5 Stars, Genre Romance, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa, Short Story

Review: Memento by Jordan Castillo Price

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Title: Memento (A PsyCop Short)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Word Count: 22 Pages

At a Glance: If you love the PsyCop series, don’t miss Memento.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Seasons change, and so do fashion trends. But in this heartstring-tugging PsyCop short, what’s beneath the clothes matters most.

Do clothes make the man? Jacob Marks cuts an impressive figure in his tailored suits, but Victor Bayne is another story. Nowadays, Vic does his ghosthunting in off-the-rack blazers, polyester blend slacks and cop shoes with nonskid soles. But back before he was a PsyCop—or even officially psychic—he rocked combat boots and a beat up biker jacket…and lots and lots of punk T-shirts. When he finds a faded tee in the back of a drawer, he’s eager to lob it in the trash. Jacob, however, finds himself waxing sentimental about Vic’s younger, more carefree days.

This steamy 5000-word PsyCop short in Jacob’s voice takes place after PsyCop #6, GhosTV.

Dividers

Review: On the list of things I love about the PsyCop series is the first person narrative. Victor Bayne tells a great story, sticks to the facts—which are often spare when it comes to personal details—and in that, we always see Jacob through the filter of Vic’s penchant for understatement and, perhaps, underestimating just how much Jacob loves him. And this is why I adore Jordan Castillo Price for giving us these little day-in-the-life snippets from Jacob’s point of view.

Memento shows us the sentimental side of Jacob Marks, gives us a glimpse of the Vic we never get to see from Vic’s POV. In this vignette we get to see just how much Jacob treasures even the smallest tokens of Vic’s past—before the asylum and before Camp Hell—and how distractible Vic is when it comes to his excessively sexy man. This is such a sweet and erotic little scene—no ghosts to contend with (except the ghost of a memory), just Jacob showing us how much he treasures these quiet and mundane moments at home with Vic. It’s an unexpectedly sincere peek inside the framework of a partnership that shows us Jacob loves Victor Bayne for much more than his ability to see ghosts.

If you love the PsyCop series, don’t miss Memento. I’ve already read it twice because, like Jacob, I have a miles-wide mushy sentimental streak, especially when it comes to these two men.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy Memento here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Audio Gem

Title: Camp Hell (PsyCop: Book Five)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 10 Hours and 55 Minutes

At a Glance: The PsyCop series is the perfect marriage of author and narrator.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?

Dividers

Review: Fans of any book series, regardless of genre, will know what I mean when I call Camp Hell a transition book. It’s the book in the series where the hero hits a point in his story arc that signifies an evolution from which there’s no turning back. Victor Bayne has come to that crossroad in Camp Hell, Jacob Marks along with him, and it’s in this book that the PsyCop series transitions from outstanding speculative fiction to entering a class in the M/M genre all by itself.

Up until now, Vic has been rather a blank slate with regards to his time at Heliotrope Station—a.k.a. Camp Hell—and it hasn’t helped that he can’t find a single mention of the place, or of himself, on the internet. Camp Hell has become the one spectre Victor Bayne, medium extraordinaire, can’t see. Nor can he find any trace of some of the names he remembers from his stint there—as if neither the place nor that period of time were even a reality on his physical plane of existence. Except that Vic knows Camp Hell was real, and now he’s located someone to help him dig up and sift through some of those repressed memories.

We learn some things about Vic in this installment of the series, some pretty revealing things, one of them being that before Jacob stormed into Vic’s life, there was Stefan Russo. And Victor loved him. But, not quite enough to prevent Vic from keeping his face turned toward the sun and bolting from Heliotrope Station at the first opportunity. Stefan, now Steven Russell, fourteen years later, is the one who will help Vic remember the fragments of their time together at Camp Hell. Which leads to another of the things we learn in the process, and that’s how very few people—if any—Vic has in his life that he can trust with every part of himself. But we also finally get to see that Jacob comes first on that list.

In Camp Hell something quite significant also becomes much clearer with respect to the relationship between Victor and Jacob, and what Jacob means as a presence in Vic’s life. Vic’s life is death—so much of his existence revolves around the dead, but Jacob…Jacob is a source of life and energy that Victor knows he can trust, possibly even cling to when he needs it, and it’s a great contrast which is juxtaposed even further in that Vic also knows that to work with Jacob would drain him dry, in no uncertain terms.

Not only does Camp Hell excel at exposing more about the characters in this series we’re already familiar with, it also introduces some new players whose roles will be significant as the plot thickens and this series progresses. But where this novel reaches its pinnacle is in the supernatural elements Jordan Castillo Price has imagined, which is not only written with an impressive amount of detail but in a bone-chilling, goose-bump inducing, full-on horror genre fashion. The true horror, however, may be the reinforcement that human monsters exist.

The imagery in the climactic scene with Vic, Jacob, and the ghost at LaSalle Hospital is some of the most vivid fiction I’ve ever read, or, in this case, listened to, the kind of scene you still see when it’s over, every time you close your eyes. Not only that, but it’s such a pivotal moment for both Vic and Jacob, and was the aftermath of us empathizing just a little more with Zig, as well as it being the precursor to a touching and quite human moment with Warwick, a poignancy that doesn’t hit you until that “ah-ha” moment, and then makes your heart clench in empathy.

What could have possibly made this book better? Only one thing: Gomez Pugh narrating it. I’m running out of superlatives to heap on this man’s head, to be perfectly frank, and I remain impressed by not only his capturing Vic’s wit, pragmatism, and an insouciance the medium doesn’t necessarily feel—though attempts to project when anything more would reveal too much—but he continues to come up with new pitches and inflections for the impressive array of characters, both male and female, in the PsyCop series. The addition of Richie (aka Einstein) and his giggle; Dead Darla, who sounds exactly like a woman who’d be called Dead Darla; Con Dreyfuss, the wolf in hemp clothing; and Stefan, whose pretension and personality ooze from Pugh’s vocal cords, only serve to elevate this novel’s intensity and provocativeness.

The PsyCop series and Gomez Pugh were made for each other, the perfect marriage of a narrator who clearly appreciates the material he’s performing, and a series that uses his vocal prowess to its best effect.

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You can buy Camp Hell here:

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Lisa

E-book and Audio Review: Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

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Title: Body Art

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Run Time: 108 Pages/ 3 Hours and 24 Minutes

At a Glance: A little murder and another stellar performance by Gomez Pugh make perfect companions of this e- and audiobook.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Does everyone have a certain “type” they end up with…whether they want to or not? If Ray Carlucci’s ex is anything to go by, Ray likes his men gorgeous, rebellious, and chock-full of issues. But now that Ray is single again, he has a shot at a fresh start—a very fresh start, since his tattoo shop was gutted by repo men and he can fit all his belongings in the trunk of a taxi.

Ray’s shiny new chauffeur’s license lands him a job as a driver for an elderly couple on Red Wing Island. It’s a cold fall, and since the Michigan island is the summer home to snowbirds who fly south for the winter, it’s practically deserted—save for Ray’s new household and a sculptor named Anton Kopec, who works day and night twisting brambles and twine into the distorted shapes of macabre creatures. Compelling, bizarre, and somewhat disturbing…not just the sculptures, but the artist, too. Ray has a feeling Anton is just his “type.”

Despite their scorching chemistry, when a dead body is unearthed by some workers and a freak ice storm traps them all on the island, Ray can’t say for certain that his new flame isn’t capable of murder.

Dividers

Review: One of the things I love about Jordan Castillo Price’s work is that you never quite know what you’re going to get between the covers of her books. Sure, you have the blurb, but that’s just the bait to lure you in. What hooks me, without fail, every time, is her characters. Anton Kopec embodies the flawed men this author makes us fall for. Ray Carlucci embodies the flawed men this author makes us relate to. Sometimes her characters are challenged by a psychological affliction, and sometimes they’re just regular guys who get kicked in the teeth when it’s not quite bad enough that life already has their privates twisted firmly in a vice.

This short novel, Body Art, is billed as a thriller, and that it is. The setting evolves with the change of seasons on a Michigan island, just as summer has turned to autumn, and autumn is quickly swept aside by the unforgiving nature of a winter ice storm, which adds a terrible beauty to the island’s isolation and the eerie desolation of a dark forest thick with the unknown.

When immolated animals begin showing up on Ray’s doorstep, there is a clear and present bizarreness that sneaks up on readers—at first seeming innocuous enough as we’re empathizing with Ray’s “every man” troubles, but at the same time, we also know nothing good is bound to happen with this sort of foreshadowing. The atmosphere and anticipation in this novella is built slowly and begins to escalate not long after Ray meets fellow island resident Anton in the woods one night. Their initial meeting only adds to the strange and unusual, as Anton works exhaustively at being little more than enigmatic—something that just so happens to draw Ray to the beautiful, eccentric artist like steel to a magnet.

Anton’s behavior is symptomatic of his psychological chemistry, at once agitated, then almost childlike in the intensity of his enthusiasm, much more than mere artistic temperament allows for. Ray’s reactions to Anton are symptomatic of an arsebite of an ex-boyfriend, the loss of his tattoo shop, and his undeniable attraction to men who may not necessarily be good for him. Everything in this story comes to a head, however, when a dead body is discovered buried beneath his new employers’ lawn, the body of a man who was known to be a friend of the one man whose moods and behavior are known to be erratic at best. The mystery unfolds under a cloud of suspicion, where we readers are left to wonder whether or not the identity of a killer might be locked inside the Alzheimer’s-riddled mind of an old man.

Jealousy and greed go hand-in-hand with murder in Body Art, and JCP gives plausible enough reason to substantiate a killer’s motives in a story that had just enough twists to keep me guessing all the way up to the Big Reveal. As a standalone novella, we get just enough depth to the storyline and characterizations, not as much as I always appreciate in this author’s work, but more than enough for those times I love a little instant-gratification in a shorter novel. Not to mention when I want some chills and a good mystery; this book fit those needs perfectly.

I read this e-book first, then I let Gomez Pugh read it to me a second time because I may or may not be addicted to his voice—it’s a close call. Not only that, but I wanted to test Pugh’s range on yet another Jordan Castillo Price offering. Unsurprisingly he delivers a great performance, emoting to perfection each nuance of Anton’s high-tension-wire personality, then delivering on the next breath Ray’s regular Joe, good guy patience and kindness. From the elderly couple, who are Ray’s employers, to the rest of the staff left on the island, to the least significant bit-part role player, Pugh seems incapable of turning in anything resembling a mediocre or lackluster narration. In fact, if hard pressed, I might even say his delivery elevates Body Art a notch simply because of his smooth and sexy voice.

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You can buy Body Art here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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All Romance eBooks

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Excerpt and Audiobook Giveaway: Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

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The Novel Approach welcomes Jordan Castillo Price today, with a giveaway of the just released audiobook of Camp Hell, Book Five in the PsyCop series.

To enter for a chance to win, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.

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51VrIV+-jOL._SL300_Blurb: Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?

Buy Links: Amazon | Audible.com

Dividers

Excerpt: “So. You’re here to gloat over how you’ll nail me with your civil suit.” Roger Burke nailed me with the world’s smuggest grin, and when I didn’t accommodate him by being lured into some sort of argument, he added, “I’d just like to see you try.”

My civil suit. I checked that phrase against the known phrases in my admittedly limited catalog of things-I-knew-about, and came up blank. I was coasting on the sweet spot of my Auracel and I didn’t feel the immediate need to tell Burke that I had no idea what he was talking about, so I stared at him instead.

He’d been grinning at me. His smile faltered. “Don’t give me that look.”

I attempted to look even more like I currently did.

“Go ahead and sue me. I’ve got less than five thousand dollars in the bank. And believe me, I’ve got my countersuit all planned out. You could’ve given me a stroke by shooting me up in the neck. I’m prepared to testify that a long-time drug user like you would know that.”

It had never even occurred to me to sue him. I pressed the heel of my hand into my right eye. It felt great, and then it hurt, and then I saw a flash of pretty colors. “Would you shut up for half a second?”

“Think you’d win over a jury? Maybe they’d sympathize with you on the drug angle if you did your ‘boo-hoo, I’m a medium’ routine. But once my attorneys parade in that big, smug, steroid-pumped gorilla you play house with….”

“I was planning on talking about a way we could avoid the courtroom, but keep running your mouth, and my next phone call is my lawyer.”

Burke crossed his arms over his chest as far as his handcuffs would allow, and he glared. He had a hell of a glare. I’d never seen him use it during the time he’d been my partner at the Fifth Precinct. He’d spent over a month projecting a wholesome, helpful, non-threatening persona as the Stiff half of our PsyCop team, and I’d been totally sold on his good-cop act.

Now that I knew him for what he was, I had no idea how I ever could have seen him as harmless. His eyes, which once seemed unguarded and approachable—at least, for a homicide investigator—now looked so cold and calculating that I wondered why I’d ever thought it was safe to get into a car with him, let alone accept a drink he’d bought without my surveillance.

He sat across the plastic table from me in the visiting room, with his pale, reptilian eyes trained on me so hard that I felt like I needed to go take a shower under a water cannon to wash off the evil. There was a repeater in the corner, the ghost of a former inmate who’d died pounding on the two-way mirror, who continued to slam his fists into the glass long into the afterlife. I’d been spooked by him when I first came into the room and discovered I hadn’t taken enough Auracel to block him. Now I found his presence almost comforting. It meant I wasn’t alone with Roger Burke.

I controlled my revulsion toward him enough to plant my elbows on the table and lean forward. I’d been hoping to buy his information with Marlboros, but the guards wouldn’t let me bring cigarettes into the visiting area. His hissy fit had given me an idea, though. “Here’s the deal. I promise not to sue you, if you tell me what you know about Camp Hell.”

I did my best not to look too full of myself, but I had to admit: a promise to refrain from any future lawsuits seemed a lot more valuable than a few packs of smokes.

Roger eased back into his chair. I wouldn’t say he looked exactly comfortable, but he was interested enough to stay awhile, if only to taunt me about things that he knew, and I didn’t. It was a start.

“I assume that you’re not talking about the new Heliotrope Station. You want to know about the real deal. Where you trained.”

In name only, Heliotrope Station lived on. It was now a series of night-school classes they held over at the Junior College. None of it was even remotely like the original Camp Hell—not the administration, not the staff, not the location. Hell, not even the textbooks. Still, even the old name made me start to sweat, and swallow convulsively.

Roger’s smug grin was back. “You’d need to talk to me ’til my release date to find out everything I know about Camp Hell. And given that they haven’t even set my sentence, who knows when that’ll be?”

Posturing. That was good. It meant that he wanted to seem like he had something valuable to dangle over my head. Unfortunately, I already knew that he did. Lisa’s si-no talent had told me that Roger could not only tell us why stories about Camp Hell had never made it to the Internet, but who’d managed to bury them.

“I’ll be checking out what you say to make sure it’s true,” I warned him. “I smell bullshit, and I’ll see you in court.”

Roger smiled. There was some genuine pleasure in that smile, along with all the malice. My creeped-out meter ratcheted up to eleven. “April eighteenth,” he said. “It’s a mild fifty-five degrees outside. The subway tunnels are being drained from a freakish flood incident that occurred when an old access tunnel collapsed and the Chicago River poured in. And twenty-three-year-old Victor Bayne was transferred from the Cook County Mental Health Center to Heliotrope Station at approximately fourteen hundred hours. In a straightjacket.”

My right eye throbbed. I jammed my thumb into the corner of it at the bridge of my nose, and reminded myself to breathe. “Big deal.”

“Could anyone else have told you that story? Your co-workers? Your lover?”

He said the word lover like it was something rotten he’d found stuck between his teeth. “You know things about me,” I said. I think my voice sounded normal. Maybe. “I’d be surprised if you didn’t, since you and Doctor Chance schemed to kidnap me for, what, a year? Maybe two? That doesn’t mean you know Camp Hell.”

“West Fifty-Third Place, behind an industrial park that housed a small factory that manufactured dental posts and implants. No address. No signs. But a big, electrified, razor wire fence covered the whole perimeter. Been there lately? Seems like the whole building, all sixty five hundred square feet of it, has just…disappeared. Kind of like the residents.”

The front doors were black tinted glass. I blinked. Roger hadn’t told me that. The fried remnants of my brain had cheerfully offered up the long-forgotten detail.

The gag reflex fluttered, deep down in my throat. How did I ever think I could hear about Camp Hell without shoving my keys into my ears and punching out my eardrums?

I stood. My cheap plastic chair tipped over.

“Am I wrong, Detective?”

“This was a dumb idea. Go back to your cafeteria food and your group showers.”

“They didn’t kill them all. Maybe half, give or take. But the ones who didn’t pose any threat, or the ones they could use….” He spread his hands. His handcuffs clicked as the chain in the center hit its limit. “Well. They crop up every now and again. They might even be leading fairly normal lives. As long as they don’t travel anywhere suspicious, like Afghanistan or Cuba, the FPMP is happy to let them go on thinking they’re just plain, old, ordinary American citizens, just like you and me.” He blinked in mock sincerity. “Although…come to think of it, neither one of us really does fit that description. I’m up on felony charges, and you’re a class five medium—as far as they know, anyway.”

“I tested at five a dozen times. That’s no big secret. What’s FPMP?”

Roger smiled.

Our little chat wasn’t going anything like I’d planned. I was supposed to give him some smokes, and he would thank me for my present by telling me a name or an address, and that would be that. That’s how it’d gone down inside my head, anyhow.

“A bunch of butch guys running around with letters sewn onto their windbreakers,” I said, “right? Whatever. Look, I’ve got somewhere to be.”

I went to the door and knocked. The guard opened it.

“You could always recant your statement, you know. Tell them it wasn’t me holding you captive. I was just along for the ride.”

Coffee I’d drank a couple of hours before burned at the back of my throat. I needed to get to a bathroom before I hurled. “Yeah. They’ll believe that.”

“Why wouldn’t they? When you gave your testimony, you had traces of Amytal, psyactives and muscle relaxants in your system. You were confused.” He stared me in the eye, and he’d finally stopped grinning. “C’mon, Bayne. I’d make it worth your while.”

“Don’t hold your breath.”

“I can tell you about Camp Hell, but what’s the point? You were there. A second point of view isn’t going to change anything that happened. But the FPMP? The people who made it disappear? They’re still around. Think about it. Can you really afford not to know?”

I was standing half-in, half-out of the room. The guard gave me an “are you through yet?” look. I took another step out the door.

“And…Detective?” He sounded so mild, so matter-of-fact, that I should have known a zinger was coming. But I couldn’t stop myself from turning back around and taking one more look at Roger Burke’s cold, pale eyes.

“What?”

Roger’s grin reappeared, and spread like blood welling out of a deep papercut. “Happy birthday.”

• • •

I lay in bed staring up at the tin ceiling, racking my brain and trying to figure out which was worse: knowing that Roger Burke would walk sooner, maybe even immediately, if I recanted my statement—or knowing that he could tell me everything I wanted to know about Camp Hell and then some, but that I was too gutless to pay the price he wanted for the information.

I heard Jacob come in and bound up the stairs. He’s got energy to do things like that, because he eats right, exercises, and doesn’t take questionable pills.

“Are you mad?” he said.

I glanced down from the ceiling. He stood in the bedroom doorway, loosening his tie.

“No. Why?”

“Me. Forgetting your birthday.” He slipped out of his suitcoat and hung it in the closet. “Do you want to go out? It’s not that late. I’ll bet I can get us in at Villa Prego.”

Villa Prego was fancy enough that I didn’t think the staff would ruin my dinner by trooping out and singing me a half-hearted, cheesy birthday song. But they served fussy little portions of things that once crawled around on the bottoms of ponds. “Nah. Let’s just get a pizza. I’m really not big into birthdays.”

Jacob took off his holster and put it in a drawer. “How hungry are you?”

Thanks to my cozy alone-time with Roger Burke, my stomach felt like it’d been ripped out, switched with a giant wad of rotting trash, then stuffed back into my abdominal cavity. I shrugged.

Jacob flashed some skin while he pulled on a T-shirt and sweats, and even his unintentional strip tease wasn’t enough to cheer me up. I was too busy mulling over just how much I hated Burke, and wishing that he wasn’t the one who had the information I needed.

Jacob shut the closet door and looked at me hard enough to make him squint. “Something’s wrong. Is it Lisa?”

“Lisa’s fine. She sent me her e-mail address. Maybe one of these days she’ll trust me with her phone number again.”

He planted his hands on his hips and kept on staring. I felt myself scowl even harder. I know he was accustomed to teaming up with the Human Polygraph, but didn’t he understand that sometimes people lied and minimized because they were wrestling with something too ugly to lay out there for everyone to see?

“You’re mad that I borrowed your Auracel,” he said, finally.

There—something I could hang my mood on. Thank you, Jacob. “Don’t go through my pockets.”

“I’m sorry.”

Like I gave a damn that he’d slipped some of my meds to an astral rapist. It wasn’t as if it was my last pill or anything. And it’d gone to a good cause. I did my best to scowl harder.

Jacob sat on the edge of the bed, pulled my foot into his lap and dug his thumb into the sole. I turned all to jelly inside, but I think my scowl didn’t slip, much. “I’m truly sorry. I did what I thought was right at the time.”

The nerves at the bottom of my foot seemed to be connected directly to my spine. I sagged into the mattress, and my eyes rolled up to stare at the ceiling again. Jacob swept his thumb over the ball of my foot, and I made a noise that I usually reserve for sex.

“Please don’t be mad.”

“I’m not mad,” I said. “It’s just been a rough couple of days.”

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Interview and Giveaway: Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Audiobook by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

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The Novel Approach welcomes Jordan Castillo Price today to chat a bit about the audiobook release of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary. If you’ve been waiting for the gorgeous Michael and Wild Bill to be brought to life on audio, the time has come, and Gomez Pugh turns in another sexy knockout performance.

Enjoy Jordan’s interview, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an audio copy of the collection.

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JCP: Hi, Lisa! I was really excited to talk about the Channeling Morpheus audiobooks with you, since you’re such a longtime fan of the series. Thanks for having me on TNA today!!

TNA: It’s my pleasure to have you here with us, Jordan, especially since we’re talking all things Michael and Wild Bill. :) Let’s get things rolling:

Q: There’s obviously got to be a huge level of satisfaction for an author to bring characters to life on the page, but how does that compare to the first moment you actually hear them brought to life in spoken word?

A: It’s a really big deal. I tend to be a lone wolf, so for me it’s both challenging and rewarding to work with narrators or translators. Being willing to collaborate with other artists is really the only way I’m able to expand into new languages, like French and German, or these different formats, like audio.

Initially I was thinking I’d have to settle for a narrator who was just okay, inoffensive, who basically pronounced the words right, didn’t breathe weird, and maybe had occasional good moments. And then I heard Gomez, and I felt the earth move.

Q: Having had so much success with Gomez Pugh’s narration in the PsyCop series, what made you decide he’d be the right narrator for the Channeling Morpheus series as well?

A: I felt it was risky to go with the same voice artist for a new project, actually, because there was the potential that Wild Bill would be talking away and suddenly he’d sound just like Victor Bayne. When you think about it, I do write a lot of snarky middle-aged guys. Though they sound different in my head, authorial voice must color it all and lend them a certain similarity. But I’ve sampled a number of other mainstream projects Gomez has worked on, and I knew he could maintain a plausible, distinct accent or cadence or character for an entire book.

I think one place he shines in Channeling Morpheus is with Michael. I really believe he’s a depressed 21-year-old whenever Michael speaks. I didn’t really KNOW what Michael should sound like, and the communication between us is such that he was able to help me figure it out. I couldn’t see having that level of communication with someone new. This seems to be circling back to my tendency to work alone, doesn’t it?

Q: What did Gomez think about the level of erotica in this series in comparison to the PsyCop series? Did he comment on that at all?

A: No, he didn’t say! But he originally found me when he decided he was going to try his hand at reading erotica for fun, and ended up discovering PsyCop instead and identifying with Vic. I’ve heard about narrators who project embarrassment when they’re reading a sex scene, and one thing I really enjoy about Gomez’s performance is that whenever there’s something steamy on the page, he totally goes for it, just belts it right on out.

Q: What’s the vocal preparation process like? Is there a lot of back and forth between you and Gomez, a lot of describing the characters’ voices as you hear them, then him going through a process of elimination to get it just right?

A: Initially when you work with someone on the Audiobook Creation Exchange, the system funnels all of your correspondence through the site to keep it all professional and relatively anonymous. The author puts up a sample from a story, indicates how much they’re willing to pay, and hopefully some decent narrators will come back with auditions. Some narrators will submit auditions whether or not they’re appropriate for the part. I heard PsyCop read with a variety of accents and ages. It was pretty weird. Once you get an audition you like, you make a formal offer to the producer to work on the book. And generally, once they do they audition, they give you the book in one big chunk. You don’t really have the chance to fine-tune anything once you okay a piece for production.

It’s a little less formal since Gomez and I have been working together since he started narrating PsyCop for me last year. I’ll just email him and start off by saying, “I have a story, here’s what it’s about and here’s how long it is, is this something you’re interested in?” and if so I put a word doc in our shared dropbox and we ballpark a timeframe for production.

For figuring out the voices, I read through the story and decide which important characters I have preconceived ideas about and I write up some descriptions of what makes them tick and how I’d like them to sound. I find key bits of the text that would allow Gomez to play with the voice. We take the spot where other artists would normally upload auditions, and we use that for him to deliver some voice tests to me.

He also reads through and asks me for pronunciation clarifications. We had a pretty lengthy discussion of how badly Vic would botch the pronunciation of ‘gyros’, for instance :D

Our engineer is the third member of our team—he’s responsible for the quality and consistency of the recording and he does an absolutely stellar job. I’ve heard of audios where page-turns or distracting breaths impinge on the listeners’ experience. I’d hate to get a good audition, then start working with someone new and later realize that they’re just winging it in their living room with a USB mic and Garage Band, and in the final cut there was all kinds of crappy background noise or lousy recording levels. (Or excessive breathing or lip smacking!) The surety that my team would give me an utterly professional studio-quality job was another key reason I chose to work with them for another series.

Q: Which scene(s) in this series were you most anxious to hear Gomez narrate, and why?

A: I was eager to hear what he’d do with the Minnesota state park scene in Vertigo, because years ago I actually read that scene to an audience at a local bookstore, and it was tough. So having tried to make it sound halfway decent myself, I had a good appreciation for how much skill and craft Gomez was bringing to the scene.

I think this is where Wild Bill’s voice really works, too, because when he speaks for an extended period of time, when he narrates, I really find myself swept away in his cadence and flow. Hearing Gomez do it, it’s nothing short of hypnotic.

He also brings something really special to all the side characters. He’s not just reading a book, he’s enacting a story. The vampires in this series are absolutely terrifying to me when he voices them. Marushka, dripping with sincerity as she shaves Michael’s groin; Dr. Jim pretentiously explaining vampirism; Miranda’s eerie calm as she pours them a cup of coffee.

And I can’t really talk about Channeling Morpheus without mentioning the sex. The sex scenes are stunning in audio. They all leave me a little weak-kneed, but I was particularly touched by the tenderness in the bathtub scene in Rebirth. It really feels as if they’re their own microcosm.

Q: Now that Michael and Wild Bill are out there for all the world to hear in the first five novellas in the series, when can we expect to have them back for A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion?

A: Because of the production cost, it might be a few months.  This will probably sound like a shameless plug for reviews, but I’m being honest when I say that readers can influence my workflow by leaving positive reviews on Amazon and Audible on my audiobooks. Professional audio is expensive to produce, and good reviews and recommendations directly affect sales. The quicker the audios pay for themselves, the more feasible it becomes for me to step up the schedule.

As for me, I’m super eager to proceed. I cannot wait to hear what it will sound like when Dr. Jim talks them into trapping a feral vampire in the Wisconsin woods in Snare. Or the dog surgery scene from Swarm. Or the underwater scene in Fluid. Heck, I wanna hear it all!

TNA: I do too, lemme tell ya! Thanks again, Jordan, for taking the time to answer my questions.

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channelingmorpheusAUDIO-450Blurb: Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael and will stop at nothing to go home with him. Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s heartland.

Buy Links: Amazon | Audible

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Jordan Castillo PriceAbout the Author: Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” and boys in eyeliner.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

Find out more at www.jordancastilloprice.com

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Erotica, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Multimedia Review: The Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary/A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion Box Sets, and Canine by Jordan Castillo Price – Audiobook Narration by Gomez Pugh

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Title: Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Books 1-5), A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Books 6-10), Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Audiobook), and Canine (A Channeling Morpheus Short)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Word Count: 193 Pages (Channeling Morpheus), 272 Pages (Sweet Oblivion), 7 Hours, 44 Minutes (Audio), and 28 Pages (Canine)

At a Glance: Wild Bill and Michael are my addiction and give me book hangover for days. I can’t recommend that hangover highly enough.

Reviewed By: Lisa

box-set-CMFSM200Blurb – Box Set 1-5 – And Audiobook: Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him.

Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s Heartland.

Ebook box set and audiobook contains the following novelettes: Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, Rebirth

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box-sweeto-200Blurb – Box Set 6-10: Staking a vampire isn’t so easy now that Michael’s got a vampire of his very own. Although killing them is no longer an option, he’s as determined as ever to stop the spread of vampirism.

Wild Bill is a lover, not a fighter–so he’s tickled when Michael’s new agenda, to dispense condoms and sterile phlebotomy gear among vampires, replaces the old “heads will roll” approach.

It takes courage to track down vamps in their own territory and deliver a lecture on safe sex, and more importantly, safe bloodletting. Michael’s never been short on audacity…but he’s finding that he and Wild Bill aren’t the only ones with agendas.

Ebook box set contains the following novelettes: Brazen, Snare, Fluid, Swarm, Elixir

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canine-200Blurb – Canine: What’s the difference between a faithful companion and a feral animal? Wild Bill suspects the line separating the two is shaky at best. Supposedly, Michael has been tamed, and he swears he gave up hunting. But when he comes home covered in blood and reeking of adrenaline, Bill fears Michael has crossed paths with another bloodsucker, and the urge to exterminate the vamp was too powerful to resist.

Michael doesn’t need to hunt vampires to stir up trouble. His run-in with threatening neighbors has left him baffled, demoralized, and teetering on the brink of yet another episode of depression. It tears Bill up inside to see Michael suffer—unfortunately, the sorrow also trips his most primal vamp triggers. Before he knows it, his own inner beast rears up, ravenous, insatiable, and ready to tear into the next thing that crosses his path…making him wonder if it was wishful thinking to hope that either of them had been successfully domesticated.

Canine takes place after Elixir and contains series spoilers

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Review: “Michael had his sorrow, and I had my shame. Maybe that’s the reason we harmonized so well.”

If ever there were two sentences that so perfectly encompassed the relationship between Michael and Wild Bill, it would be these, straight out of Canine, the newest short story in the Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion series.

Reading these novellas is a full-immersion trip on Michael and Wild Bill’s journey to nowhere special, as they trek their way through the Midwest, eventually lighting in Vegas–for now. They meet while hunting the same vampire for their own personal reasons, they connect through something far more intangible and impossible to name than simple vengeance. Michael and Wild Bill live a vagabond life and exist on little more than blood, sex, and trying (when it’s possible) to do the right thing. Attempting to live by as moral a code as possible was Wild Bill’s goal even before he met Michael—trying to do what was right, though sometimes he had no choice but to be the vampire he is. After he met Michael, trying to be the best vampire he could be became Wild Bill’s raison d’etre, just to be the guy who deserves Michael’s love. The emotional underpinning Jordan Castillo Price layers into this series, through Wild Bill’s smirks and ennui, and Michael’s emotional highs and lows, is love laced with despair then woven into need. It’s a stunning complement to her vampire lore, which is original and also borrows just a tad from Stoker’s canon.

I said something in my first review of this series, and it still holds true, reading after reading: “Michael and Wild Bill are two halves of the same whole, in an entirely symbiotic relationship that survives, thrives, and has become a physical and emotional imperative. They are distinct yet entwined by something deeper than love. They’re bonded by blood and a metaphysical link that makes it impossible to think of one without the other. They’re yin/yang and it works perfectly. These stories are erotic in a fully meaningful way because where Michael leaves off, Wild Bill begins; where Wild Bill leaves off, Michael begins. They don’t rely on words as such to each let the other know how he feels; Wild Bill’s not much of a talker, truth be told, so they both speak in actions and body language, and are so attuned to each other they know what the other needs without insincere platitudes and oversimplified endearments. What this does, in effect, is makes the times they do feel the desire to express what’s in their hearts all the more touching, and it works beautifully within the framework of their relationship.

There is a scenario in Canine where this is especially evident. To put a metaphorical point on it, Michael and Wild Bill are each other’s abyss—they look into each other’s eyes and sometimes it’s the abyss that looks back. Wild Bill feeds on Michael’s misery, at least as much as his conscience will allow. Michael’s sorrow and depression (underlined and punctuated by the death of his friend Scary Mary) is Wild Bill’s aphrodisiac, but while Wild Bill could let Michael wallow in the muck of his depression to feed an innate sexual desire, his love for Michael compels him to pull the man back from the ledge before he slips and drowns in his black moods. These two men stare into the depths of each other’s souls, and are each the other’s salvation, time after time, before the literal and figurative monster takes hold. What Wild Bill does for Michael in Canine is such a wholly loving and unselfish gesture that while it might not be considered traditionally romantic—because, let’s face it, it ain’t wine and roses—it is one of the more touching scenes in the series simply because it’s significant to the two of them and highlights just how far Wild Bill will go to be Michael’s redeemer, even though he believes himself to be beyond redemption. They are survivors, these two, and they are each the other’s savior.

Just released on audiobook, the Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary set has come to life under the vocal talents of Gomez Pugh (who also narrates JCP’s PsyCop series), and I have to confess, in as much as is demanded of Pugh in the wide range of characters and voices in the PsyCop books, I was worried how in the name of narration he was going to come up with new and distinct voices for Michael and Wild Bill. Those worries were unfounded, though, because again he proves his range is apparently limitless. Michael’s voice is outstanding, capturing his youth and innocence, his strength and tenacity, and his need and vulnerability in the face of Wild Bill’s natural magnetism.

Wild Bill, on the other hand, is portrayed to perfection in his jaded, world-weary way, with the husky, tobacco-whiskey drawl that alludes to his years of chain smoking and Jack drinking, and complements the lassitude and general tedium that go hand-in-hand with being decades more cynical than his twenty-three-year-old appearance should allow for.

The Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary/Sweet Oblivion series is a fusion of spec fic, red-hot erotica, and a study of the human condition which exists for two men, one of whom isn’t technically human any longer. It’s sexy and original while staying true to the vampire mythos, the allure which makes the undead live on in fiction, century after century. Michael and Wild Bill have become iconic in the M/M lexicon and are at the top of my list of all-time favorite characters, human, non-human, or somewhere in between. Every time I read them I suffer, though—they’re my addiction and give me book hangover for days. I can’t recommend that hangover highly enough.

TNA_Signature_Lisa






You can buy Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Set 1-5) here:

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Barnes & Noble

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You can buy Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary in Audio here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Buy A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Set 6-10) here:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Buy Canine here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Secrets (PsyCop 4) by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Title: Secrets (PsyCop: Book Four)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 5 Hours, 57 Minutes

At a Glance: I have one word for the PsyCop series and Gomez Pugh’s narration: perfection.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Victor Bayne’s job as a PsyCop involves tracking down dead people and getting them to spill their guts about their final moments. It’s never been fun, per se. But it’s not usually this annoying.

Vic has just moved in with his boyfriend Jacob, he can’t figure out where anything’s packed, and his co-worker is pressuring him to have a housewarming party. Can’t a guy catch a break?

On a more sinister note, Vic discovers there’s absolutely no trace of him online. No trace of anyone else who trained at “Camp Hell,” either. Everyone Vic knows has signed a mysterious set of papers to ensure his “privacy.” The contracts are so confidential that even Vic has never heard of them. But Jacob might have.

What other secrets has Jacob been keeping?

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Review: One thing I’ve discovered after listening to Gomez Pugh’s three previous performances in the PsyCop series is that by now I can anticipate the characters’ voices before he speaks. I can hear in my head Vic’s sardonic and deadpan drawl, Jacob’s husky sex voice, and Crash’s wiseass sarcasm dripping from nearly every word he speaks. The tone and cadence are there even before Mr. Pugh utters a single syllable, and the same goes for Carolyn, Lisa, Zig, and Miss Mattie. Listening to this series come to life has been like eavesdropping on a conversation between old friends.

There are a great many brilliant things Jordan Castillo Price does in this series, one of them is to contrast the bizarreness that is Victor Bayne’s life with the stability Jacob brings to it—rather mundane things like a home and a partnership. If anything concerning Victor or Jacob could ever be considered mundane, that is. In this installment of the series we now get a good taste of what Vic’s abilities do to Jacob, and let me tell you, it’s kinda kinky and really sexy. Among all the secrets floating around in Secrets–things Jacob is keeping from Victor, something everyone has been keeping from Victor—is something it’s impossible to miss: how Jacob truly feels about Victor.

The biggest revelation in Secrets is leading us directly to Camp Hell. Or, maybe that should be a lack of revelation because according to the internet, Heliotrope Station never existed. And for that matter, neither does Jacob. For a guy who has no presence on the information superhighway, someone, or a lot of someones, are keeping an awful close eye on our favorite medium. Part of the fun of having already read all the books in this series is knowing what’s coming next, and knowing what’s coming next for Gomez Pugh to narrate to us? Gah! The anticipation is killer.

The paranormal crime being investigated in Secrets is ghastly and ghostly, and it begins to take its toll on Jacob personally, while Lisa’s psych abilities begin to take a toll on her in both a mental and emotional way. I loved seeing Vic step in and step up in this novella to champion Lisa, and I loved listening to him attempt to figure out Crash, where he stands with Jacob, and simply try to understand what’s best summed up as the total erasure of his past as well as his virtual non-existence now—imagine being the corporeal specter in one’s own life, having memories of the days you’ve lived, remembering the work you’ve done, but having no tangible confirmation to prove you’ve been where you’ve been or done what you’ve done. It’s a pretty cool web JCP has woven for Victor, and now the fun will be watching him work his way through all the tangles.

This series is so many things: other-wordly and all-consuming, with characters it’s impossible not to feel on page, and now have come to life in spoken word. I have one word for the PsyCop series and Gomez Pugh’s narration: perfection.






You can buy Secrets here:

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Audible.com

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5 Stars, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price

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Title: Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Word Count: 170 Pages (est.)

At a Glance: The Mnevermind series is the perfect blend of depth and fast paced storytelling.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.

A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.

What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.

This book completes the Mnevermind Trilogy.

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Review: I feel as though I should have something sort of profound to say about the Mnevermind series, because it’s a trilogy that explores some profound truths: family is important; nobody’s perfect; loving someone means loving even the things about them you can’t understand; the truth can set you free; true happiness isn’t always the result of a single monumental event but is a lifetime culmination of small fortunes and mundane occasions that, when weighed against the bad and the worst, still add up to life being awesome.

All of these things, and more, are explored against the backdrop of reality and unreality in this series, through characters who are real, flawed, burdened, and entirely human. There are moments throughout that examine forgiveness as a means of moving forward even as guilt and anger and regret threaten to stagnate. There are moments that show us our ability to adapt can be a key to happiness. This is a trilogy of the human condition and of discovering what everyone hopes to find in their lifetime—that what you want and what you need are one and the same—and the ability to be content with what you have at any given point in time makes you one of the lucky ones; that maybe life is awesome because and not in spite of its “small acceptable flaws.” That it’s a pattern of little things which happen along the way, both the good and the bad together, that become the building blocks of a fulfilled life.

In this fictional present, mneming (the creation of artificial and temporary realities) exacts a price. Mneming isn’t about dreaming big, setting goals, and then making those dreams and goals a reality. Mneming is so much more elusive because it’s about the grand delusion. It’s the escape from life that makes reality feel just a little disappointing because for those few brief moments upon returning to awareness, what is and isn’t real blurs, and the letdown is often intense. And it’s through Daniel Schroeder, Elijah Crowe, and Big Dan Schroeder that we see an evolution—that in the right hands and with the sincerest of motivations, mneming can become a complement to reality rather than an eclipsing of it.

Throughout this series, there are moments which are poignant to the point of heartbreak and tears, and moments that are accidentally funny because of their significance to someone who understands Elijah’s deadpan delivery of “obviously” isn’t purposely humorous but simply one of those things that happens as a perfect metaphor for finding some light in the gray. It’s not laughing at Elijah’s affliction but loving him because his life is so black and white, and embracing him because he is a constant in the commotion. His idiosyncrasies make him embraceable, and as Daniel’s partner, it makes Daniel all the more loveable because he loves Elijah for who he is rather than grieves for what Elijah can never be. The building of their relationship is not done with candlelit dinners or in grand gestures but with patience and understanding, which makes it all the more real and lasting.

With a sincere appreciation for just enough world building without being overburdened by minutiae, the Mnevermind series is the perfect blend of depth and fast paced storytelling, and Life Is Awesome is its ideal conclusion because of its significance. These books became instant favorites from the moment Elijah Crowe was introduced and it was clear there was something more to him than the usual romantic interest. Elijah is awesome. The rich characterization coupled with the moment-to-moment discernment of what is reality and what is fantasy in these books makes reading them the ultimate form of mneming for its readers, and makes Jordan Castillo Price one of the genre’s best memorysmiths.






You can buy Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome here:

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Giveaways, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Release Day Interview and Giveaway: Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price

Mnevermind

Okay, readers, are you ready for a little release day Q&A and a giveaway from Jordan Castillo Price? This is an audience participation guest post, so enjoy Jordan’s interview, then be sure to check out the questions we came up with for you. Your comments to any, or all, of the questions will put you in the running for your choice of e-book in the Mnevermind trilogy: The Persistence of Memory, Forget Me Not or Life is Awesome.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

And now, here’s Jordan.

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JCP: Hi Lisa, I’m super excited you’re having me come talk about the Mnevermind series today. It’s always such a pleasure to do an interview with you!!!

TNA: It’s always a pleasure to have you join us for a visit, Jordan. Thanks for taking the time to be here! So, let’s get down to business:

Q: I’m going to ask this first question with readers who haven’t read the Mnevermind series yet in mind. How would you describe these books to them, and what makes them unique compared to some of your other work?

A: In this series, the characters own a business where they implant quick-fade recreational memories in their customers. The series slogan is “Making memories…one client at a time.” Yet as techy and Sci-Fi-ish as the concept behind Mnvermind sounds, it’s one of my most intimate, relatable and domestic series. It’s about people dealing with families, friends and work, and how they deal with it when something goes wrong. I think this intimacy of plot sets it apart from most other speculative fiction. It’s not about big, overarching evils or conspiracies, and no one’s out to change anything other than their own little corner of the universe. This downsized approach takes a plot element that could seem implausible and makes it feel entirely real.

Q: Where did the idea for this series come from?

A: I’m a pretty visual thinker. I had a mental image of these rows and rows of comatose bodies, and the story happening to the one guy who was actually awake, taking care of the crappy warehouse where the bodies were stored, while the comatose people mentally vacationed in Hawaii, the moon, or wherever.  But then I realized I didn’t want it to be too much of a medical thriller, or too much like The Matrix, and I reimagined the memory science of mnemography as being something more like tattooing or electrolysis. Something where you’d need qualifications to perform it, but not an entire medical degree. And I think that decision kept the whole story more working-class, which is one of its big strengths.

Q: What were the fun and frustrating parts about putting this particular series together?

A: I wrestle with writing being frustrating, because it seems to me that it shouldn’t be. And if it is, that’s all in my head. I’ll have to let you know if I ever find the answer to that one! That solution might sound something like one hand clapping, though.

The fun was in writing the implanted memories themselves, the mnems. I went into a real flow state whenever a mnem came up, and those are my favorite parts of the story to revisit.

Q: Is plotting and writing a book a little bit like memorysmithing? If so, would you then suppose that for us, the readers, reading is a little bit like mneming, only we’re not participating in our own fantasy but someone else’s?

A: Wow. You just blew my mind. I think reading is a HELL of a lot like mneming, because you’d be surprised at how much the reader’s thoughts, ideas, hopes or notions color their experience of a book, often causing them to read stuff that was never written and recall story elements that never happened. I’ve read reviews of stories that said, “I loved it when this character did X.” And it never happened in the plot. But the reader fully experienced it so plausibly that it was their favorite part of the book. Memorysmithing must indeed be a thinly veiled symbol for authorship.

Q: Let’s talk a bit about Daniel Schroeder and Elijah Crowe, your MCs. For readers who aren’t aware, Elijah is on the autism spectrum. Tell us a bit about some of the challenges you faced in writing a character like Elijah?

A: I think what was most difficult was making sure I wasn’t being exploitive in the way I presented Elijah, but also in making him a fully rounded person and not just a walking bundle of affectations. I studied films, books and blogs for months to get me into a state of mind that felt like Elijah to me. Luckily many people with Asperger’s or autism are eager to share their experiences, so I had lots of reference available. Several people on the spectrum (or people with friends and family on the spectrum) wrote to let me know they finally felt like they’d been represented. What a good feeling.

Q: Were you afraid at any point, especially in Forget Me Not (book two told from Elijah’s point of view), that he might be an unrelatable character? How did you strive to make him someone we could and would embrace?

A: I knew from reaction to The Persistence of Memory that Elijah actually wasn’t initially very relatable to readers, which must have influenced my decision to tell the second book from his POV. I felt like it would be impossible to really know him from anywhere but inside his own head. I would say the first chapter of Elijah’s book was a risk, since I showed him deliberately obtuse and rambling about a piece of string cheese, then at the very end of the chapter I pulled all the heartwrench-strings and showed that he wasn’t rambling on about cheese after all, but divorce and loneliness and self-discovery, the difficulty of relating to other people. I figured most folks would stick with me for the duration of a chapter. Once the understanding that I was going to be approaching things sideways was established, I felt readers would stick with Elijah for the remainder of the book. I had a suspicion they’d find him endearing, and they did. He was such an underdog that it was hard not to root for him.

Q: This could be either the simplest or the hardest question of the bunch so far: why do Daniel and Elijah work as a couple?

A: It’s simple to me! Elijah is smitten with Daniel because they’re interested in the same things (which is profoundly important to him), and because Daniel treats him with respect. And chest hair. He has a thing for chest hair. Daniel is a little more complicated. I refer to several interactions with his last boyfriend Joe because there’s such a contrast in the way Daniel and Joe related compared to the way Daniel relates to Elijah. We haven’t really talked about the key tragedy that’s driving the whole series, and I’d prefer to be vague for anyone who hasn’t yet read it.  But before that incident, Daniel was an entirely different person, a confident hotshot with the whole world as his oyster. But when Elijah meets him, he’s broken. Elijah allows Daniel to experience a relationship as the new person he’s become, someone who’s nurturing and thoughtful and patient. Daniel doesn’t even realize he’s being patient, because throughout the story he’s the one who ends up losing his cool and shooting off his mouth when he doesn’t mean to. But when he’s alone with Elijah he is wonderfully patient, empathetic and tender.

Q: There are some really funny moments in these books, a lot of them coming as a result of Elijah taking things literally or missing cues or him just being socially unaware. What are a few things that, when you wrote them, made you laugh?

A: I got a big kick out of it whenever Elijah should have been using his “inside voice” to say something really personal to Daniel, but instead he just belted it out. I don’t think he has an “inside voice.” But honestly, a lot of the other things that might read as funny, I actually found mortifying. It’s really hard to type when you’re cringing. I could barely stand to detail what Elijah wore to Aunt Pipsie’s party, for instance. Luckily he didn’t notice anything odd, so maybe some readers kind of glossed over that part. That’s what I tell myself to get the words out.

Daniel’s buddy Larry is always good for a laugh, since he’s such a big, happy doofus, and he would laugh right along with you.  He’s like the pressure valve on the series.

Q: Now that the final book in the series, Life Is Awesome, has been written, can you say that at any point before you typed those final words you were tempted to have Daniel try to memorysmith a “cure” for his dad, Big Dan, and/or Elijah? Why or why not, or would that even be a possibility?

A: A book I’m reading states my reasoning elegantly. “A classic writing technique is to play on people’s expectations and then surprise them.” (Motivate Your Writing, Stephen P. Kelner Jr.)

That story resolution was on my mind, definitely, but not like I thought it would be a great ending. It was the desirable goal I was dangling in front of Daniel. It was the plot that I was hoping the reader would presume was there. Daniel screwed up and has lost his confidence, Daniel regains his confidence thanks to Elijah and then fixes his screwup.  That’s what I’d want the reader to think is happening. Then they get to peel the onion and see that the issues all run way deeper, and there are pieces to the puzzle that Daniel has been missing all along. There are a couple of ways that he grows, and one is to realize that being vulnerable and being weak aren’t the same thing. It’s not weak to accept help, it’s courageous. And really, everything is NOT on him.

Q: Was it difficult to type The End on this series, any more so than your others? What will you miss most about Daniel and Elijah?

A: I don’t think so, because each book took twice as long to write as I guesstimated it should for its length. I would think I understood what was happening, realize something didn’t quite match up, delete multi-chapter hunks and sink back into planning mode. Over and over. It’s actually kind of harrowing. I get antsy to share the story with readers so I get to a “finish, already!!” point. I was eager to resolve the trilogy plot, because I felt like readers were really hungry for resolution, and I was worried that I was doing the series a disservice by taking the time it took to write it. Series are hard. If you resolve the conflicts in a book, then the next book is going to feel like a contrived afterthought. And if you leave a major plot point unresolved to tackle it across the arc of the whole series, readers seem dissatisfied with each individual story. If there’s a good balance for this, I don’t think I’m a natural at striking it.

Q: Would you like to share some info on any of your current WIPs or upcoming releases with us?

A: Recently I was given the opportunity to showcase Among the Living in an Urban Fantasy box set called Psychic Storm. It was a big thrill being the only m/m writer in the bunch. I’m hoping it puts my series in front of lots of fresh eyes!

Right now as a palate cleanser, I’m working on a standalone short story. I’m also mentally preparing to tackle the next PsyCop book, which will be Crash’s novel. Meanwhile, I’m working with the funny, smart, sexy and stunningly talented voice actor Gomez Pugh in producing more audiobooks. Secrets should be coming out anytime now, and we’ve got plans to start another series. I can’t wait to hear it.

Thanks so much for having me at TNA on Life is Awesome’s release day!

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Dear Readers, here are some things for you to ponder:

Q: If the technology existed to craft and control an artificial dream-state where you could do anything or be anyone you wanted, would you do it?

Q: Do you foresee a future where that technology could/might exist? Why or why not?

Q: If you’ve read the first two books in the Mnevermind series already, what would you say to your friends who haven’t read them yet to try and convince them to read the series?

Have fun! I look forward to sharing your answers with Jordan! :)

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Cover Reveal, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Cover Reveal: Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price

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Title: Mnevermind 3: Life is Awesome
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: JCP Books
ISBN: 978-1-935540-72-4
Length: 61000 words
Cover Artist: Jordan Castillo Price

Blurb: Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.

A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.

What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.

Find Mnevermind 1: Persistence of Memory HERE and Mnevermind 2: Forget Me Not HERE

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I’m so thrilled to be a part of Jordan Castillo Price’s cover reveal for Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome and am glad to share with all of you the secret behind her art and the creative process.

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One of the main reasons I began self-publishing in 2007 was to take control of my cover design. I have an MFA in fine arts and many years of experience as a graphic designer, so for me, handing over the cover art to someone else was like trying to describe a crucial chapter in my story while someone else wrote it.

I’m especially proud of the cover art for the Mnevermind trilogy. Since the stories are one arc and they don’t stand alone, I was very conscious of presenting them as a trilogy. Typographically, the word “Mnevermind” has visual hierarchy over the name of each individual story—in other words, it’s the most important type on the cover.

The mood of the series was also important to convey via the cover art. Since there is a fictional technology at the core of the story, it’s a Sci Fi series. However, anyone expecting heavy tech or space opera based on the SF classification would be pretty disappointed. The main way I convey the tone is with the dreamy atmosphere, the sparkles and smoke and texture, plus the limited color palate. The flock of crows taking flight also conveys that it’s more of a psychological speculative fiction than a technical one. Odin’s ravens Huginn and Muninn represent thought and memory, which is the core concept of the series.

Crows are part of the series logo, the dome of Madison’s Capitol surrounded by flock taking flight. Madison plays its own snowy part in the story, anchoring it in a particular place, during a particular season. The trilogy takes place over the course of a cold, snowy, grueling winter, and believe me, by the time spring comes around, Wisconsinites are all eager to run outside in shorts and T-shirts, whether it’s fifty degrees out or not. Much of Wisconsin is farm country, but Madison is more known for its liberal attitude and its science and technology. It was the perfect setting for my memorysmiths to be plying their trade.

And finally, the cover models themselves are special to me. It can be difficult to find models that haven’t already appeared on a dozen other covers. Luckily, I’m not too keen on beefcake type guys wandering around shirtless for no good reason. What I look for in a model is someone whose face tells a story. I had been saving the Elijah model for years hoping to someday write a character he could embody. He had such an interesting gothy vibe that his fashion sense ended up integrating into the story in the character’s background and wardrobe.

I found my Daniel model as I was writing the first book. Actually, I used him for another project, then went in to check out the photographer’s entire portfolio. The cool thing about this model is that he is the photographer. His face really told a story—exactly what I was looking for—and I think the fact that he’s a visual artist made him a much more dynamic and useful model.

It was exciting to bring Daniel and Elijah together on the Life is Awesome cover. When I view it, my gaze circles the cover and then gets pulled into the focal point of Elijah’s direct eye contact. I find that an interesting irony, given that within the story, it’s painful for Elijah to look anyone in the eye. It’s fitting, too, since there’s a lot of puzzling dichotomy in the series!

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about the concepts behind the cover art as much as I’ve enjoyed creating this special trilogy.

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Author BioAbout Jordan Castillo Price: Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again.

You can connect with Jordan via the following: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Shop JCP Books | Sign Up for the Monthly Newsletter

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Body and Soul by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Title: Body and Soul (PsyCop 3)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 4 Hours, 45 Minutes

At a Glance: Body and Soul asks much of Gomez Pugh’s talent, and he, in turn, delivers

Blurb: Thanksgiving can’t end too soon for Victor Bayne, who’s finding Jacob’s family hard to swallow. Luckily, he’s called back to work to track down a high-profile missing person.

Meanwhile, Jacob tries to find a home they can move into that’s not infested – with either cockroaches or ghosts. As if the house-hunting isn’t stressful enough, Vic’s new partner Bob Zigler doesn’t seem to think he can do anything right. A deceased junkie with a bone to pick leads Vic and Zig on a wild chase that ends in a basement full of horrors.

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Review: I’m hardly an e-book aficionado, considering Body and Soul is the third book in the PsyCop series and is exactly the third audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I must say that when Gomez Pugh introduces the book, even the way he says Jordan Castillo Price’s name resonates on a scale of one to ten as a sexy eleven.

Book Three takes place at Thanksgiving time, which leads to Vic meeting Jacob’s family, which leads to some pretty interesting events around the dinner table. As this series is narrated in the first person from Vic’s point of view, we play witness to the fact, without him stating it point blank, that he has no real clue how to operate within or fit into a family dynamic. What makes it a great scene for the reader, if not for Vic, is the sight he’s treated to sitting across the table from Uncle Leon. I’m not going to say what that is, but it’s darkly humorous and is also a revelation of even the small things Vic is forced to acclimate to because of his sixth sense, not to mention it’s a great way to begin a book—nothing says meet-the-in-laws like a soupcon of the supernatural to add to the discomfort.

In Body and Soul, readers are treated to a greater understanding of Victor Bayne as a character. Details about his past and what he’s lived through are being parsed out in small doses in preparation for a more in depth set of revelations as the series progresses. The one thing we know about Vic for sure, almost from the first moment he’s on page, is that he is a survivor. Sure, he may have to use some pretty good narcotics to help him make it through most days, but with a “gift” like his, a medium’s gotta do what a medium’s gotta do. He shows us a deadpan (pun not intended) humor and a certain vulnerability but a growing confidence, as well, in his relationship with Jacob. Which is still in its infancy but is bringing Vic closer to a home in someone than he’s ever been before. Jacob is Vic’s new “normal”, a normal he can, and wants, to live with.

Vic and Jacob take an important step in their relationship, when Vic says yes to Jacob’s suggestion they move in together. Jacob, who’s always been nothing less than confident, shows a little vulnerability when Vic doesn’t seem to be as excited to live with him as he is to live with Vic. It was a revelation, this glimpse of how much Jacob really loves Vic and wants to be with him, but is willing to be with him on Vic’s terms. In turn, Vic realizes there’s never been anyone who makes him feel the way Jacob does, and let me tell you, it’s one thing to read a hot sex scene. It’s another thing entirely to have it read to you in a deep and seductive voice.

With Vic’s former partner, Maurice, retired; his partner for the blink of an eye, Lisa Gutierrez, falling off the radar while she’s away being trained how to be a PsyCop; and his last partner, Roger, trying to make a human guinea pig out of Vic, we’re introduced in this book to a new partner, Zig. Though he doesn’t say much—he’s not the talkative sort—his actions speak well enough for him and he seems a decent fellow, so prepare for him to be around awhile. Also prepare for a gruesomely touching scene between Vic and Zig that alone puts another macabre touch on what Vic lives with day in and day out.

Their first case together comes at the expense of Vic and Jacob’s long holiday weekend, but people are going missing and Vic gets called in to liaise with the non-living to try to figure out what’s happened to the men and women who’ve disappeared without a trace. The case itself turns out to be even more bizarre when it reveals itself to involve a spiritual ritualism that even Vic has never seen before (just when you think you’ve seen it all), and which gives this book its title. In working this case, we get the chance to see why Vic is such an asset to the “Spook Squad”, as well as why he’s the object of some scorn from the NPs—the non-PsyCops. We also get another delectable peek at Jordan Castillo Price’s imagination and her ability to draw readers in to her unreality.

It can’t be easy for a voice actor to narrate a book, especially considering the fact that actor is providing not only the narrative voice but the dialogue for every character in the book. This means the narrator must sort through his repertoire of accents and vocal pitches to find those that will fit within the story’s setting and suit not only the male but the female characters as well. What’s impressive about Pugh’s vocalization in Body and Soul is the range he manages to employ that brings to life an impressive number of role players in this book. Not only does he have Vic and Jacob down pat, but JCP has included Zig, as well as the Marks family, a few cops, Crash, assorted family members in a missing persons case, the kid at a hot dog stand, the perpetrators of a missing persons crime, and an assortment of ghosts in the book. Body and Soul asks much of Gomez Pugh’s talent, and he, in turn, delivers.

If you love speculative fiction at all, read all the books in this series, listen to the audiobooks that have already been released, love Victor Bayne and Jacob Marks as Jordan Castillo Price has written them, and get to know them a titch better in the way Gomez Pugh has brought them to life.






You can buy Body and Soul (PsyCop 3) here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Criss Cross (PsyCop: Book Two) by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Title: Criss Cross (PsyCop: Book Two)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 4 Hours, 9 Minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Criss Cross finds the ghosts surrounding Victor getting awfully pushy. The medications that Victor usually takes to control his abilities are threatening to destroy his liver, and his new meds aren’t any more effective than sugar pills.

Vic is also adjusting to a new PsyCop partner, a mild-mannered guy named Roger with all the personality of white bread. At least he’s willing to spring for the Starbucks.

Jacob’s ex-boyfriend, Crash, is an empathic healer who might be able to help Victor pull his powers into balance, but he seems more interested in getting into Victor’s pants than in providing any actual assistance.

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Review: In Criss Cross, the second installment in Jordan Castillo Price’s PsyCop series, another of my favorite characters is introduced—Jacob’s ex lover Curtis, AKA Crash. We don’t learn a lot about Crash in Criss Cross, but trust me when I say he becomes almost as beloved a character as Vic and Jacob themselves as the series progresses. I love the tension between Crash and Jacob, and especially between Crash and Vic, which Gomez Pugh captures in his second go at narrating this series.

But, that’s only a fraction of this story. The heart of it is what’s happening with Victor, and why he’s suddenly attacking Jacob while asleep, leaving bloody marks on Jacob’s skin. The what and the why that Jordan Castillo Price reveals before story’s end adds a layer of danger to Vic’s psychic abilities, which is also played out in the revelation of a sinister plot that involves the living and the dead. JCP uses her considerable writing talent to escalate the macabre in this book, while Pugh employs his smooth as silk vocals to deliver it. Once again he’s captured Vic’s snark, his lack of interpersonal skills, his insecurity and vulnerability where Jacob is concerned, and projects through it all just how new and tentative their relationship still is.

The secondary characters introduced in Criss Cross are all given voices that suit their personalities, from Roger Burke’s swell-Richie Cunningham-Howdy Doody-ness to the gentle wisdom of Crash’s resident ghost Miss Maddie. Gomez Pugh gives style and resonance to each vocalization, regardless of how major or minor the role, and he’s single handedly ensured that 2015 will see me as an audiobook convert.

Lisa Gutierrez once again figures prominently in this installment, further establishing herself as an integral part of Victor’s life, not to mention that JCP has also set the stage for her special brand of television that has me champing at the bit for GhosTV, but that’s a ways off, and I’m just as excited for all the audiobooks in the series leading up to it.

With a steamy ending, one that pumped pure sex right into my tender ears in Pugh’s deep and sultry tones, Criss Cross earns its recommended listen status.








You can buy Criss Cross (PsyCop: Book Two) here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Guest Post and Free Download (Thaw): Jordan Castillo Price and the PsyCop Audiobook Series

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Hello Lisa, hi TNA, I’m so grateful you found a spot for me to talk about my latest project, M/M audiobooks. I’ve only begun  producing audiobooks this year, but I’ve already had the first three books in the PsyCop made into audios.

While audiobooks have been around for a long time, they’re fairly new to this genre. I wasn’t sure what PsyCop fans would want to know about the process, so I asked readers on Facebook.

Rose asked, “Did you always want to get into audio books, or is it something you have only recently considered?”

At my last day-job, I worked at a public library. Having scads and scads of materials available to me, all of it free, changed the way I consumed media forever. With everything at my fingertips, I became both more selective, and more adventurous. I tried out lots of magazines, for instance, but eventually realized that it’s impossible to read every single magazine that interests me, plus they’re often fairly repetitive, so unless you’re merely killing time in the checkout line, it’s better to be choosy.

With books, I made the shift of not needing to own a physical every book I cared to read. If you’ve ever had to relocate, you know that moving boxes and boxes of books is just a world of hurt. Not only did I get out of the habit of buying books since I could read and return them, I donated many of my books since I could easily put my hands on them again if I absolutely had to. (And since ebooks soon came out, that became a much better way of having books. Not so dusty, and not nearly as heavy.)

With music, I started listening to random bands. And with movies, I no longer did that weird thing where I overthought my movie selection and ended up picking the most bizarre, inaccessible art film in all of Blockbuster. Because now I could bring home a bunch of movies and I didn’t have to finish any of the ones that were too bizarre!

The funny thing is, I have no idea when I listened to my first audio.

It’s possible I got started listening to non-fiction audios. Personal development titles really hook me in, so my early days of audiobooks might’ve been spent listening to Wayne Dyer or Louise Hay. But I do distinctly remember alternating audio and reading when I was devouring the Stephanie Plum series—and I remember being baffled that two different production houses did the audios with different narrators, and the later books sounded nothing at all like the earlier ones. I’m pretty sure I read that Janet Evanovich hated the early audios. What a shame. I thought the first voices were funnier—Stephanie had a distinct Jersey accent, and Grandma was pee-your-pants hilarious. The later versions were homogenized, obvious, and nowhere near as quirky and fun.

My first stories saw print over ten years ago, but if you’d asked me whether they’d go to audio, I would have thought that notion was pie in the sky. The likelihood of an audio version seemed as farfetched as landing a movie deal.

But things changed, as they do. Audible began offering a way for writers with stories to find producers looking for projects. Readers have been asking me for an audio for years, but I hung back for quite a while. My concern was that I didn’t want to ruin my series by getting a reading I didn’t care for. And I’d known plenty of authors who ended up with a reader who had the wrong accent, or who mispronounced the important names, or could barely bring themselves to say the word cock.

I saw my pal Jordan L. Hawk was making lots of audios, though, and she allowed me to pick her brain. She assured me that if I put my script up for audition, there was nothing forcing me to choose someone within a certain amount of time, if at all. It couldn’t hurt to try.

I’m so pleased I took her advice! The actor Gomez Pugh has brought a whole new dimension to the PsyCop characters. And believe me when I say, that man can really belt out a sex scene :D

Don’t take my word for it, come check out the PsyCop audiobooks!

Stream a sample from each book at the PsyCop site

Among the Living (PsyCop #1) on Audible, iTunes and Amazon

Criss Cross (PsyCop #2) on Audible, iTunes and Amazon

Coming soon! – Body and Soul (PsyCop #3) on Audible, iTunes and Amazon

And my gift to all of you, Thaw, PsyCop Short #1.1, free for download or streaming

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Friend Jordan Castillo Price on Facebook (general chitchat):

http://facebook.com/jordancastilloprice

Like the PsyCop Fanpage (reader chat and news about new releases):

http://facebook.com/JCP.PsyCop

Sign up for JCP News (monthly email newsletter):

http://psycop.com/newsletter.html

Jordan Castillo Price

www.jordancastilloprice.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa

Audio Review: Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Title: Among the Living (PsyCop: Book One)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 2 Hours, 59 Minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Victor Bayne, the psychic half a PsyCop team, is a gay medium who’s more concerned with flying under the radar than in making waves. Continue reading

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Welcome Jordan Castillo Price On The “Meatworks” Blog Tour: Interview and Giveaway

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TNA: Hi, Jordan, and welcome. I’m so glad you could join us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell all of us a little bit about yourself, a few things we readers may not know about you?

Jordan: Hi, Lisa, I’m so tickled to be here!

Intrinsically, I’m not very interesting and actually pretty shy. I don’t have much to talk about other than writing. In fact, I need a prop in order to be recognized. You know Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility? I own something like that, but opposite. It’s the hat I’m wearing in my author pic. When I take off that darn hat, I’m invisible. It’s kinda spooky. Continue reading

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5 Stars, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa

A Damaged Antihero Leads The Way Through Jordan Castillo Price’s “Meatworks”

Title: Meatworks

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Word Count: 300 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.
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5 Stars, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa

A Man’s Life Ticks Down To “Zero Hour” – by Jordan Castillo Price


“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ― Mark Twain


Title: Zero Hour

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Word Count: 240 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Ernest just turned thirty. It’s time for retirement, freedom from the tedious drudgery of his job as a data clerk. Time to explore parts of the city he’s never seen before, and hopefully meet some actual people. And at the end of the month? Time to die.

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa

Jordan Castillo Price’s “Forget Me Not (Mnevermind: Book Two)” – It’s A Fantastic Sequel In A Great Series


“I like it that order exists somewhere even if it shatters near me.” ― Elizabeth Moon


Title: Mnevermind 2: Forget Me Not

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 158 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: No two people are exactly alike, but Elijah Crowe is very, very different.

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Self-Published

Yeah… If We Could Get More Of The “Spook Squad” Gang, That’d Be Great



“Deception, when it works, is the most elegant and the least expensive manipulation of all.” – Vernor Vinge



Oh, Victor Bayne, how much do I love you? Apparently so much that I pretend you’re real and ask you if you know how much I love you.

It’s been approximately two and a half years since Vic, (our resident über-Medium with the Extra-Grande Psych skills) and the baddest of the badass Stiffs, Jacob Marks, discovered that Must-See-TV doesn’t hold quite the appeal for some as it does for others. Well, they’re back and better than ever in Spook Squad, the seventh (and counting) book in the PsyCop series, in which Jacob’s got a new job, and Vic is trying really hard to come to grips with the fact that sometimes justice is sketchy as hell.

Vic is trying really hard to avoid Con Dreyfus, Jacob’s new boss and the director of the FPMP—the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program—which we’re all pretty sure is keeping a very close eye, and ear, on Vic and Jacob’s every move. Paranoia is fun! And it forces the guys to be ultra-creative in their stealth. Well, F-Pimp wants Vic on the Federal side of the spook biz, but he’s not at all keen on the idea of siding with the bad guys. Or at least the people he believes are the bad guys, and why wouldn’t he think it, considering all the lingering repeaters there are hanging around the place, not to mention one psychotic ghost with a thirst for vengeance? And how about a director who isn’t opposed to playing manipulation games to get what he wants? It’s all a little on the sketchy side, if you ask Vic.

Spook Squad is a chapter in this on-going love-fest of mine in which nothing is what it seems and the dead have all the answers, not that they’re sharing much. Dead men tell no tales, after all, yeah? Only, sometimes they do, but then sometimes the dead would just as soon eliminate a guy than allow him to have his way with her—in only the most metaphysical sense, of course—and there’s one particular ghost who means to get her way, or make sure she takes some people down with her before Vic has a chance to send her to wherever it is spirits dwell once their earth-bound thread is clipped.

Vic and Jacob seem to get nothing but a lot of dead end clues in Roger Burke’s murder, a murder in which the least likely person to have possibly committed it has been implicated by Vic himself. Trying to figure out why Laura Kim was at the scene of the crime, and why her gun is the murder weapon even though she’s clearly not the kind of woman who shoots first and asks question later, is the trying-to-find-a-ghost-in-a-spook-stack mystery that needs solving in this episode.

Jordan Castillo Price has dialed this one up to a full Technicolor, High Def, you’ve-gotta-see-it-to-belove-it read of spook-a-licious intrigue, and Vic and Jacob just keep getting better. They fit, that’s all there is to it. They’ve evolved from Jacob’s near obsession with Vic’s talents to the two of them being a true team. They’re a hand-in-glove fit, and their relationship has grown into something that feels real and comfortable, and I adore them.

I’ve been hopelessly in love with this series since Among the Living, and it doesn’t look like the bloom will be falling off that rose anytime soon. Vic has got some new territory to explore coming up, and I’ll be reading right along with him.

If you’ve been following along on Victor and Jacob’s supernatural stand-offs, Spook Squad is a must read. If you haven’t started reading this series yet, do it now and catch up quickly.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Spook Squad (PsyCop #7) here:

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5 Stars, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Mnevermind 1: The Persistence of Memory by Jordan Castillo Price

Daniel Schroeder lives in a world where dreams and fantasies can be bought for the right price. It’s an intriguing proposition, the idea of being able to fulfill an ambition, to achieve the unachievable, to participate in the illusion of sex with a virtual stranger without the complication of awkward entanglements and empty promises. Daniel has even created his own program in which the participant is left with the impression that for just a moment in time, life is a journey filled with wondrous contentment. And it worked—until one time it didn’t, and the things that weren’t supposed to last, the memories that weren’t supposed to imprint did, altering the perception of reality and making the illusion permanent.

A mnem isn’t designed to last; it’s designed to be a mnevermind, like a story that the subject writes with a beginning, middle, and end that a sherpa like Daniel is paid to orchestrate. He’s a tour guide of the subliminal who enters the mnem, doesn’t interact with the subject or manipulate the illusion, but is there to make sure it comes to a safe and satisfying conclusion. The routine is so familiar to Daniel that he could pretty much do the job with his eyes closed; there aren’t many surprises, until the day he enters a mnem and meets a man in black who is tangible and sentient and becomes a part of Daniel’s existence.

Elijah Crowe is that man and he is an enigma. He’s able to be where he shouldn’t be, and he becomes a near obsession for Daniel. They relate to each other on a visceral level in their fantasy world, where they talk and touch and kiss, then Elijah disappears and leaves Daniel to decipher the puzzle of who he is and leaves him determined to find his man in black in the real world. When he does, though, Elijah is nowhere near the same sexy and confident man he is within the mnems he prowls.

Mnevermind 1: Persistence of Memory is just the beginning of the mnem, so don’t expect a tidy middle or end to this chapter in the series or you’ll definitely be disappointed. Just expect an outstanding story from an author whose imagination shines brilliantly, and you’ll get exactly what you’ve paid for. The only reason I was disappointed when this book ended was because I knew I was going to have to wait for Daniel and Elijah’s complicated connection to tease out.

Buy Mnevermind1: The Persistence of Memory HERE.

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4 Stars, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

The Starving Years by Jordan Castillo Price

Many, many…way too many years ago than I care to remember, I watched a movie called Soylent Green, starring Charleton Heston. Set in a dystopian future, in a horrifically overpopulated New York City, Heston played an NYPD officer investigating the murder of one of the higher ups in the Soylent Corporation, a company that had developed a new source of food in the form of a wafer called, what else, Soylent Green. Even with this new source of nutrition, however, food was still at a premium and riots were par for the course, as people fought for every scrap they could get their hands on in an effort to stave off starvation.

Soylent Green was reportedly made from algae or seaweed or some sort of ocean plant life, I can’t recall specifically after all these years, but as Heston digs deeper into the murder investigation, certain disturbing details come to light, not the least of which is that the plant which Soylent Green is supposedly made from no longer exists in the mass quantities the company would need to convert it to food. And the plot thickens. ::insert dramatic music here:: To make a long story short, what Heston ultimately reveals is that–and this is the only line in the entire film that has stuck in my head for all these years–“Soylent Green is people! Blech. The Soylent Corporation had effectively turned the entire population of the earth into cannibals. Now, I didn’t say this was a good movie. I only said I’d watched it.

So, what does this have to do with Jordan Castillo Price’s The Starving Years? Admittedly, not so much, though as I was reading the story, there was obviously enough there to trigger memories of this movie. But The Starving Years is light years beyond Soylent Green in terms of quality, and Manna really is made from plants, though that whole cannibalism thing…well, you’ll just have to read the book to figure that one out.

This is a David vs. Goliath story, David (or in this case, several Davids) being a small group of strangers brought together by chance and circumstance that band together to topple corporate giant Canaan Products, the leading producer of the food source Manna. There is no scarcity of the product. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Manna is available in abundance. Yet still, the appetite for more is never sated.

This story is part corporate greed, part social activism–whistle blowers who use the media to their advantage, the supposedly fair and unbiased media that uses good and honest people as playthings to manipulate and boost ratings and to sensationalize the news. This is the story of corporate America and the way in which the general public relies on those corporations to conduct their business fairly, when all the corporations truly care about is their fiscal well being. We trust that the food we consume is safe, but sometimes trust is misplaced. This is the way in which big business drug manufacturers hold the infirm hostage by pricing their medicines so outrageously high that the average person must weigh and measure his pain against the cost of the pill that will help him. The corporate party line is the bottom line.

Jordan Castillo Price tells this story in the third person, from three different perspectives: Nelson Oliver, the brilliant scientist who tries his best to appear shallow and one dimensional; Javier de la Rosa, the taciturn and scarred journalist who has trust issues; and Tim Foster, the computer wiz, the Voice of Reason, and a man whose loneliness and social awkwardness allows him to reach out and to trust a group of total strangers with the hope that they might one day become friends.

They, along with Randy and Marianne, meet just as New York City is falling into a state of social chaos–riots, looting, and general mayhem have turned the city into a near police state. The people are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore, to borrow the quote, and the group is determined to use any means at their disposal to figure out exactly what it is that Canaan Products is hiding. And discover they do, when the city’s children start being taken into police custody.

How can people have unlimited food supplies at their disposal and still be starving? The same way New York City is home to millions of people, and Tim is still lonely, I guess. Nelson, Tim, and Javier are as starved for a human connection in the same way a man can be hungry for food. Starvation comes in many different forms. But that’s the easy explanation. The actual truth lies buried within a chemical composition that only Nelson can decipher, and when he does put all the pieces in place, it creates a frightening picture.

JCP had a story to tell, and tell it she did. In the end, I found myself wishing there’d been just a bit more focus on the developing relationship between Nelson, Javier, and Tim, but if there had been, it might have taken too much focus away from the main storyline. The fact I wanted to know more about the three men is nothing more than a testament to how well I loved what was there.

Buy The Starving Years HERE.

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Sleepwalker by Jordan Castillo Price

Sleepwalker is a difficult book to categorize. There’s a little bit of mystery, a little bit of…not so much romance as much as there is a beginning of what could be a fine romance, and a little bit of personal turmoil for Dan “Web” Weber, a man who’s struggling with an affliction named George. And if you want to read even more into it, this could also be seen as a great argument for healthcare reform.

This post contains what might be considered spoilers, so click if you’d like to continue reading.

Continue reading

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

My Lost Weekend With Michael and Wild Bill


I spent two days zigzagging throughout the Midwest, including spending some time in the stinkiest city in the US–Terra Haute, IN–ended up in Vegas, and never even left the comfort of my own home. I spent those two days buried deeply in the ten short stories/novelettes that comprise Jordan Castillo Price’s Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion series.

The paranormal sub-genre (vampires/werewolves/shapeshifters) has been done to death over the course of the past several years, which is why it took me so long to get around to reading this series. I’ve been a long time fan of JCP’s PsyCop books. In fact, Victor and Jacob are right at the top of my list of all-time favorite fictional couples, so it wasn’t anything other than my own paranormal burnout that kept me from digging into Michael and Wild Bill’s world. After all, how many permutations of the vampire mythos can there be, really? Bram Stoker introduced Dracula to popular culture over a hundred years ago, and authors have, ever since, been re-creating the mythology and giving it new twists to keep things fresh and expanding on all the metaphors for sex. But even still, there’s only so much that can be made new from an old concept.

Or so I thought.

Jordan Castillo Price has put her definitive stamp on some of the old tropes, keeping some concepts in tact while debunking others, to give Wild Bill and the rest of her vamps an original and uber-erotic spin in the centrifuge, definitively separating them from the herd. There’s no need for metaphors for sex in this series, because the sex is entirely literal and incredibly seductive.

Michael and Wild Bill are two halves of the same whole, in an entirely symbiotic relationship that survives, thrives, and has become a physical and emotional imperative that connects them in spite of the fact that they sometimes practice an open relationship. They are distinct yet entwined by something deeper than love. They’re bonded by blood and a metaphysical link that makes it impossible to think of one without the other. They’re yin/yang and it works perfectly within the circles in which they move.

This is one of those series I can see myself reading over and over again. Why? What makes some books immanently re-readable? For me, it’s something that all my favorite authors do better than others: dialogue. It isn’t enough to simply tell a story. What is essential for me is to “listen” to the characters and the way they speak, the way they relate to each other, the way they interact and react to each other. That’s not to say plot is unimportant; it is. But becoming emotionally invested in what’s happening in the lives of the characters is the ultimate payoff.

And I feel like I hit the jackpot with Michael and Wild Bill.

BUY LINKS:

Channeling Morpheus (1-5) Bundle

Sweet Oblivion (6-10)

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