True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: Sara Gaines

Sara Gaines
While growing up in Kentucky, Sara Gaines could never find the books she could really identify with and get lost in. Rather than just hoping for them to appear for other young women, she eventually decided to start writing them. Her first novel, Noble Falling, was published soon after she graduated from Oberlin College in 2012. After a brief stint working and trying new food in China, she currently lives and writes near Cleveland.

Connect with Sara Gaines on Twitter @Sara_D_Gaines or visit her website:

Q&A with Author Sara Gaines:

  1. Tell us about your cover design. Is there any symbolism from the story reflected in the cover?

    Absolutely. Noble Falling features the silhouette of a knife prominently displayed on a green background. As you’re reading, you start to understand that these are representative of the elements in the story that push the main character, Aleana, to grow. The two planned sequels will also have a similar design scheme to represent what is significant to Aleana during the course of that book. For example, the sequel I’m currently working on will have a quill on the cover once it’s printed (but no, I’m not telling you why).

  2. What does your main character like to read (if anything)?

    Aleana would like reading more if she hadn’t been told to when she was younger and learning the things a proper noble should. She would have had a few pieces of fiction tucked around her home, yes, but I wouldn’t consider her an avid reader. Unfortunately for her, she realizes too late how vital the information on the kingdoms is and so she must scramble to learn what she can.

  3. How do you research for your books?

    So much Googling. Due to the medieval-esque setting of my work, I end up researching everything from titles of nobility to foods available during a certain time of year. Still, I think the most random thing I searched (and spent far too much time learning about considering I don’t think the information will be included) was how to raise chickens.

  4. Do you need music or noise when writing or does it have to be completely quiet?

    When I write, I’m almost always listening to production music (Two Steps From Hell is definitely my favorite company) or video game sound tracks (quite often, the ones from Skyrim or the Dragon Age games).

  5. What season do you like to write your stories in most or do you love writing in all of them and why? (Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer)

    My personal favorite season is autumn, so that’s always enjoyable. However, I love writing other seasons because I get to explain how my characters react to them (it’s usually more fun if they hate the weather).

  6. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    That no matter what, people like them can be the hero(ine) of any story.

Now Available from Sara Gaines:

Noble Falling Duchess Aleana Melora of Eniva, future queen of Halvaria, is resigned to the gilded cage of her life, facing a loveless marriage to Tallak, the prospective king, and struggling under the pressure to carry on the family name despite her wish to find a woman to love.

When her convoy is attacked on the journey to Tallak's palace, Aleana is saved by her guard, Ori, only to discover her people have turned against her and joined forces with the kingdom of Dakmor, Halvaria's greatest enemy. Her only hope is to reach Tallak, but she and Ori don’t make it far before another attack and an unlikely rescue by Kahira, a Dakmoran woman banished from her kingdom for reasons she is hesitant to share.

Though Kahira is marked as a criminal, Aleana’s heart makes itself known. Aleana is facing danger and betrayal at every turn, and she fears giving in to her desires will mean she will enter her marriage knowing exactly the kind of passion she will never have as the Halvarian Queen—if she survives long enough to be crowned.

Noble Falling Giveaway!

Sara Gaines has generously donated a free copy of Noble Falling for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be selected on August 26th.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: Geoff Laughton

Geoff Laughton grew up very near the locations he writes about. Raised in western Michigan, he attended high school outside Muskegon and Ludington. After college, Geoff moved a lot, traveled a lot, and ended up living at one time on both coasts. He currently works for a major corporation and writes in his spare time. Together with his partner of almost twenty years, Geoff still travels, collects antiques, read all kinds of old crap, and loves to get his hands dirty in the garden. He currently lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Q&A with Author Geoff Laughton:

  1. In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

    When I was developing by The Creek, I wanted to include an Amish character in order to explore characters that come from two very different worlds.

  2. What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

    This story took me on a journey to my own teen years. I set the novel very close to where I grew up. The most challenging part of the book to write was coming up with a plausible happy ending.

  3. What did you like to read when you were a teenager?

    I was a real nerd in a country high school. I read the classics. Generally I took them from the school library and I sometimes had to blow the dust off them. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Expectations, Tess of the D’ Ubervilles

  4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

    I would love to be able to fly like Superman. Even as a child that was the one thing I always dreamed about. As a kid I wanted to use it to get away from bullies and the kids who picked on me.

  5. What other interests do you have outside of writing?

    I love to travel, garden, and spend time with my two nieces. I also collect antiques. Like I said earlier, I’m a real nerd.

  6. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    When I was growing up, there was no young adult gay fiction. The reason I wrote By The Creek was simply so that gay kids would know that they weren’t alone.

Now Available from Geoff Laughton:

By the Creek Soon-to-be high school junior David Harper hates his family’s move to the country. There’s nothing to do, and he misses his friends in the city. But he doesn’t have a choice. His mother’s job is in Mason County now, so David and his mom are too, and he has to make the best of it.

At first, the only redeeming feature of David’s new home is the swimming hole across the field from his house. Then David meets Benjamin Killinger, and suddenly life stops being so dull.

Benjamin is Amish, and cooling off in the swimming hole is one of the few liberties he and his brothers enjoy. A friendship with an English boy is not—but that doesn’t stop him and David from getting to know each other, as long as it's on the neutral ground by the creek. After David risks his life to save Benjamin’s father, the boys’ friendship is tolerated, then accepted. But before long, Benjamin’s feelings for David grow beyond the platonic. Benjamin's family and the rest of the community will never allow a love like that, and a secret this big can’t stay secret forever...

By the Creek Giveaway!

Geoff Laughton has generously donated a free copy of By the Creek for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen on August 19th.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: Will Parkinson

Pitch Will Parkinson believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.

None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.

He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.

Connect with Will Parkinson on Twitter @WillParkinsonau or visit his website:

Q&A with Author Will Parkinson:

  1. What part of Pitch was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

    I loved writing Taylor’s story. Parts of his life and Benny’s mirror my own, so it was easy and fun to talk about some of the things and know actual facts (for example, Taylor’s mom works at a hotel in Milwaukee that I work at. Benny mentions a couple of vegan places in the city that I’ve eaten at.) The most challenging part was writing about Addy. Having a character who was hurt is never easy, especially when you know that it’ll get worse before it gets better.

  2. What are your writing goals for the next five years?

    I’m currently working on ‘Wet Paint’. It’s going to be Addy’s story where he will (hopefully) find some peace. He definitely needs it, considering what he went through when he was a kid.

  3. Which of your characters is most like you?

    Definitely Taylor. When I was a kid, I was afraid to let the world know who I was. Taylor’s dad talks down about Taylor’s art, the same way my father did about my writing. It’s hard growing up and being told that you’re wasting your time and something you love isn’t going to amount to anything. Why does it have to? Why can’t you just do it for fun, if that’s what makes you happy?

  4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

    If I could have one superpower, it would be to force people to confront that which they most despise. Making a homophobe gay, a person who mocks those who are differently abled would have to live that life, a racist would have to see how it feels when they find they’re now that same race. When (if) they finally learn that lesson, then they’ll find life reverts back to what they knew.

  5. Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.

    I’m vegan. Have been for many years. Several characters in my stories are either vegetarian or vegan, too. I have 4 dogs and 3 cats.

  6. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    For the young readers who find their way to Pitch, I’d like them to know that they’re not alone. Everyone has problems, but having a good support system definitely helps. No matter how hard it might seem, you’re never going to be alone.

Now Available from Will Parkinson:

The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor's life. He's had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings.

Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.

Purchase Link

Pitch Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of Pitch, Will Parkinson is giving away a signed copy and a $25 gift certificate to the winner's choice of online book retailer. Please use the Rafflecoptor form below to enter the drawing. Click HERE for the complete tour schedule for more chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lake Thirteen by Greg Herren

Lake Thirteen by Greg Herren True Colorz Honor Roll

Lake Thirteen by Greg Herren

Published by Bold Strokes Books
264 Pages

Blurb: It seemed like a good idea at the time…...

Every summer three families take a trip together—this year it’s to a remote resort in the mountains of upstate New York. Scotty, a teenager who’s just come out, is nervous about how his friends will react to him. A late night visit to an old nearby cemetery seems like a great idea to the bored teens, but the old cemetery holds dark secrets hidden for almost a century—secrets that might have been better left undisturbed.

And what originally seemed like a boring week in the mountains gradually becomes a nightmare of terror for the teens and their families...

Review: Yet another great young adult book by Greg Herren. This mystery follows Scotty and his friends on a vacation to a mountain lodge that's more popular in the winter. As such, they are the only guests there. After visiting a cemetery on the road, the five teens start to experience paranormal activities around the lodge. And Scotty can't help but feel a connection to deceased Albert Tyler, whose grave he found.

The story that follows brings the kids on a frightening journey, which might put them and their loved ones in danger.
I was in bed, but the room was different. My eyes were open and it was bright, moonlight was shining in through the windows, so I could see the cabin I was in was nothing more than just a big room, really. There was a rough-hewn door that closed and bolted, but the windows were open, and I could see the trees and the night sky. I was underneath a beautiful red and green quilt, but even though I was warm underneath the quilt I could see my breath, and it seemed like the air was getting colder with every breath I was taking. When I'd opened my eyes I had felt safe and warm, but not anymore--there was danger, I was in danger, something was coming for me, and I needed to get out of the bed and get away from there, but I couldn't, I was frozen in place, and I could heart it, outside of the cabin, it was coming for me and it wanted me, it was evil and dangerous and was going to kill me--
The book does has its scary moments, especially when the author moves into the stream-of-consciousness style. With the lack of punctuation, you can't help but read it faster and faster, which puts you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. The scenes also shift from present to the past very rapidly. For the reader it can be disorienting, which is exactly how Scotty feels when it happens to him.

Despite it being a mystery and horror, there are some tender, romantic moments, and also some rather heavy sadness concerning Albert. I felt what Scotty felt, both the terror, the heartbreak, and the joy.

The only gripe I had was how abrupt it ended. I really wanted Scotty to get home to Marc and see the two of them interact outside of Scotty's mind. But at the same time, the final line was perfect, and any more may have taken away from the bittersweet ending. I just wish Scotty and Marc got a moment together like the other two lovers in the story.

Review by Jennifer