Friday, October 19, 2012

Freaky Friday: Denise Verrico

Freaky Friday presents...the very awesome Denise Verrico.

A Different Take on Vampire Mythology
Denise Verrico

When I set out to write Cara Mia my first Immortyl Revolution novel, I read a lot of books on vampire legends.  I’ve always been attracted to the figure of the vampire.  The all-powerful vampire appealed to me as a kind of dark superhero.  Almost every culture has some sort of vampire myth.  Like most people, I was familiar with the Eastern European vampire myths.  In these stories, the vampire is typically thought of as an “undead” demon or re-animated corpse that feeds on the lifeblood or sometimes the soul or sexual energy of human victims.
As I dug further into the lore, I found that a lot of evidence points to these vampire legends first appearing in India.  This gave me the basis of the Immortyl culture of my vampire series.  Indian mythology provides many examples of vampire-like spirits and deities, but one deity often associated with vampirism is Kali, a fierce form of the mother goddess (Shakti) and consort of Shiva.  Kali is an intimidating figure, usually depicted as emaciated with withered dark blue or black skin and three eyes. She even wears the body parts of her victims as jewelry and has a blood-red tongue that sticks out in defiance. Her favorite places are battlefields where she and her attendants, the dakini, become intoxicated on the blood of victims.

Because of this fearsome image and some pop-culture references to her, Kali is an often-misunderstood figure in the West.  However, Kali is the goddess of time, not death, and only slays evil demons. Symbolically, she annihilates the selfish impulses and ego that bind us to our material bodies. Her aspect may be ferocious, but she is called Kali Maa (Mother Kali) and is revered in many parts of India.  Historically, only one group associated with Kali was known for violence, the Thugees. These devotees would waylay travelers and use them as blood sacrifices to the goddess. The Thugees were the inspiration behind the Kali worshipers in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, hence a lot of the western misconception.
Tantric cults often focus on Kali.  Tantra is an older religious tradition than Hinduism, dating back before the Aryan tribes migrated into India. These groups center on Shakti (female principle) worship and sometimes use sex and even blood in their rituals. The idea behind this is to gain control over the body to capture divine energy and gain blessings.  The more I read, the more I became fascinated with the stories surrounding Kali and tantric practices.  This led me to imagine the origin of the Immortyl culture in my books.

A little about Denise
Denise Verrico is a New Jersey native who grew up in Western Pennsylvania. She attended Point Park College and majored in Theatre Arts. For seven seasons, she was a member of the Oberon Theatre Ensemble in NYC. Denise has loved vampire stories since childhood, when she became a fan of the Dark Shadows television series.  She is a member of International Thriller Writers and Broad Universe.  Her Immortyl Revolution novels are published by L&L Dreamspell Publishing and include: Cara Mia, Twilight of the Gods, My Fearful Symmetry and Servant of the Goddess.  She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, son and her flock of six spoiled parrots.

Synopsis of Servant of the Goddess
Can an Immortyl Society survive the modern world?
From the ashes of the first battle of the Immortyl Revolution, vampires Mia Disantini and Kurt Eisen set out to build a new Immortyl society. Trouble arrives in the person of Cedric MacKinnon, a runaway adept of the ancient arts, who brings tidings of upheaval at the chief elder’s court that threatens everything Mia and Kurt have accomplished. Mia finds it hard to resist when Cedric pledges his service and tempts her with the legendary skills he learned as an Immortyl courtesan. Facing opposition from both within and out, Mia begins to doubt Kurt is up to the task of leading their followers to his vision of an Immortyl Utopia. Torn between her loyalty to Kurt and Cedric’s insistence that she is the earthly manifestation of the Goddess Durga and destined to lead, Mia confronts the greatest challenge of her life.
Excerpt for Servant of the Goddess
Sudden shouts battled against the sound of the wind. I peered down the block. Teen-formed Immortyls, sewer rats, closed a circle around a tall male, who held his hands high above his head. From the direction of the wind, I couldn’t yet ascertain this stranger as mortal or Immortyl. Best to investigate. I ran toward the disturbance, wrapping my fingers around the Glock strapped to my hip.
A shrill whistle split the air. Two of the sewer rats lunged for the stranger. He crouched and pirouetted on one leg, letting loose a rapid succession of kicks that knocked his attackers sprawling onto the sidewalk. A rat named Tommy growled and launched himself at the stranger. To my amazement, the stranger leapt high into the air and hovered there for a moment like a falcon before lashing out with both feet. Tommy’s head snapped backward, and he flattened against the pavement. The remaining rats hung back.
The slender figure of a boy maybe eighteen or nineteen touched down and crouched again, poised to strike. No mortal could perform such maneuvers with this speed and agility, not to mention almost ballet-like grace. The Immortyl’s face betrayed raw emotion, indicating he was new to the blood, probably not much older than his form suggested. Eamon, the rat pack leader, drew and aimed a pistol at him. The stranger raised his hands above his head once more.
I gave a sharp whistle for Eamon to stand down. “What’s going on here?”
Eamon lowered the gun and spit on the ground. His forever-twelve-year-old face scrunched up. “We found this one skulking about,” he said. Even after a century and half in New York his speech still gave away his Dublin origins. “Says he’s come from the chief elder’s house.”
The wind kicked up harder. Long, auburn hair whipped about the newcomer’s face. He shivered, hugging an Indian-styled shirt around him. Traces of black kohl and sienna rouge clung to his eyes and mouth, as if he’d scrubbed the paint off in a hurry. The make-up and impractical clothing pointed to origins more exotic than the russet hair and milky complexion suggested. His story sounded plausible. However, the odds that this kid had escaped the chief elder’s compound near Calcutta and made it all the way to New York on his own were unlikely. No slave had ever left there of his own accord.
Kurt had stood trial at the chief elder’s court for inciting rebellion. He’d told me that the chief, Kalidasa, employed state-of-the-art security, as well as vampire-eating tigers. The place was a veritable fortress. Still, there was always a first time, and this newcomer had held his own against Eamon’s band.
I had to admire the kid for standing up to Eamon and his thugs.
The pack leader and I didn’t care much for one another, but he’d fought for Kurt in our recent war with a rival elder. For political reasons, I forced myself to take a civil tone with him. “Did you bother to ask his business before you ordered an attack?” I called to the newcomer, “You--come here.”
The boy lowered his hands and slinked forward. I’d never seen a man move quite like this, with delicacy just brushing the feminine, yet suggesting coiled up, sinewy strength like a jungle cat. Instinct prompted my hand to reach for the Glock concealed on my hip. The kid had danger scrawled all over him in big garish letters.
“Is this true?” I asked.
“I ran away from court,” the boy replied, his speech tinged with a Scottish burr. “I’m seeking refuge here.”
The plaintive tone struck a chord in me. I sized him up again. His winsome looks didn’t belong to the usual brand of vampire assassin, but to a household slave chosen for his decorative value. Still, his swift feet could kill if given the chance. Wouldn’t it be just like Giulietta to send death in such an appealing guise?
“Kurt’s counselor, Chase Powers, can vouch for me,” he continued. “Take me to him.”
“You know Chase?”
“We met in India during Kurt’s trial. He said I’d be welcome here. Please Miss. You have to believe me. I’ve come such a long way and got nowhere else to go.” Desperation filled the spooky, green eyes. They almost glowed, more like a cat’s than a man’s. “There’s probably a bounty offered for my return by now.”
“What did you do?”
“It’s not what I did. It’s what I am.” He held out his hands. Henna tattoos snaked around the wrists and tops, elaborate whirls and spirals. “The marks of my order. I’m an adept of the ancient arts.”
He was an adept? I’d always imagined these temple devotees and de facto courtesans as Indian in origin. I gave the boy a closer look. His clothing had seen better days, but the sinuous way he moved made them a fashion statement. You couldn’t deny the perfection of feature and figure required of his order. He stood out from Eamon’s mangy lot like an emerald in a box of Cracker Jacks.

For excerpts of the Immortyl Revolution Series, character profiles and the Immortyl Lexicon visit and
SOTG Denise Verrico Links
My amazon Page:
Servant of the Goddess Trade PB:
Servant of the Goddess Kindle:

Comment for one of two chances to win a download of Annals of the Immortyls.
Denise, thank you so much for your time. It's been a pleasure.


  1. Keira, thanks for having me here today!

  2. The hit count was off the charts, but everyone was so quiet :( It was a pleasure. I do hope you will return.

    Thanks Cheers,