Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

I thought about writing a post regarding the dark origins of Valentine’s Day but while reading the New York Times Book Review yesterday I took notice of the weekly Time Capsule feature. The gist of the article was the most seminal and erotic texts stemming back to the 1st Century B.C. The article features 50 book jackets arranged in the order of original publication. Some are popular: The Thorn Birds, Fifty Shades of Grey, Portnoy’s Complaint, Madame Bovary.  Others more obscure: The Country Girls, The Lady of the Flowers, and some none would argue are erotic: Venus in Furs, Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, The Story of O.

Since I read voraciously and write, I thought about ending the blog with more about these titles, but I thought, no. What does Valentine’s Day really mean to me.? Yes, I show my love and appreciation to my husband all the time.  I am grateful to my family, co-workers and friends and to you, the wonderful person who drops by to read my blog.

Falling in love is magical and there is nothing like it, but love to me is timeless and endless.  The more I give the more I receive back from the universe.  Love never grows old or predictable.  Each of us defines it in our own way and our personal experiences shape who and how we love.

This all being said, I am wishing you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day.




And what a year it promises to be!

I am on the verge of publishing the third novel in my series, titled Eternal Hunger which continues to follow vampires Christian Du Maure, Michel Baptiste and Amanda Perretti as they navigate the alluring and complex world of vampires.

Look for videos, yes videos as I chat here and on my social media sites about these novels.

Look for a cover reveal for Eternal Hunger and for updates both here and through my newsletter.

Giveaways and more fun as I ring in 2018.

It is an exciting time.  Thank you for dropping by!

Once in royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother held her baby
You’d do well to remember the things He later said.
When you are stuffing yourselves at your Christmas parties,
You’ll just laugh when I tell you to take a running jump.
You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making;
The Christmas spirit is not what you drink.
So how can you laugh when your own mothers’ hungry?
And how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I’ve just messed up your thoughtless pleasures.
Remember if you wish, this is just a Christmas song.


Christmas Song
~Jethro Tull~



Seriously, to write a novel with basically two characters, trying to survive a harrowing ordeal… spoilers here. This was a brilliant read and I actually cried at the end, something I rarely do. Now a major motion picture staring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. I won’t miss it.

A heartfelt Thanksgiving for all the blessings in my life.

I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it. ~Carolyn MacCullough, “Once a Witch”

A lot of the holidays we celebrate throughout the year have remnants of the past still attached to them. For example, the Christmas tree grew out of the pagans in Europe using branches of evergreen fir trees to decorate their homes and brighten their spirits during the winter solstice. What about Halloween though? Where did it come from? Actually, it has a pretty cool origin story, so settle in and listen up!

Samhain (sow-in) is an ancient Celtic festival from 2000 years ago that marked the end of harvest season (fall) and the beginning of the darker half of the year (winter). The Celts considered this to be a liminal time – a time when the boundary between our world and the “Otherworld” opened and/or could more easily be crossed, allowing supernatural beings, like the “Aos Si” (“spirits” or as you may know them, “fairies”), and the souls of the dead to come into our world. So, essentially a “festival for the dead”!

So, what exactly did people to during Samhain? For starters, they left offerings of food and drink outside their homes for the Aos Si to ensure that people and livestock survived the winter. And since the souls of the dead were thought to revisit their old homes seeking hospitality, feasts were held where an empty place was set at the table and the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend. The ancient Celts also built huge sacred bonfires where people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to Celtic deities. During these celebrations, it was common for the Celts to wear costumes (usually animal heads and skins), possibly as a way of disguising themselves from the Aos Si. And when the Samhain celebrations were all over, the Celts re-lit their hearth fires (which they’d extinguished early in the evenings) from the sacred bonfires to help protect them during the upcoming winter. So, kind of like one huge, wild, community block party.

That’s where Halloween got it’s start, though it’s name and certain traditions like trick’r’treating and bobbing for apples didn’t come later till Christianity came along and holidays like All Saints’ Day merged with the festival of Samhain in an effort to de-paganize the pagans (okay, truthfully there is dissent amongst scholars as to whether the merging of celebrations was a concious effort to remove old gods, etc). Samhain is still celebrated by pagans today though and is often used as a time to try to communicate with the dead. So, remember your pagan roots when you’re out trick’r’treating tonight and be careful who you cross – that ghost or goblin you just passed in the dark may not be just a person in costume…

I’ve been a fan of this author for years and although he has quite a body of work, The Snowman is one of the best novels I have ever read and it’s now coming to the big screen! Featuring Harry Hole, a flawed yet lovable detective, this is one of those can’t-put it-down novels. Don’t read it during a snow fall, whatever you do.

When It by Stephen King was released I immediately went out and bought it.  I read about one hundred pages and had to put it down.  I am and always have been terrified of clowns and once Pennywise came on the scene I was done.

I have since read It and find it to be one of my favorite novels by this prolific horror writer.

Here’s a taste of the 2017 movie by the same name.  Although I’m much older, it still terrifies me!


“People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist….

Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.



How could you not be hooked? I loved this novel, especially being a fan of time travel and Scotland. The television show on the Starz network has done a fabulous job bringing this epic love story to the screen. I never miss an episode.


A place I reference frequently in my novels is a little neighborhood in Paris called Le Marais. These days Marais is quite similar in feel to the West Village in NYC, chock-full of bars, restaurants, hotels, high and low fashion boutiques, trendy shops, hip designers, old fashioned bread shops, jewelry, wine shops, fashionable art galleries and museums all crammed into one small area. Long the aristocratic district of Paris, it hosts many outstanding buildings of historic and architectural importance. But what of its history?

Marais started out focused on religion with the Order of the Temple building its fortified church in the northern part in 1240. Many other religious institutions were added nearby (such as convents and the church of Sainte-Catherine-du-Val-des-Écoliers) and the area became known as the Temple Quarter. During the mid-13th century, Charles I of Anjour, King of Naples and Sicily, and brother of King Louis IX of France built his new residence in Marais. King Charles V followed with a mansion in 1361 and from then till the 17th century, Marais became known as the Royal Square, the French nobility’s favorite place of residence. French nobles were fond of building their urban mansions there – such as the Hôtel de Sens, the Hôtel de Sully, the Hôtel de Beauvais, the Hôtel Carnavalet, the Hôtel de Guénégaud and the Hôtel de Soubise. During the late 18th century, whilst still being known as an aristocratic area, Marais was no longer a fashionable district for the nobility. Then came the Revolution.

After the revolution, much of the area was abandoned by the rich, and poor bohemian types moved in. At this point, Marais was so squalid that it was nearly destroyed by city officials in their attempt to modernize Paris. This was also the beginning of the time period when the area started attracting a large Jewish community, quickly becoming one of Paris’ main Jewish communities. Unfortunately, the people living here were targeted by the Nazis occupying France during WWII. Since the 90s, however, the street, rue des Rosiers, has made a comeback as a major centre for the Jewish community.

The Marais today is now one of Paris’ main localities for art galleries. It’s also known for the Chinese community it hosts. Marais has also become a center for LGBTQ+ culture, starting in the 80s. 40% of Paris’ LGBTQ+ businesses are located in Marais. Florence Tamagne, author of “Paris: ‘Resting on its Laurels’?”, wrote that Le Marais “is less a ‘village’ where one lives and works than an entrance to a pleasure area” and that this differentiates it from Anglo-American gay villages. Tamagne added that like U.S. gay villages, Le Marais has “an emphasis on ‘commercialism, gay pride and coming-out of the closet'”.

One of the best things about Marais though is that it truly is the Paris of old. Before Napoleon showed up, the Marais is what most of Paris looked like – a labyrinth of cobblestone alleys. The rest of Paris was razed by Napoleon and replaced with huge avenues and gigantic squares, but standing in the Marais, we are privy to the small and approachable Paris of the past. There’s a reason I love it so. Explore Le Marais in the photos and video below!