Virginia Carraway Stark Chats about Tentacles and Romance

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The illustrious Virginia Carraway Stark is a prolific and popular author with a plethora of short stories and novels to her name. She turns her attention- and her pen- to the idea of romantic getaways with a Lovecraftian twist in her short story for Hearts Asunder.

Here’s a disturbingly titillating excerpt from Willows’ Corner:

He was against one of the filter output jets and the water pushed against him in a pleasing way. Elphonse smiled again and put her arms around him and the her legs wrapped firmly around him. If it wasn’t for his shorts he would have been inside her. She kissed him, he returned her ardor. Damn, he was starting to think he wasn’t going to get laid at all this Valentine’s weekend, at least that part was turning around.

He tried to wriggle out of her intensely strong grip to undo the velcro fly of his swimshorts but she held him too tightly to move. He wanted her so badly but the layer of material between them was driving him nuts. He was so caught up in the problem of his swimshorts that he almost didn’t notice that there was a second pair of legs wrapped around him, or something that felt much like legs. He looked into the murk of the dimly lit water and saw the pink and purple tentacles that started at Elphonse’s waist and made up the lower half of her body. One small tentacle crawled up his swim trunks and he shuddered, he shuddered and pulled away but what the tentacle sought and found was hard and ready.

Solomon Burke continued his song and Elphonse started to sing to him as she toyed with him:
You see now what you’ve caused
And I know just what I lost
And I know what the price
I paid, I paid, I paid
For loving someone like you

  1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

    Yes. Yes in so many ways. I’m prone to stalkers and some strange people have come after me. One of the creepiest ones that isn’t a whole long story all on its own was a guy who drew pictures of some demon he said was following him and made him do bad things sometimes. There were swords and apparently his dad and his friends dressed up in robes and did things sometimes. I made sure not to be alone with him much after that. I felt like I was one dimension away from things getting really nutso.

  1. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination

    People who love you will do anything for you, I mean anything. People have a weird and twisted idea of both what the ‘anything’ might be and what love is. Love is intimately connected to the idea of possessing someone and having ownership of them. Love gives us all a sense of belonging and for people who things don’t go right for or for people who came with faulty wiring this can go from, ‘I love you, I brought you roses,’ to, ‘why are you trying to leave, I want to be inside your skin’.

    Love is the most powerful emotion we feel (I think) and it lives on a teeter-totter with hatred. If you try to jump off your end when someone has you on this teeter totter they hit the ground with a tooth jarring pound of hatred.

    It’s not just love that we’re talking about here either, it’s eroticism. Sex has always been associated with death. The idea of the orgasm being le petite mort. Like a sword he penetrates her and yet she does not die. The imagery of this is the basis for endless ‘secret’ brotherhoods and springs in the modern era from Crowley. The idea of penetration equaling death is an old one and it speaks powerfully to you no matter your gender. In my story it was the man who got penetrated, these things happen and for many it is understandably the greatest horror of all.

  1. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?

    I didn’t really have an inspiration for mine except that I got it into my head that a couple should have a horrific experience at a bed and breakfast. Those places kind of creep my out, the idea of walking into a strangers home and having no clue what sort of experience you’re going to have is akin to picking up hitch hikers in my mind. In fact, it’s more frightening because it’s in their demense. Who knows what traps or horrors they could set up for you in there? Maybe it would just be bed bugs and an unhygienic kitchen, I think I’d rather stay in a hostel than go to a B and B. I’m a private person and wouldn’t want strangers in my house and then be made to make breakfast for them. It seems like the sort of person who would be into that would be likely to have an ulterior motive.

    BUT in all honesty I have heard nothing but good feedback about B and Bs. I have friends who use them and plan entire trips skipping from one to the next and say they have the loveliest time you could imagine. I think probably my brain did the writer thing where it threw the ‘what if’ into the mix and I’m thinking the worst of a group of people who are some of the most social, extroverted morning people on the planet.

    Perhaps there should be a name for a fear of Bed and Breakfasts… or maybe there already is one. I’ll get back to you on that, whatever it is, I think I have that phobia.

Jason Pere discusses Love and Blood

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Jason Pere is a native New Englander, currently residing in Connecticut with his wife and two rambunctious cats. He has had a long standing passion with the arts. 

Jason discovered CWC early on in 2015 and has been a passionate member since, diving into multiple collaborative fiction projects with other authors. He has work published with CW Publishing and Starklight Press. He also has solo work self-published and published by Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Incorporated. When not writing or enduring his “Real World Job” Jason enjoys, Netflix time with his family, breaking out obscure board games and dorking out with friends, firing up the his game console and surviving a Zombie Apocalypse or indulging in baked goods and sleep.

 

Jason wrote a chilling short story, Star Crossed, which appears in our Valentine’s Day horror anthology, Hearts Asunder. Here’s an excerpt:

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They were stepping into the elevator when the high heel of Hailey’s shoe caught in the gap between then floor and the inside of the elevator. It took Brady fully by surprise. It was the first time that he had ever seen Hailey be anything other than graceful. Without thinking Brady’s hand shot out and stopped his friend from going down.

Ow!” Hailey exclaimed as Brady’s hand grasped her upper arm. He let go once her feet were stable on the floor of the elevator. The short sleeve of her shirt had been rolled up onto itself when Brady had come to her rescue and it revealed a sizable bruise.

Oh I am so sorry! I didn’t think. I just didn’t want you to fall down. I am so sorry. I didn’t think that I grabbed you so hard. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Brady blurted out as he look at the bruise on his friends arm.

No. No. No. It’s not your fault, it’s mine. This is nothing. I just bumped this on a towel rail in the shower the other day. I really should be more careful,” Hailey said embarrassedly as she rolled her sleeve down and coved up the bruise again. “Now let’s go and get something yummy.”

Ok. I’m glad you’re alright but that bruise did look pretty bad,” Brady said trying not to sound too skeptical. He had worked in sales and customer service for long enough than he had a strong enough sense of when he wasn’t getting the full story form someone.

Thank you but it’s nothing. It really is. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine,” Hailey said in a way that seemed like she was trying to convince herself as much as her friend.

 

Jason had some revealing answers about his inspiration for his story in his interview questions:

  1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

Yes I do but oh which one to pick. I suppose the best example would be the story of a young woman I met online may years ago. A friendship rapidly turned into a long distance relationship. We saw each other in person on weekends and over the span of a couple months were convinced that we were destined to be together. I had the wonderfully horrid idea to leave my home in Connecticut and visit some friends in Georgia for an extended stay. I invited her to make the move with me and she said she would be happy to follow me. I should have realized that moving across the county with someone I hardly knew and never lived with before would end in disaster but I thought that we were the exception to the rule. We broke up nearly as soon as we got to Georgia and she then began dating and later marrying one of my friends that I moved down there to visit. Oh and that’s not the end of this little tale it gets better. After a very turbulent period things settled down for a while and I started dating someone else (Who I would later marry) until one day my ex-girlfriend and her husband orchestrated an armed home invasion, assault and kidnaping of myself and my current girlfriend. It was a poorly executed crime and all guilty parties were in custody in a matter of hours. So not only did this woman break my heart but she also held me at gunpoint. Still I cannot fully condemn knowing her because if I had not ever known her then I don’t know if I ever would have met the amazing woman that I went on to marry.

  1. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination?

I think that love is probably one of the most profound and indescribable emotions that lies within the human spectrum. It would stand to reason that the greatest emotions we are capable of feeling can lead to the greatest pain, fear and sadness when they are gone, misinterpreted or twisted in some kind of perverted fashion. Love can be a powerful motivator for someone to do horrible things.

  1. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day Horror story?

I wanted to do a tragic love story. I went to Romeo and Juliet for inspiration. I wanted a story of two people who really should have ended up happily ever after but just couldn’t get out of their own lives enough to make that happen.

3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?

Thanks for the great story and interview, Jason Pere! You can find Star Crossed in Hearts Asunder, available from StarkLight Press in Feb.

Liz Butcher on Love and Obsession

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Our next author to share their thoughts on Love and Horror is Liz Butcher.

Ms. Butcher resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, daughter and two cats, Pandora and Zeus. While writing is her passion, her numerous interests include psychology, history, astronomy, the paranormal, mythology, reading, art and music, and help fuel her imagination. She also loves being out in nature, whether it be walking through the trees or relaxing at the beach. Liz has previously published ‘Wrath’ in the “Lurking In The Deep” and “Haunting Gemma” in the “Twisted Tales” anthologies and currently has a number of projects in the works.

Here’s an excerpt from her story,  See What I See:

 

Dahlia closed her eyes and forced herself to envision her fiancé in happier times, when he’d only had eyes for her. With renewed resilience, she got to work. Procuring the obscure ingredients took time and patience, yet she was satisfied by knowing she would soon have her love back. The spell stated intent was as essential as the ingredients themselves. Perfect timing would be useless without it. So she ensured she lived, breathed, and dreamed her intent, passing the time by following the doomed couple, watching them from safe distances, glaring through fences, and peering in windows. She took a perverted joy from knowing their happiness, and her sorrow, would be short-lived.

As the days passed, she progressed from mild to pounding headaches as her jaw fused into a permanent clench. Despite that, her focus and dedication to the task made her oblivious to the pain. Even the ache within her heart had dulled as she diligently worked on her potion. No longer aware of day or night, she could not afford for it to be less than perfect.

He must see what is in my heart. Share what is in my heart. Mine alone.

On the final day, Dahlia marvelled at her work, proud that she had mastered the forbidden potion on her first attempt at crafting. The only thing left to do was ensure the potion passed only the lips of her beloved, and she knew exactly how to do it.

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Here are Liz’s thoughts on our interview questions:

1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life? No – I have been very lucky – knock on wood!

2. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination? I think it’s a great combination because there is the potential for love to go horribly wrong, especially when the line becomes blurred between love and obsession. Love is a force that can’t be controlled, yet a whole lot of trouble can be unleashed when we try to.

3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day horror story? Perception. The one-sided view point of someone whose love has become an obsession, where they become deluded rather than face the love is unrequited.

Thank you, Liz!

Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

Jenn Spaulding Shares a Valentine Horror Story or Two

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Our next author in the spotlight is Jenn Spaulding. Her visceral fiction is a big hit in the GAF Mainframe Universe. This time she has written a horror romance set in the present day for StarkLight Press’ Valentine’s Day Anthology, Hearts Asunder. Here is a little bit of backstory on Ms. Spaulding:

Jennifer Spaulding is an author, mother, scientist, and scholar. She has penned four books of poetry, numerous short stories, and she is currently writing articles for Outermost: A Journal of the Paranormal. She is also currently busy with several top-secret collaborations. Look for her poetry on Amazon under J.L. Estes. Her poem “Shattered” was selected to be in the 2012 International Who’s Who in Poetry. Jennifer was also a participant of the 2014 Poetry Marathon. Her poems are featured in In My Mind’s Eye along with many other internationally diverse poets.

Jenn also took a few minutes to answer our interview questions:

Interview Questions

  1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

When I was sixteen I met 21 year old Steve Jocko. He literally gave me no choice in the matter. He grabbed me and declared me his. He began kicking the shit out of me on a daily basis. Until one day he went too far and almost killed me by rupturing my spleen. I lost 4 liters of blood.

By the time I made it to the hospital the next day, I was on my last leg. I was so scared that he would kill me that I lied to the cops and said I got jumped. I spent two weeks in the ICU. He was beating the shit out of me again the next day. One night he grabbed a long, serrated bread knife and tried to slice my throat but I threw up my hand and he sliced my pinky damn near off.

Finally my mom came to get me after seeing my body covered in bite marks. My mother spent the day getting drunk and decided to go curse Steve out. I was 6 months pregnant and I begged and pleaded with her not to go, but she didn’t listen. She was so trashed I wouldn’t ride with her so her boyfriend’s nephew was sober so I rode with him. She went to my apartment where Steve was waiting outside with an ax-handle. Steve seen me in the van with another guy and his eyes filled with murderous rage. I told the guy to drive, but Steve was there smashing the passenger side window where I sat, so I dove in the back of the van and told him to go. Steve Jocko cowardly beat my mother with that ax-handle. The surgeons said it was like a jigsaw putting the pieces of her skull back together. She lost her eye. He barely got any time in jail.

  1. What do you find makes the combination of the love and horror such a potent combination?

I think that love and horror make such a potent combination because both fear and love are very intense emotions.

  1. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day horror story?

I got the idea for Killer Love from a dream that I had about an elusive female serial killer.

Jenn’s gripping tale can be found in Hearts Asunder, our Valentine’s Day anthology from StarkLight Press. It will be available Feb. 1, 2016!

Sharon Flood in the Floodlights

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StarkLight Press has found in Sharon Flood an excellent author and editor, whose timely work allows SLP to share even more thrilling, exciting fiction with our fans. Ms. Flood has penned a story called Forever in our Valentine’s Anthology, Hearts Asunder. In her own words, Sharon tells us a bit about herself:

I was born and raised in the St. Lawrence River Valley in the 1,000 Islands region. I graduated from grade 13 in Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville. I wrote some in high school, but after that, my talent lay dormant until I discovered http://www.protagonize.com/author/moonwalker in 2008. It’s a collaborative writers’ site that honed my skills. Through this site I met my publisher, The Masquerade Crew for my first anthology story – http://www.amazon.com/Forevermore-Travel-Anthology-Sharon-Flood-ebook/dp/B00XSBH4UW. I was chosen as a Mob Boss here: http://www.masqueradecrew.com/p/the-masquerade-mob.html Where I do book reviews for The Masquerade Crew, and on Amazon.com I am very proud to announce that I am involved with all four projects here – http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com you will find me in the Meet the authors option under the Projects button. It’s really worth checking out. Multiple authors write publishable books together. It’s amazing what Laura Callender has done with the place! I’m retired after working 40 years in retail. I now have more free time to do what I love best – reading and writing.

Here are Sharon’s answers to our interview questions:

Interview Questions

1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

No, not really. I was married for the first time at 19, and it didn’t work out, but it wasn’t a horror story – just two very young people not ready for the commitment of marriage. I married again at 25, and that one worked out – I’m still married almost 39 years later. There are horror stories within the marriage about ill health, etc. but our love has stayed strong throughout.

2. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination?

I think maybe because they’re polar opposites. Love is supposed to be a positive emotion, where horror is definitely negative. It’s like opening a door expecting a party, and all you find is a dead body on the floor. The emotion of being horrified identifies all the bad stuff that’s going on in your mind at one time – like fear, nausea at the blood, the need to run away, disgust. Love in its best sense is giving, caring, and sharing. Horror pretty much kills those emotions.

3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?

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In the Valentine Horror comments, someone suggested a title – bloody valentine, which was considered to be done to death, I guess, so it was abandoned. It gave me the idea of a bloody heart, and that morphed into a bloody heart locket. I’d decided to go with a vampire theme, and so was I thinking ‘forever young, forever beautiful, forever evil’. That became my title. Then as the story progressed, I realized that the vampire was not evil in the usual sense, just sucking blood to survive. He didn’t murder indiscriminately and create mayhem. He was just single minded. He wanted his relationship with his lady love to last forever, so that’s what I named it – forever.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Sharon! You can find Sharon Flood’s story Feb. 1 2016 in Hearts Asunder, from StarkLight Press.

 – Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

StarkLight 3 Prize Packs Arrive!

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Congratulations to the winners of our third short story contest who just received their long-awaited prize packs!

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Here’s Van Fleming in Wichita Falls, Texas, with his super StarkLight Press merchandise and his copy of the third short story anthology. His lovely wife, Laura, snapped this momentous picture of Van’s name in print- a great inauguration to a fine writing career!

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StarkLight Press is happy to promote first rate fiction from first time authors. No matter where in the world you might be, if you make innovative, thought-provoking fiction, horror, fantasy, sci-fi or speculative stories, we are happy to help you share it with our wide audience!

Look for Van’s next installment in his thrilling worldscape, appearing in StarkLight 4, as well as works from Will Norton, Virginia Carraway Stark and more!

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

A Celebration of Contract

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In light of the recent contractual “flexibility” displayed by DeAndre Jordan of the L.A. Clippers, I feel it an appropriate time to say a word about the plight of the publisher in this regard.

StarkLight Press was founded on the ideal of Collaborative media- multiple authors writing respectfully about a given universe, honoring its creative intricacies and its principles. We have therefore given very free rein to our authors, especially in our StarkLight Anthologies. We welcome authors with diverse and original worldscapes to submit works to us so that their unique worlds may have a first audience in print publication.

The great majority of our contributors have been exemplary with regard to our contracts. Helpful, ready to share interviews and video interviews, happy to share links to their sites, associated media and graphics, etc. We are happy to promote these on starklightpress.com in the hopes that creativity will breed creativity, and we may all enjoy more great stories from more authors as a result.

It is therefore frustrating to find an author who fails to live up to this ideal, especially once a formal contract has been signed and not insubstantial funds put to promotional materials, not just of anthologies, but of their own worlds as well. The idea of reneging on contracts, either verbal ones like Jordan made last Friday, or heaven forbid, on written, signed and sealed ones, is an abhorrent one to the world of business. It is also a source of great shame, as it leaves all associated parties in a tangled mess of delay, extra expense and red tape.

It is for reasons such as this that StarkLight 3 has been delayed in print version. I would like to express my sincerest apologies to not just the plucky contributors who have been waiting patiently so that friends, family and fans may buy copies, but also to the many fans of StarkLight Press Anthologies.

The issues have been handled and forwarded to appropriate channels, and the print version of our third anthology will be out soon.

I am also pleased to announce that, in spite of one bad experience, StarkLight Press is still proud to provide a supportive and welcoming platform to authors of fantasy and science fiction worldscapes- no lengthy contracts, no strings attached, not even after this recent and first imbroglio for our organization. We still offer a springboard for new authors and undiscovered creators to increase their exposure and share their worlds, and we always will.

We thank our many authors who have made it so easy for us to shake off a DeAndre Jordan of an affair, and we thank all our fans for their patience.

Tune in here later this week for the release date for StarkLight 3 in print, and for StarkLight 4’s release in ebook.

July is loaded with release dates, in fact, including the release of the first Galactic Armed Forces adventure, An Incident in El Noor, and the complete second novel from Virginia Carraway Stark, Carnival Fun.

-Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.