Leanne Caine Chats with StarkLight Press

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Recently, StarkLight Press sat down with Leanne Caine, long-time author and contributor, to chat with her about her story in our latest anthology StarkLight 5.

Leanne is author of a number of short stories and flash fiction, has contributed for the past four years to the StarkLight Press Poetry Marathon, and in addition has written for us in several collaborative novels, including our Tales From Space novels The Arkellan Treaty, Space Stranded.

Leanne is currently working on a memoir as well as contributing to the long-awaited sequel to The Irregulars, StarkLight Press’s first novel about the underground world of psychically-gifted homeless children in North America.

 

SLP: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been up to in the past few years.

This is a hard question for me. I disappeared off the social media map and went back to ghost writing for awhile because I have been going through heavy waters.

The worst thing in the world happened to me, at least, the worst thing that I could imagine, my daughter’s bio dad put his head back into our life. After not being there for her for her entire life he showed up and destabilized everything and on top of it all called me an unfit mother. He used my writing to ‘prove’ it. Ouch.

I went back to ghosting and just about became a ghost myself in the process. It hasn’t been an easy time.
I never wanted that man in my life and I love my little girl, but that isn’t because she reminds me in any way of her sperm donor. I don’t mean I went to a sperm bank, I mean one of his little suckers got by my defences and gave me the only thing in my life I love other than writing.

Fortunately; my baby’s got a good head on her shoulders and sperm donor waited until she was old enough to make up her own mind.

That’s probably more personal than you meant about this question but that’s what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been stripped naked and shorn for all the world to see and nearly lost my baby, nearly lost my writing. I’m back and my daughter isn’t going anywhere.

SLP: Explain for our audience a little bit about the inspiration for your tale, and the themes that inform it.

My story is reaching back to the old stories about revenants and vampires. I was tired of the modern stories about vampires that seem to deviate further and further away from the original stories that our ancestors told about them.

A long time ago, we had a lot of reasons to fear corpses. We still have reasons to fear corpses, but now those reasons are more or less medically founded and we fear them because we don’t want to be contaminated. Even so, we’re also worried that the sheet will fall down, their eyes will fly open and we’ll be forced to fight with the body of the one that we loved.

It’s hard, if you’ve ever seen the body of a loved one, you might get it a bit. They go from being warm and loving to cold and, well, gone. Their eyes change and there’s this feeling of being alone, and yet there’s also the sense of being around a really creepy doll that it could become animated by anything at any point.

It’s armed with claws and teeth and the weight of a human body and it’s scary!

People, even now, often dream about their dead loved ones coming to the door and being asked to be let in. That’s where this story starts, a young wife lets her dead husband in and they make love… well, that’s the implication. It actually starts with the fruit of their intercourse, a demonic vampire baby that’s birth kills its young mother.

The baby’s a monster. There’s lots of signs that used to be well known as signs of vampire babies, this ones got several of them. The midwife thinks about killing the baby but she hasn’t been christianized enough to go running to the priest and start killing babies. Well, maybe in this case that’s the wrong thing, maybe not. It’s a story that’s caught on the cusp between the old ways and the new. There used to be old ways of dealing with vampire babies that would be at least as effective but the midwife’s hands are tied by just enough Christian influence for her to be rather impotent. The result and demon baby on a rampage.

You can read the rest to see how it turns out for everyone. The short answer is: not good.

SLP: What’s your preferred method for writing: computer/smartphone, typewriter, hand, voice transcription? Tell us the most unusual place you ever wrote down a tale- in the elevator at work, on horseback, in a crowded subway?

I really miss Aurora being a baby, it was awesome when she was teething and would scream and hit random key and delete my work. That had to be my favorite. *jk*

Seriously, it’s nice to have a little girl turning into a big girl, I can have some quiet time and it’s a luxury after being a single parent all these years. I went from being a kid at home to being a mommy and it was pretty hard. There’s a lake here and my favorite place to write is anywhere on the lake. I take my computer to the beach a lot and other times I use my friends’ boat or even houseboat for awhile if I don’t have to work. That’s the best, even if I’m limited to pen and paper and have to type it all up when I get home. There’s something about the peace and quiet of being removed from the ground and not being connected at all that makes writing more fluid than anywhere else.

I hate writing in the heat.

I hate writing at my parent’s house even though it has air conditioning and a pool because they’ve never stopped saying ‘I told you this would happen’ since I suddenly got real fat my last year in high school and then suddenly lost all the weight and had this crying baby…

SLP: Where do you like to go best to recharge your creative batteries?

Again, the water. I like to swim. Ironically, I also like to hike in the desert. There’s something about the extreme heat and the deprivation that I like. I don’t like to be sun burned so I go out covered up because I like being fair and have my gothic moments. I like to go skiing and snowboarding in the winter, there’s something about it that’s similar to swimming.

Otherwise, I guess I like to go out and dance my brains out on the dance floor and act like I’m a lot stupider than I am for a portion of the night and blow off some steam that way.

SLP:What, in your opinion is author kryptonite? (antithetical to the creative writing process)

Dealing with family problems. Those are awful. Feeling overwhelmed and having no privacy or quiet time. That sucks all kinds of balls. Feeling like you’re losing what matters most to you. Being attacked for what you’ve already written.

 

SLP: What are your three favorite mainstream books, and what are your three favorite indie/independently published works?

This question is hard and is responsible for this being late. I’ll tell the truth. I’ve been re-reading group anthologies that I’ve been in in StarkLight and getting ready for next projects. I haven’t had a lot of time for other reading. I’ve been reading the entire GAF Mainframe and all the books I can get my hands on. A lot of the other authors have been writing stuff on the side for The Irregulars and I’ve been sinking my greedy little hooks into that too.

I spent too long on this question, I wanted to make something sound super profound and make me sound deep, but no, oh, and also some manga that likely few have heard of but is absolutely silly and serves no earthly purpose.

SLP: What is the last movie you saw? Give our authors a brief review.

The last movie I saw was a Chucky binge. I don’t think I need to give a review. Doll comes to life, doll kills everyone. Usually, some poor kid gets blamed for being a little psycho. Awww, poor traumatized kids! Watch their family get hacked to pieces and then they get called psychos. Next movie comes along and they’re in a psychiatric hospital, just about to leave and then some dumbass psychiatrist decides that before they leave they need to face their fear and they give the guy a Chucky doll. Wow. Jerk!

It’s a funny horror series if you’re into that sort of thing (which I am) and I love the one where Chucky gets a girlfriend. I can’t recall the name of the actress, but man, she is an awesome actress. She did some stuff with John Waters but mostly does voice acting because she has an amazing voice. She’s a bit buxom and I think that’s why she didn’t do more acting acting, I thought she was pretty hot (but not as a doll, terrifying as a doll).

Anyway, horror binges are awesome and they’re also good things to watch when you’re working on a scary story for ambience.

SLP:  What are your next big projects, so that our audience can keep an eye out for them.

I’m working on the sequel to The Irregulars from StarkLight Press. I’m hoping to work more with the character, Jet, that I’m writing. I love this series so much, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written and I love working with the other writers on it. When you get the right people working with a project it just ROCKS.

Thanks for taking the time to fill out our StarkLight Volume 5 Questionnaire!

Announcing StarkLight 5 Short Story Contest

It’s here- that moment you’ve all been waiting for-

The StarkLight Volume 5 Short Story Contest!

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That’s right, now you can send in your original short stories to our latest edition of StarkLight Anthology! Be it horror, or fantasy, science fiction, suspense or speculative fiction, send us your original piece before Feb 28, 2017, for a chance to win a coveted spot in one of the most talked-about anthologies in North America.

You can have a look at our submission guidelines here:

https://starklightpress.com/official-short-story-contest-rules/

Be sure to like us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/StarkLight-Press/ to hear updates about this contest, as well as other cool short story and poem opportunites we have for authors this year.

 

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

Blue Moon Season Release Date!

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Our first were-themed anthology is set to hit bookshelves in stores across North America on August 21, 2016!

This rollicking read features stories about transformation into anything… wolves, fossas, lamps… this anthology is filled with spine-chilling misadventures of people who tangled with the light of the full moon, and the monsters that emerge from it.

Featuring a bevvy of new authors, as well as StarkLight Press favorites, Blue Moon Season is perhaps our most horrifying, entertaining anthology to date!

Check into StarkLight Press all this week for interviews with our winning authors, including:

Piper Tadwell                                     Van Fleming

Mod Welles                                         Will Norton

Tara O’Neill                                        Jeren Nethers

Alfie Elkins                                        Virginia Carraway Stark

Nicholas Vincenzi                            Leanne Caine

Cathy Illes

and more!

Congratulations to all of our winning authors!

Look for Blue Moon Season Anthology August 21 on Amazon and Scribd, as well as in bookstores in British Columbia, Ohio, Ontario and California!

 

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

 

Kisses from Boreas

Kisses from Boreas

by Virginia Carraway Stark

 

After some twenty of them

had been disposed of

during the waning moon

with costumes and masks and
enchantments

he now wished he had not sacrificed
his sons

laughing

they would never throw themselves
down weeping

to die of grief

we have to rise

just as vegetation dies only to
reappear in the springtime

what’s wrong with the way I kiss?
Asked the winter wind

everything

I replied even as I thanked Boreas

in the deep of my heart

for the sweet relief from the smoke
and the flames

then it was

during the waxing moon

when costumes are removed

masks unmasked

enchantment revealed

and winter is come

– art pencil on paper, 8×10, Copyright 2008 Virginia Carraway Stark

Poerm previously published in “In Flight” magazine.

You can watch Virginia Carraway Stark read her poem here:

Here’s some information on the mythic Boreas, God of the North Wind:

https://i1.wp.com/www.theoi.com/image/img_boreas.jpg

Madder Family Portrait

Madder Family Portrait ca. 1888

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This piece, along with others from artists throughout Canada’s northern territories, is part of the Art Walk in Dawson Creek, B.C. this year. Pieces from StarkLight Press can be seen at Faking Sanity Bookshop in downtown Dawson Creek throughout the summer.

The Madder family is one of Victorian London’s premiere families, with a textile empire father Geoffrey Madder forged from the riches of the Indian colony. His three girls were some of the most sought-after matches in the Empire. When Geoffrey disappeared in the wilds of Asia, those three girls were left to their own devices- only their closest neighbor and friend, Horus Haut de Nuit, came to their aid and tried his best to keep them from the circling society vultures. Horus left his inventions and trekked to India to divine the fate of his dear friend Geoffrey, and returned with a massive, beautiful tiger… with Geoffrey Madder’s eyes.

Unable to find a means to rectify the accursed transformation that Geoffrey had undergone, Horus instead developed a showy collar for his friend, so that Geoffrey could accompany his youngest daugher, Rosie, to all of the business meetings, society functions and other neccesitous events required to keep up the Madder fortunes.

Although lauded throughout London for the creation of Rosie’s amazing clockwork tiger, Horus was not satisfied until he had created an actual clockwork man. Link, the brass and steel artificial man, not only had his own sentience, but could be used in place of steam and gas powered devices. Would Horus’ latest invention be allowed to remain a free creation, or would the interests that had shaped the steam-powered Victorian age do anything to stop Link and his father from changing their world?

You can read the first installment of The Madder Family Chronicles in Holly and Ivy, A StarkLight Steampunk Christmas Anthology. 

Find a link to the print book and e-book here:

http://www.starklightpress.com/starklight-bookstore/

You can hear Alfie Elkins reading a passage from the story upon which this painting was based here:

For more information about steampunk as a genre and a cultural movement, check out these links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

http://steampunkworkshop.com/

The Great Space Race

The Great Space Race

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Howard Donovan rolls his eyes in exasperation at the offensive antics of the Pismarian pirate racers as the starting lineup for The 187th Annual Galactic Grand Prix waits. This year’s Grand Prix takes place in the Gamma Quadrant, a dangerous and primitive part of the Milky Way. Pirates and shady characters have found their way into this year’s race as a result, bringing stolen technology like the Winged Particle Surfer to try to increase their winning edge. The Galaxy’s most versatile personal flight craft, the Donovan Jump Jet, will have its work cut out for it in this motley collection of space ships of intergalactic design. Howard will have to be on the look out for cheats and sabotage of all kinds as he tries to negotiate one of the most challenging space race courses in the GAGA.

The account of this thrilling space sport is told in the science fiction anthology, Tales from Space 2. Available this July from StarkLight Press, Tales from Space 2 features this story as well as tales about the wroiling mass of consumers, workers, stars and soldiers that make up the GAF Mainframe science fiction universe.

You can find the first volume of Tales from Space here, in print:

https://www.amazon.ca/Tales-Space-Anthology-Tony-Stark/dp/1518816614/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466644672&sr=8-2&keywords=tales+from+space

Look for the Tales from Space e-book on Scribd here:

Look for GAF Mainframe books An Incident in El Noor, The Arkellan Treaty and Space Stranded, coming later this summer from StarkLight Press.

Here is an excerpt of Virginia Carraway Stark reading an excerpt from The Great Space Race:

The Ginger Mob

The Ginger Mob

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One of the many beautiful pieces of art available for sale during the SPCAC’s Art Walk. The Ginger Mob can be seen this summer at Faking Sanity Bookstore and Cafe in Dawson Creek, B.C.

This classic punk retelling of one of Sherlock Holmes’ best known adventures is not the first foray into the Holmesian genre for Anthony Stark. His original tale, The Case of the Porcelain Doll, appeared in Sleuth Magazine and was nominated for a Spyglass award in 2015. Anthony has compiled an anthology of original and re-told Sherlock Holmes stories for StarkLight Press, featuring tales that elucidate such varied subjects as:

Watson’s time in Afghanistan as a member of the British Army

Holmes’ adventures following his plummet from Reichenbach Falls

A Canadian adventure along the frontier that takes place in the close of the 19th Century

In addition, three re-tellings of classic Conan Doyle stories are included in this anthology, which is entitled Holmes, Watson and the Baker Street Gate.

Below you can find links to the original Sherlock Holmes story, The Red-Headed League, as well as links to Sleuth Magazine and the Wisteria Lodgers, Western Canada’s foremost Sherlock Holmes club.

Read the Original Red-Headed League online for free:

https://sherlock-holm.es/stories/pdf/a4/1-sided/redh.pdf

Canada’s best Mystery Magazine, Sleuth,  featuring Tony Stark’s Holmes adventure, The Case of the Porcelain Doll:

https://www.amazon.ca/Sleuth-Magazine-E-Bell-ebook/dp/B018UGTR0E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466641337&sr=8-1&keywords=sleuth+magazine

Wisteria Lodgers of Edmonton

https://sherlockholmesedmonton.wordpress.com/

And finally, and awesome radio broadcast of Sir John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson performing The Red-Headed League: