The 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967

Today, 27 July 2017, marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised private homosexual acts between men over 21 in England and Wales. As is obvious from the length of that description, this was only a partial victory, and we can hardly pretend that gay men and other people in the LGBTQ+ spectrum enjoy full equality even now.

Despite those caveats, the legal victory in 1967 and all the progress made since are things to be celebrated. The Manifold Press team was surprised and delighted by how many of Britain’s cultural institutions are acknowledging the milestone of this anniversary during 2017 – and we wanted to celebrate, too.

Hence, OUT OF THE SHADOWS: EXTRACTS FOR AN ANNIVERSARY 1967-2017. This is a free anthology of extracts from Manifold Press titles that illustrates in a modest way the changes experienced by gay men over the centuries in Britain, and how the social and legal situations may have affected individuals. The extracts begin with the Romans in the 1st century CE, and bring us right through to current issues such as marriage equality and gender-fluid pronouns.

The anthology also includes a detailed timeline of gay history in England, from 17 BCE through to the present day, written by Fiona Pickles.

This free eBook is available to download directly from Smashwords and its distributors, in all available formats. We plan to also make free paperbacks available at Queer Company 3.

We’d like to thank all the Manifold Press authors for supporting this project, and in particular the following authors for agreeing to us sharing their work: Julie Bozza, Morgan Cheshire, Adam Fitzroy, Elin Gregory, Sandra Lindsey, Eleanor Musgrove, R.A. Padmos, F.M. Parkinson, Cimorene Ross, and Jay Lewis Taylor.

We hope that readers will find much to ponder in this volume, and if you are inspired to explore further – whether in our titles or elsewhere – that would be marvellous, too!

New reviews of UNDER LEADEN SKIES, ELEVENTH HOUR

Two recent reviews by Stevie over at The Good, The Bad and the Unread have just reached us, and they’re both wonderful – as, indeed, are the books!

Of Sandra Lindsey’s UNDER LEADEN SKIES, the reviewer has this to say:

“I loved this book, both for the story told within it and for the style in which it is told – addressing the reader throughout, as Teddy passes his story on to an individual whose identity only becomes clear at the very end. There’s a lot of scope for sequels – and possibly a prequel about Teddy’s grandfather here – so I hope this isn’t the only visit we pay to the characters and their world.”

And Stevie’s response to Elin Gregory’s ELEVENTH HOUR was equally enthusiastic:

“I loved this book. All the characters felt very real, even those who make only brief appearances, and there are plenty of back stories connecting various of them to each other that I would love to read more about. Miles’ butler and his theatrical friend deserve their own book too. Highly recommended.”

I think we can safely call that a vote in favour of two sequels and/or spinoff titles, then!  Thank you for your comments, Stevie – and we totally agree with you; we would love to see more of the adventures of these characters, too!

 

New review of UNDER LEADEN SKIES

Rather belatedly, we have just learned about a review of Sandra Lindsey’s UNDER LEADEN SKIES which appeared in September.

Over on Love Bytes, reviewer Dan seems to have thoroughly enjoyed the book:

The tale of these men and their friends, families and crew mates reads as a true historical story, probably because it could easily be true. Told in First Person from Max’s POV, it read in some parts like a personal memoir, and I really liked it because of it.

We couldn’t agree more – it was that immediacy which attracted us to the book in the first place!

Thank you, Dan, we really appreciate your comments!

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!

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: Sandra Lindsey

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

Next up in our series is Sandra Lindsey, who wrote the story Man of War, inspired by one of Austen’s naval characters.

Blurb: Intent on making his mark as the newest lieutenant aboard HMS Thrush, William Price takes on the task of tutoring an ordinary seaman, Robert Oakes, so that the young sailor may improve his chances of advancement.

Oakes, however, hides something which could see him unceremoniously dropped from the ship’s muster list and left in the closest port with just a few coins to his name. When William learns Oakes’s secret in the aftermath of a skirmish with a French frigate, he must choose between proving himself a worthy friend or a dutiful officer.


Q: How did you discover Jane Austen and her works? What was the initial appeal? Has she surprised you since then?

I guess I first became properly aware of Austen’s work through the BBC adaptations in the mid-1990s. Not that I watched them – I was far too busy with after-school music groups, helping with the local Brownie pack, and other such adventurous things! A few years later, post-University, and married, I was a little more interested in stories about relationships than I had been as a teenager, so when my Age of Sail fandom friends started discussing Austen, I swallowed my pride, admitted to never having read any of her work, and asked for recommendations of which to read first…

Initially, I started reading just to be able to understand my friends’ discussions, but I swiftly fell in love with Austen’s wit and skill with words – there is an awful lot conveyed through sub-text and understanding the context of the characters’ words and actions.

I’m glad I didn’t force myself (or be forced by school) to read them as a teenager, but I’m even more glad I made the effort to read them as an adult.

As far as surprise goes, I think it’s more a case of every re-read leads me to new discoveries of her skills and deftness in both storytelling craft and understanding of people.

Q: Which of Austen’s books do you like best?

As the first of Austen’s works I read, Sense and Sensibility has a special place in my list of favourite books, and is a prime example of her style. I also love Mansfield Park – not just for the sailors! – but for its complexity and pacing of the story over a long period of time. There’s a lot to love and admire about Austen’s work, and each book reveals details about Regency life which might otherwise have been lost.

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

For me, it is that it is on the cusp of the industrial era – the agricultural revolution is well and truly underway (there are mentions in Austen’s works of trying out new cultivation techniques and suchlike, and I learned about session houses from Northanger Abbey before I ever read about them in gardening books), and the industrial revolution has started, but not quite taken over and revolutionised society to the extent it did once rail transport – for goods and passengers – became available. It’s similar, in a way, to the appeal of the early 20th century, before WW1: we know, with the hindsight of history, that no matter how secure things appear to be, within a few years everything will have irrecoverably changed. Of course, in both eras – as in many historical periods – there is a tendency to focus on the monied classes… but that’s a discussion for another time 😉


sandra-lindseyAuthor bio: Sandra lives in the mountains of Mid-Wales with her husband. Their garden is full of fruit and veg plants as well as home to a small flock of rare breed chickens, and she is a servant to two cats.

Sandra loves indulging in stories because she gets to spend her time with imaginary friends, and the research and observation required to write fiction open her eyes to a myriad different ways of seeing the world. Find her on Twitter – or curled up out of the way reading a good book!

Links: website; Twitter


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

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:

The exceedingly Clever Baggers sponsoring Queer Company 2!

Queer Company iconA guest blog post
by Sandra Lindsey
author of UNDER LEADEN SKIES

Everyone loves a freebie, don’t they? Obviously, the prospect of a goodie bag isn’t the only reason delegates look forward to book-related festivals and conferences, but it certainly doesn’t hinder one’s enjoyment to return home with a quality, reusable souvenir which will make you smile with memories of the event.

Last year at Queer Company, we had very useful folders stuffed with interesting info and a fun anthology of short stories set in Oxford. This year, we have something a little different, and it’s all my fault…

You see, I have a personal connection to a company which specialises in printing eco-friendly cotton bags (among a whole host of other products, but the bags are where it all started). They’re called The Clever Baggers, they’re based here in the UK, and they offer a rainbow of different coloured cotton bags. At the Manifold Press AGM, I offered to ask if the company would be willing to sponsor Queer Company 2 by providing bags for us to fill with goodies and give out to all attendees.

They said yes!

qc-bags-1-500px

I was lucky enough to be in the building the day our bags were printed, so I snapped a few photos of them being produced on the digital printers. I’ll try not to bore you with the technicalities, but for a variety of reasons, printing onto textiles is very different to printing onto paper. If you’re printing onto coloured (dyed) cloth, there are even more complications, and being able to do this digitally, i.e. directly onto the fabric by machine controlled by a computer, is a far more recent development than most people expect. In this instance, the machine applies a pre-treat to the bag, then prints a base-layer of the image in white, then prints the full colour image on top of this. All of the substances used in the process are water-based to make both process and product as eco-friendly as possible.

qc-bags-2-500px

I was very impressed by the end result, and hope you will be too!

qc-bags-cb-500px


Everyone at Manifold Press HQ is certainly thrilled at the gorgeous results. We set The Clever Baggers a bit of a challenge with an event logo that looks lovely online but might not print very well. They’ve done us proud, though, as I’m sure you’ll all agree.

There are a very few tickets left for Queer Company 2. Do please join us if you can!

qc-bags-3-500px

More from the Rainbow Awards

Under Leaden Skies by Sandra LindseyNews of another Honourable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2016 reached us this morning, this time and very deservedly for Sandra Lindsey’s debut novel UNDER LEADEN SKIES.

Two judges gave their views of her work as follows:

1) The characters in this story, although in love with each other, have kept their feelings for fear of losing what they have; a strong friendship which goes above their feelings, plus the fear of being found out. It’s 1939 war-time and one of the boys goes to do his duty while the other stays behind working in the coal mines with his father and brothers. While at war, Teddy matures and becomes sexually involved with other men, while Huw, the man who holds his interest and his heart remain faithful. It was a pretty good story. It kept me curious as to what would come next.

2) There must be a new “Must have” in recent gay novels, to quickly add a sex scene a few pages to the end, maybe to appease certain readers. It’s unnecessary, hit me off a bit and – for me – takes off value of overall really well done works.

This is great news indeed, and we’d like to congratulate Sandra and to thank Elisa and everyone involved in organising and carrying out the complex business of reading and assessing a huge number of books; to stand out in such a crowd is no mean feat!

And while we’re on the subject, we’d like to urge anyone who hasn’t already done so to wander on over and vote in the cover contest; there are some spectacular pieces of artwork included this year, and although we think you’ll find it a difficult decision you *are* allowed to vote for as many as you like with a minimum of three – so have at it, and enjoy yourselves!

The links is: elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/covers.php

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.