All Things Writing

A Sneak Peak at My Vampire Novel, The App

February 13, 2021 Bryan the Writer Season 2 Episode 5
All Things Writing
A Sneak Peak at My Vampire Novel, The App
Show Notes Transcript

As a reminder, if there is any topic you want me to cover on the show, I am more than happy to entertain requests. Just drop me a line at [email protected].

The show, thanks to you all, is going to smash, or will nearly smash a thousand downloads in the month of February or get really close. Most of you are listening to me on iheart radio. Love iheart radio, and no they did not pay me to say that. I actually do listen to iheart radio as well as SyriusXM when I listen to tunes or podcasts.

Do you like vampires? Of course you do, who doesn't. Okay, other than Dr. von Helsing. But, I promise you that most of the world does, if the gazillions of dollars that has been spent on the genre is any indication.

The vampire novel I am writing is called, The App. It is, naturally, a working title, subject to change, but that is what I am going with for now since calling it That One Book I am Working On, just seems silly.

In todays show I am going to dive into The App and talk about the main characters a bit. Where they came from, and why I wrote them the way I wrote them. Hope you enjoy this week's episode of All Things Writing!

This week, in addition to talking about the book I am working on right now, in depth as it turned out, I am also thanking the good people of Old Ox Brewery. Come on out and visit their locations in Ashburn or Middleburg, Virginia.

As always, any donations to the program are greatly appreciated! 

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Greetings and welcome to the show. This is your host with the most Bryan the Writer. 

Now, if numbers tell us anything, you guys are interested in things like copyright and ISBN, but not as interested in that kind of thing than you are more personal stories and interviews. So I promise I will try to keep those dryer kind of topics to a dull roar. But remember, this is all things writing and we do, from time to time, have to get into those kinds of things. I do promise to try, as I did with the copywrite and ISBN shows, to try and make them at least somewhat interesting. But we won’t avoid those topics. It’s just kind of the way it all works.

Never fear, this week I bring you something completely different. And, as a reminder, if there is any topic you want me to cover on the show, I am more than happy to entertain requests. Just drop me a line at [email protected].

The show, thanks to you all, is going to smash, or will nearly smash a thousand downloads in the month of February or get really close. Most of you are listening to me on iheart radio. Love iheart radio, and no they did not pay me to say that. I actually do listen to iheart radio as well as SyriusXM when I listen to tunes or podcasts.

Right now the good people of West Lake Stevens, Washington are my number one fans. San Jose, California held that spot for a couple of weeks. So, to the people of West Lake Stevens, I say hello! West Lake Stevens is this cool little town Northwest of Seattle and just a hair east of Everett Naval Station. Great place to get out and hike.

Dallas Texas is slightly behind West Lake Stevens by like one percentage point. For my Dallas Texas listeners, I have a tidbit of info for you. I actually once lived in Killeen Texas and almost ended up moving to Austin Texas. Worked down there for the Bell County Sheriff’s Department as a correctional officer. I still have my badge proudly displayed here in my office. Really enjoyed Texas, who knows, with my health issues I may end up there again one day. I hate the cold. So, welcome people of Dallas.

Remember ladies and gents, if you want to sponsor a show, I have plenty of spots open $15 for a single show and $30 for a month. I will plug your business, you book, your whatever on the air. I am cheap and can be bought easy. Wait a minute, that just sounded wrong. LOL as the cool kids say. If you are interested, reach out to me at [email protected]

Alright, today I wanted to dig a bit into my current work in progress. If you think this is a shameless plug for my own book, you are at least a partially right, but I do want to go into how and where these characters came into being and what parts of myself I see in each of these characters.

I am deliberately being a tad introspective here. My therapist would be super happy to hear that I am sure. So, here we go. 

My current work in progress, or WIP, as we call it in the biz, is a vampire novel. So first lets talk about why I went vampires this time. Honestly, there are a few different reasons which coalesced all at once in my life to make this a sort of odds-on favorite choice.

I am first and foremost a horror or a paranormal thriller writer. So, vampires has always been firmly in my wheelhouse in terms of subject matter.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite horror movies, and still my favorite if we are being truthful about it, was Dracula with Bela Lugosi. Some of my favorite quotes come from that movie, “Listen to them. Children of the night, what music they make.” 

My apologies to the ghost of Bela and the Lugosi family for butchering that line. As a side note, Bela’s son, is still alive and as of this recording is 84 and living in Los Angeles, Calfiornia. He is an attorney and has had very little to do with Hollywood, based on his father’s advice to stay out of it.

Now, Dracula was, of course, written by Bram Stoker. Many of you who follow the show will remember that I recently did a review of the book, Dracul, which was written by the great grand nephew of Bram, Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker. Dacre is one of my favorite people and I immensely enjoyed reading his book. Check out the October 12th episode of All things Writing to listen to that review.

I have watched the classic Nosferatu, and some of the less memorable vampire movies. Never been a huge fan of the sparkly, teenage, vampires. They are not really my thing. Vampires, in my humble opinion, are things of the darkness. They need to feed and they are always in search of their next victim.

So, let’s fast forward to more modern times. I have read the book Dracula. I think if you are going to be a serious writer you really have to as it is an example of epistolary writing. That is to say it is written on a series of exchanges between the main characters.

This is hard to pull off, in my opinion, but Bram Stoker really does it well and that is what is truly amazing about the book. Now, Dracul, by his great grand nephew and Mr. Barker also do this well too. As a matter of fact, I am not sure there could be a better prequel to Dracula. 

Why do I bring this up? Well, Dracula sets the stage for what we know of vampires. As a matter of fact, it sets the rules, which are constantly broken, by the way, for vampire stories to follow. For example, there is this idea that vampires will turn to dust when light hits them. We see this most recently in the BBC show, Dracula. Where Sister Agatha Von Helsing uses light to imprison Dracula. Actually, in Stoker’s world, vampires do not do this in the light, they just weaken to the point of vulnerability, to be almost human like in their frailty.

Which leads me to my work. It is, as of this writing, called simply The App. But as with all things, that title will likely change over time. Before I started this, I did do a little more digging into the vampire mythos. That is not to say I did not take some liberties with my vampire. I did, but not so much that he is out of the realm completely.

Let me introduce you to my vampire, his name is Prescott Bates. He is the head of a multi-billion dollar company which specializes in cyber solutions for companies and government, called Bates International.

Prescott Bates was born into a world that doesn’t exist anymore. Born the son of Baron von Bates, the baron of a long since vanished baronet in Romania, he was converted by his uncle. I don’t go into why it was that his uncle turned him in the first place, but that is really not terribly important to the story. 

I find that a lot of vamps are pretty much two dimensional in that they are really only after one thing. Blood. Bates goes onto explain why it is that he needs the blood. What is it that the blood is good for and that really is important to the story.

I did a good amount of research into it I think I have decided that in the world of Prescott Bates, blood is really only a mechanism for delivering life force to vampires. The other products of blood are not relevant to vampires at all. What he does is invent a new way to secure what he wants. Enter, Mindbenders.

Prescott searches high and low for the best and the brightest and he stands up a special project called Peperit. It is Latin for birth and he selects this word purposely because he sees this as a re-birth of the vampire race. Once complete he will no longer need to feed and will have achieved his ultimate goal of true mortality. Because, as Prescott points out, vampires are not truly immortal. They just live a very long time.

Are you intrigued yet? Well, then, let me introduce you to the real reason I wrote the book in the first place. Right after these messages, where I freshen up my beer from Old Ox. I know I have mentioned them before.

Old Ox did not pay me for this plug, I just really love those guys out there. Right now I am drinking an “I am Brut” which is easily one of my favorite beers ever made. It has everything in beer that I love.

But that is not the only thing I have on hand from them. My go to has been The Golden Ox. So, here is a message about podcasting and I will be right back.


At the top of the program I introduced to you Prescott Bates. As you can imagine, the antagonist of this story is Prescott. So, let’s take a few moments to meet our protagonist, Ms. Cecelia Nwadke. Or Cece as we call her. 

A little bit about where this idea came from. First off I have to tell you that she is born out of an idea, or more precisely an idea I hate. 

Think back to all of the depictions of the legendary von Helsing you have ever heard. It is always a white old dude who show up with a bag full of medicine bottles and wisdom from years of studying the unusual. But, here’s the thing that really bothered me.

Today, we still keep that idea alive. But why? I am curious about what happened to the von Helsing line after this old white dude. I propose this idea. The von Helsing line finds its way to the continent of Africa. Let us say that this is for research into the dreaded Asanbosam, which is what they call a vampire like creature on the continent. Being a young researcher, Abraham von Helsing is taken with a young lady in the village he makes his base. Nature, of course, takes its course and nine months later a baby is born.

Cece only knows the story from her grandmother. As it turns out, Kakarsa, as she is called in her native tongue, had lots of secrets.

This idea I had is not without cause. There have been a few writings along the vampire mythos which speak of a son or children of Dr. von Helsing. From my quick research there is also a character in a video game based on the von Helsing line. It is either in the Bela Lugosi movie or Bram Stoker’s book that suggests von Helsing does not have any children.

So, it is true, I am very loosely borrowing from parts of the story which are not exactly cannon, but I also point out that we cannot be 100% sure if Professor Abraham von Helsing had children or not, and will add that this is also a work of fiction.

At any rate, back to Cece. Events intercede in Cece’s life which put her directly on a collision course with the vampire who may, or may not, have ended her grandmother’s life. I am purposely not specific on that idea since I really do want to make sure and leave enough on the bone for books two and three, which are living in a quick little note on my desk. I mean, just tiny scribbles.

Cece is, in some ways, antithetical to the normal picture we have of a von Helsing. She is a black single mother. She is unsure of herself from a life which has it in for her. But still, the flicker of self-reliance has not been completely snuffed out as he insists on doing things her own way at under her own power, a fact that her tutor points out to her at one point.

She works two jobs to put food on the table and take small steps at the community college where she is studying cyber security. She sees this is an area where she could actually make a good living and not just scrape away at the life she has always known. But Cece also gets cyber. For her it is something that just clicks and it wetted her appetite in ways that she can’t easily express. It is a super geeky thing, but she really loves the topic.

Enter Jake and his fiancé Fallon. Jake and Fallon are major characters and they make up a friendship which extends through the book. Jake is Cece’s tutor and Fallon takes on the role of a shoulder to cry on as things start to unravel in a very strange way.

It is Jake that puts Cece in contact with Prescott Bates. He is present when the two first shake hands. Why is this important? Well, it is the handshake that wakes up the blood in Cece’s veins which reminds her of things in her past. Things like the training her grandmother put her through as a child and little snippets of conversations about otherworldly things.

Yes, it is that handshake which wakes up the long dormant gene of being a von Helsing. The quality which she inherited from her Great-Great Grandfather Hr. Dr. Prof. Abraham von Helsing. But here is the kicker. While Prescott Bates suspects, Cece still has no idea. She only knows that after shaking his hand, she did not feel right.

Not too long after, a few other strange thing happen which involve Roland, which I will not spoil, which take our heroine down a rabbit hole in search of answers. It was her sister, the family genealogist, who actually provided the last piece of the puzzle where she casually mentions they were related to a royal family in Europe. She knew this because the name was von something. Cece presses her sister to look through her notes and she comes up with the name von Helsing, closing the logic loop we need to get to our climax in the story line.

It is also this time that we find out that Prescott Bates is being sought by something not of this world. We begin to set up some of the trusses and scaffolding for the next book in the series which we will find out that two things are true. The first of those is the idea that maybe not all good guys are quite so good. And secondly, sometimes the bad guy has a reason for being bad. We also are going to find out a little more about her son Roland who, in the events of the next book is a teenager and discovers something extraordinary.

But that is book two, so I am getting ahead of myself.

Suffice it to say the Prescott also understands his connection with Cece. He doesn’t say as much, but this troubles him. He has worked long and hard to design a system which will allow him to achieve something no vampire has ever achieved. He wants true immortality, and he does not care how he gets there. 

Now, I think I should point out that Bates does take lives at will. He does not have high regard for humans, but he does let is slip in a few places that he really doesn’t want things to be the way they are. He actually pines for a time when vampires lived in relative peace with the humans. There was a certain symbiosis which was attained. That was disrupted when the Christians took it upon themselves to wipe the vampires from the face of the earth.

He even tries to buy Cece off at one point. He wants her to just quietly let him finish his work. He would pay her off handsomely, even let her keep the company car he let her use from the motor pool, in exchange for just letting him be to complete his work on project pepirit. 

Cece knows herself well enough, and truth be told, so does Prescott, that she could not just walk away. Prescott sees too much of her grandmother in Cece. Prescott has a lot of respect for Cece’s grandmother. Although he does not say it, I plan to throw it into the next book, her grandmother does spend a lot of time talking to Prescott. They respected each other in the way prey and predator might if they were equally matched on the field of battle.

No, I didn’t set out to make the character of Cece African American. As I have mentioned before, I just start writing and the characters develop in my head as they will. That is just what shakes out. Her son Roland is fun. Good kid with latent talents I am looking forward to exploring later on.

But, I also need to point out that Cece is not without cause in the sense that she did not just happen in my brain. She is loosely pattered on someone from a place that I worked who was a force of nature unto herself. She could do anything she set her mind to, but she also understood the value of patience. She was born into a difficult situation and pulled herself up from her bootstraps to achieve something that no one ever had achieved in her family.

At one point she tells Jake that her grandfather would tell her to get a seamstress job, is actually from a real story she told me when we were discussing how old ideas get stuck in families. We were talking about mindsets and biases, when she brought that story up. 

While the character of Cece is organic, it was based on a real person I know.

I hoped I wetted your appetite for the vampire book I am working on right now. But, you still have to wait since there are a few things that have to happen before it is ready for prime time. This was just a quick peek behind the veil of an upcoming work.

For next week, it is my hope to have my good friend Katherine McIntyre on. She is an amazing author and editor. We are going to talk about all kinds of stuff. You will most certainly not want to miss that program.

For All Things Writing, this is Bryan the Writer, signing off!