Manifold Press

Aiming for excellence in gay fiction

New review of CARLYLE'S CROSSING
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Over at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews, Freya has been reading Chris Quinton's revised version of CARLYLE'S CROSSING. Whilst it's clear that the book didn't entirely hit the spot with this reviewer, it obviously wasn't a total 'miss' either - and some of the comments are truly treasurable!

Carlyles Crossing is an engaging tale. It didn’t give my emotions a huge workout, but I found it easy to follow, entertaining and it had a quiet intensity to it. The story has a subtle charm and believability that took me along on a sweetheart of a ride.

Thank you for your review, Freya - we're sorry you weren't completely wowed, but very glad you felt the book had merit; maybe we'll find something that suits you a little better next time!

New review of CARLYLE'S CROSSING
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No sooner had we posted news of the previous two reviews when in came an e-mail about another - a review of Chris Quinton's re-release of CARLYLE'S CROSSING - which we thought we had better bring to you as quickly as possible, before we lose the plot completely!

Our friends at the Prism Book Alliance are, as always, very quick off the mark; we were particularly pleased with reviewer Josie Goodreads's comment that:

Chris Quinton is not the most prolific of authors but with her books you know quality rules over quantity, she never fails to produce wonderful stories and Carlyle’s Crossing is no exception.

This would be praise enough in itself, but when she goes on to add '[t]o say I was captivated by the story is an understatement' we know for certain that the book has found its way to an appreciative reader. Thank you for your review, Josie - and congratulations again, Chris; you're clearly doing something right!

New reviews of THE 'TRUE LOVE' SOLUTION, ALOES
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Mark at Sinfully Sexy is first out of the gate this time with a release-day review of Julie Bozza's new title THE 'TRUE LOVE' SOLUTION, which he seems really enthusiastic about! After a quick trot through the plot [spoiler alert if you click!], he comes to the following conclusion:

This book has no big angst factor, no biting your nails, no heart breaking break-ups, big tear jerking making up or reunion scenes and no broken characters. It is light on the erotic but thoroughly entertaining as it focuses more on the characters, and what wonderful characters they are too. I was in immersed in this book from the beginning and thanks to Julie’s wonderful writing was introduced to another set of vibrant, lovable characters.

To which we can only say "Yes!"

At the same time we were delighted to see one of our older titles receiving another airing - also on Sinfully Sexy - where reviewer Sally mentioned Chris Quinton's ALOES in the 'Quick Bites' section. This is the whole review:

One of the things I like best about Chris Quinton’s books is that you always get a bit extra. What could have been a fairly routine story of a new romance blossoming in difficult circumstances was made all the more exciting by the inclusion of the neat little paranormal twist brought about by Perry’s injury. There are some super secondary characters too, some of whom cloud the romance issue making it less cut and dried who Perry’s eventual partner will be and the story ends with challenges still to face but that just SUCH a nice change from roses round the gate and a baby on the way that I actually gave a little cheer. Thanks Chris.


I think it would be fair to describe that as 'small but perfectly-formed'!

Congratulations to both authors - and thank you, too, to both reviewers; we really appreciate you helping to spread the word about our books, and introducing them to a whole new group of friends out there in the big wide world!

Two new titles released this morning!
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Good morning everybody, from a dark and soggy corner of the UK. Here, to brighten up your Monday, are details of the two new titles released today by Manifold Press.

THE 'TRUE LOVE' SOLUTION by Julie Bozza is the story of Jules, a devoted fan of author Ewan Byge, who grabs at the opportunity of purchasing a significant item of memorabilia only to learn that he's fallen victim to a fraud. In trying to extricate himself from this predicament he meets his hero in real life, and that's when things start to get really complicated...

CARLYLE'S CROSSING by Chris Quinton introduces us to Jubal, who - along with his best friend Sal - is reluctantly drawn the whole width of the USA to attend to family business and reconnect with his Abenaki heritage; it's the start of a sequence of mysterious events that seem well beyond his power to influence, but it seems his ancestors have other opinions! [NB: this title was previously published elsewhere, but has recently been revised and re-edited by the author.]

Because our titles are out on a Monday this time, we'll be holding our regular 'new book' Twitter chat next weekend instead - watch this space for further information - and, in the meantime, we hope you'll have a great week and enjoy reading our two new books!

New review of IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOME
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The timing of reviews is a continuing mystery to us, but nonetheless we're always very pleased when a new one pops up out of the blue. In this case, we're especially pleased to report that Divine Magazine, through a reviewer named Cat Clontz, seems to have been very impressed with IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOME, the most recent title from our good friend R.A. Padmos.

As it's quite a short review we'll resist the temptation to quote too much of it, but we were particularly glad to see the following comments:

"This is a well written, sweet story that readily defines the attitudes, dangers, and scheming required to successfully navigate life as a gay man in the 1960s. ... [O]nce it gets going, it is a lovely book with engaging characters that I am thankful to have been able to read."

That's exactly the sort of feedback every author dreams of, so thank you Cat Clontz - and congratulations R.A.!

Catch the early bird rate for Queer Company!
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There's still 293 sleeps to go until our QUEER COMPANY 2 event on Saturday 5 November - but there's only a couple of weeks left to take advantage of our early bird rate.

Delegates can currently secure their place for the fee of £40. This will go up to £50 from 1 February.

The event is strictly limited in terms of size. We are planning for a happy yet relaxed sense of being among a small group of friends. We have chosen the venue accordingly - and even though we are booking out the entire place this time, our numbers are still limited to 50.

If you'd like to discover which other cool people are already registered, check out the WHO'S COMING? page on the event website!

Please do come and join us. We'll have a ball!

AUTHOR GUEST BLOG NUMBER TWENTY TWO - Adam Fitzroy
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This is another post in the sequence where authors revisit earlier MANIFOLD PRESS titles; this time, Adam Fitzroy talks about STAGE WHISPERS:

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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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Catching up ...
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In the mayhem surrounding the Rainbow Awards and the preparations for Christmas we somehow missed a review of Jay Lewis Taylor's THE PEACOCK'S EYE which was posted on Elisa's Reviews and Ramblings website and has since also appeared on Goodreads:

One of the best historical novels I've read in a while. The author captured late Elizabethan London perfectly. I could almost smell the ambience. Research has been flawless as far as I could tell. The tale was little rambling and diverting from its main storyline, but it was forgiveable to explore the reality of the MC's 16th-century England. Interesting plot line.

We couldn't possible disagree with that, and indeed we certainly wouldn't want to!

We'd like to apologise to Jay for the oversight, which just goes to prove - as Holly says in Red Dwarf - that nobody's infullible.

More kudos for A PRIDE OF POPPIES!
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The Manifold Press team certainly has plenty to celebrate on this, the first day of 2016!

It has just been announced that our charity anthology, A PRIDE OF POPPIES, Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War, has been short-listed for the Historical Novel Society (HNS) Indie Award 2016!


To progress so far in these awards is a terrific achievement for an anthology focusing on characters who have been seen historically as belonging on the fringes of society. It is beyond heartening to know that our stories are welcome to stand on their own merits in the 'mainstream' fold.

Congratulations to all the Poppies authors and editors! You've done us all proud.

Price reductions on old favourites
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2016 is going to be a year of changes throughout MANIFOLD PRESS - which we'll explain in more detail as we go along. However we thought we'd start out gently with permanent price reductions on a handful of our classic titles.

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ALOES by Chris Quinton - now $4.95!

A fluke accident puts Perry in a coma. When he awakes, his scrambled synapses have given him a talent; he can tell truth from lies simply by their flavour. This, plus the new client who is far too attractive for Perry’s peace of mind, the client’s contentious family and the dilapidated old mansion Perry has to restore for him – not to mention anonymous threats which escalate to attempted murder – all ensure that Perry’s life will never be the same again!

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ALWAYS WITH US by Morgan Cheshire - now $5.95!

Liverpool, 1896: Wealthy Harrison Calderwood has never given much thought to the poor of the bustling city until he accidentally runs into firebrand Daniel Harper. Through Daniel’s eyes he begins to see how much more could be done to improve the lot of the working people, and at the same time he begins to feel a very strong attraction towards Daniel himself. However this is the Victorian era, Daniel is believed to be a troublemaker, and Harrison has a position to maintain and a family who are expecting him to marry a well-to-do young woman and settle down to a conventional life …

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HOMOSAPIEN by Julie Bozza - now $4.95

Patrick and David are friends who run a gay bookstore, and life seems simple and safe enough until the day when unexpectedly he walks in – six feet tall, gorgeous and built like a dream. But Homosapien isn’t welcome in their world; he’s a professional wrestler, and everything he does is fake. So he can’t really be gay, can he, or interested in either one of them? Can they even trust a single word he says … ?

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SEA CHANGE by Chris Quinton - now $6.95!

Injured on duty and no longer fit for active service, soon-to-be-ex-Coast Guard Bran Kaulana is drifting, filling his days helping out at the Wai Ola Rescue Center, one of Honolulu’s wildlife charities. He’s working with the new veterinary, Steve, a man drawn to O’ahu by his fascination with dolphins. As their friendship slowly deepens into love, the two men are caught up in the mystery of injured seals and dolphins, a ruthless gang of smugglers and a not-so-dormant undersea lava vent.

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THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH by Julie Bozza - now $4.95!

Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common; yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against important crime figure Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.

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If you missed any of these diverse and fascinating titles earlier in their illustrious careers, this would be a wonderful opportunity of making their acquaintance!

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