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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!
Not sure? Check out back issues of SPAWNews on our blog, or in the older SPAWNews archives)

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SPAWNews, February, 1997

New Members

Brian Williams, President, Salt of the Earth, Inc. West Hills, CA

S.L. Stebel, Novelist, screenwriter, playwright, USC professor. Los Angeles

Ken Armstrong, Writer-photographer, novelist, columnist. Kailua, HI

Dianne Armstrong, PhD, English instructor, Ventura College. Ventura

Adelle Demko, Consultant, writer, sports, business & life. Montecito, CA

Patti Teel, Dream Flight Productions, children's music, books. Santa Barbara

Bob Keats, Poet/songwriter/singer. Santa Barbara

Judith A. Aymar, Graphic designer, illustrator. Newbury Park, CA

Chessa Roth, Document examiner and handwriting analyst. Westlake Village

Dianne Ambrecht, Writer. Santa Barbara

Debra Torger, Mixed-media artist. Kailua-Kona, HI

Elissa Chissar, Writer, screenplays, children's books, music. Camarillo, CA

Louise Ann Noeth, Writer, photographer, graphic design, PR. Oxnard, CA

Daniel L. Mansir, Writer, novels, movie scripts. Channel Islands, CA

Ariana Csonka, Marketing Director, Monarch Books. Westlake Village, CA

Susan Kucera, Filmmaker. Bellingham, WA

Robert Sands, PhD, Anthropologist, author. Carpinteria, CA

Linda Petersen, Literary, Arts & Performance Agent. Santa Barbara

Harriet Ackert, Novelist, freelance writer, PR consultant. Santa Barbara

Sheila Benedict, Historical, genealogical researcher. Santa Ynez, CA


See upcoming meeting dates on the Upcoming Meetings page.

Events: See special events on the Special Events page.

The Artist's Magazine

We're starting to get noticed nationally. The February issue of The Artist's Magazine has an article about SPAWN on page 78. Our thanks to Patricia Fry for sending them the information.

Chapter News

Ventura Chapter One

At the January meeting, the Ventura Chapter had the largest attendance ever; over 50 members and guests. It was a full evening with four speakers and a report on the new SPAWN Internet site.

The speakers for the February meeting are: Paula Spellman, President of Living Treasures, author and journalist. She will speak about ghostwriting and networking for success.

Mary Embree, author and editor, will discuss book proposals and hand out her 4-page outline on the subject. A third speaker has not yet been set. Members who would like to speak at a Ventura Chapter meeting may call Mary at 643-2403.

Santa Barbara Chapter Two

The January meeting was a big one for Santa Barbara, too, with over 50 in attendance. Andora Hodgin, the chapter leader, reports that the distinguished speakers at the next meeting will be: Susan Miles Gulbransen, writer, teacher, columnist and book reviewer for the Santa Barbara News-Press and community activist; Michael Smith, author, playwright, publisher of Fast Books, Editor of Santa Barbara Magazine, and formerly the Arts Editor of the Santa Barbara Independent and Associate Editor of the Village Voice; and Janice Birlenbach, publisher, audio producer (recent title: Madame Lola's Pleasure Palace, read by Beatrice Wood) and announcer for KDB Radio.

Thousand Oaks Chapter Three

By Paul Doebler

The T.O. Chapter has a new meeting place, thanks to Louise Cabral who generously offered the use of her home in Agoura. (See Calendar for address and directions.) The meetings have been changed to 3rd Monday of the month.

The January meeting featured two member presentations: Tom Barber described how he publishes a newsletter, "Mind & Soul," in support of his family psychological counseling practice. Tom is also currently working on a new book and is a published photographer. Brian Williams of Salt of the Earth, Inc. briefed the group on his music recording business and how it is leading him into children's book publishing to form multimedia product offerings.

At the February meeting Louise Cabral will speak about her work in teaching people how to write the stories of their lives and how this can change lives. She will have books at the meeting which her students have produced. The meeting program will include a second speaker as well.

Two other chapter members have volunteered to help organize meeting activities. Chapter "Greeter" will be Lynette Shifman who will supervise sign-in activities. Carol Doering will take charge of refreshments.

Oahu Chapter Four

By Ken Armstrong

As of publication date, the Oahu Chapter was waiting for a confirmation of the date and location of their first meeting. Many talented people have expressed an interest in the new chapter and we are all awaiting the big kickoff.

Meanwhile, the behind-the-scenes preparations are moving ahead in great style. Graphic designer Carole Miguel has designed a layout for the chapter newsletter, and charter coordinator Ken Armstrong is putting together material for the first issue. Our long-awaited chapter in the fiftieth state will be sure to reflect in every way the majesty and beauty that are unique to Hawaii.

Mainland SPAWN members are welcome and encouraged to contact Ken about attending one of the Oahu Chapter meetings. Professionals might want to explore the tax benefits of including SPAWN networking in their next trip to the Islands.

Contact Ken Armstrong at 808/261-7362; Email:

The SPAWN Internet Site is Growing

By Virginia Lawrence

Your SPAWN Internet site at is becoming a resource destination for small publishers, artists and writers. Visit the site to view the new additions:

  • Daily news on trade book and electronic publishing from the headlines of the day. For the full story, there are instructions on registering for free access to
  • SPAWNews, the current edition of the SPAWN newsletter.
  • Upcoming Meetings
  • Special Events
  • Membership Information and Application Form
  • Searchable Directory of all SPAWN Members
  • Resource Books and articles on Writing, Publishing
  • Links to Information on Book Printers, Legal Services and other resources
  • Member Publications

The SPAWN site offers a list of general topics and a table of contents for easy navigation. We are designing the site so that you can quickly find topics of interest.

Coming soon: Selling Books from the SPAWN Site There will be at least two ways for SPAWN members to sell their books from the site: (1) For publishers who are ready to do their own fulfillment, we will set up a direct, customized, online ordering program with order forms. Orders will go directly to the publisher. (2) For publishers who prefer to avoid packing and shipping individual books, we will set up an ordering system through an online bookstore or a fulfillment house. Watch this space for details.

If you have any comments or suggestions, contact Information by Design ~virginia/website.htm

Book Synopsis

By Ron Landry

Probably due to overwhelming reticence, no book synopses came in response to our notice in December's SPAWNews. So to get the ball rolling, I present a brief tell of my third (in progress) novel.

Bhrigu Samhita

By Ron Landry

In Vedic times, saintly Indians whose devotion to astrology was extreme created a vast body of predictive horoscopes (Bhrigu Samhita) said to be in the millions and covering the entire zodiac down to a tenth of a degree. Portions of this trove descended to modern times in the hands of three astrologers, giving them unprecedented forecasting powers for clients whose birth information matched the ancient documents. They were sought out by people from all over the world.

A German, Hans Otto Prosser, coveted this power. One by one, he took portions of Bhrigu from these astrologers. Most, though, remained in the family of Michael Deven, but unknown to him until he questioned great grandmother Sarada. Location: a dungeon at the family castle in Shropshire. Michael's namesake, his great grandfather, had consulted Dr. Gopalan (Sarada's father) a famous Lucknow astrologer, then died later when his plane crashed over Bengal rice fields in 1943, clutching two forecasts in separate envelopes; one predicted his death. When young Michael's own parents are killed in New Mexico, he learns of these ancient horoscopes, but faces immediate peril because of Prosser's determination to possess them all. One of great grandfather Deven's envelopes (both survived his fiery crash) comes into grandson Michael's hands and helps him comprehend the Bhrigu Samhita's power. Prosser's men pursue young Deven to get what their master rabidly wants. Michael and girlfriend Rayeen Morganstern, university students, fall unwittingly into mystery and danger. Prosser finds predictive data for his own future in those horoscopes he's already stolen. A reading, forced from tortured captive Misha, famous Gypsy astrologer, assures him of success. But Misha has his revenge. Dr. Gopalan, a far greater astrologer than Misha, had given Michael's great grandfather that second envelope, kept all these years by Sarada. It clearly reveals Prosser's and young Michael Deven's fates . . . .

[Please keep synopsis under 300 words. Call Ron Landry at 805/482-5075 for info or send item to him at 1229 Dara Street, Camarillo, CA 93010-4909]

Member News

Marcy Young has been named Editor of the L.A. Flower Market News, the official publication of the Los Angeles Flower Market. She will be responsible for writing articles and editing the bi-monthly newsletter that has a circulation of more than 4,000. Its distribution includes growers, wholesalers and retailers involved in the floral industry. Ms. Young is a freelance photojournalist based in Van Nuys, California.




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