Today I am so pleased to welcome the awesome Jordan Castillo Price to Joyfully Jay. Jordan has come to talk to us about her latest release, PsyCop Briefs, part of the fabulous PsyCops series. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
What Can You Do With a Short?
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing the PsyCop series for 10 years now! The way the story has spun out, some novels follow one another pretty closely, while others have gaps of a few months in their timeline where stuff has happened.
Those gaps leave lots of opportunities for short stories to occur.
I’ve heard novelists say that writing short is more difficult than writing long. I don’t necessarily agree. It’s a different skill, for sure, but it’s not inherently harder. I think it’s a matter of picking an idea that’s the right length for a story.
Thaw is one of the first between-the-novels shorts I wrote for the PsyCop series. It’s 1200 words, or about 5 pages long. The idea behind it is very small—Vic and Jacob go ice skating and it turns out Vic is good at it. This tiny slice of life wouldn’t be relevant in any of the novels, but it’s the right size for a short.
A new reader wouldn’t get the same things from it that a fan of the series would. A newbie would see they’re dealing with an established couple, the couple has rapport, and that the protagonist gets a glimpse of some ghosts that don’t particularly alarm him. So in the case of a new reader, they’d get a feel for the characters and a feel for my writing, and if those things clicked, they could check out the rest of the series.
PsyCop fans can glean a lot more from casual lines. They already know that Vic considers himself to be generally disappointing. He’s the kid who resigned himself to getting picked last for everything. So to see him excel at something (especially something athletic) feels like a minor victory for the reader. Hints of his backstory are there too—he mentions having a crush on another boy when he was only eleven. Since Vic has been vague about his origins since the first chapter of book 1, when he leaks bits of info about his distant past, it’s really satisfying.
I enjoy writing shorts. They’re like palate cleansers that spike my enthusiasm when I’m slogging through longer projects and working through the confusing parts. Over the years I’ve amassed so many PsyCop shorts, scattered through various places like newsletters and blog posts and anthologies, that it made sense to pull them all together and put them in a format where readers could discover and enjoy them. Compiling the shorts into a longer volume allowed me to publish it in paperback and start planning for the audiobook version. I think that many of the older stories are so obscure that they’ll feel new to readers, and about 1/3 of the collection is brand new material.
In arranging these twenty stories, I also discovered that they created an arc themselves, an arc concurrent to the main books in the series, that focused more on the domestic side of Vic’s life and his evolving relationship with Jacob.
It should come as no surprise that in the eighties, Jacob had a mullet.
If you’re forty-something now, back then your hair could’ve only gone a few different ways. A nerdy side-part. Long and feathered for the stoners and short and feathered for the preps. If your parents were particularly cruel, a bowl cut. But for the non-preppy jocks, it was business in the front and party in the back. Jacob has always liked to present a conservative exterior, so his mulleted hair wasn’t too extreme. But it was bad enough that I could tease him about it whenever his mother dragged out the yearbooks.
“I notice you’ve never coughed up any photographic evidence of your awkward years,” he said.
After that I went quiet, which he must have noticed too, because he never brought it up again. My pensiveness wasn’t due to the fact that I’ve never grown out of my awkward years—hell, eventually a guy gets used to being all elbows and ribs. No, it was because pictures from my high school days didn’t exist.
Believe me, I was nothing to look at back then. Six-four and a buck thirty. My skin didn’t have many good days, either. So I wore my jeans torn, my hair in my eyes, and my expression in a perpetual fuck-you.
I suppose it didn’t really matter that I had no documentation of teenage me, but I was surprised to feel nostalgic over it. I wouldn’t mind a point of reference, something where I could acknowledge that my skin’s okay these days and my hairline hasn’t shifted too dramatically. It might be reassuring to concede that I made it through all the bullshit and came out in one piece.
I’m still here. That would need to be enough.
PsyCop Briefs – Most Likely To…
Victor Bayne sees dead people for a living…and he sees them off the clock, too. After all, ghosts don’t confine their appearances to a psychic medium’s work hours.
From the macabre to the mundane, from titillating to tender, these PsyCop shorts feature stolen moments between the novels. Get a glimpse of Vic’s life with Jacob between cases, from both men’s viewpoints. Gain new insight on their psychic talents by accompanying them on odd jobs, shopping runs and family visits, or simply enjoy some downtime in the cannery.
The twenty short works range in length from flash fiction to novelettes, woven together to create a novel-length narrative of Vic and Jacob’s relationship from a fresh perspective. The stories are gleaned from various sources: anthologies, newsletters, and web, with four all-new pieces to tie the collection together and delve deeper into your favorite PsyCops’ domestic life.
Stroke of Midnight
Most Likely To…
Jock Straps On Sale
Piece of Cake
In the Dark
Let the Chips Fall
Everyone’s Afraid of Clowns
On the Road
Off the Cuff
Locked and Loaded
Paperback coming soon. Audiobook with Gomez Pugh currently in scheduling!
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.
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 trippy, touching series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.