Thursday, 27 June 2013

More titles uploaded to Smashwords

Another batch of our titles has just been uploaded to Smashwords. They are:




and Chris's FOOLS trilogy in its entirety:




These should all be available immediately from the Smashwords site, and in due course from all their other associated outlets.

Meanwhile, look out for news of our two 1 August titles, which will be released on Monday!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


We were thrilled to discover that a new review of Julie's BUTTERFLY HUNTER had been posted at Sinfully Sexy Books. Reviews come in all shapes and sizes and we love them all, but we've rarely had one that was quite as beautifully written as this is - and never one that came complete with its own wonderful images by way of illustration!

Beautiful and descriptive, Julie took me on a literary journey through the Australian Outback. To magical and enchanting places, but getting there was an adventure. As Charlie says,

This for me was the beauty of the whole story, the most amazing things happen when you're not looking for them.

And there's also something magical, we believe, about the mysterious process by which a book inevitably finds its way to a reader who will really appreciate it. We're not sure we completely understand how that works, but we're very glad indeed that it keeps on happening. Congratulations, Julie!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

First few titles available on SMASHWORDS

As of this week, we now have our first few titles available on Smashwords, and will gradually be rolling out the rest as well.  We started with:

ABOVE ALL by Jane Elliot

ALOES by Chris Quinton


(Yes, we're working in alphabetical order; it does tend to make life easier!)

You'll notice that for the time being they're in unfamiliar temporary covers - although still, we hope, recognisably Manifold Press in design.  This is because of the size/resolution requirements imposed by the 'Smashwords Premium Catalog' which in due course (we imagine it takes a little while to filter through) will mean that our books are available in outlets such as Apple (distribution to iBookstores in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Sony, Kobo, WH Smith in the UK and FNAC (both powered by Kobo), Livraria Cultura in Brazil (powered by Kobo), the Diesel eBook StoreeBooks Eros (operated by Diesel), Baker & Taylor (Blio and the Axis360 library service), Page Foundry (operates retail sites and; operates Android ebook store apps for Cricket Wireless and Asus), and other distribution outlets coming soon.

We hope by the end of the year to be able to update all our covers, both on Smashwords and elsewhere, to the larger format preferred by Smashwords, as it seems to be becoming the standard requirement across all platforms.  This is going to take a little time to prepare, however, and our intention is to wait until everything is ready and then update them all at once.

We'll gradually be adding Smashwords buy links to the website, of course, and will notify everybody through our Blog and LJ when additional titles become available.

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Rather unexpectedly, MM Good Book Reviews have today posted a nice (although brief) review of Adam's BETWEEN NOW AND THEN by reviewer Artemis:

I enjoyed this story. Not only the main characters but the secondary characters were very well written as well. It is written with a very heavy British influence in terms of the writing style and some of the phrases were totally new to me but I had no problem understanding them in the context of the story. Overall, a very well written story with a nice time travel twist.

Well, we certainly can't argue about the absolute 'Britishness' of the book, but we're very glad that the unfamiliar language wasn't enough to prevent Artemis from enjoying the story!


For the second in our occasional series of author guest blogs, we're very happy to present CHRIS QUINTON - author (among many others!) of the highly-acclaimed FOOL'S ODYSSEY trilogy, who addresses a particularly topical subject:

There was a long gap between the publishing of Fool's Oath, the second in the Fool's Odyssey trilogy, and Fool's Rush. People have asked me why over the intervening months. I had the plot all worked out, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the various arcs, so what the hell happened? The answer is simple and summed up in one name: Xavi.

Picture the scene - versions of which occurred over and over again and ended up with Fool's Rush sitting on the back burner for months -

Okay, I think, poised over my keyboard. This is the chapter where I can get deeper into Andreas' head and bring in lots more about the situation back in the States. That way I can—

*No,* says the voice in my head. There's a distinct impression of sharp elbows stuck out, heels dug in and a tantrum on its way. *No way.*

"Oh, yes," I say aloud. The dogs on my bed twitch their ears and roll over. "I'm writing this bloody story, not you, sunshine."

*I'm living this bloody story,* he snaps, arms folded over his nicely muscled chest, his golden eyes glaring angrily. God, he does 'smolder' so well! *It's all about me! How long did you spend building my back-story? Pages of detail that'll never appear in the story just to make me real? For fuck's sake, woman! Stick to your own agenda!*

"I am!" I bite back. "That's exactly what I'm doing! So you are going to sit down and shut up and let me spend some time with Andreas! Wait your turn, you little shit!" The dogs raise their heads and stare at me. Had I said 'walk'? Or 'treat' Then Rain flops back onto the cushions and Hazel hops down to steal one of my shoes and I have to charge after her to rescue it. There are no treats on offer and no walk either. The Mad Woman is just talking to herself again. "It is A Cunning Plan! I've got the chapters mapped out, remember? This story is as much about Andreas as you, it's his journey as well—"

*You aren't listening to me!* It's a hiss, and I wonder if he's actually going to stamp his foot. *Read my profile! I start out as a street rat and end up as a fucking vampire with a lover I wouldn't trade for all the gold in the world! What's the name of the trilogy? FOOL'S ODYSSEY! And the fool is me, right? So to hell with the political situation in America! And your mapped chapters!* He spits that last bit out as if it's something obscene.

"No!" I yell.

*Yes!* he yells louder, and he has that mulish expression on his face I know means that neither heaven nor hell will drag him from his chosen course.

He's right, of course. I've committed one of the cardinal sins of writing. I stopped listening to my characters.

I give in ungraciously, snarl a lot and grab my notebook. I take myself off to my local coffee shop and do some serious re-plotting... The end result is that Fool's Rush completes Xavi's journey in exactly the way it should, and I have chunks of text lying around waiting to be reworked.

Characters. Those insistent voices in your head that won't shut up, won't go away. It doesn't matter where they sprang from. The moment they appear in your skull demanding you write their story, they are yours in a unique way that no one can take from you. It doesn't matter if they have a physical resemblance to your Uncle George or Aunt Fanny, or to actors on the TV or cinema screen, or to characters in your favorite novels. The back-stories you give them, the plot arcs you create, the research you do, make them yours. All you have to do is listen to them. Which isn't always as easy as it sounds.

Which brings me to the skirmishing that seems to start every so often - more so since 50 Shades hit the mainstream. Fan fiction and the reworking of same for publication and sale as original work. People get on their high horses and shout their opinions - others shout back, refusing to be cowed.

Why the fuss? Inspiration comes from everywhere. It's just as valid if it's a scene on the screen, your favourite actor's [rather stunning] green eyes, or a conversation overheard at the bus stop. It may seem at first that you're streaming the character - let's call him Billy Bloggs - but no writer worth their salt can leave the displayed details alone. Why does Billy react the way he does to given situations - has the show/film/book/explained that at all? No? Or not sufficiently? Then you create the psychological reasons. You research, you build a family tree, family relationships, things that perhaps will never appear in the story, but form layer upon layer of Billy's personality. You place him or her in situations far removed from the show/film/book, and most of the hard work - and it is hard work - of writing a story has been done. Change the names, any of the remaining borrowed background, and you have a piece of original fiction. It may even - horror of horrors - actually be better than the show/film/book that struck the original spark.

Now it seems that Amazon has recognised the worth of fan fiction - or perhaps the profit it could glean from it. (Read more here, if you haven't already.)

Where does that leave those who shout against the sale of fan fiction, saying that those writers shouldn't profit from other people's work? In the same situation of those who write it - mostly eyeing Amazon with some suspicion!

Friday, 7 June 2013

New review of ALWAYS WITH US

We're delighted to report that the first substantive review of Morgan Cheshire's ALWAYS WITH US has recently been posted by Josie Goodreads on the website Mrs Condit and Friends Read Books, and we get the distinct impression that she liked it!

Morgan Cheshire’s Always With Us hit just the right spot. The writing is elegant and gentle. The characters of Daniel and Harrison are perfectly set in the time of the story; at no time did I ever not think I was in Victorian England.

Biased as we undoubtedly are in Morgan's favour, we can't help thinking that every word of this was fully merited; well done, Morgan, and thank you Josie Goodreads!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Errors and omissions

It appears that for some unknown reason we haven't been updating both the LJ and the blog at the same time, so we'll now attempt to make up for that! Here's what you missed on 31 May!

- - - - -

Statistics for May

We're delighted to report that we've just had our best month's sales ever, largely due to strong interest in three of our titles in particular.

Julie's new book THE APOTHECARY'S GARDEN broke all records for direct sales from our website, selling five times as many copies as its nearest rival, whereas over on Kindle Jane's ABOVE ALL outsold everything else by a very similar margin!  Meanwhile, the Cup Final special offer on R.A. Padmos's RAVAGES also sold very strongly, although spread across all platforms rather than concentrated in one place.

- - -

We'd like to apologise for not alerting people sooner that a further three titles were uploaded to Kindle in the middle of the month.  These were:


FOOL'S RUSH by Chris Quinton*


Unfortunately, we got rather swamped with other matters and it escaped our attention.  Anyway this brings us up to date with our back catalogue, and we will be uploading the next two titles on 1 July.

[*As usual, these are links; we're quite sure you can figure out the rest for yourselves!]


(We like this one in particular because of the confidence it expresses in all our titles; thank you, 'Aurora', whoever you may be!)

Julie's new book THE APOTHECARY'S GARDEN was reviewed on Bittersweet Reviews on 27 May, but we've only just heard about it; our apologies to both Julie and the reviewer for not being a lot more on the ball!

Bozza’s prose is beautiful and has a dream like quality similar to Butterfly Hunter which may be why I liked it so much. The book literally starts with the words “Once upon a time” which I will admit made my heart sink a little but once the setting is established, the writing becomes more intimate and I was quickly drawn into Hilary’s world.

More importantly, Bozza has set her readers a challenge with this book and that is to open their minds to the idea that love can exist for two people who are generations apart and it shouldn’t really matter.

THE APOTHECARY'S GARDEN will be available on Kindle and from our partner sites, Rainbow and AllRomance, from 1 July.