Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

What is that saying about the best laid plans? Although my meeting with Victor was never far from my thoughts it seemed impossible to get away on a Friday night. It seemed when not being a parent to Julien all of my time was spent focusing on a housekeeper. Michel and I could not seem to agree on anyone and so we were at a stalemate. Either the woman did not want the job or the person I thought best for the job Michel did not like. Not that he would be around that much but he strongly opposed any mortals coming into our home. I totally understood. When I went to their townhouse in New York for the first time I was only the third mortal who had ever been allowed entry since 1901.

Vampires were not the most trusting souls and believe me, although I understood I was still annoyed. I wanted to slip out to the Louvre again and perhaps meet up with Victor. His words haunted me and I was convinced he knew more about Christian than he was telling me. Maybe I was desperate to learn something of his whereabouts but until I could get out I was no closer to learning the truth and I was losing patience.
Michel and I were ensconced in front of a roaring fire on a wintry November night locked in one of our typical debates.

“Julien is now two years old. I can’t keep him locked up forever Michel. He needs to get out and to be around other kids.”
He shrugged and gazed into the fire. I knew he knew I was right but he was trying to come up with a response.
I gently rubbed his arm. “Come on Michel. Surely you remember being a kid with Christian? Everyone needs a friend.”
He turned slowly, capturing me with his light green eyes.
“Everything you say is true but Julien is not your typical child. He is vulnerable to forces you cannot imagine. Even you are in danger every time you leave this house.”
“How many vampires do you really think know we are here? I went out to the Louvre one night and I was fine.”
I was waiting for a fight when the doorbell interrupted us.
“Are you expecting anyone?”

I was already at the door, wondering if Victor had also lost patience and was taking a more direct route.
He pulled me towards him before I could even speak.
I’m not sure how long we stood in the doorway but I never thought I would be so happy to see Tony. We had started out as adversaries, vying for the attention of a vampire we both loved and held in the highest esteem. Tony was their human servant in New York and then I came along and upset the delicate balance of their Upper East Side home.
I had been only the third mortal allowed into their world since they came to New York in 1901. Tony had been number two and I sometime wonder who had been the first person allowed in. I always assumed it was a woman, definitely a beautiful woman but who knows? I guess my jealousy was getting the best of me.
“Oh shit.” I wiped my eyes, leading him inside.

The King and the Dauphin both like to see me on horseback. I only say this because all the world perceives it, and especially while we were absent from Versailles, they were delighted to see me in my riding habit.

~ Marie Antoinette

Little did Louis XIII know that the hunting lodge he built, nestled in the forest of Versailles would become one of the most revered monuments on the twenty first century. It was his son, The Sun King or as we know him, Louis XIV who would transform Versailles from a hunting lodge to the seat of the French government and the French court.

The Hall of Mirrors and the gardens became his obsession and so thousands of aristocrats would walk the halls and the gardens of Versailles in a world surrounded by politics, gossip, court intrigue and affairs. Each monarch would add to the palace creating the stunning monument to French culture that it is today.

Perhaps Versailles is most famous for the last King and Queen to rule France, Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette. Who does not imagine what their opulent lives were like against the background of the tumultuous times in which they lived and died? So many books recount their lives and their death. The Revolution Francaise is one of my favorite periods in world history. I am constantly searching for answers but like the many pieces of a puzzle, there were many factors contributing to the downfall of the French monarchy.

Still, I consider Versailles more than just a museum dedicated to the History of France. It is a reminder of the power of kings to make their vision of France into something tangible which captivates us to this day.

 

It’s that time of year again.

These are two of my favorite Christmas songs.

Perhaps Jethro Tull got it right in the opening verse of A Christmas Song which derides humanity for focusing on gaiety and partying at a time of year when so many have so little.

Once in Royal David’s City, stood a lonely cattle shed,

Where a mother held her baby

You’d do well to remember the things He later said.

When you’re stuffing yourselves at the 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.

I must confess, I have so much in my life that is happy and good and if you know me at all, you know I am not talking about the material; but the joy of the company of my loved ones and the relationships I cherish with family, friends, co-workers and my social media “friends” as well. I have had a wonderful year. Not bragging, just tell you how blessed I feel to have such loving people in my life. At the end of the day it will be the experiences I have had with all of you that are my true gifts, not the presents under the tree.

On the heels of musician Greg Lake passing away so close to Christmas I would be remiss if I did not include at least one stanza from the beautiful yet sad, I Believe in Father Christmas.

I wish you a hopeful Christmas

I wish you a brave new year

All anguish, pain and sadness

Leave your heart and let your road be clear.

Until next year.

Denise

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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.