Feb 9 2009
We hosted a series of posts by guests last year called “If You Like”. The purpose of the post and the comments is to explore what we like about a particular author and what other authors have books like the author. If you would like to host an “If You Like” post, please email me at Jane at dearauthor.com
Val Kovalin who writes about fantasy fiction at ValKovalin.com and m/m fiction at Obsidian Bookshelf is hosting this If You Like entry on Jordan Castillo Price. Val Kavolin did a great piece on Julia Spencer Fleming, a favorite of author of mine.
It’s with great interest that I’ve read the comments of many DearAuthor readers, already fans of traditional m/f romance, who are venturing into m/m fiction. I happen to be doing the same thing, but coming from the opposite direction (m/m to m/f) so maybe I can help.
Jordan’s strong points include the following:
- Comedy. This is so rare and so worthwhile! I deeply appreciate the author who can make me laugh.
- Creative genre-blending. A typical piece by Jordan can contain romance, erotica, comedy, horror, mystery, and paranormal elements.
- Male characters who are GUYS through and through. Some women authors don’t write believable men, but Jordan does.
- Precise and vivid details that make each piece come alive with sensory detail.
Publishing in ebook and print, Jordan is currently working on two m/m series. The first is the PsyCop series, and the second is the Channeling Morpheus / Sweet Oblivion series. Fans of Josh Lanyon should take note: Jordan will be the co-writer with him on the Partners in Crime series forthcoming from MLR Press.
The PsyCop series. In this universe, psychic cops of various specialties partner with non-psychic cops in the elite PsyCop units. Vic is a cop with a mysterious past who can contact the dead – so naturally he works Homicide. He’s also a nervous wreck who copes by ingesting pharmaceuticals of all types. His boyfriend Jacob is a non-psychic cop. Supporting characters include Lisa, a precognitive cop; Carolyn, a truth-seer who is Jacob’s partner; and occult-shop employee Crash, an empath who delights in complicating the relationship between Vic and Jacob. The PsyCop series maintains an unusual balance between realism, angst, and comedy as it delves into the psychological and emotional problems of Vic.
Here are the PsyCop titles:
- PsyCop 1 – Among the Living
- PsyCop 2 – Criss Cross
- PsyCop 3 – Body & Soul
- PsyCop 4 – Secrets
The Channeling Morpheus series. Channeling Morpheus is a five-novella cycle published by Changeling Press. It will soon be followed by a second cycle centered on the same characters and titled Sweet Oblivion. It’s darker in tone than the PsyCop series and centers on the obsessive emotional and sexual relationship between a vampire-slaver named Michael and a vampire named Wild Bill. I’m normally not a fan of vampires or erotica so it says a LOT that I find this particular series fresh and involving. Also, the characters travel vast distances and Jordan conveys a uniquely American sense of place as they drift from coffee shop to truck stop to fleabag motel.
Here are the Channeling Morpheus titles:
- Channeling Morpheus 1 – Payback
- Channeling Morpheus 2 – Vertigo
- Channeling Morpheus 3 – Manikin
- Channeling Morpheus 4 – Tainted
Jordan offers some stand-alone stories for free or for less than one dollar on her Lulu.com site: http://stores.lulu.com/jcprice
Setting (era): Contemporary
These books are set in the here-and-now with the internet playing a significant role in the Channeling Morpheus series.
Setting (geographic): Midwestern USA
The PsyCop series is set in Chicago and the Midwest. The Channeling Morpheus series is set throughout the Midwest.
Heroine type: None so far
This is m/m fiction so we’ve got two male leads and some supporting female characters. Lisa Gutierrez from the PsyCop series is especially vivid as the inexperienced young cop struggling to control her precognitive talents.
Hero type: Smart, funny, and a bit anxious
It’s hard to reduce the heroes to only a few words. Vic from the PsyCop series is the most anxious. He’s insecure, high-strung, and funny. His boyfriend Jacob, sexy and self-confident, offers him a protective sense of stability. In Channeling Morpheus, Michael the young vampire-slayer has a vulnerable exterior that masks a mysterious resolve and cold willingness to kill. Wild Bill is probably my favorite narrator: his rebellious nature and harsh, unsentimental vernacular hide a deeply romantic heart. The contrast between what he says and what he feels is striking.
Plot (action-oriented / character-driven): Both
Each installment has an external conflict that must be solved: a mystery for the PsyCop characters or a quest for the Channeling Morpheus characters. The overall story arc develops their character evolution. In the PsyCop series, Vic learns to use his psychic talent and to develop enough trust to flourish in his relationship with Jacob. In Channeling Morpheus, Michael and Bill negotiate the pitfalls of attraction between vampire and slayer.
Plot (slow/fast): Fast
Not a word gets wasted. These stories really move.
Writing style (simple v. ornate): Simple
The writing style is pared-down and swift, but it still contains some beautiful prose such as this description from Wild Bill’s viewpoint (from page 22 of Channeling Morpheus 4 – Tainted):
“- I half-dreamt that I was lying in the sun under a tree with fallen peaches all around me, overripe, fermented, practically rotten, their fuzz burst and split in places, swarmed with buzzing hornets and crawling with ants.”
Dialogue (lots v. little): A balanced, medium amount
Some of the funniest moments come from her dialogue.
Humor (Yes/No-serious/some): Yes
This is serious fiction that contains a lot of humor. One of my favorite scenes comes from PsyCop 3 Body & Soul when Vic visits Jacob’s family in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. On page 20, Jacob’s dad informs their guest from Chicago of their position on football:
“We don’t watch the Bears in this house unless they’re getting their asses handed to them by the Packers.”
Emotional Angst (high/medium/low): Medium
Definitely there is emotional angst in both series. Vic copes with drug addiction, covert government conspiracies, and the harrowing experience of being harassed non-stop by the dead. Bill and Michael struggle with their intense emotional and sexual connection when they know that they should be mortal enemies.
Conflict (externally driven/internally driven/both): Both
See my comments about Plot (action-oriented / character-driven).
Heat level (kisses/warm/hot/scorching): Scorching
Fans of erotica, rejoice. There is no demure fade-out in either series. The sex is explicit, realistic, well-written, and emotionally engaging. In particular, the sex scenes in Channeling Morpheus 2 – Vertigo are among the very best I’ve ever read.
If you like Jordan Castillo Price, you probably like a balance of paranormal with detailed, realistic settings. You’ll appreciate humor and explicit sex scenes. If this sounds like you, then definitely check out J. M. Snyder’s The Bonds of Love series set in Richmond, Virginia. This paranormal romance centers on a bus driver named Vic Braunson who develops an ever-changing array of superpowers through the mysterious influence of his lover, a fitness instructor named Matt DiLorenzo.
The Bonds of Love has humor, explicit sex, and a very appealing relationship between the two heroes. It also features precise, vivid sensory detail that grounds you in everyday Richmond, Virginia – sensory detail that I, as an aficionado of true escapism, look for but seldom find.
Readers, it’s your turn. What fiction would you recommend?