Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guest Spot: Lex Chase

Today I've got Lex Chase visiting.  She's here to chat with us about Pawn Takes Rook, part one of her Checkmate superheroes series.  Check it out!

Read on for more:

Hello everyone, I’m Lex Chase, and I’d like extend a big thanks to Jessica for having me on her blog today. I’m the author of Pawn Takes Rook, the first installment of the Checkmate series, a story about superheroes Hogarth Dawson and Memphis Rook catching bad guys and finding love. But I think as a superhero, much like being a celebrity, there is an insurmountable pressure to set an example even if they are not capable of making the right decision at all times. Today, that’s what I’m talking about, under all the glitz and glamour of capes and cowls, even superheroes make mistakes.

The premise around Pawn Takes Rook is built upon previously to the story starting, Rook makes a fatal mistake in trying to save the day and the end result is the death of a civilian he was entrusted to protect. In the world of Pawn Takes Rook, if you’re a hero, and someone dies on your watch, that’s the ultimate disgrace. Rook’s fate is he was promptly kicked out of the elite superhero group the Power Alliance, his assets frozen, his connections burned, and his license to practice heroics permanently revoked. In this word, heroes indeed need to be licensed, have insurance policies, and have your butt covered for just about everything.

But even if they’re a superhero with powers, called a Special, at the core they’re still human. Humans with needs, wants, desires, and vices. Rook insists that even if he’s technically not a “hero” anymore it doesn’t mean he’s not a “good guy” anymore. But in the Power Alliance ranks there’s more than enough dirty laundry. You’ve got heroes that play both sides of hero and villain, you’ve got heroes that appear as the paragon of virtue but sleep around. There’s heroes that are catty, and heroes that are manipulative. But at the end of the day, they still save the day.

Still, with the media hounding at every turn and it’s imperative to always put on the best heroic grin these heroes have to make split second decisions in the heat of the moment. Who to save, who to leave behind, who’s a total loss, who will make them look the best for the camera. That answer is easy, save a baby. “Saving babies always looks good,” as Rook tells Hogarth.

It is said “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” Think of DC Comic’s Superman who hears constant cries for help all over the world, but he knows he can never truly be everywhere at once. He can’t save everyone. The Power Alliance or even Rook—still dedicated to the cause of serving good—must stick to the code of the Greater Good. Eliminate the few for the good of the many. But what if they choose wrong? What if things go catastrophically wrong? For Rook, the fall from grace is a hard one, but he never gives up the treacherous climb back to redemption.

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Pawn Takes Rook: Blurb
The first time Hogarth Dawson sees superhero Memphis Rook, he comes to Hogarth’s rescue by cracking the heads of two thugs like eggs into a skillet. Hogarth is utterly smitten, but he soon discovers the superhero Power Alliance has ejected Rook for failing to protect a civilian.

Hogarth devises a plan that will reinstate Rook and might even earn Hogarth a place in Power Alliance roster. But what he expects to be a simple few missions rescuing kittens and helping little old ladies cross the street turns into a shocking reality of citywide chases, foiling robberies, and facing his ex. Then Hogarth discovers the beating Rook saved him from wasn’t a chance attack. It’s possible Hogarth is just a pawn in Rook’s game….

Where To Buy:

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Pawn Takes Rook: Excerpt
I jogged up the steps, then cracked open my squeaky door, only to be greeted with the esteemed sight of Rook, clad in Pac-Man pajama bottoms that were definitely not mine and little else. I watched as he polished off my gallon jug of milk, tossed it aside, and moved on to the OJ, fresh from the fridge. If you could have seen the utter horror on my face at watching my hard-earned groceries disappear with shocking efficiency, you’d agree with me. One thing was for certain, he didn’t eat double-decker buses, but he pretty much ate everything else! I had to step in before he slurped up the remains of the pickle juice straight from the jar.

I snatched the jar out of his hand, and he looked at me like a swatted puppy. I was onto his game, and he wouldn’t sucker me for sympathy.

“Hey….” he groaned like a five year old denied ice cream.

I squinted at him and frowned. “Do you want to make yourself sick again? I saw you puke your brains out. I’d like it if you’d refrain from decorating my apartment with an explosion of Baskin-Robbins!”

Rook went silent. His lips pursed, his wild eyes narrowed—I should add he had some crazy long lashes. Like that guy in that show about the crazy mysterious island with the smoke monster. Yeah! Guyliner dude!

Anyway, he was about to say something. I could see the train of thought coming to the station. He took a breath, and then broke into a bright superhero grin, blaze of gleaming white against tawny skin.

“You’re sweet, Garth,” he said.

My ears felt hot. I flushed like a freak. At that moment, my feet became really interesting. He stepped past me, rummaged in the pantry for the Golden Grahams, and then poured them straight down his gullet. I spun around and ripped the box from his hand. Tiny squares of tasty goodness showered the floor.

“Hey!” he growled.

“Don’t ‘hey!’ me, bucko!” I snapped at him. “You don’t get to say sweet things to me, show your junk to me, or other sundry flirty things to get your way. You do not get to use my credit card in return for giving me a peep show. You do not get to raid my fridge just because you pay me a compliment. You do not get to waltz into my life and not explain a Goddamned thing to me! Why did you puke, then pass out? Why did you pass out when you saved me? More to the point, why do you goddamn flat fuck fall over all the time?”

Rook crossed his arms and pressed his lips into a thin line. “Will there be anything else you’d like to file with the Complaint Department?” He grinned. “Press one for ‘sit and spin’, and press two for ‘cry me a fucking river’.”

God, this man was absolutely incorrigible. If you can’t beat em….

I shook the box of Golden Grahams as a temptation. “Answer my questions, and I’ll show you where I hide the pretzel M&M’s.”

Rook gently took the box from me and shoved his hand into the crinkling plastic. He popped a handful of cereal in his mouth and crunched obnoxiously. “I freaking love the pretzel ones,” he mumbled.

I sat on the counter and watched him scarf down my beloved Golden Grahams. “Why did you puke?”

“That’s appetizing….” he said and scanned the fridge, choosing a bag of shredded cheese.

I pointed a finger and watched him pour the Colby-Jack from the bag into his mouth. “Are you like a gremlin? Can I not feed you after midnight?”

“And you don’t know what DeLoreans are,” he chided, then slurped caramel sauce from the jar.

“Hey. One ’80s reference at a time!” I scolded him. “Answer the question.”

Rook smirked as he popped the tab on a Sprite. “You know how every superhero has some ultimate super-secret power?”

“Yeah?” I said, leaning in eagerly.

“That’s mine,” he said and chugged the soda.

I didn’t get it. “…Puking?”

Rook coughed, and his hand clasped over his nose. Let it go down in the history books the moment I made Memphis Rook snarf on Sprite.

“No!” he gurgled, then coughed wetly. He snorted carbonation up his nose. “Raising the dead….” he said softly.

“Say what, now?” I blurted out. Not the smoothest of things to say at the moment. “But… you’re a fighter.

His crazy eyes met mine. “You could say I’m a giver too.”

Man, my shoes were seriously interesting at that moment. Wow, never noticed that peculiar dapple of puce paint on the toe. The more I tried to make myself stop blushing like a freak, the worse I made it.

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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:

And her blog at

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Pawn Takes Rook Pop-Culture Hunt Clue
#33 He was called the Man in Black. When asked if he was going to a funeral, his cool response was “Maybe I am.”
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