StarkLight 5 Interview Series Begins

We kick off our series of author interviews for StarkLight Volume 5 with Anthony Stark’s answers to our print interview. Look for the rest of our author interviews coming out throughout April and May for this fifth volume of short stories from StarkLight Press.

Jerome, our StarkLight Short Story Anthology Mascot, presides over our books, and our interview series. Look for a stunning new cover reveal from our plucky and intrepid story gargoyle, coming in May!

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Please take a few minutes to include all of your latest author contact information:

I’m not really social media-ing at the present, but you can find creative work on our science fiction platform,

https://www.talesfromspace.net

and at my private blog

https://www.tonydoesstuff.wordpress.com

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

I’m a former full-time EMR and Coroner’s Service worker who has been taking time out to work with my family. I have a background in Electrical Engineering and literature, and have recently begun studying Global Health and Crisis Management with the University of Glasgow and Johns Hopkins. This is a fascinating and complex field to study, and as horrible as it sounds, it’s very good to learn, from an author’s point of view, how the crisis management deployment tree functions, and has functioned, throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries. I’ve also been doing a fair bit of artwork, having just finished a full-color illustrated heptametric poem called The Lament of the White Star. I am also in process with a Scottish Folk rhyme that I’ve turned into a ballad, The Morphie Kelpy. This is also fully illustrated.

Following the success of our 75th Anniversary Alaska Highway Photo Book, I became inspired to write and illustrate more in tandem; the photos were fun, but I wanted to create my own.

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

I was inspired by recent investigations into the paleolithic, following a long-standing, two year study into global human history, its commonalities and its deviations from a lifestyle more in step with our bodies and our evolution, well, away from such things and off in different ways. I also quite like Time Team, and so it became a natural progression in my mind to combine one of StarkLight Press’s most effective precipitating event-makers, Madison, as a way to boost someone who was filming a segment on a show such as this, back into the era they were thinking. It was a good way to put some of the findings into practice, and see how things would have worked out and looked in such a time.

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

I prefer the computer, but also I like handwriting; however, the transcription to computer format for publishing is too time-consuming. The strangest place I wrote part of a tale was in an MTC (Mobile Treatment Center) on a jobsite where they were laying pipeline down a nearly vertical incline. Half the time, as spotter, I had to keep an eye on the drone my company had for the virtual viewing of the crew. This was when they were laying in the pipe sections themselves; had to have a separate set of eyes. The rest of the time, between the crane actually putting in the pipe, the drone was unnecessary. So I worked on a story, part of The Androsian Question, which is a Tales from Space novel. Then, about once an hour for ten or fifteen minutes, I piloted this little quad-copter. Very Galactic Armed Forces. Very nice.

4. Where do you like to go best to recharge your creative batteries?

Nature. Outside, with trees, and ideally some form of water. Mountains are nice. Even a nice tended garden is good; if I’m desperate, I stick my head out the door under the starlight for a few minutes.

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

I’d have to say, media- social media like Facebook, and mass-produced fodder. I think that feedback is good, in many respects. I think taking in something with a high-production value is good, to see what people are being taught to think, and how to eat the memetics of common life. However, as far as feedback goes, there’s a difference between a good solid edit of the work for continuity, sense, syntax and grammar, etc, and actual back-seat writing. If you’ve got a good plan, write it. If you don’t, then you can hash it around. This is the point where mass-produced items come into play. People either get so nervous about the ‘it’s been done’ or ‘this is just a mash-up of a) and b)’ that they forget there’s only so many types of stories, and only so many bloody interesting ones. There will be some overlap. Listening to sour grapes, or excited parallel drawing, or worrying about either, is ineffective.

Writing is ultimately an activity between you and your Maker, I think, and it can be glossed up, edited, synced or mashed into something pulpy and acceptish, but first you should write what you really, truly feel, even if it’s utterly reductive, fan-fictioney claptrap. Somewhere along the line you’ll get other people’s big shiny shows out of your head, and see what you were actually saying… and then the writing can begin.

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

I like a lot of non-fiction, but for fiction I like The Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, and Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster series. I really enjoy the works of Shelley, Chaucer and Auden, as well.

For independent works, I like a lot of the fan works that have been put out in the Tales from Space universe (Jorge Stuart’s expansion of the Ruiz dynasty as President of the Galaxy, for example, and Virginia Carraway Stark’s expansion of the Hoshido era during the First Corporation Wars) , as well as G.W. Renshaw’s works on Veronica, super spy, and I love what I’ve read of Van Fleming’s upcoming series.

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

The last movie I saw was an old Julian Sands flick, RomaSanta. Girl meets wolf- Too bad the Inquisition was there.

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

I’m partway through a backstory to some of the new characters (protagonist and antagonist) in volume 2 of The Irregulars. I mean, really back story. Yet another chance to delve into some ideas and wonderings about the ancient past.

I’m working on a tale of the possible end of the Telamer, the messianic alien race from the eponymously named Telamer system, who kicked out the Maitre alien invasion force in the 21st Century on Old Earth. Can the last of their failing race be saved, or will they die, and leave the Galactic Association of Globes and Asteroids in a chaos of power struggles and decay? Only the intrepid team from Detach Detachment- and their mushroom- can find out what’s the real story.

I’m also working on a story about Nick Goodfrey, and what happened to him after the second alien invasion of the GAGA, which ended the Tales from Space Universe, and scattered protagonists and antagonists alike across time, space and dimensions. Oh, and Universes, also.

There’s also a set of seven full-color picture books about a fantastic set of worlds with their own laws and ways of organizing reality. But that might take a while- illustrating is much more time-consuming than taking a picture and putting it in a layout.

StarkLight Talks with Lee F. Patrick

StarkLight Press sits down with Lee F. Patrick, author of Dark Reflections, a thrilling tale found in our Hallowe’en anthology, Wild, Wicked and Sparkling.

 

1. Tell us a bit about your inspiration for your tale.

The idea of a stalker makes for a creepy tale, but I wondered what might make a stalker worse. They are certainly a horrible thing to endure. However, you can’t slap a restraining order on a reflection! This story was mostly written a few years back and I kept coming back to it, trying to make it better. Psychological horror, for me, trumps slasher horror. Who in their right mind would believe what Francie is going through?

2. What draws you to the Hallowe’en season?

I enjoy fall as my favourite season. The ideas of the old celebrations of honouring the dead, and that it’s possible to cross between this world and another one is fertile ground for my subconscious. I’ve written some Celtic style poems and short stories with the same sort of theme.

3. Tell us about what would make the best Hallowe’en party ever.

I’m not a big costume party fan, but having a bonfire out in the woods, staying up all night to watch the stars would be wonderful. We’d just have to remember NOT to chase any white stags that happen along. Or, maybe we should.

4. Who has inspired you to not just write, but to keep writing?

I started reading when I was young and my parents gave my sister Lesley and I access to the Science Fiction Book Club, so we read Heinlein, Asimov, McCaffrey, Norton and a host of others. I still have some of those books.

I’ve been writing not very seriously since the late-1980’s as an alternate to my hard science day job. From there, ideas kept knocking on the inside of my head demanding to be let loose. Lots of projects were started and then languished as I started writing on the next idea, or because I wasn’t sure how to build the plot and believable characters. I decided to get serious and publish last year. Since then, I’ve published a thriller novel (Alter Egos), and had three short stories/poems published. Dark Reflections is the third (Thanks to Starklight Press!!). Another story was accepted and is awaiting publication.

A big bonus is my husband, G.W. Renshaw, is also an author. I did the 3-Day Novel contest years back and he was my support staff. He made sure I had food and tea and quiet to write in. Now, he’s also the tech guru who keeps updating templates and helping with all sorts of weird issues with covers and formatting.

The Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, which I’ve been part of for many years, gives inspiration and information of many kinds. When Words Collide also gives me lots of contact with other authors and folks who love to read.

5. Where can people find your work and more about you as an author?

I have a FaceBook page under Lee F. Patrick, and of course, at Amazon. A website is in the planning phase. The ideas and writing keeps intruding on the marketing time.

 

You can find Lee’s tale in Wild, Wicked and Sparkling, available now at the StarkLight Press Bookstore or on Amazon here:

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Alfie Elkins on Flotsam

For the first of our Wild, Wicked and Sparkling author interviews, we speak with Alfie Elkins from off the coast of Venezuela, where he talks about what inspired him to write his haunting love story, Flotsam.

1. Tell us a bit about your inspiration for your tale.

I’ve been living by the ocean for the first time since I was a boy, not in British Columbia but down in Venezuela. It brings up a lot of poignant thoughts about the past, about roads I didn’t take, paths I wasn’t able to tread. Also, moving across the ocean was a complete shake-up. I’ve never been out of Europe for living before, and the strange, disjointed, ethereal feeling I have for not having English soil under my feet- no matter how irritated I am at it presently- needed an outlet.

Walking by the ocean seems to be a real grounding point. It is all one sea, after all. I’m amazed by the sheer quantity of detritus that washes ashore. I’ve also been thinking a lot about relationships, and how they end, and how it connects up with both seasons and spirituality. Then I was reading a story from Tony featuring one of his characters, and I thought- this guy could go on a pretty dark journey, so I asked Tony is he’d mind if I popped him out of the tale and into a little Outer Limits-style classic horror story. It all kind of wove together with my memories of going to the west coast of Canada, and how much it seems like the border between the overworld and the underworld in Irish myth.

Oh, and I’ve also been reading a lot of Manga, too, lol.

2. What draws you to the Hallowe’en season?

It’s always been a very festive time for me. Growing up in London, it wasn’t actually Hallowe’en, but it was pagan style bonfires and all the old myths and beliefs, which usually lie dormant, were just suddenly back as though they had never left. Stories about the otherworld, about the spirits walking abroad, stories about loved ones coming back. Redemption across insurmountable odds, and the magic that comes with the dark time of the year.

3. Tell us about what would make the best Hallowe’en party ever.

You’d need a bonfire, for certain! Good music, not popular stuff, but mood music. Keep the costumes to a fantastic or archetypal nature, none of the flavors of the month. Lots of stout and cider. Would have to be able to go outside, in a natural space. And, of course, some spontaneous spectral activities.

4. Who has inspired you to not just write, but to keep writing?

I first started writing as a way to reduce stress from my job at the NHS. I was a paramedic and a supervisor of a station in London- not a fun job. Journals, then poems, then strange stuff started coming out of me, and a friend of mine, Pearl, knew Tony from the GAF Universe website. So I got into that, and couldn’t stop writing and working on it.

I’d have to say that Tony and Virginia, and also Will Norton, have been an exemplary model for making writing not just an activity, but a part of one’s life. The ease with which they accept whatever-old-thing you’ve been pounding out, be it a poem, a story fragment or what have you, makes it easy to silence the inner critic. Their communal worlds like the GAF Universe and The Program at Green Hill fire the imagination, and they allow you to jump on in and add your own inspiration, which helps if a free-formed idea just isn’t available. Then they take that idea and through some mystic process- bam! it’s incorporated into the whole. Will’s energy and sheer cock-eyed imagination is an inspiration, because the stuff he writes is just crazy brilliant. It makes you start thinking outside whatever bounds you’ve been placed inside.

5. Where can people find your work and more about you as an author?

People can find it through StarkLight Press, www.starklightpress.com and online at the GAF Mainframe site www.gafmainframe.com [Editor’s Note: The works are taken down until servers come back up following Hurricane Harvey, and should be available in four or five weeks]

There was also an autobiographical piece that did rather well for itself back in the day, based on my work as a teacher turned taxi driver, thence to the NHS. I’m in talks currently to get the publishing rights transferred to StarkLight Press, and hopefully it will see a third printing in North America sometime in 2018.

Hearts Asunder Sequel Available Again!

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Our second terrifying volume of Valentine’s Day horror stories has received a huge response from readers. Hearts Asunder Vol. 2 makes the eighth title from StarkLight Press to sell out from its online sources. To all our readers and fans, I say, Way to Break the Internet!

I am pleased to announce that this chilling collection of tales is now available again through the StarkLight Press Bookstore!

In addition to this title, look for our second volume of Shamrocks, Saints and Standing Stones, coming in early March from StarkLight Press.

 

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.

 

Tony Stark Interviewed for Hallowe’en Anthology

This Hallowe’en, check out a chilling collection of stories from North American authors, compiled and edited by Laura Callender of Collaborative Writing Challenge fame.

Tony Stark has included a tale in The Grim Keepers, entitled Remus. It is an accounting of the events that transpired following the pivotal incident of the founding of Rome… in this story, Remus, trapped on the edges of life following his murder, uses the magical time of All Hallows Eve to settle accounts with his brother Romulus.

Below, find the interview regarding the Anthology- Many thanks to Virginia Carraway Stark for the interview opportunity!

Interview with Anthony Stark about his upcoming short story in The Grim Keepers anthology available October 23!

1. What is your favourite part about writing scary fiction?

My favorite part about scary fiction is the more subtle, spiritual aspect of horror. I like finding the place where culture meets horror and expanding that membrane, making myths and legends meet the modern day.

2. What inspired your story for The Grim Reapers anthology?

My inspiration for this story is, of course, the Roman legend of Romulus and Remus. With the fading of the year, the plight of Remus the famous ghostly brother seemed fitting. I combined it with oriental ideas of Yang and Yin, because in the old myths, demigods didn’t just die that easily… So I asked, what happened to all the life Romulus stole, and what dark place would that have left his brother?

3. What scares you most?

The things that scare me most are stories without beauty, hope and redemption. That’s not a good scary, either, but a horrible terror. The current obsession with worlds and movies that are post-post apocalyptic in nature, where everything is FUBARed and a ‘happy’ ending is merely some twisted form of survival for another day, that scares me. It scares me just as much that people eat up these bleak tales as that people can think to make them, let alone make them into gigantic movies. So much energy goes into them; like any creative product, it propagates itself in the world. That is truly scary.

Look for a link to the anthology to be posted on StarkLight Press later this month!

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.