Time for a peek at the little beasties that have a part to play in my debut fantasy novel The Weave. I did a bit of research about poisonous spiders around the world and this is the one –the Red-back Spider-that caught my eye and provided the inspiration for the Amarello spiders in the book.
The Red-back spider is a member of the Widow spider family. The female is more dangerous than the male who often, after serving her needs, gets guzzled. The lady of the species has a red stripe on the upper body and a red or orange streak underneath. Its two fangs bite into the victim then she wraps them up in silk and sucks out the liquefied insides. Lovely.
The Redback Spider
I invented most of the “facts” about the Amarellos to ensure that they would do exactly what I wanted them to do. I don’t think anything approaching the Amarellos really exists. But you never know!
Here is an extract from the book. Ombrine the witch is explaining to Oskar, the Comte de Tréville about her Amarellos.
‘Come and look at my Amarellos. Let me explain to you. Look closely and you will see there is organisation there – you with your tidy mind should appreciate that. These that lie around the outside of the basket, the larger ones, they are the sentinels. Their role is that of guardians of the nest and they line it with venom sacs to keep away predators. The inner layer comprises the nurslings, smaller than the sentinels – they take care of the eggs. Then we have the weavers, those small lively ones who make the rustling noise. They are the only ones to leave the nest and create the webs – and now there, right in the centre, there –’ she pointed to what to Oskar resembled a black velvet pincushion, ‘– there we have the queen, who lays the eggs.’
Oskar peered more closely into the basket. Unaccountably his eyes were prickling and teary. He opened his mouth to speak but found that his jaw was stiff, his tongue hard like a slab of wood. A shiver ran through him and gradually cold numbness crept up his body.
What happens next? Sorry – you will have to read the book, out in mid-November.
I thought that you might like to see the cover for my book The Weave – yes I know my Facebook followers have already seen it but it doesn’t hurt to remind you! Hope you like it. Should be out in November.
However, I could really do with some feedback about the proposed ‘blurb’ to go on the back cover. Bit of a cheek I know considering I’ve had six months away from the blog but sometimes life just gets in the way. Anyhow, this is the proposed wording. It was harder to write than the book itself and this is the fourth version.
|1598: When Oskar, Comte de Tréville asks the witch Ombrine to save the life of his son, she demands a high price. Oskar must leave his family and his lands and travel with her, as a servant, to Barbaria in search of the deadly Amerello spiders.
On his return to France five years later Oskar finds he is wanted for the murder of his wife. Unable to prove his innocence he allies himself with Ombrine who persuades him to take the Jouance – a life-prolonging drug made from the venom of the Amerellos.
He and Ombrine embark on a career of crime using Ombrine’s witchcraft and her Szellem – creatures called up from the dead.
Three centuries later, Oskar, now wealthy and leisured uncovers the truth about the fate of his family and has only one remaining ambition – to exact a long slow revenge.
2013: Debut author Richard Pease suffers from writer’s block. He is also broke and bedevilled by fears of his own inadequacy. He has just six weeks to complete his second book or lose his publishing contract.
A chance encounter with Oskar takes Richard to the Nonesuch Club, a writer’s retreat in France run by Oskar and Ombrine. There he finds the block to finishing his book lifts.
The mysterious disappearance of a fellow club member and the discovery of a drug laboratory in the Club plunge Richard into a centuries-old tangled web of deceit leaving him not only fighting for his career but also for his life.
So what do you think? If you saw the cover and read the blurb in a bookshop or on-line would you rush to buy or give a great big yawn and move on?
All ideas, suggestions, yah-boo-it-sucks welcome. Leave a comment below and thank you.