Author of Redemption


 “Weaves rich sensual imagery and dark eroticism into a breathless thriller plot… Hayes characters have distinct and delightful voices, and she’s developed considerable skill at blending the gritty and the supernatural.”  —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

 “Steamy urban fantasy...magical [and] fast-paced.”—Romantic Times BOOKreviews


Erica Hayes


Erica Hayes is the author of dark urban fantasy/romance: the Seven Signs series from Berkley Sensation and the Shadowfae Chronicles from St Martin's Press. Also romantic science fiction: Dragonfly from Momentum Books.

 You can find Erica at Ericahayes.net, on Facebook and Twitter.


Don't forget to leave a comment below to win a copy of Redemption or a Margie lecture packet! 


Erica Hayes won a prestigious writing contest in Australia. A contest that launched her into print. 


Margie Asks Erica:


Please share your road to publication. Other contests?  Rejections?


It seems strange to say I got published the 'old-fashioned' way! But 2008 is the olden days now. Amazon was loss-leading ebooks at $10 (!!) and self-publishing was only just getting off the ground.



I queried, I submitted, I waited… waited… Truth is, my first few manuscripts and queries weren't much good. I got a bunch of well-deserved rejections. But everyone has to start somewhere, and you can't improve without doing.


One of the best things I ever did to improve was take Margie's one-day Deep Editing course at the Australian RWA conference. And no, I'm not just saying that :)


revelationTalk about having a 'light-bulb moment' (cliche alert!) -- it was raining light-bulbs in Melbourne that day!


That was the year I won a contest, and also the year I got my agent and sold my first book. I think writing's a bit like that, whether you're aiming for traditional publication or venturing into self-pub: it's not a linear progression. It has plateaus, where you work your butt off, but seem to be getting nowhere… and then one day, all your effort coalesces, and you leap to the next level.



So if you're not getting the sales you want, or can't seem to land that perfect agent or contract? Don't be discouraged. Keep at it. Learn as much as you can, and keep your eyes open for opportunities. One day, your work will pay off.


Thank you Erica!  I’m so glad I got to meet you at RW Australia!


Your writing is as fresh as your characters. And it’s fast-paced and funny and powerful.


BLOG GUESTS – Here’s a passage that introduces the demon prince.


Slick rosy lips, dark eyes flashing with unholy fire. Fluvium, Prince of Thirst. Creator and master of the Babylon vampire covens.


And she was totally, helplessly, irrevocably his slave.


Sick fever crawled her spine. Her voice trembled. “Damn it, Fluvium, you scared the shit out of me. Why can’t you just walk up and say ‘hi’ like a normal person?”


“Sweet Rose, I’m disappointed you’d say such a thing.” Fluvium shoved hands in pockets, his embroidered black coat flaring around his knees. Freakish face, ethereal, his bones impossibly sharp and fine. Tonight, his perfect chin was artfully unshaven, and a shiny golden ring pierced one earlobe. He wore a ruffled white shirt, black trousers and tall boots, a glistening violet scarf, and his deliciously dark hair—just a midnight purple shadow belying his inhuman nature—tousled at his collar beneath a raven-feathered, three-cornered hat.


Deep Edit Analysis:  


Power words: slick, flashing, unholy, fire, creator, master vampire, covens, helplessly, slave, sick, fever, crawled, spine, trembled, damn, scared, shit, normal, disappointed, freakish, ethereal, bones, impossibly, sharp, perfect, pierced, deliciously, midnight, inhuman, raven-feathered.

Strong cadence.


A paragraph later:


Rose’s cheeks burned. She’d thought herself so streetwise, a girl from the projects who’d seen it all. Fit, trained in self-defense, pepper spray in her purse. Besides, she’d dated—ahem, read slept with, she didn’t have time for real dating, not with stage rehearsals and shows until late, and looking after Bridie since Mommy sold one baggie too many and earned herself ten-to-twelve in the state pen—she’d dated guys who were a lot less classy. Just warm bodies, staving off loneliness. But this man had style, charm, a hint of sexy threat that tempted her breathless.


Deep Edit Analysis: Visceral response. Slipped in several hits of backstory in a compelling way.  Intentional Authorial Intrusion, ahem piece, shares info and Humor Hit.


Contrasted previous guys Rose dated to this guy, and shared what attracted her to the demon (stimulus) and how she reacted (response).


Margie Asks Erica:


Did you make many changes to the paragraphs above? If so, how did they evolve? 


Erica Responds:


Word choices, mostly. As you can see, I write with a lot of adjectives. My first drafts always have too many. How do I know it's too many? When they destroy the cadence, and overload the reader with information they don't need. It's a matter of picking the most important adjectives, and the ones that sound the best when you read aloud.


Cadence is important to me. Maybe it's because I'm a musician, and very conscious of rhythm. A writer I admire very much is Stephen King, and he's a master of cadence. So often I discard perfectly good words because they just don't sound right.


BLOG GUESTS: I could share hundreds of teaching examples from REDEMPTION. But I’ll limit myself to sharing five more. We’ll dig deep into the fifth example.


1. She staggered, and screamed. Her vision shorted out.


Deep Edit Analysis: Simple and powerful. Alliteration. Parallelism. Fresh visceral response.


2. But the sight of Rose’s beautiful face, now a mass of bruises and burns, eclipsed the   magical hatred like a rock blotting out the sun.


Deep Edit Analysis: Used bruised and burned face as a stimulus for an amplified power internalization based on a simile. Power words: beautiful, bruises, burns, eclipsed, magical hatred, rock, blotting out, sun. Fresh writing. Perfect cadence.


3. Yes, she loathed Fluvium to his hellcursed bones. But she feared hell more.


Deep Edit Analysis: Serious message conveyed with Humor Hit. Erica made it two sentences, for emphasis. Power words: hellcursed, bones, feared, hell. Perfect cadence.


4. He’d stab this prince of bullshit through his lying heart and watch him die.


Deep Edit Analysis: Simple and powerful. Power words: stab, prince, bullshit, lying, heart, die. Perfect cadence.  


5. Michael speared straight at him, wings streamlined back, shrieking electric blue hatred. Japheth met him head on. Sword blades clashed. Lightning struck and sizzled. His arm jarred with the force of the blow, and they hit the ground together. He whipped his wings taut, and rolled, just in time to avoid Michael’s stabbing sword point . . . but the archangel’s fist slammed into Japheth’s trailing wrist, and his hell-spelled blade shrieked and shattered.


Stellar writing!


Margie Talks Action Scenes!


Redemption is loaded with action scenes, each one as credible as it is incredible.


Stimulus-response patterns? Check.


Fresh writing? Check.


Rhetorical devices? Check.


So strategic, stylistic, and stellar, they place the reader in the action and make them flinch?  Check. Check. Check. Check!


And they make writers wish they’d written that action scene?  Check!


Margie Asks Erica –


Do you act out your action scenes?


What tips, recommendations, or quirky suggestions do you have for our blog guests?


Erica Responds:

I act out the scenes in my head, if not in real life! I try not to make the action too confusing, with too much choreography. This is not a movie, where you can have endless set-pieces.


It's the same with a love scene: you can outstay your welcome (cliché alert!) with readers if you go on too long. They'll say, okay, we get it!


Sword fight, blah blah. Move on! What happens now? And that means SKIMMING. No one wants skimming.


If in doubt? Cut it, and see what happens.


Mixing up the sentence lengths is important, too. It adds suspense. It keeps the reader interested. And with shorter sentences, you can emphasize your power words. It's as if the entire sentence becomes its own power word. Like this. Boom.


Because I write paranormals, I can get away with added wackiness. In the paragraph above, I have a character shrieking electric blue hatred.


That doesn't actually make sense, right? But in context, the reader understands.


It's an image of beauty and power. And it's surprising. Surprising is good. It sucks readers in.


So don't be afraid to play with words, create strange effects, aim for color and  freshness. Readers are clever. They'll get it!


Erica – I love your suggestions. I knew you were smart smart smart. :-)


Margie Asks Erica –


What are some of the things you learned from me that make your writing stronger?


Erica Responds:


Honestly, where do I begin? I love Margie's rhetorical devices! They're so simple, yet add so much power. I don't remember what half of the devices are called, but the more I write, the more I use them without thinking.


Perfect! Writers don’t need to remember the names of those 30 rhetorical devices. But they do need to use them!


Like I said, cadence is important to me. But I didn't really understand why until I studied Margie's course, and the examples she uses from high-impact NYT writers like Harlen Coben or Jodie Picoult.


Yes! Cadence-driven writing rules!  Darynda Jones, Elizabeth Essex, Renee Ryan, Pamela Palmer, Shirley Jump, Nalini Singh, Randy Ingermanson, and dozens more Margie-Grads would agree with you!


Backloading was a big one for me. It's such a simple, powerful technique, but so easily overlooked, unless you know what to look for.


The EDITS system is terrific. Whenever I have a problem scene – something that's not working, but I don't know why – I whip out the highlighters. The solution is often so simple. Among my writing buddies, 'to Margie' is a verb.  As in, 'I need to Margie this chapter!'


But most importantly? I learned that you don't have to rely on all these cool effects and devices happening to your writing by accident. You can make them happen. But you have to know what they are first. Which is where Margie comes in!


Margie -- Thanks so much for having me on the blog!


Erica – Deep Editing and the EDITS System to the rescue!


Good for you for working so hard to make your writing strong.


 Thanks for taking the time to respond to the questions. I appreciate you.


Remember to leave a comment for the chance 

to win

a book from Erica


an online course from Margie!







# RE: Erica HayesMaryde 2013-04-17 07:49
I enjoy the spontaneous, action packed scenes in Erica's stories. Her characters really light up and sizzle on the page.
Enjoying Redemption, my current read.

And Margie, your courses come with high recommendation by many in RWAust.
There is much here that I shall put to good use. Thanks
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:21
Thanks, Maryde :) lovely to see you here!
# RE: Erica HayesMargie Lawson 2013-04-18 21:29
Hey Maryde --

I love RW Australia! Your conferences are so stellar, I'd offer a seems-too-good- to-be-true deal for the fun of presenting for you all again. ;-)

Glad you liked my deep edit analyses in the blog. Hope to see you in a class sometime!
# RE: Erica HayesDeborah Challinor 2013-04-17 07:51
Excellent interview, Margie and Erica. Thanks, both of you, for sharing. Erica, REDEMPTION sounds like yet another rip, er, poo, and bust read. Good on ya.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:22
LOL Hi Deb! Thanks for dropping by :)
# RE: Erica HayesMargie Lawson 2013-04-18 21:31
Deborah --

You made me LOL!

Love your style on the screen!

Thanks for visiting the blog. Hope to see your fresh voice and enthusiasm on the blog again.
# RE: Erica HayesLydia Moore 2013-04-17 08:53
So many great examples here!!! I love this one especially: 'He’d stab this prince of bullshit through his lying heart and watch him die.'
Looks like a great book! I have added it to my TBR pile.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:23
Thanks for visiting, Lydia. Lovely to meet you!
# RE: Erica HayesMargie Lawson 2013-04-18 21:33
Hey Lydia --

That's one of my favorite lines too. :-)

Erica's writing and characters and stories will hook you!

Thank you for chiming in.
# RE: Erica HayesBrooke Washington 2013-04-17 08:59
I'm a total paranormal romance junkie. I love gritty, dark, richly erotic plots, taut dialogue with implicit sexual tension, with a little bit of wit thrown around. I must say Revelation certainly executes all the roles to perfection. The plot was intriguing, the supporting cast was super fun and I loved the built-in conflict between the Morgan and Luniel. Definitely looking forward to Redemption.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:24
*happy dance* thanks so much, Brooke! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book. I love dark and sexy paranormals, too :-)
# RE: Erica HayesMargie Lawson 2013-04-18 21:41
Hello Brooke!

Ah - You're already a big Erica fan!

Thanks for sharing your review for Revelation. Well written, and enticing!
# Keep at itMargaret Carroll 2013-04-17 11:48
Thank you to both Margie and Erica for a great interview. Erica wrote: "it's not a linear progression. It has plateaus, where you work your butt off, but seem to be getting nowhere… and then one day, all your effort coalesces, and you leap to the next level."
Thank you for those wonderful wise words. What a great way to put it. Wishing you all the best, Margie (also a huge Margie L fan!)
# RE: Keep at itErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:24
It can be a frustrating business, that's for sure, Margaret. Keep the faith!
# RE: Keep at itMargie Lawson 2013-04-18 22:02
Hello Margie-Grad and RITA Finalist Margaret Carroll!

I'm one of your big fans too!

Your writing is always strong. I can't wait to feature you on the Pubbed Margie-Grad Blog!

Hope you're going to RWA National. Miss you, miss you!
# Re: Erica HayesSimone Cooper 2013-04-17 12:32
This is a wonderful interview, thanks Margie and Erica. Such great tips from both of you, and the light-bulb moment that Erica had really struck a chord with me as there's nothing like the 'Ahhh...now I understand'. Looking forward to doing one of Margie's courses and to reading Redemption. Erica's writing is so vivid. Her words just sparkle on the page.
# RE: Re: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:25
Thanks, Simone :) and I hope you get as much out of Margie's courses as I did!
# RE: Erica HayesAmber Sullivan 2013-04-17 13:17
This is a wonderful interview and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Congratulations, Erica. I wish you lots of success in your publishing career!
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:26
Thanks for visiting, Amber! :-)
# RE: Erica HayesAnn 2013-04-17 13:26
WOW! Love the power and the fresh way to write a blush! I always struggle with that one.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:29
Oh, yes :) blushes are tough. Everyone knows what it feels like, but it's definitely hard to keep the descriptions fresh. It's always god to try new things!
# RE: Erica HayesMelanie Crawford 2013-04-17 13:29
Love the excerpts, Erica. Such strong, fresh writing! Mortified to say, I've never picked up your wonderful work. Will be amending this lapse soon enough.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:29
Hey, thanks, Melanie! I hope you enjoy :-)
# RE: Erica HayesGianna Boyd 2013-04-17 13:40
So nice of you to stop by.
I love hearing each author's tale about their creative journey in writing a book. Thanks for being so generous in your insights. I look forward to reading your books!
Margie, as always - thanks for the great analysis. I love learning from you!
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 14:30
Thanks for visiting, Gianna. There's always something to learn from Margie's analyses!
# RE: Erica HayesKathryn 2013-04-17 15:11
Thanks for sharing great examples Margie and Erica!
I hope to one day be a Margie graduate myself so my writing can benefit from such excellent guidance.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 16:41
Go for it, Kathy :-)
# RE: Erica HayesPolly Eckert 2013-04-17 17:36
Reading this blog refreshed Margie's subject matter to me. You also switched my brain into application mode for my own WIP. Thanks!
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 18:23
Thanks for visiting, Polly :) lovely to meet you!
# RE: Erica HayesMarsha R. West 2013-04-17 18:11
Great interview, ladies. Super writing, Erica. What Margie can do to us!!
Margie knows I love cliches. If there's a cliche for an idea, I'm going to use it. LOL Only in the first drafts or several, of course. Mostly I prun them away. I'm not good at tipping them on their heads, which is what you do, Erica, in one of your answers. Talk about having a 'light-bulb moment' (cliche alert!) -- it was raining light-bulbs in Melbourne that day! Clever, fresh writing. Loved the post.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 18:26
That's the cool thing about cliches, right, Marsha? They're great placeholders in a first draft. We know we want something cool and fresh, but we can't think of it right now. So we put 'light-bulb moment' (or whatever) for the time being, and come back to change it in a later draft.
# RE: Erica HayesMarsha R. West 2013-04-17 18:13
LOL That would be "prune" them away, of course.
# RE: Erica HayesMaryAnna Rose 2013-04-17 20:40
Wow. I loved what you said about plateaus - I know I'll make it eventually.

Loved the excerpts. Thanks for sharing here Erica.
MaryAnna Rose
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 21:06
Thanks for coming by, MaryAnna :) and good luck!
# RE: Erica HayesGreg Henry 2013-04-17 21:21
I like the power words... some nice suggestions as well.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 23:07
Thanks for visiting, Greg!
# RE: Erica HayesGreg Henry 2013-04-17 21:22
I like the power words... some nice suggestions as well.
# Erica HayesS E Gilchrist 2013-04-17 21:53
Great interview. Thank you Erica & Maggie. I've done two of Margie's course & found them invaluable. But I must admit I'm the kind of writer that needs to refresh what I've learnt. So I will be signing up again. Congratulations on the release of another fab novel, Erica.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-17 23:08
{waves} hey, thanks for coming by! I have Margie's lecture notes saved on my computer, and I dig them out whenever I'm in need of a refresh :-)
# Erica HayesS E Gilchrist 2013-04-17 21:54
Ooops my apologies for the incorrect name spelling - so sorry Maggie. in a rush to get out the door to work. my bad :(
# RE: Erica HayesShannon Hicks 2013-04-18 01:51
Erica - I love the excerpts from your book.
I admire your cadence, the visceral responses in your scenes and your ability to hook the reader right away - all great stuff.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:43
Thanks, Shannon :) lovely to meet you!
# RE: Erica HayesLeah Ingram 2013-04-18 02:00
Thanks for taking the time to write here, it's inspiring to hear successful writers share their stories.
I wanted to ask you, what is the one most important piece of advice you would give yourself, if you could go back to when you started?
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:48
Thanks for your question, Leah!

I'd probably go back and tell myself 'go your own way'.

The publishing industry is full of people trying to tell everyone that THEIR way is the only way. That if you don't use method X, you're letting yourself down.

It's just not true. You have to find what works for you. That means a lot of trial and error! But comparing yourself to other people's definitions of 'success' is pointless. You have to find your own path :-)
# RE: Erica HayesConnie Strickland 2013-04-18 02:25
Love this one:
"Yes, she loathed Fluvium to his hellcursed bones. But she feared hell more."
Like Margie said, 'Serious message conveyed with Humor Hit.' Short and empowered.
Hugs and happy writing.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:48
Lovely to meet you, Connie! Thanks for visiting :)
# RE: Erica HayesEvelyn Burns 2013-04-18 02:29
Hi Erica! What a tremendous story of your road to publication. Congratulations ! And your book sounds absolutely fantastic.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:49
Thanks, Evelyn! Everyone's path is different, and it's always fun to hear people's stories, isn't it?
# RE: Erica HayesCathy Walker 2013-04-18 03:41
What a gripping and delectable selection! Your line: 'But the sight of Rose’s beautiful face, now a mass of bruises and burns, eclipsed the magical hatred like a rock blotting out the sun.' was my favorite. Hard to pick, though. There were so many great examples of fresh writing.
I love the way Margie breaks these down and explains why they work.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:50
I get such a lot out of Margie's analyses, too. So simple, yet a real insight into *why* things work.
# RE: Erica HayesMaisie Carter 2013-04-18 04:09
Such fresh, potent writing! I love the examples Margie shared. And I have to tell you, I loved Dragonfly. Immensely. I'm going to have to download your latest.
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:51
Wow, thank you, Maisie! I'm so pleased you enjoyed Dragonfly *happy dance* My other books have more romance, so I hope you enjoy those, too!
# RE: Erica HayesStacey Nash 2013-04-18 07:47
Wow. Fresh, powerful writing. I love your word choices Erica. Hellcursed bones is brilliant!
# RE: Erica HayesErica Hayes 2013-04-18 08:52
Thanks, Stacey! Actually, 'hellcursed' is on my list of 'words I use too much'. It crops up such a lot when you write about demons :) but I just *had* to keep that one...
# I'm sold!Jory Strong 2013-04-20 00:52
I'm totally sold on both Redemption and the EDITS process.

How much of the system did you pick up at home by going over the material versus the live class? And if you did this primarily at home, did you have a process to get the information loaded in without having feedback available?

Looking for hope here that I'll get to where you are as right now I'm working through the lessons at home :-) Great writing above!
# Erica HayesSherry Nelson, Ph.D. 2013-04-20 01:01
Amazing interview! I'm really trying to wrap my head around cadence and your examples brought a new level of clarity to the game. Thank you and I can't wait to read Redemption!

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