Click For Clicks! 5 Questions With Author Amy Evans

Hey, gang! I'm sharing an interview I did recently with author Amy Evans with you today. Her book, Clicks, is a surfing adventure, a love story, an ode to dolphins, and so much more. Think you'll really dig learning about it.

A couple of quick news things first...

First, I wanted to mention that Camp New Adult is still chugging along, and this week we've got a Scrivener guru in the forums to take and answer questions. Her name is Kat, she's super helpful, and uses Scrivener in a lot of cool and different ways to help her writing process. 

So if you have questions about the software, or maybe even tips to share with others, be sure to jump over and check it out. Logging in to comment is as simple as using your Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts. You can do so, HERE.

And you might even bump into today's guest author or me over there. :)

Second, I wanted to give a shout out to my pal Carrie Butler, who is re-releasing her book, Strength (which I've featured here on this blog), as an independently published book. 

She lost her reviews and sales ranking because of the transition, not to mention she's had to learn all the ins and outs of DIY publishing--all in a short amount of time. Furthermore, the sequel to Strength will be hitting the streets in just a couple of months.

So, to help kickstart things and celebrate the new direction in her career, Carrie is offering up Strength for .99 cents for a limited time. She was featured on this week's W4WS, so you may have already pitched in.

If you haven't, I know many of my followers here are Indies, and you know how steep the learning curve can be. So if you can, please consider jumping over to Amazon and downloading Strength. It'll cost you less than your next soda and be so much sweeter. :)

5 Questions With Amy Evans, Author of Clicks

EJ: "Born and bred to win, sixteen-year-old Cami's family expects her to join a secret society called The Guard, marry one of the two identical twin boys next door, and stay on Pinhold Island for the rest of her life. But she has other plans: work beach patrol, win the Surf Carnival and leave Pinhold to compete in international surf rescue competitions and see the world."

That's the blurb for Clicks. It sounds a little bit fantasy, a little bit sporty, a little bit The O.C., and a LOT awesome! So, which is it? 

AMY: Clicks is a coming of age story about a girl who takes her home and family for granted until they are threatened.

EJ: Clicks sounds like a beach goer's dream read. Where'd you draw your inspiration for the story from? Was it long days stuck inside dreaming about the beach, or long days AT the beach? :)
AMY: Long days at the beach actually. I wanted to spend even more time there, so I wrote about it.

EJ: There seems to be a strong environmental theme in Clicks. Is that something you're passionate about? Is there anything you hope readers will take away from the story?

AMY: The environmental theme Clicks grew from my obsession with dolphins and my real fear that the damage to our environment and oceans has become irreversable. I wanted the story to be accessible for people younger than me, to help them grow up with an interest in protecting the ocean.

EJ: Clicks is a self-professed coming of age story--an experience that is often sometimes sweet, and sometimes bitter. Why do we want to go on that ride with Cami (the heroine of Clicks)?

AMY: Cami gets to do really fun things - lots of swimming with dolphins and surfing and kissing. She's a reluctant hero who is content to sit back and wait for others to solve problems until her twin Mica is in danger. It's only when pressed that she embraces her natural strength and her instincts, which is the key: listen to that voice that's inside you because you are the only one who can.

EJ: Our favorite question here at The Open Vein! Why should Clicks be our end-of-summer read, and where can we snag a copy? (links to book, websites, author stuff will go here).

AMY: Because everyone wants to hold on to summer as long as you can. And no one ever gets enough time at the beach. And did I mention the hot lifeguards?

Here's where you can find me an Clicks!

Author Facebook
Author Goodreads

CLICKS (EJ NOTE: Also only .99 cents!)

Indie Life: Using Your Space

Hey, gang! It's the second Hump Day of the month, and that means it's time for another Indie Life post. What is Indie Life? We'll get to that, but first...

Yo, EJ! Where You Been?!

Well, I moved from Texas to California last month--so I've been several places recently! But now I'm settled and resuming life as a West Coaster.

As far as blogging goes, because of the move I totally botched the Google Reader-ocalypse. I didn't adopt a new system in time to transition my reader list over. So in short, I lost everything and have been flying blind the last couple of weeks. But I'm catching up. (Some of you will have seen me around more lately... which may or may not be a good thing.  :)

I've got a new reader thing going in my web browser, but I'm having to rebuild my blog list from ground zero. Which really isn't a bad thing in theory. My old list was beyond unmanageable. I can't tell you how many blogs I had on there that no longer existed.

Anywho, please be patient with me. I'm finding most of my old favorites by stalking the comments of other blogs and adding y'all back that way. Until then, if you haven't commented here in a few weeks, please do just say hi as I'm adding everyone who comments here (it's the easiest way to find you).

I'm the world's worst about reading blogs on my phone, etc. and not getting to the comments, so that last bit was for my fellow lurkers. :) 

What Is New Adult Literature? Or Maybe, What Is It Not?

Yes, yes... I'm on that old box again. :) You all know I'm keen on New Adult stuff, and most of you know I'm a regular contributor over at the New Adult Alley Blog. Well, this week I did up a fun list of WHAT NEW ADULT LIT ISN'T.

Definitely hop over for a little NA FYI and say hello if you have a chance!

What is Indie Life?

: Sign up on the Linky at the bottom of this page

When: Post on the second Wednesday of the month (starting 1/9/2013)

What: Write anything indie related: something that will inspire or help a fellow indie; something that celebrates a release or a milestone; something that talks about the ups and downs, joys and heartaches of Being Indie.

Click: The banner above to learn more and join the fun!

Using Your Space

To paraphrase the Pauli exclusion quantum mechanical principal a tad: No two objects may occupy the same space.  

Now, I can promise you that's the last time I'll bring quantum physics into this blog to illustrate a point (well, at least the last time I'll do it in this post). Because frankly, I'm not that damned smart. :)  

However, it DOES say something very important with regards to what this whole independent author thing is all about: Identity and owning your space. 

Look, attempting to be an author is a scary proposition on any level. It's the psychological equivalent of climbing up on a rock in the middle of a turbulent sea and daring the waves not to sweep you away. 

That's true for publishing traditionally, independently, freelancing--you name it.

Your voice will be one of thousands--hundreds of thousands--and the chances of it being heard over the crying gulls and churning water aren't great. But not being heard isn't the really terrifying part.

The thing that'll cause you to dampen your favorite Superman onsie is the thought that someone WILL actually hear you. That you'll get some attention and be found not worthy, then they'll cast you back into the cold depths with all the other fish. 

Well I'm here to tell you, fears aside, you belong on that rock. In fact, the laws of the Universe demand that you occupy your space on that rock, because no one else can. It's all yours, baby!

The simple truth is this: You have a right to tell stories and ask other people to read them. They also have a right not to read them--always, always remember that! 

Indeed, some of them will actively look for reasons to invoke that right. Among those reasons: Not the right genre. Not the right name on the cover. Not the right cover. Not enough experience. Not jumping through the right hoops. Not the right training. Not the right person to ask them to read it. And so on...

Nonetheless, you still have a right to put it out there, to own your space and do with it what you want. (NOTE: This is not a SHOULD YOU discussion. The next time we spend a week together on a beach in the Bahamas we can have that conversation--whilst sipping fruity drinks, of course.)

There's been too dang much focus on the WHO in publishing for too long. It's the WHEN, WHAT, HOW, and WHY we should be figuring out. 

Being an independent author has allowed me to do that for myself. Just like in any great enterprise, there are steps to learn and methods to develop. I've had to unlearn a few things, too. (Like: Readers read the things they love over-and-over. If they love vampire stories, they don't really care if there've been 400 vampire stories published this year, they'll happily read another as long as it's done well. Who knew?)

But just knowing that I had the right to consider myself a professional--and then go about learning how to be one on my own terms--was totally liberating. 

Scary? Yes. Time consuming? Yes. Hard? Some days, very. But liberating.

So I'll leave you with this: No matter what kind of author you want to be, recognize that the space is already yours. You just have to decide how you want to use it. 


IWSG: Is It Okay To Have A Few "Turkeys"?

Hey, gang! It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post, a monthly tribute to the things that claw, gnaw, and snap at a writer's fragile mind--in a shiny, candy coating! But more on that in a sec...

Just a quick reminder for those of you interested in exploring the New Adult literature category, we're nearly a week into Camp New Adult--a month-long exercise in exploring the New Adult basics. It's free, open to all at any time, and really a great chance to meet some NA peeps and talk writing. Not to mention you might actually end up with a story out of it. :)

This week's camp session is all about taking that story spark or concept and building it into a fully fleshed-out idea. (I shared one for a story I'm working on in the forums...) We'll kick off the second week of camp with #NALitChat over on the Twitter this Thursday night (9 PM Eastern) by talking to several NA authors about how they brainstorm their story ideas into an actual book.

Some use Tumblr, some use mind mapping software like FreeMind or Coggle, and some use pictures and other media collection sites like Pinterest or Instagram. Whatever you use, it's likely an important part of your creative process--so come share it with others at Camp NA!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting is first Wednesday of every month. For all the details on the IWSG, to read more posts, &  to join in the fun, click HERE!

Is It Okay To Have A Few "Turkeys"? 

I recently read an article/interview with actor David Bradley. Now, if you're a fan of movies and TV--particularly the fantastical variety--you'll know David. He played Mr. Filch in the Harry Potter movies, and recently portrayed the despicable Walder Fray in the Game Of Thrones TV series. And he has a score of other credits to his name, not to mention an upcoming appearance in the Dr. Who movie.

He's an actor who has been around the block a few times, so he's got some perspective. I thought this comment was particularly revealing: 

"For me it was amazing because four big things are coming out all at once: Game of Thrones, Broadchurch, the Doctor Who movie and the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright movie The World's End. Happily they're all good, because for any actor of a certain age you've had your share of what you call Turkeys over here. So it's a real pleasure when you've got something good on your hands." ~ You can read the entire article over on IGN HERE.

Traditionally, authors have been under an immense amount of pressure to perform well right out of the gates. There's many a tale of the debut author who didn't meet her (often unknown) sales quota, and was unceremoniously dropped by her publisher. Or worse yet, said author found her name on a list of 'unpublishables', and would need to write in a new genre or under a new name to continue her writing career. 

It was just a numbers game. If you didn't earn out your first advance, it was difficult to justify another investment on the publisher's end of things. Had nothing to do with talent or the quality of the book necessarily, just business. 

Now, more and more authors are asked to prove themselves on their own before a publisher will commit. Furthermore, many authors simply want to go it on their own--sail their own vessel, so to speak. So in many in cases, it's now up to us to decide how well a book should do, or if we want to publish another one.

But I'm not sure that's alleviated the pressure, or at least the perceived pressure, much at all. A lot of authors still nervously watch their sales on Amazon, almost trying to will their books into the top 100. We get depressed when our latest--the one we were certain was going to take off--fails to perform even as well as the previous.

I guess I'm thinking we need to have more of Mr. Bradley's mindset. A career mindset if you will. 

Look, I've said many times on this blog that writers need to be able to put all the "it's art" talk in the drawer once a story is published. It's a business, and if you want to survive longterm, you need to treat it as a business.

You've created a product. Like your favorite fabric softener or brand of shoe, people are going to buy your book as a product, they are going to consume your book as a product, and lastly judge your book as a product. (This sounds bleak and overly consumeristic, but trust me, it'll help you cope when the reviews do or don't start coming in...)

If you're very, very lucky and talented, a literature class fifty years from now may examine your words with collected awe and admiration. But for now, you should feel really blessed to have someone tweet, "OMG this book is #AMAZEBALLS!!!! Totally read it on my potty breaks this week!"

But that doesn't mean that creativity and exploration doesn't still burn at the heart of what we do, because it does. 

We can't be afraid to explore a cool concept just because there isn't a market for it. We can't shy away from trying a new writing technique or twisting a genre trope just to see what happens. 

Why? Because I think that's how the really exceptional stories come about. In that way, I think we have to push the art to create the killer product, if that makes sense. 

The byproduct of this, unfortunately, is the occasional turkey. Sometimes the vision is there, but the little ingredient that makes it shareable with others, isn't. Sometimes the writing is fine, the bones are all in place, but it just kind of sits there. You took a chance, and it just didn't go.  

That's not advocating that you try to publish every story you churn out hoping that one of them eventually doesn't suck. That's how agent's are driven to the drink, and why some readers will pull a knife on you if you tell them you're a self-published author. 

But you'll know the difference between something that sucks and a turkey. 

A turkey is your best effort, something you've worked and reworked, but it just doesn't fly when you turn it loose. Suck is when your writing group threatens mass suicide if you don't rewrite it with ONLY "six POV characters and three epilogues" before they're forced to read another chapter. :)

In short, Mr. Bradley's statement has me feeling like it's okay to have a few turkey projects out there. That it'll just make me more appreciative of the things that do flourish. 

What do you think? Does every story that you see through to completion need to have bestseller potential, or are you okay having a few that miss the mark? Do you feel any pressure to achieve external success (lots of readers, money, etc.) with everything you write, or is the writing enough?


Welcome To Werewolf College, Where Dorm Living REALLY Bites

Hey, gang! Very excited to bring you an interview today with Scarlet Dawn, author of the brand-spanking-new fantasy novel, King Hall.

The premise for this one is insanely cool, so you'll definitely want to check out Scarlet's thoughts and motivations on writing it.

But first, I wanted to mention that the fine folks behind the Authors For Oklahoma disaster relief fundraiser are still taking donations and entries for the book bundles they're offering up. The proceeds will go to help those still cleaning up after the Oklahoma tornadoes earlier this summer (yes, they're still at it, and lots of people still do not have their homes back). By donating, you'll also be entered for a chance to win one of several book bundles that were donated to the group by various authors. 

You can check all of the details, and help, HERE.

Now for the interview...

EJ: "King Hall — where the Mysticals go to learn their craft, get their degrees, and transition into adulthood. And where four new Rulers will rise and meet their destinies."

Okay, not going to lie, this sounds AMAZING! Reading the entire blurb, it's like Harry Potter meets the X Men meets The Hunger Games (all the revolution talk)--tell us how you came up with the concept.

SD: My inspiration came from another story I had started writing. I knew I was on the verge of something wonderful, but that original story just wasn’t good enough.

Blank page. I started over, twisting characters, the story…BAM!

King Hall was written.

EJ: So King Hall is VERY paranormal. We've got Shifters, Vampires, Mages, Elementals--you name it. Being completely honest, it seems like everything paranormal has been done to death by this point. How did you keep KH fresh? Conversely, what (if any) paranormals inspired you?

SD: You’re right. Paranormal has been done to death.

When I created King Hall, I did so with a clear idea that I was going to make these fantasy beings as I wanted them. No preconceived notions as to what a Vampire, Shifter, Mage, or Elemental was. That’s the beauty of writing…you can make it whatever you want to. 

I did that. These beings aren’t your typical paranormal/fantasy characters.

I let my imagination fly.

EJ: KH is New Adult... *claps hands together* WE LOVE NEW ADULT HERE AT THE OPEN VEIN BLOG! *stares sternly at audience until they nod in agreement* How'd you find the NA category, and how does KH fit into the New Adult scene?

SD: I love New Adult, though my reason is lengthy…

I adore the chaos that derives from even the simplest action a “new adult” takes, every step a minefield of individuality. But when I wrote King Hall a few years ago, I didn’t know anything about the “label”. I just wrote what I wanted, what stories came to me. This particular series really took hold, and I kept writing.

And writing…

Until I was done.

Even after writing the last sentence of the last book, I still knew nothing about New Adult. A few months later, when I started investigating on how to query, I read an article on NA. It fit. It was that easy for me. If it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, then it’s most likely a duck. Same for The Forever Evermore series.

That said, I probably could have labeled this particular novel, King Hall, as upper YA (even though their ages are 19-22), but I had to think about the entire series as a whole. I didn’t want kiddies to get hooked on book one, only to have their minds blown by the erotic content of future books. I’m a mother of three wonderful teenagers, and while I’ve allowed them to read sections of King Hall, I would never allow them to read the entirety of the other books. It just gets too hawt for young minds. I was thinking about, not only my children, but other parents’ kids as well.

So, long story short, the New Adult genre fit. It’s where my writing-love is

EJ NOTE: I hear this a lot from writers exploring NA: The content/story just outgrew YA, and I'm thrilled there's something that allows me to explore that now. Go New Adult go! :D

EJ: Lily, King Hall's heroine, seems like the, "I really want to be left alone and read my boo--oh hell, I've got to go save the world" sort. Can you tell us about some of the challenges she faces as a character (inward/outward)? Also, what's her biggest fear/greatest strength?

SD: You’ve nailed Lily on the head with your description.

Lily has been “hiding” within the Commoner world for her entire life until tragedy strikes, and her sadistic uncle tosses her into the most prestigious Mystical school in the world. You see, Lily’s a hybrid. Half Shifter/half Vampire. She should have been slaughtered at birth by the Executioner…

It’s easy to say her biggest fear is being “found out”, but by the end of this tale, there’s a new overwhelming fear. The Revolution.

EJ: Our favorite question here at the Open Vein! Where/when can we get our paws (shifter joke!) on King Hall, and where can we find you on the web?

SD: King Hall has just recently released! I feel so humbled by the response it has already received…becoming an international bestseller. My heart simply glows hearing all of the fabulous reviews.

King Hall can be purchased here:


Meet Scarlet Dawn!