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)

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

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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

~~~~~

Photo credit: David Menidrey on Unsplash

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!

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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!

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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.

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

~~~

Cover & Contents Reveal for INSIGNIA Vol.5.!

Coming Soon!

Hi everyone, I’m excited to share the new cover and list of stories for our upcoming Asian science fiction themed anthology! This is the 5th anthology released for The Insignia Series and since it’s not region-based like the first 4 books, I decided to go green on this cover…Hope you all like the new look. 🙂

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CONTENTS

‘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

‘Change of Light’ by Richard Agemo

‘The Galaxy’s Cube’ by Jeremy Szal

‘Kill / Switch’ by L. Chan

‘The Drowning Pool’ by Vonnie Winslow Crist

‘Love and Relativity’ by Stewart C. Baker

~~~

Memorial Weekend 99c Sale!!

Happy Memorial Weekend to our US friends! I’ve just moved back to Japan so am a little sad to be missing the holiday weekend, but I have great memories of trips to Chicago and Lake Michigan in previous years. It’s also pretty nice here in Nagoya. 🙂

I thought it was a good week for a little sale, so how does getting ANY Insignia Series anthology for just 99c sound?

99c SALE – May 27-30

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All three anthologies will be only US0.99c (or he equivalent in foreign currencies) this weekend on both Amazon and Smashwords sites.

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories

Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy

~~~~~

And writers, don’t forget to check out our Submissions Page. We’re currently seeking fantasy stories set in any Asian country, with Asian heroes/heroines. We need a good variety of both nationalities represented and also styles of fantasy. We lay out the stories in two categories: ‘Adventure/Folktales’ and ‘Adult/Literary’. YA stories are very welcome, and we have a special request for stories set in the India/Himalaya region. Deadline is JUNE 30, and more details can be found on the main submissions page.

~~~~~

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, WHEREVER YOU ARE!!!!!

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.

~~~

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

Smashwords Sale! 50% Off ‘The Insignia Series’ Anthologies

The Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale is now on!

Get either Insignia Series anthology for only US$1.50!

Use the discount code SSW50 at checkout to buy these books half-price:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/399204

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/462261

~~~

Want to buy The Insignia Series from a different site?

Check the book pages for further links:

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories

~~~

‘Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories’ on SALE!!!!!!

SMASHWORDS SUMMER SALE – JULY 1ST TO JULY 31ST

SALE – 50% OFF! ONLY US$1.50

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories

 

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INSIGNIA Vol.1 includes 9 Japanese fantasy stories with a mix of urban, literary,

contemporary, myth-based,and historical fantasy pieces.

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Link to Smashwords Page

( ADD THE PROMO CODE SSW50 AT CHECKOUT )

~~~

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories is not yet available from Smashwords, but you can view the book information and Amazon links here.

Excerpt: ‘Sanctuary’ by Chris White

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Chris White’s story, Sanctuary, was a last-minute submission to the Insignia anthology, and rounded out the literary section perfectly. I didn’t know Chris previously, so it was great to find another author who had lived in Japan and knew the culture well. And, by chance, he’s also an Aussie, so he’s in good company with several other Insignia authors. 😀

Sanctuary

A temple stood, surrounded by the blank yellow windows. The wind there touched the red cloaks of the jizou. Illuminated by the soft glow of a bank of vending machines.

An ancient wooden house still stood, opposite the bone-orchard. A single light burned.

The curtain hanging over the door announced a neighbourhood sentou. Another tanuki announced the presence of beer inside.

I walked in.

The rough-canvas banner scratched at my face as I crossed the threshold, like a half-remembered dream. Or an ignored warning. Something to be brushed aside, at any rate. The shoji door groaned, protesting as I forced it open, shuddering into place. Torn and faded, its screens were marked with a peculiar circular pattern. I stepped inside, away from the claws of the wind and into the bathhouse foyer. Metal locker doors creaked, yawning wide, propped open by wild-filigreed scaffolds of rust. A murmur rose, floating through the darkness from somewhere within, and the electric light I had seen from outside drew me onward. As did the tanuki’s winking, alcoholic promise. The bell on the reception desk chimed on my second attempt, awkward and hollow, like the nothing words we sprinkle through our sentences–um, ah, eto

The murmuring stopped.

Sumimasen,” inaudible. I had almost whispered it. I cleared my throat to try again, setting a tempest of dust-motes to dance in the dull-red Coca-Cola glow that crept through the windows.

Sumimasen?”

Louder this time.

Only my echo replied, bouncing back at me from the cavernous bathing-hall that hid somewhere ahead of me, somewhere in the darkness. Now, I knew this was the point when I should have turned away, the moment when I should have shuffled back out onto the street and resumed my nocturnal wanderings. The streets called to me in the night, they begged me to walk them, to see what once was. But there was something about urban ruins that inspired me, that drew me in. A sense, perhaps, that the past is here, lingering alongside the future. And there was that electric light burning somewhere inside. I pressed on, and the shadows pressed in around me, swallowing up the song of the city outside. Another reason to press on–to hear that monster’s roar consumed by this relic of the past.

~*~

Chris White is a writer, of many genres, but mostly science fiction and magic realism. He grew up in Japan, and keeps finding Tokyo and its monsters showing up in his stories. He dabbles in drabbles, too, and you can find more of his words online at: http://chriswhitewrites.com

~*~

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories is now available from:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon JP

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

~*~

Add on Goodreads

~*~

Read More Excerpts

Megumi’s Quest by Joyce Chng

The Bakeneko by Holly Kench

Restoration by Chris Ward

Towards the Light by Aislinn Batstone

Moon Shadow by Kelly Matsuura

Kitsune by Heather Jensen