Romance By Catherine: Spotlight on Kayden McLeod

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spotlight on Kayden McLeod

Hello Readers!

My latest release, Tarnished Halo, the first book in the Demon Queen series has released with XOXO Publishing. The second installment, Ascending Hell is coming soon. The story follows the path of Liwet, half angel, half demon, through her journey filled with political hurdles she must overcome. All the while, she tries to wade through a past with a man she once loved, to find a few surprises that change everything. 

To celebrate, I’ve permitted one of my muse’s many imaginary assistants in on a little secret she’s been dying to know, via Christina, a character in the Demon Queen series. Sarah, bless or damn her, is a human with demon blood. All but forgotten by the higher powers in this world. Her ignorance is a hardship, but perhaps it’s time for her find out a little about her heritage.

And what better guide than Liwet?

Follow the path of Sarah, as she delves into the demon in this series of blog interviews with different characters from Tarnished Halo and Ascending Hell during the Demon Queen Blog Tour with Bewitching Blog Tours!

Liwet is about the take her newfound friend, Sarah, into the lower hell realms, to meet some very interesting people. Who knows what else might await them there, if the demon lords ever allow them to pass from one dimension to another.

Liwet leads Sarah into a wooded area she’s never been to before. They trudge over broken branches and leaves, until power rents the air. They’re almost there. Nothing big and scary jumped out at them, thankfully. Liwet disappeared into thin air, and Sarah startles. She looks around wearily. Liwet’s arm reappears, yanking Sarah into a whole new world.

Sarah: *Looks around at the obsidian hallway with a tremor working up her spine* Where are we?
Liwet: The executive level of hell. Most hell gates will bring you here, the others…well, you don’t want to fine them.
Sarah: Why not?”
A shrill scream bisects the strange stillness. 
Liwet: That’s why. Anyway, to the first honored guest of the hour. *She stalks to an incredibly lifelike sculpture of a dog that had never seen the human world.*
Sarah: Did you bring me to hell, to talk to the décor?
The statue turned its head.
Liwet: *Laughs* Caderyn, I have brought you a new friend.
Caderyn: I can see that. And mostly human girl, I am not décor. I am insulted you made that assumption. I am a Cŵn Annwn, a feared and respected part of the Celtic Wild Hunt.
Liwet: *Leans in and whispers* Otherwise known as a hellhound…
Sarah: Ah, ah, I’m sorry! I thought…
Caderyn: Make no mistake. Nothing in this world is quite what it seems. Do not be surprised if the floors themselves get angry with you for stepping on them, or say, a “statue” *hops down from his perch* decides you look a tad too tasty to pass up. *sighs with a wolfish smile that defies the smooth marble-like texture of his skin* Been far too long since I last have eaten a thing. Skin and bones I shall soon become.
Liwet: You can’t eat her. I didn’t bring her for that. She is part demon, and I promised to give her the insider’s view.
Caderyn: *Sends Liwet a droll look* Do you ever bring me humans I can eat?
Liwet: No, but apparently I should.
Sarah: *Shivers, but keeps her council*
Caderyn: Yes, you should, my queen.
Liwet: I told you not to call me that.
Caderyn: Since when do I listen?
Sarah: Wait, did he just call you’re his queen?
Liwet: *Glares at Caderyn* See! *Turns back to Sarah* You remember when I said I’d run into some political trouble? That may or may not include me becoming the ruler of a pocket in hell called Shadowdyn, alongside this demon king named Oriax.
Sarah: Who?
Liwet: *Waves impatiently* You’ll meet him too, at some point. He is currently down there, mucking about, paving the way for our wedding.
Sarah: Urg. So you’re marrying a demon, ruling a chunk of hell, within days of being an angel?
Caderyn: My queen has never been an angel. Human, how dare you say such a thing. *Looks at Liwet* Does she insult everyone she meets? Are you sure I cannot persuade you to permit me just a bite?
Liwet: She doesn’t mean to.
Caderyn: You know what they say about the best of intentions.

Thank you for following along on Sarah’s path to finding out more about where she came from. I hoped you enjoyed it as much as I had. Missed a part? Here are the dates and places where the rest of the story took place:
September 11
September 13
September 14
October 2
October 31
Be sure to drop by Just Another Rabid Reader tomorrow, September 14th for what happens next!
And leave a comment on today’s post, for your chance to win a copy of my latest release Tarnished Halo.

Happy Reading…
Kayden McLeod

Tarnished Halo
Demon Queen #1

XOXO Publishing
August 2012
Buy Now
Liwet is a less-than-lily-white angel, who has a chip on her shoulder just begging for someone to knock it off.
She refuses to come to heel, yet the time for Liwet to play by her own rules has come to an end. Oriax comes back to his old flame, with a proposition he doesn’t want to pursue, and has no choice but to make. Dark, chilling forces beyond Liwet and Oriax’s control drag them back together and down into a rabbit hole so deep, escape is futile. The prince of the underworld wants them in his court; a request never to be taken lightly. Can the couple overcome their pasts, and find each other once more, before it’s too late to save either of them?

Excerpt From "Tarnished Halo"
Ascream sounded from down one of the alleys I’d crossed, but paid no mind while I set my course to where I’d been bid.

Let the humans rot this night, I thought bitterly. Or any other.

What had they done for me? Nothing. Yet I had been borne to be their humble servant, directed by rules I’d never had a say in. Screw it. Screw them. Fuck the world.

I walked down the darkened streets of this forsaken town of lust, greed and sloth, an hour past the twilight settling upon the horizon. I had been a beautiful sunset this eve, with deep hues of violet, crushed orange and vivid blood red. Though I hadn’t enjoyed it.

I didn’t take such pleasures in simple things. I didn’t delight in much anymore—hadn’t in many a year.

The human screamed for help again, and my hand flew up in an unconscious rude gesture in the direction from where it’d come. Another, farther ahead—a painter no less—babbled about needing an idea for a new project.

I rolled my eyes. Fat chance.

That would be my department.

My name is Liwet, the “angel” of inventions, inspirations. A muse. However, I wasn’t pristine as most thought me. I’d been shunned from the normal crowds of my realms, who knew what I was on sight.

I am a demon and an angel, a dirty half-breed, to be pushed to the shadows and forgotten.

But I had long since come to terms with all of this. I tended to stay at the edges of all societies, and took part of none and looking in. Life shopping, I called it. Sort of like window shopping, but I didn’t get to gaze at things I wanted to buy. I just wished it went both ways.

The angels shunned me, but the demons…They wanted me, badly. The supreme notch on their bedposts, to be screwed and discarded, the perfect conquest compared like the women who trolled these streets, ignorant of us.

Most of them were arrogant assholes I could never stand to be near enough to talk to, let alone see naked. Though some were acceptable to be around for short periods of platonic time.

I headed into the darkened back entrance of the Red Corkscrew a bar that fronted the ocean cliffs. It had been named this, because this was the nickname of the Salix matsudana, trees imported from China and planted around the bar. The stems twisted at sharp angles, their color a vivid shade of orangey scarlet, a startling shade to the eye this far into winter. The owner had been quite insistent on these trees be planted everywhere on the one-acre property.

The man had always been strange like that. He was also my half brother.

The moment I’d passed the threshold into the building, I knew he was there, but not a second before he let me.

“Li,” Mastema greeted from the empty back of the kitchen. I could hear the sounds of food being cooked and clinking plates from around the corner, made by demon hands. We weren’t alone, and no doubt brother dear planned this meeting that way.

Mastema was a full demon, one who kept the underworld from interference of his life, by staying quiet. This surprised me, since his life’s purpose was to tempt men toward sin. Even more ironic, he rarely partook in any himself. Mastema denied his most basic principles and instincts, to stay out of hell. And unlike his dangers of damnation, I was exempt, unless I broke the sacred laws applied to being one of the Guides to humanity. Hadn’t happened yet, but I rode the line often, never actually crossing it. Always could, I supposed.

“Why have you called me here?”

“I need you to work tonight. We are unusually busy, and I do not like so many humans mixing with my people, without proper balance in case something happens.”

In other words; he needed someone to kick ass and take names if his brethren stepped out of line. Someone who wasn’t him. Great. Gotta love diplomacy.

“Why me, Mastema?” I asked, determined to be purposely “dumb.” Even though he didn’t let it show, it pissed him off. Good.

And I was just in that kind of mood. Thankfully, half of my status put me almost on his playing field—almost. He had a millennia or two on me. Did wonders for someone’s power.

I made up for it in the pure-pissed-off-bitch factor. I’d had to from square one. The higher powers had decided I wasn’t allowed to learn about certain capabilities I’d been born with, from either side. This, in effect made my best attributes dormant and useless to me. They wanted me this way. Couldn’t have an “angel” running about with demon super-powers. Or some crap like that.

Mastema took on my expression. “You’re being unreasonably pissy tonight.” He crossed his arms over the black material stretching over his wide chest. His thick, muscular body was covered in ritual blue-jeans and a t-shirt, just tight enough to show he was ripped. He’d once told me women liked it. I didn’t know. Being his sister didn’t allow me an opinion on it. “In fact, a lot lately.”

I didn’t reply to the statement. I wanted to turn and leave, though if I did, Mastema would only talk me into staying. Had I left in his time of need, one of my few sanctuaries would be lost to me, until my brother had unruffled his feathers. That could be decades. Immortality wrecked havoc one’s conception of time.

“What do you need?”

“You, on the bar,” Mastema muttered. “Nicor heard about a thunderstorm near to coast and…”

“Decided to go play in it?”

My brother nodded, but never with disgust. Full-blood demons that chose to stay on earth for long periods very rarely had the chance to act or be who they really were. When the chance presented itself, they took it.

“I allowed him to go—it has been too long for him to touch base with himself. Acting human so much does things to a demon’s mind.”

I winced. In a backward way, the barb had been intended for me, not Nicor.

“Of course,” I relented.

“I suspect the rush will only get worse the later it gets. But I do have to warn you… Oriax is here tonight, with his friends.”

My mind stilled from hearing that damned name! “What?” This time, I didn’t act stupid for any petty impulse. The sheer memory of the man did one of two things; froze me solid, or made my blood boil. “You expect me not to throw something at him in the course of an entire evening? Fifteen minutes is pushing it.”

Mastema rolled his eyes, then pushed off of the counter’s edge, with a sleek roll of threatening sinew. “Behave.”

The warning didn’t go unheeded, though my eyes darkened and burned when he turned from me and began walking further into the kitchen. I followed only somewhat dutifully. We cut around the corner, emerging into the timeless art and war of fast-paced cooking. Ten or so bodies moved with methodical energy and flow.

Not a human in the bunch.

None of the minor or half-blood demons looked up from what they were doing. Their movements would be blurry to an untrained eye, with too quick dexterity they didn’t bother to hide in the safety of the enclosed kitchen.

The smell of grilled beef and frying oil for the fries wafted to me, making my stomach rumble. Though I wouldn’t eat most of what these demons served. The demonic clientele didn’t care for their meat cooked. The staff would just barely sear it on the outside, so the humans who ventured in here couldn’t tell the difference at first glance. Happy mediums.

I snagged a fry as I passed, bringing it half-way to my mouth when Mastema whirled, with a nasty scowl on his face.

“What? Did you want me to put it back?”

Mastema shook his head. “You know you may eat anything you want.” He stared behind me so hard, I turned my head to see what was there. “But we have a problem.”

“You always have a problem—whatever could it be this time?”

He growled at my impertinence. “Have you fallen so low that you walk in this realm with your wings exposed, and making no move to hide them? Are you looking to get thrown into the hell realms?”

“Humans cannot see them whether I conceal my wings or not,” I replied coldly.

The fry cook looked up from his station with shining black eyes. Our gazes connected, and I knew then he approved of my refusal to act as if I were the other race.

“Those are the rules. You risk a great deal to break them. We are granted very limited access to this world, and you are part demon. You have the obligation to keep your nose clean—you never know when you just might mess it up for the rest of us.”

“I tire of living in secret,” I argued. “If I had the same benefits the rest of you do…”

Mastema snarled, raking a hand through his hair. “I might have more power and ability to use them, I will give you that. However, I am not permitted to do anything with them, anymore than you can. Just by being here on earth, we have to act like we don’t even exist. Every wrong move you make, tightens the collar around the necks of the rest of us.”

I hated it when he made sense! My stubborn nature reared its head nonetheless. “I will no longer be spurred under someone else’s terms. Only full-bloods can see these black-feathered contraptions and the otherworldly glow those angels gave me, the same combination that condemned me from birth. So now, I will be upfront about it. At least then I can see their sneers upfront, know what they think, before they even say a word.” My chin went up. “I am sorry if it causes you danger, I really am.” I spoke to the kitchen as a whole, who had stopped around me. Had my words been so very shocking? My brother’s eyes had softened, causing a similar reaction in the very small part of my heart holding affection for him. “I have to feel like I’ve done something to be an outcast. Mastema, don’t take that from me.”

“You risk much.”

“And you’re a coward,” I whispered. They all were. “Just because I cannot see your wings nor horns, does not mean they are not there. You have modified the color of your skin, so it looks more tanned than burnt red, but it is only a secondary appearance to what you really look like.”

“And your point?”

I swore every set of lungs around us stopped breathing, awaiting my answer. “This is what I look like.”

With a curt nod, Mastema’s falsely blue eyes hardened into ice-chips. Really, they were a pitiless black. The absence of color stretched from lid to lid—like the fry cook’s. My brother didn’t care for my assessment. He couldn’t deny it either.

“So be it, sister. But if the powers that be come down on your head…”

“It’s on me, Mastema. Promise.”

“Let’s go then. We have quite the crowd to keep happy tonight.”

Ascending Hell
Demon Queen #2
Kayden McLeod
Genre: Fantasy (Angels, Demons, Hell)
Length: Novella
Publisher: XOXO Publishing
When a deal with the Devil goes horribly wrong, Liwet will be ascending hell
After eleven hundred years, Liwet is forced to halt walking her own path. She has countless aspirations in her life. But becoming a Demon Queen? Underworld affairs never registered on her ambition’s Richter scale. Political pawns close in around her, and Liwet must discern friend from foe. She has two days until her wedding, which will set her on a journey to the crown. If she can survive the assassination attempts long enough to say “I do.”

About the Author:

Kayden McLeod lives in beautiful British Columbia, and is the author of the M/F Paranormal Romance and erotica series, The Coven Series, which consists of three Covens; The Foxworths, The Cornwalls and The Jerichos. She also dabbles in a multitude of other genres that are in the works, like BDSM, Ménage, M/M and Horror. As well, Kayden is a freelance Graphic and Cover artist, a Cover Artist for XOXO Publishing, and an owner of Otherworlds Publicity and Siren Book Reviews.

Connect with Kayden online:

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