Saturday, December 26, 2009

holiday happyness

 Happy holidays everyone! Don't eat too much... ah. Too late. Never mind. Hope it tasted good.

It's a sunny, balmy Boxing Day here, and the cricket's about to come on. This is a yearly ritual observed with much solemnity. The family must congregate around the television amongst piles of discarded wrapping paper, observe Tony Grieg (a tall and balding Englishman with a much-parodied South African accent) poke his car keys into the MCG pitch, cheer when Australia wins the coin toss (as we invariably do) and say 'ooh!' when the first ball is bowled.

The fact that we are playing Pakistan this year imbues the occasion with uncertainty and dread -- for it could be a rocking series, but it could also be a whitewash. Aussies want their team to win (of course!) but they want the opposition to go down fighting. Unless it's the mother country, England. In which case they can roll over and die all they want :)

So without further ado...
Day the Sixth (and last!)

Today we have not one, but TWO books to give away. Yay! Conquering the world, one giveaway at a time. Or something.

Today's winner of SHADOWFAE is... ... cherrymischievous !!

And the winner of the fabulous SHADOWGLASS ARC (book not released until March, you lucky thingy!) is... ... Leontine !!!

Congrats to all winners.

And thanks so much to everyone for playing! Welcome to everyone who's joined my newsletter or followed me on LJ or Twitter. I'll try not to be too boring.

And, stick around early next year for some more giveaways, of my books as well as some other fab authors {twiddles fingers mysteriously...}

Friday, December 25, 2009

shady day five

Day Five

...and the Day Five winner is... ... @whatinabox !!

Congrats! You won a free SHADOWFAE, complete with succubi, hawt fairies and a nasty vampire or two.

Tomorrow I'm giving away the last copy, and the Speshul Christmas Holiday Prize, a SHADOWGLASS ARC!! So leave your comments, tweet, blog etc.. You can check out the original contest post here to see how to enter.

{Psst! It's actually already Christmas here. Balmy...

But because there's three hundred million of you and only twenty million of us, what say we pretend?
Only one more sleep...


Thursday, December 24, 2009

shady day four

Day Four

And the day four winner is ... ... iokijo !! 

Congrats! I'll get your book out to you soon.

Only two days to go, two more free books. Still time for you to enter, retweet, blog, social network it up. Original contest post here for details.

And don't forget that on Christmas Day, I'm giving away a SHADOWGLASS ARC.

Meanwhile, in the interests of equal opportunity:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

shady day three

Day Three

And without further messing about, the day three winner is... ... elnice !!

Congrats! I'll get your book out to you soon.

Winners are random, in case anyone's wondering :) those random numbers have no mercy. And rest assured, I'm collecting all your comments and tweets and blogs, wherever they may be...

But there's still time. Still three shady days of Christmas left. Still more books to give away. Original contest post here.

P.S. Posting a little early today because we're travelling. Normal service will resume as soon as possible. In the meantime, let's go to the beach:

shady day two

Day Two

A sultry 31 degrees C in Newcastle this morning. It's shaping up for a scorchin' hawt Christmas Day. And the day two winner is... ... ... mamma_d !!

Congrats! Your SHADOWFAE is on its way. Don't feed it after midnight. I warned you.

Only four shady days left. Only four more signed copies of SHADOWFAE, and one fabulous SHADOWGLASS ARC. 

These books are cluttering up my desk. They have to go. The need is urgent. The danger is real. Get these books out of my house!! ... or out of my agent's office, as the case may be.

You still have time to enter, or do more entries if you haven't won yet. Tweet me, blog me, the usual. Contest details here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

on the first shade of christmas...


Day One

And the Day One winner is... dum dum dum... jacabur2008 !!!

Congrats, Jackie! You've won yourself a signed copy of SHADOWFAE. That was easy, eh?

Only five more shady days to go. Only five more free copies of SHADOWFAE. But there's still time. Here's the link to the contest post, but you know the drill: blog, retweet, show me some social networkin' lurve, and you'll go in the draw.

And you know what? About this SHADOWGLASS ARC...

People like shiny new ARCs. Yes, indeedy they do.

And bless me if it didn't seem fair to exclude the people who've already won SHADOWFAE from the chance to win the ARC.

So here's what I'll do. Even if you've already won, you can stay in the draw for the ARC on Christmas Day. Yes! That's the sort of kind, compassionate soul I am.

So keep blogging and tweeting and telling everyone -- the more you harp on, the more entries you get.

Right. I'm off to actually do some writing {gasp! shock! horror!} for a change. Won't be surprised if I don't remember how...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

six shady days of christmas

...and we all know that Christmas means summer, right? Not snowdrifts or holly or yule logs, whatever they are. I'm talking the beach, barbecues, prawn cocktails, sunburn and the cricket on TV the next morning.

Time to give away some hawt books for free. Just because that's the kind of generous soul I am. So welcome one and all to:

Each day up until Christmas (starting today, that's Sunday for all you weekend blogreaders), I'm giving away a signed copy of SHADOWFAE to one lucky person who drops by.

And (yes! but wait, there's more) on the last day, the winner will also receive my very first SHADOWGLASS ARC! Be the first person in the WORLD to read my smokin' hot March 2010 release... well, except for my agent. And my editor. And my cat (he loved it, of course). And possibly a pile of reviewers... But you can be the first REAL person to read it. You know what I mean.

Look at them. They're gorgeous. You know you want them. Even just to look at the pretty covers.

And you know the drill. One of more of the following, folks:

1) Tweet the contest (or RT my tweet) and leave a comment here to let me know
2) Mention the contest on your blog -- take the palm tree pic if you like -- and leave the link in a comment here
3) Read my free short story, Hellcursed, on my website. Like it? Blog or tweet about it, and leave a note here.
4) Friend me on LJ (right here!)
5) Follow me on Twitter (I'm @ericahayes)
6) Subscribe to my (mercifully infrequent) newsletter here
7) Any other cool social networking thingy you can come up with and tell me about.

The more you do, the more entries you get. Each day I'll pick a random winner, and remove their name from the draw. The rest will stay in, ie. your entries don't expire. So don't be afraid to repeat yourself :) and the sooner you get the word out, the more chances your Internetz Friendz will get to win :)

Contest open worldwide (yeah, that includes the US. Especially the US. Wouldn't want to neglect all y'all).

Non-LJ-ers: please leave your name in your comment, and a Blogger address, email or Twitter where I can ping you if you win.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

agent appreciation day...

...well, it was on Friday. I kinda missed it. I've been moving house. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

New house is good. Stuff -- and who knew we had so much of it? We move regularly and I'm always amazed by how much bloody STUFF we've got -- stuff is put away, mostly. Pets are relocated. Cat none too happy about having to spend the next few days inside so he won't walk 'home'. I am relaxing, sipping a cold drink, surveying my domain.

And now, I can regale you with the wonderful-ness of my agent, Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency.

Marlene does everything an agent's supposed to do. I mean, you'd think that would go without saying, but apparently not. M (like James Bond's M, only better) responded to my manuscript (the first one, and each subsequent) with enthusiasm that made me all starry-eyed and dopey, but also with realistic expectations that made me confident she knows what she's doing.

(Aside: see that tricky thing with the tenses there? Mixing them up in the same sentence? My manuscripts are riddled with this, in some strange effort my brain makes to be 'conversational'. M never complains. She leaves editorial stuff to the editor. Bravo.)

She sold the ms. Again, this tends to go without saying -- people assume that once you have an agent, your first sale is only a matter of time. But it ain't so. Plenty out there take longer to sell, or don't sell at all, and I credit a lot of my good fortune to M's knowledge and tenacity.

And then, she sold more, before the first lot even came out. I'm still not sure how this happened, and I don't care. But I'll give M the credit.

M always answers my questions, even when they're dumb. I send her ideas for wacky books I haven't written yet and she doesn't tell me to get on with the real stuff. She bugs my editor about stuff I'm too chicken to bug her about myself. When I do really dumb stuff with copy edits and waste loads of the publisher's time and get upset, she says, whatever, just send them the corrections and forget about it.

It's just nice to have someone on my side. I mean, the editor is on my side too, because if the books don't sell, she wears it. Same with the marketing people, and the sales people, and everyone else. But M sees the stuff that they don't see.

She sees me whining and worrying and wandering around the house muttering and banging pens on my forehead... well, maybe she doesn't actually see that last one. I try not to lay too much of my necessary creative angst on her. But no doubt she can read my exasperation in my emails -- did I mention we email? Me Australia, she Florida, phone no cheapy. Because of me, M has to spend more of her time typing. She doesn't mind.

The point (yeah, there is one) is that M is my professional makeover. Make-up for the writer. The publisher always sees me fresh and painted, even when I'm dumpy and creased and disorganised underneath. When you look like me (figuratively, of course...) this is priceless.

So far, nothing 'bad' has happened yet in my writing career.

('Bad', of course, is relative, and two hundred fifty thousand tsunami victims don't care if I get a cover I don't like or a copy editor who hates my commas or cover copy that sounds like porn. They certainly don't care about my contracts or royalties or sell-through.)

Still, nothing 'bad' has happened yet. But when it does, I'm confident Marlene will be there to help. And I can't ask more than that.

Thanks to Jen K Blom for alerting me to Agent Appreciation Day. Head over here to see who else is posting... um, posted like two days ago while I was up to my eyeballs in boxes and dust.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

author interview: Terry W Ervin II

It's my pleasure to welcome Terry W Ervin II, author of FLANK HAWK, a post apocalyptic fantasy novel with a difference. And zombies. And dragons. And Nazis. And... well, it's got everything, really.

Terry was kind enough to provide me with an advance copy of his book for review. I really enjoyed it. Here's what I said about it (my first blurb! yay!):

"A curious blend of epic fantasy, modern techno-thriller and non-stop action-adventure, Flank Hawk is a compelling and original tale of a brave young mercenary pitched in deadly magical combat against the undead techno-armies of the Necromancer King.
Whether you like swashbuckling wizardry, fierce dragon battles, modern military hardware or sword-slashing zombie mayhem -- Flank Hawk has it all."

Terry's running a contest at his website where you can win the chance to name a character in his next book. Check it out! And here's a link to Terry's blog.

EH: Tell us a little about Flank Hawk (without giving too much away, of course!)

TWE: Flank Hawk is a post apocalyptic fantasy novel. It’s about a farmhand (Krish) that signs on to fight in his lord’s militia to fend against the Necromancer King’s annual attacks to disrupt crop planting. It turns out to be much more and Krish is swept into events he’d never dreamed of.

I know this may be an easy out, but the teaser on the back of the novel’s cover hits all of the high points:

What happens when fire-breathing dragons battle Stukas for aerial supremacy over a battlefield? Can an earth wizard’s magic defeat a panzer? Krish, a farmhand turned mercenary, witnesses this and much more as he confronts the Necromancer King’s new war machines resurrected from before the First Civilization's fall. Worse yet, a wounded prince tasks Krish to find the fabled Colonel of the West and barter the royal family’s malevolent Blood-Sword for a weapon to thwart the Necromancer King’s victory.

Flank Hawk is set in the distant future where magic exists and brutish ogres are more than a child’s nightmare.

In the end, it’s a novel about friendship and loyalty, and sacrifice.

EH: There are so many different plot elements – where did the initial idea for this series come from?

TWE: The initial thought that sparked the novel occurred while I was driving home from work in my 1990 Ford Ranger. I was thinking about a few of the books I’d recently read (or more accurately reread), Zelazny’s Guns of Avalon and Harry Turtledove’s World War: In the Balance. One of the main turning points in Guns of Avalon occurs when Prince Corwin finds a way to get gunpowder to function in the magical city of Amber. In the Balance is about an alien invasion during the height of World War II. The disparity in technology between the invaders and humanity is a major element in the novel’s conflict. Then I began to ponder, what would happen if a dragon encountered a World War II aircraft? Okay, maybe one can see how the line of thought formed. From there I began to devise a world where such an encounter could take place.

Then came the people and creatures that would inhabit the world, how it came to be, and the long-running, multilayered power struggle that would come to influence events in the plot that I was devising. Finally, came Krish and Lilly, Roos and Road Toad—the main characters in the novel.

EH: Flank Hawk is an intriguing mixture of fantasy, sci-fi, horror and others – when you started writing, did you start in one particular genre? What made you want to branch out?

TWE: I guess the mixture is what makes it difficult to describe Flank Hawk to potential readers. I knew it was going to be a fantasy novel but with elements of science fiction included, providing the foundation for magic’s existence in the post apocalyptic world. The horror aspect, mainly the zombie hordes that Krish faces, is intensified by the horrors of war. For Krish it’s not distant but rather hand-to-hand combat, sometimes against animated corpses that were once his friends and comrades in arms. Of all the creatures and dangers Krish faces in the novel, he dreads fighting zombies the most. I could say more, but the context of the novel explains it best.

So, I wouldn’t say I branched out. I used and fused different genre elements together to tell the story. The result is a unique mixture and I don’t think there’s anything out there on the shelves exactly like it. But in the end the novel is about the characters with the genre elements providing the texture and backdrop to their story.

EH: The cover is beautiful – did you have any input into the artwork?

TWE: Yes, the artwork is awesome. Christine Griffin (the artist) really brought two of the main characters, Krish and Lilly, to life. In addition, the Stuka and dragon hint at the uniqueness of the story Flank Hawk contains. And yes, I get a lot of questions about an aircraft being in the sky with a dragon.

Back to the question. I had a lot of input on the cover. Christine Griffin had a list of questions about the novel, its content and characters. We exchanged ideas and various covers of other fantasy novels, and then she decided upon the basics of what would be included. Later, she sent a rough sketch, which I thought was right on target. She then requested details about the characters so that they would be consistent with the story. I also sent information about the aircraft and dragons, so that they could be accurately portrayed, and she ran with it, using her skills and talent.

The result speaks for itself.

EH: Tell us about your journey from unpublished writer to getting your first contract – did you sell through an agent? Submit direct to the publisher?

TWE: The first novel I wrote is a science fiction novel. It made it out of the slush pile with one major publishing house, only to have the full manuscript passed on (some would say rejected) about a year later. I tried another major house without success, but with the third, it’s out of the slush pile once again and is sitting an executive editor’s desk, awaiting a decision. And all of this submitting and sitting in slush piles and climbing up the editorial ladder takes time—a lot of time. So, while my science fiction novel was out on submission, I did what all good writers should do: I wrote another novel. Along the way I also completed almost two dozen short stories and articles, most of which found publishers—no major pro markets but they found good homes and earned a me a little money to justify the expenses of ink and paper and the occasional envelope and postage.

Flank Hawk didn’t have much success with the bigger houses. The editors that said to send them my next project after reading my science fiction novel weren’t taken with Flank Hawk, but it did catch the eye of some smaller publishers. It made it out of the slush pile for full reads twice before finally having success on the third jump out of the slush pile. The editors at Gryphonwood Press were intrigued with Flank Hawk, thought it was not only a good story, but one that would sell, and decided to take a chance on me and my novel.

With the discussion of long waits in slush piles, one would rightly assume that Flank Hawk wasn’t submitted through an agent.

EH: Tell us about your writing process –do you plan everything out before hand, or fly into the mist?

TWE: Oh, I plan. Not that everything follows the plan, but I think it’s important to have an idea where a novel should start, where it will end, and major events that get the story from the beginning to the end—minimum. For me it’s like planning out a vacation. You plot out the highways you intend to take, where you’ll stop and visit before moving on, etc. And with any vacation, there are detours, unexpected surprises and stops to see the sights that aren’t exactly what was expected or hoped for—and those photos and stories are omitted from the album.

Having a good plan, I think, helps keep the story consistent. Creating whole worlds and cultures and even devising how magic ‘works’ by the seat of the pants as I write would mean an awful lot of inconsistencies by the end, resulting in a massive amount of revision and rewriting.

EH: I hear there’s a second book planned – can you tell us a bit about that?

TWE: Yes, there is second First Civilization’s Legacy novel in the works. I have the basics of the plot. Where the story will start and how it should end, and most of the plot events along the way. The actual writing, I suspect, will begin in December.

Krish will be back, still serving as Grand Wizard Seelain’s bodyguard, and the Colonel of the West was correct—they’re gonna want that malevolent Blood-Sword back. You might be able to guess who’s asked to go and fetch it. As for the reason—well, that will have to wait to be learned when the next novel comes out, hopefully in 2010.

Oh, and as a final note, I am running a contest for folks to put their name in for a drawing to name a character in the next First Civilization’s Legacy novel.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


FInally, after three months and twenty-seven days (count 'em) SHADOWSONG is finished!!

For the moment. Until my agent says 'ew!' or I get editor's revisions or someone makes me change my mind about the whole snakylicious thing.

I love this manuscript so much more than I thought I would, a month and a half ago when I was writing act two and hating it. The solution was simple, in the end -- one of the villains just wasn't dangerous enough to warrant the kind of contortions the MCs were going through.

So I fixed it, and now it's kinda awesome :) if I may say so myself. When all else fails, make your villain more psychotic. Or add zombies. But we'll save that for another book.

What's it about, you say? Oh, well, since you ask. It's about a banshee gangster hunting for revenge on her mother's killer. Add a ravenous newly-infected vampire, a rusty mad metalfairy and a snake-shifting hero. Oh, my. This guy is one of my favourites.

I don't have a release date yet, but I'm anticipating Fall 2010.

RIght. {dusts hands} that's that done. Now for book #4, as yet untitled, unplotted and pretty much entirely un-thought-about :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

i say again...

Just a reminder that my big shiny interview/chat/prize giveaway party is on today and tomorrow at the fabulous Bitten By Books!

Drop by, say hi or ask me the tough questions for a chance to win some shiny iPod goodness. It's open until midnight Thursday 22 Oct, Pacific time in the US.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ze manuscript, she is finished

Yay! Three months and countless interruptions later, SHADOWSONG finally reaches THE END. I wrote 9,000 words in two days to finish it, which is a lot for me.

I've still got a few weeks before I need to give it in to my editor, so revisions are very much on the cards. But nothing serious. This story is on its way to being awesome, if I may say so myself. Most definitely on the Awesome Train. I love revenge stories. I love banshees. And I love the hero, who's just far too snaky for his own good :)

In the meantime, some party goodness. I'm doing (yes, another!) book giveaway at The Romantic Journey this week. Come along and pick your best urban fantasy/PR first lines.

There's an interview with me at author Christina Phillips' blog, where I harp on about call stories and light bulb moments and suchlike.

And, I'm at Bitten By Books on Wednesday 21 October, chatting about succubi and demons and other urban fantasy goodness:

And to bribe you all into turning up -- and because that's just the kind of generous soul I am -- I'm giving away a nice shiny prize. And it isn't a book. Though you might be able to read books on it. Get along and RSVP to find out what it is, and to get loads more entries to the contest.

And now, I get the day off :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

happy release day to me

 Well, it had to happen.

Today, my debut novel SHADOWFAE hits the shelves (crash!). I'm weird. I'm giggly. I'm kinda stoked.

And, I'm doing giveaways, of course. Drop a comment on my guest posts, maybe win a book. You know the drill. Here's a few quick links to this week's free book mayhem:

At Literary Escapism, I'm blogging about paranormal powers and why they're so cool.

At VampChix, it's evil vampires and why they're so cool.

SciFiGuy has a thoughtful review (thanks, Doug!) and my post on why I think my urban fantasy world is so cool.

And here's an interview with me by Angela at Dark Faerie Tales.

More to come later in the week.

I have had such a nice day :)

EDIT: Oh, I forgot Writers Gone Wild. Paranormal heroes, and why they're so cool. Or hot.

That's five free books, folks. Someone out there's gotta get lucky :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

let's have it out, then

It's come to my attention that some of you have just got it all wrong.

You know what I'm talking about, okay? Don't pretend you're innocent.

Apparently (can you believe it??) there are some Dean fans out there.

I mean, really? To all you poor deluded souls, I merely say this:
You wanna make something of it? Fine. Come on over to The Romantic Journey, where I'm blogging about the important stuff :) and we can duke it out.

Oh, and I'm also at Literary Escapism, where until October 13 they're giving away a copy of SHADOWFAE. Pop on over and tell me which paranormal power you'd take on for a day.

Sigh. I shake my head. Dean. Some people.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

what are friends for?

 To alert you to free books, of course.

My buddy, New Zealand author Michelle Holman, has a fab interview up at Romantic Journey, and she's giving away copy of her romantic comedy KNOTTED (1 October, HarperCollins NZ) to one lucky visitor.

So pop on over and check it out!

Also, this month Aussie writer Eleni Konstantine is giving away Tracey O'Hara's debut urban fantasy NIGHT'S COLD KISS and Valerie Parv's excellent romance writing book HEART AND CRAFT. Check out Eleni-fest for details.

Don't say I don't love you :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

blog tour madness

 With only a week or two before my first book hits the shelves (BAM!) I'm working myself up a little blog tour to celebrate. As you do.

For instance, tomorrow (October 1) I'll be at Magical Musings, talking about conflict and surprising your characters and writerly stuff like that.

On October 6, I'm at Literary Escapism, chatting about cool paranormal powers and giving away a free book!

I'm also joining the All Hallows' Eve party at Book Chick City:

And Eleni-fest, an extravaganza of romance, fantasy and fun with Eleni Constantine on October 20.

And, I'm giving away some cool prizes at Bitten By Books on October 21.

Also, do check out a new blog, The Romantic Journey, launching October 1. It's me and some other fabulous writers, talking about writing and books and stuff we love and all manner of other pleasing things. Author Michelle Holman is launching her new romantic comedy Knotted, and giving away a free copy. And I'll be there next week with free books too. So check it out!

Friday, September 18, 2009

True Blood series 2: will it suck?

True Blood series 2 has finally made it to Australian television. I had mixed feelings about series one, but I'm willing to give series two a try. So here we go (minor spoilers, for the three people in the world who haven't already seen this):

Episode One.

Sookie: OMG, it's a dead body without a HEART!

Me: Sigh.

Bill: It wasn't me. And it wasn't my pet vampire girl, either.

Sookie: You've got a pet vampire girl? You don't spend every waking moment thinking about ME ME ME ME ME? OMG Bill you LIED to ME ME ME ME ME...

Uncle Kiddy-fiddler: {remember me? I died in the last series?}

Sookie: Hmm, what shall I do with this unwanted inheritance? Tear it up? Donate it to a worthy charity? No, I know. I'll give it to my idiotic but dead cute brother, who'll no doubt piss it away on booze and drugs. Naked. Good thing I don't realise he's in the clutches of the Vile Church of Vampire Hating, or this would be an even worse idea.

Jason: Oh, look. Kool-aid. {glug glug glug}

Sam: {angst}

Sookie: You know, Sam, I feel kinda bad about treating you like a sack of sh*t...

Sam: Get lost, Sookie.

Me: Yay!!!!

Sookie: Bill, did you kill Uncle Kiddie-fiddler?

Bill: {tortured silence}

Sookie: OMG Bill you are a MURDERWAH!!! My untarnished conscience is... well, tarnished. I can't bear the sight of you!!!

Bill: But Sookie, I WUV you.

Sookie: Oh. Okay, then. Let's shag. In fact, let's make a really UNSEXY sex scene.

Lafayette: I'm not dead! Surprise! Instead, I'm chained to a merry-go-round in a cellar with a redneck who secretly wants me to blow him. This really SUCKS.

Eric: {glower}


So there you have it. This show is strangely entertaining for all its faults -- well, it only really has one, heroine-shaped fault for me.

Sookie is still whining. Eric has foils in his hair. And Lafayette is still there. I'll be back next week :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

free readings!

Where have I been, since those fab conferences I posted such lovely pics about? The correct answer to that question, of course, is: writing.

And I have been, for the most part. I am a good girl. Working on my book #3, SHADOWSONG. Banshees and snakes. Oh. My.

I'm also a guest today with the fabulous Deadline Dames, talking about how, when you sell a book, everyone thinks you suddenly know something about writing that they don't. Boy, is everyone wrong.

It hasn't escaped my notice that today is the one month pre-anniversary (did I just make that up??) of my debut release. So, to celebrate, I'm offering a free short story as a download from my website! Yay! Free stuff!

It's called HELLCURSED, and it's about Jade, my succubus heroine from SHADOWFAE. Rest assured, you don't need to read it to understand the book. I am not one of those cruel authors who expects you to understand everything before you start :) and it is a story. With a beginning and an end. Not an excerpt. I promise.

Here's a little blurb:

It's 1863, and headstrong ex-convent girl Jade has renounced the church that tried to curb her independence.
Now, she travels the world seeking adventure and the pleasures of forbidden ritual.

But she's tricked by a treacherous sorcerer, and now she's forced into a darker kind of slavery.
She's a succubus, with a powerful demon lord her master for a thousand years.

At least, that's what he thinks.
Jade accepts no man's domination, least of all a demon's. She's determined to thwart her fate.

But she's yet to discover the true meaning of demon thrall...


So pop on over and check out HELLCURSED. It's dark. It's sexy. It's free. Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

kiwi conference madness

Obviously, I couldn't get enough.

Last week was RWAust and Brisbane. This week, the Romance Writers of New Zealand 16th Annual Conference, and my very first visit to New Zealand and Auckland. Like Australia, except cheaper. And the grass is greener. No, really, it is. More water in NZ.

(P.S. Same deal with the lj-cut. Sorry, scrolling peeps. Can you say counter-frickin-intuitive? Times this function has worked for me: never. Don't get. Please explain.)

On with the fun!!

The Friday night 'Leather and Lace' cocktail party went off with a bang. A selection of guests:

Sara, Giovanna and Clare:

Glenda, Michelle and Margaret:

Annie West (yay! for sheikhs and goats!!) and Amanda Ashby (yay! for zombies!):
Here's me basking in the glory of the fabulous award-collecting Kylie Short. And, me with the famous peeps: Melissa Jeglinksi from the Knight Agency, Melissa's mum, and the ultra-cool Nalini Singh :)

And from the 'Touch of Fantasy' awards dinner: Jedi Master Kylie; and Technicolour Gracie and Wicked Witch Pat.
The scrumptious food!! Our scrumptious table, brimming with contest finalists!!
The inspirational Mary Jo Putney and the Strictly Single finalists. 

Executive Editor Mary Therese Hussey from Harlequin/Silhouette and Clendon Award finalists.
Devil-winged Barbara Clendon, Peter Clendon, Mary Therese Hussey and all the Clendon fabulousness, including the outstandingly talented winner, Kylie Short sans light saber. 

And, awesome downunder authors Maree Anderson (Red Sage Publishing) and Annie West (Harlequin Presents/Sexy).
A fab time had by all. Now, I'm tired...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

downunder conference madness

Romance Writers of Australia's Hot August Nights conference. It was huge. It was awesome. It was exhausting. Sanitised pictorial evidence follows. You've been warned.

(Oh, and sorry, folks. The lj-cut just WON'T WORK. Apologies if you didn't want to scroll through this. Nothing I can do. LJ? You listening? Why is this function so FRICKIN' HARD to use?)

We began with the Friday night cocktail party, sponsored by the good folks at Harlequin and themed 'Arabian Nights'. A good time and much free alcohol and nibblies were had by all.

Here's the incomparable and resplendent 'Queen of Romance', Valerie Parv, and me. 

My costume? Think yourself lucky you can't see the white stay-up fishnets and the red whore heels. What does this excellent tarty outfit have to do with Arabian Nights?? Well, besides that teddy bear having come all the way from Kandahar?? I'm the Sheikh's Reluctant Dead Keen Virgin Bride, of course.

A Harlequin-themed joke. Ha! The H&MB folks were so flattered, they awarded me the costume prize. I now have a hawt-man-titty-shaped bottle of chocolate schnapps on my desk. Awesome!

Oh, okay. Here are the fishnets. A warning, you got. And, me and my best buddy AJ.

Some fab costume action that probably really should have won the man-titty schapps:
On Saturday, there were, well, you know, workshops. I attended an excellent one on emotional punch by historical author Anne Gracie, and a fascinating talk by Superintendent Shane Chelepy from the Queensland Police.

And then the awards dinner on Saturday night, where my best buddy AJ Macpherson won the Emerald Award!!! for best unpublished manuscript. She is so AWESOME. She didn't win any man-titty schnapps, though.

Here's Avalon author Elisabeth Rose, AJ and the Big Green Trophy of Glory, me basking in AJ's reflected triumph, and Eos author Tracey O'hara ( ) all from Canberra.

After that, Sunday was a bit anti-climactic. I talked on a panel of newly signed authors, with  , Ellora's Cave author Mel Tescho and others. I hope those who attended got something out of it.

Conference was awesome. Now, I'm tired. Tomorrow. I'm off to Auckland to the RWNZ conference, to do it all again :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

the fun part begins

I'm hacking away at the WIP. I'm in that phase where I hate it, you know? It's the Worst Book Ever and no one will like it, etc. etc. blah blah woe is me.

Which must mean it's going okay. Right? For the writers out there: how do you guys deal with this? Push through? Work on something else?

Me, I just keep writing. It'll be the best I can make it, and that's all I can hope for.

In other news, yes, a couple of folks have read my little book. Here's where I show you what they said about SHADOWFAE:

(whose new book Mystical is great, btw, a neat and surprising erotic tale) did a lovely review here. My favourite part: "Erica's writing style is lyrical, honest, and very easy to get swept away in." Thanks, Yolanda!

And here's what Publishers Weekly said (sorry, you'll have to scroll down about two thirds of the way). The words "intriguingly dark" and "compellingly emotional and intense" appear. Very pleasing :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

i'm not at rwa national, but...

Okay? I'm not there. All you folks in Washington DC, tweeting and blogging and driving the rest of us out of our minds with conference-envy. I'm not there. Hmph.

I'm at home, writing. You guys just keep on talking :)

Check out this Washington Post article for an outsider's view on RWA:

"This is the refreshing thing about romance writers: They resist the shoes. They keep plodding and plotting along. There are no artistes at RWA. There is no insufferable going on about how each sentence is like a precious baby, or self-expression or T.S. Eliot's objective correlative. Nobody calls these books "fictions." There is only story -- chesty, heavy, plump, glistening story."


P.S. Today (Saturday) is your last day to drop over to Vampire Wire for a chance to win a SHADOWFAE ARC.

You do know that I don't even have ARCs yet, right? If you win, you'll likely get one before I do. So get on over there and make me envious.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

why outlines are so great

I might have mentioned I've started a new WIP, the embryonic book #3 SHADOWSONG. Yes?

Well, I'm writing along, see, and I realise the conflict between my hero and a minor villain isn't strong enough. She's standing there twiddling her evil little fingers... well, she's floating, and they're long three-jointed fingers, actually, but... 

So she's forming her nefarious plan. And I decided her plan just wasn't... well... evil enough. Either to carry the scene or to make her interesting, beyond the floating and the spooky finger twiddling.

Oh, noes!! 
I'll have to change some of the plot! Whatever shall I do?

I figure out a few really, truly eeevil ideas that'll make it work. And, because I have an outline... well, it's actually a twenty-page mess of scenes and point of view switches and character motivations and story arcs, but for simplicity's sake, we'll call it an outline...

...because I have an outline, I can see at a glance exactly where those changes have to happen, and how they'll affect the rest of the story.

A few slashes of my red pen -- well, it's a pink pen, actually, and I ask you, how many people have a pink pen?? -- a few pink slashes, and I'm done. Easy peasy. No sweat. Fixed. Ta-da!!

Pantsers, you so don't know what you're missing. Bwahahaha.

So, writers, are you a plotter or a make-it-up-as-you-go-er? How would you approach a silly mistake an important dilemma such as the one above? Forget it, keep writing and go back to fix it later? Go back to first principles? Write the new scene anyway and worry about the consequences later?

Me, I love me them outlines :)

P.S. Drop by Vampire Wire later on today right now!! Marta is interviewing Doug Knipe from SciFiGuy, and he's giving away an ARC of SHADOWFAE!!!

I'd wait for the post so I can give you the proper link, but I have to go to bed sometime tonight :) Okay, so I didn't go to bed yet :) Here's the link to Doug's interview at Vampire Wire. Leave a comment, contribute to the excellence of book blogs and maybe win a copy of SHADOWFAE!!

This is the very first copy of my book on the open market -- complete with free typos!! -- so go on over and see if you can nab it for yourself!

Friday, July 10, 2009

review me

  has posted a lovely review of SHADOWFAE. My favourite sentence: 'Even icky and slimy death is richly colourful.'

This is my very first review and it didn't hurt at all :)

Check it out here. Thanks, Tez!

In other news, I've started writing the new book #3 of the series, entitled SHADOWSONG. Banshees and snakes, oh my!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

first line meme, and zombies

 ...just because it's fun. You're supposed to list the first lines of your manuscripts/works in progress. So here goes:

SHADOWFAE: The dark shape in the bed didn't stir.

SHADOWGLASS: Stolen diamond bracelets glittered on my wrists in the colored nightclub lights, and I laughed, my wings swelling damp in the warm crush of bodies.

SHADOWSONG (WIP): They say that when a banshee sings, someone dies.

RAPIDFIRE (Science fiction WIP): I took a seat before the director's shiny black desk, adjusting my plasma pistol so it wouldn't dig into my ribs.

UF WIP, working title 'the zombie book' (ha ha!): The worst thing about being dead?

Ha. You're just dying to know the answer, aren't you? Of course you are. Well, maybe if you play nice with me, I'll tell you later what my zombie had to say.

Question: if you were a zombie, what would be the worst thing about being dead?

For me, I think it'd be the poor digestion. I love eating, but meat tends to disagree with me. All those brains... yech.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

guest author: alex bledsoe

Yesterday, I mentioned I was happy about this book. So here it is:

The Sword-Edged Blonde
by Alex Bledsoe

A princess is missing, and typically a king would be willing to pay in gold for her return. But before he realises it, sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse is swept up in a web of mystery and deceit involving a brutally murdered royal heir, a queen accused of an unspeakable crime, and the tragic past he thought he'd left behind.

In order to uncover the answers he seeks, Eddie must delve into the dark underbelly of society while digging deep into his own private history, drawing past and present together. Vast conspiracies, women both beautiful and deadly, and a centuries-old revenge scheme are only a few of the pieces in a lethal puzzle.

A starred review from Publishers Weekly: "Bledsoe's genre-bending first novel is both stylish and self-assured: Raymond Chandler meets Raymond E. Feist."

Alex's website is
here, and his blog is here. You can look at the book on Amazon here.

Full disclosure: Alex and I have the same agent. So it's kinda my job to read his book :) but it's not my job to like it so much. 

The hero, Eddie, is a fantasy private detective. And no, I don't mean an urban fantasy private detective. This is old-school fantasy, with all the boring bits left out. Mysterious murders, evil dwarves, vengeful goddesses and lashings of hot swashbuckling. 

How cool is that?

The Sword-Edged Blonde reminded me of The Lies of Locke Lamora, but more character-focused.

So without further gushi
ng, please welcome Alex Bledsoe, author of The Sword-Edged Blonde, released today from Tor. Yay!

The Friends of Eddie LaCrosse
by Alex Bledsoe

I created Eddie LaCrosse, the protagonist of The Sword-Edged Blonde, more years ago than I like to think about. He was the hero of a story I wrote while a high school senior to impress the new, young, sexy teacher; of course, I never found the nerve to actually show it to her. Back then he was known as "Devareaux LaCrosse," for no good reason that I can recall. But even in that earliest draft he was a "have sword, will travel" kind of guy and he crossed paths with a femme fatale named Rhiannon.

Over the intervening years, he developed into his final version thanks to my own reading tastes. And despite the fact that the novel is undeniably high fantasy, the influences on the main character came from an entirely different genre.

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, the original smart-ass detective, was a huge influence. Marlowe had a quip for all occasions, even if he sometimes kept them to himself. He also had a rigid moral code that helped him navigate the ambiguous mean streets he prowled. While Bogart was the definitive film Marlowe in The Big Sleep, the one most like Eddie was played by Elliot Gould in Robert Altman's film version of The Long Goodbye. This Marlowe's refrain is, "It's okay with me" -- until it's not.

Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer was a more human and connected version of Marlowe. He lacked the wit, but he made up for it in his ability to ferret out the emotional reasons people did horrible things. That skill -- to quickly and accurately judge people -- is probably the quality of Archer, and Eddie, that I envy most. And unlike the other characters on this list, Archer also tried and failed to have a normal life. Eddie, in his young adulthood, went through a similar experience.

Andrew Vachss' Burke gave me the idea of having a dark period in Eddie's past where he did questionable things before acknowledging his own conscience. Burke, a product of foster homes and state institutions, spent time as a mercenary and compensated for his lack of biological family by connecting with a group of similarly isolated outcasts he knew he could trust. Eddie had a similar dark period, and he's also slowly built up a network of people he trusts, even if no one else does. His secret goes back to the Archer effect: he is able to understand why people do what they do.

And finally, the biggest influence of all was Robert B. Parker's Spenser. Witty, well-read, tough yet vulnerable, he became my favorite literary character from the moment I finished Pale Kings and Princes. I gave my youngest son the middle name Spenser; I gave Eddie the character’s insistent wit (unlike Philip Marlowe, Spenser hardly ever keeps his ironic comments to himself) and willingness to find the best solutions in the gray area between good and evil. Spenser also isn't a womanizer. He has a steady romantic partner through most of the series. While I don't want to give anything away about future stories, Eddie has also outgrown the need to chase every peasant blouse that passes before him.

When I write about Eddie LaCrosse now, I no longer see these pieces. He's come alive in my imagination, and the longer I work with him, the more he departs from his influences. But these sources can't be denied, and I would never try. Instead, if you find you like Eddie in The Sword-Edged Blonde, I'd point you toward the characters listed above. They each have their own worlds, but you'll find traces of them in Eddie's.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

are these books all the same, or is it just me?


I picked up the first of a new urban fantasy series on the weekend. You probably know the one. It comes out every few months in different guises, by different authors and with different titles, but you'll know the one when you see it. It's had a lot of hype. It's got fancy packaging, sassy cover art and kick-ass blurbs. It's had gushing reviews, everyone says it's new and original and a fresh twist on the genre and the BEST thing EVA.

You pick it up in the store, and hairs lift on the back of your neck. The cover's stunning. The cover copy sounds fantastic. The premise sounds fresh and interesting and full of yummy potential. The characters and the world don't sound quite like anything you've ever read before. Excitement tingles your skin, and you can't stumble to the counter to buy it fast enough. You rush home with a dopey grin on your face, itching with anticipation to read something different.

Finally, you curl up on the couch and begin to read.

And by page five, your delight is shattered. The heroine is the same wisecracking kick-ass creature-hunter you've read a million times before. The hero is generic and alpha, dark and handsome and freakishly sexy and the same as every other frickin' hero you've seen the last eight hundred books. The writing is fine, sure, but the dialogue is tired. The characterisations are bland and old. That magical fresh premise is wasted on boring characters that could have come from any UF book.

In short, the book is nothing new. What you thought could be your new favourite book of the year is the SAME. OLD. STUFF.

Sigh. Disappointed. I'm not going to name names. But this was a DNF for me.

On a brighter note, I did finish an ARC of a cheeky fantasy mystery called The Sword-Edged Blonde. Now THAT was something different. Crazy goddesses, psychotic crippled dwarves, ruthless kings and murdered princes and a baffling mystery -- and most gratifyingly, NOT your standard fantasy hero. Mr Eddie Lacrosse, witty, smooth and clever, seriously kick-ass, but with this shy little wounded heart that just charmed the socks off me.

I'll have the author, Alex Bledsoe, here tomorrow to show off his book. Please drop by and say hi.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

week, thou art full of awesome

I'm going to Sydney for a writing workshop this weekend. It's by Robert McKee, screenwriting expert and author of Story.

If it's anything like the book, it'll be truly awesome. My Inner Outlining Geek is already salivating.

In other news, behold the following, from Publishers Marketplace:

Erica Hayes's SHADOWSONG, in which a knife-wielding banshee gangster's quest for revenge on the assassin who ruined her life is interrupted when a deluded fairy sorceress steals her magical song, again to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, in a two-book deal, by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency (World).

Yeah, that's my series, now to be a glorious four books long. Mighty pleased, I am...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

link lurve

 Some folks have been kind enough to feature my books on their sites. Thanks, guys! You rock!

Tez Says


Literary Escapism

Friday, June 5, 2009

the cover art fairy

Well, I'm excited.

Is this hot or what? It's for SHADOWGLASS, book 2 in my Shadowfae Chronicles series. 

Fairiesmagic mirrors and mayhem. In Melbourne. You know you want to :)


Book 1, SHADOWFAE, is out 13 October 2009. You'll have to wait for April 2010 for this little yellow baby, though there's a sneak peek in the back of book 1.
Here's a blurb for SHADOWGLASS:
A seductive magic mirror, deep in a demon's lair. A simple warning: don't stare at the glass. A light-fingered fairy who can't resist.

For Ice, a compulsive fairy thief, life is a wild party of mayhem, fae trickery and magical confidence scams. She's never cared about rules or warnings, so when she filches a demon's beguiling magic mirror, she can't resist taking a peek.

Malicious enchantment strikes, and Ice can no longer tell a lie. If she can't undo the spell, she'll have to turn respectable. Two words: no way.

It sounds simple, especially when Indigo, a frosty metalfae thief, agrees to help her, as he too has fallen foul of the mirror's mischief. But when the mirror's victims start turning up dead, it seems someone doesn't want Ice or Indigo cured. As they draw closer to answers — and to each other — Indigo remains stubbornly silent about the nature of his enchantment. Is he the killer's target? Or does he harbour a more chilling secret?

Bwa-ha-ha-ha. I love this story. I love this cover. I'm all fulla love.

Right. Now I can get back to work.

Monday, May 4, 2009

true blood. meh. rant.

I just finished watching the HBO series True Blood on my PVR. (Ranty spoilers ahead, for those who don't want to know.)

Hooray! for vampires on mainstream tv. We need more of it.

That's where my delight in this series ended. Two words: WHINY HEROINE.

God, she's awful. I just wanted to punch her from scene 2, ep one, and it didn't get better. I'm sure she can't be like that in the books, or they wouldn't be such a hit.

TV Sookie invades people's privacy and then complains like a squashed skunk when people do the same to her. She complains all the time without a thought for any one else's problems. And even though she's almighty perky (my, is she perky. TV Sookie: hey, bar patron whom I so clearly think I'm better than, can you see how perky I am? No? Can I push my titties out just a little more? See now? No? How's about I wiggle my tush? Get it now? Great. kthxbai) if a guy should find her attractive, that's a mortal sin. What a be-yatch.

TV Sookie is the Thought Police. News flash, Sookie: people are entitled to think what they like, even if it offends your virginal little sensibilities.

Oh yeah. Did I not mention she's a virgin? Riiiiight.

And she's so self-absorbed. Everything has to be about her. Example: ep 2, where Bill tastes her blood for the first time.

TV Sookie: "Do I taste different to everyone else?"

Spew. I was so hoping Bill would say, no, actually, you're common as dirt, girl :)

And what's with dressing up in a white nightie and running out into the forest? What a princess.


The series wasn't a total loss. Redeeming features:

1) Bill. He's a clumsy fool, but he's kinda cool. This actor makes a much better vampire in Ultraviolet, btw. See:
2) Eric. Cool, built, wears muscle shirts (!), takes no shit, makes fun of Bill, thinks Sookie is a waste of space, girly hair that I adore. Nuff said.

3) Lafayette. Sassy. Alas, he's no more.

4) Rene being the killer. I like Rene. Pity he didn't kill Sookie too. Stay in the grave, Sookie.

Rant over. I was disappointed. I'll get over it. And, I'll probably watch Season Two. Even if just to see Eric in that muscle shirt again.

That's enough outa me -- what did you guys think of this series? Hit or miss?