Virginia Carraway Stark is in the House!

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Next on our author interview series, StarkLight Press talks with Virginia Carraway Stark, whose writing resume is rivalled only by her acumen in helping fellow authors find and refine their mots justes.  You can find her at the sites listed below!

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

The past few years have been a time of change and acceptance for me. A lot has changed and I’ve had to adapt to a lot of new things. I’ve endured betrayals from friends that I thought I would always have in my life and made new friends that I never imagined being in my life. Through it all; I’ve kept on writing.

I think the biggest thing that’s changed for me is that I’ve had to take a walk in the wilds. I had to take some time of introspection and quietude and get to know myself all over again after the things I’ve been through in life. I’ve explored myself deeply and I’ve written profoundly about my family and my childhood. I’ve explored the world through others perspectives while keeping the writings private except for a very few, trusted friends and family.

Nevertheless I do have a lot of new publications. I have several drabbles coming from Black Hare Press, a new novel coming from New Moon Press, and I have the third book in Verna’s Saga coming out as well as the fourth novel in my ‘Daughter’s Series’ starring the always popular Sasha Wheaton. Interspersed is the novel, ‘DoYou?’ which explores some of the concepts looked into in the collaborative novel Space Stranded and problems with anti-matter beings meeting matter beings. The SegDeb Galaxy is explored by Sasha and ‘Shroom.

My bookshelf has swelled to bursting with the coming releases of The Decay of Man and the release of Gendler’s Landing.
The personal set of based on true biographies that I’ve written about my family will also be coming soon, Preacher Man being the first and based on the life of my deceased elder brother. Coming close on the heels of that will be the story of my mixed race half sister.

Recently I’ve done interviews for Joshua Pantescellara’s award winning Vlog and been on a panel for historical fiction for CyCon.

After this April’s poetry month I also have enough poems to release an illustrated book of poetry, my second book of poetry that is only my own writing. I’ve been part of many poetry anthologies but having one just for me is always very special!

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

I contributed a few stories to StarkLight 5, but I think the one I’ll address is “Looking Glass”. The inspiration for it came from a series of dreams. I think it’s probably an unusual thing to dream about being summoned by a Pope who wants to use your wings for spells and bathing in a pool of mercury… but that’s just me!

This was a series of dreams that started many years ago and I felt a close relationship to many of the people in the world of the past. I’ve tried to pinpoint it to what Pope it would likely have been, but everything is all a dream. I’m pretty sure it’s a highly offensive story, but I’ve given up all thought of not offending people. I’ve learned in life that someone is always going to be unhappy by something that one does, so one might as well do as one pleases.

It’s liberating when you get past the depth of pettiness people can go to!

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

My favourite place to write is on my laptop, ideally in a nest of cushions. I often write on my notepad on my phone or in my bullet journal or on any scrap of paper that’s handy when desperate. The most unusual place that I wrote was to write nearly an entire screenplay in between making lattes at Starbucks. I wrote it all on those brown, recycled napkins and some on my arms and hands when I ran low on napkins. It wasn’t even quiet, it was during the Christmas season and Starbucks was a madhouse. Thankfully I had an understanding manager and I was able to keep up with orders as well as writing so I didn’t get into trouble! My screenplay did go to Cannes, but that particular one didn’t get made into a movie…yet!

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

Nature is best. Animals are definitely a plus. The best place to go is to the other worlds that I imagine with my husband and creative partner. We met creating and we have continued creating together for many years now. There’s something about the way our minds meld and merge beautiful and magical worlds and characters that is like nothing else.

If I was to pick anything, I would say, with my husband, in the trees, by the water and or in the water. That’s my bliss.

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

Reading too much about what people think about you. The worst thing is to let that influence you. I think that’s why so many television shows get punched with the suck fairy. People go through Google and FB etc to find out what people think about their writing and they lose control over their worlds. It’s really easy to get ‘feedback’ that is poisonous. Pick your feedback carefully and reject the stuff that sounds like crap. Be the ruler of your own worlds and people.

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

I’m going to give my three favorite mainstream authors: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and Richard Adams… although there are a lot more and I could probably go on and on! Indie authors are a little bit more difficult because a lot of them started off Indie and quickly became more mainstream. I tend to think of them as Indie more because they are friends than because of the nature of their writing. I really enjoy a lot of the writers from Writer Punk, I’ve published with them and always look forward to picking up the book at the end and reading everyone’s work. Robert Sawyer is by no means Indie, but he’s a friend along with Randy McCharles who also has a conventional contract, still, being more chummy, I’d list them as ‘Indie’. My absolute favorite is my bias but it’s absolutely true, my husband. He’s a wonderful writer and I can always count on co-writing with him without ever being let down. His novels are superb and his science fiction is the hard, well developed kind that could actually turn into real technology one day. His characters have seduced me a thousand times over and there’s no one whose work I’d rather read… not even Tolkien!

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

The last movie that I watched was Solo… it was, umm, okay. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be from the review that I had heard, I think that most people didn’t like it because there was a total lack of Jedi and clearly written intending for most of the questions to be answered in a sequel. The actor who played Hans did a good job of it, his voice was eerily like Harrison Ford’s voice and he may possibly have been cloned off of Harrison Ford at some point to play the role… well, it’s science fiction, anything is possible!

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

I have a lot of projects coming out soon! The Family Series, The Daughter Series, a whole lot of short stories and poetry, the Royal Maze series… gosh… yeah, lots. Once I bring out all the things I’ve been working on in private over the past year or so it’s going to be a deluge!

Bio:

Virginia Carraway Stark has published numerous novels. She has been part of dozens of anthologies, collaborations, guest blogs, drabbles and has written screenplays that starred Rowdy Roddy Piper and Nick Mancuso. She has upcoming releases from a variety of presses including Dark Moon Publishing, Simon and Schuster, Black Hare Press and StarkLight Press. Virginia enjoys new writing experiences. She has taken part of many writing marathons both for poetry and novels. She’s a regular for the yearly novel writing exercise NaNoWriMo, the 24 hour poetry marathon and the 3 day novel writing competition. She writes a poem a day for poetry month and once went three years writing at least a poem a day. Some of her poems have been turned into songs. She has even contributed to online ‘choose your own adventure’ series! Virginia has won awards for her novels and poetry, her works have been part of other award winning series and nominated for her essays, blogging and other writing. She is well known for her passion her spirit of adventure both on and off the page. Her stories range from science fiction. Supernatural, horror and the true stories of her life, historical books (one of which was endorsed by the Prime Minister of Canada as well as the Army Corp of Engineers) or studies of the paranormal. You can find her by Googling her or at www.virginiastark.wordpress.com,

on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Virginiacarrawaystark/

and @tweetsbyvc. She loves to get fan mail and to take part in new adventures in writing and always, to share her passion with the world.

 

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

Thanks to Our Poets!

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I am pleased to announce the completion of the First Annual StarkLight Press 24 Hour Poetry Marathon!

We had ten poets take part in our day long poetry extravaganza, and are amazed by the creativity and heartfelt poetic lines that emerged.

A gigantic thank you to all our poets!

The anthology, still to be named, featuring poems from this incredible creative journey will be available later this autumn. Look for release information here!

Remarkable poems, gifted writers, amazing experience- join us next year for StarkLight Press’ 24 Hour Poetry Marathon and take part in the incredible!

 

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

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!

blue moon season front cover

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

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

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

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

Piper Tadwell                                     Van Fleming

Mod Welles                                         Will Norton

Tara O’Neill                                        Jeren Nethers

Alfie Elkins                                        Virginia Carraway Stark

Nicholas Vincenzi                            Leanne Caine

Cathy Illes

and more!

Congratulations to all of our winning authors!

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

 

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

 

Kisses from Boreas

Kisses from Boreas

by Virginia Carraway Stark

 

After some twenty of them

had been disposed of

during the waning moon

with costumes and masks and
enchantments

he now wished he had not sacrificed
his sons

laughing

they would never throw themselves
down weeping

to die of grief

we have to rise

just as vegetation dies only to
reappear in the springtime

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

everything

I replied even as I thanked Boreas

in the deep of my heart

for the sweet relief from the smoke
and the flames

then it was

during the waxing moon

when costumes are removed

masks unmasked

enchantment revealed

and winter is come

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

Poerm previously published in “In Flight” magazine.

You can watch Virginia Carraway Stark read her poem here:

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

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

The Great Space Race

The Great Space Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Paone Sits Down with StarkLight Press

Interview with Brian Paone

paone author pic.jpgwith Virginia Carraway Stark and StarkLight Press

Hugo Award nominated musical/rock fiction author, Brian Paone, was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. His love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost twenty years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a drug addicted rock-star titled, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, Welcome to Parkview, was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, a time-travel romance titled, Yours Truly, 2095, was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy by a woman who is not what she appears to be. Along with his three novels, Brian has two published short stories: “Outside of Heaven,” which is featured in the anthology, A Matter of Words, and “The Whaler’s Dues,” which is featured in the anthology, A Journey of Words. Brian is married to a US Navy nurse and has four children. He is also police officer and has been working in law enforcement since 2002. Brian has ideas for enough future novels where he should be able to continue publishing books well past retirement. When Brian isn’t writing, he is playing or recording music with his band. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange. For more information on all his books and music, visit www.BrianPaone.com

You can listen to ‘Outside of Heaven’ for free, simply by clicking this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGB_3naL1N4

http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

https://www.facebook.com/BrianPaonesNovels

https://www.brianpaone.com

(NOTE: Chris isn’t part of the group anymore so I took that part out) Brian Paone is dedicated to helping other authors to realize their dreams and runs the Facebook Page ‘Fiction Writing.’ If you’re interested in an online community that is supportive and fun ask to join the Fiction Writing group to share your work, get feedback, get tips and learn from other’s success and failures check it out here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/611602735649133/

All 3 of Brian’s published novels are available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook.

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Thanks for joining us at StarkLight Press today, Brian!

I guess my first question is ‘author and musician’? Those are two difficult skills in one Brian shaped package! What sort of musician are you and do you multi-task in this sphere?

  • I have been in recording/touring bands for 19 years now. I have been in a total of 4 bands, and my 7th album is coming out at the end of the summer this year. I am the singer & keyboard player for all 4 of my bands.
  • Drop Kick Jesus has 2 albums: “Splatterguts” (1998) & “Depress The Heart” (2001), and we sound like a cross between Slayer and Slipknot.
  • The Grave Machine has 1 album: “The Grave Machine” (2004), and we sound like a cross between Ministry and Neurosis.
  • Transpose has 2 albums: “A Delicate Impact” (2007) & “Retribution” (2011) and we sound like a cross between Deftones and Thursday.
  • Yellow #1 has 2 albums: “Bottle of Rain” (1997) & “Thanks for the Nostalgia” (that’s the album that’s coming out later this year, 2016) and we sound like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Digital Underground.

How do you find time to write as well as being a Police Officer? Do you work full time as an Officer?

  • I worked fulltime as an officer from July, 2002 until October, 2011, when I then went to part-time, and have been ever since. I wrote and published my first 2 novels, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts and Welcome to Parkview while working fulltime, writing on days off and some nights staying up until the morning writing. But I was working part-time when I wrote Yours Truly, 2095.

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Was it ever a decision between the three careers of Police Officer, Author and Musician?

  • There was never a decision because I was able to sustain all three; working fulltime as an officer, playing concerts and mini-tours with my band on the weekends, and writing at night or my days off during weekdays. I somehow found a way to make it all work. However, because music is my number one love, if a genie was to grant me fame and success in one career of my choice, I would pick music and my band without even blinking an eye.

How do you find that the three jobs nourish and grow the other careers? Do you take a lot of the lessons learned as one of them and apply those lessons to the others?

  • To be honest, I leave my policing career 100% out of my writing and music career. However, if anything, it’s my writing and music career that consistently blend and integrate with each other. My band Transpose’s 2011 album, “Retribution,” is a concept album that is a short story I wrote. Instead of trying to publish the story, we took the story (dialogue and all) and wrote our album around the story. So every night, when we play that album night, it’s me really just singing the words to my own short story. I even made a movie to go along with the album that I published on YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYb9fx0okmw

What is the most important thing that you’ve learned as a writer?

  • You can’t rely on family and friends to all buy your book. If you want anyone to read your work, you must promote, promote, promote… and then promote again.

Would you say that is the same answer for what the most import thing you’ve learned in life is?

  • Most important thing I’ve learned in life is, when there is a bump in the road, or an instrument doesn’t work on stage, or a plot idea isn’t panning out, you just … keep … moving forward.

If you could pick one song to describe your career as a writer, what song would you pick and why?

  • A Small Victory” by Faith No More

When you were a kid did you say: I’m going to be a writer and a cop and a musician or did these careers grow with you?

  • Yup. That’s EXACTLY what I said. I started obsessing over Pink Floyd when I was just 6 years old and wanted to be a musician. I saw a girl get beat up in 5th grade and then wanted to be a cop so I could help people. And I read Stephen King and started writing my own fiction in 7th grade and wanted to be an author.

Of your jobs, do you have a favorite? Do you have a dream that you could quit two or one and focus on a narrower field or do you like things just the way they are?

  • I am very happy with my careers so far. I have achieved some milestones and accomplishments in both music and writing that other’s try their whole life to reach. My band has played a sold-out show at CBGBs in NYC (the most famous club in North America), I have toured and opened for many of my musical idols. I have 3 published novels that keep surprising me in their sales and positive reviews.

What’s your most treasured ‘incident’ as a writer with a reader?

  • Last year I had a fan email me to tell me that my first novel, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts, is his favorite book of all time, and convinced him to not commit suicide and get help for his addictions. He asked if I wouldn’t mind Skyping with him so he could thank me “in person.” I agreed, and then found out … he lived in Russia!!!

What is the worst moment you’ve ever had as an author?

  • Thunderstorm. Auto-save turned off. Writing Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts. Wrote for about 10 hours straight. Lights flickered. Power went out. Lost about 20,000 words. POOF.

If you were suddenly confronted with an alien ship landing in your backyard would the aliens be friendly or fierce? What would you do next?

  • Hopefully they would taste like chicken.

How would you describe your life? Is it generally easy, hard or somewhere in-between?

  • My life is pretty easy. As a part-time officer, I only have to work the street about 14 shifts over the span of 3 months. Other than that, I am in my office Monday – Friday either writing a new story or novel, editing other author’s work, or creating music for my band. I do have 3 children (with a 4th due in August) so when they come home from school, it’s like tornado alley in my house.

When do you do the most writing?

  • Weekdays between 0700 – 1500, and after the kids go to bed at night (if I’m not working on new music with my band).

What’s your worst distraction from writing and how do you fight it?

  • The Fiction Writing Facebook group that I admin. I can’t fight it. I have to be there. Ha!

What is the one thing you would tell yourself as a young writer if you could go back in time and give young you advice?

  • DO NOT approve that first editor that was hired to edit Welcome to Parkview! Go straight to the second editor that was hired after the first one was fired… that’s almost a year of your life you’ll never get back.

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Is this the same advice you tell young writers when you mentor them now?

  • I tell them to at least GET an editor. Do not self-edit your own work, and DO NOT self-publish anything that hasn’t been professionally edit yet.

paone writing young.jpg

What’s something new and exciting that you would like to share with everyone?

  • I have begun outlining my 4th book, tentatively untitled. It’s going to be a comedic-military novel, almost in the style of the film Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton. This will be about the true adventures I had when my wife, who is an Officer in the Navy, left me alone with our two toddlers when she got deployed for 8 months to Djibouti, Africa, and the learning curve and craziness that ensued during those months. I’m hoping to have a 2017 release schedule for that.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

  • Best advice I ever received: Don’t write while drinking!
  • Worst advice I ever received: Don’t write while drinking!