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.

AUTHOR GUEST BLOG NUMBER TWENTY TWO – Adam Fitzroy

This is another post in the sequence where authors revisit earlier MANIFOLD PRESS titles; this time, Adam Fitzroy talks about STAGE WHISPERS:

The little white lie that many authors tell

When I was young I never harboured any desire at all to act – although I actually did so a few times at school – and nor was I exposed to very much in the way of theatre. About twenty years ago, however, I was bitten rather savagely by the live drama bug, and for a while after that I hung around Stratford and the Barbican soaking up virtually everything the Royal Shakespeare Company had to offer. I delved enthusiastically into Shakespeare then, and also started expanding my horizons with the work of other playwrights of virtually every type and from every possible period of dramatic history. I’ve seen some wonderful productions, and some absolute turkeys; I’ve seen great actors and bad ones who should never have been allowed on a professional stage; I’ve seen triumphs and disasters, popular stuff and plays I didn’t always understand, and I’ve sat in auditoria ranging from the Maddermarket in Norwich to the Sydney Opera House. Each of those experiences has taught me something new and interesting about the theatre, and I’ve absorbed and processed every single one.

I love everything about the theatre. I love being front of house with the velvet curtains, the plush carpets, the excited chatter and the fanning of programmes, but I also love the mechanical stuff – the way the scenery works, the lighting, the sound cues. I love the costumes, the performances, the production design, the props (even when they can’t be seen, like the giant invisible phallus toted around the stage by Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in one production of ‘Twelfth Night’), the bits of comedy business, the lot. I’ve grabbed every opportunity I was offered to take backstage tours of theatres and to examine the way things worked. I’ve always enjoyed going behind the scenes in places anyway – exploring out-of-the-way corners and forgotten cupboards – and backstage tours are a particular delight; props and weapons politely labelled with the name of the actor using them (“Mr Allam”), black-curtained quick-change booths set up in odd corners where a dresser waits with costume, wig, boots all set out on a chair … and if you accidentally find yourself in certain seats at certain theatres it’s also possible, sometimes, to see actors making their quick changes in the wings and to marvel at the composed and methodical way they go about it.

Most of all, I think, I love the way actors can be anything at all the script or the director requires them to be – a clown one week, a villain the next – and the people surrounding them have to behave accordingly. When you’re solemnly addressing someone as a mighty monarch, for example, it’s no use remembering that he cuts his toenails in the sink or never washes his coffee cup; there is a distinct mental discipline required, and the inside of an actor’s mind, with its watertight compartments, must be a fascinating place.

Multiply this by the number of actors in a given company, plus understudies and backstage personnel, and you already have an almost endless variety of permutations. Add in the actors who gain and lose weight for roles, grow beards or moustaches, shave their eyebrows or their body hair; multiply by their personal lives and interrelationships, who they love and who they fear, how well or how badly they behave to one another, and you begin to see a complex and intriguing picture without any clearly-defined borders. And then there are actors who are household-name famous, who would be recognised in the checkout queue at Tesco’s or if they happened to pop into the public library; there must be times when they just like to be ordinary, to stay below the radar, to have a quiet meal out or an evening with friends and remind themselves who they are when they’re not being Captain This, Inspector That, or the Duke of Whatever. All this adds up to explaining why the theatre rapidly became a world which – as an author – I just couldn’t wait to jump into and explore.

But you have to have a place to start. You need a picture in your mind of your main protagonist; who is he (or indeed she), who are his friends, and if he’s an actor what parts does he play? How well known is he? How successful? That’s where the little white lie comes in – if that’s what it is – because as far as I’m concerned every character ever written is at the very least ‘inspired by’ someone and probably shares a few of the more publicly-recognisable traits of their personality, and in my case this is particularly so with STAGE WHISPERS. Every copy has a disclaimer at the beginning: ‘Characters and situations in this book are fictional and not intended to portray real persons or situations whatsoever; any resemblances to living individuals are entirely coincidental.’ That’s both true – because once we get the characters into our hot little hands whatever happens to them has very little bearing on the real world – and untrue, because characters are often inspired by something or somebody who already exists.

I’m not suggesting STAGE WHISPERS is packed with thinly-concealed portraits of real-life actors, but in my mind’s eye I know who they all are and I can also hear their voices – which is true of many other authors I’ve talked to as well. It’s not unprecedented, obviously; Jane Austen and the Brontës based characters in their books on people they knew, and no doubt so has every other author since the dawn of time – simply because it’s easier to remember than to invent from scratch, and this is anyway a rare case in which mis-remembering something can be positively constructive!

So although it may amuse people to try to identify originals for some of my characters, I’m probably not going to confirm or deny anything. One friend of mine, having read STAGE WHISPERS at an early stage, confidently said that Actor X definitely wasn’t in it – whereas he definitely is, large as life and every bit as unlikeable. If you had a list of every film, play and TV show I’ve seen since the 1990s you might be in with a chance of identifying people, but that really isn’t the point. The point is that – no matter where characters have their origins – once they find their way onto the page they are altered so irrevocably that they are no longer the people they were. Bolted together Frankenstein-like, from bits and pieces of other people, they assume a life of their own; they go off and wreak havoc in their world, and there is little or nothing an author can do to control them.

Fiction writing is a form of role-playing, a chance to be somebody one isn’t in the real world. I don’t suppose I would ever have made a professional actor – or even a decent amateur – but in writing about the theatre I had a wonderful chance to immerse myself in it completely and live in that world for the best part of a year; that’s all the role-playing I need. Writing is hard work, and it’s absolutely vital to be able to write about a subject one enjoys exploring; that was very much the case for me with STAGE WHISPERS, and I can only hope it shows in the end result!

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Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway – Day Six

What can we tell you – we’re early today; this just goes to show that consistency is not our strongest asset!

Thank you to everyone who participated yesterday; our Day Five winner was Loren, who requested Adam Fitzroy’s STAGE WHISPERS; congratulations on winning, Loren – your book is already on its way to you and we hope you’ll enjoy it.

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, Thursday 1 January 2015. (Yes, we’ll be awake – will you?)

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 tomorrow 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 reviews of THIS MEANS WAR

THIS MEANS WARJust before all the madness started ahead of UK Meet – which we’ll be telling you about when we’ve got our breath back properly! – we were notified of a couple of new reviews of Jane Elliot’s recent title THIS MEANS WAR. Taking them in chronological order, the first appeared on Boys In Our Books on 2 February but unfortunately slipped through the net. Reviewer Ami wrote:

It was a nice read – I still enjoyed it, especially because Brian could surprise Jasper when it came to pranks. But was it a needed sequel? Not so much, unfortunately. And would I actually recommend it? Uhm, only if you are okay with slice-of-life and enjoyed the first book…

Clearly it didn’t quite push all her buttons, which is a shame, but we appreciate her comments anyway!

More recently, Portia de Moncur at MM Good Book Reviews had this to say:

This story has a bit of everything, fun pranks, snarky jasper, a broken Brian a cute, funny cat, and mystery. The sex scenes while hot are very tastefully done and for the most part off page.

If you like, a fun, fast-paced story with romance and mystery, like pranks, broken men, ex-military men, smart men, good friends, adorable cats, and committed couples this is for you. I can’t wait for the next one.

Which only goes to prove that tastes differ, and it’s quite impossible for everyone to like everything equally! Thank you, too, to Portia for her comments.

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On a slightly different topic, we don’t think we’ve mentioned yet that two of Adam Fitzroy’s books, STAGE WHISPERS and MAKE DO AND MEND, are now available in PoD editions and can be bought directly from CreateSpace or from your local Amazon Marketplace – see links on the appropriate pages of our website. We understand that Adam is also planning to offer some copies on eBay in due course.

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.]

New review of ‘Stage Whispers’

STAGE WHISPERSElisa Rolle has today posted a very warm review of Adam Fitzroy’s STAGE WHISPERS.

I really love the setting, the small town feeling of the theatre world, where everyone knows everyone else; the little gossip that was sometime reflected by the more mainstream media gossip, but that was mostly told behind closed doors, in front of a cup of tea; the tight net of relationships, marriages and funerals all in the span of less than 3 grades of connections (friend of a friend).

For those of us who watched Adam struggle through the eleven months this book took to write, it’s very reassuring indeed to know that all the hard work was worth it in the end!

Year Two Week Eighteen

A much more satisfying week sales-wise, after a quiet period. (We have a theory that people holidaying in the northern-hemisphere summer probably prefer to take dead tree books on flights and beaches as they’re less delicate than electronic equipment.)

Our leading seller this week was again RAVAGES, although the theory that ‘no review is a bad review’ has once more been proved correct by a revival of interest in STAGE WHISPERS.

Our average response time was steady, but not stellar, at 5 hours 52 minutes.

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In addition we are delighted to say that one of the two books for 1 November publication has come back from the proof-reader and been corrected by the author and we are now in the middle of making up the e-book file. The other has also come back from proof-reading and is back with its author for last-minute revisions. We are well on course to being able to reveal details of both these books on 1 October.

And as if all this wasn’t enough … having our February 2012 books also nicely in hand, we now have two solid prospects for May 2012 (one by a returning author, the other by a new voice), and one more tentatively pencilled in for August 2012.

When we started this project we were looking at an initial trial period of two years, to see whether or not we could make a success of it. At this rate, it would probably be fair to say that we expect to be around for a little while after our second anniversary, too – fingers remaining firmly crossed!

Better late than never!

The first substantive review of STAGE WHISPERS appeared today at Jessewave. We’re not sure how Adam will react to the suggestion (in the comments) that the Shakespearean quotations were only included for the sake of ‘artificially increasing page space’ – we don’t actually understand what the point of that would be, and anyway it’s not something we would either expect or wish a writer to do – but the overall tone of the review is favourable and they end up giving it four stars out of five.

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!

Year Two Week Five

Posting early again this week – life is just a little complicated at the moment – but once again things are quiet here at Manifold’s International Megaheadquarters (which is, of course, based in the north wing of a luxurious English Baroque mansion overlooking rolling parkland).

No overall best-selling title has emerged this week but our top author has been Adam Fitzroy; STAGE WHISPERS and DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT are selling in equal numbers. Average response time was a neat and tidy 47 minutes.

Both the titles for 1 August publication are now back from the proof-reader and have been returned to their authors for last-minute revisions. Layout is done on one of them already – on the basis that the scale of the changes involved, if any, is unlikely to be very disruptive – and we’ve started dipping into our new block of ISBNs to assign to them. We seem, too, to have reached a decision about the 1 November titles, and are beginning to get to grips with a similar decision concerning 1 February.

We’re unlikely to have any shortage of material in the immediate future, if the current plans of our existing authors come to fruition, but of course that doesn’t mean we’re closed to new ideas! If you have anything you’d like us to read, you’re welcome to either PM us via this LJ or e-mail eaditter(at)manifoldpress(dot)co(dot)uk to discuss it! (But please read our PROSPECTUS FOR AUTHORS first!)