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!

Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway – Day Five

Thank you to everyone who took part yesterday; our Day Four winner was Shirley Ann, who asked for Chris Quinton’s FOOL’S OATH; we’ll get that on its way to you as soon as possible, Shirley Ann – and congratulations on winning!

For everyone else, we’re quite sure you’re familiar with the form by now; for twelve days we’ll be giving away one free book per day, with the next draw to be made as close as possible to 09.00 UK time tomorrow, Wednesday 31 December.

To win the Manifold Press book of your choice all you need to do is tell us – in a screened reply below – your first name, the title of the book you’d like, the format you prefer and an e-mail address to send it to. (We need all this information, please.) Also, we’d remind you that this giveaway doesn’t include the two new books we’ll be announcing on 1 January for 1 February publication – existing titles only, we’re afraid!

If you are successful once, don’t let it deter you from entering again; you can actually win twice before being disqualified for the rest of the giveaway, but luckily this rarely happens.

So come on in and join us; it’s a great chance to experiment with the work of a new author, or to complete the backlist of a favourite – and good luck and best wishes to everyone who takes part!

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 OATH’

FOOL'S OATHWhile we’re busy bringing out new books on a regular basis, it’s very reassuring to know that people are still discovering – and reviewing – some of our slightly older titles.

Chris Quinton’s FOOL’S OATH has just come to the attention of the reviewers at the Paranormal Romance Guild who, as you may remember, have an unusual ‘dual review’ format wherein two people review and discuss the same publication. In this case both reviewers seem to have been very impressed (and, indeed, why not?!) but unfortunately we can only quote from one!

This vampire is one cool customer, he shows the world a calm, quiet, dangerous side and he shows Xavi his softer side. If his looks and overall personality weren’t enough to pull me to him, the fact that he knows Xavi for exactly what he is and still cares for him would have me in his pocket.

New review of ‘Fool’s Oath’

Elisa Rolle seems to be on some sort of crusade to clear a backlog of reviews, bless her heart, because she has now turned her attention to Chris Quinton’s FOOL’S OATH. As mentioned previously, it’s often difficult to pick out a quote from one of Elisa’s reviews, but this is part of her first paragraph:

The second in the Fool’s Odyssey trilogy if for me the better for now; I liked the previous book, but if I remember well the romance was not as much developed as it’s in this one.

Year Two Week Twenty-Two

A slight change in schedule this week, as we’re due to have a shiny new website installed tomorrow. (Fingers crossed, please.) However there is already a temporary update available which gives the first information about our two new titles, due for publication on 1 November.

We’re always glad to see new work from JULIE BOZZA and ADAM FITZROY, two of the stalwarts of this Press, and we’re very enthusiastic about these two titles – Julie’s THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH and Adam’s GHOST STATION. The latter is (completely accidentally!) rather well-timed to catch the Cold War spy vogue which seems to have started up again with the release of the new Tinker, Tailor film.

All the pre-publication tasks on these titles have now been completed except for making the .mobi and .epub files – a quick process – and updating the online shop module, which is always the last thing we need to do. We will shortly be turning our attention to the two titles we are preparing for 1 February – no rest for the wicked, we find!

Meanwhile, although sales from our own website have been slow, we are still doing rather well over at AllRomance. As far as our own statistics go, FOOL’S OATH was our top seller this week with an average response time of two hours and 38 minutes.

Wish us luck with the website!

Year Two Week Thirteen

First of all, we’d like to thank everyone who has wished us well with our new blog and those who have ‘followed’ us already. (It’s very brave of you, since we don’t actually know where we’re going!)

We’d also like to wish our good friends at Rainbow Ebooks a Happy First Birthday: we hadn’t realised they were celebrating or we’d have said something sooner! We’re very happy about our link with them, we like the way they do business, and it feels to us like a match made in Heaven!

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Since sales from the website have been a bit sluggish lately we’ve had plenty of time to crunch numbers, and this is what we’ve come up with so far:

For the first quarter of Year Two our best-selling titles direct from the website were –

1= The Definitive Albert J. Sterne by Julie Bozza
1= Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy
3. Fool’s Oath by Chris Quinton

However if we include sales through Rainbow as well the picture is very slightly different –

1. The Definitive Albert J. Sterne by Julie Bozza
2. Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy
3. Dear Mister President by Adam Fitzroy

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Average response time for the first quarter of the present year was 2 hours 26 minutes.

ETA: Fixed the borked HTML now – apologies!