Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

If You Like Jordan Castillo Price . . . Hosted...

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.

book review 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

You can buy the installments individually as ebooks or combined into print volumes: PsyCop 1 & 2 are combined in PsyCop Partners. PsyCop 3 & 4 are combined in PsyCop Property.

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?

Guest Reviewer

24 Comments

  1. Jordan Castillo Price
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 07:41:27

    Wow, Val, this sure is an amazing start to my week! Thanks so much for all the kind words.

    My catch-all website, http://jordancastilloprice.com, is another place to pop by if you’re interested in finding out more about my writing.

    Readers, it's your turn. What fiction would you recommend?

    Josh Lanyon, and not just because we’re working on the Partners in Crime series together! His protagonists are real smart-asses. More than once, I’ve woken up my sleeping boyfriend because I’m reading in bed and laughing at something one of Josh’s leading men has said.

    Kage Baker, because she can hop into the head of such a wide variety of protagonists, and you buy it every time. I almost didn’t get past the first book in her Company series, because she nailed the personality of a sulky teenaged girl all too well — so I’d encourage you to try it at least through book 2. It’s historical SF, time traveling, eternally living cyborgs who get drunk on chocolate, heavy on both romance and social commentary.

    Kim Harrison, who blends horror, comedy and urban fantasy. Not strictly romance, but there’s a love interest in every story. I adore her pixie characters!

  2. Val Kovalin
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 07:51:50

    Thanks again, Jane, this looks good. Here’s an update of some of Jordan’s recent and upcoming publications.

    PsyCop 5 – Camp Hell is now available. This explores Vic’s mysterious past.

    Channeling Morpheus 5 – Rebirth is now available.

    Sweet Oblivion 1 – Brazen is now available. This continues the story started in the Channeling Morpheus series.

    The Partners in Crime Stories with Josh Lanyon: The Art of Dying will be available Feb 09.

  3. whey
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 07:53:58

    One of the best series ever. JCP definitely in my top-five m/m authors. One of these days, I’m going to have to mail her the print copies I bought so she can sign them for me. /fan-nerding over

  4. Andrea__88
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 08:27:00

    I have no idea how I stumbled onto the PsyCop series but I am so glad I did!
    I love every piece JCP has written. I too have woken people up with my laughter at something she’s written or as JCP pointed out what Josh Lanyon has written.
    These two are my favorite authors of the genre and when I found out they would be partners in the Partners in Crime series I was in heaven.
    Give each a try, you won’t be disappointed.

  5. bluearachnid
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 08:27:03

    Just finished reading Brazen last night and it was the best in the series so far. Of course, I always think JCP’s latest book is the best ever so far. She’s one of the few authors whose books I buy as soon as I know they’re available.

  6. jackie
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 08:40:39

    JCP and Josh Lanyon are two of my favorite writers (m/m or otherwise). Their stories have all the elements I love: humor, angst and and real plot! Their characters are just sort of quietly masculine w/o being hyper macho (okay, the cop boyfriends are a little macho – but we love them anyway). And – my favorite part – they have vulnerabilities w/o being whimpering or needy. They deal. Then their love interest comes along and gives them the support they need to deal better. And oh does it get better! The romance is sweet and well developed and woven all through the story. And the sex is hot! The key is that this all takes place within a real STORY. These aren’t books about a series of misunderstandings that break up the pair over and over again. There is an actual PLOT.

    I have read everything by both of these authors and I am so excited to have them paired in the Partners in Crime series. Can’t wait!

    Be sure to sign up for Jordan’s newsletter to get installments of her free story Zero Hour. I am loving it.

  7. Alex Draven
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 09:18:04

    JCP’s PsyCops is one of my favourite supernatural series, as well as some of my favourite m/m fiction.

    My rec for an ‘if you like JCP try …’? Manna Francis’ Adminstration series. There’s no supernatural, but it’s a fabulous dystopic future, and that same blend of character-and-action based plot, sexy sex, compelling relationships, and wonderful writing. Oh, and Anah Crow – particularly Tomorrow’s Gambit.

  8. canadianstudies
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 09:36:56

    For readers that like Jordan’s books’ horror/ dark urban fantasy elements, I highly recommend Simon Green’s Nightside series, or Tanya Huff’s Blood series.

    For readers that like Jordan’s books’ erotic/romantic elements, I highly recommend Josh Lanyon (I have a sneaking suspician these two are the best in the m/m field when it comes to truly *sexy* erotic scenes- no schmaltz and a decent helping of humour).

    If you like strong secondary female characters, you might want to try the yaoi manga FAKE.

    Finally, if you love witty banter or snarky one-off comments, check out the web published series ‘Shadow of the Templar’ by M. Chandler- truly hysterical.

  9. Clare London
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 09:49:17

    I think you summed it up perfectly – ‘not a word is wasted’. JCP writes the prose I love best of all, where I *daren’t* skip, where I can feel every sense engaged, when I really, really don’t want it to end *lol*. And I can re-read it, too, whereas some authors are truly consumable.

    I love Manna Francis too, her style has a similar bite to it – sharp and witty and hot but never cutting. And I recently read and love K Z Snow’s ‘Looking for Some Touch’, I loved that blend of urban fantasy, sympathetic hero(es) and sexy banter.

    It’s just such a treat to read JCP’s stuff! Her enjoyment of it all really comes through.
    :)

  10. MD
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 10:04:26

    I would recommend Gym Dandy by Storm Grant. Very lively and humorous with characters who are about as exasperatingly male as you’d want.

    Also all the Nightlife novels by Rob Thurman. The character of Goodfellow is one of the sexiest bi guys I’ve ever read and the books are so funny. I hope he gets his own story soon.

  11. aninsomniac
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 10:07:57

    One of my current favourite authors! I ADORE this genre: horror gay romance. I never thought the combination would work, but it does. And that is a testament to the writing style and the awesomely creative plotlines. And I think JCP has something in a series that many other gay romance fiction writers do not and that is a very strong plot. A plot so interesting that I would totally read this book even without the sex scenes or the romance. I wouldn’t say that for almost any other writer!

    And I say almost because there is one other author I would recommend in this genre (apart from the very excellent Snyder whom someone else mentioned): L.M. Prieto. Her Shadowhunt (collab) was excellent but her After series is DIVINE. Macabre gay romance has never been so good!

    -anin

  12. Kevin
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 11:15:11

    I was directed toward Jordan’s work by another friend and immediately fell in love with the Psycop series from the first book. I am a gay man and enjoy a good gay romance, as long as there is some plot to it as well. One thing I really enjoy about Jordan’s work is that her stories are about people living their lives and doing their jobs. They just happen to be gay. There is much more to the plot than the fact that they are gay. I also like that she writes the characters and their relationships as 2 men. She doesnt try to fit two men into a relationship as if they were a man and a woman. I highly recommend her books.

    As for other writers, I do agree with the recommendation for Josh Lanyon, as I enjoy his books as well. Two others I enjoy are Carol Lynne, who writes the Campus Cravings and Cattle Valley series. I also enjoy the books of TA Chase.

  13. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 11:30:43

    Wow, thanks, Clare! I second Manna Francis, whose work has a sharp glint I find really arresting. I’ve just discovered Frank Tuttle, too — wonderfully imaginative writer! — but don’t expect an overabundance of sex and romance.

  14. Josh Lanyon
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 11:53:57

    I was a big fan of Jordan’s before we were ever partnered, and I just want to say what an honor it is to do the Partners in Crime series with her. I’m looking forward eagerly to everything she writes.

  15. LoriK
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 12:03:12

    You can’t see me, but I’m giving a Happy Fangirl wave to Jordan.

    I don’t remember what made me buy the first PsychCop book but I was so glad that I did. I’ve really enjoyed the whole series. Vic & Jacob are one of my favorite fictional couples. I’ll definitely be making notes to check out other similar books.

  16. jenre
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 12:44:41

    I’m currently working my way through the psycop books. They are such a great blend of horror and romance, with a great big dollop of black humour! Some of the best scenes are when Vic has various conversations with the ghosts that he can see.

  17. cs
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 14:02:47

    I enjoyed the first two books of the Psycop series (actually I love them) – but found the rest under-par (for me anyway). I, however believe the author is one of the strongest m/m voices in the genre (esp: e-publishing anyway). Her Channeling Morpheus series is genius.

    Recommendations? Um…Matthew Thomas Ford, Patricia Nell Warren, Alex Sanchez, Steve Kluger, Angela Fiddler (for her Master of the Lines series).

  18. orannia
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 17:59:43

    Thank you Val! (After reading your Julia Spencer-Fleming post I picked up the first book….I’m picking up the sixth from the library tomorrow :)

    I’ve only been reading m/m romance for a few months but am really enjoying the subgenre and thus am on the lookout for new authors. I haven’t read any of JCP’s books – does it matter which series I start with?

    As for other authors, I echo Alex’s comment on Manna Francis’ Administration series!

  19. cs
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 19:23:33

    Orannia: If you’re looking to maybe sample the author’s work, or start with a shorter series then I’d start with Channeling Morpheus. If you want to start with a longer series (i.e. novel-length books) then I’d go with Pyscop.

    But it doesn’t matter what series you start with, since the two are so different from each other (in writing especially).

  20. Ali
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 19:52:51

    I love the Psycop books. I couldn’t believe how much after I started reading them. And I’m not a big vampire fan but Channeling Morpheus has hooked me 100%. I love all JCP’s characters, her supporting characters are just as strong and individual as the main ones.

    Can’t wait for the collaboration with Josh Lanyon, another of my favourites.

  21. jackie
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 21:14:28

    Here are some other books/authors who are like JCP in that there is a sweet romance in the context of a well-developed story and they all have scifi/paranormal elements too:

    Seti’s Heart by Kiernan Kelly

    The Long Way Home by Z.A. Maxfield

    all of A.M. Riley’s books (except for the lighter, multi-partner Goldilocks series – not my kind of thing)

    Monster/Zombie/Minder series by Joely Skye

  22. Tae
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 04:59:56

    I just finished The Hell You Say by Lanyon and I was instantly screaming for more because the book left me hanging. I want to know what happens to Adrian and Jake!!!!

    I’m very new to m/m romance, but I am definitely interested in reading more. I did just read a Carol Lynne book this afternoon and I have to admit the sex was great, but the character interaction just didn’t seem realistic for me. I guess for me the guys just didn’t seem “guy” enough, which is why I love Lanyon’s books. To me I can see Jake and Adrian as real people.

    Anyways, JCP sounds very interesting right now and I will check out the books.

  23. Magda
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 16:56:47

    This is my first time on your site. I usually dislike reading reviews since I think they often praise unpraiseworthy writing. You got this one right though. Jordan is a special storyteller.

    I became a fan of Jordan’s work after reading Among the Living when it was initially published at Torquere. I was hooked. I trust her to always make me think, laugh, empathize with her characters and feel so, so, satisfied after her sex scenes….whew! I trust her to always give my money’s worth.

  24. What Sunita is Reading in late September and early October - Dear Author
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 10:55:40

    [...] of Jordan Castillo Price’s m/m paranormal mysteries, even though she was the subject of an If You Like column here at Dear Author. I’d heard wonderful things about her books for years, and I have enjoyed [...]

%d bloggers like this: