Posts Tagged ‘erica hayes


the middle of the book. oh, yeah.

I have a new release out this week, which is really awesome 🙂

It’s SHADOWGLASS, book 2 in my Shadowfae Chronicles series. Check the cover. Isn’t it preeetty? You can read a blurb and excerpt at my website.

I’m also 50K into my work-in-progress. About halfway.

Yeah. It’s that time again. Y’all know what I’m talking about. “Eww. This has got to be the worst book EVER. How did I ever believe this was a good idea? What was I thinking? Maybe I’ll just bin the whole thing and start again. Better still, bin the whole thing and DON’T start again. Ever. Because, you know. I suck.”

It’s not good for motivation. Every word I write seems dull or awkward or just plain stupid. My characters seem false and idiotic. The plot I’ve dumped them in seems like a tangled mess.

Of course, none of this is real. I’m just caught in that crazy netherworld called the Middle of the Book.

So I just keep writing. I say to myself, ‘Self, get a grip. This wasn’t a terrible idea when you outlined it two months ago. If it was a terrible idea, your editor wouldn’t have approved it. So it can’t possibly be a terrible idea now. And no, you haven’t forgotten how to write a sentence that sparks, and your vocab hasn’t mysteriously dissolved overnight.

You’re just lazy, self. Lazy and tired, true, but who’s ever not tired? So just stick to the outline — which is GOOD, by the way, same as it was two months ago, so don’t give me any rubbish about restructuring — just harden up and get on with it.”

Yep, I don’t get much sympathy around here 🙂

But it’s times like these when I’m especially glad that I outline my books. Without that to fall back on, digging through the Dreaded Middle would be even more difficult.

So, writers, tell me: how do you cope when you get the yips in the middle? Push on? Have a few days off? Think about another project for a while?


Truth is, it just doesn’t matter why you can’t

Okay, so the holidays are over. Now what?

Back to writing, that’s what. Now the visiting and eating and lazing around in front of the cricket are done, gotta get back to work.

But it’s hard. My brain gets accustomed to not being used 🙂 and the little bugger likes it. My usual word goal is 2,000 per day, and I’m struggling to make it. And I should be excited, because I’m starting a brand new manuscript, the fourth book in my Shadowfae series. It’s got an interesting heroine, a self-tortured hero, cool bad guys, a vengeful demon subplot and loads of hot sex.

So why do I feel like watching tv? Or going shopping? Or to the beach? Or milling about in the garden, or walking the dog, or doing anything except sitting in front of my computer and pumping those words out?

I could sit here and analyse. Maybe I’m ‘blocked’, whatever that means. Or I’m tired, sick, over-stressed, hormonal, headachy, need a break, got too much on my mind. Whatever. Boo hoo.

Truth is, it doesn’t matter a damn what my problem is. No amount of navel-gazing will get those words on the page. I’m a writer. I have deadlines. I must write. End of story.

And I need to have faith that my mojo, muse, inspiration, fun factor, writing juice will come back. Just because I’m having a rough few days doesn’t mean I’ll never write well again, or that the story’s broken, or my vocab’s somehow dried up.

I’ve done this before. I can do it again. So I only made 700 words today. So what? It’s better than none. Which is how many I’d have if I gave up and went to the beach.

My point? There’s no value in being hard on yourself when things aren’t going well. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Persist. Scale your daily goals back if you have to — because goals are there to make you feel good when you achieve them.

Not to make you feel bad when you don’t.

So, yeah. I made 700 words today. Good for me. That’s 700 words closer to the end of this manuscript.

And if I don’t go to the beach tomorrow — if I show up at my computer at 8 am like a good little writer — I’ll make more.

So what do you do when things aren’t going well with your writing? Any coping strategies? I like to break the writing session up into little chunks, and give myself a small reward after each. Does this work for you? What other tips can you share for getting yourself out of a slump?


We’re all going to the same place

Everyone’s writing process is different. We have plotters and pantsers and into-the-misters, brainstormers and hang-around-waiting-for-the-muse-to-strikers, technicians and I-dreamed-the-ending-ers, disciplinarians and my-characters-talk-to-me-ers. And no one can (or should!) force their method on any one else — if it works for you, then it works for you.

But look at any published romance book, and you’ll see (I hope!) that a finished romance manuscript has structure. It has character arcs and turning points and goal-motivation-conflicts. It has acts, black moments, crises and climaxes (yeah, those too!). And if it’s a well-written book, you won’t be able to tell which methods the author used.

My point being: some of us take the train, some fly, some walk around in circles — but we’re all getting to the same place.

The other day at my local romance writing group, I was chatting with a writer who was a self-identified pantser. ‘I just get an idea and start writing,’ she said.

Those of you who know me will understand that the very thought of doing this breaks me out in hives 🙂

I shuddered, and thrust my latest outlining notebook in her face — I routinely fill up a 120-pager with handwritten notes before I even start typing the outline, let alone the manuscript — and stammered, ‘But… but… but what about character arcs, and conflicts, and GMCs, and… y’know, the story!!’

She shrugged, and said, ‘Oh, I just fix that when I’m finished.’

After further discussion, we ascertained that we’re actually doing the very same things when we structure a book — I just do it before I begin, while she does it by playing with a completed first draft.

So yeah, everyone’s process is different — but we all go through the same steps, somehow. And I’m a firm believer that no matter what method you choose, or when you choose to do them, there are some structuring steps that just can’t be left out. Eventually, you have to analyse your character arcs/GMCs and romantic turning points, whatever you like to call them, to make sure the romance is realistic and means something to the characters. You have to make sure something is happening in every scene. You have to pay attention to where the manuscript begins, and so forth.

I’m cooking up a brand new book from scratch as we speak, so in true Erica style, I’m up to my neck in spiral-bound notebooks and system cards. Good old outlining. I’ll drop by next week and let you know how it’s going.


Watch the Trailer for Shadowfae by Erica Hayes

You Gotta Read has posted the video trailer for Shadowfae, and it’s awesome.

Watch it here, then vote for it in the poll for trailer of the month.


A-givin’ away we shall go…

As promised, it’s time for another contest!

This time, the prize is a shiny red copy of my brand spankin’ new urban fantasy/romance novel Shadowfae, which came out on Tuesday! Yippee! My debut release!

Imagine a secret world veiled in fairy glamour and brimming with unearthly delights. A city swarming with half-mad fairies, where thieving spriggans rob you blind, beautiful banshees mesmerize you with their song, and big green trolls bust heads at nightclubs. And once you’re in, there’s no escape…

Enslaved by a demon lord, Jade is forced to spend her nights seducing vampire gangsters and shapeshifting thugs.  After two hundred years as a succubus, she burns for freedom and longs to escape her brutal life as a trophy girl for hell’s minions.  Then she meets Rajah, an incubus who touches her heart and intoxicates her senses. Rajah shares the same bleak fate as she, and yearns just as desperately for freedom.  But the only way for Jade to break her bonds is to betray Rajah—and doom the only man she’s ever loved to a lifetime in hell.

Sound smokin’ hot? Awesome. If you want a taste of what it’s like, you can check out an excerpt and a free prequel short story at my website.

Still here? Nice! I’m giving away a free copy, right here and now.

But {evil grin} I’m gonna make you work for it.

Seeing as we’re talking urban fantasy, here’s some cracking first paras from four of my favourite UFs.

Here’s what you’ve gotta do, folks. Email me at shadyezra at gmail dot com and tell me the titles of the books they’re from. If you don’t know ’em, google ’em 🙂 I’ll pick a winner at random, and that lucky person will receive a copy of Shadowfae.

Get it? Awesome. Here we go:

1. Demon was such a nasty word. And so damned old-school. People heard demon and they conjured up all kinds of Hieronymus Bosch helter-skelter–or worse, Dante’s stupid-ass inferno crap. Honestly. Flames and tortured souls and everyone wailing. {Hint: this is the firhst in a new sehries from this NYT author, who has consonhants to spahre 😉 }

2. When Elena told people she was a vampire hunter, their first reaction was an inevitable gasp, followed by, “You go around sticking those sharp stakes in their evil putrid hearts?” {Hint: New Zealand author known for her red-hot shapeshifters}

3. My philosophy is pretty simple–any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven’t had many good days lately. Not since the walls between Man and Faery came down. {Hint: first book in a UF series by the author of Spell of the Highlander}

4. Antoinette crept along the alley, unknown shadows pressing in on her from the darkness. {Hint: a ‘dark’ new series from an Aussie author whose last name goes with Scarlett}

There y’are. Don’t they make you wanna hunt those books down and devour them? Like I said, if you don’t know ’em, google ’em — you might just find yourself some fab new series to glom! And remember, it’s shadyezra at gmail dot com

Contest closes midnight Sunday Monday New York time. Which equals 3pm Monday Tuesday my time. Or something like that. (EDIT: because I, y’know, forgot I wasn’t going to be here on Monday. Sheesh.)

Oh, and if you also leave a comment with your fave first line from a romance — any kind, doesn’t have to be UF — I’ll give you an extra entry to the contest. Just because that’s the kind of generous soul I am.

P.S. you have to be 18 years or older to enter. Sorry, but them’s the breaks. Can’t be givin’ out red hot sexxin to minors. Ask your mother 🙂


Hi, I’m Erica, and I’m an addict… that is, a romance writer

Hi, and welcome to The Romantic Journey! We’re a bunch of romance writers from different genres who aim to entertain. That’s pretty much it. So long as someone’s having fun, our work here is done.

So where do I fit into this? I’m Erica Hayes, the urban fantasy author, the dark and sulky one from That Other Genre. I do kick-ass heroines, dark and sexy heroes, darker and even sexier villains who might grudgingly become the hero if you happen to catch them on a good day. Vampires, fairies, incubi and demons, spriggans and banshees and all manner of creepy things. Yes. If you’re not having fun after that, then you’re probably dead. Or undead. Or just not feeling very well.

ShadowfaeMy first book, SHADOWFAE, is coming out next week. Yes, that clanging sound you hear is me doing the happy dance, all the way from Australia. I got my first copies in the mail this very day, and they look so very pretty and precious… Anyway. October 13. Just in time for Halloween. Brrr. Appropriate, seeing as the book’s about a succubus trying to break hell’s thrall. I’ll be back here next week giving away a free copy (yay! free books!) and I’ll tell you more about it then.

So, ahead with the random facts about me. We like random facts at The Romantic Journey. They’re good for inspiration, and snacks.

Representation: I’m represented by Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary, who is Agent Awesome and should be preserved in amber. Once I’m done with her.

A book I never tire of re-reading: a little gem called The Company by Arabella Edge. It’s a true crime story about a sociopath who gets shipwrecked off the West Australian coast in 1628. Most likely our first serial killer. It’s written in first person, and it is some seriously creepy stuff. Also Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite. Brilliant. Go read it now.

When did I realise I needed to write? Well, I don’t need to, as such. It’s just that if I don’t, I get cranky and bitchy and start sharpening knives, and singing. No one wants that.

The first story I completed that I was really proud of? My first ever completed novel manuscript was a high fantasy tale, set in a dark arctic city where a dissociative murderer falls in love with a nun. And no, you can’t read it 🙂

Do I write something other than romantic fiction? Blog posts. Shopping lists. Pretty much everything else I do has a romance in it. Sometimes, even the shopping gets some lurve.

What do I do when I’m not writing? I play the oboe, in a not-totally-awful kind of way. I read. Sometimes I sleep.

The worst job I ever had? Oh, that’s easy. I was one of those annoying happy people who call you while you’re trying to eat dinner, and beg for charity donations. I hated that job. It’s true that they ring at that time on purpose, you know. My hours were 4pm to 8 pm weekdays. I felt like a limpwit the whole time, and I wasn’t sorry when they didn’t hire me for another campaign.

And now, the important stuff.

Comic books. Batman or Superman? Batman. Love the bat. Christian Bale doesn’t hurt, either.

Supernatural. Sam or Dean? Sam. Oh, gosh, yes. Sam for me.

Zombies or vampires? Both, if I can get them 🙂 but if I have to choose… vampires. Fewer attrition issues.

Twilight. Edward or Jacob? Snort. Who cares? But pretty much anyone gets my vote over Edward 🙂

So, anyone out there on Team Edward? Want to try convincing me to switch to Dean? Think Superman would kick Batman’s butt? Comments are open. The challenge is on…


April 2020

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