Vampires of Venice

Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to attend the Venetian Carnival. Although I visited Venice around 20 years ago, I couldn’t remember too聽 much about it, apart from the fact I’d missed the Carnival by a matter of days. From then on, it’s been on my bucket list, and last week I got my wish 馃檪

It was wet!

It was wet!

We arrived by river taxi on Friday evening. With no map, navigating our way around the streets of Venice was almost impossible. I guess you get the impression it’s a small city but it’s really not. To begin with the narrow cobbled alleyways and winding canals all look the same. We walked around in circles for about an hour before stumbling across the quaint little Ca San Giorgio hotel. The ancient building was beautiful and unspoiled and our room boasted its own roof terrace. If only it’d stopped raining we might have been able to use it.

Venetian Costume

Saturday was wet. I’m not sure that word is quite descriptive enough but it’ll have to do. Many of the Carnival activities were cancelled but it didn’t stop the tourists from donning masks and many hardened Venetians from dressing in the most elaborate costumes.

Venetian Costume

By night, Venice is the most mystical city on earth. With nothing having been altered in hundreds of years, it’s easy to imagine what things would have been like for past generations. The place is crawling with vampires. Okay, so that is only my imaginative opinion but with passageways which lead directly into canals (yes, nearly came a cropper) and derelict facades hiding the most awe-inspiring buildings, nothing is quite what it seems.

Venetian bridge

On Sunday, we stayed in the stunning Hotel Palazzo Giovanelli. With views over the Grand Canal this was a beautiful place to stay. Waking up to views of the canals is the way to start a day in Venice.

Hotel Palazzo Giovanelli

The sun did eventually come out for us, and the city took on a whole new look. Brightly coloured buildings gleamed against the blue sky and the canal sparkled. Squares filled with tables and chairs played host to the most beautiful characters.

view from Rialto

With shops filled with the most stunning masks, I went on a hunt for the perfect keepsake…

Blue Moon

Blue Moon

And I found it 馃檪

Bianca

Bianca

Venice has a hold over me. It always has, and I hope that comes across in my second novel The Vampire Katya.

More pics on my flickr

The Vampire Katya – Second in the V茅rad贸 Series, available from today.

The Vampire Katya

 

Set against a modern Venetian backdrop, a beautiful vampire recounts details of her turbulent past to a mortal by the name of Alessandro.

Alessandro Knight is a V茅rad贸鈥揳 mortal willing to part with his blood to sustain a coven of vampires. With his dreams haunted by her beauty, he has crossed the continent in search of the Hungarian vampire known simply as Katya.

With her rich history unfolding through a series of dreams and discussions, Alessandro finds himself impulsively drawn to her and longs to be the one to sustain her. But Katya is a hunter, cold and impassive, and Alessandro soon realises that to win her heart it will take more than just blood.

The Vampire Katya is Available now from:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

MuseItUp Publishing

And for a limited time only聽V茅rad贸 – A Darker Blood is offered free of charge on MuseItUp Publishing with every purchase of The Vampire Katya.

The Vampire Katya – Second in the V茅rad贸 Series

With just a week to go before the launch of the second book in the V茅rad贸聽series, I thought I would share the stunning new cover, and let you know a little of what to expect:

vampirekatya333x500

The Vampire Katya

Second in the V茅rad贸 series:

Set against a modern Venetian backdrop, a beautiful vampire recounts details of her turbulent past to a mortal by the name of Alessandro.

Alessandro Knight is a V茅rad贸鈥揳 mortal willing to part with his blood to sustain a coven of vampires. With his dreams haunted by her beauty, he has crossed the continent in search of the Hungarian vampire known simply as Katya.

With her rich history unfolding through a series of dreams and discussions, Alessandro finds himself impulsively drawn to her and longs to be the one to sustain her. But Katya is a hunter, cold and impassive, and Alessandro soon realises that to win her heart it will take more than just blood.

Chapter One 鈥 Colloquium

For months, Alessandro Knight had been waiting for this moment to arrive.

Even before she entered the room her presence was all around him. The atmosphere was ethereal, and to Alessandro, the air seemed to have thinned. Was it his imagination? He didn鈥檛 know, but he did know he was finding it hard to breathe. Fiddling with the top button of his shirt, he struggled to negotiate the tiny plastic disk as he forced it through the little hole.

鈥淕et a grip,鈥 he whispered.

As he glanced around the room, his eyes, along with everyone else鈥檚, were drawn toward the glass doors as the tall, slender vampire entered. Her silvery skin enhanced her graceful features, and she headed toward the bar moving with a motion so smooth it appeared ghostly.

Ignoring all the other patrons within the establishment, she headed directly toward Alessandro. As she approached her crimson lips parted slightly, and there was nothing Alessandro could do to prevent his jaw falling open. Captivated by the depth of her eyes and her clear ability to delve into his soul with a single glance, he tried in vain to look away.

With a merciless confidence the vampire offered him her hand. As her lips curved, her eyes narrowed, catching dancing reflections from the lights of the bar.

鈥淕ood evening鈥攜ou must be Alessandro. My name is Katya. I understand that you鈥檝e been looking for me.鈥 Her words were heavily accented with a lilt he instantly recognised as Hungarian鈥攋ust as anticipated.

With his voice momentarily lost to him, Alessandro simply nodded and gestured toward the fireplace and the two empty wingback chairs situated within its calming glow. It was an opulent hotel lounge bar with plush burgundy leather adorning every soft furnishing. Oak panelling clung enduringly to the surrounding walls, culminating into a brass-trimmed oak bar.

Katya sank into the chair reserved for her adjacent to the exuberant inglenook. She glanced around the room, appearing to take in every detail with one fleeting glance.

Alessandro assumed Katya had chosen the Hotel Rialto for their meeting, as the clientele were of a high standard鈥攁 wealth that would make her feel comfortable. These people would be too proud to stare; too proud to make the obvious comparison between themselves and the unnatural beauty positioned by the crackling fireside.

Alessandro was tall and his build, slender. He was dressed in a mid-grey Versace suit, teamed with a crisp white cotton shirt鈥攁n outfit far more suited to a business meeting than an encounter of this nature. He had a nervous habit of running his fingers through his thick, brown hair鈥攁 habit he had unconsciously implemented several times since Katya had walked through the door and into his life.

Clutching a bottle of Ch芒teau Lafite-Rothschild and two lead crystal glasses, Alessandro made his way toward her. The wine was Lurid Red; it had to be red, after all, he knew red was the only colour this being could ever, and would ever, be interested in.

Setting the glasses on the table between them, he glanced at her face, almost afraid to catch her eyes for fear of what lurked behind them.

Without speaking, he uncorked the bottle and the loud pop sent shockwaves through his nervous system. Determined not to reveal any weakness to this being, he poured the wine. A low drone emanated from the people around the bar as they spoke quietly among themselves, trying their hardest not to glance over at her. Trying鈥攂ut all to often failing.

鈥淵ou don鈥檛 know how much I have wanted to meet you.鈥 Alessandro鈥檚 voice wavered as his eyes flitted up to meet hers. She was more beautiful in the flesh than he could possibly have imagined. Her skin, although pale, was flawless. Long, raven tresses spilled over her willowy shoulders and down to the arc of her back. With obvious ease, she wore a black satin evening dress, enhanced by a sumptuous silver-grey fur stole, intended to keep out the worst of the weather on such a bitter winter鈥檚 evening. Huge silver bracelets adorned each wrist and her lips were painted in the richest red鈥攁 shocking contrast to her pallid skin tone. Alessandro could just about make out the labyrinth of dark veins running beneath the skin of her jaw and neck. The fine black lines betrayed the darkness of the blood that filled them.

Catching his reflection in a large wall-mounted mirror, once again he raked his fingers through his hair. His skin was lucid鈥攑ale but with a hint of colour to his cheekbones and brow, displaying the classic appearance of a V茅rad贸鈥攁 willing blood donor to a coven of vampires. Although he was used to keeping the company of immortals, his eyes were wide with apprehension because this vampire was not a part of his assigned coven, and he knew he was placing himself at her mercy.

鈥淥h, I think I do,鈥 Katya replied smoothly, her mouth hinting toward a smile as she stared at him unblinking. 鈥淚 am aware of the situation, Alessandro. I have been tracking your intentions for some time鈥攐nly now have I allowed you to find me. I have decided there is a certain amount of information I am willing to divulge to you but only because of the experiences you鈥檝e already had with my kind.鈥

鈥淵ou know about those?鈥 Although intrigued, he feared her surprising upper hand in the situation. A fear he knew he鈥檇 have to get used to if he was to remain in her company.

鈥淵es I do. There is little my brothers have done that I am not aware of.鈥

鈥淏ut I thought they hadn鈥檛 seen you for almost a year? I was told you had abandoned them in Athens shortly after the break up of your coven in Crete.鈥

鈥淭hat may be so, but my connection with them is unbroken鈥攗nyielding. I am a part of them and always will be. It seems to me you still have a lot to learn about our kind.鈥 Holding her glass up to the firelight, she took in the depth of the colour, before taking a sip and fabricating a look of pleasure. 鈥淭ell me, Alessandro鈥攚hy do you seek me?鈥

As his eyes flickered up to meet hers, her medusa stare ripped right through him. Try as he might, he couldn鈥檛 maintain eye contact. Why am I doing this? It was a question he鈥檇 asked himself many times. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 know. It鈥檚 just something I鈥檝e needed to do. Ever since meeting the twins鈥擩oshua and Joel, I have been obsessed with finding you; with your life鈥攜our history and with the secrets you keep hidden鈥攅ven from your family.鈥

鈥淎nd why do you think I would divulge this information to you鈥攁 stranger to me, knowing full well I have not even spoken of it to my own family?鈥 A degree of ferocity seeped through her quiet words.

鈥淚 believe you will鈥攐therwise you wouldn鈥檛 have led me here and let me find you.鈥

She looked at him and glanced away, her smile revealing her amusement at his anxiety. She bit her lip and glanced into the fire, and the flames licked greedily at the reflection in her eyes.

鈥淵our words hold an element of truth. I have known for a while that you sought me. Your exact reasons are as yet unknown, but I shall trust you. Your blood coursing through my veins will allow me that confidence.鈥

As he choked on his wine, Alessandro glanced around to make sure no one had noticed. Placing the glass back on the table, he forced himself to look deeply into her eyes. Katya鈥檚 irises were the palest of blues and encircled her huge black pupils. He could see his own reflection drowning in darkness and for a moment lost almost all awareness of his surroundings. The only thing he could discern was the incredible being in front of him, and at that moment, he would have done anything she鈥檇 asked.

As she continued, her tone became more austere. 鈥淚f you want answers, Alessandro, I will be the one to give them to you. But there is just one thing I need to do before I can. Please鈥ay I take your hand?鈥

For the whole story, visit: MuseItUp Bookstore

School’s out for summer…now back to writing.

ImageWell it’s been some time since I last checked in here and I guess that’s because I have had an unintentional break from writing for a while. Between school runs, work, life and living it, I suppose I let my writing take a bit of a back seat. But now school’s out, and I’ve taken a break from work, I’m back and raring to start work on the third novel in the V茅rad贸聽series. The book;聽V茅rad贸 –聽Blood Moon, takes my characters out of their comfort zone and away from their familiar surroundings. I wanted to test them, to see how far I could push them, and it seems they are quite resilient, so it promises to be a lot of fun.

I started the first draft of the book quite some time ago, but with vigorously editing the first two books in the series (A Darker Blood is already available from MuseItUp Publishing, and The Vampire Katya will be released in September) Blood Moon got left half written. Well this summer I plan to dust it off and get my first draft finished so I can put a full stop to the end of this series (maybe).

So far I’ve had an absolute blast writing it, and the feedback I’ve had has been very encouraging. I will keep you updated as to my progress on the third novel, and check in here as much as I can. So here’s to a wonderful, productive summer.