New review of ARDENT by Heloise West

Thank you to Morningstar at Diverse Reader for a ‘random review’ of Heloise West’s novel ARDENT.

The writing was beautiful and vivid. The characters were well fleshed out with their story told with detail bringing to life the world at that time and their struggle in it. It was suspenseful but well balanced with the love story of Morello and Benedetto.

This is all music to our ears, and we certainly agree that Heloise has a talent for balancing a mystery plot with a romance, and both of them terrific stories, too.

I also particularly loved Morningstar’s observation that Morello was authentic, fresh, and sweet. Mmm … so true!

Our next anthology is positively Shakespearian!

Our World War 2 anthology CALL TO ARMS is well underway, on course for the planned release date of 1 November 2017 – but we couldn’t resist acknowledging The Birthday by announcing the anthology scheduled next:

Modern LGBTQIA fiction inspired by the works of William Shakespeare

The world’s mine oyster
Which I with sword will open.

The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2 Scene 2

For our next anthology project, Manifold Press is looking for short fiction inspired by the vast and varied output of William Shakespeare – the plays, the sonnets, and even the ‘lost’ or disputed works – featuring LGBTQIA people as the main characters.

Want to tell us about the love lives of Hamlet and Horatio, Viola and Olivia, Antonio and Sebastian, Achilles and Patroclus? We want to read it! How about Kent’s devotion to Lear, Iago’s to Othello, Mercutio’s to Romeo, Nerissa’s to Portia? Turn the stories inside-out and show us how they could (or should) have ended! Gender-bend any character(s) you choose, mix them up in combinations of two or more, let your imagination run amuck!

And what about the unknown actors who’ve played these roles over the years, the directors who’ve supported them, the scholars and students who’ve given their lives to the study of Shakespeare? We’d love to see something of them, too, whether they’re academics or Hollywood stars, am-dram enthusiasts or soldiers reading sonnets in their dugouts. Set your story in Verona, Elsinore, Glasgow, New York, or even in the depths of space, and we’ll be with you all the way – in short, to coin a phrase, if music be the food of love, play on!

  • Editor: Fiona Pickles
  • All stories need to stand alone, whether or not they relate to any existing work.
  • Sexual encounters are welcome, and can be explicit, but we love a focus on character and story.
  • Story length: Between 3,000 and 10,000 words.
  • Authors will be paid a flat fee based on the final word count of their contribution.
  • Submission deadline: 31 October 2017
  • Planned publication date: 1 May 2018
  • Enquiries and submissions to:
  • Click here for a PDF version of this page.

Please note:

  • Unlike some of our previous anthologies, this is not a charity project.
  • Characters should be adults, and for our purposes Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare!

Three (very different) new titles for 1 May!

If there’s one thing that our next three titles have in common, it’s that they’re each so different!

This new novel from Alexa Milne is her first with the Press. We were intrigued as soon as we heard that the romance features two older characters – the sort of main characters we feel are under-represented in our genre. WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE sees Sion returning to his childhood home in South Wales – and finding that his best friend Phil has recently returned home as well. They are both approaching their sixtieth birthdays, but is it ever too late for a chance at love?

Adding further depth to the tale, Alexa also explores two other romantic relationships in different generations of Sion’s family. Love is love is love, but our society has changed over time, and that has huge implications for the individuals who don’t quite fit into the ‘norm’.

Pre-order links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available as a pre-order via Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Chris Quinton’s stories often touch on the fantastical, and COINS NOT ACCEPTED is no exception. Here we’re introduced to a world which exists in parallel with our own, and to the political machinations which spill through the tightly-controlled portal between them. Against this background of danger and intrigue Miles is reunited with old friend Allan, and together they’re pitted against powerful forces that threaten the safety of both worlds. Getting out of this situation alive will already be a challenge; getting out of it alive and together seems almost impossible…

Pre-order links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available as a pre-order via Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

In A NIGHT WITH THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE, Julie Bozza does something different again. As if Francis Beaumont’s original play wasn’t chaotic enough, with two-plays-within-a-play, Julie wraps another layer around the whole, following the actors backstage in a modern-day production. Dale (who plays Rafe) and Topher (who plays Jasper) have worked together before – and Topher wants to celebrate the last night of this run in the same way they celebrated last time. This doesn’t fit into Dale’s plans at all, but perhaps Beaumont’s play “full of mirth and delight” has something to teach him.

Pre-order links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords. Also available as a pre-order via Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


Call to Arms – call for more!

by anthology editor Heloise Mezen

I’m delighted to say that I have received from their authors the first two stories of the Call to Arms anthology; the stories have been accepted and sent back to the authors with editing suggestions, and I’m eagerly awaiting them back again to send out to the proof-reader.

‘Proof-reader?’ I hear you saying. ‘When the deadline isn’t until May?’ Which is true, of course, but I am sure you’ll understand that nobody wants to deal with a spate of stories all at once;  a gentle flow is far more manageable!

So, if you have an idea for Call to Arms, stand not upon the order of its writing, but write now! Send it soon! I really am happy to receive stories whenever before the deadline they may happen to arrive.

Or, do you want to write a story, but are so far without an idea? I have read a fair amount round World War 2, so perhaps I may make an observation here: it really was a world war, and stories from all round the world could form part of the collection. For those of us in the UK it’s easy to think of it as a Western European struggle, and to forget that the Balkans (again) and Russia (again) were involved: civilians and fighters from Africa, Australia, Burma, the Caribbean, China, India, Japan … many places to choose from, and many sorts of people, whether refugees, evacuees, soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, prisoners of war or simply people trying to live their lives in unimaginable circumstances.

And here, just because I can, is a story.

I was with my father about a month ago, driving round North Norfolk looking for a World War One training camp (a long story, to do with my job) and Dad started reminiscing. Not about 1939-1945, when he was an evacuee (his mother with Civil Defence and his father with the Army), but about his National Service in the 1950s, when he was posted to Catterick on the North York Moors (which has been a military base since the Romans called it Cataractonium, and later when it may have been where the British called Catraeth). He and his platoon were out fire-fighting, because the moors are peat moors, and Dad remembered rather enjoying himself in the sunshine. Then he asked what my WWI trainee served as, and when I said “RAMC” he chuckled.

‘What’s so funny?’ I asked.

‘The RAMC had a little caravan up here, and they ran a brothel from it.’

I didn’t ask him whether he’d taken advantage …

Have you a story for Call to Arms? Or do you have an idea, and want to know if it’s suitable? See the call for submissions – and do feel free to contact and talk it over.

It’s “Read an Ebook Week” on Smashwords!

Smashwords are celebrating Read an Ebook Week from 5 to 11 March 2017 – and what that means for readers is deep discounts on awesome titles!

Manifold Press is participating, with all of our titles, backlist and new, discounted by 25%. (The only exception is our charity anthology, A Pride of Poppies.) Now is the time to stock up that TBR pile, and maybe try some new stories you’ve been pondering.

Browse the Manifold Press catalogue on Smashwords – or browse the full catalogue of all the discounted ebooks across the site. We’re 100% sure you’ll find something to love!

New review of ARDENT

We’re very happy to find another very positive review of ARDENT by Heloise West, this one from Lisa at The Novel Approach.

… I was so eager to take on Heloise West’s Ardent. It’s not only set in a time not often covered in historical romantic fiction but is set in the Italian art community of the 15th century, incorporating a forbidden love story with murder and intrigue, and doing so beautifully.

Thank you, Lisa, and we’re delighted that you enjoyed Heloise’s story as much as we do!

Another review of ARDENT

We were delighted to see a new review of Heloise West’s novel ARDENT from fellow ‘history nerd’ Diane on the Hearts on Fire Reviews site.

… the story was very well written and the whole plot was so well crafted. These are great main and supporting characters, and of course the culture of the village and city play parts in this too. The book has a great pace and really gets hard to put down once all the cards seem to be in play, which is when the author introduces the twists!

Thank you, Diane! We’re very happy that you enjoyed this intriguing tale as much as we did.

Elin Gregory offers the comfy chair to Dorian Dawes

The unutterably charming Elin Gregory (author of the selling-like-hot-cakes ELEVENTH HOUR) has kindly let Dorian Dawes sit in the comfy chair. You can read the resulting conversation on her blog via the following link:

Thank you so much, Elin, for your support and all your insights!

Charlie Cochrane interviews Dorian Dawes, Jay Lewis Taylor and Heloise West

The inimitable Charlie Cochrane is a great friend of Manifold Press, and unstintingly supportive of our team members. She has interviewed the authors of the three recent new titles, and you can find the interviews on Dreamwidth via the following links:

Thank you so much, Charlie, for offering us space on your blog and asking such fascinating questions!

Release day review of HARBINGER ISLAND

Cheryl at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews has very thoroughly reviewed our new title, HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes. It’s true that, as Cheryl points out, this is not a romance. However, it is an immersive Lovecraftian tale of dark fantasy – and we suspect that fans of that genre will love it.

This was a real sit the edge of the seat, keep your eye on the shadows and trust absolutely no one book. After a slow start, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can recommend it to anyone who has a love for creeping horror, ritualistic murder and things with more tentacles than they’ve any business to have – oh and a damn sexy, green gorgon with scales.

Thank you, Cheryl! And, like you, we loved the intriguing range of LGBTQ+ characters, and also had our individual favourites for whom we were rooting with every shred of our beings.