Registrations are now open for QUEER COMPANY 3!

Registrations are now open for Queer Company 3, to be held in Manchester on 28 April 2018.

You can find all the details here on the Register as a Delegate page. The early bird Delegate rate is £50, which is available until 30 September.

We’d also be delighted if you’d like to register as a Dealer or a Sponsor. Details can be found on the Registration page.

Don’t forget that registering involves a two-step process! Pay your dosh via PayPal, and then complete the registration form. Either Fiona or Julie will email you to confirm.

That link again: Register as a Delegate! We’d love to see you there. ♥

Visiting Physic Gardens

A guest post
by Julie Bozza

I don’t have green thumbs, alas! But I do appreciate a good garden, and I’ve long been fascinated by medieval physic gardens.

Physic gardens (as we know them) date back to the time of Charlemagne (742-814). Sections of a garden would be set aside for growing plants used for medicinal purposes, and for teaching apothecaries about their trade.

This makes physic gardens sound very practical – and they were! – but there is also an element of beauty within them. Many of the medicinal plants were in themselves beautiful. For example, certain irises were grown in such gardens, as their rhizomes (known as orris root) were used in both perfume and medicine. Irises are utterly gorgeous and my favourite flower, so that decisively proves my point, at least to myself!

With all those herbs and flowers growing, you can imagine how beautiful such gardens were for the nose as well as the eye! It was common practice for a bench to be installed in a physic garden so that convalescents could sit for a while and soak up not only the sun but the healthful scents.

The idea of physic gardens evolved into our modern-day botanic gardens, which have a broader interest in all plants – though of course most botanic gardens specialise in particular areas, or are shaped by their location and climate.

Chelsea Physic Garden (photo by Julie).

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden embodies this history, as it was founded in 1621 as a physic garden, and now has a wider remit with over 8,000 different plant species across a four-and-a-half acre site. True to its origins, however, the garden includes medicinal beds growing plants used in modern medicine.

Continue reading “Visiting Physic Gardens”

Reviews for BUTTERFLY HUNTER and WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE

We were happy to see a short but very positive review of WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE by Alexa Milne, courtesy of Sue at Books Laid Bare Boys.

This book was quite simply beautiful. … I was left with a sense of peace that is hard to describe.

This romance features older main characters, which we would love to see more of in our genre – and with a response like that, maybe you’ll agree!

Meanwhile, one of our backlist titles – BUTTERFLY HUNTER by Julie Bozza – continues to make new friends, thanks to the support of Australian author NR Walker and her own tale of butterfly hunting, IMAGO.

Tori (Vicki) of Love Bytes LGBTQ Book Reviews was inspired by IMAGO to give my book a go, and I’m delighted to say she obviously enjoyed it!

I loved this book, the story was engaging even though it was simple. Just two men looking for butterflies in the outback. … I was concerned about Dave and Nicholas, and wanted this to work out so badly for them. I loved them as a couple and they deserve all of the good things!

Now is a great time to give either (or both!) of these titles a try, as all our backlist titles are 25% off at Smashwords, for the whole month of July.

We wish you happy reading!

It’s the “Summer/Winter Sale” on Smashwords!

Smashwords are hosting a massive Summer/Winter Sale for the month of July 2017 – and what that means for readers is deep discounts on awesome titles!

Manifold Press is participating, with all of our backlist titles discounted by 25%. (The only exception is our charity anthology, A Pride of Poppies.) Now is the time to stock up that TBR pile, and maybe try some new stories you’ve been pondering.

Browse the Manifold Press catalogue on Smashwords – or browse the full catalogue of all the discounted ebooks across the site. We’re 100% sure you’ll find something to love!

  • Please note that the discounts do not apply to our three new titles.

Our three new titles are released today!

It’s release day at last! We’re sure just about everyone will find something to love in our new titles – they are each so different, and cover such a range of style and content.


First up is Alexa Milne’s first novel with the Press. We were intrigued as soon as we heard that the romance features two older characters – the sort of main characters we feel are under-represented in our genre. WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE sees Sion returning to his childhood home in South Wales – and finding that his best friend Phil has recently returned home as well. They are both approaching their sixtieth birthdays, but is it ever too late for a chance at love?

Adding further depth to the tale, Alexa also explores two other romantic relationships in different generations of Sion’s family. Love is love is love, but our society has changed over time, and that has huge implications for the individuals who don’t quite fit into the ‘norm’.

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords; Barnes & Noble; Kobo.


Chris Quinton’s stories often touch on the fantastical, and COINS NOT ACCEPTED is no exception. Here we’re introduced to a world which exists in parallel with our own, and to the political machinations which spill through the tightly-controlled portal between them. Against this background of danger and intrigue Miles is reunited with old friend Allan, and together they’re pitted against powerful forces that threaten the safety of both worlds. Getting out of this situation alive will already be a challenge; getting out of it alive and together seems almost impossible…

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords; Barnes & Noble; Kobo.


In A NIGHT WITH THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, Julie Bozza does something different again. As if Francis Beaumont’s original play wasn’t chaotic enough, with two-plays-within-a-play, Julie wraps another layer around the whole, following the actors backstage in a modern-day production. Dale (who plays Rafe) and Topher (who plays Jasper) have worked together before – and Topher wants to celebrate the last night of this run in the same way they celebrated last time. This doesn’t fit into Dale’s plans at all, but perhaps Beaumont’s play “full of mirth and delight” has something to teach him.

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords; Barnes & NobleKobo.


We hope you’ll enjoy these tales as much as we do!

Save

New review of ARDENT by Heloise West

Thank you to Morningstar at Diverse Reader for a ‘random review’ of Heloise West’s novel ARDENT.

The writing was beautiful and vivid. The characters were well fleshed out with their story told with detail bringing to life the world at that time and their struggle in it. It was suspenseful but well balanced with the love story of Morello and Benedetto.

This is all music to our ears, and we certainly agree that Heloise has a talent for balancing a mystery plot with a romance, and both of them terrific stories, too.

I also particularly loved Morningstar’s observation that Morello was authentic, fresh, and sweet. Mmm … so true!

Our next anthology is positively Shakespearian!

Our World War 2 anthology CALL TO ARMS is well underway, on course for the planned release date of 1 November 2017 – but we couldn’t resist acknowledging The Birthday by announcing the anthology scheduled next:

Modern LGBTQIA fiction inspired by the works of William Shakespeare

The world’s mine oyster
Which I with sword will open.

The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2 Scene 2

For our next anthology project, Manifold Press is looking for short fiction inspired by the vast and varied output of William Shakespeare – the plays, the sonnets, and even the ‘lost’ or disputed works – featuring LGBTQIA people as the main characters.

Want to tell us about the love lives of Hamlet and Horatio, Viola and Olivia, Antonio and Sebastian, Achilles and Patroclus? We want to read it! How about Kent’s devotion to Lear, Iago’s to Othello, Mercutio’s to Romeo, Nerissa’s to Portia? Turn the stories inside-out and show us how they could (or should) have ended! Gender-bend any character(s) you choose, mix them up in combinations of two or more, let your imagination run amuck!

And what about the unknown actors who’ve played these roles over the years, the directors who’ve supported them, the scholars and students who’ve given their lives to the study of Shakespeare? We’d love to see something of them, too, whether they’re academics or Hollywood stars, am-dram enthusiasts or soldiers reading sonnets in their dugouts. Set your story in Verona, Elsinore, Glasgow, New York, or even in the depths of space, and we’ll be with you all the way – in short, to coin a phrase, if music be the food of love, play on!

  • Editor: Fiona Pickles
  • All stories need to stand alone, whether or not they relate to any existing work.
  • Sexual encounters are welcome, and can be explicit, but we love a focus on character and story.
  • Story length: Between 3,000 and 10,000 words.
  • Authors will be paid a flat fee based on the final word count of their contribution.
  • Submission deadline: 31 October 2017
  • Planned publication date: 1 May 2018
  • Enquiries and submissions to: eaditter@manifoldpress.co.uk
  • Click here for a PDF version of this page.

Please note:

  • Unlike some of our previous anthologies, this is not a charity project.
  • Characters should be adults, and for our purposes Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare!

Three (very different) new titles for 1 May!

If there’s one thing that our next three titles have in common, it’s that they’re each so different!

This new novel from Alexa Milne is her first with the Press. We were intrigued as soon as we heard that the romance features two older characters – the sort of main characters we feel are under-represented in our genre. WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE sees Sion returning to his childhood home in South Wales – and finding that his best friend Phil has recently returned home as well. They are both approaching their sixtieth birthdays, but is it ever too late for a chance at love?

Adding further depth to the tale, Alexa also explores two other romantic relationships in different generations of Sion’s family. Love is love is love, but our society has changed over time, and that has huge implications for the individuals who don’t quite fit into the ‘norm’.

Pre-order links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available as a pre-order via Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


Chris Quinton’s stories often touch on the fantastical, and COINS NOT ACCEPTED is no exception. Here we’re introduced to a world which exists in parallel with our own, and to the political machinations which spill through the tightly-controlled portal between them. Against this background of danger and intrigue Miles is reunited with old friend Allan, and together they’re pitted against powerful forces that threaten the safety of both worlds. Getting out of this situation alive will already be a challenge; getting out of it alive and together seems almost impossible…

Pre-order links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available as a pre-order via Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


In A NIGHT WITH THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, Julie Bozza does something different again. As if Francis Beaumont’s original play wasn’t chaotic enough, with two-plays-within-a-play, Julie wraps another layer around the whole, following the actors backstage in a modern-day production. Dale (who plays Rafe) and Topher (who plays Jasper) have worked together before – and Topher wants to celebrate the last night of this run in the same way they celebrated last time. This doesn’t fit into Dale’s plans at all, but perhaps Beaumont’s play “full of mirth and delight” has something to teach him.

Pre-order links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available as a pre-order via Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Save

Call to Arms – call for more!

by anthology editor Heloise Mezen

I’m delighted to say that I have received from their authors the first two stories of the Call to Arms anthology; the stories have been accepted and sent back to the authors with editing suggestions, and I’m eagerly awaiting them back again to send out to the proof-reader.

‘Proof-reader?’ I hear you saying. ‘When the deadline isn’t until May?’ Which is true, of course, but I am sure you’ll understand that nobody wants to deal with a spate of stories all at once;  a gentle flow is far more manageable!

So, if you have an idea for Call to Arms, stand not upon the order of its writing, but write now! Send it soon! I really am happy to receive stories whenever before the deadline they may happen to arrive.

Or, do you want to write a story, but are so far without an idea? I have read a fair amount round World War 2, so perhaps I may make an observation here: it really was a world war, and stories from all round the world could form part of the collection. For those of us in the UK it’s easy to think of it as a Western European struggle, and to forget that the Balkans (again) and Russia (again) were involved: civilians and fighters from Africa, Australia, Burma, the Caribbean, China, India, Japan … many places to choose from, and many sorts of people, whether refugees, evacuees, soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, prisoners of war or simply people trying to live their lives in unimaginable circumstances.

And here, just because I can, is a story.

I was with my father about a month ago, driving round North Norfolk looking for a World War One training camp (a long story, to do with my job) and Dad started reminiscing. Not about 1939-1945, when he was an evacuee (his mother with Civil Defence and his father with the Army), but about his National Service in the 1950s, when he was posted to Catterick on the North York Moors (which has been a military base since the Romans called it Cataractonium, and later when it may have been where the British called Catraeth). He and his platoon were out fire-fighting, because the moors are peat moors, and Dad remembered rather enjoying himself in the sunshine. Then he asked what my WWI trainee served as, and when I said “RAMC” he chuckled.

‘What’s so funny?’ I asked.

‘The RAMC had a little caravan up here, and they ran a brothel from it.’

I didn’t ask him whether he’d taken advantage …

Have you a story for Call to Arms? Or do you have an idea, and want to know if it’s suitable? See the call for submissions – and do feel free to contact heloise@manifoldpress.co.uk and talk it over.

It’s “Read an Ebook Week” on Smashwords!

Smashwords are celebrating Read an Ebook Week from 5 to 11 March 2017 – and what that means for readers is deep discounts on awesome titles!

Manifold Press is participating, with all of our titles, backlist and new, discounted by 25%. (The only exception is our charity anthology, A Pride of Poppies.) Now is the time to stock up that TBR pile, and maybe try some new stories you’ve been pondering.

Browse the Manifold Press catalogue on Smashwords – or browse the full catalogue of all the discounted ebooks across the site. We’re 100% sure you’ll find something to love!