Buy a book for hallowe’en

You should all know by now that we don’t publish horror, but we do get quite close to the bone at times. So here are my recommendations for those of you who like your spine tingled, or to get daft with too many sweets and pumpkin carving.

Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed by Liam Hogan, Fantasy with a dark flavour, leavened with humour. Particularly dark: Bring Rope, particularly joyous Miscellaneous, Spooky, Weird … and every variation in between. Even the cover is pumpkin coloured!

No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book our eighth anniversary anthology, spiders are emphatically not the enemy, but the humans on the other hand are quite a challenge: You might particularly enjoy Maria Kyle‘s The Aspectsof Arax, C L Wearne‘s Suspended, Carolyn Robertson‘s Sicarius, or for a more lighthearted take, Guy Russell’s Interspecies Peace and Love Song or A Katherine Black‘s Even People who’ve been Accidentally turned into Giant Mutant Spiders.

Dusk, our Solstice Shorts 2017 anthology. If you like you poetry bleak and your stories bloody then try At Sky’s Edge, Helen Slavin, Here by Samuel Wright, Wolf’s Head by Penny Pepper, Yes, Twilight by Math Jones

With Great Power… a BSL translation

For No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book, regular contributor to Arachne anthologies, Helen Morris, takes the Spiderman origin myth and gives it a spin. BSL translation by Marcel Hirshman.

Helen was one of the first winners of the Solstice Shorts Competition. We are currently crowdfunding for this year’s festival and anthology, Tymes goe by Turnes. We have some lovely unusual rewards, and some nice standard T shirt/ Book/ Badge type things, If you felt like supporting us you can do so over on Pay it Forward.

Guest Blog: Margaret Crompton – Borning Spidergirl

Today is international Jumping Spider Day! What better way to celebrate than with Margaret Crompton‘s blog about her story for No Spider Harmed in the Making of This Book, Spidergirl.

Sometime in January, Spidergirl was born, after what was, for me, an unusually brief gestation. Arachne’s call for submissions about spiders was a challenge I couldn’t decline. What did I know about arachnids? silk, strength, multiple births, delicate webs, agility. I ignored the fragments of fly-corpses on the laundry windowsill, & the cobweb tangle above. With only a few days before the deadline, and minimal arachnoid background, I avoided natural history, and I had no ideas for a straightforward human narrative. How could I interweave spideriness with humanity?

As I considered the purpose of the anthology, I saw that celebrating Arachne implied facing the horror at the core of the foundation myth: jealousy, rivalry, punishment, death. I challenged myself to explore the Arachne myth in the light of cooperation rather than conflict. Myths are about both everyday experience and mystery.

Mysteriously, I found Spidergirl attending my own school. The gym, in which Spidergirl performs feats of grace and power, was for me a torture chamber. My gymnastic efforts were devoted to avoiding the humiliation of failing to vault over box or horse, climb wall bars or swing on rope; I would generously remain at the back of the queue. My only achievement was walking along the narrow strut of an upturned form, using the balancing exercise to practise what would become essential for a writer – imagination: the floor, ten inches below my hesitating feet, became a fiery pit or turbulent torrent into which I must not fall.

The craft room caused equal anxiety. Most of my relations were – or are – highly talented in many arts and crafts. My own hands missed all those genes. But music has come to me through my father and paternal grandfather.

Love of literature and interest in myth was nourished by the tall glass-fronted bookcase in the dark corridor where from early childhood I was free to sit on prickly coconut matting and read whatever I chose. No surprise that my degree is in English Literature. No surprise either that, after forty years writing ‘professional’ texts about communicating with children in the context of social work, health care, and education, I began to explore other forms. In my 60s, with my husband, I’d also taught (adult education), and researched and written about English Literature. Since I became 70, my publications include short stories, poems, flash fiction and plays; Script in Hand has performed three plays (the fourth prevented, for now, by C-19).

Spidergirl, in a few hundred words, encapsulates the nearly 80 years of reading and writing between that girl with matting-prickled thighs and this woman whose legs are vein-webbed.

This year, Arachne has brought me more than publication in an anthology whose quality delights me. In the spring, I offered a guest blog – not a form which comes easily to me, so another challenge. But being stimulated to write anything at all helped to counteract that extraordinary lethargy which has beset so many people. I spent hours writing as well as I could, following that first blog with another, which Cherry posted, and a third which she didn’t.  Although I was disappointed, good outcomes included the stimulus of thinking about and writing the piece, which led to further reading. And I’ve been enjoying the blogs & interviews, meeting and learning about and from other writers.

Then came the call for Tymes goe by Turnes, another challenge I couldn’t refuse.  I followed leads which led, not to a story, but into fascinating areas of thought, narrative and discussion on our walks around the nearby field. Once again, Arachne called me out of lethargy, and Turner’s World of Twirls whirled me into the world of word play. Once again, I’ve enjoyed the excitement of acceptance, of posting the signed contract, of looking forward to the next publication.

Throughout these months, I’ve come to respect Cherry. I’m grateful for meticulous, patient, and honest editing which assures me that my work has really been read and, in turn, respected. I admire clear editorial principles and quality. I enjoy being a small thread in Arachne’s web.

We are crowdfunding for our next book, and Solstice Shorts Festival. The crowdfund ends on 15th October, head on over and see what we have on offer.

 

 

 

 

 

Spidergirl by Margaret Crompton BSL Translation

We had quite a few of the stories and poems from No Spider Harmed... translated into BSL, but not all of them were ready for the launch. This one is Margaret Compton‘s magnificent inversion of the Arachne myth, Spidergirl. Translated by Marcel Hirshman.

We are currently crowdfunding for this year’s Solstice Shorts Festival, Tymes Goe By Turnes, and if we raise enough it means we can do this with at least some of the stories and poems chosen for performance and inclusion in the anthology. If you’d like to back the crowdfund, Margaret has a story in that one too! At the minute we are at only 11% of out target, and 11 days to go… so we could use your help.

I meant to post this last night, when the video was released on YouTube and Facebook, but I went to sleep for an hour and dreamt I had done it… the best laid plans and all that!

Sicarius by Carolyn Robertson in BSL

the brilliant (and very busy) Marcel Hirshman has translated some more stories for us. they will be appearing as I have time to edit and upload them.

Here, Carolyn Robertson retells the Arachne myth as office rivalry…

from our anniversary anthology, No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book

final sponsor: Anansi

It took a bit of doing but we tracked down Anansi for you!

Thanks to Chukwudi Onwere for sharing the god of story’s contact details!

Launching No Spider Harmed in the Making of This Book

Yes, we are launching the book!

Join us at 8pm on the 8th of August, to celebrate the launch of our 8th anniversary anthology, No Spider Harmed in the Making of This Book.

Being eight is significant for us as we are named for a spider, so we are making a big deal of this!

Our writers have given the nod to Anansi, Robert the Bruce, Miss Muffet, and of course, Arachne herself, as well as discovering whole new worlds of spider influence and metaphor, with many stories dipping into Fantasy and Science Fiction.
A joy for any arachnid fancier, and anyone who can’t stand small lives being trampled, in prejudice or phobia.

Download the recipe for our ‘curds and whey’ cake in advance, so you can sample it at the right moment.

Watch readings from authors, interruptions from celebrities of the spider world, and BSL translations from Marcel Hirshman.

Readings of Poems from
Emma Lee
Hugh Findlay
Jennifer Rood (BSL only)
Joanne L M Williams
Kate Foley
Natalie Rowe (BSL only)
Seth Crook (+BSL)
Stella Wulf

Readings of Stories from
A. Katherine Black
Carolyn Robertson
Daniel Olivieri
David Mathews
Elizabeth Hopkinson
Jackie Taylor
KT Wagner
Phoebe Demeger (+BSL)

We aren’t going to let a global pandemic stop us celebrating our spidery anniversary.

Pull up a web and join us on our website, our YouTube Channel or our Facebook Page

Meet our ‘sponsors’

If you haven’t caught up with them elsewhere yet, here are the three delightful promo messages going the rounds for the launch of No Spider Harmed.

Ms Muffit (Carrie Cohen)

Incy Wincy (Greg Page)

and

Robert the Bruce (Math Jones)

We did try to get Anansi involved, but he’s not answering his emails.

Eighth Anniversary events coming up

arachne 8 logoTechnically it was our 8th anniversary yesterday, as the day we registered the company in 2012, but eight is an important number for Arachnids, so we are celebrating throughout August (eighth Month) for our Eighth year.
We have:
An Anniversary Anthology: No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book, launching with online readings.

Lots of authors are joining in, A. Katherine Black, Carolyn Robertson, David Mathews, Daniel Oliveri, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Emma Lee, Hugh Findlay, Jackie Taylor, Joanne LM Williams, KT Wagner and Kate Foley, Phoebe Demeger, Seth Crook and Stella Wulf, on the website, and we will be premiering on our YouTube channel and our Facebook page, on 8/8/2020 at 8pm BST.

you might like to go and subscribe/follow the channel/page so that you get a reminder!

Normally when we launch in real life, we have a cake. Obviously thats a bit of a challenge, so I’ll be sharing the recipe the day before so you can bake your own!

I’ve been thinking about spidery cakes, and its not an appealing notion, apart from maybe spun sugar web – but my skills don’t stretch to that, so I’m planning to riff on Miss Muffet’s curds and whey, and make some sort of cheese cake – possibly an Austrian one my mum used to make. It has currants in. I’ll leave that thought with you…
BUY A COPY OF NO SPIDER HARMED FROM US!
In addition, we have video interviews and readings with most of the authors of our single author titles, and we are working on getting more people involved; we have a sort of animation of The Old Woman from Friuli (reminiscent of Jackanory style) and introductions to each of our anthologies from the editors.

I don’t want to over promise on this because we haven’t actually finished filming, never mind finished editing, but there should be something every day during August. Again: on our Facebook page, our YouTube channel, and of course, right here on our own website** (actually not, if the upload keeps failing… maybe the shorter ones… but not consistently here.)
The first few events, are as follows (at 8pm BST unless otherwise noted):
01/08/2020 Mosaic of Air
02/08/2020 The Old Woman from Friuli (2pm!)
03/08/2020 Katy Darby – Liars’ books
04/08/2020 Stations
05/08/2020 Jeremy Dixon – In Retail
06/08/2020 Jane Aldous – Let Out the Djinn
07/08/2020 Kate Foley – A Gift of Rivers and The Don’t Touch Garden
08/08/2020 No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book LAUNCH
09/08/2020  The Brook Storyteller Series (2pm)
10/08/2020  Math Jones The Knotsman
11/08/2020  Rosamund Davies and Kam Rehal: Story Cities
and so on…

ON 15TH AUGUST WE WILL ANNOUNCE THE FINAL LINE UP FOR SOLSTICE SHORTS

We will also be announcing plans for publications for the next three years, at least, later in the month.
Everything is a bit tentative, funding and covid being what they are, but we think if we say we are going to do something, it makes it a lot more likely – after all, we managed to get our anniversary anthology together in the teeth of a pandemic!

Throughout August there will be special offers on books

Expect around a pound off most books, and some buy one get one cheaper, or buy the whole series offers when bought from our webshop, starting 1st August. Our webshop isn’t very sophisticated so I think I’ll have to set them up on the day, so be patient!

Review 2: No Spider Harmed

a second review for No Spider Harmed this one is from Helen Whistberry on her book review site

A definite must for any spider-lovers but also a very rewarding read for fans of good writing.

…Moonlight is Web-Coloured by Emma Lee, a short piece but every word sings. I stopped and reread this one several times, so taken with the rhythm and melody.

read the whole review here