BOTW: ‘Wolf at the Door’ by J. Damask

Insignia Series contributor, Joyce Chng, has a new novella out, released under the pen name J.Damask.

‘Wolf at the Door’ by J. Damask


Book 1 of the Jan Xu novels

Being an ex-teen vigilante comes with its own set of problems.

Housewife, ex-teen vigilante…and shape-shifting wolf…Jan Xu has enough problems without adding her sister’s to the mix. Marianne is returning to Singapore and she’s filled with strange ideas. She’s also not alone. She’s coming home with a new boyfriend who has a dark agenda of his own.

With sibling rivalry threatening the inevitable: a battle-to-the-death with fang and claw, Jan and Marianne must overcome their issues if they’re ever going to find peace within their troubled relationship.

Available from Smashwords

BOTW: ‘Phoenix Song’ by Tutu Dutta

Recently I met (online) Malaysian-based author, Tutu Dutta, and discovered her wonderful fairytale-like stories.

Her latest book is featured below, but please check out her YA and middle-grade readers as well.

Phoenix Song by Tutu Dutta


Arohan is desperate for a guitar. What eight year old boy isn’t? So when Arohan’s grandmother gives him a plain old bamboo flute for his birthday, he is understandably a little upset. But the xiao is no ordinary flute. An instrument steeped in the myths and legends of China, the xiao has its own special magic, as Arohan is soon to discover. When his brothers go missing on the slopes of the hill behind their home in Malaysia, Arohan must ensure they return safe and sound. But does he have what it takes to placate the guardian of the bamboo grove and summon the mythical phoenix? A touching and courageous story of a young boy’s love for his family and the magical things that can happen when you listen to your heart.

Available from Lantana Publishing


About the Author:

Tutu Dutta was born in India, but grew up in Malaysia. She has travelled and lived in Japan and France as a student and later in Singapore, Nigeria and New York as the wife of a diplomat. Her educational background is in environmental science and she has a BSc from Universiti Putra Malaysia. She also devoted a few years researching this subject for a Master s degree in the University of Malaya before embarking on a career in public relations. Her lifelong interest in culture, folklore and children s literature inspired her to research and retell the stories in Timeless Tales Of Malaysia, which are based on folktales and legends from the Malay archipelago. She has a teenage daughter, Shona a self-professed harajuku-emo child who was born in Singapore. At present, she is living in Kuala Lumpur.


Other books by Tutu Dutta:

Timeless Tales of Malaysia

Miyah and the Forest Demon (The Jugra Chronicles)

Eight Fortunes of the Qilin


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.



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:

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!



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


‘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 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).


BOTW: ‘The Tree of Life’ Lisa M. Collins

Today’s Book of the Week is a Japanese short story by Lisa M. Collins.

The Tree of Life by Lisa M. Collins


The starfaring Ryukyuan clans have lived under a single guiding philosophy for nine millennia. Will one tragic mistake, one secret, destroy them?

*16 pages*

| Amazon US | Goodreads |


BOTW: ‘Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction’

This week’s choice for our Book of the Week feature is ‘Amok: An anthology of Asian-Pacific Speculative Fiction’ edited by Dominica Malcolm.

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction


In an anthology that spans from India in the west to Hawai‘i in the east, and as far south as Australia and New Zealand, 24 authors bring you an exciting range of tales set in the past, present, and future.

Discover characters like the Moon Rabbit from Chinese mythology, a kitsune from Japanese mythology, and the aswang from Filipino mythology.

Find out what arises when a struggling Malaysian student seeks help for her studies in Chinatown, and what happens when the garbage in the Pacific Ocean is seen as a valuable treasure.

Futures imagined stretch from amazing advances in technology to depressing dystopias.

Read these stories and so many more in Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction.

Featuring stories by:
Brett Adams, Jo Wu, Kris Williamson, Recle Etino Vibal, Tabitha Sin, Ailia Hopkins, KZ Morano, TR Napper, Terence Toh, Kawika Guillermo, Barry Rosenberg, Eeleen Lee, Jax Goss, Jo Thomas, Daniel A. Kelin II, Fadzlishah Johanabas, Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, Dominica Malcolm, Aashika Nair, Celeste A. Peters, Agnes Ong, Rebecca Freeman, NJ Magas, and Tom Barlow


| Amazon US | Goodreads |

Smashwords Sale! 50% Off ‘The Insignia Series’ Anthologies

The Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale is now on!

Get either Insignia Series anthology for only US$1.50!

Use the discount code SSW50 at checkout to buy these books half-price:



Want to buy The Insignia Series from a different site?

Check the book pages for further links:

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories


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


*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.



*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.



*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.


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.


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!!



‘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.


David Jon Fuller’s Profile Page

Insignia: Chinese Fantasy Stories Page


Want to write for the next Insignia anthology?

See our new Submissions Page


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.


BOTW: ‘Xiao Xiao & the Dragon’s Pearl’ by Joyce Chng

Book of the Week:

Xiao Xiao & the Dragon’s Pearl

By Joyce Chng



Enter the world of Xiao Xiao, daughter of an imperial courtesan, and a fantastical historical Qing China, with dragons and magic and traditions. What happens when her mother adopts a baby girl found in a rice field? What does – can – the green pearl do?


| Amazon US | Goodreads |


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


Any questions? Email me: