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SPAWNews, November 1998 - Archives Available



The SPAWN Leadership Committee met October 21st to discuss SPAWN business. A major agenda item discussed was whether or not to reestablish a West Ventura County Chapter of SPAWN for the convenience of people living in Ventura, Ojai and surrounding areas. Members interested in having Chapter meetings in Ventura should contact Patricia Fry at or 646-3045. Fry has agreed to become Chapter President should that Ventura Chapter materialize and would also like to hear from anyone willing to volunteer to help revive that Chapter.

Suggestions for judges for the poetry contest were submitted. The Committee agreed that judges should not be SPAWN members.

It was suggested that Chapter Presidents ask members and guests at Chapter meetings to introduce themselves before the program instead of toward the end of the meeting. Introductions are a vital part of SPAWN meetings as it promotes networking. It also creates a sort of camaraderie among the audience and the Committee feels its beneficial to everyone involved to establish that early in the evening instead of toward the end.

The Leadership Committee meets monthly and is open to all members. The next meeting is November 18, 2:00 at Mary Embrees home. Contact Patricia Fry for more information. (The Committee will not meet in December).


Do you have something you are working on and would like to find a safe place to read it and get feed-back? We are starting a group of those who have works in progress, whether it is a book, magazine article, poetry collection or journal. This will not be a critique group (leave that for the experts) but more like a writer's support group where we can get together and encourage each other. Often, simply reading what we've written aloud to another person helps us become better writers. And, as writing is a lonely endeavor, it's nice to get out and be around other writers who may be going through some of the same challenges you are.

The group will be for SPAWN members only. Guests may attend one session but must join SPAWN if they wish to continue.

The first meeting is scheduled for Sunday, November 8, at 7 p.m. in Ventura. Call Mary Embree at (805) 643-2403 for address and directions.


Again this year we will be co-hosting a holiday party with the Ventura

County Writers Club on December 1 at 7 p.m. It will be held at the Ventura

TowneHouse, as it was last year and the year before, because their Vista

Room is lovely and the food is delicious. Dinner is $18.75 per person in

advance or $19.75 at the door and there is a no-host wine bar. Please see enclosed flyer for more details and reservation form.


Ventura County Chapter

Next meeting: Monday, November. 16th.

The speaker will be Steve Holt, Editor of the Thousand Oaks ACORN.

Join us in exploring the inside trail to publishing a newspaper, writing articles for the Press , and discussing the pitfalls into which we sometimes encounter when writing such articles.

. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road. For more information contact Ventura County Chapter President Carol Doering at 805/493-1081.


Next meeting: Saturday, Nov. 14.

The Santa Barbara Chapter will present THE ART OF HUMOR AND LIGHT VERSE by Helen Heightsman Gordon, Ed. D.,author and educational consultant. Ms Gordon will talk about why humorous writing must conform to what is supposed to be the readers standards of taste, the rules governing spicing up our own humor pieces, and some pitfalls in using humor and irony in satire. She will also share her own secret for holding on to your week even if you give it away.

The Chapter meets at the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum. See page 4 for the address and directions. For more information, please contact Santa Barbara County Chapter President Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174.

A room without books is a body without a soul.



SPAWN Poetry Contest

There will be awards in two categories: rhyming and non-rhyming poetry. In each category the first place prize will be $100, second place $50 and third place $25. Entry fee (per poem) is $5 for SPAWN members and $10 for non-members. First-place winners' poems will be published in SPAWNews. The deadline is December 31, 1998. Please send an SASE for contest rules to SPAWN Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93001.

VCWC Short Story Contest

The theme for the Ventura County Writers Club's 1998 contest is "The First Day of the Next Millennium." Short story is limited to 500 words or less and the cash prizes are $100, $50, and $25 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The deadline is December 31, 1998. For submission guidelines send an SASE to Wendy Dager, 3069 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063.

Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Awards

The grand prize is $1,000 in cash and $300 each for 7 first-place winners. The categories are Reference Books, Inspirational, Life Stories, Cookbooks, Children's and Young Adult Books, Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry. The entry fee is $95 per title. Deadline is December 15, 1998. Pick up a copy of Writer's Digest for more information and the contest rules or write to Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Awards at 1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207.


The Writers Voice opens its web doors with five authors reading from their work. Created by William Thompson and Veronica Trujillo, this new site provides a venue for authors of small press and mid-list books who just dont have the readership or publishing clout to get readings in bookstores.

Used with a simple plug-in called RealAudio (that viewers can download free from the site), the readings are of top quality, interesting and often provocative. Online now are prize-winning poet Jane Hirschfield and novelists Mimi Albert, Joe Flower, Thaisa Frank and M.J. Rose. Their books range from the esoteric to the commercial, the highbrow to the erotic.

A spot on the Writers Voice is available to writers for considerably less than the cost of a book tour. Each author is represented by a photo, a book cover, a short bio, info on where to buy the book, www links to their publishers and agents and a 5-15 minute reading. (And when an author has a land tour scheduled, the Writers Voice will publicize the itinerary.)

Thompson, a published author and 1994 nominee for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry, thought of the Writers Voice when he realized how tough it was for all but big-time authors to get on the book tour circuit. So he teamed up with graphic artist and photographer Veronica Trujillo. Together they created the first virtual reading site for fiction and poetry.

While the Writers Voice is starting small Thompson and Trujillo hope to have more than 200 writers on board by next year. They envision video feeds and live chats on the site, where authors can read and interact with a web audience.

The only thing they havent yet figured out is how to offer virtual cappuccinos.


(A note from Ruth Hibbard)

If you find any mistakes in the SPAWN Members Directory, please notify me at 1191 Sunnycrest Avenue, Ventura 93003-1210, or e-mail to If you are going to move or have a new e-mail address, box number or telephone number, notify me as well. I will send the corrections to Virginia Lawrence immediately so that the SPAWN web site will be corrected. And we will have a new directory in six months, which will give me another chance to get it perfect!

An Apology

There was a misprint in the October issue of SPAWNews: Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.was the speaker at the Santa Barbara Chapters October meeting, she spoke on publishing and marketing books on the Internet.




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