Hello, Internet! I want to thank Lily for being so gracious on hosting me on her blog today for stop #2 on the Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love blog tour. Conventional Love is the third and final installment in the Checkmate series. As I mentioned on Gay List Book Reviews, I’m doing a retrospective tour. I’m sharing tidbits of inspiration, stuff that didn’t make the final cut, and fond memories as my first year as an author. And like all awesome superhero stories, I’m giving out trading cards drawn by yours truly. Make sure you check them all out in the tour!
Conventional Love, like Pawn Takes Rook: Cashing the Reality Check, have silly puns for subtitles. Cashing the Reality Check was about reality television, and Conventional Love takes place at a comic convention loosely based around the epic scale of Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia.
I had all these grand plans to showcase the classic trappings of a sci-fi/fantasy/anime/comics convention. The video gaming room that smelled of dead rats and gymsocks. The anime viewing rooms (which are prime makeout spots.) The panels of movie stars that really don’t want to be there. And the constant fanboy funk of congoers that have forgone the basic necessities of self-care. Like bathing. And brushing their teeth. And wearing deodorant.
Yeah. That’s really a thing.
But for the sake of getting to the point of the story, instead of entrenching the reader in the enormity of something like a comic convention, things had to get cut out. So I’m presenting here is a bit of one of those scenes that didn’t make it which features some really creative cosplay. Enjoy!
Conventional Love Deleted Scene: The Fairchild Atrium
When we reached the Fairchild, Rook’s anxiousness had subsided. That’s just like a soldier for him. The anticipation of the action gets him all riled up and then taking the action makes him cool and collected. Rook thrives on action, this I knew. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder what lengths he would go to for a fix if he ever got bored. Just where did he get the money for operational costs of the jet? What about this whole idea that he’s a love ‘em and leave ‘em when things stopped being so new and fresh? Are they one and the same? Obviously, I was keeping a mental diary for serious grown-up couple discussions for later.
We managed to find a clear spot in the atrium, and Rook crouched, letting me get to my feet and summon my cane. Tapping it to the floor, the tracer lights flashed indicating my stability.
“Okay,” I said, fishing for my phone. “Now that stage one of that utter madness is over.”
Rook stayed crouched, resting his forearms on his knees. His shoulders shuddered with a strained sigh.
I blinked, running my fingers through his hair. “You okay?”
“I will be…,” he said, shivering and taking ragged breaths.
“Are you really sick?” I asked. “You better not have lied to me.”
“I’m not sick, Garth!” Rook snapped a little too testily if I’m being honest. “Goddammit, I’m fine.”
“You are not fine,” I snapped. “You’re going to toss cookies at any second!”
“I’m claustrophobic. Holy Gothic Lolita Klingons,” he hissed.
I couldn’t believe it. We’ve been dating for two years and not only do I find out just recently he’s from freaking BFE, Iowa, but my badass boyfriend that can bench press eight Buicks with his pinky nail is claustrophobic. He’s known I’ve been afraid of the dark ever since the day we met. As evidenced by my nightlights in every room in our former abode of my third story walk-up apartment. Something else didn’t make sense.
“Holy Gothic Lolita Klingons?” I asked carefully, feeling like I was missing a reference.
He chuckled, at least his humor was returning. He pointed towards the glass elevators as, you guessed it, female Klingons complete with bushy brows and ridged foreheads posed daintily in their ruffled, lacy dresses, and tiny top hats.
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 #1! (Did you catch the Mystery Card #1 on Gay List Book Reviews?)
Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love Excerpt
I feel like I know all there is to know about him… but everything I know about him, I Googled. I spied on my own boyfriend. I Internet-stalked him. He’s never told me a thing about himself. Like his supposed long line of conquests. His—how did Chad put it?—love ’em and leave ’em string of lovers. Rook doesn’t even have a little black book. When we met, he had the clothes on his back—and those were tattered rags. Where’s his harem now, if he couldn’t even go to them when the Power Alliance booted him out? Yeah. I’m kind of not buying this story of Rook the Lothario.
As if right on cue, my phone buzzed on the dressing table and I shambled to get to it at a reasonable pace. I unlocked the screen and found a text from Chad.
I know money is tight for you, so my girlfriend sprang for tickets for you and Rook. She really can’t wait to see you guys! it read.
I smacked my forehead. “The con. Tolkicon. I forgot.” I pressed the corner of the phone between my eyes and willed the text to the screen.
You can stop pretending it’s a girl. Thanks for the tix. Can’t wait to meat grind.
My phone buzzed a second later.
Meat grind! Chad texted. Whoa, Hogarth! One step at a time!
I gawked at my phone, squinting at my previous message. Oh. My. God. I pressed the phone between my eyes again.
Sorry! I texted. Not thinking clear enough for txts. Rook and I had a long night.
The phone immediately buzzed and I grumbled. Why can’t anyone just call these days? Oh my stars and garters!
Man, H! Chad texted, a little too excited from what I could tell. You’re a effin’ stud!
I rolled the phone over in my wrist, casually reading the message. I snorted. “Yeah-huh.”
And there it was. I was a bitter old bottom who just wanted these new up-and-coming man-loving punks off my lawn.
My phone buzzed again.
“Oh my God, what!” I growled and checked the text messages from Chad.
Will forward you the email confirmation for the tix, the con gets going at 4. Meet us at the Spire.
I blinked. Wait. The world is telling me I have to go somewhere? Now? In the next—I checked my phone—three hours. How did I sleep until one? I never sleep until one. Did I hit my head and get a concussion during our naked shenanigans?
I willed the text onto the screen.
Fine. Be there soon. What’s the lucky not-a-girl’s name?
The phone buzzed Chad’s reply.
Darren! He says he’s good friends with u guys!
My heart stopped when I read the secret identity of Captain Chivalry.
My ex-boyfriend. Rook’s former leader in the Power Alliance.
Not to mention the man who tried to kill me.
And he bought Rook and I tickets to Tolkicon.
Ever get the feeling something is so horribly wrong that you just blindly look the other way because the truth is so completely preposterous? Yeah. Story of my life right there! But there’s no looking the other way where Captain Chivalry’s concerned. You want to believe the best about people. You want to see superheroes are above the influence. That they are the people every man, woman, and child aspires to be. You want to believe with every fiber of your being he’s the optimal role model for the next generation and is appropriate for every possible product placement from singing toothbrushes to Chia pets. Chivalry is none of those things. He’s not even chivalrous anymore. If anyone taught me anything about love and respect, that’s Rook, and right now we’re feeling each other out and each other up with deadly Checkmate sex.
It can’t be so bad. It can’t possibly be so bad. It’s only Chivalry. Among a crowd of thousands. There’s security. There would be no way he’d pull something. No way!
I texted Chad in reply.
Can’t wait to meet him.
What is your fondest or most awkward travel memory?
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.
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]
1/10 – Tempeste O’ Riley [Collect Trading Card #5]
1/9 – Tricia Kristufek [Collect Mystery Card #2]
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]
1/24 – 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]