The Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2016

We’re delighted to see the Press well represented in the Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2016. Elin Gregory’s ELEVENTH HOUR, in particular, has proved very popular indeed!

If you are a member of the M/M Romance group, then please head over to vote for your favourites – and no doubt add to your To Read pile(s) while you’re at it! These are reader-driven awards, so every vote counts.

Nominations for titles by the Press are:

Well done to our authors! We couldn’t be prouder.

Manifold Press well represented in the Rainbow Awards!

rainbow-awards-winner-200pxWe were delighted to wake early this morning to see how well our authors had done in the Rainbow Awards 2016! Of our five eligible titles, a very respectable four earned Honourable Mentions and were Finalists – and three went on to earn themselves places in the final results.

ACROSS YOUR DREAMS by Jay Lewis Taylor: This significant ‘Great War’ novel came first in the Best Gay Historical category, and was equal fourth as the Best Gay Book overall.

ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory: This delightful tale of derring-do came equal fifth in the Best Gay Historical Romance category, and was equal seventh as the Best Gay Book overall.

IN DEEP by Adam Fitzroy: This intriguing story set in the enclosed world of a remote Scottish island came fourth in the Best Gay Mystery / Thriller category, and was equal nineteenth as the Best Gay Book overall.

UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey: This dramatic Second World War tale was also a Finalist – of which we are very proud.

Hearty congratulations to our own authors, and to all the other authors and publishers who took part, making for such an obviously strong field of contenders.

Last but certainly not least, many thanks are due to Elisa Rolle and her team of judges for their indefatigable efforts!

More from the Rainbow Awards!

Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryTo our great delight, another of our recent titles has been distinguished with an Honourable Mention in this year’s Rainbow Awards – this time Elin Gregory’s delightful ELEVENTH HOUR!  These were the responses from the judges posted on Elisa’s Reviews and Ramblings blog:

1) I will have to keep my eyes open for more stories by this author as she pulled me into this story from the beginning.

2) Thoroughly enjoyable and historically fun story of espionage and an unusual romance, with great characters.

Thoroughly deserved, Elin, and many congratulations from us all!

New review of ELEVENTH HOUR

Another appreciative review of Elin Gregory’s ELEVENTH HOUR has appeared recently, this time on the blog Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. The reviewer, Caryn, loved the book’s mixture of historical realism and outlandish capers:

Historical fiction buffs will love this, with the realistic trivia of daily life in interwar London. Action aficionados will love the car chase (high speed was less than 40 mph then!) and the sewer reconnaissance. Readers like me who enjoy character development will appreciate how two quite different men came to know and love each other. Highly recommended!

Thank you for your comments, Caryn – and we couldn’t possibly agree with you more!

New reviews of ELEVENTH HOUR

With apologies to the lovely Elin Gregory for the delay, we would like to draw readers’ attention to two excellent recent reviews of her nEleventh Hour by Elin Gregoryew book ELEVENTH HOUR.

First of all, Karen gave her opinion over at Prism Book Alliance:  “If I have one complaint, and its a terribly selfish one, is that I’d loved to have seen definitely that there was going to be a second book, I really would like to see more of Miles and Briers.”  (We’re hoping so, Karen – watch this space!)

Shortly afterwards there was a review from Lisa at The Novel Approach who, among other things, said this:  “I love a novel that offer readers the opportunity to become ensconced in time and place without it turning into a full-fledged history lesson about the era.”  (So do we, Lisa!)

Thank you to both reviewers for their time and their comments; we’re delighted that you both enjoyed the book so much!

Elin Gregory’s Signal Boost blog tour!

EleventhHour-blogtourgraphic

We’re delighted to announced that Elin Gregory is off on another, more extensive tour as part of launching her charming novel, ELEVENTH HOUR. Today you can find her with the kind peeps at My Fiction Nook.

Do follow her about! Her articles are always worth reading, and she’s organised a cool giveaway as well.

Spies and Blackguards!

Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryAn author guest blog
by Elin Gregory

Spies are fascinating. From the earliest times there have been men and women who risk their lives by sneaking into enemy territory to try to see what’s going on there and establish how much of a threat there is. There are even spies mentioned in the Bible, reconnoitring before invading Palestine and establishing a safe house in Jericho. The Romans had their speculators, men who could sound out possible supporters in territories ripe for annexation and spy on enemy forces. Sir Francis Walsingham had an enormous network of spies in the 16th century, and the European powers cultivated promising young officers who might prove to be good players in The Great Game.

But it wasn’t until the 20th century that anything like a formal secret service was established in the UK. Partly this was due to a lordly assumption that the Brits didn’t NEED to spy, they were just that good, but it was coupled with a very damaging attitude that spying was ‘not playing the game’ and that we shouldn’t stoop so low. Between 1900 and 1909 a series of intelligence disasters, including the discovery of a very highly placed German mole in the Foreign Office finally convinced the powers in charge that some kind of overview was needed. Army intelligence didn’t speak to Navy and the fledgling air force reported to whoever it felt like. Someone needed to draw the threads together. A small room in the War Office, designated M05, was allocated and two Captains, one of the Staffordshire Regiment, invalided out of service due to his ill health and the other from Naval intelligence, were asked to form a formal Secret Service Bureau. Not a promising start yet they outstripped all expectations.

Captain Vernon Kell
Captain Vernon Kell

Plagued by illness from strenuous service, Captain Vernon Kell had served all over the world and absorbed languages like a sponge. He had a formidable intelligence that didn’t hesitate to use whatever means were available to fool the enemy. He even employed criminals, even ones in jail, to produce what is now called disinformation, sending out forged letters with inaccurate figures via the foreign powers’ own ‘letter boxes’.  He was also sensible enough to involve the police and worked with Scotland Yard to bring foreign spies to justice.  His organisation eventually became MI5.

Madison Smith-Cumming
Madison Smith-Cumming

Kell’s opposite number, head of the infant MI6, was Madison Smith-Cumming, later known as C. He was an incredible character in his own right. He had a monocle, walked with the aid of a swordstick and had his own personal tank. His wooden leg became a secret service legend, as he never told the same story of its loss twice.  Amongst other versions, he claimed that during a high speed chase he crashed his car and had to cut his own foot off with his pen knife to escape before he was caught by the enemy. But it is on record that he used to like to test the nerve of prospective spies by taking them out in his car and seeing how well they coped with being a passenger. He also used to startle people in meetings by stabbing himself in the wooden leg with a paperknife.  With such an original at the helm it’s no wonder that there was a ramshackle, ‘make it up as you go along’ vibe to many of their operations. C had to use whoever volunteered and while some were genuinely talented patriots others were venal or fools. “All my men are blackguards!” he complained after one spectacularly failed mission.  But they did enjoy some success and he encouraged technical innovation.

concealed weapon

Concealed weapons, waistcoat button cameras, even exploding pens were possible.  His men were also encouraged to improvise. Far from home and out of touch with their handlers, there would be plenty of times when they ran out of supplies and had to make do with whatever was to hand. For instance, C delighted in the discovery that semen makes an excellent invisible ink! However after a year or two of enthusiastic use – every man is his own fountain pen was one of his sayings – he had to recommend that it only be used with caution because the recipients of the notes complained of the smell.


If you are intrigued as we were to read Elin’s tale set in and around the British Secret Intelligence Service, do check out her novel ELEVENTH HOUR. It’s a cracking good yarn!

Elin will be off on a blog tour from Monday 22 August, during which she’ll be offering a giveaway of a backlist book plus a $10 gift card. We’ll post the links once they’re available.


Image sources:

  • Vernon Kell from the MI5 website.
  • Madison Smith-Cumming from a Daily Mail article (sorry).
  • The concealed weapon was from a now defunct eBay auction.
  • The photographers were unattributed at the source.

Elin Gregory’s blog tour

Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryElin Gregory has been celebrating her very well-received new title ELEVENTH HOUR with a blog tour. Please do drop by and share the love with Elin and the lovely bloggers!

Elin will be conducting another, more extensive tour soon, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, if you want to read about what we got up to during our New Release Q+A on Facebook, celebrating Elin’s book and also Sandra Lindsey‘s UNDER LEADEN SKIES, check out our blog post!

New release Q+A!

The Press held a Q+A event on Facebook yesterday evening, in honour of new titles ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory and UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey. Unfortunately just as we got going, I realised I had mistakenly set up the event as private rather than public. As punishment, I have had all Cheesecake Privileges revoked until the end of the month. {woeful wail}

Meanwhile, I thought I’d copy across some of the more pertinent questions and answers. These are all from people who generally interact with us in public forums, and they are about (relatively) uncontroversial topics – but if there is anything that people would like removed from (or indeed added to) this post, please let me know!


Manifold Press: Hey everyone, how are we all? Welcome to our new release Q&A! Congratulations to Sandra and Elin on the publication of their new titles, both of which are making quite a splash with the readers!

Elin Gregory: Many thanks, Manifold. 🙂 How’s the test match going?

Manifold Press: Decently, thanks; looking at a possible declaration and setting Pakistan a target for the final day. Consensus seems to be that a draw is inevitable, depending on the weather …


Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryManifold Press: We’re getting a lot of positive comment about the covers, both of which are absolutely spectacular. Creating covers is always a bit challenging, but this time I think our art team totally ‘knocked it out of the park’!

Tigg Cooper: Oh definitely, they’re gorgeous!

Manifold Press: I think we were extraordinarily lucky in being able to source such brilliant images – but that’s all down to hard work and diligence (and a certain amount of persuasive power) on behalf of our artists!

Elin Gregory: Super covers. And I really wish I could paint water like that.

Anna Butler: The covers are lovely.

Jay Lewis Taylor: Congrats to Shell.


Tigg Cooper: Oh, for anyone who doesn’t know, I’m Sandra Lindsey 🙂 Haven’t yet set up a FB account in my author name…


Under Leaden Skies by Sandra LindseyElin Gregory: I’ve got a question for Tigg / Sandra about Under Leaden Skies. Why Sunderlands? Why not one of the better known aircraft?

Tigg Cooper: Oh, that’s a long tale, with many different versions….

….I saw a Catalina (American flying boat) in RAF Museum Cosford, decided I wanted my airman to be a flying boat pilot, because I’ve always been rather intrigued by them myself, not having been around at the time they were operating…

…but then I found that Catalinas entered service quite late in the war, but there was another kind of flying boat, called a Sunderland, which operated for the whole war, giving me more flexibility with when the story could be set – and once I found there’d been some based at Pembroke Dock, it seemed reasonable that an airman based there could easily visit a ‘friend’ who was a miner in the South Wales valleys.

Of course, that’s not the part of their relationship I ended up writing about though!

Manifold Press: Did the RAF actually use Catalinas? I wrote some fan fiction once featuring a PBY Catalina …

Tigg Cooper: Yes, RAF Coastal Command used Catalinas – with their foldaway wheels, they’re more of an amphibious craft, whereas Sunderlands are “true” flying boats

Elin Gregory: Pembroke Dock, wow. I didn’t know that.

Manifold Press: They had mini-subs at Pembroke Dock, too IIRC.

Tigg Cooper: There’s a Sunderland on the bottom there still, which a group is raising money to try & recover & restore…

Continue reading “New release Q+A!”

Release day for our new titles!

It is the first of August, and our new titles are now available at last! The last month – from our official announcement through to release date – always seems unbearably long, and we feel sure many of our readers have felt the same way.


Under Leaden Skies by Sandra LindseyThis is the Press’s first novel from Sandra Lindsey, and we certainly hope it won’t be the last! UNDER LEADEN SKIES begins in the early days of the second world war. ‘Teddy’ Garston is finally prompted to confess his love for his friend Huw Roberts, and they spend a few hours together before Teddy must travel north to Shetland to take up his duties piloting Sunderland flying boats. The story follows Teddy throughout the war, while all the old certainties seem lost in the turbulence of change and loss – until at last he can head home again, and try to find a way of building a new life with those he loves.

UNDER LEADEN SKIES buy links:


Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryElin Gregory has long been a good friend to the Press and all who sail in her – not to mention a well respected and much loved author of all things historical – so we are dead chuffed to be publishing her delightful novel ELEVENTH HOUR. Elin lovingly evokes old adventures of espionage and derring-do in this tale set in 1920s London. If you are nostalgic for ‘couples only’ boarding houses and nosy landladies, bath houses and suave gents spying for foreign powers, not to mention the necessity of tea and a good overarm bowling action, then this is the yarn for you!

ELEVENTH HOUR buy links:


The release date is a workday Monday, so we will host our regular Q+A on Saturday 6 August on Facebook. That seemed to work very nicely last time! We’d love for you to drop by for a chat with Elin, Sandra and our other friends at the New release Q+A event, from 6pm BST / 1pm EDT / 10am PDT.

In the meantime, we very much hope you’ll enjoy reading our new titles!


You may remember that we also announced another title for release today: LIKE PEOPLE by R.A. Padmos. Unfortunately the author and the Press have come to a mutual decision to withdraw this title from publication at this time due to unforeseen circumstances, and the rights have reverted to the author.

We apologise for the disappointment we know many of you will feel.