Three cheers for the Rainbow Awards 2017!

We’re absolutely delighted by the final results of the Rainbow Awards 2017, which have been announced overnight. The Press received some wonderful recognition, amidst a patently strong field of entries.

Author and stalwart colleague Morgan Cheshire deservedly won first place in the category Best Gay Historical for her novel A TIME TO KEEP (details at the Press website).

The judges said:

1) This was a beautifully written book that had me enthralled from the first page to the last. I was emotionally involved with the characters and transported in time and place to the village of Thornton and into the lives of Matthew, Ben and Sam. I have no hesitation at all to give this book top marks.

2) This felt like one of those generations-long epics. You can feel time fly by, how people try to grasp at happiness and love, only to be foiled by life, war, and death, and in the end renewing their passion for life. The writing is plain and matter-of-fact, yet full of rich natural imagery and lovingly painted landscapes, and that is what makes the whole thing work. There’s the historical framework of WWI against the lives and loves of two young men–and then a third. This story speaks of memories gilded by the passage of time, of a nostalgia for better days before wars decimated men and left them as walking shadows. It speaks of hope most of all, how love endures even in the face of death, and how love can transform sorrow to happiness. An absolutely beautiful story, and I’m not even a fan of the 20th century.

A TIME TO KEEP was also a Runner Up for Best Gay Book.


Meanwhile, debut author Dorian Dawes came equal second in the category Best LGBT Anthology / Collection for their anthology HARBINGER ISLAND (details at the Press website).

The judges said:

1) There was much to like about this book. The title was evocative, and the diversity of characters was both welcome and believable. It was a solid, good read.

2) Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of the Twilight Zone series, complete with menacing townsfolk and rotting buildings A different twist is given in part by the main characters who are mostly transgendered. Interesting and spooky plot.

3) I loved the way the stories all linked together to form a full story. Great sense of evil and horror, and interesting diverse characters. Hope there’s a sequel as it feels as though the fight against evil has only just begun.

HARBINGER ISLAND was also a Finalist for Best LGBT Book.


This recognition is on top of Honourable Mentions for A TIME TO KEEP and HARBINGER ISLAND, as well as:

(This may be a good time for a reminder that HARBINGER ISLAND and TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR, as well as other titles, are currently on sale at Smashwords.)

Congratulations to all the authors and publishers who took part! Hearty thanks for the efforts put in by the judges, and above all by Elisa Rolle, who really is a miracle worker. Thank you! ♥

Creating a world of modern horror and magic

A guest blog
by Dorian Dawes

HARBINGER ISLAND came out of a dark place in my life. I hadn’t written much in the way of fiction in nearly three years. I’d become isolated, virtually agoraphobic, hiding in my boyfriend’s room and doing nothing but playing video games or browsing the internet. Some days it was a chore just to get out of bed. I’d resorted to dying my hair crazy colors just to retain my creativity.

The only thing I looked forwards to was playing D&D and Pathfinder every week with my boyfriend’s gaming group. Getting to escape, be anyone who wasn’t me, and to tell a story without the pressure of succeeding. The discouragement over lack of interest in my work, coupled with personal recent traumas made the very act of writing anything out a Sisyphean task. I loved the world we built and the characters we played, and somehow out of that, found the inspiration to write my own campaign.

I wanted to do something different, to create a world of modern horror and magic and combine my various aesthetic sensibilities into one cohesive vision. Part modern-day Dungeons & Dragons and part X-Files, I created the town of Oakridge and beset it with undead horrors shambling out of the fog. I had some friends online, gay and trans alike who were interested in playing, and together we laid the groundwork for the world that would become Harbinger Island.

To help facilitate exposition for key plot-points, I created a character named Professor Bartley Prouse. He was modelled after specific horror-archetypes, the old man who’s battled evil before (Donald Pleasance in Halloween) and the eccentric and creepy scientist (Jeffrey Combs in Re-Animator). The shades of darkness and light that surrounded him compelled me, and I wanted to continue his story long after the campaign ended.

The drive to create for creativity’s sake had rekindled within me, and I set about writing the prologue story that introduces Harbinger Island. From there, once a month, I made myself write a story within that setting, some which didn’t make it into the book. I kept returning to that world, because it was something I made that I liked. Despite all its horrors, I wanted to live there.

Harbinger Island is a world where oppressive darkness exists, horrors and conspiracies that lurk around every corner, but it is a work of fiction where minorities like me are seen fighting back. Bartleby Prouse is an asexual trans man utilizing his knowledge and powers to protect the queer minority students beneath him from the horrors that surround them. He remains one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written, and ever roleplayed in a tabletop game. I’m currently embroiled in work on other projects, but I hope to return to that world someday again soon. It gave me my writing back, and for that, I will be forever grateful. No matter what I work on in the future, this book will forever be held in my heart affectionately as the one that started it all.


Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including HARBINGER ISLAND – at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you, but hey it is the silly season soon!)

Happy reading!

What people think about HARBINGER ISLAND

HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes is a collection of character-driven stories which combine dark fantasy and horror elements within a modern setting, featuring a diverse cast of LGBT+ individuals.

How have people responded to it … ?

HARBINGER ISLAND received an Honourable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2017. Among other things, the judges said:

Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of the Twilight Zone series … Interesting and spooky plot. … I loved the way the stories all linked together to form a full story. Great sense of evil and horror, and interesting diverse characters. Hope there’s a sequel as it feels as though the fight against evil has only just begun.

Cheryl at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews gave it four stars and said:

Harbinger Island contains all the classic Lovecraft themes … While other horror writers focus on shadows, gore and violence, Lovecraft (and Dawes) paints beautifully creepy landscapes and situations then saturates them with ichor and sprinkles them with tentacles. … This was a real sit on 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.

Our readers have also been impressed! Kyrah commented on our website to say:

This is one of the best up and coming authors I have ever had the pleasure to discover, their book is truly an amazing work of art. What a gifted writer! It is like reading colorful poetry that completely sucks you into a world of mystery and magic. Bravo, Dorian Dawes!

On Goodreads, Laura said:

this was a wild, gay ride from start to finish

And Lindsay Bee seemed particularly impressed:

I really enjoyed this book. Like. REALLY. A LOT. MUCH ENJOYMENT. … I love the interconnected-short-story format when it’s done right and here, it’s done right. … I also love how the book doesn’t feel the need to explain itself. It doesn’t infodump, or go into convoluted back stories – it gives you enough information to enjoy what’s happening while leaving enough unsaid to keep you thinking about it. … I would love to read more from this author, and I’d LOVE more books set within the universe of Harbinger Island; it’s a terrifying world for sure, but one with enough points of light to give you a bit of hope.

Meanwhile, on Amazon, Joshua Valley gave it five stars and said:

This is a horror story of impeccable craft, evoking cosmic terrors and oppressive forces from beyond the world that threaten to expose the insidious secrets of a community. The characters fight against these forces valiantly, with depth and beauty. It’s not a “fun” novel by any means, but it’s worthwhile and satisfying to those who have been looking for it’s like for ages.


Does that sound weird enough to be your kind of thing … ?

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including HARBINGER ISLAND – at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you, but hey it is the silly season soon!)

Happy reading, and do remember to leave the lights on!

Have you read HARBINGER ISLAND … ?

Fiona Pickles was keen to take up the editing reins for this tome by Dorian Dawes. I recently asked for her thoughts, and this was her response:

“It’s different! That was what took our attention when we read HARBINGER ISLAND for the first time. In fact it’s a wild – and, at times, terrifying – ride through a sort of Hieronymus Bosch landscape which is all the more disconcerting for being located in an otherwise blameless corner of the USA. Here the familiar intersects with the bizarre; in a series of short stories we’re introduced to a galaxy of disparate outsiders who gradually form a coherent group to defend their world against the creeping evil threatening to engulf it. What sets these characters apart is their diversity; lesbian, gay, trans, with or without strange magical powers, they transcend their often horrific backgrounds to become a ‘found family’ with a shared aim.

“This is a book which can be read on more than one level. Taken at face value it’s a series of stirring encounters between good and a horrific supernatural evil, but look a little more closely and it’s a picture of how frightening it can be to grow up ‘different’ – and how those who don’t conform to society’s expectations can gain strength from one another, banding together against something which seems to be larger, stronger, and more terrifying than any of them can deal with separately.”

If you’d like to bring your courage and wits to the challenges faced by Professor Bartleby Prouse, HARBINGER ISLAND is currently on sale at Smashwords!


Blurb: Every community has a dark side, a sordid past that’s kept to hushed whispers and out of the ears of prying tourists – and Harbinger Island has the darkest shades of them all. Professor Bartleby Prouse is obsessed with the secrets and occult conspiracies surrounding the island’s myriad of unsolved murders and mysteries. He’ll have to use every bit of magic and cunning at his disposal if he is to protect his students after they unwittingly draw the attention of one of the island’s most insidious cults.

A collection of character-driven stories which combine dark fantasy and horror elements within a modern setting. The diverse cast of LGBT+ individuals come from various backgrounds, and the stories examine the prejudices they experience in their day-to-day lives along with the supernatural horrors they face.

Word count: 84,500 words

Smashwords sale: $6.95 $5.95

Recognition: Honourable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2017


It’s the season for thinking about gifts – for yourself and for your loved ones! Is there ever any better present than a book … ?

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you.)

Happy reading!

“Have you read … ?”

Manifold Press is known for a few things – which may well come up in discussion over the next few days! The thing I want to focus on right now, though, is our penchant for supporting new authors and publishing stories that do the unexpected. It’s a real privilege to be able to help authors take their first steps into the publishing world, and a real joy to share excellent new voices with our fellow readers.

During these last weeks of the year, and in the lead-up to the festive season, we’d like to focus on five such novels – and offer them to you at a merry old discount!

The links below will take you to the books’ pages on Smashwords, where each of these five novels is currently on sale.


ARDENT by Heloise West

Heloise West isn’t a debut author, but she’s new to the Press – and her novel ARDENT is a superb fit with us, being a beautifully written historical gay romance. The setting is Florence, Italy during the Renaissance period, with the Medici family providing a menacing backdrop. Heloise paints her characters Morello and Benedetto as vividly as they paint their world.

Click here to fall in love with ARDENT on Smashwords!

HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes

Dorian Dawes is a force to be reckoned with, as is their main character, Professor Bartleby Prouse. The eponymous HARBINGER ISLAND is full of mysteries and unsolved murders, and it takes a full cast of LGBTQ+ characters to face the horrors there. This sequence of linked stories has to be read to be believed!

Click here if you dare to find HARBINGER ISLAND on Smashwords …

SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove

At first glance, SUBMERGE offers a far more wholesome setting for its LGBTQ+ characters than HARBINGER ISLAND. The eponymous nightclub provides a safe and happy place for Jamie, Miles, Addie, Gina and their delightful friends. But as Eleanor Musgrove starts to cunningly reveal, there is something more going on just below the surface …

Click here to SUBMERGE below on Smashwords!

TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart

Michelle Peart takes us further afield, to a planet that is almost but not entirely unlike Earth. Edward Kemp does not want to be there, and certainly does not want to journeying down the Copper River on a ramshackle raft with Burn, the most annoying alien in this world or any other. But as the story matures in TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR, so – very slowly – does Edward.

Click here to travel TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR via Smashwords.

UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey

We find ourselves back in a more familiar setting with UNDER LEADEN SKIES, a wonderful historical story set during the Second World War. Sandra Lindsey has happily and thoroughly researched the Sunderland flying boats that feature in this tale – but her real love is for her characters, Teddy and Huw. Not to mention the irrepressible Cheeks!

Click here to fly UNDER LEADEN SKIES on Smashwords.


Like us, you’re probably inclined towards trying something new – and here’s a wonderful chance to do so! Follow those links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice.

But do it now … The discounts won’t last for ever!

Honourable mentions for A CERTAIN PERSUASION, HARBINGER ISLAND

To our great delight, two of our books have recently received Honourable Mentions in the 2017 Rainbow Awards!

Commenting on our Jane Austen-inspired anthology A CERTAIN PERSUASION, one reviewer wrote this:  “While I enjoyed almost all of the stories, I think my favorite was by editor Julie Bozza. Most of the other stories were relatively straightforward romances, but Bozza’s contained the convoluted conflicts of Austen’s works and seemed to me the most successful of all the stories. The book was well-edited and proofed, always welcome features. I highly recommend the book to any Jane Austen fans, and really, to Dear Readers in general.

The reviewers who assessed Dorian Dawes’s wonderfully strange HARBINGER ISLAND were also enthusiastic, with one commenting: “Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of  the Twilight Zone series, complete with menacing townsfolk and rotting buildings A different twist is given in part by the main characters who are mostly transgender. Interesting and spooky plot.

We’d like to congratulate Dorian and all our anthology authors, and also to thank the reviewers for their time and comments:  Rainbow Awards season is always an exciting time, and these two Honourable Mentions have got the 2017 Awards off to a flying start for Manifold Press!

Dorian Dawes and the Foreboding Universe of Harbinger Island

There’s a stunning in-depth interview between Dorian Dawes and reporter Josh Valley over at Fourculture; if there’s anything you’d like to know about the inspirations for the characters in HARBINGER ISLAND or about Dorian’s future plans, you should head on over there as quickly as possible – highly recommended!

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.