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.

~~~

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!

~~~

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…)

 

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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.

~~~

Author Spotlight: ANITA GOVEAS

Happy September everyone!

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

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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.

~~~

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:

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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.

INSIGNIA Anthologies are FREE at Smashwords!!

Hi everyone, welcome to July!

What’s the best thing about July every year? The SMASHWORDS SUMMER SALE of course!

I’m into it this year, and putting the Insignia Series anthologies – all seven – on FREE promo all month long !!!

It’s a great chance to fill out your collection, or recommend the series to a friend. If you’re already a fan of the series, please help spread the word. 🙂

FREE at SMASHWORDS!!

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LINK TO THE INSIGNIA SERIES BOOKS ON SMASHWORDS

*Enter the coupon code (under the regular price listing) to claim your free download*

~~~

New Release! ‘Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry’

 

It’s officially here! We’re very excited to share our 7th collection with you all!

 

INSIGNIA: ASIAN FLASH FICTION & POETRY

 

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CONTENTS

Part I: CHINA
‘The Cormorant in the Glass-Bottomed Cage’ by Rebecca Birch
‘How Have the Mighty Fallen?’ by Ray Daley
‘Chiaroscuro’ by Liam Hogan
‘Training: Stances’, ‘The Horse Lord’, ‘Tsung’s Battle’, ‘The Matter of the Horses’, and ‘Respect’ by Mary Soon Lee

Part II: JAPAN
‘The Lucky Drug’ by Dave Dunn
‘Hero’ by Giulia Moon and Toshiya Kamei
‘Yukio’ by Layne Noser
‘Mourning’ by Gerard Sarnat

Part III: INDIA/NEPAL
‘Night Mares’ by Anita Goveas
‘Looking at the Stars’ by Anita Goveas
‘Avalanche’ by Daniel Scott White

Part IV: SOUTHEAST ASIA
‘Xylophones’ by Russell Hemmell
‘Stay Silent’ by Kelly Matsuura
‘Ordination’ by Luke Shors
‘Timid Local Eyes’ by Deon Visser

Authors’ Pages:

| Anita GoveasDaniel Scott White | Dave Dunn | Deon Visser |

| Gerard Sarnat | Giulia Moon | Kelly Matsuura | Layne Noser |

| Liam Hogan | Luke Shors | Mary Soon Lee | Ray Daley | Rebecca Birch |

| Russell Hemmell | Toshiya Kamei (Translator) |

~~~

AVAILABLE FROM:

| Smashwords | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU |

*More links will be available soon on the Insignia Vol.7. Page

 ~~~

Add on Goodreads

~~~

Excerpt: ‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

 

The second story I’d like to share tonight from Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts is by a new contributor, Amy Fontaine.

Amy’s story is a fun adventure about a Japanese boy who meets a mischievous kitsune (fox-shifter).

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‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

Excerpt:

Koki’s mother had been tired when she came home from work earlier tonight. Tired, and distracted. After feeding Koki, she had slouched off to bed and forgotten to lock the inside lock on the back door. Koki noticed. Koki notices things.

Now Koki puts on his slippers, slips on a jacket over his pajamas, and tiptoes out of his room and down the stairs. He opens the back door of his apartment and sneaks off into the night.

The apartment is in a very modest neighborhood in the Northern Higashiyama area of Kyoto, but only a few blocks away is a beautiful park. A cobbled path lined with cherry trees and paper lanterns leads through lush ornamental plants to a red, arched bridge across a stream. The bridge leads to a tea house and a pagoda that stands beside it. During the day, Koki loves to come to this park with his mother, but he has never been here at night.

Koki starts crawling under bushes, turning over rock after rock and catching beetle after beetle. He squeals, a sound that seems more fitting of a five-year-old or a puppy than a ten-year-old. As he crawls under the last bush on the left before the red bridge, Koki’s eyes are suddenly met by a bright, piercing white-gold light. Koki yelps and scrambles backwards out of the bush, hearing a corresponding yelp of surprise and terror as he does so. When his vision clears, he sees a four-tailed golden fox standing before him, growling. Beetle legs hang from her mouth.

“What are you doing here, little runt?” hisses the fox, in a voice that isn’t quite real. “This is my territory, and these are my beetles! You have no right to hunt here, human!”

Koki bows to the fox. “I am sorry, honorable fox.”

The vixen bursts into peals of laughter that sound like tinkling bells.

“Honorable?” the fox scoffs. “You know nothing of kitsune, do you?”

In response, Koki begins to recite the natural history of the red fox. He sounds like an encyclopedia. The fox growls and shakes her head.

“You believe everything they tell you in science books, don’t you? Foolish boy. The things those books have told you to be false are the ones that are most important.”

~~~

Author Photo(2)

Amy Fontaine is a wildlife biologist who writes wild speculative fiction and poetry. Her first novel, Mist, is a young adult fantasy about shapeshifters, elemental magic, and being the change you wish to see in the world. She is currently writing an interactive novel inspired by Japanese kitsune folklore for Choice of Games. You can find her published work at https://amyfontaine.wordpress.com.

~~~

AVAILABLE FROM:

| 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

~~~

HAPPY RELEASE DAY! ‘Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts’ (Vol. 6.)

Cheers to our second anthology release this summer! In this volume you’ll find an array of animal shifters, magical creatures, gods, and spirits. Story settings include: India, Japan, Cambodia, China, and outer-space!

ASIAN BIRDS & BEASTS

INSIGNIA VOL. 6. includes 8 short stories with Asian characters, settings, and magical creatures.

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CONTENTS

‘Reborn’ by Nidhi Singh

‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

‘Raising Words’ by Stewart C. Baker

‘Apsaras’ Dance’ by Kelly Matsuura

‘We, the Ravens of Bai Gao Lou’ by Russell Hemmell

‘The Azure Dragon’ by Lorraine Schein

‘The Churail and the Crow’ by Keyan Bowes

‘Vermillion Nights’ by Joyce Chng

~~~

AVAILABLE FROM:

| 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

~~~

Interested in writing for us? A new submission call opens on September 1st! See our Submissions Page for full details.