Hello everyone! Today I am so pleased to welcome author Lex Chase. Lex is here to talk with us about the last book in her Checkmate trilogy, Conventional Love. Lex is sharing thoughts on writing, an excerpt from the book, some great trading cards, and a great giveaway. So be sure to check out details below. Welcome Lex!
Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase, thank you for joining me for the epic conclusion of the Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love blog tour! Conventional Love is the final tale in the Checkmate trilogy where Rook and Garth will have to make some tough choices about each other and face impossible odds. And here we are at the final stop of the retrospective tour. I shared behind the scenes goodies, inspirations, and the pure insanity of my first year as an author. And like all rad superhero swag, I’m giving out trading cards drawn by yours truly. And today we have the final three! Miss the others on the tour? I’ll be posting all of them over on my blog on February 21st!
So, for the tour sendoff, I’m sharing something that means a lot to me as well as millions of others. That is, the incomparable Neil Gaiman. Before you say who? Check yo’self befo’ you wreck yo’self. Because we could be here until we were centurions, the short version is he’s a writer of novels such as The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, children’s books such as The Graveyard Book, screenplays such as Coraline, comics such as the award-winning Sandman, and whatever else he makes up. He’s an icon, a visionary, awkward goth flamingo, and all around good human being. (He’s also married to Amanda Palmer AKA Amanda Fucking Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. They are a delightfully odd couple.)
When I grow up, I want to be him. Him or Wil Wheaton. Or can I be both of them?
What I’m sharing is something all readers, writers, artisans, or those that want to be any of the above but don’t know how… I bring you the Make Good Art speech. You may know it. You may not. But I will warn you, this will be the best, most empowering 20 minutes of your life. Also. You might want tissues.
Why am I sharing this? While this speech came a few years later than when I really really needed it. It came at the perfect time that I was ready to hear it. I’ve talked previously on this tour how I’ve had to give up drawing comics for a living because it was driving me to suicide. You can read all about it at Anne Barwell’s here! And I’ve also talked about as my first year as an author, I’m learning very quickly that there are no right answers and we’re all pretty much making it up as we go. You can read about that on Jaime Samm’s place here!
When I heard Neil make his speech, I was at that place of still hanging onto the past of who I was and couldn’t figure out how to accept who I was becoming. It wasn’t until I heard this speech, talking about myself and saying “I’m Lex Chase and I’m a writer.” didn’t sound so horribly bizarre. The pseudonym took some getting used to for sure. But it was the fact I finally permitted myself to accept I’m a writer and not comic artist or graphic designer or sequential artist which were things I had set out to do in my life. As I mentioned on Anne’s blog something made me turn to writing. But it wasn’t until in the last year, I could actually call myself a writer without sounding like a fraud.
Personally, I prefer the term storyteller. It’s a term that transcends media. Words, art, song, film, even fashion and interior design tell stories. The key, is not only granting yourself the permission to do these things, but accept it, and not only that… As Neil points out as one point, enjoy it.
Anyway, sit tight. Here we go….
Genre: M/M Urban Fantasy, Superheroes, Sci-Fi, Humor
Series: Checkmate, Book #3
Length: Novella 41,000
Published: Jan 1, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Sequel to Cashing the Reality Check
Checkmate: Book Three
Three years ago, superhero Memphis Rook saved Hogarth Dawsonís life, and now the two canít imagine being apart. Sort of.
By day, theyíre a loving couple. By night, theyíre the superhero duo Checkmate. Since thatís too much time in each otherís personal space, Rook and Garth decide they need friends outside of each other. Garth finds friendship with a D&D group comprised of the social misfits Chadówho has crammed himself so far in the closet he might never find the door again, Jacksonówhoís so mysophobic heís afraid of his own germs, and El Jefeówho has all the social grace of a brick.
With an epic dose of peer pressure, the group urges Garth to go to Tolkicon, the biggest comic convention in Axis City. When the supervillain league the Coalition of Calamity appears and takes the convention hostage, as the only real superheroes around, itís up to Garth and Rook to save the day. With Rook as one of the hostages, Garth knows it’s time to nut up or shut up about being a hero.
Pawn Takes Rook Trading Card!
And it’s time for Trading Card #15, #16, and Mystery Card #4! Here we are at the grand finale!
(Miss a card? See the previous ones at: Gay List Book Reviews | Lily Velden | Release Party at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page | Tali Spencer | House Millar | Tricia Kristufek | Tempeste Oí Riley | Epically Romantic | The Novel Approach | Charlie Cochet | Tara Lain | CJ Elliott | Jaime Samms | Mrs. Condit Reads Books | Anne Barwell | Dawn K. Johnson | Chris T. Kat)Rook’s Much Needed Vacation – Lex Chase “Even with a broken foot, I’ll still kick your ass.” – Lex Chase The Red Rook – Lex Chase
Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love Excerpt
I limped down the foyer and into the great room, where he lounged on the couch, in a black robe, reading The Bucolic Plague as if the memoir of gay goat farmers in upstate New York meant anything to him beyond that they were gay.
“You can drop the act,” I said, and he looked up. “I know you don’t read memoirs.”
His brow furrowed and his lips pursed into a childish frown. “You’d be surprised,” he said, petulant.
I decided to play along as I inched down the steps into the recessed room. “What’s so interesting about it then?” I asked as if he’d spout the easy answer.
“It’s normal,” he said simply.
I blinked. Okay, that’s not what I was expecting. “Normal how?” I asked, once again fishing for the easy answer.
“The goat farm, the country life, the being self-sufficient, the being kind to your neighbor,” he said, watching me and clearly aware he had totally lost me. “You were expecting me to say they were gay, right?”
“No,” I lied.
“Hogarth,” he said, calling my bluff.
“Well,” I said, curling up next to him. “Of all books, why that one? Shouldn’t you be reading the updated Krav Maga compendium?”
Rook scanned a page, flipped it, and then scanned again. “I needed to be reminded,” he said softly, his tone having a strange sense of apology.
“Reminded of?” I asked, watching him while he kept his gaze on the book.
Finally his attention settled on me, and the murderous tint in his aquamarine eyes was replaced with the watery glaze of calm. Like the cool, still underside of a glacier.
“That I still feel,” he said, and my body shivered. “That underneath it all, the urges for violence, the lust of breaking bones, the frenzy at the scent of blood, I still remember I’m just a simple farm boy, raised on wholesome values from Iowa.”
Okay. So there’s those touching, sweet moments when you know you should be totally serious and sincere, like now. Now is a totally serious and sincere moment. But you know when you’re going to react completely inappropriately? Well, you never know when you’re going to react inappropriately, but I regrettably snorted a giggle into my hand.
“Iowa?” I asked, tears welling in my eyes. “Like potatoes?”
Thankfully, Rook humored me and gave me a double-knuckle noogie in my wet red hair. “That’s Idaho, cuddle skull,” he said with a grin. “Well, we can’t all be Mister Das Uber Urban from Axis City.”
“Wisconsin,” I said, confessing my best-kept secret. “Scandinavia, Wisconsin.”
It was Rook’s turn to pause. “Oh?”
ìYeah, your turn,î I said, nudging him with my elbow.
“Charles City, Iowa,” he said. “It was simple then. Before all this.” He pointed to the driftwood chandelier and the rolling fireplace. “This.”
“This,” I said, pointing to his forehead. “This,” I repeated, and lifted his broad hand and placed it over my heart.
It was his turn to take on the stunned, deer-in-the-headlights expression. I had never seen him so fragile before. So genuinely skittish. He swallowed. “I-I can’t change it,” he said quietly.
I knew what he meant. And it was my choice, right at that moment, to either cash in my chips and walk out that door, or just ignore it like it never was a problem. Like it’s never a problem that I’m sitting on a ticking time bomb. That it’s only a matter of time before one of us goes off. How could I have just ignored it? It’s not like it doesn’t come up every few months with every new explanation of what we do as Checkmate. It’s in our genes to destroy each other one day.
“I’ll understand,” he said, his warm hand gently wrapped around mine and his telepathy kicking in at the most appropriate moment. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Shh.” I pressed two fingers to his lips. He blinked owlishly as I straddled his clean, warm lap in my soggy clothes that smelled vaguely of motor oil and dog pee. “I’m dirty,” I said, rolling my hips against him, and he gasped under my fingers. “Let’s not think about this until I’m clean.”
Rook hummed thoughtfully against my fingers. “Are you doing what I think you’re doing?” he asked, and my fingers snaked under his robe, finding his length and giving a firm stroke. His head fell back against the couch. “Oh, Christ, Garth, you are doing what I think you’re doing.”
I giggled, leaning in to whisper my command against his mouth. “Fuck me, farm boy.”
What did you think of Neil Gaiman’s speech? Say something positive here on Joyfully Jay for future readers to remember.
About the Author:Lex Chase
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, ìWeíre all going to die, Iím just trying to make it a little more interesting.î She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic loveóand depending on how she feels that dayóLex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if youíre going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldnít last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed ìThe Next Alan Mooreî by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine residing in the íburbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and sheíd be a popsicle.
She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldnít be here if it wasnít for them and welcomes feedback.
You can find her on those Facebook and Twitter things at:
1 winner will receive eBook copies of the full Checkmate trilogy
(Pawn Takes Rook, Cashing the Reality Check, and Conventional Love)
2 winners will receive an eBook copy of Conventional Love
Drawing is open to US and International readers.
Facebook Chat will have it’s own prizes!
All 20 Checkmate printed trading cards! Including the 4 special mystery cards! Free books! Or a 25 USD Visa Gift Card!
Just leave a comment on any of the blog posts along the tour, along with a contact email address. If you would still like to enter the contest but don’t wish to leave your email address in the comment, you can also enter by emailing email@example.com.
Winners will be chosen at random and posted on Lexís blog at Lex Chase on Wednesday, February 5th, and on Lex’s Facebook page. Winners will then be notified via email.
Tuesday, February 4th at midnight, Eastern Time.
Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love Tour stops:
- 1/1 – Gay List Book Reviews[Collect Mystery Card #1]
- 1/3 – Lily Velden [Collect Trading Card #1]
- 1/5 – Release Party at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page [Collect Trading Card #2 and Win Bonus Goodies]
- 1/7 – Tali Spencer [Collect Trading Card #3]
- 1/8 – House Millar [Collect Trading Card #4]
- 1/9 – Tricia Kristufek [Collect Mystery Card #2]
- 1/10 – Tempeste Oí Riley [Collect Trading Card #5]
- 1/12 – Epically Romantic [Collect Trading Card #6]
- 1/15 – The Novel Approach [Collect Trading Card #7]
- 1/16 – Charlie Cochet [Collect Trading Card #8]
- 1/17 – Tara Lain [Collect Trading Card #9]
- 1/18 – CJ Elliott [Collect Trading Card #10]
- 1/20 – Jaime Samms [Collect Trading Card #11]
- 1/22 – Mrs. Condit Reads Books [Collect Mystery Card #3]
- 1/24 – Anne Barwell [Collect Trading Card #12]
- 1/26 – Dawn K. Johnson [Collect Trading Card #13]
- 1/28 – Chris T. Kat [Collect Trading Card #14]
- 2/3 – Joyfully Jay [Collect Cards #15, #16, and Mystery Card #4]