Excerpt: ‘Restoration’ by Chris Ward

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Chris Ward’s story, Restoration, is a beautiful adult literary piece; one of my favorites in the Insignia anthology.  I’ve become a big fan of Chris’ writing and believe he can write anything! He doesn’t typically write Asian or Japanese fiction, but you’ll see from this sample that he has an excellent voice for it.

Restoration

Masato was changed when he returned. Fourteen years away and I could barely recognise his face through the skin withered and creased with age, but the biggest change was in his eyes. The boy of eighteen with the bright, carefree look about him had become a man hardened and dulled through years of war. I felt like no time had passed at all, but as he lay beside me that first night I felt I was clutching something hollow, something empty, a shell that if I squeezed too tight would collapse in upon itself and disappear.

Glad enough just to have my husband home at long last, even though the spinster talk barely ceased–after all, I wasn’t alone in seeing Masato as some kind of walking wraith, haunted and scarred by the far distant war that had decimated the population of our village–I still had hopes of creating some sort of real life for us. We had married young, of course, marriage forced on us by Masato’s recruitment, but I was only thirty-three and I knew of women who had given birth at a similar age. The risks were higher, of course, but risks and guarantees were two different things. I had spent sixteen lifeless years waiting for my husband to return, so risk was better than no possibility at all.

Masato refused to talk about the war at first. Old scars crisscrossed his skin like the lines on a Go board, and as I lay beside him I traced my fingers over them, fearing the stories behind each one. Masato would lie on his back with his eyes fixed on some image between us and the ceiling that only he could see, and I knew from the flushes and shivers of his skin that he was reliving those dark days over again. When I touched him on those nights it was like touching a dying animal; I could feel the residual heat in his body but the life had already gone.

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Chris Ward is a native of Cornwall, England, but currently lives and works in Nagano, Japan. He is the author of The Tube Riders Trilogy, The Man Who Built the World and Head of Words, as well as numerous short stories and collections.

He spends his time snowboarding, writing, playing guitar in his rock band, Steampunk Unicorn, and generally having too much to say about just about everything.

Like Chris Ward (Fiction Writer) on Facebook for regular updates, or follow Chris’s blog at: www.amillionmilesfromanywhere.blogspot.jp

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Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories is now available from:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon JP

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

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Add on Goodreads

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Read More Excerpts

Megumi’s Quest by Joyce Chng

The Bakeneko by Holly Kench

Towards the Light by Aislinn Batstone

Kitsune by Heather Jensen

Sanctuary by Chris White

Moon Shadow by Kelly Matsuura

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Excerpt: ‘Megumi’s Quest’ by Joyce Chng

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Joyce Chng’s story, Megumi’s Quest is the second story in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories. I met Joyce through Visibility Fiction and really love her edgy, Asian, urban-fantasy short stories. She’s a great YA writer and I’m thrilled to have her work in this anthology 😀

Here’s the opening scene:

Megumi’s Quest

Megumi heaved herself up the cliff, her fingers raw and tender from gripping the sharp-edged nooks and crevices. Her thighs felt as if they were on fire. Beside her, the wolf, Tetsu, tackled the ledges with surefootedness, his tongue lolling out of his mouth as he panted.

Once over this cliff, we will be done with the challenge, she told herself.

She pushed up, up, up, and finally reached the top, panting. At least, her spiritual body was far healthier and agile than her physical body, connected via a tenuous silver cord. Megumi glanced at Tetsu who joined her, his tail wagging slowly. His ears flicked upright, twitching at the slightest of sounds.

We find the eggs now, the white-blue wolf said in her mind.

“Yes, the eggs that bred the monster.” Megumi placed her hand on Tetsu’s plush, soft fur. “Let’s go. Time is running out.”

Already the lumps on her body were spreading. She looked at them with disgust and focused wholly on her journey.

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 Singaporean, but with a global outlook, Joyce Chng write science fiction and fantasy, YA and urban fantasy. Her fiction has appeared in the Apex Book of World SF II, We See A Different Frontier, Visibility Fiction, Crossed Genres and Bards & Sages, to name a few. Her urban fantasy novels are written under her pseudonym, J. Damask (which she will tell you are a play on her Chinese name). The Rider trilogy, a YA SF, will be published by Math Paper Press, an imprint of Books Actually, an independent bookstore in Singapore.

She can be contacted at A Wolf’s Tale: (http://awolfstale.wordpress.com)

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories is now available from:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon JP

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

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Add on Goodreads

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Read More Excerpts

Restoration by Chris Ward

Towards the Light by Aislinn Batstone

The Bakeneko by Holly Kench

Sanctuary by Chris White

Moon Shadow by Kelly Matsuura

Kitsune by Heather Jensen

JUST RELEASED! ‘Insignia Vol.1: Japanese Fantasy Stories’

The first Insignia anthology is now available from Amazon.com (and other Amazon sites). for just $2.99!

Congratulations to all the contributing authors: Aislinn Batstone, Joyce Chng, Heather Jensen, Holly Kench, Chris Ward, and Chris White. I’d really like to thank them all for their wonderful stories, assistance with proofreading and marketing, and for their great support in the project.

Over the next few days, I’d like to introduce the authors a little and share a sample of each story. For now, please browse the Amazon book page and this blog, and feel free to share the posts/links with your friends!

Cheers!

Kelly Matsuura (Editor)

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Available Now From:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon JP

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Add on Goodreads