Hi everyone — WELCOME! Say hi to Lex Chase and her fabulous new book, Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love! I’m going to let her tell you about her book and her contest, so keep going! : )
Hello, hello people of the internet! I’m Lex Chase and thank you for joining me for stop #10 on the Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love blog tour. Conventional Love brings Checkmate trilogy to a close where Rook and Garth have one last grand adventure. Their relationship will be tested and both will walk away forever changed. For this tour, I’ve decided to make it a retrospective of the series. I’m sharing behind the scenes goodies, inspirations, and the crazy adventure of my first year as an author. And like all things in fabulous superhero collectables, I’m giving out trading cards drawn by yours truly. Make sure you check them all out in the tour!
One of the new characters we meet in Conventional Love is Chad Kerbopple, the Dungeon Master in Hogarth’s Daggers and Degradation group. I’ve mentioned before in the plotting of the Checkmate series, the horrid names are completely on purpose. The only character that has a reasonably awesome name is Memphis Rook. But even he’s not immune with his middle name being Tiberius.
Chad’s awful last name aside, one of the things Garth catches onto rather quickly is he’s a rather pretty young man about Garth’s age, and Garth’s Gaydar is instantly going off. Garth discovers Chad has actually been in a secret long distance relationship with Garth’s own ex-boyfriend-turned-psychopath Captain Chivalry and was on the verge of coming out.
Boatloads of weird feelings aside for how Garth feels about the whole mess, Chad does come out. Only he goes the hyper-effeminate route which actually makes Garth quite uncomfortable for a number of reasons. Such as not only perpetuating a gay stereotype and worry for Chad’s safety among those that feel threatened.
So what I have here is a deleted scene from Chad’s coming out at the comic convention Tolkicon, presented in its entirety. Hogarth’s reaction to Chad had a whole different vibe in this scene. Hogarth could have easily been misinterpreted as being Transphobic by readers. Which was soooooo not my intent. The final scene in Conventional Love actually is clearer about Garth’s reasons.
Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love – Deleted Scene – Chad’s Coming Out
Once Chad sauntered his way down the escalators, Rook seemed like he was more likely to spit giggles than actually have a panic attack brought on by the con going crowds. I felt better, and awkward at the same time. Is that a thing? I guess everyone does gay in their own way, and no one way is better than another, but I guess, if I’d had to think about it, Rook and I are pretty vanilla in our relationship. I don’t know, dressing like a trailer trash harlot just doesn’t appeal to me, in the same way that wearing an outrageous trampy red lipstick doesn’t seem like the thing to do. I was playing with Erector Sets, not my Nana’s eyeshadow. Why would I want to do that? Am I being judgmental?
“You’re being judgmental,” Rook muttered out of the side of his mouth as Chad overdramatically swung his hips as he crossed the floor towards us.
“How do I tell my friend he’s doing it wrong without crushing him?” I asked quietly.
“Maybe he’s not doing it wrong. It’s just his way of expressing himself,” Rook muttered towards the floor.
“I’d expect you to be far more judgmental,” I said, leaning into his shoulder.
“When you get to be my age, the world has changed too many times to properly judge,” Rook said and flashed a brilliant heroic smile to Chad as he came within earshot. “You must be Hogarth’s friend,” he greeted and extended his hand for a shake.
“Avonlea,” Chad said, twirling into a curtsey.
Rook glanced at his hand, and to the deeply curtseying man, and to his hand again before running it through his hair awkwardly. So you know that thing where I said forever ago that I might have gone for a guy like Chad if it wasn’t for Rook? Yeah. No. Rook may not be a Wall Street mogul—but who knows he just might be—but at least he’s a guy, he’s a guy’s guy. We may live like lazy jammie-wearing frat boys but we fuck like champions.
I blinked, trying to think of how to break the hideously awkward silence.
“Oh, oh,” I said, snapping my fingers and Chad blinked around his yellow contacts, of course he’d have some crazy eye color. “For the con. No real names.”
“Fine,” Rook said gruffly and getting a little judgmental himself. “I’m Gig and that’s Kilobyte,” he said and pointed to me.
Chad—er Avonlea—er whatever—giggled. Oh God why must you make things so awkward?
“I don’t think there’s any mistaking you, Master Rook,” Chad said and nodded to me, “And Sir Dawson.”
Just hold the freaking phone. This is getting way to skeevy. Like remember that horrible daydream I had like Rook was going to be the star of his own horrible victimized porn? Well, I think this subtext is rapidly becoming text.
“So!” I said a little too sharply not to obviously broadcast I was ready to chew off my own leg to get out of this bear trap. “Where’s… uh….” I wet my lips, preparing myself not to choke on the name of my bastard ex-boyfriend. “Darren?”
I got it out just as a cough shot up my throat. Choking on my own vomit I may add. Rook was sweet enough to pat me on the back and help me get my bile and vitriol down.
“Oh, Darren,” Chad said, sighing in an overdramatic dreamy fashion that I’d expect rose petals to flutter across the scene. “He’s in a panel right now, but he said he’d love to meet up for dinner! Catch up! He has wonderful things to say about you two!”
In a smooth whisper of leather, Rook straightened to his full height and towered over the slender Chad. “I bet he does,” Rook said in a way that did not indicate friendship.
I decided it was time to break the news. Better let Chad down easy that Captain Chivalry is no longer, no way, no how on the up and up.
“Look, Cha—er Avonlea, there’s really something you should know about your new boyfriend. He’s—”
“Over there!” Chad squeaked in a way too embarrassing girly way. “Darren!” he said waving wildly across the crowded atrium and hopping up and down in his platform leather boots.
Rook, ever the gentleman, had the sense to put himself between me and Chivalry as he approached.
There’s a thing you need to know about Captain Chivalry, he never does anything poorly. If he made a mistake, you’d be convinced it was supposed to be like that. Or you would rabidly defend he never makes a mistake. He moves like the dance of the summer breeze on a distant tropical coast. Even as he approached, con attendees naturally gave way without knowing they were being forced to move. His smile sparkled and was broad with perfectly white and with teeth perfectly proportioned in the way that makes you believe that totally born with it, but the truth is he totally paid a pretty penny for them. Everyone talks about his statuesque height and frame even if Rook is taller and more powerful. They say he looks like Adonis or Apollo. Carved from the purest alabaster and possessing the perfect swath of coal black hair with a pristine, perfectly centered s-curl. I always go crazy for an s-curl. Always. Again imagine my surprise that Rook doesn’t have one.
But as he cleared the last few steps and looped his thick arm around the small of Chad’s back, I knew a slithering viper when I saw one. Chivalry was going to strike. Here. It was only a matter of time and we stood in the maw of the beast, looking at the darkness within.
Sequel to Cashing the Reality Check
Checkmate: Book Three
Three years ago, superhero Memphis Rook saved Hogarth Dawson’s life, and now the two can’t imagine being apart. Sort of.
By day, they’re a loving couple. By night, they’re the superhero duo Checkmate. Since that’s too much time in each other’s 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 Chad—who has crammed himself so far in the closet he might never find the door again, Jackson—who’s so mysophobic he’s afraid of his own germs, and El Jefe—who 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, it’s 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!
Time for Card #9!
(Miss a card? See the previous ones at: Gay List Book Reviews | Lily Velden’s blog | Release Party at the Dreamspinner Press Facebook Page | Tali Spencer’s blog | House Millar | Tricia Kristufek | Tempeste O’ Riley | Epically Romantic | The Novel Approach | Charlie Cochet)
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, cuddleskull,” 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?”
“Yeah, your turn,” 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’s the most awkward situation that you’ve ever been in? Throwing up in a public speaking class? Toilet paper on you shoe at an event? Completely forgetting meeting someone for the first time ten minutes after you met them? (I’ve so done that!)
About the Author:
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex 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 you’re 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 wouldn’t 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 “The Next Alan Moore” 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 ’burbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and she’d be a popsicle.
She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome everyone! Say hi to Lex Chase and her new fantastic book, Pawn Takes Rook! I’m going to let her tell you about the great contest she’s running and what you can win. So keep going and thank you for coming by —
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 O’ 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]
1/30 – Skylar M. Cates [Collect Trading Card #15]
1/31 – Cate Ashwood [Collect Trading Card #16]
2/3 – Joyfully Jay [Collect Mystery Card #4]