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SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
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SPAWNews, December, 2000

Archives Available

SPAWN Poetry Contest III

See the guidelines and deadline, then join in today!.


See November meeting topics and dates

Santa Barbara County Chapter

Patricia Fry has written the following about the successful program presented in November at the Karpeles Manuscript Library.

Network is SPAWN’s last name and the word that sums up the purpose of this organization. Last month, the Santa Barbara Chapter of SPAWN offered members a superior networking opportunity. Members and guests came to query three of our most knowledgeable SPAWN members on topics of importance and interest to them. SPAWN’s webmaster, Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D., responded to questions about Web design and the new ebook phenomenon. Frances Halpern, SPAWN board member, radio talk show host and expert on publishing trends, helped audience members wade through the publishing industry mire. Debbie Puente, who has successfully promoted her crème brulee book to the tune of 80,000 copies in less than three years, shared some of her most effective marketing techniques. This panel of experts was certainly one of SPAWN’s more successful presentations and one that we would like to offer to our membership again soon.

If you have input with regard to this event or if you would like to suggest a day and time you could attend such an event, please contact Patricia Fry at


Wendy Dager is our new editor and I can think of no one better for the job. As a member of SPAWN, she is already familiar with our organization. Wendy is writer/editor of a bimonthly seed company newsletter and former editor of The Write Stuff, the Ventura County Writers Club newsletter. She has also written articles for newsletters of corporations such as American Suzuki, Speedo/Authentic Fitness, and Ticketmaster. Wendy is a published writer in a number of fields. Her articles and essays have been featured in The Los Angeles Daily News, Careers and the disAbled, I Love Cats, Hearing Loss, Byline, and other publications. She is a lifestyle features correspondent and free-lance opinions columnist for The Ventura County Star. She has co-written educational children's video scripts, including the Telly Award-winning "Lumberjacks" as part of the popular series, Hard Hat Harry's Real Life Adventures. In addition, her one-liners have appeared on greeting cards, buttons, magnets, and key chains nationwide. Her how-to articles "Creating Greeting Cards" and “Writing the Newspaper Opinion Article” were featured in The Writer magazine and as chapters in “The Writer's Handbook.” She resides in Simi Valley with her contractor husband Mike and their daughters, Rachel and Katey. –Mary Embree

To contact Wendy Dager, call 805/584-8455 or email


by Patricia L. Fry

‘Tis the season to be giving, so I'm devoting this column to gifts for writers. Use the following to select the perfect gift for your writer friends or clip it and send it to those who will be remembering you this holiday season. Gifts for writers come in all sizes, shapes and prices. Starting at the top of the price scale, how about a new computer? He or she may also appreciate a comfortable office chair, a filing cabinet, a fax machine, a digital camera or the fee for an upcoming writers’ conference. Books are always excellent gifts for writers. I recommend books in two categories: inspirational and reference. Inspirational books include "The Artist's Way" or a book of quotes. A good choice in reference books is a current dictionary, a thesaurus, the "Information Please Almanac" or "The Chicago Manual of Style." Additional books of value to writers are The 2001 Edition of "Writer's Market" (Writer's Digest Books), "The Self-Publishing Manual" by Dan Poynter (Para Publishing), "The Author's Toolkit" by Mary Embree (Seaview Publishing), "A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles" by Patricia Fry (Matilija Press), "Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book" by Patricia Fry (Matilija Press), and "How to Market Your Book" by Richard F.X. O'Connor. Another excellent idea is to give a subscription to a magazine such as "Writer's Digest." Membership to a writing organization is another good gift idea. Membership in SPAWN, for example, is only $45 a year. Less expensive gifts for writers include a postage scale, paper, calendar, ergonomic mouse pad, coffee warmer, containers for disks and CDs or an inspirational poster. Stuff a writer's stocking with pens, a roll of stamps, highlighters, paper clips, and other office supplies. If you prefer to give a sentimental gift, frame a treasured photo of the family, the grandchildren or a favorite pet for the writer’s office.

—Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book. Order these books by visiting or calling 805-646-3045

Contests & Awards

SPAWN Poetry Contest III

Don’t forget to send in your entries for the third annual SPAWN poetry contest. The deadline is December 31, 2000. For contest rules and information, please see the November edition of SPAWNews.

Electric Rain

Thank you to SPAWN supporters who have already ordered “Electric Rain,” a compilation of poetry written by those who entered the ’98/’99 and ’99/’00 SPAWN poetry contests. In addition to expanding literary horizons, the sale of each copy raises funds for our organization. If you have not yet ordered “Electric Rain,” or would like additional copies, please send your check, payable to SPAWN, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002. Each book is $14.25 plus 7.25% sales tax and $2.50 for shipping. For 2-3 books, shipping is $3; 4-5 books, shipping is $3.50; and if you order 10 books, shipping is free.

Books of Interest

Blue Heron Publishing has just released three new books for writers. These books are available at bookstores or from online retailers, including You may also contact Blue Heron Publishing by visiting their Web site, or calling 503-221-6841. Please note that SPAWN has not reviewed any of these books.

Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write: How to get a Contract and Advance before Writing your Book

by Elizabeth Lyon; 312 pages; $19.95.

This is the second, updated and revised edition of Lyon’s book, which includes nearly two dozen actual proposals that cover a wide variety of topics.

A Story is a Promise: Good Things to Know Before You Write that Screenplay, Novel, or Play

by Bill Johnson; 186 pages; $18.95.

According to the publisher, this book is a “fresh new model for mastering the art of writing dramatic and engaging stories.” It includes reviews and analyses of more than a dozen popular films, novels and plays.

Artists & Writers Colonies: Retreats, Residences, and Respites for the Creative Mind

by Robyn Middleton, Mindy Seale, et al; 186 pages; $18.95.

A comprehensive guide to creative opportunities in the United States and abroad, this book has information about more than 260 programs ranging from residencies and retreats to fellowships and grants.

eScrip Program

SPAWN is participating in a powerful fundraising opportunity! The eScrip Program. It is simple and convenient—all you need to do is register your favorite card(s) and each time you use that card a donation is made to our organization in your name. This is how it works:

  • Register your grocery loyalty card such as Vons/Pavilions, your debit/ATM card, and credit cards.
  • There is a $10 annual fee that is automatically charged by eScrip to your bankcard.
  • You will receive a confirmation notice by mail once your cards are registered.

Join us in this important fundraising effort. Send an e-mail to and ask for a registration form or call 800/592-0942. Our Group ID number is 3793390.

Please do it today. We need your help.

News Bytes

The National Writers Union announces that it has reached an agreement with, a Web site-based company that created a marketplace where authors can close rights deals online. For more information, visit the National Writers Union at introduces itself as a paperback and hardcover novel publishing company and bookstore. They pay advances, including $5000 for 25,000-word novellas, and say that their royalty structure is much higher than the current industry standard. Visit them at

The San Diego Writers’ Cooperative lists its Web site as and encourages authors to email for information about its annual writing contest.

Read the column by Virginia Lawrence on Online Marketing for Book and Publishing Web Sites.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Jean Wade

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter.


Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter.


Patricia Fry

Vice President


Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer and Membership Chair


Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Mary Embree

Author, Publishing Consultant

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


To provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.




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