The culmination of a dream

A guest blog 
by Eleanor Musgrove

When I was asked to write a post explaining what I love about SUBMERGE, I had to think about it for a bit. Truth be told, I hadn’t read it in a while, due to a combination of having other things to write, real life getting in the way, and the fact that by the time I’ve edited something a million times (Manifold’s high standards don’t just happen, you know!) I generally can’t bear to look at it for a while. But it was about time I revisited my story, and I’m glad that this post gave me a good reason to do so, because suddenly the things I loved about the story, and the things that made it so much fun to write, came flooding back.

What do I love most about Submerge? Well, the first thing is Submerge itself. The book is named for the nightclub where most of the story’s main events take place, and that nightclub is the sort of place I would hang out if I could. It’s a very warm, friendly LGBTQIA+ safe space, with the big noisy dance-floor/bar setup alongside a smaller, quieter performance area, both with plenty of tables and chairs to sit down at if, like me, you’re not quite up to partying all night. Miles – the manager, and one of the main characters – has gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that it’s not just a gay/lesbian bar, for example by offering free pronoun stickers to make introductions easier between people with varying gender identities. And that makes a lot of sense when you think about Miles’ friends, who make up the main cast of the novel.

That’s the second thing I love about Submerge (though I know some people found it a bit off-putting) – the group of friends it centres around is quite varied in terms of LGBT+ identity. My main characters are two gay men, a bisexual woman and a lesbian, but the supporting cast includes a transman (one day I’d love to write more of his story, and indeed if I ever expand Submerge into a series I will go deeper into his life), an asexual woman, and a pansexual drag queen with a glitter obsession. Though it might seem like a box-ticking exercise, it is actually more to do with the friends I found when I was first beginning to understand my own identity, and the friends I continue to have now. I have always had friends from all over the sexuality and gender spectrum, and I didn’t see many of those mixed queer groups in fiction. Besides, when you set a book in a gay bar, you have to go all-out and pack it with a range of colourful characters, don’t you?

Submerge is my first published novel and the culmination of a dream I’ve had since I was fourteen years old. Well, I say ‘culmination’, but that suggests that I’ve finished, and I haven’t. I’ve learned a lot from the process, and I definitely still have stories to write! I really enjoyed writing Submerge, so I really hope people enjoy reading it just as much.


Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including SUBMERGE – at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you, but hey it is the silly season soon!)

Happy reading!

Have you read SUBMERGE … ?

I was delighted to work as editor with Eleanor Musgrove on her novel SUBMERGE. We’d been friends for a while, and I was keen to see what she’d come up with in a novel-length story. Needless to say at this stage, I wasn’t disappointed!

I love this tale of a group of friends who have made a safe place for themselves – both literally in terms of the eponymous LGBTQ+ nightclub ‘Submerge’, and metaphorically in terms of their love and support for each other. They are a diverse bunch, with an importance placed on shared values and goodwill. I loved this, as for me this is how friendship should be. Yes, there needs to be some like-mindedness and shared concerns, shared understandings, but this need not be narrowly interpreted as based only on gender, sexuality, ethnicity and so on.

Within this very contemporary setting, one of the main characters is set on solving a mystery which just might bring the whole wonderful thing crashing down. This plot-line is carefully and intriguingly developed, intertwining with the more personal concerns of the characters.

If you’d like to join Jamie, Miles, Gina, Addie and their multifarious friends on their journey, SUBMERGE is currently on sale at Smashwords!


Blurb: Jamie Hill walks into his local LGBT+ nightclub, Submerge, intending to make friends and have a good time. When he meets comedian Addie Crewe and her girlfriend Gina Wilson, his night is already looking up – but it’s the man Gina introduces him to who really catches his eye. Miles Bradford seems to be everything Jamie could want in a man: smart, funny, kind. Jamie can’t take his eyes off him.

But though Submerge might sparkle on the surface, Jamie knows that the club, just like himself, hides darker secrets in its depths … and even Miles might not be as clean-cut as he appears.

Word count: 72,400 words

Smashwords sale: $6.95 $5.95


It’s the season for thinking about gifts – for yourself and for your loved ones! Is there ever any better present than a book … ?

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you.)

Happy reading!

“Have you read … ?”

Manifold Press is known for a few things – which may well come up in discussion over the next few days! The thing I want to focus on right now, though, is our penchant for supporting new authors and publishing stories that do the unexpected. It’s a real privilege to be able to help authors take their first steps into the publishing world, and a real joy to share excellent new voices with our fellow readers.

During these last weeks of the year, and in the lead-up to the festive season, we’d like to focus on five such novels – and offer them to you at a merry old discount!

The links below will take you to the books’ pages on Smashwords, where each of these five novels is currently on sale.


ARDENT by Heloise West

Heloise West isn’t a debut author, but she’s new to the Press – and her novel ARDENT is a superb fit with us, being a beautifully written historical gay romance. The setting is Florence, Italy during the Renaissance period, with the Medici family providing a menacing backdrop. Heloise paints her characters Morello and Benedetto as vividly as they paint their world.

Click here to fall in love with ARDENT on Smashwords!

HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes

Dorian Dawes is a force to be reckoned with, as is their main character, Professor Bartleby Prouse. The eponymous HARBINGER ISLAND is full of mysteries and unsolved murders, and it takes a full cast of LGBTQ+ characters to face the horrors there. This sequence of linked stories has to be read to be believed!

Click here if you dare to find HARBINGER ISLAND on Smashwords …

SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove

At first glance, SUBMERGE offers a far more wholesome setting for its LGBTQ+ characters than HARBINGER ISLAND. The eponymous nightclub provides a safe and happy place for Jamie, Miles, Addie, Gina and their delightful friends. But as Eleanor Musgrove starts to cunningly reveal, there is something more going on just below the surface …

Click here to SUBMERGE below on Smashwords!

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart

Michelle Peart takes us further afield, to a planet that is almost but not entirely unlike Earth. Edward Kemp does not want to be there, and certainly does not want to journeying down the Copper River on a ramshackle raft with Burn, the most annoying alien in this world or any other. But as the story matures in TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR, so – very slowly – does Edward.

Click here to travel TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR via Smashwords.

UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey

We find ourselves back in a more familiar setting with UNDER LEADEN SKIES, a wonderful historical story set during the Second World War. Sandra Lindsey has happily and thoroughly researched the Sunderland flying boats that feature in this tale – but her real love is for her characters, Teddy and Huw. Not to mention the irrepressible Cheeks!

Click here to fly UNDER LEADEN SKIES on Smashwords.


Like us, you’re probably inclined towards trying something new – and here’s a wonderful chance to do so! Follow those links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice.

But do it now … The discounts won’t last for ever!

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:

Author interview: Eleanor Musgrove and Michelle Peart

SUBMERGEOn 1 November, Manifold Press is proud to be releasing two titles under our New Adult imprint: SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove, a story set in and around an LGBTQ+ nightclub; and TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart, a ‘road trip’ adventure on an alien plant.

We had some questions for them …

What does ‘New Adult’ fiction mean to you?

Shell: I read, watch, and love New Adult stories. My bookshelf is stuffed with books for a younger (than me) audience. For me, the genre is lighter, faster paced, and emotionally intense and that’s what I enjoy. I can’t see me writing anything other than New Adult.

Ellie: It’s funny – I hadn’t really heard much about New Adult as a genre until very recently. I didn’t particularly set out to appeal to that demographic with Submerge, but I did try to make it relatable and accessible to people my age and younger – new adults. It’s an important genre, I feel, as it covers an age of self-discovery and growth.

Do you think an author should approach writing New Adult fiction with a sense of responsibility? Perhaps more responsibility than for other adult fiction? Or is it more important that the fiction be entertaining?

Ellie: Well, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive! You can definitely write entertaining responsible fiction. I do think it’s a little more important to write responsibly for younger audiences, but being responsible as an author doesn’t mean your characters have to be! It’s about showing consequences and effects, I think – readers are that bit less likely to have experienced any given situation for themselves so you want to make sure you’re not glamorising the wrong things too much, I think.

Shell: I was definitely aware as I wrote North Star who the target audience was and the responsibility surrounding that, but I didn’t let that hold me back.

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STARWhat are some of your favourite examples of New Adult fiction by other authors?

Shell: I have sixty-seven Doctor Who books on my bookshelf! Yes, sixty-seven! They are written by various authors with my favourite book being The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole. I’d say they come under the Young Adult or New Adult umbrellas and all of them definitely influenced my writing.

Ellie: Ooh, Feast of the Drowned is amazing, I agree. Hm. I like Looking for Alaska by John Green, but I think my favourite is Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. It’s funny, diverse, and empowering – a must-read, I’d say.

What inspired you to write this particular novel?

Ellie: It was an accident! I generated some random throwaway characters to demonstrate one of the development techniques I use, with the express intention of never using them again. They became Jamie, Miles, Addie and Gina, and really wrote their own story while I tried to keep up!

Shell: A walk along a river at a place called Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire. There had been a storm and the river was awash with sediment from the hills above turning it from black-blue into a vibrant copper colour. The shallows glowed in the sunlight and I was enchanted. I searched my rucksack and wrote ‘The Copper River’ on an old receipt.

What are you working on next? Is it also New Adult?

Shell: At the moment I’m writing a New Adult Urban Fantasy called Brennar.

Ellie: I’m not done with my characters from Submerge yet! So I’m actually already fiddling about with a sequel – even if nobody but me ever reads it, I feel like I need to follow my characters a bit further yet. However, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so I’m taking a break to work on a new project set in 1950s Cambridge. Should be fun!

Thank you, both, and wishing you any luck you may need with your novels!


Eleanor MusgroveEleanor Musgrove was born in a seaside town on the South Coast of England, where she developed a love of writing when she was very young. Other ambitions – and homes – have come and gone, but she has always wanted to be an author. After lots of practice, both through writing fan fiction and through participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) most years, SUBMERGE is her first novel. She’s pretty excited about it!

When she’s not writing or reading, Eleanor enjoys going to the theatre, walks in the woods, and getting far too emotionally invested in films and TV shows. She graduated from the University of Kent in 2014 with a BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design, and hopes to one day put it to good use.

If you’d like to keep up with Eleanor’s writing journey, or let her know what you think of her book, she keeps a blog at eamusgrove.wordpress.com.


Michelle PeartMichelle Peart is a writer, a designer, and a lover of the fantastical. During the past two years, she has completed four writing courses, two at an advanced level, and passed all with Distinction.

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR is my debut novel.

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.