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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!
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January, 2002

Book Review

Windshield Adventuring Along California’s Central Coast: A Guide to Attractions Found Along Highways and byways in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties, California’s “Gold Coast”

By Russell & Kathlynn Spencer, 162 pages; $19.95

This is the third book in their “Windshield Adventuring” series. The Spencers, who are SPAWN members, also wrote “Windshield Adventuring Through the Mojave Desert” and “Windshield Adventuring in Southern and Central Nevada.”

Whether or not you plan to travel to any of the areas detailed in their guide, this book is interesting just to read. It is full of information regarding campsites, fishing, wineries, missions, historical sites, road conditions, services along the way, local history and myths, shops and restaurants. Filled with photos the authors have taken, their book is practically a vacation in itself.

Attractions they cover at the southern end include Lake Piru and the Fillmore Fish Hatchery. On weekends you can have lunch or dinner on the train that still runs between Fillmore and Santa Paula on a regular basis. In Ventura you can stroll along the promenade at Surfer’s Point, visit the San Buenaventura Mission or Olivas Adobe Historical Park, have lemonade, cocktails or a meal at a restaurant on the historic pier, watch the sailboats at Ventura Harbor or just wander through Old Town shopping for antiques.

As you travel north you may want to visit mystical Ojai, elegant Santa Barbara, or the quaint Danish town of Solvang. You can camp in state beaches along the way, cross the swinging bridge at Arroyo Grande, dig for clams at Pismo Beach, watch the “Great American Melodrama” at Oceano, see the murals in Lompoc, tour the Vandenberg Air Force Base, hike through the dunes in Guadalupe, or visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

The Spencers also cover such little-known places as Pozo, Templeton, Cayucos, Harmony, and Camp Roberts. Even if the Spencers weren’t SPAWN members, I would have to recommend this book highly to anyone traveling through the Central Coast of California. It will enrich your trip.

~ Reviewed by Mary Embree

* * *

New Year’s Resolutions

for Writers

By Patricia L. Fry

Change is not the most popular word in the dictionary, especially when it applies to you, right? While we want certain things in life and we long to grow, it’s annoying to have to step outside our comfort zone in order to achieve our self-improvement or business goals. It’s one of those givens, though: you get out of life what you’re willing to put into it. If you want something different to occur, you have to make some changes.

It’s like the kitten that yearned to frolic and romp outside with the other cats. Every day, she watched from the window as her feline housemates chased falling leaves, played hide and seek throughout a maze of vines and hunted for grasshoppers and butterflies in the rich, tall grass. And each evening, she greeted these adventurers when they returned to the house for their supper. She had the same opportunity as the other cats to enter the larger world outside. Every morning the screen door opened to allow the household cats the freedom of the out-of-doors. The kitten, however, didn’t have the nerve to venture beyond the threshold.

Are you going to spend the rest of your life watching others enjoy the lifestyle you desire or are you going to make 2002 the year you claim success for yourself? Here are some resolutions to help you get started on an adventure toward meeting your personal and professional goals.

This year I will:

  1. Finish that book (poem, article, story) that I started years ago and vowed to finish someday. Make this year that someday!
  2. Start something I’ve talked about starting for years. We all have writing we want to contribute to society or to our families while we’re on this planet. Why not live your dream and start that project this year?
  3. Approach at least one new market for my writing each month. Expand your writing abilities and skills. If you typically write profile pieces for business magazines, try your hand at the how-to or the essay piece for association, health, parenting or animal publications, for example. Maybe you design brochures for local businesses. Increase your business and your expertise by offering to write their company newsletters. Last year, I decided to enter the field of technology writing. Not being a techie, it was a bit of a stretch. I managed to sell eight pieces on the soft side of technology, however, increasing my income by about $2,500
  4. Find at least one new way to promote my book each month. As you will discover when reading books like my, “Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book” and John Kremer’s book promising 1001 promotion ideas, there’s more to selling a book than getting friendly with Barnes and Nobel. Vow this year to step outside your comfort zone and try at least one new book promotion idea each month.
  5. Engage in a different kind of writing. When writing is our work, we often get stuck writing what sells, depriving ourselves of the joy in more creative writing styles. Spend more time writing poetry this year. Write a short story, start a novel or do more journaling.
  6. In a community or online writers group. As writers, we tend to work in isolation. I did for years. I couldn’t see a reason to interact with others. I felt I had everything I needed at hand. And then SPAWN came into being. Boy did I learn a lot from the writers and publishers I met at SPAWN meetings. And I found it refreshing to connect with others who truly understand your love of writing. While SPAWN no longer presents face-to-face meetings and workshops, the new SPAWN website will soon offer a forum where writers, publishers and illustrators who are members can interact and network. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a beginner, I strongly urge you to connect with other writers in a meaningful way this year.
  7. Add a new dimension to my lifestyle. If you tend to be a workaholic like I am, get out more and do the other things in life that you enjoy. Tend your garden, go hiking, get involved in creative photography. For greater creativity and productivity at work, pursue a creative and/or physical activity at least a couple of times a week.
  8. 8. Stop procrastinating and start writing. Procrastination and lack of self-discipline stop a lot of wanna be writers from living their dream. If you really, REALLY want to write, make it a priority. Discover what is getting in the way of your writing career. Television? Overtime work at your job? Laziness? Too much socializing? A hobby? A disorganized lifestyle? Sleeping in?
  9. 9. Reach out to others. Help someone this year. It does the soul good. Volunteer for the after school homework help program at your local library, offer to mentor a journalism student or adult who is just starting a writing career or launch a writing club in your community or at a local school. Helping someone else brings greater joy to you and gives you, yet, another healthy perspective that will surely enhance your writing.
  10. 10. Plan something special for next Christmas. Do you remember how you grumbled this year as Christmas grew near? You dreaded going shopping. You complained about not having much money. And you didn’t know what to give your friends and loved ones. Incorporate your writing into gift giving and you will have a more joyful holiday season. Have a friend write one of your poems in calligraphy and frame it for family and friends. Create a book of your short stories and have it bound at Kinkos or a print on demand company. Write a children’s story starring the children in your life and give it to them for Christmas. Each Christmas, I gather all of my published articles for that year, put them in binders and wrap them up for my three daughters and my parents. I know they enjoy this unique gift because one year I didn’t get around to putting the articles together for them and boy did I hear about it.

Choose one or all of these resolutions or create your own from this list of suggestions. The result will be a happier more productive you throughout 2002.

—Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit, (Matilija Press, 2000) and Write On! Journal-Keeping for Teens (Liguori Publications, 2001).

* * *

Workshops, Seminars, and Conferences

January 18-20. Spacecoast Authors of Romance, Melbourne, Florida. Featured speakers include Teresa Medeiros, Elizabeth Bevarly and Elizabeth Sinclair. Contact: STAR, P.O. Box 410787, Melbourne, FL 32941.

Web site:

Saturday, January 19. “A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Book,” Learning Tree University, Thousand Oaks. The class covers researching, chapter outlining, editing and writing principles, copyright registration, query letters, book proposals, and publishing contracts. Most important of all, learn how to write the hook that sells the book. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. $59. Instructor: Mary Embree. FMI contact LTU at 805/497-2292.

Saturday, January 26. “Careers for Copy Editors,” UCLA Extension, Los Angeles, Room 1234, Public Policy Building, Westwood campus. This is a workshop for experienced and aspiring copy editors. Class meets from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $115. Call instructor Laurie Gibson at 858/539-0508 for more information.

February 7-9. Florida Suncoast Writers Conference, Tampa, Florida. More than 50 workshops led by professional authors, editors, publishers, and agents. Contact The Florida Center for Writers, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., MHH-116, Tampa, FL 33620. 813/974-1711.


Web site:

February 7-10. Los Angeles Writers Conference, UCLA Extension, Los Angeles. Choose from 10 workshops. Contact L.A. Writers Conference, P.O. Box 24901, Dept. K, UCLA Extension, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Phone: 800/388-UCLA.


Web site:

Saturday, February 9. The DIY Convention, West Hollywood, California. “Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books” teaches artists and entrepreneurs how to create, promote, protect, and distribute independent film, music, and books using online and offline techniques. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Full-day pass includes lunch plus access to DIY Film and Music Festivals. Panel appearances by Susan O’Leary, Fox Searchlight; Jay Cooper, attorney, Recording Artists Coalition; Mack Hill, Sony Music; Brad King, Wired; Mary Embree, SPAWN; Aidan Pickering, Fox-11 News; Jan Nathan, PMA; and more. At the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. Register at Web site:

February 15-18. Southern California Writers Conference, San Diego. Extended one-on-one evaluations of advance submissions and dozens of workshops. Contact SCWC, 4406 Park Blvd., Suite E, San Diego, CA 92116. Phone: 619/282-2983.


Web site:

* * *


Literal Latte Fiction Awards.

Deadline January 19. Prizes: $1,000, $300, and $200. Entry fee $10. Submit unpublished short stories on any subject up to 6,000 words. FMI contact Literal Latte, 61 E. 8th Street, Suite 240, New York, NY 10003. Phone: 212/260-5532.


Web site:

Sandstone Prize in Short Fiction.

Deadline January 31. Prize: $1,500 and publication. Entry fee $20. Submit published and unpublished short stories or novellas, or a combination of both. FMI contact Ohio State University Press, 1070 Carmack Rd., 180 Pressey Hall, Columbus, OH 43210. Phone: 614/292-6930.


Bluestem Poetry Award.

Deadline March 1. Prize: $1,000 and publication. Entry fee $18. Submit manuscripts of original work, at least 48 pages in length. Manuscripts may include poems previously published in periodicals but not in full-length, single-author collections. FMI contact Dr. Philip Heldrich, Dept. of English, Box 4019, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS 66801.


Web site:

James Jones First Novel Fellowship.

Deadline March 1. Entry fee $15. The fellowship will be awarded to an American author of a first novel in progress. Novellas and collections of closely linked short stories may be considered. FMI and guidelines contact James Jones First Novel Fellowship, c/o Dept. of English, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766. Phone 570/408-4530.


Web site:

* * *


[The Q and A Column is a new feature of SPAWNews. We get a lot of questions both by phone and by e-mail. Patricia Fry and Mary Embree answer, individually, all of those we can. Because most of the questions are very interesting and apply to a lot of writers, artists, and self-publishers, we have decided to share some of them with our readers.]

QUESTION: I’m a first year fifth grade teacher. I have written a number of children’s books through the years and am now ready to publish my works. I’m not sure if I wish to self-publish or have my book published by a professional service. Now that my book proposal is written, I was wondering what the next step is. Where do I send my works? Who is a reputable publisher? Any and all information would be helpful.

Thanks, Mickey

ANSWER: Dear Mickey: It sounds like you’re at an exciting point in your life—a new career as a teacher and on the brink of becoming a published author.

I would recommend two things. Go to the bookstores and see who published the books there that are similar to yours. Find their contact information in Literary Market Place or Writer’s Market in the reference section of your library. You can also find Writer’s Market in bookstores for around $30. The 2002 edition is current. The next one will debut in September.

Writer’s Market is a reference tool that lists publishers. The Book Publishers Subject Index, on pages 1061-1082, makes your search easier. The listings include contact person and information, current needs, recently published titles, royalty information and so forth.

You mentioned the possibility of self-publishing. While I would probably advise you to show your work to traditional publishers first, self-publishing is definitely an option. To pursue this, you will need a bent toward marketing and promotion. I know of one self-published children’s book that become highly successful. Are you familiar with The Jester Has Lost His Jingle? The author was a young man who died shortly after completing the book. His mother, Barbara Saltzman, decided to publish the book in her son’s memory. But first, she tested the market. She read the book to children in libraries and schools. She sent it to librarians, educators and parents to read to their students/children. She listened carefully to what people had to say about the book. The response was so good that Barbara went ahead and published the book. Of course, the real work started after it was published.

Barbara spent many hours every day making contacts. She toured extensively and, in fact, quit her job with the Los Angeles Times to devote full-time attention to this project. This resulted in her selling over 250,000 copies of the book in less than four years.

If you decide to self-publish, consider purchasing Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual. It will take you through the steps. There are other good books on publishing listed on the SPAWN website.

By the way, SPAWN is changing the website to include some new features including an interactive member forum where you can discuss your project with other children's book authors. Would you like to be on our emailing list for information about this and receive our monthly SPAWN newsletter online?

Good luck,

Patricia Fry, President


Ms. Fry,

I appreciate the time that you took to respond to my inquiry. Your information is extremely beneficial and I look forward pursuing the options available to me. I will certainly be signing on to receive the SPAWN newsletter. Thank you so much for your consideration.


* * *

Editor’s Notes

We encourage feedback and articles from members who wish to contribute to SPAWNews. The articles should comply with our purpose and interests. We are especially looking for articles from graphic designers, illustrators, authors, and small publishers, but will consider all others.

We are also interested in member’s activities such as their newly published books or upcoming magazine articles, book signings, art shows, seminars they are presenting, or classes they are teaching.

SPAWNews reviews member’s books on any subject and nonmember’s books on writing, editing, art, illustration, publishing, book promotion, or any subject that would appeal to our readers. If you wish to send a book for review, please include a news release and mail to SPAWN, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.

Please e-mail all other information to

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

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor, SPAWNews


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Patricia Fry

Acting President


Ruth Hibbard



Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

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 and President of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


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 Wendy Dager, Senior Editor, SPAWNews, 3039 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063 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.

SPAWNews, Member Directory and Web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.

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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