Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest - Erica Hayes

Good morning!  Author Erica Haynes has stopped by to give us her tips on building a paranormal series. Sounds interesting, huh? Enjoy!


How to build your own paranormal romance series

Everyone loves a series, right? No such thing as a standalone romance book these days. We're hip-deep in sequels, prequels, spin-offs, books about sidekicks, ancestors and relatives of the original characters. Some authors, like Lara Adrian with her Midnight Breed books, are even rebooting their series like a Marvel comic and starting all over again.

So here are a few must-haves to build your very own paranormal romance series. We've all got our favorite series tropes – what are yours?

1. A posse of hot supernatural guys

Almost every series has one of these. Whether it's the original brotherhood of badass vamps (thank you, J.R. Ward), a gang of urbane Russian mobster were-snakes (I would totally read that) or a Viking vampire angel Navy SEAL team (have you seen that series by Sandra Hill? You have to check it out!) – your heroes have to come from somewhere, and what better place to find sexy supernatural dudes in need of romance than a ready-made posse of warriors on a mission?

In my Seven Signs series, the hot dudes are a gang of fallen angel warriors (all angels are warriors, right? What else are they for?) called the Tainted Host, who walk the earth doing heaven's dirty jobs. They slay demons. They party hard, mostly to avoid the issue, which is that they're one step away from hell. Yeah, they're one big seething mass of denial with hot feathery wings and flaming swords. And they fall in love at the worst possible time – the end of the world.

2. A gang of awesome ladies to match

Sometimes – not often, sadly, because it's really cool – it's the heroines in the series who make up the warrior posse. A sisterhood of witches and weres, like Yasmine Galenorn's D'Artigo sisters, or the demon-slaying vamps in my short story Hunter's Blood. They're kicking butt and taking names, and they find their heroes along the way.

But even if your ladies don't know each other, they'll be tough, resourceful women who know how to get the job done. They don't need a man – but if one comes along, they won't say no. So long as he's a smart, sexy, dangerous dude who's hot enough to handle her.

3. A Big Bad

You've got your characters sorted. Now you need something for them to do. No point in a story world without conflict – who would your posse of hot supes fight? Supervillains, rival wolf packs, well-meaning humans bent on destruction, invading aliens or the devil himself. Set your characters up with a suitably nefarious foe – preferably with numerous vile henchmen and the obligatory unhinged-yet-dangerously-sexy sidekick – and you'll never run out of stories to tell.

In my current series, it's demons all the way, unhinged sidekicks my specialty. There's a particularly gruesome fellow called Zuul, a pain demon who gets his energy from agony and loves to be tormented. Also another fun trope: the Good Guy Who's Actually Bad. I'll leave you to find out who that is, bwahaha…

4. Cool weapons

No self-respecting supernatural posse warrior packs an ordinary sidearm. Not on your life. The monsters they're fighting can't be killed by ordinary weapons, and besides, we need something super-cool to put on the cover! Swords, throwing knives, martial arts staves, the Magical Fire-Spitting Elbow of Doom. Give 'em whatever you like, so long as it's not boring.

5. Weird supernatural sex

Repeat after me: vanilla sex will not do. Whether it's a mild kink – dudes with feathers, oyy – or full-on wild monster shagging, werewolf-style, you'll need that touch of magic to spice up your love scenes, even if they're not explicit. And this is over and above your ordinary romance hero's ridiculously good performance in bed. Hot supernaturals absolutely must scorch it up with strangeness between the sheets somehow. Or what's the point?

So there you have it: some of my paranormal series must-haves.

If you're into fallen angels – and hey, who isn't? – do check out my apocalyptic Seven Signs series. Book 2, REDEMPTION, is new this month.

Japheth the Tainted is on the hunt for a mysterious demon vampire. But meeting her face-to-face might disarm his warrior spirit—and spark an unquenchable passion with apocalyptic consequences.

As a fallen angel, Japheth is determined to make his way back to heaven by staying pure and slaying hellspawn. With a new scourge of vampires unleashed by a blood-drinking demon, the Prince of Thirst, there’s plenty to be done. But Japheth is after one vampire in particular—the one they call the Angel Slayer.

Rose Harley never wanted to be a vampire, but the Prince of Thirst can turn even the kindest soul into a soldier of hell. Feeling abandoned by God, she stalks the West Village taking revenge on his angels—until she meets her match.

When Japheth and Rose encounter each other, the battle is fierce and charged with desire. But when they discover a common enemy—the Prince of Thirst himself—they form a dangerous alliance that could either cost them their eternal lives, or spark a love more powerful than heaven or hell.

And do come find me on the web! I'd love to chat with you.

So what are some of your favorite paranormal series tropes? Can't get enough of vampire brotherhoods and werewolf packs, or are you looking for something new? Do you like kick-butt supernatural heroines who meet their match, or are you a fan of human heroines who tame their sexy monster hero?


-- Lynda Again,
    Love the tips! And love the line under #5 'Or what's the point?' ;-)   I'm eager to see how you answer her questions, ie vamps or weres or something new? 

   Have a Blessed Day!


Lynda K. Scott said...

Mmmm.... I really, really like Tip #1-Have your own posse of hot, supernatural guys. The other tips are pretty cool too but, hey, HOT SUPERNATURAL GUYS RULE!

Thanks for being with us, Erica!

karinshah said...

Great post! Love the Tainted Ones, too cool!

I confess my favorite trope is the bad guy who is secretly good.

Off to go check out your books on Amazon!:-)

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Hot supernatural heroes sound good to me too! Excellent tips. Paranormal romance does combine well with erotic elements!

Jacqueline Seewald
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS--paranormal sensual Regency romance now in all ebook formats

Erica Hayes said...

{waves} hi everyone! Thanks for having me here today. And yes, so long as we've got a posse of hot supernatural guys, what more could we ask for?

Kara Ashley Dey said...

Love how you simplified your list of must-haves. I jotted them down. :)