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SPAWNews, July, 1999
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Sharpen your pencils, summon your muse and start writing, Poets, because there are three exciting events coming up that are tailor-made for you!

The first is the SPAWN Poetry Slam to take place next month. (See the following article by Roni.)

The second is the 2nd Annual SPAWN Poetry Contest. Rules for the Contest will be posted next month.

And the third is SPAWN’s book of poetry to be published in mid-2000.

John Taylor-Convery and Rosemary Tribulato of Cadmus Editions and Archer Books have offered to publish a collection of poetry by SPAWN poets under their Archer Books imprint.

They will donate all typesetting, cover design and interior layout, manage the print process, and market the title along with their others through their national distribution network. They will also include the title in their advertising efforts. Further, all revenue from the title would be returned to SPAWN. That's right, ALL.

The only cost to SPAWN will be the printing charges. The initial print run will probably be 500 copies of a softcover book.

The publisher is already releasing seven titles this year between Cadmus and Archer.

The poetry will be selected from the entries in SPAWN’s poetry contest. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from both our first and second annual contests will be included and will receive a copy of the book as part of their prize. The other poems will be chosen from among the remaining entries in both contests. As there will probably be 70 or 80 poems in the book, this will give many poets the opportunity of having their poems published.

It’s a truly remarkable and magnanimous offer by John Taylor-Convery. And SPAWN’s board members and leadership committee have accepted wholeheartedly.


It’s a SPAWN Poetry Slam

by Roni*

Stand up and run to the summer fun! All three chapters of SPAWN will sponsor a Poetry Slam (a performance poetry contest) on August 18, 1999, 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, at the Book Mall, 105 S. Oak Street in Ventura.

A poetry slam is a word duel, a battle of brains, not brawn. It’s like a verbal boxing match, only the poets don’t put on gloves; instead, they present their poetic imagery and let the power of the words win or lose the prize.

Admission is free. Yippee!

If you’re not a poet, then come be the vitally important other half of the show: the audience. Instead of letting stuffy literary critics decide which poetry is best, the judges will be randomly chosen from the listening audience. They will score each poem publicly Olympics style, immediately after its performance with a score from one to ten (ten being the best).

The decision is based on written content and performance equally weighted. So anything is possible in this fast moving, unpredictable competition between performing poets.

There will be Cash prizes of $50, $25 and $10. Each poet has three minutes to perform his/her own poetry. Only the first 12 poets to sign up are eligible. Sign ups start at 7:00 p.m.

If you missed the action at the Borders Spring Poetry Slam, now is your second chance to experience the fun. I will be the Slam Master again. To get the rules contact me via e-mail or call Laughing Buddha Press at (805) 386-3061. The SPAWN Poetry Slam will be exciting, humorous and dramatic, so don’t miss your chance to be a winning poet, an impartial judge or a curious spectator. See you at the Slam!

Software Streamlines Online Research

By Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Most writers and publishers do some online research, and some of us do a great deal. As we do our research, we want to save the information efficiently. Using the bookmark option in the browser can help us to retain the addresses of a handful of sites. Of course, the bookmark holds only the addresses, so when we want to view a page again, we must use the address to go to that page online. Then, after several successful searches, the bookmark list in the browser gets unwieldy. Organizing the bookmark list is not a simple project, so how can we organize the important site information we unearth? Even more important, how can we save our research information so that we can later find everything we seek?

Several software companies are now offering a new category of software to help us save and organize our findings into logical groupings. Webforia Organizer, for example, is a recent Windows software offering from Webforia, Inc.

The Webforia Toolbar

When we install Webforia, we get a new toolbar across the top of the Windows screen. The toolbar appears as soon as the PC boots up, and it remains available for use at all times. To use Webforia, we start by opening the Internet Explorer browser as usual. Then we begin the search in our favorite search engine or directory.

Online Research and Clipping Pages

As soon as we find an interesting site, instead of clicking on Bookmark to save the address of the page, we click on the Clip icon in the Webforia toolbar. Webforia immediately grabs the entire page with its graphics, links, and URL, placing everything in the Clip Tray. After clipping the page, we continue on with our research to find more pages with relevant information, clipping each page to be saved.

Organizing the Clipped Pages

When we have finished the current search, we go to the Webforia Clipbar and open the Webforia Organizer. Here's where the fun begins.

We use the Organizer to create a library for the current online research, then we create as many categories as we need within that library. Finally, we drag each clipped page into the appropriate category. At any time, we can link keywords and/or an abstract to these pages.

Using the Clipped and Organized Pages

The libraries with their categories are available for review at any time within Webforia, but that's only the beginning. We have all the information on our own hard drive, and we can retrieve that information. The automatic search feature lets us search one or more of our own libraries using any word which might occur within the pages of interest. For example, we might have many pages on the topic of horse breeding. Within that horse breeding category we can search and find and review any pages mentioning mini horses or Palominos or Arabians or Kentucky or ...

When we find the appropriate page, we can view our saved copy of the page without going online. We can race through the pages to compare and consider their content.

As Webforia says, "It's like having a personal librarian who stores, indexes and tracks the information you select. That means you have more time to think about important things, like actually using and sharing your search results."

The registered version is $79.95.

NOTE: On December 2, 2003, we discovered that Webforia had disappeared from the Internet.

~ Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer, editor, and professional webmaster


Dan Poynter’s all-new Web site has over 500 pages of free help on book writing and publishing. Check it out at

Hey, SPAWN members! Where is your news for this section? We want to know all about you. Send your info to SPAWNews, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 or e-mail it to me at —M.E.

Editing Tips

by Mary Embree

Recently, in looking up what the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition (published in 1993) had to say about split infinitives (which I believe should often be done) I came across an unusual word: “infelicities.” It was under Section 2.98 Watching for errors and infelicities.

I searched my memory for where I had heard that word before and what it meant in connection with writing. The word“felicity” comes from the Latin felîx which originally meant “fruitful” but progressed semantically to “happy.” So “infelicity” must mean “unhappy.” The word is now also defined as “inaptness or inappropriateness, as of action or expression.”

How “felicity,” a word originally meaning “fruitful,” came to also mean “happy” and “appropriate” is a thought to ponder but as that has nothing to do with editing, I’ll ponder that another day.

There used to be a clear division between styles for writing and styles for speaking. That is no longer the case except in some forms of formal writing such as scientific papers and some academic works. But they could also gain by writing in a more natural style and striving for clarity over pedantry.

Styles have changed so much in the past decade or so that many of the rules we once followed are no longer valid. Here’s an interesting footnote to that Section 2.98:

“The thirteenth edition [1982] of this manual included split infinitives among the examples of ‘errors and infelicities’ but tempered the inclusion by adding, in parentheses, that they are ‘debatable “error.” ’ The item has been dropped from the fourteenth edition because the Press now regards the intelligent and discriminating use of the construction as a legitimate form of expression and nothing writers or editors need feel uneasy about. Indeed, it seems to us that in many cases clarity and naturalness of expression are best served by a judicious splitting of infinitives.”

So you can now split those infinitives, end your sentences in prepositions, and dangle your participles without being in error as long as you are felicitous.

And your writing will probably be easier and more enjoyable to read.

Events for Writers

Maui Writers Retreat

August 28 through Thursday, September 2 is billed as six intense, inspiring days learning the art and craft of fiction, nonfiction and screenwriting. There are small, intimate, hands-on groups in a variety of settings from workshops to mentoring sessions and seminars. Tuition is $1,075 per person and includes breakfast and lunch and two special event meals.

Maui Writers Conference

Labor Day Weekend, September 3 through 6 features four days of inspiring speakers, in-depth workshops, and one-on-one consultations with agents and editors. There will be plenty of networking time with the people who can help you succeed, and “open mike” sessions where you can read your works-in-progress.

While the conference highlights the fields of fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting, there are also workshops on the business of writing, children’s books, journalism, food and cookbook writing, poetry, and self-publishing.

The fee before July 1 is $495 per person; after July 1, $595.

For more information on both of the above, contact Maui Writers Retreat/ Conference, P.O. Box 1118, Kihei, HI 96753 or call toll free: 888WRITER3.

Cambria Writers Workshop

Their 14th annual writers conference will be held at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA, Sunday, October 17 through Tuesday, October 19.

Each participant will be a part of a five-person group headed by a published novelist or short story writer, and their work will receive up to an hour of critical attention from members of the group.

Cost is $225 per person which includes the conference, lodging and all meals. A special commuter price of $150 includes the conference and all meals, but not lodging. Keynote speaker Catherine Ryan Hyde is an author, editor and writing instructor. Additional perks include four open sessions: ¨Hearing Voices (Dialogue);

¨People, plots and story;

¨Making it Sing (Wordcraft) - Bill Blundell, instructor;

¨Endgame (rewrite) - Jean Brody, instructor.

A $100 deposit is due by July 15, 1999. Hurry, space is limited. Balance

of $125 is due no later than August 15.

Five copies of up to 25 pages (double-spaced) of a short story or novel chapter to be reviewed at the conference should be submitted by August 15, 1999.

A Nighthawk session will feature readings of great modern short stories

with a discussion period.

Workshop coordinator, Bill Blundell, formerly a national correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, is a newsroom consultant and author of The Art and Craft of Feature Writing.

For more information call Cindy: 805/238-0596 or Dana: 805/927-8496.

Travel Writers Conference

Their 6th annual conference at Troutbeck in New York’s Hudson Valley will be held November 11 through 13. It features assigning editors from Travel & Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Family Fun, The Sporting Life, The Golfer, Backpacker, Spa, Mountain Living, Scouting, and Distinction. Special guests are from Gourmet, Modern Maturity,, New York State Division of Tourism, and American Airlines. The assigning editors provide inside information about their periodicals and meet with writers individually.

The conference is limited to just 35 writers, with an editor/writer ratio of 1 to 3. Media rate air fares are provided by American Airlines.

For more information, contact Karen Misuraca,

SPAWNews is published by

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Executive Director


Hal Ranzenhofer

Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Dallas Glenn

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter.


Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter.


Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Jim Lane

Writer, Publisher

Vice President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster
Secretary of SPAWN

John C. Woodward, Esq.

Attorney at Law

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

Marcia Grad-Powers

Author, Senior Editor, Publishing

Melvin Powers

Author, Publisher


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