Modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War

Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?

A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.

Available now at Manifold, and ARe



Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?

A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.

An anthology featuring authors:

  • Julie Bozza
  • Barry Brennessel
  • Charlie Cochrane
  • Sam Evans
  • Lou Faulkner
  • Adam Fitzroy
  • Wendy C. Fries
  • Z. McAspurren
  • Eleanor Musgrove
  • Jay Lewis Taylor

Buy links will be updated when book is released on 1 May 2015

Manifold Release Day: Julie Bozza and Liam Livings


Our two new books for 1 February publication are fascinating stories about men faced with unexpected challenges, and we’re very excited about them both. They are available across the Amazon sites, All Romance eBooks and Smashwords.

Julie Bozza

We’re sure you’ll agree with us that a new Julie Bozza title is always an event.  This time she brings us MITCH REBECKI GETS A LIFE, in which fish-out-of-water Mitch struggles to cope thousands of miles from his native New York in what – for him – is the alien environment of Sydney, Australia …

Investigative journalist Mitch Rebecki loves his job and loves New York. He doesn’t mind making enemies, either. When a crime boss threatens retaliation, Mitch’s editor sends him out of harm’s way to Sydney. In exile and resentfully working on lifestyle pieces, Mitch is miserable. But he makes a friend or two, meets a man … and discovers that Australians do organized crime, too, in a small way. Mitch soon finds himself in too deep on all counts, and trying to head home again seems the only solution.


The next morning, Mitch arrived at work to find a note on his desk – in Tom’s own handwriting – directing him to Tom’s office ‘ASAP’. This was followed, in the typically understated Australian way, with three exclamation marks. Mitch shrugged, put his satchel down on his desk, and went to obey.

If Mitch had expected Tom to be angry and concerned about the bomb that hadn’t after all been a bomb, he was disappointed. Instead Tom seemed to be bubbling over with excitement. His eyes were sparking, so much so that Mitch worried vaguely about electrical fires. Tom even stood from his desk, and came to usher Mitch to a seat, before closing the door.

“I’ve got an idea,” Tom announced. “A great idea, a wonderful idea …”

Mitch was too numb to respond in kind. He nodded, indicating he was willing to hear what Tom was obviously dying to tell him.

“I really miss home,” said Tom, rather unexpectedly. “You’ve never been to Australia, right?”

Mitch shook his head, wondering where the fuck that came from.

“You should go. The people, the sunshine, the beaches, the splendor …” Tom looked about him at the artwork, the postcards, as if seeking inspiration. Which he must have found, because it then spilled forth: “The soil in the Outback can be as red and rich as blood, like the land is bleeding. The ocean’s an opal come to life. The sand’s either the purest white or gold–dust, and –”

Mitch so wasn’t in the mood. “Very poetic. But I’m not interested in a vacation, Tom.”

“I’m not talking about a holiday, mate,” Tom replied in more reasonable tones. “I’m talking about you going underground for a while, keeping your head down until it’s safe here. You can work for my cousin Eva, she’s editor for the Herald in Sydney.”

Not a chance in hell. “I don’t think so,” said Mitch.

Tom, of course, sailed right on. “You’ll need to be clever about this, it’s like going undercover. You can write under a pseudonym – and leave the investigative journalism behind for a while.”

“What? But that’s all I –” He only just managed to stop himself in time. That’s all I have. That’s all I know. Mitch gathered himself, and came up with an argument that he could live with, that any New Yorker would understand. “Yeah, great, Tom, but the fact is I can’t afford to pick up and go live overseas. My rent swallows up most of my salary, and you can’t expect me to let a Manhattan apartment go.”

Unfortunately that just made Tom’s eyes spark again. It was as if he were in love with his own idea. “I thought about that.”


“You work part–time for Eva, and she’ll pay you accordingly. Plus you write weekly lifestyle pieces about Australia for our Sunday magazine –” Tom waved a sample of the glossy supplement, as if Mitch hadn’t thrown it in the trash a thousand times already – “and I’ll continue your salary. I’ll even pay your airfare and some of your living expenses.” He concluded triumphantly, “What d’you think about that?”

Mitch rolled his eyes at the sheer indignity of it all. “Lifestyle pieces, my God … I’m better than that, Tom. I’ve always been better than that.”

Tom sagged just enough to acknowledge the assertion. “I know, I really do, but that’s not the point. I’ve cleared it with Gail – she’s editing the magazine now. She’s okay with you contributing –”

“Okay? She should be flattered! But you wanna exile me from everything that’s civilized? I ain’t ready for a sabbatical, Tom!”

“Do you even have a choice right now? Don’t tell me you’d rather get your head blown off, and let Cicioni walk away scot–free.”

“I can’t walk away from this,” Mitch insisted. He leaned forward to add, “I can’t walk away from what I do. You should know that, Tom.”

“Mitch, it’s just getting too dangerous right now.”

“All the more reason to see it through!”

“It’s not like you’re a cop on a case,” Tom argued.

“No! I’m a journalist on a story. A serious journalist on an important story.”

“The story will wait!”

Mitch stared at the man. “Said no editor ever.”

Tom shot him a grumpy glare. “Let Special Agent Danes do his job.” And then he cried out in frustration, “Leave it alone, Mitch! Go to Australia. Try something new. Oh, yeah – and while you’re at it – get a life!”

Liam Livings

Darryl, the hero of Liam Livings‘s new book ESCAPING FROM HIM, meets a delightful gallery of characters and is pitched headlong into a series of adventures when he finally decides to break free from his controlling older boyfriend and make a new life for himself north of the border in Scotland.

Darryl’s on the run – from controlling boyfriend Chris, an air-conditioner called Dave (deceased), an intolerable, claustrophobic situation and a person he just can’t be any more. The trouble is, he doesn’t have a plan – or any money – and all he knows is he needs to get away from everything. That’s where a lucky lift to Glasgow comes in, which turns out to be just the beginning of a whole new life …


Full of McDonalds for dinner I’d found a table near where the lorry drivers sat for breaks, so I could strike up a conversation about ‘going north’, then my phone rang.


Of course it was.

My finger hovered over the reject button before answering. I didn’t even say hello and I was hit with a tirade of pure Chris: “What the fucking fuck are you fucking doing eh? All my stuff in the bags? If you think you’re getting away with this, you really don’t know me. I’m not even sure how angry to get at the moment. This is just the warm up … ” He shouted at me about the state of the flat first. I put the phone on speaker, and sat it on the table. Then he moved onto the car: “Fucking police called about the car ’cause I’m the registered keeper. You little shit. It’s a good job you were insured. It took me a while to convince them of that. They still think you were drunk driving, that’s why you ran away, but some plumber said you didn’t smell of booze, but you were a bit dazed. You’ve had a narrow miss there.” And I let him shout at me about the car for a bit as I stared out of the window at the lorries doing a sort of mechanical ballet, manoeuvring between each other as one arrived and the other left. Their drivers formed their own little ballet too, sharing cigarettes, comparing routes – bits of paper I assumed were routes – before joining me in the warm for food, then changing partners, and doing it all over again.

I noticed the voice projecting from my phone had stopped.

“You still there, Darryl, can you here me?” Chris said, quieter now.

“Chris, I am sorry. I don’t know what came over me. It was the air con unit, the heat, my lenses, lunch with Lena, I don’t know. It was all of those things, and none of them. But I had no choice. I had to do it; I had to leave, because I couldn’t be the person I am when I’m with you, any more.”

“But I love you, babe.”

“Do you? Or do you just love me making dinner for you, doing what you want? Having someone to fuck for hours, on tap, whenever you want? Isn’t that what you love about me, Chris?”


I picked up the phone to check he hadn’t hung up. No, he was still there. “I need someone who takes my dreams seriously. I need someone who loves how I’m always floating about in the Milky Way with my dreams, and who realises that’s who I am. I need someone who realises that doing a job I love, which means something to me, is as important to me, as whether the towels are piled up in colour order in the airing cupboard is to you. I can’t work in the KFC because I’d rather die. Some people can, they can just turn a switch and do a job which pays them, and come home and buy a new games console. I’m not that person. What’s so sad is that you still don’t know that, all this time of being together.”

“I always knew the age gap would be a problem. We’re from two different decades. Maybe it was never going to work.”

“We are. You’re right. Maybe it was always doomed to crash and burn.” I shrugged to myself. It felt strangely liberating not having to fight with him any longer.

More silence. “What about my car? Work’s going to hit the roof when they see it. What am I supposed to do about that eh?”

“It’s insured, like you said. When I’m settled I’ll send you a cheque, but to be honest, I think all the stuff I left, but paid half for it’s swings and roundabouts.”

“You what? You’re going to do what? You are un-fucking-believable. I literally, can’t … “

“Bye, Chris. Have a nice life.”

“You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I will come after you, and I will get what I’m owed, just you wait – “

I did know exactly what I was dealing with, I’d lived with his madness and moods and unbelievable temper for far too long. I put the phone down. And he was gone.

After a bizarre night in the service station, when I got talking to a group of other hitch-hikers: one an Irish man in his late twenties who had spent the last week on a drink and drugs bender and needed to get back to Ireland to see his ‘Mammy’ and a couple who were on their way back from a music festival, having lost their friends – and part of their minds too – and with no other means of travelling without money. I was relieved to climb into the lorry of ‘Call me Douggie,’ a long distance lorry driver with a thick Glasgow accent on his way back home from London with a load of fridges and freezers for Currys.

We had got talking over hot drinks in the early hours of the morning. I’d just about had enough of the bizarre antics and people I’d met trying to hitch hike, and he was feeling lonely before a long drive back home to see his wife and kids – two men about my age, called Jimmy and Gregor. “You’re not a smack ‘ead are ya?” Douggie had asked over hot drinks.

I immediately pulled back my sleeves to show off my perfect forearms.

“Right enough. I’m away to Glasgow. Any good to you?”

“Glasgow’ll do me fine.” And we had cheersed our tea and coffee.


Blog Tour and Giveaway: Julie Bozza

The 1000 Smiles - 400px

Why opals…?

The motif for The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (the third novel of the Butterfly Hunter series) is an opal. I chose this for a number of interrelated reasons, one of which is very literal: A trip to the opal fossicking fields at Yowah in Queensland is at the emotional heart of the book. Dave and Nicholas have a wonderful time there – and the more I researched it, the more I wanted to visit, too!

Another reason is that opals are a very Australian phenomenon. Wikipedia tells us that opals are also found in places such as Ethiopia, Brazil and Mexico. However, the vast majority of opals are found in Australia (especially South Australia), and opal is the Australia’s national gemstone.

Precious opals can contain almost every colour of the rainbow, though some colours (such as red and black) are rarer than others (white and green). Personally, I love the blues best. With opals being so colourful, of course, I definitely pick up a ‘gay pride’ vibe.

Opals are a hydrated form of silica, with a water content of (usually) between 6% and 10%. So there’s a connection with the novel’s waterhole, which itself is described as having a vivid, jewel-like colour.

The Dreaming stories about how opals were created differ throughout the country, but often involve water (which relates to their content) and fire (which relates to their appearance). Water links to the waterhole, and fire links to Dave and Nicholas’s shared campfires.

I also thought an opal would make an interesting image for the book cover, as some opals look like a bird’s-eye view of landscape – which is the very perspective of most Australian Indigenous paintings. Actually, it now occurs to me that the three Butterfly Hunter covers feature an animal (a butterfly), a vegetable (eucalyptus flowers) and a mineral (an opal) – all of them Australian – which is almost unbearably neat.

I daren’t even hope that you find as much beauty in my novel as you would in a precious opal, but I trust you will see that Dave and Nicholas find all that beauty and more in each other and in their relationship. Thank you so much for being a part of their journey! They have certainly appreciated the companionship.

Blurb for The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring:

Dave and Nicholas, married for seven years now, are happily settled together – but as an Australian prime minister once observed, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy.” An unexpected threat to their beloved waterhole forces Dave to try asserting unofficial custodianship of the Dreamtime site, and a visit from Nicholas’s nephew Robin doesn’t help as he brings his own surprises. And there’s always the question of Nicholas’s health hanging over their heads…

Buy links:

Author’s bio:

Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with Colin Morgan and John Keats.

Author’s links:


The next morning saw Dave and Nicholas at the airport early to collect Robin. They joined the line-up leaning on the waist-high barriers, greeted with nods and friendly monosyllables from the drivers and tour operators and such, some of whom had known Dave since he was a kid. “Brought the missus with you, then?” one of them commented to Dave.

Nicholas snorted with quiet humour, but Dave answered seriously enough. “Yeah, his nephew’s coming to visit for his summer holidays. Well, you know … it’s winter here, summer up there.”

“Got everything arse-about, them Poms.”

“You just wait,” Nicholas muttered darkly. “The magnetic poles will reverse, and then where will you be?”

“Still in God’s own country, mate!”

“So you will,” Nicholas happily responded. “And so will I!”

There was a general round of laughter, and then everyone fell back to their earlier silence or desultory talk. Nicholas nudged Dave with an elbow, and indicated the cold hard floor on the other side of the barriers. “That’s where I was when I saw you for the very first time.”

The guy on the other side of Dave asked, “Love at first sight, was it?”

“I get a lot of that,” Dave remarked.

“What can you do?” was the sympathetic response.

“I fancied him so badly!” Nicholas declared. “It wasn’t love, I don’t suppose – not back then. But that’s where it began. That’s where our story began.”

A resounding silence greeted this. Far too much information to be sharing with Aussie blokes of either gender. Dave was blushing, a little, but he couldn’t deny that he was pleased. No doubt his own smile was as fond as one of Nicholas’s, despite him trying to repress it. He hardly knew where to look.

But finally someone snorted, and someone else spluttered into laughter, and the embarrassment was lost in the general hubbub, or maybe just transformed into something else, something better. “Someone’s overdone it with the coffee this morning,” was one comment. – “That’s why I never bring my missus along,” another observed. – “Jeez, there’s a decent hour and a private place for that kind of thing …”

Dave and Nicholas leant there on the barrier together, pressed shoulder to shoulder, letting the jibes wash over them. And eventually Dave dared to glance at his husband, and he saw Nicholas’s lips curling in infinite amusement … and Dave could hardly even begin to measure his own happiness. He hadn’t seen the edges of it for years.

DON’T Forget the  Rafflecopter giveaway

Lucky in Our Genre…by Julie Bozza

Clare London and I went to the first London Author Fair this year and whilst we were there, we bumped into Julie Bozza. She very kindly wrote a blog for ukgayromance but as I was off social media I delayed posting it. Apologies to Julie for delaying a really interesting blog.

I recently attended the London Author Fair 2014, and I wrote about the experience in this post on my own blog. But I was moved to write a separate piece about The One Big Thing I took from the day. It’s not a thought particularly new, but I had it reinforced again and again despite attending the Fair with the intent of seeking new challenges.

And the thought is this: I sincerely believe we are very lucky indeed to be writing and reading in our male-male romance genre. And the reason why is inherent in that one word ‘our’. It’s our genre, to do with pretty much what we will.

The Freedom beyond the Pale

The fact of the matter is that our genre isn’t one that the mainstream publishing industry is interested in. Some of us might regret that, and wish it were otherwise. However, I like the freedom that it leaves us.

We can set up our own, smaller publishing houses. We can self-publish. We can be independent and far more responsive than the larger-scale businesses. We have a smaller market, but it’s large enough to make the whole thing viable.

Authors find themselves far more able to write what they are most driven to write. Yes, as a group we still draw certain lines, and some tropes are less popular than others, but there’s probably a niche available within our market for just about everyone who is into consensual relations between adults with similar biological bits and/or similar gender identities.

And we’re not even necessarily talking about a ‘market’. We’re a community, and a highly participative one at that. A large proportion of us are writers – far larger than in the mainstream community. Our writers are also active readers, which helps generate a friendly mutuality even as we celebrate individual differences.

Any of us might also be bloggers, reviewers, social media users, convention organisers, or otherwise active in our own m-m community or in the wider GLBTIA world.

All of this, and we authors don’t have to worry about finding an agent. We don’t have to deal with the expectations of publishing businesses that require an enormous volume of sales just to stay afloat in a tough industry.

I understand that a few of our authors make enough to live on from their writing. That’s an amazing thing for any writer to be able to say, mainstream or otherwise. Comparatively speaking, I only make pocket money, but that’s absolutely fine. At least my m-m accounts are in the black! My literary fiction (alternate history) title has been well received, but has only found a very small number of readers. I hear (anecdotal evidence) that it’s much the same for our authors publishing in any genre in which the mainstream publishing businesses have already staked their claim. Historical fiction, heterosexual romance, and other ‘popular’ genres – it’s so much more difficult for the independents, the small presses and the self-publishers to thrive, when the big presses got there first.

Our niche, however – our genre – hadn’t yet been filled. The changing technologies of the internet and eBooks (and print on demand and PayPal) meant that a niche could be catered for using new formats and new methods of distribution.

And so we got to set up our own community, and we had far more scope to do so in the ways that suited us best. Maybe we didn’t do it perfectly. Maybe it’s all a work in progress. But one of our advantages is that we’re small enough and dynamic enough to adjust to changing conditions, and to fine-tune as we go.

Another advantage, I think, is that we’re further ahead of the game than many. (Perhaps not on the interactive eBooks and augmented reality front, mind you!) As I listened to the last session at the Fair, when panellists were asked to predict where the publishing industry would be in the year 2020, I found myself thinking that we are already ahead on a number of fronts. That’s pretty exciting, and that’s good for us in the long term.

Maybe our genre will remain a ‘minority’ interest. Maybe we’ll never have the sheer numbers of readers to tempt the big publishing businesses hither. But I don’t think I mind that at all. We’re here, we’re queer, we’re surfing into the future – and more than that, we’re doing it for ourselves.

I like that. Actually, I like that a lot.


Author bio

Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is madly in love with Colin Morgan and John Keats. Fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, and unreasonably excited by photography… she is the author of Butterfly HunterThe Apothecary’s GardenThe Definitive Albert J Sterne, and other MM romance novels published by Manifold Press.

Internet links.






Manifold Press:


Welcome to Julie Bozza


How did you discover the MM/gay romance genre?

That question could result in a very long answer!

Even in my very early and rather innocent teens I was feeling the frisson between Romeo and Mercutio, Darcy and Bingley, and (ahem!) Judas and Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar – though there’s no denying I enjoyed the ‘straight’ romances in these stories as well. Eventually, during the weekend I was meeting my future mother–in–law and her family for the first time, we were sitting around watching an old Star Trek episode, and I felt rather more than a frisson between Kirk and Spock given the situation they were in… I began scribbling a story about them getting together, which turned into quite the angsty soap opera. When I confessed this to my sister, who’d followed a similar path of her own, she told me that we weren’t the only ones. Hence my introduction to fandom, fan fiction and slash!

I became a bit of a fannish butterfly in terms of fandoms, having a few significant ones and all kinds of small or obscure ones. I thought of myself as a ‘multimedia fan’! But I was always into the slash, that was certainly a constant. Eventually, at 29, I began writing an original novel. Back then, the MM romance genre didn’t exist, and there was a fair bit of resistance against apparently ‘straight’ women writing gay fiction. So basically what I ended up trying to do was write mainstream fiction which happened to have a gay romance subplot rather than a straight one. Alas, I didn’t get very far! The Definitive Albert J Sterne was the first pro novel I wrote, and at least it earned me a mainstream literary agent for a while, but eventually he gave up trying. While I continued to write other novels and screenplays for a while, I ended up giving up, too.

For a few years all I wrote was fan fiction – much of which was doomed to remain in my bottom drawer, too. When I finally poked my head over the parapet again, lo and behold, MM romance had come into being. Hurrah! I ended up getting in touch with the good people at Manifold Press as a result of my Romeo and Mercutio fan fic, which rounds off the story rather nicely back where I began… and here I am.

What made you start writing in the genre?

Pure instinct. Gut instinct. Soul instinct.

One of the things I took from the UK Meet 2013 was how many of us started reading or writing MM romance without knowing that other people out there were reading and writing it as well. By which I mean people who aren’t a neat fit with what many would assume are the ‘obvious’ readers and writers of gay fiction.

For me, the Muse simply insisted – out of the blue, as it were. I know now that I’m not alone in that, but at the time I didn’t have a clue. Other writers have found themselves, much to their surprise, writing about two men rather than a man and a woman. Readers have stumbled across books such as Maurice by EM Forster, and been inspired to look for more. I don’t know what it says that so many of us have ‘invented’ this genre for ourselves before finding our fellows, but I think that’s intriguing.

Where do you base your books?

My earlier novels were all set in the US, as that seemed to be the only setting possible for the stories I was telling: serial killer thriller, cops ‘n’ mobsters drama, professional wrestling drama. I’ve since started writing stories based in Australia and in England, which are the two countries in which I’ve lived. I’ve also set a story in Italy – specifically Rome. (The latter is literary fiction, but as Lord Byron is involved naturally there is a gay subplot.) The next few projects will be set in England or Australia, and then I guess we’ll see after that!

Tell me about your current/forthcoming novel.

My next novel to be published is Of Dreams and Ceremonies on 1 November, which is a follow–up to Butterfly Hunter. The first was set in Australia, with Nicholas being the ‘fish out of water’; this one is set in England, with Dave being the one needing to deal with a strange land. It is set in 2012, and the two are planning a civil partnership ceremony, while Dave tries to cope with living in a mansion house with Nicholas’s family and their servants. Dave and Nicholas are, in many ways, still getting to know each other. We follow them on their honeymoon, which brings with it an adventure or two (and not just in the bedroom).

The plan is for Dave and Nicholas to then settle in Australia, and I intend to write a third book which is set about seven years into their future there.

What are you writing at the moment?

I am writing a novel set in contemporary London, about three twenty–something actors who end up in an on–going threesome relationship. It’s quite a challenge, but I’m enjoying it! The three main characters are all used to the conventional notions of what love is, including monogamy between two people, but find themselves in a situation where the definitions need to be broadened to encompass what they genuinely feel for and need from each other. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m hoping that readers who try it will come to believe there couldn’t be any other answer for them.

Author bio

Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is madly in love with Colin Morgan and John Keats. Fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, and unreasonably excited by photography… she is the author of Butterfly Hunter, The Apothecary’s Garden, The Definitive Albert J Sterne, and other MM romance novels published by Manifold Press.

Internet links.






Manifold Press:


Of Dreams and Ceremonies - 500px

Of Dreams and Ceremonies

Blurb: It seemed like a great idea at the time… Aussie Dave Taylor has followed Nicholas Goring to England, and the lovers have become engaged. But now Dave has to cope with living in a mansion full of family and servants, making wedding plans, getting his head around visa applications, and wondering why on earth he’d ever want to wear a ‘mourning suit’. He’s not sure if it will prove any easier, but right now Dave would love to just skip ahead to the honeymoon…

Available from: 1 November from Manifold Press.