Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lex Chase: Making Reality Television Fabulous

Hello everyone! I’m Lex Chase and Tali is graciously hosting me on her blog today. Thanks Tali! A little bit about me is I am the diseased mind behind the gay superhero dramadey Checkmate Series for Dreamspinner Press. 

It’s a tale of disgraced superhero Memphis Rook and his climb to redemption alongside his boyfriend/sidekick Hogarth Dawson. It is the dark and angsty tale of Batman told from the POV of a hyperactive chipmunk. The first installment, Pawn Takes Rook, was released in March, the followup Pawn Takes Rook: Cashing the Reality Check was released one month ago to the day, and the final installment Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love is due out early 2014.

A bit about Cashing the Reality Check features my own loving jab at reality television. Reality shows are commonly seen these days as the scourge of television, but let’s talk about the time it was quite wonderful and remarkable.
Enter the Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Short Version: The Beekmans are Dr. Brent Ridge and his husband Josh Kilmer-Purcell (they were in fact recently wed. WOOT!) They are big city Manhattanites that bought a goat farm in Sharon Springs, New York. They knew nothing of farming.

Hijinks ensued.

Their reality show about life on the farm was formerly on Planet Green, and is now aired on the Cooking Channel. Their quote is “we have some goats, a llama, and a whole lotta drama.” And to be blunt, it’s pretty freaking fabulous.

Last year, I was rather shocked, but pleased to discover they were contestants on season 21 of The Amazing Race. I had never bothered to watch Amazing Race, till then.

I watched it briefly just for the Beekmans. They didn’t get much screen time versus the stronger teams so I stopped watching, taking it as a sign they wouldn’t last long. They weren’t as athletic as the other teams and in this show, being strong and fast counted for a lot.

Imagine my surprise when I heard somewhere they made the final four.

Imagine my unbridled joy when they won.

Imagine the celebratory awe when the Beekman Boys made history.

Now. Backup. What did I mean by that? Well. Here we go.

The Amazing Race, in case you didn’t know, is a globetrotting adventure. On the Beekman’s season, they went through a majority of Muslim countries. They could have been arrested at any moment for showing any signs of affection. Josh and Brent had developed a secret system between them for being affectionate and reassuring one another they were okay in getting through this maddening adventure together.

Now. How did they make history you ask?

When they crossed the finish line with the cameras rolling, in their moment of adrenaline pumping deliriousness…

They did this:

And the world came to a screeching halt.

The kiss was unrehearsed. Unplanned. And it was the first same sex kiss on an unscripted show on a major network.

It was the kiss heard around the internet. And it was the shot all the news sites used when talking about the Beekman’s come-from-behind win. I was in awe of how something so innocent as their love for one another became such a groundbreaking moment for television.

Honestly, that’s the world we live in to this day. That men or women share a same sex kiss on television and all of a sudden it’s a historical moment. Kirk kissed Uhura on a Star Trek episode and at the time it was completely scandalous to have an interracial kiss. This shouldn’t be groundbreaking. This shouldn’t be making history.

You know what makes history? The first man on the moon. The invention of color television. JFK being assassinated. Frost putting Nixon spontaneously on trial. MTV showing their very first music video. The Curiosity Rover on Mars. The Berlin Wall being torn down by thousands of East and West Germans that had enough.

I’ve had enough.

So, Cashing the Reality Check. A major element of the plot is Rook has to play it straight on the Bachelor-esque reality show Single and Super. One of the major points of Hogarth’s insecurities over the whole mess is wondering if Rook is indeed attracted to women as well. But, honestly, when are we going to get a show about our first gay Bachelor or our first lesbian Bachelorette? When is it not going to be a moment that viewers groan or clutch their pearls? Why does someone always have to comment about the flamboyant judges such as Adam Shankman on So You Think You Can Dance on every episode he appears, “You think he’s gay?” When does it stop being a novelty?

When does perfectly innocent moments, like Josh and Brent sharing a kiss that they went through something amazing together and survived, stop being historical? Why can’t they be just another moment? Why can’t it be… Something fabulous?

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GIVEAWAY TIME! One lucky winner for September will receive a set of Series 1 and Series 2 Checkmate buttons, a Lex pen, and both Checkmate covers! September winners will be announced September 30th!

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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:
And her blog at


  1. Love the fabulousness of The Beekman Boys. Right now they are trying to win a commercial during the Super Bowl from Intuit and I vote for them eveyday. So wish the Cooking Channel would make new episodes. Your books sound really good, look forward to reading them (when the old budget allows new purchases).

    1. Thanks Nancy! I LOVE the Beekmans. :D I read both of Josh's memoirs back to back in 18 hours. I regret NOTHING. I got lucky enough to go to a signing and get to meet them and ask questions. I actually won the big trivia prize. XD And I was glad Josh was okay with signing "I Am Not Myself These Days" when I was there along with the "The Bucolic Plague." Brent is SO MUCH SHORTER in person. He's tiiiiiiny.

      One of the things that came up in the signing of if there was going to be a third season of the show. It was their decision not to, since the show was a big interruption to their lives. Now they're saying if they can get the numbers they need on the Cooking Channel, they might do a third season.

      I really need more Polka Spot in my life. Seriously. She's the best thing ever.

      If you haven't read "The Bucolic Plague" you will die of the adorableness of how they came into owning goats and Farmer John getting the job on the farm. Farmer John may be a big ol quiet type but really he IS a HUGE softie about the goats. The part where he busted up sobbing about one of his girls narrowly escaping death while birthing? He was totally genuine about that. And the one that did die? Yeah. I was sobbing too. D:

      Anyway! Sorry! SUPER BEEKGEEK NERDY! D: (I also have the Team Beekman shirt... And Mom and I want to go to Sharon Springs... and...)

      Anyway! I really hope you check out the books! :D I look forward to your thoughts! :D


    2. Read both of Josh's books, loved them. "BEEK GEEK" lmao! Fav episodes: the road trip with the lambs and chasing the pig. I, too, wish I could go to Sharon Springs for the Harvest Festival. "sigh" No way no money.

    3. Awesome! :D Omg. I loved the lambs episode. Just because Josh is SO AWKWARD around Martha and Brent is eating up everything she says. I think the chasing the pig one was the same one where Polka Spot played dead in the dirt patch and they were like 'I'M CALLING THE VET. D:' The one were Brent's family read Josh's books I was just weeping with all the tears since it was SUCH a big step for Brent.

      Also. Josh's glasses are amazing. Am I right? ;D

  2. This is the first time I've heard of the Beekman Boys since I've only glanced at reality TV. Although The Amazing Race is probably one that I could watch.

    1. I actually happened on the Beekmans by accident one day when Planet Green was still running. Like I had sort of heard about it from a friend that works in the ad department of the Discovery Channel. She was posting photos of the goats and llama cardboard standees she had to cut by hand and she was like 'I AM SO OVER THIS.' So when I caught the show I was hooked immediately because it wasn't trashy, it was really genuine, and it was very friendly to all audiences.

      My Mom and I watched it together and fell in love with the farm and their town. I THINK you can find episodes on YouTube. Like ones people ripped. Everyone needs to watch it. It's awesome. :D

  3. Love that hilarious slo-mo disaster moment there. Must put this on my to-buy list!


    1. Thanks Ashley! :D Sometimes I wonder if people even read excerpts. LOL Glad you have proven me wrong! :D

  4. I've heard about the Amazing Race's gay kiss, but I wouldn't have been able to know who they were...

    I did love the first book in the series, and I am looking forwards for this one too...


    contact at mchoule dot com

    1. Hey MC! Fancy meetin' you here! :D Yeah. The Amazing Race was a show I'd sooner pass on but when I found out the Beekmans were on it I was like YES PLZ. And actually a TON of Amazing Race viewers had no idea who they were. And even when they were introduced they were 'Goat Farmers From Upstate New York.' Truth be told, Brent is the former VP of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and Josh was a very popular drag queen called Aquadesiac or Aqua. Aqua's act was she had clear plastic capsules for boobs with live goldfish inside. LOL

      But NOW that they've given that up their Beekman 1802 Brand is one of the fastest growing green living brands. ( They're VERY BIG on paying it forward to help small businesses and farmers grow. :D Very good guys. :D

      I have the soap, even bought of wheel of their cheese (Blaak), the onion jam, and the cajeta. I WISH I had used the Blaak in more cooking. It was expensive and my Mom didn't want us to just burn through it. The cajeta was really interesting (and a trial to keep it out of the hands of my diabetic father. :|)

      omgi'msofreakingnerdy. D:

      But I really do hope you check the second book out and let me know what you think! :D SEE YA AT GRL YO! :D