Excerpt: ‘Jentayu’s Tear’ by Anna Tan

‘Jentayu’s Tear’ is a wonderful story based on a Malaysian folktale. Enjoy!

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‘Jentayu’s Tear’ by Anna Tan

The men screamed and pointed as he transformed back to his true form. His golden feathers blazed in the sun, his horn burning with pure fire; hot white, deep black, flickering blue. He spread his wings and took to the air, the force of each beat of his wings driving the little men to the ground.

“Fight me, Jentayu!” he screamed his challenge into the air.

Lighting flashed across the sky—and there she was before him. Her sleek blue-white feathers gleamed in the rain that now poured, her crest glinting like a diamond crown. For a moment, he caught his breath, mesmerized. He’d forgotten how beautiful she was. How graceful in flight, how tender in speech, how she’d been his closest companion for thousands of years as they ruled the Bird Kingdom together. But the rain was chilling him, dousing his fire, and this would not do.

“It’s not so easy to kill me, Jentayu,” he sneered.

“I’m not trying to kill you. It’s enough for me to just stop you from carrying out your
nefarious plans.”

“Nefarious! Hah. Maybe you should go back to school and learn how to use your words properly.”

“I said exactly what I wanted to say, Garuda.”

Another beat of his wings. The earth shook and he smiled. “We’ll see how you handle that.”

“Handle what? The earth shaking?”

“No. That.”

Jentayu wheeled in horror as the skies erupted in fire and brimstone. The eruption of the volcano filled her senses with searing heat, billowing smoke and the scent of wet ash. In retaliation, she called upon the waves. Two feet. Three. Five. Seven feet high they rose, water against fire. There was nothing she could do to help Merong Mahawangsa and his men now. They would have to survive on their own.

She pressed her apologies into his mind, directing the men to find safer ground far away from the battle. Away from the Garuda’s butchery.

“Would you really kill me, my brother?”

“I will destroy anyone who stands in my way—including you, Jentayu!”

And then they crashed against each other, hissing and snarling. Claw raking bloody claw. Beak scoring beak. Mighty wing buffeting mighty wing.

It broke her heart. Where they’d once touched tenderly, as brother with sister, as friends forged in the fight together, they now lashed out at each other. There was death on his claws, and deep sadness in her heart. She knew all his weaknesses. Had once protected them, as he had done hers.

But that was why she had walked away before, wasn’t it? Away from his delusions of grandeur, of conquering the world and being Emperor of All Earth—instead of being God’s emissary and protector of birds. She couldn’t just walk away now.

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Anna Tan’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories Page (Insignia Vol.4.)

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Excerpt: ‘Four Claws’ by Allison Thai

‘Four Claws’ is the first story in Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories.

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‘Four Claws’ by Allison Thai

Yifei had never left the palace before. Had no good reason to do so, until now. And she hadn’t the slightest clue where she was headed. All she knew was that she had to get as far away from home as she could. Stopping, or turning back would kill her. Yifei flew past the outermost village to reach the mountain range, and only then did she slow down. Blood still dripped from her wounds, and she tried her hardest not to look down at them.

Pangs of hunger stopped her from going any farther. She needed something to eat. Despite frantic scanning, she saw nothing edible in sight. Only rocks and dirt. Yifei closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. She let it out in dismay. Even her dragon-enhanced sense of smell could not do much if she had no training at all.

Something flitted overhead, catching her eye. Dark wings, still and outstretched, made wide, slow, sweeping rounds high in the air. Vultures. If vultures were around, that meant there had to be food nearby.

Yifei’s ears perked, and she glided closer to the site. Upon further inspection, she realized that the vultures circled over a body. A human body.

Her mouth watered, and the very act made her recoil with disgust. Was she really that hungry? Yifei squeezed her eyes shut. She could not stoop so low as to eat a human. She was an imperial dragon, a princess of the ruling Quan family—

No, not anymore. The title was stripped from her, just as the toes on her feet were ripped off. Clinging to dignity was just an old habit. A habit she had to throw away if she wanted to survive.

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Allison Thai’s Author Page

Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories Page (Insignia Vol.4.)

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AVAILABLE FROM:

| Smashwords | B & N | kobo |

| Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA |

| Amazon DEAmazon JPAmazon IN |

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Add on Goodreads

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Write for Us – Submissions now OPEN!

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Excerpt: ‘Never Seen’ by Kelly Matsuura

We have two Vietnamese themed stories in Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy. Here’s an excerpt from my fantasy lit piece, ‘Never Seen’.

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Never Seen by Kelly Matsuura

Today is my turn. Cool ocean waves set a rhythm for the Trong Com drummers and temple singers. I walk along the shadowed beach; strips of colored sunset on my left and the cheering smiles of well-wishers on my right. They clap for me, but they also form a wall that stops me running away into the dark jungle.

I am cloaked from head to toe in bright silks, the colors chosen to celebrate my imminent transformation and to represent our hidden kingdom. I am cloaked in these silks, but also in magic. From the day I was born I was one of the nominated maidens, destined to bond with the king and become one of his mages.

The spell that makes us what we are can only be broken by King Amnuay himself. Our pure beauty is veiled; no other man ever sees the glint of the sun on our hematite hair, or feels the soft texture of our skin, likened to that of polished pearls. They don’t see the real color of our eyes; the spell blackens the irises on us all until the night of our awakening. My own eyes are the green of a papaya leaf; bright, sharp and strong. I don’t look away from anyone.

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Kelly Matsuura’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

‘Spirit of Regret’ by Eliza Chan

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Excerpt: ‘The Great Qilin’ by Kelly Matsuura

Here’s a short excerpt from the new anthology, Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories. The Great Qilin is a Young Adult piece, one of three in this anthology.

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THE GREAT QILIN

I dreamed of a most strange beast; part-dragon, part-horse, part-lion. It flew down from the evening sky, trailing a blaze of fire behind it and landed with surprising grace before me.

In my vision-state I was still dressed in my favorite pink pajamas; my feet bare and chilled by the damp lawn where I stood behind my house. I was not physically present, but I felt the wind, blinked at the bright moon, and smelled the subtle musky scent of the visiting creature.
“Ting Sun,” the beast spoke my name.

I trembled, in awe, not fear. I had the gift to communicate with earthly animals, and they sometimes spoke to me in visions, but it was my first experience with one of the three heavenly creatures: dragon, phoenix, and qilin.
“I am,” I answered with a parched throat. I straightened my back and neck, preparing to receive an important message or task.
“Ting Sun, I request your assistance on a simple, yet important matter.” The qilin rose on all four hooved-feet and turned sideways. “Please sit on my back and we will leave now.”
Me? Ride a qilin? I had never heard of such a quest, but it filled me with excitement.

We traveled through the starry sky, soaring over the land and waters of Yunnan province, heading north. I gripped the qilin’s mane with one hand, the other I trailed through its flaming fire. It didn’t burn at all and I thrilled at the multitude of colors trapped in each thread of flame. I examined the qilin’s body with great interest. The size of a large lion, it was, however, covered in the scales of a dragon. Beautiful, pearl-like scales in the lightest shade of blue. Its thin mane was a darker blue and finished at the top of its shoulders like a horse’s does. Two horns of smooth black ivory curled outwards and up, resembling those of an ox.

Below me, mountains and deserts passed by. Where were we going exactly? We were still in China as far as I could tell, but I had never before left Yunnan so was unfamiliar with the landscape we crossed.

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Thank you for reading! Please visit the Insignia Vol.2 page for more details and to-buy links.

More Excerpts:

Looking for Trouble by Joyce Chng

 

 

Cover Reveal: ‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’ & ‘Insignia Vol.1.’ Promo!

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories is coming soon! We’re just finalizing the list of stories and proofreading etc now. I thought I’d share the cover today 😀

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This volume is a little shorter than the Japanese anthology, but we have six stories with mixed themes and  sub-genres for you.   We can’t wait to share more details and story excerpts in April!

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 If you don’t have a copy of Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories yet, now is your chance to grab it on sale! We’re dropping the price to $1.50 on Smashwords and all Amazon sites until March 31st. That’s half-price!

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Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon JP

Amazon AUS

Smashwords

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Book of the Week: ‘Someone Like Me’ by Kelly Matsuura

I published a new short story on my website recently, so thought I would share it here today.

It is a free YA story, set in Australia but with Asian-Australian teens as the main characters. I call it a ‘concept’ story, because I plan to write a series based on these characters, and the short story is just a piece to get to know them better.

Anyway, the story is a PDF book (about 20 pages) that you can open and read straightaway, or save a copy for later. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on possible adventure story-lines for the novel extension. 😀

~Kelly Matsuura~

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Trinh Pham is a sixteen-year-old girl with the unique ability to gender-shift. While other members of her family, including her cousin, Hongyen, have various superpowers, Trinh feels alone sometimes in her need to adapt to a second identity.

But when she meets cute animal-shifter Yuki Hasegawa, she finds someone who can understand and accept her for who she is. Girl or boy.

Read/Download ‘Someone Like Me’ here (Last ebook listed)

~Note: ‘Hell’s Village’ is also a YA Asian fantasy story, available on the same page~

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I’m always looking for more fantasy stories with Asian characters/settings to feature as ‘Book of the Week’. Please leave a comment if you have a recommendation.

And, I hope to have an update on ‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’ next week as well. 😀

Excerpt: ‘Moon Shadow’ by Kelly Matsuura

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As the editor for ‘Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories’, I selected my own stories to include last. I like writing myth-based stories too, but I already had 4 submitted from other authors, so I decided to include this ninja story, Moon Shadow as it is a straight fantasy YA piece. Although come to think of it, there are some traditions and myths surrounding ninja  and even Japanese magic that I put into my story!

Here’s a short scene with the main character, Moon Shadow, about to go on a mission:

Moon Shadow

It was getting dark. Moon Shadow put on his boots, and double-checked his weapons and magic pouches. Confident that he was prepared, he covered his head and face with a black scarf.

His best friend, Creeping Mist, came to join him fully dressed as well.

“Ready to go?” He stretched his shoulders and wrists.

“I’m ready. Is it just us two?” Moon Shadow asked.

“No, we’re going with three others to capture a witch. Another group is going into town to grab some boys.” Creeping Mist’s face fell. It was a task they all hated. Knowing it had happened to them once too only made it worse.

Most men were grateful that their memories of their childhood and families were erased after arriving at the training camp, but it was also heartbreaking to have no one in the world except each other. Moon Shadow and Creeping Mist had no way to know where they’d come from, but some instinct told them they had grown up together. There was an unspoken sense of love connecting them.

“Urgh, I hate taking boys, but I suspect it’s a lot less dangerous than facing a witch. Do you know anything about her?” Moon Shadow asked as they walked to the edge of the woods.

“I heard she’s young. And, she flew into the camp as a yellow dragonfly this afternoon. Did you see it? She flew right in front of my face. Amazing, don’t you think?”

“That’s incredible! Isn’t a dragonfly one of the hardest forms to take? Most witches I’ve encountered change to crows or pigeons or something.”

“Well, Black Morning said it’s impossible to shift into an insect. He believes it was a type of mind-projection.”

“Does such magic exist?” Moon Shadow had never heard of such a spell.

“I don’t know.” Creeping Mist checked the map in his hand. “Okay, this way. Let’s go see if this young witch is beautiful. Maybe she’s looking for a lover!”

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Kelly Matsuura grew up in Victoria, Australia, but has lived most of her adult life in the northern hemisphere. After a year teaching English in China, she moved to Japan where she met her husband and lived for ten years in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. Due to her husband’s work, she’s enjoying a few years back in a western country, living in Michigan, USA.

Kelly has published numerous short stories online, in group anthologies, and in two self-published anthologies. She enjoys writing in various genres: fantasy, literature, young adult, and romance.

She majored in Asian Studies and Japanese at university, and currently studies Chinese, German, French and Spanish purely for interest.

As the creator and editor for The Insignia Series’ anthologies, she hopes to use her knowledge of the Asian languages and culture to assist the other authors produce great stories and to share the group’s work with a new audience.

Kelly’s website: www.blackwingsandwhitepaper.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

Megumi’s Quest by Joyce Chng

The Bakeneko by Holly Kench

Restoration by Chris Ward

Towards the Light by Aislinn Batstone

Sanctuary by Chris White

Kitsune by Heather Jensen