Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcome Erika Galpin

Hello, I'm Erika Galpin, paranormal author, writing under the pen name Erika Gilbert.
The greatest influence on my writing was my father, who took me to see the original Star Wars movies – when I was probably far too young- and raised me on Startrek and had me watching Doctor Who from when I was four. So a paranormal flavor to my writing was probably inevitable. Dad unfortunately died before realizing his dream of becoming a writer. I hope he’s proud of me.
I started writing seriously after the birth of my son over five years ago. Well, after the why-won't-he-stop-crying-and-just-sleep-stage that lasted eight months. Anyway during those insane days, when I was so tired my vision blurred I started writing seriously. Because I was so tired what I wrote didn’t always make sense but I’d been bitten by the writing bug, and it’s been with me ever since. If I’m honest actually, the ideas first started coming – in a vague sort of way - when I was pregnant. It could have been the hormones, I like to think it was the beautiful soul living inside me, but being pregnant seemed to boost my creativity. So, in more ways than one, I have my son to thank for making me put pen to paper.
A strange thing happened not long ago. My mum found a folder marked ‘writing’ amongst some of Dad’s thing. Writing in his virtually illegible scrawl, the folder was filled with story ideas, all of them science fiction. The interesting thing was that he’d written it during his stint as a travelling salesman. On the long nights away from us he comforted himself by and filled his lonely hours writing. The spooky this was that a couple of decades later, while my son was the same age I’d been I was doing exactly the same thing! I don’t know why but it’s comforting to think that at exactly the same stage in my life I followed in his footstep, and even though he’s no longer with us, I can hold that folder he wrote in all those years ago.
I was born in Kent, England but I don't remember much because by the age of two I was on my way to Australia. I stayed there just long enough to cuddle some koalas, meet a snake in the bathtub, and find a family of red backs under a log (I got in so much trouble for looking under that!). Then, when I was four I came to New Zealand. I bunny-hopped to a few cities (there's more than a drop of gypsy blood in my family) before coming to a stop in Nelson.
A couple of years ago I stumbled across the Nelson Poetry Society’s International Haiku competition. I’d always been good at Haiku at school so I thought, why not? And I entered. Again, it was my son who influenced me. I ended up winning that competition, which had drawn over seven hundred entries from around the world. And the winning poem was about my son.
Many years later, I started a story about a witch who walked into a bar and cast an alcohol nullifying spell on a glass of bourbon, so she could taste the alcohol but keep a clear head. And so Blood Talisman was born. At the time I was shopping around for publishers to submit to when I came across Noble Romance. Because the submissions called for kink I was torn. But something about Noble Romance drew me. I thought adding a bit of spice wouldn’t be too hard. I had no idea what a huge influence this change would have to my story. My skin-walkers would merely have been annoying creatures who entered people’s bodies uninvited. With the kinkiness they could do a whole lot more. I tell you, adding spice lifted the story to a whole new level, and I’m just so glad I stumbled across Noble Romance, because it changed my writing forever – in a good way!
If you like vampires, skin-walkers, witches and a touch of druid magic then check out my book here:

My latest novel, The Chameleon’s Bite, will be published by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. It’s about Jade Carver a part vampire, part Nordic goddess. This story started with the question ‘What would be the most awesome weapon a heroine could have?’ The answer was an invincible sword that could allow the wielder to do amazing things like karate, even when they’ve never practiced karate before. Of course, I didn’t want to make it too easy on my heroine so the sword has some drawbacks. Like the fact that it doesn’t always show up when the heroine needs it. Or that fact that its warning cry is an ear-piercing scream. Throw in a psychotic Chameleon that can absorb powers with a single bite and a sexy Dark Elf sent to kill the heroine, and you’ve got a fast-paced, humorous urban fantasy adventure.

Unedited Excerpt
Chapter One
Jade Carver had planned on getting completely drunk. For a vampire like her, however, there was only one way of getting there. She’d plied the human male at the bar with seven straight shots of whiskey – he was ready. But she couldn’t bring herself to drink from his vein just to get a buzz off him. She only fed out of necessity, when not feeding meant she wouldn’t be able to control herself.

“Jade Carver?”

Jade looked up into darker-than-human green eyes. “Aeron Blake.” Aeron Blake, the Paranormal Assassin Guild’s most deadly assassin. There was only one reason to be looking into those twinkling, inhuman eyes. “You’ve come to kill me.” Not a question.

“You should be flattered,” Aeron said. “They don’t usually send me for just one little vampire.”

Very flattering. “A Dark Elf assassin. I am a lucky girl.”

“It should be an interesting fight,” Aeron observed mildly.

“I agree.” If only it weren’t to the death.

Aeron slid into the barstool next to her as if he had all the time in the world. “Is it true what they say?”

“They say a lot of things.”

“They do,” he said giving her an amused look. “I’m talking about the rumor that you summoned a vengeance god to kill the master vampire that made you.”

“Yeah, that one’s true.” It hadn’t been one of her finer moments.

She’d been one of the Guild’s most successful assassins, building up a body count rivaled only by this man. Until the Master of the local vamp nest, tired of having his vampires assassinated, decided to make an example of her. He could have killed her. She wished he had. Instead he’d condemned her to a fate far worse than death. He’d made her into a vampire.

Jade’s solution had been to call up Vidar, the Celtic god of vengeance. The Master Vampire had ruined her life after all; you couldn’t very well slay vampires if you were one. So she’d sent the vengeance god to kill the vampire master, thereby freeing her from his control. Which he did. And that was great. But then he asked for something in return, which Jade had stupidly agreed to.

“They say the vengeance god had a favor to ask in return,” Aeron said as if he could read her thoughts.

Vidar had got it into his thick, godly head that it would be fun for her to feed on him. He’d seen how happy such play made the human blood slaves at the master vampire’s nest. The afterlife was proving to be a bit slow in the halls of Valhalla. Apart from the odd jaunt back to earth when summoned, every day was pretty much the same. He’d wanted to try something different.

Who had Jade been to argue? He was a hunky, tall, extremely buff Nordic type, after all. He’d looked like good eating. So she’d done it. And it had been fun.

“That one’s true as well.”

Jade knew the paranormal assassin’s guild might not trust her now that she was a vampire and capable of killing anyone, but she hadn’t thought they’d try and kill her for it.

“I’ve never killed a part-god part-vampire before,” Aeron declared.

She wouldn’t be his first, not if she could help it.

Aeron drew an elfin throwing blade from each sleeve. He’d been right; things were about to get interesting. Elf-blades were magically connected to their elf owners from birth. Throwing a blade wasn’t the end of it. The blade continued to answer an elf’s mental commands long after leaving their hand. She’d seen one such blade stab a man twenty times all while its elf owner stood by.

The few patrons of the bar scattered at the sight of Aeron’s weapons.

Aeron was the type to unleash his twin blades and then sit back with a box of popcorn to watch the show.

He looked her up and down. “Tell you what, I’ll make it easier for you, shall I?”

“What are you going to do, tie one hand behind your back?” He could have tied both behind his back. The blades would do all the work for him.

He grinned. “I could close my eyes?”

Jade had had about enough of his cockiness. “How about I close my eyes?” So she did. She pulled her shirt over her head, glad she had a tank top underneath, and wrapped the material around her head.

The Dark Elf muttered hastily, “Okay, okay me too.”

Jade could hear what sounded like a shirt being removed. She peeked under the blindfold. Wow. Dark Elves certainly had a nice glow to their smooth, tanned skin, didn’t they? And nice six-packs. And nice biceps. And . . . she snapped the blindfold back in place. Not looking at his naked torso was definitely a good idea right now.

There was a whisper, inaudible to human ears, as Jade unsheathed her blade. The Elf would have heard it. The blade was known as Skraela Svero, or screaming sword, because it let out a cry that got louder as the danger increased. Jade couldn’t see why she couldn’t have been given something called a singing sword that let out a nice warning melody.

“What’s that?” It was his turn to peek. “Oh, you have a sword. Hum, I didn’t notice.”

The Blade didn’t show itself. Not unless it wanted to be seen. As soon as she placed it in the sheath down her back it seemed to melt away. Despite its size, the large Katana seemed to weigh very little - most of the time. Unless it was itching for a fight. Like now.

So far Jade had used the sword to decapitate a handful of vampires, silly creatures who had gotten it into their undead heads that she needed paying back for the death of their master. As far as she was concerned they were free vampires now. They should have thanked her.

That had been just child’s play. This would be her first real fight since becoming a goddess.

“It was nice meeting you, Jade Carver. You’re an interesting young woman.” Aeron released his blades.


Rhobin said...

My father wrote, too, but he gave us his stories. I treasure each one.
Excellent excerpt. I'll be waiting for this one.

L. K. Below said...

Wow, Erika, that sounds awesome! And I think it's amazing that you're sharing your journey with your son as inspiration. :)

Charlie said...

So great to put a 'face' to you Erika. Enjoyed your bio and your exerpt sounds exciting. Great job.

A.B.Gayle said...

I love the story about how you got into writing, Erika. I'm sure your Dad would be very proud of you.

Have you ever thought about developing any of his story ideas? Even as shorts? It would be an interesting collaboration.

Good luck with the writing.

M. L. Archer said...

Lol! What an awesome excerpt! Loved reading it and learning a bit more about you, Erika! nicely done!

Michele Archer

Erika Gilbert said...

Thank you for your comments everyone :) Yes Alison, I'd love to finish one of dad's stories. Wouldn't it be great to have both our names on one?

Cora said...

The parallel from father to daughter and now from daughter to son is great. Even though I don't read to many vampire stories, the excerpt is interesting. I enjoyed the read.

Erika Gilbert said...

Thanks, Cora!

Do you know what's funny? My son's writing is very similar to mine as a child. It's full of monsters and scariness, though that might just be a six year old boy thing.

KayDee said...

Erika, I love the excerpt of Jade and Aeron's first meeting. Nice pick on your part - you've left me hanging for more. Fantasy romance, yum, my favorite.
I also love the thought that your father and your son share responsibility in your jump to writer-hood. Thank you for sharing your beginnings.
Kay Dee Royal

Erika Gilbert said...

Thanks Kay Dee, I'm glad you liked it :)

S.Durham said...

Erika, lovely about your son boosting your creativity from the womb. And I remember those sleepless nights. Your excerpt definitely hooked me in, I love paranormal! Look forward to its release too. Boy I am going to go broke buying all these books, but it will be worth it!