Tag Archives: Writing

The Punks are Back in Town

Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other’s good, and melt at other’s woe.

-Homer

Writerpunk Press is back and at it again. Taught by Time: Myth Goes Punk, our sixth charity anthology, is in the works!

We have taken the myths, legends and lore that readers love and turned them upside down and inside out. With a wide range of punk genres represented–steampunk, cyberpunk, dreadpunk, nanopunk, biopunk and atompunk–there’s sure to be something for everyone in this volume.

Profits are to be donated to PAWS Lynnwood, an animal shelter and wildlife rescue located in the Pacific Northwest.

Coming in late 2019, Taught by Time will be available on Amazon (print and ebook). Stay tuned!

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Friday Night Interviews: AR DeClerk

Author AR DeClerk swung by to chat to us about writing and all things punk.Find out how she was able to publish seven books in quick succession, what her writing process is like and the pros and cons of being a multi-genre author.

And no, we didn’t forget about the punk stuff. Keep reading to find out which punk genre was her first love and which genre she’d like to live in.

Author AR DeClerk

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Amy R. DeClerck. I am an author, wife and mother of two daughters. I grew up the oldest child of six, in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I currently live in Northwestern Illinois along the Mighty Mississippi.

When did your life as a writer begin?

I began seriously writing in the sixth grade, and I spent a lot of time writing poetry. It wasn’t until I was thirty that I began to work on a 3-novel Sci-Fi series (that was terrible!) and later wrote Between, the first of my novels to be picked up by Nevermore Press.

Have you always been interested in punk fiction or is this a recent development in your life?

Steampunk is a recent discovery for me. I have always had a penchant for scifi and romance novels, and I spent my teen years reading westerns, hard Sci-fi and mysteries. I read The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger and the London Steam series by Bec McMaster and fell in love with steampunk romance!

How did you end up getting involved with the Writerpunk group and Writerpunk Press?

I joined Writerpunk when a friend of mine suggested I look into the group to learn more about the punk genres, because it has become a passion to write.

What anthology are you helping with or hoping to help with? What inspired you to work on this specific project?

I wrote a steampunk version of Mellonta Tauta by EA Poe for the Poe anthology called “Things of the Future”, and I am excited to work on a cyberpunk version of The Picture of Dorian Gray for the English class anthology.

What it is about the punk genre that inspires you as a creative?

I love the idea that history is malleable. That we, as authors, have the power to tweak time and create alternate versions of our own world. Alternate versions, by the way, that encompass all the things we love about the punk genres!

Of all the various *punk genres and subgenres, which one would you like to live?

I adore the Victorian Era, but wouldn’t want to give up my present-day comforts, so I’d have to say steampunk for certain!

collage of books by AR DeClerk
Books by AR DeClerk

Between 2014 and 2015, you published seven books. How do you keep up with such a demanding schedule? Any tips for writers who might be juggling several projects at once?

Actually, I don’t write on more than one project at a time. I just happen to be a “fast” writer. When I have the time outside my normal work schedule I make sure to put aside two or three hours at night after dinner to write on my current project. Most often I can get an average of 3-5,000 words in one session. That word count quickly adds up. I don’t plot or outline, and scenes play out in my head like movies, which I then put on paper. I always write from start to finish and I don’t skip around.

My advice would be- do what works for you. Find a way to tell your story that feels natural, and don’t let anyone else discourage you because they don’t agree with “your” way. It’s YOUR way!

Forged in Fire book cover

Its probably difficult to choose just one, but do you have a favorite leading man or leading lady from your novels? It’s a tie, for me. Icarus Kane is near and dear to my heart. He is a hero with a heart of tarnished gold. He feels unworthy of love and peace, and his Lady proves him wrong! His ego is monumental, and it made him a wonderful character for a laugh! The other favorite is Gin Draven from Forged in Fire. He is a wounded man, with scars inside and out. But Gin’s character arc is one of the most satisfying I’ve ever written.

A quick glance at your published titles shows a variety of genres. What are the benefits of a being multi-genre author? Drawbacks?

The benefits of multi-genre is that I get to play in ALL the sandboxes. I know a lot of authors in a lot of areas, and I have readers in many different groups. The drawbacks are that it is HARD to promote multiple genres, and equally difficult to pull readers across genres to sample something new.

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

I read and write romance. Any time, any kind, any where. I don’t do erotica, though it has its place. I LOVE the feeling you get when you follow characters on their journey toward falling in love.

Can you tell us a bit about some of the people that influence you the most?

My mother created a love of books in me that has never departed. She always has a book close at hand. My best friend is my faithful beta reader, and even if she dislikes the genre she reads my work. My close group of friends, Ann and Myra, keep me up when I feel like being down. They push me to keep writing when I feel overwhelmed. Madeline L’Engle for writing my favorite book A Swiftly Tilting Planet. It changed my life and made me open my eyes and heart to a world I’d never imagined existed in literature. Stephen King for writing The Dark Tower series, because it was the first sweeping epic fantasy that really made me want to touch readers LIKE THAT.

What is your life like when you aren’t writing?

I work as a dialysis technician, helping people with kidney disease live long lives. I have a husband, two daughters, two dogs and a cat who keep me busy cleaning and cooking and doing homework and playing taxi. I watch all my favorite shows on TV, listen to music and love watching movies.

What you have taken away from working with Writerpunk Press and the Writerpunk Facebook group?

A group of like-minded people can bring a new genre great life. With support and dedication we can propel the punk genre to great heights, working as a team!

AR DeClerck: Author. Dialysis Technician. Book Ninja. Food Assassin. Self-professed nerd. How DOES she have time for it all?  Catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter, her blog, or on Amazon and find out.

Don’t forget! Merely This and Nothing More is out on May 31st. Grab a copy and read AR DeClerck’s “Things of the Future”.

Poe 3d Piano and Petals

 

 

Friday Night Interviews: Virginia Carraway Stark

This Friday Night Inteview features a woman of many talents: Virginia Carraway Stark! Getting an early start on writing, Virginia has had a gift for communication, oration and storytelling from an early age. Over the years she has developed this into a wide range of products from screenplays to novels to articles to blogging to travel journalism. She has been an honorable mention at Cannes Film Festival for her screenplay, “Blind Eye” and was nominated for an Aurora Award.

Virginia took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about punk literature, Starklight Press, what inspires her creativity.

 

Virginia Carraway Stark

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My friends call me ‘Adventure Girl’. I am extremely adventure prone and have been learned to accept that the curse of an interesting life is upon me. I graduated from high school and emancipated myself from my family when I was 16. I dropped out of some of the best universities in Canada to travel the world. While traveling I continued to write. I made some money with writing travel blogs and articles but mostly I just wrote.

I have been run over by a speeding taxi and walked away. The year before that I nearly died from blood loss and had emergency surgery. I had a really tough childhood which if you’re interested in you can find at www.ihavememory.wordpress.com  I am an outgoing, extroverted person and I love to take on new projects (and finish them), I love working with people and I really like not getting run over by taxis.

If you’re familiar with the ’16 personality types’ I’m a strong ENFJ (If you don’t know about it Google it, it’s so accurate it’s freaky). ENFJ’s are the protagonists and this is a good way to sum me up. I am loyal and strong willed and I stand up for myself and my friends. I believe in finding the good in everything and try to learn from the curve balls that the Universe seems to enjoy throwing in my direction.

What road did you walk to become a writer?

I was an imaginative child with a lot of imaginary friends and I saw the world through eyes that saw magic and wonder everywhere. I have never grown past that. I still find wonder in everything and I still have imaginary friends. I tell people stories, especially my friends who love to hear about the things I come up with. Sometimes when a friend of mine has been sad they have curled up on my lap and said, ‘Could you tell me a story?’. Of course I comply!

One of my friends told one of her friends about my stories and he happened to be a movie producer. He asked me to write some of my stories into screenplays. I refused on the basis that I had no clue how to write a screenplay but he persisted and offered to help me out with the things I didn’t understand. I agreed and spent the afternoon curled up at the library with a pad of paper and a book on ‘how to write screenplays’. The first screenplay I wrote for him he pitched to someone who loved the aspects of Asian mysticism I had put into it and he offered up gobs of cash to the producer. After that Rowdy Roddy Piper and Nick Mancuso and helicopters and extra explosions were added. The movie was called, ‘Blind Eye‘ and it went on to the Cannes film festival where it made a good impression. A new investor asked me to write ‘The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens‘ which starred Rowdy Roddy Piper again, this time as a magician.

I decided I really preferred plain old writing to screenplays and switched to writing. I was nominated for an Aurora Award (The Toadstools of Rire, a short story in another person’s universe was involved in that).

My husband and I had witnessed some unfortunate writers lose their worlds and their rights to their characters. My husband wanted to protect my writing as well as his own and the writing of others and so he decided to start Starklight Press as a way to share worlds, writing and to generally promote while keeping writing safe for the authors who wrote it.

This lead to a huge blossoming of writing and publishing, not just with Starklight but with many other presses as well. I also wrote a lot of scientific articles that took medical papers and broke it down so lay people could understand it as well as about scientific breakthroughs and other factual articles. I worked for the National Paranormal Society for several years and started a Journal of the Paranormal called Outermost that has received far more publicity then I intended from my humble ideas for a start to it.

I have a lot of publications and books out and am working on many more projects at this time. I try to keep a cohesive listing of these on my ‘about me‘ part of my website www.virginiastark.wordpress.com because there are a lot of them!

chicksoup for the soul with author

Have you always been interested in punk fiction or is this a recent development in your life?

Writing punk fiction is pretty new to me. My first actual Steampunk was written for a Christmas Starklight Anthology featuring Steampunk and my second one was my “King Pest” from Writerpunk Press. I love it! I am currently working on ‘Anne of Black Fables’, an urban punk version of the classic, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and a cyberpunk version of Othello for next year’s Shakespeare anthology from Writerpunk Press.

How did you end up getting involved with the Writerpunk group and Writerpunk Press?

Apparently I caught someone’s eye at Writerpunk Press. I received a private message from Lia Rees who said she had read one of my interviews and thought I would be great to work on the Punked Poe Project. I jumped in with both feet and had a blast and now it keeps going!

What anthology are you helping with or hoping to help with?

Poe, Classics and hopefully the next Shakespeare anthology. Othello is a cyborg in my version and Iago is one of those hacker types who hangs out on 4chan and other underworld creep places. I feel this clarifies his motives in subverting Othello. Most of the criticism of the play circulated on Iago’s apparent lack of morals in corrupting Othello but I felt putting Iago into the context of a hacker would make him explicable to most people because there are so many hackers who just enjoy mayhem for mayhem’s sake.

What inspired you to work on this specific project?

King Pest inspired me to write in the Diesel Punk genre because it fit the post war component of Diesel Punk and the Spanish Flu that decimated the world compared well to the world of plague depicted in King Pest.

Star Trek Cosplay
Star Trek Cosplay

What it is about the punk genre that inspires you as a creative?

I like mind puzzles and moving things into worlds that are reminiscent of here but in a dimension slightly off is a fun way to let my brain play.
For example, in Anne of Black Fables I had to think: Why would people in an urban setting be upset about Anne for being a girl and being different. I had a good think about things and decided that in the modern era and decided that a modern Anne would probably be diagnosed with Asberger’s or Autism (they’ve been combined into one now in the new DSM-5).

It’s things like that and finding a translation for things that really excites my creativity. What if Othello had been a Cyborg? Let’s find out…

Of all the various *punk genres and subgenres, which one would you like to live?

This is a really hard question to answer. I think Urban Punk but the thing about the punk worlds is that they aren’t by and large very nice places. Part of the punk aspect is that life isn’t optimum and people are set apart from the mainstream. A lot of punk is about chaos and anarchy. Punk is a genre I work with that I wouldn’t necessarily like to live there but it’s cool from a safe distance.

Can you tell us a bit about some of the people that influence you the most?

My husband is a HUGE influence on me. Whenever I have a problem that I’m trying to figure out I always go to him first to try to talk the problem out. We’ve also done a lot of collaborating on worlds and writing and he makes my mind blossom.

I love other writers to bounce ideas off of and the right internet writing groups can bring out the best of my creativity while other groups are really suppressive.

I’ve always been a reader. I grew up reading Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, Lewis Carroll and by the time I was about to move into elementary school I was into Stephen King and later a dash of Clive Barker. Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Tanith Lee…

God, so many good authors out there and I learned so much from all of them!

better tales from space pic with author

Do you have a set routine when you work?

Nope. I prefer to sit in my favorite chair with my laptop and a nice drink and a view outside of the birds who come to visit the bird feeder. BUT that isn’t my set routine by any stretch. I’ve written whole scenes that have suddenly come to me on my iPhone notepad function. I write on napkins and notepads, ANYTHING that will hold up to pen or pencil can fall victim to my writing.

I worked at Starbucks for awhile and between making lattes I used receipt paper to write on. I was so good that I could make a latte with one hand while still jotting notes with my other. I’ve used my hand or arm in a few rare cases but yeah, anything will do when it strikes.

What is your favorite genre to read/write?

I like the supernatural/paranormal/alternate dimensions or worlds, pretty much anything out of the ordinary. I have a tendency to include a bit of horror and writing in a strictly mundane world as part of a collaborative was one of the hardest challenges I had ever written. I also like science fiction. I generally put it all under the umbrella of ‘Speculative Fiction’ and let people wonder what that means, or rather speculate on what that means bwahahaha!

You are the editor in chief and “wearer of many hats” at StarkLight Press. Could you tell us a bit about StarkLight and your role(s) there?

I guess I’m a bit of a talent scout. If I see someone I like the look of I will often approach them to get involved in a short story event or something else. I read the stories and make sure they make sense. That’s my main editorial job. We have a separate line editor, Sharon Flood who is our wonder woman. I have a good eye for finding holes in plots and asking why something was or wasn’t included.

I often handle the co-ordination of projects and arrange them, plot them out and pick a crew to work on them. I also do a lot of public relations and promotions. I have a passion for writing and at Starklight that translates into ‘doing all the stuff that needs to be done’. Sometimes that’s communicating with personalities, writing letters to ask well known authors to write forewords for our books or whatever pops into my mind as a good idea at the time. I have a lot of energy.

Cover of Hearts Asunder, a StarkLight publication
Cover of Hearts Asunder, a StarkLight publication

 

Does StarkLight have any new projects on the horizon?

So many new projects! Starklight Volume 4 is set to come out this month and then we will be accepting submissions for Starklight 5. We have six different collaborative works coming out, new novels, new anthologies (the next one is Shamrocks, Saints and Standing Stones which was an invitation only anthology for writers we’ve worked with and had fun with in the past).

There is always something new in the works and endless possibilities for fun if you are an author who works well with others and doesn’t take yourself too seriously. Pretentious writers aren’t really up our alley. We like people who are real in their writing and reject people who are unfriendly, unwilling to take constructive criticism or open their minds to new ideas.

What you have taken away from working with Writerpunk Press and the Writerpunk Facebook group?

This is one of the groups that I love. The people in it are fun and supportive of each other. I’ve learned a lot about the various genres of punk but I still have a lot more to learn. The premise of re-doing the classics like Shakespeare, Poe, etc was a really cool one and I love the concept–got my brain wheels turning!

Do you have anything else you want to tell our adoring public or add to this interview in any way?

Just, be real. Actually do the writing, don’t just talk about writing endlessly. Don’t be boring. There are 7 billion people on this planet. In theory each one has a story to tell so you’ve got to be exceptional to get my attention. You do this by not being a sheep. Be strong. Stand up for yourself and your writing and don’t let people bully you into being ‘normal’. Don’t be awful but and stand up for yourself in a reasonable way but don’t ever let people criticize you for your passion and don’t let them curb your energy because you aren’t fitting the mold.

Stories that fit the mold are the worst and writers who aspire to that frankly make me gag. Be yourself and believe that you’re one in seven billion who is worth sharing your voice and speak loud, strong and clear.

Virginia definitely speaks loud, strong, and clear! Virginia works with other writers, artists and poets to hone her talents and to offer encouragement and insight to others.  You can catch up with her on Facebook or  Twitter. Be sure to grab a copy of Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk on May 31st to read her dieselpunk story “King Pest”. </shameless plug>

 

The Punks are Back and Ready for Trouble

punkwriters

There hasn’t been a post on this website since March of this year. (2015, for those of you reading this in the far flung future.) We must apologize, but life has been very hectic for all the staff here at Writer Punk Press. However, there is good news! We wanted to start pulling the levers that open the steam vents that push gears back into motion. Our steam powered engines are revving up and a couple of different projects are scheduled to début in the near future.

  • A sequel to our well received anthology Sound and Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk is coming on December 1 of this year. It is called Once More Unto the Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk Volume II. The formats will be the same as the first volume and will have several new punkified versions of classic Shakespeare stories.  We will have more information as the launch date draws near.
  • Next year we will be delving into the worlds of Edgar Allen Poe. This master of horror and mystery is receiving the same punked-out treatment that his play writing forefather received. There is no set date for this anthology, but we do have a title. May I introduce the brilliant but somewhat dark Merely This and Nothing More: Poe Goes Punk.  More information on this anthology will be released as plans are finalized.

We have other projects that are in the works beyond these two anthologies. More information on future projects will be announced after the two current projects are released.

In the near future, Punk Writers will feature interviews, blog posts and other content from all of those involved with the Writer Punk anthologies. Later this week, we are honored to feature our very own Jeffrey Cook and his recent trip to PAWS.  This is a trip that has been in the making since Sound and Fury was released in March.  All the profits from that anthology have gone to help dogs in need through the PAWS program. Find out more information about PAWS by clicking here.

It has been an honor to see all the good things everyone has to say about our anthology. We look forward to producing more for all of you to read in the future. Keep coming back here for all the news, clues and information for our future products!

Signing out

Punk Writers