Saturday, May 21, 2011

How Lucien Demarco became a Vampire Guest Blog and Giveaway with Laura Kaye

A great big thanks to Roxanne for hosting me and Forever Freed here today! Forever Freed is the story of a reclusive empathic vampire who falls in love with a woman he planned to kill and her young daughter, who must overcome his bloodlust, ancient guilt, lie by omission, and an ancient vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear. In celebration of the novel’s RELEASE YESTERDAY (w00t!), I wanted to offer a little peek into the backstory of the hero, Lucien Demarco.

Because, see, when I first drafted Forever Freed, it was 50,000 words longer than the published book. As I reworked the story for publication, I quickly realized that the first 60,000 words that took the reader from Lucien’s family’s arrival in New York City until the point where he meets Samantha and Olivia Sutton, at the beginning of Forever Freed, were things I as the writer needed to know about Lucien, but not necessarily things the reader needed to know—at least not in that book. So I now have the makings of a verra, verra nice prequel on my hands. It will be called Forever Damned and I will likely self publish it—stay tuned for details!

Lucien Demarco was born on a farm outside of Modena, Italy, on November 2, 1858. He, his wife Lena, and their 3-year-old daughter Isabetta arrived at New York City through Ellis Island on October 29, 1894. They were part of a massive wave of Italian immigrants who came to the United States in the decades around the turn of the century. The Demarcos shared a flat with Lucien’s cousins Lorenzo and Alberto so Lucien could make enough money to move further west and, as a family, they decided to move to move to Colorado before the next summer where Lucien would take a job with the railroad.

The following scene from the unpublished prequel occurred on May 13, 1895, just weeks before their intended move:

I came home after midnight from a double shift at the ice company—my third one in a row. The extra money would provide security for our move out to Colorado and, since the trip was in just two weeks, I intended to push as hard as I could. Still, my bones ached down to their marrow and my now bulkier muscles screamed from all the heavy lifting the job entailed.

Utter stillness gripped the heavy, dark air inside the tenement. My feet echoed loudly through the wooden stairwell, and I stopped at the top of the first flight of steps to pull my boots off, hoping to avoid disturbing anyone. I padded down the hall, passed the Grossis’ partly open door, then continued up the steps only half awake, struggling to focus my gaze.


My eyes snapped opened and the fog flew from my brain. I looked around, trying to secure my bearings in the darkness when I sensed someone there. “Cousin?” I whispered loudly. No response.

I jogged up the remaining steps and rounded the rickety banister at the top. At my flat, I searched in the dark for the door, but instead of finding its flat, rough plane, I found a void where the door should’ve been. With my hand out in front of me, I moved into the room, intent on the table where one of the oil lanterns sat waiting.

I pitched forward, my foot catching on something unseen, and landed on a warm

firmness. I was so disoriented that I no longer knew which way to go to find the table. I cursed myself the noise I’d made—everyone was as tired as me from the long work week. I didn’t want to disturb them, but nothing about the layout of the things I found on the floor made sense. Perhaps I’d entered the wrong flat in my exhaustion.

I hit my head and bit back a curse. My hands told me I’d encountered the wooden leg of the table, and I felt my way into a standing position. Palming the surface of the table, I located the box of matches and the lantern. The match flared as I struck it. I lit the wick and turned.

A yowl worked its way up my throat, but a tightening there choked it off. Lorenzo and Alberto lay on the floor, their bodies bent at unnatural angles. Alberto lay face up, neck chewed into a grisly pulp, bulging eyes open but no longer seeing.

My heart slammed against my rib cage. My girls.

Lena!” I bolted to the door, The Lord’s Prayer reciting in an automatic loop in the back of my mind.

The dark barrier flew open just as I reached for the handle.

An odd sensation gripped my body, commanded my muscles to freeze.

The man in the doorway was tall, his short black hair set off skin so pale it seemed translucent, and his face was distinguished by glowing red eyes and flushed wet, red lips. A shadow moved behind him on the very bed I shared with Lena, where she lay sleeping, waiting for me to come home to her.

Dread spilled down my spine like ice water. My sprinting heart jumped into my throat, further choking off my breathing. My muscles strained to go to her, but I was at a complete loss to control my mind or body. The man…creature…held me with his eyes. “Le . . . Le,” I attempted, my head shuddering back and forth in an effort to shake the daze.

A guttural growl rumbled from the bed, distracting the man in front of me, releasing me from his restraint. I charged forward, intent on knocking the crouching creature away from the bed, away from the center of my life.

Lena!” I shouted as I breached the door. I ran headlong into what felt like a steel bar.

A stabbing, crushing pain stole the precious little air I had. Broken ribs. The bar smashed into my face then, unleashing a brilliant explosion of white-hot agony as I flew in a heap against the wall. Crumpled against the dirty wooden floor. My blurred gaze passed over Isabetta’s small cot. Empty. I groaned, used the last of my energy coughing up a stream of dark liquid. Lena’s and Isabetta’s names echoed in my dimming consciousness, but I had not enough strength to make my lips move.

Bone-crushing sorrow squeezed my chest, leaked down my face.

My only solace was that we would be together soon.

The lonely darkness closed in on me, but I welcomed it, welcomed what must surely await on the other side.

Then I was floating. A searing pain pierced my neck and radiated in all directions, lifting a bit of the black fog. I was aware of free falling and of the splintering crack of my head against the floor.

Snippets of conversation filtered through the blackness. An accented voice said, “We must go now, Lazar…” An outraged snarl rumbled over me.

Then thick rain was falling on my face, into my mouth. A spicy electric warmth exploded on my tongue. My whole being seized, every muscle contracted. Air fled my lungs. My heart tripped, then thundered.

“Very helpful,” an angered whisper rasped. “Come.” Footsteps thrummed against the wooden floorboards.

Wheezing, choking on my own blood, my body writhed and lurched.

And then I ceased to be.

So, now you know what happened the night Lucien Demarco died and turned.

What do you think? Would you want to know about the prior human life of a vampire hero? Would you want to see those messy first moments of vampiric life?

For more Lucien Demarco:

--Watch the trailer

--Read the reviews

--Buy the book (print & ebook)

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Roxanne and Fang-tastic Books!

Laura Kaye

Find Laura on the interwebz:




Twitter: @laurakayeauthor

Publisher Website:


Be sure to take advantage of the 5th Anniversary discount from through May 31!

25% off all titles - use code 18b632d0b0 - to get Hearts in Darkness & Forever Freed for 25% off

5 people who send Laura purchase receipts dated Saturday May 21 or Sunday May 22 for FOREVER FREED's ebook or paperback from any bookseller will receive a free copy of HEARTS IN DARKNESS ebook in pdf format and signed sets of her Romance Trading Cards for both books!

Winners to be announced Monday morning.


lindsey hutchison said...

i would say yes i would want to know my life before being a vampire the good and the bad could be what forms the type of vampire i would be. as for the first few minutes yes i would want to know that too. i go into everything with my eyes wide open. everything can teach you a lesson or help chose your path

meggerfly said...

I'd love to read about a vampire pre-turning. I'd like to see the changes that they go through. Both in personality and eating habits.

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks for Roxanne for hosting me here today!

Laura Kaye said...

@lindsey--I agree, Lucy--what kind of person he was would definitely shape what kind of vampire he becomes!

@meggerfly--that's the cool thing, you can really see the character development! And the human scenes make the loss so much more heartwrenching!

Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

Laura said...

You bet, Laura! Got me hooked.

Laura Kaye said...

Woot! Glad to hear, Laura! Thanks for stopping by!

Leni said...

Yes, I'd love to know about the prior life of a vampire and the first few years of the vampire life. I want to know everything :)

wanda f said...

I love to hear about a vampires life pre-fang and aboutr the mishaps and thing they go through after turning .

Laura Kaye said...

@Leni & @wandaf - Good to know! I too think showing a vampire when he was still human makes for an interesting comparison! Glad you stopped by!

Laura Kaye said...

Huge thanks to Fang-tastic Books for hosting me and Forever Freed!

Laura Kaye said...

I'm picking two winners in my giveaway - one who commented here and one who sent me a purchase receipt (which were the original giveaway terms). So...the winners are:

Megan Root
Wanda F

I have both of your email addresses and will follow up with the ebook of HEARTS IN DARKNESS!


Melissa Jarvis said...

I definitely would love to see what happens pre-turn. I always thought that the second of Anne Rice's vampire series was the most interesting because it went into Lestat's life before he became a vampire. I write time travel, and did a prequel as to how it came about.

denver co truck accident attorney said...

To answer your question at the bottom of your post. Definitely a 'Yes!'

LadyVampire2u said...

Yes, I would want to know the background of the character and his or her rough start. I think the less then perfect background helps round out their character.

LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

Laura Kaye said...

@Melissa @denver @LadyVampire -- Man, I love hearing that! I, too, like to know the man behind the vamp! Thanks for reading and commenting!