Dream Books with Lex Chase

January 21, 2016


Howdy, everyone! Lex Chase here for the first edition of #Dreamer for the new year! I hope everyone’s had an awesome new year and is looking forward what 2016 has in store. (Besides writing 2015 until June. Oi, oi.)

This year for me has started off with a bang of pre-order mania! Bru Baker and I co-wrote a book called Some Assembly Required. It’s about two dead guys that meet in the afterlife in CASA—an affordable Italian minimalistic furnishing superstore—that happens to be purgatory. Yes. Really. You can check it out here! 

And that’s not all! Over at DSP Publications, the shiny new 2nd edition of my horror high fantasy novel, Chasing Sunrise is now up and ready to go! Heavily re-edited with humongous chunks rewritten, and yup, you heard right, a completely different ending.

All of that aside, I’m talking about Dream Books! I’m presenting my top five favorites that have definitely had an effect on me as a writer and as a reader. And some of them may surprise you! So presenting in no particular order.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

I have a love/hate/love-to-hate/hate-to-love thing with Cormac McCarthy. I discovered him via a college class where we studied his works for the entire semester. Child of God remains a favorite. McCarthy breaks every damned rule he possibly can that are non-negotiables for book publishing and completely gets away with it. Not a single dialog quote, topics that are never, ever okay, dialect for days, and you can’t read his books without a dictionary in one hand and a map in the other. It’s one of the most challenging books I read just for the effort I had to make to understand it. But also the most rewarding. I find myself slipping tiny homages to McCarthy in my books all the time.

By the way, the “hero” and I use that term loosely is a guy named Lester Ballard. He is a horrid human being, but you also understand him deeply that he just wants to live his life in peace. His life? That of a necrophiliac. Yeah. Did I mention McMarthy’s work is whoa what nooooo.

Infected: Prey by Andrea Speed

Infected: Prey by Andrea Speed

Back when I was first trying to get published with Dreamspinner in 2009/2010, I was working with developing the world of Chasing Sunrise as well as another project. At the time, M/M was considered erotica, despite not having any erotic content. But of course in the realm of “the rules” of erotica, basically you needed a crapton of sex, and you didn’t need a happy ending. Because erotica didn’t count as romance and M/M slipped right through this loophole.

I picked up the first Infected book to actually get a feel for M/M. First, Infected isn’t erotica. Not even close. Sure there’s romance in it. A little. But it’s mostly Roan being the most broken anti-hero he can possibly be. He lives in a world that hates him just on the principle of the thing, and he just does his best with what he has, while he deals with the absolute worse in humanity.

Here is the ultimate kicker, I actually didn’t like Infected when I first read it. I didn’t even finish it. But in the years since, and since the Infected series has continued, and Andy has taught us a very valuable lesson. She showed us what M/M could be.

Thick as Thieves by Tali Spencer

Thick as Thieves by Tali Spencer

Can we just talk about that opening line to the blurb.

“After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief.”

I was like “…………alrighty.” *buys with one-click.*

I read it while I was laid up with the flu. Because I am a terrible patient and I get mad when I want to get stuff done and my body said “Hahahah…silly you.”

So while I wasn’t coherent enough for a single thing, I dived in to the world of Gurgh and went on grand adventures with Vorgell and Madd. It was the most entertaining read I had had in a long time, and I am so, so hype about the sequel Thick as Ice. Thick as Thieves was a book that you knew going in the cheese was on purpose, and if you tried to rationalize any of it, you’d ruin it. The kingdom is called Gurgh, people. Like that’s kind of a clue.

Vorgell and Madd are a great mismatched couple. Vorgell can come off like a doof, but really he’s a guy of very simple desires and sees the world in a very pure way. Madd sees only the complications and has to run through every possibility before choosing one that sucks less. And then there’s Petal. The tiny baby basilisk that I can’t cope with she’s so adorable and full of sass.

Art of Death by Ana Bosch

Art of Death by Ana Bosch

I’ve known Ana for years. We met back when she was developing her now wildly popular webcomic Demon of the Underground. She’s multi-talented, and her ideas of how she connects the A to B are mindboggling. I had the pleasure of beta reading Art of Death, and the sequel Bonds of Death. Both of us hailing from art school backgrounds, she captured the feel of being back there with all it’s quirk, weirdness, and snarky professors.

We were also introduced to the undead and their secret society. They never really had an exact name, but Ana and I discussed they were basically revenants.

We also met Westwood. *dreamy siiiiiigh* Reviews of Westwood had been mixed, but I have such feelings for him. He is the most anti of anti-heroes. He makes no apologies, takes no shit, and just doesn’t care. He’s not a perfect person, in fact he’s a terrible person, but he never stops being an effective person. He gets results under any means necessary even if that means putting his love interest directly in the line of fire. He is definitely a guy that will have no issues shooting the hostage and shrug.

Ana had hinted one day of writing Westwood’s origin story. Whether or not it’ll really happen, I can only dream.

The Authority by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch

The Authority: Relentless by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch

I will always and forever be in love with comics. The Authority was a revelation. The birth of the “widescreen cinematic comic” and amazing writing and comics were never the same again. With Bryan Hitch’s beautiful art, and Warren Ellis’s brilliant writing, I was chomping at the bit for each issue.

It featured the first gay couple in a mainstream comic book, and they were superheroes who happened to be gay, and not gay superheroes. There’s a difference. Every character was flawed, and every character had their own thing going. They were not above sacrificing the many for the good of the few. They were the sledge hammer of justice upon the world.

Warren Ellis gave us concepts like their mode of transportation being the size of a large city was powered by a caged baby universe. To save the day, one of the heroes used his powers to hold Italy stationary while the Earth rotated around it. Hell yeah!

Warren Ellis not only writes comics, but everything else. Novels, articles, screenplays, and one of his quotes “whatever I can steal money for.” His writing is gritty, subversive, and can be downright filthy not at all in the erotica sense but in the complete horrific things he can come up with. Stuff that sticks with you and haunts your nightmares and makes me think dammit why didn’t I think of that!

So question time! What’s a book that’s stuck with you? One that remains a tried and true favorite? For an even bigger challenge pick one that isn’t M/M! One lucky commenter will walk away with a 5 dollar DSP Gift Certificate!

Lex Chase brings readers on dangerous adventures alongside heroes facing impossible odds from saving the world from a nefarious villain, to saving dinner from igniting like a roman candle. Lex believes that even in lush fantasy worlds or grim and gritty sci-fi, there is a timeless human quality. Marching to the beat of a different drum, Lex knows we’re all going to die someday, but she’s on a mission to make the ride interesting through action, adventure, and true love.


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