SPAWNews Newsletter – July 2014


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From the President

Welcome to new members and subscribers who discovered SPAWN this month!

As you’ll read in this issue, our executive director Patricia Fry is retiring from her position with SPAWN. I am also resigning as president and webmaster, so after 64 issues, this is the last missive you’ll receive from me.

Nothing bad has happened, and although our fearless editor Sandy is calling this the "Goodbye, farewell, so long" issue, there’s not a coup or overthrow or any bad feelings at all. It’s just both Patricia and I are ready to move on to the next phase of our writing careers.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Kathleen Sexton Kaiser as the new executive director of SPAWN. The board will be voting on the next president and webmaster positions this month. It has been a pleasure serving as your SPAWN president for the last five years. I wish you well in all your future creative endeavors!

Susan Daffron (
President & Webmaster, Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)
President, Logical Expressions, Inc. /

Editor’s Note

This month we’re taking a break from the usual articles. Patricia Fry, executive director of SPAWN has announced her retirement from office. She’ll still be around I’m sure, but a new direction in writing and family life has led her to change her responsibilities. Kate Sexton will be assuming the role of executive director as voted unanimously by the board. You’ll learn more about Kate in the August issue, after she’s had a chance to meet, at least virtually, the board and most active members.
In the meantime, if you have suggestions for any changes or improvements, as always, they are welcome. Kate is very tech savvy, so updates will be coming.

Join me by lifting a glass of your favorite beverage and toasting Patricia on her years of service to SPAWN, and best wishes for her new fiction writing as well as an increased number of grandkids!

 — Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews,

Market Update

by Patricia Fry

This issue of the SPAWN Market Update should be hugely satisfying to the writer seeking work and the author seeking publication. We also feature hundreds of book reviewers for our published authors and some great opportunities for screenwriters. Don’t go on vacation without this meaty newsletter and your laptop or iPad. You’ll want to research the possibilities. The time and effort spent could pay for a stay at a five-star resort.
Join SPAWN by going to and click on Join/Renew.

Patricia Fry and SPAWN

SPAWN was formed in 1997. Mary Embree was the founder and although Patricia Fry was in on the ground floor, so to speak, she swears her involvement was mostly listening to Mary’s excellent ideas, providing moral support, and responding, “Yes, Mary, that sounds like a great idea. Go for it!”

At first the group met in person, but as the Internet grew and so did the group, it went to online only. Patricia served as president and says, “I don’t remember for how many years. It didn’t seem like that long, but I was surprised to figure out I’ve been executive director for five years already.”

Although she started out writing magazine articles, over the years Patricia has managed to find time to write, publish, and promote forty-five books. Most of them are on publishing and book marketing, but there’s one on how to host a backyard luau, a history of the Ojai Valley, and another is about keeping up with grandkids long distance.

Each year Patricia likes to gift herself with something special for her birthday. Two years ago it was the opportunity to write fiction. The Klepto Cat Mystery series was born and she was hooked. Book number six is in the works—books one through three are in print and in e-version. Numbers four and five are e-books only, but won’t be for long.

We can only hope that in the midst of five new babies in the family, untold numbers of Klepto Cat plots in her head, and the usual consulting, editing, and promoting, Patricia will continue to dole out generous amounts of publishing information. It’s certainly the result of first-hand experience and industry knowledge.

Toasts to Patricia

Patricia is one of the kindest, most giving individuals. Obviously my first knowledge of her was through SPAWN. I tell all of my writing friends about it. Patty is a wealth of knowledge and always has writers’ best interest at heart. She served as consultant on one of my children’s stories and her advice helped me get the published book onto a national organization’s reading list. Patty is a wonderful friend and an asset to SPAWN. Her absence will surely be felt, yet we wish her all the very best. Thank you, my friend!
  ~ Sande Cropsey


I joined SPAWN because I already knew of Patricia Fry’s reputation. I have recommended her books, contributed to several of them, and over the years we’ve become online friends. Her comprehensive knowledge of self-publishing is invaluable. Two of her cats are members of Simon Teakettle’s MEWSical Society, which means we’ve gotten to know each other on yet another level. My only regret is that we haven’t had a chance to meet in person.
 ~ Barbara Florio Graham


I met Patricia at a writers’ conference shortly after I began my editing business. She was so encouraging and willing to share tips and information that I joined SPAWN. She has always been ready to answer questions and share the knowledge she has acquired during her remarkable career. For the past couple of years, I have enjoyed working with her in the SPAWN booth at the LA Times Book Festival. My respect for her has grown even higher as I listen to how she engages with great patience and grace all the would-be writers, would-be readers, and others who show up there.
 ~ Tammy Ditmore


Patricia’s name floated around when I first decided to start writing. I admired her daily diligence and never-ending effort to write, teach others, and make the sale, and aspired to be like her one day. I wish her luck, but it’s not really needed, because Pat’s always created her own luck, and made things happen. 
 ~ C. Hope Clark


I met Patricia at a book fair in St. Louis. She opened my eyes to the fact that I could write, sell what I wrote, and find a new career. She was the motivating force (kick in the pants) behind my first sale—submitted on Tuesday afternoon and accepted on Wednesday morning. I’d been doing a print newsletter for a pet therapy group when it was discontinued at just about the same time Wendy Dager decided to pass along this newsletter to a new editor. Patricia got me through that angst, too. Over the last ten years, she’s only been an email away when I’ve had the OMG, what have I done? moments. I treasure that footprint on my backside!
 ~ Sandy Murphy

We Need Feedback!

As mentioned above in my letter from the editor, Kathleen Sexton Kaiser is more tech savvy than a lot of us (picture me learning computer tricks while kicking and screaming), so be sure to send feedback. I’m sure there will be remodeling done to the website and newsletter and we want to be sure it’s what members are looking for, not just what we think they want! Email me at with suggestions.

Ask the Book Doctor:

About Verbicide, Capitals, and the Rules for Gerunds

By Bobbie Christmas, Book Doctor

Q: Today’s “word of the day” was “verbicide,” but the definition left much to be desired. Will you give us some examples?

A: Verbicide refers to the killing of a word, the distortion of a word in a way that obliterates the original definition. A word that comes to mind is “awesome,” which originally had a religious implication, something that struck awe, fear, and wonder in a person. Today we use the word “awesome” to mean almost anything good, pretty, interesting, or even expensive. Examples: We went out on an awesome date. He took me to an awesome restaurant. We spent an awesome amount of money. I told him that he’s awesome. As you can see from the examples, the word has lost its original power.

Along the same lines, the word “heavenly” once had a religious connotation, but through misuse, today it can mean anything that is tasty, delightful, or pleasing; for example: We ate a heavenly dessert.

Another victim of verbicide is “decimate.” It originally meant “cut down by one-tenth,” as in “The first attack decimated the battalion of one hundred men, leaving only ninety to fight the second attack.” Through misuse, the word has come to mean obliterated, annihilated, or destroyed.

Q: Which is correct, Mile Marker or mile marker? Several government Internet sites show the two words to be capitalized; several do not (no consistency whatsoever).

Here are some examples from our writer’s novel:

At mile marker 333, the truck began a steep descent.

A mile marker showing zero indicated the state line.

Jackson’s city limit sign was in front of mile marker 029.

Is this correct?

A: Chicago style capitalizes brand names and proper nouns, but mile markers do not fall into those categories. The government can follow any style it wishes, but novels should follow Chicago style, so all the examples from the writer’s novel are correct as written.

Q: Last week at a critique group someone had “the black actor.” A newer member asked about capping when it comes to black, caucasion, etc. 

I think it should be black, caucasion, hispanic, and latino, because they aren’t proper nouns, such as Native American and African-American. Am I right?

Because hispanic and latino aren’t nationalities or proper nouns, just descriptions, I think they should not be capitalized, but my spell-checker keeps wanting to capitalize them. Please let me know if I’ve learned the rule correctly.

A: At times our computer spell-checkers give you a chance to rethink your choices, but such spell-checkers do not necessarily follow Chicago style. You are correct when it comes to using black and white in lowercase to refer to nicknames for races; however, races—not nicknames for the races—are capitalized.

Chicago style dictates that except in titles, we do not capitalize the term “black” when it refers to dark-skinned groups of people; however, Negro, which is the proper noun for a race, is capitalized. Similarly, “white” is not capitalized as the term of light-skinned people, whereas Caucasian is. Other groups capitalized (and note the lack of hyphenation, unless used as an adjective modifying a noun) include the following: Aborigines, African Americans, American Indians, Arabs, Asians, the British, Chicanos, European Americans, the French, French Canadians, Hispanics, Hopis, Inuits, Italian Americans, Jews, Latinos, Native Americans, New Zealanders, Pygmies, and Romanies. Let’s also not forget the natives in Canada, which are called First Peoples and First Nations.

Q: Can you please refresh my memory about the official rule for using “your” in the following example? “I don’t understand why your going makes a difference.”

A: Here’s the explanation from my Purge Your Prose of Problems desk reference book:

Gerunds take possessive modifiers. If this declaration confuses you, you’re not alone. Most speakers and few writers understand this oddball rule. Gerunds create nouns from verbs and end in –ing; for example: using, having, needing, and dancing.

Let’s examine the following sentence with a gerund and a modifier: “My going depends on your being there.” Some writers and speakers have the urge to say “depends on you being there,” but the preferred style is the possessive: “depends on your being there.”

Other correct examples: “Rather than my repeating the information, read it for yourself” (not “Rather than me repeating the information”). “He asked if I objected to his borrowing my book” (not “He asked if I objected to him borrowing my book”).

To read more questions and answers, order the book Ask the Book Doctor: How to Beat the Competition and Sell Your Writing at Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too.  Send them to Read more "Ask the Book Doctor" questions and answers at

Book Review

by Patricia Fry

Book Proposals That Sell; 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success by W. Terry Whalin, Write Now Publications (2005)  ISBN: 1-932124-64-0  Paperback, 182 pages, $15.00  

Not only is W. Terry Whalin the author of over 60 books, but he has worked as acquisitions editor at traditional publishing companies. He knows something about book proposals and it shows in this informative tutorial for authors.

Whalin uses the first three chapters to discuss book proposals, what they are, and why most authors need to or should develop one. The bulk of the book focuses on the 21 secrets, which include: know the topic of your book, understand why you are the author, know your competition, create a dynamic marketing plan, keep the title and format simple, never submit your first draft, delete the hype, and always take the attitude of a learner. GREAT advice and this is just part of it. I particularly like the 18th Secret, where he explains that writing a book proposal is a lot of work and why it is important. His advice to have several projects in the works so you aren’t in waiting mode for weeks at a time, hoping for a positive response to the first one, is pure gold.

Whalin rounds up his book by providing a sample book proposal that sold for a six-figure advance and The Thomas Nelson Guide to Writing a Winning Book Proposal. His resource section is impressive, as well. 

Member News

Susan Daffron released the second in her Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy series of novels. The new book is called Fuzzy Logic and like her first novel, Chez Stinky, it features the small town of Alpine Grove and a lot of quirky dogs and cats, including a black Lab named Rosa and a Samoyed named Swoosie. You can get the book on in Kindle and paperback.

Susan is also doing a blog tour for Chez Stinky and as part of the tour, you can enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card. The contest ends July 7, so be sure to visit this page to enter now!


Barbara (Bobbi) Florio Graham won an honorable mention in the 2014 Writers-Editors Network International Writing Competition, in the Novel Chapter – Unpublished category. Most categories in this prestigious contest had winners in first, second, and third place, several honorable mentions, and a few additional mentions called notables.
Find Barbara Florio Graham on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Check her website ( for lots of free information about publishing (and cats) and for the popular blog by Simon Teakettle, who has a Fan Club your pet can join.

Contests, Events and Opportunities

The Contests, Awards, Events, and Opportunities listings are located on the SPAWN blog. Please use these links to get the latest information
Contests and Awards
Events and Opportunities


SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. SPAWNews advises “caveat emptor” when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWNews was proofread by Bonnie Myhrum, Professional Secretary, LLC (734-455-0987).
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