Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway with Erica Hayes

Erica Hayes as Bad Faery
at 2009 RWNZ
Photo by Christina Phillips
Erica Hayes from down under is my guest today. Erica guest posted for the release of her first book Shadowfae here and for Shadowglass here.  Check them out for more fascinating background on the series. Poison Kissed has just been released and readers that like an edgy blend of urban fantasy and romance will appreciate Erica's unique vision of the fae world in a modern Australian urban setting. While the books share a common background and some characters, each novel stands easily on its' own.

We have a copy of Poison Kissed to giveaway. All you need to do is answer Erica's question at the end of her post. Welcome Erica!

Romantic Urban Fantasy: Making the Darkness Worthwhile

With the proliferation of paranormal and fantasy titles these days, it's sometimes difficult as a reader to know exactly what you're getting – is it an urban fantasy, or a paranormal romance? Covers and cover blurbs can be confusing – they're designed by publishers who want to reach both markets, so sometimes the package isn't entirely true to the book.

For romance readers, it can be a real disappointment to reach the end of a book and realize there's no happy ever after, at least not in this book in the series. And readers who want urban fantasy get frustrated if there's too much romance. So how can you tell, besides the too-true joke that romances have man-titty on the covers and fantasies have a tramp-stamped heroine? What's the difference between romantic urban fantasy and paranormal romance anyway?

I get this question a lot, because my Shadowfae Chronicles books are kind of marketed as both. They have heroines on the covers (no man-titty yet!) and the heroine is definitely the main character, but they have HEAs (happy ever afters) and a strong romance plot. I call them 'urban fantasy/romance' in an effort not to mislead readers, because they really are a bit of both.

Traditionally, a paranormal romance has two main characters, and it's primarily about the relationship between them. It'll have both points of view, and the world building is secondary to the romance plot – usually the heroine and hero end up facing their foes together. As a writer, you give both characters as close to equal page time as you can.

In an urban fantasy, there's a lot more latitude. Typically, there's one main character – the heroine – and it's about what she's doing, which is often solving a murder mystery, and any romance is tied in as a subplot to her investigations. Often, she'll face her foes alone. It's less about the relationship and more about the paranormal world's dangers and how the heroine deals. There'll be subplots, multiple points of view, secondary characters and villains with their own stories to tell – but the main point of view is the heroine's.

UF heroines can have multiple ongoing love interests, and because there's typically a series of books featuring the same heroine, there won't necessarily be a HEA/HFN in every book. And that applies to heroes too. In a romance, it's kinda off-putting if the hero has a relationship with another woman. In UF, it's just part of his dark, forbidden charm if the heroine has to fight for him.

In fact, I'd say that standards of behavior are lower in UF. Romance heroes (and heroines, but especially heroes) are expected to adhere to a certain moral code. In UF, because the romance isn't front and centre, they can get a lot darker and dirtier before readers refuse to forgive them.

So my new book, POISON KISSED, {segue into shameless self-promo} has one main character, multiple points of view and a HEA. You get to read about the villains (yum!) as well as the good guys. And the good guys are… well, they're bad.

Mina, my heroine, is a killer, albeit a reluctant one. She's a gang enforcer – it's her job to kill, beat up and otherwise monster her enemies. She drinks. She takes drugs. She has casual sex. That's the kind of world she lives in. She wouldn't last five minutes keeping the moral high ground.

Joey, the hero, is her boss, and he fights just as dirty as his gang rivals. If he didn't, he'd be dead. And that doesn't necessarily change by the end of the book. There's a romance, so it's a story of redemption – that's what love does, right? – but that doesn't mean Mina and Joey renounce all badass-ness. Their world won't let them just walk away.

So why are they heroes? Because right and wrong matters to them. Because some things they just won't do, no matter the temptation or the reward. And because they care about each other, even if they're determined not to show it.

So I guess, for me, that's a big difference between PR and romantic UF. In PR, love conquers the darkness. In romantic UF, love makes the darkness worthwhile.

Come visit me on Twitter @ericahayes or Facebook. And you can read the full chapter one of POISON KISSED at my website and watch the book trailer.

So which do you prefer? Full-on paranormal romance? Or romantic UF? Who are some of your favorite couples, and why?

POISON KISSED ~ Book 3 of the Shadowfae Chronicles

Beyond the veil of magic, a fairy otherworld pulses with glamour and dark beauty. It's a place where passions run deep and dark — and death is just one kiss away...

Mina is a banshee whose greatest power lies in her siren song. She's beholden to her boss Joey, a snake-shifter who once saved her life and now employs her as a gang enforcer. She refuses to upset the fragile balance between them by admitting that she longs for him, that his embrace is the only thing she craves more than revenge for her mother's death...

When Mina learns that Joey may have been involved in her mother's murder, fury threatens to spill out of her, note by vicious note. She and Joey have always trusted each other to stay alive, but now she's not sure what to believe. The evidence stacked against him — or the one man who haunts her dreams and burns in her blood...

Important Links for Erica Hayes:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

  1. Leave a comment responding to Erica's question to enter.
  2. One name will be drawn at random. Open internationally (by Book Depository).
  3. Giveaway runs until Midnight, Thursday, October 14.  
  4. Leave a way for me to contact you.
  5. Links to this post on your favourite social media sites, blogs, etc., would be appreciated.


  1. I haven't read a great deal of either sub-genre, but I think I would prefer UF romance. I prefer my paranormals to be more thriller than roamnce.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T (International)

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  2. Thanks for hosting this interview! :)

    I think along with Forensic Fiction (yep, I'm a freak :P ), Urban Fantasy is my favorite genre. I think UF is much more rewarding than PR, not only because there's more depth, more subplots and generally more characters, but also because I love it when there are a lot of things happening at them same time.

    I always enjoy a beautiful mess (did I mention I also love Dystopian? :P)
    So, yeah UF all the way for me! XD

    I think Erica's line sums it up perfectly: In PR, love conquers the darkness. In romantic UF, love makes the darkness worthwhile.


    I twitted it: http://twitter.com/yllektra/status/26437111036

    And good luck to everyone entering! XD

  3. BIG Romantic UF fan. favorite couples, where do I start . Kate Daniels and Curran (purrr)from Iiona Andrews are definitely up there. Mira and Danaus (Jocelyn Drake), Barrons and Mac from the Fever series, Cassie and Pritkin from Karen Chance.

    would love to try your books. Added you to my TBR list :)

  4. I love both genres but I occasionally tire with paranormal stories since they can be predictable. I'm really enjoying some of the UF titles out there so my answer is UF--for now!

  5. I definitely prefer uf. One of my favorite couples is Cat and Bones. And I don't know if you can really call them a couple, but I love Jo Archer and Hunter from Vicki Pettersson's Signs of the Zodiac.

  6. Excellent topic of choice! Finally someone put it out there simplisticly. :)

    I'm much more of a romantic UF reader. I get frustrated if the romantic element overshadows the world building past a certain point. On the same hand I really do want there to be some romantic element to keep things interesting.

    I wish I could come up with a favorite couple but I tend to root for the guy the heroine doesn't end up with. lol Maybe I will go with Allie and Zayvion from Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom books. They tend to just send sparks off the page. :)

  7. I like both, romantic UF and paranormal romance, but if I had to choose, I'd go with romantic UF, since there's more to the story than the romantic relation between characters.

    carianmoonlight at gmail dot com

  8. I would love to win.
    Please enter me.

  9. Thanks so much to everyone for visiting! Lots of UF fans, and thriller fans :)

    I confess I'm with you -- I love romance, but I like more to happen than the relationship stuff alone. Then again, when there's mostly action, I want more romance :) I guess I'm difficult to please!

    I also like it when the external conflicts are real -- when the hero and heroine can't just walk away from their lives, no matter how much their romantic involvement makes them want to.

  10. I lean more towards UF because I like a lot of action going on than romance. Its fine with me if there is no HEA.

    Favorite couples would be Cat and Bones,& Mac and Barrons.

    melissagrantcpacfe at gmail dot com

  11. I love both paranormal romance, romantic UF, or even UF without much romance. As long as there is a lot of action, great characters and a satisfying conclusion, I'm happy. My favorite couple is Jeaniene Frost's Cat & Bones, because they have their differences, but they're always there for each other.


  12. I like both paranormal romance and UF. It all depends on my mood at the time, but I like to swap things around. In thinking about my favorite couples, I've just realized they come from UFs. I like both the Riley Jensen series and the Kate Daniel series. That would tend to suggest the UFs have made a greater impression on me. Maybe it's the uncertainty of whether the couple will get together or not? (I like your definition BTW)

    I haven't read your series yet, Erica, but it sounds great.

    shelleymunro AT gmail Dot com

  13. Usually it depends on my moods. I got through PNR stages, erotic stages and YA stages but I always end up right back to my favorite genera UF. However I do love my UF to have romance in it also. That is just the best of both worlds. Some of my favirote couples are Kate and Curran, Barrons and Mac, Mercy and Adam, Cat and Bones, and Cassie and Pritkin.

    akascrapaholic {at} gmail DOT com

  14. I think am read more romance UF. So many couples to choose. Cat and Bones, Kate and Curran, Mercy and Adam, Cassie and Mircea, and finally Clary and Jace.


  15. I love both genres. As long as there is action and love I am happy.

    My favorite couple (or one of them) is Jeaniene Frost's Cat and Bones. They are an explosive couple to say the least. Opposites attract.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  16. I really dont prefer one over the other. Between the two that is most of what I read but as to which one it depends on my mood at the time.

    Some great couples are - Kate and Curran, Clay and Elena, Bones and Cat, and Mac and Barrons

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  17. It depends on my mood, but as a general rule, I prefer romantic urban fantasy. Cat and Bones are my favorite characters.
    ra7_78 at yahoo dot com

  18. More a fan of UF than PNR. I do love a good PNR, though.

  19. I tend to lean more towards Romantic Urban Fantasy because I find the story is more balanced with the romantic subplot. My favourite couple is Clay and Elena from Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series because they are very dysfunctional.

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/jmspettoli/status/26525371161

    spettolij AT gmail DOT com

  20. Paranormal romance or romantic UF? It's all good for me! One of my favorite couples are Anita Blake and Jean Claude (LKH), Mac and Barrons (KMM), Mira and Danaus (Jocelyn Drake), and Charlie and Hank (Kelly Gay).


    Dottie :)

  21. Ooh, a few votes for Mira and Danaus and Cat and Bones ... a couple of my favourites! I like M&D because they never seem to get it right, but their relationship develops all the same... a great romantic UF couple!

  22. I looooooove UF romance and my favorite couple is Kate and Curran *sigh*

    inale87 at gmx dot at

  23. I definitely prefer UF to PNR. If I want more romance, I will read a straight romance. I like UF because when you follow one character through several books, you have a lot more time to deepen their characterization. Plus I like characters that are more morally ambiguous.

  24. I personally like both genre as long as it has anything thats paranormal in the plot..I will read it. Most of the books I have are UF

  25. I think I might prefer UF romance because they tend to be series so the characters can develop more and there seems to be more story/plot than just romance.

    Who don't I like!? Kate Daniels and Curran from Ilona Andrews, Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman from Patricia Briggs, Cat and Bones from Frost, Sookie and Eric from Harris to name some.

  26. Sorry that was acm05atjuno.com for Anne's comment.

  27. I do enjoy both, but I lean toward the romantic UF. I love the action & adventure with some steam thrown in for fun. :)

    Anita & JC are a great couple.


  28. i love both. It just depends on the story and the my mood as to what I like to read an any given moment.

  29. I really love both, but recently I've been reading more UF romance. It's alot more grittier and darker and somehow more 'real' to me.


  30. I'm leaning more to the UF romance. I like more action and mystery-oriented books, with romance as an addition to the main plot.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  31. I like a good paranormal story, but many "romances" turn into porn, and I prefer the spooky stories. So I guess UF would be my preferred genre.


  32. I love I prefer paranormal romance. I love paranormal becouse there are a lot of things happening.

    In thinking about my favorite couples i like Clay and Elena from Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series


  33. I do like romance in my UFs though I don't *have* to have a HEA in them.


  34. I love romance and paranormal or UF doesn't really matter - and the romance doesn't have to be the driving factor - just a little lovin' thrown in with the bloodletting and asskickin'. hmmm, guess I'm a UF girl after all.

    My favorite couples are Jeaniene Frost's Bones and Cat. And I like Drake's vampire Mira and hunter Danaus. annhonATaolDOTcom

  35. Hi there, I love both UF and PR. Some days I prefer on over the other but if both genres have good stories that keep me entertained then great.

    Fave couples: Cat and Bones of course. :)

    Got this series on my wish list.


  36. I enjoy both, but if forced to pick I would choose PNR. Some favorite couples are Acheron and Tory, Malkom and Carrow, Bowan and Mariketa,Judd and Brenna.

  37. I love both but I have mostly UF on my shelf right at the moment:-)

    Thank you for this giveaway.



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