Interview with Author Dara Nelson!!

Joining us now is author Dara Nelson to talk about her upcoming release, Better Latte Than Never!
And here’s a blurb to whet your appetite!

Opposites attract. Yeah…we’ve all heard that saying.
But maybe the differences are just on the surface and if you take the time to dig deep enough, you’ll find kindred spirits buried beneath. On the surface Remy D’Angelo – shy, socially awkward, innocent, creative and sweet – and Jett Wilson – gorgeous, outgoing, a player, never had a relationship, never been in love – were complete opposites.

But when Remy gets a job as a barista and coffee artist at Jett’s café – the sparks don’t necessarily fly but flicker steadily until the grow into something that neither of them have ever experienced before.

Will their fears and anxieties drive them away?  Or will the flighty Jett finally find the one thing that will ground him?
Will the two of them realize that experiencing love is what they’ve both been looking for?  It’s always worth it to experience love – Better Latte than Never. 


Now let’s meet Dara!!

First off: Tell us about your books, both back catalog and what’s coming up!!

I have 2 series’ that I write under my pen name Kendel Duncan – Black Ops Heroes (the next book in that series is coming in December) & Doyle Global Securities (next book for that released July 25).  Under my name I have the Healing Hearts series right now and I’m currently writing six (Yes 6!) books.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?
First of all – don’t force it.  I always have 4 or 5 books started at once (currently it’s 6). If one stalls or isn’t flowing, I’ll work one of the others.  If one grabs onto me and flows like crazy, I’ll stick with that one until it’s done.  But I never get discouraged if one just isn’t working.  I can always come back to it later.  The second thing is – don’t be sucked into the ‘you have to spend xxxx amount of dollars on a good editor, cover designer, formatter, etc.’  Pardon my language but that’s bullshit.  If you’re good at spelling/language/grammar – edit your own damn book (I did and still do). Create an author group page on FB and ask for beta readers (they are the best).  Connect with other authors in the same genre and reach out to them to see if they have time to read/comment (I do this for several other authors now).  Third – don’t go into this for the money.  Write because it’s what your heart needs you to do, write because there’s a story in your soul that needs to come out.  

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
When I first started writing, I never intended to write a series, let alone 4 or 5 of them.  But then I had secondary characters in the first story that ended up being so much more and I had to tell their story – so I did.  And then it happened again in the next book and so on and so on.  I’ve also had readers reach out to me to ask if I was going to write ‘so & so’s’ story, which told me how much that character resonated with them, so a standalone ended up becoming the first in a series.  Writing that character’s story had never occurred to me at the time.  I want people to be able to read any one of my books as a standalone, so they are written that way, but they all have references to other characters/circumstances so new readers might be inspired to read other book in the series.  If you’re going to do that, though, keep spreadsheets.  Detailed spreadsheets – with each character’s age, eye color, hair color, height, age, build, dick size (yep, really), piercings, tattoos, background, family history, etc.  If you don’t – readers WILL point that shit out if you get it wrong….LOL.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My spirit animal is an otter – forever young and playful, curious, selfless and wanting to help others.  And can’t stay away from water – that would definitely be me.  I actually had one swim past me at the lake I was vacationing at a few weeks ago.

As a newbie author, this question interests me: What’s the best way to market your books?
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.  There are hundreds of FB reader/book groups.  Join any/all that are within your genre or that are groups for all genres.  I belong to well over 200.  I keep notes on my phone with ‘ad’ verbiage and I copy/paste, add the book cover or a teaser and voila – marketing done.  It takes me about 15 minutes to post in all of them.

How much and how often do you use social media? And do you believe it has a valuable place in your marketing strategy?
Everyday and yes it’s very valuable but it can also be a distraction from my writing.  If I’m writing, I’m not logged into FB, that way I won’t get notifications of postings or anything. If I take a break from writing or get stuck on a story and need to take a breath, I’ll log in for five or ten minutes.  I never spend more than thirty minutes at a time on social media.  

Do you have a mental image of a particular person when you develop and write characters? For instance, my Colin is most definitely half Jamie Dornan and half Dean Winchester! What are yours?
Not necessarily a specific person but definitely a specific body type/look. I find names distracting, so I like to look at hot guys whose names I don’t know.  When I picture my characters in my head, their faces are mostly blurry (it’s like my brain knows that will distract me) but I can always see their hair, muscles, tattoos, sculpted abs, piercings, etc.  

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I don’t spend much time reading reviews.  Bad ones used to bother me but they don’t anymore.  Some people just aren’t going to like your work, it’s inevitable.  You can’t please everyone.  What I pay attention to a lot more is feedback – comments/emails from readers about how my work touched them, affected them.  And when another author let’s me know that they read my work and loved it?  That just blows me away and I love it.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be patient.  I always wanted to be a writer.  I’ve been writing poetry since I was in the fifth grade but didn’t come up with the idea for my first novel until I was in my thirties.  By then I had pretty much given up the idea of writing novels and didn’t think it would ever happen, but then the story idea just came to me and I started writing….and writing….and writing.  8 months later I had 3 books written and it hasn’t stopped since.
And don’t be afraid.  
Write what’s in your heart.  Write what you want to write.

Where can people go to contact you and to find your work?
I do have a website ( and you can contact me there, but the best place is Facebook (
Or (

What’s next? Is there already a WIP? Where will your next writing journey take you? 

What isn’t next….LOL.  I have 6 WIPs at the moment, 1 in each of my current series and 3 brand new books that may or may not be part of some new series’,  I also have my book review blog ( and I’m also doing some cover designs and editing for other authors.  Life is busy, life is good and love is love.

A final thought:
Be kind to others. Good things can happen if you do.  Writing is my life, but I also love reading too.  And when I read, I take the time to leave a review.  I write those reviews the moment I finish a book, when my emotions are fresh and raw.  Do I love everything I read?  Absolutely not.  For those stories that don’t resonate with me, I only leave stars and I never write a review saying I didn’t like a book. 2 stars is enough for someone to know that their book didn’t resonate with me.  That happens.  My book review blog came about because – Those books that I loved, I took the time to write a review, a heartfelt review.  It didn’t take long, maybe only a minute or two for each one.  But those reviews got noticed.  I got comments from authors about how wonderful my reviews were.  That got me thinking, so I started a book review blog.  I didn’t really think much would happen with it, but low and behold, I have tons of followers and I’m at the point now where I have to pick and choose what books I want to read (for free) because my review calendar is too full to read them all.  Think about that.  I already read books all the time but because I took a few minutes to write reviews, I now get to read books many of my favorites for free.  I didn’t do it for that, I did it because I care.  I care about my fellow indie authors.  I care about this wonderful MM community.  And I care about love.


Love’s Legacy now available for FREE! Read David and Nate’s story!

One of the most consistent comments I’ve received about Love’s Magic is that David and Nate’s story needed to be expanded. People wanted to know how this dynamic couple came to be. I  will now begin to answer those questions.

Truth is, David and Nate’s story was my first novel. But it remained unpublished, primarily because I didn’t feel the writing was up to par. But because so many of you wanted to hear about how David and Nate got together, I’ve been re-working it a bit and I now want to present it to you for FREE as an online novel.

You’ll get the full story of how they met and how their relationship developed up to the point where Love’s Magic begins. Their story is called Love’s Legacy and Chapter One is up NOW! I’ll be adding new chapters once a week or so.



Here’s an interview with
Love’s Magic’s irrepressible Irishman,
Colin Campbell!!

Note: This interview takes place during the time of Love’s Magic, but before its climactic ending.

What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?
Colin Michael Campbell. Call me Colin… or Irish.

Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it?
*laughs* I have lots of nicknames. I’m a campus cop. Students call me everything from ‘asshole’ to Colin McFuck and Colin McHardcase. Anything with a Mc in front of it. I got the names from being wild-ass Irish cop who breaks up drunken frat parties and arrests those accused of assault with absolutely NO hesitation or indecision. If they’re a dick or an abuser, I take them down hard and fast.

A lot of my friends call me ‘Irish’ because… well, because I am and damned proud to be. My Irish heritage is one of the most important parts of my life.

What do you look like?
I’m 6” 2”, 185 lbs. I’ve got sandy colored hair… it’s sorta curly. I’m 33. I guess I have a good build and a good smile. I don’t much think about how I look. I let other people worry about that.

How do you dress most of the time?
T-Shirts and jeans or my police blues.

How do you “dress up?”
T-shirt and jeans. Kidding. I can wear a suit now and then. But I’d prefer not to ‘dress up’. Not my style. Hard to wear a suit while you’re riding on a motorcycle. But I do own a tux and look damned good in it.

How do you “dress down?”
For what kind of occasion? Jeans and a T-shirt I guess… usually an Irish T-shirt.

What do you wear when you go to sleep?
Depends on who’s there with me. Usually I wear my underwear to bed. Briefs not boxers.

Do you wear any jewelry?
A cross around my neck which I keep under my T-shirt. My sister gave it to me.

In your opinion, what is your best feature?
Hmmm.. I think probably my smile, which I’ve heard is nice. For me, my best feature is that I’m strong and am physically fit. I play baseball and tennis. I ski. So being physically fit is important to me. Plus, I’m a cop. I need to be strong and fit. I sometimes have to wrestle with drunk, doped up frat boys who are 10 years younger than me. I have to be able to handle them so I stay fit.

What’s your real birth date?
August 8th, 1985

Where do you live? Describe it:
I live in a one-bedroom apartment. It’s small and usually pretty messy because I’m not there much. I work a lot and then I go to McCafferty’s…. a gay Irish pub where I hang out.

Do you own a car? Describe it.
I own a *1983 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Limited Edition*, and no, I won’t sell it to you. I also own a red 2016 Suzuki HAYABUSA GSX13 anniversary edition with gold trim. Won’t sell that either! It’s sort of my trademark on campus.

What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
I own a mandolin that my grandfather gave to me. He taught me to play it and I got pretty good at it. I have a fairly good singing voice. My grandpa taught me to sing Irish folk songs. I used to sing them with my sister, Kathleen. It means more to me than anything else I own.

What one word best describes you?

Familial Questions
What was your family like?
Middle class working folks. Strong catholic upbringing. We were a close family. My mom still lives in Scituate.

Who was your father, and what was he like?
My dad was named Michael McLarin Campbell. He owned a small grocery store in Scituate, MA. He was quiet but very strong inside. I admired him a lot, though I sure gave him a lot of trouble when I was a teenager. He never hit me. Never yelled at me. He’d just look at me with very disappointed eyes. That was enough. Things happened in our family. Bad things that I won’t talk about. Things I honestly don’t think my dad ever got over. Things that eventually killed him. He never talked about stuff that happened. But I saw how he suffered.

Who was your mother, and what was she like?
My mom is Brianna Mae Campbell. She’s a typical housewife I guess. She’s a great cook and a wonderfully affectionate mom. Now she travels all over with her friends from the senior center in Scituate. She worries about me too much and subscribes to that damned University of Virginia newspaper which features stuff I do now and then. I wish she didn’t. It only gives her more reason to worry. But she likes seeing my name in print.

What was your parents’ marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?
They were married until dad died of a heart attack when I was 17. They were old fashioned in a way. Not all that openly affectionate in front of us kids, but we knew they loved each other. My mom called my dad. “Mister Campbell’ whenever she was mad. They were both deeply religious and went to mass every Sunday.

What were your siblings’ names? What were they like?
One sister, Kathleen. She’s dead. I won’t talk about her.

What’s the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What’s the worst thing you’ve done to one of your siblings?
Won’t talk about that.

When’s the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?
My mom still lives in Scituate. I call her once a week and go there as often as I can. I was last there about a month ago. She’s really active with the local Senior Center and travels with her friends. She’s in good health and happy… though she does wish I’d found work closer to where she lives. I worry about it a lot.

Did you ever meet any other family members? Who were they? What did you think of them?
I’ve met a lot of my family in Ireland. We’d go there every few years on vacation. I have cousins who were part of the IRA and when I was younger they intimidated the hell out of me. Now we’re good buddies. We get together and sing and drink Irish whiskey and enjoy the hell out of each other. I have an Aunt who lives in Killarney who I love dearly. My mon’s sister and a great lady. That’s where I stay when I go there to visit. She has a cottage near Dingle which is right by the ocean. We went there a lot when I was a kid. Most beautiful place on Earth.

Childhood Questions
What is your first memory?
Playing with my sister on the front porch of our house in Scituate.

What was your favorite toy?
A baseball and glove

What was your favorite game?

Any non-family member adults stick out in your mind? Who were they, and how did you know them? Why do they stick out?
There was an Irish gangster in our neighborhood, Mick Delaney. He used to scare the crap out of me because we all knew he’d killed people. But at the same time I had a sneaking respect for the fact that NO ONE told Mick what to do. He was the undisputed boss. I admired that, though if I met him now I’d put him away in a split second. He was a criminal and I take criminals down.

Who was your best friend when you were growing up?
I ran with a gang of guys in my very early teens. An Irish gang with loose associations with ex IRA. Got into some trouble then. Some of those guys were friends, but it was a bad environment and my sister, Kathy, helped me move past it and into a lifestyle centered more on music and sports.
I guess my best friend was Dermot Parry. We hung out a lot and since he was also gay we made out and had did some experimenting sexually. It wasn’t a ‘love’ thing though. Just two guys foolin’ around. I still get in touch with Derm now and then. He’s a good guy.

What is your fondest, childhood memory?
My grandfather teaching me to play my mandolin and singing Irish folk songs with my sister, Kathy.

What is your worst childhood memory?
I won’t talk about it.

Adolescent Questions
How old were you when you went on your first date?
If you mean kissing behind the school… maybe 14. Didn’t date much in high school. I was already out as gay and there weren’t many ‘out’ gay guys attending there.

It is common for one’s view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority?
My view of authority is that I AM the authority. I don’t let anyone tell me what to do, not even my bosses. The event that most affected my view on authority? I’m not sure. Seeing what those in authority DO in general I guess. Doesn’t leave much room for respect. I respect my own beliefs and values, not anyone else’s.

What were you like in high school? What “clique” did you best fit in with?
Ran with an Irish gang for awhile, but was led away from that life by my sister, Kathleen. I guess I was pretty much as I am now. I studied hard, but I also played hard. I took no shit. Guys tried to bully me because I was openly gay but they only tried it once. I beat the shit out of them and they thought better of doing it again. I mostly minded my own business but like I said… I took no shit.

What were your high school goals?
I really focused on getting good grades because I wanted to get into college.

Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life?
I don’t go in much for idols. But I did have a bit of a crush on Jensen Ackles from Supernatural. He and I both like pie! If I fantasized at all it was probably about him.

What is your favorite memory from adolescence?
Christmas in Ireland when I was 13.

What is your worst memory from adolescence?
Won’t talk about that.

Occupational Questions
Do you have a job? I’m the Sergeant in Charge of the Special Assault Unit of the University of Virginia campus police force. I catch bad buys and do my level best to put them away for as long as the law allows. I don’t take any shit. When I walk into a frat, or a sorority house for that matter, they all know they’d be smart to cut the crap and give me what I want. I don’t get physical. I don’t usually have to unless some stupid frat boy gives me trouble.

Costs a LOT of money to go to the University of Virginia and most of them have parents at home who are footing the bill. All I have to do is wave their parent’s phone number in their faces and most of the time they get cooperative in a hurry. Don’t want to lose their ‘ride’.

What is your boss or employer like?
My direct boss is Lenny Hallman. He’s a great guy and a good friend. Mainly because he leaves me and my staff alone and lets us get on with our work. An out and proud gay cop wasn’t all that common when I started here a decade ago. Lenny gave me a chance to prove myself. He didn’t judge me for my sexual orientation. He judged me by the kind of job I did for him. And I never gave him reason to regret it.

What are your co-workers like?
I have four staff working under me. We get along fine. If I couldn’t trust them I’d get rid of them. I send them out to investigate open assault cases of all kinds… all the way from simple assault to felonious assault and rape cases. They’re all dedicated cops. They’re all dead honest. It’s the only way I would work with them. I get rid of goof-offs. Lenny knows better than to try to shove a sub-standard cop at me. I’d never put up with it and he knows it.

What is something you had to learn that you hated?
That you can’t beat the system. Sometimes it’s going to beat you and you have to let that go. I take every case personally so it’s hard for me to accept it when the system blocks my investigations or victims won’t press charges. I don’t blame the victims. I don’t try to pressure them to press charges. If they say ‘no’ back away. But it kills me inside none the less.

Do you tend to save or spend your money?
Spend. On my motorcycles, car.. stuff like that.

Likes & Dislikes Questions​
What hobbies do you have?
I sing and play the mandolin. I play ball and ski and run and play tennis and… well, you get the drift.

Who is your closest mundane friend? Describe them and how you relate to them.
Jeff Kerry. I’ve known Jeff for years. We went to bed together once a long time ago to pay off a pool playing bet, but that’s the only time. I don’t mess around with Jeff. I trust him. And that’s saying something. Most of my friendships are either with my fellow officers and with my staff at the station. And those are work related friendships.
Jeff and I can talk. I can tell him things I wouldn’t tell anyone else. He’s a smart ass and loves to mock and tease me and he’s the only one who gets away with it. I don’t know exactly what he does for a living but I do know it requires a very high security clearance.

Jeff has a way of seeing through my bullshit that I can’t help but admire… mainly because I’m an excellent bullshitter and it doesn’t usually happen. But not with Jeff. He calls me on it every time… and enjoys doing it.

Who is your worst mundane enemy?
In generally, university politics. The kind of politics that protects frat boys who’ve committed assault because their fathers are alumni and donate thousands to the university. Happens all the time.

What bands do you like?
I like the High Kings. They play Irish folk music. I also like some of the groups from the 2000s, Chicago, Green Day. But I didn’t follow pop music much.

What tape or CD hasn’t left your player since your purchased it?
Memory Lane by the High Kings Why? It has some of my favorite Irish folk songs on it and they’re sung damn well.

What song is “your song?”
Free Falling, Tom Petty

What’s been your favorite movie of all time?
Don’t go to many movies but I like watching DVDs at home. I liked the Departed and the French Connection. You know. Cop movies where the cop isn’t a jerk or dirty. I don’t watch romance movies and think superhero movies are stupid.

Read any good books? What were they?
Don’t have much time for reading. Read a lot in college just trying to make Dean’s list, which I did.

What do you watch on the Television?
Supernatural, NCIS, Blue Bloods stuff like that.

When it comes to mundane politics, do you care? If so, which way do you tend to vote?
I get accused of being right-wing because I’m known as a tough cop, but I’m NOT. Once you’ve seen someone get shot I don’t know how you can’t be in favor of gun control, especially when that someone is 18 years old. It’s not a pretty sight. Bullets do fucking horrible things to the human body so I really do care! I vote and I expect others to vote as well. I’d be real pissed if I thought they hadn’t and I wouldn’t be shy about saying so.

What type of places do you hang out in with your mundane friends?
McCafferty’s. It’s a gay Irish pub with a piano bar where I sing all kinds of Irish song and a few pop songs. They serve a strong Irish Stout which I love.

What type of places do you hang out in with your normal friends?
Same place.

What annoys you more than anything else?
Having to deal with university administrators. I usually try to foist them off on my Lieutenant. They’re full of shit and don’t care about anything except image.

What would be the perfect gift for you?
An Irish T-shirt… I’ve got dozens and I love them.

What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
The west coast of Ireland.

What time of day is your favorite?
Night, because I’m off work.

What kind of weather is your favorite?
I don’t have one. I play baseball and ski so hot or cold is fine with me.

What is your favorite food?

What is your least favorite food?
All the salad that my mom made me eat at home.

What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.)
Coffee. Cops subsist on coffee.

What’s your favorite animal?
Don’t have one.

Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?
Don’t want one. I’m not home enough to take care of one.

What do you find most relaxing?
Watching TV. Singing relaxes me. I enjoy it. Running relaxes me.

What habit that others have annoys you most?
Getting clingy with me. I hate that. It only happens once, then you’re out of my life.

What kind of things embarrass you?
Too much emotion. I don’t know how to handle it so I get embarrassed and back away.

What don’t you like about yourself?
I’m too quick to judge at times. I think it comes with being a cop. You sometimes have to make split second decisions because your life could depend upon it. And I’m not always right.

How would you like to look?
Just the way I do. What the fuck would be the point of wanting anything else?

Sex & Intimacy Questions
Would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Why?
I’m gay. Why? Because I was born that way. Stupid question.

Who was the first person you had sex with?
Doug Hampton. When did it happen? I was about 15. He was a member of a gang I ran with. What was it like? It wasn’t all that great. He wanted a blow job and I happily gave him one. I had a bit of a crush on him. How well did it go? Went fine for HIM, not all that well for me. He was rough and stupid and damn near choked me to death. Who needs that? Especially your first time. But he did teach me how NOT to give a blow job so for that I’m grateful.

Have you ever had a same-sex experience?
That’s ALL I’ve had, though I made out with a few girls just to see what it was like. And for the most part it’s gone fine. I’m a damned good lover.

What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy?
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be submissive. And, no. I’ve never tried it and no, I never will. I’m just curious.

What was the wildest thing you’ve ever done, sexually?
Made love on a Ferris wheel. Me and Dermot Parry gave each other hand jobs while we were soaring high above Scituate. Best hand job I ever got. Laughed our asses off.

Is there any sexual activity that you enjoy and/or practice regularly that can be considered non-standard? (Bondage, Fantasy Play, etc.) Why do you like it?
I have a reputation around Charlottesville for being a bit promiscuous. Fact is, I’m not. I encourage the reputation, believe me. But the fact is that I take damned few guys to bed, and when I do the sex is pretty much of the straight-forward, meat and potatoes, non-kinky variety. Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing, I don’t know. But I don’t like kinky sex. I don’t much like weirdness of any kind.

Is there any sexual activity that you will not, under any circumstances, do?
I won’t ever hurt a sexual partner, even if they want me to. No way. Jesus, I see enough pain and abuse on the job. People who’ve been raped and assaulted and had their lives ruined by it. The thought of being the kind of man who could enjoy inflicting pain another human being sickens me. If they want pain, they’ll have to find it somewhere else because they won’t find it with me.

Do you currently have a lover?
If you mean a romantic relationship, no. I don’t do those. I have friends at McCafferty’s who I take home now and then, but that’s it. One night only or very short-term liaisons. I’m attracted to guys who understand that, and don’t bug me for more. I’m honest with any guy I take home. I let them know up front that this is ALL they can expect and that if they start asking for more, that’ll be it. They’ll be done. I don’t want involvements.

What is the perfect romantic date?
One with no romance or clingy shit attached to it. I don’t do romance.

Describe the perfect romantic partner for you.
*laughs my ass off* The kind that doesn’t exist. I don’t want romance. I don’t want that kind of… closeness.

Do you ever want to get married and have children? When do you see this happening?
Uh.. no. Never. I don’t even want a dog. Too much responsibility.

What is more important – sex or intimacy?
Sex. I don’t want intimacy. I don’t want anyone getting that close.

What was your most recent relationship like?
I don’t have relationships. I’ve recently been… seeing, I guess, a guy named Joshua. I’ve actually seen more of him than is usual for me, but we work together so maybe that’s why. He’s quiet and intense. He fascinates me in a strange way that I can’t quite figure out. I feel… different somehow when I’m around Josh, and that both confuses me and makes me feel a weird kind of happiness.

Can you see a relationship developing between you and Josh?
Oh, hell no! He’s a friend. I work with him. We go to bed together now and then. He may have those kind of feelings toward me, at least that’s the vibe I’ve been getting lately. But he knows better than to say so or get clingy in any way. I won’t put up with it and Josh knows it.

It’s weird with Josh, though because usually I wouldn’t give a damn if some guy got a ‘case’ on me and got hurt in the process. I warn them all up front NOT to do that because it’s stupid and pointless. But I’d actually hate the idea of hurting Josh. I really hope he doesn’t make me do that. I don’t want to hurt him. I really don’t.

What’s the worst thing you’ve done to someone you loved?
Not recognize it when they were desperate.

Miscellaneous Questions
What is the thing that has frightened you most?
What scares me most is that I’ll miss something important in a case I’m working on and some motherfucker will get away with assault or rape simply because I screwed up. I’m afraid of missing something when I’m trying to convince the victims to prosecute. When they refuse to prosecute and there ends up being another rape or assault by the same assailant I am devastated. Nothing scares me more than that. I feel responsible. I AM responsible.

Has anyone or anything you’ve ever cared about died? How did you feel about it? What happened?
I won’t talk about that.

What was the worst injury you’ve ever received? How did it happen?
Broke my leg skiing when I was 16. I was being reckless so I’m lucky it wasn’t worse I guess.

How ticklish are you? Where are you ticklish?
Not at all.

What is your current long term goal?
Catch bad guys and put them away.

What is your current short term goal?
Catch bad guys and put them away.

Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they, and do you plan to get rid of them?
I have a ton of them! Mostly they revolve around thinking I know everything and not being all that good at compromise. I tend to try to overpower people with my personality… at least that’s what I’ve been told. And I tend to be pretty good at it. If I can’t overpower them, I charm them into going my way. Works every time.

I’m told that I’m arrogant and prideful and I wouldn’t disagree. Goes along with thinking I know everything I guess.
I have a bad temper. I get angry quick. But I cool off quickly too.

And no, I have no plans to get rid of my bad habits. Like me as I am or get lost. Keeps the riff-raff away.

If you were a mundane person, what would you do with your life? What occupation would you want, and how would you spend all your time?
I’m doing what I want to do. I want to catch people who rape or assault others and put them away for as long as humanly possible.

What time period do you wish you had lived in? Why? (Looking at this as an attempt to change history doesn’t count.) What appeals to you about this era?
I’d like to live in the 1600s in the American West. I think I’d have made a good Sheriff in a place like Tombstone. It appeals to me because it’s open, free, and anything’s on the table.

How private of a person are you? Why?
I’m a very private person. I crack a lot of jokes and am considered a pretty fun guy to be around, but not many people know the real Colin Campbell. The things that mean the most to me are the things that I can’t talk about… or won’t talk about.

If you were to gain an obscenely large sum of money (via an inheritance, a lawsuit, a lottery, or anything else) what would you do with it?
Go on a trip to Ireland for a few months. Buy my mom a new house, though I doubt she’d want it. I don’t know. Don’t think much about money. I make enough.

What would you wish for if you found a genie?
That I catch every single abuser or rapist on the University of Virginia campus and put them away for as long as the law allows.

What do you do when you are bored?
Sing or run. I run a lot.

What is the most frightening potential handicap or disfigurement you can conceive of? What makes it so frightening?
I’d hate any handicap that kept me from playing ball or running. Kept me from any of the sports that I love. I’m not sure what I’d do with myself if that happened. Not sure how I’d work off all the excess energy roiling around inside me. I’m afraid I’d go nuts.

Thanks for talking with us Colin! Hope you’ll come back again! 
No sweat!

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Throw in another sex scene!!

“Throw in another sex scene!” said the guy who was betaing (is that a word?) my book. Then he added: “You know you want to!”

Well, actually I didn’t want to. Not because I don’t like writing sex scenes between my characters, because I do. These guys love each other, or are well on their way to loving each other and I want them to show it! But I don’t think the point to gay romance is two guys (or more) clawing at each other every other paragraph. I don’t write erotica. I write romance.

My assumption is, these guys are having sex a lot more often than I’m writing about it. My book doesn’t chronicle every second of their day. There’s a story going on here and I write in service to that story, not to my character’s libido. I mean there are only so many ways that two human beings can make love. The logistics of the experience are well known. There’s no doubt that you can explore a ton of alternative positions like armpits and what have you. I also realize that there are many types of sexual experiences open for writers to explore and that’s all very well and good.

But basic meat and potatoes sex isn’t really all that complicated. Two penis’s, , two testicles, two pair of hands, two mouths, two anal receptacles. That’s pretty much the basic equipment. Now combine them in any way that suits you. After awhile though it would all have to come out sounding pretty much the same, at least mechanically. Insert tab A into slot B.

What makes a sex scene unique, in my opinion, isn’t the sex, it’s the feelings being expressed during the sex. It’s the emotions that lead TO the sex. It’s the sentiments that are expressed AFTER the sex. The sex itself, the mechanics of it all… who cares? To me that’s barely worth mentioning. How many ways ARE there to give a blowjob? Only one that I know of. But there are a million ways to experience that blowjob both as a giver and a receiver and THAT is where my interest lies.

It’s that singular moment – that split second – when their eyes meet and their very souls cry out in an ecstasy that is secondary to the unity of their bodies. That is where my interest lies. If I can somehow capture that moment, then it’s not a sex scene anymore. It is a joining of two human spirits that transcends the physical. A joining that fills an emptiness which is experienced in the spirit rather than in the body. I want to write sex scenes where bodies are a means to that end rather than the end itself.

I want my characters to feel differently after they’ve made love. I want them to BE different. I want the experience to bring a sea-change that alters them and their relationship in ways which are fundamental to the story I’m trying to tell.

In Love’s Magic, the very first time Colin and Joshua make love, Colin is instantly transformed. He might not have fully realized it at the time, and god knows he put them both through the tortures of the damned before he’d finally admit it. But the experience altered him. It opened a place within him which had been crusted over and barricaded tightly shut. Joshua’s kind, gentle nature touched that wounded place within our tough, Irish cop and coaxed open a small window allowing healing and light to penetrate.

That’s what a sex scene should do, in my opinion. It should bring light to the dark places within our character’s soul. At least the ones we write about should. Every sexual encounter between our guys might not bring that sense of profound healing and change. Sometimes they’re just making love. It’s pleasurable and satisfying and they enjoy the hell out of it, but it doesn’t move their souls. Those moments are fun for them and I’m glad they have those moments. I just don’t want to write about them. I’ll give them their privacy during those encounters. I’ll only stick my nose in when they have those soul-moving moments that propel our story, and their relationship into new and unexplored territory!

So, nope. I didn’t add another sex scene. I did want to, he wasn’t wrong. But truth is… I just didn’t see the point.


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Interview with Joshua Abrams

Interview with Joshua Abrams

Note: This interview takes place during the time of Love’s Magic, but before its climactic ending.

Interviewer: Why did you want to become a psychologist.

Joshua: I suppose the main reason was so I could help others find healing from the emotional damage they’d suffered in their lives. As one who has acquired a bit of emotional baggage myself, I can relate to my patients and in helping them, I hope to, perhaps, find my own healing.

Interviewer: How would you describe your relationship with Colin Campbell?

Joshua: We’re friends and we work together, at least that’s how he sees it.

Interviewer: And how do you see it?

Joshua: I don’t know how anyone could be around Colin and not fall in love with him. Perhaps I see it that way because I have a weakness for men like him, and by that I mean men with whom I have no chance whatsoever of forming a real relationship.

At McCafferty’s, the boys who hang around the piano bar hoping to get a little time with him call him ‘The Magic Man’. And I suppose that says it as well as anything could. Once he casts his spell on you, you’re hooked forever. His kind of enchantment doesn’t go away. I’m not sure how anyone could resist him. And by that I don’t mean just gay men. I mean anyone. Male or female. Gay or straight. He has a magnetism that simply can’t be denied.

Interviewer: So you’re saying you’re in love with him.

Joshua: I guess I am saying that. Maybe I just want to think that he can’t be resisted because I couldn’t resist him. 😉

Interviewer: You seem to see more of him that most of the men he dates.

Joshua: Well, I think there are two reasons for that. 1.) We work together so stopping for a drink after work is easy and natural. And 2.) I’m a pretty good cook and Colin likes to eat, so it’s not hard for me to lure him to my apartment for dinner now and then.

But the fact that I get more time with him than some of the guys he sees socially doesn’t mean a thing. He makes it clear to me all the time that we’re not in ‘a relationship’, that we’re not ‘involved’ in any way.

Interviewer: That seems cruel.

Joshua: No, Colin is never cruel. When he speaks to me about the ‘status’ of our relationship he always does so with a great deal of kindness. He’s aware of how I feel about him, and he genuinely doesn’t want to hurt me. It’s very important to him to be honest with me so that I don’t get any erroneous ideas about where our relationship is heading. And I don’t.

Interviewer: Where do you think it’s heading?

Joshua: My assumption is that eventually I’ll back away and stop seeing him. In fact I’ve started to back away already.

Interviewer: Why?

Joshua: It’s inevitable that our relationship will end, at least our social/sexual relationship. Colin doesn’t form lasting relationships. Everything is short-term with him. He guards his independence with fierce determination, almost like he’s afraid to get too close to anyone.

And, frankly, I can’t go on seeing him on a purely sexually basis. I feel too strongly about him to minimize what we share by accepting it as being that one-dimensional. In a way, I respect him too much… respect how I feel about him too much settle for being his ‘fuck buddy’. The way I feel about Colin deserves more.

Interviewer: Isn’t it rather self-defeating to spend time with someone who obviously doesn’t return your feelings?

Joshua: I thought about it a lot even before we got together for the first time. Colin is a perfect fit for every single neurosis that plagues my mind and heart. He meshes seamlessly with the low sense of self-worth I received as a gift from my abusive father. I knew before we kissed for the first time that I’d fall for him and probably end up with a broken heart.

But you have to know Colin. You have to be around him to understand. He’s so incredibly magnetic. He crackles with energy and zest for life. He smiles, and the temperature in the room goes up ten degrees. He sings like an angel and dances like a sex-obsessed whirlwind. He is every kind of charismatic you can imagine. He’s FUN! He’s a prankster. He makes every moment you’re with him entertaining and enjoyable. How could I NOT drink from that cup when it was offered? How could I say ‘no’ to that experience even knowing it came with a painful emotional price tag? I guess the fact is I couldn’t.

Interviewer: Does Colin have emotional baggage?

Joshua: I’m sure he does. In fact, I feel strongly that everything in his life revolves around a core emotional experience that he has yet to deal with fully. I don’t know what it is and I dare not ask. The walls he’s built around that part of his life are not only high and thick, they are as sensitive to the touch as an aching tooth. If you get too close to that place inside him, he recoils as though he’s been shot, and literally snarls like a wounded animal. I’d give anything if he’d let me help him. Anything. But he protects that secret with a fierce resolve. No one gets close enough to see or understand it. Certainly I haven’t. I only know it dominates his life.

Interviewer: Your father was abusive?

Joshua: He was – and still is as far as I know – an alcoholic who was both physically and emotionally abusive to my mother and myself, which naturally enough led me to approach life from a fairly introverted perspective. Even after eight years of training as a psychologist which taught me all I’d ever need to know about the issues which arise from an abusive childhood, there’s still a little boy inside me who believes it was his fault that his father didn’t seem to love him. I know in my mind that this is an erroneous concept. None of it was my fault. But knowing and believing can be two different things. Your mind can lie to you.

My father used to lock me in a dark closet for hours on end. I’d just sit there alone and cry. So my fear of abandonment and betrayal is quite high. I suppose with Colin, the fact that I knew from the get-go where it was heading bypassed any sense of betrayal I might feel when it ends. It’s not a betrayal. It’s not abandonment. It’s just Colin being Colin… which he’s been totally honest about from the very beginning.

Interviewer: Where is your father now?

Joshua: When I was eight years old he broke my arm when I tried to stop him from beating on my mother. We both ended up in the hospital and she filed charges against him. When he discovered that there was a warrant out for his arrest he fled to Canada and as far as we know he’s still there. We never heard from him again.

Interviewer: What is it like to work with Colin? Isn’t it hard given how you feel about him?

Joshua: It’s not hard at all. It’s a joy. No one who hasn’t see Colin operate as a police officer really knows him. The guys at the bar who think he’s hot and crave time in bed with him don’t know him at all. He is nothing like the persona he flashes in those social environments. Nothing.

He’s absolutely one-hundred per-cent dedicated to helping the victims of violent crime. When he deals with these victims he is gentle and incredibly protective. He can be almost obsessive about putting the perpetrators of these crimes behind bars and takes it very personally when the victims won’t prosecute or when he is unable to make a case against the accused.

There’s something deeper going on inside him when it comes to these cases. I don’t know what it is yet, but the work he does is more personal to him than one might consider normal. Watching him… helping him with these cases is tremendously fulfilling. And, he needs me. I help him find perspective at times when his emotions get too involved. And that makes me feel good.

Interviewer: Colin is unquestionably an alpha male. Is it hard to keep your own personality intact when you’re around him? Doesn’t he tend to overpower you?

Joshua: I don’t let that happen. Firstly, I don’t see him that much outside of work. Not only because he wants it that way, but also because I want it that way. He loses interest quickly so I try to maintain a bit of distance so that he doesn’t become bored with me.

Secondly, I know Colin well enough to know that he wouldn’t waste even a half-second of his precious time on a man he couldn’t respect. If I let him ride rough-shod over me I’d lose his respect and I’d never see him again. He may end up ending our social relationship… or I will. But when we walk away from each other, I insist that it be from a position of respect. I don’t let him push me around. I don’t let him disregard my feelings and opinions. He doesn’t have to return my feelings and I know damn well he doesn’t. But I do insist that he respect them. And he does.

Interviewer: What’s he like when he’s angry? Does he get angry with you?

Joshua: He’s Irish. Of course he gets angry. But oddly enough the angrier Colin gets, the quieter he gets. Colin hates losing control. He keeps a tight rein on his feelings. So, no, I’ve never seen him explode with anger. He’s been annoyed with me a few times… mainly at those times when I show too much emotion or get too sentimental with him. But he never yells at me or become abusive. He simply takes me home and doesn’t call me for a week. I guess he figures that’s punishment enough.

Interviewer: Is it?

Joshua: It’s punishment, because I do like being with him. But I still see him at work so it’s not like he can cut me out of his life completely even when he’s annoyed with me. And I’ll say this… when he gets in those moods I say and do nothing. I don’t ask him what’s wrong. I don’t tell him I miss him. I say and do nothing. Moments like those are a test and I make damn sure I pass. Getting clingy with Colin is a sure-fire way to get yourself kicked to the curb.

Interviewer: What kind of lover is he?

Joshua: Just what you’d expect. He’s as good at that as he is at everything else he does. The times when we make love are the weirdest moments in our relationship in ways. He’s so accessible then. So emotionally available. It’s almost as though those moments make it hard for him to keep his emotional barriers in place.

Don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t get all lovey-dovey even when we make love. He’s still Colin and he still keeps his distance. But there’s something in his eyes when he looks at me then… an openness that I don’t see at any other time.

He knows it too. He knows I see it. He teeters on the brink of something at times like those. It’s as though he knows he’s on the thin edge of letting himself feel something that is normally barricaded behind a million layers of rock. And, naturally enough, that makes him angry. Not angry at me. Angry at himself. And… at those moments he always has to reiterate that we’re not – and never will be – in a real relationship. I’ve almost come to expect it. And I’ve learned not to let it bother me.

Interviewer: What will you do when it ends? Won’t it be hard to go on working with him?

Joshua: I’ll probably move back to Glencoe, Illinois when our relationship ends. I’m sick of working for Title IX anyway. It’s too restrictive. I have too many limitations put on what I can or can’t say to my patients. I need a more open environment. As far as Colin goes… it’ll be hard to leave Charlottesville knowing I’ll probably never see him again. I feel certain that when I go I’ll be taking a broken heart with me. But being with him has been worth it. It really has. He’s a rare and incredible man and I know he’s not someone I will ever get over or forget. I’m not sure how anyone could.

Interviewer: Pick a song that describes you and Colin.

Joshua: Could it be anything else?

Magic Man

Cold, late night so long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A pretty man came to me
I never seen eyes so blue
You know, I could not run away it seemed
We’d seen each other in a dream
Seemed like he knew me, he looked right through me, yeah

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“you don’t have to love me yet, let’s get high awhile
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, I’m a magic man”

Winter nights we sang in tune
Played inside the months of moon
“Never think of never..let this spell last forever”
Well, summer lover passed to fall
Tried to realize it all
Mama says she’s worried, growing up in a hurry

“Come on home, girl” Mama cried on the phone
“Too soon to lose my baby yet, my girl should be at home”
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, he’s a magic man, Mama, ah
He’s a magic man

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“I cast my spell of love on you, a woman from a child”
But try to understand, try to understand
Oh, oh, try, try, try to understand,
He’s a magic man, oh, he’s got the magic hands

Oh’s over top

“Come on home, girl” he said with a smile
“You don’t have to love me yet, let’s get high awhile”
But try to understand, try to understand
Try, try, try to understand, he’s a magic man, yeah, oh

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!

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LOTS and lots of events happening as the release date for Love’s Trials approaches. Many readers are dying to know what comes next for Colin and Joshua and Love’s Trials will provide all the answers. This dynamic and remarkable couple stole everyone’s heart, and Love’s Trials will not only answer all our reader’s question but will explore Colin and Joshua’s lives with a depth and intimacy that will take your breath away.

Not all goes well for our heroes in Love’s Trials. As the name might suggest, they are forced to deal with forces outside their control which threaten not only their relationship, but their very existence.

As the release date for Love’s Trials grows closer I’ll be revealing more and more details about what lies ahead for Colin and Joshua. Most of these details will be discussed during Author Takeovers I’ll be doing on Facebook. These events are a ton of fun and offer readers the chance to ask questions, win prizes, and gain access to teasers, excerpts, and swag which will be offered nowhere else.

The Revolutionary Heart website has just introduced an Event Calendar which will let you keep track of ALL the important Takeovers, Cover Reveal, and Release Day Events taking place. Be sure to check it out so you don’t miss a chance to get in on the fun and prizes! Please note that most Author Takeovers which are held in Facebook Groups require you to join the group before the event takes place.

Here’s a list of my current events!! Hope you can join me for lots of fun, prizes, and giveaways!

Author Takeovers

Date: August 9th

Time: 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern – 5:00  –  6:00 PM Pacific



Authors T.N. Nova and Colette Davison will be doing a TAKEOVER in my group, Jan’s Jazzy Jammers!! You won’t want miss the fun! Giveaways, prizes, and excerpts from their upcoming release ‘For Your I Fall’!

Date: August 21st
Time: 3:00 PM Eastern – 1:00 PM Pacific

Please join the group before the event takes place.



Please join me in the wonderful group ‘MM BANTER’ for an Author Takeover.

Date: August 26th
Time: 3:00 PM Central  – 1:00 PM Pacific

There will be GIVEAWAYS, PRIZES, excerpts from
my upcoming release ‘Love’s Trials’ and tons of fun.
Please join the group before the event takes place.

Click here to join the MM BANTER GROUP!


Join me in Aimee’s Dye Hards for an afternoon of fun, giveaways, prizes and excerpts from my latest novel! Be sure to join the group before the takeover date!

Date: September 12th
Time: 1:00 PM Eastern – 10:00 AM Pacific

Click here to join Aimee’s Dye Hards!!!


Join me for an Author TAKEOVER in Denning’s Darlings! We’ll be doing giveaways, handing out prizes, playing games, and showing excerpts and video teasers for my upcoming release, Love’s Trials!! DON’T MISS IT! Please remember to join the group before the takeover date.

Date: September 26
Time: 12:00 PM Eastern – 9:00 AM Pacific



Join me in author T.N Nova’s SUPERNOVAS group for an Author Takeover! We’ll be talking almost exclusively about the stunning new sequel to Love’s Magic entitled LOVE’S TRIALS! There will be giveaways, swag envelope prizes, games, and tons of fun!! Please be sure to join the group before the takeover event!

Date: October 4th
Time: 2:00 PM Eastern – 11:00 AM Pacific



Special Events! 




I’d love to see all of you at these fantastic events. Hope you can stop by and win some swag, ARC copies of my books, or other fabulous prizes.

Hope to see you there!

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!

Reach me at:
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Colin and Joshua’s Tarot Cards!! A peek into their nature.

An interviewer asked me this: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that I spent 15 years reading Tarot cards and doing Astrological horoscopes for a living. Not only that, but I taught the very first online Tarot class in the history of the world and this was loooong before the Internet. It was on a service known as Quantum-Line, or Q-link which was the precursor to AOL. I taught classes there, led full moon meditations. It was great, GREAT fun!

And it was the beginning of what is now, of course, a world-wide phenomenon, the WEB. It was more fun back then because we were involved in ground-breaking activities and making our own rules up as we went… always MY favorite thing to do.

I enjoyed reading Tarot cards. I never saw them as a way to tell fortunes or predict the future. I used them much as a psychologist (Joshua?) would use ink-blots. They’re a great psychological tool, and a lot of fun.

I’ve always seen the Magician as the card meant for authors. The Magician lifts his wand toward the skies to call on inspiration and then uses the tools he has been given to make that inspiration manifest in the world. This is what authors do all the time. Even those authors who have yet to sell even one book have created something magical. They have drawn on the power of the Universe and manifested that power on Earth. I don’t care if it’s a children’s book, a cookbook, or a contemporary gay romance novel like mine… they are all a manifestation of what is most divine within each of us.



Colin’s card would have to be the Knight of Wands. Wands represents the element of fire, and I don’t think anyone would dispute me when I say that Colin is a man who overflows with fiery dynamism. He is the poster boy for primal energy, inspiration, and just plain life force. He’s enthusiastic and courageous. If you wanted to ‘light a fire under’ someone, Colin would be the perfect guy for the job. And as a Knight of Wands he wields that fire as any gallant Knight would… with courage, passion, and in a way that inspires all of us. Joshua likens Colin to Don Quixote since Colin’s quest in life, at least as Joshua sees it, is to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked. But for Colin it’s more than a quest, it’s the driving force of his life. The Knight of Wands is not someone who could ever back down or take a back seat to anyone. He’s at the forefront of every battle and in the thick of any conflict where his ideals are being challenged. Look at him holding the reins, totally in control of the wildly rearing animal with only one hand. And you can bet he makes sure there’s an audience there watching him do it. The Knight of Wands is a showoff!! He likes attention and applause.

I’ll also add that Colin absolutely sizzles with sexual heat. As Joshua noted from the moment they first met, Colin smolders with an almost dangerously seductive quality that makes him nearly impossible to resist. His is ever the ‘knight in shining armor’ charging off to meet whatever danger or challenge is foolish enough to cross his path.

The Knight of Wands will be your champion. But he can also be the chaotic force that dances through your life, leaving a tangled chaotic mess behind him. He’s a force to reckon with. Just ask Joshua.

I see Joshua as the King of Cups a card symbolized by the element of water. Emotional, healing, and always led by love, this card truly represents the rulership of the heart. But at the same time, he is a King and represents authority and responsibility. In this case, the King can feel responsible for the emotions of others and also be very much in tune with what others are feeling. This emphatic nature helps Joshua understand Colin better than Colin understands himself. During their very first get-together in Love’s Magic Joshua startles Colin by speaking with complete understanding about Colin’s most deeply held secret. See this excerpt:


“So,” Colin said, “I have a great heart, huh?”

“One of the greatest, I suspect,” Joshua replied.

Colin looked at him thoughtfully. “I’m afraid I may end up disappointing you, Josh. I’m really not all that noble.”

Joshua frowned and shook his head. “I disagree. There is something innately noble about you, Colin. Something beyond the ordinary. You’re not just a cop doing a job. It’s somehow greater than that.” He drew in a deep breath and when he spoke again his voice was low and warm with meaning. “I was serious when I compared you to Don Quixote. You seem to view your work as a personal mission. A way to right some terrible wrong. Like a knight on a noble quest.”

For a moment there was silence.

Joshua’s eyes dropped. “That’s what I see when I look at you, Colin,” he said. “A knight on a noble quest.” He lifted his head and met Colin’s eyes. “And, yeah. I know I sound like a hopeless romantic.”

Momentarily speechless, Colin’s stared at him, his heart stuttering in his chest, his honeyed-green eyes wide with surprise. Joshua knew no more about Colin than any other causal relationship in his life. And yet, without even realizing it, he had just spoken with eloquence and hair-raising accuracy of the most deeply hidden truth in Colin’s heart. “You’re…” Colin hesitated then drew in a quick breath, “…you’re damned insightful, Joshua.”

Joshua’s empathetic nature makes him a natural as a psychologist. And yet the King of Cups can often find that understanding his own emotions is a much greater challenge than understanding the feelings of others. Joshua suffered severe emotional and physical abuse as a child and the roiling waters of his emotions reflect the pain of those early years. Joshua still struggles to understand and overcome the damage done by those difficult years in his life. The King of Cups can be very introverted. He can internalize his feelings and find it difficult to trust others enough to establish real emotional intimacy.

Joshua’s King of Cups can sit on a very lonely throne. He can isolate himself to the point where it becomes difficult to reach out to others. And he can be totally prepared to flee at a moment’s notice when he suspects betrayal or abandonment may lie ahead. Joshua ran away from Colin after their first fight, convinced that offering his love to his magical Knight of Wands was a hopeless flight of fancy. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in Colin. He didn’t believe in himself.

Colin, as Joshua’s ‘Knight in shining armor’ helps him find healing and peace but only after they both face the inner demons symbolized by their Tarot card. Colin must lay aside his devotion to ‘self-image’ and allow himself to be vulnerable enough to go after Joshua and seek his forgiveness. The cool, healing waters of Joshua’s presence quench the fires of Colin’s inner Knight.

Joshua must forget his childhood fears enough to trust in Colin’s love. He must lay aside the lack of self-worth he was taught in his childhood and come to believe that he deserves the love of the Knight and champion who has swept him off his feet.

Understanding the meaning of their Tarot card gives me insight into the motivation, goals, and needs of my characters! And… it’s a fun way to relax when I’ve spent too much time bending over the computer, writing!!

What Tarot Card do you think best represents YOU?

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Straight women writing gay romance… and the gay men who love them.

I’m a straight woman who writes gay romance. I’ve been writing it almost since I was able to write. I was writing it before I knew what a homosexual was or what they did. I wasn’t writing sex scenes. I was writing love scenes. Because that’s what I write about. Love.

I had not one fucking clue what guys did in bed together. Trust me, as young as I was when I first began fantasizing about men loving men I didn’t have one fucking clue what ANYONE did in bed together, male/male, female/female/ male/female or any other combination you could imagine. I was an ignorant country girl who knew nothing about sex. I just know I loved the idea of two guys loving each other.

Fast forward to the days after I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way… (See my previous post ‘The Longest Journey’) … the days when I first began writing slash fan fiction. At that time I wrote in the toughest slash fiction genre in existance. I wrote RPF slash.

For anyone who doesn’t know, RPF slash means writing ‘real person’ slash. Slash fiction where the characters are real, living human beings. For reference simply type ‘J2 slash’ into Google and you’ll have forty-seven trillion examples of what I mean.

In those days writing RPF was frowned upon, even by other writers of slash fiction and the small group of us who wrote in that genre labored under the distinct impression that we were the proverbial red-headed stepchild. We were told in no uncertain terms that we were an embarrassment to the rest of the slash writing community. We were encouraged to both hide our heads in shame and hide our stories in dark corners where no decent writer of slash fiction would ever have to look at them. My response to their ravings was to say ‘fuck it’ and go on writing my stories.

Dealing with all of this crap was a huge pain in the butt back then, particularly in the Lord of the Rings slash fandom. When the movies first came out, focus on the male actors was damn near obsessive and the RPF slash writers who wrote them were under constant attack for doing so. At one point I even received a death-threat.

Dealing with all this left me very little time or emotional energy left to consider whether or not I should be writing gay fiction as a straight woman. I just wrote it and in the beginning I confess that I wrote it poorly. In the beginning my characters weren’t all that believable. And I feel sure that if anyone possessing real knowledge of what two men do in bed together had read my early slash stories, they would have immediately run off in search of an insulin injection. The men in my stories were femmy and unrealistic. The sex scenes… ditto.

I was still an ignorant farm girl who didn’t know what she was doing and knew even less about the reality of M/M relationships. I doubt if I’d ever, to my knowledge, actually met a gay man. All I knew was what I loved. And even back then I stove with every fiber of my being to value the love in my stories above sex… important though it is and as much as I love writing it.

But I was also smart enough to realize how little I knew about the reality of MM relationships and I because I loved writing gay romance and because I loved my characters and wanted them to be as good as I could possibly make them, I went in search of the truth… or at least what truth was available back then.

I was fortunate, because there was a wonderful, amazing, gay man named Minotaur. He attended every slash fiction conference out there (not many at the time) and offered panels specifically designed to teach writers of slash fiction the reality of MM relationships, particularly when it comes to what happens in bed.

His blog (which is STILL up and available) discussed every single aspect of male/male sex complete with illustrations. He has a HUGE question and answer section which provides information on every aspect of the M/M sexual relationship. Here is one example:

Dramatic asks,

I was wondering, when I guy has sex the first time and he’s on the bottom, how much would it hurt when the other man enters him? Would it tear skin, cause bleeding at all? Who would get the orgasm first, the one on top or bottom? I suppose top, but…

Dear Dramatic,

The pain a guy feels the first time he bottoms depends on a bunch of factors. How comfortable is he with the idea of getting fucked? How comfortable is he with the other guy? How scared is he? How horny? How drunk? All these, and more, will have a profound effect on how much pain he feels – if any.

If he’s comfortable, and turned on, and relaxed, he may feel no pain at all. If he’s tense, or nervous, or conflicted about the act, he may feel too much pain to complete the act.

It’s not like a woman’s first time – where the hymen gets broken. There is no *physical* reason why a guy can’t enjoy his first experience of anal sex – it’s mostly psychological. The more tense a guy is, the less his anal sphincter muscles will be able to relax and allow penetration. The more relaxed he is, the more control he’ll have over his own body, and the easier it will be.

As for the orgasm, there’s no way to tell who will pop first. It depends on what’s going on. Is the bottom enjoying himself? Is the top prone to pop quickly, or can he last all night? Too many factors to predict with any accuracy

— Minotaur

His answers were straight-forward, blunt, graphic, to the point, and pulled no punches. He was over-the-top about the importance of safe sex and spoke of it constantly. He was a mentor to every slash writer of my generation and his website is STILL one of the most valuable resources a writer of gay romance can find.

So I make no apologies for being a straight woman writing gay romance. I had a great mentor, and one of the main things he taught me was to never close my mind to any situation that develops between two human beings no matter what their gender or sexual orientation.

Sadly, Minotaur died in 2009 of a massive heart attack, but his wisdom and journal lives on in perpetuity. I feel sure that slash writers and gay romance writers STILL visit his website. I also feel sure that any writer of gay fiction who goes to Minotaur’s website will learn something valuable about their genre and be a better writer for having visited. I’m just grateful that he was around when I first started to write slash fiction.

What I love most about him is that he valued the women who were trying to articulate their love of gay romance and gay fiction. He valued us enough to become our teacher and to be certain we had all the knowledge we needed in order to write our genre with truth and authority.

I still miss him. I still value him. I still feel grateful to him. And I still honor him for taking all of us under his wing.

Go visit Minotaur’s Website! You’ll be glad you did.

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!