AllRomance eBooks closing down

As I’m sure most people in our community are aware, AllRomance eBooks is closing down with very little warning.

This is a quick post to let you know that Manifold Press titles are still active on the ARe site. We wanted to ensure that readers can spend their eBucks (which, after all, have already been paid for) and that anyone who’s already bought a book can download it. We’ll inactivate the titles at some stage tomorrow, 31 December.

As you probably know, if you spend money buying new books on the site, that money will go to ARe and will not be forwarded to the publishers and authors. We’re assuming most, if not all, readers won’t want to do that.

If you want to buy new Manifold Press books, can we please direct you to:

Thank you for your support! We’ll be in touch again in the new year with any further responses to this situation.

Queer Company 2: the round-up

Queer Company iconIt’s taken a couple of days to pull the accounts together (and to shake off the Post-Con Crud), but we’re now in a position to reveal that we made a minuscule operating surplus on the event last weekend. (Less than £20, in fact.) Adding that to a couple of ad hoc donations and the £125 raised by the raffle means that we are in a position to donate a total of £250 to our chosen charities. We will therefore be sending £125 each to:

GALOP (http://www.galop.org.uk/), the LGBT+ charity for those who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse, and which also supports lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system, and

Opening Doors London (http://openingdoorslondon.org.uk/), which is the biggest charity providing information and support services with and for older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* people in the UK.

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who contributed by making donations and buying raffle tickets; as the saying goes, ‘every little helps’.

Finally, and because it got lost in the shuffle at the end of a very full day on Saturday – for which we can only apologise – we would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the sponsors who so kindly supported the event: Sue Brown/UK Gay Romance, Chris Ethan, our friends at Two Marshmallows (who helped to pay for the booklet printing) and of course the awesome Clever Baggers who donated those spectacular purple giveaway totes. This literally wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions all of you made, and we want you to know how very much we – and our chosen causes – appreciate your generosity.

And now, we’re all going to lie down in a darkened room until it’s time to start hunting for a venue for Queer Company 3 …

New anthology CALL TO ARMS open for submissions!

Keep it Up - CALL TO ARMSCALL TO ARMS
Modern LGBTQIA fiction
of the Second World War

As a companion volume to A PRIDE OF POPPIES, Manifold Press is seeking stories set during the Second World War (1939-1945) featuring LGBTQIA people as the main characters. What were their experiences during this war? In what ways were those experiences the same as or different from those of other people?

Stories may be set in the war zone or on the home front, in any of the countries affected by the Second World War. The characters may be of any nationality, serving in the armed forces or on home duty such as fire-watching or civil defence. They may be prisoners of war, doctors, nurses, land girls, factory workers, conscientious objectors, or simply members of the public caught up in events over which they had no control. Stories may deal (but must do so respectfully) with people on all sides of the conflict or none. The individual characters and their lives will be the main focus.

Romances and sexual encounters are welcome subject matter, but should be kept to a ‘mild R’ rating with an adult mainstream audience in mind. All characters involved in sexual situations must be consenting adults. Similarly, violence and the results thereof should be handled with both realism and restraint.

In acknowledgement of the time in which the stories are set, all proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to an appropriate charity (to be confirmed).

  • Editor: Heloise Mezen
  • All stories need to stand alone, whether or not they relate to any existing work.
  • Story length: In general, up to 10,000 words; longer stories will be considered on individual merit.
  • Submission deadline: 31 May 2017
  • Planned publication date: 1 Nov 2017
  • Enquiries and submissions to: Heloise Mezen heloise@manifoldpress.co.uk
  • Click here for a PDF version of this page.

Please note: All efforts will be donated to the project, with no financial return. Authors will not be paid either a fee or royalties. Manifold Press will cover direct expenses. All proceeds will be donated to charity.

Image: “Keep it Up – Buy Three Percent Defence Bonds”. WW2 poster, designer unknown, issued by the National Savings Committee. In the Imperial War Museum collection and obtained via Wikimedia Commons.

Article about Jane Austen the humanist

A CERTAIN PERSUASIONI have just had the honour of an article being published in The Jane Austen Centre‘s online magazine!

I am sure many of you will be familiar with The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, situated in a Georgian house not far from where Austen herself once lived. It is a lovely and fascinating place to visit, from the delicious treats to be had in the Regency Tea Room on the top floor, down through various exhibitions, and not forgetting the Gift Shop on the way!

One of the things I found most fascinating in a recent visit was a Regency-era dress that had recently been made up from a bag of ‘discarded material’ – which proved to be the pieces already cut out for a dress and then abandoned. The material is such a lovely raspberry and cream stripe, so delicate. I am only sorry for the poor young woman who missed out on wearing it at the time. … Hhhmmm, perhaps there’s a story there!

Anyway! Writing a story for the anthology, and working with the other authors, just wasn’t enough. I also wrote an article titled Universally Civil, and submitted it to the Centre’s online magazine – and I’m happy to say they have just published it!

You can find the article here: Universally Civil. I hope you enjoy it, but in any case would be happy to hear what you think!

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And please be sure to support the lovely people at The Jane Austen Centre, just as they’ve supported us. Exceedingly civil sorts, the lot of them!

Jay Lewis Taylor, paperback writer

An author guest blog
by Jay Lewis Taylor

If the stars are in alignment, if the wind is in the right direction, if CreateSpace and the Gods of Delivery do their job – there will be paperback editions of my books for sale at Queer Company 2.

Dance of Stone and The Peacock’s Eye arrived in the e-world with covers in Manifold Press’s early style. I have had the rare pleasure of being able to see them dressed in new clothes (not, I hope, in borrowed plumes like Aesop’s jackdaw) and, indeed, of being able to select some of the clothes myself.

DANCE OF STONE paperbackI have had my eye on the new illustration for Dance of Stone ever since I first mooted putting the book into paperback. This figure is the first illustration in a Bible in the Austrian National Library, and shows God in his capacity as Architect (or Builder, or Geometer, or Craftsman) of the Universe. I loved the colours and the brilliance (such a pity we couldn’t use real gold leaf, eh?) and was amused by the – dare I say it? – implied relationship between God and my Hugh, the mason. The mediaeval cathedrals were built as a mirror of time and space, and in that space Hugh could easily be accused of setting himself very high indeed.

For a while it looked as if the picture just wouldn’t fit into Manifold’s new cover format. Then Julie Bozza had the brilliant idea of flipping the picture round, at which point everything worked. True, it makes God appear left-handed, but if he is also omnipotent He will hardly mind that; besides, He gets to be right-handed on the back cover. I must say that one of the charms of the new covers is the way a detail of the front is shown on the back; Across Your Dreams has always had the new design front cover, but the appearance of the gleaming curve of river on the back makes me look at the whole picture again).

THE PEACOCK'S EYE paperbackThe second title being reissued is The Peacock’s Eye. I had hoped that one at least of the Renaissance painters might have painted a really good peacock, or a peacock-feather fan as an accessory; but no such luck. However, one of the glories of the Elizabethan age was the extent to which men and women could dress like peacocks, if not in colour, in brilliant arrogance of display, so finding an image was not too difficult after all.

The chosen cover image is a portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh, who isn’t in The Peacock’s Eye, and is barely mentioned. Sometimes there is no room even for national heroes to shoulder themselves into a book! He looks, as Lou Faulkner said to me in an e-mail, both menaced and menacing; most appropriately. Ralegh epitomises the Elizabethan world’s glory and vulnerability, from the search for the City of Gold to the executioner’s block in a few short years. Also, I was glad this was one of the portraits that showed him with an ear-ring – for reasons which will become apparent to new readers!

I cannot end this post without offering thanks to Julie Bozza for her endless patience in converting the files for all three books to CreateSpace format, and also to Shell Peart for the cover designs as a whole.

Paperback buy links:

ACROSS YOUR DREAMS paperbackAcross Your Dreams

The Peacock’s Eye

Dance of Stone

P.S. The books have just arrived, and they look magnificent!

Three new titles now available!

1 November is here at last, and our three new titles are now available! This includes two New Adult novels as well as an anthology featuring modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by the novels of Jane Austen.

A CERTAIN PERSUASIONA CERTAIN PERSUASION showcases thirteen stories by eleven authors, each of which takes something of Jane Austen’s as its source – and from that point on nothing at all is certain. We meet compelling reinterpretations of canonical characters such as Elinor Dashwood, William Elliot, Emma Woodhouse and – of course! – Fitzwilliam Darcy, and are also introduced to new ones who will linger in the memory – Adam Ashford Otelian, Robert Oakes and the enigmatic Lint, to name but a few. For anyone who has ever ‘thought beyond the page’ about Jane Austen’s work, this book is a real goldmine of intrigue and adventure. (And you will also make the close acquaintance of Mr Beveridge’s Maggot – really, need we say more?)

The authors include some familiar names and some new to the Press: Julie Bozza; Andrea Demetrius; Sam Evans; Lou Faulkner; Adam Fitzroy; Narrelle M Harris; Sandra Lindsey; Fae Mcloughlin; Atlin Merrick; JL Merrow; and Eleanor Musgrove.

Buy links:


SUBMERGEIn SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove we meet Jamie, wandering innocently into the web of friendships and intrigues that surround a popular local club. Soon accepted as one of the ‘family’ he finds himself beginning to fall for manager Miles, but events occur which make him very reluctant to trust either the new man in his life – or, indeed, anybody else around him.

Buy links:


TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STARTO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart takes us to the unfamiliar world of Abaytor, where Edward and his new friend Burn are thrown headlong into a series of adventures and perils in the course of an extraordinary river journey – one which will leave them both profoundly changed, and also looking for answers to a greater mystery.

Buy links:

The programme for Queer Company 2!

We’re absolutely delighted by how the programme for Queer Company 2 has pulled together, and we’re very grateful to all the people who are a part of it. ♥

This one-day event will run from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 5 November 2015, at the Jam Factory in Oxford.

10.00 Welcome; Registrations; General Melee

Please make your way to the registration desk in the Large Gallery, where we will be waiting for you.

10.30 Session 1: How much reality do we want in our fiction?

Alex Beecroft will be chairing this panel, ably supported by panellists Charlie Cochrane and Chris Quinton.

All formal sessions will be held in the Boiler Room, where they made the marmalade!

11.15 Tea and coffee
11.45 Session 2: Keynote Speech and book launch

Our beloved keynote speaker KJ Charles will entertain and provoke us, and launch the Manifold Press anthology A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen’s novels.

12.30 Q&A: A Certain Persuasion

Anthology editor and author Julie Bozza will chair this Q&A with fellow Austenites JL Merrow and Eleanor Musgrove joining her in the hot seats.

13.00 Raffle Draw

If you want to be in with a chance of winning some wonderful prizes, please take the opportunity to buy your raffle tickets at the registration desk during the morning.

13.30 Lunch Served
14.30 Session 3: Georgians aren’t Victorians

Our distinguished guest speaker Farah Mendlesohn will explore this fascinating topic, in a talk subtitled ‘How to dump everything you thought you knew about nineteenth century morality’.

15.30 Tea and coffee
16.00 Session 4: A Sense of Place

Our day concludes with chair Elin Gregory and panellists Anna Butler and Sandra Lindsey exploring the importance of setting and location in our fiction.

16.45 wrap up; fare thee well; to finish by 17.00

Any queries on the day can be directed to the Manifold Press team: Fiona Pickles; Julie Bozza; Morgan Cheshire; Heloise Mezen; or Chris Quinton.

The exceedingly Clever Baggers sponsoring Queer Company 2!

Queer Company iconA guest blog post
by Sandra Lindsey
author of UNDER LEADEN SKIES

Everyone loves a freebie, don’t they? Obviously, the prospect of a goodie bag isn’t the only reason delegates look forward to book-related festivals and conferences, but it certainly doesn’t hinder one’s enjoyment to return home with a quality, reusable souvenir which will make you smile with memories of the event.

Last year at Queer Company, we had very useful folders stuffed with interesting info and a fun anthology of short stories set in Oxford. This year, we have something a little different, and it’s all my fault…

You see, I have a personal connection to a company which specialises in printing eco-friendly cotton bags (among a whole host of other products, but the bags are where it all started). They’re called The Clever Baggers, they’re based here in the UK, and they offer a rainbow of different coloured cotton bags. At the Manifold Press AGM, I offered to ask if the company would be willing to sponsor Queer Company 2 by providing bags for us to fill with goodies and give out to all attendees.

They said yes!

qc-bags-1-500px

I was lucky enough to be in the building the day our bags were printed, so I snapped a few photos of them being produced on the digital printers. I’ll try not to bore you with the technicalities, but for a variety of reasons, printing onto textiles is very different to printing onto paper. If you’re printing onto coloured (dyed) cloth, there are even more complications, and being able to do this digitally, i.e. directly onto the fabric by machine controlled by a computer, is a far more recent development than most people expect. In this instance, the machine applies a pre-treat to the bag, then prints a base-layer of the image in white, then prints the full colour image on top of this. All of the substances used in the process are water-based to make both process and product as eco-friendly as possible.

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I was very impressed by the end result, and hope you will be too!

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Everyone at Manifold Press HQ is certainly thrilled at the gorgeous results. We set The Clever Baggers a bit of a challenge with an event logo that looks lovely online but might not print very well. They’ve done us proud, though, as I’m sure you’ll all agree.

There are a very few tickets left for Queer Company 2. Do please join us if you can!

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Announcing three new titles today!

These are exciting times at Manifold Press! On 1 November 2016 we’re not only launching our New Adult imprint – introducing fascinating debut novels by two very talented writers – but also bringing to fruition a long-cherished anthology project featuring modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by the novels of Jane Austen.

A CERTAIN PERSUASIONA CERTAIN PERSUASION showcases thirteen stories by eleven authors, each of which takes something of Jane Austen’s as its source – and from that point on nothing at all is certain. We meet compelling reinterpretations of canonical characters such as Elinor Dashwood, William Elliot, Emma Woodhouse and – of course! – Fitzwilliam Darcy, and are also introduced to new ones who will linger in the memory – Adam Ashford Otelian, Robert Oakes and the enigmatic Lint, to name but a few. For anyone who has ever ‘thought beyond the page’ about Jane Austen’s work, this book is a real goldmine of intrigue and adventure. (And you will also make the close acquaintance of Mr Beveridge’s Maggot – really, need we say more?)

The authors include some familiar names and some new to the Press: Julie Bozza; Andrea Demetrius; Sam Evans; Lou Faulkner; Adam Fitzroy; Narrelle M Harris; Sandra Lindsey; Fae Mcloughlin; Atlin Merrick; JL Merrow; and Eleanor Musgrove.

SUBMERGEIn SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove we meet Jamie, wandering innocently into the web of friendships and intrigues that surround a popular local club. Soon accepted as one of the ‘family’ he finds himself beginning to fall for manager Miles, but events occur which make him very reluctant to trust either the new man in his life – or, indeed, anybody else around him.

 

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STARTO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart takes us to the unfamiliar world of Abaytor, where Edward and his new friend Burn are thrown headlong into a series of adventures and perils in the course of an extraordinary river journey – one which will leave them both profoundly changed, and also looking for answers to a greater mystery.

Introducing our New Adult imprint

Manifold Press is delighted to announce that we’ll soon be launching a New Adult LGBTQ+ imprint. We’ll have more news on specific titles soon, but in the meantime we want to talk about our approach to New Adult stories.

What makes a story ‘New Adult’?

New Adult womanThe main characters are between 18 and 30 years old, and the story is told from their point of view.

The focus is on the characters emerging from childhood into adulthood. This is, of course, never an easy, smooth or neat transition. Ideally, authors will approach such material both realistically and responsibly (though there’s nothing wrong with an entertaining read, with a ‘lesson learned’ about the importance of fun).

Within that broad scope, New Adult works might include:

  • Characters mapping their own lives. Becoming more independent. Dealing with increasing responsibilities. Becoming of ‘legal age’.
  • Changes in perspectives. Achievement of insight. Greater awareness of self and others.
  • Leaving the family home. Relating to their parents (and siblings) as adults rather than as children.
  • Negotiating the unfamiliar worlds of college or work.
  • Relationships of all kinds; friendship and love. Issues of identity, including gender and sexuality. Perhaps starting to think about marriage and children of their own.
  • ‘Coming of age’ experiences. Growing from innocence to experience.
  • What do they keep? What do they jettison? What do they change?

New Adult man‘New Adult’ is a category that can combine with any genre or subgenre: contemporary fiction, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, and so on.

Readers will often be of the same 18-30 age group, although both younger and older people happily read NA.

Given that the target audience and the characters are of legal age, then explicit scenes can be included.

The Manifold Press way!

The Press’s approach is always that sex scenes (if any) should suit the style of the story, and serve the character or plot development. The same approach applies to ‘strong’ language, violence and other possibly controversial matters.

We know that there are a few negative connotations associated with the New Adult category, but we will be delivering what we trust you’ll always find with Manifold Press: a darned good read with quality stories and interesting characters.

Readers, we hope you’re looking forward to what we’ll soon be offering!

Authors, please feel free to submit your New Adult (and other!) LGBTQ+ manuscripts to Fiona Pickles at eaditter@manifoldpress.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

And we’d like to finish this post with the thought that it’s particularly important to try to represent the whole glorious LGBTQ+ spectrum in this imprint’s stories. Fair winds and good fortune to all who sail in her!


Illustrations from GraphicStock.