HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!

It’s finally here!

‘Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy’ is now available for just $1.99!

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Buy Links:

| Smashwords |

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

(Coming soon to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and more).

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Visit the Insignia Vol.3. Page here

Want to write for our next anthology? See our Submissions Page here

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Other titles in The Insignia Series:

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories

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August News (& Submission Deadline Reminder)

Hi everyone, hope you’re all having a great month! I’m definitely enjoying summer in Michigan now that it’s finally warm, lol!

Today’s post is just a quick catch-up on what’s new here with The Insignia Series, and I’ll chat a bit about our open submission call as well.

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August Cover Wars (Masquerade Crew): the cover for ‘Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories’ is entered in this monthly cover contest. Voting is open daily, and you can vote for several covers at once, not just Insignia. Have a look, there are some great indie books listed in the contest too!

Here’s the site link: http://www.masqueradecrew.com/2015/07/august-cover-wars-round-one-vote-every.html

To everyone who has been voting, THANK YOU! Round One will finish next week sometime, so it’ll be great if you can help us  get through to round two. Every vote counts!

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New Facebook & Twitter pages: If you haven’t seen these new accounts yet, please take a moment to follow us! I’ll continue sharing Insignia news on my ‘Kelly Matsuura/Kelly Noro’ accounts, but I hope to build up the number of followers for the exclusive Insignia Series pages. I’d really like to see the current and potential Insignia authors following too, it will help me keep track of everyone a little easier. Thanks!

The Insignia Series on Twitter (@InsigniaStories)

The Insignia Series on Facebook

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‘Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy Stories’ open submissions: I hope there are some people out there working on their submissions already! I can’t wait to see what stories come in. All the submission information is on the Submissions Page, but the most important thing to remember is the deadline – AUGUST 31st!!!

If you have any questions about the story guidelines etc, please leave a comment on this post, or on the submissions page, or email me (Kelly) at blackwingsandwhitepaper@gmail.com. I’ll be checking this email address daily from now on.

If you would like to submit your story early, that’s okay with me, but I won’t be sending out acceptance notices until September. (I will confirm receiving your submission though, of course).

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Happy Re-release Day to ‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’

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*New logo design*

Hi everyone, how do you like the new Insignia graphics? As well as the new banner and book covers, we’ve also added a new story to Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories! This anthology was always a little shorter than we wanted, and in preparation for print books (Yes, we’re going to do paperbacks soon!), it seemed a good time to add a story while the covers were being changed, etc.

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*New cover design for Vol. 2*

The new story added is ‘Black Smoke and Water Lilies’ by Canadian author, David Jon Fuller. It’s a wonderful magical realism piece, and adds an interesting contrast to the other stories already in Insignia Vol.2. (Which are, all written by female authors). Read an excerpt of the new story here, and view David’s author page here.

David wrote a post about his story on his own site too. Read it here.

All the buy links for Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories can be found on the Insignia Vol.2 Page.

Please note, the new edition may not be available yet on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and a few other sites. It is available on Smashwords, which is the distributor to those sites, it just takes a little longer for updates to appear on some seller’s websites. Please check the cover and new book information carefully before buying from sites other than Amazon and Smashwords this week. Thanks.

If you have previously purchased a copy of Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories, you should be able to download the new version from your ebook library with Amazon, Smashwords, etc for free.

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*new cover design for Insignia Vol.1*

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories has a new cover, but no changes were made to the stories in this anthology.

Don’t have a copy yet? Find all the buy links and the full blurb on the Insignia Vol.1 Page.

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We are also currently open for submissions for Insignia Vol.3! This will be a collection of Southeast Asian fantasy. See the new Submissions Page for details.

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Excerpt: ‘Black Smoke and Water Lilies’ by David Jon Fuller

Here is an excerpt from the new story, ‘Black Smoke and Water Lilies’ by David Jon Fuller. We love this story, and are very excited to have a new author join the Insignia Series. Welcome David!!

 

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‘Black Smoke and Water Lilies’ by David Jon Fuller

 

I am born in the Valley of the Forest Monastery. It is a time of invasion.

I am five years old. My name is Quick Stream. I sit on the fence that pens our pigs while my father and mother work in the fields. The mud stinks a familiar stench; earth and slop and excrement. The sun is bright; it is summer. The mountains surrounding the valley still have snow covering the tops. My father has told me to keep an eye on the pigs, but to face away from the sun and watch the pass to the west. It is called the Way of Black Sorrow.

At seventeen years old, I remember watching the Way at five and tremble, for once again smoke blows through from the far side of the mountains; the marauders have returned. At seventeen I am safe behind the walls of the monastery, but I tremble nonetheless.

I am eleven years old. I live with my father’s sister and her husband. He is unwilling to share his home. I am old enough to work but not to be asked to leave. When the harvests are poor, he yells at me. Perhaps he thinks it is my fault. I don’t know what to say, so I leave until he has tired and gone to sleep. The trees are not thick around the foot of the mountains, but many evergreens grow higher up. The woods whisper in the wind. The sound is soothing, and it helps one to forget. At times, I see young monks wandering silently between the trees—they are holy men; they tread softly on the earth, listening to the whispers. They are men of peace, but all know they have trained long to defend their monastery. At eleven I have heard that they are fearsome in battle, as flowing in their movements as the sapling in the wind, but hard as oak when they strike. I hide and wait, and watch one as he passes. He does not look up; he gives no sign of noticing me; and yet it seems he expects me to be here. At eleven I do not understand how he can know this.

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David Jon Fuller’s Profile Page

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories Page

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Want to write for the next Insignia anthology?

See our new Submissions Page

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If you already own a copy of Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories, you should be able to get an updated file for FREE from your ebook distributor. Please check your account/library for this option.

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Insignia Series News: Open Submissions and more!

Hi everyone, hope you’re having a great week!

I just wanted to do a quick post today to let you know what I’ve got planned for The Insignia Series blog and anthologies.

Have you seen the new Submissions Page? If you are a short fantasy writer, you may be interested to browse the Submission Call information for Insignia 3: Southeast Asian Fantasy Stories. The deadline to submit work is August 31, so mark your calendars and start brainstorming! I’m looking for a mix of authors and speculative fiction sub-genres, so don’t be scared to send me something a bit ‘out there’. I’ll love it.

Also on the Submissions Page, I have a special request for a couple more Chinese stories for Insignia 2. This anthology was published last year and I love every story in it, however I’d like to add 2 or 3 more if I can get them. This is to bring the page count up in anticipation of doing paperback copies in the near future, and having it the same length as Insignia 1. I did make a deadline of June 30 for this, but if I don’t get any submissions by then I’ll probably leave it as an open request. If you are interested in writing a piece for this call but need more time, please contact me to discuss it.

And, I have a tentative plan for Insignia 4: Tsukumogami Stories! Seeing that Japanese fantasy is especially popular, I decided it would be fun to do another Japanese anthology with a more focused theme. I’ll write some fresh stories for this collection too.

What else is news? Oh yes, I’m also redesigning the series’ covers! I hope to have them all done by the end of the month, including the cover for Insignia 3 and new artwork for this blog too. It’s all happening!

I really hope you all like the changes 🙂

Kelly Matsuura

(Editor)

Any questions? Email me: blackwingsandwhitepaper@hotmail.com

Congratulations to Joyce Chng!

 

Great news for one of our Insignia Series authors – Joyce Chng’s story, Megumi’s Quest, has been selected for inclusion in Twelfth Planet Press’ Best of YA Speculative Fiction 2013! Megumi’s Quest was first published in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories and we’re so thrilled to see the story become available to a much wider audience.  Congratulations, Joyce! We’re so proud!

According to Twelfth Planet’s website, The Best of YA Speculative Fiction 2013 anthology will be released in late 2014. The link below has further details.

 

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Link to the full Table of Contents

 

Read an extract of Megumi’s Quest

 

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SALE! Get the INSIGNIA anthologies for only 99c on Smashwords! Oct 16-20

If you haven’t read the ‘Insignia Series’ anthologies yet, here’s a great chance to try them for only 99c.

Download your copy now from Smashwords in mobi, epub, or pdf formats.

Sale ends October 20th.

 

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‘Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories’ on Smashwords

‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’ on Smashwords

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Now on Smashwords – ‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories is now available on Smashwords. Download a copy in your preferred format!

Smashwords also distributes books to ibooks, Barnes &Noble, Scribd, Oyster, and several other ebook sellers. It take a little time for books to be listed on this affiliates sites though, so we’ll add those links to the Insignia Vol. 2 page as they become available.

 

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View on Smashwords

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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

 

 

Excerpt: ‘Looking for Trouble’ by Joyce Chng

 

This week, we’d like to share a few excerpt’s from the short stories in ‘Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories’. Joyce Chng contributed two stories to this anthology, both are Young Adult urban fantasy stories.

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Looking for Trouble by Joyce Chng

The old man is watching me. A pair of brown eyes set in a face crisscrossed with wrinkles. His hands rest somewhat elegantly on the walking cane knob. I blink. A dragon. The knob was carved in the shape of a Chinese dragon: curled beard, bulging pearl eyes and open-fanged maw.

Mind you, he looks really nondescript. Your typical ah pek, out on a MRT jaunt, probably going to the kopitiam for a cup of kopi and coffee house politics. It’s the eyes. Dragon eyes. A tian lung is looking at me. I stare back, typical teenager bravado. And mind you, I am not ah lian material, either.

The old tian lung smiles at me, baring his teeth–or lack of. Gold flashes at me. I close my eyes, pretending to listen to gothic metal. The joys of using an ipod. In my mind’s eye, in the aether that binds space and Myriad together, I confront the tian lung.
“Far from home, old one,” I say politely. Respect your elders, even though they are not of your kind.

“I have been watching you for a long time,” the serpentine shape spirals lazily in figure eights. Silver scales glisten, like arowana scales. “You have barely fledged.”
Self-consciously, I look at my feathers. Gold, green and red. The blue is starting to come true. I am a late bloomer, unlike my sisters.

“Little phoenix, you are in trouble.”
I bristle instantly. Fear reflex. “What did you say?”
“You are in trouble.”

The beeping of the closing MRT door startles me back into my human body. I blink. Uniform: check. Name-tag: check. Self: check. I watch the old man wave at me on the platform as the train pulls away.
I am late for school.
I am in trouble.

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Thanks for reading! Further details and links are on the Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories page.