Author Spotlight: JUAN TAKAI (Translated by Toshiya Kamei)

 

Hi everyone, today’s Author Spotlight has been kindly translated by a wonderful supporter of our projects, Toshiya Kamei. He translated about 15 of the drabbles in our latest anthology (see below) and has introduced many new contributors to Insignia Stories. He’s a star!

Enjoy the interview,

~Kelly~

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We are pleased to introduce Juan Takai, who has contributed the following three pieces to Japanese Fantasy Drabbles: “The Inevitable End,” “One Day at Takamagahara,” and “Nuclear Life.”

Here’s his write-up on the anthology (in Japanese): https://hametuha.com/news/article/45306/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Juan Takai was born in 1994 in Saitama to a Japanese father and a Paraguayan mother. Since high school, he has engaged in anti-establishment, anti-censorship activism. A regular contributor to the literary magazine Hametuha, he published Konketsu terror and Tenran konketsu under the name Juan B. He is the author of Senzen fukei hatsugen taizen and Senzen hansen hatsugen taizen, which collect anti-emperor and anti-war sentiments of ordinary citizens in pre-war Japan. Most recently, he authored the YA fantasy chapbook Kinō no mura. He’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreatJuanism

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS

1. Author Name/s: Juan Takai (a.k.a. Juan B.)
2. Years active as a writer: Approximately 8 years
3. What genre/s you write: My recurrent themes include miscegenation in Japan and politics. My favorite genres are science fiction and comedy
4. Favorite genre to write: Many of my recent short stories contain sci-fi elements.
5. Favorite length of story to write: I like short stories, up to 20,000 characters in Japanese.
6. Your nationality: Alas, Japanese . . .
7. Country you live in: Japan, in spite of it all.
8. Number of Asian countries visited: Only Japan, unless Tokyo Disneyland counts as another.
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): See my answer above.
10. Favorite places in Asia (visited): Shinjuku, Akihabara, Kawagoe, Morioka, and Ōizumi-machi (Gunma), among others.
11. Places you want to visit in Asia: China, the Korean Peninsula, India
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Chinese
13. Favorite Asian dishes: Sushi, fried rice, grilled unagi
14. Favorite Asian movies (any genre): The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), Akira (1988)
15. Favorite Asian authors (any genre): Among my favorite authors are Shūsaku Endō and Kenzaburō Ōe. My favorite mangakas include Takashi Nemoto and Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira.
16. Favorite Asian celebrities: My heroes tend to be anarchists: Kenzo Okuzaki (1920-2005), Pak Yol (1902-1974), and Fumiko Kaneko (1903-1926).
17. Best thing about being a writer: Writers, especially minorities, gain the opportunity to create traces of our existence and thoughts that will live on in this world after we are gone.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: Inextricably related to the previous question, we increasingly tend to become involved in events and incidents that may not personally concern us.
19. Day writer or night writer: I prefer to write at night, even though it may cause inconvenience to many people, especially those living with me.
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): Who can resist the guilty pleasure of gobbling a bag of potato chips? Admittedly, I have a weakness for artery-clogging junk food. I struggle at times with my cravings for Funyuns, but, alas, it’s no longer available in Japan.
21. Number of short stories submitted each month (av): For now, I can handle only a few short pieces. After working on a pair of tomes totaling 1,200 pages in the last few years, I need to recharge my creative batteries.
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Publib and Tokyo Kirara are so great to work with. I’d also love to work with large publishers such as Iwanami, Kodansha, and, someday, Penguin Books. One can only hope . . .
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter (@GreatJuanism)
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: I’ve had experience with both.
25. Currently working on: I’m juggling multiple works-in-progress. Here’s my small but growing portfolio, short stories translated by Toshiya Kamei:

“Desde un país sin gafas” (in Spanish):
https://www.nagarimagazine.com/desde-un-pais-sin-gafas-juan-takai-traduccion-de-toshiya-kamei/

“A Country with No Glasses”: https://acrossthemargin.com/a-country-with-no-glasses/

“Planet Ape”: https://acrossthemargin.com/planet-ape/

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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR 

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations of Latin American literature include books by Claudia Apablaza, Liliana Blum, Carlos Bortoni, Selfa Chew, and Leticia Luna.

He has translated stories in Insignia: Asian Fiction & Poetry, Japanese Fantasy Drabbles, and the upcoming Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles.

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Japanese Fantasy Drabbles is out now! 

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Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzo9kj

The cover is also in All Authors’ Monthly Cover Contest. We’d appreciate your vote! (Link goes to the voting page).

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Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles is open too. Get your drabbles in by June 15!

Details on the Submissions Page. 

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STAY SAFE…STAY HOME…READ ALL THE BOOKS!!!

 

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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November News: Submissions are closed! Thank you!

NEWS

Submission Calls

Submissions for ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ are officially closed. I want to say a big thank you to all the contributing authors for submitting such a fantastic selection of drabbles. Otsukaresama desu!

I’ll probably write a post in December about the submission call, for those who are curious about the data and behind-the-scenes work involved in this project.

AS for new anthology calls, I’ll try to make a decision about that before the end of December too. I can say that the next anthology will be for short stories and offer a token payment as we have done in the past. Then perhaps we’ll do another drabble anthology after that…

For the poets, we’re always open for Asian Speculative poems. I’m really hoping to see some submissions from Asian writers for next year–please add us to your submissions list for 2020!

Details on our Instincts poetry series are here

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Site Updates

This past week, I made some changes to this site and some of our social media accounts. There’s a new profile logo, and I’ve changed the site name to Insignia Stories where possible. This is because the new drabble anthology will be the first in its own series, Insignia Drabbles Vol.1, Vol.2, etc. So the main site name will be Insignia Stories, and The Insignia Series will continue to be the series name for the anthologies we’ve done. Hopefully that’s clear!

Here on the site, I re-organized the menus and made a few drop-down listings which should make things easier to find. I’ll be putting up a new ABOUT page and one for the drabble anthology very soon, so that will have all the contributors name on it as well.

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Story Recommendation

I read a quite disturbing (in an awesome way) horror story recently, featuring a Japanese woman as the main character. It was written by Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy contributor, Eliza Chan and is published online at Three Crows Magazine.

I highly recommend it!

Link: ‘Knowing Your Type’ by Eliza Chan

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Have a great weekend everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to our North American writers and readers 🙂

~Kelly Matsuura~

 

 

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

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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

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Heather’s stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Kitsune’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories)

TBA title/s in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles (Coming 2020)

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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!

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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

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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COMING SOON:

Watch out for Anita’s debut flash fiction collection, being published by Reflex Press, in 2020!

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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)

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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.

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Featured Book: ‘Magical Women’ Anthology (Sukanya Venkatraghavan)

If you love short stories and love Indian/South Asian fantasy writing, you might want this one on your TBR list 🙂

MAGICAL WOMEN (Anthology)

Edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan

MagicalWomen-cover

Blurb:

A weaver is initiated into the ancient art of bringing a universe into existence. A demon hunter encounters an unlikely opponent. Four goddesses engage in a cosmic brawl. A graphic designer duels with a dark secret involving a mysterious tattoo. A defiant chudail makes a shocking announcement at a kitty party. A puppet seeking adventure discovers who she really is. A young woman’s resolute choice leads her to haunt Death across millennia. . . A compelling collection of stories that speak of love, rage, rebellion, choices and chances, Magical Women brings together some of the strongest female voices in contemporary Indian writing. Combining astounding imagination with superlative craft, these tales will intrigue and delight in equal measure.

My (Kelly’s) Review:

This anthology includes 14 stories, all by South Asian women. Many stories focus on social and environmental issues, and a few were too feminist for my own taste, but overall I enjoyed the variety and quality of stories in this collection.

My personal favorites:

  1. ‘Rulebook for Creating a Universe’ by Tashan Mehta. This is the 3rd story in order, and I just loved the storytelling and prose. It’s also original mythology, which I like to see in short stories.
  2. ‘Bahameen’ by Asma Kazi. This is a very intriguing story about a ‘time-hopper’, closer to fantasy than scifi.
  3.  ‘The Girl Who Haunted Death’ by Nikita Deshpande. I liked that this was a modern retelling of the Hindu story about Savitri and Satyavan, and was easy to read (after a few heavier mythology-based stories in the book).
  4. I can’t leave out the editor’s contribution, ‘The Rakshasi’s Rose Garden’. A rakshasi is a ‘man-eater’, similar to a succubus, and I quite liked the storytelling of this piece too.

And regarding the book production: I think the cover art is amazing–it captures both the fantasy and science fiction imagery of the different pieces. However, the font inside is very hard to read; both the headings and italic fonts are thin and light lettering. I read the kindle format and had to change the font and text size setting (first time ever). I had to read the whole book set to Large Print just so the italics was readable. It was distracting, and I only read a couple of stories at a time because of it.

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View ‘Magical Women’ on Amazon.com

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I would love to feature more Asian fantasy books here on The Insignia Series blog. If you have a review you’d like to share, or are an author with a new release, feel free to get in touch with me! Send email enquiries to: blackwingsandwhitepaper@gmail.com, or post a message to @InsigniaStories (Twitter) or The Insignia Series (Facebook).

 

 

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) |

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AVAILABLE FROM:

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

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

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Add on Goodreads

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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~