Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

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It is that time of year again, not that I don’t wake up each day and say to the Universe, ‘thank you,’ but next week we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. I feel the need to publicly thank my loved ones, this great country that I live in, and my creativity. I do not know where it comes from, but I feel blessed to enjoy writing and creating books that readers enjoy.

Each night as I put my head to my pillow I give a prayer of thanks to all those I hold dear. In the morning, usually while I am driving to work I give another prayer of thanks for all the blessings I have in my life.

A wonderful quote comes to mind as we approach Thanksgiving.

“It’s experiences, not material things, that bring enduring happiness.”

This has been my lifelong philosophy and at the end of my life it will be people I will miss, not the things that surround me. No one ever said, “I wish I bought more stuff.”; it’s time with our loved ones that matters the most.

Simple pleasures, honest relationships, good meals and great books.

I am blessed to be having Thanksgiving dinner with most of my family next week. A true blessing.

What more can I ask for?

May you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we simply throw a party or run to our nearest Starbucks and grab a coffee with a friend, but there was a time when meeting with friends just to hang out and chat was not only unheard of, but the content of discussions was clearly though out.  Some topics were just not spoken about and other forbidden.  In the 18th century, Salons became most popular for many reasons.  Some argued that the salon was an extension of the French court, a place for high society to mingle, others: a place to practice manners, discuss divergent topics and yes, mingle with those of a lesser class.

Women played a profound role in the forming of the French Salon, creating a place to meet and discuss ideas, politics and bring together members of both sexes as well as aristocrats and members of the bourgeois; quite an interesting concept for each would influence the other in manner of dress, speech and the exchange of ideas. Women were the center of salon life with academics being the central theme.

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In Eternal Hunger, the young mortal Josette Delacore is forced to be a part of her mother’s salon, by reading Tarot cards for her guests, a welcome diversion to the academic discussions of the day and as the city of Paris swelled with talk of a revolt, many sought to have their fortunes read.

It is on one such occasion she meets a mysterious man, one who her mother has set her own sights on, being recently widowed, only to discover he wants her daughter. Thus begins the secret affair between Josette and Monsieur Richard, who we discover is the vampire Gaétan.  He sees beyond her beauty to her blood which calls to him with dreams of immortality. In him, Josette sees a wealthy patron, someone who will give her an apartment of her own, clothing and jewels and allow her to create her own salon; away from the world her mother has created for her.

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It’s the perfect time to once again dwell on my love of vampires and their continued hold over me and my writing.

My obsession began when I was a high school student and I read Interview with The Vampire by Anne Rice. This novel changed my perception of this creature and started my life-long love affair with the works of Anne Rice. She turned the myth of the vampire from a mindless creature of the night into an erotic being, wealthy, cultured and simply beautiful.

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In my own writings, my vampires share the same characteristics and to this day I ask myself ‘what is it about this creature that continues to resonate with me?

Why am I writing ‘vampire novels?’

Perhaps it is the power they hold over us mortals; the power to control us, whisk us away never to been seen or heard from again, or to show us worlds we can only imagine. They possess the power to do good and they hold the balance of life and death in their hands. My protagonist, Christian, is a vampire who very much loves to be left alone to read and listen to great works of music, but he wields a machete with ease and has no qualms over taking a life whether it be vampire or mortal.

In my current project, Eternal Hunger, Amanda Perretti meets up with just this type of vampire: Ancient, handsome, charming and because of his love for her he protects her from beings much less scrupulous. He gives her and her son a home and a life that she could never have imagined. He lures her with his wealth which includes stores of remnants of furnishings from the French Revolution. She manages to live safely, hidden from those who would kill her and her son.

What is the price she must pay? All will be revealed as Eternal Hunger unfolds and I continue with this series.

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Double, Double, Toil and Trouble.

Fire burn and Cauldron Bubble!

~ Macbeth

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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!).

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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.

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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!

~Denise

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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.

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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?

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Psychic2

 

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:

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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.

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

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Goth

 

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.

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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!