Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Author: Lisa Manifold (page 1 of 9)

Up too late reading…

This has been a busy summer and fall, and all of a sudden, it’s nearly winter. Well, it’s trying to be, here in Colorado. I’m in the midst of working through National Novelists’ Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and although it’s been four days of no words, because life,  I spent the last day reading.

In my defense,  I spent the day before at a bazaar, and then another author event, so I am giving myself a pass.

And here I am, up late – or early – as hell, because I slept in this morning, and couldn’t sleep. That, and I got caught up in reading.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a speed reader. I took a semester-long class in school, and I’ve been able to race through books ever since.  Tonight, I made it through a series that had me laughing so hard I cried. Like, snorting crying laughing. It woke up the dog in the vicinity and he started to growl ominously at me. I think his eyesight’s on the way out, so I won’t hold it against him. I did burst out laughing.

I also laughed in all of the books, which means the author was amazeballs at keeping up the humor. Her dialogue is hilarious, as are the characters themselves. They think in funny. I know we all think we’re friggen comedians, but the main characters in the series are, and they don’t even know it.

So without further gilding of the lily, the series is called THE REGENCY ROMP. It’s by Maggie Fenton. The first book is THE DUKE’S HOLIDAY, the second VIRTUOUS SCOUNDREL, and the final is called THE ALABASTER HIP (is that a great name or what?).

These are Regency romances. They follow the genre well, which, as a lover of Regency, I’m glad about. They are not overly steamy, although there is definite heat and a bit of steam. So if you’re looking for multiple sizzling encounters, these are not it. Don’t let that deter you, however.

We meet the first of the cast of characters in THE DUKE’S HOLIDAY.  The Duke of Montford (called Cyril by no one ever), has to head to York to sort out a family who has a lease on one of the ducal estates. There’s a hint that somehow, the Honeywell family got one over on the Montfords, and while the current Montford has no idea what it is, he’s all out of sorts about it. He’s so funny – even at the beginning, when you start to realize that he’s really not. That funny borders on frenzy.

So he is all determined to make things neat and tidy and boot the scheming Honeywells out on their upstart arses, but of course, it doesn’t go the way he plans. The way that Maggie Fenton shows you his progression from neat and orderly to real and living is both heartbreaking and howlingly funny. Ms. Fenton is brilliant with words. Witness:

“Marlowe sniffed. “And it’s no less than you deserve. Really, Monty, don’t know what’s come over you. But even I don’t tup a wench in the middle of the King’s Highway. It’s just bad form.””

I stopped reading to sit and laugh for a good five minutes over this scene. A great deal of the dialogue is like this. God help whoever comes across Aunt Anabel, as well. She needs her own story. I’m just saying, Maggie Fenton.

There is also a Wesley, and a Princess Buttercup. I knew when I was reading this I was reading a fellow fangirl. Which warmed my fangirl heart.

The second book is VIRTUOUS SCOUNDREL. This book focuses on Sebastion (I love that name) Sherbrook, the Duke of Montford’s BFF, a couple of years after the happenings in book one.

Virtuous Scoundrel (The Regency Romp Trilogy Book 2) by [Fenton, Maggie]

He’s coming home after rattling around through Europe, and he lands face first into a scandal of monstrous proportions. Apparently, he’s been a complete rake whilst on the Continent, and a weeping, formerly virtuous young lady has confessed all to her father. Dad is now demanding Sherbrook marry said formerly virtuous daughter. He’s also inherited the title of Marquess of Manwaring, but that doesn’t stop his descent into social Siberia.

He’s also plagued by the wife of the recently deceased Marquess, who happened to be his uncle. They were estranged, and it was never reconciled. The Dowager Marchioness Katherine, who was far too young for his uncle (IMO) haunts him. We met her in book one, and she was cool as a cucumber and droll as hell. But still waters run deep for both Sebastion and Katherine, as does their love of Beethoven. The descriptions surrounding the scenes where music is forefront are lovely.

The witty writing continues. Ms. Fenton titles her chapters. As a fellow author, I commend her. I never feel clever enough to title mine, and she titles every single one.

Things like:

In Which Our Hero’s Hessians Die An Ignoble Death
In Which Fate Takes an Unexpectedly Unpleasant Turn in the Dodgy Part of Soho
Followed by a chapter break, titled Meanwhile, in the Chic Part of Soho…
And:
In Which The Bad French Melodrama Proceeds Apace on Bruton Street

The chapter titles are just the openers. Romance aside, this is where we meet Soames, a secondary character that pops up and mangles the ever-loving daylights out of what is supposed to be the English language, and you just cannot help yourself. You lean back, and laugh some more.

Katherine and Sebastian, like Montford and A. Honeywell in book one, have a metric ton of challenges that face them. I would like to think I could be so droll and witty in times of crises, but I’m not sure I would be.

Finally, in THE ALABASTER HIP (note to Ms. Fenton – your poetry was fine, and it came from the heart), the main focus is Marlowe, the non-King’s Highway tupper from book one. He’s the last of the BFFs to be a swinging single, and while he moves about London dressed in a manner I had to Google, he’s not thrilled with being a bachelor, no matter how resigned he is.

In comes Minerva (we’ve met her before, and if you’re a good romance reader, you were waiting for her to show up, as Ms. Fenton gave us a hint earlier in the series if you were looking), the woman he (and all of London, frankly) is hoping will wrangle Marlowe’s twins into some semblance of seemingly law-abiding behavior as the latest in a string of governesses. She is feisty as hell, taking no shit from anyone.

This book was where I KNEW, having merely Strongly Suspected before, that Ms. Fenton is a member of some sort of fandom, because she brings one of the things close to my heart into her work – fanfiction. The Author’s Note at the back explains it further, and it was fascinating. I went and Googled that, too (I’m not telling you what it is, because it’s a pleasure to discover as you read the book).

The Leighton family matters come to a head as well (Marlowe is a Leighton) and you will roll your eyes at the unabashed and blatant behavior of some of his relations. Honestly, when I realized where this series was going, I was concerned about how Marlowe would hold up as a hero. As the sidekick and devil-may-care he has been up until getting his own book, it’s legit. But Ms. Fenton did a great job bringing him up to snuff for the hero’s…um…red Chinese silk banyan cape (another trip to Google). Finally, he’s at the place where he can put it on, and we are like, Yeah, that works. Previous books – no.

Both Marlowe and Minerva have baggage to disperse with and ghosts to face, and it was realistic, to me, at least, how these matters were addressed. The hilarity of dialogue and turn of phrase continues. The chapters are all still titled. Chapter Sixteen, In Which The Viscount Suspects Something is Amiss is so tongue in cheek, you’ll burst into laughter several times throughout. Well – how about you should burst into laughter?

Aunt Anabel is back and can I please request, again, that her story be written? She is my kind of aged auntie. I also want to know who was still making her pompadour wigs in the time period. The descriptions are fascinating.

As this is a romance, there is a happy ending. Not just for Marlowe and Minerva, but for a lot of the characters we’ve met along the way. Which I love.

I am giving all three books a thumbs-up and a recommend you should read. These won’t change the world. But they will make you laugh, and as unbelievable as some of the challenges presented in the books seem, they are approached and led up to in a manner which makes you say, Well, yeah, I can see how that could happen. You will keep turning the pages (I know I did) because the characters are real, and flawed, and you like them. The redemption of Marlowe was fantastic – and he wasn’t a villain or anything, but we didn’t meet him a hero.

Well done. I might need to read these again, because I liked the way reading them made me feel. Which is the highest praise from me. I’m a re-reader. So if your books get into my loop, that says something.

Now go get the first book. If you read Regency, you’ll be glad you did.

 

It’s time to Con again!!!!!!

So it’s that time of year again! WOOO HOOO! I am so excited, although this year is a funny one for me. I’m working as an Attending Professional this year rather than a person living out all her fangirl dreams. If you look down at the bottom of the post, you’ll see my schedule. And make sure you keep up with my Facebook and Instagram (. I’ll be posting updates throughout the weekend.

It’s really exciting because – Dragon Con. But it’s funny because I am taking only two costumes, which is the lowest amount of costumes ever brought by me. I have more regular clothes than costumes. Another first. I have only ONE suitcase. Yet another first, LOL!

If you’re at Dragon Con, I am on the app, so hit me up. Or message me. See you there soon!!

Title: Cast of Characters: Supernatural Variety in UF
Time: Fri 10:00 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: One key aspect of Urban Fantasy remains the presence of supernatural beings. Our panel of authors employ different varieties in their work, many in roles as key characters.Title: Autograph Session
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: International Hall South 4-5 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Reading: Lisa Manifold
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Techwood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: The author of Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy series Sisters of the Curse reads from her works.

Title: Sidekicks ‘R Us: Secondary Characters in the Spotlight
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Do you sometimes wish your favorite secondary characters would get more attention? Our panelists agree & will explain the ways their creations add depth & enjoyment to their stories & worlds.

Summer is here!

I officially hit two years of indie publishing last month. It’s a milestone, for sure. I look at my progress, and I still have so much more I want to accomplish. However, I am pleased with where I have been and the things I have done.

And now it’s summer – Con season – and many of the things that were just bubbling along are now at a high boil and nearly finished.

I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version:

REALMS OF THE GOBLIN KING came out in ebook in March. It’s going to be in paperback next week.

RISE OF THE DRAGON KING is releasing July 31.

Having those two done means that the Realms series, as far as the novels are concerned, is done. But wait – there’s more! I have, as the Realm has expanded, ended up with more stories about the characters. Most of these allow me to share the history of a certain character, or some aspect of things that happen off-screen. A WOLF COMES TO DINNER is one of those. It came into my head when I was writing the scene with Max and his crew and Iris, Drake, and Taranath in REALMS OF THE GOBLIN KING. I thought, What if? And that short story was born.

So between now and the end of July, look for all the Companion Tales in the Realm series to publish as shorts. I am also going to bundle them into Volumes One and Two, if you don’t like shorts. I’ll have a print version of them available as well.

And THEN, there’s the Aumahnee Prophecy. That’s a new series I am writing with Corinne O’Flynn. Like the Realm, these characters have grown and the world has expanded.

First, there are the prequels. This is where you meet Eamonn and Marigold, and get to know a little about the main characters in the series.  Both EAMONN’S TALE and MARIGOLD’S TALE are now available in ebook. If you happen to be at Denver Comic Con, or Dragon Con, and you see me, you can also get them in a Collector’s Edition paperback.

Then, there are the shorts that take place in the world. These are characters who are living and doing their thing while Eamonn and Marigold are going about their business, and they are part of the world, but not actively engaged with our main characters. Corrine and I each wrote a piece of those stories. THE GIMCRACKERS and THE PORTAL KEEPERS are available in ebook, and again, if you’re at one of the events one or both of us is at this year, you’ll be able to get your hands on the Collector’s Edition of both of those stories in paperback form.

Finally, WATCHERS OF THE VEIL is about to make its debut. In print at Denver Comic Con, and in ebook shortly thereafter. I have to say, even though I am completely biased, I love this story.

I hope we get to meet up over this summer at some point! I love talking with readers. If you’re at Denver Comic Con, I’m in Author Alley, Booth # D11 and D13.

 

 

The Realms Companion stories are beginning!

If you looked under my Realm tab on the menu, you’ll see this lovely graphic:

Why am I posting this again? Because those blank spaces for covers are filling in. Right now, BROTHERS BORN and LINE OF IMARA are available. A WOLF COMES TO DINNER will be released within the next week. Then it’s DRAKE’S DILEMMA, because Drake gets to finish out the series. It wasn’t planned that way, but I got some email pointing out the mean and nasty that I’d done to him in HEART OF THE GOBLIN KING, and I listened.  Now Drake has his own thing going on.

And he’s fantastic. But then, I am biased.

So keep up with me over the next two months. Book 4 and all the Companion stories will be released during that time. The Realm has ventured into places I never originally planned, but boy, am I glad I went down this path. Because I love the stories of all the characters that are happening. The Companion stories are all shorts – but they are snapshots into the lives of the characters of the Realm when the books aren’t happening, and these are the ones that I needed to share with you all.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

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O.M.G!

First, I owe all my readers a huge THANK YOU! Why? Let me show you!

That’s why! Thanks to you all, this boxed collection hit the USA Today best-sellers list. First time anything with my name attached has ever hit the list. It was a big effort with the other 21 authors of the set, but all the work in the world wouldn’t have done a thing without the readers.

If you got the set, ENJOY! And if you haven’t, it’s still available, now in Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks again! I – and all the other authors – are just over the moon! Woot!

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A book for YOU, and a book for YOU, and books for EVERYBODY!

I mentioned that writing program I’m in a few weeks ago, yes? Well, the publishing ball has begun to roll. And you’re going to get the benefit of it.

First, myself and my fab co-writers, Wilhelmina Kirk and T.M. Catron, published two shorts this week. One, Lost in Blue is a paranormal story of someone who has a chance to find their way home. The other, The Living, is a post-apocalyptic story of the aftermath of other life forms coming to Earth. Both were really fun to write, and I enjoyed this project tremendously.

Second, we, the entire Phoenix Prime group, have published a collection of short stories that are all on Instafreebie. If you haven’t used Instafreebie before, you should. I find a lot of new authors that way. And together, we have a number of collections for you; romance, sci-fi, fantasy, general fiction – something for everyone. So check them out!

Third, along with another co-writing partner, Corinne O’Flynn, I am beginning to put out the first of a new series. The series is titled The Aumahnee Prophecy. You can check out the details Here. This is going to be so much fun to write, I can hardly stand myself! Keep checking in, because once we start rolling – the new releases are going to be flying!

If you like this post, feel free to share it!

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Bring On The Reading!

So I wanted to have Realms of the Goblin King ready to go and released by end of year last year. But things happen, and things definitely happened to me. Unexpectedly, I came across a writing program that had just opened up for submissions for applicants. After reading the description, I immediately applied. I was accepted, and for the past month, that’s what I have been doing.

Phoenix Prime is a Ph.D. level workshop that spans approximately four months. It uses applied industrial psychology to address components of writing, marketing, branding, business and contract issues, productivity, etc. that combine Creative Writing and business perspectives.

The participants will create a portfolio to showcase their work alongside students in doctoral programs in several major universities. The objective, in addition to expanding the professional growth of all the participants, is to study the impact of the independent author-publisher on the commercial fiction industry.”

To say that it’s changed my life would be not giving it enough credit. It has altered my writing technique completely, and because of that, has changed my publication schedule. While Realms was initially delayed, it will be out very soon.

As will 34 other works.

Yes, I said 34.

I am really excited, and as I continue on, I hope you will be too. Stay tuned…I’ll be posting covers and descriptions as things are released.

 

Are YOU ready for the reading???

What I’m Reading Now: January 28, 2017

So I had a series I wanted to share with you, and then Amazon sent me a book I’d forgotten I’d ordered. I tore through it in one night, and decided that I had to share this with you all first.

Fair warning – this is not my normal genre fiction at all.  It’s a mix of non-fiction and historical fiction. And I have to go back in time a bit, so bear with me.

Right before my oldest was born, I wanted to go on vacation.  It was February, in Maryland, and I was cold. That’s saying something, being 6 months pregnant. I said, Let’s do a cruise! The expression my Dear Husband’s face told me that it probably wasn’t going to happen. LOL. He said, Hey, why don’t we go to Arizona? It will be warm there, with the desert and all!

Well. It was warm, in parts. And if you go, I will tell you to please, please, please go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It’s worth the drive and a day to spend there. Go sit in the hummingbird enclosure, and take the walk. Trust me on this. You also need to go to Sedona, but that’s for another post. The big thing on our trip was the Grand Canyon.

I’d like to mention, it was not warm at any time while we were in the Grand Canyon. We drove along the South Rim with the snow falling down in the sunlight. It was amazingly beautiful. I will never forget how that looked. I’ve been at both the North and South Rims and it’s worth going to both – they are almost different worlds.

Anyway, it was phenomenal. Outside of the driving where guard rails fear to go. We stopped at a lot of the rest stop areas along the Rim, and I found my way into the bookstore. I got a book (this was over 10 years ago) that has stayed with me ever since.

Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. It’s been updated since then, but it goes through all the recorded deaths that occurred in the Grand Canyon. It’s rather sobering, and the authors tell you point blank the main thing you can practice to avoid dying. The fact that this has been updated tells me it probably hasn’t taken as a Stay Alive tip. Sadly. But it’s fascinating, and I HIGHLY recommend it. Especially if you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.  The above book is the genesis for today’s post.

One of the supposed deaths was that of Glen and Bessie Hyde. I find mysteries that are never solved both full of sorrow and fascination, and again, this is one that stayed with me. They were making a run at being the first set of rafters with a woman on board to make it through the Grand Canyon. They disappeared, leaving behind their scow raft, which was found floating down river from the last place they were seen in good condition.  Most of the contents of the boat were still there, as well. There have been numerous theories as to what happened to them.  When I was searching for something else, I came upon this on Amazon:

Grand Ambition by Lisa Micheals. This is a fictionalized account of what happened to the couple.  (This is the book that derailed my scheduled post today – but spontaneity is good for the soul sometimes.) I read an interview with the author, Lisa Micheals, where she says she really identified with Bessie, and wrote the book with that in mind. Bessie was what was called at the time “a bohemian”. She wrote poetry, and an avid reader. I really liked the way Micheals portrays their relationship from Bessie’s eyes. Some of her descriptions are hauntingly poignant. I actually went back and read them again because they evoked such a wonderful visual while reading.

And it makes sense – even now, this is one hell of a trip to go on,  putting aside the fact that they were doing this as their honeymoon trip (no, I’m not making that up). You would have to have the sort of depth of feelings that Grand Ambition attributes to Bessie to not only agree to this, but to stick with it. The first year of marriage is hard enough. Toss in a primitive rafting trip on a boat considered difficult and probably not the best style for the intended trip, and no amenities whatsoever – there better be a lot of love. It’s another way to look at this, and with mysteries such as this one, I like more than one point of view.

I don’t want to say too much because while the end result – they  disappeared, and no one knows where they went – is the same, I don’t want to spoil the book for you.

Because I can’t let things that interest me go, I was looking for the link for one of the books, and another book popped up that covered the mystery of Glen and Bessie Hyde. Sunk Without a Sound by Brad Dimock. It came out in 2001, around the same time as Micheals’ book. So this is on my TBR next week, once it gets here, LOL.  It’s written from the perspective of a man who knows the river well – as well as anyone can. I’m excited to get this and see what he says. He and his wife ran the Canyon in a boat like Glen and Bessie used. (I hope Mrs. Dimock chimes in somewhere in the book!)

That’s it for me this week. I have a ton of homework (deadlines – meet one, and another rears its ugly head, LOL!) but I’ll add onto another WIRN to let you know what I thought of Sunk Without a Sound.

As always, if I post a book here, click it for the link.

Have a great weekend, guys!

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What am I doing up this early???

Well, I have kids. But even they aren’t up this early.

I’m in class. I have a weekly class that meets online, and you can choose which class works for you. At this point in time, the 5 am class is where I am at.

I’ve never gotten up this early in my life with any regularity. However, I have found that the early class actually is really good for me. It gets me started for the day.

It doesn’t help that my class has my head buzzing to the point that I couldn’t go back to sleep if I wanted to.

I will be honest, I was nervous about “going back to school”. This is definitely a schooling, too. It’s a writing class.  At 46, I saw an opportunity to learn new methods and ways to work in my craft, and I jumped at it. But it is scary to look at a class syllabus and think, Oh, sure, I can do that.

As you cross your fingers and hope like hell you can. I just got my schedule for the month.

Now, before you ask, yes, the homework involves writing. One of the exciting things about this class is that we are looking at what you’ve done, and what you can do moving forward. So there is a bit of…reorganization in my publishing schedule for the year. The good thing is I am actually tightening it up, and making some changes that will mean more stuff comes out, not less.

What’s the point or moral of this?

I dunno. I think it’s YaY! for me and anyone else brave enough to take on school while in normal life, and misery wanting company for being up so early.

See you Saturday. I have a What I’m Reading post on a great series for you all!

Secret Project #1

Soooo…if you get my Newsletter (you can click right on the edge over there —>), you’ll know I hinted at Secret Project #1.  It’s on the calendar that is becoming more and more jam-packed as the month goes by.  REALMS OF THE GOBLIN KING is first, but in April, Secret Project #1 comes to fruition. And I wanted to share with you all – let you be the first ones to see it!

With much ado and great fanfare, I am thrilled to share with you MYTHS & LEGENDS: A Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Boxed Set Collection.Myths and Legends Boxed Set

A veritable plethora of authors, including yours truly, have come together to bring you this set of more than 20 Full-Length Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy reads, including works from USA Today bestsellers, NY Times bestsellers, and various Award-Winning authors!

Gear up for a collection packed with an exciting mix of as-yet-undiscovered existing titles and brand new content. There’s everything from vampires, faeries, witches and shifters to romantic quests, cities brimming with paranormal shenanigans, tons of secret societies, and of course, the Bad Guys.

There’s over one million words in the collection. Need I say more? All from more than twenty bestselling authors!

Remember Secret Project #1? It’s in this set. This is really special to me – this set will introduce you to an entirely new world and a new series.

I am not able to share anything more at this point in time. I’ll be sharing in my Newsletter (with contests, and Advanced Reader opportunities) as the release date gets closer,

so sign up to stay informed!

MYTHS & LEGENDS

Available For PREORDER!

 

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