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 is available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited and SOON it will also be available in audio format, narrated by the amazing Walker Williams! 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.


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Review of Love’s Magic by ‘Kimmers Erotic Book Banter’

There are some review which capture the heart and soul of a book much more so than any other. This review from Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter did just that.  It didn’t simply talk about what I wrote… it saw beneath the surface to the true reasons why Love’s Magic exists.

Especially now, in an age when a man nominated to the Supreme Court is accused of sexual assault by more than one woman, Love’s Magic speaks with a resounding voice about these issues that affected so many of us… including me…. and that will CONTINUE to affect us, particularly in the age of Trump.

It is my privilege to share this review  with you.

REVIEW: 

Janice Jarrell’s Love’s Magic reads matter-of-factly, even as deep emotions whiz by. A similar paradox occurs as Jarrell pairs a double-romance with a dreadful theme, that of campus sexual assaults. However, her distance works, creating suspense in the context of charmingly thick-headed couples.

The first pair consists of David, an older, well-loved, tenured professor, and his lover, Nate, a newly-minted professor. In fact, to get Nate hired, David had to battle homophobic Professor Fox, Nate’s Department Chair. David is understandably overprotective of Nate. But this rankles Nate, who is trying to make his own reputation on campus.

One night, Nate successfully prevents an attempted rape, not knowing the target is Professor Fox’s niece. When Nate is stabbed in the rescue, Dr. Fox takes an about-face in their relationship. He asks Nate to stand with him in organizing a campus protest, requesting their university do more to prevent campus assaults.

This puts David in an awkward position, as his friend, the Chancellor, doesn’t want negative publicity for the university. Nate’s tenure could be on the line if he participates in the rally.

Will two relationships, one established, one just blooming, be swept aside by the violence and turmoil of sexual assault, with its sometimes deadly consequences?

The second couple includes Colin, who is campus police. He might be a boisterous, carefree, larger-than-life Irish bachelor in private, but he’s a methodical champion of his student victims. Normally, the university’s Title IX campus liaison has been a thorn in Colin’s side. That person’s job is to neutrally assess both sides of an episode, supposed victim and assailant. Then Collin meets the new liaison; quiet, compassionate, steady Joshua, who challenges Colin to acknowledge his own dark past, and the lack of intimacy it has generated.

Will two relationships, one established, one just blooming, be swept aside by the violence and turmoil of sexual assault, with its sometimes deadly consequences?

I certainly learned a great deal about the issue of campus assault from ‘Love’s Magic’. For example, since universities must treat every student equally, they may have a very nuanced view of accuser and accused. This means their Title IX liaison might perceive an assault differently than campus police, with their tendency to label crimes as perpetrator versus victim.

Likewise, those directly and indirectly affected by crimes can have conflicting needs. One may want justice and the other security.

And assault, which is especially prevalent for the LGBTQ community, often creates long-term difficulties for unprepared families and communities. Their recovery needs are each unique.

Rather than read about the effects of this very important topic in a theoretical manner, Jarrell shows readers, as we follow the lives of four men in these two matches. And she permits us a glimpse into the differences between personality types as well.

In so doing, Jarrell examines the core of love, itself. What are over-dependence, independence and interdependence? How can an individual perceive one behavior as kindness while another experiences it as rejection? Why do those undergoing similar traumas recover with very different reactions and styles? 

Rather than read about the effects of this very important topic in a theoretical manner, Jarrell shows readers, as we follow the lives of four men in these two matches. And she permits us a glimpse into the differences between personality types as well.

For all this, the book remains a romance whose couples are often surprised by the strengths and fragility of love. Jarrell creates great tension against which acts of sweetness are starkly satisfying. She takes care to follow her men past where some romances end, so we may understand the lasting implications of crimes and those affected.

Sensitive readers will especially appreciate Love’s Magic. Despite its thoroughness and suspense, the novel is never gruesome. Ms. 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!

Love’s Magic Available now on Amazon!


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Love’s Magic Available now on Amazon for $1.99!

Love’s Trials Pre-Order now on Amazon!

Love’s Trials – Charlottesville

As the video trailer for Love’s Trials suggests, the ‘Unite the Right’ protests in Charlottesville is an important part of Colin and Joshua’s unfolding story. 

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 even more. They weren’t spectators as the terrible events of that day unfolded, they were participants. It was a moment in their lives when they were forced to face some of their most deeply felt enmities. Enmities rooted in racial memories too profound to ignore. It was a day when they feared for the safety of the ones they love most. And it was also a day of responsibility, duty, and trial.

Love’s Magic is set in Charlottesville. Much of the storyline revolves around the University of Virginia and the politics which are a fundamental part any organization that large and unwieldy. Love’s Trials features the same characters and when the ‘Unite the Right’ protests happened in Charlottesville it was simply impossible for me to ignore an occurrence that fundamentally important to our nation’s history. It 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 from start to finish. Joshua, the Jewish man who loved him, would experience this incident on an intensely personal level, both because the involvement of the neo-Nazi’s awakens deeply felt historical and family memories and because the man he loves is involved in every aspect of this 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 hearing 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 have to stay in control of his emotions. Certainly, he would have longed to batter the Nazi protestors 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. Further, responding with undue force could easily have provoked a response from the supremacists in which innocent citizens could be 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 that day. 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 on that dramatic day. He was in the thick of every event that took place in Charlottesville on August 12th, 2017, but those events were also 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. 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 many family members in the Holocaust, he possessed a unique perspective regarding the ‘Unite the Right’ march in Charlottesville. He was filled 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 seriously 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 the event would have placed the man he loved in danger, and Colin made it clear he was vehemently opposed to Joshua being anywhere near the protests. 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 after 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: This incident doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what they’re forced to face in this book. But 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 Available now on Amazon!

Love’s Trials Available now on Amazon!

LOVE’S TRIALS COVER REVEAL!


LOVE’S TRIALS COVER REVEAL!


COMING ON OCTOBER 12TH
PRE-ORDER NOW!


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Love’s Magic Available now on Amazon!

Love’s Trials Pre-Order now on Amazon!

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 (www.daranelson.com) and you can contact me there, but the best place is Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kendelduncanauthor)
Or (https://www.facebook.com/DaraNelsonauthor)

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 (http://loveunchainedreviews.com) 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.

Love’s Legacy – Janice Jarrell in MOBI format.

Loves-Legacy-Janice-Jarrell in EPUB format.

INTERVIEW WITH COLIN CAMPBELL!


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?
Irish.

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?
Baseball

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?
Pizza.

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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