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!

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!


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.

Fiction: SHORE LEAVE by Jay Lewis Taylor

On 28 December 1908, an earthquake devastated Messina and Reggio in Italy, with a horrific number of casualties. If you wish more detail, you can read about it on Wikipedia.

Jay Lewis Taylor has written a story set at that time, in acknowledgement of the anniversary of the earthquake. The story is offered in memory of those who were killed, injured or bereaved in this disaster, and also to honour and respect those men and women of all nations who contributed to the relief effort, reminding us of the perennial importance of hope, love and service in difficult times.

Shore Leave

by Jay Lewis Taylor

There is a street called Strait in Valletta that a man can walk down with his finger-tips on the wall either side, if he so chooses. It’s easier when you’re sober, which I was, late in the evening of Boxing Day, 1908. Not what I’d planned, not at all.

HMS Scinde being at anchor in the Grand Harbour, and the crew (except for the poor bastards who dipped out with harbour watch) granted leave ashore, my thoughts had been bent entirely on the pleasures of the flesh. Beginning, you understand, with enough booze to get drunk on, but not enough to put a damper on things, and going on to – well, never mind that now. As they say, the best-laid schemes of mice and men can take a wrong turn, and my plans went overboard when Chief Peters got it into his head that I had looked at him with dumb insolence. By the time I’d peeled a few buckets of potatoes all my mess-mates were well out of earshot, and the best places were full to bursting.

Which is how I came to be walking, sober as a sea-judge but not quite as bright, down the middle of the Gut, as we call it in the Navy, with my arms out sideways, touching the walls, looking for a port of call that would solve the sobriety problem. Something made me swing in to the doorway of the Egyptian Queen. Out the back, or down below, the place sounded as if it was heaving, but the front room, open to the night air, was deserted except for one man and one flickering candle. The man was holding a pewter mug in both hands and staring straight ahead as if there was a magic lantern show in the air between him and me. I recognised him too; Scinde‘s newest surgeon, Dr Amery, fresh out from the hospital at Stonehouse two weeks ago and still wet behind the ears.

Continue reading “Fiction: SHORE LEAVE by Jay Lewis Taylor”

The Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2016

We’re delighted to see the Press well represented in the Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2016. Elin Gregory’s ELEVENTH HOUR, in particular, has proved very popular indeed!

If you are a member of the M/M Romance group, then please head over to vote for your favourites – and no doubt add to your To Read pile(s) while you’re at it! These are reader-driven awards, so every vote counts.

Nominations for titles by the Press are:

Well done to our authors! We couldn’t be prouder.

Manifold Press well represented in the Rainbow Awards!

rainbow-awards-winner-200pxWe were delighted to wake early this morning to see how well our authors had done in the Rainbow Awards 2016! Of our five eligible titles, a very respectable four earned Honourable Mentions and were Finalists – and three went on to earn themselves places in the final results.

ACROSS YOUR DREAMS by Jay Lewis Taylor: This significant ‘Great War’ novel came first in the Best Gay Historical category, and was equal fourth as the Best Gay Book overall.

ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory: This delightful tale of derring-do came equal fifth in the Best Gay Historical Romance category, and was equal seventh as the Best Gay Book overall.

IN DEEP by Adam Fitzroy: This intriguing story set in the enclosed world of a remote Scottish island came fourth in the Best Gay Mystery / Thriller category, and was equal nineteenth as the Best Gay Book overall.

UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey: This dramatic Second World War tale was also a Finalist – of which we are very proud.

Hearty congratulations to our own authors, and to all the other authors and publishers who took part, making for such an obviously strong field of contenders.

Last but certainly not least, many thanks are due to Elisa Rolle and her team of judges for their indefatigable efforts!


ACROSS YOUR DREAMS paperbackVeterans’ Day/Remembrance Day offers the ideal opportunity for book bloggers to round up reviews of appropriate titles, and this was what happened recently over on the review blog Padme’s Library.  The reviewer, Heather, gave Jay Lewis Taylor’s ACROSS YOUR DREAMS a rating of five out of five and added the following comments:

“I truly loved the detail to the time frame as well as how the characters continued to develop throughout the entire book, that doesn’t always happen but as the war progresses and the Armistice is signed, we see them continue on to face life after war.  A true blend of war, love, drama showing that sometimes no amount of planning can replace just living. A really great addition to my historical shelf.”

(Scroll down to read.)

Thank you, Heather – we couldn’t have put it better ourselves!


Now that Queer Company 2 is over, we’ve got an opportunity to catch up on reviews of two very different books which turned up right in the middle of all the mayhem!

For example, Mark at Sinfully has recently delivered his verdict on Jay Lewis Taylor’s 2014 title DANCE OF STONE.  Rightly pointing out that it’s an historical novel with an M/M storyline rather than an overtly romantic tale, he comes at last to this conclusion:

DANCE OF STONEAfter all is said and done, this book is a real joy for all historical fans who wish to sink their teeth into something a little meatier, leaving the fluff behind for a while and immersing themselves into a past as dangerous as it is intriguing. A mediaeval historical novel that gives us an insight into the life and times of the great Cathedral Builders.

We can’t fault that at all – thank you, Mark!

A contrasting title, Liam Livings’s light-hearted WRONG ROOM, RIGHT GUY from 2015, has recently been the subject of a review blog tour.  Along the way, it collected some quite excellent feedback – here, for example, from The Geekery Book Review:

WRONG ROOM, RIGHT GUYSo, by the time I got to the end of this story I was rooting for Darren and Simon, for the understanding and learning and love to be there, and it was! I commend Liam Livings for writing a story that wasn’t 100% fall in love with, but one that actually made me think

and here, from Books Laid Bare Boys:

The whole book is so well described you can almost feel the years-old paint on the doors leading to the respective classes, you can smell the stews and plum crumble and I could definitely see Clara-Bell in my head.

Thank you to the blogs and websites involved in Liam’s tour for helping to spread the word- this is definitely a book more people should be reading – and congratulations to both authors for impressing the reviewers.

Jay Lewis Taylor, paperback writer

An author guest blog
by Jay Lewis Taylor

If the stars are in alignment, if the wind is in the right direction, if CreateSpace and the Gods of Delivery do their job – there will be paperback editions of my books for sale at Queer Company 2.

Dance of Stone and The Peacock’s Eye arrived in the e-world with covers in Manifold Press’s early style. I have had the rare pleasure of being able to see them dressed in new clothes (not, I hope, in borrowed plumes like Aesop’s jackdaw) and, indeed, of being able to select some of the clothes myself.

DANCE OF STONE paperbackI have had my eye on the new illustration for Dance of Stone ever since I first mooted putting the book into paperback. This figure is the first illustration in a Bible in the Austrian National Library, and shows God in his capacity as Architect (or Builder, or Geometer, or Craftsman) of the Universe. I loved the colours and the brilliance (such a pity we couldn’t use real gold leaf, eh?) and was amused by the – dare I say it? – implied relationship between God and my Hugh, the mason. The mediaeval cathedrals were built as a mirror of time and space, and in that space Hugh could easily be accused of setting himself very high indeed.

For a while it looked as if the picture just wouldn’t fit into Manifold’s new cover format. Then Julie Bozza had the brilliant idea of flipping the picture round, at which point everything worked. True, it makes God appear left-handed, but if he is also omnipotent He will hardly mind that; besides, He gets to be right-handed on the back cover. I must say that one of the charms of the new covers is the way a detail of the front is shown on the back; Across Your Dreams has always had the new design front cover, but the appearance of the gleaming curve of river on the back makes me look at the whole picture again).

THE PEACOCK'S EYE paperbackThe second title being reissued is The Peacock’s Eye. I had hoped that one at least of the Renaissance painters might have painted a really good peacock, or a peacock-feather fan as an accessory; but no such luck. However, one of the glories of the Elizabethan age was the extent to which men and women could dress like peacocks, if not in colour, in brilliant arrogance of display, so finding an image was not too difficult after all.

The chosen cover image is a portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh, who isn’t in The Peacock’s Eye, and is barely mentioned. Sometimes there is no room even for national heroes to shoulder themselves into a book! He looks, as Lou Faulkner said to me in an e-mail, both menaced and menacing; most appropriately. Ralegh epitomises the Elizabethan world’s glory and vulnerability, from the search for the City of Gold to the executioner’s block in a few short years. Also, I was glad this was one of the portraits that showed him with an ear-ring – for reasons which will become apparent to new readers!

I cannot end this post without offering thanks to Julie Bozza for her endless patience in converting the files for all three books to CreateSpace format, and also to Shell Peart for the cover designs as a whole.

Paperback buy links:

ACROSS YOUR DREAMS paperbackAcross Your Dreams

The Peacock’s Eye

Dance of Stone

P.S. The books have just arrived, and they look magnificent!

Manifold Press in the Rainbow Awards 2016

Yesterday was a mighty fine day for the Press. Not only did we announce three new titles – each of which we’re rather excited about for various reasons – but we also found out that two of our earlier titles have earned themselves Honourable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards 2016!

Before we get into the details, though, I’d just like to add that for the first time, the Press has entered our book covers in the Rainbow Awards’ Best Cover contest. We’re proud of our new designs, courtesy of Michelle Peart, and we wanted to say that loud and clear.

The Best Cover contest is decided by popular vote, so do drop by and have a look at all the beauties on display. The only rule is that you have to vote for at least three covers. Somehow we don’t think you’ll have any problems finding enough to vote for … Indeed, Miss Bates was relieved to hear that this time there would be no difficulty, and she will not be limited to only three at once.

That link again:

So, on to the Honourable Mentions!

IN DEEPFirst mentioned (honourably) on Elisa’s blog was IN DEEP by the always reliable Adam Fitzroy. Not one but three of the judges were very impressed!

1) Plot was a bit slow to get moving, as the reader doesn’t learn the protagonist’s goal/agenda for far too many pages, imho. Once that comes out, the stakes are clear and this complex “isolated village” story lights up. The fierce setting is a major character in the story, literally a force of nature. The nuanced and believable main characters are well drawn in a writing style both dense and elegant, especially the protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed this poignant, measured, thoughtful read. A very satisfying mystery.

2) This was a carefully constrained story, unfolding step by step as the protagonist searches for answers in the death of his step son. Fitzroy does a beautiful job creating a world isolated both geographically and emotionally, the characters are roughly hewn from the landscape and finely detailed and nuanced in character so that everything, every step the protagonist takes, seems compelling and inevitable, and the love affair realistic.

3) I loved the writing style and the realism of the book. It was slower moving, but highly entertaining.

ACROSS YOUR DREAMSAnd then Jay Lewis Taylor was (honourably) mentioned in dispatches for ACROSS YOUR DREAMS – this time by four judges!

1) What a beautiful book! It is full of vivid imagery, well-drawn and unique characters, and the story–oh, so heartbreaking but yet appropriate for the times. War is hell, and it took its toll on the young men caught up in it. I felt like I was there with Alan, Lew and Russ, experiencing what they did right alongside them. I reveled in their stolen moments together with their beloveds, and cried for their devastating losses. This story will definitely stick with me for a very long time. I loved it. All the points.

2) I awarded top marks to this book because I thoght the writing was exceptional. I was transported back in time to the Great War. The sense of time and place were outstanding. The language of the book perfectly fitted the setting and the lives and opinions of the characters all felt true to time and place. An exceptional read.

3) This is a convincing, well-researched historical novel about a very closeted network of gay men who don’t have access to a community of like-minded people. The homophobia of the surrounding society is extreme, and so is their anxiety about sexual contact with other men, including kissing. The drama of warfare and the great flu epidemic, which together destroyed millions of lives, all seem true to life, and they could hardly be exaggerated. As a historical novel, this book is a solid achievement.

4) Touching and tender love story. A very real sense of the time and place. Excellent story.

Needless to say, we are very proud of these responses for two very fine books. Thank you kindly to Elisa Rolle and her team of judges for the honourables!