New review of THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS

These are arriving in rather random order at the moment, so apologies for posting out of sequence, but it’s always delightful to know that one of our titles has made an impression.

Once again it’s Elin Gregory’s THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS which has attracted attention, this time with reviewer Maya at Gay Book Reviews, who – among other things – has this to say:

The pacing never let up and the book held my interest continually. I was impressed at how plot twist was resolved. There is constant give and take between romantic part and the main story plot. Both Mal’s and Rob’s insecurities are cleverly used to pave the road for the two to learn to trust each other. Neither of them had that kind of emotional support in their life before so they have trouble adjusting.

This is interesting and well-thought out story. […] I’m looking forward to more books from this author!

As are we all, Maya! (No pressure, then, Elin!)

New titles released today!

Our three wonderful new titles are available now! We trust you’ll love them as much as we do.


Farah Mendlesohn is well established as a historian and critic, so the Press was delighted to have the opportunity of publishing her debut novel SPRING FLOWERING.

This historical romance is an immersive look into a changing world. Ann Gray has been mistress of her father’s parsonage in a quiet country village. After he dies she finds herself in the bustling commercial city of Birmingham, living with her uncle, aunt and cousins. How can she regain her independence and sense of purpose once her period of mourning is over? Ann encourages cousin Louisa’s interest in the family’s manufacturing business, but is that an occupation Ann would enjoy? She might encourage the new parson Mr. Morden to propose marriage. Or she might become companion to the enticingly daring widow Mrs. King. Whatever she chooses, we’re sure you’ll enjoy accompanying Ann on her journey.

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available from Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


Manifold Press’s resourceful fact-checker and problem-solver Heloise Mezen has served as editor for our Second World War anthology CALL TO ARMS.

This is a companion volume to our well-received charity volume on the Great War, A PRIDE OF POPPIES. All proceeds this time are going to the British Refugee Council (Registered Charity No. 1014576).

This anthology has again attracted a deeply talented group of authors. The seventeen stories take the reader far and wide – through Britain, Europe, Asia and South America – and introduce (occasionally re-introduce) a wonderful range of characters. We’re sure you’ll find plenty in here to love.

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available from Apple, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace and Kobo. Available in both eBook and paperback formats!


As many of us know by now, Elin Gregory is a superb storyteller, and we are sure her CALON LAN will not disappoint.

With the war being waged in Europe, it is vital that farming and other essential occupations continue at home – but there is increasing pressure on everyone, and the world feels as out of control as the weather. Bethan and Nye Harrhy manage their farm as best they can with the help of Bethan’s brother Alwyn, injured during his service in the trenches. When Alwyn asks his friend Joe to come live with them, Bethan assumes that another pair of hands will help rather than hinder … or is she being a bit naive?

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available from Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

ESPRESSO SHOTS is an informal imprint which features long stories and novellas. If you want to read more about this imprint, please check out our blog post. The cover image is the same for all titles, so we chose an image that evokes the comforts – and the stimulations – of the reading experience itself.


We are absolutely sure you’ll find something – or many things – for your reading pleasure here!

Please join us if you can for a Q+A on Facebook – about these books, books in general, and all things LGBTQ+ – on Sunday 5 November, at 17:00 UK time! Click the link and let us know you’re interested. We’d love to chat with you.

Honourable Mention for THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS

The indefatigable judges over at the Rainbow Awards are still reading, bless them, and have now had a chance to look at Elin Gregory’s immensely popular THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS. In a long and thoughtful comment, the anonymous reviewer begins strongly:

The Bones of Our Fathers was delightful. The writing style is fluid and fascinating, almost like the voice of a completely separate character

and goes on to systematically enumerate the book’s many qualities, ending with these words:

An excellent read; I very much enjoyed it!

Thank you, unknown reader, we very much enjoyed your review, too – and well done, Elin!

The time is out of joint!

Submissions for our Shakespeare anthology NO HOLDS BARD are due to close in a week’s time on 31 October, although we’re in a position to grant extensions if necessary.  (We’d prefer to discuss this on an individual basis, so please get in touch with us if you feel this may apply to you.)

At the time of writing, we have space for a few more stories – it’s been our experience that anthologies tend to fill up at the last minute! – so if we haven’t already heard from you but you think you may have something to contribute we’d be delighted to know about it.  Less-popular plays and characters are always welcome, but if you’re inspired in any direction by the thought of queering Shakespeare’s work please tell us about your plans: after all, the more the merrier!

Plays covered so far include TWELFTH NIGHT, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, THE TEMPEST and TWO NOBLE KINSMEN (yes, all the ‘T’s – TITUS ANDRONICUS, anyone?  TROILUS AND CRESSIDA?) but there are still several of the ‘biggies’ outstanding; we have no HAMLET, no ROMEO AND JULIET, no OTHELLO …

We look forward to hearing from authors who think they may have short stories suitable to add to our collection … and in case it helps you to decide, we’ll reiterate that this is a *paid* anthology and you will be offered a fee for your work.  Follow the link above for further details!

Honourable Mentions for A TIME TO KEEP, LIKE PEOPLE

Those wonderful people over at the Rainbow Awards are still reading, bless their hearts, and in the past week they’ve bestowed Honourable Mentions on a further two Manifold Press titles!

About Morgan Cheshire’s A TIME TO KEEP the reviewers had this to say:

This story speaks of memories gilded by the passage of time, of a nostalgia for better days before wars decimated men and left them as walking shadows. It speaks of hope most of all, how love endures even in the face of death, and how love can transform sorrow to happiness.

Their response to R.A. Padmos’s LIKE PEOPLE was rather more compact – but, really,  Exciting historical novel. Enjoyed every word is everything a potential reader needs to know!

Once more we’d like to thank the Rainbow Awards judges for their time and their good opinions; it really is very gratifying to see our books making such an impression in the wider world!

 

New titles for 1 November announced today!

We’re delighted to announce three wonderful new titles – available for pre-order now, and available on 1 November!


Farah Mendlesohn is well established as a historian and critic, so the Press was delighted to have the opportunity of publishing her debut novel SPRING FLOWERING.

This historical romance is an immersive look into a changing world. Ann Gray has been mistress of her father’s parsonage in a quiet country village. After he dies she finds herself in the bustling commercial city of Birmingham, living with her uncle, aunt and cousins. How can she regain her independence and sense of purpose once her period of mourning is over? Ann encourages cousin Louisa’s interest in the family’s manufacturing business, but is that an occupation Ann would enjoy? She might encourage the new parson Mr. Morden to propose marriage. Or she might become companion to the enticingly daring widow Mrs. King. Whatever she chooses, we’re sure you’ll enjoy accompanying Ann on her journey.

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


Manifold Press’s resourceful fact-checker and problem-solver Heloise Mezen has served as editor for our Second World War anthology CALL TO ARMS.

This is a companion volume to our well-received charity volume on the Great War, A PRIDE OF POPPIES. All proceeds this time are going to the British Refugee Council (Registered Charity No. 1014576).

This anthology has again attracted a deeply talented group of authors. The seventeen stories take the reader far and wide – through Britain, Europe, Asia and South America – and introduce (occasionally re-introduce) a wonderful range of characters. We’re sure you’ll find plenty in here to love.

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


As many of us know by now, Elin Gregory is a superb storyteller, and we are sure her CALON LAN will not disappoint.

With the war being waged in Europe, it is vital that farming and other essential occupations continue at home – but there is increasing pressure on everyone, and the world feels as out of control as the weather. Bethan and Nye Harrhy manage their farm as best they can with the help of Bethan’s brother Alwyn, injured during his service in the trenches. When Alwyn asks his friend Joe to come live with them, Bethan assumes that another pair of hands will help rather than hinder … or is she being a bit naive?

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

ESPRESSO SHOTS is an informal imprint which features long stories and novellas. If you want to read more about this imprint, please check out our blog post. The cover image is the same for all titles, so we chose an image that evokes the comforts – and the stimulations – of the reading experience itself.


We are absolutely sure you’ll find something – or many things – for your reading pleasure here!

NO HOLDS BARD – a gentle reminder

Before we wow you tomorrow with news of our three newest titles, due to be published on 1 November, here’s a gentle reminder for all our author friends who are (we fondly hope!) merrily dipping goose-quills into oak-gall ink and scratching away industriously in attics by the light of guttering candles even as we speak…

Well, we may possibly be getting slightly carried away, but we know you’re out there!

Just in case there are any ‘undecideds’ among our number, though, this is a good moment to remind everyone that submissions for our Shakespeare anthology NO HOLDS BARD are due to close on 31 October.  (We’ll probably be in a position to grant extensions if necessary, but we’d prefer to discuss this on an individual basis so please get in touch with us if you feel this may apply to you.)

At the time of writing this, we have space for a few more stories – it’s been our experience that anthologies fill up at the last minute! – so if we haven’t already heard from you but you think you may have something to contribute we’d be absolutely delighted to know about it.  Less-popular plays and characters are always welcome, but if you’re inspired in any direction by the thought of queering Shakespeare’s work please get in touch and tell us about your plans: after all, the more the merrier!

QUEER COMPANY 3 – another registration reminder

A final reminder that ‘early bird’ registrations for QUEER COMPANY 3 in Manchester will be ending on 30 September, so if you’d like to register at the discounted rate of £50 you will need to grab the opportunity quickly.

Details of how to register are to be found here, but if you have any difficulty with the form or any other questions we will be only too happy to hear from you – contact us by e-mail or in the comments below.

We’ll be announcing more details of our plans for the event through the winter, so watch this space (or one like it!) for information as and when it becomes available.

We’re still counting the days…

QUEER COMPANY 3 – registration reminder

Don’t forget that ‘early bird’ registrations for QUEER COMPANY 3 in Manchester will be ending on 30 September, so if you’d like to register at the discounted rate of £50 you will need to grab the opportunity quickly.

Details of how to register are to be found here, but if you have any difficulty with the form or any other questions we will be only too happy to hear from you – contact us by e-mail or in the comments below.

We’ll be announcing more details of our plans for the event through the winter, so watch this space (or one like it!) for information as it becomes available.

We’re counting the days…

Spirituality and Place

A guest blog post 
by Julie Bozza

When I wrote OF DREAMS AND CEREMONIES, the sequel to BUTTERFLY HUNTER, I wanted to explore a couple of questions of spirituality. I don’t think I found any firm answers, mind you, but then maybe there aren’t any. Or maybe there are as many answers as there are individuals. We all have our own belief systems, after all – even those of us who are atheists. So maybe an exploration of the questions, and an honest ‘thinking / feeling things out for ourselves’, is all we can do.

Locations

Those of you who’ve read BUTTERFLY HUNTER will remember that Dave Taylor is surprised to find that he has some kind of connection with a particular location in the Australian Outback. This is the isolated waterhole where Nicholas finds his blue butterflies, which is known to Dave’s Indigenous friend Charlie as a Dreaming site. Because Dave can find this secretive place when others can’t, Charlie suspects that Dave has a spiritual connection with the waterhole, despite Dave being a white fella.

Indigenous cave paintings of waterholes on Uluru, photographed by Kim Dingwell, and sourced on Wikimedia Commons

Being a white fella myself, many might sincerely believe I have no business writing about such things, and I apologise for any offence given. To quote from my acknowledgements in the novels, I wrote these stories ‘with nothing in my heart but a love of and a wish for interdependence between all our peoples – and for that perhaps any infelicities will be forgiven’.

I remained all too aware that I was approaching this with a white fella’s understanding, and I made sure that Dave himself expressed the same awareness. I’ve read a fair bit about the Australian Indigenous people’s Dreaming, and it feels pretty much impossible for a white fella to get her head around. It involves such a different way of thinking about time, let alone anything else.

So Dave and I were interpreting and applying ideas from our own perspectives. On the practical side of things, Dave was both conceived and born near the waterhole, despite his parents living in Brisbane. On the mystical side of things, the Barcoo grunter ancestor sleeping in the waterhole must have felt some kind of affinity with Dave’s soul, and created the connection between them. And thus it was all very much tied to place, to a specific location in a particular country.

Before all this unfolded, Dave never thought of himself as a spiritual person, and it’s probably still something that doesn’t quite sit neatly within him. He probably thinks of it all as something strange (though not unwelcome) that happened to him, rather than something that happened because of him.

So, I pondered – finally coming to The Question I wanted to explore in the sequel – how would Dave react to spiritual things connected to other locations, other countries?

The Duloe Stone Circle in Cornwall, photographed by Philip Halling, and sourced on Wikimedia Commons

In OF DREAMS AND CEREMONIES, Dave has followed Nicholas to England; Nicholas promptly proposes marriage and Dave just as promptly accepts. They spend their honeymoon in Cornwall, near a circle of standing stones. While (the English) Nicholas is drawn to the stones, and finds them eerie and unsettling, (the Aussie) Dave reacts to them with no more than mild interest. To him they’re a human construction that happens to long predate the nearby cottage they’re staying in, and that’s all there is to say about that.

So my answer to that question was that Dave is a spiritual creature within a particular context – within a country that he considers home – but that doesn’t necessarily make him sensitive to spiritual things associated with other locations steeped in other traditions and understandings. Whether that’s a misguided notion or not, I leave you to decide!

Ceremonies

The Other Question I wanted to explore a little was what kind of ceremony it would take for these two men to feel married. At the time in England, the only legal option available to them was civil partnership, involving a ceremony performed in a civil or non-religious location. Nicholas declares that he thinks of this as marriage regardless of the legalities – but, while I don’t think he’s any more religious than Dave, I suspect Nicholas would have chosen a church service if he could.

The spoken vows required at that time certainly lacked poetry:

I declare that I know of no legal reason why we may not register as each other’s civil partner. I understand that in signing this document we will be forming a civil partnership with each other.

I had Dave and Nicholas each speak their own vows as well, which were based on the stories of their lives, to supplement those dreadfully prosaic words.

A threefold Celtic symbol, created by Tinette, and sourced on Wikimedia Commons

Returning to The Original Question for a moment … I was less explicit in the novel about another spiritual aspect of their stay in Cornwall. They befriend Margaret Widgery, a local woman who acts as caretaker for the cottage, along with her mother Joan and her daughter Maeve. The three women can be seen as representing the Maiden, Mother and Crone. While there’s some contention about the historical basis for the neo-pagan Triple Goddess, it is a potent idea.

Even though Nicholas never indicates whether he sees the three Widgery women in this way, he jumps at the chance of a handfasting ceremony led by Joan, to supplement his and Dave’s civil partnership ceremony. The novel also mentions other ways in which Dave and Nicholas affirm their vows to each other, in other times and other places. Indeed, between us we make it as thorough as we know how, bringing in both the practicalities and the different strands of spirituality to which they are connected.

They can hardly claim they weren’t thoroughly married to each other by the end!