Release day for our new titles!

It is the first of August, and our new titles are now available at last! The last month – from our official announcement through to release date – always seems unbearably long, and we feel sure many of our readers have felt the same way.


Under Leaden Skies by Sandra LindseyThis is the Press’s first novel from Sandra Lindsey, and we certainly hope it won’t be the last! UNDER LEADEN SKIES begins in the early days of the second world war. ‘Teddy’ Garston is finally prompted to confess his love for his friend Huw Roberts, and they spend a few hours together before Teddy must travel north to Shetland to take up his duties piloting Sunderland flying boats. The story follows Teddy throughout the war, while all the old certainties seem lost in the turbulence of change and loss – until at last he can head home again, and try to find a way of building a new life with those he loves.

UNDER LEADEN SKIES buy links:


Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryElin Gregory has long been a good friend to the Press and all who sail in her – not to mention a well respected and much loved author of all things historical – so we are dead chuffed to be publishing her delightful novel ELEVENTH HOUR. Elin lovingly evokes old adventures of espionage and derring-do in this tale set in 1920s London. If you are nostalgic for ‘couples only’ boarding houses and nosy landladies, bath houses and suave gents spying for foreign powers, not to mention the necessity of tea and a good overarm bowling action, then this is the yarn for you!

ELEVENTH HOUR buy links:


The release date is a workday Monday, so we will host our regular Q+A on Saturday 6 August on Facebook. That seemed to work very nicely last time! We’d love for you to drop by for a chat with Elin, Sandra and our other friends at the New release Q+A event, from 6pm BST / 1pm EDT / 10am PDT.

In the meantime, we very much hope you’ll enjoy reading our new titles!


You may remember that we also announced another title for release today: LIKE PEOPLE by R.A. Padmos. Unfortunately the author and the Press have come to a mutual decision to withdraw this title from publication at this time due to unforeseen circumstances, and the rights have reverted to the author.

We apologise for the disappointment we know many of you will feel.

GHOST STATION paperback giveaway

Ghost Station by Adam FitzroyAdam Fitzroy very kindly made two copies of his paperback GHOST STATION available, hot off the presses, for a giveaway. Thank you to everyone who entered!

This morning, we drew the two lucky winners at random from the entries … and they are Carolyn and Dianna! Congratulations to both of you. We have emailed you to ask for your postal addresses, and Adam is waiting with pen poised to sign your copies, if you wish it.

Thank you again, and we trust everyone’s Sunday is going swimmingly.

GHOST STATION paperback giveaway!

Ghost Station by Adam FitzroyManifold Press stalwart Adam Fitzroy has very kindly made two copies of the paperback edition of GHOST STATION available for a giveaway!

There are no hoops to jump through. Just click here for the entry form, fill in your first name and email address, and click the Submit button. (All information will be treated strictly confidentially, though unless you request otherwise, we will publish the first names of the winners on this blog.)

The giveaway will run from today, 23 July, through to Saturday 30 July.

Blurb: It’s 1976, the Cold War is still at its coldest, and retired agent John Dashwood is persuaded to return to supervise one last mission. However nothing at Ghost Station is quite the way he remembers it and everybody seems to have something to hide – including his two valued colleagues, Rick Wentworth and Harry Tilney, and his enigmatic boss Sir Charles Grandison. When operational necessity requires Dashwood to send Rick and Harry into a dangerous situation, the boundaries between friend and enemy begin to blur and he’s left isolated and wondering which of his so-called allies he can really trust.

GHOST STATION received an Honorable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2012, and reviewer Sirius at Jessewave called it “An exciting and fun spy thriller, which had me on the edge of my seat …”

Please do take this opportunity to enter this giveaway, dear Readers!

AUTHOR GUEST BLOG NUMBER TWENTY NINE – Adam Fitzroy

GHOST STATION

GHOST STATIONIt would probably not be letting too many cats out of too many bags to admit that books in general and characters in particular are usually inspired by someone or something the author has encountered in the course of everyday life.  It may be a poem, a snippet of history, a person met at random at a bus stop or in a hospital corridor, a picture discovered on the Internet – or, indeed, just about anything else.  (More than one book, for example, has been written as the result of someone playing a quest-type game, either online or with pencil and paper and a series of multi-faceted dice.)

My inspirations, on the whole, tend to be visual.  It would be disingenuous to pretend that I haven’t, in my time, written a considerable amount of fan-fiction, some of which I’m extremely proud of, but the problem with fan-fiction is that it only works if both the author and the reader are familiar with the source material.  That way there’s a kind of shorthand operating by which, for example, the name ‘Spock’ immediately conjures up a set of known reference points – he’s a Vulcan, his blood group is T-Negative, his parents are Sarek and Amanda, etc. etc. etc.  It isn’t necessary to explain why Spock does certain things in a fan story, because his character is so well established already that the reader knows what to expect from him.

When you want to branch out and start writing your own original fiction, it’s immediately necessary to explain things about your characters that the reader can’t possibly know in advance.  If you call your character ‘Tock’, say that he’s from a planet called Eros, his blood is X-Positive and his parents are Derek and Nora, you need to give your reader a chance to get to know him; the short-cuts offered by fan-fiction are no longer possible and, although you may have taken the TV (or indeed film) version of Spock as your inspiration, the reader has no way of knowing that and you are basically starting out to create your character completely from scratch.

On the other hand, this is also incredibly liberating; it means you get to discard features of the character you aren’t particularly fond of – you can get rid of an inconvenient spouse or partner or an irritating personal habit such as smoking – and reshape him or her to suit yourself.  At what point he or she ceases to be the one you remember and becomes an independent creation is, of course, a moot point; by the end, all you may be left with is a vague memory of a certain actor in a certain film or TV series – but the character on the page is no longer that person, if he ever was.  He has grown beyond that, and become uniquely himself.

This long preamble is by way of an explanation; I had unfinished business with the characters who eventually became Rick Wentworth and Harry Tilney, in the form of a piece of fan-fiction which was only ever half-written and was on my conscience for roughly thirty years.  I can’t begin to tell you the tumult those thirty years represented in my life – probably best if you don’t know, actually, since I’d like you to be able to sleep at night – but, when the dust settled and I began writing seriously at last, it was important to me to return to that world and finish what I’d started there.  Even if that meant going back to the very beginning and making the story over with characters who only superficially resembled the TV originals they’d once been.

If you start from scratch like that, it follows that you pretty much have to invent the details of the organisation the characters work for.  In both the original TV show and the book they are employees of a British organisation responsible for national security which is perpetually starved of funds.  They are cut-price James Bonds, the guys who do the day-to-day work and are more likely to end their day filling in forms than bedding a glamorous Soviet agent in a Mayfair hotel.  They have their American counterparts, too, who are always better-resourced – but which side they’re on is anybody’s guess!  And of course this is all set during the Cold War and it runs in parallel with John Le Carré’s ‘Smiley’ novels, because who wouldn’t want to write about the nitty-gritty of fieldwork in those days?  I once stayed in an East German hotel where the listening devices had only recently been removed; it isn’t difficult to imagine what it must have been like just a few years earlier.

Constructing the London headquarters of Ghost Station in my mind, however, was the best fun of the whole book.  I happen to be very fond of railways, and ghost stations in particular.  (If you’re not familiar with the expression, see abandonedstations.org.uk.)  Very few abandoned Tube stations seem to have been repurposed, at least as far as the underground sections are concerned, and it seemed that such a station would make an ideal secret base.  It would be very similar, in fact, to Western Approaches Command in Liverpool, which I visited when I was writing MAKE DO AND MEND.  Locating it involved a happy few hours poring over Tube maps, and inventing a spur line in a part of London I know reasonably well, to give my characters somewhere to operate from; Mr Le Carré has his famous ‘Circus’, and I have my ‘Ghost Station’.

It would be tedious to go into all the details of the book and describe the inspirations behind them – although a gentle online stroll around the abandoned sanatorium at Beelitz-Heilstätten is always worthwhile.  Suffice it to say that, for any book, ideas can emerge from a bewildering variety of sources; the trick is combining them into something that will entertain the reader without taking too many liberties with anybody else’s copyrights.

Ray Lonnen and Roy Marsden in 'The Sandbaggers'
Ray Lonnen and Roy Marsden in ‘The Sandbaggers’

On which note, I feel it’s probably safe to reveal that the original inspirations for the characters in GHOST STATION, thirty years ago when it was intended as fan-fiction (and pure action-adventure without any sex!) were Roy Marsden and the late Ray Lonnen in ‘The Sandbaggers’.  That Rick and Harry grew a very long way beyond them and became other people goes without saying, I hope, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind they still look rather like Roy and Ray – as they were in the late 1970s, anyway – and for those who are not familiar with them this is how they looked back then.  (That’s Ray Lonnen on the left, Roy Marsden on the right.)  I really hope this revelation hasn’t ruined the book for anybody, though!


We’re delighted to announce that the paperback edition of GHOST STATION has just been released!

You can find it at:

Not two but THREE new titles announced today!

We are announcing three new titles today, one from R.A. Padmos – and two from authors new to Manifold Press! They are all available for pre-order now, and will be published on 1 August.

Under Leaden Skies by Sandra LindseyThis is the Press’s first novel from Sandra Lindsey, and we certainly hope it won’t be the last! UNDER LEADEN SKIES begins in the early days of the second world war. ‘Teddy’ Garston is finally prompted to confess his love for his friend Huw Roberts, and they spend a few hours together before Teddy must travel north to Shetland to take up his duties piloting Sunderland flying boats. The story follows Teddy throughout the war, while all the old certainties seem lost in the turbulence of change and loss – until at last he can head home again, and try to find a way of building a new life with those he loves.

Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryElin Gregory has long been a good friend to the Press and all who sail in her – not to mention a well respected and much loved author of all things historical – so we are dead chuffed to be publishing her delightful novel ELEVENTH HOUR. Elin lovingly evokes old adventures of espionage and derring-do in this tale set in 1920s London. If you are nostalgic for ‘couples only’ boarding houses and nosy landladies, bath houses and suave gents spying for foreign powers, not to mention the necessity of tea and a good overarm bowling action, then this is the yarn for you!

Our third title to be published on 1 August is our first ESPRESSO SHOT – which is our new informal imprint, featuring long stories and novellas. If you want to read more about this imprint, please check out our blog post.

Like People by R.A. PadmosAs we have come to expect from R.A. Padmos, her LIKE PEOPLE is a superb historical novella which really tells it like it was. Karl Meisner has been fighting for five years in a war he never wanted, for a nation-state Karl knows very well wants him dead – for Karl Meisner is a man who loves men. We follow him through the last days of the war as he survives being shelled by the Russians, manages to walk in a state of exhaustion with other soldiers and refugees to the river Elbe, and surrenders to the Allies. From there he ends up in a prison camp in England – where he meets Nathaniel Cyfer, a man who must have no reason at all to ever like let alone love him.

As you can see, these titles feature the Press’s new cover design – and we think they are beautifully evocative, and worthy follow-ups to the covers for ACROSS YOUR DREAMS and CARAVAGGIO’S ANGEL.

The ESPRESSO SHOT cover will be the same for all titles published under that imprint. Given that it will grace stories of potentially all styles and all genres, we chose an image that evokes the comforts – and the stimulations – of the reading experience itself.

Launching our new ESPRESSO SHOTS imprint

Cup of espresso and coffee beans on a Shabby background, top vieOur plans – or at least our fond hopes! – are that 2016 proves to be a year of real change and growth for Manifold Press. We felt it was time to shake things up a bit and take them to the next level.

As part of those changes, we are proud to announce our new imprint ESPRESSO SHOTS. (Yes, we went with a coffee-related theme once more!)

This will be a relatively informal imprint, which will showcase shorter works of LGBTQIA fiction, ideally between 18,000 and 41,000 words. (If that seems an odd range, it’s inspired by how the Rainbow Awards defines a novella.)

We won’t have a fixed publishing schedule, as we do with our longer works – or at least not to start with. Instead, we will be driven more by the submissions received and, frankly, the workload we can cope with. (We always place quality above other considerations, and that can take up a lot of time and energy.)

Readers will be happy to hear that we’re releasing three new titles on 1 August – two ‘regular’ novels, and one Espresso Shot! The details will be announced on 1 July, as usual, on this blog and on Manifold Press’s website. However, if you sign up for our newsletter as well, you’ll receive other goodies, too!

Authors are cordially invited to consider us for the submission of either longer or shorter works. You can find all the necessary details on the Submissions page on our website.

Thank you for reading! We hope you’ll enjoy this increase in our output as much as we do.

Have you registered for Queer Company 2…?

Queer Company iconAs you may have heard already, we had a problem earlier this year with our registration form for the Queer Company 2 event (to be held on Saturday 5 November in Oxford). The form was out of action for a short while, due to increased security at our web host in their ongoing efforts to defeat spam.

We got it all fixed, and thought we’d managed to knit together the registrations and payments – but it seems that at least one extra person managed to slip through our nets.

If you have heard directly from me about your registration for this year – and if you are on the illustrious list below – then you are safely registered, I promise. But I’m afraid it might be worth double-checking.

Thank you so very much for your patience and understanding. I will be sure to order extra cake as a reward!

Current registrations are:

  • Alex Beecroft
  • Lily G Blunt
  • Julie Bozza
  • Sue Brown, UK Gay Romance, sponsor
  • Anna Butler
  • KJ Charles, keynote speaker
  • Morgan Cheshire
  • Kelly Clemmons
  • Charlie Cochrane
  • Joanne Crowther
  • Joanne Flowers
  • Petronella Ford
  • Elin Gregory
  • Mara Ismine
  • Alex Jane
  • BJ Jansen (Izzy van Swelm)
  • Josiegoodreads
  • Sandra Lindsey
  • Clare London
  • Fae Mcloughlin
  • Farah Mendlesohn, guest speaker
  • JL Merrow
  • Eleanor Musgrove
  • Fiona Pickles, Manifold Press editor
  • Chris Quinton
  • RJ Scott
  • Anna Tif Sikorska
  • Aleksandr Voinov, MC

I am so looking forward to spending the day with you all!

All Romance eBooks Ultimate Summer Sale

ARe Summer Blast

Manifold Press is delighted to be taking part in the All Romance eBooks Ultimate Summer Sale. All our titles are 25% off for one day only: Monday 20 June, from midnight to midnight based on US Central time. (For UK-based customers, that takes us through to 6 a.m. on Tuesday.)

Click here to view all our titles on the ARe website!

AUTHOR GUEST BLOG NUMBER TWENTY EIGHT – Julie Bozza

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATHThis novel began life some years ago as a screenplay for a film, as that seemed the ideal format for the story I wanted to tell. A cop and a mobster in Chicago finding an unlikely connection, and living for months in a dangerous limbo between their different worlds. Settings included homes and warehouses, a walk-in freezer and a bar fronting a gambling den, police stations and offices and courtrooms, a claustrophobic safe house and a few stolen hours of freedom outside the city. I imagined the actors having a fine time of it with Delaney, the cop whose naivety enables him to think ‘outside the box’, and Trezini, the mobster with a sense of irony.

Such things all seemed ideal for a film, so that’s how I initially wrote it. I got some good responses to the script, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I suspect the film industry is even harder to break into than the mainstream publishing industry, and (alas!) if I was ever going to break through this wasn’t the script that would do it for me.

So, eventually I decided to retell the story in novel form – and some while after that, it found a home with Manifold Press.

I suspect the filmic origins are sometimes obvious in the novel – especially the montage sequences! (I love a good montage.) There seemed no point in scrapping the whole thing and starting again with a blank page – though maybe I should have…? Instead I ‘converted’ the screenplay to prose, scene by scene. I was glad to be able to add in extra material, as there is a lot more room available in a novel. Also, I had to find ways of telling / showing elements in prose narrative rather than visually. Film is a very visual medium, and is far more about the visuals than dialogue. Of course, novels are all about the words, though they may convey visuals.

Another change I had to make was to be more specific about certain things. A film is a real team effort, involving all kinds of talented professionals. Hence, one of the rules about writing a screenplay is that you don’t try to tell those professionals how to do their job. You give them the necessary information about the story, perhaps including a few details that evoke the mood or specify the function of a scene. And then you step away and let them apply their own skills and experience to helping create the final result.

For example, if it’s absolutely vital to the story that the viewer can or can’t see a particular thing on screen, then say so in the script. Otherwise, let the DoP work the magic of cinematography! If it’s vital to the story that a character do or say something in a particular way, then write it that way or say so. Otherwise, let the actor interpret and present the role, and add their own layers to it. Film is a real collaboration, and is all the richer for it.

… You may have gathered by now that there’s still a part of me who is a frustrated film writer! And, indeed, even when I’m writing novels and stories, I still think in terms of film. That’s how I see the story play out in my mind, and my task is then to convert it into words. Which at times is far easier said than done!


If you’d care to read the results in this particular case, click here for the details of The Valley of the Shadow of Death. You may like to know, however, that while this is a love story, it is not a romance!

Review of IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOME

IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOMEWe’re delighted to find that Dennis of Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews enjoyed IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOME by R.A. Padmos. This story considers the impact of the watershed change that occurred in the UK in 1967 – that’s in living memory for some of us! – when homosexuality was finally decriminalised.

It was interesting to read a story that talked about the past and showed how far we have come and the sacrifices that were made not so long ago.

We’re sure that other readers will also appreciate the novel for this perspective – and for many other reasons, too!