Short Stories and the Blogosphere

Author Virginia Carraway Stark has shared a story with blogger Mandy Millen, and it’s remarkable that people’s fiction can be posted so easily all over the world.

Mandy Millen’s blog with Virginia’s story, Into the Woods, can be found here:

http://shemeanswellbut.blogspot.gr/2015/10/around-cauldron-into-woods-by-guest.html

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

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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.  www.theprogramatgreenhill.wordpress.com

        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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Our StarkLight Pledge

We pledge to always nurture and cherish the VOICE of our authors.

We are not wedded to grammar school ideas of literary structure. The only witches hat in our house is reserved for fancy dress. We are not concerned about making a story palatable for those who do not like stories in the first place. This reductive fear-driven jealousy tries to abort all great artists before they begin, those of this age, and those destined for greatness in the next. This is why our heroes are those who never once gave in to such petty plastic surgeons of the creative membrane.

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We are only concerned with stories. Good ones. Ones that give us a read that expands our imaginations and heightens our sense of wonder.

We pledge to NEVER MURDER YOUR VOICE.

Having said that, I give you this word of advice. Be complex, not for some hipsterish sake, but to better convey the complex, magical world around us that operates on so many planes. Be learned, for if you find your own voice, I promise you, you will have to defend it.

Be sure you know the intricacies of grammar and literary structure.

Then, let NO ONE who criticizes it murder your voice. Treat it as a legal case, read copiously, learn what the pieces of the stories you read are called. Be prepared to defend your voice with Case Law techniques. Treat is as though you are in a Socratic debate.

But, my friends, be like unto the Grants- Stand Fast, and Let NO ONE MURDER YOUR VOICE.

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Not for the sake of simplicity, nor for ignorance, nor for frightened ideas of mass market palatability. Not for anything.

At StarkLight Press, if you have a voice that is not for mass consumption, that is beyond a grade four reading level, that uses big words well, that understands there is more to life than is dreamt of in a small, grasping, oligarchical philosophy, than I say-

Welcome Home.

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– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

A Letter to Canada’s New Prime Minister

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StarkLight Press would like to congratulate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada on their success in our Federal Election. The change in guard instigated by yesterday’s results brings forth reflections on what it is to be a leader of Canada and what our nation requires at this pivotal point in its history. As such, I have organized my thoughts into a letter for our next PM, with what humble advisements I would wish him to hear.

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Mr. Trudeau,

The running of a nation is a delicate and sensitive procedure. Its closest analogy would seem to me to be the raising of a child. It is often chaotic, utterly exhausting and one of the most rewarding pursuits given us.

When raising a child, there are moments as a parent when the world seems to contract and its edges crispen. There is only you and your child, who soaks up every word, every movement, every nuance you provide- or don’t provide- for their development.

At such times, a parent must acknowledge with humility that they have been given the incredible right to form another being’s nature… and thus affect the entirety of the future.

Inside these moments, a parent knows he must tread carefully, speak gently, do less, allow the child to provide the parameters. The parent then deftly provides the answers, security and situations for the child to succeed on their own. Be it coming to new comprehension, accomplishing a new task or deciding for themselves what comes next, these moments are the delicate ones that form the child’s being for the rest of its life.

It seems to me that the running of a nation such as Canada is a series of these quiet, intimate, formative moments. We are less the brash and bombastic child, less the child who needs a firm hand and more the child who has a quick mind and wisdom beyond its years.

Perhaps it is because Canada is still a young country, formed in an age when humanity was finally outgrowing the simple, brash signifiers of the toddler. We were forged as humanity began to understand itself as an aware being in a complex and gigantic world.

Perhaps it is because we as a nation are retiring, self-sufficient, competent souls who enjoy being in Canada more than we enjoy doing in, or at, Canada. In either case, we are very similar to that quiet, thoughtful, ever-growing, ever-maturing child.

The majority of we Canadians are too smart to be mindlessly swept up in the bold headlines and shock reporting that sways the hearts of citizens elsewhere in the world. We are aware and capable of coming to complex decisions under our own power. We do not require the stern discipline of House Rules for its own sake, or the bluster of threat and coercion.

Which brings us back to those delicate moments in parenting when one realizes that their child is no longer strictly in need of boundaries and protection, but is a being in its own right who can discuss matters and come to reasonable conclusions. It is a difficult time for a parent. The urge to bluster through with authoritarism is still close at hand. It is an attractive proposition not just because it is easier than accomodating- it also in theory protects the child more than allowing them to make their own decisions. It is a difficult time for a parent because, by including the child’s views into family decisions, the parent must admit that their child is a being separate from themselves.

From what we have seen on the world stage in recent years, it is an easy mistake for leaders to make, this refusal of the fact their peoples are beings with wishes and desires separate from those in power. In many cases, those wishes are not so very different from the way the leaders would run things, if they could. In some cases, the differences are staggering. Accepting this individuality is the hardest part of good parenting. It would seem to be the most elusive quality in running a country, as well.

I think it would be one of the most challenging purusits, running a nation.

The role of Head of State contains within itself a grand array of those most delicate, most humbling aspects of parenting. A parent must only make a few hard choices for their child, yet for a nation hard decisions are frequent and their consequences massive. Running a nation also impacts the world stage in ways that stagger the sensibilities of the common man. Certainly, these qualities inherent in running nations are rivalled only by the intense potential that is molded by the parent of a growing child.

I would ask, therefore, Mr. Trudeau, that you treat this nation as you would your own child.

Remember where you came from, the good and the bad of your parents and grandparents. Be ever conscious of this and try to instill the best of your family line into your nation. Be unafraid to acknowledge the shadows in the past, for being honest with your children about those dark spots can lead to the greatest growth and understanding.

Remember, especially as the bluster and tumult of the world political stage begins to buffet you, that your nation is an entity of its own, separate from you and separate from the others. It is a nation of well-considered, remarkably mature thinkers who value the harmony of the family and the harmony of the nation before blind wealth or military might. Value your nation’s individuality in the face of those who would want it to look more like themselves, and less like Canada.

Remember most of all, that as a nation, we stood up in great numbers to quietly and respectfully ask for a brighter future. A nation that will do that without violence, without strife, without hyperbole, is that child of uncommon maturity. If there is a difficult decision, if there is a sudden setback, have the humility and trust to speak to us, knowing we have the awareness to calmly and earnestly speak back.

These steps you take now are formidable. You have much to overcome, much to prove and much to accomplish. Every parent does.

Know that you do not take these steps alone. We take them with you, little by little, ginger and watchful, each of us hoping the other will rise to the occasion and allow the blossoming of something great, together.

Sincerely,

Tony Stark,

President and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

In My Mind’s Eye- A Poetry Anthology

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Here’s the fetching front cover to the first poetry anthology from StarkLight Press!

Inside, you can find beautiful poetry by participants in the online 24 hr. Poetry Marathon and top-notch writers from around the world. Featuring the fruits of more than a year’s poetic efforts, this beautiful anthology will be available the end of October, 2015.

Authors include:

Doris Ray (British Columbia historian)

Laura Callender (President, CW Press)

Monica McCawley

Liane Carter

Virginia Carraway Stark

Jason Pere

Meg Dunn

Jenn Spaulding

Jen M. Duell

Tony Stark

and more!

Check back at starklightpress.com for pre-order links for ebook and print versions!

Tony Stark,

President and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

A Word About the Nature of Horror

At this most spooky time of year, we are re-blogging editor in chief Virginia Stark’s blog about what, exactly is horror.

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Lately I’ve been involved in two different horror anthologies. The first one was for Halloween. Published by CW Publishing and entitled ‘The Grim Keepers’. The second one is an upcoming one for Christmas called, ‘Festive Frights’ and promises to be a respite from ‘all that sugar and spice’ of the holidays. As more and more authors work on their stories and we discuss them amongst ourselves, I hear one question over and over again: Is this horror enough?

It’s an interesting question and I don’t think anyone is ‘expert’ enough to judge this one way or another for the simple reason that everyone is scared of something different.

A good example of this is a story that I submitted to a horror magazine years ago. The magazine has since gone out of business but I will never forget the rejection letter that they sent me. They were openly derisively towards me the way bullies in a schoolyard will be, “You call that horror?” They asked. “We didn’t find it at all scary. Maybe you should try writing for children.”

The story I had sent in involved ritual murder. The women involved captured peasants and put them in cages above bathtubs after slicing their victims legs and feet open so that they could bathe in their blood. That was one part that I felt classified it as horror and yet I was told it wasn’t horror enough.

This raises the question, what is scary enough for a horror anthology? Horror is defined as: 1) An intense feeling of horror, shock or disgust. 2) A bad or mischievous person, especially a child. 3) Having a frightening subject matter, especially a supernatural one.

The definition of horror shows how diverse of an issue it is. There have been a few stories that when I wrote them I got the heeby jeebies, but usually I only know if something is scary by the reactions of people to what I have written. Horror is subjective but the last definition of horror given is a telling one.

The supernatural all by itself can cause a regular story to be boosted into the category of horror in a single bound. We are, as a race most intensely filled with feelings of horror, shock or disgust by that which is profoundly other from ourselves. No category fulfills the criteria of ‘other’ better than the supernatural. Without a system to categorize and understand what we are experiencing our adrenaline gets pumping and we are left wondering if the creak of a floorboard is the house settling or a boogeyman about to pounce. We try so hard as a species to be rational in world where things very rarely follow a rational pattern.

A good example of something that is ‘horror’ without anything really horrific happening is the legend of the will-o-the-wisp. A mysterious light appears in a wooded or swampy area and someone, or a group of someones follow it. The wisp is always a little ahead of them, is it over there? No, wait, it’s all the way over there. Is it a person? Maybe someone lost and looking for home? But they don’t reply to the people calling to them? Perhaps it’s someone playing a trick on them? Or perhaps, it’s something worse…something unknown.

The will-o-the-wisp is an excellent example of the mystery of horror because the people can survive and return home, or they can be lost forever but either way, an unexplainable event occurred to them. This is what makes horror. It’s disarray in the ordered threads of day-to-day life, it’s anything extraordinary. Even seemingly positive things that are extraordinary can rapidly transition into horror. For example: The Lottery Curse.

It’s something of an urban legend that says that anyone who wins the big lotto is cursed. People tell stories about the man who won the lottery and then lost his wife and children to various falling outs and then discovered he had cancer. There are dozens of variations of these stories of how the money will never last and whatever you do with it will somehow inexplicably go wrong.

So, what is ‘horror enough’? There is no answer for this. Is it bad? Is it mischievous? Is it filled with disgust and entrails? Is there a mysterious light that lures people to their possible deaths? Is it winning so much money that your life has become unnatural?
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That’s the fun of horror. Not everything is going to be scary to everyone but the reason we write it primarily is to explore the bounds of what is known to us. When I write horror it is like wading the ocean, everything is normal and then… suddenly the shelf of sand breaks off into vast unknown depths. The difference between horror and a regular story is that break between touching the ground and having the depths below your feet. Who knows what will rise from those cold deeps.

StarkLight’s Christmas Anthology

Introducing a very special, close-deadline short story contest!

StarkLight is putting forth a Christmas anthology of short stories… and our theme is:

Steampunk Holiday Stories!

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As usual, we are looking for stories with a wry, speculative, thought-provoking twist- and this time, with an added shot of Christmas, Solstice and any other winter holiday you think goes well with gears and petticoats.

Minimum word count is 250

Maximum word count is 10 000

Poems and other print media are welcomed.

Deadline is November 20, 2015

Please put your story in .doc, .odt, .pdf format and submit along with contact information to:

starklightdesk@gmail.com

Share with your steampunk-minded friends today!

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

In My Mind’s Eye- A Poetry Anthology

StarkLight Press is pleased to announce the upcoming release of its first poetry anthology, entitled In My Mind’s Eye.

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This anthology features poetry from online writers’ groups chaired by Virginia Carraway Stark as well as a selection of poems from participants in the 24 Hour Poetry Marathon 2015.

Collected and compiled by StarkLight Press, this anthology will be available in perfect-bound and e copies November 1.

Featuring authors Ingrid Exner, Laura Callender, Virginia Carraway Stark, Monica McCawley, Hank Porter, Roxann Harvey, Jenn Spaulding, Jen M. Duell and more.

You can order your advance copies through StarkLight Press today!

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press

Introducing the Phraser Connector

StarkLight Press is proud to present online the long-standing local newsmagazine, The Phraser Connector.

As part of our commitment to sharing local author voices with the wider world, StarkLight Press is making available the Connector to online audiences all over the world.

The Phraser Connector is the brainchild of author Elaine Storrey, local humanitarian and arts patron in Fraser Lake, British Columbia. This paper collects the best of the area’s public events, local interest stories and cottage industry offerings. In addition, The Phraser Connector has regular columns from the pens of local authors about life in the wilds of northwest British Columbia.

Each new edition will be available for ebook readers and computers as it is sent to local mailboxes.

In addition, StarkLight Press will soon have all archived editions available through Scribd, the amazing periodical respository.  Our thanks to Elaine Storrey for making these available to the public!

Be sure to check out the fun events and local color from this region on your kindle, iphone or computer today!

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

Poetry Marathon Anthology

StarkLight Press is pleased to publish a collection of poems from the intrepid, dedicated poets who took part in the 2015 24 Hour Poetry Marathon.

Several of the many participants have had their inspiring and impacting poems selected for the StarkLight Press Poetry Marathon Anthology. Read the creativity brought forth by an entire day of hourly poetry crafting and celebrate poetry on a deadline!

We are pleased to offer the Poetry Marathon Anthology in ebook and print format, available soon from StarkLight Press- The Center of the Media Galaxy.

– Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.