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SPAWNews, December 1998 - Archives Available


REMINDER! The deadline for entries is December 31, 1998.

There are two categories: rhyming and non-rhyming poetry. Prize for 1st place in each category is $100, for 2nd place $50 and 3rd place $25. Each winner will also receive a certificate.

Here are the rules:

  1. The poem shall be the original work of the entrant, in good taste and publishable in the SPAWN newsletter. Any subject suitable for a general audience is acceptable.
  2. Poem shall be on 8-1/2” x 11” paper, computer generated or typed. (No handwritten entries)
  3. Poem shall be no more than 36 lines long. Only one poem per page.
  4. Place the letter R for rhyming or N for non-rhyming in the upper right corner of the page.
  5. Do not put your name or any other information on your entry.
  6. Enclose a separate sheet of paper with your name, address, telephone number and title of poem on it.
  7. More than one submission may be made but an entry fee must be paid for each one.
  8. Enclose a check in the amount of $5 for SPAWN members or $10 for nonmembers for each submission. Make your check payable to SPAWN. Please do not send cash.
  9. Send the above to SPAWN Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.
  10. Deadline: entries must be postmarked by December 31, 1998.

Note to entrants: Winners will be notified by phone or mail by March 31, 1999. Winners will be announced and first place winners’ poems in each category will be published in the April 1999 issue of SPAWNews. Judge’s decision is final. Submission guidelines will be strictly enforced. No phone calls, please.


The city of Thousand Oaks has established a Telecommunications Center and a Web Page. SPAWN is included in this Web Site as a community-based organization.

To access SPAWN, use the net address We are listed under Community Organizations. Participants are listed in alphabetical order. Our name is given, together with the person to contact and a description of our mission in the literary and artistic world.


Ventura County Chapter

Next meeting: Wednesday, December. 23rd.

Due to the proximity of Christmas, there will be no speaker for the December meeting. Instead, there will be a round table discussion of whatever is on people’s minds concerning the field of creating and publishing literary works.

Members are also invited to display their works on tables provided for that purpose.

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, Dec. 12.

In lieu of the regular meeting, the Santa Barbara Chapter will present

A Holiday Celebration” with Dario Darnell, internationally known opera singer & seascape artist.

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

You know who the critics are? —The men who have failed in literature and art.



Two guys from the midwest, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, once wrote children’s books. One day, in 1986, they decided to tell the truth about the three little pigs and came up with “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!” The story is told from A. Wolf’s point of view who, according to the Los Angeles Times of September 28 last, “was just trying to borrow a cup of sugar from his neighbors, the pigs, and was befit (sic) with sneezing attacks.” With Lane’s illustrations and Jon’s words, the book sold more than one million copies and was translated into twelve languages.

Now, big, rich, powerful people wanted them to make animated TV specials based on their work. Jon and Lane didn’t want to, so they waited. While they waited, they wrote “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Stupid Fairy Tales,” which was a best seller for eight months. After the “Math Curse,” they were very “big in the children’s book market.” Barnes & Noble’s community relations manager, Cynthia Leggitt, said they fly out of the bookstore.”

Jon spent four years in medical school, “where he discovered he would be ‘a very poor doctor.’ ” He then got a master’s degree in creative writing at Columbia University.

Lane went to the Pasadena Art Center, College of Design “to learn how to make a living as a grownup by drawing.” Jon would do the words and give them to Lane to draw pictures of the characters. “In the case of ‘Squids Will Be Squids,’ the characters ranged from elephants to mosquitoes to rabbits to, well, squids.”

Both writers wanted their stories to teach some morality to the readers, much as Aesop’s fables do. However, they used animals instead of people to “make their points about people who didn’t live nicely.”

For example, in “Straw and Matches,” Matches refuses to let Straw play any of his games, so Straw goes home. The moral brought home is: “Don’t play with Matches.”

Now Jon and Lane are “living happily ever after, but not resting on their laurels. . . The moral of the Jon and Lane story? We’re lucky guys, but don’t look behind you, Jon said.” — HDR


by Mary Embree

Drastic changes have occurred in the publishing industry during the past few years. Mega-bookstore chains have bought out or forced out many smaller chains and independent bookstores. Major publishing houses have merged with each other and smaller publishers have been swallowed up or have folded their tents entirely.

If these developments have produced tremors in the industry, the latest proposed merger is shaking up the publishing world like an 8.5 earthquake.

Barnes & Noble, the nation's largest bookstore chain, wants to acquire the Ingram Book Group, the largest book wholesaler in the U.S., as a wholly-owned subsidiary. If the merger is approved by the appropriate government agencies, the deal could be completed before the end of the year.

According to the November 9 issue of Publishers Weekly, Steve Riggio of B&N does not anticipate "any anti-trust problems with the transaction" which he believes will "revolutionize the book distribution business in the next century."

The ABA has called it "a devastating development that threatens the viability of competition in the book industry." There is concern among other wholesalers that they would lose a great deal of their business and among independent bookstores that the merger would make them dependent upon their largest competitor.

What impact would this have on our members, many of whom are small publishers and authors? The only thing we can do is wait and see. But it doesn't look good.


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.


(Copyright 1998 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.)

We know that the Web is an incredible research resource as well as an inexpensive place to display our writing. Unfortunately, the Web simplifies copyright infringement; some Web denizens are taking advantage of the ease of copying online text.

For example, I recently received an e-mail apology from a professor who was apologizing for one of his students who had plagiarized one of my online animal health articles. That student was caught and kicked out of school, but some instances of plagiarism can lead to the necessity of determining the legal ownership of a written work.

What can we do to prove ownership?

We know that, according to U.S. copyright law, our ownership of our written text begins as soon as we have written the text. Thus, we want to prove that we were the first to write our text.

Low Tech and Simple

When we want to establish ownership of our written texts, we can follow the low-tech method of mailing a copy of the text to ourselves. Of course, the mailing envelope version of copyright protection is not a perfect defense in a court of law.

High Tech and Simple

Now the Web that has engendered a good deal of plagiarism has also brought us a possible solution to our question of proving the origin of an article or book. We can obtain an Official Registration Certificate for our articles and books before posting the text on the Web or before sending the text to anyone else for any reason.

We can use the third-part registry to certify the time, date, and contents of the digital file containing our text. This file can be a Word file, a WordPerfect file, an HTML page for the Web, a song file, a contract, or any other file on disk. If the file is on our computer, we can register the file with records the contents of the file, along with the time, date, and ownership. That registration is stored for use when there is any question regarding the original ownership of the file and its contents.

Since we are registering through a Web site, we can use 24 hours a day, registering an article or book as soon as we have finished it. We pay a small fee, go through a simple procedure, and safeguard our work.


The fees at range from a single registration at $15 to 100 registrations at $4.50 each. This is a small price to pay for irrefutable proof of ownership.

~ Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer, editor, and professional webmaster who publishes both in print and online. She can be reached at or at SPAWN's Website,


Member News

Member and artist/writer Tana Sommers oil paintings and watercolors are featured now through December 31 in the Holiday Exhibition at The Frameworks/De La Guerra Gallery, 131 East De La Guerra Street, Santa Barbara. Tanas vineyard etchings were included in the Paper Art Exhibition at the Easton Gallery in Montecito during October and November.


Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter, presents their 6th Annual Mystery/Suspense/True Crime Writers Conference, March 18-21, 1999, at the Clarion Hotel in Hollywood Beach, Florida.

Send mail to:

D. Ell, c/o Sleuth Fest æ98, 1432 S.E. 8th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. Fax: 954-429-0908



Traverse City, Mich. The Jenkins Group announces their 3rd Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards and is accepting entries from now to March 1, 1999 for titles with 1998 copyrights. Last year 1100 books were submitted.

The independent Publisher Book awards were conceived as a broad-based unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The staff at Independent Publisher magazine (formerly Small Press) and parent company Jenkins Group, Inc. saw the need to bring recognition to the many hundreds of exemplary independent, university and self-published titles produced each year.

Contact The Jenkins Group, Inc.

121 East Front St., 4th Floor

Traverse City, MI 49684

Phone: 616-933-0445/Fax: 616-933-0448/e-mail:

SPAWNews is published by

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805/643-2403

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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