INSTINCTS #6 ‘Lee Chung-Chung’s Painting Tells a Story’ by Vonnie Winslow Crist

 

We haven’t had a poem in awhile, so here’s a lovely piece by a regular Insignia projects contributor, Vonnie Winslow Crist. 

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‘Lee Chung-Chung’s Painting Tells a Story’

By Vonnie Winslow Crist

Sky:
blue grey, cloud laden,
seasonal birds wing
their way northward, beaks splitting air
as genetic memory sounds a fevered
blood call.

Tree:
barren, skeletal,
waiting for vernal equinox
to summon K’un’s nourishment
to root, trunk, branch, twig, twiglet, and
blossom.

Rock:
shadow on snowdrifts,
shelters winter’s bones
from beautiful Ma-ku’s reaching fingertips
and Lee Chung-Chung’s magical golden
brushstrokes.

Sun:
yellow light on pond,
its brilliant splash
predicts a wash of flowers spreading
across warming ground like a sacred
promise.

~~~

Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of The Enchanted Dagger, Owl Light, The Greener Forest, Murder on Marawa Prime, and other award-winning books. Her fantastical stories have been published in Canada, Spain, India, Australia, Japan, the UK and USA. Born in the Year of the Dragon, Vonnie believes the world is still filled with magic, mysteries, and miracles. For more information check her website: http://www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

~~~

Read Vonnie’s first poem for INSTINCTS here.

Check out Vonnie’s drabbles in the new release, ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ too.

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The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Do you have an Asian fantasy/scifi poem that you would like to share? Submissions to INSTINCTS are always open! See our Submissions Page for details.

~~~

*Featured Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash

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/

~~~

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: J.M. WONG

 

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having a great week.

Today I’d like to introduce another new Insignia Stories contributor, J.M. Wong. She has 3 stories in the ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ anthology: ‘At the Dinner Table’, ‘Hate Us, Never Love Us’, and ‘Lost, but Found’.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JM WONG: Born and raised in Hong Kong. Never ever lived in an English-speaking country for more than half a year but insisted on writing her books in English in hopes of sharing her stories with people all over the world. She’s also an English teacher who graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a degree in English Language and Literature and Education. She published her first book-Under Her Cursed Scythe in 2018.
Her blog: https://jollymollywongwriter.wordpress.com/

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS

1. Author Name/s: J.M. Wong
2. Years active as a writer: Eight years
3. What genre/s you write: Fantasy, magic realism
4. Favorite genre to write: Fantasy
5. Favorite length of story to write: around 5000 words
6. Your nationality: Hong Kong, China
7. Country you live in: Hong Kong, China
8. Number of Asian countries visited: 6
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): Taiwan
10. Favorite place in Asia (visited): Taipei
11. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: Korea
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Sashimi
13. Favorite Asian dish: Topokki (Korean Rice Cake)
14. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds (Korean
Movie)
15. Favorite Asian book (any genre): Goblin: Lonely and Great God (Korean TV drama)
16. Favorite Asian celebrity: Korean Actress Park Min Young
17. Best thing about being a writer: You have another world (the imaginary world) for
you to escape your problems and harsh reality for a little while.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: You can never sleep well because the best ideas
always strike when you try to sleep
19. Day writer or night writer: Night
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): popcorn & coffee
21. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 1-2
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Penguin Publishing Group
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Instagram (@J.M.Wong)
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: Self-published
25. Currently working on: my second book of my novel series: The Blessed or Cursed
Series & a short story for an anthology.

~~~

J.M. Wong’s novel, Under a Cursed Scythe is available now from Book Depository!

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And if you haven’t checked out Insignia Drabbles Vol.1. ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ yet, it’s available from most ebook retailers now for just US.99c! 

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Want to write for Insignia Drabbles Vol.2.? Submissions open May 1st! Theme is Southeast Asian fantasy. Check out the Submissions Page for details.

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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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HAPPY RELEASE DAY!! ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ is OUT NOW!!

 

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CONGRATULATIONS  to all the authors who provided the incredible stories for this collection! It was so much fun to collaborate with past Insignia Series contributors as well as many new international writers.

And SPECIAL THANKS to Toshiya Kamei, who translated about 15 of drabbles for this book. He’s an INSIGNIA STAR! 

JAPANESE FANASY DRABBLES ( Insignia Drabbles Vol.1.) 

This anthology includes 79 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yôkai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces.

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All Contributors:

Amy Clare Fontaine – A.S. Charly – Bayveen O’Connell – Beth W. Patterson
Carmen Indalecio – Charles Reis – Charles Venable – Christine Richmond – D.J. Tyrer
Eisuke Aikawa – Emma K. Leadley – Heather Ewings – Jacek Wilkos – J.M. Wong
Joel R. Hunt – John H. Dromey – Joyce Chng – Juan Takai – K.B. Elijah
Kelly Matsuura – Kimberly Rei – Kyosuke Higuchi – Malena Salazar Maciá
Massimo Soumaré – Mina Ikemoto – Monica Schultz – N.M. Brown – Natsumi Tanaka
Rich Rurshell – Russell Hemmell – Sheenah Freitas – S.J. Fujimoto – Stephen Christie
Steve Stred – ToJo – Toshiya Kamei (Translator) – Vonnie Winslow Crist – Zoey Xolton

*A full list of contributors with their author links is on the JFD Book Page.
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AVAILABLE NOW!!!

|Amazon US | Amazon AUS | Amazon UK | Amazon JP |

| Apple iBooks | Rakuten Kobo |

UNIVERSAL LINK: books2read/insigniadrabbles1

*More store links will be added to the main book page when available

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Missed out submitting to JFD? No worries, we have new calls opening soon! 

Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles (Insignia Drabbles Vol.2.) opens May 1st! See the Submissions Page for details.

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INSTINCTS #4: ‘At the Asian Art Center’ by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Hello and Happy Valentine’s Day!

February’s feature for INSTINCTS is a poem from the prolific Vonnie Winslow Crist! We’re proud to have her as a contributor of Insignia: Asian Science Fiction, and in our upcoming Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology as well.

This piece is titled, ‘At the Asian Art Center’ and is inspired by the work of artist Hee-Young Kim.

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At the Asian Art Center

by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Listen.
Hee-Young Kim has written
a poem
on four horizontal banners pressed
edge to edge like
river, grass, mountain, sky.

Look.
Strokes on these panels
translate odes
chanted by airy spirits
into the ear of Hee-Young.
And she, treasured interpreter, used
brush, paper, inkstone, and ink stick
to paint mementos of
the wind’s meeting
beneath the Coincident Moon
with shy bamboo—
beyond graceful
in her robe of silvered jade.

Wait.
In this quiet, glass-and-wood gallery,
if you tilt your head, just so,
you will hear
the lament of owl
as she hides midst pine boughs,
and touch
the essence of abandonment.

  • First Published 2009, The Chesapeake Reader

~~~

Vonnie 11-17 close (2)

Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of The Enchanted Dagger, Owl Light, The Greener Forest, Murder on Marawa Prime, and other award-winning books. Her fantastical stories have been published in Canada, Spain, India, Australia, Japan, the UK and USA. Born in the Year of the Dragon, Vonnie believes the world is still filled with magic, mysteries, and miracles. For more information check her website: http://www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

enchanted dagger

To read a very long excerpt from her fantasy novel, The Enchanted Dagger: https://www.wattpad.com/226314378-the-enchanted-dagger-an-excerpt

Then, buy a copy for your bookshelf: https://www.amazon.com/Enchanted-Dagger-Chronicles-Lifthrasir/dp/1941559182/

For those who’d like to listen to or read a free fantasy story by Vonnie, here is the link to “Henkie’s Fiddle”: http://www.castofwonders.org/2016/03/episode-202-henkies-fiddle-by-vonnie-winslow-crist/

Website: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/
blog: http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/WriterVonnieWinslowCrist
Twitter: @VonnieWCrist

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Do you have an Asian fantasy or science fiction poem you would like us to feature? Our INSTINCTS poetry series is open to submissions of original poems. Full details are on the submissions page.

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INSTINCTS #3: ‘Gobi Sands’ & ‘Kappa’ by DJ Tyrer

 

December’s edition of Instincts includes two poems from a new contributor, DJ Tyrer, who will also have a story appearing in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles.

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Gobi Sands

By DJ Tyrer

Great Khan on camelback
Has no fear of thirst
Dares all enemies to strike
Knowing none shall survive
Protected as he is
By the Great Blue Heaven
Taunts even Erlik
But, sands shift
Strange patterns
Great Khan on camelback
Stares in wonder
Marvelling till
Death Worms strike
Leaving nothing but bones
Bleached by the sun, acid
And, fading memories
Obscured by successors
Who shun desert sands
For the limitless horizon

Kappa

By DJ Tyrer

Water’s mighty pull
Good manners save from strange hands
Kappa loses mind

~~~

DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing, was placed second in the 2015 Data Dump Award for Genre Poetry, and has been published in The Rhysling Anthology 2016, issues of The Horrorzine, Scifaikuest, Sirens Call, Star*Line, and Tigershark, and online at Grievous Angel, Lonesome October, and Three Drops from a Cauldron, as well as releasing several chapbooks, such as The Tears of Lot-49. The echapbook One Vision is available from Tigershark Publishing’s website.

DJ Tyrer’s website is at https://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/

The Atlantean Publishing website is at https://atlanteanpublishing.wordpress.com/

~~~

The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Would you like to contribute a poem? See details on our Submissions Page

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*Featured Photo by Mike Yukhtenko on Unsplash

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

~~~

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

~Kelly Matsuura~

 

 

INSTINCTS #2: ‘Graveyard Shift’ by Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Welcome to our second INSTINCTS publication: a free-style poem by new contributor, Kim Whysall-Hammond.

Kim says the poem was inspired by Malaysian folktales told to her by a friend. Enjoy!

Graveyard shift

In old Malay, draped in forest

lies heat swamped George Town

along tree lined avenues

abandoned colonial mansions

forsaken, cracked, diminished

irrelevant to today

they rot in new technological haze

yet from shattered empty windows

evening jazz drifts across warm night air

inside, lights flicker

shadows dance over damp walls

slim couples flirt and smoke

your exploratory visit

brings silence

reveals vacant rooms

missing floors instead of lively dancers

they were the old tenants

hantu partying on the graveyard shift

~

Old hotel, four square and white

now with modern pool and spa

and the original private beach

golden, secluded, sunlit

it’s a long walk

but a short drive

a bus plies the mountain road

past green country and

decaying tombs behind

collapsing walls

the last ride of the day

is often full

today extra guests board

quiet individuals

some tall and lanky

a woman in a green qipao

halfway back, the bus empties

although the feverish driver

can’t remember stopping

his new passengers have

truly started their graveyard shift

~~~

Kim-2
Kim Whysall-Hammond  is  an expert in obsolete telecommunications arcana
and believes, against all evidence, that she is a good dancer.  She has
been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears, Three Drops from a Cauldron,
Amaryllis, London Grip New Poetry and Crannóg. She also shares poems at
https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/

~~~

If you’re inspired by series and want to give Asian speculative poetry a go, check out our submission details here.

We also have an open anthology submission call for 100-word (drabbles) Japanese Fantasy stories. Submissions close November 30th.

We’d love to read your work!

Have a great week,

~Kelly~

~~~

  • Featured image from depositphotos.com (Fatt Tze Mansion in Georgetown, Penang)

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

~~~

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!

~~~