Thursday, January 28, 2016

Denise Covey on Setting and Story

Thanks for having me today, Misha, and allowing me to share how my paranormal story grew from the setting I imagined.


When I first imagine a story, … I take time to create in my mind a picture of the setting (being as I am addicted to setting in the stories I read). I love Italy and have spent time wandering around Tuscany, imagining all the turbulent history that this region has seen. The first Gothic novels were set in Italy and it's not hard to see why -- the tempestuous history, the castles dotted all over the countryside, the crumbling villas, the nobility's constant plotting, the cruel papal wars and much more.

I imagined a castle (castello) where my protagonist, Duke Vipunin, would live, a castle surrounded by ramparts, walls, vineyards with a backdrop of mountains with werewolves howling to create an unsettling atmosphere. 

Under the Tuscan … Moon has its fair share of Gothic elements, and what better setting than a much-loved castle for Vipunin to lose when he is turned one spectacular night by the Queen of the Vampires? No longer Duke Vipunin, he becomes Vampire Vipunin, but he still longs for his castle his old life which revolved around wine production.

Extract One and Two are from - The Vendemmia (The Harvest) - when Vipunin is a Duke of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
"Vipunin … turned, leaned back against the parapets and admired his castello. How beautiful the travertine appeared tonight with the lights reflecting on the pale rose bricks and illuminating the niches where white marble crèche figures shone alabaster. He had rescued these exquisite statues from a crumbling palazzo in Venice when on his yearly visit to pay homage to the Doge. Here at his home they were on display – so finely carved, baroque in proportion – rather than decaying at the bottom of the Canal Grande.

Inhaling … the fragrance of grape that permeated the air, he loved how the perfume jostled with the scent of carefully-tended lilies and lavenders from his walled garden. Red roses trailed over the high walls in a bright splash of color, their breath-choking scent lacing the air. At times they overpowered even the smell of roasting pigs that would feed those gathered within his walls this night."

Of course, he doesn’t know that the Queen of the Vampires has him in her sights.

In my head I imagined Vipunin's castello as Brolio Castle in Siena, close to where the action in my story takes place in the Chianti region.

The castle of Brolio was caught in the middle of … the conflict between Siena and Florence, then it was attacked many times in the seventeenth century, the time of my story. The castle is surrounded by the largest vineyards in the Chianti region. You can walk on the ramparts for splendid sights of the Chianti region, much as I draw Vipunin surveying his 'Dukedom' one fateful night.

I wanted this arrogant duke to … suffer. I catch his emotions as, now a vampire, he watches in the forest as a young couple he recognises eat and drink:
"Vipunin … gritted his teeth as he recalled the richness of the wine he once drank from his favorite pewter goblet while he watched the sun set over his vines. He could taste it now, wild and musky, swirling around his mouth. Once his life had revolved around the pleasures of the harvest, the pleasures of women, and the pleasures of wine-making.

He turned his attention back to the male and female, watched as they sipped from silver goblets engraved with a family crest. A thirst more powerful than his thirst for human blood overcame him. He … drank nothing but blood, but now he longed to pour every delicious drop of that wine down his aching throat."

 Under the Tuscan Moon

A paranormal romance

Book One – Cassia


Within the velvety Tuscan sky, a harvest moon glows like liquid amber. Mysterious shadows seep noxiously through the unsuspecting forest, preying on the vulnerable, whose blinded gaze mocks their senses.
A man.
A woman.
Forever locked in a sensual embrace.
A werewolf howls…
A cloak swishes…
Alabaster flesh waits to be torn.
Timing is everything in the Danse Macabre.
On this night the nectar of revenge is at its sweetest.
Just ask Vipunin…
“Who is Vipunin?” you ask.
A tormented soul, longing to recapture the life stolen from him a century ago. His wait is finally over. His love, Ciassia, has returned and she will be by his side for eternity…
Or so he thinks… 


"Book One, Ciassia…the first in a collection of exquisitely-written Gothic paranormal romances.
Feel the passion...the longing...the desire…"
"Eternal life in the dark world is forever the moment of transition from light to darkness, an ageless and inescapable fact of a Vampire’s existence, in which the past is often a haunting and taunting memory. Tense,  engrossing, and chilling."
Francine Howarth 

The setting is ethereal, the moon mystic and the introduction to all the characters filled with drama and thrills. Written with genuine vampire mythology in mind I loved not only the setting, Tuscany, which was beautifully portrayed but the descriptive scrumptiousness of the offerings whether, human, blood or cheese and wine.
Yolanda Renee

You think you've read vampire tales before. You haven't. Not until your eyes feast on Under The Tuscon Moon. I know you want to read this luscious story of intrigue and vampires. Buy it. I give it five stars. Cheers to Ms. Covey for this most original, beautiful story of love and vampires.
Robyn Campbell 

Denise Covey hails from that land Down Under, where she publishes flash fiction, short stories and travelogues in Australian magazines. When not writing, she teaches English Lit to her rapt senior students who think it’s 'way cool' to have a writer as a teacher. Under the Tuscan Moon is her first, but not last, paranormal romance. Denise has decided it’s 'way cool' to live in a world of vampires, angels, demons and werewolves.

Join Denise on blogger, on Word Press, on  facebook, twitterpinterestwattpad

Thanks for stopping by, Denise! 

What about you, ladies and gents? Where is your current WiP set? If you're not working on anything, where is your favorite place in the world? 

Before I go, please go check out my newest book announcement. I'm looking for some more blog tour stops. Pretty please?


  1. Love reading how you craft your scenes. I've not been to Tuscany yet but hope to this summer when I travel to Italy. My W.I.P. is set in Ohio with a prairie (yes, Ohio does have prairies). I actually had a half-acre prairie garden when I lived in Ohio a few years back. The beauty of the native flowers and grasses was intoxicating to me and so I used this setting for my protagonist to meet her hero for the first time.

  2. I'm often inspired by setting first and foremost. If I have a setting in mind, then the plot of a story begins to materialise. Great post!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great place to set your story. And a bitter life your Vipunin must live...

  4. Congrats. Each writer has to set the story just right for the reader.

  5. Setting is as important as characters. You have to set the right mood- and it sounds like you did. Best of luck!

  6. I especially like the part about how he was jealous of the people drinking wine; based on the shows I've seen that featured vampires, they usually like to drink blood, so it's interesting to read about it from a different perspective.

  7. Great post! Congrats on your book.

  8. I love Tuscany myself, great choice for a book! Our family is from there originally:)

  9. Setting is important to me, too. How can you hope to transport a reader to another, unfamiliar world unless you can picture it vividly in your own mind?

  10. Hi, Denise! Hi, Misha!

    Denise, I enjoyed reading it all over again. You descriptions are just beautiful! Well done! AH... I wish I was there now...

    Even sharing a glass of chianti with Count Vipunin... LOL.

  11. Em-Musing, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. Ohio as you describe it, sounds wonderful. I'll look forward to reading more...

    Nicola, you sound much like me. I get the setting firing up first, then the characters dance into the story.

    Sheena Kay... not every reader will relate, but we can only write what we love, and the places we love.

    Elizabeth, yes, I agree. Setting is super important and I always see it as a character.

    Neurotic Workaholic...yes, in my story Vipunin only drinks blood, but he hasn't forgotten the delicious wine he once produced.

    shelly...thank you!

    Mark, what a wonderful heritage. I wouldn't mind living in Tuscany permanently.

    Botanist..right you are. The imagined setting must be vivid before you can communicate it to your reader.

    Michael...ah, one day soon I will return and drink Chianti and imagine Vipunin watching and plotting.

  12. Hi Misha. Thank you so much for having me today. I'm enjoying the comments and the encouragement. It's great to be on your blog.

    Denise :-)

  13. Hi Misha - how lovely to see Denise here. A setting in Italy, the Gothic element, the ancient castle walls, and tiny streets ... the ethereal landscape - is a great way to set a novel up ... I can see it now. While I love the cover for Ciassia ... cheers to you both - Hilary

  14. The setting in your book is a character and no one does setting better than you!
    Congratulations on your release and this wonderful tour! All while traveling! Talk about multitasking! :)

  15. Thanks Hilary and Yolanda! You're great friends to have. Your comments are kind and encouraging. Heh, heh, Yolanda, I know a thing or two about multi-tasking! Otherwise, I'd never write anything!

  16. You make Tuscany come alive before the reader's eyes through your evocative descriptions of the landscape and your detailed knowledge of the period. UtTM is a superb read, rich in atmospheric details.

    1. Thanks so much Nilanjana! I loved working with this setting.

  17. I can sympathise with Vipunin - I cannot imagine never to be able to enjoy a glass of wine ever again. Tragedy.

    Wish you luck with it Denise.


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