Category Archives: by S. Q. Eries

Just Published: Cheonson and the Admiral!

2019 has been a gratifying year. Three months ago, my Cultural Revolution story Hidden Heritage was printed in Cricket Magazine.  This month, Cricket published another story of mine: Cheonson and the Admiral!

Click here for the link to the magazine!

Like Hidden Heritage, this is a historical; unlike Hidden Heritage, Cheonson and the Admiral is set in 16th century Korea. The aforementioned admiral is Yi Sun-Sin, a brilliant commander who turned the tide against the invading Japanese in the Imjin War (23 wins in 23 naval battles!). As for Cheonson, he was a young cowherd who brought Yi information critical to the Battle at Hansan.

Although Yi’s a national hero to Koreans, he’s relatively unknown in the West, and I have my husband to thank for introducing me to the admiral. He saw a feature film about Yi (The Admiral: Roaring Currents) during a flight to Korea, and it so impressed him he came home gushing about Yi’s trademark turtle ships. So when I saw the “Make a Splash” theme on Cricket’s Call for Submissions website, I figured Yi’s story was worth telling.

However, the tricky thing about writing Cheonson was the lack of reference materials. Korean texts about Yi and the Imjin War abound, but there’s not a whole lot in English. Pretty much only university collections have anything on the subject, and fortunately, Stanford University’s library has a limited public access policy so I was able to see the few books they had about Yi.

I was also fortunate to have friends help me with story details (thanks, Dorthy and Esther!). I’m of Chinese descent so I had a level of comfortability depicting the Bao family of Hidden Heritage. Cheonson and the Admiral was definitely outside my culture, and I was grateful that my Korean-American friends and their Korean-born parents were willing to vet out my portrayal of Koreans in the Imjin War.

I’m thrilled Cheonson and the Admiral made it into the world, and I hope you get to enjoy it in Cricket’s May/June 2019 issue!

Just Published: Hidden Heritage!

I write historical fiction, but my settings gravitate toward the ancient. As such, my latest short story was a bit off my beaten track. Hidden Heritage is a tale about a family heirloom rescued from the ravages of China’s Cultural Revolution, and it’s available in Cricket Magazine’s February 2019 issue!

You can purchase this issue from Cricket’s website by clicking here.

The heirloom featured in my story is based off an actual heirloom featured in Michael Wood’s documentary The Story of China. At the time I saw the documentary, I didn’t think I’d use it for a story. Then some months later, I dropped by the Cricket Call for Submissions website, and when I saw the “A Willingness to Act” theme, the heirloom from the documentary immediately flashed to mind.

However, the due date was in three weeks, and I knew almost nothing about the Cultural Revolution (the documentary only spent about five minutes on it). Fortunately, for me and this story, my friend Shu does know Chinese history. Not only did she agree to help, she also recruited her parents, who lived through the Cultural Revolution.

It was a crazy three weeks of drafting, fact-checking, and vetting. I’ve never written so quickly about a setting I knew nothing about. But thanks to quick feedback from Shu’s family as well as my SCBWI critique group, I finished by the deadline.

And it got selected!

The funny thing is that even though I wrote this story in record time, its path to publication took over a year. I submitted it in August 2017 and received my acceptance December 2017, but it wasn’t until July 2018 that the edit rounds began. When they say you have to be patient in the publication business, it’s absolutely true. But the magazine editor was great to work with, and I’m pleased with the final product.

I hope you enjoy it, too!

As an added bonus, Cricket is on SCBWI’s PAL Publishers list. That means I’m now a SCBWI PAL (Published and Listed) member. Yay, I just leveled up!