Any regrets?

A guest blog post by Sandra Lindsey

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Elin Gregory on a sunny day in her home town. Among the many things we discussed were sequels, as we’ve both been working on sequels to our books – UNDER LEADEN SKIES, and ELEVENTH HOUR – which were released by Manifold Press on the same day in 2016.

“Do you regret killing off [character]*?” she asked me at one point. My answer was an enthusiastic, “No, not at all!”

I don’t want to give the impression here that I’m an author who scribbles away joyfully killing off characters, but for the story I was telling in UNDER LEADEN SKIES it is necessary, not only from a plot point of view, but also because it felt dishonest to write a book set in wartime without losing at least one major character. I’m lucky not to have lived through such times, but in all my reading, research, and stories of the war I heard growing up, I’ve not come across a single account where loss of friends or family doesn’t feature. To write a story where all my most beloved characters remain alive felt like a betrayal or denial of the grief that war brings into people’s lives.

That said, the death of that character being so firmly written and out in the world in published form has presented me, as the author, with a bit of a dilemma. Ever since he first appeared on the page – and hijacked the story, pushing it onto a different and more interesting path than my original rather pedestrian ideas – I’ve wanted to write his story as well. He’s such a strong character, with an infectious charm and light-hearted view of life that I’d love to write it in a similar way to UNDER LEADEN SKIES, as the character’s own memoir, but with the ending I’ve already written to his life, it’s taken me a while to work out how to do that without delving into the world of ghosts or suchlike. I think I’ve finally found a solution, though, and in time I hope to share the resulting tale with you as well.

All the work I’ve done so far on the sequel has confirmed one thing in my mind: I really regret giving Teddy’s grandfather a title other than “Mr”! Pass the Debrett’s, would you?

*Anyone who has read UNDER LEADEN SKIES will know which character I am referring to.

The Refugee Council

A guest post by editor Fiona Pickles

As those who were involved in preparing our charity anthology CALL TO ARMS – and, hopefully, also those who bought copies and enjoyed them – may remember, all the proceeds from the sale of this volume go directly to the Refugee Council. We sent them their first ‘royalty payment’ at the end of February, and in return they kindly sent us a letter of thanks and a copy of their ‘Impact Report’ for 2016-17 to enable us to see where our contribution is likely to be spent.

Not only is it nice to be acknowledged by such busy people, it’s also very valuable to have some sort of picture of the work they do. On the whole we could probably have guessed most of it, but there were a few highlights which stood out and captured my imagination, so I thought I would pass those on to you.

In 2016-17, the Refugee Council supported 7,522 refugees and asylum seekers and 3,318 unaccompanied children. They helped 97 young people who had been trafficked – 77 girls and 20 boys. They pushed for refugee status and resettlement funding for Syrian refugees, enabling them to attend university in the UK – and also to apply for passports, so that they can travel abroad to see their families.

They support refugee children whose age is disputed, who are sometimes treated by default as adults and therefore put into unsuitable accommodation; they provide them with language teaching, help with socialisation, access to sports facilities and homework support. They also provide psychotherapeutic services for children and young people, and training and support for foster carers.

In addition to helping refugees with documentation and legal services and steering them towards suitable work and accommodation, they have helped a number of refugee doctors to retrain and requalify so that they can be employed in the NHS. It’s difficult to imagine anything more closely resembling a win-win scenario than this!

There is, too, an extensive programme assisting and supporting destitute asylum seekers who are otherwise forced to rely on the standard asylum support payment of £5.00 per day (about $7.00 US) – intended to cover food, clothes, toiletries, travel and in fact everything else the individual may require. The Refugee Council provides hot meals, showers, laundry and barbering facilities and – perhaps even more importantly – moral support and social opportunities for people who must at times feel very isolated by their position.

In fact, it probably doesn’t take too much imagination to put oneself into the position of an asylum seeker or refugee, hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles from home in a country where the weather, the language, the customs, the clothes and just about everything else are not only unfamiliar but potentially quite terrifying. Getting away from the threats, the violence, the famine or the fear in their home country and making a difficult journey half-way around the world is only the beginning of the story for them. Once they arrive in the UK, however, the Refugee Council is – together with Oxfam, Amnesty International UK, the British Red Cross and a number of other organisations with dovetailing remits – right there in the front line of people stepping up to welcome them and help them to settle in.

All in all, then, it’s difficult to think of a better use for our “ill-gotten gains” than to support the Refugee Council in their sterling efforts, and we look forward to sending them further payments every three months throughout what we hope will be the long lifetime of CALL TO ARMS.

You can find more information about the work of the Refugee Council on their website.

We’d like to thank anthology editor Heloise Mezen for nominating the Refugee Council as our chosen charity, and for undertaking all the initial discussions with them. Take a bow, Heloise; none of this would have been possible without you!

New review of A TASTE OF COPPER

We were delighted to see this new review of Elin Gregory’s A TASTE OF COPPER, by reviewer Sammy, which has recently appeared on The Novel Approach Reviews.

For such a short novella, I was thrilled by the lush quality of this author’s writing. From the stark beauty of the countryside to the harsh living conditions that Maheris and Olivier endure while guarding the bridge, I felt fully immersed into this medieval tale. I rarely find many novels in this genre that have both a ripping good storyline as well as such attention to detail. A Taste of Copper managed to both educate and entertain, and that places this historical romance at the top of the genre for me.

Thank you, Sammy, we loved it too – although I suppose that goes without saying! – but you’ve articulated the book’s merits so much better that we ever could have done. It really is a little gem!

New review of SHEEP’S CLOTHING

We’re delighted to say that another new review has crossed our path this morning, this time from reviewer Jules at The Novel Approach who has recently been reading Elin Gregory’s SHEEP’S CLOTHING.

It’s not a long book so Jules has very wisely kept the review short to match – but it does include this wonderful passage:

“I found myself immediately taken in by the cheeky humor of the story and the characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed author Elin Gregory’s easy comedic style and dialogue. […] I loved the originality of this fun little read. Definitely check this one out if you’re in the mood for something different that will make you chuckle!”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, Jules – and thank you for your time and your comments!

New reviews of A TIME TO KEEP, CALL TO ARMS

Once more we’re indebted to our friends over at the Historical Novel Society for some hugely encouraging reviews of our output. HNS reviewer Viviane Crystal has been considering two of our more recent publications, with highly gratifying results:

Speaking of Morgan Cheshire’s A TIME TO KEEP, the reviewer clearly enjoyed the author’s gentle tone:

This story of their love is depicted in serene, peaceful ways, highlighting the normalcy of their relationship

and concludes by calling it “[n]icely crafted historical fiction“, with which we can only concur!

The reviewer was also impressed with our Second World War anthology CALL TO ARMS, singling out some stories for individual mention – such as Megan Reddaway’s ‘The Man Who Loved Pigs’ and Julie Bozza’s ‘We Live Without A Future’ – before concluding that the book as a whole is “An interesting […] and memorably inspiring body of historical fiction.

Coming from someone who presumably by definition reads a great deal of historical fiction, this is quite an accolade – and one we’re immensely pleased with.

Thank you so much, Viviane Crystal and the HNS! We’re thrilled that you enjoyed our books so much, and grateful that you took the time to let us know!

Three new titles available today!

Our three latest titles from Manifold Press stalwarts are released today!


From Jay Lewis Taylor we have an anthology of short stories, APPOINTED LIMITS, following the unpredictable love-life of Naval surgeon John Amery throughout the dramatic early years of the twentieth century. An earthquake and the run-up to and aftermath of war profoundly affect not only his life but also those of his friends and acquaintances – and fans of Jay’s writing will notice some characters familiar from other books making ‘guest appearances’ along the way.

Buy links for APPOINTED LIMITS:


We’re also delighted to be hosting a new, slightly revised edition of Elin Gregory’s popular short novel A TASTE OF COPPER – a tale of mediaeval France, of jousting knights, of hopeless quests, and of Olivier’s selfless unrequited love for his stubborn and inflexible master. When all Olivier cares about is Maheris, and all Maheris cares about is his duty, it takes something quite out of the ordinary to bring them together at last.

Buy links for A TASTE OF COPPER:

Last but certainly not least is another revised, pre-loved story from Elin Gregory: SHEEP’S CLOTHING. Whether or not you’re into shifters, we’re sure you’ll love this tale of Darren Murchison, reluctant werewolf. He moves to Welsh sheep country in the hopes of simplifying his life – but of course such intentions are always doomed to go awry. Combining Elin’s emotional insight with her clever sense of humour and terrific storytelling, SHEEP’S CLOTHING will delight anyone who loves a good yarn.

Buy links for SHEEP’S CLOTHING:

ESPRESSO SHOTS is an informal imprint which features long stories and short 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 plenty here for your reading pleasure!

New review of THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS

A reviewer rather splendidly named Optimist King’s Wench, over at Boy Meets Boy Reviews, has been enjoying her first encounter with Elin Gregory’s writing through reading her highly-praised THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS.

Among other very welcome comments there is this delightful paragraph:

“This is my first experience with this author and even though there weren’t a lot of bells and whistles that I typically enjoy in my reads what I realized somewhere along the way was a growing familiarity with these characters that snuck up on me. It’s a quiet story that packs a punch, a sneaky, ninja punch, but still.”

Since we definitely know Elin to be a sneaky ninja, we’d have to agree with this assessment…

Thank you, Optimist, we’re glad you enjoyed the book, and hope you and other readers will be intrigued enough to follow up on some of Elin’s other titles as well!

New titles for 1 February announced today!

We’re proud to announce three wonderful titles from Manifold Press stalwarts – available for pre-order now, and released on 1 February!


From Jay Lewis Taylor we have an anthology of short stories, APPOINTED LIMITS, following the unpredictable love-life of Naval surgeon John Amery throughout the dramatic early years of the twentieth century. An earthquake and the run-up to and aftermath of war profoundly affect not only his life but also those of his friends and acquaintances – and fans of Jay’s writing will notice some characters familiar from other books making ‘guest appearances’ along the way.

Pre-order links for APPOINTED LIMITS:


We’re also delighted to be hosting a new, slightly revised edition of Elin Gregory’s popular short novel A TASTE OF COPPER – a tale of mediaeval France, of jousting knights, of hopeless quests, and of Olivier’s selfless unrequited love for his stubborn and inflexible master. When all Olivier cares about is Maheris, and all Maheris cares about is his duty, it takes something quite out of the ordinary to bring them together at last.

Pre-order links for A TASTE OF COPPER:

Last but certainly not least is another revised, pre-loved story from Elin Gregory: SHEEP’S CLOTHING. Whether or not you’re into shifters, we’re sure you’ll love this tale of Darren Murchison, reluctant werewolf. He moves to Welsh sheep country in the hopes of simplifying his life – but of course such intentions are always doomed to go awry. Combining Elin’s emotional insight with her clever sense of humour and terrific storytelling, SHEEP’S CLOTHING will delight anyone who loves a good yarn.

Pre-order links for SHEEP’S CLOTHING:

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 plenty here for your reading pleasure!

The Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2017

We’re pleased and proud to see Manifold Press authors represented in The Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2017. The nominations and votes are “by the readers, for the readers”, so they mean all the more to us.

If you are a member of the M/M Romance group, then please head over to vote for your favourites, whichever and whoever they may be – and no doubt add to your To Read pile(s) while you’re at it!

The nominations for our authors are:

Thank you so much to all involved!