New review of ARDENT

It’s always a joy to encounter book blogs and reviewers who haven’t crossed our path before – we’ll never get over how many lovely people there are out in cyberspace sharing book recommendations with others.  This time we’re delighted to have been reviewed by Mari at Bayou Book Junkie, who has been reading Heloise West’s new release ARDENT.

I love historical romance books, it’s one of my favorite genres and this one was really good! Heloise West obviously did a lot of research and it showed in the story. Her writing transported me to Italy during the Renaissance period and it had a good balance between the mystery/intrigue portion and the romance. Very recommendable!

Thank you, Mari, we’re very glad you enjoyed the book – and we have to admit we couldn’t agree with you more!

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.

Three new titles available today!

The month that passes between the day we announce our new titles and release day always seems very very long indeed – even to those of us lucky enough to have read the titles while working with the authors. But we’ve survived once more, and here we are on 1 February, with three new titles available now!

We are very proud of the two exciting new novels by authors who have recently joined the Manifold Press family, Dorian Dawes and Heloise West – and also of the new stories from Press stalwart Jay Lewis Taylor. These titles certainly do embody our wide range of quality fiction!


Self-described social justice witch and full-time gender disaster Dorian Dawes introduces us to the fascinatingly bizarre world of HARBINGER ISLAND, permanently under siege from manifestations of the occult and protected by a motley collection of academics and students.  It is a world in which nothing at all is certain – gender and memory in particular – and good and evil are never really as far apart as one might have imagined.

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords; Barnes & Noble; Kobo.


In ARDENT, Heloise West takes us to the fascinating world of the painters of Renaissance Italy. A high value is placed on the work of master painters – and also on the dyes and pigments they use. In the turbulence of Medici Florence, this can mean life or death, even for the innocent let alone those who try to rig the system to their own advantage. Into this corrupt world arrives master painter Morello, who has yet one more deadly secret to keep – he has fallen hard for the workshop’s assistant, Benedetto, a young man as intelligent as he is beautiful. Can either of them survive the intrigues surrounding them … ?

Buy links: Amazon US; Amazon UK; Smashwords; Barnes & Noble; Kobo.


In addition to these, we’re delighted to have a new Espresso Shot from Rainbow Award winner Jay Lewis Taylor, following on from his successful novel ACROSS YOUR DREAMS. In BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY we follow further developments in the lives of Jack Townsend – still being blackmailed – and David Lewry and Alan Kershaw – close, but not yet close enough – as they begin to forge new lives for themselves in the aftermath of the war to end all wars.

Buy linksAmazon UK; Amazon US; SmashwordsBarnes & Noble; Kobo.

Our Espresso Shots imprint is designed for shorter works, with a more informal publishing schedule than for our ‘regular’ works. The imprint features the same cover for all its titles. Given that the cover will grace stories of any style and any genre, we chose an image that evokes the comforts – and the stimulations – of the reading experience itself.


We hope you’ll give one or more of these titles a go – and we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy them, if you do!

New review of ELEVENTH HOUR

To nobody’s great astonishment, Elin Gregory’s wonderful ELEVENTH HOUR is still making new friends out in the review community.

Reviewer Sarina, writing for Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews, has this to say:

If you enjoy historical novels but would like something a little less Victorian and a little more modern, you really need to check this one out!  This was  a great book to introduce me to this author but it certainly won’t be the last I read.

Which is brilliant news all round, as we’re sure you will agree – and thank you, Sarina, we’re very glad that you enjoyed the book!

Advance review of ARDENT

Kazza K of On Top Down Under Book Reviews with Substance has reviewed ARDENT by Heloise West, in advance of its release on 1 February 2017. Kazza concluded:

I’ve never read Heloise West before but I was impressed with this book. The writing is pretty tight – it captures the essence of the Italian Renaissance, the mood and the people, very well. … I would definitely recommend Ardent to those who want a well written and interesting historical romance that sets the right tone for the crime and the time.

We’re happy to declare that we wholeheartedly agree!

If you just can’t wait, you can pre-order ARDENT now:

Review of ELEVENTH HOUR

We were delighted to see a new review of the very popular ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory. Anya at Binge on Books says:

What to Expect: Delightful slow-build spy romance with a cross-dressing MC

What you will love: Intricate world building, intrigues and plot twists, sex scenes that will leave you HAPPY and wanting more, MILLIE is everything and Pritchard is the best manservant ever!

Thank you, Anya. We’re so glad you enjoyed this story as much as we do!

The purpose of a butterfly

An author guest blog
by Julie Bozza

I had quite a conservative and sheltered upbringing (and am eternally grateful to my friend Cathe, and to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for helping me begin the process of opening out!) but I always took the idea of marriage equality seriously.

I also took the idea very personally, despite being an (apparently) cisgender woman happily married from the age of 20 to a (definitely) cisgender man. (I am actually way more complicated than that, as I suspect many of us are, but people tend to relate to me as such.) Despite having what everyone assumed was a ‘traditional’, legally permissible marriage, I felt the issue of marriage equality had a great deal to do with me and my own choices.

When marriage equality was first becoming a matter of wider public debate, Australia’s prime minister was John Howard, a conservative both personally and in politics. Whenever asked, he always defined marriage as being ‘between one man and one woman – for the purposes of having children’.

I could just roll my eyes at the first part of the definition, as of course that was the actual problem we were all arguing about. But the latter part of his definition really stuck in my craw. ‘For the purposes of having children.’

Mr B and I don’t have kids, and that was a deliberate mutual decision made during the first few years we were together, that we’ve never regretted. But that doesn’t mean our relationship isn’t a ‘proper’ marriage. It doesn’t mean we’re not a ‘proper’ family, despite it being only the two of us. And fie on John Howard for suggesting otherwise. (I am still rankling, all these years later!)

Not everyone wants to get married, of course, but I strongly feel that those who want to should be able to. That includes anyone of any sex, gender identity or sexuality – whether they can or can’t have (their own biological) children, and whether they intend to have children or not.

Marriage is a partnership between individuals, and each relationship will be different, and will grow and change over time. As long as everyone involved is happy and willing, the state can and should offer support, but otherwise mind its own business. In my opinion!

Why am I getting on my soapbox about this particular issue in relation to my novel BUTTERFLY HUNTER…? Because the crux of the matter was really brought home to me while researching for the story.

As can be inferred from the title, the main characters Dave and Nicholas are on a quest in the Australian Outback for a particular species of blue butterfly. As part of my research, I often browsed The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by Michael F Braby.

Butterflies go through quite a complex life cycle, which involves four very different forms: egg, larva, pupa and adult. It’s the adult form we tend to think of when we think of butterflies – the beautiful, delicate winged creatures, who might live only for months or even days. For different (human) cultures, adult butterflies have symbolised transformation, change, joy, colour, the soul, and death.

I realise we humans are imposing symbolic meaning, and our love of beauty, on creatures who do not share our ways of thinking. However, it really brought me to a crashing halt when I read the following sentence in Braby’s Field Guide:

The adult, also known as the imago, is responsible chiefly for reproduction and dispersal.

And I’m not saying he’s wrong per se. He’s obviously right at some level. I’m just saying that this reductionist approach to life horrifies me. There is so much more to our human lives than making babies and placing them somewhere useful. Maybe a butterfly isn’t conscious enough in itself to think about more than mating, and then laying eggs in good locations. However, the facts that we can appreciate a butterfly’s beauty, and attach culturally-relevant symbolic meanings to them, proves that there’s a whole lot more to being human.

And so I say again, fie on John Howard and his reductive definitions of marriage, and fie on his successors as well. All these years later, Australia still hasn’t signed off on marriage equality. Let marriage be about choice and love, about transformation and life, about souls and joy. Let it be about a dinky-di fair go for all.

Come on, Aussie, come on! It’s more than time. We are way overdue. Get it done!

New title: BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY

We’re sure many of you are eagerly awaiting the 1 February release date for our two new titles, ARDENT by Heloise West, and HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes.

In addition to these, we’re delighted to have a new Espresso Shot from Rainbow Award winner Jay Lewis Taylor, following on from his successful novel ACROSS YOUR DREAMS. In BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY we follow further developments in the lives of Jack Townsend – still being blackmailed – and David Lewry and Alan Kershaw – close, but not yet close enough – as they begin to forge new lives for themselves in the aftermath of the war to end all wars.

BREAK OF ANOTHER DAY will be released on 1 February, but is available for pre-order now:

Our Espresso Shots imprint is designed for shorter works, with a more informal publishing schedule than for our ‘regular’ works. The imprint features the same cover for all its titles. Given that the cover will grace stories of any style and any genre, we chose an image that evokes the comforts – and the stimulations – of the reading experience itself.

Recognition for the marvellous ELEVENTH HOUR!

We’re really delighted that our lovely readers seem to love ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory as much as we do! Not only has it been flying off the virtual shelves and into e-readers like the proverbial hot cakes, we now find that readers have voted it into the Top 20 of the Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews Readers Choice Awards as Book of the Year 2016.

Thank you so much to everyone who nominated ELEVENTH HOUR and to everyone who participated!

If you would like to visit Sinfully and vote for your favourites in Rounds Two and Three of the Awards, that would be wonderful. There’s some awesome prizes for readers to win, and you just might find some new favourites, too!

The “12 Days of Christmas” eBook Giveaway – the final draw

To celebrate the festive season – and in honour of whichever way(s) you do or don’t observe it – we’ve been giving away one free book per day, from 26 December to 6 January inclusive. The draws were made as close as possible to 12.00 midday UK time, starting on Tuesday 27 December.

And we’ve just made our twelfth and final draw using random.org! batchelorboy55 is the lucky peep today – and the requested book was ARDENT by Heloise West. (batch, I’ve just emailed this to you!)

We’d like to thank everyone for taking part in the giveaway – we’ve been really delighted by the response. Congratulations again to the winners Petra, Suzanne, Nova, Jay, Chris, Dey, Shirley Ann, Jen, Helena, batchelorboy55 – and Didi twice over – we very much hope you enjoy your books!