Flashback Friday, Giveaways

Flashback Friday and Giveaway: The Bad Boys Edition

Flashback Friday

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Flashback Friday. Today we’re featuring some of the Bad Boys of fiction–the rocker boys and risk takers, rebels and heartbreakers–and, as always, there’s a chance to win an e-copy of one of our selected titles via the Rafflecopter widget below.

But before we get to the gist of this, congratulations goes to H.B., who selected Taylor V. Donovan’s Six Degrees of Lust from our Everyday Heroes edition.

And now, here are this week’s picks!

Dividers

TNA_Signature_SammyI love bad boys, I truly do, for they are often hiding the most tortured or wounded soul that is just screaming for someone to look beneath the bullsh*t and love them–really love them and not their hype.

Perhaps the most perfect example I have read of just such an anti-hero is The Curtis Reincarnation by Zathyn Priest.  This story is one of the sweetest stories of love and redemption ever to grace the m/m romance genre. Zathyn Priest weaves a story of a wounded and lost soul, a musical prodigy and genius, Alec Tyler (aka Tyler Curtis), bad boy goth rocker extraordinaire.

Abandoned by an evil and heartless mother, left parentless after the death of a beloved father at the age of 17, Alec is “discovered” by a cruel and money hungry man, turned abusive manager, Frank Brooks. For the next two years, Brooks mercilessly molds Alec into a superstar, hiding his epilepsy and grand mal seizures, under-medicating the same, and slowly robbing him blind. And then, across the streets of London, a girl named Bec wins a pair of tickets and convinces her standoffish gay brother Jordan to go to the concert of one Tyler Curtis.

Trying to escape the crowd after the concert, Jordan hides by the side of the stage when suddenly, Alec steps out and dances…for the audience of one…one young man who sits mesmerized by the exquisite grace of the other…and the line that Zathyn Priest writes for his MC to utter to the other says it all, “God…you’re exquisite.”

And so begins a love affair that will culminate in perhaps the sweetest most satisfying ending to a book I have ever read.

This novel was written seven years ago and still stands as one of the most beloved bad boy rocker stories in the genre.  If you haven’t read it already—do it!  If you have—maybe it’s time for a reread!

The Curtis ReincarnationJordan’s got a good life. He’s got his own web business, a fat cat for a pet and his own house, which he shares with his sister — oh well, nothing’s perfect. Also not perfect is not having someone special to share his life with. His sister Rebecca believes it’s because he’s too picky and too unapproachable, but Jordan just wants someone to do the Sunday crossword with, take walks with, someone who’ll be his mate for life. Is that really too much to ask?

One night Rebecca drags Jordan to a Tyler Curtis concert. Tyler is a notorious bad boy who treats his audience with contempt and sleeps with a different groupie every night, and Rebecca is determined to be tonight’s groupie. Jordan is there under protest. At least he is until he meets the man beneath the crass, bad boy image. Will Jordan get to know the true Tyler or will Tyler’s manager and a world wanting the man to match the image conspire against them?

Dividers

TNA_Signature_JulesAhhh – we all love bad boys…And, who fit the ‘bad boy’ bill more than rockers and musicians, right? Most rock stars are rebels at heart, and we love that about them. These hot messes are often in need of redemption, and are always in need of attention and love. I love it when an author can take us on a journey where we meet the quintessential bad boy, find out why he’s broken (if he is), see what makes him tick, and watch him find the person that is going to understand him and love him. SJ Frost does a fantastic job at this in the first two books of her Conquest series.

Conquest and No Fear both feature Jesse Alexander and Evan Arden as the main characters – and even though Jesse can truly be a pain in the ass, and things between the two of them happen very quickly in the first book, I completely fell in love with them.

From my review of Conquest:

I. Loved. This. Book. Even when I wanted to throw my Kindle out the window! Jesse and Evan are just…perfection together. It doesn’t even feel hokey that they get together so fast, because it just feels…right.

Jesse is an extremely temperamental, but gifted artist, who just can’t quite get it right with his band, Conquest. When he finally meets his idol, Evan Arden, things start to fall into place. Yet that is also when all the sparks start to fly in both his personal and professional life.

The other characters are also fun. Some that you’ll love, like Kenny and Julian from Conquest, and Jesse’s brother, Brandon – and then some that you’ll love to hate. The drama is mostly of the ‘record execs being dicks, and the band trying to rise above’ variety, rather than true drama between our MCs, which is how I prefer it.

A fun side note (and a peek into what a ridiculous nut job I am): I read these two books over a weekend while on a business trip, and a dear friend read them with me. We stayed up basically all night one night reading and messaging each other because we couldn’t put the book(s) down; and then the next day, in between meetings and conference events, I read, and hand wrote notes with my book flails on them in my seminar notebook, that I then took pictures of and texted to her. Oh, man…Good times.

I LOVE the broken, bad boy, rock star trope. I’ve read quite a few rockers that have been well written, and that I’ve also loved – maybe they’ll make it into another Flashback Friday edition somewhere down the road – but, none that have quite lived up to my adoration of Jesse and Evan. They were my first M/M rockers, and are still my favorites. Definitely check them out if you haven’t read them. Or, read them again if you have! That’s what I plan to do! :)

conquestVocally gifted singer, Jesse Alexander, has dreams of taking his band, Conquest, to the top. Evan Arden was thought of as a musical genius when at the height of his career he vanished from the spotlight. Together, their relationship is just as intense as their music careers. With success pushing down on them, Jesse must decide between his life of music, or his life with Evan.

Dividers

TNA_Signature_SadonnaThe book I’ve chosen for this week’s Flashback Friday is a book called Stories Beneath Our Skin. I was thinking about tattoos, I guess, since I’m about to start my largest tattoo to date. This was a new-to-me author when I picked up this book and I’m really glad I did.

This book really spoke to me on so many levels.  Anybody who knows me knows I’m a huge sucker for f*cked up characters, so of course I was in heaven with this story. Liam has had enough to deal with at age twenty-two to account for several lifetimes. He’s closed himself off and made himself very successful in his academic pursuits. But there is a pervasive sadness to him that maybe he is mostly unaware of – or at least immune to – at this point. While spending his days at the hospice waiting for his uncle to die, he needs something to take up his evening hours. When he goes to get a part time job at a tattoo parlor, we know by his reaction that there is a story there beneath the surface – and that it’s not a pretty one. Ace, the owner, takes a chance on him. From there, Liam is thrust into this strange little group of people – all of whom have their own issues as well.

The plot itself has some interesting twists, like a lot of stories we come across in real life. ;) The dance that Liam and Ace do around each other for a while makes us root for them all the more. Both deserve something good, but especially Liam. The relationship is slow in building and realistic in that Ace is a good bit older than Liam, and he knows he’s got family issues he has to deal with as well. There was a lot of consideration and deliberation on the parts of both characters.

The supporting cast of characters give depth to the story. They provide the nudging and the support that allow Liam and Ace to come together. Each one of them gives a little different flavor to the book. What a great group of friends and family. It’s really a testament to the author that this group of friends are really believable as a family. In these days when so many people do not have connections with their blood relatives – for whatever reason – the families we choose are many times much more integral to our lives than the ones we were born into.

A lot of this story is a little bit heartbreaking, but a lot of it is also hopeful and definitely well worth the time to read.

Stories Beneath Our SkinTattooing might have once been Liam’s passion, but he left it all behind along with ugly memories when he went to college. When his uncle’s health fails, Liam must come home at last to say his goodbyes. His days are spent at the hospice, leaving his nights to rake over the past. To fill those empty hours, he takes a job at Great Sin Ink. The close knit friendship of the workers there both intrigues and shakes Liam, who has spent the last four years keeping everyone at arm’s length. Neither Deb, the no-nonsense piercer, nor Goose, a manic tattoo artist, will let Liam get away with his isolationist ways for long.

If it were just those two, Liam might have stood a chance — but there’s also Ace, the owner of Great Sin. He hires Liam despite a thin resume, and that is a kindness Liam can’t forget. The two start up a tentative friendship, learning about each other as the summer days melt into each other. Slowly, Liam reveals a tender heart underneath the wall of quotes he uses to keep everyone out. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stand still, and both Liam and Ace have hard struggles before them that might break them up before they can even get together.

Dividers

TNA_Signature_LisaOkay, I dunno about you, but I just went and One-Clicked Sadonna’s rec. O.o

Because we didn’t get a lot of participation and representation for the Bad Boys this week, I’m going to cheat and pull out a few titles from my backlist. Variety is the spice of life, after all, right? And where would we be without a good cross-section of them to choose from? =)

The first book I’m dusting off today is Jess Faraday’s debut M/M novel The Affair of the Porcelain Dog. Understanding that historical fiction isn’t everyone’s cuppa, I’ll be 100% up front right now and tell you this is a historical novel, but if you’ve ever considered giving the genre a try, I can say this is a great place to start.

Drug trafficking, human trafficking, blackmail, betrayal, duplicity, moral ambiguity, prostitution, and murder; all are things you might expect to find in the Whitechapel district around the time Jack the Ripper took the life of his final victim, Mary Kelly, then seemed to disappear from the face of the earth. The lovely thing is that all of those dark and dangerous elements take place within the pages of The Affair of the Porcelain Dog too.

Cain Goddard saved Ira Adler from the streets of ‘Chapel, where Ira had been selling his body in order to survive. Cain brings Ira into his home and teaches the young man to read, write, and speak like a proper gentleman, hiring Ira as his “personal secretary,” though their relationship is far from the socially acceptable front they’re forced to portray to a world where anything more could find them both imprisoned (or worse) for gross indecency. Goddard has multiple faces, in fact, being not only a gay man but a rogue and a scholar as well. He was once an esteemed teacher at Cambridge University, but was sent down in a scandal for which he’s now being blackmailed. Since Goddard is unable to fulfill his one passion—teaching—he immerses himself fully in the other role—becoming the infamous Duke of Dorset Street, a hated and feared criminal whose questionable ethics and rationalizations make him a fully intriguing character, and a man whom Ira struggles and, ultimately, fails to align his own moral boundaries with.

Mystery and suspense abound in this book’s pages, and I have to be honest here–the sequel, Turnbull House, is even better. Cain Goddard may just be my all-time favorite bad boy of fiction.

The Affair of the Porcelain DogLondon 1889.

For Ira Adler, former rent-boy and present plaything of crime lord Cain Goddard, stealing back the statue from Goddard’s blackmailer should have been a doddle. But inside the statue is evidence that could put Goddard away for a long time under the sodomy laws, and everyone’s after it, including Ira’s bitter ex, Dr. Timothy Lazarus. No sooner does Ira have the porcelain dog in his hot little hands, than he loses it to a nimble-fingered prostitute.

As Ira’s search for the dog drags him back to the mean East End streets where he grew up, he discovers secrets about his own past, and about Goddard’s present business dealings, which make him question everything he thought he knew. An old friend turns up dead, and an old enemy proves himself a friend. Goddard is pressing Ira for a commitment, but every new discovery casts doubt on whether Ira can, in good conscience, remain with him.

In the end, Ira must choose between his hard-won life of luxury and standing against a grievous wrong.

Dividers

And now for something completely different, my next title is a contemporary romance filled with rocker boys, loads of angst, and, quite honestly, a twist I didn’t see coming until it happened and then I asked myself, “Pfft, how did you not see that coming?!”

M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn’s Moonlight Becomes You was re-released by Dreamspinner last year, but I first read it back in 2011 when it was published by Loose Id. It’s a story of betrayal, revenge, redemption, and, finally, atonement for a disloyalty that destroyed a relationship.

Shane Ventura and his younger brother Nicky didn’t have much but an abusive father and an absentee mother growing up. The one thing they did have, though, was their music and their dreams of making it big. There was just one key component missing from the band Luck, and Shane finds that key in Jesse Seider, a nerdy, plain, and chubby boy who’s enlisted to tutor Shane so he can graduate from high school. The improbable connection that forms between Shane, the boy with the bad-ass attitude, and Jesse, the boy who isn’t afraid to challenge Shane, comes through their mutual love of music. Jesse is a gifted musician and singer, and though he is the antithesis of what a rock star supposedly looks like, it’s his addition to the band that fills a need and brings the group together.

Standing at the threshold of success, Luck is about to sign a contract that will bring them the recognition and fame they’ve always wanted—there’s one condition, though…the record label says Jesse has to go. And the boy Jesse loves, the boy who loves him in return, has been elected to swing the ax.

Out of loyalty to Nicky, and maybe just a little greed for finally attaining something bright and positive in his life, Shane does it. He kicks Jesse out of the band, out of his life, and shatters both of their hearts in the process.

Eleven years later, Shane has become the pathetic caricature of an aging rock star—drugs, booze, and an endless supply of nameless sycophants who are more than willing to share his bed for a night have done nothing to erase the sorrow and shame he feels for his betrayal of Jesse.

Then he meets Kayden Berlin, lead singer of the band Moonlight, and feels that first spark of attraction, but he quickly discovers the feelings are not returned. In fact, the only emotions Kayden seems capable of showing toward both Shane and Nicky are utter loathing and contempt. Which makes Shane even more determined to get behind the man’s walls and melt his icy exterior. It seems Kayden Berlin may be the one and only man who can fill the space in Shane’s heart that was left gaping when he turned his back on Jesse.

Angsty – check. Sexy – check. Bad boys – check. Happy ending – check check. Moonlight Becomes You is about as romantical as a book can get.

Moonlight Becomes YouEleven years ago, Shane Ventura made the biggest mistake of his life when he caved in to pressure from his record label to kick his best friend, Jesse Seider, out of their band, Luck. To this day, Shane has never wanted anyone more, and all the sex and alcohol in the world can’t fill the void Jesse left behind. Not even the prospect of teaming up with Britain’s hottest band, Moonlight, for a massive world tour can get him out of his funk. Then he meets lead singer Kayden Berlin and falls into instant lust.

Kayden may act like he’s not interested, but Shane knows he feels the spark between them. Yet the harder Shane pushes, the more Kayden pulls away, until one explosive night leaves Shane with a broken heart. That seems to be his lot—lucky at everything but love. Shane still has one lesson left to learn, though: when it comes to love, you can’t always leave things to chance.

Dividers

And, for my final something completely different, how about some vampires? I’ve talked these novellas up one side and down the other, but I’m throwing them out here again because how can you talk about bad boys and NOT talk about a character named Wild Bill?

Jordan Castillo Price’s Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary series is comprised of five novellas (the continuation is a set of five more novellas called A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion), and even the flipping series titles make me giddy. These boys were first introduced to the world back in 2008, when Michael takes up the mantle of justice and becomes a vampire hunter to avenge the death of his best friend Scary Mary.

Michael’s playing the killing game when he meets Wild Bill in a bar one night, but Wild Bill isn’t the target. In fact, Michael and Wild Bill are both hunting the same vamp when they meet, and it’s not until the two guys seduce their mark and stake him after an erotic three-way in Michael’s hotel room that Michael even comes to the realization that Wild Bill’s a vamp too. But by then, Michael’s got it bad for our vampire bad boy.

Wild Bill disappears just as quickly as he strutted his way into Michael’s space, but though he ran, he couldn’t hide. Michael’s gotten good at tracking and they meet again, and again… and 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. But, it’s not always possible, and that’s what makes our bad boys so good–sometimes they have to be a little bit bad just to survive.

Michael and Wild Bill have become iconic in the M/M lexicon and are at the top of my list of some of my all-time favorite characters: human, non-human, or somewhere in between. They’re my addiction and every time I read the series, it gives me book hangover for days. Since I’ve read the books multiple times, though, I guess it’s more than worth it.

box-set-CMFSM200Michael 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 contains the following novelettes: Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, Rebirth.

Dividers

THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Dividers

The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*All comments must be relevant to the prompt to be eligible in the drawing
*Void where prohibited by law

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

Review: Memento by Jordan Castillo Price

Small Gems

Amazon

Amazon

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

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Standard
5 Stars, Andrea Speed, Astrid Amara, Charlie Cochet, Ginn Hale, Jordan Castillo Price, Jordan L. Hawk, KJ Charles, Lou Harper, Nicole Kimberling, Reviewed by Lisa, Rhys Ford, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy – Edited by Jordan Castillo Price

TNA Page Turner Resized

Title: Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

Authors: Rhys Ford, Ginn Hale, KJ Charles, Nicole Kimberling, Jordan L. Hawk, Charlie Cochet, Jordan Castillo Price, Andrea Speed, Lou Harper, Astrid Amara

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 509 Pages

At a Glance: With a lineup like this, how could this anthology have possibly gone amiss?

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Magic takes many forms. From malignant hexes to love charms gone amok, you’ll find a vast array of spells and curses, creatures and conjurings in this massive collection—not to mention a steamy dose of man-on-man action. Charmed and Dangerous features all-new stories of gay paranormal romance, supernatural fiction and urban fantasy by ten top m/m paranormal authors.

Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum
For Detective Roku MacCormick, working Arcane Crimes is his passion. Now cleared of any wrongdoing for shooting his last partner, MacCormick is given back his badge… as well as a new case and partner. Trent Leonard isn’t exactly what he’d expected, but then nothing in San Francisco’s Chinatown ever is.

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog
When Jack Swift killed a tyrant and won the revolution he became a national hero. But someone in the new government prefers dead heroes to living, swearing, cynical wizards. Caught between bullets, revenge and desire, Jack had better be swift indeed.

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade
Apprentice magician Crispin Tredarloe returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold. Papers with secrets that could spell death. Waste paper seller Ned Hall can’t resist Crispin’s pleading—and appealing—looks. But can the wasteman and the magician prevent a disaster and save Crispin’s skin?

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious
Occult attacks against NIAD agents aren’t remotely Keith Curry’s department. But when his lover, Gunther, is assaulted, Keith refuses to just sit back and fill out paperwork. He’s on the case—even if that means enraging powerful mages, crossing leprechaun picket lines, or braving dinner with Gunther’s goblin parents.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
Psychic medium Victor Bayne can spot a ghost any day of the year, but Halloween holds some special surprises. His psych-groupie boyfriend Jacob coaxes him to the location of an old spirit sighting, but they can’t ghosthunt without enduring a cheesy “haunted house” that’s even more disturbing than they realize.

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex
Hexman Dominic Kopecky doesn’t understand why dashing crow familiar Rook wants his help investigating murder by patent hex. For one thing, Dominic isn’t a witch. For another, the case is already closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince
Riley Murrough goes from serving lattes to being chased by demons. If that wasn’t bad enough, he bears the mark of a shapeshifter king from a magical realm. Riley’s determined to get answers, but if the demons out for his blood don’t kill him, the urge to strangle the arrogant king might.

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many
Veteran detective Mike Mulligan is an expert on violent crimes—of the occult variety. He might even be cursed. Detective Hugh Fox is eager to partner up and prove himself, but Mulligan is accustomed to flying solo. Can they trust each other enough to track a killer who’ll stop at nothing, not even summoning a demon?

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom
It’s a boring night at the Quik-Mart for Josh and his friend Doug. Until a vampire with a grudge—and the most adorable backup ever—crashes the store. Can Josh survive the Bathroom of Doom?

Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes
P.I. Tim Keller has a problem. And the only person who can solve it is his ex-boyfriend, Vincent, whose job as a hexbreaker was the reason they broke up. It’s hard admitting he was wrong, especially when coughing up organs. But there’s a missing person to find, a hexmaker to hunt down, and a romance to repair before Tim breathes his last.

Dividers

Review: If you’ve looked at this lineup of authors and thought to yourself that there’s no possible way this anthology could fail…you’d be absolutely right. For fans of speculative fiction, Charmed and Dangerous is a collection of wild wonderment that’s been long overdue. This company of ten of the genre’s consummate storytellers dug into their depthless cache of talent to ensure each of these tales lived up to the challenge presented to them: to create new worlds, to introduce both new and familiar characters within the allotted word count, and to do so without sacrificing a single iota of detail, imagination, or compromising the quality of each tale.

Mission: Accomplished

For me to give you a thorough rundown of every story in this omnibus would take more words than I’m positive you’re willing to read from me, so I’m not going to try. There are enough adjectives of a superlative nature in the English language that I can heap on this collection, and upon the heads of its authors, which could, and does, apply to every story in Charmed and Dangerous. Magical and mysterious, clever and charming, witty and wonderful, each of these stories is filled with curses and hexes and creatures of the mythical and metaphysical sort, and, in turn, the authors have given their characters the outlet to explore each of their worlds: where the impossible is made reality, where these men form a bond against a backdrop of danger, action, suspense, humor, dark and deadly magicks, and are given second chances at love.

Nine of these ten tales share a more common thread in their magic, while Charlie Cochet’s The Soldati Prince (what I feel is the most romance-centric of the collection) is a heartfelt and touching shifter fantasy that adheres to the mate bond theme inherent to that sub-genre. A theme it does share with several other of the stories, however, is sacrifice in the name of love. And may have made me a little teary eyed before its end.

From Rhys Ford’s mayhem-laden, humorous and action packed turn at a sex-cursed statue in an Alt U San Francisco Chinatown (which could have come only from the delectably madcap and marvelous mind of this author); to the post-revolutionary dystopian brilliance that is the genius Ginn Hale’s story of betrayal and salvation, Jack Swift and the Black Dog; to the always marvelous KJ Charles’ foray into hex magic and treachery and the promise of a new love (plus, that first line hooked me!); to the hyper-imaginative Nicole Kimberling’s extra-appropriately titled Magically Delicious, and its Lewis Carroll/Midsummer Night’s Dream world filled with leprechauns, mermaid-flesh dealers, goblins, and a deadly pixie dust mystery; to the extraordinarily talented Jordan Castillo Price and my beloved Victor Bayne and Jacob Marks, and a ghost clown all wrapped up inside a misogynist meninist’s wet dream; to the eloquent and fabulous Jordan L. Hawk’s perfect The Thirteenth Hex, a story for which I’m already begging a sequel because these characters and this world are oozing with everything that makes reading a magic unto itself; to the flawless Lou Harper’s unparalleled and all-consuming mystery One Hex too Many–the story that kept me on the hook from start to finish in not only its imaginative world building but in my love of its detectives Mulligan, Fox and Leslie; to the never to be outdone Andrea Speed’s oddball-in-only-the-best-way, strange-things-are-afoot-at-the-Quik-Mart, Josh of the Damned world where anything goes, from vamps to werewolves to zombies to human-sized lizards to giant animate mustaches…well, you get the picture; to the excellent The Trouble With Hexes, Astrid Amara’s beautiful close to the anthology, a story that’s dark magic and pure emotion and encompasses what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice for the one you love—these stories, each and every one of them, deliver a reading experience that’s meant to be devoured and savored all at once.

Whether you’ve only read one of these authors before, or, like me, you’ve read all ten, Charmed and Dangerous is a spec fic lover’s Wonderland… Or whatever it is you call that place we go during those not-quite-aware-of-reality moments when we lose ourselves in a great book.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy Charmed and Dangerous here:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Standard
Rhys Ford

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Charmed and Dangerous Blog Tour with Rhys Ford

charmed-announce-851

Today we’re pleased to welcome author Rhys Ford back to chat about Dim Sum Asylum, her contribution to the upcoming anthology Charmed and Dangerous, featuring some of the premiere spec fic authors in the genre. Enjoy Rhy’s post, then be sure to leave a comment right here for the chance to win a $25 Gift Card to the e-tailer of the winner’s choice.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

Good luck!

Dividers

Charmed and Dangerous

A lot of us feel like we’re the left side of weird.

To be honest, many of us are and there we find ourselves, one another actually, standing on the left side of weird and thinking; you know this would be a good place to set up camp.

That’s kind of what it feels like to be a writer amongst writers. And sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you get invited to some really cool places to camp and some fantastic people to share a fire with. Marshmallows! S’Mores! Crazy insects out for your blood! But still, a universe of stars not only above you but around you.

When Jordan Castillo Price asked if I’d be in an anthology she was heading up, I said sure, mostly because I figured if JCP wants something, you give it to her. Kinda like a genre Wookie. Not because she’s gonna rip your arm off but mostly because let’s face it, Wookies are kind of cool.

She did NOT tell me who else was going to be on the docket. And I will admit—and have often admitted—that when she put out the list, I took a mental paper bag and huffed into it a few times because damn the line up. Shit hell, what have I gotten myself into? Said my little brain. Because one does not simply walk into this anthology and not have a really damned nice ring to toss into the lava.

Charmed and Dangerous was born. A vast land of possibilities and oh-my-god moments just waiting to happen. And we were off.

I’ve read all the other authors. And marveled at them. And fretted. Really, so much of writing is fretting.

Look at this lineup and say, sure… no worries, I can hang.

Astrid Amara, KJ Charles, Charlie Cochet, Ginn Hale, Lou Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, Nicole Kimberling, Jordan Castillo Price, Andrea Speed

Hah. I fret.

Then well, deadlines looming, I began to write. So did the others. Suffice it to say we all kind of blew past our 8,000 word mark. When it was all said and done, the anthology sat at over 100,000 words and oh the stories… damn the stories.

See, usually writing is a loner sport. Kind of like cross-country running. I think. I wouldn’t know. I grew up in a place where there wasn’t a lot of cross-country anything. You quickly run out of island after a bit. But still, writing…loner sport. It is. Even if you’re writing with someone, you’re kind of struggling to form words and ideas out of nothing and then passing that on for other people to see, hoping that you’ve hit the mark.

Guess it’s more like archery than running. But definitely as exhausting as running.

When we got the ARCs to look over our stories, I had the chance to read through the anthology as a whole and was humbled by the mastery of word and story from the other authors. Everyone talks about bringing an A-game to an anthology and in this case, it was more of everyone delivering proto-lingual skills because I truly believe this is one of the most innovative, fantastically crafted anthologies I’ve ever had a chance to read.

I am still shocked to be a part of it.

And very thankful.

Mostly thankful. So with much gratitude to Jordan Castillo Price, I extend my heartfelt thanks for including me. It was great to write a story and be included in Charmed and Dangerous. We were all given room to stretch our weirdness and found we could fly. So thank you for that too.

Charmed and Dangerous drops on Aug 25, 2015. I hope you grab it because I think it’s a buffet of tasty tasty words cooked up into the most delicious of dishes. Served up, of course, just on the left side of weird.

Purchase Charmed and Dangerous at Amazon.com

Dividers

charmed-cover-200Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

Take a cauldron full of magic, add a pinch of humor, a dash of snark and a huge dollop of m/m goodness, and what do you get? Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. This all-new collection is packed with arcane action and intrigue, and every story will whisk you away to a fantastical world where the hero finds his prince and the paranormal investigator always gets his man.

Magic takes many forms. From malignant hexes to love charms gone amok, you’ll find a vast array of spells and curses, creatures and conjurings in this massive collection—not to mention a steamy dose of man-on-man action. Charmed and Dangerous features all-new stories of gay paranormal romance, supernatural fiction and urban fantasy by ten top m/m paranormal authors.

Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum
For Detective Roku MacCormick, working Arcane Crimes is his passion. Now cleared of any wrongdoing for shooting his last partner, MacCormick is given back his badge… as well as a new case and partner. Trent Leonard isn’t exactly what he’d expected, but then nothing in San Francisco’s Chinatown ever is.

1DimSum_tease

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog
When Jack Swift killed a tyrant and won the revolution he became a national hero. But someone in the new government prefers dead heroes to living, swearing, cynical wizards. Caught between bullets, revenge and desire, Jack had better be swift indeed.

2SwiftTease

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade
Apprentice magician Crispin Tredarloe returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold. Papers with secrets that could spell death. Waste paper seller Ned Hall can’t resist Crispin’s pleading—and appealing—looks. But can the wasteman and the magician prevent a disaster and save Crispin’s skin?

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious
Occult attacks against NIAD agents aren’t remotely Keith Curry’s department. But when his lover, Gunther, is assaulted, Keith refuses to just sit back and fill out paperwork. He’s on the case—even if that means enraging powerful mages, crossing leprechaun picket lines, or braving dinner with Gunther’s goblin parents.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
Psychic medium Victor Bayne can spot a ghost any day of the year, but Halloween holds some special surprises. His psych-groupie boyfriend Jacob coaxes him to the location of an old spirit sighting, but they can’t ghosthunt without enduring a cheesy “haunted house” that’s even more disturbing than they realize.

3PsycopTease

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex
Hexman Dominic Kopecky doesn’t understand why dashing crow familiar Rook wants his help investigating murder by patent hex. For one thing, Dominic isn’t a witch. For another, the case is already closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince
Riley Murrough goes from serving lattes to being chased by demons. If that wasn’t bad enough, he bears the mark of a shapeshifter king from a magical realm. Riley’s determined to get answers, but if the demons out for his blood don’t kill him, the urge to strangle the arrogant king might.

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many
Veteran detective Mike Mulligan is an expert on violent crimes—of the occult variety. He might even be cursed. Detective Hugh Fox is eager to partner up and prove himself, but Mulligan is accustomed to flying solo. Can they trust each other enough to track a killer who’ll stop at nothing, not even summoning a demon?

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom
It’s a boring night at the Quik-Mart for Josh and his friend Doug. Until a vampire with a grudge—and the most adorable backup ever—crashes the store. Can Josh survive the Bathroom of Doom?

Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes
P.I. Tim Keller has a problem. And the only person who can solve it is his ex-boyfriend, Vincent, whose job as a hexbreaker was the reason they broke up. It’s hard admitting he was wrong, especially when coughing up organs. But there’s a missing person to find, a hexmaker to hunt down, and a romance to repair before Tim breathes his last.

Standard
Andrea Speed, Astrid Amara, Charlie Cochet, Cover Reveal, Ginn Hale, Jordan Castillo Price, Jordan L. Hawk, KJ Charles, Lou Harper, Nicole Kimberling, Rhys Ford

Cover Reveal: Charmed and Dangerous Edited by Jordan Castillo Price

charmed-announce-851

Magic takes many forms. From malignant hexes to love charms gone amok, you’ll find a vast array of spells and curses, creatures and conjurings in this massive collection—not to mention a steamy dose of man-on-man action. Charmed and Dangerous features all-new stories of gay paranormal romance, supernatural fiction and urban fantasy by ten top m/m paranormal authors.

charmed-cover-450

Releasing August 25, 2015, pre-order your copy now at Amazon

Dividers

THE LINEUP:

Rhys FordDim Sum Asylum

Ginn HaleSwift and the Black Dog

KJ CharlesA Queer Trade

Nicole KimberlingMagically Delicious

Jordan Castillo PriceEveryone’s Afraid of Clowns

Jordan L. HawkThe Thirteenth Hex

Charlie CochetThe Soldati Prince

Lou HarperOne Hex Too Many

Andrea SpeedJosh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom

Astrid AmaraThe Trouble With Hexes

Dividers

BLURBS:

Rhys Ford – Dim Sum Asylum
For Detective Roku MacCormick, working Arcane Crimes is his passion. Now cleared of any wrongdoing for shooting his last partner, MacCormick is given back his badge… as well as a new case and partner. Trent Leonard isn’t exactly what he’d expected, but then nothing in San Francisco’s Chinatown ever is.

Ginn Hale – Swift and the Black Dog
When Jack Swift killed a tyrant and won the revolution he became a national hero. But someone in the new government prefers dead heroes to living, swearing, cynical wizards. Caught between bullets, revenge and desire, Jack had better be swift indeed.

KJ Charles – A Queer Trade
Apprentice magician Crispin Tredarloe returns to London to find his master dead, and his papers sold. Papers with secrets that could spell death. Waste paper seller Ned Hall can’t resist Crispin’s pleading—and appealing—looks. But can the wasteman and the magician prevent a disaster and save Crispin’s skin?

Nicole Kimberling – Magically Delicious
Occult attacks against NIAD agents aren’t remotely Keith Curry’s department. But when his lover, Gunther, is assaulted, Keith refuses to just sit back and fill out paperwork. He’s on the case—even if that means enraging powerful mages, crossing leprechaun picket lines, or braving dinner with Gunther’s goblin parents.

Jordan Castillo Price – Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
Psychic medium Victor Bayne can spot a ghost any day of the year, but Halloween holds some special surprises. His psych-groupie boyfriend Jacob coaxes him to the location of an old spirit sighting, but they can’t ghosthunt without enduring a cheesy “haunted house” that’s even more disturbing than they realize.

Jordan L. Hawk – The Thirteenth Hex
Hexman Dominic Kopecky doesn’t understand why dashing crow familiar Rook wants his help investigating murder by patent hex. For one thing, Dominic isn’t a witch. For another, the case is already closed—and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Charlie Cochet – The Soldati Prince
Riley Murrough goes from serving lattes to being chased by demons. If that wasn’t bad enough, he bears the mark of a shapeshifter king from a magical realm. Riley’s determined to get answers, but if the demons out for his blood don’t kill him, the urge to strangle the arrogant king might.

Lou Harper – One Hex Too Many
Veteran detective Mike Mulligan is an expert on violent crimes—of the occult variety. He might even be cursed. Detective Hugh Fox is eager to partner up and prove himself, but Mulligan is accustomed to flying solo. Can they trust each other enough to track a killer who’ll stop at nothing, not even summoning a demon?

Andrea Speed – Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom
It’s a boring night at the Quik-Stop for Josh and his friend Doug. Until a vampire with a grudge—and the most adorable backup ever—crashes the store. Can Josh survive the Bathroom of Doom?

Astrid Amara – The Trouble With Hexes
P.I. Tim Keller has a problem. And the only person who can solve it is his ex-boyfriend, Vincent, whose job as a hexbreaker was the reason they broke up. It’s hard admitting he was wrong, especially when coughing up organs. But there’s a missing person to find, a hexmaker to hunt down, and a romance to repair before Tim breathes his last.

Dividers

TEASERS: 

We were just kids,” Jack muttered.

Shafts of afternoon light speared through the blinds, illuminating the hard angles of his lean face. He exhaled a cloud of pale blue smoke and ignored the glare of the well-dressed diners seated at other tables. In a moment a maitre’d would appear and smoothly suggest that he remove himself from the building.

Then, inevitably, David would intervene, flashing his ministry badge and pronouncing Jack’s full name a little too loudly, a little too officiously. A halting apology would be offered and followed by requests for autographs and photos. Behind it all Jack would hear the whispers.

That’s Jack Swift?

God, did you see his hand?

He looks like some ragman from the Bone Ledges.

I’ve heard he’s a queer.

Lifting his scarred hand, Jack drew the smoke down to ring his fingers. Let the surrounding diners see that the ragman in their midst was a wizard. They didn’t need to know which one. Any wizard was too much trouble for most decent folk.

-Swift and the Black Dog by Ginn Hale

§§§§§

From his square jaw and beefy build down to his dirty blond fade haircut, everything about the guy screamed ex-hardcore military. He moved as if expecting a riot to break out on the upper loft, icy blue eyes scanning each of us, stopping only long enough to mark our presence before moving on to the next cop.

He found me first and then again, last. His gaze pierced through me, assessing and judging in a way that did not say cop. I wasn’t sure what was found wanting, my shaggy mane or my odd ommatidia-faceted pupils, but something made his nostrils flare. I definitely spotted the moment he saw my pupils’ copper-green sheen. His head jerked back a few millimeters and his chin jutted out.

If my new partner had a thing against fae or fae-bred, we were assuredly going to have a problem.

-Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

§§§§§

“Mr. Kopecky?”

“Yes, that’s….” Dominic began as he lifted his gaze from the paper. Then his tongue tangled, and he forgot how to speak.

The man standing in front of his desk was…well, he’d never thought of a man as beautiful before, but it was the only word that came to mind now. The white of his shirt collar contrasted with rich, brown skin. Silky black locks brushed his shoulders, and wide lips shaped into a rather cheeky grin.

“…You?” the man prompted, when Dominic only stared.

God! He dropped his eyes quickly, willing his reaction under control. He couldn’t forget himself at work, in full view of everyone. As he glanced down, his eye snagged on the badge pinned to the man’s vest.

A familiar? Here?

-The Thirteenth Hex by Jordan L Hawk 

Dividers

AUTHOR BIOS:

Astrid Amara
Astrid Amara lives in Bellingham, Washington. She’s a former Peace Corps Volunteer, an advocate for animal rights, and a bureaucrat by day. After work she can usually be found writing, riding horses, hiking, or else sleeping. Her novel The Archer’s Heart was a finalist for the 2008 Lambda Literary Award. http://www.astridamara.com

KJCharles
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.
http://www.kjcharleswriter.com

Charlie Cochet
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
http://www.charliecochet.com

Rhys Ford
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist.

Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.

But mostly to the coffee maker.
http://www.rhysford.com

Ginn Hale
Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her wife and three cats. She spends many of the rainy days tinkering with devices and words and can often be sighted herding other people’s dogs, bees and goats. Her novel Wicked Gentlemen won the Spectrum Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.
http://www.ginnhale.com

Lou Harper
Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren’t romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives.

Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.

Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.
http://www.louharper.com

Jordan L Hawk
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.
http://www.jordanlhawk.com

Nicole Kimberling
Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her wife, Dawn Kimberling, two bad cats as well as a wide and diverse variety of invasive and noxious weeds. Her first novel, Turnskin, won the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She is also the author of the Bellingham Mystery Series.
http://www.nicolekimberling.com

Jordan Castillo Price
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to rural small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner.
http://www.jordancastilloprice.com

Andrea Speed
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)

In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!
http://www.andreaspeed.com

Standard
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.

TNA_Signature_Lisa







 

You can buy Camp Hell here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
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

Audio Gem

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.

TNA_Signature_Lisa







 

You can buy Body Art here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Standard
Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Rhys Ford

Killing Them Softly: The Murder and Mayhem Blog Tour With Rhys Ford

Murder_Mayhem_header

A funny thing happened on the way to the murder scene… I needed victims.

Now skip this part if you’ve heard it before but see, it’s hard to be a serial killer without victims. And if there’s one thing I do like writing, it is murder.

For the introduction of Rook and Dante in Murder and Mayhem, I wanted to do something different so I reached out to my fellow authors and asked, Can I murder you?

Everyone I reached out to said yes. Some were reluctant, some were enthusiastic, but mostly there was a tingle of impending doom because really, nothing says I love you like a particularly well planned murder—especially if it’s yours.

The authors I’m killing off on this tour are some of my favourites. I could kill everyone I like. Sadly, I wouldn’t have enough time, and I do have to move on to other murders, other books. But I’ve gathered a few… and best of all, like in some of the better mysteries in life, there is a plot twist.

***THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED***

To launch the Murder and Mayhem series, I will be giving away books written by my victims as well as a $20 USD gift certificate to the eTailer of the winner’s choice.

Catch each authors’ death on the tour and be sure to enter to win! And thank you all very much.

Dividers

6tammTA Moore—Labyrinth of Stone
I’ve known Tamm for centuries. She is one of the Five, a beloved cluster of friends who’ve bled, cried, laughed and coffeed together in various groupings. Tamm’s also one of the best fucking writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. God, I wish I could write like her.

6JCP

Jordan Castillo Price —  Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Ebook Box Set,  Mnevermind 1: The Persistence of Memory
There’s a Japanese word, komorebi, that loosely means the scattered, bokeh-like light when the sun shines in between trees. It’s an intangible word but when you come across that moment…in that forest…with the pungent scent of the weald in your lungs and the sparkling warmth cutting through the cold, you sure as hell know what that word means. Reading Jordan’s books, delving into her worlds, is to capture that moment and hold onto it forever in your mind.

Dividers

Blurb – Murder and Mayhem: Dead women tell no tales.

Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life—until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.

Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again—not after his former partner’d falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still made his blood sing.

Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence—and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.

Read an excerpt and Purchase Murder and Mayhem HERE

Dividers

Murder and Mayhem Blog Tour:

June 1:  It’s About The Book

June 2: Love Bytes

June 3: MMGoodBook Reviews

June 4: Mercy Celeste | 3Chicks After Dark

June 5: The Novel Approach | Bike Book Reviews Spotlight

June 6: Sinfully Sexy

June 7: The Blogger Girls 

June 8: Prism Book Alliance

June 9: Joyfully Jay

Dividers

!rhys_ford_headshotAbout Rhys Ford: Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

My Blog | Facebook | Twitter

And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.

My books can be purchased, folded and first chapters read at Dreamspinner Press.

Standard
Giveaways, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

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

banner

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.

Good luck!

Dividers

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.”

Dividers

THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
Giveaways, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

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

Banner

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.

Good luck!

Dividers

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.

Dividers

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

Dividers

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

Dividers

THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Standard
A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have in store for you here at The Novel Approach in the coming week. There’s lots coming up to be excited about–great guests, interesting content, a few giveaways, and, of course, we’ll be sharing more reviews with you as well.

Here’s what’s on tap!

Dividers

MondayK. Vale is here to kick off our week on her Crossed Hearts blog tour

Michele Michael Rakes also joins us today with a guest stop in the Fourth and Long blog tour

TuesdayCharlie Cochet makes us a stop today on the Healing Hunter’s Heart tour

We’ll also have Morticia Knight with us on the Justice Prevails blog tour

WednesdayJordan Castillo Price drops by today with an interview and giveaway for her newest audiobook release Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary

And we’ll also be hosting author Tina Blenke on her Shifting Cargo blog tour

ThursdayLexi Ander is our guest today on her Dreams of the Forgotten blog tour

Brita Addams to chat a bit up her upcoming Dreamspinner Press release Beloved Unmasked

FridayJacob Z. Flores drops by with a video chat on his Spellbound blog tour

Sam Standish is also our guest to discuss his newest novel Making Men

Saturday – Finally, to close out the week, author K. Lynn will join us on the Coffee Date blog tour

Dividers

And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

Standard
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

TNA Page Turner ResizedAudio Gem

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

Dividers

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

Dividers

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

Dividers

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:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Smashwords

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:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Standard
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?

Dividers

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:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
Giveaways, Jordan Castillo Price

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Channeling Morpheus Box Set by Jordan Castillo Price

channelingmorpheus1-5

The Novel Approach welcomes Jordan Castillo Price today to talk a bit about the Channeling Morpheus series. If you haven’t met Michael and Wild Bill yet, all I have to say is, trust me, you have to meet Michael and Wild Bill. ::nom::

Enjoy a little taste of vampires the JCP way, then be sure to enter the giveaway she’s offering just for you. Details are below.

Good luck!

Dividers

Hi, Lisa! I was so thrilled to hear you were a fan of the Channeling Morpheus series back in the early days of M/M. This series always felt like a well-kept secret to me, so I’m putting together some box sets, audio and some new material in hopes of introducing the series to the many newer M/M readers out there.

I’ve been enamored with vampires ever since I was a little kid. Seriously, my love for vampires goes all the way back to The Count from Sesame Street and Count Chocula cereal. Universal Monsters were a big deal in the 70’s, and most Sunday afternoons you could catch an old Dracula, Wolfman or Mummy film on TV. Then as a teenager I read Interview with the Vampire, and I was hooked for life.

What components of the vampire lore are important, though, and what can be discarded? In other words, what makes a vampire a vampire?

Early vampires in literature and silent film were stinky, gross, animated corpses. Yet even after the vampire was romanticized, he still shared certain characteristics with the undead creature at his roots.

I’ve picked and chosen which typical vamp rules are in effect for Channeling Morpheus, and which merely unfounded rumor. One of the key vampire advantages I’ve opted to leave intact was the hypnotic vampire gaze.

In the series’ first scene, vampire hunter Michael finally meets a vampire he’s been stalking online, and in person, the vamp is a whole lot scarier than Michael bargained for.

The black-haired guy stared at me, looked into my eyes. He was handsome, of course, with startling golden-green eyes and cheekbones to die for. His hair was more done up than my just-below-the-chin-length bob, long in front and spiked in back. Vamps are always slick, always handsome. And he didn’t seem too concerned about what was tacky, or what was obvious, or what was awkward. I felt a queasy flutter as he did his thing—just looking and looking and looking—like my spine was reacting to him, sending weird signals to random spots in my nervous system.

Holy crap, after all this time I find him…and me with absolutely nothing interesting to say. I wet my suddenly-dry lips and forced my shoulders to relax, my spine to sag. A half smile that I’d practiced for hours found its way onto my face, a mask of sultry indifference.

His eyes found mine again. I hadn’t realized they’d ever looked away. But then I figured out why—he’d been watching me wet my lips. “I’m Michael,” I said. And I made a mental note to practice small talk. Something. Anything. The library probably had a great wealth of information about that, just like everything else you could find there, if you were patient enough to sift through a billion other words.

“Gray,” he said. “A pleasure.”

His mouth molded the word pleasure like it was something dirty.

Of course, every blessing can be seen as a curse if you try hard enough. Wild Bill claims to hate the ability to charm people. How can you tell how someone really feels about you, the real you inside, when the fact of your vampirism will override all their true feelings?

“Whatever you said still wouldn’t count as an actual agreement. I’d always vamp you, just by looking at you. I’d never know if you were into me for real.”

As much as he gives lip service to the unfairness of it all, though, Bill is happy to create his own kind of currency and use his hypnotic vampire gaze in lieu of money.

I turned around and looked for Bill. He was way across the lot in the gas station. I watched him through the plate glass window. He pointed at the cigarettes, and then the candy bars, and the clerk stacked them on the counter. Bill pointed at something else, and the attendant shook his head. Bill leaned in close. He looked pretty motivated. The guy behind the counter gave an “oh well” kind of shrug, unlocked a cabinet and handed him a small bottle from it. Bill walked out without paying.

It’s interesting to think about what could be achieved with the application of a little vampire charm. Once in a while I have one of those days when someone at the grocery checkout looks me in the eye, then swoops in front of me with a big, full cart of stuff. And it would feel good to quell those minor annoyances with a mere “don’t mess with me” look. But as for more serious stuff? I dunno, I guess working the eyeball mojo would take some getting used to for me. I’m more of a “don’t sweat the small stuff” person at heart!

What about you? If you could vamp someone’s head, would you do it? In what circumstances?

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

To qualify in the drawing, comments must be time/date stamped by Midnight Pacific time on Sunday, March 29, 2015. One winner will be selected at random on Monday, the 30th, and notified by email for prize delivery.

Good luck!

Dividers

CMFSM-box-400Title: Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Ebook Box Set
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Length: 72,000 words
ISBN: 978-1-935540- 74-8
Publisher: JCP Books
Cover Artist: Jordan Castillo Price
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Smashwords | Scribd

Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Blurb: 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 contains the following novelettes: Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, Rebirth.

Dividers

Teaser: I slid my tongue over his and caught it on his fang, and the taste of my blood mixed with the taste of Bill’s mouth. He made a small sound that could have been pleasure or pain.

He flicked his half-smoked cigarette out the window with stunning accuracy. His fingertips brushed my face, gentle touches I could hardly feel. I slipped my arms around him and pulled him closer. I was tough. He didn’t have to worry about breaking me.

He pressed his body against mine, and he kissed me. He threaded his fingers through my wet hair and explored my coppery mouth. My tongue bled.

We both gasped for air when he finally broke the kiss.

“Just a little taste,” he said. “That’s what I keep telling myself. I can stop any time.” He pressed his forehead into mine and breathed carefully. “Any time.”

“Drink,” I said. “I can spare it. She didn’t take much.”

He smiled, I think. He was hard to read in the near-dark, and so close. “I’m not talking about blood.”

Dividers

Jordan Castillo PriceAuthor Bio: Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to rural 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.

Standard
A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

A Want Ad and a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak PeekCheers, everyone, and welcome back to a look at what we have coming up in the week ahead! It’s full of win, if I do say so myself. :)

**A Note of Thanks: many thanks to all of you who have expressed interest in reviewing for The Novel Approach. I’m truly humbled by your enthusiasm. And as I’ve now got a full complement of applicants, all positions are currently filled. :)**

And now, here’s what’s on tap just for you!

Dividers

Monday – We’re kicking off the week with G.B Gordon and The Other Side of Winter blog tour

And joining G.B., Patricia Logan will be here with us today on the Silver Ties blog tour

TuesdayCharlie Cochet drops by today with a Cover Reveal and an exclusive excerpt for her upcoming release Healing Hunter’s Heart

Jordan Castillo Price vamps out with us today, to tell you about the new box set and audio releases of the Channeling Morpheus series

Wednesday – We’ve got a busy day today, starting with Bey Deckard and the Cover Reveal, with exclusive excerpt, of the next book in his Baal’s Heart series, Fated: Love and Redemption

We’re also hosting author RJ Jones on the Out of the Blue blog tour

And with another edition of DSPP’s Genre Talk, Carole Cummings is hosting Rick R. Reed today to talk about writing Horror/Thrillers

ThursdayHeidi Cullinan stops in today on the Carry the Ocean blog tour to chat about the special meaning behind one of the books settings

Friday – To close out the week, we’ll be bringing you an interview with RJ Scott on her Max and the Prince blog tour

And Cherie Noel will be dropping by on the Glitter and Shamrocks tour

Dividers

And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

 

Standard
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

TNA Page Turner Resized

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.

Dividers

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:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Smashwords

Standard
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.

Dividers

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!

Dividers

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! :)

mnevermind1-3-banner

Standard
A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Giveaways

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak PeekCheers, everyone, and welcome back for a wee peek at all the fun and fantastic guests we have in store for you in the coming week. Articles, interviews, release day celebrations and giveaways galore will accompany another week of reviews here at The Novel Approach, and we can’t wait to share it all with you.

Here’s what’s on tap!

Dividers

MondaySkylar M. Cates kicks off the week on the Here for You blog tour

Cardeno C. joins us today as well, on the Home Series blog tour

TuesdayJordan Castillo Price is here today to celebrate the release of the third and final book in the Mnevermind trilogy, Life is Awesome, with an interview

Wednesday – Today, Silvia Violet stops by on the Burning Up blog tour

ThursdaySusan Mac Nicol joins us on the Sight and Sinner blog tour

FridayMia Kerick drops by today on the Inclination blog tour

We’ll also have author JT Cheyenne with us on the Ansleigh’s Grotto blog tour

SaturdayRJ Scott is our guest today with an interview on the Max and the Prince blog tour

Sunday – And finally, to close out a busy week, we have author Eli Easton with us on the Howl at the Moon blog tour

Dividers

And that brings another week to a close. Until next time, happy reading!

Standard
Cover Reveal, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

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

mnev3-600

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

post_divider

mnevermind1-3-banner

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.

post_divider

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.

post_divider

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

Standard
A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Giveaways

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and welcome back for another sneak peek at what we have in store for you in the week ahead–great guests, awesome giveaways, and lots more reviews.

As always, many thanks for stopping by!

Dividers

MondayLane Hayes kicks off our week on The Wrong Man blog tour

Also joining us today is author Bailey Bradford on the Run With the Moon blog tour

Tuesday – In the first of two awesome cover reveals this week, and the first of two Jordans, we have Jordan L. Hawk here today unveiling the cover for Hoarfrost, book six in the Whyborne & Griffin series

Heidi Cullinan also joins us on The Devil Will Do blog tour

WednesdayIn our second cover reveal this week, we welcome Jordan Castillo Price and the unveiling of Life Is Awesome, the third and final book in the Mnevermind trilogy

We’ll also welcome Alex Beecroft today on the Trowchester blog tour

And to cap off a great day, we’ll also have Carole Cummings and Andrea Speed joining us with a Paranormal installment in DSPP’s “Genre Talk”

Thursday Pat Henshaw  drops by today on the What’s in a Name blog tour

Friday – Today we host Riptide Publishing’s Bluewater Bay Anthology blog tour

Saturday – And to close out our week, we’ll be bringing you an exclusive interview with author Charlie Cochet on the Rise & Fall blog tour

Dividers

We’re looking so forward to sharing all of this great stuff with you. Until next time, happy reading!

Standard
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.

Dividers

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

Standard
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.

Dividers

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

Standard
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

Standard
Andrea Speed, Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy, Jordan Castillo Price, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison, RJ Scott

Dinner and a Book With Piper and Poppy: The Halloween Edition

tumblr_static_bhbsb4xy1l44gwgcg00gsoksw

Hello, lovely readers. Happy Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, or Happy Samhain, if you celebrate! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. I (Piper) love watching horror movies, seeing all the decorations, visiting haunted houses, taking my son trick-or-treating. Maybe this is in part because Fall is also my favorite season. Changing leaves, hoodie weather, an abundance of honeycrisp apples in stores. This is my happy time. :D

In addition to watching horror flicks to get in the mood, I also like to indulge in rereading my favorite horror or paranormal books this time of year, so Poppy and I thought it would be cool to share some of our favorite books in m/m featuring things that go bump in the night (aside from the heroes ;) ). Continue reading

Standard