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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, July, 2003

Wendy Dager, Editor














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There’s nothing I despise more in writing than the use of clichés. Still, whether it’s habit or a personality flaw or maybe both, I seem to find myself using a cliché on occasion.

I was thinking about one in particular recently, while I sat in a hospital, waiting for my husband to get through five hours of surgery to repair a foot mangled in a car accident two decades ago. I had brought a laptop computer with me, having decided to spend the time writing my biweekly newspaper opinion column. I thought it would be the sensible thing to do, considering there are only so many 10-year-old issues of Woman’s Day—standard hospital waiting room fare—a gal can read in one sitting.

I was inspired to write my column about the high cost of health insurance—and how, if we hadn’t had it, we would not have been able to afford my husband’s surgery. The piece turned out satisfactorily, and, after it was published, I got several e-mails from people who empathized.

Perhaps you have already taken a difficult situation and turned it into something creative and profitable, but, for me, this was a new experience. Usually, when I am feeling down, it’s tough for me to get into the spirit of writing. However, in this case, I was able to take charge of my emotions and ascribe to the aforementioned cliché.

The cliché? It’s an oldie, and, some might say, a tad Pollyanna-esque: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Just to avoid being boring, I probably should change the wording from "lemonade" to the snazzier, jazzier, and more preferable (to me) "lemon martinis." Although, it really doesn’t matter what you make with those lemons, as long as you keep on squeezing them. –Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews.

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To participate in the SPAWN Forum

*  Go to

* Click on For Member's Only.

* Enter your user name and password (your user name and password changes occasionally and is always published in your monthly SPAWNews)

*  Click on Forum.

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The members only e-mail discussion group, SPAWNdiscuss, is now a moderated group. This means that the SPAWN Webmaster will be reviewing all messages before they are distributed to the group. Messages will not be received as quickly, but only relevant messages will go through.

In the new SPAWN E-mail Discussion List, SPAWN members can:

  • Ask the writing, editing, publishing, and marketing questions on your mind.
  • Read the answers to everyone’s questions.
  • Exhibit your knowledge when you answer questions or start a discussion.
  • Get to know the members of SPAWN, your peers in publishing.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the informational emails that recently went out to members of SPAWNdiscuss:

This is a quick note to tell you about a wonderful new service from the U.S. Post Office. Now we can purchase a full shipping label including postage. The $3.85 Priority Mail shipping label automatically includes delivery confirmation at no additional charge.

Now this is a time and money saver! Check it out:"

All SPAWN members receive an invitation to join the discussion group. For more about SPAWNdiscuss, e-mail

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July is the month of opportunity for writers. The July issue of the SPAWN Market Update (posted in the Member Area of the SPAWN Web site) features nearly two-dozen opportunities and resources for writers. We have opportunities for mystery writers, comedy writers and travel writers.

  • Find out which magazine is seeking personal experience relationship stories right now.
  • Get the name of the publication which is actively soliciting touching stories for their series of books.
  • Can you help people make sense of their lives? Can you make people understand complex concepts? Can you write with an international flavor for children? Then Market Update has current writing opportunities for you, too.
  • Need a literary agent? We're also proud to introduce a new literary agent who is eager to work with new authors of fiction and nonfiction alike.
SPAWN Members can go read the details right away. If you aren't a member yet, join SPAWN now to access this generous issue of SPAWN Market Update and all 20 back issues. All back issues of the Market Update are available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site,

Each month we publish interviews in the SPAWN Market Update. Patricia Fry has interviewed working writers, graphic designers, self-published authors as well as magazine editors, larger book publishers and others involved in the publishing process. This month one of her interviews is with SPAWN’s founder, Mary Embree, and we’ve decided to share it with members and subscribers alike.  


By Patricia Fry 

Q: Mary, please tell us a little about your writing business. 

A: I perform literary services of various kinds. I edit manuscripts for books and doctoral dissertations; help book authors search for appropriate agents and publishers; and assist self-publishers in every step of the process from completing the publishing forms and formatting their book to sending it to the printer.

Read the entire interview.

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Austin, Tx

The end of May brought BookExpo America, the annual book-publishing shindig, which was held in Los Angeles this year. Our June meeting was a wrap-up of BEA and PMA-University, featuring our members who attended one or both of these events. Each attendee had a great time and learned a lot, but all agreed that the networking was the most invaluable experience at BEA. Some worked in booths, some walked the expo floor to get exposure for their books or services, and some took classes to become better publishers. Everyone left the meeting ready to sign up for next year's conference in Chicago.

Our next meeting will be held Thursday, July 10, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Borders at S. Lamar and 290 (near Central Market) in the Westgate Marketplace The first three meetings are free. We ask for a donation of $5/meeting or an annual $45 national membership for all meetings thereafter. The topic of the July meeting will be "Collaborating with Convicts, Small Publishing Houses, and Other Nightmares."

Have you ever thought about collaborating with someone for a book project? Or, maybe a publisher suggests the idea of working with another writer (someone you don't know). Successful collaboration is part art, part science, and part luck, and at times can feel like it's coming apart at the seams. Donn LeVie, who co-authored "Return of the Thunderbeings" with a Native American shaman (who was in prison during the book's development) will relate the good, the bad, and the ugly of collaboration.

We're also publishing our first monthly newsletter in PDF format this week. If you wish to join the Austin Chapter, e-mail Tami Dever,

Baltimore, MD

The new Baltimore Chapter of SPAWN will kick off its first meeting at Barnes and Noble in Towson, MD on Wednesday, July 23rd from 7-9 p.m. This will be a full networking event of all the Baltimore Washington Metro area SPAWN members, no matter what your area of expertise. If weekdays don't fit into your busy schedule, join us at the Main Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library on Cathedral Street in Downtown Baltimore on Saturday August 2, from 3 to 5 p.m. The Baltimore Chapter of SPAWN will continuously have 2 meetings per month, one on a weekday and one on the weekend, so that all SPAWN members may benefit from the experience. For more information, e-mail Ramona Davis,

Chapter Info

If you're interested in starting a SPAWN Chapter in your area, find out more at, then contact Patricia Fry at

Please remember that you must be a paid SPAWN member prior to becoming a SPAWN Chapter leader.

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Virginia Lawrence, Technical Internet Columnist

You have built your Web site with carefully planned navigation and text. You worked hard to make the site gorgeous. You kept the site light on graphics so that it will be fast loading in visitor browsers. Now does the site traffic live up to your expectations?

Read the entire article.

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After 15 years as a practicing chiropractor and yoga instructor, Pamela Adams D.C., resumed a career as author and freelance writer. A few months later, she found that sitting down at the computer to write for hours at a time caused her pain. Headaches, shoulder pain, numb toes—her productivity declined along with her creativity. She turned to her experience in healthcare to develop a computer fitness program for herself. The result? Pain-free writing for Dr. Adams and a short, sweet, user-friendly guidebook for everyone else. Dr. Adams’ Painless Guide to Computing provides surprising information on why gravity is a force to be reckoned with; why Carpal Tunnel Syndrome begins in your neck, not in your wrist; and why sitting is bad for your health. Dr. Adams points out how small, but specific, changes in the position of your body and the arrangement of your workspace can make an immediate difference in how you feel and can prevent the long term painful effects of repetitive and cumulative stress. She illustrates the three best at-your-computer exercises to immediately relieve the pain you feel now. Dr. Adams’ Painless Guide to Computing; How to Use Your Computer Without Hurting Yourself (ISBN 0-927670-0-2), 32 illustrated pages, 2003, is available for $7.44  at Or contact Pamela Adams D.C. directly at Discount given for bulk orders

Patricia Fry announces the arrival of another book in her local history collection, Nordhoff Cemetery: Book Two. In 1992, she published Nordhoff Cemetery: Book One-a book featuring the history of the local pioneer cemetery in Ojai, CA and profiling the burials there from 1876 to 1900. Book Two profiles those buried at Nordhoff Cemetery between 1901 and 1940. It's a book for historians, genealogists and curiosity seekers. Available through Matilija Press at and local bookstores.

Mary Embree and Patricia Fry womanned the SPAWN booth at the Central Coast Book Festival in San Luis Obispo, CA in June. Many Festival visitors expressed interest in SPAWN. Our booth featured approximately a dozen member books. Sales were made and brochures were distributed. It was a busy but satisfying day for the founder and the president. Next on the book festival agenda is the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival on September 20. Watch for more information about how you can get involved.

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

A recruitment firm is looking for someone to fill a Senior Medical Writer position in Utah. Job qualifications include a Master’s or PhD Degree + 6-8 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology field. For more information, or e-mail

A collection of genuine stories from people who have triumphed in life by simply being ordinary is being compiled and edited by literary agent Jeff Herman. Submissions should be made to: Ordinary, c/o Jeff Herman, P.O. Box 1522, Stockbridge, MA 01262. Deadline is August 15, 2003.

The SPAN BookPublish 2003 College will be held in Torrance, California on October 24-26. Save the date and watch for more information soon.

Members of the Sacramento Publishers and Authors are planning to reserve a booth at the ALA Convention in Seattle on February 24-28, 2004, to display their books. They are seeking other authors who wish to have their books displayed to keep the costs down. They ask that any SPAWN members who are interested please contact Ernie Spencer at

Sign up for to be listed in the largest worldwide directory of writers. List your name, contact information and biography and your information will be viewable by anyone looking for a writer.


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The Second City Council Art Gallery announces its next exhibition "Why Art?" It is being juried by Dr. Rachel Teagle, Assistant Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD). Exhibition runs August 2-August 29. Slides receipt deadline is Tuesday, July 8th. More info about The Second City Council and entry forms are available at, or e-mail

An essay contest is being held to win a 32-acre Colorado Ranch. For more information: Deadline is August 1, 2003.

According to TV "The next running of TV Writer.Com's contests will begin August 1, 2003. Some changes are being made, and some surprises are in store, so stay tuned for a special announcement when the time comes!" For more information:

Ventura County Writers Club is having its 4th annual short story contest. Submissions may be any genre. Grand prize is $500 and publication on the front page of the Arts and Living section of The Ventura County Star newspaper on Sunday, November 9, 2003.

Deadline is August 1, 2003. Other prizes are $250 for 2nd and $50 for third. Entry fee is $15 for members, $25 for nonmembers. For details:

San Luis Obispo Nightwriters announce its 14th Annual Short Story Contest. 500-word maximum; story must begin with: "Be careful what you wish for." Deadline is August 31, 2002. For more information: Fran Lombardo, (805) 481-6531 or e-mail

The 2003 DIY Book Festival has issued a call for entries for its annual program celebrating independent authors and publishers. Award winners will be honored at a ceremony held this October in Los Angeles. The DIY Book Festival will consider self-published or independent publisher nonfiction, fiction, children’s books, how-to, photography/art, comics, fan fiction, zines and e-books released after Jan. 1, 2001. All entries must be in English and have been self-published or issued by an independent house that has published less than 50 works since the entry cut-off point.

This year the grand prize for the 2003 DIYBF Author of the Year is $1000 cash and a flight to Los Angeles. Other genre category winners will receive software, books and assorted prizes, including a review of their work in the

Deadline: Submissions in each category must be postmarked by Sept. 24, 2003. Entry forms are available online at

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A new member just wrote to us:

I can tell you this. The encouragement and support I have received in just these two short months has more than paid for the membership. We are going to have a strong chapter here in Austin, TX. I would encourage members everywhere to form a chapter. E-mail is great but nothing beats face to face conversation. Again, thank you.


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Please note: Although SPAWNews does its best to filter announcements and press releases for various events, seminars, and classes, we cannot guarantee a successful experience for all who attend.

The TV Writer.Com Summer Intensive Seminar/AKA Brodystock III will be held July 11-13 at the Victorian Village Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. For details go to

Friday, July 25, SPAWN member Gerry Ebert will host an open mic night at Barnes & Noble, 245 N. Glendale Ave., Glendale CA 91206. For more information, or e-mail

Patricia Fry is teaching an online class on writing local history the week of August 4th through the writing-world Web site. For more information go to

Patricia Fry is also teaching a class on self-publishing at the Ventura College in Ventura, CA Saturday, August 9 from 9 a.m. to noon. To enroll or for more information on Self-publishing: A Step-by-step Journey Through the Publishing Process, contact Karen Gorback at 805-654-6459.

PJPKidz N’ Teenz, Ltd and PoeticJava Publishing (Ramona and Jason Davis) are hosting the following events: 2nd Saturdays- PoeticExpressions- showing youth a positive way to self –expression, 5 to 8 pm, 4604 Reisterstown Rd Baltimore MD; Youth to age 17 FREE, Adults $10 and the cover is tax deductible- hosted by PJPKidz N' Teenz, LTD.

3rd Sundays- NEW EVENT- PoeticPride- an open mic venue geared to the GLBT community but all are welcome, 4 to 7 p.m. beginning August 17, SOHO Tea and Coffee, 2150 P St NW WDC (Dupont Circle- corner of 21st and P); $5.00 cover- hosted by PoeticJava Publishing

4th Saturdays- Girls Nite Out- an open mic venue just for the ladies, 4 to 6:30 p.m., 4604 Reisterstown Rd Baltimore MD; $5.00 cover- hosted by PoeticJava Publishing

1St Annual Youth Poetry Slam- Saturday August 16, 2003, 12-2:30 p.m. Every youth that enters will receive a gift and there will be prizes for winners in each age group. Youth to age 17 FREE, adults 18 and older, $5 and the cover charge is a tax deductible donation to PJPKidz N’ Teenz, Ltd. FMI,

For more information, email Ramona Davis at or call 877-POETICJAVA. Sign up for their monthly newsletter by emailing to You can also join our online group by sending an email to

The 10th Annual Austin Film Festival is October 9-12. For details on badges, teachers, hotel discounts, and full list of confirmed panelists, or any questions, go to or call 1-800-310-3378.

Artists Helping Artists (AHA!) and The Creative Line magazine are offering the first 1,000 artists that register at FREE access to the big Southern California Call to Arts! Expo on Saturday Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the beautiful University Student Union facilities at Cal State Fullerton (about 5 miles from Disneyland). The Call to Arts! Expo will include over 2000 artists coming together, 100 arts and music exhibitors and organizations, 25 musical performances/sets at the Creative Vision musical showcase (with folk, Latin, Rock, World Fusion and Visionary) on the Main Stage in the exhibition pavilion, a juried visual art exhibition of more than 30 top fine artists and the Longest Open Mic Showcase west of the Mississippi featuring another 100 songwriters. To receive the FREE offer to the Call to Arts! expo artists must register at Expo Registration page at and then deliver one sample of their art work—visual art print, CD, demo, book of poetry, etc.—to the big ART BINS at Registration on the day of the Expo. For more info on the offer and the expo go to the web site or email or call (818) 897-3130.

Fade In Magazine announces its 7th Annual Hollywood Pitch Festival™. To register, call 800-646-3896. For more information: You will have the opportunity to meet James Bond and over 60 other Film/TV/Real spies at SpyFest 2003 on the Queen Mary August 9-10. For more information:

Authors for Charity, a group of independent writers, has declared

October 2003 "National Authors for Charity Month."  Throughout the

month they will be sponsoring book-signing events in cities across the

U.S. All participating authors will be donating a portion of their

royalties to local charities. For more information: or contact Shirley Dicks,

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by Shel Horowitz, 

Once upon a time, people went to bookstores when they wanted to buy a book. Or at least, that was the theory. Actually, non-bookstore channels have been a big part of book sales for decades—at least since people like Joe Karbo ("The Lazy Man's Way to Riches") back in the 1960s.

Read the entire article.

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Electronic Scrip Incorporated (ESI) is a California-based corporation dedicated to establishing relationships between commerce and community. Since 1999, over $40 million has been distributed to schools and groups. eScrip is a fantastic resource for fundraising where participating business partners contribute a percentage of your grocery loyalty cards, credit card, and debit/ ATM card purchases to up to three schools, groups or organizations of your choice. You register any one or all of your existing grocery loyalty, debit and credit card for use in the program. Participating merchants will make contributions to your chosen group, based on purchases made by you, just by using the cards you have registered. You can go to, click on the orange Sign Up button, type in SPAWN, then register your grocery cards and/or credit cards. SPAWN, a 501(c)3 organization, gets a little over 2% in donations from all purchases from participating merchants. If you already have an eScrip account, please remember that you can list up to three groups. Thank you for supporting SPAWN.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book by Patricia Fry. 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.
  • Metasearch where you can run a single search and get results from six of the top search engines.
  • A simple Poll where you can tell SPAWN what you think about the Member Area.


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July, 2003 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

SPAWN Technical Internet Columnist


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President


Advisory Council

Carol Doering

Dallas Glenn

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Jean Wade


Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Technical Editor

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


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, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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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