Three (very different) new titles for 1 May!

If there’s one thing that our next three titles have in common, it’s that they’re each so different!

This new novel from Alexa Milne is her first with the Press. We were intrigued as soon as we heard that the romance features two older characters – the sort of main characters we feel are under-represented in our genre. WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE sees Sion returning to his childhood home in South Wales – and finding that his best friend Phil has recently returned home as well. They are both approaching their sixtieth birthdays, but is it ever too late for a chance at love?

Adding further depth to the tale, Alexa also explores two other romantic relationships in different generations of Sion’s family. Love is love is love, but our society has changed over time, and that has huge implications for the individuals who don’t quite fit into the ‘norm’.

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


Chris Quinton’s stories often touch on the fantastical, and COINS NOT ACCEPTED is no exception. Here we’re introduced to a world which exists in parallel with our own, and to the political machinations which spill through the tightly-controlled portal between them. Against this background of danger and intrigue Miles is reunited with old friend Allan, and together they’re pitted against powerful forces that threaten the safety of both worlds. Getting out of this situation alive will already be a challenge; getting out of it alive and together seems almost impossible…

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


In A NIGHT WITH THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, Julie Bozza does something different again. As if Francis Beaumont’s original play wasn’t chaotic enough, with two-plays-within-a-play, Julie wraps another layer around the whole, following the actors backstage in a modern-day production. Dale (who plays Rafe) and Topher (who plays Jasper) have worked together before – and Topher wants to celebrate the last night of this run in the same way they celebrated last time. This doesn’t fit into Dale’s plans at all, but perhaps Beaumont’s play “full of mirth and delight” has something to teach him.

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

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The purpose of a butterfly

An author guest blog
by Julie Bozza

I had quite a conservative and sheltered upbringing (and am eternally grateful to my friend Cathe, and to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for helping me begin the process of opening out!) but I always took the idea of marriage equality seriously.

I also took the idea very personally, despite being an (apparently) cisgender woman happily married from the age of 20 to a (definitely) cisgender man. (I am actually way more complicated than that, as I suspect many of us are, but people tend to relate to me as such.) Despite having what everyone assumed was a ‘traditional’, legally permissible marriage, I felt the issue of marriage equality had a great deal to do with me and my own choices.

When marriage equality was first becoming a matter of wider public debate, Australia’s prime minister was John Howard, a conservative both personally and in politics. Whenever asked, he always defined marriage as being ‘between one man and one woman – for the purposes of having children’.

I could just roll my eyes at the first part of the definition, as of course that was the actual problem we were all arguing about. But the latter part of his definition really stuck in my craw. ‘For the purposes of having children.’

Mr B and I don’t have kids, and that was a deliberate mutual decision made during the first few years we were together, that we’ve never regretted. But that doesn’t mean our relationship isn’t a ‘proper’ marriage. It doesn’t mean we’re not a ‘proper’ family, despite it being only the two of us. And fie on John Howard for suggesting otherwise. (I am still rankling, all these years later!)

Not everyone wants to get married, of course, but I strongly feel that those who want to should be able to. That includes anyone of any sex, gender identity or sexuality – whether they can or can’t have (their own biological) children, and whether they intend to have children or not.

Marriage is a partnership between individuals, and each relationship will be different, and will grow and change over time. As long as everyone involved is happy and willing, the state can and should offer support, but otherwise mind its own business. In my opinion!

Why am I getting on my soapbox about this particular issue in relation to my novel BUTTERFLY HUNTER…? Because the crux of the matter was really brought home to me while researching for the story.

As can be inferred from the title, the main characters Dave and Nicholas are on a quest in the Australian Outback for a particular species of blue butterfly. As part of my research, I often browsed The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by Michael F Braby.

Butterflies go through quite a complex life cycle, which involves four very different forms: egg, larva, pupa and adult. It’s the adult form we tend to think of when we think of butterflies – the beautiful, delicate winged creatures, who might live only for months or even days. For different (human) cultures, adult butterflies have symbolised transformation, change, joy, colour, the soul, and death.

I realise we humans are imposing symbolic meaning, and our love of beauty, on creatures who do not share our ways of thinking. However, it really brought me to a crashing halt when I read the following sentence in Braby’s Field Guide:

The adult, also known as the imago, is responsible chiefly for reproduction and dispersal.

And I’m not saying he’s wrong per se. He’s obviously right at some level. I’m just saying that this reductionist approach to life horrifies me. There is so much more to our human lives than making babies and placing them somewhere useful. Maybe a butterfly isn’t conscious enough in itself to think about more than mating, and then laying eggs in good locations. However, the facts that we can appreciate a butterfly’s beauty, and attach culturally-relevant symbolic meanings to them, proves that there’s a whole lot more to being human.

And so I say again, fie on John Howard and his reductive definitions of marriage, and fie on his successors as well. All these years later, Australia still hasn’t signed off on marriage equality. Let marriage be about choice and love, about transformation and life, about souls and joy. Let it be about a dinky-di fair go for all.

Come on, Aussie, come on! It’s more than time. We are way overdue. Get it done!

Reviews and blog posts re THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION

With thanks to Rachel at Signal Boost Promotions, I (Julie!) have recently been on a review and blog tour for my novel THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION. You might like to check out the reviews and my guest blog posts, and share the love with the awesome bloggers who hosted me.

21 November: We started off with a truly lovely review from Becky at Bike Book Reviews: Jules captured my heart on page 1 of this book, what with his swinging hips and artfully styled ginger hair, how could one not fall in love? … it is a great read.

21 November: Lisa, the reviewer at MM Good Book Reviews, wasn’t so keen on the story – though she liked Jules’ family and also the humour! The site also ran a guest blog post from me called The ‘Dark Figure’ of Crime, which probably isn’t quite as dramatic as it sounds, but talks a bit about the fraud case that originally inspired this novel and how fraud often goes unreported.

23 November: Lisa at The Novel Approach kindly ran a guest blog post called The Austen Influence. You may know that I was editing the Manifold Press anthology A CERTAIN PERSUASION while writing THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION. Being a total fangirl about Jane Austen, I am probably always influenced by her, but in this novel I explored a very specific theme that is common to all of Austen’s novels in one way or another. Do drop by The Novel Approach to read more!

25 November: Another lovely review from Fiona at Books Laid Bare BoysI enjoyed this so much – it was well written and properly researched so no distractions from the story line. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read an amusing feel good old fashioned romance (with a bit of gay sex thrown in for very good measure!)

28 November: Danielle at Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews kindly hosted a guest blog titled The Author and the Character(s), in which I talk about which of the three main characters I most identify with. One of the characters is a romance author – but nothing is ever straightforward! Visit Love Bytes to read more.

30 November: The good people at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words posted a review by Stella: I discovered Julie Bozza in the Butterfly Hunter series and fell in love with her style. That’s the reason I soon jumped into the chance at reading The ‘True Love’ Solution. What I particularly like of this author is her way with words, she can always bring me into real and at the same time dreamy worlds. This is exactly what I felt with this last story.

5 December: The lovely peeps at Bayou Book Junkie hosted me, and Jaymie wrote a review. Alas, Jaymie wasn’t too keen on the storyline which gave Jules two love interests to choose between, but I was very pleased to see the following comment: The writing was very good and the author is definitely talented.

5 December: I also appreciate Engaging Secrets hosting me, and running a review by Gretchen. She seems to have found it a rather unexpected book – weird and quirky! – but concludes: Overall there were things I didn’t like but mostly I enjoyed this book very much. It’s different and well written with complex characters.

7 December: RJ Scott kindly hosted a guest blog titled Book Titles, in which I talk about the fun to be had in not only coming up with one title for the book itself, but also titles for the books written by the character Ewan Byge, a romance author.

9 December: The reviewer Brave One courageously reviewed the novel for Romantic Fanatic Book Club, and particularly enjoyed the ‘sweet love story’, the humour, and Jules’ family dynamics.

9 December: I was pleased to see that Jules (not related!) at The Novel Approach reviewed the book – and again while the ‘love triangle’ aspect of the tale did not suit, Jules still found a lot of things to like about it. Archie, Leonard, and the strength of the opening chapters and the final chapter saved this one for me.

12 December: Winding up the tour, I was delighted that Diverse Reader hosted my blog post titled The Joyful Exuberance of Jules, which explores some of the camp aspects of my main character.

Thank you again to Signal Boost Promotions and to all the wonderful bloggers and reviewers!

Elin Gregory interviews our A CERTAIN PERSUASION authors!

A CERTAIN PERSUASIONIt’s a real honour to be hosted on the blog of Elin Gregory, a deservedly well-loved and highly respected author of historical fiction and romance. Recently she has been interviewing the authors involved in our Austen-inspired anthology, A CERTAIN PERSUASION.

If you’d like to know what the authors appreciate about Jane Austen’s use of language, what inspired their story in the anthology, and more – please follow these links!

  • Sandra Lindsey, who wrote an Age of Sail story featuring a character from Mansfield Park.
  • Adam Fitzroy, who wrote a story that took Emma in a rather different direction.
  • Julie Bozza, who retold Sense and Sensibility with one crucial difference.
  • Fae Mcloughlin, who wrote two stories with modern-day characters who are influenced by Austen’s works.
  • Sam Evans, who plagued a modern-day Darcy with participation in a ‘reality TV’ celebrity dance show.
  • Eleanor Musgrove, who wrote stories set in the future of Sense and Sensibility (beautiful!) and the past of Pride and Prejudice (intriguing!).
  • Lou Faulkner, who did exquisite work with two minor characters from Persuasion.
  • Narrelle M Harris, who retold Persuasion in modern-day Melbourne.
  • Atlin Merrick, who wrote about two original characters in a Regency-era setting.
  • JL Merrow, who looked into the future of two characters from Mansfield Park.

I hope you enjoy the interviews! And please do share the love with Elin, who has been such a welcoming host.

Author interview: Julie Bozza

A CERTAIN PERSUASIONThis series of mini-interviews features the authors who contributed to our Austen anthology A CERTAIN PERSUASION.

And then there’s (me! ahem) Julie Bozza, who wrote the story Elinor and Ada, which retells Sense and Sensibility with one crucial difference. Julie was also proud to act as editor for the volume.

Blurb: Elinor Dashwood has fallen in love with her sister-in-law’s cousin, Ada Ferrars, and dares to hope that Ada returns her feelings. But soon Elinor must move to Devonshire with her mother and sisters, in much reduced circumstances – and while there, she learns a devastating secret. How can Elinor pursue this rare chance of happiness, when even duty and honour are against her?


Q: How did you discover Jane Austen and her works? What was the initial appeal?

I was about 18 or 19 when the BBC’s 1980 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice was being screened in Australia, with Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet and David Rintoul as Mr Darcy. My Mum had it on of a Sunday (?) evening, and almost despite myself I was soon hooked. Once the series was over, I read the book – and that was it, I was in love. I remember that I once read it three times in row, just immersing myself in it for hours at a time.

We had never studied Austen at school, so now I had her work to discover for myself. To be honest, there were times when I found it daunting, as I’d never been the most self-directed intellectual as a student – but mostly the experience was intensely rewarding. The more I knew of her work, the more I loved and appreciated Austen.

Though the first time I read Emma, I really couldn’t stand the character – just as Austen intended! – and I put the book aside thinking I’d never bother with that one again. Eventually I did, though, and after a second and a third reading Emma started to grow on me. Now I love her as much as any of the main characters, and there’s really only one passage for which I find it hard to forgive her. And the ‘Badly done!’ scene always makes me weep with pain and remorse.

Q: Has she surprised you since then?

The big surprise for me was how perfectly crafted some (not all!) of her books are. It first struck me with Pride and Prejudice that it is utterly complete unto itself, without anything that doesn’t belong there and with no question that remains unanswered (if you can figure out where to look). And yet the story unfolds in what feels like a completely natural and organic way. How did she do that?

Emma is likewise perfectly crafted – and reading it with an eye to the three volumes in which it was originally published only reinforces the notion. In this story, Austen sets up mysteries around Jane Fairfax and around Frank Churchill that the point-of-view character remains oblivious to until the solution is finally broken to her. Yet when you go back and re-read the story, there are all the clues and facts, presented as plain as day – though I suspect that few first-time readers will have picked up on them any better than Emma herself.

And this was all done two centuries ago, when all Austen had to work with were pen and ink, paper and pins. I mean, I couldn’t perfectly craft a novel like that even with the benefits of word-processing. I can hardly even imagine doing so, without seeing the whole thing neat and tidy until the printer’s proofs are sent to you. The woman amazes me.

Q: Which Austen character do you like best? Which do you identify with most?

As with many of us, this all began with Pride and Prejudice, and identifying with Elizabeth and falling in love with Darcy. Not the David Rintoul incarnation of Darcy, though I remember him being very effective in the role, but my head-canon Darcy. My three main passions in my teens and early twenties were Darcy, King Arthur, and Aragorn – specifically, book-related head-canon versions of all three. Various TV and film versions came close, but none have yet matched the ones in my head.

Over the decades since then, each of the main novels has had its turn at being loved best. But working so thoroughly with Sense and Sensibility for this story brought home to me how very much I love and identify with Elinor Dashwood. So right now, and probably for a good while to come, she is my answer to both questions!

Q: Why do you think the Regency is such an appealing period to write and read about?

I love Austen’s work, but never bothered looking beyond it to the historical era, or to other ‘Regency’ fiction. It was only when I discovered the poet John Keats that I began exploring the ‘life and times’, and that led me into a love for the Enlightenment and Romantic eras. Which is a long way of saying that I never considered myself a fan of Regency per se, but instead a lover of Keats and the other Romantic poets, and of all the best and worst things of the world they lived in. Austen’s work, especially if you include the ‘Juvenilia’ and the unfinished work, draws on the ideas and values of both the Enlightenment and the Romantics, often searching for a liveable balance between the two (sense and sensibility!) – and I think that’s one of many reasons why her work has a depth to it that many don’t look to find there.

It was an exciting, dangerous and very creative time in which to live, which makes it appealing. And so many Romantic notions about creativity and creators are still considered as ‘self-evident truths’ today. I think we’ll be drawn to that era for a long long time yet.


Julie BozzaAuthor bio: Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with John Keats.

Links: blog; Twitter; Goodreads


A CERTAIN PERSUASION buy links: AllRomance; Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords

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!

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:

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.

Back from the abyss!

You may have noticed that we vanished from Facebook some time over the weekend. This was apparently because we’d originally set up our account as a personal one, not a business-type ‘page’, so FB deleted us without warning. (We’ll leave you to imagine the muttering and gnashing of teeth resulting from this decision.) Rather than mess about trying to appeal it/retrieve our information, we decided to bite the bullet and create a page from scratch. You can now find us at the new Manifold Press Facebook page.

To celebrate our return here’s a special offer; ‘like’ us on Facebook before 12 noon on Friday 16 September (UK time) to win one of four Manifold Press paperbacks: BUTTERFLY HUNTER or THE ‘TRUE LOVE’ SOLUTION by Julie Bozza, or GHOST STATION or THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER WYE (not due to be published until 1 October) by Adam Fitzroy. If you have a preference, please let us know in the replies to this post – otherwise you’ll receive a random book. We’ll pick out the four lucky winners as soon as we can after the closing deadline, but ‘like’ our page now to be included in the draw. As the saying goes, “You have to be in it to win it!”

[NB: people who have already ‘liked’ us are of course included automatically!]

Manifold Press paperbacks

The Press doesn’t issue paperback editions of all our titles, as the decision to do so is driven by the individual authors. That being said, we’re delighted with the twenty titles that have made it into print thus far! There are new ones on the way, so it seemed to be a good time to take stock of what we have so far.

A veritable rainbow of books from Manifold Press!
A veritable rainbow of books from Manifold Press!

Our current paperback titles are listed here, along with Amazon US buy links:

The Apothecary's Garden paperback coverAlways With Us by Morgan Cheshire

The Apothecary’s Garden by Julie Bozza

Between Now and Then by Adam Fitzroy

Butterfly Hunter (#1) by Julie Bozza

Of Dreams and Ceremonies (Butterfly Hunter #2) by Julie Bozza

The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter #3) by Julie Bozza

The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy (incorporating all three novels plus the free short story Like Leaves to a Tree) by Julie Bozza

Dear Mister President by Adam Fitzroy

Make Do and Mend paperback coverThe Definitive Albert J. Sterne (incorporating the novel and the stories published separately in the eBook Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect) by Julie Bozza

Ghost Station by Adam Fitzroy

Homosapien … a fantasy about pro wrestling by Julie Bozza

Make Do and Mend by Adam Fitzroy

Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life by Julie Bozza

A Pride of Poppies Modern LGBTQIA Fiction of the Great War – anthology including stories by Julie Bozza, Barry Brennessel, Charlie Cochrane, Sam Evans, Lou Faulkner, Adam Fitzroy, Wendy C. Fries, Z. McAspurren, Eleanor Musgrove and Jay Lewis Taylor

A Pride of Poppies - paperback coverRavages by R.A. Padmos

Solemn Contract by Morgan Cheshire

Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy

A Threefold Cord by Julie Bozza

The ‘True Love’ Solution by Julie Bozza

The Valley of the Shadow of Death by Julie Bozza

We hope you’ll enjoy these paperback editions and – like us! – are looking forward to more titles coming soon.