Creativity, as Defined by StarkLight Press

People have been asking me quite a bit lately about creativity.

Where do you get yours? What causes it?

People have also been asking me: Is this story, artwork, poem, product, “good enough?”

In response, I ask them if it is creative.

See sentence one. After several evolutions of this discussion a definition of creativity, at least as far as its use as an adjudicator on StarkLight Press Desks is concerned, should be provided.

 

Creativity is a force that has forged our modern world from the flagellae of the amoebas in the oceans, millenia before this day. It is the engine that powers our thought, our transport, our social interaction. It is the flame of our salvation and the vista of our future.

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Creativity stems from a love of life.

Creativity is not to be confused with plagiarism or derivative construction. Changing a letter or a vowel in a word of Tolkien’s work and calling it your own is not creativity. Picking characters ripped from mass media and clothing them in the trappings of one’s own daily life is not creativity. It is the grasping hand of the drowning man reaching for a piece of solid ground. It is the guttering flame of the soul not quite ready to go gently into that dubiously good night of reality television, organized sport and facebook status updates, but it is not creativity.

Creativity ingests fully the wonder of creation and produces unique creation in response. It is the human mind’s only true perpetual motion machine. It spawns original and wonderful manifestations in response to the wonder that surrounds it; each new creation connected by the thinnest of membranes of similitude, each bound together by the feeling stirred in the breast of any living being who partakes.

In this way, creativity is identical to love.

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If you love your characters, their world and their existences, then it will show in your writing. If you are writing them because of an incomplete connection based on either your own needs and desires or the imposition of the raging maelstrom of media imposed on your brain, then that will show, too.

If you are writing something you could love, or love in a way, but that has been obscured by either your psychology, your drives, your desires, your inputs (please note the resounding possessive pronoun), then you owe it to your creation to silence the ever-present Importance of YourSelf and let the story bloom forth.

You might be surprised how much of You comes forth in such an act of pure creation- if it is actually You that you have set out to display by creating in the first place.

If this is not the case, and you are in fact terrified of letting others view You, then you must quit obscuring YourSelf behind an ink cloud of media influences, pretentious and protected plot and other obfuscations. You must decide why, in fact, you are attempting to create in the first place, if you do not wish to share of yourself with the rest of creation. You must decide, and you must either abandon the fear or abandon the attempt.

And let’s face it, nobody’s going to be impressed if you abandon the attempt.

-Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

Randy McCharles Gives StarkLight 3 A Grand Introduction

Here is the awesome foreword written for our latest short story Anthology by Randy McCharles, well-known Calgary author and

writing retreat guru. Many thanks to Randy for his thoughtful, high-energy and excellently penned words!

Congratulations again to all of our winners!

 

Foreword- StarkLight Volume 3
By Randy McCharles
“Katrina, she is death.” So begins the third compendium of quirky short fiction from Starklight Press. Like its predecessors, this issue fully achieves its mission of providing tales that are pertinent, timely and, above all, imaginative. The four words that begin the first of eleven amazing stand-alone stories are indicative of what you, the reader, will find– striking fiction that will wet the pallet, expand the mind, and bring a smile to your lips.
One of the pleasures of such a collection over say, a novel, is that you have little idea of what you will find until you have devoured the book. There is no back cover blurb enlightening you as to what to expect– setting, character, theme, and plot. A collection such as STARKLIGHT offers, instead, a treasure chest of surprises; eleven jewels to pick up and examine, each gem offering its own unique color, sparkle, and appeal. What the stories contained within these pages do have in common, however, is that they provoke thought and will take your imagination to lands and times and feelings you have never seen before.
Where the assembled stories differ is the second pleasure of such a collection. After discovering who Katrina is, why she is death, and why that is important, not only to the characters in the story, but to you the reader, there are still ten additional tales to enjoy, each astonishing in its own way, offering up new and unique experiences. Experiences unexpected, yet always managing to push one or more emotion buttons and resonate with realities in your life that makes each reading experience an intimate adventure between reader and author.
If that is not enough, a third pleasure is that you not only have eleven unique tales to enjoy, but tales from nine exceptional authors, each of whom have their own style and voice for story telling. Let us consider the opening line of our second story, What Has Kenneth Done! by J.M. Duell. “Let’s get a hold’a this fellow about the pamphlets again Fitz, there’s too many mistakes on ‘er.” Duell’s writing style could not be more different from Virginia Carraway Stark’s as enjoyed in Katrina, yet Duell’s story will carry you along just as easily. And what Kenneth did is only one surprise in the story.
It is said that variety is the spice of life, and this saying is no truer than in a compendium of short fiction. The selection of tales that fill these pages by authors no less distinguished than Virginia Carraway Stark, J.M. Duell, Veronica Robbins, Tony Stark, Roxann Alecia Harvey, John J. Higgins, G.W. Renshaw, Van Fleming, and Robert Marquiss, are stories you will wish to savour and share with your friends. So sit back, put up your feet, and prepare yourself to spend the next little while seeing the world in a different light. STARKLIGHT.

StarkLight Press Interviews Veronica Robbins

Our next interview features Veronica Robbins, who owns Robbins Creative Content, LLC based out of Woodland, California. Her winning entry, And A Little Child Shall Lead Them, will be published in StarkLight Volume 3. Here is her interview with Virginia Carraway Stark:
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1. What was the first thing that you remember writing? 
I wrote a poem about Thanksgiving when I was in the third grade that I was asked to read in front of our church congregation. When I was in fourth grade, I wrote my first real short story.  It was called, The Mystery of the Killer Poodle, and it was about a poodle that picked off members of his family one by one. Pretty dark for a fourth grader, don’t you think?
2. What is your main inspiration to write? 
I can’t not write. The words just come into my head and have to get out. Even when I’m writing marketing copy or non-fiction, which I write more than fiction, it’s the same way. I can’t get any peace until the ideas are written down.
3. What is your story for Starklight press about? 
It’s about a little girl who sees angels.  Her adopted mother thinks she’s seeing imaginary friends until she learns that they are, in fact, real angels.  Not only that, but they come from another world with a message. It’s a tale about God’s children being spread all over the universe and how we are just a small part of his creation.  It’s also about learning to open our minds to different concepts of space, time, and communication. Unlike The Mystery of the Killer Poodle, no one dies. It’s all about life.
4. Why did you choose this story/genre? 
I chose the genre because I learned that StarkLight Press was looking for Sci Fi stories. I’m new to the genre so I thought it would be a good opportunity to stretch my wings a bit. The seeds of the story come from an idea my husband and I have been discussing for years. Are there angels among us?  Could they be aliens and could these aliens simply be God’s children created before us? That’s where the spark came from, and I just took it from there.
5. What advise do you have for aspiring authors?
Write what you love. I spent the better part of my professional career writing for others to make money, and I did make very good  money, but after 15 years it started to kill me. Life is both too long and too short to spend it chasing money by doing something you don’t enjoy. Follow your heart and then find a way to earn a living on that same path. Most importantly, don’t quit.  Don’t give up. If you’re really following your heart, you won’t be able to quit anyway, but be prepared for naysayers, even in your own family, who tell you that it’s a hopeless dream. No dream is hopeless. Anything is possible.
 
My last piece of advice is write everyday. We writers are generally an undisciplined lot. The only way to reach your goal of finishing a novel or whatever you’re working on is to write regularly.  Writing everyday keeps the thoughts flowing and fresh.
6. What are some of your other hobbies?
I read a lot, of course. I read a lot of non-fiction, but I love fiction and poetry, too. I always have three to five books going at once, sometimes more. I also knit and crochet, which are great for stress relief, and I meditate daily. And I love to play with my dog, Handsome. He’s a miniature poodle, by the way. Hmm….  Finally, I spend time engaging with social media and reading and writing on writers’ sites every day. It’s part marketing, part community-building, part fun.
7. How do your hobbies infiltrate your writing?
I honestly believe that everything I read makes me a better writer. The other things I do each day make me a well-rounded person, which is important for someone who writes five to ten hours a day. If I didn’t have a life, I wouldn’t have much to write about, would I?  For example, I homeschool my youngest son, and I’m now working several articles and a non-fiction book about our homeschooling experience. I meditate daily, and I have some audio CDs out on affirmation-based meditation (books soon to come), and I’ve written poems about lessons learned while knitting. Reading, living, and writing are inextricably linked in my world.
8. How has your own past influenced your writing? 
After I wrote that poem in third grade, my mother told me at every gift giving occasion, “You should write her a poem!” For a while that made me hate writing poetry, but only for a short while.  What she was really teaching me was that giving a gift of myself was the best gift I could give, and few things are closer to us than our own writing. Most of my past shows up in one way or another in my writing – in my poetry, on my blog, or in my fiction.  For example, my love for baseball is just oozing throughout my romance mystery novel, Rookie Season, which will be out in January.  Anything I write is a piece of me.
9. Any final thoughts?
I want to thank Starklight Press for including my story with those of so many other fantastic writers. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

StarkLight Press Interviews Roxann Harvey

In our next StarkLight Press Interview, we discuss Roxann Harvey’s winning entry in StarkLight’s Third Short Story Contest.
Roxann Harvey is the Business Administrator for her husbands company, Rocky’s Tours Jamaica.  She is a practical Nurse by profession and a self-published Author – very enthusiastic, loving  and fun. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in business Administration.The current Novel that she is working on is “Love and Money Worries”. It is about the life of Catherine Barrows , a very young and beautiful young lady from a small village in the lovely Caribbean Island of Jamaica, her life was full of struggles.
1. What was the first thing that you remember writing?
The first thing I remembered writing was a poem entitled Life a narrow path. I entered this poem on the previous poetry.com and it was a winner. I wrote that poem when I was only 10 years old and I carried it with me into adulthood I will never lose that poem. I currently have more than one version of this poem.
2. What is your main inspiration to write? 

My main inspiration to write started at the age of eight years old I stumbled up on a poetry book written by Robert Frost on my grandmother’s book shelf, I would read a page from that book every day. The poems hit home, at that age they were like a story to me and I said to my self I would like to write like this one day. So at the age of 10 years I wrote my first poem , never stopped writing and reading. At the age of twelve I was still reading Robert Frost book it had many pages and was very thick, I believe I read it over and over, from just reading a poetry book by a very renown author and writer without even knowing at that time, it spiraled me into a a poetry drunkard. A writerholic, even if I am not writing a poem I would find something to write, I just love to write.

3. What is your story for StarkLight Press about?

My story for StarkLight Press is entitled Parents were Cousins, which is a flash fiction, this story is about a young girl by the name of Catherine who went to spend some time with her uncle’s family, she fell in love with her cousin Chris, she also got pregnant by him. She was betrayed, locked in an attic and later on was sent to the asylum. She was locked away to protect the family name because it was wrong for women to be in relationships with their family members. Chris married a wealthy doctor who later on in the story helped Catherine to get out of the asylum.

4. Why did you choose this story/genre? 

I am apart of a writing group hosted by Virginia Stark, she gave us a writing Challenge to write a flash fiction story off a list that had many different reasons why people were committed to an insane Asylum back in 1864 to1869. I liked the one that said parents were cousins, it hit me right there in the head, so I submitted my first story to the group it was liked by my fellow poets, and I was encouraged to expand on it.  Based on the fact that this was the first story I had ever written I believed that I should really expand on it. When Starklight press posted that they were accepting Short Stories and It could be a flash fiction, I said yes! this is my opportunity to make this story come alive. It reminds me of Flower’s in the attic by V.C Andrews a 1979 novel. I really love that story, Therefore Parents were Cousins is my version of Flowers in the attic. It is a reincarnation of the images that the story flowers in the attic has left in my mind, expressed my way.

5. What advise do you have for aspiring authors?

My advise to aspiring authors is to follow your dream, write as much as you can, try to find positive persons to be around who will give you sound advise and push you in the right direction. Get on the internet find writing groups to join. Learn how to self publish yourself. Never give up and never give in to pressure, obstacles and hurdles will come your way, but don’t you faint, continue to press forward because you will reap the reward at the end of the struggle, my motto is “Hard work brings true joy”  I am very grateful  to prove this to be true. If you work hard when you reap the reward of your labor you will be very happy.

6. What are some of your other hobbies? 

My other hobbies are listening to music, helping others, Surfing the internet, socializing, relaxing and enjoying nature.

7. How do your hobbies infiltrate your writing?
 My hobbies infiltrate my writing in a very positive way, I am able to write the things I see, I write about people, I am able to put life’s experiences into words, its putting pen to paper. its living each day as a day with new ideas and new words. My hobbies are like one with my writing, I always have pen and paper close by so I can jot down stuff to write about later. If I am driving and I see a sign I will either write the words on it or take its picture, I always have my phone on me and I use it like a camera, I shot any thing and then put it together later to formulate a poem, a short story, quotes of inspiration and new phrases for my miniature book of constant self encouragement.
8. How has your own past influenced your writing? 
 My past has influenced my writing greatly it is the driving force behind my passion for writing, I grew up in a Christian home. I have seen good days and bad days so I am able to relate to both circumstance in life. Most of my writings are influenced by my christian belief that there is a creator who made all things and it is through him that we live and breathe, that there is hope and no matter our status in life or the situations that we face there is hope.. My poems are encouraging and inspiring to keep going no matter what.  over time I have been learning to come out of my comfort zone and launch out into a variety of genre’s, I explore far beyond my comfort zone and this feels great. I am very optimistic so I am excited each time I try something new. I am always searching for more.
9. Any final thoughts? 
My final thoughts are:
a. To implore anyone that is reading my interview to stay the course, weather the storm don’t give up and follow your hearts desire to write, because words are powerful and if you write encouraging words you will bless a heart, save a life, encourage someone, you will be an inspiration. Set your goals and execute them. No matter where you are from once you have ambition you can be among the greats.
b. A big thank you to my husband Roxroy Lawrence for his tolerance and continued support of me in my writing endeavors also my children for being my cheer leaders.
c. Wow!  I must say thank you very very much Anthony Stark and Virginia Stark for making this short story writing eligible for me,you are awesome. You are doing a great big wonderful job and I wish you all the very best in your writing and publishing business, I can truly see that you love what you do with a passion, you go about it with a lot of enthusiasm and professionalism. This is brilliant as you have all the mechanisms for growth, development and success.

An Interview with Rhonda Parrish

In anticipation of the flood of interviews loyal readers will soon have to peruse, here is a fascinating Q & A with Alberta Author Rhonda Parrish, author of A is for Apocalypse and upcoming follow-up B is for Broken.

 

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  1. When did you first realize that you liked the horror/apocalypse genre?

You know how when an interviewer asks someone ‘When did you first start writing?’ and they say, ‘Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil,’ and you kind of sigh because while you believe what they’re saying is true, you really wanted to read a different answer to that question? Well… this is kind of that.

I have liked horror and apocalyptic themes for as long as I’ve known they exist. For example, when I was a kid we didn’t play house, we played runaways. The idea was that we’d (my siblings and I) run away from home and we were out in the wild alone somewhere, trying to rebuild a life while fighting off monsters. More survivalist-y than apocalyptic perhaps, but the two definitely go hand-in-hand, don’t they?

As for horror, my mother was a horror fan and we were always welcome to read anything on her bookshelves and join her in watching scary movies. I watched the original Dawn of the Dead when I was about 7 or 8, and various other 70s and 80s horror movies before that… and I remember reading Stephen King far earlier than any of my friends (I did a book report on Christine when I was in grade 4. Looking bad I kind of feel bad for my grade 4 teacher LoL What an awkward position to be put in).

So… yeah. Pretty much forever

  1. What scares you?

So many things.

Losing the people and pets I love.

Death.

Suffering.

Fire.

Climate change.

50% of the Earth’s animals wiped out in the past 40 years.

All.

The.

Things.

  1. Why do you think people are so intrigued by zombies and ideas of the apocalypse? Why are you drawn to these topics?

Oh wow… I could write thousands and thousands of words on each of these questions LOL I won’t, don’t worry, but I could.

One of the things I think draws people to zombies is their uncanny nature. They are like us, but they aren’t us. That is horrifying! Also, I suspect they play into our fear of death… and relieve it a little bit. Once you see that thing which is worse than death, it makes dying seem like maybe it’s not so scary/bad after all.

As to why I’m drawn to zombies and the apocalypse… well, again, so many reasons, but one of the big ones is this: don’t we all, at least a little bit, want to be one of the few left standing at the end of the world? The ones to start over and do it right? I do.

Also I stress and worry about the things humankind are doing to our planet and the creatures we share it with. Often that takes the form of self-interested “This is bad because it has the potential to affect me!” thoughts, but sometimes… sometimes I find myself thinking about how much better it would be for every life form except people if most of us were just wiped off the face of the earth. That requires specific types of apocalypses but still…

LoL and now I sound completely cynical and pessimistic. And I’m not. Remember the part where I want some people to be left standing (self-servingly I want to be one of them, but still…)? That’s because I really enjoy the re-building part of apocalyptic fiction and fantasies too. Especially zombie apocalypses.

  1. Could you tell us about a few of your other interests?

I read, of course. A lot. Of course.

And I enjoy gaming. I’m in between major addictions right now and spend most of my video game time with old school Plants vs. Zombies or Sims 4 with a little Hearthstone thrown in. I’ve recently started playing tabletop Dungeons and Dragons again, too. In some ways it’s a crazy jump from 2nd to 5th edition, but in other ways it’s completely comfortable and familiar. I’m falling in love with it all over again.

I also like crafty stuff. I quilt, cross-stitch, crochet, paint fabric, that kind of thing. I used to joke that I was grandmother trapped in a younger woman’s body… but as I get older that joke has become less and less funny. Go figure.

  1. Zombie poems? What a brilliant and unusual idea to make an entire book of them! Whatever gave you the idea? How do you think people will react to it?

I make a habit of participating in the November Poem-a-Day challenge (with varying degrees of success), and several years ago my theme for the challenge was zombies. Most of the poems in White Noise came from that challenge. They’re polished up, of course, and many of them have been published between now and then, but that’s where they come from. Now that all the various rights have returned to me, it just seemed like a natural thing to bundle them together into a collection.

  1. What advice would you give to people who want to write scary stories?

I’m not really good at generalized advice, partly because I really firmly believe that we each have to carve our own path. What works for me may not work for someone else and vice versa. However, I do think that Samuel Beckett was on to something when he said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

On a pseudo-related note, my next tattoo is going to be one which says ‘Fail better’.

…that’s not super helpful is it? See? This is another reason I don’t do generalized advice LOL

 

 

Many thanks to Ms. Parrish and to our interviewer Virginia Carraway Stark for this engaging interview.

You can find more about Rhonda and her works at http://www.rhondaparrish.com

 

-Tony Stark.

StarkLight Press Mission Statement

I would like to offer a warm welcome to all of our new blog followers, Facebook fans and superlative fiction aficionados.

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Welcome to StarkLight Press- the Center of the Media Galaxy!

 

What does our awesome tagline mean, exactly? Well you should ask.

At StarkLight Press, we believe in two things above all else- the Imagination and the Power of Story.

We believe that the Imagination is truly the seat of everything great in the human psyche. Without its fire in the crucible of our minds, we would not be able to rise above our misfortunes, our limitations, and our pain. It allows us not only the ability to develop innovations in our lives in terms of concrete reality, but it is an integral first step in raising the tones of our hearts and minds. Without imagination to provide us with windows into There, we would never be able to soothe our spirits so heavy with the troubles of Here.

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To that end, StarkLight Press fosters an Immersive Fiction Experience, with credibly fantastic worldscapes, characters and action that gives the mind a playground for the Imagination, with plenty of tire swings and monkeybars for all.

We believe in not just casting a light on other realms, worlds and dimensions, but illuminating them as fully as hearsaid experience might convey, so that the reader has fodder for their imagination long after they put down one of our books.

By stoking the fires of the imagination with such vibrant and intricate worlds, StarkLight Press provides you, the reader, with an escape that will lift your spirit throughout your day, and inspire you to look at your own familiar worldscape with a fresh perspective. A fresh perspective that maybe will make your own worldscape a little bit more awesome.  This freshness of subject matter is the key to releasing all the positivity the human imagination can produce.  We hope at StarkLight Press to inspire this world to blossom with ideas and purpose beyond the limits set for it, and us, by those who lack imagination entirely.

The Power of Story is the cordwood by which the fires of the imagination nurture both our hearts and our future.  By telling fascinating, credible and, well, amazing stories, StarkLight Press aims to remind the reader that the Universe is in fact at least as amazing as those childhood fancies entertained, and that they can exist in the adult realm as well by providing our grown minds with the added intricacies, information and plot that are required to stoke the fires of a more developed reader.

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We’ve heard the wistful wishes of fans from all over, that they only wish they had MORE of a story, or knew MORE about a certain aspect of this, or that. More… and better. Stories that don’t deliberately fall flat for mass consumption. Characters that are pale versions of what they should be to sell… whatever. Worlds that are REAL, not just slapped together with the spit and baling twine of a dozen writers scanning fan commentary after every new installment comes to the public trough.

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StarkLight Press believes that its readers are canny, cognitive and reject the mass-media spoon with its conventions full of mushy and indistinct snippets of story.

We know you can handle it.

That’s why we make certain our fiction serves only two masters- Imagination, and the Power of Story.  If it doesn’t come to mind to speed your morning commute, we won’t publish it. If you don’t find yourself bringing it up at the dinner table the next week, it’s not yet good enough. If it doesn’t make your eyes widen with the delight of your starving inner child who is finally able to satiate its grown up mind on fiction that not only soothes but satisfies- you sure won’t find it here.

That’s what we’re all about, which is why our GAF Universe has been a cult favorite amongst the brightest and most creative folks out there.

That’s why our StarkLight Anthologies are so popular, filled to the brim with new authors armed with new, exciting tales.

That’s why our non-fiction imprint, Arras Books, is ground-breaking, because it re-introduces the mundane world to the reader by adding the truth behind the dusty history.

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That’s why we keep our universes living, and infinite, not vague past histories of dreams once dreamed, now dead.

Our stories are the future- they have tales to be told, and worlds to be explored.

Most importantly, they have things they are willing to share with each of us, here and now, today.

-Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO, StarkLight Press.

 

Well, it’s finally happened… StarkLight Press Goes Hollywood :-0

– in the best possible way!

Robert Marquiss, CEO of Marquiss Films, personally took our posters to downtown Los Angeles the other day.

Proud to be making inroads in Tinseltown with our fabulous, first-rate, immersive fiction universes and our short story anthologies,

StarkLight Press is now advertising in various venues in Sunny Southern California- including these pics taken at Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd!

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Thanks to Robert Marquiss, visionary creator of the Kingdoms of Magic universe, whose trailers you can check out here http://youtu.be/EVsfk-yVX00

and whose Kingdoms of Magic short story you can check out in StarkLight Volume 2, available on Amazon kindle and Barnes and Noble.com, or by emailing us at starklightdesk@gmail.com.

Now Hollywood knows where to come to get the stories for the next series of blockbuster movies- StarkLight Press.

 

-Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO, StarkLight Press.