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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, August, 2002


- EDITOR'S NOTES: Responses to "Why do we create?"

- ARTICLE: How to Write a Promotional Article

- LITERARY QUIZ: Match these quotations with the writers who said them




- ARTICLE: Keeping Viruses and Spam Far away



* * * * *


Last month my column was "Why Do We Write?" At the end, I asked readers to tell us why they create. The responses were so interesting and inspiring that I decided to share their comments instead of writing a column myself. Here they are:

* * *

Why do we create? Why do we love? Why do we breathe? Why do we wake every day to endure life's trials and joys? Because we want to live and breathe a better breath than the day before. To create is to be human and to prove that we are alive to others and to ourselves.

A painter paints to bring life to the blank walls of existence that surround him. A poet writes to tell the world there is a better thought that could be thought than what we originally believed in our lifetimes. A writer writes because there is a voice in his or her head that has a life of it's own and it takes him or her on a journey everyday. The journey all writers and artists are so lucky to possess. Why do we create? How could we not?

-Melissa Bertolino

* * *

I write because it is the control I hold over a life that is often filled with sadness, fear and longing. At the keyboard I am in charge, spilling out words to form ideas, dreams, sorrow and joy. I write to release the grief from the death of my son. As my heart dispenses over the pages, I gain an understanding of self. Most of the time I write with the hope that somewhere, at least one other person will read my words and say, "Aha. Yes! She knows. She really does know." I then am a success.

-Alice J. Wisler

* * *

You ask why I write: Writing, for me, is really not that much fun, but I like stories and occasionally a good story will come into my head, or at least a tantalizing nugget of one. It will rattle around in there, teasing me in the least expected times, until I just have to find out how everything will end, or work out (often I know the end, just not the beginning and middle). I write to tell myself a story, and when I'm done it's exciting to see if anyone else likes the story, too.

-Bob Broten

* * *


I write out the pain

because it hurts too much

to keep it inside.

And it never makes anything


to tell anyone

when it's still there

and real.

So I write the pain

from my shadow

and lay it in the light

of white blank paper

Till joy-

a little brook-spills

sweet and fresh

against the thirsting

empty places

where the hurting was

And I smile


and go on living.

-Kathleen Roxby

* * *

Thanks, Melissa, Alice, Bob, and Kathleen.


* * * * *


How to Write a Promotional Article

By Patricia Fry

* * * * *

LITERARY QUIZ: Match these quotations with the writers

by Mary Embree

The following quotations are from women writers. Do you know who said them? The answers are at the end of this newsletter.

  1. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
  2. Writers are the moral purifiers of the culture.
  3. Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world.
  4. The writer of originality, unless dead, is always shocking, scandalous; novelty disturbs and repels.
  5. The writer is either a practicing recluse or a delinquent, guilt-ridden one; or both. Usually both.
  6. Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.
  7. I try to be immediate, to be totally present for all my work.
  8. Writing does not exclude the full life; it demands it.
  9. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.
  10. Writing is the only thing that...when I'm doing it, I don't feel that I should be doing something else instead.
  11. I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means.
  12. I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live.


(not listed in the same order as above quotations)

Maya Angelou

Simone de Beauvoir

Rita Mae Brown

Willa Cather

Joan Didion

Annie Dillard

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anaïs Nin

Katherine Anne Porter

Francoise Sagan

Susan Sontag

Gloria Steinem

* * * * *


The San Luis Obispo NightWriters Short Story Contest

Deadline: August 31. Open to all. Prizes: $100, $75, $50 plus honorable mentions. Limit 500-words. Entry fee: $10. Story must begin with the words "Life is full of surprises." FMI and full rules, e-mail: or (805) 528-1885.

Arizona State Poetry Society Contest

Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: send SASE for rules. Prizes: $25-$100 in various categories plus publication. Submit original, unpublished poems. FMI: Joseph Harris, 2131 E. Geneva Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282. Web site:

Ann Durell Fiction Contest; Dutton Children's Books

Deadline: August 31. No entry fee. Prizes: $7,000 advance against royalties. Submit original, unpublished manuscript, 100-200 pages, suitable for readers ages 8-14. One entry per person. FMI: Dutton Children's Books, 345 Hudson Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10014.

PMA Benjamin Franklin Awards

Deadline, First Call: August 31. Publishers Marketing Association's competition for excellence in publishing during the year 2002. Entry fee: $65 per title, per category for PMA members; $140 for non-members. FMI and contest rules, e-mail:

Boston Review Short Story Contest

Deadline: September 1. Prizes: $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $15. All entrants receive a one-year subscription to Boston Review. Submit unpublished stories up to 5,000 words. FMI: Boston Review Short Story Contest, E53-407 MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139. Web site:

DIY Book Festival Awards

Deadline: October 1; checks and money orders must be received by September 15. DIY awards program honors the top independent and self-published authors and entrepreneurs in the book world. Grand prize for the DIYBF Author of the Year is flight to New York, hotel accommodations and $1000 cash. Other prizes include $500 and software. Categories are nonfiction, fiction, children's books, how-to, E-books, and comic books/zines. Entry fee: $50. FMI, entry forms, and contest rules:

San Diego Writers' Cooperative 4th Annual Writing Competition

Deadline: November 1, 2002. Prizes: First place each category $100; 2nd $50; 3rd $25. Entry fee: $9. Submit unpublished work of any genre or topic. FMI and rules, e-mail:

Palm Springs Writers Guild Writing Contest

Deadline: Jan 31, 2003. Now open to everyone! First Prize, $500, second, $250, third, $100. In addition, first prize winner will be published in August, 2003 issue of 'Palm

Springs Life' magazine. Not to exceed 3,000 words. Must be double-spaced, original, and unpublished. Min. type size, 12 point. Entry fee: $15 per entry, payable to OPSWG. Mail entries to Original Palm Springs Writers Guild, P.O. Box 947, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. For full entry rules, send an e-mail to

 * * * * *


East of Eden Writing Conference, Salinas, California, August 23-25

Held at the National Steinbeck Center. Contact: East of Eden, 1125 Miguel Ave., Los Altos, CA 94024. E-mail: Web site:

Maui Writers Conference, Maui, Hawaii, August 29-September 2

Contact: Shannon Tullius, P.O. Box 1118, Kihei, HI 96753. Phone 888/974-8373. Web site:

Arroyo Grande Village Book and Author Festival, Arroyo Grande, CA, August 31

Event takes place on the village green at Short & Nelson, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Booths range from $40 for one author sharing a booth to $150 for bookstores and publishers. FMI, e-mail:

California Writers Club, "The Writers Way" San Rafael, California, October 12

Event takes place at Marin Headlands on Rodeo Beach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Conference, featuring a day of workshops and panels, is open to writers of all levels of experience and genres. Registration by August 15: $75. FMI and registration forms: or send SASE to CWC Marin, P.O. Box 645, Forest Knolls, CA 94933. E-mail:

* * * * *


To whom it may concern:

My name is Deanna Swingholm. I am 14 years old. I am looking for a way to get my book of poetry entitled, "In the Real World" published. Would you please give me some advice on how I can get it published? I would appreciate it. Thanks.


* * *

Dear Deanna,

Thank you for your letter to SPAWN. And congratulations on completing a book of poetry.

First, you have to decide what you want to do with your poetry books. If you want copies to give to friends and family as gifts, you might consider having 25 or 100 copies printed through a print-on-demand company, short-run digital printer, or a copy center. In this case, you would design the book yourself and pay for the copies.

If you want to go the traditional publishing route, where a publisher takes care of the cost and details of publishing the book, I suggest referencing the 2002 Writer's Market or Poet's Market. These books list hundreds of publishers, their contact information and the types of books they're currently looking for. W.W. Norton publishes poetry, for example, as does Vista Publishing, Loft Press and Cloud Peak. (Note: The 2003 Writer's Market is scheduled for publication in September).

You might also look at books like yours in bookstores to see who is publishing them. Contact those publishers. If you can't find their contact information in the books I mentioned above, perhaps you can locate them on the Internet.

Good luck,


* * * * *


How Artists, Writers and Publishers Can Save Time and Sanity

by Keeping Viruses and Spam Far Away

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

* * * * *


I agree that using our five senses in fiction is important. It can make or

break a good story. Another genre that needs (even more) than our five

senses is memoir writing. It isn't enough to just mention when or where

something occurred. Our stories need texture, sound, detail, emotion, heart

and soul so that our readers - our descendants - can emotionally connect to us.

Have a terrific and safe Fourth of July! Thanks for the great newsletter!

-Pat Cuellar

* * * * *


1. Anaïs Nin

2. Rita Mae Brown, Starting from Scratch

3. Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

4. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

5. Susan Sontag, in New York Times

6. Willa Cather

7. Maya Angelou

8. Katherine Anne Porter

9. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

10. Gloria Steinem

11. Joan Didion

12. Francoise Sagan

* * * * *


August 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.

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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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