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SPAWNews Newsletter – January 2012

by SusanDaffron on January 1, 2012

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email the editor of SPAWNews: editor@spawn.org.

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to visit the Members Only Area to read this month’s Market Update. Go to http://www.spawn.org and click Log In. You will be asked for your username and password.
If you are not a member, join now online: http://www.spawn.org/join.htm

From the President

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

As one year transitions into the next, many of us tend to reflect on what went well in the prior year and what we’ll do differently in the upcoming year. And some people just look back and wonder what happened. There’s really no mystery; you are where you are because of the choices you made.

The theme for this month’s newsletter is inspiration, which is a lovely idea. But sometimes "inspiration" needs a little help. For many creative people (including me), if we waited for "inspiration" to produce our writing or our art, we’d never get anything done at all. Sometimes you just have to do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.

If you didn’t make as much progress with your creative pursuits as you’d hoped in 2011, maybe you need to readjust your schedule. Think about where you are focusing your time and attention.

Consider giving your creativity an extra special New Year’s gift in 2012: the gift of time. When you devote unwavering focused attention on your creative pursuits, the results can be truly remarkable.

Susan Daffron (susan@spawn.org)
President & Webmaster, Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)
http://www.spawn.org
President, Logical Expressions, Inc.
http://www.LogicalExpressions.com

Editor’s Note

This month’s theme is inspiration. What inspired you to write for the first time, today, and what gives you ideas for tomorrow?

I’m inspired by yellow legal pads and ink pens that don’t leak. I love the turn of a phrase and collect the really good ones. Color is a must—in the room, in photos, in descriptions I write. My dog Izzie inspired me to write for publication and pay (actually, she insisted—she was a terrier, after all).

In the newsletter, you’ll read part of a blog by Luana Rubin, owner of e-Quilter. Like me, she needs all her stuff where she can see it, not tidily packed away and labeled. Lesley Korenko found inspiration in the suggestion a friend made—the “why don’t you?” comment led to another way to make money and promote her book. Bobbie Christmas lists ways to find inspiration every day, and a number of other SPAWN members sent in their inspirations as well.

I find it inspiring that new magazines launched this year—it takes a lot of daring in the best of times. More magazines launched than closed during 2011, also encouraging.

During 2012, look for new ways to find your voice, add color to your life, and love what you do. Inspire and be inspired!

 – Sandy, Editor, SPAWNews, editor@spawn.org

Join SPAWN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (LATFB) is billed as the nation’s largest public literary festival, attracting around 140,000 people last year.

It wasn’t always this big, and some of us here at SPAWN remember its beginnings. The LATFB launched in 1996, the same year that SPAWN did. SPAWN has had a presence at this now-gigantic event almost every year since.

The LATFB will be held at the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles again this year on April 21 and 22, 2012. SPAWN has secured two booths to accommodate our members. The fee for selling your books from our booth is $200 per day. (Three titles per member, only.)

We also are offering those who can’t attend the LATFB the opportunity to display a copy of their book(s) in the SPAWN booth for $20 each title. For an additional $35, members can list their books in the SPAWN Catalog of Member’s Books and Services, which will serve as the brochure for all participants. Everyone visiting the SPAWN booth will walk away with one of our beautiful full-color print catalogs. The absolute deadline for having your book included in the SPAWN Catalog of Member’s Books and Services is March 15, 2012.

Visit http://www.spawn.org/latfb.htm to read about all of your options, and sign up today.

The LATFB opportunity is open to members only. If your membership has expired or you haven’t joined yet, this is a good time to take care of business. If you want a major bookselling opportunity and incredible exposure for your book, sign up to join us in the SPAWN booth—first come, first served. Learn more about the LATFB here: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks   

Questions? Patricia@spawn.org

SPAWN Market Update

by Patricia Fry

Would you like to know how many books your publisher is selling this month? In the January issue of the SPAWN Market Update, we tell you how to get this information. Would you like to see your book in bookstores? Are you thinking about having a book trailer made? In this issue of the SPAWN Market Update we discuss all of this, and we’ve included around two dozen additional opportunities and resources for freelance writers and authors. We include a link to a huge magazine and newspaper database as well as a link to a database of book publicists. We introduce you to new publishers. We tell you about paying magazine markets and we provide resources and guidance to help you in your quest to succeed as a published author.

Do yourself and your career a huge favor this year. Join SPAWN and partake of our offerings for freelance writers, working artists/photographers, authors, and publishers. A major aspect of the education we provide here at SPAWN is through the meaty, monthly SPAWN Market Update.

Ask the Book Doctor:

About About Inspiration and Completion

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: When I finally make time to write, I can’t think of anything to write about. Where do writers get their inspiration?

A: Everywhere. That is, we find inspiration almost everywhere but in the very place we need it, in our writing space. When we sit down to write, if we don’t already have inspiration, the computer will mock us with its uncaring silence. Instead of waiting for inspiration to hit while you sit at your computer, take paper and a pen, a smart phone, or a recorder with you everywhere you go. Pay attention to what goes on around you, and take notes.

I jot down bits of overheard conversations, unusual names, and stream-of-consciousness thoughts while I’m in waiting rooms. I’ve written short-story ideas while waiting for a movie to start. I scribble notes to remind myself of memories that go through my mind while I’m doing something else. Potential titles come to mind when I’m cleaning house or running errands. I’ve been inspired by a tidbit that a minister said in church or a speaker said in a seminar. I’ve even had to jump out of the shower to scrawl a memory or a dream worth writing about.

Newspaper headlines, too, offer a zillion potential stories. Read the headlines and make up your own stories from them. Read the actual articles or listen to the news on TV, and then think “what if” and change the story enough to be unrecognizable and make it your own.

Whenever you get a thought, a spark, or an interesting idea, record it before you lose it. Inspiration, insight, and stimulation come at inconvenient times. If we let those moments pass because we are busy, the thought could be lost forever. Never assume you will remember those inspired ideas; most of the time you won’t, without something to remind you.

Once you have notes, you will have instant inspiration, whenever you sit down to write. Read your notes or listen to your recordings, and something will trigger the urge to write. You’ll soon be off and running.

Q: What does it mean if a writer has about seven drafts and they all stop in the same place? I know the story, have written synopses, done research, and clarified the characters. I work around the clock to get the immediate idea on paper, but then stop and go on to another book idea and do the same thing. I like that initial stage when I’m inspired to work on a new book; I hate the stage where I work on the book chapter by chapter.

At first, when I worked on one draft and then worked on another, I said it was to keep from getting bored. I thought I was discovering my genre and style, but it seems crazy now. It’s overwhelming, yet I’m a columnist; have been a columnist for years. I complete the columns okay, but all these books! (Not books, ideas, drafts) I feel like I will never finish any of them. I’m thinking I need to hire staff to finish these manuscripts. Is this normal? Is there a name for me? Help!

A: The book doctor is here to help! Here’s my diagnosis, and the prognosis is good.

First, is there a name for you? Yes. You are what we in the industry call “a writer.” Oh, you expected a disparaging term? Writers must create. Call it their inspiration, muse, right-brain thinking, creativity, whatever, but something drives writers to develop characters, stories, and article ideas.

Being a writer does not necessarily mean you have the editor within you, though. The creative part draws from one set of skills, sometimes considered right-brain thinking, while revising and editing a manuscript requires a different set of skills. The editing or completion ability resides in the academic, left side, or analytical part of the brain.

You have highly developed your creative side, but not the other, more detail-oriented side. You thrive on the beginning, rather than the completion—the creation of ideas, but not the thought of seeing the book in stores. Sure, you would like to see your book finished, but your focus is not set in that direction, right now.

The fact that you meet column deadlines proves that you work well with short-term goals. The long-term work necessary to revise, rewrite, and edit a book-length manuscript overwhelms you, so you get stymied like a doe in the headlights. Instead of crossing the street and getting to the finish line, you’ve stopped dead in your tracks each time you face finishing a large task. Perhaps the completion of a full-length manuscript is simply too crushing to confront all at once.

Here are my recommendations to break through your barriers and confront your metaphorical two-ton vehicle:

1.   Decide what you really want. Do you want to complete one of the novels? Do you want to sell the book to a traditional publisher? Do you want to self-publish?

2.   Place a deadline for completing what you really want to accomplish. Do you want to finish one novel within twelve months? Do you want to sell the book to a traditional publisher by the end of next year? Do you want to have a book in your hands within a year and a half? Write down your answers to questions number one and two. I mean it: write down what you want and the date by which you want it. When you write down a goal and a deadline, you set the goal in motion. It is a proven fact. Post your goal and deadline where you see it every day. I hang mine on a wall peg in my office.

3.   Break your goal into small pieces. You have shown yourself that you can meet deadlines. Your goal for your novel, then, may be “Rewrite, revise, and polish one chapter a month.” It might be one chapter every two months. Set realistic mini-goals based on your schedule and your final goal. Write down your mini-goals. Add them to your calendar or planner.

4.   Break the mini-goals into micro-goals. If you want to finish polishing one chapter a month, write down that you will polish five pages a week (or whatever will break down to a typical chapter length, once added together). Write down those micro-goals in your planner.

5.   Celebrate each time you meet your micro- or mini-goal. Take yourself out to dinner, see a movie, buy a book, whatever. Reward yourself for meeting each of your goals, no matter how large or small, and you will be inspired to continue.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich said, “A goal is nothing but a dream with a deadline.” I live by that quotation.

Goal-setting works for most people, but for even more inspiration to keep going, find a mentor, join a critique circle, hire an editor or a coach, but do whatever you must to find someone or something that keeps you motivated.

If you do all those things and still do not see yourself moving forward, consider enjoying the creativity that you have. Remember that eventually you can compile your columns into a book (or pay someone to do it), and you will still have a book to sell.

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 Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more "Ask the Book Doctor" questions and answers at www.zebraeditor.com.

Inner Demented Compulsive Organizer

by Luana Rubin

Today I had a rare moment when the house was empty and quiet and I had a chance to just crash in a comfy chair and mindlessly watch the birds at our new birdfeeder outside our backyard picture window. It was restful and cleared my mind. I was thinking, “I should be stressed—the holidays are coming up”—and then—“I really deserve to sit and do nothing for a while!”

Creative people don’t do well being busy all the time. It is in the times of doing nothing that we get our greatest ideas. When we clear our mind and relax, that’s when we get the great genius inspirations. Well yes, cleaning a studio or work space can have a similar effect, but…

Creative people like to have all their creative stuff out so they can look at it and think about what to do with it after their head is finished clearing out. This is very hard to explain to an organizer type of person. You can have a pile of fabrics or postcards or magazine articles out for months, until the whole thing gels and leaps out at you one day like Sheldon’s “Bazinga!”….an Athena springing fully formed from Zeus’s head.

However, my Inner Demented Compulsive Organizer is starting to whisper, “It’s time!” and because we are contemplating getting a tree to hang our collection of eccentric artsy and travel-themed ornaments, something has to get cleaned up in order to make room for the tree.

You are not alone.

Visit Luana Rubin at www.equilter.com

Book Review

by Patricia Fry

Writing for the Hollywood $$$, How To Navigate the Rocky Road to Success in TV & Film
by Tony Blake (Someone Who’s Done It), Xlibris, ISBN 978-1-4257-8434-8, 188 pages, $20.99 (http://www.xlibris.com/orders@xlibris.com)

Tony Blake is a veteran TV writer-executive producer with over twenty years of experience. He has worked on ten television writing staffs in both drama and comedy. He’s aware of the number of writers who would like to break into TV and film and he wrote this book to demonstrate that it is possible. He says there are far more writing opportunities now than ever before. He built a career in Hollywood and he believes he can show you how to do it, too—possibly without the mistakes he made along the way.

If you want to learn more about making a pitch, working with agents, selling your TV pilot, what to expect if you are hired, how much money you could make in this career, and more, you might want to consider reading this book. One of the most valuable aspects of it might be the chapter about the mistakes Blake has made (and which you should avoid). Here are a few things to be cautious about: choose your words carefully when commenting on another artist’s ideas; if things go wrong on the set, don’t let it show and keep smiling.

But the most important part of this book is probably the list of steps Blake shares in an attempt to guide you down the right path toward success in Hollywood. He helps you to understand the opportunities and how to approach and work with them. He talks about what it takes to break in—through an agent, over the transom, through referrals, or by making cold calls, for example.  He goes into the various types of meeting you may be involved in—what to expect and how to handle the expected and the unexpected.           

Thousands of writers have their eye on Hollywood. If you are among them, maybe Blake’s book will be the key to landing you the opportunity you need.  

What Inspires You Each Day?

by Nancy Barnes

I think “inspiration” is often misunderstood. Popular culture portrays inspiration as a rare lightning strike, and teaches us that creative people “channel” their work in those moments of inspiration. I come from the other school of thought, that old 98-percent-perspiration theory. My attitude toward work is a more earthly, manageable, and mechanical phenomenon. Every day, I sit down and get to work, whether I feel inspired or not. Despite my pragmatism, my daily work can be very artful and creative.

I have always been an avid reader, and I majored in English because I wanted to get paid to read and write. I quickly realized that I was different because I don’t care to have “a novel in me,” and I don’t have one big idea or vision I feel driven to share with the world. (Although I have lots of little ones—do they count?)  Instead, my joy in reading, and my joy in writing, has to do with deconstruction. People build books; I take them apart. I love analysis, particularly of text and ideas, and that has made me well-suited to be an editor.

Analyzing a book is fun, but even more fun is imagining the better book it might be. It changes the way I read and think about books. It also leads me to help others, to explain these better ways of writing. I get to have wonderful, specific, right down to the paragraph/theme/character/setting conversations with writers who are still in the process of revision. I love that moment when someone says, “OH! If I fix that, it will change everything!” And they dash off to rewrite, because their book will be so much better. I do both editing and book design, and both have their pleasures and challenges. But if I had to say which is most rewarding, it is that moment of enlightenment that someone else gets to experience because of my rather uninspired, cumulative, day-to-day creative skills.

Nancy & Biff Barnes, Stories To Tell Books, (888) 577-9342 (toll free), www.StoriesToTellBooks.com / info@StoriesToTellBooks.com

My Inspirations and Motivations To Write

by A. William Benitez

Personal experience has always inspired me to write, mostly about my work. After years as a contractor, handyman, and then woodworker/cabinetmaker, I wrote several how-to books about those businesses, including Simplified Woodworking I, Starting and Operating a Woodworking Business, The Handyman’s Guide to Profit, and Woodworking Business. I love writing about my first-hand experiences. When I became interested in computers and I changed professions, I created a how-to Web site and a blog about computer use. After self-publishing all my how-to books, I began publishing books for others. A half-dozen books later, I decided to share my first-hand experiences about self-publishing in a new how-to book, which is now about 90-percent complete. It will probably be out in paperback and e-book versions by March.

While I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others, and share freely in articles, booklets, Web sites, and blogs, I must admit that profit is a strong motivator for me. No question that I would write, and often have, even if I didn’t make a dime, but my intent with every book is to reach a niche that will pay for my writing. So, my first step in preparing to write a book is to locate its niche.

A. William Benitez, Positive-Imaging, LLC, bill@positive-imaging.com

Inspired To Create a Magazine

by Lorie Hamm

I have been writing my entire life—it is a part of who I am, and honestly, I have to write or I would be incomplete. Ever since the age of thirteen, I have published poems, articles, short stories, novels, and worked off and on for local newspapers.

My latest stint working for a newspaper was about four years ago and I found it to be very frustrating. I kept being told, “Oh, our readers wouldn’t be interested in that” about what I felt were some great article ideas. After two years, I was laid off due mostly to a clash of personality with the editor, who was determined to keep the paper in the dark ages despite the fact that newspapers were dying all around us.

About a month into unemployment, a thought hit me—with everything moving to the Internet, I could create my own online magazine and write about whatever I wanted. All those ideas I’d been told no one would read I could write—local entertainment, book reviews, teen-focused material, local history, pets, etc. So that is how Kings River Life Magazine was born in 2010! Our first issue was posted on May 29, 2010, and we have continued to grow, change, and expand ever since. And guess what? People ARE reading those articles.

Since that first issue KRL has expanded way beyond the local articles (which we still do) to articles that appeal across the globe, like food, travel, mystery and fantasy book reviews and giveaways, short stories, and so much more. This magazine, based in the small town of Reedley, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, now has its second-biggest readership in New York and has writers from New York, St. Louis, and even Australia!

While it has been a way larger task than I ever imagined, thanks to the many wonderful volunteer writers, we have trudged forward and I feel we put out a great product every week—and for me it’s about way more than just providing something fun and interesting for our readers. What inspires me to continue is also having the chance to provide articles that I hope will change lives. Maybe that sounds like too-grand an expectation, but I don’t feel it is. We have regular articles on animal rescue, we post a local adoptable pet almost every week, we write about local charities and individuals making a difference in their communities and the world, we have “going green” articles, some on mental health, and we are able to support the arts and literature.

So what started as almost a challenge to see if people really would read the articles my editor kept telling me no one was interested in, has become so much more and I can’t wait to see what exciting things await KRL, our wonderful volunteer staff, and our readers in 2012! Hope you come follow us on our journey. http://KingsRiverLife.com 

Kings River Life is currently a non-paying market with aspirations to become a paying market in the future. In the meantime, Lorie provides virtual maple bars and raspberry filled Krispy Kreme donuts during virtual staff meetings in the virtual staff lounge.

More Member Comments on Inspiration

Helen Gallagher says:

As we celebrate our accomplishments at the start of another year, I’m most inspired by the efforts of my clients. I offer help to people in blogging and publishing, and 2011 in particular I saw many successes.

One client won the USA Book Award for a non-fiction book, Sustainable Weight Loss. Another published his second book, this one on the Irish famine, with the powerful title Famine Ghost. Two clients have won awards for their blogs, quite an achievement in a world with over 180 million live blogs, according to BlogPulse.com. Another, because of her niche blog, was hired by a UK magazine to write a major article and cover a conference in Chicago. A woman who wrote a relationship book ten years ago learned the publisher was dropping the title. She came to me for advice and I’m helping her update and reissue a second edition of the book in early 2012.

These results are a direct result of the focused efforts of these independent writers. The rules for success remain the same: have something to say, say it well, and don’t be deterred. There are appreciative readers for every writer.

Helen Gallagher,  www.releaseyourwriting.com

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From Mari Barnes

I was inspired to write by reading Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I was about eight years old. Aside from my desire (between the ages of five and ten) to be a cowboy/teacher/oceanographer, writing was the only thing I ever wanted to do. But, I didn’t do it; I became an Adult instead and raised a family and worked a job (many, many jobs).

Then I hit the big five-o and realized I was hurtling toward the grave without having done the thing I most wanted to do.

So I wrote Parting River Jordan and created Flying Turtle Publishing to publish it. Crossing River Jordan should be released in March. Finally, I’m a writer (and a publisher)!

Mari, who writes  www.flyingturtlepublishing.com

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From Bonnie Myhrum, Grammar Error Hunter

I am always inspired when I see blatant grammatical/punctuation/spelling errors, and I see them everywhere, as you can imagine.

At the grocery store: “tomato’s,” “banana’s,” “tomatoe,” “15 items or less”

On Facebook: “Y R U leaving?” “Your the best!”

In an e-mail: “Were going to the mall tomorrow. Do you want to come?”

Reading a novel: “The shear size of the mountain startled him.” “He felt like ringing her neck.”

Listening to others speak: “He supposably took the jewelry out of her room.” “Why can’t they share the money with you and I?”

Listening to newscasters: “The thief ran from the building and then, witnesses say, they stole a car.”

Errors, wherever and whenever I see them, inspire and motivate me to continue editing and proofreading, with the hope that someone, somewhere, will learn something and the English language will survive (RU listening?).

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From Barbara Florio-Graham

I have no idea why I started writing, because it seems I was scribbling in notebooks as soon as I could hold a pencil. My mother was certainly my first inspiration, because she never read us stories before bed, but rather told us tales, often in verse, which she made up on the spot. They were either based on what had happened that day, or what was planned for the weekend.

She was a great reader, and I taught myself to read before I went to school, which resulted in my spending a lot of first grade sitting in the corner for blurting out the phrases Miss Shanley wrote on the board before she had a chance to call on others to sound them out, syllable by syllable!

I was first published at the age of nine, when my mother encouraged me to submit a poem to a Humpty Dumpty Magazine contest. I won, saw my poem in print, and received $5 and a free subscription! My fate was sealed, and I never looked back.

I seldom wrote poetry after that because I was intimidated by my mother’s easy facility with verse, but later in life I won several prizes for my free verse and a National Scholastic Regional Award for a short story I wrote in grade nine. Most of my career has focused on non-fiction.

I’ve never needed much inspiration. Fragments of poems (or complete haiku) often come to me, in full, often in awkward locations (like the shower or the car). I’ve never had writer’s block, but as a teacher I developed many creativity exercises to help students kick-start their prose. Many of those techniques were later developed into the popular creativity course I teach online. It’s described at www.SimonTeakettle.com/tapping.htm.

I feel blessed that I write with such facility, able to turn out 1000 words in an hour or two. I often write my 500-word column in less than thirty minutes.

I love to teach writing, and at this point in my career, mentoring and teaching online is my greatest joy. But I still write at least 1000 words a day, even if it’s not for publication.

Barbara Florio-Graham, www.simonteakettle.com

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From C. Hope Clark

Inspiration for fiction comes strongly from place. I write a mystery series, and if I can envision someone in a place, the ideas start rolling. The hardware store, the lake bank, the side of the road, the beach. I love to know the history of a place and events of the place, and from there, I can weave a tale.

Inspiration for my nonfiction is heavily what I know, but if I turn on the writing radar and seek something from which to mold a query, I’m usually taken to the newspapers, where a headline can trigger so much!

Inspiration to write every day came from a single promise to myself to write ten minutes a day. I did it, no matter what. It turned into a habit, then 15 minutes, then more. That little ten-minute-per-day habit has grown into a full-time career.

C. Hope Clark, Editor, FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com, Writer’s Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers – 2001-2011  www.hopeclark.blogspot.com

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From Leslie Korenko

Even though my work is non-fiction history, instead of the more creative fiction, I still have flashes of inspiration. It isn’t so much where the inspiration comes from, but how I deal with it. If I don’t write it down immediately, it’s likely that I’ll forget it. Since I don’t want to miss any of these ideas, I always have a small pad and paper handy (in the car, by my bed, near the TV). I write ideas down as soon as possible. Now that everyone has a cell phone, why not send yourself a voice mail with the idea? If I’m driving, I just pull over and record my thought and then pick it up when I get home.

As I indicated, I write about local history (and yes, it can be interesting and exciting), but I found that, surprisingly, the market is quite limited. I noticed that the first thing people do is look to see how many pictures are inside. With that in mind, I thought, “why not do something with pictures?” That led to some really popular posters. After a week of taking pictures of windows, barns, and doors, I came up with these three posters. The best part is that I actually make more money from the posters than I do from the books! Sometimes inspiration comes from the suggestions of others, so when someone says, “you know, why don’t you …….” take a minute to consider it, maybe it IS a good idea.

Leslie Korenko  www.KelleysIslandStory.com, Kelleys Island and the Civil War  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg-TW07x0D8, Kelleys Island in the winter http://www.slideshare.net/LKorenko/kelleys-island-in-the-winter-in-the-1800s-2887237, Tour the Island cemetery http://youtu.be/I6V4yo_eCMs

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From Dallas Woodburn

I have two things taped above my writing desk that inspire me every time I sit down to write. One is a quote by Barbara Kingsolver: “There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now.” That quote helps me banish the “perfection” demons lurking in the outskirts of my consciousness and simply focus on writing the best I can in the moment. The second thing taped above my writing desk is a photo of my six-year-old self sitting at my dad’s old manual typewriter, poking at the keys. That photo reminds me to tap into my childhood self and take joy in the magical process of creating something from the ether of my imagination.

Dallas Woodburn    dallaswoodburn@gmail.com     http://www.writeonbooks.org

Member News

Nancy and Biff Barnes http://www.storiestotellbooks.com appeared on GeneaBloggers Radio on Friday, December 16, to discuss “Do Books Still Matter in Genealogy?” The program explored the social media uproar when RootsTech, one of the nation’s largest genealogy events, excluded book publishers, book sellers, and vendors of book-related services from its exhibit hall. Ironically, Nancy and Biff Barnes had already been selected and contracted to present a seminar on family-history-book editing, design, and self-publishing at RootsTech.  (RootsTech has now reversed its policy for a few vendors, including Barnes.) The program can be heard at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers. Nancy and Biff Barnes of Stories to Tell will be presenting or exhibiting in many locations in 2012. Here is their schedule: http://www.storiestotellbooks.com/seminars/

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Sandra Murphy says, "My short story, Superstition, is now available at the Untreed Reads store and Amazon.com It explores the difference between an old wives’ tale and an omen. When is throwing salt over your shoulder just not enough? Listed as horror, it’s not scary, but it just might make you wonder. Visit www.untreedreads.com  click on store, then search by author’s name."

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Victory Crayne had her short story Heat published in the December issue of NewMyths.com ezine. This is Victory’s second story to be sold.

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Barbara Florio Graham (Bobbi) was one of six winners of prizes in the Ottawa Independent Writers’ annual poetry contest. This is always held at the Christmas party, and Bobbi has won one of the prizes every year since the contest began  half-dozen years ago.

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Dallas Woodburn says, "I held the first-ever Winter Writing Camp for young writers through my Write On! For Literacy organization: www.writeonbooks.org. It was a great success—I had a time leading creative writing exercises for sixteen terrific writers in middle school and high school. I also received an Excellence in Teaching Award from Purdue University, where I teach Introduction to Creative Writing and English Composition courses for undergraduates. My story Jared Sampson’s Mom was published in the debut issue of the Valparaiso Fiction Review and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize; you can read it at: http://scholar.valpo.edu/vfr/vol1/iss1/7/. My story Ten Reasons was published in the Women in REDzine and is archived here: http://www.fictionaut.com/stories/dallas-woodburn/ten-reasons."

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