Hello everyone! I’m Lex Chase and Charlie has been very gracious in letting me have a sit and chat at the Tea House today. Thank you, Charlie!
A little bit about me is I am the creator of the Checkmate series for Dreamspinner Press. The three books in the series, Pawn Takes Rook, Cashing the Reality Check, and Conventional Love coming in 2014 is a tale of gay superheroes Memphis Rook and Hogarth Dawson as they take on the world, kick a bunch of butt, and have a little time to smooch in the process.
I’m also having a giveaway of some awesome swag on every stop of this tour! One lucky winner will receive a set of Series 1 and Series 2 Checkmate buttons, a Lex Chase.com pen, and both Checkmate covers! August winners to be announced August 31st!
Today, I’m discussing a topic I brought up in my Facebook Chat on the Dreamspinner Facebook Page back on the 17th. The topic in question is that I’m planning a Pawn Takes Rook PC Game. It’s a tough sell for some, it’s a sign I sold out for others, and for a few it’s met with excitement. It’s all about bridging the platform gap to bring the most enjoyment to all audiences.
Haven’t you always heard the comment about a movie “The book was better,” or “That wasn’t in the book,” or “AUGH! They got all the scenes wrong!” Yeah. We all have and we’ve even made them.
I have two points to make about this: I love The Three Musketeers. I’ve even gone as far as to read Ten Years Later and Twenty Years After. Alexandre Dumas is quite the inspirational author.
The movies? The ones they make again and again about variations on the characters? They’re never ever the same as the books, but I love them anyway, and I watch them all anyway. Why? Because it bridges the gap for people that would have never otherwise, if I’m being honest, touched a really dense book.
Second point? Harry Potter. I’m going to confess, no matter the crapstorm that comes my way but I never read the books. I admit it. And I’m good with that. My Dad is the Potterhead in our family. I have memories of him walking our dog, in the rain, holding his leash and umbrella in one hand, and Deathly Hallows in the other. I have nothing against JK Rowling, and I may not know her personally, what I read of her and see of her in interviews leads me to think she is a fantastic human being.
But I saw the movies. All of them. And I loved them. I love them enough that it’s on my bucket list to finally read where it all began. The Harry Potter films, I think, have been so instrumental in bridging such a gap between readers and movie goers there would have never been a theme park at Universal Studios.
The list goes on…. The Sookie Stackhouse novels and True Blood, A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, even Superman vs. Smallville, Green Arrow vs. Arrow, Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Walking Dead, and recently Under the Dome. (Y’all should be watching Under the Dome. For reals. I live tweet about it @Lex_Chase. It’s rather funny how I fall over myself.)
What does this have to do with me? And what does this have to do with the Checkmate Series? A game design company called Steam (of Portal fame) released a PC game called Shadowrun Returns, which you can see here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/234650/
Shiny isn’t it? The super shiny part? You can fully modify the game, your own characters, your own story, your own levels, and on and on. With a superhero series like Checkmate it’s perfect for bridging the gap of readers and not-readers and maybe luring them into being readers.
Why is this important? Is this about my bottom line? Maybe. That would be rather nice. But there’s a much bigger picture. The bigger picture is the LGBT community is as varied as the colors of the rainbow flag. A lot of them are gamers. Or gaymers as they call themselves. And honestly? There aren’t a lot of video games (read practically none) aimed at the LGBT community. There’s been this push for years to have characters that look like this demographic or that demographic, but it seems there’s never been a push in mainstream pop-culture to have LGBT characters as main characters. Not only that? Have them be heroes. Not villains. And not stereotypes.
I’ve always been about characters that happen to be gay and not gay characters. There is a difference. A big one. It lies in the fact that with the first, the character is much more than whom he chooses to love. The second is that the character’s sexuality is the character, and it doesn’t go much beyond that if at all.
This is what I’m hoping to accomplish with the Checkmate modification to Shadowrun Returns. That gaymers can play in a world alongside straight gamers and play characters that kick ass, and what they do behind closed doors is their business. That their sexuality is not their only defining trait. That they too can be heroes.
That it’s about bridging a gap with a silly series about gay superheroes that another audience may have not noticed if someone didn’t take the step and reach out.
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Pawn Takes Rook: Cashing the Reality Check Blurb
Even after eleven months of keeping the mean streets of Axis City safe, superduo Checkmate—Hogarth Dawson—and his boyfriend, Memphis Rook, still receive the cold shoulder from the Power Alliance. Undeterred, Hogarth brings his intense focus to bear on Rook, and after Hogarth makes an accidental marriage proposal, it becomes all too clear Rook isn’t quite at the same place. But before life gets awkward, duty calls.
Booted-off female contestants of the romantic reality show Single and Super are being found in comas, and Checkmate needs to get to the bottom of it. As part of Rook’s plan, he cleans up his bad boy image and goes undercover as a bachelor looking for love among twenty-five frenzied women. Against Rook’s wishes, Hogarth sneaks onto the set as a cameraman to investigate the case on his own. With questions unanswered between them, emotions run high, distracting them and feeding a trap of their own making.
Where To Buy:
Catch up on Checkmate #1, Pawn Takes Rook:
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Pawn Takes Rook: Cashing the Reality Check Excerpt
“Move it, Garth!” Rook screamed and hopped down from the counter. He ducked as a smoking sea-green tentacle lashed forward through the kitchen window. The long, slimy appendage flailed blindly through the tiny kitchen and flopped over the scattered pots and pans. They clattered around the floor and bounced against the cabinets in head-splitting bongs and gongs. I thanked God Mr. Caruthers in the apartment below was now deaf as a post.
I scrambled backward to the doorway of bedroom, and Rook followed, holding the Cheez Whiz and Aim-N-Flame at the ready.
“Go, go, go,” he ordered, and I scurried as fast as the Nyan Cat through the vastness of space.
“What the hell are you doing with the Cheez Whiz?” I yelled over the roar of the horrible elder god watching us through the windows.
The creature’s shark-black eye peered through the window, and Rook took action as he spritzed Cheez Whiz toward the new target. I gasped when the cheesy not-really-a-dairy-product ignited like napalm. Rook, if anything, was stupidly resourceful.
The putrid green creature teetered away from the window, clawing at his face, his great wings flapping and kicking up cyclones through the tightly packed apartment buildings. He swayed, left, right, forward, back, and I danced back through the door into my bedroom.
“Rook, you might want to get down,” I helpfully suggested as he stood in the living room between me and the kitchen.
Rook braced himself and planted his feet. He lifted the Cheez Whiz and Aim-N-Flame, ready to spritz the cheesy napalm of death.
The elder god swayed toward my kitchen. You know when something is going to totally not work the way it’s supposed to? Yeah. This was one of those moments. I could see it play out in slow motion, like one of those car crashes they cinematically shoot at three hundred frames-per-second so you can see every agonizing, bone-breaking, glass-shattering moment. And then overlay it with a soundtrack like—I don’t know—some Limp Bizkit song that sounds like an angry cat in a blender that makes no sense with the artful scene of carnage.
I craned my neck and peeked around Rook’s elbow. Brick by brick, and tile by tile, the creature crashed into my kitchen. Knocked out and drooling on my Nana’s shredded gingham wallpaper. Rook stood there like it was another day at the office, his long blond hair fluttering with each breath of the sleeping elder god.
“Whoa…,” I said, blinking through the dust on my glasses. The monster sighed and the tentacles around his mouth flopped in the most unfortunate sounding snore. I glanced up at Rook. “The typical giant monster never took out half the apartment before…”
Rook kept his grip on the Cheez Whiz and Aim-N-Flame, ready to strike again. “Think the landlord will notice?”
I frowned and gestured to the creature. “How will the landlord not notice?” I asked. “Half the apartment’s gone. Look!” I said and nudged a splintered timber with my toe. “This is not as easy as just ignoring it and hoping it’ll magically go away.”
Rook smirked and stooped to get a closer inspection of the monster. “You’re cute when you’re angry.”
I stamped my foot and grunted. “Don’t you dare start that with me, Tiberius.” I growled.
Rook perked up and pursed his lips. “Who told you my middle name is Tiberius?”
I tossed a hand back toward the bedroom in hopes to indicate my Macbook somewhere in there. “Wikipedia,” I growled. “You should check it out. The Captain Chivalry fans have done a pretty good job of defacing it.”
Rook waved a dismissive hand before poking the monster with the Aim-N-Flame. “And how’s he doing up on Ganymede Lunar Prison? I’m sure Rainbow Honeysuckle Jones is calling him a pretty-mouthed midget right now.”
I crossed my arms and stared at the crater left by Rook’s frame in the wall. I counted to ten. And when I still didn’t feel better, I counted again. Nope. Still didn’t feel any better. I glared at Rook. “The fact remains there is a KO’ed elder god in the kitchen. The kitchen!”
“It’ll be okay,” Rook said and offered one of those smiles that he knew would charm my pants off. And said smiles have indeed charmed my pants off a time or twenty. “We’ll fix it.”
I tossed up my hands and frustration flooded through me. “With what fictional Monopoly money? We can’t afford something like this.”
Rook frowned, and his brows drew upward seeming to indicate concern. “Are we arguing? Because it seems like we’re arguing.”
With such a simple question, my wrath melted away when it dawned on me Rook took on the demeanor of a swatted Doberman. I sighed. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” I said, then smiled. “We’ll figure out something.”
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Lex Chase is a journalist by day and a writer by night. Either way you slice it, she makes things up for a living. Her style of storytelling is action, adventure, and a dollop of steamy romance. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes it’s never a party until something explodes in a magnificent fashion, be it a rolling fireball of a car or two guys screaming out their love for one another in the freezing rain.
Lex is a pop culture diva, an urbanite trapped in a country bumpkin’s body, and wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse. She has learned that when all else fails, hug the cat.
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 have a sweatshirt on because she’s freezing.
You can find her on those Facebook and Twitter things at: