warm-up session with Stephen tomorrow.

After a while, Stephen eats a protein bar then forces himself to stand. When the Crow sleeps is Stephen’s time to do his research. The components of his own helmet utilize well-documented human neurology, but the Crow’s headset is taking him much longer to understand.

The countdown clock reads 17 years, 6 days, and 4 hours.


Holly Schofield’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page


Excerpt: ‘Stars, Bright as Light’ by Joyce Chng

One of my favorite parts of publishing a new anthology is introducing the authors and their stories here on The Insignia Series blog.

The just-released Insignia: Asian Science Fiction anthology has 8 diverse tales of body-swapping, tech hacking and stealing, inter-dimensional relationships, and, a ghost story!

The first excerpt is from the first story in the anthology: Joyce Chng’s ‘Stars, Bright as Light’.

Joyce Chng has been with The Insignia Series from the beginning, and has contributed a wonderful ‘cyber-punkish’ (her word!) YA story set in futuristic Singapore.



‘Stars, Bright as Light’ by Joyce Chng


Ma was not at home when I returned from school. She worked part-time at the supermarket as a cashier.

She had left a plate of fried rice on the table. I had a few spoonfuls and some water before I went back to my room. Ma had cleaned up and thrown away the clutter. Thank you, Ma, I thought. She had done so much for me: for example, I needed her to shower me, as I wasn’t as mobile and agile as before. My disease was progressive. It was only about two years ago when the paralysis reached up to my hips and my legs weakened, forcing me to use a motorized wheelchair. I wanted so badly to be independent. Kids my age were hanging out and going to parties, but I couldn’t go out without a parent anymore.

I completed my homework. Writing was beginning to frustrate me. I couldn’t hold the pen for long as my fingers would shake and cramp up.  That was why I loved the simpath game. Ma hesitated at first when I wanted to install the connector ports but acquiesced after the sales representative showed us the benefits of this virtual reality combat game.

As a pilot of a war robot, you battle robots. You need no physical controls, only the power of your thoughts and will. As you progress in the game, you attain different Grades. The highest will be Grade Five. We have uploaded anti-hacking programs and firewalls to protect our players. An in-game death doesn’t mean real-life death. Players will also earn in-game credits that can be translated into real currencies. Rest assured, auntie, she will be fine.


Joyce Chng’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Science Fiction Page (Insignia Vol.5.)



HAPPY RELEASE DAY! ‘Insignia: Asian Science Fiction’

HAPPY RELEASE DAY everyone! I hope you all enjoy this new addition to the series. We have a few new authors joining the team on this one, so please check out their profiles for more info on their other published works, projects, etc.

The ebook is now available from Smashwords and all Amazon sites for US $1.99.




INSIGNIA VOL. 5 includes 8 science fiction stories with Asian characters and/or settings.





‘Stars Bright as Light’ by Joyce Chng

‘Islets of the Blest’ by Nidhi Singh

‘Uncle Ping’s Evening Farewell’ by Ray Daley

‘Connecting Through the Cosmos’ by Holly Schofield

‘The Galaxy’s Cube’ by Jeremy Szal

‘Kill / Switch’ by L. Chan

‘The Drowning Pool’ by Vonnie W. Crist

‘Love and Relativity’ by Stewart C. Baker



| Smashwords | B & N | kobo |

| Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA |

| Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |

| Amazon IT | Amazon NL | Amazon JP | Amazon BR |

| Amazon MX | Amazon IN |


Add on Goodreads


Also, the first 4 Insignia anthologies are on sale at Smashwords for 99c until July 31st. They make great summer reading!