Vampires in Barcelona, 2042

FOOL'S ERRANDAn author guest blog
by Chris Quinton

About eleven years ago, I wanted to write a vampire story. This was when that particular genre took off in the world of ebooks, and I didn’t want to follow the established tropes that closely. I’d watched films, read books, both vampiric and science-fiction rather than whichever branch of the paranormal vampires occupy, and a tentative idea began to form. I talked it out with friends, especially the biology of vampires. Luckily, I have a forensic scientist among my contacts, and her input was invaluable.

At the end of all that, I had a six page ‘thesis’ on the biology and history of the vampire, and the vampire communities. Admittedly, it did get tweaked a bit once I got deeper into what would end up being Fool’s Errand … And because of the various political situations I wanted to play with, I set it in the near future – 2042. Thanks to various movies and documentaries, plus the photos taken by my self-employed son who’d spent a lot of time there on a contract, I chose Barcelona, in that fiercely independent region of Spain, Catalunya.

Then I needed characters, and again, I wanted to avoid the usual take on a vampire, on when and how he was ‘turned’. After various name and nationality changes, I ended up with Andreas Rousakis.

Here’s a clip, as Mark Kermode says in The Film Review:

Barcelona by urformat via Pixabay
Barcelona by urformat via Pixabay

Nearly a century ago, war had swept across Europe. Germany invaded Greece in 1941 and like many of his countrymen, Andreas had managed to get to Canada, where he was trained to fly sorties against the enemy. He ended up flying Spitfires out of Malta, providing fighter cover for the bombers and striking back at the German bombers and their Messerschmitt escorts. He’d been shot down over Italy, and after a month on the run, he’d been captured. He’d ended up in a concentration camp in Austria, close to the Hungarian border. The regime was brutal, the determination to survive so he could gain some kind of vengeance was the only thing that kept him alive for the next year.

Then Benedek Nagy had been brought to the camp. Benedek was a member of a small Hungarian Resistance group, and he had a couple of secrets. Like Andreas, he preferred men in his bed, something they both made sure their captors never discovered. They had become lovers, and it wasn’t long before Andreas learned the greater secret. Benedek was a vampire.

When news came that they were all to be shipped out to the notorious camp at Stutthof, Benedek had offered the men a devil’s bargain. He would make into a vampire whoever wished it, and they would spearhead a breakout, killing as many of the camp guards as they could and ultimately releasing all the prisoners. Andreas had been one of the ten volunteers.

My second main character, and one Andreas ultimately connects with on various levels, is Xavier Peres Escuderos, a small-time crook and gigolo, on the run from the police and the bad guys after he’d witnessed a murder and become Suspect Numero Uno. Xavi is – complicated. He’s stroppy, egotistical and a bit of a narcissist. He doesn’t need anyone or anything, least of all an overbearing, controlling bodyguard attempting to keep him in protective custody.

Another clip:

Narrow street, Barcelona by 495756 via Pixabay
Narrow street, Barcelona by 495756 via Pixabay

Xavi liked gold. Solid sunshine, it lay on his smooth, tanned skin and glowed. He smiled at his half-naked reflection in the cheval mirror, and hazel eyes gazed back at him, eyes that could look guileless or seductive with equal ease. His thick dark hair was combed and styled into place, and his mouth had a sensual swell to the under lip and a crisp shape to the upper. He turned his head a little and gauged the effect. Xavi had always considered his profile was like that of a Roman god-hero.

He touched his fingers to metal that was rapidly warming to his body-heat. It was a heavy curb chain, diamond-cut, its facets etched with fine arabesques, and it looked very good on him. There was more gold on Sophia’s dressing table, a careless tangle of necklaces and pendants and other assorted glitter that cost several fortunes, all treated with the same insouciance. But this one had been bought for him. She’d said she had a gift for him when she picked him up at their usual meeting place, but he hadn’t expected anything like this.

Sophia finished fastening the clasp at the back of his neck and kissed his shoulder as she came to stand beside him. “Beautiful,” she murmured.

“Yes,” Xavi said huskily. “You are.” But his eyes weren’t on her. He knew he looked good, knew that women were drawn to him like mares in season, and he revelled in it.

FOOL'S OATHTo be honest, I didn’t intend to write a sequel to Fool’s Errand, let alone turn it into a trilogy, but Xavi wouldn’t shut up. He wasn’t entirely settled into his relationship with Andreas, not to mention his new life in the public eye. They still had issues between them that needed to be worked out – and let’s face it, Xavi needed to grow the hell up and take responsibility for himself and his actions.

By the time I finished Fool’s Oath, I’d accepted that, yes, I had a trilogy on my hands. Months later, I completed Fool’s Rush, and gave the three books the overall title of Fool’s Odyssey.

However, I knew I wasn’t entirely finished with the vampire genre. There’s Fox Hunt, an entirely different setting and and entirely different people, but that’s for another time …


If you’re as intrigued as we were, you can find all the details about FOOL’S ERRAND, FOOL’S OATH and FOOL’S RUSH on the Manifold Press website!

All good things must come to an end

Our present massive free book bonanza on AllRomance, Smashwords and related distributors will end on Friday 6 February. To those who haven’t so far taken advantage of it – now is the time!

The titles are

DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT by Adam Fitzroy
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-dearmisterpresident-578559-149.html
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328785

END OF THE TRAIL by Jane Elliot
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-endofthetrail-578569-153.html
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328791

FOOL’S ERRAND by Chris Quinton
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fool039serrand-578563-145.html
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328800

HOMOSAPIEN by Julie Bozza
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-homosapien-578562-149.html
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341181

We’ll almost certainly be doing this again at some point, although when and with which titles we are not yet in a position to say; watch this space for further information!

New for 2015!

We’re entering 2015 with some very exciting plans, and also one or two changes to the way we do things. For a start, you’ll notice that our dear old online shop module has ceased to exist and is, in fact, an ex-module! All orders should now be placed through one or other of our distributon partners who are, at present and in strictly alphabetical order, AllRomance, Amazon and Smashwords, with some titles also being available in paperback via CreateSpace. There are two reasons for this change – one is the reduced availability of person-power for filling orders, and the other is the new VAT regulations which are a particular burden for small organisations like ourselves; stepping away from handling our own sales means we can allow someone else to take day-to-day responsibility for that aspect of our business, and that in turn leaves us free to concentrate on producing even more new fiction for you to enjoy.

We must admit, though, that we’ll be sorry to lose direct contact with our readers. It’s been absolutely the best aspect of the online shop, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all and chatting in e-mail. Our days will be considerably less interesting in future, without that!

We know some of you have already spotted, too, that we’re making some books available free of charge for a limited period. These are already proving popular on AllRomance and Smashwords, and will be introduced to Amazon, too, as soon as we can get that organised. (It’s not always straightforward to persuade Amazon that yes, you really do want to give things away for nothing, so unfortunately we’ll have to work to their timetable; watch this and other relevant spaces for details!)

The free books are Adam Fitzroy‘s DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT, Jane Elliot‘s END OF THE TRAIL, Chris Quinton‘s FOOL’S ERRAND and Julie Bozza‘s HOMOSAPIEN, all of which have been consistently popular and have made us a lot of friends. We’re sending them out free of charge now in the hopes of introducing new readers to our work, and we hope existing readers will also take this opportunity to try out the work of a different author or catch up on a book they may previously have missed.

New titles

Our two new books for 1 February publication are fascinating stories about men faced with unexpected challenges, and we’re very excited about them both!

We’re sure you’ll agree with us that a new Julie Bozza title is always an event. This time she brings us MITCH REBECKI GETS A LIFE, in which fish-out-of-water Mitch struggles to cope thousands of miles from his native New York in what – for him – is the alien environment of Sydney, Australia …

… and similarly Darryl, the hero of Liam Livings‘s new book ESCAPING FROM HIM, meets a delightful gallery of characters and is pitched headlong into a series of adventures when he finally decides to break free from his controlling older boyfriend and make a new life for himself north of the border in Scotland.

The name of Liam Livings may already be familiar, especially to those of you who attend UKMeet. We’re delighted to have him joining us as an author – not only of the present book, but also of another which we hope to publish later in the year – and, given the speed and enthusiasm with which he writes, we can’t help hoping there may be several more titles coming our way in due course; we’ll just have to wait and see! For now, though, this is a very good moment to welcome Liam as a new member of the Manifold Press ‘family’.

EXTREMELY RANDOM HARVEST – DAY SIX

XRH

Congratulations to our Day Five winner, Sarina, who asked for a copy of Chris Quinton’s FOOL’S ERRAND; this will be on its way to you shortly – and thank you for taking part.

– – – – –

This is the sixth day of our new Extremely Random Harvest giveaway! We are giving away seven books over seven days, with the next one being drawn at random 24 hours from now. To win, all you need to do is give us (in a screened reply, below) your first name, your e-mail address, and the title of the book you’d like to win – which includes our two new titles being published on 1 August, RANDY by Jane Elliot and HUNTED by Liz Powell.

One entry per day only, please – and nobody is allowed to win more than twice. Also, please don’t forget to tell us which format you’d like to receive! We’ll do our level best to draw the winner at the same time every day, to give everyone an equal chance of winning – so come and join in the fun, and don’t forget to tell your friends; this is a great chance to discover a new author or a new book, or to complete the back catalogue of an old favourite. After all, what have you got to lose?

Statistics for June / uploads to partner sites

Apologies for not posting these yesterday; the Press took a day off to visit its mother and see ‘Despicable Me 2’. (One of these activities was more enjoyable than the other!)

Our best-seller for June through the Press website was Adam’s BETWEEN NOW AND THEN, but for the second month running the highest-selling title overall has been Jane’s oustandingly popular ABOVE ALL.

We’ve uploaded our previous two titles – Morgan Cheshire’s ALWAYS WITH US and Julie Bozza’s highly-acclaimed THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN – to our partner sites, Rainbow, All Romance, Kindle and Smashwords, and THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN is also now available in a Print on Demand paperback edition.

For anyone still interested in monitoring our response times – which we record on a routine basis – the average for the three months to 1 July was 5 hours and 45 minutes.

– – –

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that the covers for our new books differ slightly in format from the ones we’ve been using up until now. Over the next few months we’ll be introducing a new set of covers across the board (including to Smashwords, where we’ll eventually replace the temporary ones). In most cases the difference will be extremely subtle – a new font, and a slightly different crop of the image – although unfortunately with both Julie’s THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH and Chris’s FOOL’S ERRAND we’ve been unable to get hold of higher-resolution versions of the original picture and have had to do the best we can with the nearest equivalent. The plan at the moment is to have all these new covers rolled out everywhere on or before 1 November, however, so watch this space!

New review of FOOL’S RUSH

Actually we weren’t quite sure how to present this one, since the reviewer has tackled all three volumes of Chris’s FOOL trilogy; however the most positive remarks were about the final part, FOOL’S RUSH, and so that’s what we’ve chosen to go with in the end.

Chris Quinton is a fantastic mystery writer! And she builds the plot of this book with her skill and most of all, her experience. When I read this book, I could see an image of a mature, professional novelist in every word that Quinton uses. She has smartly handled every element of this story and different layers to her admirable characters.

New review of ‘FOOL’S ERRAND’

FOOLS ERRANDYes, another – although this one crept under the radar somehow; it actually appeared on 16 May and we have only just become aware of it!

Reviewer Tina at Two Lips Reviews certainly seems to have enjoyed what she read:

Overall this book has a great combination of humor and romance which made me want to keep reading. I am really looking forward to the next book in this trilogy; I want to know what happens next!

New review of ‘FOOL’S ERRAND’

The Paranormal Romance Guild seem to be enjoying their introduction to Chris Quinton’s books; this time they turn their attention to FOOL’S ERRAND, which they again review in their eye-catching two-column format, and the review is by Gloria Lakritz and Penelope Adams.

So it is a murder mystery, yes …It is a wild love story, yes …It has it all! It has you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Then some more twists after that!!!! This story is an afternoon read and holds your attention till the last. I can not wait to read the next in this series.

CONGRATULATIONS

Elisa Rolle’s annual Rainbow Awards were published yesterday. Hearty congratulations go to:

PENELOPE FRIDAY for THRACE
Second in the Best Bisexual/Transgender SciFi/Paranormal/Fantasy category
Tenth in the Best Bisexual/Transgender Novel category

MORGAN CHESHIRE for SOLEMN CONTRACT
Third in the Best Gay Debut Novel/Book category
Ninth in the Best Gay Historical category

JULIE BOZZA for THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE
Third equal in the Best LGBT Mystery/Thriller category

CHRIS QUINTON for FOOL’S ERRAND
Sixth in the Best Sci Fi/Futuristic category

R.A. PADMOS for RAVAGES
Sixth equal in the Best Gay Debut Novel/Book category

ADAM FITZROY for STAGE WHISPERS
Honourable Mention in the One Perfect Rate category

Chris also got an Honourable Mention in the Best Sci Fi/Futuristic category for a book with another publisher!

[This post has been expanded as news of further awards came in.]

Review of FOOL’S ERRAND

Not everybody is spending the day watching You-Know-What on television – some are very sensibly turning their attention to reviewing erotic vampire novels instead! Chris’s FOOL’S ERRAND has just been reviewed on a blog called Blood, Lust and Erotica and they’ll be reviewing FOOL’S OATH tomorrow so we’ll fold both reviews in with the general website update which is due on Sunday anyway.

Must make sure we deal with that last-minute typo emergency, too …