• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Goodbye

Boat and Sunset

Ten years is a long time for a critique group to last, but somehow, this one survived that long. That means, ten years of a group of writers regularly meeting to critique and discuss writing in every capacity. All of us have learned and grown so much during our time together, but it is with sadness that we announce The 7 Evil Dwarves will be breaking up.

That doesn’t, however, mean that any of us will stop writing. We are writers. It’s just what we do. But, this site will disappear soon. We just wanted to thank all of you for loyally coming along with us during our journey. We’ve loved every minute of reaching out and connecting with all of you.

We also wanted to give our many followers the opportunity to explore our personal sites and keep up with us. So, here is a list of our sites and blogs, we hope to see you there:

(alphabetically listed)

DeAnna Browne- http://www.DeAnnaBrowne.com

Tom Hansen- http://scarhoof.com.  twitter- http://twitter.com/scarhoofwrites

Aeon Igni- http://aeonigni.com/

Lisa Morrow- http://www.lisamorrowbooks.wordpress.com/

Tara Rane-  http://tararane.com

With a special shout out to our founding members:

Amber Kallyn- www.AmberKallyn.com (Queen of the Swamp)

Jami Gray- www.jamigray.com

Dave Bennemen- http://www.davebenneman.com

Jim Williams- http://campchef.wordpress.com/

Editing Tips- After You Think You’re Done

paper and pencil

You write something awesome, reread and edit it multiple times, maybe get an editor, and you think you’re done, right? Wrong. After being in a critique group for four years, I’ve learned some invaluable things that every writer should consider.

  1. The first time you introduce a character, use his or her name.
    1. Example: “She rolled and struck him in the chest. Hot blood oozed down her hand as his screams filled the air. Heather smiled.”
    2. Instead: “Heather rolled and struck him in the chest. Hot blood oozed down her hand as his screams filled the air. She smiled.”
  2. After that, you can mostly just use pronouns (he or she), unless there are other characters, and it’s getting confusing.
    1. Example: “Heather liked to watch people die. Heather waited until the life drained from their eyes, then went on with her day, feeling like she’d had a dozen cups of coffee.”
    2. Instead: “Heather liked to watch people die. She waited until the life drained from their eyes, then went on with her day, feeling like she’d had a dozen cups of coffee.”
  3. Put down your work for a minimum of a few weeks, so you can read it with fresh eyes.
    1. There have been COUNTLESS times I’ve received feedback and disagreed with it. Then, week or months later, I read my work again and realize I was wrong. When you are too “close” to your work, it’s hard to see the truth.
  4. Read through your work, look specifically at the adjectives and adverbs to see if you are over-using them or could remove them and use a better word.
    1. Example: “She spoke loudly.”
    2. Instead: “She shouted.”
  5. Don’t forget your character’s thoughts and emotions. Without them, you have more of an outline of a story rather than a story.

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8 Reasons to be an Indie Author

Girl and Dog

  1. You have control over your own cover designs.

 I remember going to a writing conference where the author said she cried when she saw  the cover designed by her publishers. She’d written (I believe) a historical romance, but the cover looked like it was for an action movie.

It took me awhile to get covers that I love. But now that I have them, I’m beyond proud. And as an indie author, I didn’t have to settle on what someone else wanted for my book.

  1. You get to create your own timeline to finish your work.

I once heard a very popular writer speak. It was surprising when someone asked her about how she was able to write so many books. She said she was given deadlines by her publishers, and whether or not her books were always well-written, they had to be turned in by a certain date.

I’ve had periods of time when I could write a lot, and other times when I had no time to write. And when I’m not yet making a living wage off my writing alone (like most authors), it’s nice not to have to follow someone else’s timeline. It is also really nice to not have to publish subpar work, just for the sake of meeting a deadline.

  1. You can monitor your sales on a daily basis.

I check my author KDP sale’s page at least a couple times a day. It is beyond thrilling to see, right away, what is selling and how much is selling. When The Sea Goddess first came out, it wasn’t uncommon to see ten downloads in a day. Now, most days, I see an average of two sales. Then, almost randomly, I’ll suddenly see a huge spike in sales. Realm of Goddesses is purchased less often, but it costs more. To Kill a Wizard sees the least sales (at $2.99), but because it is on KDP Select, I see profits from pages read. That is so cool! When a person picks up my book and reads the entirety of it in three days, I feel awesome! And as an indie author, I can see exactly how many pages my readers read each day.

  1. You can write according to whatever inspires you that day.

Everything I’ve published is in the young adult fantasy genre, but I’m currently writing in a number of genres. I’m almost finished a new adult short story for an upcoming anthology. I’m working on an adult fantasy romance. I finished an anti-utopian new adult short story. And recently, I wrote up an idea for a sci-fi romance. As an indie author, I’m able to write whatever I want.

  1. You have the ability to work with other authors on different projects.

I work with several different authors, who write in different genres. Our first anthology will be coming out soon, but I predict there will be many more anthologies in the future.

  1. You can choose the different platforms to make your work available on.

I’ve used Smashwords, which makes my work accessible on: Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, B&N, Aldiko, and others, as well as (of course), Amazon.

  1. You are able to price your work the way you want.

Making my first short story free has led to a number of sales on my other two works.   I’m sure a lot of traditionally published authors wish they could do the same.

  1. In other words, you have almost complete control over your work.

From covers, to hiring your own editor, to following your own timeline, indie writing offers you the control to complete your work just the way you want. So that project you’ve spent weeks, months, or years writing, can be handled just the way you wish.

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Critique Groups

critique group

A critique group can be defined as a lot of things, but to me, it’s simply a group of people who get together to go over their writing. If you are a writer and you aren’t in one, I highly recommend either joining one or creating one. I spent years writing on my own, working my hardest to reach my goal of becoming a published author. Yet, it wasn’t until I joined a critique group that I not only grew a lot as a writer, but had the confidence and knowledge to become a published author.

But what makes a successful critique group?

  • The most important thing is that all the members have personalities that work well together. If everyone can’t get along, they can’t work together.
  • Trust is equally important. If you don’t trust the members of the group, it’s hard to accept and give critiques. The whole experience leaves you pretty vulnerable, which means you need people there you know want the best for you.
  • Depending on your groups goals, the members should always be thinking, “what can we do to improve their story so it can be published?” If the members are just trying to tear apart your work, the group isn’t helpful for anyone.
  • Keep the group small. More than ten members would make it very difficult to have time to read and review people’s work (well). I actually think five or so members is plenty.
  • Meet regularly. Every two weeks seems to work well for me, but each group will have different needs.
  • Submit each meeting. The only way you’ll see a lot of growth is if you have regular feedback. Each meeting you’ll try to apply the comments from the last meeting so that your problems change and minimize. This really helps your growth as an author.

I asked my fellow critique group member and friend Aeon Igni her thoughts about the benefits of a critique group, and I think her response was brilliant:

“If you’ve ever read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, you know that much of business success comes from individuals grouping together to accomplish greater tasks than any one person could accomplish alone. A good writing group gives an author this power. With several minds focusing on their process, product, and career rather than their single mind, it is almost assured that the end product will be exponentially greater than what the author could create without this feedback.

Critique groups share information, techniques, tips and tools of the trade, as well as powerful brainstorming sessions and constructive criticism. We can see the power of critique partners and critique groups among published authors today – many authors I follow reference each other on social media and post pictures of themselves dining out or taking cruises together. 

For me personally, it is comforting to know that I don’t have to go it alone – that there are others to turn to when I am struggling or need advice. Even a simple text with an article to read or asking how my writing is coming along can be powerful motivation to keep moving forward. I expect that I will always be part of a critique group, and I can’t imagine a writing life without one.”

So if you aren’t in a critique group yet, find one or created one. It may be the single most important thing you do as a writer.

Creating a Newsletter Using Mail Chimp

Quite awhile ago, I signed up for Mail Chimp. It’s a great website that many authors use to send out their newsletters. I’ve recently started playing with it and wanted to share my experience.

  1. I reached out on a couple social media sites and had 21 people agree to join my mailing list (many of whom are friends and family).
  2. I imputed their contact information into the “lists” section on Mail Chimp.
  3. In the “template” section, I started creating a newsletter (more on that in a minute).
  4. When I was satisfied with it, I created a “campaign” but only sent it to close family and friends for their feedback.
  5. The feedback was great, but I have one more problem. I want to include a “freebie” on the newsletter, for all my readers who join. Using a website called InstaFreebie, I created a link for my readers, but the formatting was a mess (it requires a different format than Kindle and Smashwords). So, rather than spending a few hours reformatting my story, I’m looking for a better option. (I’ll let you all know when I find one and share with you how I did it.)

Now, as far as creating my newsletter, I wanted to structure it consistent with my “brand.” Here is a preview of it (in Mail Chimp):

Mail Chimp Preview

It’s very simple, but there was one idea that guided me as I created it:

  • My newsletter is for my readers, not for me. Therefore, I want to show them I value their time by making it a quick read and sharing information that I think they would want. Hopefully, I was successful in my goal.

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Until Midnight

Want to curl up with a quick read on a cold night? “Realm of Goddesses” is available for free for the first time, but only until midnight tonight! It’s a very action-packed young adult, fantasy short story with just the right amount of romance. So check it out, and review it, your feedback is essential to me as a writer.

An otherworldly storm came with no more warning than a crash of thunder. It swept our boat in a spinning whirlwind of water, waves crashing over our vessel.

For days it trapped us below deck. People from every walk of life helplessly twisted about in what might be their coffin, praying to their goddesses.

Only I knew better. This was the work of The Goddess of The Sea, Posdena, herself. And it was my fault.” – “Realm of Goddesses”

Realm of Goddesses

Blurb:

Trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean is the most dangerous place to be when The Goddess of the Sea has cursed you. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where Lady Dessi Quinn finds herself.

Each second that passes, Dessi waits for the goddess to unleash her rage. There’s nothing she can do to stop it, but she can’t allow the man she might love, and her best friend, to be hurt alongside her.

Dessi’s prepared to sacrifice her life, but will it be enough?

Note: “Realm of Goddesses” takes place in the world of Tarak, but readers can either enjoy this short story before or after “To Kill a Wizard.”

Street Team

Street Team

A Street Team is one of the most valuable things an author can have, according to Kevin Kruse. Other writers have stressed this to me over and over again, and yet, I’ve never been given a clear plan on how to actually create one. A few days ago I got my hands on a plan from Kevin Kruse that makes sense, and I’ve been eagerly waiting to share the most important points from his video with all of you.

But first, some of you might be wondering what is a Street Team. It is a group of people who are willing to read the work of an author, often before it is released to the public, and give feedback to the author. Sometimes they catch typos or errors, if that’s how the author wants to use them. But more often than not, they’re people who are ready and willing to leave reviews and “hit the street” for the author, promoting their work as readers and fans.

So how do you create one?

Some ideas:

  • First, authors are always talking about how important a newsletter is. Well, it is important! You can hit up this list, and email everyone on it, looking for people who want to be a part of your Street Team.
  • But how can you get people to sign up for your newsletter? Offering a free gift of some kind, like a book, or goodies, is a great way of encouraging people to sign up.
  • You can also use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to simply ask for people who might be willing to join your team.

I’ve started working on my own Street Team, although I’m just starting out. I’ve placed links all over my website, encouraging people to sign up, and offering them a free gift (one of my short stories) for joining. Once I get a good list of people on my newsletter, I’ll reach out to them about joining my team. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Would you like to join my Street Team?  Click here to sign up for my newsletter.

Want to see more of what Kevin Kruse suggests? Check out his video!

Like my post?  Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

InstaFreebie and Bitly

There are so many incredibly useful resources out there for authors, just waiting to be explored. Just this week, I finally took the plunge and checked out InstaFreebie and Bitly. I’ll share general information about these great sites below, as well as, my experience using them.

InstaFreebie

This is a website that is mainly used by authors who want a simple and safe way to give away free copies of their books. A few fellow writers recommended it when I asked about giving away copies in exchange for honest reviews. So far, I’ve only sent this link to a couple of reviewers, but this is what I noticed right away:

  • It is extremely user-friendly. It takes just a few steps in order to get a book giveaway up and running.
  • You have to have an ePub file, while I’ve never used before. I was able to get a free trial of a program (ePub Converter) in order to convert a word document into an ePub file.
  • When I opened the book on their site, the formatting was off. I resubmitted it with my CreateSpace formatting (which is my stripped down copy of my work), and it still had a space between each paragraph. I’m not sure how to fix it, but I’ll play with it some more.
  • The other thing that I couldn’t seem to figure out was how to view a copy of my book without actually going in and requesting a copy through the giveaway. I’m sure there is a way, but I may need to explore the site more.

Bitly

This is a website that takes links and shortens them, but it is so much more than that. This site also tracks how many times someone clicks on your shortened link, so you can monitor how useful your different advertisements are and how many people you’ve reached with them.

For example, here are two links that go to the exact same page:

The second link is the one that took me less than a minute to shorten using Bitly. Having a shorter link is nice, but what’s even nicer is that after I run this blog, I can go to Bitly and see how many people clicked on it.

Like my post?  Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Kindle Countdown- A Promotional Tool

You never know if you don’t try. That’s definitely my philosophy when it comes to marketing my work. So this week, I’m trying something new, combined with something I’ve had moderate success with.

Promotions:

  • I’m doing a Kindle Countdown for To Kill a Wizard, which means I’m reducing the price from $2.99 to .99 for one week only.
  • I’m also making The Sea Goddess free tomorrow.
  • (Both of these tools are available for books placed in the KDP Select program.)
  • I’d love to run a promotion for Realm of Goddesses, but it is not currently in the KDP Select program.

In the past, I’ve seen the following results from the giveaways:

  • For every twenty copies I give away, readers buy about one copy of another work.
  • I wouldn’t be too impressed with this, but I always keep in mind that there’s a difference between people downloading my work and actually reading it. Chances are that a lot of the people who picked up free copies still have them sitting in their Kindles, unread, so this isn’t a strategy I think will make me an overnight success.

As for the Kindle Countdown promotional tool, I’ve never used it before. The idea is that Amazon should hopefully have it visible in a few of its lists, and I may get some readers willing to take a chance on my book for .99 versus $2.99.

But as always, I’ll let all of you know how the promotion goes. Have any of you tried it? And if so, did you consider it successful?

The Hard Questions

tree-rings

I was recently asked two questions. I wanted to address them here, because I often see these questions answered by authors, and it always interests me. All of us have come from such different places, and are inspired by such different things. It’s fascinating that so many of us became infatuated with writing.

  1. What made you decide to be a writer?

I don’t remember it ever being a conscious decision. My little sister and I used to share a room, and she’d have trouble going to sleep. I’d make up elaborate stories and tell them to her until she’d fall asleep. I loved creating stories, and she loved hearing them.

My next clear memory is of entering a Halloween writing contest at the library when I was in elementary school. I wrote a story, edited it, and practiced it over and over again. On the day it was due, I went to the library and presented it alongside some adults. I didn’t win, but I realized that I wanted to keep writing stories.

  1. What keeps you going?

I love writing. It isn’t just an escape for me. It’s an essential part of my happiness. When I don’t write, I feel strangely irritated. At first I don’t realize what’s wrong, and then I start writing, and the feeling goes away. I think everyone deserves to have something they are as passionate about as I am about writing.

And in the deepest part of my heart, I also hope that my words might give someone else an escape. That a reader might open up my book and be swept away by my world and characters.

If you haven’t asked yourself these same questions, maybe you should. It was kind of fun to stop and think about the answers.

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