All Articles

Breath of the Dragon King

I am so so excited to share that I’ve got a short story that will be appearing in Fantasy Magazine’s October issue! It’s my first ever pro sale, and I really couldn’t be happier that it found a home over at Fantasy.

Read it here, or read more below for some thoughts that went into the story 🤗

Fantasy Magazine October cover art

Breath of the Dragon King is a flash fiction piece about growing up, faking it and making it, set to the tune of zodiac animals and parental expectations.

I wrote the story during the early days of the pandemic, but I had the idea for it earlier. I liked the idea of a someone growing up caught between being a rabbit and a dragon, two very different animals, but right next to each other in the zodiac. I had the first line written in a notebook but it didn’t go anywhere for a while. Not until there was a call for submissions from an anthology around the word “forge”.

The word “forge” clicked everything into place for me. The main character is born just having missed the year of the Dragon but her parents make her pretend to be a dragon. In this way, she’s forging her identity. But once she masters her (fake) dragon breath, she can forge new things with it— an act of creation born directly from her forging her way through life. And by the end, I like to think she is forging her own path forward.

The other bit of information that shaped this piece was certainly the pandemic and the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans. I wrote it just around the time when Andrew Yang was saying we had to act more American to not seem like a threat amid rising COVID cases. I hope the end of the story makes clear how I feel about that.

The story didn’t make it into the anthology around the word “forge”, and then it spent many long months being held at a variety of venues before finally finding a home at Fantasy. The editors were so kind to work with and even dealt with my noob mistake of typo-ing my bank account number! I hope you’ll give the story a read, as well as the other amazing stories in the issue!