Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble.

Fire burn and Cauldron Bubble!

~ Macbeth


It’s that time of year,

Ghosts, vampires, witches.

We envision her in a flowing black dress, wearing a pointy hat and carrying a staff or a broom.

She has a black cat called her familiar circling around her feet. She cackles as she hovers around a bubbling caldron.

But what do we really know about witches?

Have they been with us throughout all time?

How has society treated them?

The earliest records of the concept and practice of witchcraft can be traced to the early days of humankind when witchcraft was seen as magical a phenomenon that was invoked for magical rites which ensured good luck, protection against diseases, and other reasons. It wasn’t until 1000 AD that the practice of witchcraft and witches invoked the wrath of priests, Christianity, and members of the society. Witchcraft, seen as a religion of the ancient and traditional pagan religion which worships the feminine, earthly, and masculine aspects of God, was considered as anti-Christian and a heresy.

Thus, for many centuries, witchcraft and witches have survived by secrecy. The degree of secrecy varied a little with time and place. During the terrors of the “burning time”, the persecution which reached its peak in the 16thand 17thcenturies, it had to be absolute. In the slightly less fanatical 19thcentury, a “wise woman”could practice their Craft more or less openly in the turbulent waters between clerical harassment and popular support. But this was only for individuals, not covens. Individual psychic ability was one thing – a thorn in the Establishment’s flesh that could be lived with – but practicing in open with others would have been quite another. In fact, in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland there has historically been a succession of Witchcraft Acts governing witchcraft and providing penalties for its practice (or — in later years — rather for pretending to practice it). In 1951, Britain’s Witchcraft Laws were repealed and replaced by the carefully worded Fraudulent Mediums Act, of which any serious witch or occultist can only approve.

These days witchcraft has come more into the open, and the public image of the witch is at last changing and escaping from the stereotype which has lingered since the persecution days. You’ve likely seen witches or occultists on TV, heard them on the radio, or read one of their books (or even consulted one!).


Amanda Perretti is a descendant of Josette Delacore; an eighteenth century woman who was much more than an aristocrat. She had powerful blood which called to vampires. As a child she was forced to read Tarot cards in her mother’s salon. Little did anyone know that her predictions were accurate and not a cheap parlor trick.

She was young, beautiful and gentile; the antithesis of how we envision a witch. She kept her powers secret, exposing them only to the vampires she met, who in turn, had many secrets of their own. They were a perfect fit.

Amanda shares many of Josette’s gifts, including psychometry. The ability to discern images and history by touching an object serves her well in her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her ability to read people and objects gives her an understanding of people that the average person cannot fathom.





Want to be the first to know all the latest happenings in the vampire world AND be entered for quarterly drawings for free books? Perfect, I have just the thing – my brand-new newsletter! Join my list now (don’t worry; no vampires will get your email address, I promise) and you’ll get my newsletter in your inbox 4 to 5 times a year. This means you’ll get: sneak peeks at my latest works, the latest news & reviews as soon as they come out, book recommendations, entries into the aforementioned contest, exclusive content, insight into the world of my novels, and so much more!

What are you waiting for? You don’t want to miss out on all the paranormal & romantic fun!

I am so very excited because I just discovered that Ovation TV is premiering a new show on October 1st about one of my obsessions – Versailles!!! You all already know that the French Revolution is one of my favorite historical periods (“What? No! We had no idea!” you say, hehe) and I am incredibly intrigued by this new show.

The tagline for the show reads:

At 28, King Louis XIV of France commissions Versailles, the most beautiful palace in Europe, which serves as the King’s gilded prison – keeping his friends close and enemies closer. Enter a world of untold wealth, power, and passion. Where love and lust are just a heartbeat away from deceit and betrayal. Experience Versailles in all its brutal glory. Only on Ovation.

And HERE is an exclusive sneak peek:

What do you guys think?? Yay, nay? Super excited like me? Leave your comments because I want more people to talk to about this show!



I have been working diligently on the third book in my series, titled Eternal Hunger. I thought I would come up for air and give my patient readers a taste of Part Three. Join Michel as he wanders the streets of Paris once again……

The last time I had walked past the Louvre it was still the home of our King Louis XVI, a royal palace on the verge of utter collapse. The city was a buzz with change. Ideas which today are taken for granted were then in their infancy. There was no middle class, no women’s rights, no children’s health care or a voice for the common man. Looking back at the history of Paris, I grew to understand the why’s of the French Revolution. Christ, Christian read enough books on the subject, but at the time, it was chaos, bloodshed and fear. You could pluck it out of the air, it hung so heavy.

And yet Paris was so beautiful, like a luscious mistress she welcomed us vampires. She always had something to give and we took; mortal after mortal. In the darkness we snatched them up and dumped their vapid corpses in the Seine. Aristocrats embraced us. We wore the finest lace blouses, buckled shoes and silk trousers. We were immune from guilt or worry….. All we had to do was drink and fornicate as we lingered in their salons, listening, playing their games while they chattered on and on, debating ideas, eating and drinking while the guillotine lay in wait like a jealous lover, waiting to take them back and devour them.

In Immortal Obsession, the vampire Etienne tries to warn Christian and Michel of the coming revolution but they do not want to believe it. Their lives are strangely woven into the fabric of the mortal world. Like Christian and Michel, I too read both fiction and non-fiction about the French Revolution and still wonder marvel at this dark period in French history.

The French Revolution was 10 years (1789-1799) of chaos – social and political upheaval – that overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, experienced violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history – in fact, historians widely consider the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history – an event that triggered the global decline of absolute monarchies and replaced them with republics and liberal democracies. There are many complex reasons the Revolution came about including: 1) the bourgeouisie resented being excluded from political power and positions of honor; 2) peasants were more and more aware of their situation, and less and less willing to support the feudal system; 3) France was the most populous country in Europe, and crop failures in much of the country in 1788, on top of a long period of economic difficulties, compounded existing restlessness; and 4) the French monarchy was unable to adapt to the political and societal pressures being exerted on it. The French Revolution is also the origin of Bastille Day – the Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. It was stormed by a crowd on July 14, 1789, becoming an important symbol for the French Republican movement.

Social Contract

As the novel opens, Christian and Michel are fleeing Paris, trying to get to a ship leaving for London. There are marching mobs everywhere, and the luxurious apartment where their lover lives in in flames. They had both risked the fires to say goodbye to the mortal, Josette Delacore. Later in the novel, Christian ruminates over the state of his city.


Etienne had tried to warn them of the coming revolution, waving a copy of Rousseau’s The Social Contract in their faces. As he read excerpts from it while they sat around the fireplace, Christian wondered, why could we not see it coming?




Numerous female characters in both of my novels are psychic. Josette Delacore is a tarot card reader, and Amanda Perretti has the ability to touch an object and receive images associated with the object. In the eighteenth century, Josette read cards at her mother’s parties; considered a game, something to entertain guests and nothing more, though Josette was a powerful psychic. Both Christian and Michel joke that without their protection, she probably would have been tried for witchcraft.

These aren’t the only psychic abilities to exist, however. There’s an incredibly long list of talents that include:

  • aura reading (perception of energy fields surrounding people, places and things)
  • death-warning (a vision of a living person prior to their death)
  • dowsing (ability to locate objects, sometimes using a dowsing rod)
  • empathy (the ability to feel others’ emotional or physical feelings)
  • mediumship (or channeling; communicating with spirits)
  • psychokinesis (or telekinesis; the ability to manipulate objects by the power of thought)
  • retrocognition (or post-cognition; perception of past events)
  • telepathy (transfer of thoughts, words or emotions in either direction)

It’s all pretty amazing. Elaborate systems of divination and fortune-telling date back to ancient times. Probably the most widely known system of early civilization fortune-telling though is astrology (admit it, you read your horoscope in the paper every week, right?). Some fortune-tellers didn’t use the stars to predict things, however – seers, psychics, prophets, and clairvoyants. These people performed roles of great importance in shaping our histories, often serving as advisors, priests, and judges. Think about it – how many seers and prophets are there in biblical accounts alone? And who can forget our old pal, Nostradamus? People with psychic abilities are all around.

In my first novel, Immortal Obsession, while at work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Decorative Arts Department, Amanda (who possesses the gift of psychometry – the ability to discern information about the owner of an object just by touching it), is handed an archive box labeled “Ladies diary, Paris, 1793” by her boss. She impulsively opens it and runs her hand along the diary inside as jumbled images barrage her:


Amanda reached over slowly to place her fingertips gently on the binding. Her hands vibrated with energy as the image of a stone bridge filled her mind’s eye, turning into the Pont Neuf, illuminated by torchlight and surrounded by the murky waters of the Seine. Across the bridge she could barely make out the outline of the king’s palace set against the dark sky. Looking around she spotted a diary at her feet covered in blood. As she reached for it, the energy shifted and she found herself in a beautiful bedroom complete with a roaring fire.
They stood across the room.

A dark-haired woman stood by the fire. She was petite with dark curls that fell to her shoulders and her blue gown flowed around her like water. A blond haired child clung precariously to her skirt with one hand while he sucked his thumb with the other.

He’s in danger.

The woman lifted up the child and turned and Amanda knew it was the dark haired beauty that Christian and Michel had both loved beyond words, centuries earlier: Josette Delacore.

Amanda grabbed her yellow legal pad and jotted down the following, trying to keep the images fresh in her mind:

Josette Delacore, Paris ~ very sad

Child –boy – blond hair, dark eyes, maybe two years old – in danger

The Pont Neuf – diary covered in blood.

After exiting the museum she headed home. Could she be wrong? Perhaps her obsession over Josette Delacore was rooted in the fear that not only was Christian and Michel’s long-dead lover very much alive, but she was also biding her time, waiting to strike.


Do you believe in psychic abilities? Do you have one? Share your story!





Both “Immortal Obsession” and “Blood Tears” feature a club which becomes the meeting place of mortals and vampires, with each race having something to gain or lose. For the vampires, it’s a chance to mingle and lure willing prey right to them. For the mortals, it’s a chance to mingle, to see and be seen with the undead. (Remember Fangtasia from “True Blood”?). The name of this goth club is The Grey Wolf, located in the East Village, and owned by (of course) Christian and Michel, my two main vampire men.

The first time our protagonist, Amanda goes is with her friend, Bethany, to find Christian – the “beautiful vampire who saved her life”. It takes awhile to work up her nerve but once she does…

Amanda followed Bethany into a huge room with high ceilings. It took a minute to adjust to the darkness. Loud music blared from huge speakers suspended from a second floor cat-walk. They stood for a moment as young men and women moved past them. Amanda scanned the room, not exactly sure what she was looking for. The crowd was made up of mostly young, average-looking college students, wearing way too much leather and eye make-up. Pink and blue lights bathed them in an eerie glow.

I see him.” Amanda yelled taking Bethany hand. “Keep walking.


As if he sensed her presence, he stopped talking and look right at her. His face was half hidden behind a curtain of hair, but their eyes locked as she came closer. The bartender came closer dangling a wine glass.

Michel, this is Amanda Perretti.” Christian gestured as if he were presenting her.

Welcome to The Grey Wolf,” he said, and she heard the trace of a French accent.

Then he kissed her hand before she could react.

What’s the goth club scene look like these days? The underground Goth club scene throbs a couple clicks below-the-radar and doesn’t heat up till well past midnight. Depending on which club you’re visiting, you can enjoy the sounds of both recent and classic goth, deathrock, dark dance and electronic body music. Dress up, and go cyber bodice or Goth Lolita. And you can hit up clubs such as The Court of Lazarus. Calling itself New York’s original Salon Noir, the Court started as a socializing haven for the dark and delightful, but quickly organized as a full-out Vampiric Court. (Just fyi, this particular one isn’t for newbies – i.e. Fangtasia it’s not).

So have you ever been to a goth club? Were you a goth kid back in the day? What are your thoughts on the subculture? Let me know in the comments below!


My novels are filled with the occult and supernatural, other than just vampires. One such thing is the use of a psychomanteum in Blood Tears. What IS a psychomanteum?

Simply put, it’s a mirrored room that’s specially set up to communicate with the spiritual realm (think a séance in one of those maze of mirrors at the carnival). In fact, its origins stem from an ancient Greek ritual for contacting those in the spirit realm, wherein individuals where led through an underground maze into a dimly lit space which held a bowl with water, blood or oil (reflective surfaces all considered conduits to the spiritual world in ancient times). The individual would then look into the bowl and hope to see the spirit of the one they wanted to contact – one of the earliest forms of scrying (later uses would include crystal balls).

Sometimes described as an “apparition booth”, the room is set up to optimize psychological effects such as trances. Key features include: low light or near dark, flickering light, and a mirror. The dimness is a form of visual sensory deprivation, which is helpful for inducing trancelike states.

In “Blood Tears”, Josette, our psychic, used this device to bring forth several vampires in order to help Christian to understand the world and power of the “Other Side.” She has him sit in a throne-like chair in her psychomanteum room, and explains the concept to him as she coaches his breathing. As a devout Catholic, however, he finds the entire concept bizarre to say the least. (Yes, a Catholic vampire!)

Here’s an excerpt:

It was difficult at first but slowly he found his rhythm and realized that Josette had stopped counting. He studied the ornate frame as it seemed to melt into the background….Thin wisps of smoke curled up, rising before his eyes, and filling the mirror with circular forms. Christian realized it was not smoke but a mist coming from inside the mirror itself, swirling slowly at first, and then faster and faster until…

No, it could not be.

Christian thought he saw a shape forming and then he realized it was the outline of a man. He told himself it was all a hallucination, yet when the man’s body took shape, and a face complete with burning blue eyes and sandy colored hair, he gasped.

This is not possible!

He felt his own heart beat race and sweat trickle down his back.

The figure seemed to grow larger and larger and then it scanned the room slowly from side to side as if to see who was present.

What do you think? Would you be willing to try out a psychomanteum room if it meant being able to see past loved ones?



“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

  • 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.