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.)
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
This 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!
We’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.
We’re sure that other readers will also appreciate the novel for this perspective – and for many other reasons, too!
Only five months now to QUEER COMPANY 2 on Saturday 5 November in Oxford – and we’re delighted to be able to bring you up to date with our plans – which are, we’re happy to say, maturing nicely!
Our distinguished Guest Speaker this time is Farah Mendlesohn, Professor of Literary History and Head of the Department of English and Media at Anglia Ruskin University. Her session is entitled ‘Georgians aren’t Victorians: how to dump everything you thought you knew about nineteenth century morality’ – and to be perfectly honest we can’t wait to settle in and enjoy this – it just sounds like tremendous fun.
Our Keynote Speaker is the much-celebrated KJ Charles, known among other work for the Society of Gentlemen trilogy (published by the Loveswept imprint of Random House), which is about Regency gentlemen, radical politics, class divide, nice clothes, murder, sordid goings-on at all levels of society, and why you should never trust puce (THIS IS IMPORTANT). KJ will also be launching our new anthology for us, A CERTAIN PERSUASION, which deals with off-the-page relationships inspired by the works of Jane Austen.
Getting into the spirit of the occasion – as well as holding all this together (we hope!) – will be our illustrious MC, Aleksandr Voinov.
In addition there will be two panel discussions: ‘A Sense of Place‘ chaired by Elin Gregory and ‘How Much Reality do We Want in Our Fiction?‘ which will be chaired by Alex Beecroft. (Other panel members are still to be selected, so if you have a particular fancy for joining the team on either discussion please let us know – we love a volunteer!)
Once again we’re hoping to raise some money for the Royal British Legion with a raffle and a charity table, so if there is anything you’d like to donate to be sold on their behalf we would love to hear from you. We’re also happy to consider giveaways to include in the goody bags we’ll be handing out to everyone attending, so please contact us if you have anything to contribute.
Please do register, if you hope to attend! Numbers are strictly limited to 50, and we’re over halfway there already. Queer company is good company – and we’re looking forward to yours!
Elaine White has reviewed CARAVAGGIO’S ANGEL by Chris Quinton for Divine Magazine – and it seems fair to say that she was impressed! There are so many parts of the review that we’d love to quote here, but we’ll content ourselves with the conclusion:
Overall, this was a beautiful story of love, life, and self-discovery. Paul had one incredible journey, and I wouldn’t be opposed to reading more. The Caravaggio art work, history and the man himself were treated with great respect and care. The research was both well done and nicely twisted to fit the story. Fantastic!
Thank you very kindly indeed, Elaine! We’re delighted with your detailed response to Chris’s wonderful story.
It being the first of May, we are delighted to release our two new titles into the wild, boldly flourishing their beautiful covers! We feel sure they will find their way into many good homes.
Jay Lewis Taylor’s new book ACROSS YOUR DREAMS deals with a web of relationships among a group of young gay men who meet, love briefly and then part again – for varying lengths of time – during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the Great War. It’s a tale of love and loss, of beginning again, and of finding something worthwhile to cling to in the rubble of a world destroyed. Readers who liked Jay’s two short stories in our anthology A PRIDE OF POPPIES will also enjoy this much more detailed portrait of some of the same characters.
ACROSS YOUR DREAMS buy links:
We are fortunate to also have a book by Chris Quinton which was recently relinquished by another publisher. CARAVAGGIO’S ANGEL, now amended and extensively re-edited, is the story of Paul. Arriving in Malta to deal with the estate of his great-uncle, he finds himself drawn to the enigmatically beautiful Angelo – who, intriguingly, seems to have been both model and inspiration for more than one of the island’s successful artists.
CARAVAGGIO’S ANGEL buy links:
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend in England, so we are hosting our regular Q+A on Monday 2 May – and this time we are trying something a little different, by hosting it on Facebook. We’d love for you to drop by for a chat with Jay, Chris and our other friends at the New release Q+A event, from 6pm BST / 1pm EDT / 10am PDT.
And of course we very much hope you’ll enjoy reading our new titles!
We’ve had two giveaways running, and I’m delighted to now announce the results. We held the draws this morning using random.org.
Author R.A. Padmos offered a signed paperback copy of her book RAVAGES, to be posted anywhere in the world. And the lucky winner is…
The Press offered our newsletter subscribers the chance to win a place at our Queer Company 2 event in Oxford in November. We’ll cover the delegate registration fee as well as contribute towards travel costs. And the lucky winner is…
Congratulations to both! And thank you very kindly indeed to everyone who entered the giveaways. Julie will be in touch with H.B. very soon, and R.A. Padmos will be in touch directly with Carolyn. Please do sign up to our newsletter if you want to take part next time round.
And meanwhile, we’re wishing you all a happy Friday!
As many of you would know, because we haven’t stopped talking about it in quite some while, our Great War charity anthology A PRIDE OF POPPIES was short-listed for the Historical Novel Society (HNS) Indie Award 2016. We are unbearably proud about being one of nine titles on the short list!
We recently received the news, however, that we haven’t progressed further. From the nine on the short list, four finalists were chosen by the judges. We are assured that the decision ‘was VERY close!’ which is a mighty fine compliment indeed.
We wish the remaining finalists well in the lead-up to the announcement of the winner and runner-up in September. Whichever titles are announced, we know it will be a well-earned honour.
Meanwhile, our giveaway for a paperback copy of RAVAGES is still running. The volume will be signed by author R.A. Padmos and shipped anywhere in the world. We’ll need to close the giveaway within the next couple of days, however, so please do enter! After reading the recent glowing review of her novel IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOME, I am sure you’ll feel it worthwhile to chance your luck.
We were delighted to wake up to a very supportive review this morning, of IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOME by R.A. Padmos. The review is from Mark at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews, and I think it’s fair to say that he loved this tale!
I’m so happy I stumbled across this little gem of a book. … It doesn’t take very long to read but there is so much wonderful writing and emotion all crafted together in 123 pages it took my breath away and left me thinking about the story for days after. … Ms Padmos has a writing talent that struck every chord with me. A real wordsmith who crafts every subtle feeling, emotion and situation with an belletristic empathy that is a rare find.
We are certainly more than happy to agree that R.A. Padmos is a fine writer, with a particular gift in exploring not only her characters but also the times in which they live. Thank you, Mark! We’re delighted that this story, and how it’s told, resonated so deeply with you.
March has been a very busy month for Manifold Press, in the run up to announcing our new May titles on 1 April. And, just in case you might wonder if it’s an April Fools’ joke, we want to take this opportunity to give you a preview of a change that will be implemented on that day.
This is the last of our significant changes for now, but it’s a doozy.
We are going to change our book cover design.
I know that many of you love our current designs, and have made a point of telling us so. Similarly, some people haven’t been so impressed, and have likewise told us! Our covers have certainly been a distinctive part of the Press’s identity. In professional wrestling terms, they have brought us a lot of ‘heat’! (Which is a good thing.)
However, after almost six years in business, it felt like time to make a change and try something a bit different.
We are hoping that those of you who love the current designs will stay with us through this change, as we wanted to broadly keep to our current approach. We’re still focussing on an image that reflects the setting or theme, as we believe this helps us emphasise that before anything else, story (and character) is what the Press is most interested in. For better or worse, we are still avoiding the more obvious romance tropes on our covers – and we still want to leave the appearance of our characters to our readers’ imagination.
We were delighted to work with a friend of the Press, Michelle Peart, in creating these new designs. She is also a writer, so she certainly empathised with what we’re trying to achieve. If you want to connect with Michelle, you can browse to her writerly blog The Copper River or follow her on Twitter @shellpeart.
Michelle created a number of draft designs, and we ended up choosing one of them, and then establishing variations that would help identify an individual title’s genre. The covers will vary depending on whether the setting is contemporary or historical, and on whether the story is paranormal.
I feel that the important distinction we’ll make via the covers, however, is whether the story is romance or fiction. We’ll be following this up with new tags on our website, but we’re colour-coding it into the covers as well, with romance indicated by a red strip and fiction by a blue. We know it’s important that the reader knows what they’re getting!
We had some real fun with the draft covers … The ideas we used were all for imaginary books – as written by Ewan Byge, one of the characters in my novel THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION. It seemed easiest to start with a fresh slate, and not worry about existing content or the comparisons inherent in using actual Press titles.
So … if you’re anything like me, you’re curious to have a glimpse at the draft designs. I’ve included four samples below the cut. I hope you like them! I have to say that I love them. And if it’s any reassurance, I think the covers for our real titles (that you’ll see on 1 April) are even stronger still.