Author Spotlight: EISUKE AIKAWA

 

It’s my honor to introduce Eisuke Aikawa, contributor to our newly-released anthology, Japanese Fantasy Drabbles.

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Born in Chiba in 1977, Eisuke Aikawa is a writer based in Fukuoka. He has published two collections of short stories, Hiking (2017) and Kumo wo hanareta tsuki (2018). His short fiction has appeared in venues such as Bungakukai, Hidden Authors, and Taberu no ga osoi. His most recent book is the novel Hannah no inai jugatsu wa (2020).

Twitter: @Aikawa_Eisuke

SHORT QUESTIONS

1. Author Name: Eisuke Aikawa
2. Years active as a writer: Approximately 14 years
3. What genre/s you write: Literary fiction, fantasy, mystery, and science fiction
4. Your nationality: Japanese
5. Country you live in: Japan
6. Favorite Asian country (visited): Thailand
7. Favorite place in Asia: Tokyo
8. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: Mongolian Plateau
9. Favorite Asian cuisine: Indonesian
10. Favorite Asian dish: Nasi goreng
11. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): 3 Idiots (Bollywood)
12. Best thing about being a writer: Writing is always fun.
13. Worst thing about being a writer: Writing is always hard.
14. Day writer or night writer: I write in the morning.
15. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): I don’t eat or drink while I’m writing.
16. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter (@Aikawa_Eisuke)
17. Currently working on: Doing research for my future projects and promoting my new book Hannah no inai jugatsu wa.

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Stories Included in the Insignia Drabbles Anthologies:

‘Afternoon Chat’ and ‘Their Magic’, translated by Toshiya Kamei (Japanese Fantasy Drabbles, April 2020)

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Want to join the drabble fun? Our next call opens May 1st!

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Full details are on our Submissions Page.

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HAPPY RELEASE DAY!! ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ is OUT NOW!!

 

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CONGRATULATIONS  to all the authors who provided the incredible stories for this collection! It was so much fun to collaborate with past Insignia Series contributors as well as many new international writers.

And SPECIAL THANKS to Toshiya Kamei, who translated about 15 of drabbles for this book. He’s an INSIGNIA STAR! 

JAPANESE FANASY DRABBLES ( Insignia Drabbles Vol.1.) 

This anthology includes 79 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yôkai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces.

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All Contributors:

Amy Clare Fontaine – A.S. Charly – Bayveen O’Connell – Beth W. Patterson
Carmen Indalecio – Charles Reis – Charles Venable – Christine Richmond – D.J. Tyrer
Eisuke Aikawa – Emma K. Leadley – Heather Ewings – Jacek Wilkos – J.M. Wong
Joel R. Hunt – John H. Dromey – Joyce Chng – Juan Takai – K.B. Elijah
Kelly Matsuura – Kimberly Rei – Kyosuke Higuchi – Malena Salazar Maciá
Massimo Soumaré – Mina Ikemoto – Monica Schultz – N.M. Brown – Natsumi Tanaka
Rich Rurshell – Russell Hemmell – Sheenah Freitas – S.J. Fujimoto – Stephen Christie
Steve Stred – ToJo – Toshiya Kamei (Translator) – Vonnie Winslow Crist – Zoey Xolton

*A full list of contributors with their author links is on the JFD Book Page.
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AVAILABLE NOW!!!

|Amazon US | Amazon AUS | Amazon UK | Amazon JP |

| Apple iBooks | Rakuten Kobo |

UNIVERSAL LINK: books2read/insigniadrabbles1

*More store links will be added to the main book page when available

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Missed out submitting to JFD? No worries, we have new calls opening soon! 

Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles (Insignia Drabbles Vol.2.) opens May 1st! See the Submissions Page for details.

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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~

 

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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!

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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)!

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‘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

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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

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Photo credit: David Menidrey on Unsplash

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!

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

Happy Reading!

~Kelly~

 

New! Revised Edition, ‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’

Hi everyone,

Just want to share some news about one of our earlier anthologies, INSIGNIA VOL.2.

It has always been one of the shorter collections, with the fewest contributors; in fact the first edition had only 3 contributors and 5 stories… I later added a 6th story (by David Jon Fuller), however 3 of the 6 stories were still all written by yours truly (Kelly Matsuura).

And so, I’ve decided to remove one of my stories and replace it with a new one. I’d like to thank INSIGNIA VOL.5. contributor L. Chan for his intriguing wuxia-inspired story, ‘Petals, Falling Like Memories’. I think it’s a great addition to the anthology, and it’s awesome to have another Singaporean writer along side our champion contributor, Joyce Chng!

If you have previously bought a copy of this anthology on Amazon or Smashwords, you should be able to download the revised edition.

For new readers, Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories will be 50% OFF until Feb 10!

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PART I: Young Adult / Adventure Tales

‘The Bones Shine Through with Light’ by Joyce Chng

‘Looking for Trouble‘ by Joyce Chng

‘The Great Qilin‘ by Kelly Matsuura

…..

PART II: Adult / Literary Tales

‘The Red String of Fate’ by Holly Kench

*’Petals, Falling Like Memories’ by L Chan

Black Smoke & Water Lilies’ by David Jon Fuller

‘The Ghost Bride’ by Kelly Matsuura

*Added Jan 2019

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Available From:

| Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon JP | Amazon AUS | Amazon CA |

| Amazon IT | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon ES | Amazon IN |

| Smashwords |

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Add on Goodreads

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Cover Reveal for ‘Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry’

 

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had an amazing winter/summer break!

I’d like to kick off 2019 with the cover reveal for our 7th Insignia Series anthology:

ASIAN FLASH FICTION & POETRY

INSIGNIA VOL. 7. includes 12 stories and 8 poems with Asian characters and settings.

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CONTRIBUTORS:

| 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) |

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Visit the Insignia Series Vol.7. page

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I will announce the anthology publication date and details about other Insignia Series  projects for 2019 in the next blog post.

Have a great weekend, friends!

~Kelly~

 

 

October News: Cover Contest & more

Hi everyone! How are those preparations for Halloween going? I’m an ESL teacher here in Japan, so I have quite a few Halloween parties on my calendar this month. 🙂

After releasing 2 new Insignia Series anthologies in July and August, I had a bit of a break in September to work on my own stuff. But I have a few things happening in October to share.

~Kelly~

Firstly, ‘Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts’ is in All Authors’ latest cover contest:

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Click here to go to the voting page!

You do NOT need to register to vote (like some sites require). Also the first round closes in 3 days, then voting will re-open again for Round 2 which is the Top 100.

Please VOTE for us and help spread the word about our series! And a big thanks to those of you who voted for ‘Insignia: Asian Science Fiction’ in the August contest!

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Recently I’ve added all The Insignia Series anthologies to Draft2Digital, an ebook distribution site. They distribute to most of the big ebook sellers (Apple, Barnes & Noble, Amazon too) where I already have the series listed, but there are a few new sites where our books will be available: 24 Symbols, Scribd, Playster, and Bibliotheca.

I haven’t added the buy links to all the Insignia book pages (on this blog) just yet, but I’m working on making universal URL links to include ALL the sites where our books are available.

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And I’d just like to post a reminder here for any writers following: we have an OPEN SUBMISSION CALL for Asian fantasy flash fiction and poetry! Deadline is December 17th, so there’s plenty of time to write and submit!! We also gladly consider reprints. For more details, see our SUBMISSIONS PAGE.

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I’m also planning to post some new book recommendations and/or reviews this month, AND hope to have some kind of SALE later in Oct too. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

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

 

I’d like to share another excerpt from Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts. This one is a bird story from returning author, Russell Hemmell.

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WE, THE RAVENS OF BAI GAO LOU

 

I can’t avert my gaze from her, while she stands in front of the iron portal—her neck fierce and erect, her eyes shut not in fear but in refusal. Waiting to enter without reclining her head, knowing too well it’s going to be a one-way movement. But not a sound comes out from that mouth so many have desired to kiss. Pale lips with a suave smile, the queen looks at me, and her irises shine like a thousand moons in a winter night.

They push her forward, and she walks inside. Without a lament.

The Traitor’s Gate closes behind her.

She is lost! my winged siblings scream while circling in the sky. Nobody comes back from the Bai Gao Lou, the Mighty White Tower.

Nor will you, green-eyed queen from a far-away land.

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I approach again, flitting around the rooftop, peering inside the minuscule windows. They’re made in ways that prevent a comfortable view of the court, those windows, and she needs to stand in an uncomfortable position to reach them. She can’t see me, either.

It’s a cold and nasty place, her secluded house in the Tower. The rags on the floor and tapestry on the walls that should keep it warm have all been taken away. There are organic pigment and insects mixed with blood in the old frescoes, to suggest unspoken horrors and weaken her resolve.

And today, they have put severed heads on the Traitor’s Gate, like pieces of Sunday roast on a spike. Them. Them, she can see.

I fly lower, to glimpse at the queen. Her eyes are transfixed; she looks outside, at a point in the horizon—at those short, happy days of her realm, of unbound extravaganza, unbridled lust, glimmering revelries.

Her heyday lasted just that, a day.

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Russell Hemmell is a statistician and social scientist from Scotland, passionate about astrophysics and speculative fiction. Recent publications in Aurealis, The Grievous Angel, Third Flatiron, and others. Find her online at her blog earthianhivemind.net and on Twitter @SPBianchini and @RxHemmell.

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AVAILABLE FROM:

| Smashwords | B & N | kobo | Apple-ibooks |

| 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 |

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Add on Goodreads

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Excerpt: ‘Reborn’ by Nidhi Singh

Hi everyone! This weekend I’d like to share a few excerpts from stories in our latest anthology,  Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts.

‘Reborn’ is Nidhi Singh’s third story with The Insignia Series, and is set in the jungles of India. It might change how you feel about snakes…..

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‘Reborn’ by Nidhi Singh

Excerpt:

A couple of pale flabby tents, damp with the rain, had been pitched in a clearing. A tall bearded man, attired in the dress of a Shikari, a hunter, stood still near the entrance to the campsite. He smoked nonchalantly, with one foot propped on a black boulder. A double-barreled gun of exceptional length, probably an old flintlock, leaned against his other leg.

He pressed some tobacco leaves in Kasyapa’s hand: a customary welcome of the Gond tribals. The Shikari, called Manjhi, was about fifty years of age, tall and sinewy, with a singularly mild face, and a long, scrawny neck, deeply seamed with many scars. His meager form was arrayed in a sort of hunting shirt of greenish brown, belted at the waist with sambar leather. Around his head was a small, tightly twisted turban of the same hue as the rest of his garments. At his belt he carried a long machete, a horn of powder, and a small wallet containing bullets, flint, and steel.

He and his ancestors before him enjoyed a fearsome reputation, of having shot dead man-eaters here, wrestled bison barehanded there, and cut down many an attacking leopards and beasts of prey with their formidable daggers.

“Welcome, to the land of Sher Khan,” he said, pumping Kasyapa’s hand in his giant, calloused grip. “I’ll be your guide.” He smiled, showing a strong row of broad white teeth.

The Shikari led Kasyapa to where some easy chairs and a camp table, covered with tea and toast and fruit, had been laid out. Kasyapa sank into one of the chairs, stretched out his legs, and closed his eyes with a sigh of intense satisfaction. Meanwhile, a flustered campsite host with a clipboard and fluttering papers shepherded the bellowing children into their tents.

“What are you keen on?” the Shikari asked after tea had been served in earthen bowls.

“The usual suspects,” Kasyapa replied. “How are the sightings?”

“Fair. Usually near the watering holes—plenty of cheetal and sambar here for the king of the jungle.”

“How do we go in?”

“By jeeps, obviously. Elephant rides are also available, but not for the kids without supervision. We’ll leave in batches—mornings and afternoons. You and I could ride an elephant, though. An elephant can strike out into the heart of the jungle. He makes his own road.”

“Okay, what else? We’re here for a week thereabouts.”

“There is a tribal arts center. The kids will like the wood and clay playthings. You could take home some trinkets for the missus? The camp guys have organized a boat ride down the Pench river too. You will see alligators—hundreds of them lounging on the white sands on its banks, and beautiful islands. And the camp guys usually throw in a campfire on the last day.”

Kasyapa nodded and looked away into the thickening mists as they began to settle on the treetops. “Don’t you ever go out on foot?” he suddenly asked. “What about these National Geography guys?”

The Shikari slapped his thighs. “I knew you were not the normal babu who looks for comfort or textbook adventures. You look fit enough to me. But the jungle—are you quite up to it?”

“What about the kids?”

“Don’t worry, there is a guide on each vehicle. The staff knows how to handle the rowdiest of them.”

“Just for the record, we’ll accompany them on the safaris and boat rides, and when they’re in the camp, we could strike out.”

“Sure. There is a cost, though. And there are dangers; slippery tracks could land you in bottomless ravines, there are bears, panthers, snakebites, and if you’re lucky, Sher Khan.”

“I am okay with that. Are you?”

The Shikari sniggered. “I fear no tiger now. They fall before me like the mango at which the boy throws his stick.”

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Nidhi Singh’s Author Page

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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 |

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Add on Goodreads

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Interested in writing for us?

A new submission call opens Sept 1st. Full details are on our Submissions Page.

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