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, March 31, 2014

Featured Author: Brent Hartinger

Brent Hartinger Brent Hartinger is an author, teacher, playwright, and screenwriter. Geography Club, the first book in his Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series, is now a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula, Ana Gasteyer, and Nikki Blonsky. In 1990, Brent helped found one of the world's first gay teen support groups, in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. In 2005, he co-founded the gay entertainment website, which was sold to MTV/Viacom in 2006. Read more by and about Brent, or contact him at

Connect with Brent Hartinger on Twitter @brenthartinger or visit his website.

Q&A with Author NAME:

What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?
Well, mostly I just want them to be entertained. I've always seen myself as more of a storyteller than an "artist," which always sounds pretentious to me (I believe there are artists, but that that's a label for others to apply). 

Anyway, I tell the stories that fascinate me. Hopefully, my readers are interested too. But do my stories have a "point"? Apart from ideas like, "Gay people are human too," I didn't really think about this too much, until one day I had a realization. Every single YA book I've ever written has a point where the main character (and, often, the supporting characters!) has to make a choice: do they do the selfish action, the thing that would give them immediate pleasure, or do they sacrifice their own immediate pleasure for some greater good? It's kind of funny. Whichever book of mine you look at, that moment is right there, at the end of the second act, right before the final confrontation. Once you're aware, it's incredibly obvious. 

And the more I thought about this, the more I realized that these moments made sense in my YA books, because I see the teen years as being about change, about growing up, and these moments I'm talking about are the ones where children literally become adults. Children are selfish and self-centered. Adults are (theoretically) mature -- they understand the importance of other people. Sometimes a sacrifice in the short run makes things much, much better in the long run, for everyone, including the main character. 

But for what it's worth, I think there are plenty of adults who never understand this. They never really "grow up." They're fundamentally selfish. They basically stay children their whole lives. 

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

The older I get, the more I believe in Sturgeon's Law -- the idea that ninety percent of everything is crap. I don't know if my own books are crap -- although I know some people think they are (!). But I'm extremely proud of the fact that my books feel very, very unique to me. They couldn't have been written by anyone else. If I hadn't been born, nothing like them would exist. 

It's a little funny. The Russel Middlebrook Series is the story of a gay kid and his two best friends, a straight guy and a bisexual girl. It's vaguely autobiographical, and all the characters are these quirky, nerdy intellectuals. The series ended it up being pretty popular -- they even made a movie out of the first one -- but its success still confounds me a bit. I felt like a freak in high school , like there was no one like me except me and my small circle of friends. I still feel like a freak now! 

But these weird, quirky, nerdy characters found a place in the hearts of a lot of other people. And then I realized: there are more freaks and nerds in the world than I or most people realize! Plus, freaks and nerds read a lot. Who knew?

What are your writing goals for the next five years?
Well, as I said before, I consider myself a storyteller more than anything. And I'm not even particularly wedded to the medium of prose. I also love playwriting and screenwriting. In fact, whenever I teach writing, I always encourage my students to try another medium. Yes, they're all very different, but ultimately a story is a story. And in my opinion, most novelists could stand to think a bit more about plot.

So lately I've been returning to screenwriting, which was my first love, before I had my first success as a novelist. I love the medium of film, but more than that, I like collaborating with others. Well, let me clarify -- sometimes I hate it, because collaboration means compromise. But after writing novels for basically the last ten years, it's really fun to be working with other people in the creation of movies. And so far, they're all people I like and respect.

I have a couple of different movies in the works. And yes, one of them is a gay teen story that I'm really proud of -- a little gay teen love story with a Dead Poet's Society vibe. I have no idea what people will think -- I don't think it's crap, but maybe it is! But it's definitely totally uniquely "me" -- even more than the Russel Middlebrook books. So naturally I'll be totally crushed if it isn't a success! 

If you could travel back in time and tell the teenage you one thing, what would it be?
Two things. First, to relax. None of it matters as much as he thinks it does. Yes, bad things are going to happen, without a doubt. But good things will happen too, also without a doubt. Why worry about something that hasn't happened yet? Why create misery for yourself? What in the world is that about?

But then I'd tell him there is one thing that does matter: your friends. Basically, they're the most important thing in your life. They will literally determine whether you are happy or sad in life. Because if you pick good friends, and nurture them, they can help you be happy, help you to appreciate life, even when the bad things inevitably happen.

I didn't know the first piece of advice when I was teenager -- and I wouldn't have listened even my adult self had traveled back in time to tell me that. Sometimes I think I still haven't truly learned it.

But the second piece of advice? I think I had an inkling from the very beginning how important good friends were. And every moment of my life since then has completely confirmed it.

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

Oh, lots and lots! I mentioned before how one of my books -- Geography Club, the first Russel Middlebrook book -- was recently turned into a movie. It was really fascinating watch them film scenes that were taken directly from my life. At one point, I was on the set thinking, "Wait. Did I just watch that, did I write it, or did it happen to me?" It was all a strange, fabulous blur!

One of the big plot lines in the book and movie is how the main character's best friend desperately wants to get a girlfriend. Well, that totally happened to me. I was just walking with that friend yesterday, laughing at how this thing that caused us both so much angst in high school is now being acted out by impossibly pretty people in a movie.

Life does seriously NOT get any weirder than that! 

The Real Story Safe Sex Project:
Brent, can you share with us some information about The Real Story Safe Sex Project? What exactly is it, and why is it important to you to reach out to teens and young gay people about this issue? What can readers do to help? And can you please provide a link to the project and any info you’d like to share?


Feel free to include as much or little of this as possible

                                    - Brent

 What is this all about?

Well, the Real Story Safe Sex Project is my way of helping to encourage safe sex among gay and bi male teenagers and twentysomethings.

HIV/AIDS is still a really serious disease, and gay and bi guys are at a very high (and rising) risk of catching it. But a lot of people don’t seem interested in talking about it anymore.

So the Real Story Safe Sex Project takes a new, hopefully more entertaining approach: remind people about HIV and safe sex using entertainment and popular culture, especially projects involving your favorite fictional gay and bi characters.

I’m launching the project with my story Two Thousand Pounds Per Square Inch, using a character from my own Russel Middlebrook Series (warning: it’s sexually explicit!).

Lots of other writers, artists, and filmmakers are currently participating in the project too -- about twenty-five so far, with lots of others (hopefully) coming soon.

What exactly are you trying to do here?

A bunch of different things. First, validate bi and gay guys who choose to have safe sex — and celebrate and eroticize that sex. I also hope we can educate people who might have questions about safe sex, HIV, and AIDS.

But mostly, I think I just want to restart the conversation about safe sex that seems to have lagged lately among a lot of young gay and bi guys.

Who is the Real Story Safe Sex Project?

Well, it’s me, Brent Hartinger, and anyone else who wants to participate!

I’m an author. But I’ve also worked as an AIDS educator, and I helped found one of the world’s first LGBT teen support groups, in my home town of Tacoma, Washington, back in 1990.

How can I help?

Lots of ways!

(1) Help spread the word. Tell people what the Project is all about. It’s as easy as using the social media links below. Also, follow the Real Story Safe Sex Project on Twitter or Facebook to see the latest contributions to the effort. If you’re a journalist or a blogger, consider writing about us.

(2) Volunteer. This entire project depends on people’s willingness to help out. So are you a graphic designer? A proof-reader? Do you have some other skill you think might help the project? Contact me!

(3) Create a Real Story safe sex story. This is the heart of the project — the reason it exists in the first place. So if you’re an author or a filmmaker (even an unpublished or unproduced one), consider creating something on the subject of safe sex. You can use entirely new characters, or existing characters from a book, TV show, or movie you created (and/or control the rights to).
Then upload your short story or video to your favorite media platforms, and tell your fans about it! Tell me too, and if I agree that it follows the mission of the Real Story Safe Sex Project, I’ll also do what I can to help spread the word.

My own contribution to the project includes some facts about HIV/AIDS and safe sex, but that isn’t a requirement of this project (at all!). On the contrary, I hope the other stories will be about all aspects of safe sex. I’d love to see stories or videos about the emotional side of things, or funny stories, or maybe even just outright erotica!

The only requirements I have are that (1) the project be available in as many platforms as possible for free; (2) that it promote safe sex, preferably among gay and bi teens and twentysomethings; and (3) that you mention “The Real Story Safe Sex Project,” on the cover if it’s an e-story, and include a link to this page in the body of the work. If I think your content meets our mission statement (and isn’t going to get me attacked and/or sued!), I’ll help distribute your work too.

Don’t know how or where to upload your e-story or video? Need a designer for your book jacket, or a proof-reader? I have volunteers lined up, so contact me, and I’ll do my best to help!

Now Available from Brent Hartinger:

The Elephant of Surprise Book 4 in the Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series! People aren't always what they seem to be. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves. So discovers seventeen-year-old Russel Middlebrook in The Elephant of Surprise, a stand-alone sequel to Brent Hartinger's landmark 2003 gay young adult novel Geography Club (which has now been adapted as a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky). In this latest book, Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise – the tendency for life to never turn out as expected. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot but mysterious homeless activist named Wade, even as he's drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest technology obsession. But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jeff Erno Giveaway

Now Available from Ai Press:

Forever Fearless The Forever Vampire saga continues… In the aftermath of unspeakable slaughter, Robbie and Colt have escaped to the wilds of Alaska to face their immortal future. Things aren't so certain for their sworn enemies, Dylan and Issa, Matarian soldiers sworn to hunt them down and slaughter them. Dylan is poised to begin his first vampire hunt and wants Issa as his partner, but Issa is far more concerned with finding his brother and tracking down the blond boy who nearly died on the battlefield. The entire cast from book one reunites in this thrilling continuation of their story, joined by a host of new faces--friends and foes--whose lives somehow weave together as they cross paths in their efforts to battle evil and attain their own happiness. Humans, Shifters, Daywalkers, and Purebloods confront each other with the guidance of three enigmatic sisters--one a Maenad, one a necromancer, and the other a human witch. Plot twists and surprises mark the paths of these diverse characters, forever fearless in their quest to cling to all they hold dear.

Forever Fearless Giveaway!

Jeff Erno has generously donated a free copy of Forever Fearless for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. Contest open until April 1, 2014.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Featured Author & Giveaway: Hayden Thorne

Hayden Thorne
Hayden Thorne has lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area though she wasn’t born there (or, indeed, the USA). She’s married with no kids and three cats, is a cycling nut, and her day job involves artwork, great coworkers who specialize in all kinds of media, and the occasional strange customer requests involving papier mache fish with sparkly scales.

She’s a writer of young adult fiction, specializing in contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, and historical genres. Her books range from a superhero fantasy series to reworked folktales to Victorian ghost fiction. Her themes are coming-of-age with very little focus on romance (most of the time) and more on individual growth with some adventure thrown in.

Visit Hayden Thorne’s website:

Q&A with Author Hayden Thorne:

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

    I’m a massive nerd when it comes to fiction – at least in terms of making use of what I know as an English Major in college. I’m extremely fond of symbolism, metaphor, and allegory. I find it exciting writing a story that’s a lot more than what’s obvious on the surface. It’s like working bread crumbs into the plot, and leaving readers to find connections. If they don’t, that’s fine, too. The stories just become colorful fantasies, and there’s nothing wrong with that. By and large, though, I never write a story without a specific metaphor in mind. For me, there’s more than one way to tell a story, even something like a coming-out novel.

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

    I’d like to continue writing what I write, but I’m also interested in dipping into the fantasy middle-grade fiction waters, LGBT and otherwise. I’m particularly interested in writing gothic fiction for kids, and if things work out in my favor, I’d like to find an agent for it. Fantasy LGBT YA fiction is still my mainstay, though, and even if I were to cut back on my output there, I’m not stopping completely.

  3. Do you believe in ghosts? (or aliens or vampires or whatever the subject matter of the story is)

    I do, which is the reason why I’m excessively fond of ghost fiction, particularly Victorian ghost fiction. I’ve had experiences when I was younger involving hauntings, the most significant one being an incident that happened to both me and my younger sister at the same time. So she could corroborate my claims easily. We still talk about it once in a while, too. I think neither of us will ever forget that moment.

  4. Which authors do you enjoy reading?

    Those would be authors whose works I adore and look up to as inspiration for my own stories. I’ve got several, but the ones who keep their top spots, no matter what, are M.R. James (Victorian ghost fiction), Chris Priestley (dark fantasy children’s literature), Susanna Clarke (historical fantasy / alternate universe), and a smattering of classic lit writers (Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens).

    I’m also very fond of anthologies – ghost fiction and gothic fiction from the beginnings of the genres to the early twentieth century.

  5. Is there one genre of YA that you would love to write but haven’t? (example: paranormal, contemporary, fantasy)

    I grew up watching mecha anime, and I’d love, love, LOVE to write a sci-fi gay YA novel that involves giant robots battling aliens or monsters or whatnot. My favorite series is Neon Genesis Evangelion, which I devoured as an adult, and I’m still completely blown away by the series’ psychological complexity and fantastic art.

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

    That they – the readers - are more than their sexual orientation. They’re complex, they’re contradictory, they’re exciting, and they’re very much heroes of any story that can be written. Whether it’s a fairy tale or a contemporary fantasy or a gothic romance, a young reader can easily find him/herself front and center, faltering and stumbling, making mistakes, learning something valuable and unique about him/herself, and ultimately emerging a lot wiser and stronger.

Now Available from Hayden Thorne:

Masks: Rise of Heroes (2nd edition) Strange things are happening in Vintage City, and high school goth boy Eric seems to be right in the middle of them. There's a new villain in town, one with super powers, and he's wreaking havoc on the town, and on Eric's life. The new super hero who springs up to defend Vintage City is almost as bad, making Eric all hot and bothered, enough so that he almost misses the love that's right between his nose. Peter is Eric's best friend, and even if he does seem to be hiding something most of the time, he finds a way to show Eric how he feels in between attacks on trains and banks and malls. The two boys decide to start dating, much to the chagrin of their other best buddy, Althea, who has a terrible crush on Peter, and a secret or two of her own to keep. As the fight between the villain, known as the Devil's Trill, and superhero Magnifiman picks up, Eric's relationship with Peter almost ends before it begins when Eric finds out about Peter's special talents, which might just rank Peter as a superhero in his own right. When the Trill takes an interest in Eric, too, Peter and Althea, along with Magnifiman and Eric's normal, middle-class family all have to work together to keep Eric, and their city, safe. Can they figure out the super villain's plan in time?

The Weeping Willow A woodland shadow and a mortal fall in love, and a tragic cycle begins, haunting the steps of their daughter, Aeldra. At a young age, Aeldra finds herself pregnant, abandoned, and standing at a precipice, her child’s future hanging on a balance. Already physically weakened for having shadow and mortal blood in her veins, she remains defiant when her shadow kin demand her child’s life. She presses her faithful servant, Halfrith, to stand by the boy and make sure he remains unnamed, as it’s through his name that the shadow world will find the means by which they can claim him.

Hope comes in the shape of Helena Butcher, a seventeen-year-old seamstress who brings shame to her family by getting pregnant out of wedlock. From beyond the grave, Aeldra looks to Helena and her unborn child to save her own son, who’s now cursed to remain caught between two worlds after a woodland shadow’s attempt at taking the boy away is thwarted by Halfrith.

Though tragedy marks the births of Crispian Butcher and Aeldra’s son, who’s been turned into a weeping willow by the woodland shadows, something much deeper and more enduring will shape the curious friendship between a ragged boy and a mournful tree. And something stronger and more resistant to hate and prejudice will ultimately break a curse, end a dark cycle, and bring two lonely boys together.

Benedict A young person’s sixteenth birthday is an important rite of passage that’s celebrated in the land of marionettes. A quarterly dance at the king’s palace for recent celebrants marks the highlight of a teenager’s year, where youngsters of all classes are invited to mingle and dance and enjoy themselves, forging new friendships and potential romances, all of which are expected to shape their lives for the better.

Benedict is a boy from a privileged household. Spoiled and taught his role as the future benefactor to those less fortunate, he’s grown up with specific strictures on how to behave toward others, and he’s learned to look to his elders for unequivocal guidance.

Just before the next dance at the king’s palace—a dance where Benedict, having just turned sixteen, is invited—a few strange things begin to happen. First, there’s the matter regarding Jeremy, Benedict’s friend, who lives in a poor cottage with his mother and grandmother in the woods. Jeremy’s not only been acting oddly, but also is missing some of his marionette strings. No amount of prodding from Benedict yields answers, and the more he tries to delve into things, the more Jeremy pushes away.

Secondly, there’s the matter regarding birds insisting that Benedict go to the palace to find the lost prince. With nothing but a key and obtuse instructions to go by, Benedict attempts to humor the birds but gradually realizes that the answer to the mystery of the lost prince could very well be a lot more personal than he’d first believed, especially when he sees Jeremy somehow being involved in it.

Helleville All fifteen-year-old Noah Hipwell wants is to go through high school in peace. Yet he finds himself suspended after a bully pushes him too far, and Noah’s forced to defend himself. His mother, fed up with the school’s indifference to his plight, pulls him out completely and leaves Noah uncertain of his future while they look for a good and safe school for him.

All Dorothy “Dot” Hipwell wants is to go through single motherhood in peace. Yet she and her son are harassed by weekly phone calls from her evangelical family hell-bent on guilt-tripping them both back into the fold. Then Noah’s grandparents ask strange questions about their old van after dropping cryptic references to a group called The Soul Warriors. Fed up, Dot takes Noah away for a much-needed getaway, only to find themselves suddenly transported to an alternate world, where a town called Helleville awaits them and all other condemned souls.

Along with warm-blooded, living human beings, the Hipwells rub shoulders with zombies, vampires, house ghosts, and occasional “green vomit piles” while picking up the pieces and sorting out what could very well be an eternity in a bizarre, fanciful, and humorous world of ghouls and banned books.

When residents suddenly disappear one by one with no trace and for no logical reason, however, doubts being “housed” in an alternate world for their sins are raised, and time suddenly becomes of the essence as Noah and the rest of Helleville’s condemned race to find answers to what’s quickly turning into a dangerous puzzle.

Masks: Rise of Heroes Giveaway!

Hayden Thorne has generously donated a free copy of Masks: Rise of Heroes for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen on March 31st.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Releases for March, 2014

Featured New Releases:

Angel by Alex Norris

Angel by Alex Norris

Published by Creativia

Cambridge University isn't everything Lewis wanted it to be. Still hung up on a lost love affair from the past and surrounded by friends he loves and loathes in equal measure, Lewis' life takes a dramatic turn after a chance encounter with homeless Rosie. Desperately seeking meaning among the vacuous student lifestyle, Lewis embarks on a quest to help those without homes and without voices. Through a string of secret and sordid affairs with strange men he meets online, Lewis tries to raise money for his new homeless friends. Along the way he'll encounter a transvestite with the lips of Brigitte Bardot, a gorgeous French traveler, and a slew of lonely men willing to pay for satisfaction. But as Lewis delves further into the depraved, secret life of Cambridge's backstreets, his faith in humanity and hope for his own future decline rapidly. How low is he willing to sink to make some cash?.
Aun by Tam MacNeil

Aun by Tam MacNeil

Published by Queerteen Press

Jao is in a quandary. He can't find work, and he doesn't want to work for Kazematsuri anyway. That doesn't stop the crazy man from sending new recruits to test their skills on Jao. There is also something going on with Jao's upper class boyfriend, Masahiro. Is he really so busy with his opium business that he struggles to find time for their relationship? Or is he getting tired of slumming it with Jao? Then Kazematsuri turns up in person to employ Jao to find out what a new gang, the Anu, is doing in Okatsu. At the same time Fan, the daughter of his friend Akai, disappears and Akai hires Jao to find her. Now Jao has enough money, but he also has several dangerous people to contend with. And he still needs to find out what's really going on with Masahiro.
Demons! Come Out! by Charlie Purcell

Demons! Come Out! by Charlie Purcell

Published by Queerteen Press

It sucks to be Charlie, the only gay kid in his small town high school. He’s different, which is never a good thing. His parents don’t understand him, his sister actively hates him, and his best (and only) friend accidentally outs him to the biggest bully in school. Things can’t get any worse ... Until he accidentally opens a doorway to Hell and unleashes a horde of murderous demons. Now he has to defeat each demon before anyone finds out what he did. If he doesn’t kill all of them before the town’s big centennial celebration, then the gate to Hell will open permanently. Suddenly, being gay isn’t that big a deal. He’s much more concerned about staying alive. On his first demon-hunting mission, Charlie saves Todd, one of the popular kids. Pretty soon they team up to track down the remaining demons, and Charlie starts to realize he and Todd might have more in common than he first thought. As young love blossoms, the world inches closer and closer to apocalypse. Charlie’s completely overwhelmed with swordfights, demon possessions, and more near death experiences than he can possibly imagine. His life has never been more different, and that just might help him save the world.
Destined Union by Tina Brescanu

Destined Union by Tina Brescanu

Published by Creativia

Destined Union is a sexy, surprising and witty story about coming out, and of becoming who you are. Tordis is a Swedish sex therapist who comes to Ireland and begins to work in the most progressive hospital in the world, the Royal Hospital Dublin. She thinks she knows who she is, heterosexual and monogamous, because that's what she's been told from birth. When her life experiences take her off the culture lines of both Sweden and Ireland, she is surprised and delighted to finally have the honor of getting to know herself fully.
The Divide: Unity (Book Two) by Kim Flowers

The Divide: Unity (Book Two) by Kim Flowers

Published by Queerteen press

Sequel to The Divide Book 1: Uprising The revolution has begun, and 18-year-old Malaki Cheyenne is spying on the U.S. government. In the midst of training on a rebel military base, Malaki can't decide whether she wants to be in infantry or intelligence. She is also torn between her feelings for three girls, including Serenity Blackwater, who left on a refugee plane to The Nation of California Islands. Malaki is impatient at being low-ranked, but raises her status by creating a program to deactivate U.S. military drones. The base gets attacked after the government finds out members have allied themselves with the revolutionary Human Equality Organization. Malaki is captured and taken to a detainment center, where the same man who tortured Serenity last year says he's going to convert Malaki from Gay to Normal. Malaki is beaten and starved, and forced to undergo experimental injections which are supposed to change her mind and body so she fits into the mold of what the government says is "normal."
Ghost Songs by Andrew Demcak

Ghost Songs by Andrew Demcak

Published by Harmony Ink

It’s not easy being Todd Williams, a fourteen-and-a-half-year-old gay musical prodigy. The bullies, Bob and Ari, at his fancy private school make his life a living hell. Todd’s drunken, irresponsible mother, Eddie, constantly embarrasses him and puts his artistic future in jeopardy. And now, his best friend, Jennifer, who plays clarinet with him in the orchestra, isn’t speaking to him. Maybe Leroy, Todd’s friendly poltergeist, knows what’s going on with her. To top it off, he can no longer rely on Jennifer's help in the race to solve a puzzle that could lead to a buried treasure. Todd must learn to stand alone. He’s finding out that growing up is far scarier than he ever imagined.
If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood

If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood

Published by Harmony Ink

Born female, all Jordan wants is to slip under the radar and live the last year of high school as a boy. His parents and siblings support him, but he’d rather be recognized for his acting and musical talents than his gender issues. When Shakespeare’s Puck gives him three magical potions—true sight, true seeming, and true love—Jordan discovers being true to himself isn’t as simple as he thought. Jordan must navigate the confusion of first love, a controversial role in the fall musical, and his transgender identity, while fairy magic creates a net of complications over everything he does. In order to unweave the spells laid over his friends—his supportive older brother, James, his playwright friend, Pepper, and Maria, another transgender student—Jordan needs to understand exactly how far he’ll go to reach his goals of finding true love, true sight, and true seeming.
The Red Sun Rises by Victoria Kinnaird

The Red Sun Rises by Victoria Kinnaird

Published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Blurb: "Eren Anderson is a freak among freaks. At 17 years old, he doesn’t fit in with his peers in the tiny town of All Hallows and despite being born into it, he most certainly doesn’t fit in among The Order of Our Mother, the secret nature worshipping society that has harnessed the ability cast spells and believes vampires are not only real, but their deadliest enemies. Eren is turned into a vampire after an attack by the local coven master, but that is the least of his worries... In a post-Twilight world, “The Red Sun Rises” is a YA novel intended to give vampires their bite back but it should not be read as simply another vampire novel. “The Red Sun Rises” is a story about growing up, responsibility, falling in love, facing your fears and taking fate into your own hands."
Strong Arrow's Warpath by Kim Flowers

Strong Arrow's Warpath by Kim Flowers

Published by Queerteen Press

Sequel to Nadine's Voyage Strong Arrow knows a great war is inevitable. In the past few weeks, he and his friends have defeated sinister delegates from Great Britain as well as traitors in the U.S. who want to reinstate colonial rule. Now the British Imperial Navy is on the way to America, and Strong Arrow believes it is his responsibility to lead this final battle. Unless he does something drastic, he won’t have enough status to be with his love, Spirit Warrior, who is both a warrior and a shaman, and son of the chief. He doesn’t always know what he should believe, but he wants a future where he and his friends can live in peace. But if things don’t go well in battle, it may be time for the Lenape to insist on only following their ways from now on. As all eyes keep watch for the Imperial Navy, Strong Arrow, Spirit Warrior, and Nadine help Amelia and her father build an air ship to search for the enemy. Will Strong Arrow be able to defeat their enemies this last time, or will he have to turn his back on the people he once called friends?
Triane's Son Reigning by Amy Lane

Triane's Son Reigning by Amy Lane

Published by Harmony Ink

From the moment Torrant Shadow realized Consort Rath murdered his family, he’s lived a dual identity: a healer and poet by nature, a predator out of necessity. It’s not just exhausting, it’s perilous. In the deadly city of Dueance, Torrant must succeed in both lives, because while the predator may save the Goddess’s folk from Rath’s brutal policies, it is the poet who will sway the minds of the people to revolt against the oppressive government. As his cause falters, Torrant finds his worst nightmares come to pass as the people he loves most—his family from Eiran, his former lovers, and his moon-destined, Yarri—all come to his aid, despite the danger. They must succeed—there is no other option. If they fail, Rath will eliminate joy from the heart of the lands of the three moons, and all that Torrant and his family cherish will be lost. But success could exact a devastating cost, one Triane’s Son was never prepared to pay.
Us Three by Mia Kerick

Us Three by Mia Kerick

Published by Harmony Ink

In his junior year at a public high school, sweet, bright Casey Minton’s biggest worry isn’t being gay. Keeping from being too badly bullied by his so-called friends, a group of girls called the Queen Bees, is more pressing. Nate De Marco has no friends, his tough home life having taken its toll on his reputation, but he’s determined to get through high school. Zander Zane’s story is different: he’s popular, a jock. Zander knows he’s gay, but fellow students don’t, and he’d like to keep it that way. No one expects much when these three are grouped together for a class project, yet in the process the boys discover each other’s talents and traits, and a new bond forms. But what if Nate, Zander, and Casey fall in love—each with the other and all three together? Not only gay but also a threesome, for them high school becomes infinitely more complicated and maybe even dangerous. To survive and keep their love alive, they must find their individual strengths and courage and stand together, honest and united. If they can do that, they might prevail against the Queen Bees and a student body frightened into silence—and even against their own crippling fears.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Featured Author: Kate Larkindale

Kate Larkindale
Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand after having spent a lifetime travelling the globe. A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine. Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.

Connect with Kate Larkindale on Twitter @Vampyr14 or visit her website:

Q&A with Author Kate Larkindale:

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

    My main character, Livvie, has synesthesia, a unique condition where, in her case, she sees sounds as colors and tastes colors as flavors. It gives her a very singular view of the world, and I think the cover does a good job of showing the way she might see herself.

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

    The most fun parts to write were the first, tentative kisses, and Livvie’s first exploration of her sexuality. There’s a scene where Livvie and Bianca take a bath together, and that’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

    The most challenging part to write was the euthanasia stuff. It’s such a controversial issue, and I knew I had to get the tone exactly right so readers wouldn’t damn Livvie for the choice she makes.

  3. Which of your characters is most like you?

    I think all my characters have elements of me in them. I don’t usually notice it until I go back to a book after having left it for a while, but then I often realize I’ve used experiences and phrases and conversations I had in real life. It’s a little weird because I don’t usually realize I’m doing it at the time…

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

    I think I’d tell me that it doesn’t last forever. I hated high school, but as soon as I finished and got out into the world, so many wonderful and exciting things happened to me. Things I probably couldn’t even have imagined as being possible while I was stuck in a classroom, in a uniform, being told what and how to think about things.

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

    For a day job I run a movie theatre, and I love movies. Cooking is also something I enjoy very much. And, of course, reading….

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

    I’d like them to leave my books with a sense of hope. That wherever they are in their life journey now, things won’t remain the same forever, and the things that feel impossible now do get easier.

Now Available from Kate Larkindale:

An Unstill Life Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’. Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Featured Author & Giveaway: Elise Himes

Elise Himes
Elise Himes graduated with a BA in Asian History and a TESOL certification. She had spent the last three years teaching in South Korea. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video games, talks to her pet finches as if they were people, and reading tons of books. She also happens to be a transwoman and her novel was inspired by her life.

Q&A with Author Elise Himes:

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

    During my transition, I couldn’t find many books that I identified with. They were either about an older generation or from a non-trans character’s perspective. I want those who are transgender to have a character they can relate with and give cisgender readers an understanding of what being trans is like. Also it covers a fair bit of the transition process from the challenges to the triumphs.

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

    I’m a huge history dork. I also love playing video games and used to be really into anime. For past few years, I’ve been learning piano and can finally play the theme from Howl’s Moving Castle. Watching a friend play a terrible game is much funnier than any Hollywood comedy. Oh, I can’t go a day without listening to music, but I’d come off sounding like a hipster if I list the bands I like .

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

    Surprisingly, I loved writing the scenes with Sissy, the conniving gossiper. Growing up, my favorite parts of Disney movies were those starring the villains. They were so fun to hate. The most challenging scenes were those with Rachael’s family as they hit too close to home at times.

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

    Transition is possible. Thirteen, bathroom door locked, standing in front of the mirror in my sisters’ dress, I cherished those hours after midnight. The sound of my parents’ alarm would send me scrambling for my room. I feared that if I actually tried to transition, I’d end up becoming a joke like those on the Jerry Springer Show and hunted by villagers with pitchforks. I didn’t know that not only was it possible to be a cute girl, but I’d now be a cute nerdy chick with my very own dresses.

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

    The yellow bird by my name is from the one mentioned in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’. That play plays a huge part in the book.

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

    Growing up, I felt as if something was wrong with me. I didn’t fit in with other boys, school felt like a cruel joke… life too, and I secretly coveted my sisters’ dresses. I want readers to realize that you aren’t alone and that nothing is wrong with you. Being yourself seems impossible at times, society can suck like that, but the greatest joys are to be found when you stay true to yourself.

Now Available from Elise Himes:

The Trans-fer Student Rachael is just like any other girl… except she was born a boy.

When her family is forced to move due to bullying, she is accepted into a privileged girls’ school. Her fantasy quickly becomes a nightmare as rumors spread that one of the new students being transgender. Paranoia, deceit, and backstabbing rule the day as their “witch” will be found, no matter who suffers.

The Trans-fer Student Giveaway!

Elise Himes has generously donated a free copy of The Trans-fer Student for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen on 3/17/14.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Featured Author: Ashley Chunell

Ashley Chunell
Ashley Chunell is a Romance and GLBT author. Ashley grew up in Boston and has been writing her entire life. After penning numerous song lyrics, poems and short stories, she went on to write various articles and fan fictions, gaining much writing experience and grammar knowledge.

After writing about the things and people she loved, it wasn’t long until Ashley created her own characters and wrote and published her debut novel “Masterpiece” in November 2012, at the young age of 18. In July 2013, Ashley published her second novel and first GLBT book “A Melody in Harmony.”

Ashley is a strong supporter of the organizations Stand Up 2 Cancer, NOH8 Campaign, Charity Water and R-Word.

Connect with Ashley Chunell on Twitter @AshleyChunell or visit her website:

Q&A with Author Ashley Chunell:

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

    Yes, as a matter of fact. For “A Melody in Harmony,” the cover is two sets of male hands playing a purple piano. One of the young men in my book, Noah, is a pianist and a royal purple, grand piano is his dream instrument. For “New Melody, Same Harmony,” the cover is Noah and Ronan’s hands once again, this time showing off their engagement rings, as the book is about the two getting married and marriage equality. There’s a tint of green on that cover, symbolizing Ireland. Ronan is Irish and Ireland plays a bigger part in the sequel.

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

    I think my Noah and Ronan Series is unique because a lot of the homophobia and bigotry in my books is taken from things I’ve heard or witnessed in real life. It makes it all the more real to me, and I hope that comes off to my readers as well. It’s not like I just sit here thinking of awful things to do to my LGBT characters. Most of it is real and because of that, people need to be all the more aware of it, I think.

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

    Yes! There’s a lot of things, actually. A lot of names have meanings. In my debut novel, “Masterpiece,” the names Jacoby and Evangelina are the names I’d like for my future children someday. Same goes for the names Noah and Ronan. There are also other things, like the name of the restaurant Noah and Ronan go to, The Arch. The word ‘arch’ has a secret meaning to me. The names Eric Anderson and William Jackson, minor characters in “A Melody in Harmony,” also have meanings to me. The name David Thompson in “New Melody, Same Harmony” also has a meaning to me. So, I’d say there’s lots of little things that I’ve added to my books that, in a way, make them more “me.”

  4. Is there any LGBT charities or resources that are near and dear to you that you would like to give a shout out to?

    I’d like to give a shout out to the NOH8 Campaign for all the work they’ve done. They spread so much awareness and take the coolest photos! It’s always inspiring to see people’s NOH8 photos!

  5. If there is one message you would like to get out from your book, what would it be?

    All Love, No Hate. Simple as that. Noah and Ronan live that statement in “A Melody in Harmony” and continue to in “New Melody, Same Harmony,” and I hope these novels inspire people to do the same.

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

    I would like my readers, young or old, to recognize the love my characters, Noah and Ronan, share. In both “A Melody in Harmony” and the upcoming sequel, “New Melody, Same Harmony,” my two, male characters go through a lot of trials, but their love always prevails in the end. I would also like my readers to recognize the clear homophobia in my books. The hate and bigotry Noah and Ronan deal with is something a lot of LGBT people still go through and people need to be aware of it.

Now Available from Ashley Chunell:

New Melody, Same Harmony This sequel to “A Melody in Harmony” follows beloved characters Noah Nash and Ronan Shea, who just got married and are about to make a big move as part of the next chapter in their lives. Before they do, the two sit down and reminisce about their last year together in Henderson.

This story rewinds as Noah and Ronan think back on their engagement, planning Henderson’s first gay wedding and lots of other surprises that led up to their big day.

This sequel allows Noah and Ronan’s relationship to grow as they continue to fall in love and fight for equality. Even with a new melody, the two still plan to live in harmony as they begin their next chapter together.

A Melody in Harmony Henderson is a small, old-fashioned town. Growing up here proved tough for Noah Nash, as he knew the truth he lived would never be accepted in this town, even by his family. To him, all he had was his keyboard.

Until one day, that all changed when Noah met Ronan Shea. Ronan’s confidence, wisdom and pride inspires Noah to finally, happily live his truth for the entire town to see.

This is a story of two young men and their journey to a relationship, fighting for equality and listening to their melody while striving to live in harmony.