A belated – but very welcome – review (and thoughts arising from it)

Guest reviewer Val Kovalin has done us proud again at Jessewave with a very strong review of Chris’s SEA CHANGE. However the comments to the review raise some interesting questions – once more, the subject of word/page-count is mentioned (and by implication attention span), and someone makes the distinction between ‘mainstream’ and ‘m/m’ fiction as if the latter was a separate genre. We find this fascinating, as we at Manifold Press don’t really understand the difference. As far as we’re concerned, what we deal with is romantic fiction in which the main protagonists happen to be men; yes, from time to time they’ll have sex and it’ll be described, but we’re not in the pornography business – we’re writing about people who have other things in their lives than mere bedroom antics!

In terms of ‘straight’ romantic fiction, Harlequin/Mills and Boon and ‘Northanger Abbey’ are different aspects of the same continuity. We’d like to try to reflect that range and variety here at Manifold; it’s one of the reasons why we don’t have a mandatory sex scene requirement. Our aim is simply to present you with gay romantic fiction of the highest possible quality. If we’re not considered ‘mainstream’, that’s only because male-male romances are still something of a minority taste – although we’d like to see that change. In every other respect, ‘mainstream’ values are the ones we’re shooting for – well-rounded plots and characters with accurate settings and convincing relevant detail. That does sometimes make our books a bit plot-heavy and involve relationships which develop slowly, but we like to think there’s a niche in the market for more than just – if you’ll pardon the expression – “Wham, bang, thank you man!”

In fact, to paraphrase Marlene Dietrich: We like a man who takes his time.

Apologies for absence

Having only just got back from a week in the Wild North-West, whilst a legion of demon plumbers tore my house to shreds in my absence, it’s time to catch up on a little bit of business. I apologise for not posting on Saturday as usual but the conditions were unfortunately less than ideal. This was particularly disappointing as a really fine review of Chris’s excellent SEA CHANGE was posted to Three Dollar Bills during that period. It’s nice to know that some reviewers appreciate the time and trouble authors take to build up their characters over a longer and more calmly-paced story; I know we all appreciate ‘quick fix’ fiction which can be undemanding and refreshing, but there are days when you just want to get your teeth into a long and satisfying narrative and immerse yourself completely in its world, and it’s nice to know that we have books available to meet both types of need – as well as reviewers capable of relishing them!

Response times were down this week, as a result of my absence, and averaged out to 18 hours 13 minutes. Not ideal, but the best that could be managed in the circumstances.

Like buses, three come along at once!

There are two more new reviews for MANIFOLD PRESS books over at Michele’n’Jeff Reviews, courtesy of reviewer Lisa who seems to have spent her Fourth of July weekend reading and writing industriously!

Chris’s ALOES is warmly reviewed here, and SEA CHANGE in similarly glowing terms here. In addition, there is also a delightful interview with Chris to be found at this location which sheds a lot of light on the way Chris works and how she finds the inspiration for her fiction – definitely worth going over there and taking a look!

A stunning review!

Guest reviewer Val Kovalin over at Jessewave has done full justice to Chris’s ALOES with a most erudite analysis of the synaesthesia sub-plot; it’s really nice to have readers responding in such informed detail – it makes all the effort of researching seem so much more worthwhile. Congratulations again, Chris – you really seem to have made an impression on this reviewer!

The review drought is over

Chris’s SEA CHANGE, which has lagged behind a little in the reviews because it is a longer text than the other three, has now been warmly reviewed at Dark Diva Reviews; congratulations, Chris!

We hate to think what’s going to happen next time – we have two texts of well over 100,000 words for the November list. Should we be worried?