Brockley Max Feast Tales the videos


Video from our feast of food stories at the Brockley Deli as part of Brockley Max festival.

You may notice something about these videos, you may not… see below*

Snippets from the longer works, and the complete poems. Mostly the readers are the wonderful Gloria Sanders and Peter Noble, but the equally marvellous Joan Taylor-Rowan read her own story.

Peter reading from Devilskein & Dearlove by Alex Smith

Joan reading from Feeding Time

Gloria & Peter reading from Monsieur Fromage (Lovers’ Lies) by Rosalind Stopps (the full video is available on Youtube

Peter & Gloria reading from Christmas, Presents by Jason Jackson

Peter reading April is the Cruellest Month by Rob Walton

Gloria reading Laureate by Jennifer A McGowan

*A new experience for me, matching sound files to video – the aircon (or something) at the Brockley Deli interfered with the sound on the video so I had to use the recordings from my audio machine. Something of a challenge getting them in sync!

If Stories be the food of… read on … a feast of stories about food

Our Final Brockley Max event for this year
Thursday 4th June at Brockley Deli 14a Brockley Cross, SE4 1BE
The Story Sessions: Feast Tales
Join us for a story set in a cheese shop, Cranberry Sauce as an excuse for an illicit meeting, trying to win friends with cookies and taking tea with a demon, plus poems about oranges and bay leaves! Order appropriate food to ‘taste-along’. Mostly read by our actor friends Peter Noble & Gloria Sanders.
8pm – 9pm Free entry; accompanied children 10+ welcome
A free live literature event all about food. Stories from Rosalind Stopps, Joan Taylor-Rowan and Jason Jackson, Poems from Jennifer A McGowan and Rob Walton, plus an extract from Devilskein & Dearlove, our Carnegie Nominated young adult novel by Alex Smith.

Arachne Feast & Festival at BrockleyMAX

Story Sessions logo copyThe Story Sessions are back – for a guest spot, maybe for good, depending… We are doing three events for BrockleyMAX. The first two are both on Saturday 30th May The Ladywell Gallery, (what used to be Misty Moon) behind The Ladywell Tavern 80 Ladywell Road SE13 7HS

Writing Workshop – Festival

5pm – 7pm Free; accompanied children over 10 welcome
Arachne Press presents a writing workshop on the theme of Festival. Get inspiration from the exhibition of photographs from previous BrockleyMAX festivals and write a new short story or poem, with the option to read it at The Story Sessions event in the evening.
 run by Cherry Potts
Story Sessions: Festival Tales
7.30pm – 9.30pm Free; accompanied children welcome
A live literature event with stories from Joan Taylor-Rowan and David Bausor, poems from Elinor Brooks (read by actor Miriam Lee) and Jennifer A McGowan on a festival theme. Circuses, Street parties and more. Join in with Flash from the Floor – your chance to read your own festival piece (max 100 words).
brockley max ladywell gallery
And finally, on Thursday 4th June at Brockley Deli 14a Brockley Cross, SE4 1BE
The Story Sessions: Feast Tales
8pm – 9pm Free entry; accompanied children 10+ welcome
A free live literature event all about food Stories from Rosalind Stopps, Joan Taylor-Rowan and Jason Jackson, Poems from Jennifer A McGowan and Rob Walton, plus an extract from Devilskein & Dearlove,our Carnegie Nominated young adult novel by Alex Smith – mostly read by our actor friends Peter Noble & Gloria Sanders.
Join us for a story set in a cheese shop, Cranberry Sauce as an excuse for an illicit meeting, trying to win friends with cookies and taking tea with a demon, plus poems about oranges and bay leaves! Order appropriate food to ‘taste-along’.

What our authors are up to Autumn 2013

Part of the principles on which Arachne Press is founded is to support our authors work for other publishers, or any other weird and wonderful activities they get up to.

in the spirit of which, a round-up of news.

Michelle Shine has just published her first novel, Mesmerised, which is about the Impressionists and homeopathy. I’ve just finished reading it and it is extraordinary – very convincing on period detail and the flavour of the world she is writing about, and occasionally startling.  Michelle has a ‘trailer’ for the book which you can view on YouTube.

Jason Jackson‘s most recent publication was a story called ‘Change, Rest’ in the July issue of synaesthesia magazine online.  he has an upcoming publication: a story called ‘Queuing, Photographs,. Morning Eyes’ in the December issue of smokelong quarterly and he’s part way through nanowrimo.

Rob Walton has been busy:
May 2013 shortlisted/commended in New Welsh Review’s Flash in the Pen microfiction competition.
June 2013 Short play The Bumps produced by Alphabetti Spaghetti and reviewed here:
September 2013 Highly Commended in the Sara Park Memorial Short Story Competition from Red Squirrel Press,   and two poems published in Let’s Play!, children’s sports and games anthology from Frances Lincoln, editor Debjani Chatterjee.

Lennart Lunh likewise: Short stories — “Nighthawks” (yes, after the Hopper work) was taken by Pages & Spine
“Paris Street; Rainy Day” (Len’s favorite of all paintings) will be in the Fall 2013 issue of Lewis University’s online journal, The Jet Fuel Review, releasing 21 November.
Poetry — Work saw light in The Chaffey Review and The Binnacle over the summer. Chatter House took three pieces for a November anthology, Ffjords one  as a video reading, and a small boatload of other poems have accepted by Writing Knights Press for several of their anthologies over the next six months.
Len is reading at Lewis’ fall open mic on November 15. Traveling to Cleveland November 23 for an evening reading with Writing Knights Press.

Tania Hershman has begun a PhD in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, exploring the intersection between fiction and particle physics.
She read at the Word Factory ghost stories night on Nov 8th in a cemetery! Also, She will be the judge of the 2014 Bridport Prize for flash fiction and a 2014 Gladstone LIbrary Writer-in-residence.

Laura Martz has started the creative writing MA at Goldsmiths.

Andrew Blackman is working on a third novel, and have also had a few short stories published (e.g. in Spark) and book reviews (e.g. in Review 31).

Review of Lovers’ Lies at Sabotage

We’ve had a lovely in-depth review from Sabotage of Lovers’ Lies. It’s so satisfying when a reviewer really gets what we are trying to do, both as writers and publishers.

highlight quotes:

… the anthology isn’t slavishly devoted to its theme; it has the freedom to take off on tangents and flights of fancy. Love is treated as a springboard rather than an anchor to hold the anthology in place.

‘Monsieur Fromage’ by Rosalind Stopps. As the title may imply, that last one features a man selling cheeses, but it still manages to be a touching story of a marriage inevitably collapsing inwards despite the desperate desire to stay together.

Lovers’ Lies, as a collection of love stories, doesn’t neglect the realm of high romance either. Co-editor Cherry Potts provides a story with overtones of Tennyson and epic loves played out across a lifetime in the surprisingly small and closed world of neighbouring farming estates. ‘Mirror’ takes place with the First World War in the distance, but able to act only as a sideshow to the real conflicts and dramas playing out in rural England and in the hearts of two men.


The final, redemptive twist of Jason Jackson’s ‘A Time and Place Unknown’, the last, sci-fi, entry in Lovers’ Lies, leaves the anthology with a final note of optimism. It ends by letting us believe that love is a force for good and that it can overcome time, space and perhaps even death itself.

Over the course of its 138 pages Lovers’ Lies shows both the darker side of love and the way it brings out the best in us. If that was the intention of the Arachne Press editors, then they’ve done a fine job.

Quite cheered up Monday morning, which was going pretty well already – breakfast in the garden, and an hour of ripping bindweed off the fence before settling to the computer.

Cherry Potts is reading tonight Monday 8th July 7.30 onwards at Brixton Book Jam, at The Hootananny in Effra Road. so if you don’t already have a copy of Lovers’ Lies, come along and pick one up there, you can get it signed!

Misty Moon Preview of Weird Lies – the video

We had a spectacular evening at Misty Moon last night. Thanks to Stuart for hosting,and to all our lovely readers for making the stories shine (and for bringing a Doctor Who element to the proceedings!)and the authors for writing such brilliant material in the first place … and the audience for showing up and buying books and laughing so much.

Stuart has asked us to make it a regular date – quarterly to start off with so the next one will be Sunday 29th September, just after we publish Weird Lies and Mosaic of Air.

If, having watched the videos, you want to help Arachne Press publish Weird Lies you can contribute to the funds by preordering or by contributing to our kickstarter campaign.

Sophie Aldred reads Content Management by Derek Ivan Webster (from Weird Lies)

Alistair Lock reads Zwo by Alan Graham (from Weird Lies)

Ray Newe reads ChronoCrisis 3000 by Andrew Lloyd-Jones (from Weird Lies)

Cliff Chapman reads A Time and Place Unknown by Jason Jackson (from Lovers’ Lies)

There’s no video of Cherry Potts reading The Bone Box, from Mosaic of Air because a button didn’t get pressed on the video (that’s the sort of thing that would happen in ChronoCrisis 3000).

© Arachne Press 2013

9th June Misty Moon Update

We have finalised our reading list and readers for the Misty Moon event.

Not necessarily in this order, but:

weird handsFrom Weird Lies

Sophie Aldred will read

Content Management by Derek Ivan Webster

Alistair Lock will read Zwo by Alan Graham

and Ray Newe will read ChronoCrisis 3000 by Andrew Lloyd-Jones

From Lovers’ Lies lovers lies fish

Cliff Chapman will read

A Time and Place Unknown by Jason Jackson

mosaic glyph

From Mosaic of Air

Cherry Potts will read The Bone Box … by herself!

Sophie Aldred to read at Misty Moon Weird Lies Preview

In Ladywell, in Lewisham there is an old tavern… and behind that tavern is a coach house… and in that coach house is a gallery… with a bit of a fondness for horror movies, ghostly tales and the other things of weird ilk… so no surprise they are friends of Arachne Press, then.

Arachne Press will be reading one of the more bizarre stories from Lovers’ Lies and a couple of previews from Mosaic of Air and the very strange Weird Lies at Misty Moon Gallery, Ladywell Tavern SE13 7HS, on Sunday 9th June 6-9pm

We will be reading:

Content Management by Derek Ivan Webster (read by Sophie Aldred)

A Time and Place Unknown by Jason Jackson (read by Cliff Chapman)

ChronoCrisis 3000 by Andrew Lloyd-Jones (read by Ray Newe)

Zwo by Alan Graham (read byAlistair Lock)

The Bone Box  by Cherry Potts from her forthcoming collection Mosaic of Air (read by Cherry)

weird lies postcard vp copyposter adapted from Kevin Threlfall’s design for the Weird Lies cover.

Momentum: How to keep on keepin’ on – A Guest Blog by Jason Jackson

‘Write every day,’ they say.
‘You’re not a writer unless you’re writing,’ they yell.
‘Write, write, write!’ goes the clamour of voices in my head.
But they’re sneaky, these voices. Duplicitous.  They also say things like
‘Hey, the football’s on!’
or ‘Spend some time with your kids, you idiot!’
or ‘Your wife’s going to divorce you unless you take her out tonight.’
They remind me – constantly, irritatingly, loudly – that I have a family, a life, a job, and several million things to do which are much more important/easier/more fun than trying to write. There are a thousand things other I can do which are less likely to result in my self-esteem being kicked to black, blue and yellow bruises than writing. There are at least twenty things I have to do – today, this minute, immediately –  or the consequences will be both severe and irreversible.
‘And anyway,’ says the one particular voice, the slimy, grey-sounding little whine.  ‘You don’t even have anything to write about, do you?’

So, sometimes I write, and sometimes I don’t, and if I’m not feeling guilty about writing too much, I’m feeling guilty about not writing enough, and the world turns, and I turn with it, and before I know it, I’ll be dead.
And so will you.

Okay, so perhaps that’s a little pessimistic. But the problem I have with writing is exactly this: I want to write every day and I can’t.

Five years ago, I thought this had finished me as a writer. I’d been scribbling stories for about four years, and I’d had some small successes. Competition wins. Anthology publications. Stories on-line. I even made a (miniscule) bit of cash.
And then, one day, I stopped.

Looking back, it had been coming for a while. Without getting all personal about this, things had become a battle: writing versus life. And life won.

So for the next four years I wrote nothing apart from a month’s worth of short stories and flashes one January when I dipped my toe back in the water only to quickly pull it back out again, shocked at how cold and uninviting it had become in my absence.

And then I got an email. Someone wanted to publish one of my stories in an anthology, an old thing I’d forgotten about that had been featured at a literary reading four years previously.  I looked back at the story, embarrassed at how dreadful it was [it isn’t! – Cherry], but I said yes anyway. And I lay awake that night, thinking, I can do so much better.
[For example, Jason’s beautiful story in Lovers’ Lies, A Time and Place Unknown – Cherry]

That was April 12th last year. Ever since that night, I’ve been writing. Four stories a month, regular as clockwork (almost). I’ve won £200 and had six stories published. That’s all. In a year. When I look at it like that, in black and white, in makes me want to give up again.
But I’m not going to.
Because here’s the thing I’ve been looking for, and the thing that I’ve suddenly realised – today, literally about an hour ago – I can get, easily, without destroying my family or losing my job in the process, the thing that is going to make me a better writer, a more widely published writer, and a richer writer (there, how’s that for confidence…?):
It’s a thing called momentum.

First though,  an anecdote. I participated in last November’s NaNoWriMo – a month-long rush to write a 50,000 word novel in exactly thirty days. And I did it. I wrote, on average, 1,700 words a day (actually, mainly at night) and came out of it with a novel.
It’s rubbish, obviously.
But it’s a novel, and it’s mine, and in my brighter moments when I think about it I realise that actually, if I could only find the time, I reckon I could pull it and prod it and push it and caress it until it becomes something just about publishable.
And the thing that made me get through that month was the thing I’ve just realised I can get without having to write nearly two thousand words a day (which translates as about two to three hours of time away from my wife and my kids and my job and my guitar and the television and my books and my life every single day for the rest of my life…)
The thing that I had in bucketfuls for that whole month was momentum.
And it’s the thing that I believe makes a writer a writer.

So, how to keep writing every day? How to convince yourself that you’re a writer by actually writing something, day after day after day, forever? How to do this thing, and not get sacked/divorced/a reputation as some kind of mad recluse?
Well, here’s how, in six easy imperative soundbites (followed by some details and stuff).
(And, yes, I know, five would probably follow the genre conventions of an article a little more closely, but number six is important).

1. Buy a notebook. Now, I know this is nothing new. I’ve bought literally hundreds of notebooks in my time, and I’ve been as full of good intentions as they’ve remained empty of writing. No, the thing isn’t just buying the notebook, it’s using it. Carrying it, every day, everywhere, and not being embarrassed  by whipping it out and writing down whatever it is that’s just sparked the writer in you. If someone asks you, ‘Hey, what you doing with that notebook?’ you say, ‘I’m writing in it.’ and you just get on with it. So, if there’s a big football game on that evening, watch it. If you’ve got a sick kid to attend to, off you go. If your scowling significant other wants to eat out for a change, all well and good. Because you’ve already done your writing for the day! It’s that line you scribbled down about the man who you saw at the bus-stop with the sad eyes and halitosis.
It’s that conversation you transcribed as you listened to the two women in front of you in the queue talk about at completely cross purposes about  a) Maggie’s funeral b) carrots.
It’s that four-line poem you scrawled across the page in the middle of the night when you’d just woken up from that weird dream about trying to get a girl’s phone number in a bar full of men with bare chests and horse heads.  You might not have actually sat down in front of a screen and written a story yet, but you’ve been a writer, and sometime soon there you’ll be, deskbound, turning the stuff in your notebook into something a little more substantial.

2. Diversify. I write short stories. But you know what? I can write poetry, too. Or articles (maybe, you be the judge…) I used to write songs, and I’m going to start again. I’ve got a blog. There’s a novel sitting under my bed just begging to be ripped apart and put back together again. And there’s always another novel to write. No more sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t write tonight because I haven’t got an idea for a story,’ because there are so many other things to write.

3. Forget about the muse. Stephen King writes very engagingly in his perfectly-titled book ‘On Writing’ about the muse, and how you can’t wait for her to turn up (and actually, King’s muse is a he…). Just write, says King, every day, and eventually the muse will find you, because if you’re not writing, how’s the muse supposed to know you need her (or him)? So I say, sod inspiration. Perspiration first.

4 Don’t be embarrassed into submission.  That poem is awful. That song sounds like the sixteen-year-old you wrote it. No one reads the articles on your blog. Your stories keep getting rejected. The novel doesn’t work, will never work, and no novel you ever write is ever going to work. Yeah, well, join the club, and make the decision: Do you want to get better, or do you want to give up?

5 Don’t forget to live. You can’t write all the time. Otherwise, all you’ve got to write about is writing, and that’s pretty dull (although £100 of the £200 I won last year came from a story about writing, or trying to write, or not writing, or something like that anyway…)

6. Don’t beat yourself up. I ride a bike to work most days, and the best advice anyone ever gave me about riding a bike to work most days (apart from ‘wear a bloody helmet, idiot!’) was to not beat myself up on the days when I simply couldn’t be bothered and jumped in the car instead. So, you know what? If you want a day off from this writing lark, take one.

But don’t take two.

© Jason Jackson 2013

Jason has been published twice by Arachne Press.