Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

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“Here I stand once again, searching, waiting for him though I know he will never appear.
I hope he will see our lock ~engraved with our names and a message only he would understand.
This bridge is my only hope and I am compelled to come back night after night, hoping my Christian will return to me”.
 
                                                                                                                                ~Amanda Perretti, Eternal Hunger

FACTS ABOUT PONT DES ARTS
 
 
  • Built between 1802 and 1804, the nine-arch metallic pedestrian bridge was constructed in Paris under the reign of Napoleon I.
  • Rebuilt in the 1980’s the bridge served as a place for art exhibitions as painters and photographers gravitated to the bridge.
  • Since 2008 tourists began attaching padlocks – engraved with the lovers names on them – to the railings on the side of the bridge, then throwing the key into the Seine as a romantic gesture.
  • It fast became a place for lovers with locks attached over other locks.
  • By 2014, it was estimated that over 7000,00 love locks were attached to the railings, posing severe safety concerns.

As I prepare for an author interview I find questions depicting authors as socially inept loners who spend most of their time alone, slaving away on their next novel while barely stopping to eat or drink and definitely not to socialize.
I find this truly odd because I cannot relate to this stereotype.
Does this not make me a writer?

I have a full-time job which has nothing to do with writing and I can’t imagine not going into work each day.
I work for a non-profit school for children with special needs and their mission keeps me coming back every day.
It’s truly an amazing place.

I can’t imagine spending my days alone. A few hours maybe but not everyday on end.

I write when time allows and I guess as a self-published author I have no deadlines except ones I create for myself.
I am trying really hard not to punish myself if I don’t write on any given day, much to the chagrin of some of my readers.
Some days I am too tired, busy or I just want to cuddle up with a good book.
Yes, I am an avid reader; a junkie and sometimes there is nothing like a good book.

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While his mortal lover slept, the curious vampire Christian Du Mauré wandered her boudoir admiring the numerous books cast in a warm by the roaring fire He could not leave her and thought to occupy himself amongst her books. In reaching for one, a small sheet of paper slipped out. The adroit vampire grabbed it in mid-air, stuffing it back into the book as the words “My dearest Josette”caught his attention.

This is not my handwriting and Michel would never, ever write a love letter.

Not his style.

Taking a seat he unfolded the letter and read……


14 April 1788

My dearest Josette,

When can I see you again? I cannot stop thinking of you lying with me as the afternoon sun caressed our bodies. You are a masterpiece, the most exquisite woman I have ever known, and all I want to do is hold you. – sun swept, warm kisses and the trembling of your body under mine.

I know you are a married woman and your life, as you put it, is ‘complicated to say the least’ but I will meet you anytime, anywhere. Since I live alone I am at your whim to do with as you will. Come to me when you can, day or night, as I will welcome you with open arms and a warm bed.

Je vous aime,

Gabriel


Gabriel?

His mind raced…definitely not a vampire…..must be an aristocrat…where did they meet? The letter was brief, implying this had not been the first time she had gone to this Gabriel and yet when would she have the time?

During the day when you are dead, you fool.

He glanced over to the young beauty, sleeping deeply, curled up under a mound of cotton quilts, her breathing almost imperceptible.

Am I not enough for her?

Are we not enough for her?

He and Michel were sharing her, though he preferred not to think about her relationship with his best friend. That he could deny, but why did this bother him so?

Because he is mortal and you cannot compete with a living, breathing man who can walk with her in the sunlight, be a part of her social circle….give her children.

He absently opened the book to realize it was one of her many journals. Perhaps there was more in here…..


16 April 1788

Dare I send a note to my dear Gabriel?

He asked so few questions and did not question why I needed to meet him in the daylight hours. I explained that it may seem strange, but I am a married woman and I must be incredibly discreet. He understands that my husband, Luc, demands my utmost skill in running a home and when he comes home at night he wants me there.

I think he understands that my life is complicated. I feel like a chatelaine, quite honestly, though I don’t live in a castle!

His apartment on the Rue Saint-Honoré is gorgeous and although it is a short carriage ride, I feel very far away from the prying eyes of my household.

I would love to meet him for dinner one evening but Christian and Michel are ever present. Not that Michel would care but Christian would never forgive me. He feels I belong to him, body and soul, and perhaps he is right. I do love him but Gabriel is hard to resist.

He calls me exquisite and claims that my naked body is heaven on earth. He is poetic, which moves me and the memory of his kisses takes my breath away. How will I manage yet another lover?


Christian flipped through her diary but there was little else about the mysterious Gabriel. Clearly their romance was current and his first impulse was to wake her and demand to know the truth, but he knew the truth. He would bide his time and though he could not follow her, he had other mortals at his command who would do his bidding. Once he found the lair of this poetic imbecile, he would take care of him as only he could and his mortal lover would be none the wiser.


1 September 1788

Gabriel has chosen to leave Paris! How could he not tell me? Why would he do such a thing? The maid handed me a letter and almost shut the door in my face. He had urgent business in Toulouse and had to leave. He thanked me for our affair but said he would not be returning and please do not write nor come by ever again. This seemed odd to me especially since we had been together not two days before and I would think he would have mentioned something to me then, unless he did not want to hurt me? I feel like a scrap of garbage being cast aside by a coward who did not have the courage to face me and yet, I will miss his soft touch…

TBC

 

My cousin Barbara died very suddenly from pancreatic cancer two years ago within weeks of learning how ill she was; her swift death devastated my family. She loved my first novel, Immortal Obsession, and was awaiting the publication of Blood Tears when she passed away.

 

 

Please support cancer research by joining myself and a plethora of other indie authors as we auction off literature for a good cause! Each day in the month of February, authors will be auctioning off copies of one of their latest novels – myself on February 3 – with the books covering all genres, A thru Z! Bidding starts at 9AM (GMT) each day and ends at 9PM (GMT). Bidding amount starts at £5 ($7.45). Please bid high, for we all have been impacted by this disease. No matter where you live, I will happily pay the postage to mail you a personally signed copy of each of my novels. So grab your extra dollars, tell your friends and gift yourself some great reads for a fabulous cause!

 

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And thank you so much Tracy Fenton and the gang at The Book Club (TBC) for hosting this amazing charity auction. Learn more about Tracy and how TBC was started in this great article by Author’s Magazine! (Pg. 14, cover story, “The Book Club: How One Woman’s Passion Sparked a Cult Phenomenon”)

 

  • by Denise K. Rago

Vintage-Santa-Card1

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And auld lang syne!

I hate to be so cliché but where did this year go? Before you know it you may find yourself sipping a hot toddy while sitting before a roaring fire singing this classic Scottish song. It always brings tears to my eyes for it represents the passage of time and memories of loved ones held dear.

Time is moving much too quickly and as the year winds down I guess I will make the last post of 2015 a simple thank you.

To my beloved family and friends; thank you for your support. To all the readers and bloggers; thank you for your reviews of both my novels. I am forever amazed at what others see in my novels.

To Kelly Jones and Misty Layne of Social Marketing Solutions; two great ladies who handle much of the public relations and marketing for me. To Lindsey Donner and Luis Cortes of Wellversedcreative.com who created my website. All of these professionals are there when I need their guidance and I could not imagine trying to manage all of this without them.

I have made a lot of new friends on social media this year and although we may never actually meet I am always amazed at their kindness and support. I became a member of a book club based in England which has exposed me to great authors and way too many books. Members come from all over but the one thing that we share is a love of books. I would say more than a love of books. It is a passion continually fueled by new novels and support of our reading habits. Thank you Tracy Fenton and all the folks at The Book Club for a job well done.

On a very personal note, I moved over the summer which meant downsizing too. I had the tough choice of giving away boxes of books simply because I no longer had the space for them all. I chose to donate at least 20 boxes of books to the Literacy Advocacy center in the town where I grew up. Though encouraged to sell them on the internet, I found that donating them to my community was a way to give back and to encourage others to read as well. It was a win-win for all.

I must publicly thank my husband, children and extended family. I love them beyond measure and they make my life so rich and meaningful. As the year winds down, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and only the best in the New Year.

Blood Tears covers

How often have we heard this saying, whether in life or when buying a book?

How many of us have impulsively picked up a book based solely on the cover then read the blurb on the inside jacket only to find it none too moving, but that cover…there’s something about it that grabs you and so you reluctantly purchase the book. I’ve done it and when I finish that “just okay” novel with the beautiful cover image I could kick myself. I honestly feel as though I threw money down the drain and who can afford to do that these days?

Consequently, how many of us have read a great book with a “just okay” cover, or a great book with a cover image which has no connection to the novel? Or, how about a book with just the just the title and no cover art? The Catcher in the Rye and Interview with the Vampire come to mind and happen to be two of my favorite novels as well. The novel “Euphoria” with its multicolored cover reveals nothing of the story line set in Papua New Guinea about three anthropologists in a love triangle. Again, one of my favorite novels but the cover art is okay at best.

When I am asked about the cover images for my novels I am flattered, especially since the cover image of Immortal Obsession is a photograph I took of Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. If you have read Immortal Obsession then you know that the main character, vampire Christian du Mauré spends a lot of time wandering and hunting there. I too love Bethesda Fountain and felt it important to use this image. Createspace, the company that published Immortal Obsession added the colors and the moon peaking through the clouds but the photograph is mine alone.

My second novel, Blood Tears, had a very different almost disturbing cover image featuring a beautiful woman shedding tears of blood. Again, this theme is prevalent throughout this novel as more than one vampire has cause to cry. The company which created my website, WellVersedCreative, was able to purchase the image from the artist who I credit in my novel. Some find the image creepy as the shrouded woman cries very real blood, but again, the cover ties into my novel which I find important.

There is always the “ah ha” moment when the artist captures exactly what the writer envisions and it is truly magic. It’s a fun part of the entire process of first creating a story, going through numerous edits and then bringing it all together with great graphics, which add another dimension to the story being told, but then again, there is nothing like one’s imagination to conjure up images of a beautiful woman shedding tears of blood, or the favorite haunt of a vampire.

For those readers who have inquired about my series…… so far this is it.

IMMORTAL OBSESSION
BLOOD TEARS
ETERNAL HUNGER

Paranormal Giveaway

Just in time for Halloween, I’ve got a fun treat! Share a paranormal encounter you’ve had that left you truly wondering about the existence of what’s out there in the comments below (OR on my Facebook page). I’ll be giving away a free copy of each of my novels to the one I deem the creepiest and most intriguing on November 1st! Whether it be spooky spirits, haunted houses, real-life vampires or the monster under the bed, I can’t WAIT to hear what you’ve experienced! Happy Halloween!


 

I don’t know about you but I have always loved Halloween.
As a kid I would trick or treat in my neighbor. My dad would take my friends and I around and I remember the first time I was allowed out all by myself.
My girlfriend and I never left our neighbor. We were safe on our hill and seemed to get plenty of candy.

Okay, I love the fall in general.

Cooler nights, a crisp afternoon breeze,leaves changing colors against a muted blue sky. Corn husks, pumpkins, gourds, mums.
Boots, sweaters, candles, reading in front of the fire…..the smell of warm apple pie…yes I love the fall while it ushers in the harshest time of the year: winter.
I hate winter, really I do. I sneak away to Florida as much as I possibly can to soak up sun and warmth.

Traditionally, fall is the time of year marked by significant change for me. The death of my father, and my beloved grandfather, a Thanksgiving spent without my mother who went into rehab for drug and alcohol issues just days before the holiday. Other losses to painful to share. Ironically, most of my family has birthdays in October and November and I am so grateful for them all: parents, siblings, children.

As the sun moves from Libra into Scorpio I feel a bit of a chill while loving the change all around me. It is bittersweet, a double edged sword as the saying goes.

Transformation, joy and the coming darkness all rolled into one.

Amanda

Amanda

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I was unsure of how long we stood staring at one another. Sounds and smells melted around me as I stared at her porcelain face and thought back to the last time we had been together. She was dying, a political prisoner in The Conciergerie. It was summer of 1794 and selfishly, I need to see her one more time, to sink myself into her warm flesh and take her, just as she had taken over my heart and soul.

We made love and I took her blood while she begged me to turn her, to not let her die. I could have given her the dark gift but there was something about her and the time and place that just fit. I could not image living with her here and now. I could move ahead with her memory perhaps, but not with her beside us. She was so perfect, existing in the 18th century, poised and so powerful among all of us vampires. The modern world would have swallowed her up and her uniqueness would have been lost, like fog just before dawn, its tendrils burning up in the morning sun.

I stared into her hypnotic emerald green eyes. She was beautiful – my god, she was still beautiful, but something had been lost in her transformation, unless it was my memory failing me. She seemed icier and less caring. At least that is what I saw in her eyes.

“Hello, Michel, are you surprised?” She smiled coldly.

She still had a rich French accent, not like mine which had dulled after living in New York for over a hundred years. Ironically Christian had retained a heavy accent too, as if time could not alter their roots.

“Quite, Madame Delacore.”

Her eyes grew darker. I had always towered over her, and draped in her velvet cape she seemed even smaller, almost child-like, though I never ever saw her as anything but powerful.

The boy beside her did not move but studied me carefully, as if he had heard horrible things about me and was trying to access if they were true. His hand rested lightly on her shoulder as if protecting her, but from what? He looked so much like Christian and then like tumblers on a lock, it all fell into place for me.

I looked from him to her and I knew, though I am not sure how it would have been possible, but I knew.

“Yes, Michel, this is Mathieu, Christian’s son.”

I subconsciously made a mental note to apologize to Amanda later.

“And Christian never knew about him?” I was treading on thin ice already. Why was I antagonizing her?

“You both had left already, remember?” She smiled and in her eyes I saw such disdain. “You left for England before I knew……”

“You and my father were dear friends.” Mathieu spoke for the first time. Even his voice was sedate and deep like Christians’.

“We still are,” I tried to sound calm.

“That was the one thing I could always count on. You two were inseparable.” Josette smiled up at me.

Did she know? Dare I tell her? How could I tell her that it was no choice for either of us? We had to leave her behind and get out of France.

“Until now anyway.” She smirked at me. “He left you both and sought me out in Paris. The young mortal knew it all along and now here you both are and he is with his…father.”

So she knew about Amanda and I living together. This was not good.

“Philip has been dead for hundreds of years.”

“This is true, but Philip was not his father. His mother, Eléanore, bedded a far older and more powerful being and conceived Christian. This was her secret which she took to her grave.”

“Josette, this sounds like….a science fiction movie. Who was this powerful being?”

“I am not sure, Michel, though your paths have crossed more than once. He always watched over you both and when I was rotting away in prison he came to me and offered me immortality in exchange for him.” She nodded towards Mathieu.

And she began a tale that sounded so far-fetched I knew it had to be true. I have lived a long time and I have heard all manner of bullshit and this was almost chilling. Mathieu’s eyes never left mine as she spoke about raising him in the French countryside with a mortal woman named Nell and this being…..I am not even sure she called him by name, protected them both, though why she would not say.

I remembered a strange man when we were children and Christian’s mother had just died. He was in her boudoir when we stumbled upon him and now I know why he was there. Eléanore was his lover and he needed to grab onto anything to remember her by.

“Where are they now, Josette?”

“Christian is somewhere in France though I have no idea where.”

“And this “he”, Christian’s father. Does he have a name?” I needed to play dumb though I was not sure why. I did not want her to know that I had met him several times, the latest being in our town house in New York City.

She shrugged. “I cannot use it freely. When he knew Eléanore he used ‘Captain Andreas’, so perhaps that is what we should call him.”

“Captain Andreas…..and he does not realize that his son wants nothing more than to be left alone to dwell on his past mistakes.”

“Meaning me?” Josette caught Mathieu smiling.

“He has never gotten over you, my lady. He is still racked with guilt and pain over… the entire affair.”

“And what about you my dear Michel?”

“Forever the roué I suppose.”

“A roué who is playing house with a beautiful mortal girl and her son, or is she not so mortal?”

“She saved Christian’s life,” I confessed, focusing my attention on Mathieu. “She was in turn reborn with the blood of another vampire, yet she is not quite vampire. She has a vampire’s…intuitions.”

“She has more than that, Michel. She is one of my descendants and you know how powerful I was even before being turned.”

I had always wondered. There was Christian’s intense attraction to Amanda and something about her reminded him of Josette too, with blood that called to him like the song of a siren. Amanda had no idea of her heritage and now she was even more powerful, full of Sabin’s blood.

How ironic, the continuing circle of fate which kept them bound to one another.

Their presence was so unsettling. She had followed us here, but why? And how long had Amanda been telling me about seeing Christian in the club? Josette’s presence in Southern California was no coincidence.

“Yes, I certainly remember.”

“Leave us, Mathieu, wait for me outside alright?”

You would think I would have so many questions for her, but I had closed the door on her centuries ago. It was almost hard to believe she was here and yet, nothing she did should have surprised me. I was no longer in love with her and in that regard she had the wrong vampire.

“Christian’s father sent us to the New World to get Mathieu away from France. There is much unrest there now, no leadership, and he wants Christian to assume the throne—”

I burst out laughing. The irony was so overwhelming, tears filled my eyes. I tried to catch the blood before it stained my leather jacket. I could not believe what she was telling me.

“Josette, this makes no sense. Is this Andreas deluded?”

“No, he is…..more powerful than you could ever imagine but he has Christian and he has plans for him. Plans even I cannot thwart.”

“So what is it you want from me now?”

“I’m not quite sure.” And her face changed and for a moment she seemed scared and unsure of herself.

“I have a bar to run, Josette. When you figure it out let me know.”

I left her on the catwalk just like that. I scanned the room for Amanda but did not see her. I prayed she had gone home. Casually I slipped into my office and out a back door which dumped me into an alley behind the club away from the ocean. No, I cannot fly, but I can move faster than the naked eye and I glided home afraid of what I might find.

I couldn’t believe I had walked away from her. She had been the center of my world for what I considered the best years of my young vampire life and I was walking away. I was desperate to know where Christian was and at least I now knew he was somewhere in France. It was better than nothing.

I silently entered our tiny cottage and immediately relaxed. I smelled their warm human flesh; their hearts beating in unison. Once inside her bedroom, I found them both asleep, mother wrapped around her son, holding him close.

God, they were so vulnerable. I bent over and brushed her warm cheek. Josette knew where we lived. I was many things but not naïve. She would kill Amanda and her child in her own time. Did she know the child was Christian’s?

I could no longer leave them here alone at night unprotected. What to do?

There were plenty of vampires I trusted to run my club in my absence. That was not the issue.

Thoughts tumbled as I tried to sort out where we could go quickly. New York was out of the question. Someone had already burned down our townhouse, a clear message. Now Venice Beach was no longer safe. I hesitated to wake them but we had to pack and leave within the hour.

Christian was somewhere in France, so it seemed the most logical place to start. I found myself booking airline tickets on the red eye from California to New York and then onto Paris. I had no time to second guess my decision, it was now or never. I could not believe I was actually considering going home after centuries of being here in the New World.

As I closed the laptop, I wondered if I we would ever find Christian and if so, would we be welcome in his world or had he descended into darkness, in the chaotic world of the Parisian vampires? And what of Andreas, his true father? What would he do with us? We were stuck with nowhere else to go and so I roused my mortal charge from sleep and explained how we had to leave now.

She cried as she packed, begging to know what had happened at the club to cause me to take such drastic measures.

How could I tell her that everything she ever thought about Josette Delacore was true? That she and Julien were in mortal danger and we had to leave now for that danger was right here in Venice Beach?

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So? What did you think? Leave a comment and let me know!