QUEER COMPANY 3 – another registration reminder

A final reminder that ‘early bird’ registrations for QUEER COMPANY 3 in Manchester will be ending on 30 September, so if you’d like to register at the discounted rate of £50 you will need to grab the opportunity quickly.

Details of how to register are to be found here, but if you have any difficulty with the form or any other questions we will be only too happy to hear from you – contact us by e-mail or in the comments below.

We’ll be announcing more details of our plans for the event through the winter, so watch this space (or one like it!) for information as and when it becomes available.

We’re still counting the days…

QUEER COMPANY 3 – registration reminder

Don’t forget that ‘early bird’ registrations for QUEER COMPANY 3 in Manchester will be ending on 30 September, so if you’d like to register at the discounted rate of £50 you will need to grab the opportunity quickly.

Details of how to register are to be found here, but if you have any difficulty with the form or any other questions we will be only too happy to hear from you – contact us by e-mail or in the comments below.

We’ll be announcing more details of our plans for the event through the winter, so watch this space (or one like it!) for information as it becomes available.

We’re counting the days…

 

 

 

New review of COINS NOT ACCEPTED

Our good friends at The Novel Approach have recently given their verdict on Chris Quinton’s latest title, COINS NOT ACCEPTED.  While we think it’s fair to say that the reviewer, Lindsey, was a little baffled at first, the end result is a charming and thoughtful appraisal of the book.

“I quite enjoyed this fairly unique story with its intriguing world building and interesting plot, even if I had to spend some time on the internet to figure out some of the historical and geographical references.”

Thank you, Lindsey – we totally agree that it’s an unusual tale and we’re glad you gave it a chance; as you’ve discovered, the magical world of Chris’s imagination is always well worth delving into!

New review of A CERTAIN PERSUASION

A brief, but Austenishly elegant, review of A CERTAIN PERSUASION has appeared on The Historical Novel Society’s website, concluding with the words:

“The original Jane Austen characters’ full-throated independence, intelligence, curiosity and bravery serve these wonderful tributes well. Reimagined, one and all discover “there are many different ways of living in this world.” I think Miss Austen would be delighted, and I highly recommend this enchanting collection.”

As endorsements go, we can’t imagine how this could possibly be bettered – and we’d like to thank reviewer Eileen Charbonneau for her good opinion!

 

New titles for 1 August announced today!

The days when we get to announce our upcoming titles are some of the most thrilling in the whole of our publishing calendar; it’s just like planning a surprise party for somebody and then anxiously watching their face as they walk in all unknowing…

In this spirit of excitement, therefore, we’re very pleased to be announcing details of the new books we’ll be publishing on 1 August 2017.

First, there’s a welcome return for Morgan Cheshire; her lovingly-crafted historical novels have always been popular, and we’re sure this will also be the case with A TIME TO KEEP.  It tells of the tribulations experienced by Matthew and Ben, two lads who leave the workhouse in 1909 and start a life together.  But this isn’t the best period of history for happy-ever-afters, and when War descends Matthew is left to try to make some kind of sense of his future…

Alongside this, we have another new title from our good friend Elin Gregory – this time the tale of small-town museum curator Malcolm, who becomes entangled with contractor ‘Dirty’ Rob (a man who makes his earth move!), a significant archaeological discovery on a building site, and the machinations of unscrupulous treasure-seekers; really, what more could any reader want?

As an added bonus this time, we also have the return of R.A. Padmos’s ‘Espresso Shot’ LIKE PEOPLE, which originally debuted last year.  For technical reasons we had to remove it from sale immediately – but now it’s back, and is available to purchase again from today.  As World War Two draws to a close, Karl meets Nathaniel – but is this any time to be starting something new?

These three books represent a perfect snapshot of our broader output, and we’re very proud of them all; they two new ones will be available to pre-order shortly, and will be on general sale through our usual outlets as from 1 August 2017 – enjoy!

Honourable mentions for TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR, COINS NOT ACCEPTED

Rainbow Awards season seems to be well under way now – let’s just pause a moment to consider what a massive logistical feat it must all be to organise and co-ordinate, shall we? – and there’s more good news for Manifold Press.

 

Writing about Michelle Peart’s TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR, one anonymous reviewer began with these words:  This book was AWESOME. I was captured by the characters and story from the first page and was held captive until the last.   That’s exactly the sort of thing we like to hear!

 

The comments on Chris Quinton’s COINS NOT ACCEPTED were briefer but no less heartfelt:  Great book, great worldbuilding, a tad too much info dump. But I loved it.  It’s reassuring that anyone can love a book without considering it 100% perfect; like people, they all have their little quirks!

 

Congratulations to both Michelle and Chris for impressing the reviewers, and good luck to you both in the next round of judging!

Honourable mentions for A CERTAIN PERSUASION, HARBINGER ISLAND

To our great delight, two of our books have recently received Honourable Mentions in the 2017 Rainbow Awards!

Commenting on our Jane Austen-inspired anthology A CERTAIN PERSUASION, one reviewer wrote this:  “While I enjoyed almost all of the stories, I think my favorite was by editor Julie Bozza. Most of the other stories were relatively straightforward romances, but Bozza’s contained the convoluted conflicts of Austen’s works and seemed to me the most successful of all the stories. The book was well-edited and proofed, always welcome features. I highly recommend the book to any Jane Austen fans, and really, to Dear Readers in general.

The reviewers who assessed Dorian Dawes’s wonderfully strange HARBINGER ISLAND were also enthusiastic, with one commenting: “Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of  the Twilight Zone series, complete with menacing townsfolk and rotting buildings A different twist is given in part by the main characters who are mostly transgender. Interesting and spooky plot.

We’d like to congratulate Dorian and all our anthology authors, and also to thank the reviewers for their time and comments:  Rainbow Awards season is always an exciting time, and these two Honourable Mentions have got the 2017 Awards off to a flying start for Manifold Press!

I blame it on the cats!

An author guest blog by Chris Quinton.

GAME ON, GAME OVER happened because of cats. And Avebury, but mostly cats. Many years previously, the fur balls were a ‘thing’ in the fan fiction I was reading at the time. All of them were cutesy, fluffy, adorable, and they charmed the heroes with their irresistible appeal – well, you get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a sucker for the feline kind, canids and equines as well, but I wanted something more than the saccharine sweetness of those stories, and none were to be found. So I decided to write my own.

My cat wasn’t cute. Wasn’t fluffy, either, regardless of what some poor deluded human had named him way back when he was a kitten. Though in all honesty, he probably had been appealing back then, the way all kittens are, no matter what they grow into. This one grew into an autocratic, battle-scarred and cynical tom, based on a rather large ginger and white individual I saw in the courtyard of the Red Lion, Avebury’s pub. The humans he interacted with were fleshed around two characters from a TV series. Yes, I wrote fanfiction and I make no apologies for it: fanfic got me through some difficult times in my life.

I didn’t use the characters’ screen names in the original story, as Aidan was very good at creating new identities, had gone into solitary ‘retirement’ in the sleepy little village in the heart of Wiltshire, and was determined to stay there. Scott was as determined to forge a relationship with him. And TBC, aka That Bloody Cat,  merely wanted to live in his old home again.

The setting of Avebury reflected my love and fascination with the place, and its unique archaeological history. Then there are its ghost stories: the barber-surgeon, Florrie the Barmaid, the ghostly coach to name but a few.

Some time later, when I’d had a few titles published, I remembered that decades-old fanfic. Other than a few mentions of their shared past and their physical appearances, there was nothing at all to show its original inspiration, not even their names. So I began to put together a new backstory for them. To misquote a soccer commentator, it would be a tale of two halves, and the new title was a natural choice: Game On (where and how they met and parted), Game Over (where and how they got together again and reached their HEA).

I’d recently read a fascinating article on the Silk Road, and anyone who knows me, knows how I am addicted to archaeology. Add in the political situation of the area, plus a hint of Kipling’s Great Game, and I had the first part nailed. Aidan Whittaker would be an MI6 agent, undercover at an archaeological dig in Tajikistan, near the border with Pakistan. Scott Landon was a photographer tagging along behind a journalist, and we all know how much trouble a determined newshound can get into without really trying.

The second part would be entirely different in pace and setting from Part One, and its setting was Avebury. Thanks to family and friends prepared to drive me to one of my favourite places in England, I already had a large folder full of photos, but I wanted more of specific areas. This time, though, no one with a car was available, so I resorted to the buses. Getting to Avebury by public transport wasn’t easy, involved changes, and took forever. I had only a limited time before the return trip. So I chose the field where the pair of fictional cottages would sit, took many photos up and down the street, and had just enough time for a sandwich and a cuppa at the Red Lion before I caught the only bus back to where I could pick up the return bus to Salisbury.

Incidentally, the weather was glorious. Few things can beat summer sunshine in a tiny English village with thatched cottages and an excellent pub.

Above, I said I was addicted to archaeology – that isn’t an understatement. In Game On, Game Over, when Scott asks Archaeologist Aidan, ‘Why?’ his answer is as much from my heart as Aidan’s.

“… But you, these kids, you’re out here in a strange land, living in tents with basic amenities, no real freedom to come and go, watched over every now and then by the army. Just to dig holes in the ground. Why? What’s the point of it?”

Why?” John rounded on him ferociously, taking Scott’s breath away. “Do you think we live in a vacuum? That present and future are the be-all and end-all of two-dimensional lives? The point is, Mr Landon, you, me, those postgraduates, the lecturers, the cooks and drivers, are linked to the past as surely as we are to the present. We are no different to the people who travelled the Roads and stayed in the caravanserai. We are no different from the Roman soldier on Hadrian’s Wall who wrote home to his mother asking her to send him more socks. And yes, before you ask, he’s genuine. Every minute fragment of the past found in excavations enriches the present. Every translation of newly discovered writing expands our knowledge and strengthens the links to our past. Human nature has changed very little in the millennia we’ve walked upright, and we’re faced with the same choices today as our ancestors were. The only differences now are our enhanced abilities to create and destroy.”

So, yeah, that’s my one and only ‘Mary-Sue’ time (apart from that one I wrote when I was fourteen, starring me and Elvis…). Come on, I was fourteen, for the gods’ sake…

 

A message for NO HOLDS BARD authors

At the risk of ‘shooting ourselves in the foot’, we feel we should pass on news of an exciting opportunity for those who write Shakespeare fiction.  Our good friend Lou Faulkner has drawn our attention to a competition for new plays which ‘vibe off’ the Bard’s oeuvre, and which this article thinks (and we agree) could access some previously untapped talent in the fanfiction genre.  The mention of “massive works queering the reign of Henry the Fifth” caused a certain amount of nonchalant whistling and staring into space, both here at Megaheadquarters and elsewhere in the Manifold Press diaspora…