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 heatherjensenauthor.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!

~~~

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…)

 

Kelly-profile-2015-BW

 

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)

~~~

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.

~~~

Author Spotlight: ANITA GOVEAS

Happy September everyone!

Continuing our Author Spotlight series, let me introduce UK writer, Anita Goveas.

anita goveas (2)

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.

~~~

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!

FIN-INS2-200x293

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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.

ins-seven-jpg-200x300

 

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~

 

 

Submissions are Now Open!

 

It’s September 1st, and that means we have a new submission call open!

It’s for a new anthology: volume 7 in The Insignia Series.

INSIGNIA-7-SubmissionsPromo.jpg

See our Submissions Page for instructions on how to submit.

If you’re not familiar with our series, please browse our previously published anthologies – there are six volumes, which you will find links to in the top menu. You could also browse ‘Excerpts’ as a post category (from the side menu) to see samples from some of the stories included in our anthologies.

And if you do submit work, please follow this blog: I’ll be posting updates every few weeks during the reading period to let writers now how submissions are going. Closer to the deadline, I may have special requests for certain types of stories, or we might be short on poems, etc.

Thank you for your interest in The Insignia Series. We hope to read your work soon!

Cheers,

Kelly Matsuura

(Chief Editor)

Excerpt: ‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

 

The second story I’d like to share tonight from Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts is by a new contributor, Amy Fontaine.

Amy’s story is a fun adventure about a Japanese boy who meets a mischievous kitsune (fox-shifter).

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‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

Excerpt:

Koki’s mother had been tired when she came home from work earlier tonight. Tired, and distracted. After feeding Koki, she had slouched off to bed and forgotten to lock the inside lock on the back door. Koki noticed. Koki notices things.

Now Koki puts on his slippers, slips on a jacket over his pajamas, and tiptoes out of his room and down the stairs. He opens the back door of his apartment and sneaks off into the night.

The apartment is in a very modest neighborhood in the Northern Higashiyama area of Kyoto, but only a few blocks away is a beautiful park. A cobbled path lined with cherry trees and paper lanterns leads through lush ornamental plants to a red, arched bridge across a stream. The bridge leads to a tea house and a pagoda that stands beside it. During the day, Koki loves to come to this park with his mother, but he has never been here at night.

Koki starts crawling under bushes, turning over rock after rock and catching beetle after beetle. He squeals, a sound that seems more fitting of a five-year-old or a puppy than a ten-year-old. As he crawls under the last bush on the left before the red bridge, Koki’s eyes are suddenly met by a bright, piercing white-gold light. Koki yelps and scrambles backwards out of the bush, hearing a corresponding yelp of surprise and terror as he does so. When his vision clears, he sees a four-tailed golden fox standing before him, growling. Beetle legs hang from her mouth.

“What are you doing here, little runt?” hisses the fox, in a voice that isn’t quite real. “This is my territory, and these are my beetles! You have no right to hunt here, human!”

Koki bows to the fox. “I am sorry, honorable fox.”

The vixen bursts into peals of laughter that sound like tinkling bells.

“Honorable?” the fox scoffs. “You know nothing of kitsune, do you?”

In response, Koki begins to recite the natural history of the red fox. He sounds like an encyclopedia. The fox growls and shakes her head.

“You believe everything they tell you in science books, don’t you? Foolish boy. The things those books have told you to be false are the ones that are most important.”

~~~

Author Photo(2)

Amy Fontaine is a wildlife biologist who writes wild speculative fiction and poetry. Her first novel, Mist, is a young adult fantasy about shapeshifters, elemental magic, and being the change you wish to see in the world. She is currently writing an interactive novel inspired by Japanese kitsune folklore for Choice of Games. You can find her published work at https://amyfontaine.wordpress.com.

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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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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.”

~~~

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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