Happy New Year! Looking Back On 2014!

Happy_New_Year_2015

It’s 2015! Where Are The Flying Cars!

Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars!

Hello Internet, it’s that time for the obligatory recap of last year and plans for the new year. Hey! Everyone else is doing it.

My year started off a little slow, and then barreled like a freight train into new experiences and opportunities at the tail end.

 January:

Pawn Takes Rook: Conventional Love (Checkmate #3) by Lex Chase

On New Year’s Day 2014, the final Checkmate novella Conventional Love hit the shelves. It was a milestone for me for seeing a series through to the end. It was also a bit of an odd grieving process, because it was the last time I’d be writing Rook and Garth ever again. (Or so I thought.) I had grown to love the dumb boys and their wacky hijinks. Garth being so excited about everything omgomgomgomg and Rook playing it cool, collected, yet his own geekiness for all things 1980s.

Their relationship wasn’t a conventional May/December but more of a Millennial/Baby Boomer with a small catch. It was a fun experiment with going balls to the wall with the pop culture via Garth, and Rook just standing back and blinking.

I will always be thankful to Elizabeth North and the Dreamspinner Press Crew for taking a chance on such a weird, quirky, little series.

February:

At the end of February, I was a guest at Pensacon. As a first year convention, the organizers set out to create something awesome for my town. There had been a few hiccups along the way. But overall, a good time. I met some folks that I would have otherwise never crossed paths with and came away with lasting friendships.

I also met Mackenzie Lintz, who plays Norrie on the TV adaptation of Under the Dome. In the show, when the dome comes down, it splits a cow in half. Like so. Gross. But awesome:

This awesome scene inspired me to make my own split cow plushie. It was a gift for my Mom. And it was my goal to get a picture of Mackenzie with the cow. She lost it when I showed it to her.

Makenzie_and_Lucky
Lex, Mackenzie, and Lucky the Cow

 

I’ve had to call off Pensacon this year, but we’ll see for 2016. I’m definitely going as a fan because oh em gee Mira Furlan (aka Rousseau in Lost) will be there and I might fall all over myself.

April:

April, my second novel, Americana Fairy Tale, was contracted from Dreamspinner Press. Americana was the first novel I had done that broke the 100k mark. I was pretty shocked by the feat. I also learned by keeping track of my outline I could estimate what types of scenes would average how many words. “Talky Scenes” as I called them ran about 2,500 words. Fight scenes ran about 4k a pop. And Final Battle Sequences spanned about four chapters.

I also learned to dread the phrase in my outline of “They tussle.” Because that ended up being my shorthand for “Haha! Time for 5k of FIST TO FACE. GOOD LUCK SUCKER!”

Also, I got to cut my teeth on writing a story that 99.9% of the book took place inside a truck and trying to make it not look like talking heads.

June:

In June, I had my first appointment with a plastic surgeon about getting a breast reduction. This is something that was ten years in the making, and finally it was time. I was a wreck thinking the doctor would tell me no, or somehow the my insurance wouldn’t cover it, or it would be waaaaay too expensive. Just something would mess it all up.

Not only did I get the a-ok from the doctor, I learned that if the insurance approved the surgery I had a six month window to get it done. Pretty much the doctor said yes, but the rest was a waiting game to see if the insurance would be on board.

It was like every Christmas I ever wanted.

July:

Chasing Sunrise400x600Chasing Sunrise, Book One of the Darkmore Saga came out with Dreamspinner Press. It hit some controversy right off the bat with people thinking Sevon on the cover was a woman. Some even accused DSP of pulling a bait and switch on readers without even reading the book.

The Darkmore Saga was a definite departure from Checkmate. Checkmate was quirky and fun. Darkmore Saga deals with domestic violence amid a paranormal setting. It’s story of tragedy, horrific violence, desperation, horror, genocide, even cannibalism, but yet hope and light.

I made a joke with promoing the book with the hashtag #BTWROMANCENOVEL even of Chasing Sunrise wasn’t the standard romance.

I knew it would be a story that would divide readers. Those that read and really loved it and those that read it and hated ever second of it. I went in prepared I wasn’t going to please everyone with this series. And when that proved to be true, I didn’t get the least bent out of shape about it.

Did I hope the book would be a runaway hit? Oh, of course I did! But I made sure to keep that hope to myself.

The good news out of all of it though was readers were really fond of Sevon, despite the urge to smack him with a clue-by-four. And they really enjoyed his elaborate gowns. Readers also fell in love with Jack, which was the point. Many had said to me that Jack was their happy place, and think about him when they’re upset. I actually do too.

Also Chasing Sunrise featured the first time the editing team as well as a selection of readers almost revolted over a particular character death. I had to assure them all when I wrote the scene, I was pretty much melting the fuck down too. Even editing it made me cry again. And reading it in the galley also fucked up my face.

 August:

Around August, my plastic surgeon called, and gave me the fantastic news that my insurance approved my breast reduction. The next sentence out of her mouth was getting me on the schedule for surgery and she had this date and that one and this one over here and what would be good for me.

I’m not going to lie, once she said insurance gave the okay, I went off into this weird lala land where I was too excited to know surgery was a real thing that was really happening. I think I said something, and she suggested October 15th. It clicked in and I came back to earth to explain to her I was kind of sort of be in Chicago with 400 of my closest friends at GRL. So something else was said, and we agreed on November.

Once I hung up, I commenced running in circles and screaming like an excited five year old.

September:

AmericanaFairyTaleFSSeptember arrived, and Americana Fairy Tale hit the shelves. I was 100% this book would absolutely bomb. What? Dude princesses? What? Redneck huntsmen? What? Road Trip? What? Americana? What in the seven levels of what is this?

Turns out, it was my biggest hit. Hitting bestseller lists in Amazon.de, Amazon.uk, and sat on the bubble on Amazon.com but never cracked the top 100. I hit the bestsellers list on Dreamspinner itself. I didn’t even know about it until someone told me. I had long given up looking if I’d be there, and lo and behold.

My Mom and Dad were down in Homestead, Florida for the Championship NASCAR race and I called them to share the news. My mother’s first reaction was “That’s nice. Did you clean the cat box?”

Lol. Mom.

I also learned according to readers Corentin Devereaux, the redneck huntsman, was the sexiest alpha male to walk the planet. Considering I have Corentin living in my head and know all of his gross habits, this still baffles me. Yes. He’s likeable and charming. But dude’s truck is a cesspit, and he picks the gunk out from under his fingernails with knives.

Likewise, I learned there is a small ravenous contingent that is madly in love with Taylor’s brother Atticus and are determined for him to have his own happily ever after. Considering Atticus takes up a lot of real estate in the book, I was very concerned with making him interesting enough. Well. Consider that mission accomplished!

October:

Courtesy of Madison Parker Photography
Courtesy of Madison Parker Photography

October was the epic month were pretty much everything happened.

I indeed went off to GRL. When my plane touched down in Chicago, I got the call from my plastic surgeon that they had an option of moving up my surgery to October 30th. The week after GRL. The event I was in my limo and going to at that second. I said yes. Which in turn involved not touching anything because I couldn’t afford to get sick.

This time at GRL I went as a featured author for the first time. I read from Americana Fairy Tale, which I had practiced and abridged until I had the damned thing memorized. I took a cue from my old art school days to emote the characters and really get into it, instead of just standing there and reciting.

I read with Jacob Flores and Clare London. Jacob was one of my big inspirations about reading in the first place, and I was freaking out about embarrassing myself in front of him. He was really helpful in building my confidence. Clare brought levity to the whole thing with her sass and wisecracks.

My Mom was also there, and recorded the reading on her new superduper shiny Galaxy tablet. Which she later accidentally deleted. Forever. OOPS.

While I was at GRL, I got the notice that I got the contract for Glass Moon, the second book in the Darkmore Saga. I came close to crying. I was in the middle of a blogger panel and I didn’t want to be a freak about it. I was pretty nervous about it, because it really amped up the survival horror aspect also there’s werespiders. Were. Spiders. I am pumped.

Post-Surgery and Suuuuper Drugged WOO!
Post-Surgery and Suuuuper Drugged WOO!

Back home, it was surgery time. The night before, I melted the fuck down. I was so scared and upset because I had never done a major surgery before. Mom said we could call it off, but I said it was too late now. So, the next morning at 6:30am off I went. I came home 6:30pm that night missing a little over four pounds off my chest. I went from a JJ to a C.

It’s definitely been a life changing experience. And I’m slowly getting my thoughts together to form a more coherent blog series about it for women looking to go through it.

I have also learned I am a terrible patient. I can never just laze about. I always have to be doing something. I constantly thought I had more energy than I did. Well. Nope!

December:

DSPP_FacebookAnd then December happened. And I got accepted into DSP Publications just 14 days ago. So that is all super new still. I still haven’t told everyone yet. My first release under DSP Publications is a paperback anthology of Checkmate with Pawn Takes Rook, Cashing the Reality Check, Conventional Love, and the all new story Miracle In Axis City coming December 2015.

Not lying. I go through phases of being over the moon excited and then phases of utterly terrified.

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