A Little About
The Egyptian Elixir
When John Grissom and Van Helsing find themselves witnesses to an assassination attempt on the Marquis of Wellesley, they discover London's most notorious purveyor of stolen goods at the bottom of it. But his ability to influence people is odd to say the least. The vampire and the hunter investigate, but the Egyptian elixir may prove the undoing of them both.
The Egyptian Elixir is a 26k word novella, book 2 in The Unofficial Chronicles of John Grissom. It can be enjoyed as a stand alone book or as a sequel to book 1, Order of the Blood.
Author's Rating: PG-13 (It includes a scene where the hero feeds off another human, and it's a mentally sensual experience for both, though not sexual.)
Ten Things You Should Know
About Page Zaplendam
Typically, I listen to the sounds of silence. No, really, no music, just silence. I do have a playlist on youtube that is made up of a lot of Assassin's Creed soundtrack type stuff. It works for both my historical fantasy and my dark age steampunk, but generally, I have it quiet. I suppose there is that ticking clock that interferes with my concentration, but doesn't annoy me enough to actually do something about it.
2. What is the first thing you remember writing?
The first time I ever realized writing was a thing I genuinely might want to do "when I grow up" was when I won first place in a city wide short story contest for the San Antonio Express News.
A downtown hotel was being torn down and rebuilt, and in the rubble, they found a photograph portrait from the forties of a young man and woman. The idea was to create a story about who they were and how the photo ended up there.
My story for it was that a young woman from out of town is meeting her brother who is coming back from WWII. In the excitement of his entrance, she forgets the photo and it falls behind a dresser or something like that and isn't found for 60 years. When I learned that I had won, that really made me feel good.
3. At what moment did you feel like you could say, “NOW, I'm an author?”
When my first book went live! Alleluia! I did it!!!!
4. What is one of your favorite/go-to writing resources?
Ohh, tough one. Rachel Aaron's 2000-10,000 (I highly recommend) and K.M. Weiland's blog about craft and marketing for indies. Great stuff.
5. What project are you working on now?
I have book 3 in The Unofficial Chronicles of John Grissom series. It's titled The Hellhound of Derbyshire. And I'm working on finalizing publication for my third book, The Ogress' Son: A steampunk dystopia in a new dark age.
6. Do you write/read every single day?
Just about. Though not nearly as much as I would like to, given half the chance. What's hard is when I get stuck in a book and it eats up hours of my time, and then I have this avalanche of guilt for not writing instead. I justify it as some sort of therapy, lol.
7. Describe your writing space as it is right now. What would be your ideal writing space (if it's different from this)?
Ideally, I would have a chair that's comfortable, but not so comfortable that I fall asleep. I use a bench at the dining table right now, so it's not great. Or conducive to good posture. If you've ever imagined a writer as this hunched over Gollum-like creature pecking away at a keyboard, that's me. Only not so slim.
8. Do you have any other creative outlets besides writing?
YEEEESSSS. Unfortunately. I would much rather have just one. I also own an etsy shop called Keep It Light Art, where I sell handlettered prints, embroidered and painted art and quotes, all from a light, bright, and colorful perspective. It doesn't get half the attention it deserves because writing, publishing, and freelancing take up most of my spare time. But my artistic side sometimes demands release, pretty much like an over pressurized steam valve. And if I don't regularly release whatever it is, I get depressed, sad, anxious. It's weird.
9. Who are your 3 favorite characters in your book(s)?
1) John Grissom, from The Unofficial Chronicles of John Grissom series. He's a vampire bacteriologist trying to find a cure and he's just so very human, manly, but not macho, snarky, and genuine. I love him.
2) Van Helsing, also from The Unofficial Chronicles of John Grissom series. He's the grandfather of Bram Stoker's Van Helsing, he's Prussian (which means he's just chock full of warrior stuff), dry humored, 6'5" and all muscle, and also a vampire hunter (because this whole vampire hunter thing runs in the family!).
3) Slade, Ogress Poeg, for The Ogress' Son. He's in his early 20s, angry at the murder of his mother, so determined, brave, and pure. I love him for his desire to lead when he sees that it's necessary, even though he's humble and not ambitious.
10. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your writing?
First: The idea behind my writing a vampire story was to offer a plausible scenario behind the vampire narrative. I am nothing if not a realist, which, I know, sounds contradictory coming from someone who loves scifi and fantasy as much as I do. It was never plausible to me that man would lose his free will and become evil without his will being engaged - at least not without becoming mad. I wanted to address the question of what truly makes man a monster. Is it the circumstances we must live through, or our response to those circumstances?
Second: My newsletter, The Fantastical, comes out monthly. It has announcements about upcoming releases and events, shares free fiction from yours truly, and includes clean indie author recommendations, so if you're a fan of weird facts, free stuff, and insider info, you should check it out.