• 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.”

My Favorite Science Fiction Romance – Planet X

My favorite book in my genre is Planet X by Evangeline Anderson. The first time I read this book, it blew my mind.

Literally.

I have always loved science fiction and romance. But when they are put together, more often than not the ‘science’ part of science fiction is sacrificed in order to appeal to more mainstream romance consumers.

planetx

In Planet X, we have a mix of space travel, anthropology, and steamy scenes with an alien hero who looks like Vin Diesel in Pitch Black (and what’s not to like about THAT?!).

We also have some standard science fiction moral and ethical dilemmas – dealing with more primitive cultures, human trafficking, and the ethical use of brain chips.

I deeply respect Evangeline for her willingness to stray into territory not covered by other authors at the time, and for crafting the story so well that the reader doesn’t even realize those social issues are being explored until afterwards. I also admire Ellora’s Cave and Aphrodesia for publishing her work and similar works by other authors that don’t fit into the mainstream market.

Even still, Evangeline had to self-publish many of her works, most of which didn’t become popular until quite recently when her more mainstream Brides of the Kindred series introduced people to her writing.

In addition to Planet X, I would recommend Punishing Tabitha (super hot!), For Her Pleasure (hot and funny), The Last Man on Earth (hot and unique), and Pleasure Planet (hot and diverse) as her other best science fiction works.

I credit Evangeline Anderson with giving me the inspiration to write, and to strike out on my own rather than try to conform to the demands of mainstream publishers. In fact, the heroine of my upcoming steampunk series is named Evangeline in her honor.

 

 

 

Resolutions

darkchocolateWe are day eleven into the new year, and I’m wondering how everyone is doing with their resolutions. Granted my goal to eat healthy may be sunk as I have already eaten my second piece of dark chocolate today—so worth it by the way. But gratefully, I’m hanging onto my more realistic goals that involve writing and exercise. Here are a couple tips for all of us to make it another month or so with our goals.

    1. Write them down. Make the goal concrete and tangible by writing it down. Then place it where you can read it frequently. I like the electronic sticky pad on my computer desktop or the front of my writing binder.
    2. Get back up. I’m constantly watching my ten month old stumble, fall, and bash his head as he is learning to walk. It is painful, no doubt. He has the bruises to show for it. When working towards our goals, falling down is part of the process. Just get back up.
    3. Be held accountable. Tell your goals to a friend, a co-worker, instructor, or you can even post them here in the comment section. Make sure someone knows, and it is even better if they will want a report of how you fared. For writers, I recommend starting or joining a writing community. Find others with similar goals that will hold you accountable and push you to progress.

One of my goals was to create a personal blog and online presence. So please feel free to me on this journey at www.deannabrowne.com, on twitter @BrowneBooks, or on Facebook. My first blog is on joining this great online community. Thanks for the support, and I wish you the best in this new year!

Digging for Gold? Idea dumping can help.

At a recent write-in, a couple of us needed to work on world building. In my case, I was working on names for magic ceremonies, events in the past, that sort of thing. One technique that worked well for us was what I call idea dumping (aka brainstorming).

I’m not talking about the old style of brainstorming: grabbing a pen and staring at a blank page for an hour until the perfect idea comes. I’m talking about dumping all the ideas out of your mind−good, bad and ugly—until you find what fits. We pulled up a thesaurus, and I wrote down everything that was said. My paper was a mess, cramped full of notes.

I can’t lie and say magic poured out of our mouths, but as we batted around ideas they morphed into something great. So when you’re searching for that perfect name for your next goblin or handsome hunk remember a couple of things:

*Write every idea that comes to mind, even the crappy ones.

*Write at least ten if not twenty. I find my first three ideas are generic, and middle five to ten suck. Yesterday, it was not until at least twenty or more names had floated around until I found one I loved.

*Keep the list for a little bit, percolation helps sometimes. One dwarf thought she had a name, but it wasn’t until we moved on and were talking about something else did she realize the perfect one hit.

 Idea Dumping can be used for book names, magic systems, upcoming plot twists, and more. Sometimes our creativity is laying on the service and other times we have to dig a little for that golden nugget.

New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

What is it about the new year that makes us want to create goals for ourselves?

For a long time I’ve been hesitant to create resolutions every time the year rolls over. If I really had something in my life that I wanted to change, or do better, then why wait until the new year? Why not do it now? Because of this I would generally avoid resolutions every year. Too often they get forgotten about, or you work really hard in January and slack off after that. To me the word resolve just doesn’t seem to have enough punch, enough measurement built-in to be worth using. For this reason I avoided new years’ resolutions for a long time.

I’ve changed my tune a little bit though. I still don’t do resolutions, but I do set goals.

Goals are things to reach for, I know fully well going into the year that there’s a solid chance I won’t complete all my goals, but they are there and at the end of the year, or other times when I feel I want some self-reflection, I can look over those goals and see how I am doing.

So what goals did I set for 2014, and did I achieve them?

Reading: I always set a reading goal, last year it was 100 books. According to my Goodreads profile, I read 71, which I think is fantastic. 2015 I again set a goal of 100 books and I will mostly likely set that as my goal for the foreseeable future. I am a bit of a fast reader, when I’m not sucked into some other media (cough video games cough), but two books a week for me seems pretty do-able.

Writing: My goal was to finish two books last year, and I “did”. Technically. Neither of them are edited, but I did at least complete them. Working on editing one of them now. I also wrote a few short stories last year. I’m currently toying with the idea of setting a goal for short stories this year, but for now I’ll leave it as-needed.

So there are my goals, at least when it comes to writing/reading. What goals do you set and why? Do you prefer resolutions or goals, or some other word, and why?

Above all, Happy New Year from the Evil Dwarves!

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