Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cocktails & Cock Tales with Lex Chase and a giveaway

Deanna: Today we have Lex Chase at the cyber bar. Lex is an action adventure gay romance writer for Dreamspinner Press who writes about men that kiss and kick ass. She believes just like Jell-o, there is always more room for explosions.

What we are Drinking
It’s the New Orleans tradition to down a hurricane, or…seven…or where was I? I promise I can see straight! You gotta try this!

Deanna: First things first. Where are you, and what are you wearing?

Lex: Where are any of us, really? Aren’t we just cells existing in one moment in time? See, there it goes. You are now a new set of cells. And there it goes again. And so on and so forth and…Y’know Socrates once said a man will never step into the same river twice. Have you ever seen the Stones? I sat there and read book one of Socrates’ Apology 3while Jagger did his thing. Changed my fuckin’ life. (((gulps last dregs of the hurricane and smashes the glass on the floor))) Another!
Oh and (((squints))) Oh yeah. My Aristotle as a cat tee and skinny jeans. Aristotle and cats are like…totes my two favorite subjects. (((Looks over the expanse of the bar))) Da fuq is taking so long?

Deanna: Oh myyyyy! (insert George Takai) You have officially given the best answer EVER to that first question? So what’s your poison? Vodka? Gin? Beer?

Lex: Yenno….I ain’t much of a drinker. But gaddamn these hurricanes. Have y’had a hurricane? You should have a hurricane…

Deanna: (((pours them both a round))) Cheers! And Great hat BTW!

Lex: (((tips her Red Sox hat))) Thanks! Da’ Sox yenno! My boys! Big Papi all the way!

Deanna: Now that we’re comfy, tell me about your new book? (((sips on her cocktail)))

Lex: (((comes to a moment of shocking clarity and blinks widely)))  Chasing Sunrise, the first book of the Darkmore Saga is a tale where I take a new interpretation on vampires and shifters. There’s war, genocide, and vampires who eat people and don’t fucking sparkle, there’s omnisexual Ancient Roman werewolves and a werewolf Roman legion. Because that is fucking cool, amirite? And there’s a really pretty guy that wears dresses. And on occasion he looks like a disco ball. It’s just a thing.
But outside of the shiny wrapping paper, at the end of the day, it’s a story of domestic violence and one man’s escape from lifelong abuse, to find love on his own terms and learn he’s worthy of being loved.
It’s brutal, horrific, quite gory, and also hot and passionate. And apparently Dreamspinner let me get away with it. I’ve been told it’s definitely outside of their usual lane of books.

Deanna: Where did the idea for this story come from?

Lex: I actually got the idea when I was a was a kid struggling with my brand spankin’ new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It was Valentine’s Day 1992, and I was 13. I had stayed up all night on a severe mania and feverishly wrote down this story that would later become the Darkmore Saga. Back then, it was cyberpunk story with an all female cast and the one token guy. The token guy was this vampiric creature with an epic backstory. And he was way more interesting than the girls.
The world of Darkmore was something I had retreated into when my life was going wrong. When my mind was working against me. When I couldn’t focus. Even when writing these nightmarish creatures, I worked out my thoughts and pent up anger. There came a time in my life where things made a turn for the better, and I put the story down for ten years. But better was relative as the girl I had been madly in love with turned abusive. I’ve been out of that relationship for many years, and the Darkmore Saga was my way of working through it.
The original token guy from 1992 is no longer in the story at3 all. I had this elaborate world, and jerked all of the old cast out of it, and shoved a new cast in there to see what would happen. That’s how we got Sevon and Jack. And somehow I knew from the start that Sevon would be a fulltime effeminate transvestite. I never budged on that.

Deanna: What was the hardest part of writing this story for you? 

Lex: Ripping out the mental stitches of what I had gone through with my girlfriend. Like understanding it was okay to write about these things. Learning it was okay to bring the memories up again. There was many, many times I almost quit. I would actually be angry and upset at my family when they had no idea what was going on.
One scene in particular that stopped me dead in my tracks for weeks was Dominic, the villain, gets Sevon to dubiously consent to a bit of fondling. We’re in Sevon’s head as he tries to justify that it’ll be okay. He’ll get through it if he moans just right or cries out in the way Dominic likes and then Dominic will leave him alone. He actually retreats into a place where he fantasizes about something else entirely to take his mind off the violation. It’s a super fucked up scene. One I had to rewrite and revisit many times to make it absolutely clear that Sevon didn’t want to, and doesn’t like what’s going on.

Deanna: (((pours them another round))) Wow, we need a drink after that!! Now, what’s the easiest thing about writing it?

Lex: God, I needed a drink, too. (((chugs hurricane))) The easiest part was actually the love interest Jack. He is every happy thought wrapped into a bundle of a guy. He’s good natured, happy-go-lucky, and has the patience of a saint. He understands love can only be kept by compassion and understanding and not by force. And he goes through some pretty fucked up shit, and through it all, he remains steadfast and true. He’s not just a good guy. He’s the best guy. I set out to make him the fictional guy that real life guys should be measured. They say a man lifts weights, but a real man lifts your heart.
I always joke about bottling him and selling “Bottles o’ Jack.” (((laughs and then pauses))) Wait… do we have some Jack Daniels around here? This is gettin’ seriously soul searchy touchy feely.

Deanna: Um, no Jack! Please! I won’t be able to type, LOL So what is your dream story, your opus, if you will? The one you dream about writing but haven’t don’t it?

Lex: Darkmore Saga basically is my opus. It’s insane. I actually have nine books already planned out, divided into three trilogies. Each focusing on a single couple in the Saga’s timeline and how they link together. With DSP all we’ll get to see is Sevon and Jack’s story.
But for a book that would change the world and they’d sing odes about it long after I’m dead is some kind of statement piece. Like what is it to be human? What is it to love? What defines us? Are we the sum of our parts? Or are we defined by our experiences? Are we a Tabula Rasa? Or did we come into the world preordained to meet a certain destiny at an appointed time? And what is that? Are were destined to be hit by a bus which causes a chain reaction? Or are we destined to be president because that guy got hit by the bus?
……um…. Yeah… (((taps bar for another hurricane))) I’m really into that deep thought philosophical shit… um… (((gets another hurricane and guzzles that))) God, I’m such a metaphysical drunk…. (((laughs and leers at a girl across the bar))) Hay, baybay~ Wanna get meta physical? I got some deep thoughts for you, riiiiigggght heeere. (((Pats lap))

Deanna: Hahahahahaha!!!!! You are cray cray! Now before you make me drink another hurricane, I need to get back to the interview! Now, when did you first discover you were a writer? Were you like sitting on the toilet and just said, “Ya know, I think I’m gonna write a book.” Or was it more profound? J

Lex: Hmmwhat? (((slides away empty hurricane glass and hollers over the bar))) Keep ‘em coming! Ain’t a party until the lemurs start dancin’! (((squints))) You see the lemurs right? Oh… you had a question… right, right… I had an art school professor—I know right, of course I’d be an art school kid—he told his students “Have a Plan B.” Because he was trying to give us the reality that not all of us, or hardly any of us, were going to make it big as artists. Meanwhile, the other professors talked up the bullshit that we’re bloody rock gods. Cha-ching! That’ll be another 40k in tuition please. KTHNX! Let’s just say art school and I became uuuuh… better strangers. I started writing just to see if I could do it. I did it. And I decided to keep doing it. I say writing wasn’t my “Plan B” per se. It was more like my “Plan F.” Fuck if I know what “Plan E” is. Maybe raising dancing lemurs.

Deanna: When you get a dancing lemur, can I have one?

Lex: You’ll be first on the list!

Deanna: LOL Okay, now what helps you when you are stumped on a scene in a manuscript? I usually have a cocktail … or three…LOL But that’s just me.

Lex: The Room of Wisdom! The Room of Wisdom! I’m not talkin’ like some Greek Forum or something…though I could explain it. Let’s not, okay. The Room of Wisdom is the modern day temple known as the bathroom. I take stupid long showers and zone out. I’m also the master of sleeping standing up in the shower. After I come to the ideas are like “HAY, HOWZYOUDOOIN?”

Deanna: Most of my stories have a theme song, do you do that for your characters?? If so what is it?

Lex: Oh, god. My playlists for my books are ridiculous. Thousands of songs actually. The best one I got for Chasing Sunrise and the Darkmore Saga as a whole is the Lorde cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears. It’s super dark, dramatic, gives the impression that shit is going the fuck down, and every character is basically screwed in one way or another. (((Sucks out last bit of the hurricane from the glass))) Swear to god. I feel like I’m getting away with something.
 You can check it out over here. And headphones dude. Damn. FEEL DAT BASS.

Deanna: Tell us about a scene that you have written then afterwards, when you read it, you shocked yourself? You know I want a dirty answer (((hint hint)))

Lex: Oh man!  The sex scene behind the vegan dive bar. I can’t give the whole thing away, but you’ll see. Oh. Yeah. You will soooo see. There’s cute shoes. Trust me on that. It seems my characters in books have a thing for having sex in inappropriate places. Rook and Garth in Conventional Love have sex in a hotel stairwell during a comic convention. It’s also a thing that’s come up recently in Chasing Sunrise and another release I have in September called Americana Fairy Tale, the dudes have a thing for swallowing, or kissing right after one of them is erm…. Finished. Just… damn guys.

Chasing Sunrise: Blurb
Darkmore Saga: Book One

On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women's finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic's men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack's loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic's compliant prisoner.

Jack shuddered against the cold bite of his shackles. The iron cuffs held him upright, and his arms were stretched tight over his head. Gravity pulled him sloping forward painfully against his bonds. His umber hair swayed in sweat-slicked strands and clung to his face. The humidity hung like milky fog visible against the gray stones. He could smell the herbal traces of algae glazing the walls. No moans, no cries for release, not even a rattled chain sounded throughout the dungeon. He deduced he was the only prisoner—or the only one currently living.
It had happened so fast. He was at the shoreline of the lake when two figures shot from the water. Shrouded in black, the demonic men yanked him into the lake. Jack had expected his end. But he didn’t expect a dungeon, and not just any, but Darkmore’s dungeon. He knew it as well as any ghost story. He had teased Sevon mercilessly for crossing his fingers and turning in a circle three times as he walked by the entrance.
Jack’s heart softened. Sevon, sweet Sevon. It had been exciting for Jack when he was a cub to have a special friend outside of Priagust. One who was not a shifter at all, but something different. He was Jack’s treasure, and he would guard their memory.
But the men had taken him and tossed him in this dank cell. It had to be a mistake. Darkmore was Priagust’s sworn protector. King Louis would never wrongfully imprison a shifter. Jack spit a speck of grit. Was Louis alive? Did he survive the storm? What of Anna Maria? Surely she’d know.
But Jack wasn’t sure. He had been just a child when he saw Louis die, and all childhood memories were fallible. He could only hope it was a misunderstanding. He squinted with the painful pull in his shoulders, and the realization sank in. This was far more than a mere misunderstanding.
Jack’s pupils flexed into pinpricks when the sound of distant footsteps announced someone’s approach. He jerked his chin toward the sound to get the first look at his host.
An ethereal, earthbound spirit drifted into the dungeon. Pale as Winter Mother’s snow and with a brilliant bloom of golden curls to rival Father Sun’s rays, the woman captivated him. Dressed in layers of the midnight sky and coal, her skirts swirled in a trail of goldfish fins behind her. The unusual ladybird settled at the cell door, tossing a lock of spun gold over her shoulder. She waited.
“What do they call you?” she coldly demanded.
A peculiar tenor tone in her voice made Jack choke on his breath. A man. The strange, colorful bird was a man.
By the way he glared at Jack as if he were of no consequence, Jack decided that whatever the case, he had to be on guard. Jack sniffed and mentally discerned a more masculine scent under the perfumed oils. But there were two masculine scents, this beautiful man’s and someone else’s. He licked the salt on his lip and smirked. He had nothing left to lose.
Jack lifted his head, and he panted against the searing pain in his back. He focused on the curious little meadowlark shrouded in flimsy frippery. He had never seen such an unusual hue of hair before, but he knew one thing for certain.
“You’re not the king,” Jack said.

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Bio: 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 too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and 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 now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle.
She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.

Rafflecopter Giveaway! Lex’s Bundle O’ Books!
One US Winner will get a signed Chasing Sunrise Paperback!
Two will get the Chasing Sunrise eBook!
One Winner will get the entire Checkmate Novella Trilogy!