Madder Family Portrait

Madder Family Portrait ca. 1888


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:

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:

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:

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:

StarkLight Press Bookstore

Peruse through our available titles here, order yourself a copy of your favorite books today!

Starklight Volume 2– featuring fiction from L.E. Caine, Will Norton, Jeren Nethers, Virginia Carraway Stark, Nicholas Vincenzi and Tony Stark. This anthology touches on everything from aliens in the oil patch to demon children, planetary destruction to zombie apocalypse. Nice, light reading 😉

       Print Book                                                                                                                                                   E-Book


StarkLight Volume 3- this anthology features stories about forbidden historical romance, interplanetary vacations gone awry, possessed objects, Katrina Calvera and haunted hotels. This volume includes a short story from The Program at Green Hill, where psychics and other remarkable people find themselves working for the Navy.

        Print Book                                                                                                                                             E-Book

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Dalton’s Daughter- The official autobiography of Lt. Sasha Wheaton, GAF Medical Officer to Detach Detachment. Follow the salacious, exciting, scandalous career of the Galaxy’s favorite soldier as she moves from resource planet to one of the most influential women in the Galactic Association of Globes and Asteroids. (Adult content advisory)

         Print Book                                                                                                                    E-Book

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Tales from Space Volume 1- This highly addictive, thought-provoking volume provides backstory to the incredibly engaging GAF Mainframe Universe. Read the events behind important references in the GAF Universe, including the Legend of the Bluestone Maenad, Verily Wrought’s kidnapping, the foundation of the Grater Love Cult, Buxbie’s Better Bees and more!

Print Book                                                                                                                                E-Book

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VCON Lemonade- The StarkLight Press Literary Oasis is Born

Once landed at VCON 39,

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Virginia had a multitude of difficulties with poor organization that included, but were not limited to-

a) the complete lack of registration forms or passes, despite the very real presence of their fees on our StarkLight Press Accounts

b)the organizers’ refusal to provide a table for our wares, despite more receipts of purchase, and the plethora of empty tables at the Convention Floor

c) the lack of ticket to the Aurora Awards Tea

the list goes on- but I Digress with merely a prayer that VCON 40, a major milestone in any Con’s lifespan, will be better organized and make room for the truly awesome publishing houses and creative dynamos in Canada- mainly us :0)


To combat these avaricious and political snaggles, Virginia was advised to turn our King Suite into a StarkLight Press receiving Lounge, complete with

resplendent noshems, wines and all of our merchandise and videos on display. We were more than happy to share our island of composed, luxurious literary delight

with VCON attendees who might need a break from all the hustle and the bustle.

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Though in the end, StarkLight Press received the coveted drink-worthy bracelet allowing one access to adult-type beverages, we also brought some fine selections

from our own wine cellar to stimulate the palettes of our guests.


Now that our Literary Oasis was established, it was time for Virginia to venture into the midst of VCON 39…


Morality and Death

Why does a character exist in a story?

To further the plot, of course, say all the literature undergrads out there.

Most of us have read dreadful, self-serving fanfiction and horrible “debut novels” whose characters are floating in a miasma of interior thought, activity and poseurship. A character’s presence in these stories serves only one purpose- to be seen being themselves. Whether Harry Potter, or Jack Bauer, or Zack and Cody, a story in which characters have nothing to do but be seen being themselves bores our suspension of disbelief to death. A character is at their best when they are doing something, or making those necessary actions required to be available to do something at just the right moment in the Plot.

The only time a character, even a much-beloved one, serves a purpose in static action is to achieve enlightenment of purpose or fullness of character. Internal enlightenment and fullness of character, however, are meaningless if the character does not take that growth and use it in the plot of their story.

How does this literary truth translate into real life?

Each of us are characters in the story of the world. Call it God’s story if you will, or Mother Nature’s, or even a serendipitous Magnolia-esque tale meant to provide meaning in its own mechanics. Every being on the planet is a character in this great story.

We therefore have two responsibilities as characters, ones with which any author would indeed concur.

1. We must spend our time as characters advancing the Plot. Sometimes this means introspective actions, or montages of learning, working or being with family. Sometimes this means being at the forefront of plot arcs by standing up in the community amongst our fellow characters. As characters we fall to the level of bad, bad fanfiction if we live our lives as debutantes, existing merely for the sake of being seen as the personalities we think we are.

2.  As characters therefore in the story of the world, we owe it to those who watch us in ways we cannot conceive to remain available to the story. Anyone who has watched serial television can attest to the swelling of affinity and happiness one feels at the return, even for a cameo, of a well-known character to the plot. We must make ourselves available for a guest appearance in the lives of other characters we may think hold us in little regard, or have moved on from our own stories. We must also make ourselves available to be the bit player in another’s story so that the smallest of our actions may unfold for the good of the whole in unexpected ways.

Removing ourselves as characters from the world removes the ability of the author of the Story to use us to further the plot of which we are all a part.  As any devotee of a fictional universe victimized by the untimely and largely senseless death of a character would agree, it is the worst, most senseless action to remove a character from a story before its work with the plot is complete. It makes all the other characters in the story have to run to pick up the frayed threads left behind when the character was ripped away. Death leaves a large hole in our ficitonal worlds, and it leaves a gaping maw full of resentment and unanswered questions in real life.

If we exist in the world as beings, we are therefore here to advance the Plot.

As authors of our own stories in the greater Plot, don’t be the sort of writer who writes bad fanfiction, where the characters’ time is spent wallowing in how they feel they are perceived, or worrying over plot points that may seem insurmountable.

Also, don’t be the sort of cheap writer who removes a character just for the sake of some cheap, sweeps-week oriented energies.

Be a good character and a good author. Do what you can every day to make yourself available for plot advancement.  Keep yourself available, because you never know when your character’s comeback is just what the Plot may need.

– Tony Stark.



Dalton’s Daughter Update

Dalton’s Daughter, the Autobiography of Sasha Wheaton, is due to be released later this fall.


It’s release has been pushed back due to a variety of factors, some very good, some dreadful, some disturbing.

Check here at StarkLight Press for blog entries by its author, Virginia Stark, for her Dalton’s Daughter Saga

series- first post coming next week.

Get the whole scoop behind the tumultuous creation of the autobiography of the GAF’s most beloved first Lieutenant,

only at StarkLight Press- where the books we print are only part of the whole story.


An Incident in El Noor Excerpt Part One

Here it is, folks, the first of three parts of Wodin Whatthehel’s heroic deeds during the El Noor Incident!

This is a segment of An Incident in El Noor, which is the first complete accounting of the exploits of Detach Detachment during the

El Noor conflict.

By Tony Stark copyright 2014 StarkLight Press


The gunfire was coming hot and heavy over the lip of the foxhole. A constant barrage of heavy artillery fire shook the ground into which he was dug. Splatters of mud rained down upon Wodin’s head along with water mixed with blood. Rocks the size of his fist dented his flack helmet. El Noor war cries and screams filtered through the staccato of their machine guns to stun the treble portion of Wodin’s hearing as well as the base. On top of everything, rain smacked into his face, blown by the gusting wind as much as the explosions bursting all around him.


Teeth gritted, face set in a mask of steely-eyed determination, Sgt. Whatthehel shrugged off his knapsack. The rabid enemy caught a glimpse of its hunched top and blew the cover right off. Casting a withering look at the enemy line, Wodin dug around inside his satchel. With some grunting, he pulled out a long gun wrapped in zipfast. He opened his penknife with his teeth and slit the waterproof casing on the gun, driving the blade into the side of the foxhole for safe keeping. Gingerly, he lifted the prototype weapon from its cocoon.


Wodin smiled grimly. The Mag-Lev 3000 was Wrought Industries’ latest weapon in conventional warfare. Gunfights of the nature of old Vietnam conflicts had long since become a thing of the past where conventional GAF batallions were concerned thanks to the Mag-Lev generators that were standard kit in every GAF unit of that size. These massive generators were planted on tank frames and trundled along behind the lines of men like some sort of lumbering cave troll. Much like the cave troll, at key points in the battle when the opponents’ metal-based artillery became too pesky, the batallion would part to allow the Mag-Lev to enter its midst. Much like a phalanx in reverse, the generator protected the perimeter by producing two shock waves of reverse magnetic polarity that flashed outward in a radius that stretched up to four miles. One wave magnetized the artillery and moved at lightning speed on to the weapons from which it had sprung, while the second wave whose radius was smaller by half changed the polarity of the already magnetized bullets to the opposite of the first wave. Caught up in the slipstream of the standing wave of magnetic flux, the artillery would rain down in haphazard yet still deadly fashion on those who had sent it out- in many cases, ripping through the guns and tanks of the enemy faster than they were originally shot towards the GAF regiment.


The Mag-Lev had been in use in the GAF for over 80 years now, and and such most opponents of the Galactic Armed Forces knew better than to use bullets and artillery shells on the purple-clad soldiers. El Noor was different, however, and the terrorist group was filled with poor, intrepid foot soldiers for whom taking a doxen magnetized bullets for their god would be an honour. Add to that the fact that Wodin’s company was much smaller than the batallion of men who usually carried the Mag-Lev generator and El Noor’s plan to perforate Wodin and his compatriots made a lot of sense.


“Well,” Wodin growled. “They didn’t plan on this.”


The Mag-Lev 3000 was the same technology in an easily portable, pointable device. Wodin had seen the gun demonstrated at the last Quadrant Gun Show- the Wrought Industries rep had confidently stood before a firing squad of six heavy machine guns at five hundred meters. With a pull of the trigger and a cocky, spraying aim, the rep had repelled the bullets back at the robotic guns with ease, disabling their 600+ rounds a minute mechanisms in under five seconds. Wodin had promptly requisitioned funds to buy six.


Not trusting the El Noorians, Wodin had packed his newest acquisition just in case. He turned on the power pack. It hummed in increasing frequency until the light turned from green to red on the holster.


The deafening sounds of the battle faded away as the diodes charged. Wodin smiled.

The light began blinking in the universal two on one off rhythm of all Wrought Industries weapons.


Still grim-faced yet graced with the ghost of his smile, Wodin turned in his sodden foxhole and rested the gun on the pile of mud facing the enemy.


“I shall see you in hell, saracens,” Wodin intoned gravely, and pulled the trigger.


look for part two coming Friday!


Respect for our Worlds

Looking around the internet,  I see there are a plethora of examples of how the light-hearted, glossy, soundbyte

tendencies of our culture have intruded on stories that form the backbone of our cultural heritage.

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Memes and appropriated quotes have become a kind of hieroglyphic language between us, transferred from our

devices faster than the speed of sound- which used to be the way we all shared our common experience.


Perhaps it is this fleetness of transmission that leads to the glibness of the sentiment in memes.  Perhaps it is the human

mind’s response to the grimness and futility of our global situation that leads us to make light of those elements

of story common to all our inner lexicons. Humor is a defense mechanism, and to mock even with innocent intent

so repeatedly these elements of our communal cultural language suggests that we feel unable to rise to the moral and

spiritual benchmarks these stories lay out for us.


Humor is not an end to itself, but a tool for change, and to consistently look only at the most shallow

and pithy aspects of great story and great characters cuts off the essential aspect of what stories and culture have to

give us. They are meant to inspire, to chide, to act as measuring sticks by which we increase the bound of what we as individuals

and we as a society feel we are able to attain. Stories are our parents and our deities who guide us into the paths of

light and out of the paths of despair and darkness. Tales of great deeds and the characters within them look on us with

the loving, stern countenance of the Father. They encourage us through example to follow in their footsteps to bigger and

better deeds. To mock these endlessly is to shut the door on the pathways these stories can inspire, and it is the same as

turning your back on the father who wishes to guide us to greatness.


It is important therefore to spend some time allowing the stories that shape our collective lexicon to settle into the deeper

parts of our psyche. By allowing ourselves the time to absorb the full impact of the grandeur and complexity of the characters

in our pop culture memes, we do two things- we let them guide us as they were meant to guide us, we who are seekers of truth;

we give the characters and their stories the respect they so rightly deserve. They have taught, inspired and guided us and our forebears, sometimes for hundreds of generations. We owe them more than a soundbyte and a laugh. We owe it to them to

listen with respect.


If the lessons our stories have to teach us make us feel unworthy or unable to rise to the perceived heights we feel they urge us to reach, we must remember that our heroic characters and their heroic stories also lived their lives day by day and mile by mile between the lines of what was written about them.  I leave you with a meme or two that will remind you that you can apply the stoic loyal determination of Faramir or the timely care and ingenuity of Gandalf to even the most basic day to day aspects of life: