Thursday, May 23, 2013

Update on Works in Progress & Overall Life Information

Hogtied and gagged
So my sequel to Chasing Seth took a major hit in progress because of some things going on in my life. There is nothing quite like going full steam ahead only to hit the crossroads in the track and end up running off the rails. It can really damage your motivation and your muse. I think my muse ended up hogtied with dynamite wrapped around her.

A little over a month ago my baby pup, Yoshi, got sick and during an exploratory surgery, my vet of nine years tells me that Yoshi has pancreatic cancer. He says its inoperable and that he wants my decision to put him to sleep. Needless to say I was devastated and blown away by this information as I expected them to extract what we thought was the problem, a hair tie he'd swallowed and got stuck. (DON'T let your cats or dogs play with those rubber band hair ties, you know the ones.)  
Yoshi - My baby boy
But that wasn't the case. I brought Yoshi home that weekend and located a specialist to see if there was anything they could do. The specialist Dr. Rebecca Seaman at Broward Veterinary Specialists is a very kind and wonderful person who gave me the options of what they could do. An ultra sound and a needle aspiration to see what we were dealing with. My vet of nine years, no longer my vet now, did not do a biopsy during the surgery and Dr. Seaman did not believe it would be prudent to open him again so soon as he had only had the surgery mere days before. The problem was that the needle aspiration is not 100%, but the pathologist did not find any cancer cells in the needle aspiration. So we are hopeful it isn't cancer.

It has been a long road over the last month with constant worry and stress about what's going on inside of Yoshi and whether or not I will lose my baby before I was expecting to. Now, I know dogs don't live forever. That's impossible. But I did believe that Yoshi would live to be the normal amount of dog years, 14 to 16 years. So to be told otherwise at such a young age was like a ton of bricks. It impacted my frame of mind and has really left me wanting to do nothing more than zone in on something that wasn't my life. There is still not clear definite answer on what is wrong though. So there is still hope it isn't cancer and that it is merely a flare up of pancreatitis or something similar to do with the pancreas. I take him back tomorrow for another ultra sound and x-rays of his chest to make sure there is nothing going on there. He developed what we thought is kennel cough. The emergency vet last night said she didn't think it was that. So... another worry to add on top of the pile. Is it cancer? Has it spread to his lungs? Am I going to lose him?

I was able to add an additional 2k words to my WIP of Chasing Seth's sequel, Forgiving Thayne though, bringing me up to 40% complete. That's an excellent sight to see of course for me and I am certain for the many readers waiting for it. I am going to try and work on it as much as possible. Whenever Yoshi is not feeling well, I tend to find it hard to focus. My attention is on him because I'm afraid if I look away... Anyway, that's my progress at the moment. I wanted to let those anxiously awaiting for the sequel know that I didn't fall off the face of the Earth and I am writing as I can. My goal is to at least have it out this year through Dreamspinner Press and to begin working on some of the other projects I have in the works. You'll see on my sidebar that I have three WIPs and what their progress is at. I have two of them that I wanted to make into a series of novellas, but I've always found it hard to write those types of continuing stories. I want to write all of them before I submit. That way I know I won't disappoint my readers. :)

Yoshi - 1 and a 1/2 years old.
Please keep my pup Yoshi in your prayers and send positive thoughts that he will be with us for another several years. He is my heart and soul. The idea of him not being there, following me, loving me, letting me love him, breaks my heart.

9 Years old this year. He's such a goofball and loves people and attention. His favorite thing to do is chase the neighbor's dog up and down the fence separating them. I pray that he has a lot more time to do his favorite thing and to be his smiling, happy self.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Author Spotlight: Lex Chase on Her Novel Pawn Takes Rook

Hello Earthlings! I’m Lex Chase taking over JR’s blog today. So thanks for having me JR! I’m the author of superhero romantic comedy Pawn Takes Rook, the first installment in the Checkmate series. There are some things about authors that you may have never known, or may delight you. So today, I am talking about the five facts/quirks/oddities about yours truly.

1.      Tabletop Roleplaying Games Got Me Into Writing
In my much younger days, I was a pen and paper gamer. Rolling up characters, creating their backstories and skills all got me thinking about worldbuilding and storytelling. I wasn’t into AD&D so much because of the sheer amount of math and dice rolling involved. But Cyberpunk 2020 by R. Talisorian really got me into creating stories taking place in the world of Cyberpunk’s Night City. At 13, and inspired by this, I created my first original world of cyborgs, genetic experiments, and gene splicing, and asking the question of What Is It To Be Human. Very complicated stuff for a 13 year old. But as an adult, I’m back to trying to find an answer to that very question in a new Cyberpunk novel.

2.      Speaking Of The Math In AD&D, I Have A Learning Disability In Math
Math. Ugh. Math. I didn’t learn I was math disabled until college algebra and had to be tested to prove it. My mom used to tell me stories of how when I was little and had math worksheets from grade school, I’d just sit and cry and couldn’t explain why. It wasn’t until much later I realized that numbers read like gibberish to me. I can hardly add and subtract and frequently have to check my work on a calculator. I can’t tell time on an analogue clock. At all

3.      Before I Was A Writer, I Was An Artist
I had always been telling stories and making up characters since I was young, but I was always drawing the characters over writing their epic tales. I had dreamed of being a comic book artist, even attended Savannah College of Art and Design to hone my craft, but when I realized I was hopelessly outgunned in how to ‘play the game’ I left. Something had to give. My sanity was sadly the thing that gave. One of my professors who I stayed in touch with always said in class, “Have a Plan B.” Writing became my Plan B. I don’t have a Plan C.

4.      I Got A Degree In Journalism For Novel Research
This December I’m graduating with a bachelor’s in journalism. How the hell did that work? At SCAD, I worked on the school paper there and was rather fond of the journalism process. And in hindsight, as art students we pretty much got away with murder. When I left, I had started a novel and one of the characters was a war correspondent. Seeing as I needed to finish college with some kind of degree, and I wanted to get a better view of the inner workings of a journalist… Off I went.

5.      I Name My Cats After Famous Artists
Fact: I’m a cat person. Pathetic Fact: I work the weird things my cats do into casual conversation daily. Honest to God Truth: I love my furbabies more than anything.
It all started thirteen years ago when I adopted a female grey and white ragamuffin kitten with a peculiar vacant stare that I ended up naming Dali Salvador Rorschach. Because she was an ink blot test in the style of a Dali painting, makes sense right? Just go with it. Dali was the best cat ever. She was very docile, friendly, and was quite clever despite her vacant stare. We called it her “Duh Face” because she always looked like she was going “Duuuuuuh…” Dali sadly passed away three years ago, but my family remembers her fondly and knows there will never be another one like her. Now, we have a tuxedo girl named Rembrandt, or Remmi for short. I secretly think she’s the devil. She is really cute, but she’s smart, insanely clever, and can be quite the creep. She’ll sit across the room and stare at you like she’s pondering killing you in your sleep.

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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….

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Pawn Takes Rook: Excerpt

When I first saw Rook, he was cracking the skulls of two goons like eggs into a skillet. I sat there like a freaked out choir boy on my butt between the trash cans lining the alley behind Ted’s TV Tabernacle, gazing in awe and wonder. Rook had hands that could mold steel like Dollar General Play-Doh. He did just that by wadding up Random Thug Number One’s Louisville Slugger into a sadistic snowball and beaned the guy right in the ear. Getting snow in your ear has to be the most excruciating sensation in existence. I can’t imagine getting Kentucky’s finest steel shoved into your noggin. 

I don’t remember if I screamed. I likely did. Totally did.

Random Thug Number Two went flying past me in an expert over-the-shoulder throw, his open mouth smacking wetly into the bricks. Broken teeth bounced over the sidewalk. Random Thug Number Three ducked behind the trash cans opposite me. He popped up once in a while, hidden behind the mound of bags and cans. His alligator eyes inched over the unfolding scene from the safe vantage point of the trash bag swamp.

Rook surveyed the alley, making sure he had gotten them all. He snorted a puff of steam with menacing satisfaction at seeing one guy out cold and another on the fast track for full dentures before sixty. Then he came to me. Now, when I say he was smoldering, that’s totally what he was doing. Smoke rose off his tattered trench coat in ethereal coils. Rook’s smoking frame could have been caused by the chill of the oncoming winter and the steam of sweat, but it definitely added to the sexy first impression.

His eyes, oh my Christ on a cracker…. They were not quite blue, not quite green, but like that girl on the National Geographic cover. Those haunting Afghan eyes.

“Are you okay?” Rook rumbled in a perfect antiheroic growl while reaching for my hand. His fingers, broad, callused, and strong, hung there long enough to cue the musical montage in my head. I couldn’t believe it. The one and only Memphis Rook had swaggered into my mugging, ready to bust heads. It was like he planned it, really. Or our universes collided in some awesome poetic way that I can’t think straight at the moment because holy crap, those hands are huge!

That’s when Random Thug Number Three opposite me decided to ruin the amazing moment, popping up like a spring-loaded Halloween skeleton and launched at Rook.

Rook turned in a smooth whoosh of muscle and fabric, and I shrieked as the knife skewered into his gut. He latched onto his killer’s knife hand in surprise.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God!” I screamed. I knew in that infinitesimally dark moment, I was going to die alongside the guy who fought in vain to save my life.

Confused, the thug glared at him, then to his captured wrist, and back again. “W-what are you?” he stammered as courage ran down his pants leg.

Rook released him. The thug held up the knife with the blade crumpled onto itself like a bullet impacting a Kevlar plate. The thug backpedaled, falling backward over a black plastic trash can after slipping on a greasy Five Guys burger wrapper. He screeched, twisting in an about face, and ran like a kid who had spilled orange juice on his dad’s vintage Playboys.

Then Rook turned those Afghan eyes on me, and the musical montage returned. The sleepy, sultry lyrics to Dream Weaver crooned in my head along with the accompanying halo of sparkles. His hand, those powerful, thick fingers, reached for mine….

And then he flat fuck fell over in my lap like a Buick dropped from low earth orbit. Steam rose from his body in the not so sexy eau de parfum of burned rubber and gasoline. He lay there, crushing my pancreas while out cold.

And that’s how Memphis Rook fucked up my life.

By coming into it.

Where To Buy:

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Lex Chase
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