The Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2017

We’re pleased and proud to see Manifold Press authors represented in The Goodreads M/M Romance Members’ Choice Awards 2017. The nominations and votes are “by the readers, for the readers”, so they mean all the more to us.

If you are a member of the M/M Romance group, then please head over to vote for your favourites, whichever and whoever they may be – and no doubt add to your To Read pile(s) while you’re at it!

The nominations for our authors are:

Thank you so much to all involved!

 

Layers of love

A guest blog
by Heloise West

Julie Bozza asked us to talk about the love we have for our novels—I had to give ARDENT a re-read in order to capture the ghost of that feeling again, but it’s there, buried beneath the layers of paint and plot twists.

I loved creating these characters, watching them come to life, and it’s challenging working within the historical context. We always ask what a character wants when we start this journey, and, in general, they want what we all want. To be happy. But every character’s definition of happiness is different, an expression of that person’s core qualities.

Morello is the simpler of the three main characters. Art is his love, his family, but not having had a home or a family to call his own, he yearns for that, too, and for someone to share it with him.  He is as honest as he can be; he wears his heart on his sleeve. His journey to happiness is the hard work of loving, supporting, and waiting for Benedetto, though it’s a trial that affects him on a professional level. When he had no love, at least he had art, and loving Benedetto has endangered his reputation.

Benedetto, I’m afraid, doesn’t have his best moments in the beginning of the book, but I think he redeems himself. His evasions, theft, and regret hide a passionate, loving nature. His journey to happiness lies in revealing the truth and dealing with the consequences, and loving Morello the way he deserves to be loved.

Leo, like Morello, is honest about his emotions and his desires. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone because of his affairs, but he remains true to his wandering, lustful nature. He looked out for Benedetto as an elder brother would when they were younger, taught him all he knew about art, allowed Benedetto to manage him, and taught him to love. The only lesson Benedetto couldn’t learn from him was the art of letting go.

It’s an odd triangle, considering one of these characters is absent for most of the story, though his influence is felt throughout.

The character of Falcone at first was just a thug with an uglier name, but weirdly, he showed up at the palazzo where Leo had died and soon became more fully realized, an important plot point of the story. An orphan like Morello, he did not have the kind local priest to raise him, but the mean streets of Florence. I do love my darker characters and one my favorite scenes is the confrontation between Falcone and Benedetto when Falcone needs help fleeing the city. I’d love to write Falcone’s story, about how he finds himself loved and redeemed.


(It’s Julie here, chiming in to say oh how I do pine for that companion volume exploring Falcone’s story. How intriguing that would be! Well, in the meantime, we still have ARDENT to treasure…)

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including ARDENT – 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 ARDENT

ARDENT by Heloise West is a fascinating tale of two artists, Benedetto and Morello, set in the beautiful but strife-ridden city of Florence, Italy during the late fifteenth century.

How have people responded to it … ?

Lisa at The Novel Approach Reviews gave it four stars and said:

…. 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.

Diane at Hearts on Fire Reviews gave it five stars and said:

While the story starts in Torrenta, the bulk of the story takes place in Florence and what is interesting in that is just how amazing as well as intimidating it must have been to be a painter at that time, in that city, with all that talent. No doubt, it was a dog eat dog industry, as much as it was a passion-filled one, on and off the canvas and serves as the backdrop of this story. …

As a history nerd, I … felt the author had the same interest [as me] in both the period and the location as 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!

Kazza K at On Top Down Under Book Reviews with Substance gave it four stars and said:

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 don’t know much about the art world but that didn’t detract one iota from the well-named Ardent.

It’s a nice historical romance with some sexy moments, a murder/mystery which doesn’t shirk its task, including a twist or two and some other arcs that converged … The main characters are well developed and some of the secondaries were interesting as 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.

Mari at Bayou Book Junkie gave it four stars and said:

The suspense part of the book was well-developed and kept my interest throughout the story, trying to figure out how it would all play out.

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!

Morningstar at Diverse Reader said:

This was a first for me even as someone that loves historical stories, as they often are not based in Italy.

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.


Are you seduced, as I was … ? After re-reading all the reviews, I am yearning now to also re-read this colourful novel!

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including ARDENT – 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!

Have you read ARDENT … ?

I had the honour of acting as editor for ARDENT, a fascinating historical novel set in the dangerous world of Medici Florence.

Heloise West is already well established as an author, but she was new to the Press when she offered us the opportunity to publish ARDENT. We felt it was a perfect fit with Manifold Press, as we are known for our quality historical fiction. ARDENT, with all its vivid detail, brings to life two artists as its main characters, and explores their world of creativity and commissions, intrigue and innocence, apprentices and patrons, lovers, friends – and the occasional murderer.

As someone who is fascinated and often seduced by colour, I appreciated that the plot centred on a controversial new method of creating a paint pigment – the ‘ardent red’ of the title. I also loved how aware the main characters were of the colours of their world, and how that also brought the village of Torrenta and the city of Florence into clear view for the reader. I keep wanting to use and re-use the word ‘vivid’ to describe the results!

Beyond the use of colour, I loved how intrinsic their art was to the main characters’ point of view. Their values and perspectives and imagery were all affected by their work and their vocation. Splendid stuff!

If you’d like to explore below the surface beauties of Florence with Morello and Benedetto, ARDENT is currently on sale at Smashwords!


Blurb: In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.

As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.

But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.

Word count: 75,600 words

Smashwords sale: $6.95 $5.95


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!

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!

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.

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!

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!