SPAWNews, August, 2009


by Sandra Murphy, Editor

Special Announcement

As we’ve been telling you, changes are coming to SPAWN, including a change in leadership. Please read on for details. In the coming months you’ll see even more changes as new officers find their way around SPAWN’s virtual office. We’re standing in front of the YOU ARE HERE map and focusing on our destination but we need your help to get there, so please take the time to read your newsletter and respond!

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Executive Director of SPAWN Steps Down

It’s with sadness that I announce Virginia Lawrence’s resignation as Executive Director of SPAWN. I have so enjoyed working shoulder-to-shoulder with this incredible professional who has become a cherished friend. I will miss the day-to-day interactions necessary in running an organization such as SPAWN and the work (along with the fun) involved in the various projects we managed together. I will miss counting on Virginia for her technical expertise and decision-making abilities related to SPAWN. In fact, I’m sure there are things I will miss about working with Virginia that I’m not even aware of, yet.

But we’re not losing this remarkable woman altogether; she has agreed to hold a position on the board. Read on for more changes.

A Brief History of SPAWN

Thirteen years ago, Mary Embree established SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) as a face-to-face networking organization for anyone who aspired to publish writing, art, photography or other creative projects. She envisioned the coming together of authors with illustrators, editors, publishers and printers, for example. She imagined freelance writers networking with photographers in need of creative brochures and graphic artists collaborating with publishers seeking book cover designs. Of course, she also visualized SPAWN being an educational organization where members learned from one another. And her vision was realized in many large and small ways. For nearly five years, Embree and her chapter leaders held three monthly meetings in three counties where as many as 60 authors, artists and others came to network and hear speakers on a variety of topics.

In March of 2001, because of low attendance, all chapters were discontinued and SPAWN went online only. By then, the SPAWN Website was already four years old, thanks to charter member, Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D., who established it in January of 1997. Virginia has been the SPAWN Webmaster for twelve years. In August of 2003, Virginia became SPAWN’s second Executive Director—having been handed the position by Mary Embree, founder and Executive Director from 1996 to 2003.

For the last six years, not only has Virginia maintained the Website, but she has been the esteemed and successful leader of SPAWN. Under her direction, SPAWN has flourished to become a major player in the world of publishing organizations, with a solid membership base of over 200 and more than 2,000 newsletter subscribers.

It was Virginia who established the SPAWN Catalog of Members’ Books and Services, the SPAWN Forum and SPAWNDiscuss. She was instrumental in SPAWN providing booths for members at the huge Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for five consecutive successful years. Under Virginia’s leadership, SPAWN presented a six-week publishing course for thirteen talented pre-teens, which culminated in a published book of their works—a book they also designed. Virginia also served as a teacher of technology through the numerous articles she wrote for SPAWNews. But, as some of the member testimonials point out, probably Virginia’s greatest contribution to SPAWN came through the generous gifts of her time and expertise. When a member needed to talk, Virginia listened. When someone had a question, Virginia found the answer. When there was a problem, Virginia stayed with it until it was resolved.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you, Virginia, for your dedication and commitment to this organization. It has been a pleasure to work with you. And thank you for your friendship.

Meet the New Officers of SPAWN

It is with great pleasure (and Virginia Lawrence’s blessing) that I introduce SPAWN’s new Leadership Team. We’ve spent several months working toward this major transition. While I am nostalgic about what we’re leaving behind, I am also quite excited about the future of SPAWN as we place it in the hands of these capable volunteers who have stepped forward to help us.

Before we began assembling this wonderful executive team, it was just Virginia (Executive Director and Webmaster) and me (Patricia Fry—President and editor of the SPAWN Market Update). For nearly a decade, Wendy Dager was our SPAWNews newsletter editor and membership director. Sandy Murphy has been handling these tasks for the past year. We’ve had various board members come and go over the years, including one who acted as treasurer for a brief time. But mainly, it has just been Virginia and me. Things are changing dramatically. Here’s the line-up of officers who have already started taking on their responsibilities:

Patricia Fry, Executive Director
(Charter member of SPAWN, former Associate Director, Vice President and President of SPAWN, author, freelance writer, editorial assistant and publisher at Matilija Press.)

Sandra Murphy will continue as newsletter editor.
(Member since 2004, freelance writer of magazine articles, specializing in pet articles.)

Board Members

Susan Daffron, President and Webmaster for the SPAWN site
(Author, editor and publisher at Logical Expressions Publishing.)

Mindy Reed, Treasurer
(The Author’s Assistant)

Debby Buchanan, Membership Director
(Deadly Ink Publishing)

Virginia Lawrence, Advisor
(Past Executive Director and Webmaster of SPAWN)

Tamara Devers
(TLC Graphics. Tamara has been serving on the board for over a year.)

Judy Weidhopf
(Whimrose Press. Judy has been serving on the board for over a year.)

Dallas Woodburn
(Recent college graduate, author, writing workshop leader, etc. and SPAWN’s new Youth Director)

Volunteers-at-Large include Sandi Tyson, Sandra Cropsey, Bonnie Myhrum, Sherrie Giddens.

We will profile each officer and board member in future editions of SPAWNews, so keep an eye on upcoming issues of SPAWNews.

Watch for future announcements and messages from the President. With all of this extremely qualified volunteer help, we want to start implementing some of our ideas for offering more benefits and providing more value to SPAWN members.

Watch, also, for a survey questionnaire from SPAWN. We want you to tell us how we can best serve you and enhance your path toward publishing success.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of our loyal members for supporting our efforts to educate and inform the writing/publishing community. Without you, there would be no SPAWN.


Patricia Fry, Executive Director


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President’s Message

If you read Executive Director Patricia Fry’s note, you know that SPAWN is going through some transitions. One of the changes is that I’m now the President. I’m thrilled and honored to have been given this opportunity to work with my fellow writers, artists and publishers. During the time I’ve been a member, one of the things that has always struck me about SPAWN is how practical the information is for working freelancers, authors and publishers. As we work through this transition, I’m hoping we can retain that focus and build upon it. In a difficult economy, all of us can benefit from new techniques for earning more money for our creative efforts.

Because of my background in Web design and development, my first task as your President is to redo the web site. Most people don’t realize how enormous the SPAWN web site is. With more than a decade’s worth of archives, it’s an amazing resource. We plan to add some more interactive features like a blog, while still retaining the hundreds of articles and information that exist now.

I encourage you to contact both me and Patricia with your ideas. Our goal is to make this organization as helpful to you as possible. But we can do that only if you let us know what we can do to help you. Please do take the opportunity to say “hi” and tell us more about what you do. We’d love to hear from you!

Susan Daffron, President

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Testimonials flood the mailroom!

In Tribute to Virginia

When SPAWN began, it was a “brick-and-mortar” operation. We held meetings and seminars in concrete buildings with live people. Virginia shepherded us out of that century with her frequent comment that we needed a “Web presence.” We were always thinking SPAWN and she was only thinking SPAWN.ORG.

Her suggestion seemed astute, but it was just one component of our overall networking effort. Who could have foreseen that it would be the only surviving component? Well, Virginia—that’s who. As we were renting space for seminars, busily getting together coffee, cookies, speakers and rides for them, she continued to prod us about a “Web presence.” Some of us had started to enjoy the convenience of online Christmas shopping and we thought, “Oh, that’s it. She means ‘Web presents.’”

Our original newsletter was generated on an ornery old computer in my dining room and mailed after much effort at folding, stamping and address-labeling hundreds of hardcopies, an antiquated activity we performed in Patricia Fry’s living room. As our live meeting attendance shrank and our national and then international membership grew, we finally ‘got it.’ The whole folding-stamping thing now seems akin to medieval monks copying books by candlelight to preserve civilization through the Dark Ages—although Patricia makes great lemonade, something you never get to experience in blogworld.

What stands out about Virginia is her sense of humor. She has an amusing take on right-brained writers struggling to survive in the left-brained world. Ever been out to lunch with a group of writers and then watch them try to figure out the tip? These are people who can recite Richard III from memory and quote entire passages of The Sun Also Rises, but they cannot agree on what constitutes “10 to 15 percent.” It proves there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who’ve had day jobs waiting tables and those who have not.

Except for Virginia. She had both her left and right brain working together before that was a socially acceptable lifestyle for writers. This is why she had web sites and we did not. Also why she could pay the tip.

Thanks for birthing SPAWN.ORG out of good old-fashioned SPAWN, Virginia. Metaphors be with you. –Kathy Schultz

Kathy Schultz was SPAWN’s newsletter editor in 1997-1998 and one of SPAWN’s first members.


When you work with someone for a while, even if most of your communication is via email and telephone, you get to know her pretty well. As former editor of SPAWNews and SPAWN’s membership database manager—going back to the days when we printed everything on hard copy and used postage stamps for mailings—I’ve had the honor of knowing Dr. Virginia Lawrence for about a decade.

I don’t have to tell you that she is smart and hardworking and lovely and has a wonderful family whom she adores. Instead, I will tell you something you may not know: Virginia puts her all into everything she does.

That is, she mulls each situation on an individual basis while giving every one the same level of priority. I can’t tell you how many times Virginia has gone above and beyond to personally help a SPAWN member or rectify a circumstance or determine how SPAWN can improve its resources, communications and everything else for the benefit of its membership.

What SPAWN members see is the streamlined, award-winning web site created by Virginia, a professional Webmaster, but most don’t know what goes on behind the scenes at SPAWN. Over the years, there have been hundreds—if not thousands—of emails and phone calls passed back and forth between Virginia and the equally dedicated Patricia Fry, trying to figure out the best tack to take in every situation. I can tell you from personal experience that Virginia is someone who never took lightly her responsibilities as Executive Director.

I don’t need to wish her the best of luck in all of her endeavors, because I know for a fact that she doesn’t need any ol’ four-leaf clover. Smart, hardworking and lovely, Virginia Lawrence will always do well on her own merit, talents and tremendous work ethic. –Wendy Dager

Wendy Dager was SPAWN’s newsletter editor and membership director from December 2000 to March 2008.


Virginia has been an absolute jewel in her service to me. She has been “with me all the way” in my quest to honor the memory of all the guys who died in a senseless battle (Tarawa) during the War in the Pacific. With Virginia’s assistance I’ve been able to make a difference through my book and actions. Love & Best Wishes to you, Virginia. –Leon Cooper (SPAWN member and author)


I wish to personally thank Virginia for all the hard work she has given to the members of SPAWN. Maintaining a web site in addition to always being available to assist a SPAWN member in need is no easy task, especially when so many other irons in the fire require attention. But Virginia did this for us and always addressed any question, concern, or challenge with grace. Unfortunately, I cannot always claim that quality myself, but am endlessly grateful for it in people with whom I work or with whom I am affiliated. SPAWN is a phenomenal organization with great leadership and good and caring members. What attracts people to become members of any organization is in part what membership offers, but also the integrity of those who begat the organization and are vigilant in its daily affairs. We are indeed fortunate to have that in SPAWN and further blessed that Virginia will still be involved, albeit a little less directly, but involved nonetheless. Thank you, Virginia, for reaching out to us and for sharing your vast knowledge. We are truly grateful and wish you all the best in all your endeavors! –Sande Cropsey (SPAWN member and author)


The publishing industry has witnessed phenomenal changes in the last several years. Virginia Lawrence has been a visionary in regard to the rapidly changing world of books. Not only has she been right, she has been generous with her knowledge and time. –Mindy Reed (SPAWN board member, The Author’s Assistant)


Virginia has always been the person to go to for a question. She has enthusiastically promoted SPAWN as a source of information for those who asked for help in their writing and publishing, and those who have said they wanted to “be” a writer. She has encouraged many to try for their dream and offered a source of information to obtain it. For that, she is owed a huge “THANK YOU” from anyone who has picked up a pen to begin the journey to become a writer. –Judy Wiedhopf, (Author and member of the SPAWN Board for three years.)


Virginia: Many thanks for all the great work you’ve done for SPAWN over the years. We appreciate your efforts and amazing efficiency. Good luck in all your endeavors for the future. –Gerry Schiller, (author and long-time SPAWN member)


Virginia, thanks for all your help during my first year-plus as newsletter editor. I would never have made it without you! –Sandy Murphy, newsletter editor 2008-present

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Please send your words of gratitude and good wishes to Virginia at

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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.

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Table of Contents

  • Special Announcement—Please Read!
  • Brief History of SPAWN
  • President’s Message
  • Testimonials
  • Editor’s Note
  • Market Update by Patricia Fry
  • Member News
  • Opportunities
  • Contests
  • Events

Editor’s Note

by Sandra Murphy

As a writer, I like my readers to help me out by imagining where the characters live and what they look like. If they take care of the details, I can concentrate on the plot and finding just the right words to tell the story.

As newsletter editor, I feel the same way. Many of you said, “Yes, I’ll write for SPAWNews” on your membership application. Now I’m calling on you to follow up on your offer! Over the next few months you’ll be reading about our new officers, filling out a member questionnaire and helping guide us forward. We’d also like some of you to submit 300-ish word articles about writing, publishing, art or your unusual occupation—I’ve read the membership directory and some of you have jobs I’d like to hear more about.

Now—don’t jump to the Market Update just yet—keep reading the newsletter and save the update for last!

Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews,

Market Update

by Patricia Fry

This month we’ve gone above and beyond in bringing you the opportunities, resources and information you need. Whether you are trying to establish a freelance writing business, you want to see some of your fiction in print, you need book promotion ideas, you’re looking for a publisher, you are showing a screenplay around, you want to sell your art or photographs or you just crave a better understanding of the whole publishing scene, the August SPAWN Market Update has something for you!

Here are some of the questions that are addressed in this issue:

  • What is the status of the magazine publishing business?
  • How can I get started writing book reviews?
  • Where can I locate information for children’s writers?
  • Where can I go to promote my screenplay?
  • How can I get my writing/art project funded?
  • What really constitutes a bestseller?
  • Where can I go to get listings for 750 contests for writers?
  • How can I become an expert source for journalists and promote my book in the process?
  • Which blogsites do you recommend for authors and writers?
  • I’m an artist/photographer; what’s the best way for me to find paying work?

Don’t let another month go by without studying the SPAWN Market Update in the member area of the SPAWN Website. We compile it for you.

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Compliment Received!

I value my SPAWN membership. I’m glad you are there for us.

Best regards,

Doug Snelson, Petalous Publishing, LLC, 201-738-9364,

Member News

Sarah Bolme of Crest Publications is pleased to announce the release of the Second Edition of her book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace (978-0-9725546-8-8). This second edition is an updated and expanded version of the first edition that was published three years ago. New materials include chapters on Gathering Endorsements, Leveraging Social Networking, and The Urban Market. This edition also includes an Index. The cost for the new edition is just $23.99. You can read the first chapter, view a long list of endorsements and purchase the book at

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Member Ahmad Meradji of Apex Book Manufacturing, an on-demand short-run press, is offering a 25% discount to all SPAWN members for all services to publishers and self-publishers. To find out more, contact Ahmad below:

Ahmad Meradji

Apex Book Manufacturing, Inc.
1252 Old Alpharetta Road
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 346-9979

(877) TEL-APEX

Fax: (678) 672-2439

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The Write On! Summer Writing Camp Is Now Open for Registration!

Who: The camp is open to youth ages 8-18. Poets, playwrights, short-story writers, novelists—all are encouraged and welcome to join!

Why: Students will not only have FUN, they will also learn how to improve central components of their writing, including dialogue, characterization, plot and setting, through various creativity-inducing writing exercises.

When: Registration is still open for August 8 and 9! Parents choose either the morning session, from 10 a.m.-noon, or the afternoon session, from 1-3 p.m.

Where: The camp will be held in the conference room at Jensen Design and Survey at 1672 Donlon Street in Ventura, California (by the Target shopping center.)

Cost: Both sessions (8/8 and 8/9) for $80.

A portion of the money raised will go toward “Write On! for Literacy” ( to encourage kids to discover joy, confidence and a means of self-expression and connection with others through reading and writing.

Teaching and Writing Experience:

Dallas Woodburn is an acclaimed speaker and teacher with experience as workshop instructor and coordinator of the Young Writers Program of the prestigious Santa Barbara Writers Conference for the past three years. She taught the Write On! Summer Writing Camp last year to great success and has also taught an online short-story writing course. For registration or more information, please call 805-889-5570, email, or visit

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


QUARTERFLASH • Flash Fiction Quarterly

Looking for stories under 1,000 words—anything but poetry, science fiction and fantasy. For more info: Or:

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Hawk & Handsaw wants to know what “creative sustainability” means to you. Send your reflections and art; tell about your greatest triumphs and most frustrating failures. Challenge the definition. Each issue offers works from established and emerging artists and writers. Hawk & Handsaw is published annually. The reading period for the 2010 issue is 1 August – 1 November. Send submissions (Word, .jpeg, or .pdf files preferred) to

For more information about the journal, including full submission guidelines and samples of previous issues, visit Queries may be sent to the journal’s editor, Kathryn Miles

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Regional Publishing University comes to the Twin Cities.

Who should attend: publishers of all sizes, authors, writers who want to publish or be published, others in fields related to publishing. More information? Email

Where: Embassy Suites Minneapolis Airport, 7901 34th Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425

When: August 14-15, 2009.

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Wilderness House Literary Review submission period closes Aug. 30, 2009. Short fiction may be submitted in three formats: stories fewer than 500 words in length, stories fewer than 1000 words in length, fewer than 5000 words. Please submit all works electronically to For more information go to

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The Tipton Poetry Journal reads submissions year-round. Deadline for the Fall 2009 issue is September 30. Poems with the best chance for acceptance are quality free verse that evokes a shared sense of common humanity. Check submission guidelines at:

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damselfly press, an online literary journal for women, is seeking electronic submissions of original fiction, poetry and nonfiction by female writers only, slated for online publication in October 2009. They welcome new and experienced writers.

The deadline to submit for the ninth issue is September 15th, 2009.

Fiction- Poetry –

Non fiction-

Visit the damselfly press web site at to read the eighth issue and learn more about the journal.

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The Poisoned Pen bookstore and press are hosting an online mystery conference on October 24. Registration is $25. You can find all the details at

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August, 2009 SPAWNews Proofing by Bonnie Myhrum

Note: SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor” when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you.

SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.