Excerpt: ‘Spirit of Regret’ by Eliza Chan

The final story in Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy is a moving Vietnamese piece by UK based author, Eliza Chan.

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‘Spirit of Regret’ by Eliza Chan

I had read the same line thirty times.

No matter how I tried, I could not find meaning in the words. Sighing, I looked up and realised the street lights had been turned on. Not that it made difference, the dim orange illuminated only that within whispering range, the shadow of a rubbish bag left below the lamp-post, or the helmet of a passing motorcyclist shining like a giant sequin in the dusk.

Thanh hadn’t noticed yet. She sat on the wicker chair like it was her sofa at home, her sandals kicked to the ground and her painted toenails wiggling every so often. Was it a good line she had read, or a reflex, I wondered. She looked so relaxed under the patio umbrella. What would she do if I leaned across and touched her? I knew I wouldn’t try. Not with the solid dark wood table between us, the dregs of café sua da between us, the used tissues, discarded knife and scattered crumbs between us. Not with the roar of traffic beside us and the waitress pacing with her jug of ice water, her heels clicking in time to the one noted cry of the cubes. Not with the mother bouncing her baby and the teenagers reading fashion magazines. Not with what she had had done, what we had decided, what had filled the last four hours in the quiet coffee shop despite no words spoken.

“It’s getting late,’ she remarked, folding over the page corner as she lay the comic book down on the table. She had carelessly placed it on a wet coffee ring. It would be ruined now. The brown stain would seep right through the unprotected pages until it had soaked in. Even the front, where those saucer-eyed manga girls smiled through impossible hair, promising easy escapism in moronic romanticism, would be ultimately destroyed.

Vâng,” I agreed, as I had agreed before. Where did these words come from? They were driftwood, carried with the tide against my volition, without my permission.

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Eliza Chan’s Author Page

Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy Page

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More Excerpts:

‘Horse Feet’ by Celestine Trinidad

‘The Third Eye’ by Sheenah Freitas

‘Interlude’ by Eve Shi

‘The Island’ by Melvin Yong

‘Running from Shadows’ by Joyce Chng

‘Never Seen’ by Kelly Matsuura

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Excerpt: ‘The Third Eye’ by Sheenah Freitas

Here’s an excerpt from the second Filipino story in Insignia Vol.3., written by Sheenah Freitas. It is a short piece, based on local folklore and magic.

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‘The Third Eye’ by Sheenah Freitas

Some say the only way out of the provinces is to marry someone rich. When a class graduates, it’s almost as if a great migration happens, as hundreds of hopeful women pack up and head to the city. Many will come back. Some will stay because they found success, or simply because they’re too ashamed to come back.

My sister was one of those girls. The night before she was to leave for Manila with a group of girls from neighboring villages, she told me how our superstitions would be the end of us. How if we kept believing in imaginary creatures, we’d always be seen as stupid. Ignorant. Impossible.

She spat on our beliefs, cursed our way of living, and then pointed to a tree where a family of duwende lived. Our family apologized to them on her behalf and offered them food, but my sister rolled her eyes at us. I guess she was too sophisticated for such things. She had too many dream and aspirations.

But all of that ambition was wasted.

She’s dead.

Her body was found beside the duwende tree in the morning.

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Sheenah Freitas’ Author Page

Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy Page

 

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More Excerpts:

‘Horse Feet’ by Celestine Trinidad

‘Interlude’ by Eve Shi

‘The Island’ by Melvin Yong

‘Running from Shadows’ by Joyce Chng

‘Never Seen’ by Kelly Matsuura

‘Spirit of Regret’ by Eliza Chan

BOTW: ‘Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction’

It’s a shiny new year, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m excited to start my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge.Feel free to follow me and set your own reading target.

Also, I’m looking for new Asia-Pacific fantasy fiction books, anthologies, or short stories to share here on The Insignia Series blog. Please post a link in the comments or email me at: blackwingsandwhitepaper@gmail.com if you can recommend a good book or author!

This weeks book recommendation is ‘Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction’ 2005-2010′, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar . There are more volumes in the Philippine Speculative Fiction series available on Amazon as well. Volume 9 was published in October 2014.

Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005-2010

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Blurb:

The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are all born to a Filipino family; an aswang nanny passes on her powers to her young gay ward; a family’s freezer gets a surprise visitor; a young boy discovers how his brother turns into a superhero locked in an eternal struggle with the Forces of Chaos; a company makes a fortune selling diseases. The Philippine Speculative Fiction series showcases the rich variety of Philippine literature. Between these covers you will find magic realism next to science fiction, traditional fantasy beside slipstream, and imaginary worlds rubbing shoulders with alternate Philippine history—demonstrating that the literature of the fantastic is alive and well in the Philippines.
This anthology is a collection of what the editors consider thirty of the best stories from the first five volumes of Philippine Speculative Fiction, published from 2005 to 2010.

Buy from Amazon.com

Add on Goodreads

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Do you write Asian fantasy? We’re still looking for a few more stories for our Southeast Asian fantasy themed anthology. Deadline is January 31 so there’s still time to write a piece or finish off a wip! We’re also interested in reprints.

For full details, visit the Submissions Page.

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BOTW: ‘Xiao Xiao & the Dragon’s Pearl’ by Joyce Chng

Book of the Week:

Xiao Xiao & the Dragon’s Pearl

By Joyce Chng

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Blurb:

Enter the world of Xiao Xiao, daughter of an imperial courtesan, and a fantastical historical Qing China, with dragons and magic and traditions. What happens when her mother adopts a baby girl found in a rice field? What does – can – the green pearl do?

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| Amazon US | Goodreads |

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Congratulations to Joyce Chng!

 

Great news for one of our Insignia Series authors – Joyce Chng’s story, Megumi’s Quest, has been selected for inclusion in Twelfth Planet Press’ Best of YA Speculative Fiction 2013! Megumi’s Quest was first published in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories and we’re so thrilled to see the story become available to a much wider audience.  Congratulations, Joyce! We’re so proud!

According to Twelfth Planet’s website, The Best of YA Speculative Fiction 2013 anthology will be released in late 2014. The link below has further details.

 

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Link to the full Table of Contents

 

Read an extract of Megumi’s Quest

 

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Book of the Week: ‘Affinity’ by LaVerne Clark

We’re featuring a light fantasy romance this week, Affinity by LaVerne Clark, published by The Wild Rose Press. It’s a fun, sexy story with some great original Japanese mythology used.

LaVerne is also a good friend of The Insignia Series and helped proofread Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories, so I’d like to give her a shout out here. Thanks, LaVerne!

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Blurb:

In the wrong hands, Jenna Thomas’ legacy could be a curse—in her mind it already is.

As a child, a routine x-ray awakened an abnormality in Jenna’s DNA giving her the ability to “call” creatures and take on their attributes. Labeled a freak since then, Jenna’s learned to keep everyone at a distance. But all that changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning, and the story goes viral.

Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman, witnesses part of the drama. Captivated by Jenna’s exotic beauty, he decides to investigate, not sure what to believe. Jenna puts his cynicism to the test—even as the attraction between them grows.

As word of her extraordinary rescue spreads, a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to control Jenna’s abilities draws near. With her feelings for Nick putting him in danger too, can Jenna risk everything to protect them both?

 | The Wild Rose Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS Goodreads |

LaVerne Clark’s blog and Facebook page

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Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully next week we’ll have a preview of the new Insignia anthology, Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories. 😀

Book of the Week: ‘Best Served Chilled’ by Zoe Adams

This week’s book is Best Served Chilled by Zoe Adams, published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. It’s a short horror novella featuring a Japanese alcohol demon. There’s a follow-up story, Best Consumed Within, which I happened to read first, lol! It was a bit confusing, so I recommend you read them in order.

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I love this cover 😀

Blurb:

“What would you give to make it stop?”

Life hasn’t been easy for Hiraku Michiyo. Struggling with the misery that dwells in her past and her present, she’s spending more time with a wine glass than real friends. One night, she meets the charismatic, Shoichi. Intrigued and a little frightened, she invites him home. Yet little does she realise that the real horrors are just beginning. And escape is certainly not at the bottom of any bottle.

| Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | Goodreads |

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Have you read any good fantasy stories or novels with Asian characters and/or myths? I’d happy to feature them here on the Insignia Series blog one week. Indie authors and publishers are also welcome to recommend their books. Leave a comment below, or email me (Kelly) at: blackwingsandwhitepaper(at)hotmail.com

See you next week 😀

Book of the Week: ‘Fire and Shadow’ by T.G. Ayer

This week’s featured book a YA fantasy novel based on Hindu mythology. It’s a fun story with  interesting characters and looks to be a promising series.

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Blurb:

Normal people sneak out to a party and have fun. Maya Rao ends the evening by incinerating the guy who attacks her.

Nik Lucas, sexy, new in town and totally forbidden, happens to walk in on her. Normal guys would run for the hills. Nik knows a whole lot more than he’s telling.

Maya doesn’t believe the gods are real, doesn’t waste her time with mere mythology. But when gods, demons and hellhounds become the new normal and wielding fire becomes her new skill, she must decide what it is she really believes.

Can Maya accept that normal is something she will never be because it isn’t normal to be …

The Hand of Kali.

A new Paranormal coming of age series delving in the fantasy and magic of Hindu mythology and its plethora of gods, demons, legends & mythology.

Book 2 and 3 in The Hand of Kali Series are due for release in 2014.

Available from: | Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS |

Add on Goodreads

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About the Author:

I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each others loves – it works wonderfully… My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.

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