Bobbie’s Bill of Writes #9 and #10 in a series

by Bobbie Christmas

I devoted an entire chapter to my Bill of Writes for writers in my seven-award-winning book on creative writing titled Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing. Special to SPAWN, I have agreed to list and explain each item. Below you’ll find numbers nine and ten in my Bill of Writes. For all twenty-one items, refer to Write In Style, published by BookLogix and available on Amazon. Continue reading

How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps (Part 5)

15. Fill your story with conflict and tension

by Jerry Jenkins

Your reader craves conflict, and yes, this applies to nonfiction readers as well.

In a novel, if everything is going well and everyone is agreeing, your reader will soon lose interest and find something else to do—like watch paint dry.

Are two of your characters talking at the dinner table? Have one say something that makes the other storm out. Continue reading

Editor’s Note August 2017

Which is the best way for an editor to see your work? In an electronic file or on printed pages? Bobbie Christmas says it depends; check the Book Doctor column for details. Also included is part two of her “Bill of Writes” for writers.

Barbara Florio Graham offers more tips on organizing the paper on your desk and the messages on your computer. It’s an article I certainly need to study!

Ivor Davis reports on a trip to his first children’s book conference, SCBWI. He learned writers have no say about the illustrations in their books, that it’s impossible to attend all the workshops you want to, and what it looks like when 500 adults do the Hokey-Pokey. For a fun and informative read, be sure to check out his article.

Leann Garms explains the mysteries of PR and press releases, where to learn more, and how to use what you’ve learned.

Jerry Jenkins says there are twenty steps to writing a book, from assembling your pen and paper to the chair you sit in while writing. You’ll see more of his tips in coming months.

I’ll add more resources, so if you have one that’s been of help, pass the information along, please. Member News will now be called Success Stories, which is a much more accurate title.

We have some great articles lined up for the rest of this year and are always looking for more. What would you like to learn? See more of or less? Feedback is essential, so send a note to and let us know.

Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews


I Don’t Know Art but I Know I Like Vintage Purses How This Writer Became a Museum Curator

by Wendy Dager

The imaginary handwriting was on the virtual wall. Or more precisely, the end of days for traditional newspapers began as soon as social media became the preferred form of receiving information.

This has resulted in round after round of staff layoffs nationwide at newspapers large and small. Some freelancers, like myself, survived for a while because our services were still needed as the newsrooms emptied. We’re inexpensive labor. Corporate doesn’t have to provide us with benefits such as 401(k)s and health care. And we’re dependable. At least, I was dependable, getting steady assignments to write crime blotters, real estate stories, entertainment pieces, and “advertorials” for special sections. Continue reading

From the Editor June 2017

Email InboxIs your inbox overflowing? Can you find an email when you need it? It’s in there somewhere and the search option won’t always cooperate. Barbara Florio Graham explains how she keeps her emails in line.

Bobbi Christmas says there is such a thing as a good rejection. Really? Yes, if you use the rejection as a learning tool. Did the letter say they don’t take unagented work? Read the submission guideline more carefully. Compliments often spur new ideas, so pay close attention. And if “it’s not right for us at this time,” that may mean they’d take another look later.

Sabrina Ricci has three tips if you are considering freelance writing. The independence and freedom come with certain responsibilities. But if you like making your own hours, this could be the work for you.

Since summer is vacation and travel time for a lot of people, look for ideas for articles as you cover the miles. Is there an unusual destination? What about travel with kids? How do you balance visiting the parents and in-laws with a getaway trip for your own family? And what about a getaway trip just for the adults—who take care of the kids? The possibilities are endless, from the food to the housing to the music. Take notes, relax, and refresh and you’ll be able to face the blank page when you return home. Remember to take high-resolution photos to go with the article. Many publications pay extra for those.

We have some great articles lined up for this year and are always looking for more to coordinate or contrast with what we have so far. Suggestions are still welcome! What would you like to learn? See more of or less? Feedback is essential, so send a note to and let us know.

Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews


October 2016 From the Editor

coloring-book-2This month we’re talking about creativity. Think you’re not creative? I’d bet you just haven’t found your happy place yet. For every child prodigy who knew at the age of five that she wanted to be a writer or who sold his first finger-painting to Grandma for a nickel, there are many more of us who come to the game later in life.

That doesn’t mean we’re lagging behind; it means we have more to bring to the table. Would you write the same story today as you would have written when you were twenty? Older artists mix experience into the paint and words that bring to mind a complete scene. We can always learn more, teach more, and experience more, and by then, we’re old enough not to care what anyone else says about it!

Start coloring outside the lines and find ways to create in the coming year. For tips on how others do it, read Barbara Florio-Graham’s last in a series of five articles about creativity, how Lucy Francis combined two passions so she can enjoy both, and how Daniela Frongia creates cover art and characters. There’s also a piece about the adult coloring-book craze; if words are your passion and you can draw only stick figures, maybe getting creative with someone else’s drawings will open up new ideas for you. You can even make coloring-book pages from your own photos at!

What would you like to learn? See more of or less? Feedback is essential, so send a note to and let me know.

Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews

Writing What I Don’t Know

KayeGeorgeby Kaye George

Sure, I write what I know. Sometimes. For the Fat Cat series, which I write as Janet Cantrell, I model the tubby tabby after one of my own rescued ferals. I use the setting of Minneapolis-St. Paul, and I lived in Minnetonka for a few years. (And love that area!) I actually try out all the recipes in the books, the ones for people—dessert bars—and the ones for cats—healthy cat treats. Continue reading