Love’s Trials – Charlottesville and the ‘Unite the Right’ riots.

August 12, 2017 was a momentous day in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was the day that the ‘Unite the Right’ protestors marched their way into history. It was also a day that left most of American feeling disgusted, repulsed and angry.

But for the characters in ‘Love’s Trials’ the ‘Unite the Right’ protest was more than a social or political event. They weren’t simply spectators to the terrible events of that day, they were participants. It was a moment in their lives when they were forced to face some of their most deeply felt prejudices, prejudices rooted in racial and personal memories too profoundly painful to ignore. It was a day when they feared for the safety of the ones they love most. And it was a day of responsibility, duty, and service.

Love’s Magic is set in Charlottesville. Much of the Love’s Magic storyline revolves around the University of Virginia and the politics which are a fundamental part any organization as large as a top tier college. Love’s Trials is set in the same locale and features many of the same characters. Consequently, when the ‘Unite the Right’ protests took place in Charlottesville it was simply impossible for me to ignore an incident which was so fundamentally important to our nation’s history and to the lives of the men who inhabit Love’s Trials’ world. It simply had to be part of the storyline.

Colin, as a Sergeant with the University of Virginia campus police force, would be involved in this conflict as a professional law enforcement officer whose duty was to keep the peace to the best of his ability. But at the same time, because he is deeply in love with a Jewish man, he could not remain indifferent to the vile anti-Semitic tone of the ‘Unite the Right’ protestors. Joshua would experience this incident on an intensely personal level, both because the involvement of the neo-Nazi’s awakened deeply-held historical and family memories and because the man he loves is involved in every aspect of this conflict, a conflict which places him in constant danger.

Knowing Colin as well as I do, I knew that he would not only take great offense at the anti-Semitic rhetoric the Nazi’s were spewing on that day, he would also be frothing at the mouth with anger. One of the things he loves most about Joshua is his Jewish heritage. He believes that the deep reservoir of inner strength which he has always loved and counted on within Joshua flows from that genetic, spiritual source. Hearing the Nazi’s hate-filled, anti-Semitic chants would have set his Irish heart on fire with rage.

At the same time, I knew Colin would be required to remain in control of his emotions. Certainly, he would have longed to batter the Nazis to a pulp. But it’s not Colin’s way to use physical force no matter how angry he might be. He is experienced enough at his job to know that such a reaction would solve nothing. Responding with undue force would certainly have provoked a response from the supremacists in which innocent people could have been hurt. He had to try to stay calm. He had to try to react in a professional manner. He didn’t always succeed.

In Love’s Trials you’ll hear Colin talk about the day of the “Unite the Right’ riots. He’ll discuss what he saw and heard. He’ll discuss about how he responded. He’ll discuss how he felt. And he’ll discuss his thoughts on how well he feels the police force, whose job it is to protect Charlottesville citizens, responded to the dramatic events of that momentous day. However, although he was at the center of every incident which took place in Charlottesville on August 12th, 2017, those events remained very much out of his control. His point of view with regard to this emotionally charged day in his professional life is both personal and deeply felt, but he would certainly never claim that they were unbiased. Colin is at heart a deeply honest man. And as such he would be the first to admit that no one who was present at the “Unite the Right” riots that day could have been less biased than he.

Joshua’s point of view regarding that terrible day was also deeply personal. As a Jewish man who lost family members in the Holocaust, he possessed a unique perspective regarding the ‘Unite the Right’ march in Charlottesville. He overwhelmed with disgust and anger that the neo-Nazis had been allowed to march in his city in the first place, and his first instinct was to join the counter protestors and face down the white-supremacists. At the same time, he knew that his presence at the event would make it impossible for Colin to concentrate on his job. Colin’s concern for Joshua’s safety would have been a distraction which could easily have gotten him injured or even killed.

It was a dangerous situation for everyone involved and Joshua had to make a hard decision. Would he join the counter protestors? Or would he stay home in safety? His desire to be part of what happened that day was fueled by his genetic revulsion for anything connected with the Nazis. The grandfather who nearly raised him had been imprisoned in the camps. Both great grandparents had been Holocaust victims along with many, many other family members. And yet his presence at that ugly event would have placed the man he loved in danger, and Colin had made it clear he was vehemently opposed to Joshua being anywhere near the gathering. Any decision Joshua made meant facing a trial that could possibly change their lives forever.

They both made decisions on that fateful day that altered their feelings about their relationship and about themselves. Colin had been a police officer for a decade but he had never before faced a situation where he was confronted with hatred and bigotry this vicious which also posed a very real threat to the one he loved. Joshua had never before faced a situation which forced him to appreciate and accept how deeply connected he was with his Jewish heritage.

In the end, they both made decisions that would affect they way the lived their lives from that point forward. I won’t share all the details either of that day or of what came afterward for Colin and Joshua. I don’t want to ‘spoil’ you for the dramatic events that take place in Love’s Trials. But I can say this: While this incident doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what they’re go through in this book, it does lay a foundation of love and faith in each other that they will certainly need in the days ahead. And it is a profound chapter in what I hope you’ll feel is a profound story.

Love’s Trials will be released on October 12th, 2018 on Amazon. It is available for pre-order now so run and grab your copy. Colin and Joshua face many trials in the course of this book, the ‘Unite the Right’ protest being only one. And when the trial is deadly enough, love can lose its way.


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Love’s Magic – Tragically, a book for our time.

Blurbs make me crazy at times. I mean it. And I’m sure I’m not the only author who feels that way. How in the hell do you convey the juicy, rich center of all that your book represents while at the same time NOT give away the plot to the extent that the reader sees no point in buying the book? I struggled with this question in Love’s Magic AND the struggle continues in Love’s Trials.

But let me say this. The struggle was greater in Love’s Magic because it’s a timely book, especially now when we have a nominee for the Supreme Count who is accused of numerous instances of sexual harassment if not outright assault. Now, when we have women who are stepping forward to speak their truth after years of living in shame and fear. Now, when we are at last telling these women that it is good and right that, at long last, their voices be heard!

Love’s Magic addresses all these issues. Colin’s is a police officer who works exclusively on assault cases. His biggest challenge, and the conflict that causes him the most personal anguish, is that of convincing assault victims to press charges, to speak up, to let their voices be heard. Sadly, women have been so brainwashed by the male dominated society we live in that they are left feeling that they somehow had to be to blame for what happened and that speaking out will smear their character.

Colin knew that nothing could be further from the truth. NO ONE is to blame for sexual assault other than the perpetrator. They are the sole, exclusive wrongdoer and the ONLY one who should be burdened with guilt and shame. And it doesn’t matter whether the victim is female or male. The only one who is responsible… the ONLY one who deserves punishment… is the low-life scum who perpetrated this heinous crime upon another human being.

But could I say that in a blurb? ‘This book talks about sexual and criminal assault and the kind of damage it does to every single person involved on every single level. This is supposed to be a gay romance novel and I was, frankly, worried about scaring people off with that kind of introduction.

I was fearful of triggering pain and extreme emotional reactions from victims of these crimes if I spoke too openly of the on-campus assault which is the central issue in Love’s Magic, though the book isn’t graphic, not in any way. What IS discussed are the many ways human beings respond when this kind of horrific situation suddenly becomes part of their life. And almost none of the principals in this novel are women. They’re all men who have been deeply affected by various forms of assault either as a victim or as one who is close to a victim and suffers from the subsequent guilt and emotional distress.

The two couples in Love’s Magic all are deeply involved in assaults which happen on the University of Virginia campus. Some are involved more directly than other, but ALL in ways that affect both their own ability to move forward in their lives and to believe in the relationship which they thought would sustain them.

A lot of one’s inner nature is revealed when facing a traumatic event like this one. Sometimes what’s revealed is an inner courage and determination that the person didn’t know they possessed. Sometimes what’s revealed is a fear so overwhelming that everything which one previously trusted is shattered beyond recall. Sometimes what’s revealed are the deeply buried secrets which have twisted inside us for decades, totally dominating our lives while never once being acknowledged, not even to yourself.

I wrote Love’s Magic to give a voice to all those people who have suffered this kind of trauma and who have had no voice or were afraid to use their voice. Love’s Magic talks about the life of two gay couples who live and work in Charlottesville, VA for the University of Virginia. It explores their reactions to an assault which takes place on the university campus.

A reader recently commented that writing a book which featured TWO unique gay couples seemed like dangerous territory for a first-time novelist. In fact, that one aspect of Love’s Magic has drawn more attention than any other from both readers and reviewers, which rather surprised me.

I can only say this. As someone who has been an assault victim I felt the subject needed discussion. And since I was attempting to offer as many viewpoints as possible on how victims and the persons close to them experience and deal with such a dreadful ordeal, I needed the perspective of both my couples in order to best explore the full range of possibilities. And I need the perspective of both my couples to adequately express my own feelings of anger and helplessness.

The four main characters in Love’s magic had to deal with assault and abuse, each in their own way. And no one of them handles it quite the way the others do. Each of these four men are stumbling toward their own healing and eventually share the best of what they’ve learned along the way with the other three. I needed every single one of these men in order to tell the story that needed to be told.

Each of them saw the issue from a different perspective as many of us do. But before they could find the healing they needed they each had to learn to see it through each other’s eyes. And their path to understanding was rife with misunderstandings… not to mention knock down drag out fights.

I wanted to talk a bit about each of the four main characters.

Colin is the cop. As the Sergeant in charge of the Special Assault Unit, he deals with assault on a daily basis, every kind of assault. As the man charged with finding and arresting the perpetrators of these crimes his is merciless in his pursuit of these wrong-doers. His tender concern for victims of assault is legendary, but his greatest frustration comes when he is unable to convince them to speak out and press charges against their attacker. He doesn’t ever press them once they’ve refused, but it tears at his soul because these assaults represent a deeply personal issue for him. An issue he has never discussed and never will. There is pain buried deep within Colin that no one sees, feelings he has suppressed for most of his life. And when Joshua cracks open his heart… everything comes pouring out, and not all of it is good.

Joshua was abused as a child. He was physically assaulted by a drunken father who broke Joshua’s arm when he was eight. He knows what it’s like to be locked in a dark closet and left alone for hours with no food, no light, no help. He became a Doctor of Psychology in order to help others who had suffered as he had, but also to find his own healing. He could see more easily into Colin’s heart than he could into his own. He sensed the pain which Colin kept buried, and felt the anguished frustration of being unable to reach him.  And, because his job as a Title IX consultant require strict impartiality, he was also unable to speak out forcefully on behalf of university students who were victims of these heinous crimes.

David was never physically abused. But he was assaulted emotionally and verbally by a cold and critical parent and grew up completely unable to believe in his own worth. These issues haunted him for most of his life and were the primary reason why his marriage failed. His father’s voice was still in his ears, directing his life through constant criticism of everything David did and became. The psychological damage David suffered kept him closeted for many, many years. His relationship with Nate led him to the therapy he needed and at least a partial healing.

Nate was never abused in any way. He had an almost ideal childhood. But he fell in love with a man whose self esteem had been badly damaged by a father’s coldness and constant criticism and had to learn how to cope with David’s resulting insecurities as their relationship grew.

When Nate went to the rescue of a student who was under attack on the Tog, a park on the university campus, he was badly, though not critically, injured. The trauma he suffered then was the catalyst which eventually drew all four men together.

Love’s Magic delves into all the issues suffered by these men and the people who interact with them. It is not a graphic book. A reviewer at Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter said this:

“Sensitive readers will especially appreciate Love’s Magic. Despite its thoroughness and suspense, the novel is never gruesomeMs. Jarrell earns my respect and gratitude for her willingness to explore a very complex, critical topic in a detailed, yet entertaining fashion, to bring us decent, interesting men, who struggle to develop delightfully realistic relationships. As it is the first in her Revolutionary Hearts series, we can surely expect an intense follow-up!”

But it is a book which speaks to the heart of the issues which are currently transforming our society. And now, more than at any other time… I am so glad I wrote it.


Want sneak peeks at new Janice Jarrell projects? How about deleted scenes, alternate endings, early drafts, book release details, and exclusive giveaways?
Join our VIP group, Jan’s Jazzy Jammers, for a behind the scenes look at all of this and more!


Website and Blog

Social Links: jjarrell@lovestrials.com
Facebook: Facebook Page
Goodreads Author Profile Page
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Love’s Magic Available now on Amazon for $1.99!

Love’s Trials Pre-Order now on Amazon!