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.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Featured Author: Tom Mendicino

Tom Mendicino
Tom Mendicino is graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina School of Law. His debut novel Probation (Kensington) was named a 2011 American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His novella “Away in a Manger” appeared in the Kensington collection Remembering Christmas and his short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies. “Hello, Mary Lou” is the first book of the trilogy KC, at Bat.

Visit Tom's website at

Q&A with Author Tom Mendicino:

  1. Tell us about your cover design for KC, at Bat. Is there any symbolism from the story reflected in the cover?

    The cover of KC, at Bat is my favorite of all my books. Glenn Gale, a promising young photographer only a few years older than KC and Charlie, perfectly captures the bond between two lonely boys facing an uncertain future.

  2. What did you like to read as a teenager?

    I was a comics guy. DC, not Marvel. The Silver Age classics: Superman, Batman and The Legion of Superheroes. (I still have a crush on Timber Wolf.) As for fantasy, Tolkien, of course, and Stranger in a Strange Land. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was my favorite classic and Red Sky at Morning and The Last Picture Show were contemporary books I loved. But, by far, the book that had the greatest impact on me was Lord of the Flies, which I re-read every few years.

  3. Which of your characters is most like you?

    Charlie. Hands down.

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

    Charlie, on summer hiatus between a day prep school and the Ivy League, carries around a copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, but never gets beyond page 73. KC has never read a book in his life. But he studies “Baseball America” like the Bible and would probably love The Natural if he had the patience to sit down and read it.

  5. Is there anything from your own teen years that has been placed in your book?

    Like KC and Charlie, I spent the summer before my first year of college “humping” for my Uncle Paul, to whom the book is dedicated. The music of the original teen idol Ricky Nelson is the soundtrack to the story. I was too young for his Fifties heyday, but he made a successful comeback in my teenage years. James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes,” which Charlie plays for KC on their last night together, was in heavy rotation on FM “alternative” (now called “Classic Vinyl” or “Classic Rock”) stations while I was in high school.

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

    Never assume anything about anybody. Appearances can be deceiving. And always consider what you might be losing before you throw away something (or someone) that was once very important to you.

Now Available from Tom Mendicino:

KC, at Bat Charlie Beresford would rather be doing anything this summer than hauling furniture for a moving company. Come September, he’ll be leaving for college, away from the awkwardness of Augustinian Academy, away from his father’s constant hints about prospective girlfriends. Then Kevin Conroy—the Mighty KC—joins the moving crew. A star baseball player bound for the big leagues, Charlie is shocked when cool, confident KC suggests hanging out, especially when KC asks him to stay over—and the happiness their connection brings Charlie. But the summer is changing Charlie—putting muscles on his skinny frame, compelling him to face hard truths, showing him how it feels not just to lose your heart but to break someone else’s. Funny, sweet, and moving, Tom Mendicino’s insightful coming-of-age story perfectly evokes that moment when you stop living life from the safety of the bleachers—and finally step up to home plate.

Recommended Age: 18+

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: RJ Scott

RJ Scott
RJ Scott is the author of sixty gay romance books, including the award winning Christmas Throwaway, and the best selling The Heart of Texas. RJ has been published since 2010 and before that cut her teeth in the world of fan fiction. She welcomes emails from her readers and tries to answer every single one! She can be contacted at

Connect with RJ Scott on Twitter @Rjscott_author or visit her website:

Q&A with Author RJ Scott:

  1. What part of The Decisions We Make was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

    In Decisions, I loved writing the brotherly teasing and fighting, and the things that make a family strong, like talking, and support and love.

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

    I loved romance books, and devoured them at a great rate of knots… silhouette romances (het!). I love romances and a big happy ending.

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

    Flight… I would LOVE to be able to fly… and be invisible… and read people’s thoughts… Damn, do I have to just pick one?

  4. If you could travel back in time and tell the teenage you one thing, what would it be?

    Don’t become a trainee bank manager, be a writer, go to University, learn to write and be what you should be. Also, hell, don’t eat so much chocolate!

  5. Which authors do you enjoy reading?

    LC Chase, Rowan Speedwell, Marie Sexton, Meredith Russell, Diane Adams, Amber Kell, Stephani Hecht… to name but a few.

  6. What season do you like to write your stories in most or do you love writing in all of them and why?

    Autumn (Fall) I LOVE the Autumn, it is my favourite month. Cool, and golden, and with promises of winter…

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

    The absolute belief that there is a happy ever after out there for all of us. Some of us are lucky to find it early, some have to wait, but we all deserve that happiness.

Now Available from RJ Scott:

The Decisions We Make Daniel Keyes is an orphan, fostered by the Walker’s. The product of a lonely childhood, he is thrown into the chaos of the Walker family and into the life of his new foster brother Jamie.

This story is the journey of Daniel and Jamie finding their place in the world. Through Jamie being a victim of hate crime to coming out to family and friends, there are many decisions the boys have to make before they become men.

Also Available from RJ Scott:

Love is in the Title RJ Scott's first story for Young Adults. Luke requests songs for the late show with Roscoe. Songs that mean something to him and the people around him. Lately he has been requesting songs for the boy he watches from afar. The gorgeous dark haired blue eyed captain of the football team, Cameron. One night, and the last request, and all of Luke's secrets spill. It seems though, that he isn't the only one with secrets.

Love is in the Hallways Luke is still on cloud nine after what happened in the park with Cameron. He has a boyfriend and is in shock. At the same time he is completely and utterly head over heels in love. Cameron wants to announce the two of them as a couple at school. He is adamant that together Luke and Cam can make changes in the way being gay is perceived at school. Luke knows just what real life can be like. His heart wants to believe that Cameron is right but his head tells him differently. When

Love is in the Message The hallways are a scary place for a new relationship -- with Eddie and the J's targeting Luke every way they can. It doesn't help one little bit when Ryan Kitchener, the boy who attacked Luke when he was younger, pays a visit to Luke's house. He leaves a message that could change the growing love between Cameron and Luke for ever.

The Decisions We Make Giveaway!

AUTHOR has generously donated a free copy of The Decisions We Make for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen November 25th.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Featured Author: Johanna Parkhurst

Johanna Parkhurst
Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.

Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband. You can contact her at or find her on Twitter at

Q&A with Author Johanna Parkhurst :

  1. If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

    Emmitt, from Here’s to You, Zeb Pike. I heart Emmitt. He’s the best character to write, because he’s so well-intentioned in everything he does, and in many ways he encompasses the kind of high schooler I wanted to be but never was. What would I do? I would do athletic stuff, like play hockey, because Emmitt is very athletic and I am very much not. I would enjoy being a popular high school student, because Emmitt is a popular high school student, and I definitely never was. And even though I would be super popular, I would still be friendly and kind to everyone, because that’s just how Emmitt rolls, and that’s the main reason he is so awesome. And then I would go hang out with Dusty, the main character in Here’s to You, Zeb Pike, because Dusty is pretty awesome, too.

  2. If you could reenact a scene from any book (not necessarily your own), what would it be? Who would you choose for your scene partner(s)?

    I’ll reenact pretty much any scene from The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, anytime, anywhere. My middle school students will tell you that I often have, and I usually make them my scene partners. My favorite scene is the one where Ponyboy breaks a bottle to threaten someone and then starts cleaning up the glass. That moment in the novel says so much about Ponyboy’s ability to be both who the world requires him to be and who he really is at the same time.

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

    I have mad dairy farming skills. No, seriously. I grew up on my parents’ dairy farm, so I know a lot about dairy cattle. I can milk cows, feed, handle basic animal illnesses and injury. It’s a skillset that has become totally useless in my adult life, but I like to think that years of milking cows at weird hours like 4 a.m. built me some character. And an appreciation for sleeping in.

  4. If you could travel back in time and tell the teenage you one thing, what would it be?

    I would love to tell teenage me to stop worrying so much what everybody thought of me. Who am I kidding—I still need to tell myself that on a near-daily basis. It’s just so easy to get caught up in believing that who you are is dependent on what other people think of you, and I think that goes double for teenagers, who’ve had less time to realize that not everyone will always appreciate you, and there will always be people who do appreciate you. The thing is, though, that I know teenage me wouldn’t have listened. So it would be a total waste of time travel.

  5. Is there anything from your own teen years that has been placed into your books?

    I’ve recently noticed that I keep accidentally setting my books in Vermont. I say “accidentally” because I often try to set them in Colorado, where I live now, and they seem to end up in Vermont. I blame this on the fact that I was a teenager when I lived in Vermont, so it just feels natural to set my teenage characters there. Here’s to You, Zeb Pike is a primary example of this problem. I started the book out in Colorado Springs, but it ended up being set almost entirely in Vermont.

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

    Great question. I think Jed, one of the characters in Here’s to You, Zeb Pike, puts it best: “The best you can do—the best any of us can do—is to figure out when you’re going in the wrong direction and find the right one. That’s all you can ever do.” My books tend to be about very real teenagers who are dealing with difficult situation both in their control and out of their control. I want my teen readers to remember that life is about figuring out what is within your control and worrying less about the things that aren’t.

Now Available from Johanna Parkhurst :

Here’s to You, Zeb Pike Fact: When Zebulon Pike attempted to climb what is now known as Pikes Peak, he got stuck in waist-deep snow and had to turn back.

That’s the last thing Dusty Porter learns in his Colorado history class before appendicitis ruins his life. It isn’t long before social services figures out that Dusty’s parents are more myth than reality, and he and his siblings are shipped off to live in Vermont with an uncle and aunt they’ve never met.

Dusty’s new life is a struggle. His brother and sister don’t seem to need him anymore, and he can’t stand his aunt and uncle. At school, one hockey player develops a personal vendetta against him, while Emmitt, another hockey player, is making it hard for Dusty to keep pretending he’s straight. Problem is, he’s pretty sure Emmitt’s not gay. Then, just when Dusty thinks things can’t get any worse, his mother reappears, looking for a second chance to be a part of his life.

Somehow Zebulon Pike still got the mountain named after him, so Dusty’s determined to persevere—but at what point in life do you keep climbing, and when do you give up and turn back?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Silent by Sara Alva

CAPTION True Colorz Honor Roll

Silent by Sara Alva

Published by Amazon Digital Services
352 Pages

Blurb: Alex’s life as a teenager in South Central L.A. is far from perfect, but it’s his life, and he knows how to live it. He knows what role to play and what things to keep to himself. He’s got it all under control, until one lousy pair of shoes kicks him out of his world and lands him in a foster care group home. Surrounded by strangers and trapped in a life where he could never belong, Alex turns to the only person lower on the social ladder than he is: a “special” mute boy. In Sebastian, Alex finds a safe place to store his secrets—those that sent him to foster care, and the deeper one that sets him apart from the other teenagers he knows. But Sebastian has secrets of his own, and when tragedy rips the two boys apart, Alex will stop at nothing to find the answers—even if it means dragging them both through a past full of wounds best left buried. It might just be worth it, for the slim chance at love.

Review: I thought Sara Alva's Social Skills was one of the best stories I'd read in a long time, but her latest release, Silent, is in an entirely different category. As I was reading this gripping story, I felt intensely disappointed that the gay fiction genre is so small. A story as beautifully written and well-crafted as this deserves mainstream distribution. Though we often see reviews where the reader lauds the book as being a riveting page-turner, I can assure you, it is without hyperbole that I sing this story's praises. In fact, I almost don't know where to begin.

Silent is the emotional story about this incredible foster kid named Alejandro. He prefers to be called Alex, and in the beginning he's facing a dilemma. He's fifteen, and he's outgrown his shoes. His mother will not buy him new ones and his mother's abusive boyfriend Hector hates him. Alex takes matters into his own hands and steals some of Hector's weed, then sells it on the street and uses the money for new shoes. When Hector discovers what Alex has done, he uses a lighter to burn Alex's arm, right after torching the new shoes. The injury is severe, and when a teacher at school discovers it, it sets in motion a chain of events that drastically change Alex's life.

He's taken into protective custody and placed in a foster home. Now, at this point in the story (about 20% into the book) I was ready to hurl my Kindle against the wall. I didn't like the social worker and I hated the foster parents. I couldn't believe how callous and unsympathetic they were to Alex after what he'd been through. Actually, I still sort of feel this way, at least about the foster parents. On the other hand, I think they did care about the boys they fostered and did the best they knew how.

The beauty within that environment wasn't so much the relationship any of those kids had with those foster parents, though. It was the relationship they developed with each other. They became a loving family, perhaps less dysfunctional than many conventional families. And it is at this point that the story really grabbed hold of my heart.

Alex becomes friends with one of his foster "brothers", a boy his age named Sebastian. Seb is mute, and everyone assumes he is mentally handicapped. Oddly enough, Alex bonds with him, and they become close. They become VERY close as Alex begins to discover a Seb that no one else knows exists. Alex learns to communicate with Seb, and he uncovers some secrets within Seb's past that are startling...and unbelievable. 

There is so much more to this book than what I've shared in this review. It's an epic story that at times made me laugh. It also infuriated me at points and even made me cry. Silent is a book I really don't want to remain silent about it. It's one of those books that is going to stay with me a long, long time, and it very well may remain one of the best books I've read in my lifetime
"I tried not to think about all the horrible things that could happen to a little boy when no one could hear him scream."

Review by Jeff

Monday, November 4, 2013

Featured Authors: Jennifer & Sarah Diemer

Jennifer Diemer
Jennifer Diemer shares a purple-doored cottage in upstate New York with her wife, fellow author Sarah Diemer, and a menagerie of four-legged furchildren. Jennifer and Sarah co-author the Sappho's Fables: Lesbian Fairy Tales series and collaborate on Project Unicorn, a collection of young adult, speculative fiction short stories featuring lesbian heroines.

When not writing, Jennifer can probably be found watching Doctor Who with her wife, several cats in her lap and a mug of tea close at hand.

Connect with Jennifer Diemer on Twitter @jenniferdiemer or visit her website:

Sarah DiemerSarah Diemer is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. She lives in New York with her beloved wife, several furred creatures and a few mischievous pixies. She loves coffee, My Little Pony, graveyards, and glitter.

Her debut novel, The Dark Wife, a young adult, lesbian retelling of the Persephone myth, won the 2012 Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction. She co-writes Project Unicorn, a collection of young adult, speculative fiction short stories featuring lesbian heroines, with her wife, Jennifer Diemer.

Connect with Sarah Diemer on Twitter @sarahdiemer or visit his website:

Q&A with Authors Jennifer & Sarah Diemer:

  1. If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

    J: I’d pick Juliet from my story “Solitary Birds.” She’s one of the first human inhabitants of a planet called Emerald, and I’m a total space junkie, so I’d leap at the chance to fill her shoes for a day and experience another world, sitting beneath the Quipa trees and watching the fuzzy nulas--winged cat-like creatures--flying in the strange green sky.

    S: To be perfectly honest, I really struggled with this question. I very much enjoy putting my characters in HEARTBREAKING AND TERRIBLE SITUATIONS, though they always (usually) use their courage and bravery to get out of said situations. But still...I wouldn’t want to have to go down to the Underworld to get some peace and quiet, and combatting demons may not be the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Well. If the demons come armed with coffee and good conversation, sure. I would have to say that, if I could be any of my characters, I would be Persephone from The Dark Wife, because Persephone gets to spend eternity with her beloved.

  2. How did you create Project Unicorn?

    We were both total bookworms growing up and basically lived at our local libraries. But, as teenage lesbians, we found very few novels featuring characters that we could relate to--especially in our favorite genres, fantasy and science fiction. Even as adults now, the selection of genre books with lesbian main characters is extremely limited.

    One day we joked with each other that finding a lesbian protagonist in a science fiction or fantasy story is as rare as finding a unicorn… And the concept of Project Unicorn was born. :) We decided to do something about this obvious and frustrating lack by writing a series of genre stories about girls who fall in love with other girls--and have fantastic adventures.

    Project Unicorn: A Lesbian YA Extravaganza! is an ongoing fiction project hosted on our blog, Each short story features a lesbian heroine and is a work of genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, etc.). And--this was of critical importance to us--every story is available online for free. We remember how tough it was to find lesbian-centric tales when we were young adults (practically impossible!), so we wanted to make these stories super-accessible to the kids who need them most.

  3. What has it meant for you two to write Young Adult together?

    Writing is our full-time job, and it’s awesome, rewarding, humbling, and emotional work. The great thing about being married to another writer is that we can help each other through the tough spots, bounce ideas off of each other...and just be total word nerds together 24/7. :) We both love to read young adult novels, and creating stories for young adults is an honor and a responsibility that we never take lightly. We cherish every comment and email we’ve gotten from readers who have enjoyed Project Unicorn and our other stories.

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

    There’s a decades-old epidemic in lesbian literature of unhappy endings and disempowered lesbian characters. It’s incredibly disheartening, even depressing, when there are so few stories available to lesbian readers (of any age) and the majority of these stories are tragedies. The fact is...the two of us are lesbians, and our lives are not tragedies. Far from it! We’re really, really happy and really, really in love! Growing up as a queer young adult is hard, no question. So the most critical thing for both of us in all of our writings is to communicate a message of hope and empowerment to young (and old!) lesbian girls. Most of our Project Unicorn stories have happy endings for this very reason, and all of them feature strong, brave, capable young lesbian heroines who are the authors of their own fates, who find love and joy and adventure in school hallways and in deep, dark forests, on spaceships and far beneath the sea. Our characters live big, exciting, anything-is-possible lives because that’s what we want for our readers: all the magic this incredible world has to offer.

Now Available from Jennifer Diemer and Sarah Diemer:

Project Unicorn: Volume I PROJECT UNICORN, VOLUME ONE is a collection of thirty young adult short stories featuring lesbian heroines. As ghosts and witches, aliens and vampires, the characters in this extensive and varied collection battle monsters and inner demons, stand up to bullies, wield magic, fall in love, and take action to claim their lives--and their stories--as their own.

Written by wife-and-wife authors Jennifer Diemer and Sarah Diemer, this volume of stories, with genres ranging from science fiction and fantasy to the paranormal, is part of Project Unicorn, a fiction project that seeks to address the near nonexistence of lesbian main characters in young adult fiction by giving them their own stories. PROJECT UNICORN, VOLUME ONE contains the full first three collections of Project Unicorn stories: The Dark Woods, The Monstrous Sea and Uncharted Sky.

Now Available from Sarah Diemer:

Twixt You wake upon the cold ground.

As you struggle to rise, as your breath exhales like a ghost, you know only two things: You can’t remember who you are.

And you’re being hunted.

No one sleeps in Abeo City. The lost souls gather indoors at night as Snatchers tear through the sky on black-feathered wings, stalking them. But inside the rotting walls of the Safe Houses comes a quieter, creeping danger. The people of Abeo City have forgotten their pasts, and they can trade locks of their hair to sinister women known only as the Sixers for an addictive drug. Nox will give you back a single memory–for a price.

Like the other lost souls, Lottie wakens in this harsh landscape and runs in terror from the Snatchers. But she soon comes to realize that she is not at all like the people of Abeo City. When she takes Nox, her memories remain a mystery, and the monsters who fill the sky at night refuse to snatch her. Trying to understand who she is, and how she ended up in such a hopeless place, Lottie bands together with other outcasts, including a brave and lovely girl named Charlie. In the darkness, and despite the threat of a monstrous end...

Love begins to grow.

But as Lottie and Charlie plot their escape from Abeo City, Lottie’s dark secrets begin to surface, along with the disturbing truth about Twixt: a truth that could cost her everything.

The Dark Wife Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth.

Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want--except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice.

Zeus calls Hades "lord" of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny.

But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

The Dark Wife is a YA novel, a lesbian revisionist retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth. It won the 2012 Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction.