Today I am so pleased to welcome Jeanne Marcella to Joyfully Jay. Jeanne has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Demon Lord Of California (Infinity 8 Book #1). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Most writers and authors don’t live alone. Often, one or more of their ‘little angels’ er, characters, become permanent roommates. I just happen to be one of those unfortunate saps. Because those little darlings pop up at the most inconvenient times. Often for no reason at all, or for something so mundane, they can handle it on their own. Maybe they’re bored. Maybe they’re lonely. Maybe they just want to be sure I’m paying attention to them.
Take now for instance. I’m rudely awakened by a shoulder shake. Squinting at the alarm clock I see it’s 4am.
“Oh, god,” I mumble, looking up to see Calico Winghorse, my current favorite. “You’ve escaped all three of your keepers?”
He looks indignant. “Mr. Triptych is away on business. Gus and Ms. Mug do not rise this early.”
I hide my head under the pillow. “Don’t you have a bakery to run?”
“Yes, I shall return to it shortly.”
“Wait,” I say, coming out from under my shield. “What are you doing in my room? Don’t you find that improper and scandalizing?”
“Of course, that is why I am covering my eyes.”
I lift my head and squint some more. In the gray shadows I can make out his hand over his face. My head flops back to the pillow. Meeting Gus has made him a little more bold. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It will certainly make the next books more interesting.
“What do you want?” I ask.
“I must have a proper gallery for my magic. I can no longer store my volumes and artifacts beneath my mattress. There is no more space.”
Something he certainly doesn’t need my help with. I’m not the one who knows about that kind of thing. “Go away, Cal.”
“I need you to—”
I interrupt. “Maybe if you dumped all your car porn catalogs in the recycle bins, you’d have the room.”
He huffs and retreats, for now. But it’s only a short reprieve. Because as dawn breaks, it starts all over again with him banging on the bathroom door.
“I thought you went home to prepare dinner.” Calico sniffed, brushing away the beginning of tears.
“Sibling empathy,” Maars said. “I turned my bicycle around.”
Frazil stirred. “Ah, well, I know now isn’t a good time to bring it up—”
Maars flashed Frazil a stern look. “Then don’t,” he reprimanded. “Right now, this is about Cal. We need to talk about this.”
Frazil shrugged, helpless. “Our livelihood’s at stake. Cal, customers are starting to complain.”
All Calico wanted to do was forget the agony that haunted him. To lose himself in the sugary sweets and delicate flavors their family had once enjoyed, when life was simpler, happier. But Frazil had made a point. He had had his chance to wallow and grieve in England. They had to move on.
Maars put an arm over his shoulder, offering a small squeeze. “Cal, we’re worried about your urge to flame up and ash out—”
“Don’t push. You know he’s not ready to address that,” Frazil interrupted, arms crossed. “The customers are bored.”
The mention of his customers immediately got Calico’s attention. “Oh?”
“The novelty of a new shop with fun and strange desserts has worn off,” Frazil reported. “Not everyone can afford fancy cakes, cookies, and doughnuts. They want normal staples they can consistently put on the table. We have to cut back on the desserts to keep the customers happy.”
Cut back? Calico looked around. At the kitchen center, there were five workstation benches prepped for tomorrow morning. Three had cake or pastry tins neatly stacked next to extra-large sugar canisters. The final two stations were designated for everyday breads, laden with extra-large flour canisters. Along the wall, boxy ovens awaited all manners of dough concoctions. At the corner was another reserved for fried goods.
“But my cupcakes are a best seller,” Calico defended.
“They were best sellers when we opened two months ago,” Frazil reminded him.
Calico drew back in surprise. “Has it been that long?”
“It’s not been long at all. You’ve just been absorbed in your tasks,” Frazil said.
“Mentally running away is more like it.” Maars pulled a cupcake from the tin and took a bite. “Still the best, even without frosting.”
Calico worried at his apron. “How is the financial ledger?”
“In the last week, sales have been down by an average of twenty dollars.”
“That much?” Calico asked, fluttering his fingers against his lips in dismay. That amount was more than the cost of just one of his Acme Regal Steel Ranges!
“Reduce the sweets. Increase production on breads,” Frazil suggested.
“Indeed,” Calico said unhappily. “I will reassign the workstations. Two for cake and pastry. Three for mundane goods?”
“I agree, it’s for the best.” Maars helped to swap the canisters and tins among the tables.
“So now that we’ve got a handle on business, what about at home?” Maars pressed. “Cal, you’ve been so moody lately. The house is so full of your chosen spices. It’s giving us a headache. We’re concerned you’re going to phoenix-burn. If you do that, he,” Maars pointed to Frazil, “can’t do anything to help you, and I can’t help you all alone. Please, talk to us.”
“Maybe it is time to talk to us, Cal,” Frazil agreed anxiously. “Maars and I made peace with our forced exodus after we landed in England. We so desperately want that for you too.”
Calico massaged the back of his neck. The truths hurt. Facing them was even more brutal. How could he let go of baking the only things that made him feel better?
It didn’t matter. He had to start listening to their customers, or they would be living on the street. A tragedy that could have befallen them if the portal had not opened up right atop Mr. Triptych. He still felt horribly embarrassed about landing on the poor fellow and giving him a bloody nose and ruining the fine craftsmanship of all those veils.
Calico rubbed his eyes. “Perhaps I can work up to the idea for a familial conference in a few weeks. Until then, I shall . . . shall strive to contain my fiery impulses.”
Yet contain them for how much longer? His curious urge to nest stemmed from vague future events that confused him. He should not even be able to possess this knowledge since his powers were so closed off. Currently residing inside a mortal body, and a physical form, further blocked him from examining this time hiccup. It was something his siblings would not understand.
The bell above the shop door jingled. All three of them looked up.
Frazil gave his little brother’s shoulder a pat. “Thanks, Cal. I’ve had my cig. We’ll serve the last customer of the day. Come on, Maars.”
It was only a few seconds later when both his brothers returned, looking as if they’d seen a ghostly specter.
“What happened?” He dipped the next cupcake into a bowl of frosting, swirled it around, then placed it on a tray.
“A rich bloke. He wants to talk to the owner.”
“You know the ruse.” Calico piped more frosting atop the spongy mini cake, creating a small mountain of swirls. “Place that cap on your head and masquerade as myself. We cannot lose the business over my offensive voice.”
Both his brothers shook their head. “He’s our kind. Wants you.”
Calico wiped his hands and straightened the scarf concealing his half-shaved head. Speaking to his own kind made him equally as uncomfortable as conversing with the humans. Yet he’d done so since their grand opening. He could do this.
Taking a deep breath, Calico grabbed both his brothers by the arms. Pushing them ahead, and cowering behind, he marched them into the storefront.
Calico Winghorse has no choice but to flee to the plane of existence called Earth. His great grandfather, suffering from a terrible curse, strips him of his psychic abilities and nearly murders him.
As a mixed-blood phoenix concealing himself in human form, Calico first settles in England, then in the San Francisco Bay Area. In order to make a living, he opens a small bakery and quietly licks his wounds.
But just how Calico escaped his childhood home—via interdimensional portal—is the very reason why he’s drawn the unwanted attention of Infinity Corporation.
Representing this angelic-run company is Agustín Chávez de la Cruz, the Demon Lord of California. Even though Agustín is IC’s heir, he finds himself demoted from his daily duties for a new assignment: take absolute control of Calico’s portal.
Calico and Agustín’s first brief encounter ignites sparks of attraction. Their second is highly explosive, bogging down initial communication with innocent mistruths and a healthy dose of fear.
As Agustín struggles to restore trust, Harper, the demanding head of IC interferes, further complicating matters. With negotiations slowed, Calico and Agustín realize they both wish to establish more than just a business deal.
However, until the extensive and brutal psychic injuries Calico received from his great grandfather are healed, the portal remains vulnerable to the darker forces that want it at any cost. Agustín will have to push both his angelic heritage, and his psychic powers to the very limits to mend someone who bears more than celestial blood, but who is also the god of space and time.
And the clock’s ticking.
Jeanne Marcella was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Granted unlimited access to books at a very early age via the library, she quickly acquired a fondness for creating her own stories through word and drawing.
She writes queer dark fantasy not for the faint of heart, and fun (but sometimes gritty) urban fantasy soaps, all with romantic elements.
Jeanne has brought a great give away during her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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