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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, July, 2002


- EDITOR'S NOTES: Why Do We Write?


- ARTICLE: Growing Up is Optional

- BOOK REVIEW: "The Journalist's Craft:

A Guide to Writing Better Stories"

- LITERARY QUIZ: Foreign Words and Phrases

- ARTICLE: The Anatomy of an Article


- ARTICLE: The E-Book: A Dead Issue

or a New Direction in Publishing?






* * * * *


Why Do We Write?

Have you ever wondered why you feel compelled to write? Or to act, or sing, or compose music, or paint, or sculpt, or do whatever that creative thing is that you do? I've often wondered why it is that I write, and I've done it all my life, for as long as I remember. When it's going well, I know why. When it isn't, I wonder why I want to punish myself.

I think the creative urge is similar in most compulsively creative individuals. So often the process itself is more rewarding than the outcome. We enjoy what we do and frequently experience euphoria while we are working. But when artists finish their painting, authors complete their book, and composers finish their song, they usually feel a strange mixture of elation and doubt.

First there is the elation: Whew! Finally it's done! And, hey, it looks good. It turned out the way I wanted it to. I'm a genius. Hallelujah! Now I can show it to the world.

But then comes the doubt: I'm glad it's done but I miss it. I wonder if I'm only fooling myself thinking that this is any good. I wish I could have done a better job. I hope people like it, but what if they don't? And what am I going to do now?

I have all of those feelings whenever I finish a book. First I'm thrilled that I'm finished with it. I read it over and say to myself, "Wow, this is terrific." Then I take one last look at it before I send it off and I panic. I realize that I don't have even the slightest idea of whether it is really good or a piece of junk. And here I am sending it out into the world to sink or swim. Will I be proud of it or embarrassed by it? I agonize over it for days or weeks on end. Finally, after it is published and I can't do anything about it, I become philosophical. I tell myself I did the best I could and I move on to my next project.

If it makes me so neurotic, why am I always so eager to get back to writing? Because, agonizing as it sometimes is, writing has always been there for me. It is there when I need a friend. It's my listener when I want to share my innermost thoughts. It's my comforter when I'm sad. It's my playmate when I want to have fun. It's my vehicle when I want to travel in my mind. It's my child, my pet, my teddy bear, my lover, my therapist, and my teacher. It's better than dark chocolate, beer on tap, a fine chardonnay, or strong coffee. Writing is my drug of choice.

Why do you create? Write to us and tell us in 100 words or less. We'll share your experiences in an upcoming newsletter.


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Robert J. Meadows, Ph.D., a criminal justice expert and Joan H. Blacher, Ph.D., a licensed marriage, family therapist and former school psychologist, both with personal experience as parents of teens, have written a guide for parents. Difficult Teens: A Parents Guide for Coping (Meadow Oaks Press, 2002) identifies characteristic behaviors of such teens, explains the reasons why they behave the way they do, discusses their impact on their families, and describes the difficult world that teens now inhabit. Specific problems that are addressed include: What parents can do when defiance escalates to school, drug or criminal behavior. The book pulls together often hard-to-find information, presenting it in an easy-to-read style with true-to-life illustrative case studies. Along with parents, psychologists and educators may also find it useful. It can be ordered from Meadow Oaks Press, 260 Maple Court, Ste. 118, Ventura, CA; 805-529-6134; fax 805-529-7847; for $13.95 plus tax and shipping; or from

Patricia Fry has an article in the July issue of Writer's Digest. Check out page 36.

* * * * *

ARTICLE: Growing Up is Optional

by Mary Fogarty

With a background in proposal writing and experience as a graphic artist, my first book became a saga in creativity. How would I design the book? Print it? Promote it? Distribute it?

By the end of 1999, I had won over 50 national and international contests in essays, short stories, and poetry. I was ready to compile my first book.

I knew other authors who said poetry was not a genre that sold well on the national market. But coming from a long line of willful Crones, I decided to persist and pursue. As my Polish Grandmother might have said, "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is a choice."

As graphic artist I began to explore cover designs. I wanted to make it simple, but attractive and inexpensive. For font, layout, and formatting, I went to the Poetry Section at Barnes and Noble.

An experienced author friend recommended a printer in Nebraska, who helped with copyrights, bar codes, design packaging, binding, camera-ready text and Library of Congress Card Numbers. Their Publishing Guide explained self-publishing terms, book styles, marketing techniques and promotional tools like counter displays, coupons, and shipping envelopes. I purchased the ISBNs from

Networking with fellow students at the University of Mexico, I learned about Internet promotions and Web site design. In my first 174-page book I chased word paintings with a mischievous smile.

In the first four months I sold over 400 copies, doing readings in front of vegetable stands at local grocery stores, on University campuses, in cafes, and anywhere I could rally an audience. Local bookstores, newspapers, radio and Internet media sites covered my success.

Linking to web sites like SPAWN, I conducted E-mail interviews, sent news releases to media sites and worked with major distributors like Ingram. The creative process continues and the visions and ways of doing are never ending.

- Mary Fogarty has received both national and international recognition as an accomplished author and publisher of Crones Unlimited Press.

* * * * *


Reviewer: Patricia Fry

"The Journalist's Craft: A Guide to Writing Better Stories," edited by Dennis Jackson and John Sweeney, Allworth Press, Paperback, 227 pages, $19.95

"The Journalist's Craft" is a collection of essays by 16 esteemed journalists, several of whom have earned the Pulitzer Prize. Herein, such notables as Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down"; Hugh A. Mulligan, Special Correspondent for the Associated Press (1960s - 2001); Jon Franklin, recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes (1970 and 1985) and noted poet, Jeanne Murray Walker, share their stories and their expertise. Some of them also talk about their insecurities as writers-which is rather refreshing to the less celebrated writer.

This book is separated into five sections: The Writing Life, Finding Good Stories, Writing Nonfiction Narrative, Developing Your Craft and Working With Words. Within these segments, the reader will discover fascinating tips, techniques and advice on such things as storytelling, how to find good stories, what makes a good story, using metaphors in your writing and the rhythm in writing. These writers offer inspiration and coaching for all types of writing from narrative nonfiction and business writing to poetry, storytelling and song-writing. I especially appreciated Amanda Bennett's (of the Wall Street Journal), Ten Pre-Proposal Check-ten ways to assess a story idea before trying to sell it-and Dennis Jackson's A Stylecheck for Your Writing. The many writing examples throughout are also a plus. Beginning and advanced writers alike will benefit from this enlightening and educational book.

* * * * *


Foreign Words and Phrases

by Mary Embree

The English language contains an enormous number of words. Many unabridged dictionaries contain from 300,000 to a half million words. The average English-speaking person knows about 50,000 words. In the growth of English vocabulary, Latin and French have had the greatest influence. Here are some foreign words and phrases that have come into common usage in the English language. However, they are frequently used incorrectly. Do you know what they mean?

1. ad hoc

2. au courant

3. haut monde

4. laissez faire

5. carte blanche

6. pro bono

7. carpe diem

8. sine qua non

9. sang-froid

10. quid pro quo

The answers are at the end of this newsletter.

* * * * *

ARTICLE: The Anatomy of an Article

by Patricia Fry

* * * * *


Triangle Gold Books, a new publishing company, is currently seeking talented authors of book-length fiction and nonfiction in all genres except children's (picture books.) Juvenile/young adult manuscripts are welcome. Primarily a print-on-demand publisher, they also offer e-books in all formats, downloadable files, and CD's. They state that they offer competitive royalties and equitable contracts.

Writer's Guidelines

Fiction: Query with a maximum three-page synopsis. Queries should contain information regarding manuscript length, genre, plot overview, and basic author information.

Non-Fiction: Query with a maximum five-page proposal. Queries should contain information regarding manuscript length, subject matter, graphic or illustration information, and basic author information.

Manuscripts should be between 40,000 and 100,000 words in length. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be accepted.

E-mail queries are preferred. Please attach the synopsis as a Microsoft Word Document, a Word Perfect Document, in Rich Text Format (RTF), or as a Portable Document File (PDF). Send email to: Or send regular mail query to Triangle Gold Books, llc, Submissions, PO Box 20476, Beaumont, TX 77720-0476. For more information contact Editor in Chief (409) 283-7750 or Publisher (409) 840-4886.

* * * * *


The E-Book: A Dead Issue

or a New Direction in Publishing?

By Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

* * * * *


Ventura County Writers Club Short Story Contest

Deadline: September 1. Prizes: First place, $500 plus publication in The Star newspaper on Sunday, November 3; second place, $250; third, $50. Entry fee $15 for club members; $25 for nonmembers. Entries must be original works, never published, no longer than 10 pages double-spaced, in 10 or 12 point type. Send entries to Gerry Schiller, P.O. Box 246, Newbury Park, CA 91319-0246. FMI call club president Joanne Sehnem at 805/579-9414 or e-mail Full contest rules at

American Markets Newsletter Competition

Deadline: July 31. Prizes: $200, $100, $50; international syndication for all suitable entries. Entry fee $7.50 (nonsubscribers), $5 (subscribers). American Markets Newsletter, 1974 46th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94116. E-mail:

Dorothy Daniels Honorary Writing Award, National League of American Pen Women

Deadline: July 31. Prizes: $100 each category. Entry fee $5. Submit original, unpublished work. Short fiction up to 2,000 words in any genre; poetry up to 50 lines, free verse or traditional; nonfiction up to 1,500 words on any subject. Send SASE for guidelines, results to NLA Pen Women, Simi Valley Branch, P.O. Box 1485, Simi Valley, CA 93062. E-mail:

Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award

Deadline: July 31. Prizes: $1,200 and publication, $500, $300. Entry fee $10. Submit original, unpublished short stories, up to 2,000 words. Open to all writers. See Web site for guidelines. Glimmer Train, 710 SW Madison St., Ste. 504, Portland, Or 97205. Phone 503/221-0836.

Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction

Deadline: July 31. Prize: $1,000, publication and royalties. Entry fee $20. Submit largely unpublished short-story manuscripts, 100-200 pages (27,500-50,00 words). University of North Texas Press, P.O. Box 311336, Denton, TX 76203. Web site:

Missouri Writers' Guild, Fiction 2002 Writing Contest

Deadline: August 25. Prizes: $25, $15, $10 plus certificate. Entry fee $5. Submit original, unpublished work of fiction, no more than 2002 words. FMI and guidelines, contact SC-LC Fiction 2002 Writing Contest, 32 Country Crossing Estates Drive, St. Peters, MO 63376.

* * * * *


Steamboat Springs Writers Conference - July 20

Contact Harriet Freiberger, P.O. Box 775063, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; phone 970/879-8079. E-mail:

Santa Fe Writers Conference - July 31-August 5

Contact Robert Wilder, Southwest Literary Center of Recursos de Santa Fe, 826 Camino de Monte Rey #A-6, Santa Fe, NM 87505; phone 505/577-1125. e-mail: Web site:

Mammoth Fall Festival of Writing - September 9-15

Event coordinator: Cheryl Wood, P.O. Box 1815, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546; phone 760/934-3781. E-mail Web site:

Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival - September 28

Exhibit booth: 10x10-foot canopied area with one 8-foot table, ID sign, 2 chairs - $200. FMI: Fred Klein, 667C Del Parque, Santa Barbara, CA 93103; phone 805/962-9500. E-mail:

* * * * *


The SPAWN Ebook Store features fine books for writers. Visit and peruse the current selection: The Author's Toolkit by Mary Embree and The Successful Writer's Handbook by Patricia Fry.

* * * * *


Your site is probably the best-organized, most in-depth site I'd seen all morning - possibly all month.

Erik Rush

Author, "The Angels Fell"

2002 Michelangeline-Knight Media, Ltd.

* * * * *


  1. ad hoc (Latin; literally: for this) for a specific purpose, case, or situation: a committee formed ad hoc to study the issues
  2. au courant (French; literally: in the current) up-to-date, modern; fully aware.
  3. haut monde (French; also haute-monde) high society
  4. laissez faire (French; literally: allow to act) noninterference in the affairs of others
  5. carte blanche (French; literally: blank document) unconditional authority; full discretionary power
  6. pro bono (Latin; literally: rightly, morally) for the public good; done without compensation; free: pro bono legal services
  7. carpe diem (Latin) seize the day; enjoy the present without considering the future
  8. sine qua non (Latin; literally: without which nothing) an indispensable condition; an essential element
  9. sang-froid (French; literally: cold blood) coolness of mind, calmness, composure, poise, courage
  10. quid pro quo (Latin; literally: something for something) one thing in return for another; something that is given or taken in return for something else

SCORE: 5 to 7 correct: good; 8 to 10 correct: excellent.

* * * * *

SPAWNews for JULY 2002

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Executive Director

Wendy Dager

Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


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

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

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 Mary Embree, Executive Directorr, 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

P. O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653



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