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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, May, 2009

Sandra Murphy, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email the editor of SPAWNews:

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to go to the first page of the site, and click on the “Visit Member Area” button. You will be asked to log in.

If you are a member and would like to renew online, the site now has an online renewal application for your convenience: Join Now.

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Table of Contents

Editor’s Note

by Sandra Murphy

SPAWN is 13!

How will you celebrate? I’m adding color to my life. For me color is like water is to that raggedy guy crawling across the desert. My house was built in 1908. I’ll paint most of the rooms a soothing shade, colorful but dignified. The kitchen has gone citrus—walls of lime, orange and lemon yellow—with a mosaic backsplash created by a writer friend who found working with tiles relaxes her mind and improves her writing.

Now that the house remodel is coming along (not that I can see it but other people seem to be encouraged by the progress), I thought I would put in a flower garden and maybe even a tomato plant or two this year. Having had terriers in past years, gardening became more of an Earthdog Event than relaxation. Temporarily reduced to cats only, it’s time to try for some outdoor color. I think the neighbors have recovered (or moved) since the time I planted tiny rose bushes and woke to find the grass guy mowing them down like they were Al Capone’s enemies. I threw on a summer robe, ran out to yell STOP! and impressed him with my wrath–or something. Glancing in the mirror when I came back in the house, I saw Major Bed Head, a drooping neckline (the robe’s, not mine) and with the sunlight behind me, a perfectly visible silhouette of my unclothed self beneath it. The roses didn’t come back and neither did the grass guy. I hope for better this year.

The economy is weighing heavily on everyone’s mind so it is also a good time for some personal color as well, whether that is a new hair color, new outfit, or a new genre to write. I foresee articles on thrift shopping, gardening for beginners (or dummies), how to correct hair color bloopers, and either St. Louis’ best frozen custard stands or how to walk off extra weight in my future.

To add color to the newsletter, I’m inserting a picture or two and a new section called Member Interviews. I plan to interview a long time member to see how SPAWN has helped over time and a new member to see what expectations we need to meet. If you would like to be one of the usual suspects and submit to an interview, email me at and colorfully tell me why you should be selected.

As a first step to something new, join SPAWNdiscuss, the email group. Ask questions, post answers, vent frustrations and celebrate success.

Have some spare time? Can’t think of anything to write? Cruise through the SPAWNews archives. Can you imagine the amount of information we’ve compiled in thirteen years of monthly newsletters?

Thirteen is a lucky number for SPAWN members as this issue is chock full of opportunities—check out the contest section. There’s one for ten-minute plays, one for writers of color, children’s picture storybooks, New England writers, Southwest setting, memoirs, and even haiku with an unusual prize.

Don’t let the economy change your view to black and white—how can you add color to your writing?

Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews ,

SPAWN Makes Writers Digest 101 Best!

SPAWN is listed in the 2009 Writers Digest under 101 Best Websites for Writers! This is a repeat performance as SPAWN was also listed in 2003, 2004, and 2006! A double reason to celebrate this month!

Market Update

by Patricia Fry

How can the SPAWN Market Update benefit you this month? Let me count the ways. Do THOUSANDS of money-making ideas, tips and resources mean anything to you? You’ll find:

  • Access to thousands of paying jobs for writers
  • Hundreds of book marketing ideas and resources
  • Tips and resources for selling your photography
  • Fresh ideas and resources for publishing your poetry, scripts and children’s stories

If that type of information interests you, and you are a member, you must read the May SPAWN Market Update (in the member area of the SPAWN website). If you’re not a member, join now. If you are a working writer or author and if you follow up on even a few of the marvelous ideas, opportunities and resources we offer in this one issue, you will earn back many times more than your membership fee within the next few months (or even weeks). Study the 7 years worth of newsletters in our archives and you’ll earn even more money and save money and heartache by being more well-informed and becoming more savvy with regard to the publishing industry.

Joining SPAWN is a win-win situation for anyone who is interested in publishing. If you crave the most updated and beneficial information, tips, opportunities and resources as well as a personal connection to other writers and authors, join SPAWN now. Click on “Join SPAWN Now.”

Ask the Book Doctor: About Self-Publishing, Independent Publishing, Book Proposals and Using the Stories of Others

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: When you spoke at a conference recently, I heard you refer to self-publishing. Isn’t “independent publishing” the correct term now?

A: Yes and no. An independent publisher is a small publisher that may or may not publish the works of the owner, but it always publishes the works of other authors, as well. When you publish only your own books, you are self-publishing. I know the distinction is vague; in either case you have to set up a company and be a publisher, but an independent publishing house accepts the works of others, as well as the works of the owner.

Also, when you use a firm that helps you publish, so that you don’t have to set up your own company, you are a self-published author, as opposed to a traditionally published author.

In the end, we are simply talking semantics. If you spend any money at all toward the printing of your book, you are self-published. Being self-published used to carry a stigma, and perhaps that’s why some people don’t want to use the term, but the market has changed over the years, and people’s attitudes have changed with it. At a time when selling a book to a traditional publisher is almost impossible, yet printing your own book has become easier than ever, self-publishing has taken on a whole new character and lost much of its prior poor image. Nowadays the only stigma comes from a poorly written or unedited self-published book. If the book looks good, reads well, is thoroughly edited, and sells well, who cares who paid for the printing?

To read about these and other interesting topics, go to

Member Interviews

Meet Bonnie Myhrum

Bonnie joined SPAWN in 2005 with a goal of increasing her proofreading and editing business. Two years ago, Bonnie wrote an article for this newsletter, explaining the importance of proper spelling, correct grammar and punctuation in email. Bonnie has used SPAWNdiscuss (SPAWN’s Yahoo email group) to gain further business. She’s proofread Patricia Fry’s book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, worked with members Susan Daffron (Logical Expressions), and Cheryl Wilder Krass (Alexemi Publishing.) “I love reading but seldom take the time to sit down with a book, so editing is the next-best thing. I get to read and earn at the same time and I always learn something from what I edit or proofread.” Bonnie says. “I think SPAWN really has something going for it. I love the emails posted on SPAWNdiscuss—I’ve learned from reading them!”

And new member, Lee Juslin

Lee says writing is in her genes, inherited from her mother, a journalism school graduate. “Supposedly I’m retired, having worked for years as a PR professional and, then, as a free lance copywriter. However, my embroidery biz: I B Dog Gone, keeps me almost as busy as working full time. Add to that my two books: Nurse Frosty and the Four Paws Retirement Home and My Best Friend along with the pet therapy visits I do weekly with my Scottish Terrier, Frosty, and I think I’m actually busier than when I was “really” working. But, now I am able to work on projects that interest me.” Lee said. “I am hoping that being a SPAWN member will increase the platform for my books and perhaps lead me to an agent.” Self-publishing has its benefits (more control over the product) but Lee is also looking into mainstream publishers for her second Nurse Frosty book. (Nurse Frosty and the Four Paws Retirement Home, pictured)

Member News

Patricia Fry’s newest book, Catscapades, Tales of Ordinary and Extraordinary Cats now features over 80 photos of cats and kittens--gorgeous cats, funny cats, dressed up cats, cats with unusual friends, sleeping cats, helping cats, formerly feral cats, cats with deep secrets and more. Print book and ebook available at Be sure to check Patricia’s blog over the next few weeks—there will be a surprise!


It’s all the parrot’s fault.

None of this would have happened if the parrot had been able to sing. But Mrs. Doyle, a grey parrot with red tail feathers, preferred drumming with her claws on her metal water dish, and insisted that the band he belonged to recruit other singers. That’s how Simon Teakettle’s Virtual Musical Society grew from two cats and a parrot to 29 cats, caterwauling in concert.

He looks like an ordinary cat, but Simon Teakettle is a mini-mogul. The owner of a publishing company, his website is hugely popular for its compendium of free information about writing, publishing, publicity, and, of course, cats. Now he’s getting lots of buzz from his new MEWSical Society. Cats clamored to join this virtual performing group, called “Plenty of Paws and a Flurry of Feathers.” They have come from the island of Karpathos in Greece, from New York City, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, from the Northwest Territories, and four Canadian provinces, from London, England, and Cairo, Egypt.

All the details are on Simon’s website:, where his blog and the MEWSical Society page contain photos and descriptions.

Barbara Florio Graham

Simon Teakettle Ink

Author of MEWSINGS/MUSINGS, international award-winner

Editors note: Patricia Fry’s feline office assistant has joined the MEWSical Society. Check out the photo of Max hitting a high (or maybe it’s a low) note at the Simon Teakettle site.



Member Sande Cropsey writes, “When Tinker’s Christmas first came out, I joined PMA, SPAN, & SPAWN; the next year when I was broke, I weighed what each offered against the membership dues, and SPAWN won out. It was a decision I have never regretted.“


Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to

General News

Looking for a topic? How about this?

National Public Lands Day ( is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve public lands. This is the 16th year of the event and this year’s focus is water—cleaning it up, protecting it and making sure we maintain the quantity we have. The event is Saturday, September 26, 2009 this year. This could give you a new slant on eco-writing.


Received on April 7th – “I am an editorial assistant for Julie Newmar (the first Catwoman and formerly a dancer/model). She has 120 pictures of herself doing physical comedy and she would like to team up with a writer or publisher who could create text to accompany the photos and an overall purpose for the book (something along the lines of a “Guide to Physical Comedy - how to be funny”). She can probably put up some of the money for the project. She would need to find someone who has a vision for the photos (she can be swayed by a good plan).” Replies to


CaKe, journal of poetry and art, would like to invite all to submit poetry, visual art, shoot book reviews/critiques, and essays to The summer issue will be an issue focused on Women of color.


ITO EN (North America), INC., purveyor of green tea products and beverages, announced its call-for-entries for “Haiku Project 2009.” Inspired by the spirit of change in our country today, participants can enter a haiku around the themes of “Change,” “Hope” and “Progress”. The winning haiku will grace the bottles of ITO EN’s award-winning tea line, TEAS’ TEA.

To be eligible for the Haiku Project 2009, entrants must submit a haiku (a three lined poem in three metrical phrases with the number of syllables of 5 (first line), 7 (second line), and 5 (third or last line)) that reflects your vision of tomorrow based around Change, Hope and Progress, to

Submissions start on March 6, 2009 and run for a period of 4 months. The winning contestants will be notified by ITO EN and may be required to sign and return a Submission Release Form before their haiku will be printed on the bottles of TEA'S TEA in 2010.

For more information on Haiku Project 2009, please visit


Damselfly press, an online literary journal for women is pleased to announce the publication of our seventh issue and call for submissions for the eighth issue. They are seeking electronic submissions of original fiction, poetry, and non fiction by female writers only slated for online publication in July. The deadline to submit for the eighth issue is June 15th.



Non fiction–

Visit the damselfly press website to read the latest issue and learn more about the journal.


The Sylvan Echo—submissions of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, critical writing, book reviews, and editorials by new and established writers will be accepted through June 20, 2009.The journal is also interested in original artwork and photography. Please read the guidelines carefully as they take them very seriously. Submit by email to


Read about the latest contests at


Read about the coming events at


Note: SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor” when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book! See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. As a member, you can enjoy the benefits of the Members Only Area. There you will find:

  • Member Forum. In the SPAWN Forum, you can discuss publishing with knowledgeable published writers and publishers.
  • Market Update. This valuable Market Update will appear every month, letting us know exactly what is going on with magazine and book publishers.
  • Event Calendar where you can submit your events. After approval, your events will be available for all members to see.
  • Member Webpages where you can upload your HTML pages to build your own web site. Your Web pages will be viewable by everyone on the Internet.
  • Member Catalog where you can list your books and services
  • Member Discussion list where you can discuss your triumphs and questions with your publishing peers.
Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President



To promote the literary arts and provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.

Submission Guidelines

Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Wendy Dager, Editor, SPAWNews

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

or email

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653. Or click on Member Application to fill out the secure online form and pay your dues by credit card.

SPAWNews, Member Directory and Web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023



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