Winners of the Begotten Book Tour

April 4, 2014

Thanks to all who participated in the three-month “Begotten” Bewitching Virtual Book Tour. The bloggers, the readers, the reviewers, and Roxanne Rhoads who set everything up.

I had a lot of fun. 🙂

Here are the winners of the giveaway:

$40 Amazon gift card: Lisa Brown

5 ebook copies of Begotten: Stacey Dempsey, Shadow Kohler, Naznin A., Thomas M., Salena H. S.

Congrats on being the winners!

Cheers!

Giovanna

 

Review of “Begotten” and a Giveaway.

January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!!!! May this year be one of the best to come for everyone!

I don’t know if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution. Mine is to enjoy life and try to make the most out of every day without procrastinating or worrying about the negative stuff and focusing more on the positive. Life is too short to waste any minute of it. 🙂

To celebrate the New Year, Bewitching Book Tours is having a virtual book tour on “Begotten” book one in my paranormal romance thriller series “The Forsaken Prophecies”.  You can win a $40 Amazon Gift card or one of five eBook copies of the story.

Begotten Button 300 x 225

The first stop in the tour is Deb Sanders Romance blog. She was very kind to offer to review and feature my book and I’d like to thank her.

You can read the review and check out her other posts on her blog at:

http://debsanders.com/2014/01/06/review-giveaway-begotten-by-giovanna-lagana/

And below is the link to view the details on the giveaway. Good luck if you decide to enter. 🙂

Enter Giveaway

Cheers,

Giovanna

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Great Young Adult Series for Your Reading Fancy—Anti-Heroes by K.H. Koehler & Louise Bohmer

June 3, 2013

Two of my favorite author friends who are not only super sweet, charming, and smart, but they also have awesome writing talent have come out with a unique Young Adult series, titled Anti-Heroes.

It’s a quirky, dynamic series that will not only appeal to young adults but also to older adults who are young at heart (like me). 🙂
And to give you a more detailed idea of what it’s about, you can check out what I pasted below…

 
Anti-Heroes by K.H. Koehler and Louise Bohmer is a young adult serial novel about superheroes and supervillains. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are now available. Part 6, which will wrap everything up and keep you zipping through the pages to see what happens to the Geek Squad, will be release soon. The complete series will also be available soon.

If you’d like to try Anti-Heroes before you buy, Book 1: New Girl is available for free at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Cover for 'New Girl (Anti-Heroes Book I)'
To read more excerpts and learn about the Anti-Heroes, visit: http://antiheroesbook.blogspot.com/

 
Now here’s a sneak peek at Book 2: Bad Boy.

Bad Boy (Anti-Heroes Book II)

Anti-Heroes Book 2: Bad Boy
By K.H. Koehler & Louise Bohmer

Jinx and Isaac let out a cry as the pillar of darkness and the black, batlike figure of Nix collided in midair.

“Ah, shit, man,” Isaac swore. “This ain’t gonna end well.”

“Don’t I know it.” From the first day they had met in kindergarten, Jinx had known that Nikki was powerful. Nix was ten times as powerful as Nikki, and she didn’t have Nikki’s sense of fair play.

The darkness that was Satan shuddered even as Nix swirled through and around it like a black meteor, leaving a trail of her own murky darkness in her wake, wracking the branches nearby and sending down swirls of autumn leaves. As Nix reached the top of the pillar, where two bright, ruby-red eyes stared maliciously out at the world, a giant, almost formless hand snapped outward, grabbing her throat and halting her in mid-air.

“You’re impressive, little vampire,” Jinx’s dad said in a smoky, gravelly voice. “But not that impressive. You still have much to learn.”

He flung her away. Nix sailed end over end and collided with a nearby tree. Her wings tangled in the upper branches, sending down an even bigger pile of leaves.

By that time, the people in the mall parking lot had noticed the battle and had started racing in their direction, and Jinx, cringing in the bushes beside Isaac, wondered about human nature. Weren’t people supposed to run away from danger, not toward it? Yet the citizens of Sky City stubbornly began clustering together, alone, in pairs, even families with children, just to watch the angry swirl of darkness rising above the parking lot. It was no wonder to him that there were so many crimes in Sky City; the people here were too stupid to live.

Soon a few small dots appeared in the sky. Jinx recognized these as The Alliance, the coalition of Supers that watched over Sky City. He immediately picked out the white streak that indicated that Supernova was on his way, or the new Supernova, anyway—the original having died during the Battle of Two Moons. Behind him appeared his sidekick, The Rocket, and farther out the all-terrain Sky Vehicle that was ushering the non-flying Atlas and The Earthmover to the scene of the battle. 

“I think it would be best to get out of here,” Jinx suggested, staring at the angry, roiling cloud that was his dad as he turned his attention on The Alliance. “Those stupid Supers will be here any second, and you just know they’re gonna blame us for this.”

Isaac straightened up. “Well, technically, it is our fault,” he said as he went to the tree where Nix, now Nikki, was tangled up. He gave it a shake, but although Nikki squeaked in surprise, it didn’t dislodge her, so Isaac grabbed the base of the tree and started to uproot it slowly, inch by inch.

Jinx watched, fairly impressed by Isaac’s show of strength. “It’s not our fault those chuckleheads blame us for this shit. It’s not like I asked to be the son of Satan, or you wanted your dad to do to you…what he did to you.” He knew how sensitive his friend was about that and chose not to elaborate.

Isaac gave Jinx a poignant look as he pulled the tree out of the ground as easily as a child pulling a candle off a birthday cake. Nikki screamed as he lowered the tree so his sister could untangle her hair. “Look, man, you know I’d go anywhere with you, Nikki too, but you can’t let your old man keep pushing you around like this.”

Jinx glared back. “Says the kid who won’t try out for hockey because his dad would pitch a fit.”

“This isn’t the same thing.” Isaac pointed toward the darkness, which was kicking up quite a wind. Leaves and loose branches swirled past them and caught in their hair. Satan, having realized The Alliance was on their way, was making quite a show. The shoppers gathered in the parking lot, finally realizing there was a real danger involved, had begun backing up, though not quickly enough. Satan was growing larger by the moment and Jinx realized that his dad was on a roll, shaking his fist at The Alliance as Supernova, in full Nephilim form and looking especially angelic, descended to do battle with his archenemy.

He watched the other members of The Alliance descending, ready to mix it up with their old enemy. “Fine. You look after Nikki. I’ll take care of this.” He glanced up once at the roiling darkness looming over them, then turned and dived straight into it.

***

Jinx stood in the eye of the storm and stared down at his feet where a handgun—he was pretty sure it was a high-powered magnum—was lying on the pavement. He grabbed up the gun and checked it for ammo. Yep, it was a .44, so big he could feel the strain in his wrists when he hefted its weight. “You’re my son, Jinx. I just want what’s best for you,” came his dad’s needling voice in his head. He didn’t have to include the implied threat—that he was going to level the city until Jinx made him proud.

“Yeah, Dad. You and everyone else,” he said and tucked it inside the waistband of his jeans, pulled his hoodie down over the bulge, and headed for the convenience store across the street, leaving Satan to do battle with The Alliance and create a distraction for him.

Inside the store, the single, remaining patron was hovering by the door, peeking out at the ensuing battle in the parking lot of the mall, and the clerk stood behind the counter at the back. She was a girl his age, though one he didn’t know. She was paging through a battered copy of Sixteen and talking on her cell phone, punctuating her sentences with noncommittal “uh-huhs,” and “Yeah, looks like the city’s gonna get busted up again…what’s that?…nah, it’s The Alliance against some big, dark smoke monster. Can’t say if it’s from hell or another planet. Hey, maybe it’s from the hell of another planet? That would be different…”

Jinx kept his head down, his hood up, and feigned interest in the candy aisle as he slowly migrated toward the counter. His heart was running like a clock in his chest and his palms were sweating so badly he had to keep wiping them on the outside of his hoodie. The girl gave him a bored look as he approached, clearly unimpressed with his appearance. He really couldn’t blame her. After all, it was hard to compete with the show outside, Satan clashing with The Alliance.

“Gotta go,” the clerk said. “Some burnout with bad hair wants to check out. But I’ll call you right back.” She hung up and gave him an annoyed look.

The comment rankled Jinx. Girls like this one were always making comments like that at school, like he was less than them, like he was less than everyone, and the sudden spurt of anger helped him straighten up and eye the girl menacingly. “You shouldn’t say things like that,” he told her, trying to make his voice as gravelly and as deep as his dad’s.

“Sure, no problem,” she said, checking her text messages.

“And you should look at me when I’m talking to you.”

She raised an eyebrow at that. “Okay, cookie.”

“I mean it. Don’t make me hurt you.”

She finally graced him with her attention. “And you are?”

“Jinx. A black Nephilim.”

“Is that like a gang? You don’t look black.”

Jinx snorted. “I’m not a black man. I’m a black angel.” He thought about unzipping his hoodie and showing off his wings, but he didn’t show anyone those. The day he went to school for the first time, his mom had drunkenly taped them down and warned him to never, ever tell anyone about them, or else they’d put him in a circus.

She looked him up and down like she was having a hard time believing that.

“My dad’s Satan,” Jinx said. “He’s outside, fighting The Alliance.”

Available On Kindle US
Available On Kindle CA
Available On Kindle UK
Available On Kobo
Available On Nook
Available on Smashwords
***

About the Authors

K. H. Koehler is the author of various novels and novellas in the genres of horror, SF, dark fantasy, steampunk and young/new adult. She is the author of several ongoing series, including The Mrs. McGillicuddy Mysteries (steampunk/urban fantasy) The Kaiju Hunter (young adult), Anti-Heroes (new adult serial), the Horrorotica Collection, the Nick Englebrecht Mysteries (urban fantasy/noir published by Curiosity Quills) and the Planet of Dinosaurs series (steampunk/sci-fi). She is an associate editor at KHP Publishers Inc., owner of K.H. Koehler Books and a partner in The Job Octopus, which specializes in editing and cover design. Her books are available at all major ebook distributors and many real world bookstores, her covers have appeared on many books in many different genres, and her short work has been featured on Horror World, Literary Mayhem, and in the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Demons, edited by John Skipp. She lives in the beautiful wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania with two very large and opinionated Rottweilers. She welcomes reviews and fan mail.Visit her at http://khkoehlerbooks.wordpress.com

Louise Bohmer has over eight years experience in editing and publishing. She is an associate editor with KHP Publishers Inc., edits for Permuted Press, and has edited for many publishers and authors in a variety of genres including general interest, romance, erotica, mystery, horror, and speculative. Her writing experience extends across fiction, ghost writing, ad copy, web content, SEO copy, and press releases. Her latest release is the Anti-Heroes serial written with K.H. Koehler (Anti-Heroes Press) and you can read her short fiction in Detritus (Omnium Gatherum), plus her debut novel, The Black Act, will soon be re-released in serial form. She offers freelance services in editing, book cover design, ghost writing, and ebook formatting with her partner K.H. Koehler via The Job Octopus. She loves to hear from her readers via email and reviews. Her home base is New Brunswick, Canada, where she lives with a tattooed giant. You can pay her a visit at: http://www.louisebohmer.com

For a limited time get Horror Thriller “The Dead Speak in Riddles” for only 99 cents!

May 22, 2013

For a limited time the horror thriller I co-wrote with Keith Gouveia “The Dead Speak in Riddles” is on sale at Kobo for only 99 cents.

The cover, blurb and links to read sample chapters or buy the book are pasted below.

The Dead Speak in Riddles small

Blurb:
Deep in the dark, cryptic catacombs of the Capuchin monastery evil stirs. Among the two thousand mummified corpses lies a buried secret. One about to be discovered by an ex-monk named Gontier Tremblay. Gontier turned his back on the Church years ago; now he’s about to be kicked out of house and home. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, he begins to hear voices in his head. The voices of the holy dead, who are calling upon him to stop this evil from rising.
Insatiable thirst for blood is a curse Father Abramo wishes on no living soul. After killing the four priests who took his true love, Ersilia, from him, he was damned. He’s been roaming the world with this thirst for centuries, killing and feasting on the blood of evil. But when the apparition of the priest he killed begins to haunt him, he uncovers the secret to resurrection. Armed with this revelation, he heads to the catacombs to reunite with his true love and make her a powerful immortal as he.
Within the macabre crypts of the Capuchin monastery, good, evil, and the summoned undead will rise and fight. And the fate of mankind hangs in the balance when the Dead Speak in Riddles.

Sample chapters and Where to buy:

In E-book:

KOBO

Smashword

Amazon

Amazon.ca

 

In Print:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble

Want to Win a Book?

January 17, 2013

Beating Windward Press is giving away 5 copies of “The Snuff Syndicate”. The contest runs until January 31, 2013.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, you can check out the details here: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/40887-the-snuff-syndicate

Good luck if you decide to enter.

Another cool anthology “The Snuff Syndicate” is now available for your reading pleasure

December 12, 2012

Another horror anthology “The Snuff Syndicate” edited by Keith Gouveia and published by Beating Windward Press is now out.

My very dark short story “The Calling” is featured in it along with other very fine tales for your reading pleasure and they are all intertwined with Keith’s own macabre and potent novella to make it a great read.

Here’s the cover, blurb and the publisher’s link with more details on it:

SnuffSyndicate_Cov

In a world where serial killers are usually isolated and disconnected, The Snuff Syndicate provides an online forum – made for them, by them.

For members, social media is a tool to share pure, murder-filled ecstasy. Killing is a business of painstaking details, and every killer, from novice to expert needs a place to go to see what others are doing, from the ways they select victims to the methods they use to bloody their hands. The Snuff Syndicate is where they can brag, ask for advice and revel in their most gratifying hobby.

The Snuff Syndicate offers readers a unique look into the gritty world of bloodletting. Keith Gouveia’s novella strings together eight disparate stories of serial killers. As his novella unfolds, it reacts to and intersects more and more with stories by C.A. Burns, Kevin Cockle, Lorne Dixon, Giovanna Lagana, Mark Onspaugh, Gerald S. Parker, Marsheila Rockwell, & J. T. Seate. This unique collaborative-anthology reads more like a multi-point-of-view novel rather than an anthology.

http://beatingwindward.com/books/snuffsyndicate.html

Cheers,

Gio

Bigfoot Terror Tales Vol. 1: Stories of Sasquatch Horror is out!

November 23, 2012

If you believe in Bigfoot like I do or just love to read stories of him/her, then you’ll enjoy Bigfoot Terror Tales Vol. 1 anthology edited by Eric s Brown and A. P. Fuchs. My story “A Forest of Monsters” is featured in it as well as many other interesting stories from talented authors.

I hope you’ll check it out. 🙂

 
Bigfoot Terror Tales Vol. 1: Stories of Sasquatch Horror edited by Eric S. Brown and A.P. Fuchs is released!

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-926712-75-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926712-76-5

He is Mysterious.
He is Legend.
He is Bigfoot.

Enter the world of the Sasquatch through fourteen stories of Bigfoot Terror by writers with a deep love for this legendary creature that has captured the imagination of millions around the world, has inspired thousands of expeditions, and has been the substance of campfire stories for generations.

From small towns with a big problem, to a filmmaker aiming to shoot the ultimate Bigfoot flick, to even Ronald Reagan taking on a Sasquatch, and much more–these hairy tales that are sure to make your skin crawl, cause you to shiver with fright and think twice about the next time you want to go into the woods alone.

Featuring stories by: Janice Gable Bashman, David Bernstein, Tonia Brown, Francesco Collia, Eric Dimbleby, Bruce Durham, Eric J. Guignard, Jason Hughes, Giovanna Lagana, E.M. MacCallum, Christine Morgan, Suzanne Robb, R.J. Sevin & Rosalind Sevin, Franklin E. Wales, with an introduction by Eric S. Brown, author of the popular Bigfoot War series, Bigfoot Terror Tales is a dream come true for Sasquatch and monster enthusiasts everywhere.

Available as a paperback at:

Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/108gHth
Amazon.ca – http://amzn.to/S9bfTD
Amazon.co.ukhttp://amzn.to/10pkHEI
Barnesandnoble.com – http://bit.ly/Q90mkZ
Other On-line Retailers – http://bit.ly/TWHjZu

Available as an eBook at:

Amazon Kindle – http://amzn.to/RS4KDi
DrivethruFiction.com – http://bit.ly/XyKXil
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/TOMRmA

The Last Coscom Entertainment Release: Mothman Emerged by Gina Ranalli – http://amzn.to/S5UNDv

For the Entire Coscom Entertainment Monster Fiction Catalog, please go to http://www.coscomentertainment.com

 

“Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order” is coming!

May 19, 2012

The next novel in David Lee Summers’ vampire series, entitled “Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order”, will be coming out soon with Lachesis Publishing, and I am eagerly anticipating it.

The first book in the series “Vampires of the Scarlet Order” is a great science fiction, paranormal, thriller, which will have you sitting at the edge of your seat wanting to find out what happens next to the characters and this make-believe world David Lee Summers has created.

I pasted below a post I got off of David’s blog: http://dlsummers.wordpress.com/excerpts/vampires-of-the-scarlet-order/ (with his permission of course) which will give you a good idea of just how great this story is.

You can also check out the fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Scarlet-Order-Vampires/159599227447475

I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Cheers,

Gio

 

Image

 

About Vampires of the Scarlet Order:

Vampires of the Scarlet Order is an action-adventure novel with a touch of steamy romance. It tells the story of an elite cadre of vampire mercenaries who have worked throughout history as pinpoint assassins. Under the command of Desmond, Lord Draco, the Scarlet Order was involved in wars with the Ottoman Empire, The French Revolution and even the conquest of the Americas. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, vampires are too expensive, too untrustworthy, and frankly, too passé for governments to employ any longer. Nanotechnology can be employed to engineer more reliable super soldiers. However, governments might be tampering with powers they don’t really understand. The elemental forces of the universe bring the vampires of the scarlet order together to put a stop to the humans’ dangerous experiments.

Here’s a sample of what people are saying:

“A novel with bite. An amalgam of Blade and The Name of the Rose with a touch of X-Files thrown in for good measure.” Neal Asher, author of Gridlinked and The Skinner.

“We now have our very own Southwestern vampire lore and tradition thanks to the imagination and painstaking research of Summers.” S. Derrickson Moore, The Las Cruces Sun-News.

“Worthy… the vampires form the Scooby-Doo gang to fight evil. They must infiltrate Los Alamos and rescue fellow vampires being used for government weapon’s research.” Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post.

“Summers writes richly, making us care about and identify with the ultimate group of outsiders who band together to protect the human race from its destructiveness and ultimate lack of humanity… This is a fun book to sink your teeth into and a good addition to the libraries of those readers with a taste for inventive vampire fiction.” Roy Van der Aa, The Ink.


Excerpt from Vampires of the Scarlet Order:

From Rudolfo de Córdoba’s writings of 1491:

“Rudolfo, come quickly, your father has been killed!”

I heard Don Diego’s cry as my hand was exploring a nun’s supple breast and my mouth was caressing the exquisite curve of her neck. Sister Inez gasped and I sat up in a whirlwind of disbelief and distress over the news of my father’s demise. Admittedly, I was also peeved by the interruption of my afternoon’s recreation.

“Rudolfo, where are you?” called Don Diego.

I was behind a hedgerow, against the whitewashed wall of the cathedral of Córdoba in Spain. The year was 1491, and I was hurriedly lacing up my shirt while Sister Inez adjusted her dress and hair. Before I continue, I should explain that Sister Inez was by no means a corrupt nun. Rather, like many of the Castilian clergy in those days, she was well aware that she was a creature of both the spirit and the flesh. Her spirit was firmly committed to Jesus Christ. It just so happens that a few moments before, her body had been committed to me. That day, I had been repairing plasterwork around the cathedral, when Sister Inez brought me lunch and an offer of an hour’s distraction. In many parts of Spain, the Inquisition insisted that nuns wear black robes to distinguish themselves from ordinary parishioners. However, we in Córdoba had run our Grand Inquisitor out of town over a year before. Little did we know at that time how strong the Inquisition would ultimately become.

“Rudolfo!” Don Diego’s voice took on a frantic edge.

“I’m sorry about your father,” whispered Sister Inez sincerely as she brushed my cheek gently with her soft lips. “You’d better go to Don Diego now.”

Taking a deep breath, I stood, then stepped through a break in the hedge. My father’s friend, Don Diego, looked agitatedly along the length of the cathedral as I went up to him. Clapping my hands on his shoulders, I turned him away from the opening in the hedgerow and looked him in the eyes. “My father’s dead?” I asked, not quite grasping the reality of those words.

Don Diego nodded rapidly. Behind him, Sister Inez crept around the corner of the hedgerow, making her way back to the cathedral. “Don Ricardo was shot by none other than Ibrahim Yousef, Vizier to the Granadan Emir,” explained Diego.

My hands fell to my sides and my knees threatened to give way. My father was a captain in the Córdoban militia. He and his caballeros had been sent by the Queen to render aid to the garrison that surrounded Granada: the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain. Don Diego led me to a stone bench and helped me sit. Covering my face, I hid my lack of tears. Though I mourned my father’s passing, few tears remained. A few years before, the black plague had taken many of my family: my beloved wife, my lovely children and my faithful brother. My father and a handful of cousins were all I had left. The church – and Sister Inez – offered some comfort, but I still felt isolated and lonely. “How did it happen?” I whispered.

“It was yesterday evening, shortly after sunset,” said Don Diego. “Your father’s men heard a pistol report and ran to investigate. They found your father atop a knoll, shot in the back of the head. They saw the vizier – Yousef – fleeing to the safety of Granada. Several of the caballeros tried to stop Yousef, but he reached the city walls before they could bring him to justice.”

Many in the church said the Black Plague was a punishment sent by God. I wondered how a benevolent God could punish innocents such as my children; surely they had not lived lives of excess and corruption. I found myself wishing for a way to avenge my wife and children, but how can one achieve vengeance when the punishment comes directly from God “Like any father’s punishments, God’s punishments do not always seem just, but one must trust that they are,” said Father Jimenez when I’d confessed my thoughts to him. Father Jimenez was lucky that there was a wall between us or I would have struck him. Instead, I went home, did my penance, and resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do about the plague, no matter how unhappy I felt. A man, not the plague, had murdered my father. Murder was a crime that could be avenged. “I must join the garrison at Santa Fé,” I told Don Diego. “Only by helping take Granada, can I do justice to the memory of my father.”

“Your father wanted you here,” protested the old man, twisting at the ends of his bushy gray mustache. “You’re his only surviving heir.”

“That may be, but who will inherit the hacienda from me?” I growled. “What will my father’s house mean to me if I allowed his murder to go unchallenged?”

“Your father’s murderer will likely be executed when Granada falls,” said Don Diego, trying to talk sense into me. “The city is surrounded, cut off from supplies. It’s only a matter of time before the Moors will be forced to surrender.”

I stood, stalking off. “I’m going to Santa Fé!”

Don Diego rolled his eyes and leaped from the bench, following as closely as his short, arthritic legs would allow. “When?”

“This afternoon. There’s still plenty of light. I can be there before sunset,” I declared.

“You won’t get there until nightfall, Rudolfo! You’re more likely to be shot by one of the guards than welcomed as a soldier.”

“My father’s horses are fast, I’ll get there before sunset!” I shouted, striding away, leaving a breathless Don Diego in my wake. A short way from the hallowed ground of the church, I found my horse, pulled myself on and rode out to my father’s small hacienda on the outskirts of Córdoba. It was almost a joke to call the property a “hacienda.” We only had a few olive trees and a press for making olive oil to sell at market. Still, the land did have plenty of grass and we were able to raise a few horses. We sold some of the horses to caballeros and would-be caballeros to supplement our meager income. Even with that, I still needed to sell my masonry skills. One man could not support our land by himself. Within half an hour, I arrived at the hacienda. Without pausing, I led my horse to her stall. A little further into the stables, I found one of the mighty Arabian stallions that were my father’s pride and joy. I saddled the stallion and rode as fast as I could toward the ancient city of Granada. The sun was low on the horizon and long shadows carpeted the ground as I rode up to the great fortress city of Santa Fé; headquarters of the garrison surrounding Granada. Isabella the Catholic and her husband Ferdinand sometimes called the great fortress city their home. There seemed too few guards around the fortress for the Queen and King to be in residence. Still, I rode up cautiously. “Hola,” I called when I was within shouting distance of the fortress wall.

“Hola,” came the response. “Who goes there?”

“A lone caballero come to join the holy cause of the Reconquest,” I called.

“Wait there,” called the gate man. “The archers have you in their sights. If you move, you will die.”

“I will not move,” I acknowledged, then patted my horse’s black neck, calming him.

Soon, a gate man rode down the trail from the fortress. “It is not wise to approach Santa Fé at night, Señor. Where do you come from?”

“From Córdoba,” I answered.

“You should have waited until morning to volunteer,” he said. “Come, follow me.” The gate man spurred his horse on, up the trail. I followed closely behind. He led me through the gates of Santa Fé. There, he had me dismount at a horse block. A stable hand took charge of my horse while a man in light armor came out to the courtyard and spoke to the mounted gate man. The lightly armored man nodded to me and indicated that I should follow him. We went inside one of the buildings, where I was led down a dark, dank stairway. The guard opened the door of an underground room, went in and lit three candles on a simple wooden table. He motioned that I should sit in the room’s solitary chair. “The Grand Inquisitor will be along to see you shortly,” explained the guard.

The words filled me with dread, though I’m not really sure why. As a devout Catholic, I had nothing to fear from the Inquisition. The guard turned and left the room, leaving the door slightly ajar. I wasn’t a prisoner, but I didn’t feel welcome to leave the room either. From the chair, I peered into the shadowed corners of the room, trying to discern what was there. I grew cold in the dark little room and the hairs on my arms stood on edge.

Hours seemed to crawl by before the door swung fully open to reveal a tall, gaunt priest in austere black robes. The priest’s white hair stood out from his head, as though he were a wild man. I stood, showing my respect, but the priest waved me back into the chair. “I am Father Miguel García, Grand Inquisitor of Granada and Santa Fé. Why have you come at this late hour?”

“I am sorry, Father,” I said, sincerely. “I am Rudolfo de Córdoba, son of Don Ricardo de Córdoba, a militia captain.”

“Ah… The captain killed yesterday morning by Abu Abdallah’s heretical advisor,” said Father Miguel, nodding. “Though your father was not a friend, most Córdobans are not, he was a good commander. He will be sorely missed.”

“I wish to challenge this Ibrahim Yousef to a duel for the cowardly murder of my father,” I said forcefully.

“That may prove difficult,” said Father Miguel. “Yousef is safe inside Granada.”

“I would, at least, like to join the caballeros blockading the city. In some small way, it would allow me to honor my father’s memory.” I said.

“Yes…” Father Miguel peered over his beak-like nose with dark eyes, like a raptor, ready to strike. “Your story is certainly convincing. You even look like Don Ricardo. But, how do I know your story is true?” Father Miguel folded his arms and began pacing. His words took on a hard edge. “I could just as easily believe that Yousef shot Don Ricardo as a ruse. Under cover of darkness he sends one of his people out of Granada, lets him ride off a few miles, then come back, claiming to be the son of the man killed the day before. That man would then be a spy in our midst. It’s a plan worthy of Yousef.”

“I assure you, I’m not a spy!” At that moment, I regretted not heeding Don Diego’s advice to remain in Córdoba.

“Draco?” called Father Miguel, peering over my head.

“He is telling the truth.” A deep, oddly accented voice echoed from one end of the room. I whirled around and peered into the gloom behind me. I could just make out the outline of a man, his eyes reflecting the room’s wan candlelight. I could have sworn the man had not been there before, nor had he entered with Father Miguel. “This man is indeed the son of Don Ricardo and has ridden out to help with the crusade against the Moors.” It took me a moment, but I finally recognized the man’s English accent.

“Indeed!” Father Miguel’s dangerous brooding metamorphosed into an even more dangerous glee. The priest looked from me to the shadowy figure in the back of the room. “Could the Caballeros Escarlata use a man who desires the death of Ibrahim Yousef?”

“I planned to assign the matter to Roquelaure,” said the shadowy Englishman, firmly.

“But you said yourself that Roquelaure is not always reliable in these matters, that he might be better used in other areas.”

“That is true.”

“Would this man serve you better than Roquelaure?” asked Father Miguel.

The Englishman slowly emerged from the shadows. I lost my breath. His skin was extraordinarily pale, almost translucent. He was dressed completely in black; a cloak covered a black jerkin and leggings. These were not a priest’s vestments. Rather they were the raiment of a noble. The Englishman’s hair was short and combed back, giving him a regal appearance, not like the wild-haired Grand Inquisitor. “Rudolfo here is a
man of great passion,” said the English nobleman, looking me over. “I sense that he is alone in the world. He may well do.”

As the nobleman spoke, I saw fangs, much like a dog’s in his mouth. I shrank down. “Am I to understand that the Grand Inquisitor consorts with demons?”

Father Miguel chuckled. “Not demonio. Vampiro,” he said, as
though that would make everything clear.

“I am Desmond, Lord Draco – Knight Commander of the Scarlet Order.” The demonic nobleman introduced himself. “My brethren are known by varying names throughout the world. Here in Spain and in Rome we are called vampiro or vampire. Perhaps you’ve heard of the apes of distant India. They are similar, but different, from man. So are we.”

“Apes?” I asked, growing more confused. I had never heard of creatures that were similar, yet different from men. Though I knew of India and the Far East, I was ignorant of the beasts that lived in those places. I looked at Draco’s translucent skin and his animalistic eyes. “I was not aware that creatures such as you inhabited the islands of Britain.”

Father Miguel shook his head. “It is premature to presume that Lord Draco is a natural creature. What’s important is that the Pope has never ruled that vampires are demons.”

“We are not demons,” said Draco, his jaw set. He turned and looked at me. “We are transcendent creatures possessing great power.” Silently, Draco moved across the floor toward me, looking into my eyes the whole time and speaking softly. “Do you know how old I am?”

“I would say you are a man of nearly 40, if I do not miss my guess.” Draco seemed only a little older than I was.

“Ah, but you do miss your guess. I am over a thousand years old.” Draco smiled at my shock, as he put one of his hands on my shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze. My shoulder joint felt as though it would snap in his grasp. “Not only are we virtually immortal, we are very strong.”

“Vampires make excellent warriors,” added Father Miguel.

“I have the power to make you a vampire,” explained Draco. “You could join the Scarlet Order and I could grant you the opportunity for the very revenge you seek.”

I stood quickly, upsetting my chair, and backed toward the wall. “I do not want to become a monster – demon or not. Revenge is not worth that price.”

I found myself falling under the spell of Draco’s eyes again. “You would never be plagued by death,” he said.

“What is the price of such a miracle?” I asked.

“You will need to feast on human blood in order to survive,” said Father Miguel bluntly as he stepped to the center of the room and righted the chair. “You will never again be able to walk in sunlight.”

“And what becomes of my immortal soul?”

“That’s up to God and the Pope,” said Father Miguel with a shrug.

Draco looked away, releasing me from the power of his gaze. “This offer is neither given lightly nor should you accept it lightly. You will be able to avenge your father’s death, but after that, what will you do with immortality? Most choose to hide and become true creatures of darkness. A few of us, though, have chosen to serve human causes. Of course, service is fraught with its own difficulties. Though the powers of good and evil do not change, the clothes they wear often do.” Draco inclined his head toward Father Miguel. “One’s loyalties must remain flexible.”

“Are you saying you’re a mercenary?” I asked, finding my tongue.

Draco’s nod was barely perceptible. “Though I must live exclusively at night, I do not wish to remain in the shadows. That choice requires gold. Otherwise, I must live in a cave or worse.”

Slowly, I crept toward Father Miguel. Though he was an Inquisitor, I somehow felt safer by his side than by Draco’s. “This is not an easy decision,” I said. “I would like time to consider.”

“You will have until tomorrow night. If you are safely ensconced in your chambers after sunset tomorrow, we will respect your wish to remain human. If, instead, you are out on the western ramparts of the city, we will know you wish to join our order,” said Draco, simply. “If you do not join us, Father Miguel will take you to the Córdoban militia unit your father commanded. You may join them, if they will have you.”

I swallowed hard and looked to Father Miguel. “How do I choose?”

“Pray,” he said simply.

“And, if God doesn’t answer?”

Father Miguel was as silent as I feared God himself would be.


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Madness in the Eye of the Beholder

January 28, 2012

Howdy,

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend. It seems like it always breezes by much too quickly.

Anyway, I just popped in to post this little tidbit. My short prose “Madness in the Eye of the Beholder” is featured in the current issue of Masque of the Red Death.

If you’d like to check it out, you can read it here:

http://redmasque.weebly.com/prose.html

All the best,
Gio

Interview on Friday the 13th!!!!!

January 13, 2012

Hi All,

Happy Friday the 13th!!!!!

For some this is their lucky day, for others, it’s not so lucky. Here’s hoping this is a lucky day for all of you.

Armand Rosamilia interviewed me this week at the Rymfire Books blog where I discuss my story “In the Name of Science” featured in the “Skeletal Remains” horror anthology, edited by Keith Gouveia. I also discuss other projects I’m working on, as well.

Here’s the link to the interview page if you’d like to check it out:

http://rymfirebooks.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/author-interview-giovanna-lagana/

Have a great weekend.